Thursday, December 30, 2010

a 26 year tradition

26 years ago
Stacey, Cindy, Karen & I gathered our little families
and celebrated Christmas Eve together.
And we've been doing it every single year since.
This year on December 26th we gathered at Karen & David's lovely home.

Other than that first year, we have taken a picture of our kids on the couch every single year.
We each have three children, and several have married and made us grandparents.
So needless to say, the couch picture has grown in volume.

The Moms ~ Stacey, Cindy, me & Karen

This year I put together a photo album of our first 25 years for each of the Moms.
As you can see, we didn't always take a Mom photo but always the traditional couch picture.
Randy scanned and photoshopped 25 years of pictures 
and I put the pages together and stamped the years.
Truly a labor of love for each of these dear friends.

We have seen each other through so much over the years...
many painful losses...  our parents, a son, a marriage and jobs.
We have leaned on each other for love and support and the truth of God's faithfulness. 
We have laughed and cried and hurt each other. 
But we have chosen to stay and pray and let God heal our hearts.
We have been blessed beyond measure!

Now, on a lighter note...
many of us received a pair of TOMS for Christmas.
So why not a TOMS group shot!
Which in no way will replace the couch picture.
Although maybe the Moms picture, as we're all getting older you know. Ha!

And last but certainly not least...
me & my girls.
I can't begin to tell you how much I love this picture.
These are my favorite girls in all the world!

Oh, and on another lighter note...
we rotate homes each year, so 4 years ago Karen & David set up the mashed potato martini bar ~
similar to what was served at their wedding the year before.
Well this year they served it again. Truly the most decadent means to eating mashed potatoes ever!
I neglected to take pictures this year, but you can check out that 2006 post HERE.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Day

My kids have slept in the same room together on Christmas Eve since they were toddlers. One of my very favorite traditions. You can't imagine the conversations we've overheard. Remember, we were huge believers in Santa.
This year after Shawn's family went home, Randy, Miranda and Tyler watched "It's a Wonderful Life" till after midnight. I woke up as they gathered in the kitchen to talk about the movie...

... and then Miranda & Tyler proceeded to talk in their room till 3 in the morning. I know I've said it before, but nothing makes a Momma happier than knowing her kids really like each other.
So needless to say, we let them sleep in till 9am. Randy & I were like little kids waiting for their parents to wake up... only we were parents waiting for their kids to wake up!

We had such a nice, leisurely day opening gifts, eating a hardy breakfast, talking to my family back home, watching movies, napping and then spending the evening with Randy's Mom in Surprise. She made a wonderful meal followed by Christmas carols and story telling. Couldn't ask for a better day.

Oh but wait, it actually got better.
As the sun was setting in Surprise, I grabbed my camera and my kids and started snapping away. I love how these two played along and made it so fun and impromptu. They gave me pensive and whimsy, humor and spontaneity. And I savored every single minute. 


Thanks Tyler & Miranda for loving your Mom this way.
Cuz pictures of my kids make me almost as happy as my kids liking each other ~ haha.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve '10

One of things that I am learning in this new season of life... as empty nesters... is to not have expectations. But we all know that even when we think we don't, we do. But I gotta tell ya, Christmas far surpassed whatever expectations I did or thought I did not have. It was truly one of the best.

The festivities began on Christmas Eve when our son Shawn and his family arrived... followed by our daughter Miranda and son Tyler. While putting the finishing touches on our traditional Christmas meal of spiral ham, raisin sauce, scalloped potatoes and rosemary rolls... I was fully aware that my husband and son Tyler were engaged in discussing the latest C.S. Lewis book that Tyler was reading... Nicole was nursing my new granddaughter Elsie before meal time... Emolyn was showing her Aunt Miranda her new pink Sketchers with sparkles that Santa brought her earlier in the day (that I was trying to capture as she danced in the above pic)... and Shawn was getting drinks for everyone and as usual, making us laugh.
These precious moments had already far exceeded any expectations I may have had.

After dessert we opened presents. Oh, and btw, my dessert was a big hit. Who knew? I took my gingerbread cut-out cookies and made ice cream sandwiches... using Dreyer's egg nog ice cream. So yummy good! I had frozen them days before and the cookies remained nice and crispy, and the egg nog ice cream was the perfect compliment to the spice cookies.

Then Randy turned on the video camera, passed out the presents and we commenced to opening the gifts to and from Shawn & Nicole. We will open the rest on Christmas morning.

Shawn & Nicole gave each of us baskets of homemade edible gifts and let me tell you- sooo amazing! We're talking chocolate and carmel sauces, canned roasted red peppers, blue cheese butter (which they recommended on grilled steaks), chocolate pistachio biscotti, canned applesauce, apricot jams, beef jerky, dried apple slices, decadent truffles and homemade soaps. I know!

But wait, there's even more... my own custom stationery from Tiny Prints, a framed photo of Emolyn & Elsie with Santa. And a beautiful necklace.

Emolyn's gifts had a Disney theme. So fun watching her put on Ariel's aqua flowy gown, Jasmine sparkly slippers, Pocahontus costume and Little Mermaid furry slippers.

When all the gifts were opened, we had to clear the floor for the big gift. And I mean BIG gift.
Randy & I bought this Tinker Bell Fairy House, thinking it would be perfect for Emolyn & Elsie. I wasn't even sure they could stand up in it, much less fit anyone else in it.

