Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Card



(Click on the card to enlarge it)

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the Sixth or Seventh or...oh nevermind

I love giving gifts! I would give gifts to everyone I know if I had enough money or time to make them one but alas I do not. Also, in an effort to "simplfy" Christmas and keep the focus on the true meaning of the holiday, I have in recent years cut back on how many people I give gifts to and how many gifts. It's been hard, although gift giving isn't my love language, it is one way I enjoy showing love and to cutback on something that you view as love is hard.

So this year it was fun to plan our ward Christmas party and the service project because it was a way I could give gifts but have others help me too. We collected items for two shelters The Hope Center (who expects to help 400+ people this season) and BDVP's Women Shelter (who expects to help 60+ families). It was great getting to be Santa because I got to see all the cool toys and needed items, add my own gifts to the pile and deliver them but everyone else was the hard working elves providing the gifts. Total we donated about 200 items of toys, clothing, hygiene items etc... Look at this great stuff that people truly in need are going to be receiving!

Look at all the love :)





Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the Fourth and Fifth Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me a Christmas tree!
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Last year, when we finally and safely got the Christmas decorations down from our attic, I thought, "Hmmm...something is missing. Where is our tree?"
Our tree was a 5ft, scraggly thing that leaned to one side that we bought for $15 at Goodwill our very first Christmas. We fondly dubbed it "The Charlie Brown Tree" because in the end it didn't look too bad once it was given some TLC.
(Please tell me you know what I'm referencing here. I have received some blank stares before...).

Our Charlie Brown tree all spruced up
(and anchored to the wall because it really did lean quite a bit)

We went looking for it everywhere: our shed, our utility closet, under beds and in closets. Then finally, I recollected that it fell over the year before and became irreparably broken, not even Linus's blanket could save this tree and we ended up throwing it away. We had planned on buying another tree at the after-Christmas sales but I guess we never made it, obviously. We couldn't afford to buy one right then in the middle of the chaos that is called Christmas shopping.

So we decorated our fake ficus tree. It was depressing. I had to chant "The Christmas tree is NOT the true meaning of Christmas" over and over again for about two weeks. The chant eventually worked and we had a nice Christmas but I was determined to buy a tree at the end of that season.


This past Monday for FHE (Family Home Evening) we put up and decorated our new tree for it's very first Christmas. (I know many of you probably had your trees up weeks ago. Like I said, I'm just not able to make it happen until around the 14th.)
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Please note that our cat Daisy is present in every picture we have of our new tree. She loves the Christmas tree as it being her first Christmas tree since it seems she did not consider the ficus tree a "real" Christmas tree either. Our cats have made it interesting and even dangerous to set up, decorate and to keep decorated our tree. Maybe they're just prepping us for when Aurora is a little more mobile next year.

video
(Sorry, the video is a little dark. As we were setting up the tree Daisy would leap into the tree and attack.)


Finished product:



Here is the best gift ever:

(This is a sneak peek at one of the Christmas pics we will be putting in our Christmas email and blog post. Sorry, no cards... I'm lucky to send an email out before Christmas, let alone cards.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the Third Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me a baby snow bear!
And she is soooo cute!

Between her snow outfit and her warm Christmas pajamas, Lil A is ready for a white Christmas!

I included the following picture because I have several like it.
Aurora is telling her own personal paparazzi, aka her mom, "Please, no pictures" or "Give me that toy that you're always putting in my face"

Monday, December 14, 2009

On the Second Day of Christmas...

...my true friends gave to me a 5k Reindeer Ramble!

I was peer pressured (when do I get too old so peer pressure doesn't work on me anymore?) into joining a group of friends, who are mostly all runners even though most said they weren't "runners", in supporting the YMCA by paying money to run (and in my case walk part way) in a 5k.


If my friends are not runners then I'm not sure where that leaves me. I am most absolutely not in any shape or form a runner. I love playing sports, taking classes at the gym and working out on an elliptical but have always disliked, okay hate is probably a little closer to the truth, running.


