Category Archives: Holidays

Wordless Wednesday | Christmas Morning

Christmas 2012 dated

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Wordless Wednesday | Halloween

Father’s Day Thoughts

Some day my kids will understand just how incredible their Dad is. Until then, they’ll have many more moments like this, shaping their childhood and their character.

And their Mom will treasure it all in her heart.

Wordless Wednesday | Mother’s Day at the Beach

Dear Mom (A Mother’s Day Letter)

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I’m thinking about you.  When I think about you and Mother’s Day, I always think about gardening.  I wrote about that last year and I will surely plant some flowers in your honor this weekend.

Today, I’m thinking about the amazing mother, grandmother and woman you are.  You are loving, encouraging, supportive, creative, strong, hard-working, loyal, beautiful and giving.

One of the things I love most about you is that you have taught me to embrace, create and enjoy beauty in this world.  From the simple to the spectacular.  Like folding freshly-washed, fluffy, white bath towels, that stack perfectly in a linen closet.  Like hosting an amazing celebration for a loved one, with over-the-top decorations and delicious food.  Like sipping morning coffee in the backyard, taking note of new blooms and hummingbird visitors.

On Mother’s Day, I get a little sad because we can’t be together to celebrate.  To do something special, or just sip some Mama Martinis together.  But I am thinking about all the wonderful times we’ve shared in the past year.  My children and I have been blessed with an abundance of Mom/Nana time and I am so grateful.  I’m remembering…

Easter weekend swimming and hangin’ out (April 2010).

The Liberty Canyon Fourth of July parade (July 2010).

Walking on the beach (July 2010).

Lake Powell laughs and adventure (August 2010).

Celebrating Sophia’s 6th birthday (September 2010).

Visiting the American Girl store (September 2010).

Celebrating Jack’s 8th birthday (November 2010).

Christmas memories and fun in the snow (December 2010).

Celebrating Olivia’s 3rd birthday (April 2011).

I treasure these memories.  And look forward to many more in the years to come.  I am blessed to be your daughter and proud to call you Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I love you,

Your Daughter

Love is In the Air (with a hint of mama guilt)

TJ and I have never been a big Valentine’s Day couple.  I know, that sounds lame.  We’d just rather avoid the crowds and commercialism of it all.  It feels kinda forced.  We prefer spontaneous celebrations of love.  (Hello, third child!)  Wait, is that not appropriate on a family blog?

Back to Valentine’s Day.  It’s such a fun holiday to celebrate with kids.  The precious handmade cards with hearts, glitter, stickers and doilies.  The Valentine’s exchanges at school.  The candy.  The candy!  It’s all sweet and innocent on the kid level.  What’s not to LOVE?

From Valentine’s 2011

So we pulled out the Valentine’s tub-o-fun and let the hearts fly!

Since we’re all about the candy, we kicked off the season of love with a few bags of these, which are TJ’s favorite.  He can burn through these like it’s nobody’s business.

And some of these cinnamon sweeties.  What’s awesome is that the kids won’t eat these because they’re too “spicy.”

Of course, the famous Celebration Tree is feelin’ the love.

And we found this heart-patterned, glitter-infused fabric so we made a festive flag banner to add to the Valentine’s vibe.

What? Doesn’t everyone use a sewing machine with a glass of red wine?

But even with all the love in the air, I’m feeling some heavy mama guilt.  Why?  Because I’ll be out of town over Valentine’s Day.  I’ll be in New York City working with Razor at Toy Fair (the biggest trade show for the toy industry) .  I’m also missing the annual Mother-Son Sweethearts Dance at school with Jack.  And Sophia’s Valentine’s dance performance. And the Cousins’ Valentine’s Party. And two class parties.

