Monday, December 20, 2010

Gifts, gifts & more gifts

So as many of you know, Mike & I attend Church.  We go as often as we can, which means most Sunday's with the occasional week off to do something else.  I won't lie, some weeks it is especially boring.  But we chose this Church (which is like  a15 minute drive north of us) because the pastor(s) tend to have more interesting sermons, and the whole Church in general is pretty family-oriented.  The Mom's group I attend is also Church-based and I enjoy going to that.

Anyway, every once in a while the sermon hits a chord with me.  This Sunday (19th) would be one of them (and incidentally, you can listen to it here once it is up!).  The pastor spoke about gift giving at Christmas-time.  He started out by recounting an npr story about the perceived worth of a gift vs. what was actually paid for it.  His example was some "all-natural" chapstick his mom insists on buying for him every year.  It probably costs her $7 but he likes the regular $0.75 chapstick you can buy at the market better, so the "lost cost" of that chapstick is $6.25.  If you add this up over every gift given over the Christmas season, we could solve the country's budget crisis!

So then he suggested that why do we feel the need to spend more money?  If you look at the life of Jesus, he never gave "things", he always gave his time and talents instead.  Why don't we do the same?  Give a "coupon" to your spouse offering to watch the kids while they go out and do something for themselves.  Give a harried couple an overnight without their kids to give them a chance to reboot and recenter themselves.  Offer a picnic in the local park with your neighbor to get to know them better.  The best thing you can give people is your time!

So I'm sitting there nodding and thinking these are great ideas!  And I'm coming up with some of my own, when I suddenly realize... it's the WEEKEND BEFORE Christmas, and I have all my shopping done already!  ARGH.  This is something I could have used YESTERDAY!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's been going on at our house.

Kevin has taken a liking to bubbles similarly to Amanda.  Here he is watching intently as the bubbles come out of our bath bubble machine.  If you look closely, he's got a bubble stuck to his head and he doesn't even know it!

Having two kids as opposed to the one has had it's share of challenges.  Now that Kevin is getting older, he wants to do EVERYthing Amanda does.  So we both find ourselves fighting off kids who want all the attention on themselves.  This first picture is one night Mike got out the massager to help his sore arms.  Both kids wanted to play with it too!

Kevin likes the massager too, it seems to help his sore gums when he's teething

And here are some pics from over the weekend.  I made caramel brownies to bring to a christmas party.  Just getting stuff out of the cupboard was a challenge!

Amanda helped me make the brownies.  She helped unwrap all the caramels, and had so much fun doing it!

And enjoying a brownie straight out of the oven!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kevin's First Haircut!

So today was the straw that broke the camel's back when it came to Kevin's hair.  I took the kids to Target and the checker kept saying "she's so cute" about Kevin.  Amanda also needed a haircut, so I called and made an appointment immediately.

Before, these are from Thursday, Kevin wanted to play in the sink.  They show you how long his hair was getting.

And here he is in the "chair" getting ready to get his hair cut.



After that it was down hill.  He cried and tried to cling to me, so we ended up in a regular chair with him on my lap.  Gladys did a wonderful job working with a squirmy toddler though, and his hair came out very cute :)



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Anyone else have a scrooge of a husband?
I love holidays.  Not only do you get a day off from work, but you get to decorate the house!  Christmas is definitely one of my favorite holidays because of this.
And every year I fight my dear, sweet, loving husband because he refuses to help.

I always like to decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It's officially "Christmas season" and we usually have nothing going on.  Well this year, we were busy, but we had Saturday afternoon free, so I took out all the boxes and began to decorate.  Amanda wanted to help, and I had to call in about 600 favors to get Mike to take a picture of us, so here you go.

I am really not too fond of the fake tree.  My family always gets a real tree, which is steeped in family tradition.  Always the first week fo December, we go with two other families and traipse out to the "u-cut" Christmas tree farm (which is getting harder to find in the middle of Los Angeles now!) where we spend 2 hours finding the perfect Christmas tree - not too tall, but wide and full, and no holes.  And it has to smell deeeeee-liciously of pine.  Then we all traipse home and have dinner together and recount our search for the perfect Christmas tree (expect pictures after this weekend!)

Mike on the other hand, always had a fakey-Christmas tree in their house.  Our compromise is that years we fly to Illinois for Christmas, we put the fake tree up, and the years we stay home we get a real tree.  That way we're both happy, right?

Anyways, I discovered over the past several years that Mike has his way of making the fakey look "perfect".  So after I set it up and put the lights on, I let him go to town.

Here he is "teaching" Amanda how to spread the branches to give the appearance of the tree looking full.

And I spent the next hour putting ornaments high on the tree so that the cat and the baby can't get them and break them.  Our tree now has the upper half looking awesome, and the bottom half looking bare.  I am guessing it will be like that for several more years until the cat stops caring and the kids are old enough to know better.