Christmas 2014!

Oh sweet Christmastime, you've come and gone. This is our first year on record that we spent Christmas Eve and Morn at our own house. And it was calm, lazy and wonderful. Oh, and it was white. While Santa was making his deliveries, we got dumped on. It was rather perfect and magical.

Earlier that week we headed up to my parents' house for some family Christmas festivities. It was complete with treasure hunts, games and coloring, movies, cousins slumbering together, a nativity play, visiting with my Grandpa Salvesen and the opening of presents from Nana & Pompa. And we ate like kings! Homemade chicken noodle soup for one dinner one night and cheesy potatoes and ham for another. Hmmmm HMM! It was so good. On our way back home we made a stop at Phil's Grandpa Shorten's house and had lunch with him. What a blessing it is to be close enough to family to spend the holidays with them, yet spend it in the comfort of our own home too.

The next day was Christmas Eve and Autumn and her family joined us for dinner, jammies, and our traditional Christmas Eve viewing of the The Muppet's Christmas Carol. Before bed we read "The Other Wiseman" and the Christmas Story from the Bible. Then, for once, Santa was all ready to go, so Phil and I snuggled by the fire and watched Elf while visions of surgar plums danced in our kids' heads. I really, really liked that part.

And then Ryder and Penny woke up at 4 am.

We held them off with a movie until 6:30 (when Hazel woke up). Phenomonally, they both weren't huge wrecks the whole day. A Christmas miracle, I tell ya. We opened gifts and ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We stayed in our jammies until it was time to go to lunch at my sisters's where we ate some more delicious food and chilled out. I've decided I'm a big fan of "chilling out" on Christmas Day.

And there you have it, folks. Another great year for the books where we hopefully made our kiddos happy and taught them a little more about the light and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Now...a few notes to remember for next year:

-Do service-minded activities as a family throughout the year so I'm not feeling guilty that I (unlike everyone else on Instagram) isn't doing some awesome service project in the month of December.
I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about this. And confused. Confused if I was feeling guilty because I wasn't doing more family-oriented service activities/projects...or guilty because I was comparing myself. The whole thing was on my nerves. I was on my own nerves. Which productivly resulted in me doing a big, fat nothing.

So along with everything else I've tacked onto January's to-do list, is my new resolve to work harder to help my kids experience service throughout the whole year. Sounds pretty easy, right?

-I was more prepared this year in some ways and less prepared in someways. All I know is that the more prepared I can be--the more I'm thanking myself in the end.

-I didn't do any handmade gifts this year. Or the last couple for that matter. I miss that. Not saying that I'll do them next year...just saying I miss that...:)

-I really loved the whole white Christmas thing. If we could just order another one of those for next year, that would be great--thanks.

-I would also like to remember to share my testimony of the Savior more. And my love and appreciation for all the loving, fantastic wonderful people in my life (which I'm fairly certain that if you're reading--that includes you!) I'm pretty sure that first thing stopped me from doing this thing, and I hate that. But again, thankfully, it's not something I have to wait a whole year to rectify.

-I think instead of trying to make EVERY day of December special I'm thinking of limiting it to just the week before or the twelve easy of Christmas or something. With my efforts this year I got burned out. What do you do in your homes to make December special, but simple?

-I need to remember to watch the Christmas movie classics a bit earlier next year. Select, then prioritze. This is important stuff people. A week is not enough time to fit in all the Christmas movie classics you wish you had been taking the whole month to enjoy because you were too busy getting pulled into the cheesy Hallmark movies (I mean, a couple (few) of these are obviously totally acceptable) or perhaps took a brief stint binge-watching (before coming to your senses) a teenage drama on Netflix...(dumb, dumb, dumb) live and learn!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

2014 Halloween Decor Projects

With all of our moving and living situations, I haven't had the opportunity to build up our holiday decor much. This was a year I had the time to work on getting our house a little more festive for Halloween.

In addition to my very few favorites that I've had for years now, I followed this tutorial to make some pillow cases out of canvas and then stenciled in the words "boo!" and "eek!" with black fabric paint. This project wins the award for the most inexpensive. I used a $14 drop cloth from Home Depot (and there was tons of fabric left over).

