Monday, December 26, 2011

christmas day

wow. what a busy day we had. hosting christmas is really a lot of work. i was a crazy person on christmas eve trying to finish all the wrapping, setting up, cleaning, and cooking. i only got two hours of sleep.

i was super happy that i got the house looking so beautiful for christmas morning. i really wanted to get some good pictures to capture the moment. i didn't get any good pictures though. miles forgot to charge his camera battery and my camera kind of sucks so all i have are some blurry photos that i took and a couple from later in the day with miles' camera. i think i should have asked for a good camera from santa.

we did have a really nice christmas though. miles' mom spent the night on christmas eve so she was here to watch the kids open their gifts from santa. mason got a lego queen anne pirate ship, dahlia got a pink big wheel, and connor got a cute little red tricycle.

my family came over around one o'clock. it was nice to have them come over a little later and not worry about serving breakfast to everyone. we all exchanged gifts with each other and then we made a super yummy dinner. beef tenderloin, broiled salmon, au gratin potatoes, green beans, and salad. for dessert my mom made her delicious blinchiki and the boys brought some pie. everything was so good.

i loved having christmas at my house. it is so fun to have everyone over. of course i really hope i can soon learn the art of entertaining and enjoying the party at the same time instead of running around like a crazy person. merry christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas elves

yay. the christmas cards are done. true to our tradition of procrastination we sent them out on the 22nd. i had to get up crazy early to print, cut, and label them. i don't think i am going to do it this way next year. i think i might use a service like shutterfly or something. it is just too much work.

the theme for the cards this year was going to be elves working in a toy shop. inspired by my favorite christmas movie elf. i bought these cute matching elf pajamas for the kids and we set up a photo shoot at home to look like they are working in a toy shop. this did not work out at all. none of the photos looked right and i never found all the props i wanted to use like a jack in the box. luckily in between me setting up the next toy making shot miles had the kids sit in front of the fire and just took some candid shots of them together. long after the kids were asleep and miles and i went through the photos it became clear that my idea wasn't going to work. i was so happy to see that we had a really great picture of the three of them that we could use for the cover instead. i think this is the only picture we have ever taken where all three kids are smiling. i love it. i also like that you can see they are wearing matching pajamas. miles did the cute little illustrations for the frame and that was it.

the whole process took so much longer this year. i thought i would have them in the mail on tuesday but here it is already thursday before they went out. oh well. at least we did it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

photos by the fire

miles took some pictures of the kids sitting by the fire during our christmas card photo shoot last night. the photo shoot did not go exactly as i had envisioned it (it never does) but we did manage to get a great photo to use for the card. here are some of the photos we didn't use.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

tree topper

we finally got around to putting the star on the top of our tree. dahlia wanted to wait for daddy to be home to help her do it. so sweet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

visit with santa

today i met jen in orange county after mason got out of school. we wanted to take the kids to visit santa. ugh. the visit to santa is always so stressful for me. i almost never get a good picture. there is at least one child that doesn't want to sit with santa. this year it was connor that was most afraid. i did get him to sit on santa's lap for a little while before he decided that was not where he wanted to be. mason was good but he kept making these strained smiles that looked terrible. i actually had to go through the line again and try to get a better picture the second time. they did turn out better but i still think it is not a great picture. i don't think i will be handing these out to friends and family.

at least they got to tell santa what they wanted for christmas. a big wheel for dahlia and a queen anne's revenge lego set for mason. connor kept his wish a secret.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

picking out a tree

today was busy. we are definitely in the middle of the christmas rush. so many things to do. i love all the excitement. miles and i took the kids out this afternoon to pick out a tree. we always go to home depot. the trees are not very expensive and we can always find a good one. the down side of not going to a tree lot is that the trees are usually all tied up and bunched together so you have to cut the strings off and fluff out the tree to see what it really looks like. it is very much a help yourself situation. we usually make miles show us at least three before we find a good one.

it was nice to go during the day. the weather was mild and the kids were having so much fun looking at all the trees. we are usually freezing when we pick out our tree. of course we didn't have time to decorate it yet. it is in our living room all green and ready to be trimmed with lights and ornaments. waiting for some love. hopefully we will get to do that tomorrow.

the soda shop

i took the kids to our favorite christmas party. miles decided he wasn't feeling well so he skipped it this year. i didn't mind going by myself. i met my family there and had fun talking to everyone. the kids were excited to see their cousins and run around.

