***I'm determined to catch up on cataloging our family's events this year. Be ready for outdated posts galore!


Golden Birthday

i turned 27 on the 27th - isn't that called your golden birthday?
{indulge me for a moment}

i have to admit i am not a huge birthday person. it's fun to get presents, and have a cake with candles but i don't need a huge party or big surprises or expensive gifts. just choosing what's for dinner would keep me happy.
{i have never liked all the attention on me during the happy birthday song. and when we got married, i was stressed about being the center of attention all day long, with everyone looking at me. on my wedding day! when you're supposed to be the center of attention! i actually lost sleep over it the night before. i think its a complex i have from standing in the front of the primary as a kid while being sung the "hello, hello"song, too many times as a visitor. it scarred me for life.}

anyway, it was a relaxed but productive day - dan was home from work and we both did a little bit of black friday shopping. then it was a quick dinner with the girls, cake and ice cream and presents with my in-laws.

madison was a great unwrapper. i really, really wanted a pressure cooker after going to a cooking class at Shar's Bosch but thought there was no way it would happen. my mom totally surprised me and I WAS SO EXCITED!!! {picture below: ok, maybe i just look happy, not really, really excited... because i happened to peek in the bag earlier in the week and knew what it was. but i swear when i saw it for the first time i literally freaked out!}

i got some awesome presents this year and a dozen of these incredible cupcakes:

are they as good as all the hype?
worth it.
the money
and the drive.
thank you.

i felt happy and loved. and full.

afterward we ran home with the girls, left them with the babysitter, and headed back out again. i thought we were maybe going to see new moon and i was pretty excited. but dan said, "i left my coat at my parents so we need to stop by there." my wheels were turning at this point and i wondered what was going on; by the time we got back to his parents i just about had it pieced together and was hoping we weren't going to see a movie. turns out we weren't - dan had something better planned. much to my surprise he arranged a family game night with his parents and siblings. i LOVE games and it was so fun to stay for a few hours and just play and play without kids climbing up and down from everyone's lap.

everything turned out perfect - an awesome day with great presents and even better company. i think my favorite part is that my husband knows me so well and knew exactly what to do and plan to make it a special day for me. i love you dan and thank you for the fun night everyone.
it was perfect.


Thanks Giving

{actual date of this post: dec 17th!
whatever brilliant thing i was going to confess or describe about thanksgiving this year has long been forgotten. so food, family, and fun will have to do as the summary. i love the picture though. thank you google.}


I Wish

{rocky point, mexico - thanksgiving 2007}

i wonder if they miss us too.

i wish i could ask, "do you know how much i love you? do you really, really know?"

but most of all, i hope that i make the most of the time i have,
with the people i still have it with.


I've Turned Into THAT Person

you know, the one in front of you at the grocery store trying to do five different transactions, with a pile of coupons and holding up the line for 10 minutes. i don't know who was closer to tears today, me or the cashier. but it was worth it.

yesterday's goods

{23 cans green beans/corn, 4 bags of sugar and 16 cans of soup}

spent: $21.12
saved: $63.64
total savings: 75%

right now you might be wondering why this was a big enough deal to warrant my first blog post in how long?

let me back up.

i'd thought about coupon shopping ever since we got married but first started to seriously consider it when my friend started a blog called Frugal, Not Cheap last spring. it was kind of like a wake up call for me and this is how i see it: dan leaves our family every day to go work to support us financially. my job is to stay at home to care for our girls and run our household. part of that is managing the finances it takes to do that - which includes grocery shopping. that is the one area i have always splurged and probably waste the most amount of money (somehow i don't feel as guilty when it benefits the whole family) so i decided i needed to put in the time and effort to make the most of dan's hard earned money. for me, that meant coupon shopping.

i never thought i would be THAT person buying twenty of one thing, just because it was a killer deal, or the one going to four different grocery stores within 24 hours just to maximize my pennies and take advantage of great offers. i never thought i would have a filing cabinet dedicated just for 'couponing', with organized and dated folders, or that i'd have a mini accordion folder with the names of grocery stores on each tab that i carry with me up and down the aisles as i hunt for one specific item to match the coupon in hand. i've turned into THAT person.

so for months i watched prices and sales, talked to friends, read blogs, printed coupons, joined pinching your pennies, took a class from dan's cousin {who saves incredible amounts of money}, and will finally sign up for the newspaper today to get even more coupons. i've been convinced.

i will be the first to admit that much of my motivation was THOSE people's blog posts - the ones with the pictures like mine above, of all the groceries you could get for such a little amount of money. i wanted to be able to do that - to save that money and post that picture. and finally the time learning and watching and saving coupons paid off.

i feel like i'm just at the tip of the iceberg and i'm still learning how this whole things works but it makes me SO excited. {i know this sounds crazy but hey, i'm one of THOSE people now.} i can't wait to add to our food storage and cut our grocery budget at the same time and make the most of what dan works hard to bring home.

here's to all THOSE people out there and THOSE blogs and THOSE posts that finally got me motivated!!

