Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Post of 2010

I can not believe that today is the last day of 2010. I can not believe that tomorrow is the first day of 2011. 2011. 20-11. Doesn't that sound so futuristic? It seems like Y2K was just last week, and the week before that was like 1995 or something. Am I really 23 years old? Am I really a mom and stepmom? Am I really a "grown-up" now? More importantly, is Aiden really 2 years old, and Jenny 5? Wow, wow, wow. I. Can. Not. Believe. How. Fast. Time. Flies. It's crazyness!

Last year on New Year's Eve, Jaime and I spent it in the emergency room. He had burned his face and shoulder at work (with hot butter), and I had to take him to the ER. Luckily, he healed just fine and you can't even tell he was ever burned. Still, I hope and pray that tonight is accident free. 2010 was a pretty blah year. Nothing great happened, nothing really bad happened. In 2010 we just were, and I am totally fine with that.

Here's to a great year in 2011. I wish you all a year of exciting beginnings, family health, lots of laughter, and experiencing God's goodness and mercy day in and day out. Happy New Year, friends!



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Books Read in 2010

I have seen several other blogs who have posted reviews of the books they read in 2010, so I thought I'd do the same thing. Although, I am a little ashamed to admit that I only read 6 1/2 (I'll explain the 1/2) books this year. I'm hoping I'll do better next year, I have a pretty large list of books I plan to read.

Here are the books I read...



 Honestly, I saw the first Twilight movie when it came out a few years ago. At the time, I had no idea that it was based on a book. Looking back though, that should have been obvious. I liked the movie, and once I found out that it was also a book, I had to read it. I liked the book even better than the movie. Isn't that what always happens? Books are (almost) always better than the movie. I will admit that the books are pretty poorly written, and are not by any means the best literary work. I do, however, like them. I think they are a fun, cheesy, read.




This book was one that I wanted to read because there was a movie coming out about it, and I wanted to read it before I watched the movie. This book was pretty good. It was a little predictable, but I liked it.



This is the 1/2 book I read, meaning that I only read half of it. I don't even know if I finished half. It was so boring. After all the hype made about this book, I was totally disappointed. Of course this is just my opinion, and there are a lot of people I know who really liked this book. I guess memoirs just really aren't my thing. It was the first memoir I've read and it wasn't what I expected. I probably should have finished the whole thing, but I literally felt like I was forcing myself to read it.




I read this book as part of an online book club I did, Book Beginnings and Bookends. I loved this book! This was my favorite book from 2010. I could not put it down! Since it was a book I read as part of a bookclub, we had a reading schedule we were supposed to stick to. I just couldn't do it, I had to know what was going to happen next. I ended up finishing the book several weeks before the book club ended and I was so glad I did! I'm not gonna tell you what it was about because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who might read, but this is definitely a book I would reccomend.

Well, that's it. That's all I read in 2010. I'm going to post my 2011 reading list in a few days. Let me know if you have any suggestions as to what you think I should read. I'm always looking for another good book! Right now I am reading a book called Look Again by Lisa Scottoline. I just started it last night so I don't know enough about it yet to say if it's good or not, but so far I like it and I've heard good things about it. 

Also, I recommend that (if you like to read) you join Goodreads. It is a great way to keep track of the books you've read, books you want to read, and your opinions on the books. It is also a good place to find books you'd like to read based on the reviews of other people. 

I hope you're all having a great week, I can't believe tomorrow is the last day of 2010!!   



A Look Back at 2010

Looking back on 2010, there aren't really any big, life-changing events that I can think of. In 2010 we played with our kids, spent time with family, cherished our realationships with friends - and gained a few new friends too.

When I look back at the blog posts from the past year, it is obvious that we have been very happy. We have had lots of fun, laughed a lot, and created wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

Jaime dedicated himself to working harder than I could have ever imagined, allowing me to stay at home with Aiden and Jenny. I found other ways to keep myself busy though. I started going to MOPS, and met a lot of great mothers who are all in different stages of motherhood. I became involved in Jenny's school, and I found the time to co-lead her Girl Scout troop. I started going to a church that I love, and that also inspires me to volunteer and serve the Lord.

We moved from a 4 bedroom home, into a 3 bedroom apartment. We sold or donated a lot of our belongings in order to squeeze ourselves into a much smaller home. Sometimes I regret moving into an apartment, but then I look around and realize that it doesn't matter where we live, or how much space we have. All that matters is that we're together, happy, and healthy.

