Monday, November 30, 2009

Goodbye November!

Wow what a month it has been! I feel that my finale post for my month long adventure posting for NaBloPoMo should be something grand, something exciting, something note-worthy... I've got nothing really. There's many exciting adventures awaiting us in December and I am so excited that it IS December (tomorrow) it's when my husband finally stops nagging me that Christmas music is only ok in December. It's when it's ok that our Christmas decoration are up because it's December. Oh December, how I love thee.

So in honor of December and in honor of the Christmas excitement that is upon us, why not a festive picture of my husband and son. :) It brings a big smile to my face.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Conversion

Yes, fall is over. At least in this house. Loving Husband raked the remainder of the leaves up yesterday and all the fall decorations have been packed away. Pumpkins have been tossed in the yard waste. Christmas and winter is upon us and even the blog has had a nice little winter makeover. This snowy branches picture is taken in front of our house last December. While I am excited for the first snow, I am hoping it's a nice dusting... last year's 20"+ right before Christmas was not pleasant and not ok. But before we embark on a winter wonderland - let's enjoy the final fall photos.









Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful time at my in-laws house! Yep yep yep we did! Ace got to play with cousins he rarely sees and played well with others! We feasted on turkey and all the traditional trimmings. Sipped on wine and others had some mixed drinks. Football was watched on the newly mounted television over the fireplace. It was a delightful time had by one and all.

Thanksgiving 2009

Our most excellent hosts!

Mom and her boy

All the grandkids together!

Everyone digging in! Note the most excellent tv!!

Great minds think alike!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday 2009

Yes, I was up and at it again this year! It's one of my favorite days of the year. The kick off of the official Christmas season. Yes on 90 minutes asleep I departed from my home at 3:00am blaring 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year' and drove myself to the mall. I arrived to a relatively empty parking lot since only The Disney Store and Sears were open at 3am - all other stores opened at 5am or later. I went in and scoped out the line (not too shabby by 3:15 when I arrived) and headed over to Starbucks to get my Black Friday pick-me-up and my Bliss bar for breakfast! Yum! With coffee and bar in hand I headed back to the Disney Store where I met up with Vanessa and Rebecca, my partners in shopping.


I acquired some great deals there $30 items I walked out the store for $12. T-shirts that are normally $10 I left paying $3.50. Same with small stuffed animals. Great great deals! I was quite happy - and I was able to get the discounts for everything I had bought on Wednesday as well. Needless to say - Ace is well stocked for Christmas in all things CARS related.

We then headed toward JCPenney and were greeted with a Mickey snow globe for our valiant efforts at arriving so early. It's cute and Ace loves it. Ever since Disneyland he's really become attached to Mickey - which is why when we were at the Disney store on Wednesday Elf Mickey came to live with us (see picture below). Yes it's true - I'm a sucker and well I love Christmas stuffed animals I have a TON. I can hear my husband sigh and grumble. ;-) Whew side track... anyway!! We head into JCP - I didn't find anything for me there, nothing that great of a deal that I needed... afterwards we stopped in a small shop called Romy they are only located in a few states - so sorry if you don't have one because I got long sleeve shirts for $1.90 (90% off) and got a short sleeve chunky sweater (not sure that's a tech term) for $15 (50% off) and thus left with some Christmas 'cheer' for me as well.

We spent roughly 3 hours in the mall - it went by pretty quickly it felt like and then we headed in our two vehicles (V and R came together, and I separately) to the Target/Kohls. Parking wasn't too much of a bear - we went into Target - it was a NIGHTMARE. Now I"m alll for Black Friday - and I love myself some $5 dvds - but when the line literally is laced around the entire store it was a NO GO. We left. Rebecca headed to Kohls and Vanessa and I took a jaunt over to ToysRus not too far away. Got what V needed there and I abstained again (I was so good, I should get a medal!) and then R was still in line at Kohls, so V and I went and grabbed breakfast #2 at McDonalds - we had perfect timing and met Rebecca back at Kohls right as she was exiting.

I headed out in my own car and we caravaned to Fred Meyer for half price socks, half priced Christmas lights, and breakfast #3 (every year they serve mini donuts and juice and coffee to guest.) I also found Ace 60% off Christmas jammies for the big day (they're super adorable, just you wait!) and 24 pieces of Rubbermaid tupperware for $10. Excellent! Overall not too shabby at all.

