Friday, December 20, 2013

Why I Love Christmas...and Why I don't!

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us and I love almost every second of it!  Here is what I love...and don't love about the holiday season!  

{One} Jesus
He is the reason for this beautiful season and we HAVE to remember that!  Whenever I hear "Away in the Manger" or "We Three Kings,"  I think about how wonderful that our King was born in a manger with only His mother, father, and animals, I get tears in my eyes every time thinking about the beauty of that simple, peaceful, magical night!  Such a humble beginning for our King! 

{Two}  My Kids
I absolutely love how excited, joyful and the magic they see in everything this time of year!  Between the songs, books, movies, art projects, class parties, gifts, they are bursting with excitement all day and everyday!

{Three}  Lights and Decorations
I have always loved Christmas lights, either inside all over every inch of the house, or outside, again covering every inch!  But in a classy way!  Driving around looking at Christmas decorations is one of the top holiday traditions, either looking at houses, going through a park, or seeing Christmas exhibits or parades, I'm there! And I love to decorate our house for Christmas!  I seem to decorate earlier each year and the tree stays up longer and longer!  I love garland, stocking, ornaments, lights, cute Christmas knick-knacks to put around the house!  I truly love how a house truly becomes transformed into a magical home during Christmas!

{Four}  Movies
Where to begin?!  There are so many and our DVR is bursting at the seems from all the holiday movies we're recording!  Here's my top list, but in random order!
1.)  Love Actually~no matter what, I always watch this movie!  I adore it and love every second of it!
2.)  Elf~Will Farrell is so funny and it's the sweetest Christmas movie, I mean a grown elf in New York City?!  "Santa!!  I KNOW him!"  "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?!"  I think we quote the movie daily once the tree goes up!

3.)  Christmas Vacation~Another one I just truly love, quote daily, and always have to watch!  
4.)  It's a Wonderful Life~It gets me every time!  The story, the message, the classic movie is the tops for me!  I cry every time and have a slight crush on Jimmy Stewart!  
5.)  Polar Express~I actually loved this movie the first 200 hundred times I saw it, now, not so much!  My kids love it though and it is really cute...before the 200 mark!  Now, I can only handle small doses and it kind of stresses me out!  Between the train walking, sliding on the ice, getting lost in the North Pole, not meeting Santa on time, last minute gifts, the hole in his robe pocket...a lot's going on in the 2 short but oh so long hours!

{Five}  Songs
I have my radio on in the car set to the Christmas stations as soon as they start playing!  The kids and I love the music and there is a variety!  Here are my top songs!
1.)  All I want for Christmas by Mariah Carey~This is the ONLY Mariah Carey song I will listen to and I will listen to it all day!  Love it!  
2.)  God Rest Thy Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan~Several versions of this one but I love it!
3.)  Silent Night~any version!  Just thinking of the holy night, with Mary, Joseph and Jesus brings tears to my eyes!  That magical night started so much good for the world!
4.)  Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by David Bowie and Bing Crosby~Love it, another sweet song that just summarizes Christmas beautifully!
5.)  Runners up that I love but this is getting so long!~Mele Kalikmaka, The Chipmunk Song, I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, Jingle Bells, Rudolph, anything by Mannheim Steamroller, Baby it's Cold Outside, the list goes on!!  I truly love all Christmas music....

Now, not to be all negative but there are a few things I don't like about Christmas that only occur this time of year....
There are so many good songs about Christmas that I love and would love to hear all year long!  But, every time I hear this:

Feliz Navidad~only the most annoying song EVER!  EVER!!
My Favorite Things Not A Christmas Song, it's from a movie and has NOTHING to do with Christmas!!  NOT ONE THING!
I cringe, yell at the radio and flip as fast as I can!  I would pay someone to never play either of those songs ever again!  EVER!!

{Two} The day after
Is just so blah compared to the day of Christmas and even all the days leading up to it!  Yes, there are all the toys, awesome sales, and New Years Eve to look forward to, but Christmas is over and it's a little sad!  

{Three} Buying Presents
This year, I did the majority of my shopping on Amazon and loved receiving presents two days later!  So, I enjoyed buying most presents this year, except for the ones I bought in an actual store!  People are horrible, greedy, and forget the reason for the season (it's Jesus, not the great sale on Tupperware at Wal-Mart).  Ugh!  People are just rude!  Then, there are the fees, I bought a gift card for Molly's teacher at a local mall, we'll, there was a $2 activation charge, really?!  Ugh!!  And seriously, where is the line that tells you where to stop buying presents?!  I love the director at Will's preschool but do I get her a present?!  And love every single teacher and office staff member at Jack and Molly's school, but really?!  I DID bake brownies and desserts for both schools appreciation lunches, so hope that's ok (it is in my book)!

