Friday, December 31, 2010

A Story from Christmas

In November, when Rachel was in surgery, my Mom and sister-in-law and I wandered to the hospital gift shop. We needed to stretch our legs and hospital gift shops always have cute and unique things. My Mom and I have found many a wonderful treasures inside hospital gift shops.

Anyways, my Mom loves birds and she spotted the prettiest set of birds sitting atop one of the high shelves. I got it down for her, she looked at them, and decided not to get them after all. So back up onto the shelf they went.

The next evening, as Rachel had been discharged from the hospital and Steven was wheeling her out to the car, I stopped into the gift shop and bought that set of birds for my Mom for Christmas. Christmas morning comes and we are at my brother and sister-in-laws house and my Mom opens her present from us.

It was the birds.

My sister-in-law started laughing that we'd bought them. Turns out that her and my brother had gone to the hospital to buy my Mom the birds for Christmas and they were gone! No where to be fond. Not even anything similar to it. They had been bought. And they had been bought for the same person they had in mind. LOL.

Goes to show, you never know who's listening and paying attention to your likes and dislikes when browsing, even if it's the hospital gift shop!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dog Agility Competitions

Rachel's speech therapist owns a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog and has him competing in agility competitions. This morning we went to one of the competitions and it was a lot of fun watching all different breeds of dogs complete the two different courses.
There was a break in between when Kanzu, Dr. D'Antonio's dog, could take a few minutes to meet us. He's a beautiful dog, weighing the same amount as Hannah. He performed a few tricks in exchange for some chunks of hot dogs. LOL.
Hannah and Dr. D'Antonio
It was such a fun morning. And it was fun to see all the different breeds of dogs. And most of all, it was fun to meet and see Kanzu compete!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Christmas

The holidays were different for us in a few different aspects. Beginning with Christmas Eve spent differently and then moving on to the differences on Christmas Day. For me it was different that I did not cook or host Thanksgiving, nor did I for Christmas. This year, my brother and sister in law hosted Christmas Day.

Christmas morning found our house sleeping in, Rachel being the last one to get up around 7:15am. Once she was up we did our traditional opening of the stockings in our living room. Santa brought me a USB hub and the complete series of Beauty and the Beast on DVD. It was a series that I really liked and I cannot wait to watch it!

The girls opened up presents next. A new scooter, a guitar, and a few new Wii games were found beneath our Christmas Tree.

We arrived at my brother's house around 9:00am, shortly being joined by my parents and my uncle. We exchanged presents and the girls once again found themselves playing together, enjoying presents they'd just opened.

Middday we were joined by my sister in laws side of the family and we had a yummy Christmas Dinner together, followed by an afternoon of playing Bingo (complete with prizes!) and Sing Star on the Playstation.

While our Christmas holidays were different, they were great ones to say the least. I'm sad to see the season has come and gone, once again feeling as though it flew by. And here we are, just two days after Christmas and all the evidence of Christmas no longer exists with the exception of the wreath on the front door. And yet, with as quickly as time seems to go, Christmas will once again be here before we know it!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Our Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve church service was absolutely wonderful. The children in our church with the help of five amazing women, put on an adorable Christmas performance complete with sets and costumes. The kids all did such a great job and it made the evening special. After our church service, we went to my parents house. My Mom made her famous lasagna and we had breadsticks and salad to go with it. The table was set beautifully with white and red dishes, all so festive. Dinner made by Mom is always extra special.
The girls had their own table too!
Following dinner, my Mom read a devotional and the dishes were started. The four little girlies dawned matching jammies (a Black Friday steal!) and then it was time for a few presents for the girls to open. After presents were opened, we just sat and chatted and reminisced about past Christmas Eves and just enjoyed being with each other.

Christmas Eve

Tonight, for the first time in thirty seven years, I will spend Christmas Eve in a way I've never spent it before.

All these years, Christmas Eve has always been about a big traditional dinner and huge gift exchange at the home of my grandparents, my Dad's parents.

