Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Again

Despite the hassles of trying to coordinate two Christmases in two different states it is fun to spread out the celebrations a bit!  Wednesday was our second Christmas... and you could definitely tell it was in Oregon!  We had alternating snow showers and bright gorgeous sun and then finally hail.  Wild.

We opened our presents in the morning and saved one present for last...

Cory couldn't tell from the package what it was supposed to be...

But once I told him it was a camera and showed him the bare minimum - on button, shutter, which way was forward - he was off and running!

He took pictures of literally anything and everything! 

There were over 150 shots in just the first hour... 

Although many of them were rather blurry to indistinguishable since the camera has a slight delay and he would push the shutter and then move to take a picture of something else!

And why did we think this would be an awesome present?  Why because he gets the photo bug from his Mama and is always wanting to use my camera (sorry son!) and see the pictures.

Mama's playing?  I want to play too! 

This is the cookie tree that Cory and Grandma made and I was taking pictures of... until Cory showed up at the other end of the table to copy me!  

My favorite shot 

Aaaaand!  If you would like to see Cory's version of this picture, you can check out the new blog that Brian is in charge of.  It was his idea and he is going to post some pictures any day that Cory takes some.  View from a three year old!  Some of them actually turn out pretty good!

Merry Second Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Far Flung Friends

My friend Molly, who I grew up with, and her family.  We happened to be close enough to see each other for the first time in 4 years... since they currently live in Bolivia!

I would call this the outtake, but actually we took it first to get the kids in the mood for pictures!

Super fun to have a chance to catch up and meet the various new members of the family (1 and 1/2 for her, 2 for me!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Best of 2010

My friend Jill at The Diaper Diaries listed her top ten presents she got for Christmas.  I'm not even sure I got 10 presents, but I did get some cool stuff!  So I started thinking about what other things I could make a top 10 list out of... and I decided that this year has had some major good moments I should highlight!

So, without further rambling... the Top Ten of 2010 (and hey, it even rhymes!)

  1. Buying our first house!
  2. Our St. Patrick's Day baby!
  3. My big boy turning three.
  4. My most favorite baby picture ever! (the second one) and the fact that I have such a smiley friendly baby!
  5. Cory's (late due to Noah's birth) train party.
  6. Going more green with our own garden and really paying attention to what's in our food and personal care products.  This means a lot to me so I'm glad to have had the time and energy to make some changes this year.
  7. Actually getting to go away for our anniversary (#5) for the first time, and going back to our honeymoon cabin!
  8. Getting to spend a weekend at the summer camp I used to work at.  I'm about as sentimental as they come so being a "camper" ~ albeit staying in the speaker's room and bringing my children ~ brought back a lot of fun memories!
  9. Getting some new things for our house - second hand or not, it's been fun to really feel like it's "ours".
  10. December - this goes along with the whole sentimentality thing, I love Christmas! - having a really good birthday weekend this year and being very surprised by my Christmas present!  In relation to the second link in #9 above, I was debating between the Cricut machine or the Willow Tree Nativity.  I settled on the Cricut from my MIL and then was so surprised to find the Nativity from my parents on Christmas Day!  I think it's exciting because while it's something I really wanted it wasn't actually specifically on my list!  Lists are very useful, I fully admit, but I think I really love to be surprised.  Well done, Mom!  And tomorrow is actually our second Christmas, so here's to a good one!

As I was reading back through my blog I realize there are so many other things I could highlight.  We spent some good time with grandparents before losing two of them.  Good times in the sad.  We've "done" a lot of things this year.  It's so easy to get bogged down in the day to day until you stop and look back and see all the good things, big and little, that have happened too.  These are the things that I remember looking back.  Perhaps that's the true definition of rose colored glasses!

And now since we are spending this week with family, if I don't see you before then, Happy New Year!

This post is linked up to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Christ has come!

My new ornament from Sara via the Ornament Swap at Kate's place.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Full Of Love Christmas Card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

I have to admit I'm a pretty big fan of Shutterfly.  I'm picky when it comes to my scrapbooking and use a professional site, but for all the Christmas cards, pictures to give to friends and relatives, and random pictures I put on my walls, Shutterfly has the best quality and prices I've seen!

And they have the best selection of photo cards to fit any picture.  I tried a couple of other sites with this picture actually and couldn't make it work.  Either the colors clashed or they didn't have a space for a vertical picture that was big enough.  But Shutterfly had not just one, but three options I could have used.  This is my favorite!

For posting this I will receive a $25 gift certificate to Shutterfly, but all opinions are strictly my own!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WW Advent Week 4: The Gift

Merry Christmas!

I don't even remember where I got this ornament, but it's one of my very favorite ones.
And I didn't get an angle shot, but this is actually a 3D ornament with the ring of holly as a shadow box style frame.