Well, Randy & I decide to set it up earlier in the day... and we were wrong. So very, very wrong. 
Five adults could easily fit inside!! It is seriously HUMUNGOUS!

How cute is the yellow plastic lantern and Disney fleece blankets! 
Emolyn loves her purple Tinker Bell blanket 
and Elsie will love her aqua Cinderella blanket.

Like I said, big enough for the whole kit 'n caboodle!
Emolyn & Elsie are going to love pretending and napping and doing whatever else little girls do.

Before Shawn, Nicole & the girls headed home, 
we all piled in their van and drove around looking at lights.
What a wonderful Christmas Eve!
Coming up: Christmas Day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lego Santa Collection

They're here! My Lego Santas are back! And they're as cute as ever!
I started collecting them back in the late 80's and early 90's. 
Do you remember standing in the check-out line at Toys R Us and they would have bags of Lego Santas, Snowmen or Angels in bins for around a dollar. They would introduce a new one each year and often times I would wait till after Christmas when they were half off. 
I know! What was I thinking?!

 We would put them in our kids stockings each year and they loved putting them together 
and then I would pack them away for the next year, to put out on display. 

Well, get this, several years ago they came out with Lego Advent Calendar sets 
and I was in heaven! 
Oh my gosh, you mean, my kids would have a Lego set to put together every day
 leading up to Christmas! 
How cool is that! And the sets were as cute as can be. 

One year I got a set at Barnes & Nobles and the other two sets at Target. 
I always got them half off... they're kind of pricey. But so worth the money, as they will last forever! 
I have three sets. And three kids. And well, that's a good thing.

I snapped the above image this morning and love how it turned out.
Have you seen any new Christmas Lego sets out there?
Last year I went online and ordered those two Lego Christmas trees
 and the girl with the blue bowed present. (far right)
Aren't they adorable!
Oh, and Mega Bloks put out "Lego" ornaments a few years ago that I just LOVE!
Let me know if you find any this year.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a "good day"!

I am linking up my Christmas Lego Collection to-

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas is...

... seeing it all through the eyes of a child.
Emolyn wondering if the fire in the church village is real or pretend.

... the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular!

Me wondering what is real and what is pretend.

... Emolyn falling in love with the stuffed animals that her Daddy
and aunt & uncle played with each Christmas. 
Where, oh where is Emolyn Kate?

... imagining Mary & baby Jesus.

... Emolyn telling Santa she wants "pink Sketchers that sparkle" for Christmas.
She is definitely her Daddy's daughter.

... telling her the Christmas story over and over.

... and what real snow is like over and over.

... having dear friends & family over to decorate cookies for Christmas.

This year we added the Christmas cactus and the letter E for Emolyn & Elsie.

Emolyn didn't need our help in decorating... nor consuming the cookies.
And she will never have need for an eye-lash curler.

Pop Pop and Elsie enjoying all the banter and competition going on.

Christmas is... making traditional foods.
Thanks to my handy, handsome husband.

Swedish meatballs & lefse for Rice Nite. YUM!

Christmas is... a road trip!
Randy & I (and our dog Koda) are planning to head to the mountains after Christmas.
I can hardly wait to get out of the city and play in the snow.
(this was an image from last year)

Merry Christmas dear friends & faithful blog readers!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

remembering my Dad

A year ago today my Dad passed away.
You can read what I wrote on that day HERE.
My Dad was a dairy farmer that worked 24/7, from sun-up to sun-down.
The hardest working man I know.
So to see this picture of my Dad on the couch reading the newspaper on Christmas Eve,
well, it just warms my heart.
Everything about this picture makes me smile-
the Tinker Toy can, my Playtime Tea Set and pink metal sink.
Me holding my new doll with the striped jammies.
 My sisters Ginny & Kathy with their new dolls.
My brother Gary wearing a gun & holster around his waist.
And that my Dad had 2 bottles of Schlitz beer on Christmas Eve.
He never did that... so that has always tickled us kids.
The black cougar lamp with red venetian blinds on the TV...
that I saw a few years ago at an antique store for over a hundred dollars!
I love the curtains, the couch and the coziness of the whole room...
and just being a family at Christmas.
And I love old photos that preserve sweet memories of my Dad.

And yes, that could have been around the time that I sang that song that I posted HERE.

Well, this is the comment that someone posted on my blog after reading that post.

Anonymous said...

How funny! I found your blog searching for the "18 Cents" song (circa 1965ish?). I also googled the lyrics and can sing this goofy tune in my head, but couldn't find the music. If I find it, I'll come back and share!

WELL, the very next day SHE FOUND THE SONG! 

On youtube HERE!

Be sure to listen to both songs.

"I've Got Eighteen Cents To Spend For Christmas" 

"The Little Christmas Stocking With The Hole In The Toe" 

performed by the "Peter Pan Caroleers"

from the "Christmas is for Children" album.

I was thrilled to say the least!
THANKS SO MUCH Anonymous! I am forever grateful!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Christmas Campers

Can you believe it?
A Happy Campers Christmas ornament!
I am so crazy in love with my vintage travel trailer Hallmark ornament!
Thank you Grace & Steve!
You guys love and know us so well!
Randy & I never got around to hanging lights around our cozy cottage on wheels,
but having her all lit up & festive on our Christmas tree is even better!
We took our cozy cottage on wheels camping for the first time in 2010,
so it makes perfect sense to commemorate her maiden voyage with a 2010 Christmas ornament!
I could not be more thrilled to have another ornament that tells a story of our latest adventures.