Friday, December 30, 2011

our 2011 Christmas card

this is the Christmas card i made and never sent out. 

i'm sad because i love it. alas, i love my new purse my loving spouse purchased for me more! the quote came from my husband's favorite Christmas hymn, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. 

here are the lyrics:

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,

Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,

Born a child, and yet a King,
Born to reign in us for ever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit,

Rule in all our hearts alone:
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne. Amen.

the end. 


p.s. all photos by Jackie Wonders

Thursday, December 29, 2011

activity advent calendar days 6-25

otherwise entitled: longest post on the face of the earth. you love it when i vomit all over my blog, don't you? what? no. 

i'm catching up. 

um, this blog turned lame during the month of December. i was hoping to blog all the fun activities we were doing, but instead all the activities wore me out! ha! so... even though Christmas is over i'm still going to post everything we did... because this is my blog and i make the rules!

now to catch you up on the rest of the activity advent calendar i planned for the kids. (you can see the first 5 days in this post)

Day 6: random act of service (i was hoping to have the kids do one random act of service each week, to get in the habit of thinking about others). for this one i had the kids draw pictures of decorated Christmas trees for a senior living home, but once we got there to deliver the pictures they wouldn't let us talk to any seniors. i guess they have policies about visitors and volunteers, which is great, but kind of a let down that day. we just left the pictures there in the hopes they would actually cheer someone up!

Day 7: making Christmas cards for our family members.

Day 8: decorate kids rooms with lights.

Day 9: get peppermint steamers from Starbucks.

Day 10: walk Christmas tree lane

Day 11: make playdough ornaments

Day 12: check out Christmas books from the library

Day 13: work on Christmas cards for family (this took awhile since our family is so big!)

Day 14: Big A's Kindergarten Winter Holiday party. little a joined me (the room mom) as i coordinate all the crafts and snacks for the party. she was a great little helper and we had so much fun at the party. 

these guys are supposed to be melted snowman cookies

beaded wreaths

reindeer food


Day 15: shop for sibling's gift

Day 16: make gingerbread men and family movie night was Charlie Brown Christmas

Day 17: family bike ride

Day 18: decorate cookies

we made personalized people for each family member and mailed them out as gifts.
Day 19: Christmas treat for snack

Day 20: drive around to see lights in a near by neighborhood (too many to go just once!)

Day 21: make gingerbread houses!

Day 22: mini road trip to Oakhurst, CA for family time

the way there

we found a cute little Children's Museum when we got there and they had so many awesome things inside. there were different sections for pretend play, dress up, exploring... it was so much fun. i think we stayed for close to two hours!

bank tellers

cowboy pizzeria

little a workin it on stage

fire department

that trip wore them out!

Day 23: family bowling!

we take bowling serious.

Day 24: Christmas Eve service and open one gift

Day 5: Christmas!!!

and there you have it. 

i hope your Christmas was intentional and wonderful. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Christmas decorations look super classy on security screens. i know. 

i saw these questions on another blog and thought it would be nice if i actually made a blog post and put them in it. 

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Both. But if you add peppermint to the hot chocolate I’ll become paralyzed in the decision making process. I’ll probably ask for a million recommendations, then choose the opposite of what everyone suggests. Ugh. I CANNOT make decisions.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I wrap presents, and love spending the time making all the tiny folds and ensuring my tape is hidden. Then adorning them with pretty embellishments.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? white.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I never have but always want to.

5. When do you put your decorations up? A week or so after Thanksgiving. I like to linger a little on each holiday.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Mashed potatoes.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? As a tiny girl I remember standing on my dad’s feet dancing in front of the tree with wrapping paper surrounding us. As an adolescent, jumping on my dad and stepmom’s bed to wake them up.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? The year my parents were separated, I begged my mom to let me open a gift early and she kept telling me there was only one that year and if I opened it early I wouldn’t have any to open on Christmas morning. I didn’t believe her because I thought Santa would come with more. to prove her point she let me open it….

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Colorful glass balls, ornaments that my stepmom has given me every year, and the kids handmade ornaments.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Lalalalove it!

