Monday, 29 October 2012

Dear Finley,

Dear Finley,
Today you turn 4 years old.  I still cannot believe you are 4!!!  It seems just like yesterday that you were born and placed into our arms.  I never believed in love at first sight until I met you.
You are a spunky, fierce, loveable, bossy, affectionate, stubborn and independent little girl.  You are truly one of a kind! You love to learn and constantly amaze us with the things you learn and say each day.  You are a perfect combination of both myself and your daddy.  I still don’t know for sure who you look like.  Sometimes I see myself and sometimes I see your daddy.  Regardless, you are still as cute as can be!!
Your little sister is both your best friend and worst nightmare.  Don’t worry – I completely understand!!! I also have a little sister and understand how great and awful they can be – sometimes even at the same time.  As you both get older, you play much better together and you are both good at sharing.  Although I would have to admit that she is far better sharer then you!!  You love to pretend “camp and hike” with her, play dolls with her, read her stories, have bath time with her, play outside with her and do crafts with her.  You don’t like it when she steals your oatmeal or any other food despite you declaring that you are done with it, or when she takes your stuff or when she wakes you up (you hate being woken up period – just like your daddy) or goes into your room or touches anything you don’t want to share at the moment.  She misses you madly when you are at school and you both run to give each other hugs when you see each other when you are done. 
You love all things related to princesses – especially Rapunzel from the movie Tangled. You have now see a total of 3 princess movies – Tangled, Cinderella and Beauty and The Beast but can name and recognize every single Disney princess ever recorded.  You get upset when your Rapunzel towel is dirty and you can’s use it after your bath. Your bedroom is now flanked with Rapunzel bedding and pillows as well as a Pinkalicious poster on your wall.  You even got to meet Cinderella and The Little Mermaid this year.  Next year, hopefully you will meet Rapunzel.  You love your Pinkalicious books and I must admit, they are my favorite books to read.  I mean, who doesn’t love the colour pink?  As they say, it is Pinkeriffic :)!  You still love Minnie Mouse and occasionally enjoy watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on TV.  You  love DuckTales (the old school ones shown on Shaw VOD), Care Bears and My Little Pony.  It’s so weird to see you enjoy things that both your daddy and I did as children.
You love to do all kinds of crafts and colour and even paint.  You still resist using your fingers to finger paint but you got some super awesome fingerpaints for your birthday that you loved and used your fingers with.  Although you did ask a few times for a paint brush but the more I refused, the more you used your fingers!!  I always laugh when I picked you up at school and the other kids hands are dyed and covered in paint and you are as clean as can be!!!
Your favorite colours are pink and purple and prefer to use only pink plates, bowls and utensils.  You alternate between pink and purple nalgene bottles. You love all clothes that are pink, purple or have some kind of princess theme on them. It is hard to get you into anything else.  You love to wear skirts, tutus and pretty dresses.  You will not wear any pajamas unless they have a princess or a crown on them no matter what the colour is and you prefer nightgowns to 2 piece pajamas.  You love to have your hair in pigtails, Jessies (braids) and buns for dance.  You love hairclips and headbands – the frillier and bigger they are the better!!  And you still have not cut hair (or perhaps I haven’t, but I love it the way it is)
You love to play soccer and enjoy your dance class.  You practice your bad toes, Princess toes every day and try to teach your sister.  You have zero co-ordination but you come by it honestly.  But you love going to dance class each week and that is truly what is most important!!  You love to ride your scooter and try to ride bike without much success but you never give up.  You love going down slides, jumping on the trampoline, playing in the swimming pool, building sandcastles and snowmen.  You are truly a free spirit and I love that so much about you.  You love to sing and dance at home and your absolute favorite is still Taylor Swift.  You cannot get enough of her.  A close second would be Gangham Style by PSY and anything by One Direction for the simple reason being that one of her favorite cousins is OBSESSED with them.  Everytime she hear’s them, she says with pure joy and excitement that it’s “Madi’s boyfriend”! This terrifies your daddy.
