Saturday, December 29, 2007

So this is the last weekend of 2007. I know it sounds so cliche, but the year has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2007 and I was shaking my head over the very hard year that we had in 2006. Now that the New Year is just around the corner, everyone is talking about resolutions. Well, I have never really been one to make resolutions. I always felt like it was a set up to fail. However, this year, I will be making some resolutions. Not because it is the new year, but more because we (Marco and I) decided we needed a life makeover. Spiritually, Financially, Physically, the whole enchilada...mmm...cheesey...oh, uh where was I? Oh yes, the makeover. There are many areas where we feel we need to improve, change - whatever and guess what? The new year seems the perfect place to start. Don't you think? I am too tired right now to go into detail, but I will do it tomorrow. I promise. Why am I thinking of Zapata's Mexican restaurant right now...? Off to bed - big day ahead. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pictures with Santa

Okay, so Marco calls late in the afternoon and says, "How about we go get something to eat and then take the kids to see Santa?" Wow. I couldn't believe it! Not that he's not the type of dad to do that sort of thing, but he's been so terribly busy with work, church, and work that I couldn't believe he had thought of it. I had thought of it of course. We did not go last year and this is Little Marco's first Christmas. I excitedly replied, "Yes!"

I did not want to discourage him, but my first thought was that it was going to be Ka-ray-zee no matter where we went for pictures. I mean, it's the last days before Christmas.

I looked up our local outlet mall - Ontario Mills - and found out all the need to know on Santa's schedule.

We decided to go get pictures first. We didn't need the kids to get their shirts dirty, mess up their hair, get cranky...hey, with 4 kids in tow this is no easy task! So we arrive at the mall, we brace ourselves, we suck in a deep breath and ....WHAT? There's no line? How could that be? I mean, it just isn't Christmas if we don't get all firey mad over the long wait for the pics with Jolly 'ole St. Nick, right? It's not natural.

Well, after we got over our shock, agreed to pay for the cheapest sheet ($20 for 4 3x5's), the kids went over and sat with Santa. You know what? He was absolutely the best Santa ever. He looked GREAT, was patient and kind, didn't smell funny...these things are important. All righty, here are photos as proof - yes, these were taken with permission since I agreed to paying the $20 for the ONE sheet. Hmph...some things don't change!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Top 10 Christmas Photos to take...

I got this list off of Scrapshare - a message board I frequent. I thought I'd keep the list here in hopes that I will remember to do some of these. Some I already do, but others are a really cute idea! If you have any ideas, by all means - do tell!!!

Top Ten Must-Have Photos to Take this Christmas!
1. Your house with the porch lights on (lights on even in the middle of the day - it will look cozier, I promise) with the snow falling. Snow makes everything look better and it will become one of your favorite house photos with holiday decorations. (uh, it'll be even cooler if I get snow here in So. Cal. - it HAS happened before, but not at Christmas time)
2. Your favorite ornaments - close up. Put these in your albums and write about why they are so meaningful to you.
3. Your special family traditions. Make sure that you have photo evidence of what wonderful parents you were to provide so many rich traditions each holiday - hee hee!
4. Your special family recipes, baked up. (And the process of making them.)
5. Any collections you have. Tell why they are special.
6. Each family member wearing and/or holding ALL of their holiday gifts at once. You could actually leave this photo un-journaled in the album and let future generations wonder what in the world the style was that particular year.
7. All of the special things you do to be focused on giving to others during the season. ...It will be a reminder to future generations that this season is about giving - and how you took that to heart by giving to those around you.
8. A family shot on Christmas morning. It's amazing to see how everyone grows from year to year.
9. Your beautiful dining room/kitchen table done up for the holiday meal, before everyone has had a chance to sit down and enjoy it.
10. Something that will allow you to write in your album about the REAL reason that this holiday is special to you. For us, that would be a photo of our manger scene, or the church lit up for Christmas Eve. All of these other things are fun and special and bring happy memories - but I also want my kids and future generations to remember the Reason for the season that we enjoy celebrating.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Survey Time - Christmas Edition!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? This is a tough one. I love the ease of the good 'ole gift bag, but know that wrapped gifts are more fun to open. Last year I went all out and bought the good stuff from Costco. I even splurged and bought some wired ribbon. Nobody really appreciated it - but I loved it!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Until last year, it was always a real tree. Well, except for the year we lived in the really small apartment and I went and bought the set of 3 little northwest trees from Wal Mart. That was special...anyway, we always got a real tree and made a big deal about going to pick it out. That's fine if you are in Washington or Michigan maybe, but in Southern California, those puppies get dried up fast! I couldn't stand it. Half the tree was on the ground by the time Christmas rolled around. Last year we invested in a really nice fake tree at Costco. It is pre-lit. I LOVE it. I felt guilty at first, but I am over it. It's beautiful and best of all there's no mess to clean up. So what if there's no fresh tree smell. They make candles and sprays for that now!

