Top 13 of 2013

13. House Projects- new bathroom vanity, crown molding, painting/decorating the girls' bedrooms

12. Lots of sewing projects and new crockpot recipes

11. Bryan's 30th Birthday

7. Bryan ran a marathon

7. Mattie learned to sit up, crawl, pull herself up, make lots of noise, and eat solid foods

5. Jilly started preschool, moved into a big girl room, was potty-trained, got rid of her paci, and turned three

1. Baby Mattie!  We can't imagine our life without this sweet happy girl

2013 will go down as the Year of the Road Trip and the Year We Became a Family of Four- an excellent year indeed.


A California Christmas

All of Bryan's brothers and their families were in town for Christmas.  There were bike rides, an endless supply of treats, Christmas traditions, movies (Saving Mr. Banks is wonderful), bowling, family pictures, BYU bowl game, presents galore, and lots of blurry iphone pictures (sorry!)  Best of all was getting to be with family; when I asked Jilly what her favorite present was she said "Kirra!"  

Christmas Sunday-
Matching doll and girl dress-up-
A doll house of her own-
Christmas Eve jammies-
After opening her sleeping bag Jilly spent the rest of the morning snuggled inside 
Puffs- doesn't take much to make this girl happy
One of my favorite gifts- a quilt block from a quilt my great-grandma made
Go Mighty Cougars (the girls were so, so good, Mattie slept for half the game and Jilly loved cheering "Go BYU!" We just wish the outcome had been different...)
Best part of the game was getting to catch up with Lisa

On Christmas Day I finally got out my real camera for a few pictures of the girlies-

It was a very merry week


Remember when I used to read?

Yeah, me too.  I read a whopping 5 books this quarter, making my yearly total 32.  I would feel worse about it if I didn't have such darling little excuses.

28. Divergent by Veronica Roth - I was hesitant to start yet another dystopian trilogy, but was very pleasantly surprised.  I liked that it had less violence and a better love story than Hunger Games.  I must say though that from the one preview I've seen I'm not certain I'll love the movie.

29. Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin - This was very similar to The Happiness Project, which I loved.  For the most part I really like Gretchen Rubin's writing, and I made a few resolutions of my own after reading.

30. The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens - Yikes, this took a lot of brain power to get through.  The Givens' (who I knew very well growing up) are extremely intelligent and well-spoken.  Even though I had to re-read many many sentences and frequently look up words I thought it was a beautiful book.

31. Insurgent by Veronica Roth - Looking back, I can't really separate Insurgent from Divergent.  I liked it just as much as the first, and immediately started the last book in the trilogy when I was done.

32. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - My sister warned me that I wouldn't like the ending, and while I didn't necessarily dislike it, it isn't the ending I ever would have chosen.  But I suppose it's terribly difficult to end a series like this (see Mockingjay and Reached).  I really enjoyed reading this series; I loved the characters and thought the plot was exciting.

First Quarter, Second Quarter, Third Quarter- each list gets progressively smaller.  We'll see what happens next year in the reading department around here.


merry and bright

There really aren't words for how magical this December has been; we've been having a marvelous time with our little family.  On Friday we got a babysitter (Mattie's first besides my mom who doesn't count because I trust her with my children more than I trust myself) and I gave her entirely too many instructions (Bryan was giving the "let's get out of here" signal behind her back as I rambled about bedtimes and allowable snacks.)  We went to our Ward Christmas Party, which was a fun ugly sweater (or ugly t-shirt in our case) party.

On Saturday we went on a family date to the mall and to Mimi's Cafe for lunch.  We got lots of Christmas shopping accomplished, ate a delicious lunch, and enjoyed the beautiful decorations.  Plus, Santa happened to be at Whole Foods while we were there.  This time Jillian was terrified and wouldn't go near him unless I came so we got a family shot with Santa.

