Tuesday, December 22, 2009

merry merry

If I was the Christmas Card sending type of mom (maybe one day?) I think I most definitely would have used one of these pictures:


How grateful I am to celebrate the birth of our Savior, think of His life, and feel such profound gratitude for the infinite atonement. Truly, that is the magic of Christmas: that because the Christchild was born, we are saved. The peace of this season fills my heart. Merry Christmas!

december 09 festivities

I have a folder on my computer that has been collecting the pictures of all of the fun & festive things we have done this month to celebrate Christmas. I figured it would be easier to post them all at once rather than a separate post for each, so here I give you a month's worth of holiday fun :).

We have so enjoyed the holiday feeling this year. I feel so grateful for the cozy, easy way this month has seemed to pass. We have soaked a lot of Christmas spirit in, watching plenty of Christmas movies, baking almost constantly, and crafting and creating festive projects. 

Most of our Christmas fun has happened within the walls of our home, but we did venture out to The Festival of Trees at the beginning of the month to kick off the holidays. 

Little G was not so sure about being engulfed by a giant bubble, but after it popped on him he was all smiles.
We brought my little sisters along (and brothers and grandma, too, actually), and they had fun helping G do some of the little Christmas projects in the kids' area.

The next thing to check off our list was getting our tree picked out and brought home. G was pretty excited about having a big tree tied to the top of our car, and of course, thought he was an indispensable help to his daddy in getting the tree all situated in the stand. Notice his little step-stool in the picture-- he totes that around with him all over the house to "help" with whatever project is going on.

Here is the tree all lit up and decorated. G has not let me forget that our tree does not have "colors" on it this year, only "whites," and that next year he would like a tree with colors please.

I have seen a bunch of ornament wreath tutorials floating around on the internet. I went with the one that used a hanger, not a straw wreath, and I LOVED making it and I LOVED the final product. In fact, I loved it all so much that I made two of them. This was one of those projects that is so fun and satisfying to make. (Quite unlike the gumdrop wreath that I also started to make this year, but is not pictured here because I tediously made it about half way around the wreath with the gumdrops and got so sick of doing it that I haven't gone back to finish it since. I have half of a gumdrop wreath and about 3 pounds of gumdrops sitting in my room staring at me, but every time I have a free moment to sit down and get working on it, I think of something else I'd much rather be doing.)

I had never made a real gingerbread house before. I have decorated one using the kits you can buy, and have made a few out of graham crackers, but had never actually made and baked the gingerbread and then assembled and decorated the house. So this year G and I set out to learn how. First we made the gingerbread dough.

Then we rolled the dough out and used cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. (After this picture I realized that it would be a much better idea to roll out the dough onto parchment paper so I didn't have to lift it up and transfer it to a cookie sheet to bake. This made a huge difference in having smooth, even edges of the house to fit together.)

After a horrible realization that I had used the roof pieces for the sides of the house, and a construction intervention that salvaged the project thanks to my husband, I had so much fun decorating the house. My favorite part is the mini Charleston Chews I used to create the bricks on the front of the house.

G loved helping with the house. By helping I mean eating the candy as we went. One afternoon I found him in the kitchen on the table breaking the bottom halves of the roof cookies off and eating them. It was too classic to be mad at him (in fact, I had to leave the room to giggle about it), but he immediately felt bad (he definitely knew better) and started crying and apologizing over and over. The broken cookies give the house character, right?

I am not a fabulous chef by any means, but I do know how to follow recipes and cook, and usually stuff turns out okay. I got all excited to make caramel & chocolate dipped pretzels to give away, but holy cow, making the caramel for dipping almost made me crazy. I made three different batches, thinking it was turning out, but as it dried, the texture went all grainy and yucky-- not at all the soft, chewy caramel I was going for. It was so frustrating and I wanted to just throw them all away, but I couldn't quite stand the thought of just wasting it all. I did throw away a bunch of them, but the ones that weren't quite as bad I dipped in chocolate and decorated anyway. They taste just fine (my mom and J both loved them), but I don't want to give them away. So I shoved them all into a giant Ziploc bag on my counter and that is where they still sit. I don't know what to do with them.

My handy little helper and I have also made dozens of cookies, brownies, and other baked goods for various parties and activities. My favorite ones were the caramel filled chocolate nut cookies. I made this recipe last year for the first time, and it is so perfect for the holidays because you can make up a few batches of dough, shape them into balls, freeze them, and then when you are short on time but need a yummy homemade treat to take to a party or give away, you just pull some out and bake them. If anyone wants the recipe let me know and I can post it. It is too far away for me to get right now :).
G licking the beaters-- the baking skill he does best.
I took a picture of the process so you could get an idea of what you do. The most time consuming part is unwrapping all the Rolos. Then you just shape the dough around them, dip in a nut/sugar mixture, and
put in a Ziploc and freeze. Once they bake you drizzle them with melted white chocolate and they really do make such a yummy, pretty holiday treat.
After the baking, this is where G inevitably ends up. I am loving the modesty cup in this picture, and not loving how incredibly TALL this little boy of mine looks.

