Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa Train

Last weekend, we took the kids on the Santa train. We did the Santa train last year but it was a different one. The one from last year, was a full sized train, which had hot chocolate, cookies and caroling. It took us to the "North Pole", where Santa came aboard and gave everyone candy canes. It was pretty cool but also pretty far from our house and pricey. This year, we decided to stick to something local. It was a pretty cold night for SoCal but it was fun to get all bundled up, as we don't get to do that often. The train ride was cold since it wasn't enclosed but they drop you off at the North Pole, where hot chocolate, popcorn and Santa awaits. Thank goodness that we had already seen Santa, as the line was really long and Gracie said she didn't want to visit with him again as he already knew what she wanted. Kyle was content because they had popcorn and that's all he cared about. It was a really fun night and I am really loving all the Christmas actitives we have been doing this season. Tomorrow, our Advent activity, has Gracie and I going to see the Nutcracker together, just a girl's day out. It should be a lot of fun and I can't wait to take her to her first ballet as I remember going as a child.

Speaking of Kyle. The poor guy is super sick right now. He has something called bronchiolitis, which makes him have a cough, that sounds like a seal. He has also had a fever since a couple night ago but that seems to have gone away. The little guy has to take 3 breathing treatments a day, until his cough goes away. I pray that it's gone by Monday or Tuesday or the doctor said I I would have to bring him back in. I am hope he gets better quickly as we have a busy week, filled with lots of Christmas things. His voice is also hoarse, so when he talks, he sounds like a little squeaky mouse. I hate seeing my little boy suffer like this, so please send thoughts and prayers our way.






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Family portrait






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The lights looked gorgeous






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Our little train







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Kyle and my sister-in-law


Sunday, December 04, 2011

Santa and Cupcakes

Yesterday, I took the kids for our traditional picture with Santa. I've been taking Gracie to see Santa, since the year she came home and started taking Kyle last year. I frame every Santa photo and would like to take the kids (if they are willing) every year, until they are 18. Of course, they won't have to sit on Santa's lap, lol but they can stand next to him. It's fun to take out the pictures every year and see how big the kids have gotten. Now that Gracie is older, she really gets a kick out of it! Of course, she is super smart and observant and wanted to know why Santa's clothes were a little different in one of the pictures and why his beard was a little greyer in another. I quickly came up with something and she was satisfied.

Aside from Santa, I am addicted to a site called Pinterest. You may or may not have heard of it but it's awesome and SO addicting! I could spend hours researching stuff to pin to my boards. One of the cool things that I found are these North Pole cupcakes. They are super cute and very easy to make. All you need to do is, bake white cupcakes, frost them, then take candy canes and break the hook off to represent the poles. Use leftover frosting to sitck a red M&M to the top of the "pole" and print out signs that say North Pole. I used frosting to stick those to the poles too. You can sprinkle white sugar crystals on top for snow or use coconut. I used both. Since I am in a crafty mood, thanks to Pinterest, I will be posting more fun craft things that I have created for this Christmas Season.










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No crying this year for Kyle, yay! =)












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North Pole cupcakes. They were yummy!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Amos' Activities

Catching up on what our Elf, Amos has been up to. It's been busy so I haven't been able to post every day but I did manage to take pictures. Gracie loves waking up EARLY every morning, and searching the house for Amos. Poor girl is going to end up in therapy though because she didn't want to use one of our bathrooms because Amos was in there and Gracie didn't want him to see her butt, lol!



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Taking a spin with Ken









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Wanting to brush his teeth







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Munching on popcorn







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Amos decided he wanted to watch some Christmas DVDs

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amos got caught reading this morning


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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving and New Traditions

I have to admit, I am not a big fan of Thanksgiving. Not sure why but even when I was younger, I didn't like it very much. Maybe it's because I am not into turkey too much, the rest of the food items, yes. I won't say I hate it as I don't like using that word because it's too harsh and I don't want to teach my children to "hate" anything or not like a holiday because I don't. Don't get me wrong, we did have a big meal at my dad's house and I am very thankful but sometimes, it seems that people get caught up in one day and forget about the other 364 of the year.

