Thursday, December 31, 2009

Decade in Review

It is hard to believe that another decade has passed. It seems like just yesterday we were partying like it was 1999... and now we're looking to party like the world is ending in just a few years with the end of the Mayan calendar --- ooooh --- does every decade have a scary looming disaster movie lurking in the wings? ;-)

A lot has happened in the last 10 years. A lot of change.

Got a tattoo
Had 2 knee surgeries
Bought a brand new car
A 20+ trips to Disneyland
Took the bar exam 3 times
Ate a bucket of fries
Read over 100+ books for fun
Learned to quilt and crochet
Delivered a baby

Met and married Loving Husband.
Lost too many family members.
Gained two sister-in-laws.
Had a son.
Became an aunt.

I lost my pastor of 12+ years
Carrie, Becky, David, Mark, Shelley, and many others got married.
A few divorces.
Several babies were born

I graduated college
I graduated law school

I was a Caf/Catering Manager
I was a barista.
I was a law clerk
I was a legal assistant
I was a paralegal
I was a college professor
I am an attorney
I am a SAHM

I lived in CA
I live in WA
I have lived in 6 homes.
I own my home (or will in 28 more years) ;-)

I have been to 13 different states
I have been to Mexico
I have been to Jamaica
I have been to Rome

World Around Me:
September 11th
Three presidential elections
Hurricane Katrina
Two Wars
Roberts succeeds Rehnquist
The Writers Strike
Four Olympics
First African American President
The economy tanked
Corporate Scoundrels And Scandals
Swine Flu
Miracle on the Hudson

The original decade of the 2000s brought us all sorts of gems; some good... some not so good; some that I enjoyed, others that merely made a mark on society and thus I heard endlessly about them and not necessarily enjoyed.
Coined Phrases:
the hanging chad
Wardrob malfunction

the iPod
Myspace/Facebook /Twitter
Skinny TVs

TV & Movies:
The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter movies
The Departed
Finding Nemo
Moulin Rouge
Josie and the Pussycats
Gilmore Girls
Reality TV (Survivor, American Idol, etc.)
The Bachelor
Arrested Development
Sex and the City

Michael Jackson
Kelly Clarkson
Norah Jones
Susan Boyle
Outcast's Hey Ya'
Shakira's My Hips Don't Lie
U2's Beautiful Day
Of course there are MANY more

Obviously there was much much more than occurred in the last decade that isn't listed - but it has been a good last ten years. We're looking forward to much more to come in the 10s ... 2010s... will we ever decided on what we call this decade? We never did agree this past one. ;-)

Happy New Year!!!

2009 in Review

Best Event: Ace's 1st Birthday

Best Movie: Julie & Julia

Best Over-Played Song: Kokomo (*yes I am aware it was that song last year as well, but it still was the most over played and was the best because it quieted Ace down so well!)

Best Book: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best New-ity of 09: Our downstairs bathroom!

Most Shocking News of 09: Grum's passing :(

MW's Word of the Year: admonish
Jo's Word of the Year:

Events of 2009 in no particular order:1. 5th Wedding Anniversary
2. Becky & David got married!
3. Disneyland Trips!!
4. Loving Husband joining the ANG
5. Month Long Visit to Cali
6. Our Christmas Train Adventure
7. My niece Kaylee's birth
8. I learned to crochet!
9. Ace achieving mobility and language skills
10. Swimming Lessons!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Goal

Every year I set a new goal. 2007 - read 30 books. 2008 - read 10,000 pages. 2009 - Blog 2-3xs a week. So with 2010 around the corner I've been mulling over my options. I like to push myself. See what spawned the goal of '30 books' in 2007 was that I had read 24 in 2006. So I decided to up the ante so to speak. Then the following year, knowing I'd be pregnant and wanting to read a few thicker books that I had passed on in order to obtain the book count of 30 I went with pages. I blew that goal out of the water by finishing my goal of 10,000 pages before Ace was even born (in August) and managed to read over 13,000 pages in 2008. 2009 with a mobile toddler on my hands, I knew that reading that much just would not happen, plus I had stretched myself two years in a row in the literary world - so I wanted to try a new angle. So I decided to become a 'blogger' and with nearly 300 posts for 2009 I think I have successfully completed my goal of becoming a blogger. My son's life is well documented, I've made some blogging friends, and have found some wonderful reads along the way. I feel my life is much richer from accomplishing this goal this past year.

