Sunday, May 18, 2014

Our Birthday!

Hey everyone! Goodness, sorry we've been so MIA lately - what with all the studying for finals and gymnastics meets and band concerts, we've hardly had time to breathe for about a month! But it's finally summer in just a few weeks, and I'm looking forward to blogging a lot more when school is finally over!

Our birthday was a little over two weeks ago, on April 30th. Unfortunately, it was really cloudy and drizzly all day, and still sort of cold, so the party we were planning for the afternoon had to be moved inside.

As soon as we got home, I started setting up snacks and games for the party. Our friends wouldn't be getting there for a few hours yet, until around dinnertime, but I was so excited that I couldn't wait!

Mom had helped me make cookies, brownies, pigs in a blanket, and kebabs that morning for the party. We sliced up some fruit and got some drinks and chips to put out too.

Zoe came in as I was straightening everything up on the table and plunked herself down in the beanbag chair in the corner.
"How does it look?" I asked her, gesturing back towards the table. She looked at it and shrugged.

"Oh, come on," I said. "I put a lot of work into this."
"It's nice," she said simply. I was satisfied. "Fine" to Zoe is like "fabulous" to me; she's a lot less expressive than I am.
I sat down in the beanbag chair next to her and groaned, throwing my hands in the air. "I can't stand this! When is everyone getting here?"
"Not for another hour, at least," Zoe sighed.

"Do you think Mom would let us open our presents now, at least?" I asked hopefully. Zoe shrugged.

"Let's go find out!" I cried, leaping up from my beanbag chair to go see. Zoe heaved herself up and followed.

Mom had just put our cake in the oven, and laughingly agreed to come up and watch as we opened the presents from her, Dad, and our friend Yvette who lives in a summer cottage near ours up at the lake. We opened Yvette's things first.

Yvette is a very artsy person herself and loves making things out of duct tape, even dresses! Her mom is a potter and Yvette is also an aspiring painter, and they actually made the pot in that first picture themselves! The little purse is something they found at an art gallery downtown and thought we might like. Well, we love them! Thanks Yvette!

The next things Mom handed us (unwrapped, as always) were two shoeboxes.

In Zoe's was a pair of blue moccasins with little bows on their toes! I got a pair of pretty purple sandals, which Mom said were called espadrilles. Neato!

In the rest of the boxes Mom handed us were clothes - her reasoning was that since we were going to have a party anyway, she should give us the practical things and leave the fun things to our friends - but neat ones at that!

Zoe got a new running outfit, jacket, and sneakers, and I got a sweet outfit with shorts, tights, flats, and a t-shirt with Coconut's face on it! It also came with a very pretty pink plaid headband.

We also got a new bathing suit to share, which I think we'll have some difficulty with...

The last thing Mom and Dad got us was something else to share - a pink-and-white polka-dotted raincoat with matching boots and an umbrella! We were both really happy about that. We take turns walking Ginger and Shiloh in the morning, and neither one of us particularly likes having to go outside in the dark, especially on rainy mornings, and get cold and wet waiting for them to do their business. But having such a cute coat and boots and umbrella to wear could make those mornings almost enjoyable!

The last presents we had to open were the ones that we got for each other. Zoe's been on a recent Coldplay craze, and can't wait for their new album, Ghost Stories, to be released this month! Obviously I couldn't get her the album yet, but I got her a poster of the band instead. She loved it! I was really happy. I know it's kind of cheesy to say so, but sometimes it really is better to give than it is to receive!

And for me, Zoe had gone to Newbury Comics in the Mall and picked out 5 neat pins that she thought I'd like. I loved them! One was even from one of our very favorite movies, The Princess Bride! I couldn't wait to put them on my backpack.

Mom had to go downstairs to take our cake out of the oven, and we were left to clean up the stray tissue paper and empty boxes strewn around the room. Because I knew Zoe wasn't going to, and because I felt that the situation was just begging for one, I leaped up and gave Zoe a huge hug.
"Happy Birthday, sis!" I cried. She laughed and hugged me back.
"Happy Birthday, Charlotte."

We heard the doorbell ring just as we finished cleaning up, and with cries of excitement, we ran down the stairs to greet our friends.

So that's how we spent our birthday! It turned out to be a really great day, even despite the rain, and I was so glad that I had such an awesome sister and friends to share it with!

Are you looking forward to summer? (I know we are!) Do you have any big plans for the vacation yet? What do you love most about the summertime?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day!

Hey everybody! Sorry it's been so long since I last posted - between gymnastic meets and basketball games and midterms this January, I've hardly had time to breathe since Christmas! But now we're facing a nice, week-long February break, so I'm looking forward to blogging a lot more in the days to come.

I woke up really early this morning, even before my alarm went off, and immediately remembered that it was Valentine's Day - one of my favorite days of the year! I was halfway up and getting into my school clothes when Mom crept into our room and whispered that school had just been called off. Now, typically I love snow days, but I was really looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day at school. Not only do I love making and exchanging cards and getting dressed up in an outfit that I've been putting together for weeks, but Mr. Lopez promised that our homeroom could have a class party today! I was so disappointed.

I spent most of the morning moping around, hating the snow that was still falling thick and fast outside the living room window, until Mom called Zoe and me into the kitchen to help her make some Valentine's treats - heart-shaped ginger cookies and her special Shirley Temples with extra cherries. The holiday started to look up after that!

Despite the disappointments, I had a really nice holiday with my mom and my sister, and I'm looking forward to blogging lots more in the weeks to come!
Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Do you have any special traditions? What's your favorite part of the holiday?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone! Yesterday, of course, was Christmas, and Zoe and I both had a really great day! I would have posted yesterday, but present-opening took most of the morning, and the family walk we took through the snowy woods took most of the afternoon. When we got back, I wanted to help Mom cook dinner, and then we all wanted to watch a Christmas-y movie, so by the time I actually was starting to consider blogging, it was time for bed.

