Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 re-cap

{year in review}

I did this last year & have decided to do it again @ the end of each year. I am doing it mainly for myself :). I decided to add photos @ the last minute so i will add more when I have time...kind of fun! Let me know if you join in.

1.What did you do in 2008 that you have never done before?
I was able to attend CHA(Craft, Hobby Association) in Chicago. I had never been to CHA or Chicago.

They were both AWESOME. CHA was a total scrapbook high. Tons of eye candy for any scrapbooker...so many yummy papers, embellishments, & ideas. I loved every minute of it. I got to see the sights in Chicago too! Margie was a great tour guide! I loved Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, & just being in the Windy City itself.

I ate a Chicago dog & had a slice or two of a Chicago deep dish pizza for the first time too!

2. Did you keep your 2008 New Year's resolutions and will you make more for 2009?
I always make resolutions at the start of each new year. Do i keep them...not really. I'm being honest. I did lose some of that baby weight from last year. It was on my list, as it is again for this year. We had FHE last night & we all talked about & contributed goals that we want to achieve as a family in 2009. We also wrote down our own personal ones. I am taping mine to the bathroom mirror so I can really work on achieving them this year. There are a few things I NEED to accomplish.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth in 2008?
No new babies in my immediate family but lots of friends & extended family welcomed new little additions to their families-YAY!

4. Did anyone close to you die in 2008?

We were fortunate enough to make in through another year (knock on wood)with out loosing anyone super close to us! We are so very grateful for the good health that everyone enjoyed in 2008.

President Hinckley, the 15th prophet of our church died in late January 2008. He was 97 years old. Even though he was elderly, it is still hard to imagine him gone. He was ONE incredible man.

5. What countries did you visit this year?
None. We (as a family)didn't even travel outside of California. It is hard to get away with the boys in school & family who can’t help out in that way due to health or distance. Maybe when we are empty Nester's ( I sure hope it is sooner than that).

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More date nights with John! We are working on this. I am hoping for @ least once a month. (This is last years response...still the same for this year:). Hopefully we'll try harder.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 4, 2008, election day.

The man whom I voted for, as the next United States President did not win but I remember sitting in front of the TV with Tanner & Carter & crying tears of joy. The first African American had just been nominated as the next President of the United Sates. Both, John McCain & Obama gave wonderful, & what I felt were sincere loser/winner speeches that night. I felt like there was really a new hope for America & change that we desperately need. What a historic event we were able to witness. I will never forgot the way I felt that night...so very proud to be an American. So very grateful for the chance to vote & let my voice be heard.

8. What was your biggest achievement this year?
I can’t think of anything HUGE. I did mange to loose 25 lbs. on my very own. Not too shabby. Another achievement could be the fact that I managed to get my kids dressed, fed & delivered to school on time, every day this year. With four boys & myself to get ready before 8:30 each morning, I did well.

9. What was your biggest struggle this year?
I had two.
Let me preface this by saying that I LOVE this little boy so much. Keeping/chasing Mr. Brody off the counters was my biggest struggle this year. He was into EVERYTHING & by that, I do I MEAN everything! Not only did he scale my counters,

he crawled up on our kitchen table, danced on the coffee tables, emptied our kitchen drawers over & over again(he would lick the silverware as he emptied from the drawers), emptied John & I's clothes drawers daily, many rolls of toilet paper graced our toilets,

& he also learned to crawl out of his crib. It has been quite a year with this boy as he became mobile in early Feb.. Hopefully things will calm down in this area of our lives in 2009.

The 2nd struggle this year came when I received an email from one of my best friends, husband. This friend & I have been friends since 5th grade. It was an email letting us know that their baby boy had died in his sleep. I literally felt like my heart was torn out of my chest. I can't even begin to imagine the heartbreak they feel. I struggled & still do with not knowing what I could/can do living hundreds of miles away from her. She & her family are constantly in my thoughts & prayers. No Mommy should ever have to experience the loss of a child.

