Thursday, December 25, 2008

And to all a good night.....

First of all, a Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you enjoyed your holidays and spent them with those that you love the most. We had a wonderful and blessed Christmas this year, but are exhausted from it!

We started off by going up to Chico on the 23rd to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my mom's side of the family. They are a great group that we just don't get to see often enough! Alex wore himself out playing with his cousins Jack and Nick who are 11 and 9. Jack and Nick were also thrilled to meet their newest cousin Amelia who they hadn't see yet.

We took lots of great pictures Christmas Eve you can see.

Then we had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner and then opened presents that night, as is tradition in my family. Who would have known there was a recession going on??!! My goodness! As you can see there were plenty of presents to go around.

This morning we opened our Santa presents. Alex was beyond excited that he got what he had asked Santa for, a Little Einstein's red rocket. It was funny though because as soon as he opened it up he was done - he said "I don't need anymore presents, thanks." Note to Santa for next year....

After Christmas breakfast we packed up and went to go see my dad's side of the family in Sacramento. We visited my grandma and aunts and more cousins. Amelia and Olivia got to see each other during both of their first Christmas's!

After leaving my grandma's house we went to see Grandma and Papa Toy who used to babysit me as a kid! They adopted me into their family and are like a second set of parents to me so we always like to stop by and visit them whenever we can. We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas lunch at their house and they spoiled Alex and Amelia (as well as Paul and I!) as usual!

On our way home the kids were cranky as were Paul and I but I reflected on how fortunate we are to have one another and a loving family. I know it sounds so corny but when I look at all the sadness in the world, and I see plenty of it in my line of work, it really makes me appreciate having such wonderful family and friends to spend the holidays with.

And speaking of fortunate....we are off the the beach for a week on Saturday! Lovely Cambria and Moonstone Beach! It will be a crazy day tomorrow of laundry and packing then repacking but we are excited! Stay tuned for beach pics!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Santa Experience

I have been dying to take both kids to see Santa but was not looking forward to the long Santa lines at the mall. Since I am now working full time I was worried I'd have to deal with the lines at the mall during the weekend (gasp and shudder in horror was my reaction). Instead we snuck in an early evening trip to the mall tonight and waited a whole 15 minutes to see Santa.

Alex was back and forth about the thought of Santa. He was very excited to ask him for his Little Einstein Red Rocket but at one point was also very concerned that Santa would eat him. I have no idea where he gets these ideas in his head I swear! After some convincing that Santa is a good guy he took a very nice picture. Much better than 2 years ago which involved a screaming picture, but every kid must have one of these!

Amelia was quite intrigued. She was most intrigued by his beard and deep down, Paul and I were hoping for Amelia to grab a handful and yank just as the photographer took the picture with Santa surprised by her death grip. Would have been a very unique photo...but instead she was quite happy with the jolly old Saint Nick and hung in there. We will see what happens next year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Whirlwind weekend!

It was a busy weekend in the Soares household this weekend. Friday night we had a little Christmas party at our house which was lots of fun. Mostly old friends from college, but some news friends too. As always we enjoyed lots of food and wine and did a very fun White Elephant gift exchange. The photo above of the bottle of wine is a 6 liter bottle Paul and I had picked up at one of our favorite wineries earlier this year. We saved it for a special occasion and had everyone who attended sign it.

Saturday we left for Turlock to join our children who had been spending some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa Soares (allowing us to have a kid free party). Paul's parents are flying up to Canada for 3 weeks to spend Christmas with Paul's sister's family so we celebrated an early Christmas with them this weekend. Paul's parent's church does a big festival so Alex attended the festival with Paul's parents Saturday night and we went to yet another Christmas party at Paul's friends Nelson's house. It was a beautiful dinner with some old friends.

This Sunday morning we opened gifts and had an early Christmas lunch. Alex got a truck and Amelia got her first little "learning" purse from Grandma. Really it is too cute.

After we got back to Fresno this evening we went over to our good friend's Dave and Debbie's house where Debbie taught me to make the world's best almond toffee. To die for!!! I now hold the secret and plan to make a few more batches, along with some fudge, later this week. A busy weekend for sure but lots of fun was had by all of us! Now I just need to hit the treadmill due to all these great meals and treats!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A gingerbread weekend

My mom came down this weekend to visit her beautiful grandchildren and also to make cookies with me. Amelia got in the holiday spirit by being decked out in her gingerbread cookie outfit - so cute!!! We made plenty of gingerbread cookies (my favorite!), stained glass ornament cookies and persimon cookies. The stained glass ornaments were new this year. We got the cut outs at William Sonoma and you cut out the cookies and then melt broken lifesavers in the voids that are left from the cut outs. Pretty cool!

As always Alex was the helper in the kitchen. His favorite is always eating the cookie dough in the end!! He got a little gingerbread apron that he loved and wore while he assisted in the kitchen. He was kind enough to also taste test our final products and he gave the thumbs up for all our hard work!!

I am exhausted as I type this after 2 days of baking and decorating but am happy with the results. A lot of these cookies are going to my co-workers, neighbors or friends this week. I plan on having a few other small baking nights during the week this week and then my friend Channone is coming up closer to Christmas to make some cookies as well. I also hope to make some toffee and fudge. What is Christmas without those lovely holiday pounds?! I plan to relax tonight with a glass of wine and a hot bath. But first we are going to Christmas Tree Lane to look at lights and continue enjoying the holiday spirit.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saying good bye to Pulga

I am sad to say that Pulga is no longer with us. She is in a better place now begging at the dinner table and snuggled up somewhere in the great beyond. Many of you know that she had a liver problem diagnosed as a young pup and in the end it flared up and caused complications that were to difficult to fix. As any of you who have lost a pet knows, losing a pet that has been in your family is a very sad thing to go through. Pulga drove me up the wall at times, but she was my first 'baby' and was there for me after my dad died.