I came home with all my loot and gave my son a big hug. He missed me. It's always so great to come home to one of his sweet hugs. My husband begrudgingly happily got out the 4 tubs and the Christmas tree from the shed, rearranged the furniture, and set up the tree for me, and we hung the first ornament before departing on his own Christmas shopping with stellar deals and steals! Oh Black Friday, how I...we... I love thee.

I spent Ace's nap time fluffing the tree and hanging all non-breakable (or at least non-shaterable) ornaments on the tree. So far he's done very well with it. We'll see how it goes. :)

Finished pictures to come in the coming days! Enjoy the picture of us hanging the first ornament on the tree. Ace got the honor this year by hanging his new CARS ornament on the tree! Oh boy! It's going to be so much fun to watch him with Christmas this year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am thankful for...

This time of year is a blessing, work life is slowed (or filled with festive distractions) and the holiday spirit emerges. Today begins that season with a day dedicated to the purpose of being thankful. There are many things that I am thankful for, many people I am blessed to have in my life, many many memories to cherish, and one God who deserves the glory for it all.

Today I decided to make a collage to reflect just a handful of people and things I am thankful for. It is far from an exhaustive 'list' but it is a fraction of what I am so very thankful today: my husband, my son, family, friends, memories, babies, travel, my home....

Thank you everyone for being a part of my life, even those that are only known by the digital world of blogging. May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving and a wonderful start to the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fifteen Months Old

Ace is 15 months old and is such a big boy. It amazes me every time I think back to last year at this time. The fact that he is now about to celebrate his second Thanksgiving baffles me. Seriously how fast time flies. It's not a cliche - it's truly real.

Ace's new words spoken in his 15th month of life: eight, nine, all done, stuck and he is very big into repeating so honestly he's said lots of things - the general point being he doesn't say any of these words consistently or often but he has said them clear as a bell a time or two. It also serves as an important reminder that he is now into the repeat mode and so we all must be very careful which words come out of our mouths around him. Signing we have added 'sorry' to his list of understanding which he's learning to use after his timeouts.

Yes, Ace has experienced timeouts already and I think actually does grasp the understanding for the most part. He's partial to one of my lamps and if he is able to understand 'go get Mickey' and he'll walk across the room to pick up his stuffed Mickey then he is able to understand 'do not touch the lamp' and when he does it after being warned not to - he gets a 5 minute time out - and then in order to get out of timeout he had to tell mommy he's sorry and then we talk about how Jesus wants us to obey our parents and that we only put him in timeout so that he'll learn a lesson and have a better understanding. Yes, I know that last part probably is missed by him, but better to talk now and be consistent from the get go and understand entirely later. :)

Ace experienced his first night away from mommy during his 15th month. Yes Loving Husband graciously offered to watch him overnight while I enjoyed a slumber party with the girls for my birthday. It was excellent fun and Ace did pretty well - considering he has still NOT slept through the night so it was a bit of a shock to wake up in the middle of the night and mom not be there. The hugs I received upon my return were priceless.

Ace continues to participate in swim lessons. He is doing better with his back floating -although still isn't a true fan. He's doing great with dips and the last two weeks has greatly enjoyed going down the slide into the water. He squeals with excitement.

More teeth are on their way and have been making an effort to enter his mouth all month - which makes for many sleepless nights for the whole family. Yep the molars are coming. None have arrived just yet but on both sides there are little bumps so they are just under the surface.

Food wise Ace has started to improve beyond his birdlike tendencies. He's eating more people food and has graduated away from jar food entirely - so if anyone needs any Earth Best's baby food I have about 15 jars that could use a good home. He loves lots of different food. But if he doesn't want it he will spit it right out. It can be frustrating at times, but for the most part we can't complain.

Not sure what he weighs but just in the last couple of weeks he just feels heavier so we're pretty sure he's packed on a few pounds since returning from California - where he weighed 19lbs according to Grandma's scale. So we'll see in a week what he weighs when he goes in for his 15 Month appt.