I complained about the 5k for 2 weeks (maybe longer) and one night while contemplating the mess I had gotten myself into, I turned to Jared who has more wisdom in this area since he ran track in H.S. and asked "Why do people run?" Despite his greater knowledge he didn't answer but he did laugh. I pressed further "No, really why do people pay money to run?" He seemed to realize I was looking at him expectantly, waiting for an answer. After another laugh, he said "Some people enjoy it. It's fun." I contemplated this piece of information and then asked "Why am I doing it?" He snorted and answered "I have no idea!" Later, I found out that Jared had placed money on me that I would wake up the day of the run and suddenly and seriously be too ill to run.


But the day came and I grabbed my reindeer antlers (oh, didn't I tell you...everyone runs in costume) and off I went. Surprisingly, I did enjoy it! And some people don't believe in Christmas miracles! I wonder why I don't enjoy running 3+ miles on my own street. Do you think the secret to enjoying running is to pay someone so they can tell you where and when to run, like at a horse track early on a cold Saturday morning?


Lyndsay, Rashelle, Gail, Bryn, Me, Roz, Taryn, Amanda, Annie, Christina

Also Known As...
Blitzen, Santa, Cupid, Comet, Rudolph, Prancer, Dasher, Vixen, Dancer, & Donner

Since it was cold, my nose was naturally red for my costume as Rudolph. I forgot that I take forever to get warmed up even under warm indoor conditions and was off to a bad start. I did eventually warm up after almost 2 miles. Which is too bad since a 5k is just a little over 3 miles because then I felt like I could of kept running another couple of miles.


I was one of the last of our group to finish but the others were waiting for us so we could cross the finish line together. Go Team!

I loved seeing the other participants' costumes! And I'm already scheming for ours next year!

(And this is just the beginning...some old high school friends are pressuring me to run in a half marathon this summer...yikes!!!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The First Day of Christmas...

I just don't have it together enough to have 25+ days of Christmas fun and merriment planned and ready to go right after Thanksgiving or even by Dec. 1st. But I do love Christmas and I have found that by Dec. 14th I'm ready.

So, enter the Twelve Days of Christmas...

Yes, I am starting a day early and will be posting a couple of events that happened before the 14th and most likely will not post every day for the next 12 days but this is my tradition, thus my rules to break. :)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... one ward Christmas party!

I am our ward's (aka-congregation) activity chairperson. I get to plan all the parties with the help of a talented committee. (So Jared didn't really give me a ward Christmas party it was more like I gave it to him: Merry Christmas, honey!).

See if you can envision it with me... (since it appears that there wasn't any room for a camera in one car and one truck full of stuff) ...lots of lit Christmas trees, large wrapped presents, a fireplace, snow, adults having conversation, children having fun, items to be donated for the local homeless shelter, songs about Christ and a visit from Santa.

Here this might help your envisioning...

I made a faux fireplace for the photo op corner with Santa. This is a pic from the directions. My fireplace looked a little different, potentially better, although I did run out of time, no fake fire.

The kids at the party were definitely cuter! :)

One activity for the kids that kept them entertain all night and I mean all night was the box snowmen. (I luuuuv Family Fun magazine) I wrapped large boxes in white craft paper, enough for 4 snowpeople, had a box full of scarves and funny hats and the kids went to town. I also put batting on the ground all around the boxes and the kids had "snowball" fights. It was easy & inexpensive to do, easy to clean up and the kids loved it!

Again, my snowpeople looked a little different, potentially better, definitely easier. Also, you need to envision the snowman being about 12 large boxes high to truly see what our snowmen were looking like that night.

There were 3 crafts for the kids to do that didn't need adult supervision. We decorated foam photo frames with Christmas stickers for their pics with Santa. We made Christmas cards with cute stamps and washable ink.

