December 30, 2013

Christmas this year was much better than last.


So last week this little thing called Christmas happened ... SO SAD IT'S ALL OVER!!! :'( 
I feel like this year was maybe the best Christmas ever ever? 

Here's a recap for posterity:
We always start with stockings and they're always my favorite part. 
I love reading the note Toph writes and puts in my stocking every year. Cheesy. Gag. Love.

Bronson wasn't sick or crazy cranky this year so that made everything much more festive.

And of course it was Ev's first Christmas and she was a cheesy grinning delight.

Kids make Christmas so freaking awesome!

Breakfast pizza + cookies, you're my bffs.

 We hid this present til the end to make Bronson think Santa had forgotten his one true wish (best parents). 
When Bronze opened it and realized he was the newest owner of The Hulk Helicarrier Breakout Set, all excitement broke loose. 

//

I'm in denial that it's almost 2014 (I'm really gonna try to stop writing 2012 on everything this year), almost Ev's birthday, and almost time for me to figure out what the heck I want to focus on this year. I love setting goals and the fresh start of a new year, but I'm really good at opening presents, hanging out with family, and eating all the junk food so I'm definitely sad to see all of that go for now.



Christmas Eve 2013

I took this picture at 4am when I snuck out of bed too excited to sleep. 
I thought maybe Santa really had come and put more presents under our tree? 
Still not used to being a grown up.



I kept trying to force Christmas eve traditions on us that would last through the ages of our familial existence because this was our first ever Just Us Christmas! but in the end we just rolled with it and everything was the best.
Matching homemade pajama pants for the kids, a smorgasbord of whatever I felt like making for dinner, Toph reading the Grinch, all of us watching A Charlie Brown Christmas on the fold out couch, both kids in bed by 8 so Toph and I could finish wrapping presents and re-watch all The Office Christmas episodes; ahhhh! It was a really, really nice night.

December 15, 2013

We went to Oakland to see the lights and I was 'meh' but it was incredible!



We piled a bunch of people into our van and drove an hour+ to Oakland to check out the Christmas lights and programs going on at the temple. It was the best! Not too cold, a doughnut and hot chocolate tailgate at the end, an amazing view; really and truly I'm so glad we went.

We've been doing some fun but really low key Christmas celebrating at home and this sort of seemed like a trek. Although Ev was kind of a monster (teething? weaning? all of the above??) and Bronson had to be talked down from swimming in the fountain (more than once), it's all good. The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. And having doughnuts on hand.

Ward Christmas Party 2013!!



Party!!
Everly walked her tiny self all over the cultural hall and Bronson ran wild with his buddies. Plus: Santa, tri tip and cheesecake so all in all, definitely a night worth donning my crazy Christmas vest for.
I really can't comprehend that a year has gone by since the last ward Christmas party. Does not compute. We've had a really great year but I think having a January baby has sped time up even more. All of her milestones made the year rush past as we've just tried to keep up. I'd say, "Time! Slooow down please!" (which is super effective) but I'm really ready for little miss crazycakes to go to nursery and sleep deprived beggars can't be choosers so let's go.


the Creche Festival always delivers



The crew that decorates for the Creche Festival deserves their own HGTV show because that cultural hall was gorgeous! No small feat.
I always love perusing so many unique yet unified nativity sets, and Everly had a great time frolicking in her swishy, silver dress this year.
Bronson was also in attendance but declined to be photographed. So let it be written.


December 5, 2013

Our room was clean!! So pictures to prove it.



We built a desk over Thanksgiving break (my parents have a garage, a Home Depot nearby, and power tools. LUXE.)!! Toph's pretty amazing; first a table and now a desk. Someday we'll build our own Disneyland, I'm sure of it. So we built the desk and I finally got around to painting our dresser (I painted it inside over carpet with both kids around and nothing horrible happened. How?) and we rearranged everything and now I just really like our room.


Also, the giant picture over the computer is Toph's childhood scout troop at camp. Every time I saw that pic on FB it made me laugh really freaking hard, I had to have it blown up as wall bedazzlement. So many good choices.



She reads// Fall Reading

Feeling pretty good about myself now.


Fall is over. Basically. I mean, the weather in CA is whatever (except when it's freezing like it's been lately then it's not whatever it's WHATEVER) so who's to say what makes fall officially over? But yeah, it's over. December is upon us.