As I've said I've been mulling over my options. I've already become a blogger The A-Priori Mommy is well established. There isn't much more I can push and expand myself within this bubble - don't fret, I plan to remain a blogger for 2010 - it's become some common place and is a habit now so The A-Priori Mommy will live on strong in 2010 and you can all continue to watch Ace grow. Then I got to thinking - in July I started Amature Foodie. I thought by creating a blog I'd find that as my inspiratation to cook more at home. Hmm not so much. Also I've been acquiring some fun kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, cooking magazines; it just seemed that everything has been pointing to cooking. This past year I enjoyed Molly's book A Homemade Life and that sparked some inspiration into me and I won't lie Julie and Julia added a dash of inspiration as well - more Julia than Julie (I have no aspirations or desires to become famous and rich from cooking. I'm of course I won't lie I'd happily accept riches from doing my daily tasks...) I've been surrounded by many things kitchen and with all my new kitchen accessories for Christmas it was ultimately decided...

I have come to the conclusion that in 2010 I am going to cook 150 different recipes and blog about them on Amature Foodie. It combines both the cooking and blogging, with the added bonus of accountablity and well... a tracking system. I am entering this endeavour well armed. I have several magazines that will be entering my kitchen on a monthly basis: Everyday Food, Food & Wine, and Bon Appetit and I have many many cookbooks to choose from. Here's to cooking in 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Train ride home

Our ride home was not nearly as glamorous, but still just as exciting and adventurous. The trip home was broken up in two parts - we started in business class for the first leg of the trip - we had a layover in Portland and we switched trains -and downgraded all the way to steerage coach.

The difference in space was vast. In fact the amount of space we had on the first leg of the trip was better than we could have asked for. We had an entire business class car to ourselves (plus one other couple that didn't mind our roaming toddler!) Yes that leg of the trip Ace was able to literally run up and down between the aisle, push all the buttons, climb in all the chairs ... on dad ... and occasionally look out the window. Guess that nuance lost it's luster after the first 7 hours and he had seen everything there was to see. ;-) He was quite content and even settled down for his first nap right on schedule and for over an hour.

We boarded our second train in Portland and spent several hours in our seats of a sold out train. It wasn't unbearable, but Ace was teething so he was far more volatile than he typically is. Less able to reason with and not understanding why he couldn't run up and down this aisle as he had just been doing. But overall he was great! He sadly fell asleep 10 minutes before we pulled into the station so the relief of unconsciousness for us was minimal and then poor Loving Husband had to schlep all the luggage while I attempted to keep him asleep. It didn't work for very long - but that's ok - we were home!

We had an excellent time on the train - even if our accommodations weren't nearly as fancy as on the way to Oregon. Would we do it again? Sleeper Car: Yes. Business Class: Yes. Coach: Not when the Business Class upgrade is only $10*. ;-)

* We tried to obtain Business Class for the final leg of our trip but they were all sold out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Train Scenery

Our trip was truly beautiful! There were so many beautiful sights along the way and I enjoyed capturing them all! Enjoy them!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Christmas

It was a wonderful Christmas, yet again! Ace's second Christmas was excellent and all of Loving Husband's family was together with us in Oregon. It was great to have everyone together. On Christmas eve we ventured with Ace's Aunt and Uncle to a local Christmas Market which was interesting and a very different world from the one we know. ;-) But it was a lot of fun!