Monday, December 20, 2010

9 Months

Nine months old on Friday and the big boy got his first "real" hair cut.  I had trimmed the bangs before, but this time went all around.  There's not a whole lot of red left anymore, it's mostly blond now.

Still as social as ever!  This was the first picture I took... it always seems the first one is the best!  After that he was more interested in the bunny and I had to make funny noises to even get him to look at me.

Anything and everything that can go in the mouth will... although food and textures are still sometimes an issue.  We are starting to wean off the store bought baby food as he tolerates some more texture.  Now I can put all my canned fruit to good use!  Mixing it with baby oatmeal works too although he hates rice cereal.  Anything that's not fairly smooth with a lot of liquid gets spit out though.  And no more new teeth yet.

Noah is one active little boy.  It was hard to even get him to sit still long enough for me to pick up the camera and try to take a picture!

What Mom?  You want me to pose?  But I want to move!

He figured out how to get over the "wall" we'd created, but not safely so I just dismantled it.  Now the trick is to teach him to stay out of the kitchen.  The rooms can be closed and the rest of the living room is fairly safe.  Plants might be moving to a higher shelf yet again though.

Cory was gone for less than 24 hours with my parents and when I saw them pull up I put Noah up to the window to watch them come in.  When he saw Cory he let out the biggest shriek and started patting the window.  He was soooo excited to see him!

Effects of the haircut after having been asleep for a few hours... this is the best case of bedhead I think I've ever seen on either of my boys!

The boys are doing fairly well sharing a room.  Better in the evening than for naps since Cory just wants to talk and play and that keeps Noah up.  If I can get Noah to sleep before Cory goes in and convince Cory not to be noisy all is usually well!

Oh, and since he officially weighs in over 23 pounds fully dressed today I switched out the car seats.  It's a bummer since he does fall asleep in the car and now I will have to wake him up while getting him out.  But he was a bit heavy to carry in the infant seat anyway!  I'm not sure what I'm going to do about grocery shopping since he still wants to chew on everything... perhaps I'll end up packing him in the Ergo if I can't find a cheap shopping cart cover.  The other bad thing is that it now leaves no room in the front seat of my car for a passenger since this seat is bigger and forces the front seat up almost into the dash.  Bummer!  And Cory was a year old before we had to move him... I think perhaps Noah may end up being the "big" brother!

Sorry for the bluish cast to all the bunny pictures.  It was an overcast day and I'm using a friend's camera while mine is in the shop (a really awful saga even though it was just for minor cleaning/repair) and the white balance is not what I'm used to.  Bummer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gifts of Compassion

Since Christmas is really about Jesus birthday we want Cory to grow up knowing the real meaning of the season, not thinking it's about Santa bringing him gifts.

When I was a kid we made a birthday cake for Jesus and sang to him.  We'll be doing that this year, but what about the gifts part?

I've heard lots of ideas recently about how you can give Jesus a gift.  Write something down that you want to work on in your own life and give it to him, etc.  But I think for a 3 year old perhaps something more tangible is needed!

Enter Gifts of Compassion.  Some of you may have heard, seen, or perhaps used the World Vision gift catalog.  This one is very similar, but since we chose to support Compassion this is the one we will use.  Basically you can give a gift to a family that will help them significantly.  Anything from chickens and cows to soccer balls and small business start-up money.  There's something for every budget from $10 on up.

As a family we'll sit down on Christmas or Christmas Eve and decide what fits our budget and what we would like to give.  In this time of year when it seems all about getting or at the very least reciprocal giving, this is a great way to remember the One who actually gave His all for us.

Another idea: Do you have anyone in your life who seems to have it all?  Or is just really hard to buy for?  Perhaps you could buy a Compassion gift in their name.  Find a token that represents that gift or even have your kids draw a picture and present it to them in a card.  I flaked out on that this year, but I'm definitely keeping it in mind for next year!

No, our child is not deprived of presents either, but we chose to have them come from his family rather than Santa.  St. Nicholas visited his shoes on the 6th of December, a German tradition, with a real story behind it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WW Advent Week 3: Hope

I was given this ornament when I toured the Compassion headquarters 10 years ago.  It was made by one of the sponsored kids in either central or south America, I can't remember which now.  Since then it has always had a special place on my tree.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Wonderland

On Saturday we had birthday with my parents. Or mostly we spent the day with them.  Nana had a gingerbread house for Cory to decorate.  I think this is going to be a tradition!

He was oh so tempted to eat the candy, but we told him it was not for eating being who knows how old.  Besides, Nana has all kinds of other treats at her house so it's not like he was missing out!  He did a fabulous job of decorating this year.  Directing me as to where I should put the icing so he could add the candies!

