Category Archives: Josh

Eleanor’s Third Birthday: Part Four – A Hanukkah Dinner Finale

Posted by: Maggie

Eleanor’s very last birthday celebration was a combination birthday party with Josh’s family and Hanukkah dinner. We did separate parties for my family and Josh’s because they don’t get along. Just kidding! Our apartment is just too small for all of the family. Just my immediate family is twelve people! So with Josh’s extra six, it’s just too many. So we decided to do separate parties and combine it with our annual Hanukkah dinner with Josh’s family.

After reading this post, by one of my favorite photographers, I decided to make an apple pie for dessert. I have said repeatedly that I don’t really bake very well, but I like to try to get better at it. I’ve never made a pie of any kind before, but making an apple pie seemed so incredibly simple I totally thought I could do it!

I started by peeling a bunch of apples.

Then I threw on some sugar and salt as per the recipe in Jasmine’s post.

Then I ran into a little trouble. I started making the dough, but discovered that I was out of regular baking flour. All we had in the house was whole wheat flour. I thought, well, I’ll just make a healthier pie crust (I don’t know anything about baking). It started out okay, it was looking pretty good. Until I started to roll it out. Then it just crumbled into pieces. Woops!

Oh well! At least I tried. I didn’t have any time left since I had to get the latkes ready for dinner, so I sent Josh to the store to pick up some white flour (for next time) AND some frozen pie crusts.

The pie crusts worked just fine.

After I stuck the pie in to bake we prepared the rest of the dinner. I made latkes and Josh made some delicious veggie dishes (a garlic broccoli and a green bean gratin) that everyone raved about.

After dinner Eleanor opened her presents.

She got the most awesome light-up fairy wings and wand and the Tinkerbell movie from her Aunts Beth and Jenny! Such good gifts!

And from Grandpa Gross and (soon-to-be-Grandma) Raisa she got a collection of Dr. Seuss stories and a Jessie doll! (I say soon-to-be because after being together as long as Josh and I have been, they are getting married the day after Christmas! And I’m shooting the wedding! Wish me luck!)

After presents we had my very first ever apple pie!

And, you know what?! It was awesome!

I guess I can bake something! Sorta! At least I tried to make the crust! I think I’ll make another for Christmas and actually make the crust myself this time!

Eleanor’s Third Birthday: Part Three – The Birthday!

Posted by: Maggie

Growing up my family had a birthday tradition. On each of my siblings and my birthdays we got to skip school, and go out to a movie and lunch with our parents. I loved this! It felt like such a special day and particularly in a family of five kids it was nice to have a day that was just about me, where I had my parents undivided attention.

We’ve decided to carry on the tradition in our little family. So last Tuesday we kept Eleanor home from school, and went to see Tangled and have lunch at P.F. Chang.

The thing about skipping school on your birthday though is that you don’t get that extra attention at school for your birthday. You know, the kid with the cupcakes is everyone’s best friend that day! So I’ve decided to start a new tradition: afternoon classroom parties!

After lunch we stopped by Eleanor’s school with a big box of cupcakes! *

It was such a fun birthday day (for all of us – skipping work for lunch and a movie is the best)!

*I got tons of cute kids eating cupcakes photos at school, but I have a policy of not posting photos of kids without their parents’ permission. Sorry!

Eleanor’s Third Birthday: Part One – Disneyland

Posted by: Maggie

Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for!

For Eleanor’s birthday we decided to take her to Disneyland for the first time! We thought this was the perfect age for her to really enjoy it! We were right! She loved it!

I want to start by saying that I love Disneyland! Love it! Before we had Eleanor I would go every year for my birthday, but I haven’t been since the birthday before I got pregnant. Hopefully I don’t sound too terribly cheesy when I say that Disneyland is beautiful and magical and makes me feel full of wonder like being a little kid again. Disneyland is like eternal Christmas for me!  So I was very excited to finally get to share all of that beauty and magic and wonder with Eleanor.

We started the day by letting her open one present early, a Tinkerbell shirt to wear to Disneyland.

