Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmastime 2010

The past few days have been a whirlwind.

Celebrating Jesus' birth.  Spending time with our wonderful family.

The close of a very full year.

Family has now gone home.  Presents are somewhat sorted.  Decorations are boxed up.  And here's my recap.


Christmas Eve


My parents hosted this year and the weather was gorgeous.  The little ones were able to open presents outside.


They also decorated gingerbread houses.



Uncle Frank made his famous paella.






Cousins had a great time playing together as always.

Kayla and Lauren "decorated" Logan in Nan's hair salon.  Poor boy.


Kayla ended the night with a spin in Uncle Boo's new ride.




Christmas Day


Dave was up at 4:30 and off to Oakland to serve breakfast at the shelter.  Girls were up around 7.

Kayla got an Easy Bake Microwave Oven and a "So Chic" Hair Salon.  Take a gander at that mop.  Good timing.


Ashlyn got a pink train set and Baby Alive.  Who eats "baaaa-nahh-nas."  I love the way she says that word.

She was also excited about her stocking.



Ashlyn also got a Minnie Mouse nightgown from daddy.  Que the costume change.


Dave and crew, home around 8:30 and smelling strongly of bacon.  Kobi especially liked our guests.


Packed up the fam (bacon lover, included) and headed back up to Nan and Pops for brunch and more gifts.


American Girl dolls and green Minnie Mouse socks were the most popular.


Then back home to unload and rest before going over to Grandmum's for Christmas dinner.



Uncle Dave, Aunt Melissa, Bill, Ericka and Monica arrived from Scottsdale.

We ate, then opened presents and almost died from smoke inhalation.  It's kind of a long story.


Little did Dave know that his life was about to change.  Thanks to his Secret Santa (Uncle Dave) and this:



My husband reverted to 8-year-old status in T minus 2 seconds.


And the warning label should be extended to include the following:


But it was awesome.  And the girls loved it.  Missing eyeballs, tangled hair and all.

Speaking of awesome, Bill is a senior at UCF and balloon artist on the side.

Being the cool cousin that he is, he brought his stuff with him.

Kayla was in heaven.  And has a new balloon-sculpting hero.




December 26


Hope Church Sunday service nearly doubled in attendance thanks to my family.



Dave is preaching through the book of John and this day he happened to fall on John 1:14.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..."

God's timing is perfect.

---------------------------


The next few days after were spent eating, mostly.  Fior di Italia in San Francisco, "the oldest Italian restaurant in America."

Then to Ghiradelli for famous ice cream sundaes.

On Tuesday, we went to the Cliff House for lunch and then down the coast to Half Moon Bay.



A fun, full and rich time.  Sad it's over but looking forward to 2011.

Happy New Year!




Friday, December 24, 2010

From Our Home to Yours


________________________

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them.  They were terrified.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.

Today, in the town of David


a Savior has been born to you.


He is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Luke 2:8-12

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chipotle Sunday: Ornament Exchange Edition


I don't exactly remember how these nights started.  I know, initially, the gatherings were quite small.

And included the core.  The helpers.

Those that were there before church started and long after everything had been cleaned up.

God has blessed us by growing this core, helping group pretty significantly.

They truly are the "hands and feet."

Servants.  In every sense of the word.

We celebrated this group on Sunday night with a special Chipotle Sunday.

Our first annual ornament exchange edition.  And one of my fondest memories thus far.


Timmy brought the sweetest Mickey ornament.  Patrick opened it.  Ashlyn stole it.  Patrick cried.  Then Ashlyn thanked Patrick.  And maintained an iron grip when Patrick pretended to steal it back.  She even dressed for the occasion.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

O Christmas Tree



Most everyone alive has decorated for Christmas.

Our kids were starting to ask questions.

So we figured it was about time.

Needless to say, nothing is more thrilling for them.


Ashlyn even lost a shoe in all the excitement.

A really cute shoe.

She left it under "the tree" for Santa.

Which tree?  We never quite figured that out.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday

Last month, the girls' new bunk beds arrived.

As did Ashlyn's request to sit with her each night while she falls asleep.

Which, to be honest, isn't all bad.

I usually stay for a bit, after she's gone off to Dreamland.

And check up on emails, blogs, tweets, status updates, etc.

A peacefully quiet social media frenzy, right there in the bottom bunk.

So, today I'm linking up with the Pleated Poppy

and her adorable What I Wore Wednesday.

And, for the record, most of what you are about to see is not very adorable.

But it's what I wore.  Straight up.







Monday, December 6, 2010

Cookies for Santa

Yes, the name is odd.

And not at all Christmas-y

But, I tell you the truth.

These, my friends, are the most delicious cookies I've ever tasted.

We've left them for Santa the past two years.

And he's been good to our girls.

So I think he likes them, too.



1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda

3 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup oil

1 cup oats

1 cup crushed cornflakes

1 package chocolate chips (2 cups)

Cream butter and sugars.