Then button wreaths.

The kids' wreaths looked a lot better than even Martha Stewart's example.

I can't find the original website but don't use wire or floral tape like all the other websites say. Use pipe cleaners...their the best! The more I use pipe cleaners, the more I love them!

Note: Once again, Aurora slept through the whole party.

(Friends in the Bluegrass ward, if you have pics of the party...I would like to have some!)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let it Snow!

This morning I woke up to my husband saying the magic words: "Honey, it snowed!" I was immediately excited. It was a pretty good dusting for a first snow and it was still coming down.




I don't really like winter much. It's usually cold, dreary and dark and I wish I could just hibernate through it. But when it snows it makes it lighter and brighter out and everything seems so beautiful and pure. I love looking at it, playing in it and don't even mind driving in it.

I told Jared that it snowed because we used our fireplace for the first time this season last night, despite all his complaining about building it. The first fire of the season always brings the first snow of the season. Just like going to campus without my umbrella is the most effective rain dance that I have ever seen.



Jared went to play football in the "leftover bowl" and I almost bundled Aurora and myself up to go with him. I love playing football in the snow...it brings back lots of memories with my family. But Lil A was sleeping and so I curled up on the couch and enjoyed the snow.

My cats looking out at the snow too.





Sorry no pics of Aurora out in the first snow.
It was pretty much melted away by the time she was ready to go out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fall

I just realized that I never posted these great pictures from the fall season. So without further ado since Christmas is coming...


























Raking leaves together... it was a bit chillier on this day than the previous pictures.








I Love Thanksgiving...

...and not just for the food.

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday...I say "probably" because I do tend to say whatever holiday is nearest is my favorite holiday.

I do love Thanksgiving for the food (I seriously did gain weight this year after 4 days at my parents' house where the thanksgiving food keeps giving and giving) but also that there is a whole holiday set aside for thanks and gratitude. If I had to choose a favorite virtue (I know, kinda of weird to choose a favorite virtue but I just did) it would be gratitude. It really isn't hard to give gratitude, it can be as easy as a simple, sincere thank you, and you get so much more in return such as instantly being in a better mood and feeling so virtuous. :)


Here are two of my greatest blessings: my husband and my daughter


I'm grateful for family: Especially to Grandma Edwards for the cute Thanksgiving outfit!




Since Thanksgiving is about food...

Here is Aurora being such a big girl and holding her own bottle. Jared and I still hold her most of the time for her feedings but it is nice when in a pinch we can give her a bottle and she will feed herself.



I was going to post a video of Aurora eating her very first solid food but apparently it is too big or too long and it won't post to blogger.

She did pretty good eating her first food, all things considered, but seems unsure about it being the future of food.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"And Wuv, Tru Wuv, Will Fowow You Foweva"


Our 8th anniversary was yesterday. We didn't really go all out this year...which seems to be our pattern lately. There is such joy everyday in our lives with Aurora that we have felt like just quietly celebrating birthdays, our anniversary and other special occasions. But we were still true to our family tradition of stretching the celebration out as many days as possible. One night we went to Red Lobster for dinner and then we went and saw New Moon the next night. We exchanged anniversary cards, wishes and thoughts yesterday (we had decided against presents this year).
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And this anniversary probably fits right in with a description a friend had told me recently about Jared and I's relationship: a little "blah." She did go on to explain that "blah" was a good thing compared to her turbulent unstable relationship. Even if she had meant it negatively I would have still smiled and considered it a compliment. To me, I can't think of anything better than to have a relationship where all the normal, everyday things you have to do such as grocery shopping, cleaning the house, getting H1N1 shots, and cooking (things we did this past weekend) are made special & fun and bring feelings of joy, love and peace all because of the person who is by your side. I knew that by the world's standards we would be considered boring and in recognition of that it's why I gave this title to our blog.
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I have been teased about my love of the Twilight series and other romances, but to clarify and to slightly defend :) I don't read them because I wish to have that life or relationship. I enjoy them purely for their entertainment value. I'm not even unsatisfied with my relationship and life after reading them either. In fact, I usually look around afterwards and give thanks for my relationship with Jared and my life. They and others can keep their star-crossed and drama-filled loves. I will quietly sit at home with my best friend, my eternal companion, my true love.
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P.S. The title of this post comes from the Princess Bride which, as many of you know, has special meaning to Jared and I. If you don't know the story, ask me about it sometime.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aurora's Sealing Dress

