Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Made It!!!

We made it to a tree farm! Not our usual outing, but still fun. There is one particular tree farm we normally go to, but they still don't have trees, so we went to one by Home Depot. I missed hiking all around looking for a tree to cut down, only to buy a pre-cut tree after all. I missed the annual Starbucks trip on the way home...
This trip was get in, take a picture, and get out! But we did spend 1/2 the price of what we normally spend!
And I could not believe I got a cute picture of all 3!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gingerbread Houses

About 5 years ago Jeff's mom started the Gingerbread-House-Making Tradition.
We started as just the women decorating (and Dom,) and it now has developed into a family affair! I LOVE the way we do this because Mary buys the kits, makes the frosting and puts them together. We show up with some added candy and have fun!
The 4-year-olds were REALLY into it this year!

Dominic still loves getting in touch with his creative side also.

Connor's final project... We did really small houses this year. Connor decided he wanted his to be a train station.

Aunt Becki's was very cute!

Did I mention I love Christmas time?!?!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After

Typically we head out the morning after Thanksgiving to go to the Christmas Tree Farm for our tree. I LOVE the smell of the tree in the house and want to savor it for as long as possible! This also commences the rest of the decorating, inside and out. This year I really battled with the idea of getting our tree at much cheaper! But what kind of tradition is that to pass along? I can just hear Dominic in 20 years..."I remember the good old days...we would drive on down to Costco and randomly pick up a netted tree..."
OK maybe that's ok for some...I decided I couldn't do it...not only that...but in these times I like to support the family-owned-businesses when I can.

So we headed out in Jeff's pick-up. Ummm...we don't fit in it like we used to! It's a 4-door, but there are 5 of us now, 3 of us being adult size and 2 car seats. I wish I got a picture of Jeff shoved in between the 2 car seats in the back with his feet up on the center console! It was awesome! He was so nice to let me drive...for once I was glad too!

We got to the tree farm only to find that their fresh cut trees weren't going to be there until Sunday:( So back home we went and decided to do the outside lights today instead.

My hubby is a good sport!

Jeff wouldn't let Dominic up on the roof, but this was the first year he got to be the one up on the ladder hanging the lights! Oh, having a teenage son DOES have some advantages!

Connor can't wait to join in on the ladder action!

(Though he insists he's going to be an engineer when he grows up, I think he's headed for the

Fire Station!)

Later Jeff and Dominic took off to see a movie and have some guy time. So Connor and I had movie date night in, accompanied by Emma Kate. We pulled out The Polar Express...surprise! Connor's Favorite!

Emma Kate was more interested in the ads! She must have known it was party night...she

stayed up late!

Late tonight when Dom got home, he took a picture of the lights. He was very proud!

Yeah Christmas time! I love EVERYTHING about this time of year!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


For a few years I have been trying to think of a way for the kids to really appreciate the meaning of Thanksgiving, not just on that day...but to make it last a little longer.

I found some old paper at work last week and decided to make a tree out of it. The boys helped me cut leaves out. Every day each of us wrote something we are thankful for on a leaf and taped it to the tree. I think I'm going to save the leaves from each year, so we wrote our names and the year on the back of each one. Next year we'll start November 1st and continue through the whole month. I can't wait to see what the tree looks like next year with all the leaves! It worked...the boys got really in to it. Dominic was thankful for things like technology and Facebook. Connor was thankful for firetrucks and his toys.
The tree is about 4 feet tall. I put it up in our entry.

Thanksgiving 2010

Is it REALLY possible that it is Thanksgiving again already?!?!
Every year we alternate between Jeff's family and my family for Thanksgiving.
When we spend the holiday with Jeff's family, it is always held at his Uncle Chuck and Aunt Linda's house, which is about an hour and a half drive from home. We started trading off between the families even before we were married. At first it felt strange...nothing like spending Thanksgiving with my own family. But now as time has gone by and we have the kids...they ARE all my family, and I have such a good time there. I also LOVE the idea that we are making memories for the kids to hold on to forever.
This year "Bunga" and "Papa" took Connor and his cousin Cale with them in the car for some 4-year-old time with the grandparents. So they arrived before we did. When we drove up Connor and Cale had already hit the sandbox.

It was SO cold so we went inside to the playroom for a while...

Connor and Cale got wind of tractor rides outside and that was about it for inside-play!

They have a beautiful HUGE oak tree with a swing...Connor couldn't get enough of it!

Jeff and Dominic took turns pushing.

Dominic decided to give it a try. He asked Uncle Chuck if it was strong enough and was assured that it was. This picture was before the chain snapped...
It didn't take long and not too much ice to have the swing...and Dominic up and running again!

Emma Kate loved watching all of the excitement!!