{Four} People
I touched on this in number 3, but it's extended a tad, mainly to crazy drivers fighting over parking spots (at get that Tupperware...that will still be on sale next month), or those parents that arrive four hours before the Christmas program to get a front row seat, OR the parents that save seats and then don't use know, those people!  You know who they are!  I think this time of year almost brings the worse out of people when your BEST should be present!  I just try, try, I really do, to smile, be gracious, and get the best seat available 10 minutes (gasp, the horrors) before the Christmas concert!

{Five} Elf on the Shelf
Yes, the kids LOVE Hank our elf, I do not!  Between moving him nightly, and in a creative manner no less, and him "watching" us, and not touching him, I'm just over that dude.  No, we didn't have to start this, but when someones first grade teacher last year has an elf and you hear, "Why can't we have an elf?!  Aren't we good kids?!"  Fine!  Give me any other tradition...baking cookies, Santa, caroling, gift exchanges, church, the PEOPLE, but NOT Feliz Navidad...I will be happy to see Hank not return!  

Enough with the negative, I promise!  Happy Holidays!  I'm linking up with.....


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Where to Begin?!!

Why hello there!  Sorry about the little hiatus that I unexpectedly went on!  Like, for real!  If you might remember way back in March/February when my laptop got a virus...well, the laptop just wasn't ever the same afterwards, even with Eric fixing it...all the time!  We had a very old desktop that did pretty good, up until last week that is!  One morning, Eric was working from home and he went to turn on the old desktop and it apparently died because it didn't wake all!  So, we are the proud new owners of a new desktop, its fancy and I don't know how to use it!  Like my new car!  I have so much to tell you!  Hope I can get to it all!  Here's a recap:

Isn't he dreamy?  My adorable husband grew a beard for No-Shave-ember and I love it!  Really didn't think I would but when he shaved in December I asked him to grow that beard back and he did!  

We had our official visit to Santa, complete with our lists, candy canes, and no tears!  Good job kids!  Now, just stop adding to those lists!  I was going to use the top Santa picture for our card this year, but I decided to forgo Christmas cards.  I feel as though it's not the greatest picture, maybe it's Jack's skeleton hand, maybe.  I love to receive cards and it makes me sad that we didn't do it this year, but I'm at peace with my decision, especially after going to the post office yesterday!  Wowza!  That's a place you couldn't pay me to stay in any longer!  Next year!  I promise!

I have been baking like crazy lately!  Eric's work had a Christmas lunch where everyone brought in treats, I helped my mother-in-law bake because her oven is broken and I made these delicious Nieman Marcus Cookies, which smelled Heavenly, and the kids and I had a baking day last weekend!  Wish I could try a few of the treats but.....

Part of the reason I've been a little MIA, is that I recently have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, aka, I can't eat anything with gluten...flour, rye, barley, wheat, etc.  Just planning meals, daily eating has changed my world and it's been a process figuring out this new "life style."  I'm not a big bread person, I don't like sandwiches for the most part, but gluten is in EVERYTHING!  A big wake up call for sure!  Remember when I thought peanut butter was making me sick?    Nope, it was the bread!  I realized that I was living in a lot of pain, discomfort, and a lot of health questions that I've had for a long time are being answered!  Trust me, I have a long way to go but I'm happy to get my life, body, family healthy!  So long processed foods!  So long gluten!  Here comes a healthier Liz in 2014 and forever!  

Will had his first Christmas concert...isn't he the cutest ever?!  He's in the very front row next to his buddy Grant and right behind the microphone!  We heard his sweet little voice and it was adorable singing "Jingle Bells!"  

Speaking of "Jingle Bells,"  Jack's Cub Scout pack sang carols at a nursing home last night, again, such a sweet voice!  He's the second on the right in the front row!  I love my Jack in uniform!

After carols, we all went to McDonald's for dessert or dinner for my family, except me, I'm happy to do without McDonald's in my life!  Now to get the rest of my family on board!!  While eating though...Molly lost her first tooth!!!
Isn't she the cutest toothless girl ever?!  Wait, didn't she JUST get her teeth?!  

We are counting down the days until Christmas!  Lots of excitement here and I love, love, love the joy my children are bringing me this year with Christmas!  Will's Christmas party is today, Molly's and Jack's tomorrow and we have lots of parties and fun this weekend planned!  

Happy to be back in the world of Blogs!  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

So Many Reasons to be Thankful!

One of my all time favorite months is nearly over and I've been MIA for most of it!  On here, not in life!  Here is an overview of the past, fulfilled November!  
We made a trip to Iowa City to visit my parents and our friends from Chicago, Betsy and her family met us there too!  We had a very relaxing weekend and I just adore Betsy and her cute, growing family!   Here are our kids together after our relaxing weekend! 