We had a nice dinner with Aunt and Uncle's adopted grandparents - Grandpa Gordon read a poem that he wrote and it was wonderful. Then we sat around while Uncle sang some Christmas songs on his guitar and Ace was fascinated. After the adopted family left we all opened presents together and then headed back to the house to get Ace down to sleep. Christmas was actually only 2 hours away, he needed to sleep.

Loving Husband headed with his sister and her hubby to a Midnight Church service and I stayed home scouring the internet in vain to find How The Grinch Stole Christmas - it is a tradition in my home to watch (or read it) before bed on Christmas Eve. I've done it every year for... well as long as I can remember. I had all intentions of bringing the dvd with us - but I totally forgot it - and I couldn't find it anywhere. I ended up watching Family Man "with" Becky and David (they were watching it and I was chatting with Dave on Facebook.) Loving Husband came home and saved the day and found the movie (the cartoon of course!) for me and together we watched it while our boy slumbered between us.

We awoke on Christmas morning and enjoyed a lazy morning just the three of us with Ace running around and the two of us sending texts, facebook messages and making calls wishing people a Merry Christmas.

We got Ace down for an hour nap, after which we headed onto Aunt and Uncle's where Pop Pop and Gran awaited with them to see their Grandboyo. Grandma Carol joined us shortly afterward when she got off of work. We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and watching Ace open his stocking.

We mostly enjoyed hanging out at the house being merry - throughout the day people stopped by and we socialized. Ace entertained himself with all of his new toys, the lights on the tree (which was just lights because they had kicked their real tree out of the house for me since I'm allergic! So sweet!!!)

Later in the afternoon after we got Ace down for another nap - we all enjoyed a game of Kings Cup! Yep everyone joined in on a festive merry moment of consuming tasty cheer! Pop Pop won! If you're wondering why I'm pinching the glass it's because I was placing back the leprechaun back on after Pop Pop finished ;-)

We had a wonderful time and then we enjoyed a yummy yummy dinner made my Grandma Carol. It was a wonderful evening - after dinner we hung out for a while and then we all migrated to Carol's place to put Ace down for the night and then we all enjoyed watching Christmas Vacation. Four members of the family had never seen it - terrible. We remedied that.
It was a wonderful Christmas!

Only 363 more days until we get to do it all again!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Train to Oregon

Our family ventured down to Oregon for Christmas this year. Having an energetic toddler in the car for seven hours sounded like the worst plan EVER! So we decided to try a different adventure. When we went to buy our tickets and all the 'regular' seats were sold out - but the rooms weren't. Rooms? That sounded exciting! We looked into it a bit further - and while quite the splurge we said Merry Christmas to each other and said why not! We are so glad we did!

We arrived at the train station bright and early and Ace still in his pjs - and boarded first - we were in the Sleeper Cars after all, hehe. We were led to our room and greeted with two bottles of champagne and lots of pillows in our room. Wonderful! Ace went straight to the window with his 'breakfast' a wholesome healthy well balanced meal Nacho Doritos, in hand. He was so excited and curious with the train. We looked out the window for a while and eventually pulled away from the station.

Ace absolutely LOVED to look out the window. As usual he enjoyed seeing the birds fly around and all the other animals that were around. He was so interested and loved going through the tunnels. He'd say 'on' wanting the lights back on and then smile when we'd come out of the tunnel as if he had done it - turned the lights back on!

Ace and his dad went exploring and I hung back in our room to make reservations in the Parlor (exclusive for only Sleeper Car passengers only) for lunch. After we made reservations we enjoyed the view from our room for a while - and a bit before 11am Loving Husband headed to the Parlor car to get us the speciality martini - it was a lemon drop with a fancy name for $6, but before 11am - it was pretty tasty!

We enjoyed lunch - although it was pretty sub par - we'd learn later that we had been duped into a fancy crappy lunch with the glitz and glam factor of a shiny penny. Siigh. The 'commoners' dining car was far superior in selection and flavor. Ah well - live and learn. The next time that we take a train and get a room - we'll know better.