Add egg, milk, vanilla, salt and baking soda.

Add flour and oil, alternating each.

Add oats, cornflakes and chocolate chips.

Bake @ 350 for 10-11 minutes.

__________________

Recipe from my darling friend Ashley.

She and her husband, Kevin have the cutest little dog, Charlie.

Yesterday, Kayla asked Santa for one just like him.

Which means this year's batch had better be extra tasty.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Change


The view out our front window this morning.

In a few short weeks, the leaves will be gone.

Trees will be bare.

Storms and winds will come.

The vibrant, beautiful color will have disappeared.

To make room for another round of color.


I think back to where I was a year ago.


Missing the structure and security of our old church.

Missing friends that thought we were making the wrong decision.

Sad.  Lonely.  Fearful.  Frustrated.  Misunderstood.

Clinging to Christ with everything.


I can remember Dave saying

"next Christmas will be better..."

All will have changed.

And it has.

It really has.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Randomgiving

Officially the most hectic, all-over-the-place Thanksgiving on record.

On Wednesday night, we dropped this grumpy little Indian


and her big sister off at Nan and Pop's for a sleepover.

Hope Wednesday night prayer turned into Hope Dessert Potluck and Prayer.

And I made these tasty little morsels.


Hold the adorable marzipan toppers because I ran out of time.  And my frosting is not nearly as cute.

On Thanksgiving morning,

Dave and a few other suckers friends were up at 4:30 AM and headed over to CityTeam to cook breakfast and pass out turkeys.


I was up at 5 AM and off to work a 12 hour shift at AMR, taking calls from turkeys that were passing out.

No pictures, sorry.  HIPAA rules and all.

Dave and suckers friends left Oakland and headed over to Hillsdale to join 40+ play in the annual Turkey Bowl.

Limited photos of this event because participants were more concerned with the game than proper documentation.

Well, except for these two.


Mom and Dad took the girls up to Aunt Liz and Uncle Frank's

while Dave was reliving high school glory days

and I was slaving away in the blue dungeon.

Dave finished Turkey Bowling and met Mom, Dad, girls and rest of the family in Marin.

They made him sit at the kids table because he cares more about football than family.


Kayla also wrote a letter thanking our hosts as part of a school assignment.

And it's clear that she's already moved on from Thanksgiving and has Christmas on the brain.



And I enjoyed a quiet few minutes after work until all my turkeys came home.

With a HUGE plate of leftovers.

Happy Crazy Turkey Day! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Little Songbird






Any guesses?

Don't blink. It's quick.

And really tricky, I realize.

Those that have seen it live, need not apply.

Prize is a swift pat on the back.

And the blessing of hearing our sweet little girl sing praises to Jesus.

Monday, November 22, 2010

School Pictures

Terribly generic.

Depressing, cloudy background.

Cheesy, forced smile.

Taken five hours into the school day so hair clip is somewhere on the playground instead of where it belongs.

But it is imperative that we buy them year after year.

Or her scrapbook will not be complete.

Therefore, her life will not be complete.

Lame?  Yes.  Necessary?  Absolutely.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunsets, Paul Washer and Strawberry Cupcakes

On Sunday, we left the little ones with Grandma and took a quick trip down to So Cal to hear Paul Washer preach.

Now, normally I loathe Highway 5.  It's dead boring.  It stinks like putrid cows.

I'm always convinced an over-worked, under-sleeped semi driver is going to drift into our lane and kill us.

And the long stretch of open road causes my husband to develop an unhealthy and verbal preoccupation with gas mileage.

Which makes our fellow road trippers wish they had chosen another car.  Sorry, girls.


But on Sunday night,  Highway 5 somewhat redeemed itself.  With an amazingly beautiful sunset.


But it's still stinky.  And boring.

Anyway, our 4 carloads of Nor Cal folks met 3 carloads of Masters kids and 2 carloads of So Cal friends.

Just in time for dinner.

BJ's Restaurant, Party of 187.


We were up early the next morning to see Washer.

One of the most gifted communicators of the gospel I've ever heard.


Listen to him.  You will be changed.

But he'll make you cry.  And contemplate your salvation.  And closely evaluate what you do with your time.

And make you feel guilty about tweeting.

He preaches truth with passion and in love.  And was a missionary for a zillion years.  The real deal.

Next time, however, I may sit a few rows back.

Because I felt like he was looking into the depths of my soul the ENTIRE time.

And I really just wanted to tweet about it.


What does this all have to do with strawberry cupcakes, you ask?

Not a whole lot.

I made these sweet little treats when the Masters kids were in town last month.

And seeing them all this weekend reminded me that I wanted to share the recipe.

Because they're good.

Like November sunsets and Washer's preaching.



Recipe from Martha.

NOTE: My frosting came out a little "soupy" so I added a few cups powdered sugar and an extra stick of salted butter to thicken it up a bit.  And let it sit in the fridge for about an hour or so.

Happy Baking!