Ace continues to love to run around and play, but he also likes to sit and read. He's a joy to have around and we are all looking forward to him opening presents on Christmas morning. In fact I plan to wrap plain boxes just for him to tear into. Wish us luck - no telling how he'll do with the Christmas tree this year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Complete!

Yes that's right we broke out the bubbly, why? Because our bathroom is complete! Yes Thursday they were done, finito, my garage returned to me! Now granted they will be back after Thanksgiving sometime in order for our cabinets to be installed above the washer and dryer and then we will be REALLY done. And we're not yet able to shower in there the grout that we chose requires 14 days to cure and so we'll be able to use it on Saturday - can't wait! Although it is literally the day our guests leave. Siiigh.

We still have some returning to do to Lowes and the shower curtain to hang (we weren't allowed to for a week in order for the grout to set/cure a bit longer) which we should be able to hang on Wednesday with no issues! Everything is purchased and that's the nice part of all of this. Our remodel expenses are done!!

Below are some before and after pictures and a few of the shower since it can't really be shown in the side by side. All in all we replaced our heater, installed a shower/bathtub, toilet, sink/vanity, ceiling fan, all new light fixtures, tile flooring and cabinets in the coming weeks. Yay! We're done and I love it!!!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Birthday Sleepover!

My birthday was a few weeks back and I was out of town. Also I've been eyeing a 'night away' from my Baby Bear for a while now. He's old enough now that although he still wakes up to eat he can take a bottle of milk - and then I could stay out, consume alcohol without having to do math, and just have a night's sleep without waking up to the demands of a third party! So the girls gave me just that (with the aid of Loving Husband watching Ace) a girlie sleepover hosted by B & D! Yay! And it true B & D fashion it was an excellent time had by all!

Yep I said goodbye to my husband and Ace around 5pm on Saturday night and headed over to B & D's - the festivities began with Gorgonzola honey bites! Yummy. We consumed a good quantity of that and then I got to open my presents! Yay! I was spoiled again and got all sorts of great things: a colander that I had been wishing for for a while, a subscription to Everyday Food, cute magnety tins, a silicone wisk, a Christmas cd, and soap for my new bathroom! All very awesome and all my kitchen stuff is in my fun red color! Very exciting. :) Thanks ladies!!

Then we moved onto making dinner! A group project! We made ravioli - yum! It was a sweet potato ricotta with thyme. Yum! Very delicious and really easy (as long as you know how to operate the pasta maker.)








After dinner we moved onto crafting and a movie. Yes, B & D had a fun craft project planned out where you upcycle well-used children's Christmas books and make garland out of them. So cute and very fun and easy! All you do is create a template and then trace, cut, hole punch and string. Some of us did trees only and others added in the festive stockings as well.













We then dyed some cupcake mix and made rainbow cupcakes and consumed those on their immediate exit from the oven. Yum! The rest of our evening's schedule was: throw some Sex and The City on, continue to sip some wine finish the jumbo size bottle of wine and relax. We posed with our festive pjs on for a few pictures (note the garland in the background!) And we slowly slunk off to bed between 12:30am and 3am - Jackie and I were the night owls of the bunch!












I then slept in a bed with polar bear sheets... ok 'polar bear' is a coined term by D ... so I recognize you might not understand what on earth I'm referencing. First let me state that no actual polar bears are involved and second it's like sleeping on a giant stuffed animal. It's sooo cozy!! Basically I'm speaking of mink - oh so cozy! I still woke up a few times in the night - just because my body doesn't know any other way. However, I was able to drift right back to sleep without having to feed anyone - I woke up much more rested and not wanting to leave the polar bear sheets! Ahhh. It was a fabulous sleepover! So much fun!

Thanks ladies! Let's do it every year for my birthday!! :) hehe

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where did the time go?

I recently transfered all my pictures back onto my laptop and was looking through a lot of my older pictures. Then my friend Lori from Livin' in a Fishbowl posted some pictures from when she was full-term pregnant in a flashback series on her page and so I was inspired to do the same. And let me tell you - I am glad she's apologized because her 'full-term' photo was what I looked like at 24 weeks or maybe 26 weeks. Literally. I was bigger by 28 weeks for sure. I'm not joking... I've stolen her photo to do a side-by-side comparison.


