Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

My favorite part about Christmas, as far as decor, is the christmas tree.  I love to have it in the room where we spend the most time, and all month long I feel happy just to be laying near it.  And it has to be real.  At least for now.  Although this hasn't been hassle free for us.  Last year our 10 foot live tree fell over twice, once with all the ornaments on it.  And this year we had to hack away at the base of the tree for nearly an hour, only to discover it still didn't fit in the base.  So Ben and I went back to Home Depot for a new base.  At almost 10 pm.  Ben was in his jammies.  But I don't care.  I love the smell.  And I love going to pick one out as a family.
We went to good ol' Home Depot this year.  They are so nice.  Gave me two free wreaths.  Our tree was actually a surprise as we kept it all wrapped up for easy transport.  When we got it home and cut it open it was perfect.  And we went with a smaller one this year to ensure no falling down mishaps again.  
My biggest shock was that Jackson never bothered the tree.  He is super curious and gets into everything so this was a big worry of mine.  Ben had to drag him away from it about three times the first day and then he never went near it.  I was even able to wrap and leave presents out in my large baskets, which he didn't bother either.  Phew.  
Last year I established the gold and silver theme for the tree, and I love the look.  I decided though that in the future I'll need a smaller tree to set up somewhere else with all the sentimental and photo ornaments on it.  Throughout the month there have been many naps tree side, including Ben.  It's still up but I know it has to go next garbage day.  Bummer.  I'm going to miss that smell.  I think it grows even stronger as the tree dries out.  

Amateur Photographer

Since getting my Canon Rebel for my birthday this February I have been trying to teach myself a few things about photography.  Mostly I have loved having a great camera to capture nice pictures of my boys.  However I have also enjoyed taking photos of my niece for my sister.  I'm definitely not a professional when it comes to knowing how to use my camera or how on earth to use photoshop (seriously so complex), but every now and again I turn out a good pic.  Here is a sample of photos I've taken of my niece and a friend's little baby girl, Payton.

Cindy Lou Who First Birthday

I have so much journaling to catch up on what with Christmas and all, so I better just start from the beginning.  On Saturday, December 15th I helped my sister throw a Cindy Lou Who themed birthday party for my niece, Ashlynn's first birthday.  It was so fun to put together a girly party.  And to shop for her.  If I never have my own, at least I have a niece. : )  It was such a fun day and celebration of this sweet little girl.  Here are some pics of all the party details, some guests, and of course the cute birthday girl.
 Welcome to Whoville!
Pictures of the birthday girl and "grinchy" trees served as decorations. 
More party details. 
 Grinch inspired food.  I tried to be clever, but may have just been cheesy.
The dessert spread. 
The littliest of party guests enjoyed playing in the birthday girl's very cute bedroom.  
The presents were all pink.  Her big cousins Matty and Ben did all the unwrapping for her, while she perched a top of one of her gifts. 
Ashlynn dug right into her cake and seemed to enjoy it very much.  Luckily this time non of it came back up (we had a mishap the week before while taking birthday pictures, which involved a lot of frosting and then that frosting making a reappearance in her bath- which is why the Grinch actually did her a favor by stealing her frosting).   
I cannot believe my niece is already one and that my Jackson will be one in just 26 days.  This year flew by way too fast.  Ashlynn is such a cute and smart little girl.  She is a little dramatic and can make you melt with her sad little cry and big blue eyes.  She speaks so well already and walks around like a tiny little person.  Love you Ashlynn Christine (and yes we have the same middle name!) 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I really do love Instagram.  Its funny how the filters and square size make your photos so special.  I really don't like Facebook very much because I don't really care about everyone's status update.  I do like to follow some good blogs, but don't always get a chance everyday to sit down and read through them.  So I like Instagram because it's a cute pic and a short and sweet comment about it.  Done.  Easy. I usually post daily, so this is just a little glimpse at our life lately according to Instagram.
Ben & his classmate & friend Rose walking to school on a particularly beautiful, rainy morning.
 Love checking on my babies before I go to bed each night.  Nice bedhead Ben.
 Making a bear for Project Nighty Night.  I wasn't sure how much he understood about what he was doing until I overheard him telling his GG (Grandma Greene) one night how he made a bear to be donated to a little boy or girl who doesn't get a lot of presents for Christmas.  I guess he does listen, sometimes.
 Happy face pancakes at IHOP.  For dinner.  The best.
 My happy Jacky on a morning walk, repping his daddy's alma mater.
 After school on Friday I surprised Ben with a trip to the Oakland Zoo.  I had such a great time with my boys and Ben was super well behaved.  Which is saying a lot for lately.  There was a train ride around the park, which actually went a little on the fast side and Jackson sat way up on my knees, holding onto the back of the seat in front of us, smiling the whole ride.
 I ran to get decent to pick up Ben from school and left Jackson asleep on the couch.  I hurried back over to find him completely awake, yet safely lying still.  Miracle I tell you for this kid.
 Jackson is starting to eat a lot of toddler snacks and even table feds from our adult dinners.  I introduced him to the always yummy, always classic, the one and only Cheerios this week.
 James has been waiting a long time for someone to tag him out of the wrestling ring and take on crazy Ben.  Looks like he's been tagged.  And this little guy can take a lot in the ring let me tell you.  Tough.
Today, yes 12/12/12- only rolls around once in every one-hundred years- is my niece, Ashlynn's first birthday.  I can't wait to help my sister throw her a Cindy Lou Who birthday party this Saturday.  Pics to come for sure.
And that's a little glimpse into our life lately.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ginger House Making

