Friday, December 30, 2011

Big Bear 2011

We just got back from our annual Big Bear trip, we packed in lots of activities in our 4 days and 3 nights there.  Here are some highlights...
Sledding with the kids...

Going out to eat for Holly's 25th Birthday!

Just Dance on the Wii, I'm pretty sure this is the funnest game ever, but I'm also sure that you look like a total dork while feeling like the coolest person on the planet ;)

And hanging out!
There always has to be a game of Settlers of Catan!

Singing songs with Clara!

It was lots of fun with too little of sleep (lets just say that I am so thankful that the kids are both tucked into bed in their SEPARATE rooms!)  And lots of wonderful memories made!  Now we are getting ready for our next big event...a New Years Eve and birthday bash for Taylor.  We sure know how to keep things crazy, on the drive home we were all texting and calling each other with last minute things that we needed to pick up and accomplish before the big event tomorrow.  It's going to be crazy, but also lots of fun.  Happy New Years!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We had a cozy Christmas this year.  We stayed home and both of our families came to us! My family came over in the morning and had a huge breakfast and then did our gift exchange.  My sister was back east visiting her in laws , so it was a small group.  Later in the day Jordan's family came over, and we snacked for lunch, did our gift exchange, and then had a delicious dinner.  We had a roast, cheesy potatoes, salad, and homemade bread.  Our favorite Christmas presents this year were our wheat grinder from my grandma, and our new bread maker that we bought for ourselves.  We are planning on buying our wheat whole (wheat berries) and grinding it to make flour and then baking our own bread.  It is so delicious and so healthy!  We sang Christmas carols, watched The Elf, and relaxed and enjoyed spending time together.
My family doing our gift exchange.

The kids LOVED opening presents!

Trying out the grinder...our grinder & bread maker...our first loaf!

My uncle's dog Jake...our delicious roast!

Singing Christmas Carols...Jingle Bells, Silent Night...
The young group, and our friend Shauna who stopped by to visit!

This was Coleton's first Christmas, and he was so much fun!  He can entertain himself really well and loves to crawl and explore things.  He loved playing with all the packaging of toys and presents, than the gifts themselves, of course.  Clara loved celebrating Jesus' birthday and was so cute and excited with each present she opened.  These times just get more and more fun with the kids, and I love that Clara is getting old enough to teach her the real meaning of Christmas!  Now we are getting ready for our annual trip to Big excited!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Hotel Del

Clara being goofy and not wanting to take a picture ;
I am a huge fan of Coronado, and especially the Hotel Del, it is a very nostalgic and romantic location.  We had the opportunity of going on a date night a week ago to "An American Christmas" which is held in the ballroom of the Hotel, and if you can remember my experience last year where I developed a very nasty stomach bug on the way to the show, and couldn't enjoy it one bit! I definitely jumped at the chance to go and see our brother and sister-in-law, Jesse and Holly, perform.  I enjoyed it immensely, the food was delicious, and they make you feel like warmly welcomed guests.  There was a lady sitting at our table who was staying at the Hotel, and she offered us 4 tickets to "skating by the Sea" which I have always wanted to do.  It is not cheap to skate at the Del and I was so excited to get them! We met Jesse and Holly at the rink which is right near the water, and skated away before they had to be at the show.  It was very fun, Clara had a little trouble keeping upright at first, but she got the hang of it!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day at the beach, and a perfect southern California Christmas activity!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

I have never ever made a gingerbread house, and I decided that needed to change!  We invited some friends over, and undertook the huge project of creating gingerbread houses.  I wanted to make the gingerbread from scratch and I used this recipe here and it was spot on.  Everything was perfect, from the consistency, stability, frosting, and it tasted delicious!  The kids had waaaaay to much candy, but you can't blame them, you place bowls of candy in front of any toddler and they will attempt to shovel the candy in their mouths until you take it away.  Clara and Lauren had a blast helping and they kept each other entertained until the adults put on the finishing touches.

 I definitely see a new yearly tradition in the making!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Christmas Season...

We have been busy lately, but mostly with little holiday activities.  Last Sunday we went to a local Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree.  They had a pony ride, a jumper, Santa Clause, crafts and cookie decorating.  We went after church and Clara loved running all around and doing everything.  She was pretty brave when it came to sitting on Santa's lamp, she walked up to him and said, "Merry Christmas!"  Then when he asked her what she wanted, she said she wanted a Christmas Tree, too cute!  Later that evening we had Grammy & Pappy over and decorated the tree.  Now our house feels complete and Christmas can begin!

