Monday, January 31, 2011

holiday decorations

Just a few of the things that filled my house with some extra cheer for a month.
I love my fireplace!... even if we only have a few months we can actually use it.  Note Gus' unfinished stocking that still looks just like that.  Late on Christmas Eve I was frantically trying to finish it and finally just gave up and sewed it closed so I could fill it with stuff.  I realize Gus could have cared less, but it was a personal goal I had set for myself and Jimmy wanted Santa to be able to leave things for Gus, too (which was sweet).  I was happy with how it looks so far, but it needs some finishing touches.  Now it is sitting by my sewing machine and I am not allowed to start anything new until it is done.  Hopefully, by next Christmas.
This Christmas tree was my grandma's, but she used to keep it up year round.  Poor little Mrs. Claus used to be on top kissing Santa but she lost her head.  I had to re-glue Santa facing forward so he wouldn't look so pathetic.
And I LOVE Little Golden Books, but these ones are extra special and only come out at Christmas.
Jimmy loved reading them at night by the fire while we drank hot cocoa.  He was said that tradition had to end.  (Note to self: Hot cocoa before bed is a bad tradition to start in the first place.)
My favorite part of our Christmas evenings was listening to our old records on the record player.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

christmas cookies

Our first cookie ventures of this past Christmas was making some sugar cookies for Jimmy and some buddies to cut out and decorate. I was excited to break out all our old cookie cutters that I haven't used since I was a little girl.  Jimmy loved the rolling and cutting, but he pretty much left the frosting up to me.  
His favorite part was adding the sprinkles.
They weren't the tastiest, but Jimmy loved them.  I prefered looking at them to eating them, so most of them sat out until they were hard and stale.
The next cookie venture was my family's traditional shortbread.  I can't share the recipe because it is a family secret (our only good one I suppose), but I will share some pictures of the process.
The best part is when you get to stick your hands in all the butter and mix it all together.
Then you have to bake them for just the right amount of time so we pretty much just watch them and wait.
Top them off with powedered sugar.
And of course, the best part is eating them. 
And this picture just cracked me up.
Then I put them out where they were always within my reach.
I ate more than my fair share.  I made plates of them for my neighbors in an attempt to meet more of them, but I ended up being kind of happy when a lot of them weren't home and there were more left for me.  They are the best cookies ever after all.  It is a good thing we only make them once a year.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Our friends the Werners had a traditional Posada at their house in December. I was familiar with the tradition, but I looked up some of the history. Apparently, it is normally a nine day celebration celebrated from Dec. 16th to 24th.  Its origins are in Spain, but it mostly celebrated in Mexico and Guatemala.  The basic idea is to recreate the Nativity story.  As the guest we all held candles and began with a prayer.  Some of the children dressed as Mary, Joseph, and Angels led the group through the neighborhood.  Then we walked to the designated houses seeking shelter.  We would sing a carol all together and then the "innkeepers" would refuse shelter and we would keep walking.  At the last house (the Werners) we were all invited in and the celebration began.
They had a great party in their backyard with lots of food and fire and crafts for the kids.
A star-shaped pinata filled with treats is a Posada tradition for the children.
And I included these babies because they are cute: 
Gus, Kolbe, and Avery.
Thanks Werners for a wonderful time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

family photo shoots

No professional pictures here.  My friend Angela and I just decided to take pictures of each others families.  Since we both have new additions to the family, we needed an updated photo.  Of course, the babies were mostly asleep and the other ones mostly didn't want to smile or sit still, but we got some decent ones
... and some goofy ones.
 I just liked this one a lot because Angela is making Gus smile.
(and John looks like he some interesting on Kolbe's head)
 Here we all are.  Thank you camera timer.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


So when you live in Phoenix the leaves actually start falling around the first week of December (or at least ours did).  Jimmy thought it was a lot of fun to play in them.
 (And we got a new roof recently.  Thank you Hail Storm!)
 Lucia got in on the fun, too.
 ... and even little Kolbe rolled around in them a bit.
 Then John got motivated to rack them all up for us.
And throw them on the kids.
 Jimmy thought it was fun at first...
But once they got down his neck and into his shirt, he ran away screaming.