We didn’t want to sit in traffic, so we didn’t rush getting out of the house. We left at around 10:30 and arrived at about 11:30am.

We spent the first 45 minutes wandering around main street, listening to the Barbershop Quartet sing Christmas songs, checking out the Christmas Tree (Eleanor didn’t like it, she said it was too big to be a Christmas Tree), and buying and applying $15 sunblock since we forgot ours.

Then we went to have lunch at Pizza Port in Tomorrowland and finally got on some rides. We started with Buzz Lightyear and Finding Nemo and then headed over to Pixie Hollow. This was Eleanor’s favorite part of the day! After a very long wait in line we got to meet Vidia (a sassy fast flying fairy from the Tinkerbell movie) and Tinkerbell!

The actress playing Vidia was fantastic! She complained that Eleanor had Tink on her shirt and told Eleanor to tell Tink that Vidia was prettier than her. So funny!

Then on to meet Tink! Eleanor loved her. She was speechless and only giggled at her. They were very cute together!

Then on to the teacups, Eleanor loved it. She kept telling me to spin us faster and then didn’t want to get off.

Then on to more Fantasyland rides. Eleanor had so much fun on the rides and kept saying how scary they were and how much she wanted to ride again.  We, of course, had to ride the Carousel. Eleanor adores Carousels. But who doesn’t? They are so pretty.

While I was taking photos of her riding I said, “Oh look Eleanor a mirror, I can be in the picture too!” She replied, “No! I don’t want you in my picture!” And then made this face:

Aren’t three-year-olds just darling?!

After our carousel ride, we headed to the front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle for some gorgeous photos of the castle decorated for the holidays, just as the sun had set. So, so beautiful!

I’m glad we waited until dark to visit Small World. Perfect for seeing the Christmas lights.

By the time we got off, we were starving and it was suddenly freezing cold out. So we hopped on the train and rode through the park to New Orleans Square for dinner. I don’t think I’ve ridden the train since I was little and I completely forgot about the Dinosaur land it rides through. Thanks for the tip Andrew!

I then spent the next 45 minutes waiting in line, freezing, waiting to get some soup for dinner. It was pretty crowded that day, and I guess everyone decided it was dinner time at the same time and everyone wanted soup. Meanwhile, Josh and Eleanor went to get us some fast passes for Haunted Mansion and then wandered around for a bit.

The vegetarian gumbo and clam chowder in bread bowls were pretty much worth the wait!

After dinner we jumped on Pirates, which had a very short line, because the fireworks were going off.

We were a little concerned that it would be too scary for Eleanor because of the big drop at the beginning, but she loved it. She kept asking to go back on the ride with the big slide where people screamed.

Afterwards we hit the haunted mansion, which was decorated Nightmare before Christmas style. I’ve never been at Christmas before, so I was excited to see it.

It was okay. Kinda cool, but I prefer the regular Haunted Mansion.

By then it was very late and time to go. I always ride on Jungle Cruise as my last ride of the day. It’s fun in the dark and the boat captain always seems to be a little funnier at the end of the day. BUT the line was so long I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never seen such a long line for that ride. So we headed to Main Street to call it a day, but of course, we had told Eleanor we would go on one more ride and she wasn’t about to let that go. Luckily, we walked by the Tiki Room and decided to check it out.

Neither Josh nor I have ever been in before. It was actually sorta fun. It’s a 15 minute theatre show with a fountain, and some singing and joke telling birds. Eleanor seemed to like it. She always loves singing.

After the show, we finally headed back toward Main Street to leave.

We made a quick stop in the candy store for some Salt Water Taffy for me and Josh and candy corn for Eleanor, and then wandered into the main store to let Eleanor pick out one souvenir. She chose a Minnie Mouse doll whose skirt twirls and lights up. Shockingly, as of writing this, she has not yet broken it.

We left the park at about 11:30pm! I could not believe it! We knew Eleanor was going to skip her nap, so we assumed that we would leave when she started melting down in the evening, but I guess Disneyland is just too exciting and magical a place. We had very few bouts of crankiness and she was pretty much full of energy until she got in the car and fell asleep before we got out of the parking garage.

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