Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hosting, Holidays, Traditions and Memories

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! This year, I've been being purposeful about slowing down and really enjoying the season. Seems there is always something to do and I'm a somewhat high-energy person and actually find it difficult to chill out. My husband is very good at telling me, "You know you don't have to do that right now. Why don't you sit down for a while?" But this year I've actually listened to him.  :)
With our new house, it's officially become the host-house for events and holidays and I LOVE it. It comes with a level of responsibility and extra thoughtfulness about things but I really believe God made my me and my husband with a desire to make a place for people. We haven't even been in this house 9 months and we've already hosted numerous birthday parties, a baby shower, a bridal shower, numerous dinner parties, a wine and s'mores party (I know, sounds fun right?), Thanksgiving and tomorrow we will host Christmas.

Now that our kids are adult-ing, I'm reflecting on all of the little Christmas traditions we've had.
  • Putting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving wearing Santa Hats
  • Watching Christmas movies in excess between Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Board games get dusted off and played more often throughout the month
  • Christmas cookie decorating
  • Good-natured arguments over which Christmas music should be played and how often
  • Opening one gift on Christmas eve
  • Christmas Eve church services
  • Christmas morning, whoever passes out the gifts has to where a Santa hat
  • Opening Stockings first
  • Big big big Christmas morning breakfast AFTER the gift opening
  • Playing board games on Christmas day after the large dinner
  • etc. etc.

The family Christmas Cookie decorating party is always fun. I don't know whether I do it for the kids or the kids do it for me. Doesn't matter. We do it. :)
With kids in college, jobs, boyfriends, girlfriends and general life stuff,  it's getting harder and harder to find a time that works for everyone but every year, we pull it off; Christmas music, cookies and a large mess. 
There is SO much laughing, mild competition and smack talk; whose cookies look better, whose were most creative, whose were the worst...simply awesome times.
This year we did it again and we also got to have a couple of other young adults join in who have never decorated a Christmas cookie in their whole life! The time together is not about getting the best-looking-Pinterest-worthy cookie. It's the time together. Period.

Here's a pic of the finished products from this year's venture:

Definitely NOT going to find these in Better Homes and Gardens

Our house got to be that place where a memory was made. A small one, but a memory.

You may think, "what's the big deal with decorating cookies?"  It's not a big deal but traditions are.  It's an anchor to your childhood and family and memories.  It gives one a sense of security and connection. I remember decorating Christmas cookies and other Christmas baking with my mom.  My hope is that one day in the future, my kids will decorate Christmas cookies with THEIR kids and remember fondly these times. 

Revive and hold on to any traditions your family has. I'd love to hear about yours! Merry Christmas everyone. Sending love to all my family and friends. xoxox

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Company's Coming Madness

Why is it that we feel we need to clean our house to perfection for company? Aren't the people we're having over our friends and family who KNOW we live in our house?

For Thanksgiving, we had 43 people over. Yes, you read that right. And 98% of them were immediate family.
Here's a photo of a most of them right before we ate:
The ages ranged from 3 months to 93 years old. There were about a dozen kids playing in the yards running in and out, traipsing mud and dirt throughout the entire house and can I tell you, it made my heart SO happy that they were having fun.

Needless to say, the sweeping and mopping I did PRIOR to them arriving was completely unnecessary! Why did I worry that my house looked just so?
It was all clean and lasted "clean" all of about 6 minutes.
So when you feel yourself getting wound up in the holiday cleaning preparations, watch this awesomely funny parody of all of that:
Instead, pour a glass of wine and watch a Christmas movie instead.
Peace to you all.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Teens to Adult-ing!

It's been a VERY long time since I've written a post. I realized that posting about my teens, while they were teens, ~could~ be embarrassing and uncovering for them. I care about those things and so I set aside this blog for a time.

I officially have three kids in college now. One is a senior, one is a junior and my youngest completed high school early and will start community college in the Spring. What the what!?!? Crazy. 

I remember looking at my first born son when he was a baby scooting around on the floor and saying to my husband, "Can you picture him with hairy man legs and driving?"  No way could we picture it.

I remember watching my daughters play Barbies and having tea parties and asking, "Can you picture them with makeup on and driving to work?" No way.

Well, here's what they look like now (2 of them in their 20's and one teen) and they are doing all of those things, adult-ing and such.
The oldest doesn't live with us and comes home from college to visit on a regular basis. His college is a 1 hour plane ride or a 6 hour car drive away.  Our middle daughter is an adult as well and lives at home. With the two adult kids, the dynamic is changing with us and it's hard. Not because it's hard for them but because it's hard for us. We have a "plethora" of wisdom and advice and thoughts, and encouragement, and correction and love and ....etc, etc. and they listen but they then do precisely as they see fit.  :)  I know that part of adult-ing is making decisions and making mistakes, getting into uncomfortable situations and learning from all of them. Sigh...can I just say it's hard to watch your kids do that?
That's all for now.  I haven't figured out the "keep 'em in a bubble forever" thing yet. I'm starting to think it doesn't exist.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thrift Store Make Over - Did it in a morning.....