 On Sunday night we made gingerbread houses.  As usual, Bryan was the creative genius of the family.  Jillian was all about a Christmas project that involved candy.
 Also this week we made salt dough ornaments of the girls' hands.  I love that we'll have these ornaments around for a while to remember this special year.

On Wednesday night we surprised Jilly with a visit from Kirra.  They spent the night and on Thursday we played at the park, the boys went biking, Kristen and I went shopping, then we all went out to eat and to Dovewood Court (a cul-de-sac nearby where every house has an awesome light display.)  They went on to Bryan's parents' house but we'll see much more of them next week.

Over and over this month I have been overwhelmed by gratitude.  How lucky to have two sweet, happy, and healthy girls, and a nearly perfect husband.  I'm so, so happy to celebrate our Savior's birth with these people I love so much.
Merry Christmas friends!


Mattie: seven months

7 things to know about my favorite 7-month old:

1. She's obsessed with food.  Whenever we're eating anything she goes craaaaazy to get some.  I have a feeling baby food won't last very long around here; she's already had some table food and loved every bite.
2.  She's got the scoot down.  Perhaps will be crawling by Christmas?
3.  She's not cuddly when she's tired- I just lay her in bed, let her cry for a few minutes then she falls right to sleep.  This is awesome (when we're at home) and not awesome (when we're anywhere but home.)
4.  She wakes up 3-4 times a night.  She's usually very quick to get back to sleep (needs a pacifier, or to be held for a minute, or to nurse) but 4 times?  I could do without that.
5.  Her eyes light up when she sees Jilly and she always wants to be exactly where Jilly is and do exactly what Jilly is doing.
6.  She loves to click her tongue, make popping noises and growl.
7.  She's got the best smile and most delicious chubby cheeks.


five fact friday

1. Mattie is Jilly's little shadow these days.  She loved getting to "ride" (we never actually turn them on) the train with her sissy, and then she pulled this hilarious face.

2.  I think I've mentioned this recipe before, but last night I made Indian Butter Chicken and it is the bomb.  I love it because it's quick to make- only takes 30 minutes (if you subtract time used to appease little girls.)  Also, it tastes delicious.  Last night when everyone else was eating cookies for dessert I instead opted for cold leftovers.  That happens exactly never, so you know this stuff is golden.

3. At preschool this week we played Don't Eat Pete!  It had absolutely nothing to do with our letter of the week, but was fun.  The kids semi-understood the game, except 90% of the time someone gave away who Pete was so the person who was "it" usually got to eat all the marshmallows before getting to Pete.  When Bryan came home we played again, but this time with m&ms so it was even better.  (You can find instructions and a game board here)

4. Bryan ordered a cord online for his computer and asks me every.single.day. if it came in the mail.  And the answer is always no.  Then last night he finally told me that it only cost ¢99 and is coming from China.  So I'm pretty sure I'll be answering the "has it come yet" question til 2015.

5.  This morning in her most somber and pleading voice (and, to her credit, not at all whiny) Jilly said, "Mommy, I just can't wait for Christmas.  Can I pleeeeease open a present?"  Apparently the Christmas season is a little too long for three year olds.


the most wonderful time of the year

As sad as I am about not going to Virginia for Christmas this year, it is nice to spend the holiday season in our own home.  I am loving all the time to start traditions, do projects together, and enjoy the excitement of Christmas.  The only problem is that we keep talking about it being Christmas and Jilly cannot figure out why we haven't opened our presents yet.  All in good time little girl.

Last weekend was full of festivities.  On Friday we went to the Folsom Tree Lighting.  It was sooooo cold and kind of drizzling but we still had a great time.  We went on a train ride, met an awesome (free!) Santa, and saw the lights turn on.  This is definitely a tradition we want to continue.

On Saturday morning I had my Relief Society Christmas Breakfast.  Especially with the bad weather and some other events going on that day we expected 60 people max.  But once the activity started the women kept coming and coming and coming- there were 65! I was scrambling around for extra plates and silverware and we just barely had enough food.  Guess I know to plan for more next time.

