Monday, December 31, 2012

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't

I almost ruined Christmas.

We went to Eastern Washington for Christmas and stayed all last week. In the mad dash to get everything in our cars and over there before the Seahawks game (we're going to playoffs baby!)  I forgot all the presents Santa had dropped off!

I'd even asked him to bring them early since I knew we wouldn't be home for Christmas.

It wasn't until we had stopped off at my Grandma's and were on our way to eat that I realized what had happened. There may have been tears shed (mine) an offer to drive over and get them (B's) but I didn't feel right making him spend 5 hours in the car for my mistake. So, two days before Christmas I went to the biggest store in my family's town and in the bigger one next to it: Walmart.

I hate Walmart.

I know the Bambinos didn't know any different but the Santa gifts were so cool and the whole reason I wanted to spend Christmas in Eastern Washington was so that my grandma could share in the excitement of the Bambinos' eyes lighting up when they saw their gifts.

I was heartbroken.

The Bambinos still loved their gifts, even though I think their Santa ones are better. They'll get those ones on their birthday which is less than a month away. And, besides that snafu, Christmas was great!

It was a week filled with family from near to far, a ton of food  and all around happiness as we spent time with those we love so much. This year was extra special because for the first time ever, all four great-grandchildren spent Christmas with my grandma. I'm soooo happy we made it over there, as I've mentioned before, it's one of my favorite places to visit.
Bug taking an interest in a baby cousin.
This little cousin is adorable! But, this is all you get to see, I refuse to put someone else's kid on the internet.
B was completely overwhelmed because my family is so much bigger than his and the opening of presents was pretty much chaos. There really is paper flying everywhere with so many of us in one room.

B's fave present is a custom bobble head! I'll have a review of the company up soon.
 Christmas day was a much smaller affair with only my little family, my sister, mom and Grandma eating dinner at my Grandma's house. I loved being able to visit with my grandma and listen to her tell stories about when my mom was little or about when my Grandpa was in the army.

All last week, I just kept thinking, I am so blessed.

From my family to yours, Merry (belated) Christmas.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Sweet Packages From Blog Friends

I received the sweetest package from Jessie, whom Micaela paired me up with for her ornament exchange.

Jessi's getting married soon and they're using peacock feathers in her wedding, so she sent me this awesome Peacock ornament, and then a wooden one signifying  Chisolm Trail which is what her town is known for (THANK GOD it's not the Trail of Tears!)

She included a cute card, some cowboy coffee, two pieces of choclate, a "cow patty" cookie and an Oklahoma snow globe. Her package was perfect.

Oklahoma is the only state I must visit before I die. Texas would be nice, but is not a necessity. Both my paternal grandparents are from Oklahoma, and my family has a loooong family history there. I want to visit the reservation someday.

I also received a really cool wooden WSU ornament from a sweet blog reader who knows Boyfriend is a huge WSU fan. Sadly, I kept the ornaments in the manila package until I could photograph them because I didn't want them to get broken, and I think B accidentally recycled the package :( I should have immediately hung them on the tree like I was going to. I decided not to so I wouldn't forget to photograph them but obviously that was the wrong decision.

Happy Friday people! Have you ever received some sweet packages from blog friends?

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Nutcracker

I took a little intended break from blogging. After Friday's massacre, I just didn't feel right blogging about such frivolous things as my work Christmas party, girl's night Friday (so fun!) or another Christmas party we attended on Sunday. I've been sick since Sunday too so a break was in order but I'm slowly starting to get back into the groove of things.

We were fortunate enough to go to the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker yesterday. It'd been a few years since I'd been, and even longer for both my mom and sister so it was a magical outing for all of us. Plus, I was ready for a distraction from being sick.
We started out getting a drinks. My sister and I got salted caramel apple cider which was two shots of Black Velvet Whiskey and apple cider in a salted-rim glass. It wasn't that great. I'm not used to warm whiskey so I think I'll stick with my favorite rum cider recipe.
I Instagrammed a similar picture already but I winterized my favorite Kiki La Rue Dress so it was work appropriate. Although, I was the only person I saw at the ballet wearing a dress with tights/leggings. It's too cold to go without people!