 So here's what I read from September to November:

Where She Went (Glad I read it to sum up the first book but I thought If I Stay was better. Much.)

Someday, Someday Maybe (Oh Lauren Graham, where you lead, I will follow! Except no because I tried Parenthood and it didn't take ... Anyway, I liked this book because I could feel her voice in the writing. I didn't like this book because it just wasn't my favorite story. I enjoyed large parts of it but it was a bit of a meanderer and not in the best way.)

Life of Pi (Ok, ok, ok. Yes. This book. I loved it, and it scared me, and it helped me love the movie even more, and it made me want to barf. So yes. I loved it.)

The Book Thief (Can all books be this amazing? Obviously not but please, writers of the world! Turn more paper into stories like this! Toph read it too and agreed that it was a real gem. His exact words.)

The Saturday Boy (This was a kids book that dealt with a big topic: the death of a parent. It was good but I wasn't the target audience for it and it didn't become my new favey fave or anything. I picked it up because I'm trying to read more books that Bronson might eventually read. I'd be cool with him reading this and it could lead to some good discussion.)

We Sinners (This one was short but packed a punch. I get that the focus was on leaving the church and how that changed the family dynamic, but I was actually more intrigued with the religion they were leaving. Also the last chapter was a big, "Whaa?" for me.)

The Happiness Project (This got me real revved up to change my life! I couldn't sop talking about  the book with everyone! But then I got to month 9 and I was just kinda over it? I finished it up and was overwhelmed by all the money she ended up spending on organization, binding books, photos, collections, etc. I liked it and got a few good quotes and tips out of it, but honestly I just got really sick of hearing about her blog. Oops.)

Tell the Wolves I'm Home (I'm so not hip. This book was super strange to me and made me depressed. It was a fast read and I wanted to know what happened to everyone but it was just such a downer. I'm not deep enough to like downers! Hunger Games, I'm stink eyeing you.)

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket (Another book I picked up from the kids section. The trailer for this on YouTube is adorbs, btw. So basically this is another "I like myself the way I am!" story. All well and good, a nice message, a simple read and some humor thrown in as well.)

The Wednesday Wars (Took me halfway in to really, really get into it but by the end, oh man. I really liked it.)


Half Magic (Another short, fun read. I'm pretty sure I read this as a kid already but it was a fun refresher.)


The Willoughbys (So maybe I read a lot of short books this time? Woah. Yeah so this one was short and meant for kids as well. I liked it. It was a bit Roald Dahl-esque and just a fun read.)

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (I usually love these books but this time I was so anxious the whole time! I just wanted Bex to stop shopping!!! Glad I stuck with it though because the very last few pages were worth it.)

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And now it's winter and who knows if any books shall cross my path until January because there's just so much food to eat and so many Christmas movies to watch.


December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013!!!

Number 3 is as good as it got.



The food highlights of Thanksgiving:
Toph: the steak we had on Friday
Me: the sweet potatoes
Bronson: the turkey (he ate the entire bird by himself)
Everly: the whipped cream she mooched from everybody

I'm grateful for Toph's job, that I'm not pregnant this year, for two crazy kids, for a mom who doesn't love when I take over her laundry room but who still lets me, for our minivan, for cousins close to my kid's ages, for plenty of food and for fast internet.
 
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I cannot believe it's now officially Christmas prep time!  I almost don't want to get excited because then it's real and then it's over ...  #debbiedowner/debbierealist :/


November 25, 2013

making lists is my body power

 
Ev's rocked short hair since day one. 


I was all set to chopchop my hair up a few days ago but then decided to grow it out for a while. (Ima try to donate it again next year and perhaps save some dollars by not going in for trims so often.) Anyway, I've been mentally making my pro/con list about short vs long hair since May (based on 20+ years of long hair & 6 months of shorter so ... let's party).

