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Thanksgiving X 2

27 Nov

Every year, we go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving day and to my husband’s parents’ house for the weekend after where they make a big Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. I love that this is one holiday we don’t have to stress about and plan how we will divide our time. It’s a great tradition!


My aunt’s family came to my parents’ house on Thanksgiving and Liam had a great time playing with his cousins. He ate so much at dinner – mashed potatoes, butternut squash, green beans, cranberries, and pumpkin purée (my mom scooped some out for him before she made the pies).


There were lots of dogs at the ranch – our two, my husband’s parents’ two, his sister’s new puppy, and our friend Paul’s dog, who is Jackson’s brother. Liam loved watching them all play!

Saturday was my husband’s birthday and we always celebrate down there. Some of his friends come and it’s fun to see everyone and their growing families. Liam loved Stella, our friend Caren’s daughter. She gave him lots of kisses and covered him with her special blanket.

We also got a picture of Liam sitting in the exact spot where we got married.


I really want to take some professional family pictures here!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

A day at the beach!

8 May

On Sunday, we headed to the beach to have lunch so Liam could see the ocean for the first time.

We wanted to go to Malibu Seafood for lunch, but there was a line out the door and no parking, so we headed to Coogie’s instead. The food was delicious and we sat on the patio in the gorgeous weather, so it worked out! It was a lovely little Sunday family outing 🙂

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.


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!

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…

Happy 4th!

1 Jul

We’re supposed to go down to the in-laws for the holiday weekend and I’m really hoping I start feeling better soon so we can still go. If we do go, I’ll have no phone and no internet until we come back on Tuesday which is really nice because it means I can read and relax. So, that means I better wish you a Happy 4th of July now!

image found here
I wish you a weekend full of food, fireworks, family, and fun!

Weekend Wrap-Up

20 Jun

This was my last weekend before summer break. After this week of work I have six and a half weeks off to sleep in, read, lesson plan, and play. I’m not anxious for this school year to end because I have to leave the school that has been my home for the last four years. I started my teaching career there and leaving is definitely bittersweet.

On Friday, we babysat Gracie, a three year old cutie with a brother on the way. She LOVES my husband and could probably care less if I came with him, but I think her parents prefer me to be there for bathroom trips and PJ changing. We played trains and watched Wonder Pets and read stories.

Saturday morning, we slept in late. Like almost 10am late. Usually my husband will get up early to feed the dogs and go to Home Depot and start some work around the house while I sleep in, but not this time. He did get up to feed the dogs, but he came back to bed and slept in with me. It was nice.

Even though he slept in, my husband still ended up taking a trip to Home Depot to get some pieces he needed to hook up the water to our new refrigerator. While I cleaned behind the old fridge, he hooked up the water and we made the switch. Then, I cleaned out the inside of the old fridge and stocked the new one.

After that, we took the dogs to the dog park before heading out for a festival of short films my husband had to go to for work. We ate at Umami burger first (YUM) and then sat through the most boring three hours of my life. The bar/lounge/theater it was held in was freezing cold, the chairs were terribly uncomfortable, and the films were awful. Well, most of them were. There were a couple that I liked, but mostly I wanted to be anywhere but there. I was happy to support my husband, but you can bet I won’t be going to another one of those for a looooong time.

On our way home, we both had a craving for some Mexican hot chocolate so we stopped at the grocery store and bought some Abuelita’s hot chocolate mix. I’d heard about it from someone on twitter and have been meaning to try it ever since. It was sooooooo good. Even my husband loved it and he’s not usually a big hot chocolate person. It will definitely be part of my nighttime routine from now on (or at least until it gets too hot outside).

Sunday, we both woke up early for a change and I made us omelets. I never make breakfast on the weekends because I’m not a morning person AT ALL, but my husband begged me to cook him breakfast for once since he’s always the one who gets stuck with the chore, so I did. It was yummy and it made my husband happy. Win win!

After breakfast, we headed out to Huntington Beach to hang out with our friends Paul and Jackie. These friends also happen to have Jackson’s brother, Marlowe and since Saturday was their first birthday, we had a little celebration.

Happy Birthday Pups!

Paul made some delicious steak sandwiches and grilled peach sundaes and Jackie showed us around town. The dogs had a blast, though we did leave poor Ruby at home, and it was nice that they got to see each other for their birthday.