For the last three Christmases this has been our little family. I can't believe we've had that many Christmases with our little boy of joy, and oh how excited I am to celebrate Christmas with him this year-- I get butterflies thinking of Christmas morning and running out to the tree with him. I'm sure I'll take plenty of pictures and give you all a play by play at some point next week :).

Monday, December 14, 2009

he and me


I think I've mentioned before that I was not at all nervous to have a baby. I had zero apprehension about becoming a mom and caring for a newborn. I knew I could handle it and I was just SO excited that there wasn't room for any anxiety about it. 

Baby number 2, however? 

Not so much.

It's not that I'm panicky-worried, or that I'm not excited, or that I think I can't handle it. I am SO excited to have a fresh, tiny babe to hold, and I know I can handle it. And though I am a little nervous about the kinks it will throw in our schedule at first, I know that will work itself out in time. But the real bitter in the bittersweet feelings I'm having? 

Knowing that my time with just little G is coming to an end. Oh how I have delighted in each moment of having my best buddy and favorite friend be my little boy. I have so loved taking him with me wherever I go. Truly, he has never felt like a burden and I have spent almost all of his awake hours with him-- with the exception of one night away a couple of months ago, I think I could count the number of hours that he has spent away from me in his 29 months on two hands. While there is excitement and happiness in knowing that my family is growing (which is all I've ever wanted-- to have a happy, big family), there is also the twinge of sadness that it will never again just be daddy, mommy, and baby. I have so loved being our cozy family of three. I can't help but wonder if I will be as close to my little G as I am now once I add another baby to the mix. 

I know logically that my love will only be multiplied and my heart expanded for each child that I am blessed with. I know that as we add children to our family I will feel as though my soul becomes a little more complete with each one. I know that. It makes sense to me, and I am so looking forward to those thoughts and feelings. But I also know that I will always look back on these blissful days of just my boy and me with nostalgia and reverence and gratitude for the love and beauty that just he and I got to share together. I get a lump in my throat just thinking of it all.

Friday, December 04, 2009

mostly just tell me what to do with my hair

We partook in at least three Thanksgiving feasts. I was so busy eating that I didn't really take many pictures of the festivities except for these few of our early Thanksgiving in Idaho.

Best turkey I've ever had, Grandpa. Seriously. You wish your grandpa could cook like mine, I promise.

G licked the whipped cream off the beaters.

I love how no one is looking at each other in this picture. We were clearly all way too busy staring at our plates and stuffing our faces to engage in social interaction around the table.

And then, of course, some football was watched. The best part of this picture? J holding G's frankenstein spatula. That spatula seriously goes with us everywhere. G sleeps with it every night. Perhaps the best purchase my mom has ever made for G.

On the actual day of Thanksgiving we hopped in the car and headed south to eat with some of J's family in St. George. The food was delicious, the company was fantastic, the weather was divine, but I took exactly zero photos of it all. J snapped this one of some of the little kids out in the backyard playing in the waterfall. G was in heaven with his stick pretending to be fishing. He was soaking wet by the time we had to leave, and I'm positive that was the highlight of his entire Thanksgiving.
We left St. George and continued south to Las Vegas for one of my little sister's soccer tournaments. We had so much fun playing, watching Hannah's team win the whole tournament, and enjoying the warm temperatures, but again, I failed to even take my camera out with us once. I did get this really awesome picture of G in the hotel though, which makes up for all the other pictures I didn't take.

Did you notice that I am in exactly zero of those pictures? That has a little to do with the fact that I really didn't care about taking pictures in general over the weekend (obviously), but more to do with the fact that I could not stand my hair and I felt entirely unattractive most of the time. It was at that really awkward length of not short or long and I was tempted to chop it all off myself. Instead I waited and let my fabulous stylist (and cousin) get to work on it when I got home. It's short. Really short. I can't decide for sure how I feel, but it is definitely better than it was. I am kind of starting to miss long hair, but I can't figure out how I'll ever get it long again because that would require me to suffer through that awkward stage. Have any of you done that? Here is a picture of the current length. Short, huh? Yay or nay? Should I try to grow it out, or am I destined to have short hair forever more? Very important, not-at-all-superficial questions, I know :).