Your favorite foods are peanut butter, pizza, rice, bananas, apples and peppers of any colour.  On any given day you like and hate both cauliflower and  broccoli.  Most other vegetables and fruits you like except for celery.  You have never ever liked celery.  You love to eat ice cream and cupcakes and fruitsnacks.  You drink milk and water and sometimes you get a grape slurpee filled half full.  You pick grape simply because it is purple. You still don’t like potatoes or perogies and every once in a blue moon you will eat sushi.  usually when we go to our sushi restaurant, you order a big side of rice.  You crack me up.  You do love Vietnamese which makes us very happy!!
You are now officially potty trained at night and that makes me so happy.  You occasionally have an accident over night but that’s mostly because you like to sneak water in the bathroom when you claim to go pee.
You still are a big animal lover with your favorite being a camel.  I have  no idea how this came to be. It was like overnight you just decided to love camels the most and it stuck.  It is your favorite animal to look at the zoo.  You love trains and you claim that your favorite are the CN trains because they have the most cars.  And maybe also because Great Uncle Lloyd works there??
You are going to 2 preschools right now.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s you go to Pacekids.  This is the school where they help you with your speech sounds.  You have been going there since January and the improvement you have shown is astounding.  In fact, you improved so much since starting there that you almost didn’t get funding for the school year!!  Your speech pathologist (whom we love more than you could imagine) says by the end of the current school year, you won’t even know that you have even had a speech delay in the first place!)  On Tuesdays and Thursdays you attend the Learning Experience which you love, love, love.  Being in a classroom full of regular 4 year olds has helped you so much!!!  You love going to school to see your friends and for all the great things that you learn.  I love listening to you talk about your day – it makes me so very happy!!!
As you can see Finley, you are true joy to be around and I don’t think that your daddy, Penelope or myself could possibly love you anymore then we already do.  But I know you will challenge that on a daily basis.  You have so much love for your friends and family that it warms my heart and makes me realize that we are doing a really good job at being your parents and raising an amazing little girl. 
Enjoy your day my sweet little peanut and we look forward to watching you grow even more in year 5.
Lots of love

Friday, 26 October 2012

Birthday Questionairre

YOu will remember last year we asked Finley a bunch of questions.  We decided to do it again but asked a few more questions.
1. Can you recite your name?  Finley Taggart Florizone
2. How old are you?  Three turning 4 October 29
3. Who are your best friends?  Madi, Tanner, Cailey and Kirsten
4. What is your favorite animal?  Camel
5. What do you want to be when you’re all grown up? Rapunzel
6. What is your favorite movie?  Tangled
7. What is your favorite book?  Pinkalicious and my Rapunzel ones
8.  What makes you happy?  Madi, Tanner, Cailey and Kirsten
9.  What makes you sad?  Danielle (Cailey and Kirsten’s mom)*
10. What is your most favorite food to eat?  Rice and Pizza
11.  What is your favorite song to sing?  the ooooh oooh oooh song by my favorite girl (we are never getting back together by Taylor Swift) and my new friend (gangham style by PSY)
12. What games do you like to play?  Hide and Seek
13.  How old is Mommy? 2.  No wait, Pia is 2 so you must be 5.  Yes, you are 5.**
14. How old is Daddy.  12 (ME: Madi is 12.  Are they the same age? Her: Yes)***
*Finley has no idea what sad means
**Greg has trained Finley to say that I am 45.  This was done after said interview was conducted.
***Greg also convinced Finley that is he is 29.  Again after the interview was conducted!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

New England Patrtiots!!

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Greg and I headed to Seattle for our first ever weekend away from the girls.  Technically, it was my first weekend away from them as Greg has done this before.  I knew they would be in good hands staying with my sister so I didn’t worry too much but I sure did miss them!  We got up at 430am on Friday and were on the 22x by 442am.  It’s amazing how fast you can get going without having to worry about any kids!
We got to the Canadian/USA border around 830 so there was no wait!!  It was awesome, we just drove right on thru in less than 5 minutes!  Our first stop once across the border was at the Steam Plant Grill in Spokane. We ate there on our way back from our Oregon Coast trip and Greg was so looking forward to it.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t open until 3 and it was only 11.  We ended up eating lunch at my favorite fast food chain Carl’s Jr.  I always get the Carl’s Catch (fish burger) with a Nestea Raspberry Iced Tea.  And every time I ask why don’t we have this in Canada!!!  It is so delicious and SO much variety although I only ever eat the Catch!