12. Can you ice skate? I don’t think I’ve ice skated since I was in elementary school… but I probably could if I tried.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? As a child I remember getting a Cabbage Patch Doll pack’n’play and baby swing. As an adult, my sewing machine.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Making sure we teach our kids the true meaning of Christmas, and starting our own traditions.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie, Cinnamon Vanilla Gelato, and Candy Cane Joe Joe’s. I love sugar.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Tamales.

17. What tops your tree? A silver star.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? I LOVE to spend time picking out the perfect gift for each person. But I also LOVE getting awesome gifts that people were thoughtful about.

19. Candy canes: Yuck or Yummy? I would take a bight out of one and not hate it. But I probably wouldn’t eat a whole one. I do LOVE them in Candy Cane Joe Joe’s!!!

20. Favorite Christmas show? Charlie Brown Christmas

21. Saddest Christmas song? Mary Did You Know. Kills me every time.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Mary Did You Know.

sorry i've been super lame. i still have a grip of stuff to post about because i've been burning the crap out of my fingertips with all my crafting, but i'm still not really in the mood to post a blog about it. 

maybe someday. 

i hope you are all enjoying your holiday season and being intentional about the time you spend with your loved one. my husband is on vacation and we are enjoying the unlimited time we get with him each day. the kids love their daddy and i adore my soul mate. this time is precious and we will not let it go to waste. 

it is also our first time not spending the holidays with our giant family. its a little bittersweet because we love them so much and miss them deeply, but we are so excited to make this holiday our own for our little family. 

love you all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

a weekend with my brother, a memoir

last friday i picked my brother up from the train that he rode all the way from Los Angeles to spend a weekend with my little family. here are the pictures i took on instagram. sorry if you follow me on instagram and i'm constantly blowing your feed up with pictures that are random. i always have my phone on me and i love the filters. 

no words. just cuteness. 


sweet reunion. last time we saw my brother was for 2 hours on my way down to San Diego for my friend's wedding in October. that actually wasn't that long ago. but it was way longer than that before then and we just love him a lot. 

the fun and games commenced IMMEDIATELY. the kids love their Tio. 

the very next morning i made a yummy breakfast of Nutella Strawberry crepes and centercut applewood smoked bacon. 

then we stayed in our jammies. (and by "we" i mean everyone except little a who changed her outfit 546567686 times playing dress up. the ushe.)

we made forts. 

built things.

mostly my brother. he may LOOK 18 but he's actually still 7 on the inside when it comes to his love for building toys. and i love that. it was so fun to see Big A excited to play with his Tio.

just hanging out on the ropes course at the park at sun down with some sweet sun glare. that's all.

there was lots of snuggling. and wrestling. and tickle fights. 

then it was time to say good bye. 

Big A still refers to that day as "the sad day". tear. he actually came home from school that day saying that he cried in class earlier. when i asked him why he said, "i don't want to talk about it, i'm grumpy". a little while later he came out with it. he missed Tio and was really sad he left. 

this is not my brother's train. this is a freight train. duh. it just looked good.

we both second guessed our outfits after seeing this picture! ha! i'm really trying hard to work the loafer. i need to! i love them!
i enjoyed my time with him. it was relaxed and sweet. we talked about some good things and i feel a little closer to him. it's funny how our relationship has changed over the years. i'm looking forward to us growing even closer as he comes into his own as an adult and finds who he is as a man. 

it's hard letting go. i still worry. and in fact. i think i'm going through a small depression. it's in the form of not doing my dishes for two days. i just don't want to clean anything. i don't feel like it. and i'm not depressed that he left. i cherished our time and loved each minute. i think i'm sad that our time to influence him is over. he's out there on his own, making his own choices. some of them (probably a lot) will be bad, and we have to stand by and watch him stumble and fall and there is nothing we can do to stop him. there are no amount of tears, or words, or worries that can be that will keep him from growing up. and that is the scariest thing of all. our job now is to pray. and i know i struggle with trusting God. i often fall back into the habit of taking over control and worrying because a part of me believes God doesn't know what's best. but that's silly. of course he does. he made us. he made Mike. and he loves him. even more than i do. which must be a lot because i can't even measure the amount of love i have for my brother. 