10. Did you suffer any illness or injury in 2008?
I had my first root canal. The root canal was a breeze...good Dr. & pain meds. It was the pain of the tooth for a month before that nearly sent me over the edge-OWWWWW! My former dentist was a nightmare, hence the LONG month to figure out what was wrong.

I also came down with the flu on the boys last day of school. Knocked me out for a good 4 days, it was awful. I missed a fun pool party/bbq! I am hoping to steer clear of that this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought this year?
Hands down it is the new lap top John bought for me.

It has made my life so much easier in the short two weeks that I have owned it. I can accomplish a lot more during my computer time.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Garrett gets this one again this year. His speech has improved so much. With the help of some wonderful teachers, Ms. Lori & Ms. Erin, we can understand this boy. He sure has come a long way & with fingers crossed, he will be totally ready for kindergarten next Fall.

Tanner has had some celebrations too. This is the first year where he has received letter grades. He got straight A's on his report card & made the honor roll with a 4.0. Way to GO Tanner!

Tanner also made the select soccer team this year. He has wanted this for so long. He didn't make it last year due to the fact that he had to miss some of the tryouts because he was sick with the flu. He even went to some tryouts with the flu against our better judgement. He made the team this year & was on cloud 9. It was a great season & a whole different game.

Carter also had an amazing report card as far as grades are concerned. As for the behavior areas on the report card, his teacher said that almost everyone gets the satisfactory(S) mark. Carter got all O's for OUTSTANDING. She says she rarely gives them out. I was so proud. Both Tanner & Carter also received 100 percent awards for their attendance this year. We offered to pull them out of school to go ice skating in early December. They both said "No thank you. We don't want to miss school"! Who are these boys? Really?

13. Whose behavior disappointed you?

A few of the individuals who voted NO on Prop 8. I totally support the idea that they have their right to vote & believe how they choose.

That is why I LOVE living in America. I also believe that EVERYONE is entitled to respect, no matter how you voted. It was very disappointing to see some of our church buildings & Temples get damaged. Individuals decided that it was okay too spray paint(with red paint)some of our buildings & the surrounding property. We even had a few friends who experienced vandalism to their homes & cars after their YES on Prop 8 signs & bumper stickers went up. Made me sad & mad @ the same time.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I would have to say Wal*Mart & Old Navy. WM is still my one stop shopping(milk, diapers, photo developing, groceries, shampoo, etc...). I feel like I was at Old Navy @ least once a week this year buying new clothes for my boys. They are growing like weeds & everything seems like it is always too small. We won't mention the never ending holes in the knees of the brand new jeans.

15. What did you get really really excited about this year?
This is a hard one. I had many things to get excited about this year.
1. Scrapbook weekend @ the beach.
2. Girls weekend in Tahoe, so much fun!

3. I got the see Chicago for the first time & attend CHA for the first time-AWESOME!
4. Having my family in one place again, lots of tears of JOY.

5. My new lap top.
6. Garrett attending one speech class a week instead of 3 a week.
7. Throwing John's 40th b-day party. Good Times!

8. Several family trips to Lake Tahoe

9. Brody's first birthday

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
I fell in love with a million new songs this year. I LOVE music. A few of my favorites in 2008 were:
Katie Herzig: I will follow, Weightless, Fools Gold
Leona Lewis
Jason Mraz
One Republic
Maroon 5 - not new for me, just rediscovered them & my love for them!
Natasha Beddingfield is the 2008 album that was played over & over, again & again in the car & on my ipod.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: much happier, much nicer or richer?
Not richer…probably poorer with all of these boys & their never ending sport seasons & bottomless stomachs to feed- HA! I can't pin point where it came from but my stress level was high this year. Again, not sure why, but it was. I am going to breath in & out this year & often. I will remind myself to SLOW down in 2009.

18. What do you wish you had done more of?
I wish I had more hours in a day. I feel like I accomplish a lot on a daily basis but boy would my "to do" lists be totally checked off every day if I just had a few more hours in each day. Some more sleep would be nice too!

19. What do you wish you had done less of?
chasing Brody off the counter, table, & out of our drawers-see #9

20. Did you fall in love this year?
Yes,with the Twilight series. I had read the first two books the previous year(2007) but boy do I love the series more now! After seeing the movie, I have been re-reading them.

