Sunday, December 30, 2012

Girls Just Wanna Have Fu-un

My sister and niece have been visiting since the 27th and I've been SO happy! We've been having as much fun as possible.

The other night Hottie watched all the kiddos so that we could enjoy a dinner/movie date (I felt like the luckiest girl on planet Earth). We walked out of the theater to finding it SNOWING!.... So... we did the only thing that any self respecting Californians would do... We made a stranger take a picture of us... right there in the parking lot.

 We were squealing with delight like little school girls....

... and took some more pictures. :)
It hasn't "snowed on us" since she we were about 12 and 8 yrs. old.
The memories of our childhood in Montana came flooding back.
It was magical.

 The next morning we woke up to this....

and went sledding as soon as we possibly could...

So far we've bowled, watched movies, played board games, sledded, and have plans to visit the horse park. Fun times, indeed. But really, even if we are just sitting around Instagramming and watching tv and playing ping-pong (horribly), I'll consider it the time of my life. Because I am SO happy they are here!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Very Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

& I got the best present of all. My big sister and niece are visiting from California tomorrow! Now that is a very merry Christmas... and the happiest New Year ever!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

This is How I Roll: Tradition Edition

We have several holiday traditions, just like every family, I'm sure. Today I thought I'd share a few....

Just after Thanksgiving each year I get out our collection of Christmas hats. They are up for grabs for anyone who wants to wear one anytime for the rest of the season.

I always encourage the kids to wear them when we get our tree.
 We always select the biggest fresh cut tree we can possibly fit in our home.

Every single year Nakiah wants to be hands on in the selection process and every year he narrowly avoids getting crushed by a falling tree.

Once we get the tree home we put on National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (our family favorite) and I break out the egg nog and Hottie says the joke, "little full, lot a sap," about 5 times regarding the tree. (a la Chevy Chase).

This year it was especially fitting because our tree is huge and has these crazy long branches.
Sometimes he thinks he is Chevy Chase in National Lampoons.

The kids always start to decorate the (bottom front half) of the tree and argue about who gets to put up which ornament. The whole process seems to take all night and by the end I am ready for it to be done already. (Maybe next year I will wise up and make it a new tradition to decorate the tree the day after  we bring it home.)

The boys always ask if they can put the star on top, even though they know very well that Hottie puts it on every year.... and every single year I make a comment about how I want to look for a new topper. (then miss the boat by waiting for a sale)

 Traditionally our tree would have ribbon around it, but Hottie didn't think we needed it this year.... (I'm bringing it back next year. It takes the tree up a notch visually, I think.)

We also have a small selection of Christmas attire and will wear red/green whenever possible in December...

Especially while making our gingerbread houses....
(some of us are just too cool to wear red or green or hats of any kind... but not too cool to decorate.)

We also make a lot of treats during this time... this year I added a few more easy ones to the list.
We decorate sugar cookies, make caramels, attempt fudge (finally pulled it off this year!), etc. etc.

We make those with an endless loop of Christmas tunes and movies going on in the background.... all while sipping hot chocolate or egg nog or spicy cider from our holiday mugs...

We also like to read a lot of different Christmas stories. 

A new tradition that I am so glad we started this year is the Elf on the Shelf.... I am sure you've heard about this unless, of course, you've been living under a rock. We named ours Buddy McElfersteen. He is bananas. I love him. So do the kids.
He bungie jumps and ziplines and has dates with barbies, among other things. Evareaux keeps reminding me not to touch him, or he'll lose his magic. 

Another new tradition is listening to Christmas records. I have memories of my Dad playing records for us growing up and how happy that made me so it dawned on me that I should do this for my kids. They are loving it!

Our final Christmas tradition is opening one gift on Christmas Eve. (alway pajamas) Every year Nakiah asks if he can pick which gift he wants to open instead (to avoid getting lame pajamas) and every year I consider it but then realize he can just wait until the morning for his other gifts! Rotten kid! haha.

Oh, and I like to read The Night Before Christmas to them and watch the original Grinch on Christmas Eve. So! That's us! Not too exciting, but memorable for the kids I think.  I wonder which ones they will choose to carry on with their families later in life. What traditions do you have?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Snow Day

I got my wish. As we speak it is SNOWING! Oh man. I didn't know how excited and emotional and happy this would make me. I feel like my inner child is screaming from the rooftops, "IT'S SNOWING, LETS PLAY!" Of course not even 5 minutes after being out in the fluffy stuff I was show-boatin' and slipped and almost busted my ankle. Rookie. Luckily I wasn't holding the baby.....

Growing up in Montana snow was no biggie. We always got a ton and I never really remember it even causing "snow days" from school. Seeing this snow has brought back a flurry (pun intended) of memories. My sisters and I sledding for hours on end. Walking to school gingerly on top of ice-covered snow and falling through parts up to my hips... tiny snowballs clinging to my tights... no need for pants when you are accustomed to the cold, I guess. I remember building snow tunnels and igloos on the playground. Catching snowflakes on my tongue.... sticking my tongue to a handrail a la Christmas Story. ouch. So many happy memories related to snow..... no wonder all of those years living in California (almost 10) it never really felt like Christmas time. I found the missing ingredient. SNOW!