Monday, January 10, 2011


A little bit behind the times these days, but don't expect me to get caught up for at least another month.  I am starting a new job next week teaching Intro to Tech Theatre at a nearby community college so that will be keeping me busy.  And seeing as I feel the need to chronicle every event in our lives, this past December is going to take me awhile.  It was a busy and fun month, but there is something nice about getting back to a little normalcy.  Here is what I would have said back at the beginning of Advent...

Advent is such a wonderful time a preparation and anticipation.  Sure there is a ton of fun secular Christmas stuff to do, but I feel extra spiritual this time of year.  There is something about putting up Nativity scenes all over my house that reminds me of how blessed I am.  I guess I just get so used to the religious things I have up year round.  I love having them always present, but there is something nice about things that you just bring out once a year.  I love Nativities so much.  I have so many and I would still be excited to get more.  
Here is Jimmy being excited to blow out the candle on the advent wreath.  This picture was probably taken at least two weeks into Advent.  The wreath was empty until then because I needed to find candles so then we just burned them down accordingly so we would look like we had been doing it all along.  I have stalked up for next year though so I will be prepared next time.   I don't no why I feel the need to share these things, but I do-- Something about embracing the imperfections in life.
I am trying to teach him "the true meaning of Christmas" but when you are three it is hard to not think mostly about Santa and presents.  I try to emphasize that the reason we get presents is because it is Jesus' birthday and we are celebrating that.   Sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough to instill Christianity into him other than take him to Church... which he usually complains about.  We pray together and I try to read him stories, but who knows how much he really gets.  I know he is only three so I shouldn't expect a lot, but he does at least ask a lot of questions and I answer them as best as we can.  I love that during Advent there are reasons that make our faith so fun and exciting for him.  We have a few Nativity scenes that Jimmy loves to play with and he loves reading the Nativity story.  We only have one "removable" baby Jesus that comes out of the manger so we found a special hiding place for that one until Christmas Eve.  I love this time of year.

Friday, January 7, 2011

first bath

Here is a picture of Gus' first bath.  
He didn't even cry at all which was shocking based on how long it took Jimmy to enjoy a good bath.  
Tomorrow, Gus is going to get bathed in the holy spirit.  So in real time this post is almost relevant.  
I will catch up one of these days.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

thanksgiving weekend '10

This Thanksgiving was the first one in our house.  I was excited to host this wonderful day in my own home.  Aunts Erin, Angela, and Natalie all came in from out of town and we were also joined by Uncle Danny, my Dad (aka Baabee) and my Dad's brother Tom and his son Tommy Boy.  Everyone chipped in to make the food and it was all ever so delicious. And one of the best parts of having the meal at your own house is that you get to keep the leftovers.
We recreated THIS picture we took at Jimmy's first Thanksgiving.
Jimmy was asleep when we did his.  Gus on the other hand was not so happy about it.  
This is the only picture were you can't tell he was screaming.  
We like to torture our children for the sake of a funny picture.  What can I say?
 For the next month, Jimmy refered to Aunt Nat as the "one who wore overalls."
Aren't they cute?
 My siblings and I all agree that Gus looks a lot like Uncle Tom because of his big round face.
Does Gus look like an old man or does Uncle Tom look like a baby?  
The world may never know.
Gus got in on some Apples to Apples.
 And then when we all finally had room for pie we sat out by the fire to eat it.
Jimmy got lots of attention from his Aunts and they learned all about "Dinosaur Ball."
Jimmy inherited all of Zach's old Legos this weekend.  Aunt Nat brought a huge old box of them and the Burch kids came over to go crazy building stuff.  I think Jimmy is not quite ready for them yet, but he does enjoy playing with things other people make for him.  They don't stay intact long and I find lots of little pieces scattered about the house, but such will be most of my life with boys.  I thought we could have given them to him a little more gradually so that he would appreciate them more, but oh well--too late now.  We did manage to save Zach's old caste as a Christmas present and the kids all did have a ton of fun.  Our family room looked like this or worse all day.
 Zach and Jack were both thrilled to play one of their favorite games: Settlers of Catan.
 Nap time... or really more like crash time.
We had a visit from the Tiptons who were in town from Houston:
 Uncle John, Aunt Karen, and cousins Philip and Cassie.
Then we celebrated Aunt Erin's Birthday!
 My goofy sisters-in-law.  I swear it was their first glass of wine.  They are just naturally like that.
 And, of course, Mimi came and got a little Gus time.
I thank God for my wonderful family.