Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello 2012!

So... I am not one to stay up until midnight.  Those days are looooong over.

However, I couldn't let Lulu ring in the new year by herself so we got all dolled up and celebrated in style!  I was surprisingly awake the whole time! {{and I didn't even get a nap today}}

My favorite quote of the night?


As we helped ourselves to sparkling cider Lulu ran to get a "cocktail ring."  She announced, "Always accentuate your large drink with a cocktail ring."  I almost fell over when she said it.  She told me that she got the tip from Style Network.  Yikes!  

What is your favorite quote thus far???

Happy 2012 everyone!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It is merry, isn't it?

Check out the ornament that I spent 4 hours making on Christmas Eve Santa brought for the kids.  I can't wait to give you a full report on our whole day.  Until then, I leave you with this verse.

Luke 2:11
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; 
He is the Messiah, the Lord.

My favorite Christmas verse is Luke 2:12: This will be a sign to you.  You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.  However, since you can't see the baby in this ornament, Luke 2:11 will have to suffice.  

Merry Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sanity Update: Week 1 of 4

My moms group met on Wednesday for our last get together of the year. 
boo hoo hoo.  {{please pass the tissues}}

I skipped the mom's group, for the first time ever, because there was a last minute email sent out (well, it came through on Monday) saying that the plans had been changed and the next meeting would include (1) a white elephant gift exchange and (2) snack to share.  Since I got the email after the weekend had passed and I worked late on Wednesday, I was not appropriately prepared for the moms group meeting.

What did we do instead?  We sat at the couch with a big ol' bag of popcorn and watched Survivor - one of our favorite shows.  Some of us (ahem... me) have watched all 23 seasons.  Yes indeed!

Are you keeping track of my week?
So far, we took out the moms group meeting but added in a tv night with the family.  Sanity is still in tact.

Here's a list of other things that were working against me this week (don't worry - I will get to some good stuff):

Driving:  This past week was especially packed because my oldest daughter (who spends two weeks with me and then two weeks with her dad) was with me this week.  Cheerleading practice started up as well.  I estimate that I spend an extra 560 minutes driving her to and from school and practices on the weeks that she is with me.  I am not complaining.  I am just stating where my time goes.

Volunteering:  Each parent at church volunteers in Sunday School twice a year.  This week was my week to volunteer.  They needed help... in the baby room of all places.  Um... I not real keen on holding my own babies much less someone else's baby.  Babies are a lot of w-o-r-k.  This experience was as pleasant as it could be.  The facility is more than equipped to handle these babies... plenty of bouncy seats and swings and such to keep the babies happy.  But, babies still eat and cry and poop and stuff.  So, it was a very busy morning.  Since Sunday School takes place during church service, I did not get to go to church.  Yes, I could have stayed for the late service, but there was no time for that.  No time.

So, we added in 560 minutes on the road and took out church and added in babysitting.  You with me?  Sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me.

School party:  My youngest two had their school party last week.  For 13 years, I have been making creative, fun, and special treats for school parties.  I RACE to the sign-up sheet so I can sign up for something fun (cupcakes) and don't get stuck with something totally boring (juiceboxes).  This year I looked at the list of things to bring and called Bro over to the list to see what he wanted for his party.  Guess what?  He picked CHIPS - Doritos in fact! SCORE!!!!!

So, we took out spending hours of time detailing cupcakes for preschoolers and added in one-bag-of Doritos!  He was totally proud and excited about his chips!  Chips = happy child with no effort.

Reading:  I am reading a book for my book club, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand, but NOT a parenting book that I had hoped to read.  Either way, I enjoy reading and I am enjoying the book very much. 

The highlight of the week was when we added in gingerbread house decorating at my mom's house.  She totally did all of the work.  There was candy everywhere when we left.  The kids had a fabulous time!  This is an annual tradition and the first time that Bro participated.

I love looking at the pictures of Bro squeezing out the icing...

... compared to the pics of Lulu squirting out the icing.  Clearly, there is a difference.

Then we have Lulu's roof...

... compared to bro's roof.  It just cracks me up!

One of my favorite parts might be the before shot and after shot of Bro's front door.

Here is the "before."

And, here is the after.  He kept insisting that Santa belonged in the house.  Since none of the adults would help him get Santa in the house, he did it himself. 

I adore Lulu's sweet cottage of pink and green in her winter wonderland.

These houses are so festive and I know that Christmas is almost here when I see gingerbread houses displayed at home.

Sanity Week 2 Schedule:

Moms group:  Nope.