this picture says, time to grow the bangs out. AND, i LOVE my brother!!!

so, daily, i give him over to the Lord. and pray with all my heart that the Lord will guide him through these times of searching for his own way in this life. 


p.s. i just did the dishes. and after doing them, then writing this post... i feel a little bit better. A LITTLE bit i said. i will now continue to make myself feel better in the form of powdered donuts and mint hot cocoa. mmmm.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

flannel stockings

here are the flannel stockings i made last week. they're the first real stockings we've had for our family. i made fake stockings when my husband and i were first married. they were lame, poorly sewn, and weren't boot shaped at all. they also couldn't hold any presents, then they broke. 

i felt it was time to take hold of the matter once again and do it properly this time. 

i love them and all their flannel glory. 

i hope you're having a wonderful day! my brother came into town and we've spend the day thus far eating yummy food, wrestling, playing legos, tickling the kids, not brushing our teeth, remaining in our jammies until further notice, and just plain ol' enjoying eachother. 

happy saturday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

what we wore... and ate.

my kids are crazy. and it's all my fault. 

for reals. 

lately, my first born has been challenging EV-ER-YTHING i say with an argument, a "but why?", or a ?mOOooommmmm.....", and it's getting super old. he's also been pretty rough with the little sister. rough like, bulldozing into her so she gets whip lash and falls over, swinging her around by her arms and throwing her into stuff. and i will have you know i supervise my children, very well... it only takes A SECOND for them to get into it. one. second. like when i go pee or something. 

and little a is no better. she'll just out right smack Big A in the head because he looked at her wrong. 


but it's my fault. wanna know why? because i'm all talk. for some reason i got into the habit of "reasoning" with them, and threatening them, when i know i should be disciplining them. they are basically getting away with it and i'm watching it happen. 

i am not disillusioned. even the best parents get tired and have to backtrack in their parenting. 

that's why today we were on lock down. i've been praying that my kids will disobey first thing in the morning so i can nip it in the bud right away. 

and sure enough... before i even had breakfast on the table... Big A knocked little a down because she was going to try to sit in his chair or something... and then we marched into the bathroom, he got disciplined, then i gave him love and shared with him the right thing to do next time. 

hopefully i won't have to do too much backtracking. but i am now on my game and they will not be getting away with much. 

not sure why i shared that. just felt like it i guess. 

here's what we wore today. 

Big A chose skinny levi's with a Transformer shirt that "he's hiding from all his friends from school" under a Target hoodie that was gifted. and his shoes are from Old Navy. and i love them. i love them because the high top has FLANNEL ON IT. what. yes.

i've got a need for more flannel.

little a picked up on the love for Big A's sweet poses and is working on some of her own. looking good sweetie, looking good. she's wearing a tank and sweater from Target, both gifted. skinny cords from Carter's, thrifted. and shoes from Target. 

i also made her a bunch of cute bows this week because all the ones she had were lame. i heart gray wool felt, bows.

my dress was free, a hand me down from a neighbor. it's Gap. belt from Target. 

and a FLANNEL INFINITY SCARF. WHAT! yes. i made it. it was so easy and now i'm addicted and want to buy all the flannel in the world and give them away to all my friends but not really because i want to keep them all for myself. dang. that is a sinful heart right there. 

then i decided to make this tasty little treat. its called apple cake and will make you throw all your nasty holiday candles out so you can bake this everyday and make your house truly smell amazing. it also tastes good.

i got it from Smitten Kitchen. which is my new favorite place to find unusual and amazing goodies. 


total random sidenote: as i was at the fabric store purchasing yards upon yards of flannel (!) for our Christmas stockings i happen to see this popping out halfway down a random isle. i have no idea how i saw it, it must have been a divine intervention. i've been seeing a lot of this style print on uber hipsters and thought i would try my hand at becoming one. ha! well, i snagged myself 1/2 a yard not really knowing what i would make out of it. 

well, guess what!? i made an infinity scarf!!!! and i love it. my instagram pic made it onto Freshly Picked's instagram mashup, which makes me think maybe i am just a teensy hipster. hahaha! right.

anyway. that's what we did today. discipline. clothes. food.