**on another note: i've got other posts and updates in the works that just need to be finished so hang on just a little longer. {all that technical stuff i complained about is on the back burner.}
we've been busy but loving it- especially spending time with these little people.



our neighbor let us gather some freshly laid eggs after our walk one morning. other than worrying about my toenails getting pecked off and being too paranoid to let madison in the chicken coop with me, it was fun. she loved that the eggs were brown and pink.

grace took advantage of the situation and loved the goldfish all by herself.

and yes, madison looks this lovely every morning in case you were wondering.
her hair has just as much personality as she does.




i'm in one.
a full-fledged blogging slump.
i have a ton of pictures.
lots to say.
and no motivation.

i want my pictures to be BIG when i post them, but i can't seem to figure out a way to do it without it taking forever. (lara, i will be emailing you! here's a link for those interested - bigger blogger pictures. i still have a hard time, even with thorough instructions.)

i don't even want to get started about my header.

and photo shop has been on my computer for almost a year now and i haven't taken a single tutorial! talk about lack of motivation.

so please get on my case.
tell me i am horrible and that i need to keep blogging for family history and such.
or because i have two darling girls and you just can't get enough pictures of them.
or because you want to know what life is like when it's 9o degrees outside in november
or even just because you don't want to see a half-naked picture of grace slumped in her high chair every time you check the blog because it makes you think, "that poor girl - why doesn't her mom stop taking pictures and just put her to bed!"

because thats what i think every time i see it.

so please, give me some motivation.

i need some.


Grace's 1st Birthday Bash(s)

the birthday girl!

classic picture of grace
wide eyed, inquisitive, and eating

birthday bash #1
i threw together a last minute party with our family, the skinners, and g&g lebaron.

one of 15 tries to get a picture of all three kiddos - this is the best we got

we had homemade soups for dinner: chicken noodle and chicken taco. yum!

this cracks me up. i'm busy posing for the camera, madison is telling everyone about whats in the box and poor grace is doing her best just to see what all the commotion is about. who's birthday is it again?

grace has a very helpful older sister to show her how its done.

grace meeting her pig for the first time. she carries it around everywhere now!

our little family

me and my girls!

i wasn't even thinking about grace when i bought her an ice cream cake, just what would be fast and easy. the poor little girl had to dig in with her fingers.

birthday bash #2
with friends - two other babies born the same week and a sibling (we missed you soelbergs!)

the birthday kids - tanner and grace - and their mom's (looking at their respective cameras and husbands :)

cupcake cake

wishing she could have more of that ice cream cake instead...

my baby is one!
where has the time gone?

Post Call

when dan's on call, naturally, its hard on the whole family. he and i are both worn out and exhausted by the time he gets home. and both girls, especially madison, want enough attention from him, the minute he walks in the door, to make up for the 36 hours he was just gone. but we've figured out a little system that seems to work pretty well. we have lunch ready when dad gets home and eat together as a family {dan can barely keep his eyes open at this point}. after lunch is nap time and madison gets to take a nap with her dad, on our bed. to say she loves it, would be a huge understatement. i don't think you've ever seen a kid so excited to go to sleep. ever.

one of these post call days the two of them were laying in bed and dan kept saying,

"madison, please hold still."
"madison, you have to stop moving."
"please stop kicking me."
"you can share my pillow with me but you have to not wiggle."
"madison, i am so tired, please don't."

a few times i could tell dan and just fallen asleep only to be woken up by madison again. this went on for awhile and finally i went in to see what was going on. dan had fallen back asleep, beyond exhausted at this point and i asked madison what was wrong.

she had been moving and grunting and making frustrated noises because she was trying to arrange her pillow perfectly in the right spot.

on top of dan's back.

this poor little girl wanted to be so close to her tired, sleeping daddy that she was trying to use him as a pillow. i helped her fix her pillow, tucked her in with the blanket, and off to sleep she went.