We also got to see the house my husband grew up in:

Isn’t it amazing? And one block from the beach. I’m so jealous.

For dinner, we headed over to my parents’ house to celebrate father’s day. Jesus, my stepdad is a chef and, even though it was supposed to be his day to be pampered, he cooked so much amazing food for the family. This makes the card we got him so much more appropriate. Oh, and my mom and little brother also got him the same exact card. Great minds think alike, right?

sorry for the crappy phone pic

After eating enough food for five family dinners, we played Life until we couldn’t take it anymore. I think we lasted until about 9pm.

Overall it was a great weekend! How was yours?

Happy Father’s Day

19 Jun

To Jesus, my stepdad:

Thank you for always being there for me for the last 17 (can that be true?) years. You have been the best stepfather a girl could ask for.

To Don, my father-in-law:

Thank you for making me laugh and rarely laughing at my expense, though I know I am an easy target. You are an amazing father to my husband and a terrific grandfather to our nieces and I’m so proud to be part of your family.

To my husband, not a father yet, but a “wanna-be”:

Thank you for bringing so much laughter and joy to my life. I can’t wait to see where our lives take us and I know you will be an amazing dad.

Your stepdaughter,
your daughter-in-law, and
your wife…


**All photos courtesy of the best photographers on the planet, The Caldwells Photography**

Happy 3-Day Weekend!

27 May
Photo from Design Mom
Tonight I’m celebrating my friend Michelle‘s birthday, then heading to my in-laws’ ranch to escape for a few days. Some of my husband’s (and now my) friends will join us Saturday for a BBQ and we might do some wine tasting on Sunday, which will be lovely. I’m excited to unplug and read some Sookie Stackhouse books I’ve neglected.
What are your plans for the long weekend?

Gardening Fun!

12 Apr

While I was at work on Saturday – yes, I had to work a full day on Saturday, we need the money – my husband prepped the area behind our garage for our garden. Our garage is in our backyard, so there is this patch of dirt and weeds behind it that we can easily block off with a little fence to keep the dogs out of it.

Here’s what that space looked like before:

Oops! Forgot to include this in the original post. Sorry about that!!

We didn’t get an “in progress” picture, but after he cleared all the weeds (and broke his weed whacker in the process), my husband broke up the soil so it would be easier to plant. We planned on waiting until the following weekend to buy the plants and get them in the ground, but we got excited and decided to do it on Sunday. We drew up a rough plan and decided what plants we wanted to get, then headed to the nursery.

Once we were there, the plan sort of went out the window. We got too excited by all the amazing options and went a little crazy.

We already had some compost that was ready to go at home, but we got one big bag of soil amender to mix in with it. I usually leave the yard work to my husband, but planting is sometimes fun, especially when it’s not too hot outside. I had lots of fun and only got sick of it at the very end. We even made a scarecrow!! Here is the final result:

Yay!!! The grassy/weedy patch in the front right hand corner is the one little spot we didn’t get to clearing. We also forgot to plant carrots, so those will go there this weekend when we get it prepped. The wood thing in the back right hand corner with the weeds in it is one of my husband’s horseshoe pits that he put in the summer we moved in. I don’t think he’s played horseshoes there since that summer, but he’s still too attached to it to rip it out. Maybe one day…

A close-up of one of the yellow squash plants. I can’t wait until we can pick the veggies and eat them!

In front of our little fence and to block the gap, we have our strawberry planter and a mini fruit tree we’ve had for a few years. We still haven’t gotten fruit from it, but we’re hoping this is the year. When I was taking this photo, I realized that Ruby can fit through the little fence we put up. I thought she’s be too fat, for sure!

Look at our awesome scare crow!! She’s wearing some of my old PJs (I wore those bottoms to our prom after-party; I call them my prom PJs), one of my favorite old sweatshirts (it says, “live happily ever now” – I’ve always loved that line as a twist on the classic), one of my husband’s freebie baseball caps, and some old gardening gloves. I think it is doing it’s job because Ruby is terrified of it and was barking at it nonstop until I showed her it was fake.

I woke up pretty sore this morning from all the digging and planting, but it feels good! I know it’s cliche, but having our own home with a yard and growing our own food is so fulfilling. It makes me so happy to know that our future children will have this in their lives as they grow up.

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?