Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble gobble!! and a love story

I loooooove Thanksgiving!!

My hubby and I met--gosh, actually 7 years ago TODAY! His younger sister and I were college buddies and fellow RAs and she said, "You should come to Thanksgiving with me and meet my brother. I think you'd hit it off."


Even that first night we talked and laughed--instant connection. We even had a DTR (Defining The Relationship) talk before the weekend was over, because we knew sparks were flying!! After both of us said, "I'm not in a place to commit to anything," we went our separate ways. But before we did, and unbeknownst to the other, we left each other notes the night before we departed, saying how grateful we were to have met. Then Sunday came and he called. I thought, "Hmm, maybe this wasn't just a weekend thing." A few days later, I blew out my birthday candles and said a prayer that "something" would happen between us.

A lot of IMing, e-mails and late-night phone calls ensued, much to the chagrin of my roommate! It was a few weeks before we saw each other again and--PHEW! Still sparks! We became a couple that night (Dec. 13) and were engaged on Feb. 23rd, three months to the day that we met. He made a special trip from Albuquerque to Phoenix to surprise me and propose that day.

We had a long-distance relationship for 6 of the 7.5 months we were engaged so our first year of marriage was definitely a get-to-know-you period! It was fun to show back up to Thanksgiving the next year as newlyweds!! Boy, was his family surprised because they, too, thought it was just a temporary infatuation.

And we've been married for over 6 years now with a 3-year-old and a baby due in May!

Every year, we've gone back to the very kitchen where we met, except the year that I was several days over-due with our son and couldn't stomach the idea of two two-hour car-rides or rushing back into town if I went into labor!

This year, we'll be back again. Our time there is always fun-filled and relaxing and this year, the kids should have more fun than ever, which means the adults get more time to visit and catch up!

Our Black Friday tradition is that all the ladies in the family (my two SILs, my "Other Mother," my Aunt-In-Law and my mom) leave the kids with the men and hit the local shops and antique stores in search of bargains and treasures. It is always a blast and yields a lot of lovely finds!

This year is extra-special because we're staying in a local B&B Thursday night (it's actually a manor, see the post here), then Friday my mom is taking our son home with her so my hubby and I can have Friday night and next morning (which is my birthday)together...aloooone. For the first time!!! Oh, I can't wait!!

In other news, my dad is "loaning me" his fabulous camera, because he got a new one, so you can bet I'll be taking some fabulous pictures of our lil' trip to share!!

I hope your Thanksgiving reminds you of all the blessings in your life--my cup runneth over!!

I'll let you know how my birthday goes, too! It's the 29th! :)

And I leave you with pictures of Thanksgivings past...

2005, five days over-due! We didn't make it out of town this year. I swear, eating all that good food helped put me into labor two days later! :)

2006, when our booga-boo was just 1 year old...

and fine-tuning his walking skills!

I love the scenery there!!


2007 when he was two.

Playing in the fountain again.

Some chaos always ensues when it's meal time.

Me and my SIL with some of our antique store finds.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday #1--go digital!

Welcome, "Works for Me Wednesday" participants!!

I love doing new blog carnivals! This one originated at the "Rocks In My Dryer" blog. Read all about the guidelines


Here's my first installment. It's related to saving time and $$$...Christmas...simplifying...keeping in touch...AND going GREEN!


Here's the deal. The end product is a lot like the photo greeting cards available at Walgreens or Costco, where you upload a picture and they print out a set of cards for you.

Like these:


1. You're paying a real person for their unique design. On Etsy, they're typically stay-at-home moms with a background in design. How nice to support them this holiday season instead of the "big box retailers!" Plus, yours won't look like every other card you get in the mail!

2. They are usually customizable, so you can change the text, colors and format depending on your photo, and even add more pictures!

3. They are digital, so you get a .jpeg file that you upload to your favorite photo printing site and only pay for the cost of printing a picture (4 x 6 or 5 x 7), plus the cost of an envelope. CHEAP!

4. AND, you can also E-MAIL your .jpeg file to your mailing list to SAVE on printing and postage!!

I'm sending about 80% of mine through e-mail and only sending hard copies to immediate family and people I know don't check their e-mail. Then I'm paying less than 15 cents per card plus the envelope. So affordable! And, hey, people who get the e-mail can always save the picture and upload it to their favorite printing site and pay for the picture themselves! :)

Saves on time, money and paper!! Woo-hoo!!