A cold front moved in and I showed Molly the cold air and temps that was heading our way, her response, "Is there a rainbow coming?!"  I absolutely adore her!

We went as a family to the KU football game!  For $0.77 a ticket we splurged and had a wonderful day!  We had a great view, lots of entertainment with the band in front of us, cheerleaders, Uncle Matt and his girlfriend Amanda (!!!!!), and a KU win!  Complete with the students rushing the field and tearing down the goalpost!  I love KU and all my favorite people were there!

I took Molly to her first school skating party and it was a superhero themed!  She wore her cape from her buddy Joshua's party in the spring and was so precious!  1.  She is the cutest ever!  2.  There were lots of falls and a few tears, but she did awesome!  I'm so proud of her going out on the rink and trying her best!  She never gave up and wasn't intimidated by the "big" kids!  3.  I didn't fall once, whew!  4. Wow!  Skate parties are so much fun!  Would love to have a school parent skate party!

Went with my sweet friend Jill to hear Kathy Walkile and her husband Rich speak about her cannoli's!  She appears on The Real Houswives of New Jersey and was super sweet and honest about their life on TV and off!  Her cannoli was delicious too!

Jack and I found some last minute tickets to a KU basketball game against Fort Hayes State!  Love, love, love KU basketball and Jack was in Heaven!  We had the best time, awesome seats, and a KU win!  I think we're KU's good luck charm!

Elliott the Elephant, aka Will's class mascot, came for a visit to our house last weekend!  Here's a sneak peak at Will taking Elliot for a spin in his raptor!  As I'm typing this, I realized I never blogged about Will's birthday party or his truck!  In good time!

There is so much I'm thankful for and thank God for daily!

*My sweet husband!  He gives us so much and is truly my best friend!
*My three great kids!  I'm honored to be their mom and love that they are all mine, and Eric's!  
*Friendships and friends all over the country, here in Kansas, all the way to Virginia and California, and down in Texas!  
*Our health!  We have been fighting colds and I'm having so "issues" but overall, we are healthy and so thankful for our health!
*A warm, cozy home!  It is blustering cold and we have a home that keeps us snug!
*Family time!   Last night my in-laws had a dessert party with Eric's family, my family will be around all weekend, and I love having family for the holidays!  
*My children's teachers and schools!  Wow!  Blown away every teacher this year!  Words can't describe how blessed our children are at their schools!
Many Thanksgiving Blessings!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy NOVEMBER and Five for Friday!

Happy Friday, Happy November, and Happy Day After Halloween!  We all had so much fun at two school parties, a parade, and Trick or Treating yesterday!  I'm linking up today for Five for Friday to kick off the weekend!

Will's preschool didn't celebrate Halloween, instead they had a Fall Harvest Party!  I helped at his party and it was so great seeing him in his classroom, with his friends and teachers, my little boy is growing up!  Here he is at circle time with his friends!  I just love that kid!

Speaking of kids I love, aren't they the cutest three you've ever seen?!  This picture is one of my all time favorites ever because they are all three looking at the camera!  Yay!  

Fall is in full force here and I just love driving down our street, looking out the windows, and enjoying the beautiful fall leaves!  

I just finished reading "The 5th Wave" yesterday and I was in shock when 1.)it just ended  2.)  that I loved this book as much as I did staying up until midnight reading, reading in the middle of the day amazing book  3.) The sequel doesn't come out until May 6, 2014!  I can't wait that long!  What happens next?!!  If you like "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent"  you will LOVE "The 5th Wave!"  Run, do not walk to get this book!  Right NOW!!

I didn't lounge around all week and read, just most of the week, kidding!  I went to a sweet friends house with Will one day and while Will played with her daughters and had a blast, my friend taught me how to make homemade bread!  I didn't realize what a process it was but I'm so happy that I saw an expert at work and learned from her! 
About halfway done, letting the dough rise!
Will and I were able to bake our loaf of bread at home and the smell was amazing!  Seriously, mouth were watering and everyone kept looking over at the bread while it cooled, wishing they could just tear into the that warm loaf!  
I'm not sure if this will be something I start to do more regularly, but I hope to more and more!  And yes, the bread was amazing!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!!  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

We are so super excited for tonight!!  Will and I are getting ready to go see the big kids in their Halloween parade and parties at school!   The pumpkins are carved, candy is purchased last minute, on sale at Target! and the costumes are ready to be worn!
Think that's enough?!!  Please help me NOT eat anymore Rolo's!  They are too delicious!

My favorite KU football player, Chiefs cheerleader and Fireman!  
Have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five For Friday!!!

Happy Friday and Happy Alaska Day to all my readers in Alaska!  Here are some of my top favorites today!!