We were soon back on the road again and got stuck in construction in 2 different places costing us an extra hour in the car but we still got to our hotel in Bellevue at around 4pm.  We had never been to Bellevue and all we knew was that it was the home of Microsoft.  We quickly checked in, went to our room and decided we were hungry.  We had already decided that we were gonna eat at Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant and Satay Bar.  
This restaurant was located at The Bravern which was an amazing upscale shopping area and apartment living.  Some of the stores consisted of Neimen Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch and so on.  There was even a Mercedes dealership.  I almost bought another pair of Tory Burch Reva Flats but couldn’t quite commit to the colour.  We purchased some cupcakes at Trophy Cupcakes to eat later back at the hotel.  They were delicious. Greg got the snickerdoodle and I got Cookies and Cream.
The picture of our delicious cupcakes
The downtown in Bellevue is quite new, most likely built when Microsoft took off.  There were tons of Microsoft offices everywhere!  Most of their downtown consists of companies that were created because of Microsoft and computer technology.  T-Mobile even had 6 massive office buildings.  That surprised me.  Seattle is also home to the head offices of Amazon and All Recipes!
After hanging around there, we headed over to Factoria Mall which had nothing to note other than Target and Nordstrom Rack.  If you ever go to the USA, always check to see if they have one where you are going.  You wouldn’t believe the deals I have gotten on Marc Jacobs bag, sunglasses, designer jeans, shoes – everything!!!  I look forward to hitting EVERY Rack in the city/area I am in.  This time, I left the Rack empty handed.  Nothing at all caught my eye.  
We soon walked over to Target where I purchased tons of Rapunzel items for Finley’s birthday party.  I also found Tangled underwear that Santa will be bringing for her!  We went back to our hotel after this and ate our cupcakes before  heading to bed.  We were in bed before 9pm!!!  We were exhausted after being up so early!!
We were up early to start our Christmas shopping!  We got to the Outlet Stores too early so we stopped at the Walmart nearby.  Here we got Penelope her own cabbage patch kid.  It was $20 cheaper here then back home in Calgary!!  We also found some cheap pink carry on sized suitcases for our trip to Hawaii in January and some cute pajamas for the girls for Xmas.  
Finally, the outlet stores were opened!!  My first stop is always in this order: Kate Spade, Burberry, Michael Kors and Coach.  Can you believe I did not find a SINGLE thing for myself at any of these stores???  This was an absolute first for me!!  I did happen to score another Marc Jacobs watch for super cheap at the Fossil Outlet Store. If you are not aware, Fossil makes Burberry, Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Michael Kors and Armani watches so you can find designer watches for cheap.  I discovered this by accident at the outlet in Orlando where I found a Burberry watch for $150.  I have a new found addiction for watches so I was  happy with this purchase.  We got a bunch of Christmas presents and Greg found some pants at Kenneth Cole. 
We finished up at the outlets around lunch and had lunch again at Carl’s Jr before heading to the Alderwood Mall.  We hit up another Nordstrom Rack where I found a pair of New Balance Minimus Runners for the outdoors.  I have a pair of bright pink ones that I use for indoor use and I wanted a darker pair for the outside.  Again I was shut out in the handbag dept.  The mall was insanely busy but we managed to find a few more birthday and Christmas presents.  Build A Bear was a complete and utter zoo – Finley better enjoy her new outfit for her kitty!!!!  We ended our shoppping excursion at this mall by treating ourselves to the most amazing cupcakes ever!!  Seriously I had a pumpkin spice cupcake and it tasted like I was eating my Aunty Sandy’s pumpkin pie in a cupcake form.  It was that amazing.  It was so amazing that I cannot tell you what kind Greg even had!!
