Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

Now that Christmas has come and gone it is time to reflect on the holiday. We had many good time this holiday season from shopping with Grandma Stoker, Christmas parties, and lots of food. Between listening to Christmas songs, watching Christmas movies, and eating all the Christmas treats it is easy to lose sight of the real meaning of this holiday. The birth of the Savior in a manger by a mother who was barely in her teens traveling on a donkey for 4 days straight. What a wonderful gift Heavenly Father gave all of us a brother and Savior who was both human and the son of God. Without him we would be lost in this devastating world. Without Mary's faith we would not have been saved.

This year the story of the Savior's birth had a different meaning to me. I was reflecting on all that Mary and Joseph went through when they found out the virgin bride was with child. It must have been so hard for them to have so much faith, and they must have been incredibly righteous beings to be chosen to raise the Son of God. As a parent I know how much goes into raising children and giving birth. Her sacrifice gives me a deeper respect and gratitude for her and her family.

We celebrated Christmas with all of Brandon's family this year which has been wonderful. All of his sisters, their significant others, and his brother in one house. It is a full house, but a happy house. Jackson loves all his Aunts and Uncles and has been taking advantage of all his new friends that he can drag around the house. Elizabeth loves the fact that she is held almost every second of the day, even when she is sleeping of Felipe's lap. I is such a blessing to be with family.

We spent most of Christmas eve day talking, eating, and preparing for our tradition of appetizers on Christmas eve by candlelight. Then we listened to Phil share the story of Jesus's birth and shared our insights. Then we put on our Christmas pajamas, and opened a few presents before watching It's a Wonderful Life (a Stoker Family Tradition). In the morning we woke up to Santa's presents in piles around the room and the yummy smell of cardamon bread. We all ate breakfast together and then opened the rest of the presents. Jackson wasn't too interested in opening presents for some reason, he was more excited about the fact that under the tree was open so he could crawl underneath it. Finally I got him to open his presents and then he was really excited about all the fun stuff he got. His favorite so far is his bubble mower and his big wheels but he is loving all his new toys and books.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poor Man's Presents

Today we received a package from my mom in Seattle. She sent a huge box that was filled with presents for the kids. The box was stuffed with packing peanuts and the presents were burried. As I was taking the wrapped gifts out of the box Jackson had a great idea. He wasn't too concerned with the wrapped gifts. . .he wanted the packing peanuts. So being the playful mom I am I placed Jack in the box and let him have a ball diving through the peanuts, throwing them out of the box, and just being merry. Now is the time to be merry, even if it does make a big mess. Thankfully.........I made dad clean it up, lol.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to make a short list of my favorite things about the holidays:

10. Decorating cookies
9. All the lights
8. Christmas music throughout the house
7. wrapping presents
6. It starts to get colder in AZ
5. making/eating chocolate
4. giving gifts
3. Temple lights
2. all the family getting together
1. Reflecting on the birth of the Savior and his impact in my life

Thursday, December 17, 2009

chocolate chocolate chocolate

Every year around Christmas time Brandon's mom makes tons and tons of chocolates. It is a tradition carried down from her mother and I am lucky enough to help out since living in AZ. We made fondants, caramels, truffles, peanut butter cups, marshmallow caramels, coconut balls, cheezit bites, and many many more. I think we made over 500 chocolates today and more to make tomorrow. We pass them out to friends and neighbors and save a lot to eat at home. Now dipping chocolates is not an easy task. My arms are sore from chopping chocolate, my hands are numb from rolling the chocolate insides, and my back is aching from standing up all day. It is all worth it when we are done and I need the work out since I am snacking a lot of the time we are working.This is just a few of the many.Cameron was helpful with the rolling and chopping chocolate.Jackson spent most of his time eating the chocolates.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Elizabeth Weight GONE

From the title of this post you are probably all thinking. . .what? Elizabeth doesn't weigh anything? Well she weighs 12lbs now and is turning into quite a cute little chunk. I on the other hand have officially lost all of the baby weight that I gained being pregnant with Lizzy. All 30lbs, in 3 months. I have to say I am really proud of myself since she was only 5lbs 8oz when she was born. I celebrated with a new pair of jeans and a new top for the family pictures we will be taking in 2 weeks. Now I am going to focus on losing as much as I can (in a healthy way of course) before the pictures and finding the slimmest outfit I can, lol.

