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Christmas!

25 Dec

This was the best Christmas ever. Liam made it so wonderful. He is such a happy baby and we love him more than words can express. Here’s a bunch of pictures from our day:

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First row:

My husband putting together Liam’s first radio flyer. Santa came! Liam didn’t want to come into the living room in the morning, which meant I didn’t get my classic Christmas face picture. Finally, he attacked the presents.

Second row:

He liked the wrapping paper best. Getting a ride from Dad in the walker/wagon. Dad teaching his son a little golf. The place cards came out very cute – thanks to my mother in law for putting them together at the last minute!

Third row:

Liam with his cousins Gwen and Ava. Mother and son. Liam with his second cousins Kevin and Elizabeth. Father and son.

Fourth row:

My mother in law Ann with her grandchildren. Ava and her favorite person, her grandpa. Eating dinner at the pretty tables I forgot to photograph. My sister in law Molly with Baba (Grandma Barbara).

I hope you had a great Christmas full of love.

xoxo

Giving Back

18 Nov

Tis the season for making wish lists and hitting the mall, but it’s also when we think of those less fortunate and try to give back. I found Operation Christmas Child and decided it would be a fun way to help a child in need and maybe even gain a pen pal. I also asked my principal if I could involve my students and after much encouragement, we packed a box in each of my five classes.

I’m sad I didn’t get a picture of the boxes or gifts inside or the sweet notes, but just know that a lot of love went into these shoeboxes and each one was packed with love. After they’re sent, I’ll get an email letting me know what country each one went to. Our donation center had this sign out front:

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So, we know they’ll go to children in either Peru, Indonesia, Panama, Nepal, Mongolia, or The Philippines. I included our address in each box in hopes that the children who receive them will write back, which would be very rewarding for my students.

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I’m so glad we are starting the tradition of giving back this time of year now that Liam is here and I hope we continue each and every year to do something like this together as a family.

Christmas 2011

29 Dec

I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend! We had a very nice Christmas and I’m enjoying my time off more than ever before. I’ve been enjoying it so much that I sort of neglected the blog. Today I realized that I had better recap Christmas before the New Year begins on Sunday!

On Christmas Eve, we had my husband’s parents, grandma, sister, nieces, aunt, and cousins over as well as my mom and brother. Here is my mother-in-law with our niece.

And with our other niece.

The kids’ table!

Everyone eating. I made lasagna (recipe on the box of no boil noodles from Trader Joe’s – it was amazing and everyone loved it, so go try it), caesar salad, and garlic bread. Simple and delicious!

My in-laws looking through the book we made them as their gift. It was a win! She cried!!

Our adorable little niece dragging her present to her aunt to open.

Cuties!

My husband and our niece, the tiny dancer.

She was a cookie monster that day! I didn’t make any other desserts because I knew my mother-in-law would bring enough cookies for everyone to have their fill of sweets.

Saying hello to the dogs.

That night we went to church and had dinner at my parents’ house before heading out to my in-laws ranch for some relaxation time.

On Christmas, we opened presents (I LOVE these!!),

kept Jackson from licking his wound from his neuter,

and napped. I’m so glad my husband took this picture so we’ll always remember how I looked sleeping (not).

The next day, we drove home and relaxed some more before my husband had to go back to work on Tuesday. Yesterday I went to Ikea to return a couple of things (both my mom and my husband got me, er the baby this adorable rocking moose, so one had to go back) and pick up some stuff for the nursery. Today I ran errands, including a trip to Michael’s to get supplies for the crib mobile I’m making. I’ll do an update on the nursery soon!

Twas the day before Christmas

24 Dec

And all through the house…

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care (one for me, my husband, the dogs, and the baby), in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads (that line always reminded me of the nutcracker because of the sugarplum fairy).

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.



Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.


With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!


“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,


Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

PS
See my husband in the window? He’s wearing the union suit pajamas I got him last year for Christmas and his lumberjack hat. What a cutie.

Holiday Cards 2011

20 Dec

These went out much later than usual this year, but I had way too much on my plate and I feel lucky they went out at all!

Without further ado…

Front -photography by Michelle
Message reads: And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Inside – yes, the dogs make the card every year.

Back – ultra sound picture with a little announcement! I hope people actually look at the back…

Front of the envelope

Back of the envelope

Since we got our 50 cards for free from Shutterfly, I decided to splurge on red envelopes. I make the wrap around labels myself using full page label paper and my paper cutter. We could have used more than 50 cards, but when I was ordering my husband said not to, so I didn’t. I won’t be listening to him next year!

I’m really happy with how they turned out!

Oh, and as a side note, even though we celebrate Christmas, I always like our cards to say Happy Holidays because we send them to a few people who aren’t Christian and I know I would feel kind of weird getting a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa card in the mail.

Happy Birthday Mom!