After this, we headed back to Bellevue which is home to the most fabulous family friendly downtown area.  Calgary could easily be like this but for some reason we don’t seem to be heading in this direction.  Their downtown shopping district is called The Bellevue Collection which is very similar to The Core – right down to the plus 15’s although the ones in Bellevue were covered but still open air.  It was crazy busy in the mall and even in the streets.  I would move here just for this alone!!!!
We did some shopping and came across the Microsoft Store.  We had never seen one before although I believe there is one in Toronto.  It looked suspiciously like the Apple Store.  It had glass walls and even the helpers wore blue shirts.  Ironically enough, the apple store on the next level was twice as big which I am sure was completely intentional.  
They had a Tesla store in the mall!!  If you are not familiar with Tesla they are a car maker who make amazingly awesome electric vehicles.  When Justin Beiber turned 18,  his manager bought him the roadster version of this car.  The one that I want is the Tesla Model S. It is insane!  It has a trunk in both the front and back – we could totally get rid of the Traverse and still use this vehicle to go camping because there is so much room!  We wouldn’t be able to drive far unless you buy a charger so you could charge it somewhere along the way.  I would have to charge it in Kindersley so I could make it to Saskatoon.  Greg also enjoys Tesla vehicles which is surprising because he isn’t the most “green” person around.  Maybe I will be able to convince him when the time comes round to replace our current vehicle…
Anyways, this mall was amazing – so many cool stores – a good mix of high end and regular stores.  It was crazy busy and super awesome.  
We ate supper Saturday night at McCormick and Schmicks and it was quite tasty.  It was quite busy but we managed to find a place to eat in the Bar and were able to watch Nascar while we waited for our food.  Next store to it was The Container Store which was like heaven for this wannabe organizing queen!!!  Man if we had the room I could’ve hauled tons of stuff back.  Almost makes me happy that we don’t have one here!!
Downtown Bellevue at the shopping/eating area.  It was so busy and awesome – the complete opposite of downtown Calgary on a Saturday night.  
After supper, we wanted to stop at a few galleries. We love art galleries but it’s tough to do with kids.  I think the last ones we were in was in San Francisco with a highly spirited Finley!! 
The first one we stopped at was the Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery.  It was a small gallery but it had a lot of cool pieces in it.  I loved the NBA piece and the Dr Suess pieces!!
We then walked around the corner to Gallery #2
The Hall Spassov Gallery had some super awesome pieces!!  I really, really enjoyed this one!!
After a quick stop at Starbucks, we headed back to our hotel.  Again, we were in bed by  830pm but at least we stayed up to watch the Yankees tie up the game in the 9th and sadly to see Derek Jeter break his ankle in the 12th.  I still bet the Yankees wish they would have just lost in the 9th…..
On Sunday, we were able to sleep in a bit before heading into Seattle for the whole reason we made the trip in the first place: The Patriot/Seahawks game.  Our first thing we did after we parked our vehicle was walk down to Pike Place Market.  We had never been there before it opened so it was nice to see the calm before the storm.  
An empty market place.  the smell of urine was stronger then normal
I always insist on stopping at the very first Starbucks even if it means waiting in line MUCH MUCH longer than any other starbucks in the area and there are lots of them!!  I just love it, what can I say??
We headed back towards Nordstrom Rack but not before stopping at the new City Target.  It opened 2 days after we left Seattle in July.  It had 3 levels – it was pretty awesome.  We did eventually get to Nordstrom Rack where I was again shut out in the handbag,  I was devastated.  I never left a trip to Seattle without anything.  The problem is the bags right now are either too large or too small for what I like.  Greg’s theory is that I have too many.  His theory is WRONG :)
We hopped the subway and headed to Century Link Field.  
The football stadium from a distance.  This would be the second time we would be a Seahawks game. We went to an exhibition game against the Broncos when Finley was almost 10 months old.  It was a cloudy, chilly day.
The Seahawks band.  They were amazing!!!  I could watch them for hours!!!
The whole reason why we came.  
Warming up
Talking to the media
Because the Seahawks get so many fans from Vancouver, they sing the national anthem for us.  I thought it was cool until she started singing.  It was by far one of the worst renditions I have ever heard in my life.  Unlike the Star Spangled Banner, O Canada has to be sung the same way each time.  This girl sang it to the same tune as the US one.  It was so brutal.