This is the lady I used and once I bought the design I liked and e-mailed her the pictures, we had the finalized version (after two tweaks) within about ten hours total. She's awesome!! She moved things around and added pictures until it was perfect!

Lil' Bean Sprout has several choices--just search "digital holiday cards."

Visit the WFMW homepage to read all the entries.

Rocks In My Dryer

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blog Decompartmentalizing

Yeah, that's right. I'm done compartmentalizing the various areas of my life.

Big word, huh? It just means "to divide into categories or compartments."

I've said that my blogs help me compartmentalize my life, which is almost impossible to do in real life! I've got my family blog for funny stories, pictures and family spiritual blog for reflecting on what I'm learning on my walk with the Lord...and my public blog (this one), which focuses mainly on crafting, shopping and home caring.

I do definitely think it's OK, for example, to keep your family life and your work life separate. Leave your family problems at home and leave your work worries at your desk--don't mix the two. And some people insist on keeping their religious or political views out of the office or away from social gatherings. That's understandable and even wise. Well, except for my husband, whom I wish would talk about both more. But he's one of the few people I know who actually knows what he's talking about. I digress.

What I've started to notice is that both my husband and I seem to let all the areas of our lives blend together. Our family life and our political views are a reflection of our spiritual beliefs. The way I parent, how I relate to my husband and how I run our home are intrinsically linked to my relationship with the Lord and He often teaches me through my daily rounds or through my experiences as a mother. I don't want to have one without the other!

It has been hard to keep my precious family off of my public blog, and it has been tricky to keep the family blog private. Even I have a hard time carving out time to visit password-protected blogs! So I don't want to maintain a private blog anymore and, after all, most of my friends from my public blog are interested in my family, anyway. I would be!

A lot of it, I will admit, comes down to my relationship with Jesus Christ. It isn't just a "Sunday thing," nor is it even a daily thing--it's my moment to moment reality. I try to rely on the Lord in every moment and for every thing. My growing relationship with Him is my #1 priority and fuels the other areas of my life. So I'll be talking about that here, too.

I also hope integrating my various blogs will help streamline my time blogging and will help me make more bloggy friends, since I won't have to direct them to all different blogs, depending on what they're interested in.

The only one I will keep separate is my pregnancy blog, because it's only for a short time and is definitely, how shall I say..."women only." I'll keep the link in the sidebar in case you're interested.

So...welcome to my new, fully integrated blog!

I hope you'll stick with me and enjoy the journey!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Belly update

No one has asked but I'm doing it anyway.

Here's the belly progress at almost 17 weeks. I'm almost 40% done! :)

This was at our son's 3rd birthday this past Sunday.

My new "May Baby" tee answers both of the most-asked questions: "Are you pregnant?" and "When are you due?" I love it!

And since I'm frequently finding toothpaste and mayo drippings on my belly now, I must be officially "showing!" heehee

And some of you have asked...and YES, I'm feeling much better now and more "normal." The middle trimester is awesome!! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Monkey's 3rd Birthday!

Are you as tired of my family's birthdays as I am??? But we always say, "It sure beats the alternative." I'll take celebrating a plethora of birthday over the alternative any day. Or month!

But now I'm done!! Well, throwing them, anyway. I still have to attend my nephew's next weekend but that'll be a breeze compared to the month I've had!

First of all, I spent Friday night and most of Saturday at the Women of Faith conference in Glendale, AZ.

Here's me with my mom and my friend, Jen, who was drove us. I'm about 16.5 weeks preggers in this pic in case you're counting. I'm feeling large these days but in a good way.

Anyway, GUESS WHAT?? WOF had a surprise guest...


I posted this video the day before, how weird is that?? I just randomly saw it on another blog and thought it was SO funny. Low and behold, she ocassionally performs on the WOF tour and wasn't scheduled to be in Phoenix and just happened to drop in Friday night and PERFORMED THAT SONG!! I whispered to my mom, "I just posted this song on my blog yesterday!!" My row-mates cracked up as much as I did.