Then we rushed and put our snow clothes on (except I forgot my snow pants... big mistake!) and walked towards downtown to see if we could make it for the Christmas Lighting (those of you who know where I grew up know how crazy this is!).  As we were walking people were coming towards us so I knew we had missed it, but we pressed on to see all the lights anyway.  It was snowing like CRAZY and enough was piled up where people hadn't walked that it was over the tops of my boots.

You can see the snowflakes falling in this slow shutter speed shot.  We did walk around downtown, visit a couple of shops and then on the way home I threw Cory in the snow bank and tried to "bury" him a few times.  He loved it!

It took us much longer to get home with all the playing in the snow, but it was so fun!  My pants were thoroughly soaked as this was definitely snowball snow, none of that light fluffy stuff, this was thick and wet... all 14 inches of it!

Dinner was fresh halibut my brother and dad caught this fall as well as a salmon from one of their buddies.

The lighting of the Advent wreath.  Otherwise known as playing with fire.

Mom brought out the cake and Cory was gung-ho to dig right in with his spoon!  He did help me blow out the candles since it was his 3 candle on it as well!

The boy has birthdays figured out... but he wants to be in the thick of it!  So he opened helped me open my present from my brother... this very pretty raspberry scarf!

You're welcome for the goofy expression...

While we were then just hanging out Noah was fascinated by this little mouse music box on the coffee table.  You wind it up and the whole thing turns.  He was following it with his head and so interested!  He wanted to touch it, but I said "no no" and he pulled his hand back.  I'm so proud of him for listening!

Completely intrigued!  It kept his attention for a good 5 or 10 minutes as long as I kept winding it up!

After all that we put the boys to bed and headed off to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!  But not before we took pictures of the accumulated snow...

What this picture represents is between 2 and 3 hours of snowfall on my brother's truck...the time we were eating dinner.

And this is the accumulated snowfall from the day on my parent's Jetta... is there even a car under there?

As for the movie... it was a good movie in it's own right although we were a bit disappointed that they had to "Hollywood-ize" it by adding a big battle scene and some other things that weren't in the book.  None of it horrible, but if you've read the book you definitely notice.  And they left out the best part about how Eustace really changes as he's a dragon.  But still, I think it's worth seeing, if only for the amazing cinematography/special effects.  At least that part was true to my imagination of the story!

And finally at 11pm we drove back downtown to get a shot of the lights without the hordes of people.

Have you figured out where this is yet? :)

This reminds me of a story... the first time Brian ever came to visit me at home was at Christmas and he drove in at 4am.  He thought I lived in a snow globe because the clouds were low, touching the mountains all around town.  With all the lights and snow I have to admit, it's really pretty!

If you've read this far, kudos!  Sorry for such a long post, but it was a very full and enjoyable day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Goodbye Grandma

Yesterday morning Brian's grandma passed away.  The one we went to visit last month.  This year has really sucked in terms of trying to explain death to a three year old.  Actually I haven't had to deal with it much myself in a long time either.

I'm sitting here and I can't even see straight through the tears.  Good thing I don't have to see to be able to type. 

I only got to know her for a little over 5 years, but she became another Grandma to me.  Every time she wrote to us (and it was often) she would always add that they were praying for us.  There are no words for how much that meant to me.

Christmas 2009

We've known it was coming obviously, but that doesn't make it any easier.  She's been fighting this recurrence of mouth cancer for about a year now (and no, she never smoked) and was more and more in pain.  The one consolation is that we know without any doubt that she is in a better place now with her son and Jesus and so this is only goodbye for a little while.

July 2010

She leaves a pretty big hole though.  We talked to Grandpa last night and I just kept imagining Grandma's voice chiming in.  She loved to talk so taking that away from her was just so awful.  She was always a wonderful hostess and so easy to be around.

July 2010

I'm so so thankful that she had a chance to get to know her great grandsons.  She adored them and I think the feeling was mutual.  Cory will remember bits and pieces, but Noah won't.  They do have the most wonderful strong legacy though.

We won't be going to Oregon any time soon as the memorial is tentatively planned for after Christmas, but perhaps that's just as well.  It will give us all time to remember all the stories we want to share about her.

Grandma, you are so loved and you will be so so missed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Birthdays according to Boys

When my middle "boy" found out it was my birthday he was adamant that we have a cake.  Mama, it's your birthday then we must have a cake.  I said we would make one and he pestered me all morning until we could finally do it!  Unfortunately someone couldn't keep his fingers out of the batter so he didn't really get to help make it.  But he was sure interested in watching it cook!  And then when it came out, "can I have some cake now?"  He's definitely figured out that birthdays = cake!

My oldest "boy" made me this as a birthday card!  It's tissue paper, all one piece!

And then when he came home after I asked him to stop at the store and get some more baby food... he had these!