Family event:  Lights on the Bay on Wednesday

Reading:  Still in my book club book – need to move to a parenting book.

Cheerleading has been cancelled for the week.  DOUBLE YAY!

I need to wrap the teacher gifts.  Easy enough.

There are a few things purposely missing here because I don't want to stress myself out. 
make nativity ornaments for each child
make a stocking for Bro and Bri
set up Bro's leappad so it is ready to play with when he opens it

Our gingerbread houses are so sweet.
What holiday event in your life
signals that Christmas is nearly here?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blue or Beige?

I started the baby Jesus ornaments.

The clips come in packs of 12 so I am making 12 Jesus babies.

The template was for a light blue blanket.  The craft store was sold out of blue so I went with a beige.  Baby Jesus is never wrapped in a blue blanket anyway.  It's always beige or white.

Someone... ahem Grandma... suggested that perhaps his mother made him a blanket from the same material as her dress, which is often portrayed as blue.

Bee and I travelled to the fabric store (not the craft store this time) for some light blue felt. 

Note:  Felt is way cheaper at the fabric store than at the craft store.  Just sayin'.

I started making some babies with blue blankets and soon realized that I did not like blue blankets at all.  To me, throwing the blue blanket on baby Jesus felt like I might as well give him a Mickey Mouse print blanket.  The baby in the stable did not have a blue blanket!

I got this far and couldn't decide what to do:  keep making blue blankets or go back to making beige blankets. 

I did what any reasonable person would do... I asked my facebook friends to decide.  This is how they voted:

What?  Look at all of those blue votes! I was shocked at the number of people who voted blue.  Really?

It's a good thing I asked.  I would have finished in beige.

What is it about the blue that is so appealing?
Clearly I am in the minority.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I think I can. I think I can.

It is no secret to those who see me often that I have been in a phenomenal mood for the past few months. 

I can only think that this new found attitude is a result of (1) going to church on a regular basis and (2) attending a weekly Growth Group support group for moms of school-age children.  I don't know exactly why these events make me feel better but I do know that these two events recharge my soul and keep me motivated throughout the week.

Specifically, the moms group has taught me so much about being a better mom.  I cannot pinpoint why this is so helpful.  We are a group of about 15+ moms who get together weekly and discuss a topic of interest.  The group leader selects the topics and usually gets a mom to come in and speak to us about the topic.  We also have small-group discussions about the topic and moms bring in snacks.  I sooooooo look forward to this meeting.  I leave this meeting so full of energy and inspiration.

Most recently we discussed "Joy."  The speaker for Joy, whose children are now in college, could relate to me (and the other moms in the room).  She started off with, "I know you are all dragging.  I know you have lots of gifts to buy.  I know you have lots of obligations.  I know the laundry is piling up.  I know that your kids have been sick and not sleeping through the night.  I can hear your colds and see your tired eyes as I am standing here."  Hello!  Does she spy on us when we are at home because she totally hit the nail on the head.

She led us into a discussion about Joy, the joy of mothering, and a discussion about joy busters.  You know what joy busters are.  Waking up with your kid in the middle of the night is a joy buster.  Chauffeuring the kids to all of their events is a joy buster.  You get what I'm saying?  However, we talked about joy busters and ways to make them more positive or think of them in a more positive light.  Talking with other moms about ways to bring joy to some of our least fun experiences is highly motivating.

This speaker also remind me to "be present" with my children.  "Being present" does not involve browsing facebook while the kids watch tv.  "Being present" involves actually sitting with them and sharing with them and being present with them.  Do you know how "present" I have been with my kids since this mom's discussion?

Another example of "being present":  Lulu, my teen, asked if she could straighten my hair.  This came at a time when I had one million things to do.  Nonetheless, I spent a half hour in the bathroom with her while she straightened my hair.  She loved straightening it and chatted the whole time.  Do you have any teens at home?  Do you know how difficult it is to get them to talk to you?  I feel like this half hour in the bathroom with my teen just chatting away was a mini-miracle.  In the end, I came out with a gorgeous new look {{my husband actually said that it was sexy}} and I had great bonding time with my teen.  None of this would have happened if I was browsing facebook.   

So you see... finding the positive side of joy busters and "being present" are just two great mothering tips I took away from my moms group.

This bring me to the point of my post.  That is, I just came to the realization that moms group is taking a break for the holiday and will not be meeting until mid-January.  UGH!

I feel like an addict... or maybe a person who was just told that their therapist is going away for a month.  I'm more than a little bit apprehensive about how I can function without my moms group.