Whether you are a mom or have a mom (that's you), you should watch the video!!

Now you should know that in the interest of not leaving the father's out, she did a rendition for them. It simply went, "Go ask your mom, go ask your mom, go...ask...your...mooooom!" Stinkin' funny stuff, folks.

So we had about an hour to unwind from the conference and stretch our legs (we did that in Hobby Lobby, heehee) then hit the store for the party paraphanalia for

my son's 3rd birthday party,

held Sunday at a nearby park.

Oh, goodness, was he excited about this party!! And he really "got it," that it was all for him.

This is what he (more or less) arrived to...

...and this was his expression when he came running up and first saw the pavilion all decked out with Thomas the Train and his beloved Nana and Mommy waiting expectantly for him.

Then when he gt up close to check it all out, this was his expression. "Quietly Amazed," I'd say!

Our pavilion was located near the water with plenty of ducks to keep us amused.

(Yes, his rule is "get as close to the water as is 3-year-oldly possible)

Yeah, um, you're not supposed to feed them, "For Public Health Safety Reasons..." but...who can resist?? We could've been arrested. We even shared our bread with other park patrons!! Rebels, I tell ya! This was an actual party guest, however.

This is my dear friend and her 2-year-old daughter, whom I help out with part-time during the week. It's the best "job" in the world! :)

Ain't she cute?? She's as sweet as she looks. Throws like a boy, too!!

Here's my same friend's son, who my boy thinks is his best buddy.

Some folks tossed a football around, much to my son's amusement!!

There was a nice shady tree, too, for eating under. We served sandwiches and the fixin's.

And naturally, there were cupcakes. I, ah...kinda forgot the we wung it!! :) He ended up not eating even one bite and instead pummeled it to smitherines and played with it. He's not what you'd call "a neat freak."

He thought it was great fun to smoosh the train rings into it, though.

A highlight was, of course, opening presents. Our three nephews were veeeeerrrrryyyy interested in the Thomas stuff he opened. Do I feel some playdates coming on??

The girls preferred bubbles. Although one of the girls did like the bugs in her goody bag!

And I can't leave out my lovely SIL and only niece!!

And here's a rare shot of ME, with my son!!! He obviously couldn't have cared less but I just wanted to prove that I was there.

He was totally uninterested in me last year, too! He sure has grown up in a year!

Here's my hubby, helping him with his new scooter.

This was them last year with his new tricycle, which he has more than perfected since then.

Lastly, I'll do my favorite thing...comparison pictures!!

One week old, December 2005

His 1st birthday party (Elmo and trucks), November 2006

His 2nd birthday party (E-I-E-I-O and farm), November 2007

His 3rd birthday party (Thomas the Train), November 2008

Monkey, we love you more and more with every passing day!!

Here's to 100 more birthdays!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday's Fave Five #1

This is a new one for me!!

Susanne hosts this every Friday, over at

Living To Tell the Story

You list your five favorite things from the week. This goes perfectly with my "Attitude of Gratitude" I try to embrace every day.

#1, Origins "Peace of Mind" 25% off, free shipping and free gift wrap! I sent out four as early Christmas presents, to help relieve all that pre-Christmas stress and tension! Less than $8 each, what a deal!!

2. All this fabulous Thomas party ware for our son's 3rd birthday party this weekend. All week, we've talked of little else than his Thomas party with cupcakes, presents and all his friends--he is SO excited! My parents bought (and my mom shopped for) all the party ware stuff for us, decorations included. What a huge blessing!

3. November in Arizona where it's warm enough to wade in Nana's pool...

and play with the hose in the back yard.

4. Celebrating my mom's birthday with a yummy steak dinner by the pool, presents and cake!! And this was despite my car breaking down on the freeway half way there and my hubby coming to rescue me! Thank you, Lord, for your protection and providence!

It made her day that it was the first year her first grandson SUNG "Happy Birthday" to her!! He enjoyed the cake, too.

Here's the purse I ordered from Karen of

Baffin Bags on Etsy

Mom loved it!!

5. All this new paper arriving in the mail from

Jane Says on Etsy

She even threw in two extra packs for free! Thanks, April!

This week exemplifies November in our family--busy, but in the best possible way!