Friday, December 31, 2010

A Season of Family

This holiday season was filled with so much family. Our lives are abundantly filled with people who love and care for us. We don't want each other to fail, to feel pain, or to need. We love to make each other laugh and push until there is progress. I am beginning to understand that Family is a miracle in and of itself - I am blessed to be able to witness it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homemade Christmas

As I sit here approaching Midnight on December 22, I begin getting a vision of my girls all grown up and reminiscing about their mother. Thinking back to when the crazy old lady used to make Christmas presents. HA!! Who would do such a thing? Who would spend 3 hours making "15-minute" pajama pants and matching sleep masks on December 22nd??
Why? Why? Why?
The joke would be on them though - because I would pull out these pictures. I'd tell them about the time they insisted on making stockings for their dolls.
How they lovingly pushed and pulled the needle through the fabric - cursing in their 4 & 7 year old way when the thread came out...
Then we all would be reminded that it is not really about the end product (right? RIGHT!) It is just about the love we put into making it. Those peaceful moments when we are concentrating on who the gift is for and the reasons we love them.
My grown-up girls would then stop laughing at me and BEG me to make "15-minute" pajama pants for Christmas again!!! But, I would say no... because what crazy lady makes Christmas presents?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Polar Express

Have you read the book? Can you still hear the bell?
We made the decision to join everyone at the tradional "Polar Express" train ride in Williams, AZ. Donning matching P.J.'s and all - we had no regrets!
I just love these pictures of the cousins - they care about each other so much and it is so neat to see.

This is Grandma's idea of a good time... 8:00 at night with 6 kids under 7 waiting for a train!! What is Christmas for if you can't make your Grammy happy? (At least once every few years!)
Santa made a special stop and told Audrey - the only thing he wasn't able to bring on Christmas is a new front tooth...that was the tooth fairies job! She thought that was pretty dang funny...

It was a really loud, err fun trip and if I didn't hear the bells before I certaintly can now :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Tree 2010

We got our Christmas stuff out and Carissa got in...
Everybody must have touched each ornament 10 times and asked "where did we get this one?" I think that is just a Mom's job to know those things. It is too bad I have early onset Alzheimer's and can't remember half of them. On the plus side my OCD was turned way down because I resisted the urge to have everyone back away so I could decorate alone. The memories of trimming the tree should be sweet ones, right?
I think it turned out lovely...

In the spirit of the season our family is donating some items Monday night to local families in need. I have been bugging the girls about it a lot and having them think of things they don't use anymore and want to give. Today I was completly taken off guard.
Audrey asked a question I couldn't answer (and that just might be a first) "Mom, why isn't Santa going to those kid's houses?"
That is like asking me why some people get cancer or little kids are abused.
What do you say? So I said what I thought was the best answer and I hope she believed me.
"Santa asked Daddy and I if we wouldn't mind helping him, help these families."
Dang it if I almost believe myself...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Full of Thanksgiving

I can not remember the last time I had such a good Thanksgiving. This year we decided to camp at Cattail Cove State Park and it was just the right mix of spending time with family and just relaxing at the campsite.

The whole time I felt like I took sooo many pictures, then of course, I get home and feel like I have NONE!! Here are a few for the memory books...

Carissa and Katie - such beautiful girls - hit if off in minutes and really enjoyed each other's company.

This is the whole gang (minus Justin taking the pic) under the London Bridge, which I must admit, I totally take for granted. It was so pretty under the bridge and I will never forget just walking around with my Grandma. Despite that fact that she has had a crazy hard year her eyes were just taking in the moment watching the kids play and loving the lights.

It is the first time in a while she has looked at peace with the moment. It is truly amazing watching how her life has evolved and changed. I am only seeing it as a granddaughter but what a story. What an amazing story.
On Saturday the water was so peaceful. Justin took Carissa and I out on the lake and in our canoe. Never thought I would just ride around in a canoe... but it's nice. Especially when you can just sit back and eat trail mix. My kind of speed :)

We came home, unloaded the trailer and started the week off going to Monday Night Football. Here is the view from our seats. It was super fun ~ especially watching the 49ers huddle...dang that have that down.