This is a vase we actually got for our wedding and I could never figure out how to use it, but I wanted to... finally I remembered the giant bag of marbles I bought for our Marble Works awhile back.  There were a ton left and they worked perfectly for helping the roses stand up instead of hang over limp. 

Roses really are just gorgeous!

And then, all my birthday cards came in the mail today!  We're going to have dinner with my parents tomorrow and see the new Narnia movie at their little theater where it will NOT be in 3D.  Can I just tell you how happy that makes me!  I hate 3D, plus, free babysitting!  Otherwise we'd almost decided not to go as it was just so expensive down here.

It's been a pretty good birthday all things considered!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

On my Birthday and Going to Court

No, I did not go to court on my birthday, it's today, I went to court yesterday.  But I have managed up until this point to never see the inside of a court room in all my 30 years.  And yes, I can say that because technically I wasn't 31 when I went!

It was an interesting experience.  Especially the part where I had borrowed my dad's car (because mine is in the shop for the third time in as many weeks) and on his key ring was something called a P38, which although small could be used as a weapon.  Doh!  That was after I had neglected to take the giant metal heart out of my pocket and walked through the metal detector with my purse on.  In my defense the security guard didn't ask me for it, but she must not have seen it slung over my shoulder.  I hope she at least got a laugh out of the clueless girl going to traffic court!

I was just a bit early so I sat in on the end of the earlier session and then halfway through my session until my name was called.  I kind of felt sorry for the judge.  She seemed to be on auto pilot repeating the same words over and over for various minor infractions.  I'm sure they have to say it in a certain way, but wow, boring.  And she must have been in a good mood because she was reducing everyone's fines (yup, I had to pay, because apparently by law the lowest reduction is still $85!) even for things I would think were fairly major... driving without a license?

Anyway, I was a bit nervous, but so interested in listening and watching that I'd finally relaxed.  Then she called my name and I could hardly think straight!  Good thing I'd been rehearsing what I wanted to say for weeks!  Sum total was less than half an hour in the court room.  Here's hoping next time it's for jury duty or something where I'm not the one facing the judge!

So with that behind me... I plan to have an uneventful day today.  Maybe get some Christmas cards done.  Make steak from the organic quarter of a cow we just bought with my parents.  Perhaps go swimming at the Y tonight and hope it's not snowing when I come out again.

Sometimes I wish that birthdays were still a big deal when you get older.  It seems like such a momentous day and yet, it's really just another day.  Perhaps part of it is because when you're a kid you wait and wait and then you get to have a party with friends and presents and all of these things are done for you.  When you are an adult you have to plan it yourself.  Or maybe that's just me, the family coordinator.  And maybe I'm just way too sentimental for my own good!

What do you think about adult birthdays?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WW Advent Week 2: The Promise

The star always reminds me of the promise of what Jesus meant.  I suppose perhaps this should have come first, bit it's okay!
This ornament came from my great aunt on my mother's side.  It's part of our Swedish heritage to have these straw woven ornaments.  Although this particular one came from Denmark.

Friday, December 03, 2010

PSF: Happy Black Friday to Us

Christmas came a little early to our house... about a month to be exact!

Brian and his dad go shopping mostly just for the fun of it on Black Friday.  They don't go super early, I think he left here at a quarter to 7.

One of these things is not like the others

This year we'd hoped to buy a TV in the hopes of eventually getting a Wii... but some friends gave us their old one and so we had one less expense and Brian found a relatively good deal...  Yes, we now own a Wii, a limited edition red one no less.  So give me your game recs because we have no clue!

The boys and I picked up my mother-in-law a bit later and hit Target and a few small stores including Hallmark.  I was showing her the Willow Tree nativity I like and she said she was looking for things that I might like for my birthday (next week!) and Christmas.  Then later I happened to mention that there was a screaming good deal on the Cricut at JoAnn's and I'd really liked working with it at my last scrapbooking retreat.  These two things were the same price so I had to choose... but the nativity wasn't on sale so I went with the Cricut.  It hasn't made it out of the box yet, but I know it will be used heavily on scrapbooking weekends!  And if you have no idea what this is... well, I didn't either until I actually used it last month!

And finally...

Yes, I'm showing you the inside of my garage

The thing I'm actually most excited about!!!  Brian and his dad bought some shelving units at Lowe's and they put them together that afternoon.  I don't have a before picture, but just realize that we had zero shelves and all of that stuff was piled and stacked all over the floor.  I literally had to do the funky walk to get to anything I wanted.

It was snowing when I took these pics, hence the white streaks

I guess the moral of the story is... the way to this girl's heart is through an organized house!  And Merry Christmas to us!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WW Advent Week 1: The Journey

I'm going to try and feature some of my favorite ornaments this month that correspond to Advent.  I don't have a donkey ornament, but this camel makes me think of the travel to Bethlehem.  You can ride camels in Israel so I think it works!