After lunch we got Ace down for a nap and we then broke open the champagne and toasted to Christmas traveling in style. We passed some beautiful scenery as we drove along - look for another post this week with more pictures! After Ace woke up we went and explored the train some more. There was a theater (a 50" flat panel) and there was a section that had arcade games in it. It was a lot of fun to explore the double decker train. We walked all the way to the caboose.

We arrived in Oregon at 5:30pm after an exciting adventure! Come back in the next few days to see pictures of the beautiful scenery we saw and about our adventures back home on the train!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

For unto you is born this day in the city of
David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

May you today while surrounded by friends and family
reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.
May God bless each of you.
Love, The A-Priori Mommy and Family

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sixteen Months Old

It is so hard to believe that this is Ace's second Christmas eve. It is hard to believe that he is 16 months old on this second Christmas eve. It just doesn't seem possible. However, it very much is true. My boy is 16 months old today!

New firsts this month: first time making a gingerbread house, coloring, a trip on a train (more on that to come!)

New words: APPLE! Oh my oh my - he has been saying apple over and over again ever since he learned it this past month. He also says: blue, red, ah-doon (all done), dog, and several others. He also this month parroted a bad word his mom a total stranger said. Luckily it wasn't a repetitive parrot. It was a one time deal - but he certainly said it in the privacy of our home loud and crystal clear in a store while mom was talking to his Auntie Becky on the phone and said it. Oops!
He is still running around everywhere, which led to a few bonks, but he of course is all boy and never let those things stop him. Ace is over 32" tall and weighs right around 20lbs. And officially has 9 teeth, yes his first molar popped through earlier this week and is peeking through the surface!
He has done wonderfully with the Christmas tree and while he enjoys taking the ornaments off the tree he doesn't yank the lights or pull the whole thing down on top of himself. He has already become a pro at opening presents as he his mommy just can't wait to see him open presents. So he's opened several already and has enjoyed them greatly. He even enjoyed his first 'camping' trip in the playroom in the tent that his Great Aunt and Uncle gave to him. He has already had a great time with that and he hasn't even had it a week!
He loves to read and we read his Storybook Bible nearly every day. He totes it to us in the mornings and in the evenings before bed. He still often fails to sit through a whole book, but still loves to read just the same. He can say one and two and recognizes the concept of single and at least 2 in the multiples. He can't yet hand us 3 things, but he can hand us 2 so he's well on his way in that department!

Every day is a new adventure and every day both of his parents see more and more understanding in his eyes. We love to fill his head with knowledge and things that people look at us and say 'he can't understand that, he's too little' and while we might agree on some things, he really does understand more than the average bear ;-) and we continue to talk to him like he's an adult, yet have the patience with him in the fact that he's a toddler. :)

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Family Fun!

Loving Husband has been on vacation this week and we have enjoyed some family fun in the playroom. Enjoy our video! :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cranberry-Chip Cookies

More Christmas cookies! These were a random recipe I pulled out of one of my holiday craft books and I'm so glad that I did! They are dangerously delicious! I've already made two batches of these and would not be surprised if I made them again.

1 1/8c of flour
1/2 c quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c white chocolate chips (I used the swirl ones)
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c butter
1 egg
1 t of vanilla

Mix all the dry ingredients together and use a fork to mash up the brown sugar clumps. Then add butter, eggs, and vanilla.
A rounded tablespoon for about 12-14 minutes (2 doz)
A rounded teaspoon for 8-10minutes (3 doz)
Bake at 350 degrees

I used vegan butter since I made them for a lactose intolerant friend, that same friend made them with regular butter and said that they didn't turn out as well - so it might make a difference. Haven't tried it with the regular butter yet. But what an excellent excuse to make another batch! Merry Christmas!!!

Holiday Memories

20 years ago my uncle gave me this little guy on top of a package. A little mouse that had a musical tummy which still runs! (albeit with a lot less gusto than previous years.) Yes this little guy has been a part of my Christmas decor for the last two decades! It's the little things like this that truly make the magic of Christmas come alive.