There never seems to be a dull moment in our life and now here comes December.
So much to do - lose 10 pounds, make cookies but don't eat them, buy gifts, remain centered on Christ, decorate to the nines, throw together some parties, crafts and more crafts, send out cards, go see lights, say nice things (Santa is watching) don't forget to work, ..... ahhhh. 25 more day... ready, set, go!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daddy's Birthday

Yikes we are getting up there - 33!! The girls don't miss a chance to remind us that we "lived in the olden days" or that we are getting wrinkles. Even though I still think I have a chance at passing for a young, cool, hip girl they put me right back in my place. Reality check - I am a mom and no matter how bad I don't want to wear "mom" jeans, say those uncool comments, or have that tired worn out look - I know I do. It happened to me. I guess as parents, we have arrived.

It was Justin's birthday yesterday and the girls were so excited. They both picked out gifts for him (CD, boy magazine, and a lantern). We decorated the kitchen and made brownies. They wrapped the gifts and fought over whose present he would open first. Chaos at it's best...

They are so in tuned to what he likes I think it is just a testament to how much they adore him. I remember when they were babies crying in my arms and he would swoop them up and instantly the crying would stop. He would put them up high on his broad shoulders and do that little bounce-pat thing. Ohh, the jealousy would eat me up. But now, just picturing it brings tears to my eyes. Right then and there he was a creating a bond with them and it gets stronger every year.

Here's to being 33 love. Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 8, 2010

9 Years

Remember this? It was out backyard in August when we first started landscaping. (Lesson learned - not good to start a landscaping project during the hottest month of the year.) The ground was hard to work with and I wasn't sure how it would end up. Our goal was to make it feel as lush as possible - you know bring a little Pacific Northwest to the Arizona desert (don't ask to see our water bill!!) I am happy to say we are so pleased with the results. We have our splash pad area which is so great for the kids. I can just ship them outside and I know they won't drown. We hope to build off of the bench a little more and can't wait to see the trees grow and start shading some of the area.
On the other side of the yard are plants and trees, including 3 fruit trees. By next summer I should have so many limes we won't be able to drink enough Corona's...

I also now have these lovely Arizona Roses. A gift from Justin for our 9th anniversary. To me Roses represent how things that look so tough on the outside can turn out to be the most beautiful. I am proud to say that we have been married 9 years. It takes hard work and dedication to keep a loving marriage thriving and I am so happy and grateful to be a wife to my husband.
He makes my heart happy ~ this is the quilt I made him. Our gifts to each other were supposed to cost $9. With a little help from my girlfriend, Goodwill, and a Linen Outlet I was able to do it. Hard to make a manly quilt...

Oh, and just because we finished landscaping doesn't mean we have stopped construction. This is the shed/playhouse/outhouse/man cave/craft shop going in on the side of the house...
Seriously, never a dull moment.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


A pink punk pirate, My little Pony, and Edward (HA) all came out on Halloween. They knew the drill. Walk fast, ring bell, say thanks, and move out. Now mommy has candy.
It is too cool when one of your kids wants the evil pumpkin. It just proves they are realizing the difference between real and make-believe.
It doesn't hurt to have a sweet, nice, pumpkin hanging around either, though.

Speaking of jack o'lantern's... I must toot my own horn and mention these darling ladies. All carved up for the Preschool Halloween Party. Considering how everything I make turns to crap, I was pretty impressed with myself.
Can you believe before all that there was another weekend I forgot to mention? My parents came into town to take the girls out for a night at a hotel. (Man, they are so spoiled!!) First we joined them at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens just in time for the Mariposa Monarch exhibit.
Along the lines of cooking I also stink at taking pictures but, again, I must say this is pretty dang impressive! Isn't he beautiful? (There is a way to tell, I found out.)
Every child under 12 got to take home a pumpkin. My Dad picked out a good one...
It was a little toasty and the lines were a little long. But we persevered and were all smiles.

And, to end the post, with the beginning. The Guy Family's first ever Relay for Life team. A great learning experience for Audrey who yelled out to people "Pick-A-Pop" for 4 straight hours. She was determined to get people to play our game and make money for the cause.

She is noticing that it isn't just us in this world. There are many, many, more. Some hurting, some healing, some that give, and some that take. Some that it might be OK to just ignore!
So there it is - a flashback of the last two weeks - Whew.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Seasonal Blocks

This month our CraftyOwls night had to have been my favorite by far. Kelly and I have been looking at so many wooden block crafts but couldn't decide on what holiday we wanted to make one for. So, being the clever (insane) crafters we are, we decided to do every season.

