Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday

It was more like trudge through it Tuesday because of a headache, but what are ya gonna do?

These are empty laundry baskets.  Yes!  All laundry done and put away.
This book case was moved from one side of the room to the other.  All books off, sorted and re-shelved.  I am quite the lover of books, so it's hard to part with any.  Notice my lending library on the second shelf?  There are a few black and red books there waiting for my next victim.  Hee, hee.
There may be a short break in "As The Office Turns"  (it was better than "All My Office").  I need to play with my kids during the next few days before we return to the school schedule.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Make It Happen Monday

Okay, so this isn't going to be the name for Monday every week, but today it was.  I mulled over names for Monday--Manage It Monday, Maintain It Monday--we'll see next week what fits.  Monday is normally my cleaning day.  After a slow start this morning, I realized that no productive cleaning was going to be finished today.  There were too many after Christmas items to deal with.  So I just had to dive in and make some things happen.  

After clearing the clutter from the entire house, there was still the office to deal with.  Ahhhh, the office.  Between the office and my garage, I don't know which plagues me more.  I walked in the office to meditate and try to figure out why it is so darn hard to get it together in there.  I have successfully organized and maintained it in the past, but it has been out of control for awhile.  When I walked in it hit me like a ton of bricks--I need more shelving or cubbies or something.  I approached the hub and we made it happen.  We went to IKEA as a family, shopped for shelving, ate dinner there and brought back our purchase.  The contents of the office were emptied and the shelf unit was assembled.  Tomorrow may have to be named Tackle It Tuesday!

Some of the guts of the office out in the living room.
The fabulous super-hub assembling the unit in the office.
Savor it Sunday

I have a friend who puts cute names with the days of the week that motivate her to accomplish goals.  I'm starting with Savor it Sunday.  This probably means different things to different people, but for me it means that I will focus on savoring the things that mean the most to me, and quite often get lost in the hustle and bustle of the week.  These are a few of the things I did today that I don't often make time for:

1)  Took a nap
2)  Read information and made goals for the Healthy Living Challenge I will participate in for the next six weeks beginning Jan. 5
3)  Made dinner for my family (Kelly often does dinner while I'm helping the kids with homework and such)
4)  Sat on the ground with the girls, Kelly and Grandpa and watched guinea pigs run around us.
5)  Put a puzzle together with Jenna and Grandpa
6)  Stopped to hug and tickle each of my girls
7)  Had in-depth conversation with the hub with no children present

There are more things I would loved to have done, but this was a good start.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Guinea Pigs Are Here!

The special person Santa sent over arrived this morning.  There were two females and one male to choose from.  The girls were each handed a guinea and each loved the one they held.  The male went back to join the other guineas that live with this family.  

Here is Jenna's lighter color calico.  Her name is Lizzy.
Heather named hers after The Wonder Pets guinea pig, Linny.
Our friends came to visit.  Here is Sarah holding Lizzy.
Heather and Caleb discuss Linny's nervousness.
The Holbrooks were so fun to share our new pets with!
The Greatest Gift

The greatest gift, in my opinion, is giving of yourself.  My nine-year-old, Heather, wrapped a present for both her dad and myself.  Each of us received a personal note from her wishing us a Merry Christmas.  Then, inside the bag, we found a one dollar bill and a rock.  The rock was one from her special collection.  The dollar was from her money she'd been saving.  She only had three dollars.  Her dad and I received the last two dollars after Heather bought a present for a special friend.  I don't think I had a better present this year.  We were so proud of her choosing to give of what she had all on her own.
Christmas Day Dinner and Traditions

One tradition that we started was hanging our Christmas cards in our entry way.  I tried many things, but decided that displaying them was the best way to be able to see the cards and feel the love of our friends.  
Years ago, my in-laws bought the Spode Christmas Tree dinnerware for us.  It's fun to use it each year.
Another tradition is letting the hub cook the turkey.  No one does it better.  I'm side-dish girl.  Together we make a good team.  Grandma's famous punch is a must have too.
As we all gather for the meal, I take a picture of who is here for dinner.  Each year the group changes, but for every family gathering we have a picture of who was there, and what the table looked like.  I love that!
Christmas Day

It's finally here!  Jenna is stunned by the sight of her stocking.
Heather runs, not walks, but full out runs to her stocking.  Mom barely got it on film.
We decided Grandpa needed a stocking too, so we found an extra and left it out.  Santa didn't disappoint us.
Santa left some interesting presents this year.  The first note said that all the presents were for Heather and Jenna to share.  The second note that Jenna is reading tells us that someone will be delivering some Guinea Pigs tomorrow.  Santa found a nice lady who had some babies that need a good home.  Wow.  Are we ready for that?
At least Santa brought us all of the things we'll need to get started!
These girls are pretty happy about their Christmas morning.
It is so special to have Grandpa with us to celebrate and open presents.
Here's Jenna trying out her skate board.
Heather gives it a shot too.
Heather and Daddy chill out and read up on Guinea pig care.
Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve it was just our family and Grandpa.  In the midst of our dinner preparations, present wrapping, goodie deliveries and the general excitement ensuing on that night that Santa arrives, I was thinking that I never make time to drive around and see the Christmas decor in the neighborhood.  So...we stopped all activity, brewed up some hot cocoa, and jumped in the sleigh (mini van).  It took about 20 minutes to slowly drive around our neighborhood.  We sang Rudolph and listened to Christmas music and oohed and ahhhed at the beautiful lights.  Twenty minutes and so much fun.  Why didn't I make time for this before? 
These are lights around our own house.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twilight In A Nutshell

There are a bunch of fun holiday posts just below this (including snow from Grandpa), so keep scrolling.  A little Twilight teaser went out in our Christmas newsletter, so I thought I'd better post a blurb here for anyone who comes looking.  If you scroll down and back a few pages through the older posts, you'll find several pictures of the Hollywood after party I attended with some friends after the premiere.  Further back is a link to the KCAL9/CBS2 news interview I did with friends, Sarah and Jenny, from TwilightMoms.  I started this blog right after that interview and posted it because I was trying out the new blog thing.  