Everyone has a project in their house that is waiting to be completed, or in my case, started. Admit it!
I bought this chair at the G.W. (code for Goodwill) for $6.99! Solid wood, not a creak or a wiggle anywhere:
You can see that it just needed a little TLC in the paint department. I had a perfect empty corner in my living room that was calling out to it. So I trekked over to Home depot, bought me some sandpaper, spray paint (Heirloom white is my go-to color), latex gloves (gotta protect the manicure, right?) and a respirator mask (gotta be able to breathe.)

Here I am, lookin' amaze-balls, right?!

 10 minutes later, here it is after the first coat:
Here it is IN my living room, slightly distressed with sandpaper and rubbed down with furniture wax. I need to find the perfect throw pillow for it. This one is just one off my couch. I'm gonna let it ride for some time and then ~may~ add some pop of color to it. What do you think?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Say Cheese!!!

We had a small photo shoot yesterday. My daughter was visiting from Oregon. (Drove her to the airport this morning to say goodbye all over again) It'd been 7 years since the last one and I felt like I needed to update the portrait hanging in our hallway.
The final one hasn't been selected yet but I thought I'd share some of the ones that AREN'T going to be framed BUT that I think are totally awesome. We laughed a LOT! The last two pics are an attempt at recreating one of the ones in the hallway that my kids think is worthy of posting on :)
My fave is the first one!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall Feelings

I know, soooooo many people say Autumn is their favorite season but I can't help it, I LOVE it! I appreciated this past summer. Our family went on a vacation to Disneyland. It was bittersweet because I have a feeling that it'll probably be the last "Family" vacation we'll go on.
My oldest daughter moved out of state at the end of this summer and we miss her. She'll only be around for the occasional holiday, and if we're lucky, an impromptu visit here and there.

This is one of the reasons why fall is my favorite season...Pumpkin Patch-ing!
Tho my daughter wasn't there, we still had a good time. 
That day, it was in the 80's, not very fall-like but it's starting to cool down.
I also realize that this past Pumpkin Patching trip is the last one with my son. He'll be moving away this summer as well and it'll just be the 3 of us. I don't think about that too much. It makes me sad but as parents, it's what we do! We raise our children to be adults. They are adult children MUCH longer than they are children-children and I want to enjoy EVERY moment of it all.

And here is another reason I love can decorate my house and light my candles:

Friday, June 6, 2014

Disneyland!! "The Mouse Trap for Humans"- Walt Disney

Yep, we're going. We haven't been in 7 years! The last time we went my oldest was just barely a teen. My youngest was only 7 and actually wanted to stay at the hotel and swim instead of going in to the park. I remember telling her, "You're going and you're going to have fun! Now get in the shuttle!!" Hilarious.  :)

I'm still in sticker shock with the cost of the 3 day park hopper tickets and I got a discount! $240 per person JUST for the tickets to the park....times 6 people!? Ack.

OK, no more complaining about the cost, I knew what we were getting into.

In order to save money, I've enlisted the agreement of the family of teens and young adults. We'll be doing the following:
  1. Eating breakfasts in the hotel room. It will consist of muffins, fruit and coffee; our own pre-purchased, Costco-run, pack-in-the-car and bring with us food.
  2. Driving. The cost to fly 6 people to L.A. and then rent a car was WAY more than just driving down there. It'll be about a 6 hour drive but I look at it as some good arguing over what movie to play or who's iPod gets connected to the Aux port bonding time.
  3. Bringing our own bottled water to the park everyday. I mean, they cost $5 a bottle if you buy them in the park....are you kidding me? I can get a 35 pack at Costco for that price, sheesh!
  4. Telling the kids that we're not buying souvenirs there. You know you've done it; purchased that crazy Goofey hat for $60 and the ONLY place you'll wear it as AT Disneyland and maybe that Crazy Hat day event at church or school? Yeah, we're not gonna do that. They last time we went in 2007, I bought everyone a hat. Not a crazy hat, just a $130. Nope. Not this time. :) This also gives the kids time to save their money so THEY can buy stuff they want. Here is a picture of us back then WITH said hats.  Awwww, the kids were so little? And I was a little thinner too but we won't go there.

I'm a planner by nature. I'm organized and ~tend~towards the crazy in this area. I'm OK with that. I'm aware. I'm not in denial. SO, let me tell you about the packing list I started a couple of weeks ago... one month before our trip.
It's divided into 4 quadrents: Outfits - I'll probably take pictures of each outfit (I've done it before, it's awesome), What to Bring INTO the Park, Misc. Packing Items (not incl. the outfits), and Groceries to Buy.
I think this is a completely reasonable way to categorize a packing list but apparently, it's a little cray-cray.
Another glimpse into my mild OCD, I've downloaded the Disneyland Wait Times app AND the Disneyland App which is a mobile friendly version of EVERYTHING you'll ever need to know about the park.
I'm very excited and LOVE family vacations. I'll let you know how it all went.
Are any of you out there "Planners?"
OR, have any of you recently returned from Disneyland? Share your tips! I'd love to hear them.