And of course the yearly Thanksgiving Family Photo...complete with Emma Kate this year, but without Libby (she had Thanksgiving dinner @ Bunga and Papa's house with Allie and Bailey.)
Jeff's Uncle Chuck has an old Model A. Most Thanksgiving's since
Jeff was little his uncle brings out the truck and anyone who wants to gets to ride in the back
through the neighborhood. (Jeff likes to drive, but the rest of us ride in the back.) It also makes for some fun photo ops!

The time came that we had to figure out how we were going to get Emma Kate her afternoon nap...let's take a walk!

She may or may not be sleepy!

We met some friends along the way.

That was right before Connor had a complete meltdown. Usually about this time of day he has an hour of quiet time in his room. He clearly needed this today! At least the meltdown occurred out on our walk and not back at the house. So he and I walked back to the house to have a little quiet/punishment in the van while Jeff and Emma finished their walk. It didn't take long before Connor had a "change of heart."

Surprise! We have naptime! My husband is awesome!

While Emma slept and the boys were busy, a few of us "young adults" took a short trip up to the new casino. Nick, Becki, Jeff, and I hadn't seen it yet, and of course we had to check it out. As remote as Uncle Chuck and Aunt Linda's house is, a few years ago, sadly, a casino was built in clear vision from their house. There is no access to it from their neighborhood, however you look out from their front yard toward the sky...and there it is...this big gray building.

We drove over, hit the bar for a drink, and Nick and I played a couple of hands of BlackJack. Oh, it was a good Thanksgiving!!!

Why did this lady think the turkey hat was ok?!?!

We got back to find that Connor and Cale had become great friends with their 2nd cousins!

They had brought their little quad over to the house...

Time for rides with Uncle Nick!

And a little time with Papa Bob before we headed for home.

Yeah, Connor was pretty much DONE on the way home.

We had such an amazing time that as we left I told Jeff that we should do this every year.

He looked at me with the look that says, "That'll never fly with your family." And he's right. Besides I would miss that too. It just goes to show how much things change. I am so thankful that I have married into a wonderful family. I am thankful for an amazing, action packed day with them, and am so thankful to Uncle Chuck and Aunt Linda for opening their home...and their us!

We were so tired that I flaked on a certain shopping trip with Heidi...sorry Heidi...

this mom can only do so much in one day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Connor's Story of Thanksgiving

Me: Connor, tell me about the First Thanksgiving.

Connor: So, the Pilgrims came to America on the Mayflower. And they found land
that had no houses on it! There they met the Indians. The Indians taught the Pilgrims
everything that they didn't know and the Pilgrims taught the Indians everything that THEY
didn't know. pause. And they all had dinner together. long pause. Their first food was marshmallows!

Me: Really?!?! Why do you think that?

Connor: Because they had fire.

Me: Of course! With every fire, you must have marshmallows!

Should I tell him what we think REALLY happened? Ehhh...I'll let him keep his innocence a little longer!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Different Kind of Sunday

For some reason lately Sunday's have been a huge challenge for me. Though it's crazy getting everyone up and out to church early, the day starts off really well with church and usually Starbucks on the way home. And then....downhill...I feel like the kids start testing me, Jeff and I butt heads, and I am overwhelmed with grocery shopping, laundry, and housework. All the while, anticipating the beginning of another work week on top of all of that.
I woke up this morning very groggy...Emma and I had been up many many times, sick, the night before. Jeff let me sleep in though...such a nice treat! I drug myself out of bed and downstairs asking for coffee, STAT! It was clear that we were not going to church, unless I wanted to get looks of disdain from other moms in the nursery as my child's nose dripped all over the place and yet, other looks from people as I croaked out songs of worship like a frog!

We lounged around with the kids for awhile and decided to head to Costco for some groceries.
BIG MISTAKE! Please remind me that going to Costco on a Sunday the weekend before Thanksgiving is NOT a good idea! Usually Jeff is the more patient one...not today!

Despite the fiasco at Costco, it turned out to be a very nice day. I didn't do a lot, considering I wasn't feeling well...just hung out with the family and did laundry.
Tonight was DEFINITELY bath night. My daughter had some unknown "treasure" stuck in her hair and Connor had green marker from head to toe!
I threw Emma in the tub and as we were playing, Connor came in the room. He had a surprised and excited look on his face as he proceeded to take his clothes off. "Bath time with Emma tonight!" he squealed. We had a great time until he pulled her bath cushion out from under her, causing her to topple over and hit her head on the side of the tub. That was the end of that!

After the little ones got warmed up and jammies on, Dominic set up some fun speakers that light up with fun colors to the beat of the music from his Ipod. We turned off all of the lights in the upstairs hall and had a dance party. Aunt Shawna came over and was thrilled to join in on the party. (Jeff was m.i.a. downstairs "manning" the fire.)

