Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Five: A mouse, Indoor Soccer, a Drawer of Ice-cream

Are you ready for Christmas yet? It is coming up quickly! I definitely have a lot to do still.  Since it's Friday, I am sharing 5 thoughts and 5 pictures to recap the week.

5 Thoughts

1. Alex had her first indoor game of the season this last Saturday.  She was a rockstar!  She played keeper the whole time and was all over the place stopping balls left and right.  The whole team and all the parents kept commenting on how amazing she did. I was so proud of her and so happy for the boost to her confidence that this game brought.

2. Saturday night we had our church Christmas party.  It was a nice dinner, followed by an adorable program put on by the kids.  Alex was a Christmas mouse and Ryder was a sheep.  It was cute and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.

3. There was also a surprise visit from Santa at the party... and now I am wondering if Alex maybe still does believe still.  I know for sure Lucas does not; but one day as we were driving to soccer I straight out asked Alex if she believed and she said yes as Santa somehow gets so many things stuffed into their stockings and she can never get it all back in and either can Eric or I.

4. I have one photoshoot left to edit and then I am all caught up!  Well until my next shoot right before Christmas.

5. We got a new fridge this week.  It is a fancy French door one- it is actually the first really nice brand new fridge that we have ever bought, usually get a used one on craigslist.  Totally loving it and threatening the kids with their lives about cleaning up anything they may spill in it immediately of course.

5 Pictures
Donating food
They were so excited to donate food for the school food drive
Drawer of ice cream
Special freezer drawer all for ice-cream on our new fridge 
club soccer team
Awesome victory on their first indoor game
Alex as the Christmas mouse-- Ryder is behind the angel
yummy dinner on smoker
Yummy Sunday dinner-- all made on the smoker

Do you have any fun weekend plans? 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Why I Have Three Christmas Trees

We have three Christmas trees.
Three Christmas trees
In a world of consumerism and wanting more and more, this might seem a little crazy, but in this case there really is a little bit more to it. 

I met my husband my sophomore year of college.  We quickly began dating, fell in love and were married less than a year later.

Those first few years of marriage were fun and busy yet so simple.  We were both going to school full time and working part time.  Eric had a great job installing composite, okay the so the job was actually literally crappy, but it paid $15 a hour.  Between my part-time job, his job and partial and full scholarships we felt like we were doing pretty good for ourselves.  

We drove two old junky cars, my husband's was a $500 dollar special, one in which the engine literally dropped out, which we wired back up with a coat hanger.  I remember saving up all our rewards points on the one credit card we had, so we could have a fancy meal at Red Lobster on Valentines day.  But we were happy.

Our first few Christmas as newlyweds, were spent at our parents houses and even though we weren't usually home Christmas morning, I really wanted a Christmas tree.

Growing up, we would always go and chop down a live tree, always ending up with one way too fat as they seem so much smaller out in the woods surrounded by other trees.  I didn't have to have a live one, in fact I wanted a fake one so we could leave it up all month long; but even with how "rich" we felt, money for a tree was just not in the budget.

One year, around my birthday, Eric took me to Michaels and told me to pick out a tree. I was ecstatic!  The trees were on sale and I picked out a beautiful tree, definitely not the biggest of fattest one there, but one we could just barely afford at about $60.  

I loved that tree!  My mom gave me some ornaments that I had made growing up and my Mother-in-law for part of my birthday present bought me a tub of red and green ornaments.  It was perfect.  
Throw Back to Christmas
Eric and I by our First Christmas tree
I loved that tree for years.. but then some of the branches began breaking and falling off, leaving a few bald spots, and we had a little more money now.  I saved up my money and ordered a tree on-line, something new that we could not have done when we were first married, and bought a tree.  

When it arrived it was just as tall as I thought, but it didn't seem nearly as fat and wide as the picture on-line.  Eric suggested we decorate both trees.  One tree we filled with home-made ornaments, some of which our kids were now contributing to with the things they made at church and school and the other had some of those original ornaments my mother-in-law had bought for me.
Homemade ornaments
I loved my trees, but I still really wanted a big fat tree, kind of like the ones I had grown up with.  This time I went to the store and made sure to see the tree with my own eyes before purchasing and got my tree.  I assumed we would get rid of one of the trees, the obvious choice was our first tree as it was the most worn-out, but we just couldn't do it... there was too many memories, to much sentiment and so we kept all three.