I looooove the Nutcracker. It's really difficult to see in this picture, but the sets are excuisite. Exquisite is not a word I use often, but that's really the only way I can think of to describe them. 

They're by Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) and they're fun. There's a huge, growing Christmas tree, a huge rat, a huge Nutcracker, an awesome rolling waves scene....besides the dancing there's so much to look at.
Part of the Christmas tree via

 The dancing was different even from the last time we went which was just three years ago but still enchanting, and, my favorite elements were still included.
The "Chinese Dances" are my favorite because of this little guy in the middle. He's small, fun, and full of energy! He does a great rendition of Russian kazatskis (you know the ones, the squat kicks...)

My other favorite dancer is the Peacock. Her dance (and costume) is gorgeous. I kept thinking 1) I want her legs and 2)I wonder what would have happened had I stuck with dance.

Have I ever mentioned that I have a history of dancing? At 14 I was supposed to start assisting classes, but it didn't work out and I pretty much only danced intermittently after that.

Sadly, my body did not care that I was sick. I was the annoying girl trying to muffle a cough every so often and I ate 5 cough drops in the span of maybe 2 hours.

To make myself feel better, I may have gone overboard shopping.  I purchased two books I saw at the gift shop off Amazon, and then I bought four ornaments.
The two bottom ones don't really have a lot to do with the story, but I am in love with the little girl and can't wait to pass it on to my own daughter someday. The girly mouse has the cutest tail made of thin rope.

Our tree is quickly becoming my favorite part of decorating for the holidays, but I'll share more tomorrow when I share some packages I've received from some sweet friends.

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Friday, December 14, 2012


My heart is broken over the tragedy that happened this morning. I cannot fathom being a parent sending your child off to a place where they're supposed to flourish and grow and never seeing them again.

I want to think the best of the world, but I'm having a very hard time right now. I'm seriously questioning whether any place is safe anymore. I'm so disgusted by the news stations who are now interviewing children attending the school. It makes me sick that these children have just experienced the most horrific event they will ever experience and they're getting microphones shoved into their faces. Where is the humanity and the compassion?

The one thing making me feel better is this quote going around facebook:
                "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

Thank God for the teachers who guided the other children to safety.

To the parents in Newtown, CT who lost their children today. I am so sorry. Your children are not forgotten and will not be forgotten. 

I've been trying to hold it together all day and cannot wait to go home and give my Bambinos even more kisses and cuddles than usual.

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Makes Me Feel So GOOD!

Monday I had the best experience!

Isn't her daughter cute?! She was thrilled to be in the studio
Remember Kelly and her story? I've been doing everything I can to help her family out. I immediately set up a donation drive at work, set up a facebook page, I emailed our three news stations, emailed another local daytime show, Ellen and even Oprah.

Because of the all-station email I sent out, Kelly was asked to be on a show on one of our stations. She did a quick interview where she talked about her story and what she now needs for her family.
It was a super emotional time as Kelly is so used to helping other families, she's never asked for anything for her own. But, at the end of the interview, her family was gifted with two laptops for her older sons who have been using library computers to finish their college coursework in  between taking care of their mom and they were also given $1,000 to put towards the van their family so desperately needs!

I don't think there was a dry eye in the studio.  To say that Kelly was shocked was an understatement. I knew about the laptops, but not the money.
As we rounded up the donations we'd collected to send them home with her, Kelly said to me, "I'll never get this (movement on her right side) back, but I've still got my spirit. Next year, I'll be back to take care of those kids."

Kelly's the kind of person who makes me want to quit my job and volunteer for her. After everything she's been through, she's still so concerned about not being able to help any families this year. I only hope that I can raise my Bambinos to be such loving, caring, compassionate people.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

DIY Handprint Ornament

I'm kind of falling in love with our Christmas tree. It's getting really personalized and unique just to our family.

And I love that.

Monday night after dinner, I decided to make handprint ornaments for the Bambinos.

I've been kind of handprint obsessed lately but that's a different post.

My idea was modeled after this pin.

Again, like the glitter and wax ones, this is one of those ones that is so incredibly easy.