The kids just seem to be growing up so fast lately.  Coleton is army crawling all over the place, and he just started trying to give kisses, they are big, open mouthed, slobbery kisses...but sweet none the less!  He also has figured out how to put his pacifier back in his mouth, which is a wonderful accomplishment in my book!  Clara is just so full of personality, one funny thing is that she was completely attached to the baby Jesus in my nativity set.  She would carry it around everywhere with the manger, and put him to bed, or feed him a little bottle.  One time I let her bring it into her crib with her for nap time, and a couple minutes after I leave her room I hear her yell, "mommy, baby Jesus needs a blankie!" So I went back in and put a small washcloth over baby Jesus ;)  Uncle Taylor has been trying to teach her some Spanish, she can have a little conversation with you,"Hola, como estas? Bien...y tu?" Lately the kids have been waking up earlier than I would sometimes like, so I will bring her in bed with me.  She'll sing "Jesus Loves Me" perfectly all the way through and it is so sweet, if I open my eyes to look at her, she stops singing, and bossily tells me, "no mommy, it's not time to wake up yet!" I'm pretty sure I have said that to her a million times, and it's funny when they start using your words against you!  She also has a lot of her books memorized, she can sit there and read almost complete stories word for word all by herself, it amazes me.  For example she has the house that Jack built memorized, and can say perfectly and from memory...This is the maiden all forlorn, that milked the cow with the crumpled horn, that tossed the dog, that worried the cat, that killed the rat, that ate the malt, that lay in the house that Jack built.  She is one smart cookie!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bits of Thanksgiving

We had a busy couple of days for Thanksgiving this year, Jordan had to work, so the kids and I went down to visit him at the station.  We could only stay for a couple hours because my next stop was my mom's.  Other families stopped by as well, so it was a busy station, and unfortunately Jordan went on 2 calls while we where there.  After that I headed straight to my mom's, she hosted Thanksgiving for our family and our dear friends the Carter's spent the day with us as well.  It was perfect because both our groups were on the smaller size and we were both missing members of the family
 The day after Thanksgiving we spent with Jordan's family.  While the meal was being prepared we got pretty creative with entertainment for the kids.  The rope lowering activity was rigged up by daddy and her mission was to collect a rock and a stick before she could be raised back up, she wanted to do it over and over of course.  And who knew that sweeping a back porch could be so entertaining?  Our holidays are definitely different these days, the kiddos provide lots of extra craziness, and I must admit that it wiped me out by then end of them.  But they also provide so much joy and lots of fun.  I am looking forward to jumping into Christmas festivities now, once I recuperate that is ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mom's 50th Birthday Bash!

My mom turned 50 on 11/11/11!  How cool is that?!  She wanted to do something big and special for her day, and she decided on a ladies night out to go to dinner downtown at Buca Di Beppo and see Mixtape at the Horton Grand Theater.  The best part was that we were transported in a SUV limo.

 We all had so much fun, we took a scenic route to get to downtown, stopping off in Seaport Village for a photo op, we grooved to some music, drank champagne, and toasted our favorite stories of my mom.  We sat at the Pope table in Buca and it was such a fun room.  Sitting at a large round table, no one feels excluded, and the acoustics are such that you can hear the person across from you clearly, even if they are speaking low.  The last activity of the night was seeing the show Mixtape, which is a musical revue of the greatest hits of the 80's.  It was hilarious and so entertaining.  We were all laughing so hard as we remembered the silliness and crazy fashion trends of the 80's.  It brought back many forgotten memories like mullets, crimped hair, Michael Jackson, Footloose, and when my mom, sister and I used to work out in silly spandex outfits to Jane Fonda videos.  The night could not have gone ANY better, it was such a fun crowd and most importantly my mom had a blast.  Happy Birthday Mom, I love you so much, you are the best!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This is a bit belated, but we had a very fun Halloween this year with the kids! In the morning we went over to Grammy's school. My mother-in-law is the Director of the Ramona Lutheran Preschool, and they were having a trunk or treat, she invited Clara to come along as a "perspective" student. Grammy announced to the class that she had something to share, and she took Clara up with her to the front and introduced her. Clara wasn't shy at all, it was really cute (she also introduced Coleton of course). We even stayed for a little of craft time. In the evening we took Clara out Trick-or-Treating with my sister and Jon and Ella. Grammy stayed behind with Coleton to pass out candy, we hear he was a hit with the trick-or-treaters in his pumpkin costume! We actually went pretty far, and Clara was such a trooper. She wanted to walk the whole way all by herself, and she wanted to carry her candy bucket all by herself. We would try to offer to hold it, especially when it got so heavy that it was dragging on the ground, and she would not have it! It was so cute, she will do anything for candy! We had one little miss hap along the way, when the adults weren't paying too much attention at one door, Clara was holding onto the handle, and when they opened their door, she flew inside, fell on the floor and her candy spilled everywhere. Ooops! I can just imaging how surprised they were to have a cupcake come crashing inside! She was a little upset until they offered her candy, and then she was all better ;) These sorts of holidays just get more and more fun when you have kids old enough to enjoy them!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My idea...