This evening following our Christmas Eve church service, we, along with my brother and sister in law and my nieces, will go to my parents house for a quiet evening of togetherness.

Mom's making her famous lasagna, I've made a big green salad, there'll be bread sticks, and sweets. My brother is bringing his guitar and we'll sing Christmas songs and worship songs and the focus will be on what the season is all about - Jesus, who was born to die so that we would have the hope of heaven someday!

And there will be gifts for the girls to open from my Grandma and my Aunt and Uncle and cousins, some of the family we normally would be seeing on Christmas Eve.

While there are things about Christmas Eve at my Grandma's house I'll miss, after thirty seven years, I'm excited to be doing something new!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cupcakes!

Have you noticed that cupcakes are the biggest rave these days??

The Food Network and TLC both have their own reality shows where cupcakes are the focus of the show.

Cupcake storefronts are popping up all over the place. There's a cupcake store downtown that we've frequented and have had a friend surprise me with cupcakes from the store on several occasions. They are yummy and there's just something special about receiving your very own cupcake in it's very own cute box!

A few weeks back, I found the cutest holiday cupcake boxes at Big Lots and stood there and pondered who I could give cupcakes to! LOL. With upcoming plans to meet my cousins for dinner, I went ahead and bought some of those cute boxes and this last Monday I made six jumbo cupcakes and decorated each one with different Christmas sprinkles. The picture doesn't do the outcome justice. There were very cute and I was very happy with how they turned out and they were a hit this past Monday night when I passed one to each of my cousins and my brother and sister in law following our dinner out!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homeowner's Christmas List

As I was listening to the local radio station recently, a few Christmas songs played back to back got me thinking about how your Christmas List changes as you get older.

In the Christmas song, "Santa Baby" Eartha Kitt sings of wanting a sable, a duplex, and a ring.

Everyone having a friend and no more wars are the things wished for in the song "Grown Up Christmas List".

While the list has never made it into a song, how about the things that a homeowner would want?!? LOL. There's been so many things that have broke or on the brink of, in our home that I jokingly (well, only half jokingly) said recently that I'd take the following for Christmas:

* a new kitchen faucet - it broke a few months back and I had to put that note on the backsplash to remind me the handle is broke and flies off when too much force is exhibited when turning it on. LOL.
* a new dishwasher - Somethings changed in our water in recent months and the dishes in the dishwasher are being left with white rings and a white film about them. But at the same time our dishwasher is just plain nasty. The prongs inside are all rusting and breaking off and it's LOUD!

* Some patching up of the hole in the wall - Months ago, when we were being having a termite inspection, Mr. Bug Man pointed out to Steven that the wall in the corner of our family room, the wall that our master bath shower shares, was wet. Steven ended up cutting a hole in the dry wall and to make a long story short, the caulking had to be redone in our master shower. Praise the Lord it was just that and not something real major. And while this hole is an eye sore, it's hidden right now behind our Christmas tree, and the rest of the time, it's hidden behind the rockband drums and a ficus tree. But someday it would be nice to have it patched and painted. LOL. * Twinkling light fixture - off and on for the last couple of years, we've had problems with the light fixture in our master bathroom. Sometimes the light will come on and sometimes it won't. We have the new fixture, we (there's a mouse in my pocket) just need to make the time and find the energy to do it. * this next item isn't for the house, but for the car. Still a boring thing to list, but needed none the less. Last week, somewhere on the streets or freeways of Southern California, the plastic piece that goes over one of our van headlights fell off. LOL. So now it's exposed and with all the rain we've been having, it actually caused the light bulb to burn out last night. I need to call Pick a Part or something and see about finding one. All things very boring, but one things for sure, long gone are the days of asking Santa for a Barbie house, or a new bike, or some other fun childhood thing. LOL.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

I've mentioned before about how I LOVE Rachel's teacher this school year. But I love her even more now that she's gone to all the work, trouble, and time to make me a pan of Pioneer Woman's Famous Cinnamon Rolls!!!!