Our blocks are 1.5" x 1.5" so they are small enough to be displayed on shelf but big enough for all to admire.

For some of the months I distressed the paper and edges to give it that "not-so-perfect" look. You could take it one step farther and use Distress ink or paint.
We cut out the vinyl letters using Kelly's Cricut (600 letters wasn't so bad, right?). We choose to switch up the fonts depending on the month for extra cuteness...
I think Merry Christmas is my favorite.

There are 15 blocks in all. So you can stack 'em anyway you like.

We had such a great time with this craft and made over 35 kits for our Crafty Owl friends.

If you are interested in making one yourself click here for the instructions or if you aren't into cutting up 15 wooden blocks visit our CraftyOwls site to purchase a kit :)

Linked to these awesome sites:


Monday, October 4, 2010


It is Monday so that might explain it, but I have to admit I am so CRANKY today. It didn't help that I was verbally abused by a 7 year-old this morning. I tried to remain calm during the attack and since I didn't retaliate with physical abuse I think I did really well. Instead, I cleverly selected "grounded to room" as the punishment.

And wouldn't you just know it? The girl came home from school happy as a lark to spend the whole afternoon in her room. DUH, that is so not punishment. She doesn't have to deal with her sister or her mother. She gets complete isolation and it is bliss.

By now, the sky has darkened (finally) and it is raining (Amen). The tension is fading away and I have made a mental note to make the next punishment "wait on mother hand and foot".

Aghh - it is hard to run this ship.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just Life

I just can't seem to remember to stop and write about Everyday Things. I used to be so good about it. I have a zillion pictures that I never even share and thoughts that I forget to tell. How am I going to remember all this? Like my impromtu date with my husband last night to see Rascal Flatts - Center Stage 5th row back. The seats were so good I could see the sparkle on the cowboy boots.

They played this song "Everyday Love" which is so old but also reminds me so much of our marriage. LOVED IT!!

This last week we had a great surprise and got to have Lola over. It was so fun just to have the girls play together and laugh. They will probably hate me for this picture when they get older...that's what they get for being goofy!

I finished this quilt for my living room. I used the Brick Path Quilt Pattern that is free from Amy Butler and the Blush by Basic Grey for Moda Fabric Line. It came out nice and light. Perfect for Arizona Winter Nights... which are right around the corner... right? RIGHT?
And finally, this was my last project. Thinking I would make a "faux" roman shade for my office window and thinking it would be so "quick" to just whip up. I have decided I should really stop thinking. It took FOREVER but it is done and I can't decide if I like it or not. It is here to stay - for now.
Heading back to my lazy Saturday ~ I have gotten hooked on Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books and I am on number 5. Do you think the girls will notice if I sneak away?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wish on a Penny

We met my Mom last night for ice cream at West Gate and afterwards the girls stopped and played by the fountains. As is customary with any sort of fountain, you must find a penny and make a wish. I dutifully handed them out. Also, as is customary, you can not tell anyone your wish or it won't come true.

Well, I forced Justin to tell me his. He said he just threw it in and made no wish. *sigh*

I have to be honest, It took me a really long time to think of a wish. Why is that? How come as adults we don't wish anymore? Is it because we are too practical? Do we have everything we want?

My wish ended up being for cooler weather. We broke a record this week with temps at 111 degrees. At 7 o'clock at night, while making my wish, it was probably about 102 degrees outside.

This morning when I woke up the news said it is supposed to be raining with a high of 89. Can you believe that? SEE PEOPLE!! Go and shine your penny!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Vacation

A week in Georgia with Cousins - a pay back of sorts for when they visited us here.

I could say we went for the weather (mom, I am sweatin' like a pig!) or for the amazing buildings (I was fascinated by the doors)... This one in Savannah.
You would think then it was for the food. Ohhh Paula Deen's was way fun!!
But no, it was for this... Cousin Love. And sure enough, they did.
They entered each other's worlds. They explored and they played. They made the little ones laugh.
Vacations are oh so good. Especially the ones where the place doesn't really matter. And you can tell for sure, when you come home knowing that you have just grown a little closer, because you had a chance to give a little more, and everything in life is back in focus.