Not for the first time, but over & over again with my family. I have a great deal of LOVE for each one of them. They are my greatest joys/treasure.

21. What was your favorite TV Program in 2008?
Didn't fall in love with any new shows this year. I rarely watch TV.
I am still a BIG Grey’s Anatomy fan. Loved Biggest Loser & The Bachelor(Iknow,I know-I don't want to hear it).

22. What was the best book you read this year?
Don't know if it was the best, but I loved Breaking Dawn. I was happy to have a new book in the series to read. I even went to the Midnight Book launch @ B&N with my friend, Eve. We were amongst the teeny boppers :). It was a fun night.

I also really liked the Friday Night Knitting Club & Ellen Foster.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery this past year?
Again, I fell in love with a TON of new music this year...but I became a fan of Katie Herzig. Her music was totally new to me & I LOVE it. It is calm & easy to listen too!
I LOVE the Twilight soundtrack too. My whole family does. It is one of our favorites in the car!

24. What did you want and get this year?
Happy,healthy boys!

25. What was the best movie you saw this year?
I honestly did not see very many movies this year. I did enjoy Twilight.I didn't expect too much before going to see it & I ended up really liking it. So much so that I paid to see it twice. I also saw the Secret Life of Bees on my birthday with my Mom & sisters. I thought they did a great job casting this movie & kept it true to the book. BTW- I loved the book.

26. What did you do on your birthday and how old did you turn?
I turned 34 in 2008. Man, I'm getting old. I had an awesome day. Mom, Amber,& Sommer arrived on my front porch @ 10 am.

We enjoyed a day of shopping, lunch @ Costa Vida, & went to the movies. We saw the Secret Life of Bees, a total chick flick. They really made my day. I loved having them here. John & the boys took me too dinner & had a cake waiting for me @ home.

I received so many wonderful phone calls, emails, text messages, & thoughtful gifts. My hubby even left me a surprise post on my blog. I felt totally loved & spoiled.

27. What would have made your your year more satisfying?
This was last years response & it still applies. I failed at it again this year.
I say this every year & will say it again…I want to be ready for Christmas by Dec. 1st. That means Christmas cards will be made/purchased, The shopping will be complete, the Grandma calendars will be done, the house (inside & out) will be decked out, & hopefully the ward party will be done by that first weekend so I can REALLY ENJOY my December, or better yet...maybe I won't have to be in charge of that party in 2009. Two years in a row is enough, right?

28. How would you describe your personal fashion statement this year?
I am a simple girl...jeans, t-shirts, hoodies & cute accessories are totally me. Don't forget the cute pair of polka dot ballet flats on occasion & I am good to go.

29. What kept you sane this year?
My Scrapbook weekend @ the beach, scrapbook nights @ Green Tangerines with good friends, Girls weekend in Lake Tahoe & daily phone calls to my sister, Amber. She has three boys of her own, need I say more?

30. What celebrity did you fancy the most?
Kind of infatuated with the Twilight Characters. I was anxiously awaiting to see who they'd cast for each role.

31. Who did you miss this past year?
I have missed my family a lot this year. Due to certain circumstances & distance, we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like. I miss that my boys don’t live close to their cousins. My cousins were/are some of my very best friends. I wish they could see their cousins more often.

33. Who were the best new people you met this year?
Not neccesarly new, but the friends that I have been able to reconnect with via Face Book. It has been so much fun catching up with long lost friends.

{photo taken during the summer of 1994}.
Amazing what the web can do!

One of my favorite new friends this year is Margie.
I was able to meet her in Chicago. She is Paula's (one of my GT bosses)niece. She was so great about hauling us around Chicago & showing us the sights & Hot Spots. We have kept in touch via email, our blogs, & Face Book. She has two darling boys & well...you know, I click with anyone who has cute boys :). Love ya Margie!

Another wonderful friend, she is not technically "New" this year but I sure have gotten to know her better in 2008. She is Brandigirl.