I just want to say on another note I am not usually so focused on weight. I am a firm believer in you look good if you feel good. The problem is I have a history of taking unflattering family pictures and since we only take them every few years (all together) and I have to look at it every time I go over to the Stoker's house (they have a big one over their fireplace) I NEED to look my best this time. I am feeling good now so I am hoping that confidence will come out in the picture. GOOD LUCK TO ME!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

3 months fly by

Elizabeth turned 3 months this week and is looking more and more like a cute little baby doll and less like the newborn from the hospital. She is smiling, giggling, sleeping 8-10 hours every night, eating a lot, and filling out especially in the cheeks and tummy. She is the sweetest baby. She just looks around and smiles at everyone. She prefers to be held when she is awake but is becoming accustomed to being a 2nd child which means sometimes she has to hang out in her bouncer or swing. She loves Jackson and Jackson loves playing with her. Yesterday she was sitting in her bouncer and Jackson was hugging her and playing peek-a-boo. She loves bath time with Jack and listening to me sing. And she is really enjoying all the Christmas lights on the tree. I will put her under the tree and she will look up at the lights for 15 to 20 minutes which is perfect during dinner time so mommy can use two hands to eat. She can support her head now but still hates tummy time. I think she looks like Jackson more and more every day. She is such a little love bug and I love snuggling with her, except when I want to sleep. . .then she has to go in her own bed because she is such a wiggle worm. Lately she has been moving herself up in the bassinet so that her head is in the corner. I think she likes the cushions against her face which is really funny because Jackson used to do the same thing. Maybe it is a baby thing or maybe it is my baby's thing, all I know is it is hilarious because I put her in the middle of the bassinet and when I go to get her in the morning she has scooted her way up to the top. What a silly girl!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Count down to goal date

Well my goal date for my baby weight loss is almost here and I can tell you right now I am not going to make it. I have lost almost all the weight I gained with Lizzy (28 of 30lbs) which I am really proud of. Nearly 30lbs in 3 months. However, I really wanted to lose an extra 10 on top of the baby weight for our family pictures on the 30th. That is 12lbs in 2.5 weeks. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I guess I will just have to tell the photographer to take my picture from a flattering angle and do a little photoshop magic, jk. Honestly for not starving myself and not working out consistently I am really proud of what I have accomplished so far. I am still going to try to lose as much as I can until the picture date and my goal is to still lose another 12lbs I will just have to extend my deadline a bit. I guess I already have my cliche' New Year's Resolution. (To lose weight ranks in the top 3 along with quit smoking and get fit).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Can you take our picture please?

Today I made my family get to together to take a picture for our Christmas card. Let me tell you. . .they are not picture people. You are probably thinking how can they not be picture people when I have a camera in their faces all the time. Well, posing for pictures is not easy with a wandering 20 month old, a husband that could care less about pictures, and a baby that doesn't smile unless she wants to. I had my sister-in-law take the pictures, which is nice because she is an inspiring photographer and needs the practice. She tried her best but my family was not cooperating. She took 15 picture of the same pose and I only got one that was usable. I think I take for granted the fact that I am behind the camera most of the time.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tis the Season

As soon as Dec 1st hits the Christmas Season has officially begun in my mind and therefor there is no apologizing for listening to Christmas songs, wrapping presents, and decorating the tree. Monday was the first real Christmas decorating day where we decorated the house, went Christmas shopping, and then put up the tree. Elizabeth slept for most of the decorating but she really likes laying under the tree and looking up at the lights. Jackson loves Christmas this year. He loves the lights, wrapping presents, and this funny snowman the Stoker's have that bounces up and down and sings. I think Cameron and Marissa are going to throw the snowman in the garbage by the end of the season, but I think if it makes him happy I am happy. I do miss the smell of a real Christmas tree and if I could have one wish it would be for snow on Christmas day, but other than that Christmas in Arizona seems to be off to a good start.

**Look at what a chunk Lizzy has become, haha.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Friends

Today I met with a new mom in my playgroup and her lovely family. Jessica just moved here from Oregon (a Pacific Northwester, be still my heart) with her husband and beautiful daughter Leila. They were so fun to shoot in their red and black outfits, so photogenic. I know I probably say that a lot but I couldn't believe how great the pictures turned out. I would like to take credit as the photographer but I really think it is the subjects that make the pictures so great. Leila was so energetic and wanted to run, even though she can't walk on her own yet. It makes me so excited for when Lizzy gets a little bigger. Thanks Bunn family, I had a blast.