3. When do you put up the tree? I try to put it up the week after Thanksgiving. We didn't do too bad this year. Got it up the weekend after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually the week after New Year's Day...we'll see how long I can take it before I have to go on a cleaning spree! LOL

5. Do you like egg nog? Yes, but I like an Egg Nog Latte from Starbucks even better!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably my walkman that had an automatic song shuffle, played the next side without you having to flip it...oh yeah, I was so cool!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? I have a tiny one that is on our front table. I would love to get a nice new one that has some quality to it, but for now - this one is good.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My dad. He never gives us even a hint as to what he'd like. If you beat it out of him, he usually says something real modest that you know would be ridiculous to give. *sigh* I still haven't gotten his as a matter of fact!

9. Easiest person to buy for? My sisters - they send me a wish list. I'm serious. Hey, works for me.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Well, that's kind of like a trick question...I always get the photo ones made and then TRY to get them mailed...again, we'll see how this year goes.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Salt packets to make beef jerky. What? Huh?

12 . Favorite Christmas movie? I am not sure about that one - like the Christmas Story, The Grinch, ....drawing a blank here...

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Not soon enough

14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh yes. Just gotta be careful not to give it to the person who gave it to you in the first place!! LOL

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? tamales

16 . Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Staying home this year and having his family over

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

21 . Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?One on Christmas Eve usually. Have to wait for Santa you know

22 . Most annoying thing about this time of year? crowds

23. Favorite christmas ornament? The ones that Marco has chosen for me

24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Ham and all the sides

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crazy busy...

So, I've been quite busy these last few days. You know, making a list and checking it twice? It doesn't help that my girls will randomly yell out things like: "Only 14 more days 'til Christmas!!" I keep reminding them that I am consumed with making sure Daddy has a Happy Birthday first. His birthday is on the 17th and I don't want it getting all smooshed in with the Christmas festivities.

I also homeschool my two oldest girls. Oh, did I forget to mention that? It has been very chilly in the mornings (honestly, I wake up and expect to see a blanket of white outside) and they are having trouble getting up right away. Now, I know. Those of you that homeschool are probably saying, "What's the big deal?" I know, it's not like they are going to miss the bus, right? I am just that way. I try to run a rigid school schedule and make sure that "school" is never questionable. I think that comes from teaching in a traditional setting for 14 years. I am slowly but surely getting over it. I let them take their time this morning and they even got to have hot chocolate when they came down. Yeah, I'm cool like that. - at least that's what I keep telling myself!

Anyway, we got through school and then had to run some errands for Marco. We had to go into Riverside where I happen to have an $80 credit at the Color Me Mine place. It is left over from last years school funds. Yup. Art class! I didn't know if I would have time to go, so I didn't tell them. They about came unglued when I pulled up to the shop. They were so excited! I even let Naomi paint and I got to do a little Ladybug! Hannah painted something for me - a jar that says Scrapbook $ - (I am supposed to act surprised on Christmas), Taryn painted a teapot/teacup set for Nana, and Naomi made her a matching cookie plate. Well, it was kind of matching. Little Marco did his part by sleeping through it all.
We rushed traffic so that I could get home to cook dinner. The girls even made caramel apples. Marco loved dinner. I guess it's okay to be so busy. We actually got a lot accomplished and we did it together. I love being a mommy and a wife. =]

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Well, at my house anyway. I have come to realize that I will not be going to visit my family in Washington after all. I was bummed at first, but I'm over it. It's for the best right now. It was my thinking that I would not get out all the Christmas stuff if we weren't even going to be here for Christmas - so that all changed. The tree is up, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care...I even have our down stairs bathroom decked out in snow man stuff!

I do love decorating for Christmas even though it meant putting away my fall stuff for now.

That's okay, it will all come back out in January. Yeah, that's right. I keep it out year round. I even decided to use real photos (of various size) of my family and friends that are fall themed. I already have a beautiful set of 3 fall photos that are 8x10 (Thanks Tiffany) that make me smile every time I think of them. I recently got a bunch of photos of my nieces and nephews and they happen to be at the pumpkin patch, in the fall foilage, etc. Those will be added to the wall!

Oh, but back to Christmas. I really do not like the fact that the holidays (Holy Days) have become so commercialized, but hey - that's the world we live in. I choose to decorate as much as I can and I also love to burn candles that have the smells of the season and listen to music that is festive as well. The children's choir at church (directed by yours truly) is getting ready for their 1st ever Christmas concert and we are excited. It will be in Spanish and English. How cool is that?

It has been raining off and on for about the last two weeks here. My thermostat shows a temp of 61 degrees. That is very cold for US! I know, I know. My family and friends in knee deep snow are probably shaking their heads right now. We are in So. Cal. though. LOL

Last night we took our youth group to the Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn in Riverside. We had lots of fun enjoying the sights and smells of Christmas. A few of the guys even paid to ice skate at the outdoor rink they set up. It was like our own little Madison Square Gardens.

More importantly, I am thinking about the gifts I can give to my family and friends. We really have been blessed with so much. I love to give something that let's a loved one know that I appreciate them and am thankful for them.

The greatest gift any of us can receive of course is the gift of Eternal Life. I am so thankful that our Saviour Jesus Christ has already paid this price for us. He gave us the greatest gift, expecting nothing in return. He exhibits the greatest example of unconditional love. Let us try to even come close to it by sharing this Truth with others this year.