I am always having to remind myself to pick my battles, don't sweat the small stuff, and to enjoy stop obsessing over how clean the house is or if she laundry is done. My search for personal satisfaction led me right back to my kids. I learned that I never want to be too busy (especially with chores) to see what Aiden or Jenny is doing on that particular day. I never want to be too busy that I can't stop what I'm doing to sit down and play choo-choo train, Hungry Hungry Hippos, or to finger paint. I will do what I can, but my kids will always come first in my life.

One of the most important things that happened to me in 2010, was that I grew closer to God. I know that He loves me just the way I am. He has taught me to see myself the way that He sees me. Of course, I still struggle with this everyday. I am by no means perfect and I am by no means done being taught. I am however, very blessed and very grateful for what I  and my family have been blessed with.

I think the thing I am most grateful for from 2010 is that I found a church that I love so much. I really feel at home there. The congregation is much smaller than what I am used to, and that makes it much for personal for me. They encourage you to serve in the church and to help out in the different ministries of the church. I have never felt so involved in a church before and I am truly thankful for that.

In going into 2011 with no presumptions. I'm not setting any resolutions. I don't want to hold myself to standards of any kind that may cause me to stress or obsess over them. I don't want to miss out on the things that matter most in my life - my kids, Jaime, my family, my friends, and Jesus.

I am looking forward to becoming the woman that the Lord wants me to be in 2011. I hope to focus on what I have rather than on what I don't. I want to learn to be more grateful for what I have. Not just the matieral things, but the relationships with people in my life. I am going to strive to be more appreciative of the time that I have with Jaime, Aiden and Jenny, my parents, extended family, and friends.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a wonderful Christmas, filled with good family and friends. It is so nice to live so close to my parents, my brother, and a few of my cousins so that we don't have traveling to do around the holidays. We did Christmas Eve at our house last year, so this year we had it at my cousin's house and it was so nice! The kids all really enjoy playing together and it's great to have us all together.

On Christmas Eve we went to my cousin's house and celebrated with pizza and lots of fun games. My cousin's boys had already opened some of their gifts and all three of them each got a game. We all really enjoyed sitting around together playing their games. They got Clue, Break the Ice, and Elefun. Clue and Break the Ice are games that I played as a kid, but Elefun was new to me.





Aiden loved playing with and watching the train set that Jacob had. He sat there for a long time just watching it go round and round. He has had a train set at home that he got for his birthday, but it was one where he had to push the train himself. This one, was an automatic train. So it went around by itself. (Luckily, Santa already had a motorized train coming for him).





It is really great that my cousin and I have kids who are close in age. Jenny (5) and her son Matthew (6) play really well together, and so do Aiden (2) and her son Jacob (3). Her oldest son, Andrew (9), gets to hang out with the adults since all the other kids are so much younger than him. I think he likes that better anyway. :)



After going to my cousins house, we came home and Jenny and I baked a quick batch of Santa cookies. She and Aiden put a few cookies and a glass of milk out on the table for Santa to snack on later. Then we quickly read "The Night Before Christmas" and a few verses from the Bible in Luke 2. After that, Jenny and Aiden went to bed. They were really excited about Santa coming so it took them a while to fall asleep. Once they fell asleep, Jaime and I got their Santa stuff ready.





I don't know how Santa does it at your house, but here he always brings everything already opened and ready to play with. So Jaime and I opened and put together everything and installed the necessary batteries. Getting the Santa stuff ready is so much fun! This year I bought all their stuff before December so there were a lot of things that I forgot I even bought. I always get so excited thinking about their reactions in the morning when they see all their new stuff!




Aiden's Thomas train set,  Handy Manny toolbox, and remote control car.


Aiden's monkey Pillow Pet, Woody doll, Cars slippers, Vtech Baby game, and Mr. Potato Head


Jenny's Spongebob Vtech game, iSpy Puzzle, Cootie game, Trouble game, and lady bug Pillow Pet


Jenny's iCarly playset, Vtech computer, cupcake slippers, remote control car, and Vtech Kiddizoom camera


On Christmas Day, Jaime and I woke up early and then woke up the kids. When I was a kid I remember always waking up real early on Christmas Day and being so excited, but with Aiden and Jenny, I always have to wake them up and remind them that Santa came. Haha! They were both very pleased with what Santa brought them. I think Aiden's favorite was his Thomas train set (duh!) and Jenny's favortie was her Vtech Kiddizoom camera. They spent all morning playing with their things before breakfast. For breakfast I made a breakfast casserole and waffles.