This year, we started the Christmas Season off early. The decorations have been up for over a week now and we got our Christmas tree yesterday. Getting the tree this early, is one of our new traditions, as in the past, we've usually gone the weekend after Thanksgiving. Jerry wanted to go early as he thought the trees might dry out, when the weather got warmer. He was right as it's 80* here today and supposed to be that tomorrow too. The lot was also empty at our local Home Depot (I know, I know but we have slim pickings for tree lots and they're less expensive) and we got a beautiful tree! Since we are on a strict budget right now, we did forgo our tradition of going out to breakfast for dinner.

Another new tradition that came to visit us this year, is our new elf from "The Elf on the Shelf". He came last night with his book, while the kids were in the bath. Gracie named him Amos and this morning, when she woke up, she found him putting the first ornament on her pink Christmas tree. It's going to be an exciting time around here until Christmas, as each morning, after Amos flies back to our house from the North Pole, he will be found in a different spot. I plan on taking pictures each day and posting to my blog.





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Poor Kyle was so tired, he decided to rest on Gracie's shoulder. I thought it was adorable!









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Christmas tree shopping








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Amos is frozen until tonight, when he flies home to Santa. The kids know they can't touch him or he will lose his magic.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feast and Teeth

Today was Gracie's Thanksgiving feast at school. Even though Gracie goes to a public school, I love it and her teacher Ms. B. is awesome! All of the parents, brothers, sisters, etc. were invited to her class to hear the kids sing some songs and then munch out. Jerry has this week off, so he got to attend too. Jerry video'd Gracie singing her songs last night, as we knew that we wouldn't be able to hear her sweet little voice today, amongst the other kids. I love listening to Gracie's voice as she is a much better singer than I am, lol! Actually, anybody is a much better singer than me! What's interesting is, I have been hearing Gracie sing these songs all week but today, when the last song the class sang was put to music, I got very teary eyed. I started thinking about how lucky I am to have Gracie and Kyle and fortunate enough to attend her feast today.

Kyle also had his first dental appointment today. He did so well! Not one bit of crying and he even got his teeth fully cleaned. The dentist did say that Gracie probably won't be losing her teeth until well into the age of 6 but I am not going to tell her that as she so wants to lose one now. It's so funny because when we are young, we want to lose our teeth and when we get older, our biggest fear is that they will fall out! As a celebration for the kids both having no cavities, I bought them Christmas tree cookies at the store. Shhhh, don't tell the dentist.




Gracie singing Thanksgiving songs at home






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Gracie the pilgrim





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Kyle got in on the act too. He so wants to go to kindergarten.





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Getting ready for his X-Ray

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

5 Year Check-Up

Today, Gracie went to the doctors for her 5 year check-up. The first thing she asked was if she was going to get a shot. All her immunizations are up to date so I told her no and she was pretty happy with that. They did the usual stuff and Gracie's eyes are great. The hearing test is a joke. Put on the earphones and press the button when you can hear the sound. She passed that too, which doesn't surprise me, as that girl can hear mine and Jerry's conversation a mile away. Hmmm, wonder why she can't hear me when I am asking her a question. They checked Gracie's height and weight and currently, she is 43.5". The doctor said she is tall for her age, the 76th percentile and calculated how tall Gracie may be when she gets older. According to the doctor, Gracie will be around 5'5" which is what my height is. I am hoping for a little bit taller than me! Anyway, the picture quality is horrible as it was taken with my phone, which is an old Blackberry. I can't wait to get the new iPhone, come March! By the way, Gracie loved the gown they put on her and made us take it home, so she could play dress up with it. I sure wish us adults got cute ones like that too!


Gracie 5th Doctor

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

Trick or treating was rather iffy this year, as the whole household was sick. The boys ended up getting sick from us girls and it wasn't very fun. We are still fighting this thing and hopefully it will take flight and find another place to visit. Aside from that, Halloween was really fun this year. Kyle is able to say trick or treat this year and understood that if he stuck his bucket out, he would be rewarded. It was nice because I decided to dress him as a dog and got a great steal on his costume. What I didn't realize was, as Kyle walked, the little tail on his costume wagged. It was adorable! Gracie wanted to be a witch this year. She told me a while ago that she wanted to be one but she had said the same thing last year and then changed her mind the day of and ended up wearing one of her princess costumes. She stuck to her guns though and I let her pick the costume.

The kids got a ton of candy, which is still sitting in their buckets. They haven't even asked for the candy, not even Kyle, who is like mommy and loves sweets. I think they enjoy the whole concept, better than eating the goods. Even though I love Halloween, I am ready to move on to the next holiday. I am actually in the Christmas Spirit early this year so this weekend, after I take down my Halloween decorations, am going to start on the Christmas ones.