Zoe woke up first, as always, and shook me awake excitedly as soon as she had lowered herself from her top bunk. I groaned and swatted at her to get her to leave, but she wouldn't until I had climbed out of bed and assured her I was awake.
We tiptoed downstairs, rather groggily on my part, making sure not to wake up Mom and Dad. The agreement was that we could open our stockings before they were awake, but we had to wait until after breakfast to open the presents under the tree.

"Hooray!" I cried - softly, of course - as I saw that our previously empty stockings had taken on several interesting lumps overnight.

We sat down at the foot of the woodstove to open them. Zoe took her stocking by its tip and turned it upside down to shake out everything that was inside.

I took a more traditional approach, pulling the packages out of the top of the stocking one by one.

Zoe found a pair of black-and-white mittens, two candy canes, and a bead kit with some sports-themed beads inside her stocking. Sticking out of the top was a stuffed raccoon. I thought that Zoe should call her Rachel, but Zoe preferred the name Rascal.

The contents of my stocking were very similar - pink mittens, two candy canes, and a bead kit with dolphin beads. I had a stuffed purple teddy bear in mine, though, instead of a raccoon. I think I'll call her GrapeJuice.

After a breakfast of homemade Belgian waffles (with butter and maple syrup and chocolate chips and fresh fruit - yum!), Zoe and I went into the family room, plunked down in our beanbags, and got ready to open the presents underneath the tree.

The first ones we opened were the ones that we had made for each other. I had wrapped Zoe's present very carefully, with an elegant golden ribbon and green tissue paper. Zoe's gift to me was rather crumpled and quite sloppily wrapped, but that was just Zoe's way of doing things.

Upon unwrapping our gifts, we realized with a shock that we had both made each other the same thing - scarves! I had made a pink and dark blue and white fuzzy one for Zoe, but she had made me one from scratchy brown wool, that was full of holes and lumps and bulges and dropped stitches. Oh, well. It was the thought that counted.

The next package I found under the tree was addressed to both of us. Inside was an adorable stuffed polar bear! I think I might call him Lazlo.

Sitting on top of a wrapped shoebox to the right of the tree were two unwrapped objects from our grandmother, that I couldn't quite identify at first. They looked sort of like two very large gumball machine containers. Zoe picked up hers and held it in front of her face to get a better look at it.

"Is it a snowglobe?" she asked, puzzled, as she slid her finger into the hook at the top of the object and lifted the glass dome off of its base. Inside were two miniature pine trees on a bed of snow, with a light dusting of snow on their branches.

I picked up the globe addressed to me and slid off its dome too. Inside mine was a tiny cottage with snow on its roof, flanked by several miniature pine trees and with a silver patio leading up to its front door.

The next present under the tree was also addressed to both of us. It was rather squishy - clothes, maybe? - and wrapped in blue tissue paper.

From inside the wrappings, I pulled out a zip-up red hoodie with silver seams. Cute!

I picked up and unwrapped the shoebox that our snow globes had been sitting on. Inside was a pair of maroon flannel cowgirl boots! Maybe it was time for Charlotte Tate to assume another alter-ego: the fabulous and fearless cowgirl Jackie Eberhart, who roamed the Wild West with nothing more than her trusty shotgun and beloved Mustang, Penny. Zoe rolled her eyes when I suggested this. She still hated all my alter-egos, especially Alexandria Beauregard.

We each took one of the last two remaining packages addressed to both of us.

In Zoe's was a Map of the World jigsaw puzzle.

In mine was a big stack of books. The book on top was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time! I remember hating the story when I was little, because I was scared of the Abominable Snowman, but I've loved it ever since.

Underneath Rudolph was a second Christmas-y book: The Night Before Christmas! Our family's old copy is falling apart, so it will be nice for us to have a brand-new copy for next year.

And underneath that was the Peanuts holiday box set! Hooray! It came with A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Valentine

I pulled out A Charlie Brown Christmas, which was my favorite one of the four, and started to read it. I love it when Snoopy decorates his doghouse. He's such a silly dog! I love Ginger and Shiloh, but it would be pretty neat to have Snoopy as a pet.

There were now only a few more presents underneath the tree. I opened one of the boxes to find a warm red sweater and matching flowered skirt inside.

Zoe got a new winter outfit, complete with a new sweater, leggings, a purple knit headband, and soft purple flannel boots to match.

The puffy blue jacket she found in the next box she opened went with her new winter outfit. It looked plenty waterproof and plenty warm - just right for playing in the snow!

I couldn't quite figure out what my final gift was at first. The tank top and leggings and sandals were straightforward enough...

...but what was the long, colorful, knit object that came with them? A quilt or something?

As I stretched it out in my hands, I realized that it had sleeves. And a collar. And - holy guacamole, it was a sweater! I immediately declared it to be one of the prettiest things I had ever owned. The colors were so gorgeous, and the fabric was really soft.

Later, that evening, after our walk and dinner and the movie, Zoe and I retreated up to the living room again to sit around our tree. I turned off all the lights except for those on the tree, and we leaned into each other as we listened to the carols my mom was playing on the piano downstairs and thought about Christmas. We are both so lucky and so fortunate to be able to enjoy the luxury of getting gifts on Christmas morning, to have parents that love and care for us, and to have a sister to spend time with.

Do you celebrate Christmas? If you don't, do you celebrate a different holiday around this time, or none at all? If you do, what are your favorite Christmas traditions? How was your Christmas day? And what are you thankful for?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!