Monday, January 27, 2014

Sunday at The Beach

Where else but in California can you go to the beach in February?! Ok, there's a few other places. But we're staying close to home.
(Remember I'm catching up on old times!)

Dominic was busy and after church the rest of us decided we were going to pack a lunch and head to the Marin Headlands Beach.
It was a little chilly but kids don't care right?!
One of my favorite things about the beach...beach pictures!
The kids had so much fun that day and I captured some really sweet moments that I hope I don't ever forget.
They spent lots of time playing "chicken" with the waves. 

And in just a few short days Emmy was turning 4 so I kind of used it as a 4th birthday photo shoot. 
Those curls!
Here's a few more of my Coco too...


It was a little foggy and overcast but it was still so pretty.

There's no place I love more than the beach.
Definitely my happy place!
And oh look!
I made it in a picture...! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pinewood Derby

Connor started Cub Scouts in 1st Grade and one of the big events that they hold every year is the Pinewood Derby. Each boy gets a block of wood, some wheels and axels. Then the creativity begins.
Each car has to be under a certain weight and has to be built within certain guidelines.
It's a big deal to the boys (and some dads!!) and they spend weeks carving, sanding and painting.

The main reason why I'm blogging about this is because I am not a saver. In a year I probably will get rid of Connor's car (probably when he makes his car next year.) And in all fairness I document anything like this that I will eventually throw away. (I'm sorry! I just can't keep it all Buddy!)
He worked so hard this year and was very proud that the weights on top look like guns on top of a tank. There are several races and even trophies for the winners.

No trophy this year but still a ton of fun! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year's Eve 2013!!!

There's always so much hype about New Year's Eve.
And some years I get wrapped up in the hype.
Most years, since having multiple children, I just want to sleep.
The idea of staying up till after midnight and then getting up early with the kids just gives me anxiety!
(I know. I sound really old!)

However, we like to do something special, especially for the kids because they always get wrapped up in the hype. About everything!

So this year we invited Nana and Papa over for dinner and dessert, etc...
(They're night owls so we can count on them helping us stay awake!)

So they came over and helped the kids make confetti... 
We made special drinks to go along with our dessert using my new milk jars I got for Christmas.
And I tried a new recipe from Pinterest. Yum! Accompanied by Shawna's Salted Caramel Sauce.
Double Yum!
Then we celebrated New Year's at 9pm with the kids before sending them to bed...
Countdown and all! 

Confetti EVERYWHERE!!! 
I'm just now realizing I got no pictures of my dad or hubby:(
(And of course Dom was gone for the evening. Like for the 7th year in a row!)
But here's Benny...pooped!
All that partying wore him out! 
We did make it till midnight.
But proceeded to kick my parents out immediately after.
Sorry guys!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas 2013

I love, love , love the traditions that come with the Christmas season. Some old. Some new.

Here are some of my favorite ladies and I gathered together for a Favorite Things Party, a tradition started by Heidi and few years back.

An even newer tradition..."The Polar Express" (J & I started this with the kids last year.)
This year did not disappoint as we surprised the kids again with tickets under theirs pillow at bedtime. Conductor Dad was waiting at the door to the garage to punch their tickets.
They boarded "The Polar Express" only to find Ma, Papa, hot cocoa, and their own special bell awaiting them! (Even with a mini van, it's a little bit of a squeeze to get us all in there!)
And off we went to see Christmas lights!

Now for an older tradition...
No matter how old Dominic is I think we will still include him in our Santa visit!
An intense conversation with The Big Man...
(I just love this picture.)
We always go to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek to see Santa.
The intimate room they've had in the past has been perfect for my Connor, who has such a fearful heart and is so scared of big, obtrusive decorations of any kind.
This year they changed their Santa-visiting-location. They used an empty store. It was so impersonal.
We got so caught up in Christmas craziness that we put our visit off till the last minute and ended up going the morning of Christmas Eve.  The line was long and Santa was...well...tired.
This year we'll go as soon as we pick Dom up from the airport!
(Can you imagine? This year Dom will be "coming home for Christmas!")