Ben refers to Gingerbread men as Gingers, and when he saw the gingerbread kit I purchased, he called it a a ginger house.
I stumbled upon the greatest thing to happen to gingerbread houses since they started selling everything you needed in a kit.  A preassembled house kit.  Yes, the house was already all glued together with frosting, and was oh so sturdy.  That is the absolute worst part about making gingerbread houses, and kids can't do it themselves anyway, so genius to have it already done for you so you can get straight to the fun part.  The decorating.
Ben and I worked as a team.  I frosted, while he plastered the house with candy.  Jacky just sat in his high chair snacking, and desperately trying to reach for the little candy house to get a bite (he had a couple bites of his first cookie today.  It was funny seeing his face light up and then his hand very eagerly reach out for another taste).
Each year we get just a little bit better.  I was even able to pull off the whole melting ice from the roof look that was on the box that Ben insisted I copy.  Well, sorta.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

I met up with my parents, sister, and niece last week to take the boys to see Santa.  We were the only ones there on a rainy Wednesday morning, and got lots of attention from the big guy.  I thought that Jackson would be completely fine with Santa, but he did end up crying a little bit.  Of course I took away his bottle mid feeding to sit him on Santa's lap.  So the tears were probably over that.  The kid loves to eat.  My mom has always gotten a picture with Ben and Santa, so of course wanted one this year with the whole gang.  It was pretty entertaining.
Classic!  Oh the terror on their faces.   
 Santa was so nice and insisted that my grandma and dad take a picture with him too; asking them how long it's been since they've had their picture taken with Santa.  The sweetest.
Ben lost any fear of Santa last year, so was more than happy and willing to sit on his lap and tell him what he wants for Christmas- a bike.  Overall, a pretty smooth Santa experience, especially with the two babes.
Santa's work shop. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Boys' Christmas Rooms

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Ben and I started decorating the house for Christmas.  While I don't have a ton of decorations, I do love what I have collected so far and really enjoy making the house as festive as possible, while keeping things simple.  I'll post some more pics of the rest of the house later, but for now wanted to post some pics of the boys' rooms.  We decorated Ben's right away that first weekend, and I just finished a little festive decoration for Jackson's room today.
Here is Ben's room:
This cute Santa greets you as you enter Ben's room. 

I made this advent calendar for Ben this year out of felt. 

And here's Jacksons: 
Loved Jacky's face today when his eyes caught glimpse of the snowflake mobile.