In the afternoon we went to get our Christmas tree.  Again, it was freezing cold and there were even some snow flurries, which was so exciting to us.  We loved the first tree we saw and didn't even bother to look at any others.  Later that night we decorated.  And by decorated I mean Jilly put all the ornaments in one spot then when she went to bed Bryan and I spread them around (an event that occurs daily.)

This really is the best time of the year.  Jilly and I have had so much fun making our way through the crafts on my Christmas pinterest board.  We have elf shenanigans and Christmas books to look forward to each day, and so many Christmas movies to watch!  Like Jana said, I'm afraid January is going to be so dreary after all this December fun.


Stockings and Elves

One of the many, many reasons I'm glad Mattie is part of our family is that I love getting to hang up a fourth stocking.  I spent a few nights last week making Mattie's stocking so I could hang them all over the weekend.

I also added little initial tags this year.  I had seen this done a few different ways so I combined a few ideas into what I wanted.  First, I cut out letters from some glitter paper (I picked a font that I liked and printed out letters, cut them out, traced them on the glitter paper, and cut them out.)  Then I hot glued the letters to squares of felt.  Last, I glued little ribbon loops to the back so they can be hung from the stockings.  This way no one is committed to a certain stocking every year (although after making them I let Jilly choose who would have each stocking and she chose exactly as I would have, so maybe these ones will stick forever.)

Can't wait to see what Santa fills them with!

Last year my friend made an elf for her family and I loved the idea because A- I'd been wanting to make a doll and B- I think the elf you buy is kind of creepy.  So I copied her idea and used this pattern to make Ellie the Elf.  I also made a boy version for Lisa's boys.  The pattern was awesome and elves were so fun to make.

Bryan and I have been having a great time finding silly things for Ellie and Buddy (Bryan's parents gave the girls an elf as well) to do each night.


An Arizona Thanksgiving

Since my family is scattered around the country (California, Utah, Idaho, Virginia, Washington D.C.) we decided to meet at my aunt and uncle's house in Arizona for Thanksgiving. This worked well for us because we got to go a couple days early to see our new nephew.

Jilly told everyone we were going to "Kirrazona"- she was so happy to see her cousin.  The girls had so much fun playing together and the boys of course got some biking in.  We also played mini golf, saw Despicable Me 2 (well, Mattie and I saw most of it), and went out to eat.

my pretty sis-in-law and sweet baby Knox
the moment my baby became a giant
 and then the real giants showed up
 besty bests reunited (love Kirra's silly face)
 Nana and the crew
ice cream cones all around at Jason's Deli

On Tuesday afternoon my family started arriving and we headed to my aunt and uncle's house.
On Wednesday we shopped at Last Chance (the guys were happy to stay home with Jilly) then we went to see Catching Fire (soooo good.)  I'm so spoiled- my sister Bethany had already seen Catching Fire so she took Jilly to see Frozen and my mom offered to stay home with Mattie.

On Thursday the boys played in a turkey bowl then we had our delicious Thanksgiving Feast. That night we went to a nearby resort that had ice skating, a train ride, and lots of Christmas lights.  

 This is my sweet cousin Julia.  I'm the oldest cousin and Julia is the youngest- she's only three years older than Jillian and Jilly loved playing with her.  Jilly couldn't quite figure out how to say Julia so she just called her "my favorite friend" the whole time.  

 On Friday we hiked Camelback Mountain (again spoiled- Jilly stayed home with my aunt and Julia and Bryan carried Mattie in the bjorn.  He went most of the way, but not all the way to the top since it got pretty steep at the end.)  We enjoyed the hot tub and heated pool in the afternoon then went out to eat to celebrate my mom's birthday and to my cousin's basketball game.

Mattie's first hike!
Jilly and Julia both happened to have this little dress 

On Saturday we snapped a picture of us all together, packed up, got some lunch, then made the long trek home.  

It was an excellent, excellent Thanksgiving.