I work with Brandi @ Green Tangerines. She is my counterpart, the full time partner in crime. This girl works her tail off. She is fun, happy, creative, kind, & so full of life & color. I sure hope she knows how much I appreicate her. It has been so much fun getting to know her better this year. I am so glad I can call her my friend. love you Brandigirl.

One more friend that I have gotten to know a little better this year is Free. Again, she is not a "new 2008 friend" but one I have been really able to re-connect with via emails/my blog. Free is super talented & one in a million. I know things haven't been easy for her for many years but she is amazing & I am amazed at all she accomplishes. Our family sure does enjoy her hand made cards that she sends us during the holidays. Love you Free. Thanks for being my friend.

I am grateful for all of my friends. So thankful for your examples & kindness.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned this year:

I have learned that my family/friends are truly my greatest blessings/joys/gifts/treasures! At the end of the day, that is all that truly matters.
I am grateful for those who continually love & support me.

Whew...that was alot for one post. It was fun to re-read my answers from last year. It is a great way to record my year, in one spot. Give it a try...you'll be happy to have it recorded. Something to look back on & see where I have improved & where I still need help! I hope each & every one of you have a Happy, Healthy, & Safe New Year. May 2009 bring you LOVE, HAPPINESS, & great JOY!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hot Cocoa

I got this recipe from my dear friend, Erin G.. She is a GREAT cook & she ALWAYS shares her yummy recipes with me. I hope she doesn't mind that I am sharing it with you! I have made two batches of this Hot Chocolate just this week alone. One pot for Christmas Eve & one for Christmas day.It was a HUGE hit & it makes a ton. You can put it in your Crock Pot & enjoy it all day long. Our favorite, is to add a candy cane(the chunky, soft candy cane sticks) & whip cream on top-YUMMO. The first time I made it, i used evaporated milk because I bought that by mistake! It still tasted GREAT! The condensed milk makes it a little sweeter(I think). I also used Stephen's milk chocolate hot cocoa mix because I couldn't find the Belgian cocoa & it was DIVINE!

3 Quarts boiling water

1 can Belgian Cocoa Mix (generic about $1.50) approx. 16 oz.

2 cans heated condensed mix

1 large Symphony or Hershey bar, finely grated

Heat condensed milk in a small sauce pan.
Bring water to boil in a large stock pot.
Add Cocoa Mix to boiling water and stir until there are no lumps
Add milk and Hersey bar & stir.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

I still can't believe Christmas is here & almost on its way out! We have had a wonderful December & the last two days were a great way to enjoy our Christmas Eve/Day. We had John's side of the family over for dinner last night.

The cousins had a great time running around & just being together. Before opening presents, we sang Christmas carols.

Aunt Kristina played the piano & made me weep(not hard to do by the way). It was wonderful to sing the songs that remind us why we celebrate the season & of course it was fun to sing the "FUN" holiday songs. You should hear us sing the 12 days of Christmas...it is pretty obnoxious!
Before heading to bed, we decorated sugar cookies, listened to Christmas music, & left carrots on the porch for the reindeer.

I heard the boys over by the fridge going back & forth as to how many reindeer Santa had pull his sleigh. they decided to just leave 12 carrots out...just in case some were hungrier than others-lol.

Tanner, Garrett & Brody were in our room @ 2:30 am-ugghhh! I think they seriously thought we were going to let them get up & open presents! We sent them back to bed & didn't see them till 7:00 am. They were so excited that they could not stand it any longer. Dad had to go turn on the tree lights & make sure that Santa had even come. This is what our living room looked like before the boys came out

& this is what it looked like after it was said & done.

We actually had each child open their stash of presents one @ a time. We made it last an hour, can you believe that? It is usually over in 2 minutes flat.
The boys were thrilled to see that the reindeer were hungry when they arrived @ our house. This is what we found on the porch this morning.

We enjoyed Christmas dinner with my family today. The cousins love to spend time with one another & it makes the drive down totally worth it. My entire family was there today & it was SO nice to have everyone in ONE place.

My Mom made tanner & Carter their denim quilts this year. They are awesome, made with lots of LOVE. The denim squares are from family members actual pants(old ones) If their quilts go missing, my boys will know where to find them...on my bed.