Happy Halloween!!






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I love this picture. Jerry said something funny that made the kids crack up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Zoo and Pumpkins Too!

A couple weeks ago, Groupon had a really good deal for our local pumpkin patch that is literally 5 minutes from our house. I jumped on the deal and Jerry and I took the kids. It was pretty warm that day, which is normal for October. One thing that we found is, they didn't have very many pumpkins. This was towards the beginning of the season, so I don't know if that's why or if it was a generally bad pumpkin growing season. Kyle picked a small pumpkin as they were the cheapest and we took Gracie to Walmart afterwards, as the pumpkin patch wanted 15 bucks for a medium pumpkin, no thank you! We found that Walmart had no pumpkins at all, so had to go to the grocery store.

We also were able to get together with a group of our friends this past Friday and go to the petting zoo. Again, we got a great deal through Living Social. Gotta love those sites! All of the kids had a blast and wanted to stay. The mommies and Jerry, on the otherhand, were starting to have trouble breathing, probably from all the hay and dust. It was a fun day though and I love that area. Kyle and Gracie actually had pictures taken around the corner from the zoo, by our friend and they turned out great. I will post those when I get them back.

Most of the pictures that I am posting have not been re-touched by Photoshop, so sorry for the quality. I have not had time to post because Gracie has been sick for two weeks and now I have picked it up, so I didn't feel likeplaying around with the photos. I did lighten up a few as they were too dark.





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Kyle

Pumpkin that Kyle picked





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Kyle's first roller coaster. You can tell he is hanging on for dear life!



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Fun with friends!




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This little guy was in hog heaven





Gracie and Kailee

Cute series of photos that I got of Gracie and Kailee

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Party On Barbie

Saturday, we had Gracie's 5th birthday party. About 4 months ago, Gracie told me that she wanted a Barbie party. I nodded my head and said yeah, okay, thinking that she would change her mind at least 1 or 2 times, before it was time to plan for her party. Gracie didn't change her mind though and wanted to stick with the Barbie theme. I did some checking on the Internet for cute supplies but all they have now for table goods are the "real" looking Barbie. I went with it and decided to add a few things.

I searched the Internet and my friend Kimberly sent me a couple of cool links, so I grabbed some ideas from there. My close friend G. who throws the best parties and is the most creative and talented person I know, gave me some super cute ideas too. She and her family have come out the last couple of years from CO but weren't able to make it this year but they were greatly missed.

Gracie loved her party and all the kids had a blast! Last year, we had Cinderella come but this time around, we did crafts and played games. I picked up a couple of inexpensive bracelet kits at Target and the kids used fabric paint and stickers to decorate the bracelets. Gracie also wanted a pinata so I stuffed one full of candy because what's a party without candy and sending children home all sugared up. I bought the pull string kind which is so much easier to do, especially at this age.

I made Gracie a Barbie doll cake this year. Apparently, these type of cakes have been around for years but I was never into Barbie so didn't even know they exisited. Gracie loved helping me decorate it and instructed where she wanted items to go. I had a little mishap with my original idea of mini-doll cakes for the kids and ended up going with cupcakes but they still turned out really cute and the kids liked them. All of us were wiped out after the party but it was so worth it and I can't wait to start planning Kyle's!



Gracie and Cake
Love this photo of Gracie!






Gracie's Birthday Tables




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The kids making their bracelets




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Playing musical bunny which is the opposite of musical chairs. As each child was "stuck" with the bunny, after the music stopped, they got a prize



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Gracie and Aunty Jill. So grateful for friends like Jill. She came over to help with the party.



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Kyle and Wes



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I made each child individual doll cupcakes. The frosting was a little melted but they turned out cute!



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Barbie cake that Gracie helped decorate


Thursday, October 13, 2011

5th Birthday

Today my little girl turned 5. She was so excited she told me, because now she is the same age as her friend Kailee. For me, it was an emotional day and I'm not sure why this birthday was more more emotional for me than than usual. Maybe it's because this is the first birthday that Gracie has celebrated without my brother Frank. I don't know but more than once, I found myself with tears in my eyes. Either way, my sweet baby girl is another year older and as a couple of people have told me, Gracie is now one whole hand, lol! I let her pick anything she wanted to eat for dinner because birthdays are very special, so Gracie chose to have orange chicken from our local chinese restaurant. Saturday, we are having her birthday party and she can't wait. My little girl may be growing up but she's not too young to lay in bed with me and rest her head on my shoulder, while I read stories to her, just as I did tonight.