Clear ornament
Embossing pad
Embossing powder (it has to be embossing powder and not regular glitter)
Baby Wipe

Squish your child's hand into the embossing pad. Make sure it's covered well with ink.

I didn't get any photos of the actual process because I did it all by myself so my hands were kind of busy.

Put your child's handprint on the ornament. Mine were the perfect age to do this as they easily wanted to grab the ornament. Although Peanut's looked more like a four fingered hand at first.

Cover the inked part of the ornament with a ton of the embossing powder. Seriously, apply it very liberally.

Tap off any remaining powder.

 I just blew off the extra powder, but you can use the Q-Tip to clean the handprint up if you'd like.
I recreated this so there's not embossing powder on it, but you get the idea.
Turn on your toaster and hold the embossed part of the ornament over the coils to set it. I stuck a chopstick through the top ring part so I could hold it without burning my fingers.

The cool thing is, the embossing ink turns white when it's set and since the ornament is clear, it's easy to see when it's finished.
I never got any handprints as clear as the pinned one.  Bug's turned out ok, but Peanut's was this kind of wide, morphed thing instead. 
The underside of Peanut's...see his thumb way down there?
The cool thing is that since Peanut was kind of all over the place and not holding still, I simply wiped it off (before embossing) and started over. This is the 2nd attempt, and the best one I got, believe it or not.

Linking up with AP!

i love you more than carrots

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This Is Hard

The other Day, Boyfriend said something that shocked me:

 "This is hard."

He was talking about parenting and I was shocked because it's the first time he's ever said it and because I don't find parenting hard...yet.

We're fortunate in that our house is small so there's not much the Bambinos can do out of my sight.

We're fortunate in that for the most part, our Bambinos are really well behaved and only throw tiny fits or whine if they're super hungry or tired.

We're fortunate in that we're both really hands on parents who divide and conquer.

We're fortunate in that our Bambinos are almost 2 and I've heard the 3s are harder.

Don't get me wrong, I'm prepared for the fact that parenting will only get more difficult, I just don't think we're there yet.

What I find hard is being in a relationship.

It's hard to open up and let yourself be vulnerable.

It's hard not to hope that this person loves you unconditionally but to always be afraid they love you conditionally.

It's hard to picture your life a certain way your whole life and then to realize that the other person bring in a whole other dynamic you were not prepared for.

It's hard to try and grow as a person and be in a relationship while the other person is still growing too.

It's hard to not wonder were this is going anytime you get in a major argument.

Being in a relationship is hard.

But I'm fortunate that no matter our ups and downs, we've committed to making our relationship work.

And for that we're all fortunate, actually.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fra-Gee-Lay. I'ts French.

Saturday night, B and I were invited to our friend's girlfriend's bar (got that?) for an ugly sweater party. Can you believe it's the first one I've ever actually attended?

We let the Bambinos stay up past bedtime so they could spend time with B's mom, who was feeding them pumpkin pie as we left, and headed up to one of B's old watering holes, The Beachcomber.

Side story: apparently it's a Washington State thing to drink Fireball whiskey. As in, I've had two different people that when they went to Vegas and asked for shots of fireball, the bartenders guessed they were from Seattle. 

I'd never had it and was kind of proud of myself for falling prey to the hype until I found out that the "applesauce" shot I liked to drink was actually made with fireball and not Goldschlager like I'd been telling everyone. And, apparently everyone calls it something different....

Applesauce shot:

1/3 Fireball
1/3 Apple Schnapps/Apple Pucker
1/3 Pineapple juice

Thanks to Carlos at the Beachcomber for helping me figure out the real way to make it!
I'm kind of in love with my shirt. I showed Chelsea's to B and a few days later this one was in the mail!
We hung out at the Beachcomber a bit and then headed on to Kate's to meet up with our friends.

How happy was I to walk in and see this?!
 Very happy. Seeing Colin was great, but seeing him in all his Ralphie-like glory made my whole night.

To make matters better, his girlfriend, Katie, the bar owner was dressed as a very fr-gee-lay lamp
B has the most fun friends, I swear.

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