Later that evening Connor sang in the Christmas Eve Children's Choir. These kids are so cute! 
...and he was in the play as well!
He was so nervous! But I really don't think anyone was as nervous as I was!
(All I could picture was him totally blanking on his lines or being so completely nervous that he would shoot vomit all over his fellow angel and Mother Mary!)
None of my worst case scenarios came to fruition and he was PERFECT!

Dominic also sang in the Christmas Eve service. In the adult choir.

 Of course Christmas continued with lots of family, way too many gifts, and lots of food.
But nothing compared to seeing the smiles on these sweet faces!

Merry Christmas!!! (In!)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Train 2013

December 1998 marked the first year our family rode the Christmas Train. Jeff has volunteered at The Niles Canyon Railway for many, many years. As a child he developed a love of trains that has only grown over the years. And when we became a part of his life, he began to share this love with us. Every year the NCRY decorates the whole train in Christmas lights for all to come and celebrate the season.
Many of our family and friends have come along throughout the years.
Even my late grandmother and J's late grandfather joined in on the fun during the early years.
In 2001 Jeff proposed to me while riding on the "chapel car" which gets its name because the benches are old chapel pews that have been donated to the club. 
That night Jeff gave me a diamond ring and Dominic...a ring pop! 

I'd say our family has grown since then...!
And not just our immediate family...
We now get to share the train ride with our niece and nephews.
I love grandkid photos! 
This year The Reed's joined in too!
And of course all the grandparents.
We get silly.
Get snuggly when it's cold.

Eat and drink lots of yummies!
But most of all...
Enjoy the smiles that the train and lights bring to our little ones!
Here's to many more years and memories yet to be made!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Kick-Off

I love Christmas time and all the fun activities that go along with it, part of the reason that no blogging gets done for about 6 weeks!
This season began with singing performances by both Connor and Emma Kate's classes.
Connor's 2nd grade put on a really cute performance which included both Christmas and patriotic songs.
And how convenient that the two were on the same day! Jeff took the day off work and I rearranged my work schedule so that we could attend Connor's, go to breakfast ALONE, then head to Emma's pre-school for her performance.
Here's Emmy and her teacher, Mrs. Valentine.
(Emmy is in the Heart cute is that?!)
Nana and Papa also came to Emmy's performance.
Emma Kate loves to sing and dance.
But we found that she does not love to ice skate!
Over Thanksgiving break The Kirby's invited us to join them in W.C. for some ice skating "fun."
Her face pretty much looked like this the whole time...
But she put forth a good effort. And even though she'd want to get off the ice, as soon as she did, she wanted back on.
Connor, however loved it!
He fell a lot...but he didn't care.
The day after Thanksgiving we went in search of our Christmas tree.
It kills me to spend so much money on a tree every year but it's tradition.
And I love the smell of a fresh tree in our house.
Our traditional tree farm has both pre-cut trees and cut-your own.
We always grab a saw and cart and go hiking around looking for a tree to cut down, only to end up back down in the pre-cut area. They always look so much better! It's a standing joke in our family but this year we meant business and headed straight for the pre-cut trees, took a couple pictures, and were out in 20 minutes!
Jeff always makes fun of me for making sure our outfits somewhat coordinate for a family photo at the tree farm. Hey, you never know when you're gonna get the perfect shot for your Christmas cards!
Am I right? Or am I right?!

Thanks to Dom, who drives separately in his truck, we get to throw the tree in the pickup and head home instead of trying to tie it to the top of the minivan.

Thanksgiving weekend we also decorated gingerbread houses at Ma's house.
Jeff's mom started the gingerbread house tradition several years ago.
She buys and builds the houses ahead of time.
We all bring what's left over from our Halloween candy stash, as well as other yummy treats and let the decorating commence!
Between Ma, Aunt Becki, the cousins, and us, we have a total of 8 houses.
It's a whole neighborhood!

I love that even Dom still gets into it! The other boys LOVE to see, and copy some of his ideas.
I didn't get a picture of mine this year:(
When we get home the houses go up on top of our kitchen cabinets.
Way away from the dogs!
And Dom has learned he can't have too tall of a chimney, or it won't fit up there!
Yay! Christmas is in full force around here!