I'm made a Moms Group Break Survival Plan.  This survival plan involves (1) taking the time that I would be at moms group to browse facebook do something fun and special with my family and (2) reading some of the suggested parenting books that I have not had a chance to read because I have been so busy.

Moms Group Break Survival Plan

Wed, December 21 - Drive through Lights on the Bay with the family.

Thur, December 29 - Go to the movies with the family.  Maybe get a sitter for Baby Bee.  {{Sorry Baby Bee}} 

Wed, Jan 4 - Go to local coffee shop or library to do some reading.

Daily:  Continue to read my parenting books.

The object of my plan is two fold:  (1) create special memories with my family and (2) continue to be inspired through the suggested parenting books.  I really think that I can make it through the break if I have this little plan in mind.

Here is the list of suggested reading from my moms club. 

Note:  The list was created from a little widget creator on  I'm not sure what will happen if you click on it. Maybe it will link to or amazon - not sure.  

Moms Club Recommendations

I don't know which one to read first.  The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers and 5 Conversations that You Must Have With Your Daughter are calling my name.  I feel a sense of urgency to get these started.  Parenting with Love and Logic will help with all of my kids, not just one.   

Many of you could benefit from Boundaries by Drs. Cloud and Townsend.  It's not just for moms.

What is a joy buster in your life?
How you can make it more positive?

Do you have any suggestions for my
Moms Club Break Survival Plan?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baby Jesus Ornament

Yay!  I am so proud of myself!

Look at the baby Jesus ornament!

Idea from:

Now I just need to make about 11 more.

I almost forgot to tell you.  I'm also going to make this ipod holder for Lulu too. 

You are right - I don't think I'm going to have time to make the cookies. {{sad face}}

Dear Husband and I are going to finish Christmas shopping tonight! 

How much shopping do you have left?

Friday, December 2, 2011

She's Crafty!


Have you heard that Christmas is coming? Yes! Great!

I have a few crafts lined up.  Tell me what you think?

1.  I need to make one additional large Santa Sack per kid.

What's a Santa sack? It's a large fabric sack that Santa puts his gifts in (you can make them or buy them).  The kids set the sack out on Christmas Eve and Santa fills them while they sleep.  The Santa Sack is not only ecofriendly but it really keeps down on the clutter and mess to clean up after opening the gifts. Providing Santa Sacks for Santa to place his gifts in is a secret that needs to be unleashed. We will always provide sacks for Santa. There was a noticable difference in our morning because of the lack of mess, paper, and general clutter. Plus, this makes it much, much easier for Santa to "wrap" the presents Christmas Eve {{wink, wink}}. 

They are selling Santa Sacks at Michaels your local craft retailer for less than $3 each.  Get one!

2.  I want to make these Nativity cookies.  I might make a plate of each set for my aunts for Christmas.  I'm not sure how well they will travel in the car.  I think I could "glue" them in place with icing and the scene would still be presentable after a 2-hour car ride.  Right?

This picture and idea comes from  She made her own colored sugar (simple and thrifty) and still captured the essence of the characters without piping in all of the details with icing. She's my kinda gal.

3.  I also want to make this baby Jesus ornament.  Instead of hanging it from the tree, I am going to put a clip on the bottom so I can nestle him atop a tree branch.  Yes, I am making extras.  {{Yes, I am sending one to you Grandma!}} made these adorable ornaments and took this picture.
4.  Lastly, I have all of the pieces to make these Nativity blocks

I have not put up my tree, pulled out our elf, or hung any lights.  I have a lot of work ahead of me, I know.

My craft ideas might be overambitious and I might not get to them all.

Which one do you think I really must do?
1. Santa Sacks
2. Nativity cookies
3. Jesus ornament
4. Nativiy blocks

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NABloPoMo Recap

On November 1, I set a goal to blog once a day in November, as part of National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo - who thinks of this stuff?). 

I didn't quite make my goal, but I almost hit an all-time high of November blog posts (see chart).

What happened in 2010?  I had a new baby and was somewhat recently back to work.  I guess I was really busy. I can't really remember - it was a whirlwind of a year.

Clearly, things are running a bit more smoothly now. Thank goodness!

Thanks to everyone who came in and checked on me (RooLily) and for the new friends I met... ahem Pursued by a Bear.  I had great fun.  Let's do it again next year.  Shall we?

Tomorrow:  Come back tomorrow and see what crafts we are prepping for this season.
Coming soon: Parenting book recommendations for moms with school-age children