This lovely package was given to me yesterday morning as a gift of appreciation for volunteering in Rachel's classroom every Monday. I was beyond excited when I learned that they were Pioneer Woman's recipe! A recipe I've been wanting to try, but am intimidated by any recipe that calls for yeast.This morning, I could hardly wait to pop that pan into the oven and warm those sweet looking rolls up to 'warm and bubbly' as the gift card instructed to do.

The house soon began to smell like fresh baking cinnamon rolls! There were six cinnamon rolls in all, and thank goodness Rachel did not want one (she's still being extremely picky about what she'll eat and not eat), but I did share with Steven and Hannah.My conclusion: They were absolutely amazing!!!

No matter what, I must overcome my hesitation in baking with yeast and give this recipe a try and make these for myself and my loved ones!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tis the Season

Tis the Season to be busy. But than again, I'm always busy. LOL.

Two weeks ago found me "holding down the fort" all on my own as my husband was away on business for four full days. He normally works from home and when he's gone, I miss him. I spent many of the evenings once the girls went to bed catching up on things - our accounting, PTA stuff, present wrapping, cleaning, and updating the girls' blogs, but neglecting my own. :(

My Mom and I attended the Women's Ministry Christmas dinner one evening and for once it was nice to just go to an event at church and not have had any part in having to come and set up or stay and tear down. And yet, at the same time, it was weird to do so. Our church had a Christmas party, our niece had a birthday party, I had an ornament party, my parents hosted a baking day for all four of the granddaughters so my brother and I, along with our spouses, could get some Christmas shopping done, I've had one final PTA meeting for 2010, Rachel a Christmas performance, and as Room Mom, I had treats to make for Hannah's class.
A try of dipped Oreo's for Hannah's class. The following day, I did brownie bites with sprinkles.

It's been a busy few weeks, and again I've found myself at the point I find myself this time every Christmas season, wishing the season was longer, more days to the week, more time to entertain friends, to do more festive things.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Candlelight Processional 2010

This last weekend was the annual candlelight processional at Disneyland and we went to the Saturday evening performance. Sadly, both performances on Sunday were rained out and cancelled.Candlelight procession is a Disney tradition dating back to 1955. A procession of choir members from various schools and churches from the surrounding areas, procession from the back of Disneyland near It's a Small World to the front of the park, down main street, holding candles and singing Christmas carols. Once to the front of the park, the choir members fill the stage, the Disneyland Railroad Station as the backdrop, to form a living Christmas tree. A celebrity guest narrator tells the Christmas story (from the Bible). Throughout the telling of the story, the narrator pauses and the choir sings Christmas carols. Accompanying the choir is a full orchestra and the Disneyland fanfare trumpeters.
This years' guest narrator was actor Tom Skerritt.
For the past 14 years, we've always tried to make Candlelight Processional part of our holiday events. It's usually held the first weekend of December so it's a great kick off to the season. It's an absolutely amazing evening. To stand in the middle of Disneyland and hear the Word of God spoken can sometimes take your breath away. It really is a special evening, especially for those who indeed recognize that Jesus truly is the reason for the season.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Went to Disneyland Today...

The last several weeks have been ones filled with stress and anticipation leading up to Rachel's surgery and then the days and week following. The perfect remedy for a stressful few weeks - a trip to Disneyland during my most favorite time of the year.

After dropping the girls off at school this morning, I hit the freeway and within an hour I was walking through the gates of my Happy Place, walking down Main Street USA admiring the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas. It was an enjoyable morning strolling through the park, riding rides, sitting and people watching. Strolling through the stores and looking for potential Christmas gifts.

Some people are surprised that I go to Disneyland by myself and say that they could never do such a thing. While it is fun to always go with friends and my family, I love going to Disneyland and when school and work gets in the way of others joining in on my fun, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, even if that means going all by myself. :)