Awhile ago, I said I would give more details about Aurora's sealing dress...here it is.
It was made from my wedding dress with the help of my Aunt Jan and her fabulous embroidery machine.
Here is a picture of my dress before...
(This is the only wedding pic I have scanned in at the moment)



Here is the bodice of Aurora's dress complete with pin tucks, embroidered flowers and puffed sleeves (Anne Shirley would just love those sleeves). I did most of the bodice with help.


Aunt Jan did most of the skirt.

Here is the finished product. I was soooo very pleased with it. I had been a little concern (okay quite concerned!) about cutting up my wedding dress.

I also made the bonnet.

You can see fabulous pictures of Aurora in her dress here. We are so blessed to have many talented friends who are photographers (Thanks Sheila, Mallory & Marissa!). If you didn't see Aurora's newborn pictures, then go here and here.
There is enough material to make a vest, pants and a bow tie for a little boy later. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Adoption Awareness Month!

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. So to do my part I am blogging about my favorite children's books about adoption. I encourage you to check these titles out from your local library and celebrate families of all kinds and types this month. Isn't that really what this time of the year is all about...families and love!?!

Each title has a link to Lexington's public library so if you live in Lex, you can reserve it. The link for the author's name will take you to the book's Amazon page, so you can read a review of the book.


I'm a little leery of books written by celebrities, especially children's books but this is one of my favorites! Curtis who is an adoptive parent, writes with wit & fun and cozy warmth & love (the illustrations are also fantastic!). Many of us take our "birth stories" for granted but all children love to hear how they were born especially children who have been adopted. This story fills that need and encourages all of us to tell our children their birth stories of how they came to be in our family.


Many of you may already enjoy Todd Parr's bright and fun illustrations and stories. The Family Book is about the many different types of families and one page highlights adoptive families. I liked this book better than his book that was specifically about adoptive families, although I still recommend it too.



"There is an ancient Chinese belief that an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all those who are destined to be together."

That is how this fairy tale begins. I love fairy tales, children's books and I'm passionate about adoption...this book really couldn't go wrong for me. This book is more fairy tale than accurately portraying or giving info about adoption but it is still a good book to use to discuss adoption.

Probably my favorite adoption picture book because of the sweet illustrations and story. Anita Jeram is the illustrator for the well-known children's book "Guess How Much I Love You." This is about a mother rabbit, her biological child and two adopted children and what makes them all different and similar and most important... family.

Another rather well-known children's author (one of my other favorites by Kasza is "My Lucky Day"). A little bird discovers what it really means and takes to be family.

This was Karen Katz's first book before she became well-known for her baby lift-the-flap board books. (Aurora smiles really big when we read Katz's "Where is Baby's Belly Button?" to her). Just like her baby board books, she uses a lot of bright colors and these paticular illustrations have a lot more texture. This story is based on Katz's personal experience in adopting a child from Central America.


This book is told from the perspective of a little girl who has been adopted. The book highlights many concerns adoptive children often have such as were they "born" like other children? A happy sweet story of the day in the life of Samantha and her adoption story.

A little more educational and less story-like than the other titles I have mentioned but still engaging. This book, unlike most of the others, covers the different forms that adoption can take such as adoptions of older children through foster care.

This is probably already more titles than you will ever need or want but this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other titles I can recommend, just ask if you want more. :)