Yeah,  I’m talking some serious mama guilt.  I know they’ll have plenty of fun without me.  It’s no secret that TJ’s the fun parent.  (Shout-out to Claire Dunphy on Modern Family who said, “You can’t have two fun parents. It’s a circus.”)  No, there will be no lack of fun while I’m away.  And I’m leaving behind some awesome Valentine’s goody bags.  The reality is this.  They don’t miss out.  I do.

But what’s a working mama to do?  It’s not easy, my friends.

I actually really love going to Toy Fair.  I mean, it’s the largest toy display in the world with 100,000 toys!  The people I work with at Razor are awesome and I relish any time I get to spend in New York City.  I just wish it didn’t mean missing Valentine’s Day with my family.

So we’ll just celebrate early.  And late.  We’ll have heart-shaped waffles with strawberry milk for breakfast all month.  We’ll eat heart-shaped ravioli (thanks to Costco) for dinner on February 9th instead of the 14th.  We’ll make pink sprinkled cupcakes to share with neighbors.  And we’ll keep making Valentine’s cards, even after the parties have come and gone.

We’ll remind ourselves that love is grand enough to celebrate every day of the year.  And maybe.  Just maybe.  The love fest will overpower the guilt fest.

Joy to the World | Christmas 2010

We left our house on December 23rd at 10:30 p.m. and TJ drove all night.  We were dashing through the snow to get to Utah on Christmas Eve, driving 700 miles in 11 hours, door-to-door.  Sponsored by 5-Hour Energy drinks.  And TJ does this without ever complaining.  He’s amazing, that husband of mine.

From Christmas 2010

Christmas Eve was wonderful.  We enjoyed family time together, delicious food and lovely gifts.  We’re so blessed.

Here’s the Fab Four.  My siblings are so cool.

Grandpa Tom.  Dad.  Father-in-law.  Quick to laugh and love.

I’m bummed I didn’t get any photos of my Mom on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Sometimes even the photo-obsessed like myself can miss out on the best photo opps.  Sometimes my best intentions take the back seat – to kids, crying, cooking, Christmas and life – and the camera sits in its case.  But I do have a great photo of my Mom, the Queen of Christmas, from last year.  She always makes Christmas so festive and special.

The kids were beyond thrilled to play with their Utah cousins again.  I love the bond they share with their cousins.  Our nieces and nephews are really awesome young people and they’re so great with our kids.

Well, Olivia slept through dinner.

But she woke up to open some fun gifts that she loved.

Of course, the kids opened their matching Christmas pajamas.  It’s a fun tradition, continued from my own childhood.  For some reason I only got a photo of these two cuties in their jammies.

I think the teenage cousins were avoiding a group jammie photo for fear that their Aunt Sheena would post it on Facebook for all their friends to see. Like this one from 2008. Why is this embarrassing to a teenager?

Christmas morning was super fun with Aunt Niki and her kids.

Stockings!

Cuddles!

Cute sister/aunt!

The Daddy assembly line.

Jack was really excited about this. Boys will be boys.

Sophia was in heaven playing hair salon all morning.

And Olivia got her scoot on with her first Razor scooter.

I so enjoyed our Utah Christmas, nestled in the Rocky Mountains.  It still feels like home, especially at Christmas.  But mostly, I enjoyed being with my family.  My husband.  My three children.  My parents.  My sisters.  My brother.  My three nephews.  My two nieces.  It’s been 15 months since the last time we were all together.  Which is 15 months too long.

Christmas night brought on more family fun, doing what we do best.  Talking.  Laughing.  Eating.  Playing.  Reminiscing. Singing.  The boys had a serious ping-pong tournament in the basement.  And the girls put on a cute singing and dancing talent show.

And then came my favorite part.  The kids produced a Nativity Play.  Ariana was Mary.  Grandpa was Joseph.  Sophia and Olivia were Angels.  Ali was a cow.

As we sat on the couch and watched our kids (and Grandpa) in makeshift costumes act out the birth of Jesus, I paused to be grateful for the most generous gift I have ever received.  And it didn’t come from Santa.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!