It's so cool to share this first time with my kids. They've been to the snow before, but never walked right out of their front door all bundled up to find it snowing. They are pretty excited.

It probably sounds funny to those of you across the country who are used to this... to see photos of my kids trying to gather enough to make tiny snowballs, making snow angles in the street (California kids are so clueless! haha)... but for us this is a real first, and even if we do only get about two inches I'm going to sit in my house with hot cocoa in my hands and watch every single flake fall... and remember the good times... and pray for more.... and sledding! I'll cross my fingers for enough snow this season to take my kids sledding! ....

PS-these photos were taken first thing this morning before much snow had fallen. Now there might actually be enough to make a real snow angel!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oldies but Goodies

Feeling a little nostalgic the other day I flipped through some older scrap albums... that's what we make them for, right? So we can look back later? Here are some Christmas layouts from seasons past that still have a little place in my heart.....

Working on making some family memories in our new home. I spent most of the day yesterday wrapping gifts. We certainly went over board this year but it feels pretty nice to be able to give the kids a wonderful Christmas..... and it's supposed to snow here today! I can hardly contain my excitement over that news! Soon I might have some snow photos to scrapbook! (haha, only a scrap nerd would think about snow in those terms.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

 Lots of Christmas happenings going on here.... 

and the kiddos will officially be out of school for the holiday starting Friday. (ah!) So I've been a busy little elf trying to tie up loose ends with gifts and holiday bucket list prep. For once I feel like I have the ability to make this a really cool Christmas break... this not working thing makes doing the little extras just a little bit easier.... I have lots of plans for crafts and treat making and such so we'll see how it goes.....

I'll admit there have already been a few hiccups... I planned what I thought would be a really cool family outing at a local event... which turned out to be not-so-local... and not-so-much of an event. I can't even explain how big of a gap there was between what I was expecting and what it actually was...  Luckily the kids were smart enough to fake like it was cool, and worth the drive (neither of which was true). Santa would be proud that no one (except me) even uttered a word about how we drove so far for something so lame.....

Speaking of Santa.......

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus

Evareaux has a serious fascination with all things Santa right now. Good timing, right? I thought it would be fun to show her pictures of her last two encounters with the man in red. She's always done pretty well with him... mostly just stared and followed her brother's lead by sitting calmly on a lap and waiting for it to be over.

Should be interesting to see what she does this year... she is a lot more talkative and.... uh, spirited... that's the word I'll use. We hope to see the big guy tonight at a little local event. Wish us luck!--- or in this case, wish Santa luck! Hopefully she won't tell him he sits on a throne of lies.

Friday, December 14, 2012

ROund Here

I've been

Having: a hard time making time to blog but am squeezing in project life catch up.

Fizzling: out on this whole holiday thing... I always do this.... start strong and all excited and pumped up and then I just sort of woh-woh-wohhhhh, as we get closer to the 25th. Not sure why. Hottie thinks it's because my Clark Griswold-like expectations can't possibly be met. Hm. Maybe. But I'm trying to pep back up.

Thinking: Hottie is a super nerd for driving over an hour to see the midnight premiere of Hobbit on IMAX... but I'm also seriously jealous he got to go (nerrrrrding!) & secretly wish he was the type of guy who would dress up for these things.. cuz that would be hilarious.

Wondering: how the heck I'm gonna handle all four kiddos home all day long for two whole weeks while Hottie is putting in some serious holiday hours at work. Help me, baby Jesus.

Drinking: coffee. I've discovered the joy of making flavored coffee/creamer concoctions at home and between that and the red cup fascination (marketing!) apparently I drink coffee now. (Mind you, it's practically not even coffee by the time I get done doctoring it... it's hardly even brown anymore.)

Working: on my fitness. Not hitting the gym as much as I would like (rotten kids need so much of my time!) but, I'm signed up and I go when I can... 

Watching: Pitch Perfect, over and over and over and over... and way too much bad tv- think Real Houswives anything (these chicks are a train wreck!) and Teen Mom etc. etc. (Uh... did you know there is actually a show called Double Divas, and it's about finding accurate bra sizes?!-- yeah, I'm not watching that-- but never say never.)

Submitting: my fool head off! I've been a busy little Elf in my scrap studio/office/room (trying to find a fancy name to call it so I feel cool when I say it....WOW. nerding out again.) I'll show you what I've been up to soon.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Hohoholiday Layouts

As the decorations go up around the house and gifts start to make their appearance under the tree I can't help but be swept up in Christmas spirit. I love this time of year. It's all spiced cider, and lights, and glitter all over the place. It's just pure magic. We've been watching a never ending loop of holiday movies (finally, we are on the same page as Ev who has been watching them since July). We make little treats or crafts each day... wear our favorite santa hats and red and green whenever possible....and are on the look out for our crazy elf, Buddy. Happy holidays indeed.

Here's how I documented some of the magic from last year....