Later that afternoon, it started snowing! At first it was coming down pretty lightly and it wasn't sticking to anything.  We went to my cousin's house  for Christmas dinner and the food was great! We had ham, corn, green beans, homemade mashed potatoes, mac n' cheese, and biscuits. I also made a Butterfinger cake for dessert (yummy!). The kids played some more, and a few of the adults played Clue with Andrew. While we were there, the snow really started coming down harder and before we knew it, the ground was covered in about and inch of snow! Of course, all the kids (and the "big kids") headed outside to play in it. We had a snowball fight, and poor Jaime really got ganged up on! It was all in fun though. ;)





Since it was snowing and we were afraid the roads might start to freeze over, we went to my mom's house to do our family gift exchange. After that, Jaime, the kids, and I all went home and spent the rest of the night playing with the stuff Santa brought. Jenny got some games from Santa and Uncle Billy that she really likes. We played those most of the night. Aiden was even able to play one of them with us.

Today we've spent all day in our pajamas still playing with Santa stuff. Tonight some of Jaime's friends are coming over and we're gonna eat and have a little game night. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, we definitely did!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Yesterday we had the oppertunity to do a little Christmas cookie baking and decorating. It all started in the morning, when my cousin brought her sons over for me to watch while she went to the doctor. Since there were going to be 5 kids in our apartment, I thought it best to do something that would be fun, but still keep them busy at the same time. So, we decorated cookies!

I just bought some of the pre-cut cookie dough and some icing and sprinkles to decorate them with. I baked them, and then we all sat down to decorate. Here are a few pictures from the decorating....









Aiden wasn't really into decorating the cookies, he just wanted to eat them. =)


The finished products.

That same afternoon, Jenny had a friend spend the night. It was the first time she has ever had a friend spend the night, and she was very excited. So, of course, we baked more cookies! This time we did the peanut butter cookie with the chocolate Hershey Kiss center. They were a lot of fun to make, and turned out really well!









The finished product. These were so easy to make!

We are also going to make a few crafts this week and of course we'll have to bake cookies for Santa Friday night! I hope you're enjoying your week of Christmas!!




Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Visit with Santa

Today, Jaime and I took the kids to the mall to see Santa. Last year went really well and I was really hoping this year would be the same. We have been talking with Aiden about Santa for weeks now trying to prepare him and get him to understand Santa Claus. So I was really thinking that he would do well, especially after the AMAZING picture he and Jenny took last year. Here is last year's....


Last year's isn't perfect, but they both look happy! This year's isn't as good. Here is this year's....





Not too bad. Jenny looks good. Aiden on the other hand, he could use a smile on his face. He isn't crying, but he was NOT about to smile either. The poor people taking pictures, I had them take multiple pictures to try and get one with him smiling, but he was determined not to smile.

I really thought he would do better. He was very excited to see Santa, and had even told me he was going to ask Santa for a Pillow Pet. We had their lists ready to give to Santa and everything. Obviously he got a little nervous once it was his turn. :) Hopefully he'll do better next year!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Edward, the Elf

I'd like to introduce you all to Edward.


Edward is our Elf on the Shelf.



Santa sent him to our house to keep an eye on Aiden and Jenny. He stays at our house and watches them all day. Then, at night, he flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa if they have been good or bad.


He came with a book, that I read to the kids on the day he arrived at our house. In the book it tells you that he has Christmas Magic, but it doesn't start until you give him a name. We named him Edward, after Aiden's Great Grandfather. Jenny thinks he is named Edward after the Edward in Twilight. Haha!

The elf also explains, in his book, that he likes to play games. His favorite game to play is very similar to Hide n' Seek. Every morning after he returns to our house from the North Pole, he hides in a different place. So, when the kids wake up in the mornings, they have to find him. At our house Edward has hidden on a shelf, on the baker's rack in our dining room, on top of the fish tank, on top of a bookshelf, and today he is on top of the fridge. Next week, when Jenny's here, I'm sure he'll hide in places where he is more difficult to find. But, since it's only Aiden here this week, he is hiding in more obvious places so that Aiden can find him easily.