I also made these yarn candycorns out of foam cones and yarn. This one takes the award for easiest project. Seriously, 40 minutes tops. I didn't even use glue. Just a few straight pins to hold the yarn in place.

And finally, this one wins the award for most time consuming. For a long time, I've always wanted to do some illustrated portraits of our family. With the intent of customizing them for each season or holiday. Since I wanted more holiday decor in our home, there was never a better time than the present.

Now it's important to note (actually, it' really boring to note): as someone who is trying to learn the ropes to graphic design, I have NO idea what I'm doing, so it's all by trial and error and trying to imitate what I see others do. I have no idea what my style is really, but I do know what I like, and like is a bit of an understatement to describe how I feel about Alison Oliver's Babylit Book Illustrations. Yes, they are super cute baby books, but being the weirdo I am, I see little works of art on each page that I just stare at for embarassing amounts of time. It was her inspiration that gave me an idea of where I wanted to go with these.

Here is what ended up in the frames. But after seeing them on the wall, there were a few edits I went back to make, mostly in regards to scaling (and Hazel's hair), that you can see below and I'll reprint for next year. (Phil and myself got skewed when I saved them as a JPEG and for the life of me I don't know how to fix it...anyone out there know why?)


Now I just need to get going on our Thanksgiving version...pilgrims perhaps?

Halloween 2014

This Halloween was a goodie. A little crazy, but a goodie. And just in case you didn't get the memo, Halloween is no longer a one day affair--it is more like a week-long affair. At the beginning of the week, pumpking carving, Halloween parties and preparations ensued. 

Things started picking up seriously on Wednesday with our ward Halloween Party. As I patiently waited for Amazon to bring me my pirate costume I was to wear that night, I got a brilliant idea about how to decorate our car for the "trunk or treat". I was going all out people--all. out.  The general idea being our ship in the waves, with a "sandy" beach that the kids had to dig through to find their "gold doubloons". I spent a good portion of the day working on this, making chili for the cook-off, getting the kids ready, burning said chili until I was in an appropriate holiday fluster right as it was time to leave for the party. 

Luckily, the chili recovered and we had fun. We even won 3rd place for "Best Coordinating Costumes" and my Jack pumpkin won a prize for the "Scariest Pumpkin". So in the end the fruits of my labors were at last delivered! 

Truly, I don't know if would've been everybody's first choice to be a pirate, but everyone kindly obliged to see my family theme through. All my children should be happy to know, now that I have that out of my system (it's a lot of work!), they can now be whatever they want for Hallween from now on. 

The next evening, Phil and I attended a Halloween Party sans the kiddos. At this party I had somehow been talked into doing a flash mob dance to Thriller with some of my friends. Actually, there was only like eight of us, so what is that? Like a flash blob? Anyhow--Phil really wanted to dress up in these peanut butter and jelly costumes his parents had given us last year. But guys, there was NO way I was dancing in a jelly costume. Well, until the idea of getting dolled up as a pirate one more time made me fall asleep standing up--dancing in a Jelly costume sounded like a really nice idea. So PB and J we were and what do you know!? We won a costume award for "Court Jesters". Magic was on our side this year, I tell ya. 

Although, here is a far cuter sandwich if you ask me.

Friday, of course, was Halloween and I was beat! But fun does not rest for the weary. I believe that morning, while scrambling to get everyone in their costumes for school, I remembered Ryder had his Halloween Parade first thing at school. Which meant, I needed to somehow find the time to get myself presentable in the mist of this mayhem. Which we did. And Hazel and I managed to cram ourselves onto a lunch table bench, squished between hords of parents, who most of which, are dressed up to the nines in THEIR Halloween costumes at 9 o'clock in the morning. All of us waiting for 30 minutes with the hope of catching a two-second glimpse of our child. Sigh. But I'd do more to see that boy's face.

And then it was on to even more fun. I mean, can you stand it?! My sister graciously hosted us at her house this year for Halloween. My parents came down and we feasted on ribs and potatoes (who cares about candy?), and pumpkin cake...and hot chocolate. Yuuummmmyyyy.....