I posted this picture of her as a baby, she is only about 8 weeks old in this picture and it was her first day home with us back in our old apartment. She weighed 1.2 pounds when I first brought her home. Paul and I put a collar on her with a bell because we were afraid we would lose her. I also remeber that Alex's first word was Pulga. Her behavior these past few months has been horrid, but I now attribute this to her health problems (I too am cranky when I am sick) and I feel a lot of guilt. I am trying to focus on the good memories and get used to her not being around. Earlier the doorbell rang and I prepared myself to wrangle her in and calm her barking only to remember she is gone now. We are left with our memories, some good and some bad. But she was a part of our lives and will never be forgotten.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving day! We decided to keep it low key this year and just do our little family's own Thanksgiving dinner this year. It was Amelia's first Thanksgiving, which she celebrated with some pumpkin risotto I had made for her. The rest of us enjoyed a great turkey Paul did with herb butter, andouille sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, a salad and white chocolate cranberry cookies for dessert. I felt guilt free eating all these goodies since I attended a 'turkey buster' pilates class this morning! Alex was a big helper with the cookies and mashed potatoes! He is my little chef in training.

On this day I give thanks to having such a beautiful and happy family. Although we are far from the perfect family, we are happy and quirky in our own little ways and for that I am thankful.

Tonight we are busting out the Christmas movies and then tomorrow it is shopping at 5 am (Target here I come!) with my friend Carin and then when I get home time for Christmas decorations! I can't wait for the Christmas season that is now upon us!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Afternoon date with Alex

Alex has been such a good sport since Amelia has been born (7 months ago!!). He loves his baby sister so much. As I type this he is entertaining her with animal voices on the floor and she is laughing at him. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well he adapted to sharing his mommy with his sister. That being said, he still has his moments when he requires some one on one time. My schedule has been getting busy and is due to get busier next week when I officially assume the role of Clinical Program Manager at work. So today I took off early and picked up Alex from pre-school. We got a mocha and hot chocolate and then hit the bookstore. Alex has been
OBSESSED with the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf so we found him a "three little pigs" book that he wanted. The lady cashier who rang us up told me my son was the cutest, which of course upped his charm 10x more and he offered to read her the book. I think I have a ladies man on my hands.... It was a great afternoon and Alex even threw his arms around me, gave me a kiss and said "I love you so much," unprompted by me at all! I can't believe what a great little man he is becoming.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Lazy Pajama Sunday

As anyone with kids out there knows, there is no longer such a thing as sleeping in on the weekends. Something Paul and I used to love. Instead we have evolved to getting up at 7 (if we are lucky!) and making breakfast and then lazying around the living room in our pajamas. We read the paper, (the kid's destroy the ads when we are done) drink coffee and maybe do some laundry. I have come to love these lazy days. Although it somewhat goes against my Type A personality of getting things done, I try to calm my OCD tendancies and live in the moment with my family because I know all too soon it will change again and I will be running the kids to soccer practice or birthday parties.

We are especially lazy today because we celebrated Thanksgiving last night with Paul's parents and my mom in Turlock. Due to our busy schedules we celebrated early and had a lovely time. So I am working off my turkey and ham hang over by being extra lazy today. I fixed Alex his first 'warm' cocoa this morning and Paul made us lattes, a great morning. I wish all of you your own lazy day. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cousin Love

This weekend my cousin Kimberlee (Kimberlily to all of us) visited with her daughter, Olivia Grace. Yes, Olivia Grace and Amelia Grace, they are destined to be best friends. They are 6 days apart (Olivia was 6 days late so she is younger) and had a great time together this weekend as did I with my cousin who is like a sister. I HATE being an only child and feel so fortunate to have such wonderful cousins. Kim has always been like a sister as we are only 4 months apart and grew up playing together constantly. Now we have entered motherhood and are so thrilled that our girls are so close in age and will be so close as they grow up. We will be making the effort despite living 3 hours apart.

Speaking of wonderful cousins, my other cousin, Sarah, came over who is also one of my closest friends and helps me keep my sanity on a daily basis. Sarah also happens to be my kids favorite babysitter. :)

Paul and I are working hard to instill a strong sense of family into Alex and Amelia. Alex was so excited his cousin Kim and Olivia came to visit. He really does love babies and is so good with both little girls. He had a great time playing with his "Aunt" Kim as well. He and Amelia both had a busy weekend - as did I. Hope everyone else out there had a good one as well. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quote of the Week

"I was born by c-section, but not so you'd notice. It's just that when I leave a house I go out through the window." - Steven Wright

I saw this quote and it made me laugh since both my kids were born c-section. I wonder if they will use doors....?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Entering the world of blogging

After viewing some of my favorite blogs (check out my list!) and seeing how great the postings are I have decided to enter the blogging world. Hello fellowe bloggers and blog readers, I am glad to be here. I made my husband promise not to call me a dork or laugh at me (he did both) but I think this will be a great opportunity to share photos with friends and family of our good times and to provide updates on our lives. We may not have the world's most exciting life, but we are happy which is all that matters to us! My goal is to update this blog weekly with photos and journaling. Hope to see you all around! Feel free to leave me comments!