Now I have my winter tree, or BYU tree, our first original tree that we adorn with our homemade and mismatched ornaments and our tree with the ornaments (and some additional we have bought over the years) my mother-in-law gave me.
Snow Christmas Tree
Now every year, when we decorate for Christmas we pull out bin after bin with our three tress and ornaments and we pull out years of memories and love. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tips For Stress Free Holidays

--This is a sponsored post- all feelings and opinions are my own--

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  The line from the familiar Christmas song will either make you smile in agreement or shudder with dread,  For some, the holidays means stress and anxiety, while others it is pure joy.

No matter how you feel about the holiday season, these tips can help make it a little easier.

  Whether it be decorations, the food, or presents- it is so easy to get caught up in wanting more and more, but just stop!  Stop and reflect on what you remember about Christmas and the holidays from your childhood.  It probably is the feelings, being with family, and the things you did that you remember.  You probably don't remember how fancy the decorations were or what presents you got, but the feelings and events.

 Say No
  There is so much that happens this time of year, from parties, performances, and a million other things, it is a busy time of year.  Sit down as a family and decide what things really matter to your family, what are your musts, and what things can probably be cut out.  It is okay at times to say no.  The Power of Moms has a great step-by-step guide to help you plan your Christmas focused on what matters most to you.

Plan Ahead
  Do you want to send out a Christmas cards?  Then December is not the time to be trying to get a family picture, trust me, I am a photographer-if you call me in December wanting pictures, there is a good chance my schedule will be full.

Take the pictures early and then you can wait for the sales on sites like Tiny Prints, and order your cards at a great price and can have them all ready to send out when the time comes.
christmas card
One of my favorite features on Tiny Prints is that you can upload your pictures and see your picture in the preview of all the cute cards as you search.  It makes it so much easier to eliminate and choose a card you really want.

Just Breath
 Things will not go exactly as planned, that is just life.  Just step back and realize it is okay.  Focus on the positive, the good things that did happen and occur.  Focus on what the season really means to you and the joyful moments of it... and if worse comes to worse, there will always be another Christmas next year.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Five: Lights, Honors Society, and Two Front Teeth

Happy Friday everyone!  Here is my Friday 5.

5 Thoughts

1.  This has been a busy but great week, we decorated for Christmas, Christmas music is playing and we are just all around excited!  The weather has even been "cold" here making it feel more like winter is coming.

2. Ryder is now officially set for Christmas as he lost his two front teeth this last week.   I have been editing pictures of a family (well many families as have lots of shoots to edit) and one of the little girls I kept thinking why is she never showing her teeth with her smile, but she currently doesn't have her two front teeth either.

3. Indoor league is about to start for soccer- the first game is this Saturday.  If you have never seen indoor soccer- think of soccer and hockey combined, subbing on the fly by jumping over the wall, slamming players into the wall, hitting the ball off the wall- it is crazy but fun to watch.

4. Lucas made the first round of being invited to Junior National Honors Society-- now to fill out the application and see if he gets accepted, they are only taking 35 kids from each grade level this year.  Proud that he does qualify, we will see if he makes it.

5. I have started getting Christmas cards from friends, got the first two yesterday, love getting these every year.  Now I just need to get a new ink cartridge so I can print the address labels and send our cards off.

5 Pictures
Hanging Christmas lights
Hanging up Christmas lights-yes Eric has shorts, that is how we roll in California
The Poke
Lunch date at the Poke Place- sushi in a bowl basically
Boys doing the dishes

Top two teeth missing
All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
So Cold she needs gloves
Few days after we hung the lights, it turned a bit colder 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A 10th Birthday Celebration

My daughter is 10!  I think that makes her officially a tween now, which is scary to me.  For the first time in many years Alex's birthday actually didn't fall during Thanksgiving break, her birthday has even been on Thanksgiving before.   Her birthday did fall on a Monday though, a busy school and soccer day.  So this year to properly celebrate her birthday, the celebration lasted almost a week.

It began on Saturday with her birthday dinner.  She really wanted ribs- and Eric was more than happy to use his new smoker.
smoking ribs in the rain

The rain definitely made it a bit tricker, but the ribs were still so, so good!
Smoked ribs

We continued the celebration on Sunday with her cake.  She wanted an ice-cream cake, like she had last year.
Icecream cake
birthday candles
10th birthday
blowing out the candles

Much to her dismay, she did have to wait until her actual birthday to open her presents.
10y-year-old birthday
watching his sister open presents
Lego Friends for her birthday

She had requested cinnamon rolls for her birthday morning breakfast, but I forgot to buy them on Saturday, so her birthday got extended even further when we had her birthday breakfast a couple of days later.
Cinnamon Rolls

I have a feeling she might want this extended birthday again next year, as really don't we all want a week long celebration?