We got the kiddos primped and out the door with their daddies to ask for tricks or treats (while we stay behind to hand out candy), when lo and behold, we see THE Headless Horseman come riding down the streets of my sister's neighborhood. 

Considering this was one of my sister's and I's most favorite Halloween stories from our childhood, it only seemed appropriate that we started jumping up and down giggling like little school girls. I then, set out on a dead run to catch up with the kids, and then we all chased down the Headless Horseman to get a picture....or ten. The only photo op I did miss out on was Autumn running after him into the sunset. Really, a Halloween highlight. 

We got those cute kiddos back, and ate our sweets while they counted their spoils and watched Ichabod, of course.

A Halloween for the books, that's for sure.

Fall Break Fun!

Oh, I have a weakness for the lazy days! And so it was so very nice to have a 5-day weekend this month for Fall Break. We spent one day at Cornbelly's, my kids tolerated one day of cleaning and organizing, I'm pretty sure we spent at least one day doing absolutely nothing, and then we spent the last day taking a daycation to Tremonton to see my parents and their beautiful new home.

Obvi, the two events worth talking about was Cornbelly's and our mini day trip. Both of which were pretty wonderful.

Expecting crowds at Cornbelly's we got there right when it opened. And we were able to enjoy a couple of hours of fun fall festivities in perfect weather and no lines. We hung around for a little while longer after the swarms came and weather got too hot for my boots and sweater.

On Monday, we packed up my sister's van with all six of our baby chicks and drove them to Tremonton. My parents started building a new home at the beginning of this last summer and after seeing it in different stages we finally got to see the finished product.

I couldn't be a bigger fan of my mom's interior style, so it was pretty stinkin' fun watching her and my dad put their house together. And the end result was fantastic and so fun to see. One perk to their new digs is their amazing view accompanied with spacious alfalfa field that our kids found rather enchanting.

When the big kids got too hard to keep up with, Hazel and Rory thought it was totally awesome Nana and Pompa had made a room with two Lazy Boys and a TV--just for them.

On a quick soccer note, Ryder and Penny finished out their fall season last week. Knowing it was their last came, I was intent on styling their hair (and by "their" I mean Penny) and taking lots of pictures of them playing (and by "them" again, I mean Penny). I don't know what my problem was, but Pen's game was first and I was totally on the ball--but I got to Ryder's game and I was watching...or chatting and well, pictures never got taken. But I can note, Ryder got a goal for his last game and all my friends are doing great. :)

Family Pictures

Getting family pictures taken is not my strong point. Originally, I had the plan to have family pictures taken in every location that we've lived at--but that didn't happen. Then, I thought I'd just aim for getting them done each time I had a baby turn one...which we almost did (except this last one, Hazel is almost two).

Speaking of which, these photos were taken toward the end of July. Why it has taken me so long to get them printed (this weeks project), I have no idea. It was the same story with my other ones too! Sigh.

But alas, here they are:

 Probably my favorite

Cutie Pies. But please don't ask me why Hazel has only two buttons done up on her cardy or why Penny's bow is centered a top her head, because the answer is--I don't know. Okay.

 This one gets the award for "Keepin' it real".  Seriously. I swear we all look like ourselves in this picture at least 10x a day.

Oh, hello there. 

Knowing I was looking for someone to take our pictures, my sweet friend, Lisa (whom I adore) offered to take them for us. We decided to take them up American Fork Canyon, but after finally finding a day we could all get together, it was spotty rain storms all day. We chatted and since we were all dolled up and ready to go--we decided to take our chances.

I love them when they are like this.

Hazel only had eyes for her daddy that day. It's a good thing he was there or she would have never cracked a smile. Whaaatever...

Something's missing...;) 

A little 'tude 

Again, only got this because she is being held by her favorite guy. 

It was pretty much drizzling the whole time we were there and if you notice Penny's and my hair throughout the progression of the photos, it just keeps getting flatter and straighter. Hazel's hair on the other hand just keeps getting curlier and curlier the longer we were out there. What I do love about having them in the rain is the coloring and the fact you can see little drops in the background.

And I'm so happy to finally have great shots of our little family!

Apparently, I didn't get the memo.