Hmmm...what made today different? I have to battle the part of me that thinks that it was the more relaxed atmosphere of not having to get everyone up and out to church. Days like these make that small part of me say, "Maybe we shouldn't go a little more often."

But I know better...I know that it is worth the challenge...what is REALLY happening...and continue to pray every Sunday that "today will be different."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hour of Shame

Let me tell you a little about Dominic...14 years old...Freshman in high school...loves computer...loves texting...loves TV...loves playing music, via trumpet or piano. I'm sure there are other loves, but he doesn't share everything with me! Very typical teenage boy. However, he is the kindest, sweetest teenage boy that I have ever met. He has an amazing heart, both for the Lord and for others. I have leaned on him so much this month while Jeff has been working nights. On the days that I work I call him to tell him what to do to get dinner on the table and he does it. He doesn't complain...however I think I can "hear" him roll his eyes as I bring up the dinner topic on the phone! He holds Emma as I try to get dinner served up. She is SO tired at dinner time when I can normally be putting her to bed while Jeff gets things served up.
And he has been patient. He rarely complains that our time together has diminished so much in the last couple of years...actually he is probably grateful that I am so busy. Half the time lately I am the last person he wants to hang out with!

Tonight after getting the "little ones" to bed, I asked Dominic if he wanted to play a game...not just any game...but RISK. Basically you have a board with a map of the world on it. Each player is a different army that is trying to claim all of the territories. I am not very good at this game. Dominic is pretty close to being a genius in my opinion, and is VERY good at it! I am a very competitive person though, which makes me want to run for the hills when HE asks ME to play.
I would have much rather played cards...Rummy perhaps? Now that's a game in which I can beat the pants off of him! But this time wasn't about that...I had to remind myself as he was slowly invading every territory I owned...grrrr! He does get together with some pretty good Risk-players once in a while, so I figured I was giving him practice for playing against them!

I was "red" meaning all of my game pieces were the color red.
You probably can't tell, but there is no red on this board anymore!
And he is happy.

Here are my red what I call "Their little grave."

He was so kind at the end of the game to shake my hand and say, "Good game!"


Then we set this up to give an idea of how the game went...

Dominic loves it when he realizes that I'm about to blog about something.

He's asking to start his own blog...hmmm...

In the spirit of Thanksgiving...I want to Give Thanks to the Lord for Dominic. He is an amazing son.

I LOVE spending time with him when we are not frustrating the h*** out of eachother, even if he is kicking my butt during a board game!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday at the Bank

So you would think that a Monday working at the bank would be crazy...not necessarily where I work! Today was SLOW...very...very...SLOW! So slow that I thought I would make our lollipop basket a little fancier! I never thought I'd have to go to work to get a little rest time!

This is Ramon...I LOVE this guy, even if he IS a Raider's fan! He makes me laugh so hard! We have lots of discussions about his recent girlfriends. I give him "motherly" advice, even if he doesn't follow it! Customers always comment that the picture on the wall behind him looks like him in 20 years...I happen to agree!

This is my boss...Miguel and my Teller Supervisor...Perdy. They both came to our branch in the beginning of this year and fit right in. It's so nice to have some good management around there! Miguel has a baby girl about 3 weeks older than Emma, so we have fun comparing stories. Perdy...she's so much fun! We laugh...A LOT!

This is Karina...our accounts person. Though she has only been with us a couple of months, it feels like a couple of a good way! We've gone out as a group twice since she has been working with us and it has been really fun getting to know her better.

This is Corona...she came to our branch while I was on maternity leave. She is so sweet, young, and innocent. Sometimes I have to explain a few of our jokes to her...I LOVE that! She's a full-time-student/part-time teller. In other words...BUSY.

And we have Giant...I call him that because he is both giant and a huge Giant's Fan! That's kind of by default though...his wife is the TRUE fan...he just likes them because she does;) Nonetheless he has ALWAYS seen or heard the game, so I have someone to discuss the up's and down's with...this season...mostly up's!!!! He is also the "go-to" guy around the bank...he reads our intranet religiously and always knows the latest info. His wife also makes some pretty irresistable cookies that often sabatoge my diet...damn her!

(For comparison, I got a picture of him next to Corona, not to be mistaken for Giant's wife.)

The only person missing is Diva. See Halloween Weekend for a picture of her. We've been through a lot at this place together, both personally and professionally.

This whole time of picture-taking we had not one customer.

I thought since I share a lot about my family at home, I'd include my family at work.

After all I DO spend 3 or 4 days out of the 7 with them!

P.S...Names have been changed to protect the identity of these employees!