I am so grateful for this season, for this day. Grateful for that sweet baby that was born in a lowly manger, many years ago. Thankful for this season that allows me to slow down & to remember the birth of our Savior & ALL that is good in this world. Wishing you & yours a very merry Christmas! We hope your day was magical & filled with the spirit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are your stockings hung?

Are you ready? Are your stockings hung by the chimney with great care?

Long time no blog! I decided I needed to get that "feeling blue" post off of the top of my blog. I am not blue today! I am HAPPY! I am so stinkin' excited that Christmas is almost here! Can you believe it? Are you ready? We have been baking sugar cookies by the dozen, cleaning the house, doing laundry, & finishing up our shopping & wrapping today. Tanner & I headed out to Old Navy @ 6:30 this morning. I had to check out the 60% off sale. Scored a few deals but would have rather stayed in my warm bed. We picked up a few things @ Target, stopped by Starbucks for a Carmel Apple Spice & then headed home. It was a fun morning with tan-man. We are hosting Christmas Eve with my in laws here @ our house. This is a first for us in the 12 years that we have been married. We are looking forward to it & are excited that we don't have to travel on Christmas Eve.

What are your plans for the big holiday?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Feeling Blue

I didn't start my day out feeling this way! I went to grab the mail today. You know, that happy spot during the month of December. I was going through the mail & enjoying all of the cute Christmas cards/photos from family & friends. I got to one envelope & it was addressed to our family in a mans handwriting, with no return address. I proceeded to open it to find the Christmas card envelope that I had addressed earlier this month. It still had our return address label on it & everything. It was just the front of the envelope (does that make sense?). On the very bottom of the envelope was a note that read "Unfortunately Janet died July 11th, 2008". My heart sunk & I began to cry. Janet was our cute little neighbor that lived in the apartments where we lived (until tanner was 3)as newlyweds. She was not married & did not have any children. We passed Janet's home every time we went to get our mail at the cluster box. She would always come out & say HI. She always saved the cars/toys for Tanner & Carter that she got in her cereal boxes. She was a sweet lady! Just feeling a little blue that it took sending a Christmas card to find out that she had passed away.

In happier news, this is what greeted us @ preschool pick up today.

Garrett informed us that this was a Christmas hat for himself or that it could be a hat for our Christmas tree! So cute & so funny!

I must have been a good girl this year! Look what arrived via the FedEx guy yesterday! YIPEEE...an early Christmas present from Santa.

I have been working/blogging/emailing from our old home computer. I would literally turn it on & go take a shower or go vacuum my house while I waited for it to load/warm up. It sounds funny but true! It was painful. Now I can blog & post in no time!

Hope you day has been warm & happy! It is so cold here! I don't think the temperature has hit 50 degrees yet-bbbrrrrr!

Friday, December 12, 2008

holiday traditions

We love this holiday tradition! We enjoyed hot Wassail & waited on the corner by our house. What were waiting for you ask...Santa of course. Santa drives through our neighborhood every December. The boys so look forward to this. Thanks to the police department & the electric company, Santa cruises down our street. He brings the elves & they pass out candy canes. It is a night that lets us share the holiday spirit with our friends & neighbors.

{boy do i need to learn how to take better night shots-Santa is there, top left}

We added a new twist to a tradition that already exists @ our house. On Christmas Eve, the boys open new Christmas Jammie's. After reading my friend Stephanie's blog (I think it was her SIL's idea) I had the boys open their new Jammie's last night after watching Santa zip through our neighborhood. It make sense to have them open them now so they can enjoy them before Christmas too. I found these cute Jammie's @ GAP. They have Christmas words/sayings on them(presents, naughty, nice, Santa, etc...). They are pretty stinkin' cute if I do say so myself. Thanks for the new tradition Steph! Here are the boys in their Jammie's! How long do you think they will continue to let me keep this up? I am hoping forever-LOL!

On to our next tradition(it is a fairly new one too), we are going to watch the movie ELF & giggle ourselves silly! What are some of your favorite traditions?