Edward only has one rule. Children aren't allowed to touch him. If a child touches him, all of his Christmas Magic will go away and he won't be able to fly to the North Pole to talk to Santa. If he doesn't talk to Santa, Santa won't know what to bring the kids for Christmas and they won't get anything. I was thinking that Aiden and Jenny would try to be sneaky and touch him when I wasn't looking, but so far they haven't. They both seem very convinced that touching him will make his Christmas Magic dissappear!


So far Edward has really been a joy to have around the house. Aiden and Jenny have been better behaved, Aiden has been listening to Jaime and I better, and it has really given Aiden something to look forward to in the mornings when he looks for him. It is also really cute to watch Aiden talk to him. I can imagine that Santa has been getting some really good reports about Aiden and Jenny lately. Even Aiden, who I didn't think would understand, has been good lately. All I have to do is tell him that Edward is watching, and he straightens up (most of the time). Edward will return home to the North Pole on Christmas Eve with Santa. Too bad Edward couldn't stay year round! =)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Crazy Kids



I love my kids, but I do think they're a bit crazy.  ;) Oh, and they are totally breaking the "don't jump on the bed" rule. Which you all know makes me mother of the year. Haha!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things You Never Forget

There are certain times of the year that your mind becomes filled with special memories from years gone by. The Christmas season is most definitely one of those times for me. Every year, when we are getting out our tree and ornaments, all of those memories start coming back.

Growing up, one of my most favorite Christmas traditions in my house was one that my brother and I used to fight over all the time. It was one that had to be changed everyday. It didn't hang on the tree, nor did it have lights. What it did have, however, was a little gray mouse who knew exactly how many days were left until Christmas (so long as you moved him to the correct spot everyday).


I can remember waking up each morning in the month of December, and running downstairs to "move the mouse" before my brother was awake and had the chance to move it. Sometimes I got there first, and other times I didn't. We were probably supposed to take turns each day, but I was a kid, I didn't remember being told that then and I sure don't remember that now! Haha.



Now, all these years later, we use the Christmas Mouse Calendar with Aiden and Jenny. They love it too! This is the first year that Aiden has really cared about it, and he still doesn't understand it. He just likes moving the mouse because he sees Jenny do it. So, I make them take turns over who will get to move it everyday. For now, it seems to be working. Although, I know that one of these Christmas', they will fight over moving it the way my brother and I did.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Questions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. Although I'm not gonna lie, I am HORRIBLE at wrapping gifts. Jaime is my gift wrapper. I shop and pick out the presents, and he wraps them. It's a team effort! Haha. I also like the way wrapped presents look under the tree. Plus, the kids LOVE tearing all the paper off and making a huge mess with it....and I like to watch their faces light up more and more the closer they get to completely unwrapping each gift. 



2. Real tree or Artificial? I've always had an artificial tree. Even when I was still living with my parents we had an artificial one. In our home now, we have an artificial pre-lit tree. I do want to try a real one though, maybe next year!


3. When do you put up the tree? Usually after Thanksgiving. This year it was up before Thanksgiving because we all have such busy schedules right now.


4. When do you take the tree down? Usually after New Years. Depends on when I get tired of picking up ornaments off the floor that Aiden knocks down.


5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but I can't drink a lot of it at once. That's probably a good thing though since it is so full of calories!



6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably my first CD player. I can remember I also got money/gift cards that year, and I was upset on Christmas Day when I couldn't go out to buy more CD's for my new CD player since all the stores were closed.


7. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad



8. Easiest person to buy for? Aiden and Jenny. Last year Jenny was easier to buy for than Aiden, but this year it's the opposite. I already knew exactly what I wanted to get Aiden before I even went shopping. With Jenny, I had to ask her for a few ideas of what to tell Santa she wanted. Thankfully though, I am all done buying their gifts!



9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.



10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Snail Mail.



11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm.... honestly I can't think of any. I know at some point I have received something that I really wasn't happy with, but it's supposed to be the thought that counts, right? Yeah right, tell that to my 5 year old. Haha!


12. Favorite Christmas Movie? This is another hard one...I have so many! Let's see, I like Polar Express, The Christmas Story, Frosty the Snowman, Home Alone 1 and 2, and so many others.


13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Up until this year I have always waited until about two weeks before Christmas. This year however, I started shopping in October. I tried to buy a little at a time, and it worked out well. I am over half way done with my shopping!!


14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.



15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Chocolate covered peaunt butter balls.


16. Lights on the tree (colored or clear)? I like the classy look of the white lights, but we have colored ones. The kids prefer it, and it's more fun!


17. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night or O Holy Night


18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home. We usually travel the weekend before Christmas to do our big family Christmas in Alabama. Luckily my parents live about 10 minutes away from me, so we don't really have to "travel" on Christmas.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph. Yep, I sure can!


20. Angel, star or ribbon on top of tree? We use a ribbon. I keep saying I'm going to get an Angel, but I still haven't done it.


21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open presents from family on Christmas Eve, and then Santa brings his presents Christmas morning.


22. Favorite children's Christmas song? "I Want a Hippopatumus for Christmas", "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", "Jingle Bells", and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".


23. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? I don't like Scrooges. If you don't like Christmas, fine - but don't ruin it for the people who do. I also don't like this whole thing about saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Um...hello?? Do you know WHY we celebrate CHRISTmas? Yep, that's right...it's the day of the birth of Christ. =)


24. Favorite ornament theme or color? We don't go with a theme. I just buy what I like and that's what we use. I also have a lot of ornaments that Jenny has made in school.


25. Turkey or ham on Christmas day? Ham.



26. What do you want for Christmas this year? Lets see... a new coffee pot, a nice set of king size bed sheets, and one of those heated mattress pads (king size). Honestly though, I don't care if I don't get a single thing. As much as I like receiving gifts, I'd prefer my kids get the things they ask for before I get what I ask for.


27. Does anyone in your family dress up as Santa? No.



28. Age you discovered who Santa was? I don't remember how old I was. I'm pretty sure I heard it from the kids at school though.


29. Eggnog, hot chocolate, or apple cider? Hot chocolate or apple cider. I like them both!


30. Traditional colors (red and green) or other colors? Love the reds, greens and golds!



31. Do you have any Christmas decorations on your roof? We live in an apartment so no.

32. How does Santa get into your house? Chimney or magic key? Since we live in an apartment and don't have a chimney, we tell the kids that he makes a chimney to come down - like in the movie "Santa Claus". You know, the one with Tim Allen in it.


33. Do you prefer gifts or gift cards? Gifts, although I like the gift cards that are usually in our family Christmas' Dirty Santa. =)


34. Favorite children's Christmas Cartoon? "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (the cartoon - I don't like the movie).


YOUR TURN!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Testing



Testing.....testing....123

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Aiden's Birthday Party

*Sorry this post has taken me so long to put up. I have LOTS of pictures from his party and that makes it hard to sort through and choose which ones are blog-worthy. ;)


First things first, let me just go ahead and warn you that this post contains lots of pictures. Don't worry though, most of them are pictures of the cutest two year old you have ever seen! Grab a snack, and enjoy....



Aiden's official party was scheduled from 3pm-5pm. However, since we had family in town that had come to celebrate with us, his party ended up being an all day celebration. It started out Sunday morning, where we all got up early and went out to eat breakfast at Golden Corral. I have always heard really good things about their breakfast, but had never had it until last Sunday. Let's just say I was not impressed. Cracker Barrel is MUCH better!

Anyhow, after breakfast we all went back to my Mom's house and began to get ready for the official party. The kids played outside in the backyard, I started working on decorating and setting the table, and then my cousin and I went to the store to get the food and drinks. As you can tell I am a last minute kind of person. I even ended up having to go to the store twice because the first time I forgot to get drinks altogether. Ha!








We had pre-ordered a Moonwalk Rental for the party. It was brought around 11:30, and that was when the party really got going. All the kids had a blast, and even a lot of the adults got in and jumped!







Our family from out of town ended up having to leave a little early since they had such a long drive home, but we were so glad they got to come and we can't wait to see them again for our Christmas celebration! We let Aiden open their gifts a little early so that they could see him open them. He loved all of them, and uses (or wants to use) them all everyday.










The party continued with lots of jumping and fun. We had a pinata outside filled with candy and small toys. No one broke it, so we let Aiden pull the strings on it until the candy came out. I'm glad it wasn't broken because I can save it for him in his keepsake box. We went inside to let everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to Aiden and so that everyone could eat cake. The theme for Aiden's party was Cars. His cake was Cars, the decorations were Cars, and the pinata was Cars. Can you tell what his favorite movie is? =)













Aiden had a great day, and he enjoyed all of his gifts. I know he was so glad to be able to spend his birthday with awesome family and friends. Thanks to all of you who came to celebrate Aiden's 2nd birthday!! We had a lot of fun, he got a lot of great gifts, and we hope you all enjoyed yourselves too.


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