I know. I know. I was HUGE! I was being told I was going to 'pop' once I hit 28 weeks (just what a pregnant woman with 12 weeks to go wants to hear) but I survived and for the most part everything has shifted back to where it should be. I might even do it again someday. ;-) One of my favorite pictures of me when I was pregnant was this one taken around 34 weeks when we celebrated our 4th anniversary early:

My full term picture was taken on my due date and that night I went into labor at 10pm. Ace arrived in this world 30 hours and 15 minutes later. You can read Ace's birth story here. One of my favorite early photos that I love so much is after Ace's first bath (at home) at three days old and he looks so sweet and content.


At 12 days old we took him to get his first professional pictures taken. He was so tiny! Now my son is officially over half my size. I'm 61" and he is about 32" right now. Siigh.


And now he's just a few days shy of 15 months old! How fast time has gone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grum!

Today would have been my grandmother's 84th birthday. Her presence has been missed, but around this time of year starting today on her birthday it is even more noted. I was thinking the other day that it was nearly time to start making the cranberry relish and it was the first time in a few weeks that I truly felt my grandma's absence. I would not be able to call her this year to verify the recipe. It instantly made my heart sink.

We didn't spend birthdays or Thanksgivings together all that frequently once I got married. Although we did throw a grand party for her 80th and my mom's 50th (only a few days apart from each other) back in 2005. An excellent time had by all!

Last Christmas was the first Christmas in my 20-something life that I had not spent it with my immediate family. The first Christmas that I did not spent it with my grandma - ever. I don't regret that I didn't, but I am sad that I won't ever have the opportunity to spend it with her again. The last Christmas I did spend with my grandma was 2007 when we announced to our family that we were pregnant. She was so happy. I'm so blessed by all the memories I have.

So today I am missing her, but I know that in the days and weeks to come her absence is going to be all the more palpable, but I'll be ok... I know where she is. Happy Birthday, Grum! It's your best one yet, because this year you're partying with Grandpa and Jesus!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ace Antics

I've been after Ace in recent days to not climb on chairs and thus most of our furniture is tucked in under the tables. So it was a bit of a surprise when I heard Ace mildly fussing from the kitchen as if he was stuck. I thought he had tried to climb under the chairs in an army-crawl method, yet again - he usually bonks his head - but nope he had tried something else. When I started to film this I didn't think I'd get much more than just the visual of him encased in the chairs... but my son did not disappoint. He proceeded to have an entire conversation with his momma on how 'yes' he was stuck and 'yes' he was allowed to be up there. I love that he kept saying 'stuck' after he got down. Oh how I love my little climber and my heart melts for his kisses.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Speech

I like to memorialize things and some have asked - so if you're interested in my 6 minute speech to people you might not know, enjoy! My son provides excellent background noise throughout and I'm not sure if the camera man felt that he had to also raise his glass toward the end or what is happening, but it's been preserved and now that it is on the blog - it actually happened ;-)


Monday, November 16, 2009

My Christmas Musings

Is Christmas a holiDAY or is it a season? Why is it that 'Christmas' seems to seep into department stores, radios, homes, and public streets earlier and earlier. Is it wrong that people want to celebrate Christmas more than just the day of the event? Why do we? I personally start listening to Christmas music in October. I don't listen to it every day - but it just brings cheer to my heart. I get excited when I see decorations starting to go up and while stores have an ulterior motive of making money, it still makes me excited when the Christmas season begins to arrive.

Christmas is supposed to be about Christ, the birth of him more specifically. However, with most Christian holidays it has been commercialized and marketed into an explosion come November of tinsel, lights, and bows, but is that bad? Is it bad that a day meant to celebrate Jesus has spilled into the entire month of December... and now into November? Doesn't that commercialization of bows, lights, and tinsel just provide additional opportunities to bring it back to Jesus? I mean yes in a sinless world we wouldn't have to 'bring it back to Jesus' it would be all about Jesus, but we don't live in that world. Shouldn't we as Christians be delighted to be able to remind people why we celebrate Christmas for that much longer? I mean we should celebrate Jesus every day with as much fanfare and excitement that people do when they celebrate Christmas, but we don't. I know I don't. But Christmas allows for an ever present reminder.
Buying presents, giving your time, giving to others, decorating with lights, putting up a tree with a star on top - just like the star that led the wisemen to Jesus (it is why I like a star on the top of my tree and not an angel) all of these things are small (albeit commercialized) ways to celebrate Jesus - and yes non-Christians utilize these same symbols to celebrate their Christmas - but if we know in our hearts why we put up these symbols that's what matters.