19 Dec
I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful day!
My mom with Santa – in the 60s, obviously. 
Doesn’t this picture remind you of that movie A Christmas Story??

Cupcakes Giveaway Winner!

10 Dec

I completely forgot to select a winner for a dozen mini cupcakes from Crumbs! Please forgive me and my pregnancy brain!!

The winner is…

JEN from Living a Brighter Life!

Congratulations to her and thanks to all of you for your sweet comments.

Since I hate leaving a post without a picture, here’s the new tiny stockings I got at Crate and Barrel. Two for the dogs, and one for the baby!

Cute, right?

Happy Weekend!

Holiday Photoshoot

8 Dec
Last weekend, my good friend Michelle took some pictures of us for our Christmas card. It was really chilly and our dogs were crazy, but she did an awesome job making us look good (if I do say so myself). Here are a few of my favorites, some of which will appear on our cards and I’ll share those as soon as I mail them out.

I’m so glad to have a friend who loves photography and is willing to practice on us! I can’t wait to have her take pictures of the baby…

Shutterfly Giveaway!

29 Oct

I’m sure you’ve seen these posts going up on blogs all over the place, but that just means more chances to win, right?

Last year, we asked my mother-in-law to draw a picture of us with our dogs to use on our holiday cards. It came out super cute, but when I received my cards in the mail, the image resolution wasn’t working. Since I wasn’t happy, I contacted Shutterfly and they sent me a credit to order new cards with a higher resolution image. After getting the original drawing and getting it scanned at our local copy place, I chose a different card design and ended up with this:

Adorable, right? I’ve kept one hanging on our mail sorter all year!

This year, I think we’ll go with an actual picture. I’m hoping maybe my friend Michelle can take some pictures of us that can double as early maternity photos. Of course, we’ll include the dogs, as they are part of the family! Here are some of my favorite holiday cards from Shutterfly this year:

I love the vintage feel of this card. The photos are so fun and light and I can see us using individual pictures of us and each dog, as well as some of the whole family together.

I really like how this design is shown with a black and white image, but has a pop of color with the lettering.

Maybe if we take our photo shoot to the snow, we can do something cozy like this one.

I’m also thinking of making photo books as gift this year. With a limited holiday shopping budget (have to save for baby!), photo books make inexpensive, but extremely thoughtful gifts. Remember the one my mom made for me last year? It definitely brought on the happy tears when I opened it Christmas Eve.

Something else we’ll likely turn to Shutterfly for in the near future? Birth announcements!

I love the simple elegant design of this one for a baby boy. Also, Thomas is our pick for a middle name for a boy! Thomas was my husband’s late grandfather’s name.

This one for a girl is so modern and fresh. I love the colors and the font of the name. Ahhh I can’t wait!

Leave a comment on this post to enter to win 25 free holiday cards from Shutterfly! Three winners will be selected at random. Comments will close on Friday, November 4th at 11:59pm. Good luck!

**Please be sure to either sign in with your email address or include it in your comment so I can contact you if you win!**

Hand Painted Ornaments

29 Dec
When I posted about our Christmas cards, I wrote that my mother in law is an amazing artist. I got the idea for the drawing on our cards from the ornament she paints each year.
Every year when her kids were growing up, she painted them ornaments with a portrait on the front and a list of happenings on the back. Now, her entire tree is covered in these adorable keepsakes. She also paints them for her nieces and nephews. Once you have kids, she only paints ornaments for the grandchildren. My husband has one sister and she has two kids, so her kids get ornaments each year, but not his sister. 
Since we don’t have kids yet, we still get an ornament every year with our family painted on the front and a list of our yearly happenings on the back.
This first one is from our first Christmas together in 2006!

My husband had just started his career and I was in graduate school (see me with a book on the back of his delivery van?).

In 2007, we had moved in together and got Ruby, our first puppy. Just before Christmas that year, someone broke into our apartment and stole a few of my husband’s watches and my Macbook. She even painted the crook on our ornament!

Another tradition is that she paints an ornament for every puppy the year you get them. Then, (brace yourself for something kind of gross) she puts the puppy teeth they’ve lost inside the glass ornament. Here is Ruby’s from the year we got her, 2007.

See the teeth? Kind of gross, but kind of cool.
She does this for the kids when they lose their teeth, too.

This one was from 2008 and has our first house painted on it! See my blinging engagement ring??

There’s Ruby!
Want to know which one is my very favorite??

Our 2009 ornament! There we are getting married!

And there are our puppies and the Monarch butterflies that my husband arranged to be released during our first dance as a surprise.

Here’s what the back of that ornament looked like. So many memories!

And here is Jackson’s puppy teeth ornament from this year!

For our 2010 ornament, she painted the same picture that went on our Christmas cards.

And she added some Australian bats from our trip this summer!

I can’t wait until our whole tree is covered in these amazing little works of art!

Do you have any unique holiday traditions?