It rained almost the entire time the game we played.  The stadium is partially covered and even though we were on the uncovered part, we didn’t get wet until the very end thanks to the way the wind was blowing and some other stuff Greg mentioned.  2 seats over from us, people were getting soaked.  I have been to hockey, baseball, NBA, Nascar and football events around North America but this was without a doubt, the loudest crowd I have ever heard.  EVER!  Tom Brady played a brutal game and the Patriots ended up losing with a minute to go in the game.  Needless to say, Century Link Field got even louder!!!  So after not finding a new handbag, Tom Brady playing a terrible game and the Patriots losing, I now  had to walk to the train in the pouring rain.  It was brutal!!!  We stopped at this brewery for supper where I ended up getting a meal saturated in butter when I thought it was going to be relatively healthy.  I ended up very sick back at the hotel.  The drive home was not fun :(
I have loved Tom Brady and the Patriots since he took over from an injured Drew Bledsoe  and led them to the Super Bowl XXXVI win.  Over the years I have watched victories and the worst of losses (more specifically, Super Bowl losses to the Giants).  I am forever grateful to have been able to see him this weekend because who knows if Brady will still be playing next time I get to see the Patriots who will forever be my favorite NFL team.  
I have to thank my sister for taking such great care of Finley and Penelope while we were away!  They were greatly spoiled and loved having their Aunty Kristy around.  Also a big thanks to Greg for organzing the trip and  booking the tickets and hotel and for driving so much over the weekend.  He is a huge Dolphins fan but has admitted that he does have a mancrush on Tom Brady :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Party Time

Finley turns 4 on October 29 so we decided to have her party on October 21 so that it was more for her and not an accidental halloween party. Although since she is going as Rapunzel for halloween, it totally would have worked :)
In case you hadn’t noticed, the theme for her party this year was Tangled.  Finley loves all things Tangled so it worked out perfectly
A poster I bought on ebay for the playroom in the basement but it worked well as extra decor upstairs for her party
I saw this idea a few times on Pinterest and other mom blogs who had done Tangled parties.  I bought a yellow plastic rectangle table cloth from the dollar store.  I then cut it into thirds and tied all three together at the top.  I braided the hair while Greg held the top.  It turned out pretty good.  Finley was really made that I wouldn’t let her climb it.
Here was a craft station where the kids would decorate crowns with stickers and letters.  Beside it was a princess photo thing that we never did use.  It wasn’t as cool as I had anticipated!
Plates for cake
Our expedit full of all things Rapunzel
Rapunzel napkinds
Bigger plates
The trim of the table cloth.
All of the plates, cups, napkins and table cloth were purchased for dirt cheap at the Target in  Bellevue.  Finley LOVED them!
A table for friendship bracelets/necklaces.  I found this idea on Pinterest or some blog, I don’t really remember.  The beads are all in frying pans because Rapunzel uses the frying pan to knock out Flynn Ryder when he accidentally lands in her tower.  This was a great idea in theory but caused a lot of grief for both kids and parents alike.  We still are finding beads everywhere!!
Our mantel.  The birthday sign was purchased on a buy n sell site I belong to on facebook.  The top of the mantel are more Rapunzel dolls and homemade lanterns.  Those didn’t work as well because my electric tealights sucked and it wasn’t dark enough for them to really glow.
Greg came up with an idea of playing pin the hair on the rapunzel.  We struggled to find something to use but Greg found this poster at Walmart for $5.  I cut yellow yarn and braided it for the kids to use.  It took nearly 2 hours to braid 13 pieces of hair.  
Setting up the table before the party guests arrive
Rapunzel Cake from Out of Chaos.  It turned out awesome and was so delicious.  She also did the Pascal chocolate suckers shown below:
Finley practicing for Pin The Hair on Rapunzel.  Given her accuracy in getting it right, she clearly didn’t keep her eyes closed!
Our first guest arrived and she loved the kitties! Quincy hung around for the party, Luci was nowhere to be found
Bead time
The kids loved pin the hair game!!!!