Happy Birthday Gracie, we love you very much!!


The pictures below were this morning and not the best quality as I was rushing before taking Kyle to preschool and Gracie to kinder.


Gracie Up








Playing Around
I was fooling around in Photoshop

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Fall Happenings

It's only the first week of October and things have been busy! Our calendar is almost filled up for the month. I thought that when Gracie started school full-time, things would slow down a bit. Nope, not a chance! We've been doing a lot of fun things, so many, that I decided to stick them all in one post.




Midevial Times
My cousin Jill came out for a visit towards the end of September. It was a nice surprise and we got to do some things that we normally wouldn't. Jill works at Medieval Times which is a dinner theater that has horses, knights and jousting, amongst other things. The food was good, especially the soup and garlic bread and their dessert tasted just like the old McDonalds apple pies, back when they were fried, before we became a health concious society and decided to sue everyone so now the pies are baked. We were able to get in for free which was a great bonus (thanks Jill). The kids had fun but I believe some adults had more fun, especially after they had a drink or two or three..... Just saying.








Disneyland
As everyone knows, I love Disneyland but I REALLY love the place in the fall. They decorate for Halloween and it looks super cool. I will probably be at Disneyland at least 3 or 4 more times this month, before they take down all the decorations.








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We celebrated the Moon Festival at our house this year. Plans fell through for the original location and some of us moms still wanted to celebrate so I decide to have it at our house. We did a lantern craft and had a potluck which worked out nicely. All the food was yummy! Here is a picture of the girls on Gracie's new big girl bed. They are all growing up so fast and oh so cute!








Picnik collage
Since Gracie is in school, this allows for Kyle and I to go on some playdates that we haven't been able to in the past. Yes, it's another Halloween post (told you I loved the holiday). My friend Kimberly had a Witches' Tea party for the kids and it was a blast. Kimberly is super talented and her house looked adorable. In the photo above, one of the moms made creepy fingers which turned out super cute. All they are made from is string cheese and olives. I'm definitely stealing that idea! The other photo is of the two Kyles as we call them. My Kyle and my friend Kimberly's son. I think they are the two cutest witches out there, just don't tell Gracie as she is dressing up as that for Halloween. =)








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Here is a picture of Kyle on his first day of preschool. With Gracie being gone all day, he misses her a lot so I decided to put him in school one day per week. This also allows for me to volunteer in Gracie's class and get some things done around this house. I had to give up having a housecleaner but it's so worth it, as Kyle did really well his first day. He cried for about 30 seconds and then was fine. I think it was worse for me as I missed my little guy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kindergarten

This past Monday, Gracie had her first day of kindergarten. Technically, school started last Wednesday but we were on vacation for the "official" first day. Gracie woke me up at 6:00am which is pretty early, considering we had just gotten home from vacation the day before but the girl was excited to start her day. Gracie had gone to preschool at this same school last year as I had planned it that way because I wanted her to have a smooth transition to kinder. We already knew her teacher too as we met Ms. Brooke several times last year.

As I was getting Gracie ready that morning, I was feeling sentimental and a bit in denial that my little girl would soon be in school full time. Our district has all day kindergarten so she would be gone pretty much the whole day. Jerry and I both got to drop Gracie off as he had the day off so that was an extra special treat for her.

As we approached the classroom, Gracie suddenly because shy and a bit nervous which is totally understandable. She did better than I as I remember my first day of kinder and I bawled my head off because I wanted my mom. At the end of the day, Gracie said she had a fun time and wanted to go back the next day. Success!!!

We celebrated her first week by going out for yogurt with her good friend Kailee, who is also in her kinder class as both girls survived the week, yay! Kyle and mommy on the other hand, well, not so much. Seriously, it has gotten better and both Kyle and I are slowly but surely getting used to the house being a little bit quieter, which Gracie more than makes up for when she gets home. =)

PS~ Why is it when I ask Gracie what she did at school, she always has the answer of "I can't remember". I told my friend Jill that if I ever teach kinder again, I am going to make the kids write down what they do during the day so their parents don't think they sit and stare at the wall, lol!









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My beautiful girl










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A little bit nervous here