My nativity is far newer to my home than that little guy is. In 2006 my grandmother purchased it for me. She said she didn't want to just give me cash or junk but something that would be meaningful and a way to remember her after she was gone. I remember thinking then - oh grandma you're not going anywhere - and yet what a lovely idea! I am so glad that I allowed her to purchase my nativity set. Now I was able to pick it out, so it fits my home, taste and decor - but it is so much more special to me because Grum knew even then that she wouldn't be around forever. I too knew she wouldn't out live me - but I wouldn't mind if she had. This year there are a couple extra angels in my nativity scene. These are ones that were my Grum's. They live in my home year round, but during the Christmas season they live with the nativity that my Grum so thoughtfully wanted me to have.

Everyone has ornaments on their tree that hold special meaning for them. Their first ornament from when they were a baby, special years or collections that bring up fond memories. My favorite ornaments by far are the ones that I have honoring our family members that have passed on. (I'm giving away the surprise of a Christmas gift to family members here) but I just couldn't not put all three of them up together. The one on the left is for my father which says "Forever in Our Hearts" , the next is for my grandfather who passed in 2005 and it says "Merry Christmas from Heaven: I love you all dearly, now don't shed a tear, I'm spending my Christmas with Jesus this year", this year I had made on an angel ornament (because they were Grum's favorite) "Our Loving Angel" - they are very dear to my heart and while I know they are no longer with us, these ornaments are a gentle reminder of them and all the wonderful Christmas memories we have together.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Opening More!

Ace is truly blessed to have such wonderful friends and family around him that love him. He loves all his adoring fans and it is so kind of those to give him presents at Christmas. This year he especially is enjoying the process of opening. He wants to open more! He also enjoys playing with the camera that is documenting all this present opening. :) So while he might not always say it - he truly is thankful for all the family and friends that show him support, love and encouragement as he grows into a little man. His mom and dad are pretty thankful too!

From Uncle Derek & Aunt Jennifer

From Dana & Blake, Brianne, Jackie & Dave, and Danielle

From Great Aunt & Great Uncle
Thank you, everyone for all of Ace's wonderful gifts. He truly has already enjoyed them all and will for many hours of play to come. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Christmas Home Tour

Remember when I gave you a tour of my home this fall? Well, join me again on another tour during this wonderful season of Christmas.

I plan to do an additional post on a few specific items that are special to me, but this is a collection of some of the decor around our home. My Starbucks Bears (which I am so very sad that they are nekkid and plain this year) to our newest plush addition Mickey the Elf. Ace's nativity is well played with this year, in fact Mary is currently on the lam. Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care, including the kitties. My Mary's Angel collection is in the kitchen and all my glass ornaments are in baskets and bowls in the hopes that my son will avoid breaking the bulbs. :) Our tree this year is 100% not breakable. No glass, ceramic, porcelain are on that tree. They have been left off in the chance that the whole thing comes tumbling down with my toddler's curiosity. However, so far so good!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Ace has colored for the first time. Yes, the other morning after breakfast after his persistent interest in our pens and writing utensils I decided to break out the crayons and let him go to town. It was great to see him take in the box of crayons in awe. What an exciting adventure with such a rainbow. He seemed to enjoy the process of taking the crayons out rather than coloring specifically. Although he truly is my child because the first two he took out were red and green - yay Christmas!
Not wanting to do it for him I simply started to color my own picture, hoping that he would emulate or assist in coloring my picture. Every now and again I would take whatever crayon was in his hand and make contact with his paper and show him how to color. He did a few strokes off and on on his own and added a few speckles to my drawing.

We spent probably 30 minutes sitting on the kitchen floor coloring and taking crayons out. He also enjoyed putting the crayons away too - which is good, since a few of them were out. It was a nice rainy day inside. That was a good mommy-son morning.