PROS (TO HAVING SHORTER HAIR):

+ I always feel put together and like it has a style even when I don't touch it but (segue ...)
+ I do tend to "style" it more often (ie curl it with a straightener) because there's less of it to deal with
+ I don't need to carry hair ties on my wrist anymore
+ I only need like 2 bobby pins to get it out of my face
+ I enjoy wearing headbands now
+ shorter hair makes me feel more feminine
+ but also more edgy (I'm so flipping edgy)
+ no more long hairs stuck to all my clothes!
+ or clogging up the shower drain!
+ erryone assumes you're brave and outgoing when you have short hair (right? maybe that's just me)
+ there's so much less of it to dye!!
+ and for my kids to yank on!
+ I was really proud of how long my hair was (I know, eye roll. Mr. Brocklehurst would stone me.) so having it short has been a good equalizer for my pride (my wicked wicked pride!)
+ if I want to keep it short, I have to go in for cuts frequently. This is on the con list too, but it's also a pro because I feel amazing after a cut so getting them more often has been fun.
+ I use less shampoo + conditioner 
+ browsing short syles on Pinterest is really fun (I'm already looking for the cut I want next year! Ahh!)
+ I think short hair don't care sounds loads better than long hair don't care ......
#superimportant
+ It's been fun to see the changes as it grows because when it was long, it was just that; long. I've enjoyed each growing out phase so far.
+ I CAN'T SEE MY SPLIT ENDS!! Biggest pro to me hands down. Being able to see all those nasty splits has made me insane for years. I'd get my hair trimmed but they'd still be there. I carried scissors around to be able to snip them off when I saw one (or 10) on the go, which probably made them worse but I figured it was better than going crazy knowing they were there or splitting them higher with my fingers (guilty)?


CONS (TO HAVING SHORTER HAIR): 

+ finding the time + money to go in for cuts is tricky (see? a pro and a con)
+ I miss putting it up in a high bun because I love how I look with my hair pulled up
+ When I take my hair down from bobby pins it kills way worse than it ever did when it was long and I'd wear it up all day. Why???
+ I feel like I look better with long hair, but since I feel more like myself with it shorter I'm not sure this is a con?
+ ..... honestly, I can't think of any others. I keep waiting to regret chopping off so much of my security blanket but, as it turns out, it wasn't really making me feel that secure. : )

 ///


This concludes another post allll about my hair. SHAME.


November 19, 2013

26 on the 18th



I'm 26!!!! Birthday week was the greatest because Topher. Duh. Then on my actual birthday my mom came to town and watched my kids all.day. It was amazing. After shopping and testing out various froyo shops in town, I went to lunch by myself and read a book while eating in silence. That's luxury, people. Anti social luxury.

///

I'm really hoping 26 lives up to the greatness that was 25. Seriously, I had the best year last year. Toph passed the bar and got a job, Ev was born and I had such an empowering, awesome experience with her labor, I watched Bronson adapt to being a great big brother, we went on some fun trips as a family, I read a lot more; I just feel like I really came into my own (again) this past year. I'm almost sad to see it go but here's to the next 365 days of 26!


November 14, 2013

Mini Trip: San Jose/Monterey


Last week Topher had a work conference in San Jose that we got to tag along on and then we went to Monterey really quickly to have family pictures taken. It was all sorts of a party.

We stayed: at the swankiest hotel of our lives, The Fairmont in downtown San Jose. It was real nice. I'm pretty sure we were the only people there with kids, but don't worry! Everly cried all night long, both nights, so no one noticed. (Also, I get that valet parking is necessary and fancy or whatever, but mostly I just felt like, "I can haz my car back now?") It was located next to some amazing stuff and the view from our room on the 19th floor was incredible day and night. (Elevators scare the living fear out of me and they also give me wicked vertigo. But I prevailed! #ournausea)

We ate: at Pizza My Heart (I wanted pizza, it was within walking distance and it was delish), the Bijan Bakery and Cafe (carrot cake!), at a law friends house (thanks again Ryans!!), and at Ike's Love and Sandwiches in Monterey (definitely some of the best chips and sandwiches around). We also gave into the siren song of KFC potato wedges once. We're not proud.

We played: at the Tech Museum (it was right across from the hotel), downtown (window shopping!), in the hotel pool, on the hotel escalators (more vertigo but worth it because Bronson really got a kick out of it + free!), in the hotel room (cable! HGTV! Disney!), and we stopped by the Dennis the Menace park for a quick run around after pictures.

It was fun to shake up the norm for a few days, visit with friends, see a city we'd never been to before, and return to one we love so much. It was also a good reminder that taking kids on vacation isn't relaxing. I had all these crazy ideas about quiet nights with Toph working while I painted my nails and caught up on What Not to Wear. Taking our kids to a new environment and having them sleep in the same room as us doesn't turn them into docile lambs, turns out. More like orangutans hopped up on Red Bull. :):):)