I think the reason that people (not businesses) enjoy breaking out Christmas music and decorations early is because of the feeling and emotion that comes with Christmas. Christmas Cheer is a real thing. While it causes stress and annoyance for some - I find everything to be a cheerful and joyous this time of year. It is a season of giving - while people can (and some do) give all year long - this season is when people give out of the goodness out of their heart. People donate can goods, toys, and their time more during this season. It makes people open their hearts more. People (except at malls) are kinder. They want to see their fellow man enjoy the same joy on Christmas day that they do. And while not everyone that gives from their heart is motivated by Jesus - it certainly is a good reminder of Jesus. A self-sacrafice for the benefit of the undeserving and/or unfortunate.

Watching a Christmas movie evokes memories of happy times and brings a warmness to my heart - which while I might be happy regardless of Christmas - it just adds a level of well... cheer and why wouldn't that be a good thing? I can't find one.

My son and I watching A Muppet Christmas Carol

So if it invokes cheer in me - why is it that for others Christmas before December 15th (the obligatory 2 week prior acceptability to decorate and celebrate) a cardinal violation of something sacred? That when they hear Christmas music before December 1st they want to punch a wall? Is it just a general humbug? Are they merely Scrooges and Grinches? Can't they see and feel the warmth of the holiday season regardless of the date on the calendar? Perhaps the two sides never will understand each other. Perhaps there are just those that embrace Christmas as a season and those that embrace it as a day.

I don't know, for me the Christmas season lifts my spirits. It's a time to celebrate Jesus in a special way, it is a time for family gatherings, it is a time to be happy and cheerful. For me it IS the most wonderful time of the year and so why wouldn't I want that time of the year to begin as soon as possible? ;-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ace Grilling

We (Ace and I) have been home now for a week and boy oh boy how happy Ace is to have his dad around again (I'm pretty happy too!) One of Ace's budding fascinations and excitement is cooking! Playing with dishes or actually getting to help, he loves it and to get to do it with his dad, wow all the better! Throw in grilling in the high 30s and you've got an exciting adventure.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Houston We Had a Problem

See at the end of Day Eight of the Great Bathroom Remodel our shower looked like this:

All sealed with it's red glory of waterpoofing and all set for tile. Day Nine began with tile installation. 18x18 tiles being placed on said walls.

I left for a few hours, expecting to see lots of tiling complete. I returned to see all tile removed. Hmmm turns out that the wall was bowing under the pressure of the bigger tile and in general due to the house 'settling'. I've been told it's good that they caught it now because what would inevitably have happened is that the bowing of the wall would have caused one (or more) tiles to detach and then the whole mess would have come tumbling down at any time. That would have been delightful.... or not. So what occurred was that these poor workers had to remove the tile and then take off the walls.

Yes the sealed in place walls and then put some extra support and level out the walls. So instead of tiling on Day Nine they spent redoing what had been done on Day Seven and Day Eight. They were none to happy. So on Day Ten the walls went back up and tiling began again. By the end of Day Eleven this was the status:



Saturday: Day Twelve (a day past the finish date of Friday, the new finish date is Tuesday) they will finish the last few tiles and then put the grout in and then they will begin the laying the floor tile. They are done with painting, in fact in this last picture you can see the color 'Gravity' that we went with. We like it. I'll be happy when the tile gets going for the floor. Oh let's be honest I'll be happy when it's DONE. D-O-N-E!

To see earlier remodeling progress click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Elf Yourself!

Yes! Tis the Season time to turn yourself into an elf and dance little jig! And while the video provides its own hilarity, the screenshots do not disappoint. Although I'm hard pressed to know what my husband will object to more the fact that he's an elf in tights or that he's dancing to country. ;-) Enjoy! Leave your elfy link in the comments!