This cute guy comes home today after being gone since last week!  Yes, last Thursday we flew to LA and I came home Sunday, while he stayed for work all week!  We all miss this cutie so much and we're ready for our family to be complete again! I miss sleeping next to him the most!  I've had one kid a night sleep with me and I think those were the worse three nights of sleep ever!  Between the coughing, the kicking, hitting, moving around, talking in their sleep, I'm ready for my Eric to be home!  

Molly and Will's gymnastic classes finished the first session this week and held their certificate ceremony at the end of class and a little free play!  Parents come in the last twenty minutes of class to see what their child has learned in the session, then we can take pictures as they get their certificate!  
Molly, so cute and proud!!
Will, also cute and proud!  

Love this gymnastics program, not sure an Olympian will come from it, but it's a fun, structured, learning environment!  

Jack stayed home from school on Wednesday due to a nasty cough, yes, he was the cougher that coughed, hacked, snored, and coughed all night long!  We had a nice, relaxing day together while the other two were at school!  After school Wednesday, when he was feeling so much better, we made play dough for Will's preschool class!  Each month, one kid from his class makes the play dough and this is our month!  It was super easy, super fun, and we all want to make it again for our family!
My cute helpers!  Love Jack laying on the counter watching!  And the pot was not hot at all, at this point at least!!
We had Will's four year check-up yesterday, four years means four shots!  Poor Buddy!  I still get tears in my eyes when my kids get shots, my poor babies!  He also went to the dermatologist with Molly on Tuesday, both had to have a few things looked at and removed.   It didn't hurt, but the afterwards wasn't the most comfy!  They were both super brave!!  
After the doctor drinking hot chocolate and watching Doc McStuffins, so fitting!  I can't get over how big he looks here!  

Started reading this book on the flight home and fell in love with it almost immediately!  Brilliant piece of literature, one of the top five books I've read, ever!!  I could not put the book down and when I did, I missed reading it!  I miss it all ready!  Run to your local library to check it out, I promise you'll love it!!  I really want to have another child and name him Gus, I loved him so much, my heart hurt, cried, and laughed for them!  

Linking up with this cute bunch of ladies this week!  Have a wonderful weekend!  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

More LA Fun!

Friday night, we headed out to dinner with Marie and her husband Edwin at Paradise Cove in Malibu!  It's a restaurant right on the beach, with amazing views and food!  We got there right after sunset and it was beautiful!  We ordered amazing drinks and food...
Calamari anyone?!  
and spent the night talking, laughing, and enjoying adult conversations!  If you ever go, get their fish tacos, AMAZING!
Not the best view of the beach or ocean, but it's there, promise!!
The next day, we were up early, since we were still on Midwest time, and headed to....

Yay!  Rodeo Drive!!  Dream come true, weird, I know!  We walked around and ate brunch at a FABULOUS restaurant, The Farm of Beverly Hills!  I had the best vanilla latte EVER!  Ever!  Everything on the menu looked great, our food was the best food we had all trip and we ate at some GOOD places!  The people watching was so much fun!  I swear we saw someone famous, we had to, but I'm just not that on top of my celebrity gossip as I once was!  Good think I just started subscribing to US Weekly!!!  Thanks Groupon!    Everyone drove super fancy cars, which Eric loved seeing, and everyone was so cool, so LA, I loved it!  

After we ate, we went into all the stores on Rodeo Drive, so much fun!!

The hotel from "Pretty Women,"  sad, it looks a tad rundown!  But still neat to see!
We then hopped back into the car and drove off to the beach!
Drove by Kyle from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hill's store!
We went to Venice Beach and if you ever want the BEST people watching EVER, go there!  Amazing!

Love this guy so much!  And everyone loved his Kansas shirt!  

Love this view!  

How about one more!!  
We then ventured over to Hollywood, I had to see what all the fuss was about!  I was told I would be disappointed, but I wasn't at all!  The people, the excitement, loved it all!!
Hello Hollywood sign! Love the red sign photo bombing the Hollywood sign!

So neat!!

Just think of all the stars that walked through here at the Oscars?  

So fun looking for all the famous names!  

So cool finding her!!

The closest I'll ever get to George Clooney and his hands!  
After walking some more, we were hungry and we had to eat at In-n-Out! No picture, just pure, 100% happiness in my tummy!

Sadly, I had to go home Sunday, before I left though, we had breakfast with Marie's family at their house!  Wonderful ending to a wonderful weekend!  I was a tad bummed that I didn't see one famous person, but that's fine, I guess they didn't get the memo I was coming to town!  So thankful for my time there with Eric, Marie and her family, and for my in-laws for watching our three kiddos!

Just one more!  I will be back, oh yes, sooner, rather than later!