the party is held at our friend's car shop and they have a bunch of little rooms filled with memorabilia so that they look like little movie sets. all the kids loved playing in the fake soda shop pretending to eat plastic ice cream sundaes and pancakes. after the soda shop we moved next door to the fake saloon and the kids played the piano and put nickles in the slot machine. there was tons of yummy food although i think mason and dahlia only ate the cookies. we didn't stay too late but the little ones all fell asleep during the ride home.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the advent calendar

everyone here is sick again. mason stayed home from school today. we actually had a fun day though. we made an advent calendar. whew. just in time. jen had the idea of making one so she went to michaels and got the stuff yesterday. they are going to make their own at their house.

we used little white bags and lots of different stickers. i printed the numbers on sticker paper from my computer. i put the numbers on the bags but the kids did all the rest of the decorating. they were really creative with the stickers. mason took the center pieces of the snowflake stickers and used it to make icicles on the roof of a house and as ornaments for the christmas trees. i am always impressed with their different ideas. all the bags are so cute and different from one another.

when they were all done i hung them over a window with a long string and clothespins. now i just need to get a bunch of treats to fill them. i have a couple of things i can use until i can shop this weekend.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

trains and birthdays

we went to my friends house for a double birthday celebration. my friends carla and her sister nicole both have little girls with a birthday one day apart. nicole lives up north so we don't get to see her very often. this year they planned a party at their parents house for both of the girls. it was so fun to have everyone get together.

their dad wayne has this amazing train collection that he has spent years putting together. it is really incredible. there is a whole room in their house devoted to the train. mason was in heaven. all the kids loved watching the train run. it was super cool. i was really impressed with all the details. you can tell wayne really loves his trains.

they also had rented a really large bounce house with a slide that the kids had a blast playing in. they jumped for hours. after we all had lunch the kids got to break open two pinatas. there was candy and little toys everywhere. then it was time for cake. two cakes! we all had a really great time at the party. we stayed pretty late and of course the kids fell fast asleep driving home.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


happy thanksgiving. i had such a relaxing and enjoyable morning today. i woke up and played ella fitzgerald while baking an apple pie. what can be better than that? the kids all wanted to help cook. the whole family hung out in the kitchen. dahlia helped chop the mushrooms for the wild mushroom gravy while mason sauteed the shallots. miles made his delicious cranberry sauce. i really love it when we all cook together.

we did not host this year so i had plenty of time to relax. it was so nice. we later packed up all the food and brought it to my sister christina's house. miles' mom came with us. christina had the tables set so nice and everything looked perfect. it was a really wonderful meal. my mom cooked the turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. jen and ray brought mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts. susan made spinach dip and crudites for snacking, and christina made a pumpkin cheesecake. even the boys pitched in by bringing a pie. it was fun to have everyone make something. a real group effort. i love having a day devoted to gratitude. thank you to my whole family for making it special.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

dahlia is four

dahlia turned four today. she is getting so big. we had a busy day with school and gym class so we didn't really do anything for her birthday. her teachers sang happy birthday to her at the little gym so that was fun for her. jen, bodhi, and kira came over after class for dinner. we cooked pizza and let the kids stay up late. mason doesn't have school for the next six days. yay.

i love that i have a little girl. i never thought i would get to have a daughter and it is so fun to have another female around here. she is super girly and loves to dress up. she will usually change her outfit including shoes at least two or three times a day. her favorite toy is her baby doll named orange and a little stuffed dog named plum. they often come with us on outings.

she is super sweet and still very independent. she is not in preschool yet and i feel really bad about it. i need to find one and get her enrolled. she loves to do homework with mason. i usually make copies of his worksheets for her to do with him.

she likes to play with connor while mason is in school. her favorite activities include digging in the dirt, dressing up like a princess, and making soups on her play stove with carrots, mushrooms, and celery that she takes out of the refrigerator. she is 32 pounds and 41 inches tall. that puts her in the 25 percentile for weight and 75 percentile for height.

happy birthday baby girl. i love you very much.