Way back in December 2007, I was looking around for anything and everything Stephenie Meyer and Twilight after reading and falling in love with the series.  I found a website for "older" fans called  It was the perfect place for any 25 and older fans.  Long story short, I joined the site, posted a ton and got to know some great women, ended up meeting new friends through the website, became a moderator, then a lead moderator, attended The Host signing in San Diego, the Breaking Dawn concert/book signing in Los Angeles this summer, and finished off with a trip to Forks, Washington with about 100 other Twilight Moms.  I may post some Forks pictures eventually.  I thought I was done with Twilight activities for awhile, and that's when the interview happened, followed by the premiere after party.  Oh, and there was the midnight showing of Twilight on 11/20 when it hit the theaters.  It has been so fun.  I have given or suggested this book to sooo many people, and so far 99.9% have loved it right along with me.  Some even joined TwilightMoms.  

Anyway, that's my adventure in a nutshell.  If you want to know about Twilight, I can probably answer your questions.  Hee, hee.
Cookies or a Work of Art?
Our friend, Sharon Hinckson, made these cookies for our family.  We couldn't eat them for hours, which is unlike us.  I had to photograph them because they were so pretty.
The girls were amazed too.  Finally, after hours of staring at them, we photographed the girls with their personalized mitten sugar cookies, and then they ate them.  Much mmm'ing was heard.

For my fellow Twilighters, you can see how one addiction might blend into the other for me...
Grandpa Delivers...SNOW!

Grandpa arrived today from Idyllwild, CA with a cooler full of snow!  It has snowed there this entire week, so there was plenty.
Grandpa throws the first snowball from the snow that's still on top of his truck from this morning!
We called our friends down to have a snowball fight!
Notice the tall child in the center of the action?  Yes, that's Kelly.
We made short work of that cooler.  Not everyone in So Cal can boast having snow on their front lawn!

Monday, December 22, 2008


What a dreary day!  We decided to go see Santa right around when the mall opened.  We grabbed some McDonald's breakfast and headed out.  It was really wet and chilly, but the mall wasn't busy!  I don't think many people knew the mall was open that early!
Santa only had one customer aside from us.  The girls got to talk to him for a few minutes.  By the time we left the mall, the line for Santa was about 20 people long!
Here we are on the free carousel ride.  The girls decided that the carousel would be better than the train because they would be too squished in the little train.  Wasn't it just last year that they weren't too big for the train?
Remembering Grandma Pete

This year, we adopted Mr. and Mrs. Claus, completely handmade by Grandma.  Grandpa had brought the Claus' rocking chair to us prior to his death.  We were are so happy to have these handmade treasures in our home.
Kelly's mom also made delicious cinnamon rolls every Christmas to give to neighbors and friends.  The Christmas after she passed away, Kelly decided to make mom's rolls and keep the tradition alive.  He gets the girls involved in the process.  They love to roll the dough and watch it rise.  They can't wait for the rolls to come out of the oven!
Once the rolls are done, Kelly makes a powdered sugar icing and frosts them while their warm.
Jenna is in Heaven while she eats her warm cinnamon roll.
Heather devoured hers.  She wanted another, of course.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Run, Run, As Fast As You Can...

This room mom baked 22 little gingerbread boys for the 1st grade class party.
The kids frosted, decorated, took a bite, and then graphed how many ate which parts of the gingerbread boy.  I was telling the kids not to touch their cookie until I said "go", and my daughter says, "But what if he runs away?" 
Our party had "stations" after the gingerbread activity.  The kids rotated around the Holiday Bingo, Storytelling, Holiday Pictionary, Coloring and Reindeer Feeding stations.  Of course, the kids were the reindeer and we fed them punch and cookies.  It was really fun--that's me reading Are You Grumpy Santa? to Jenna's group.
Christmas Vacation...Here we come!

The girls donned their Santa hats for their last day of school in 2008.
Who is that mom in the mini van blocking traffic to take pictures of her cute kids?
Returned from drop off to pull into drive way and see this beautiful Azalea blooming in the chilly weather.  I was listening to a Christmas song about hope and thought the timing was ironic.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Choosing to Experience Joy

It's been a really hectic two weeks for me.  I have been away from home seven nights of the last fourteen.  Last night, I was on my way out to another meeting and really stressing about being prepared for the next day's events, all the dishes that still needed to be washed by hand (broken dishwasher), the homework that needed attention, the clutter that was taking over in the house I had worked so hard to put in order last week...Anyway, Jenna walks out, while I'm getting things ready, in a lovely ensemble that she chose from my closet.  I thought, "My mom would have had a fit if I'd done that" and then I thought, "I should have a fit because it's going to create such a mess."  I was really quiet, and my husband looked at me and asked if I was okay with this.  I had to confess that in a house where the little girls dress up in pirate costumes and have Star Wars themed birthday parties and have hardly ever touched a Barbie, I was actually diggin' that my little girl thought that her mom was cool enough to emulate.  Then I got out my camera.  My clothes are still in a pile in my bedroom waiting to be hung up, but I was proud to have seized the joy in the moment.  It's a great feeling!