...of a perfect day. First and foremost, is Jordan being home. He works 24 hour shifts (sometimes 48 and 72 hour shifts as well), but then he will be home for many full days. This last Saturday, Jordan got home just in time for some Whole wheat brown sugar banana bread pancakes (whew, mouthful?) sausage and scrambled eggs. Then he took Clara up to help him in the garden while I put Coleton down for a nap, then I...cleaned the kitchen, started the first of four loads of laundry, De-cluttered, swept, vacuumed, and cleaned up all the bedrooms. We hung out with the kids before putting them both down for naps, I showered and got ready for the day. Then we all got out to enjoy the beautiful fall air and went on a hike. We went to the Barnett Ranch Open Space Preserve, just 10 minutes from us, and it was gorgeous, and perfect for a family hike. We came home and I cooked Black Bean & Quinoa burritos (absolutely delicious) and had my mother in law over for dinner. Then she put the kids to bed while we headed out to see a movie. We saw Courageous, it was a great movie, with a great message, but also a tear-jerker! That movie will rip at your heart strings if you are a parent!! It doesn't get any better than that! (A huge thank you to the blog world for recipe inspirations!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This & that...

Here are some random pictures from the last couple of weeks. I am a huge fan of Instagram, it's a great way to spice up the pictures taken with your iphone and share them. It's also super handy to take quick pictures here and there when you don't have your camera.
Beach time with friends!!
Carving pumpkins, neither of our kids wanted anything to do with the goo...go figure!
Bacon & Egg toast cups, cutest breakfast ever...thanks to Pinterest & Martha Stewart!

One big event that has happened in the last 2 weeks is that we have potty trained Clara! It's funny because she was SO ready to be potty trained it was embarrassing, but I don't think I was ready for her to be potty trained. I don't like being at the mercy of her bladder, I liked being able to change her diaper when it was convenient for me, I know that seems lame, but with a baby to tend to, it was just easier. So we are both learning a new way of life, and thankfully she picked it up really quickly. I feel like you don't hear a lot about potty training, and I had no idea what to expect. We did a 3 day method, that called for constant attention to your child, teaching them to tell you when they need to go, and it was a cold turkey method (more on that later). It would have been pretty comical to watch Jordan and I get down on Clara's level, and act uber uber excited when we told her she was going to be wearing big girl panties and not diapers because she's a big girl. Or to have our voices drip with excitement when she made it to the potty. If we could only see us now!! We are still working on making it a new habit, because she will forget to tell us if she gets too preoccupied. Let me just say that I am not a fan of potty training though. Like I said, the method required a complete removal of diapers or anything resembling them. And night time hasn't always gone smoothly. She is a thirsty girl (she gets it from me) and I feel bad not allowing her to have water for hours before going to bed. Sometimes I check on her a couple times a night and ask her if she needs to go, which kinda works. But then as a result of this she hasn't been getting as good of sleep or taking as long of naps, which really affects her behavior. I'm debating using some pull ups at night if it doesn't improve. It's been frustrating at times, like when I am driving down Wild Cat and she says she has to go potty, the only option was the gas station. So holding Coleton in his carrier, and her hand, I make my way into the gas station bathroom and attempt to hold her over the toilet. Craziness, and I hate public restrooms! Well, I just had to vent and I know I am being a bit dramatic. What do you all think about potty training? Any words of advice or encouragement, because sometimes I feel like it has turned my world upside down.