Monday, November 21, 2011

hello kitty party

yesterday was dahlia's birthday party. what a fun day. i was really running behind as usual for this party. we had to rethink the party because it poured rain the whole day and the party had to be inside. we had ordered a bounce house but it was raining when the guy showed up so we were able to cancel it without paying a cancellation fee. that was nice.

i was super worried that nobody was going to show up with the weather being so bad but everyone came. it was great that miles made the spin art box. the kids loved doing the spin art. we had paintings drying all over the kitchen. we also had a station set up where the kids could make beaded necklaces and bracelets. everything turned out so nice.

we had a taco bar where you could make chicken or beef tacos with various toppings and salsas. there was also quesadillas for the kids, chips, quacamole, rice, beans, ceasar salad, and a fruit platter. everyone loved the food. i bought a food warmer serving tray so the meat and beans stayed warm. there was strawberry lemonade for the kids and beer and champagne for the adults.

for dessert i made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing flavored with orange zest and a little white cake with whip cream icing. jen made her fabulous sugar cookies shaped like hello kitty.

for party favors i made these cute bags that looked like hello kitty's face. i also made the keroppi frog face ones for the boys. they were filled with hello kitty and keroppi note pads, pencils, erasers, bubble necklaces and tatoos.

dahlia looked so pretty for her party. she insisted on wearing her white party dress. she looked like an angel. i hope she had a fun day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

spin art

it looks like it is going to rain on dahlia's birthday party so miles decided to make a giant spin art box for the kids to create spin art paintings. he has been wanting to do this for a while now. we bought a spin art set from michaels over a year ago and it can only take paper that is 4" by 4". the kids love it but we are constantly having to cut more paper. this got to be a bit time consuming.

miles wanted to make one that was big enough to hold a 8.5" by 11" size paper. he found a very old fan in the garage that we don't use any more and decided to create his own spin art machine. he bought some inexpensive particle board from home depot and went to work.

the spin art machine is now done and i am very impressed. it doesn't have that beautiful finished look but it works great. he even used a toggle switch to control the speed. i went to michaels today to buy washable paint and squeeze tubes so the kids can easily add the paint to the machine. i think all the kids will love it at the party. i know my kids will. thanks miles!

Friday, November 18, 2011

wrinkles is back

last year mason was so excited to take home his class stuffed animal wrinkles for the week. every student gets to spend a week with wrinkles. this year they have a new wrinkles and this was his week to take him home. yay. so fun. for his special week he got to share something with the class everyday.

monday he brought in a poster with photos of his family. he also brought in five objects to share that tell something about him. he brought his favorite book knuffle bunny, favorite movie star wars, a picture of him in gym class, a photo of his favorite museum the discovery science center, and his favorite snack a red bell pepper.

tuesday he brought in a photo of his favorite stuffed animal rudolph the reindeer.

wednesday he wore his favorite star wars shirt.

thursday he shared his favorite lego toy.

friday he had me, dahlia, and connor visit his class and answer questions from his classmates. he was so excited to see us there.

we had to give wrinkles back today with a journal and photos from our adventures during the week. it was fun. mason wanted to share all of his favorite things with wrinkles. we took wrinkles to the lego store, the discovery science center, and the little gym. we also had lots of picnics in our backyard with wrinkles. the week went by too fast though and mason was sad to have it end.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

the playset

it was a beautiful day today. the kids were super cute. jen came over with bodhi and kira. they love to play with their cousins. they all had a great time on the playset while i worked on party stuff for the dahlia's birthday party. her party is on sunday and i am freaking out. there is still so much to do.

Monday, November 14, 2011

discovery science center

after school today i took the kids to orange county to visit the discovery science center. we were going to go on friday but connor was sick so we posponed the trip until today. it was a good thing we did. the people that worked there said it was crazy busy friday and the weekend. it was really empty today. i loved it. jen met me there with bodhi and kira. it was a really fun visit. they got to play with all the exhibits. there was a really fun one about recycling where you have to sort trash into the correct bin. it is like a race to get the most points.

of course they spent most of their time at their favorite exhibits like the dinosaurs outside. it was so nice to not have a bunch of people there. i could let them run around and still keep track of where they were.

after we left the center we met my mom and sister for dinner at the soup plantation. the kids were really good. i actually got to eat my dinner without getting up every two minutes. it was a great day. so nice to get out of the house.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

sit n spin

connor got a new sit n spin for his birthday from auntie christina. the new sit n spins do not spin like the ones i grew up with in the seventies so i returned it and went looking on ebay. there are lots of old sit n spins from the 1970's for sale there. i ended up buying two because one will not be enough for the three of them without fighting.

the sit n spin arrived today and they love it. it spins really fast. they were making me laugh spinning on this thing. this was one of my favorite toys when i was a kid. my sister and i would get on it together and spin until we were super dizzy. it is so fun to watch my kids do the same thing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

dahlia's invitation

we decided to have a hello kitty theme for dahlia's fourth birthday party. she really couldn't decide on one theme. first it was going to be a princess party, then strawberry shortcake, and finally she chose hello kitty.

i like this theme. there are so many cute hello kitty things out there. it will be easy to decorate for this party. miles made these invitations. he always gets to do the invitations because he would rather play on the computer than watch the kids while i do it. i think they turned out super cute.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

day of the dead

we dressed all the kids up in their matching bone jammies. i thought it was very appropriate for day of the dead. mason decided he didn't want to be in the picture but he had his on too. i thought our little skeletons looked so cute lined up on the couch.

Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween

what a fun halloween we had this year. i was super worried that we were going to have to miss it because i would be too sick to take them but i felt much better today. no fever. besides how could i miss it? the kids were so excited that they were saying "yay, it's halloween" when they woke up this morning. miles had to work so it was just me and the kids.

they all got dressed up and i took them to orange county. mason was indiana jones, dahlia was a princess, and connor was tigger from winnie the pooh. i didn't make any of their costumes this year. there has just been too much going on. we went to the friends church fair with christina and zena. there we met up with jen, ray, bodhi, and kira. zena was a gypsy, bodhi was a pirate, and baby kira was winnie the pooh. they had so much fun. we got the kids wrist bands this year to ride the rides. last year they were too little for most of them. they enjoyed the obstacle courses and playing all the games for candy prizes.

connor is too young for most of the activities and as usual my kids wanted to leave the fair and go to the church playground. i was happy to take them to the playground. we were the only people there and the kids seemed to have more fun on the playset. it was much easier for me to watch them.

after the fair we went to our friend angela's house for trick-or-treating. we walked all around her neighborhood. they got so much candy. it was really crazy. then we went back to angela's house for some homemade apple crumble and cookies. sugar sugar sugar. it was a long day but i am so happy that i took them out. they had a great day.

now that everyone is asleep it is time for miles and i to watch the walking dead. happy halloween.

the kid party

on sunday we took our children to a halloween party for kids. my friend kristi had a really fun halloween party at her house.

she had a huge jump house with a slide that all the kids loved. they were so funny tumbling down the slide every minute. she also had a little station where kids could decorate a small pumpkin with sharpie markers. mason and connor loved this. connor was very into coloring his pumpkin and made sure the whole pumpkin was covered with little squiggles. there was also a table set up where the kids could decorate plain sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. there were cat and pumpkin shapes. it was very cute. all the kids got to take home little goodie bags filled with glow bracelets and toys.

poor dahlia was super tired when we got there and slept on daddy's lap for a little while. she did eventually wake up and get to enjoy the bounce house. we only stayed for a couple of hours because i started feeling really sick. luckily miles was with me to drive us home. it took an hour to get home and by then i had a really bad fever. i was up all night with the flu. yuck. i am feeling much better today but am very worried the kids are going to get sick.

the grown up party

miles and i went to a halloween party on saturday night for grown ups. can you believe it? a party without kids! christina was super nice and watched all three of our kids for us. i was kind of dreading dressing up and going because i waited until the last moment to find a costume and had to borrow one from my sister. i went as a witch. i have never been a witch before so it was a good costume. despite my lack of planning i had a great time at the party. i think i forgot how much fun it is to hang out with adults. it was so nice to have a conversation and not be interrupted to change a diaper or sooth a crying child.

the party was at our friend gary and stephanie's house. stephanie always does such a great job decorating and setting the mood for a party. she had lots of yummy hors d'oeuvres. everyone had really amazing costumes. if i get to go next year i am definitely planning my costume in advance.

we stayed until 12:30 which is late for us now. i would have loved to stay later but i was feeling guilty leaving my kids for so long. we all stayed the night at christina's house.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

connor is two

connor is two years old today. he is such a cutie pie. i love him so much. i can't believe how fast these two years have gone by. he still seems little so that makes me happy. he is 24 pounds and 33 inches tall. that puts him at 10% for weight and 25% for height.

he doesn't talk very much. i would say he only knows about 20 words. he has put two words together so that is good. our pediatrician said he should know around 50 words. i am not worried. he is learning more every day.

he is super sweet. i find it facinating how his interests are different from masons. mason was all about trains when he was two. connor is really into dinosaurs and dogs. he loves to line up all the toy dinosaurs in a row. his favorite book is dinosaur roar. so cute. he carries that book everywhere. it is getting pretty thrashed. he loves to play with dahlia. they will play with their baby dolls together. they are so cute. he has a baby doll that is his. he also loves to dance with her. they play music from this baby toy rocking horse and dance for me. he is super thoughtful always sharing his food and helping me clean up. what a doll. happy birthday baby. mommy loves you.