Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year of the HOLIDAY!

I love New Years and all the hope it brings for a fresh start! I love everything about it! Spending time with family, eating, making resolutions! I know a lot of people are cynical about resolutions. I'm not and I'll tell you why. I think that anything that prompts people to be better - even just for a little while - is a good thing!

This year we also made family resolutions. Just things that we, as a family, would like to work on. I told Matt and the kids on Sunday that we would be doing that for Family Home Evening so they had some time to think about what we should be doing.

Here's what we came up with. Christian asked that we be a little more consistent with giving allowance to them. We usually don't have cash, so we go a couple weeks and then give them a lump sum. Or we forget. :) That's a big theme of our resolutions, more consistency.

Matt asked that we make more traditions as a family and really enjoy our holidays. That was so funny that he said that because that is exactly what I had written down! I officially dub 2009....


This may sound superficial but it's really not. ;0 Holidays are fun days to do things that you wouldn't normally do, it doesn't have to be big, just out of the ordinary. And it'a all about families and spending time together. I have wonderful memories of holidays and all the fun things we would do together and I want our kids to have wonderful memories and traditions to take with them when they have families of their own.

Our other resolutions are:

Less tv - more family time
Eating healthier
Family outings at least once a week
Be more kind to one another

Throughout the year we'll probably touch back on these and see how we're doing, or maybe do an activity to help us remember.

My own resolutions are pretty much the regular stuff. Lose weight. Be more patient. Save money. Yada-yada-yada. Nothing out of the ordinary. And even though it may only last two weeks, I'm excited to get started on them!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Talks and Christmas cards

Matt, Alexis and I are speaking in church tomorrow! Ugh. They asked us last Sunday, and with Christmas this week, we haven't had a lot of time to plan. For those who aren't familiar with our church, each Sunday different people are asked to speak for 10-15 minutes on different topics. I'm talking about the gifts of Jesus Christ's life and Matt is focusing on the gifts of the atonement. Lexi's talking about the Young Women program and personal progress. Wish us luck!

Also, I'm super lame and haven't gotten my Christmas cards out yet. :( They've been sitting on our coffee table, all ready to go except for the letter, which I still need to copy. I even tried to copy it on Christmas Eve, but the copy place had closed at 12:00 and I got there at 1:00. So you should be expecting those sometime within the next two weeks. I hope.

I really shouldn't be blogging right now. I should be working on my talk. Instead I am checking blogs, checking emails, facebooking, and planning New Years dinner - we're having a Black Eyed Pea concoction called Hoppin' Johns, collard greens, cornbread, and donuts - all traditional feasts for good luck for the coming year. Okay, back to the talk. Wish us luck!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Check out our ginormous tree! We kept going back and forth, real... or fake...? And for reasons that I will share on a later post, we didn't want to buy and cart around a fake one, and by that time there were just a few days till Christmas... so we used our tiny tree. Cute, huh?

We had a wonderful, wet, stay-in-pajamas-all-day Christmas! Some pictures of our Christmas fun.

Addie's excitement!

I had ordered Alexis the Twilight box set from Amazon (they had it for less than half of what Barnes and Noble wanted!) but it wasn't supposed to arrive until January, so I printed a picture of it and wrapped it in a hot chocolate box. Christmas Eve, after we got back from delivering Christmas cookies, I found that her box had arrived! So I left the hot chocolate box just to show her how lucky she is!

Now opening the real thing.

Christian's getting ready to start basketball, so he needed a ball!

I had to throw in some practical gifts! All three of them got lunch boxes. :)

I didn't really have any presents to open (I'll show you why later) so the kids let me open one of the Santa gifts. Notice how dark it still is! Lex and Christian were up way before 6:30 going through their stockings, so when Addie wasn't going back to sleep at 6:30, we decided to get up too. After the present fun Matt, Addison, and I went back to sleep! :)

Addie wasn't really into opening presents, surprising because she loves paper! But she thought Christmas was delicious!


And on to the playing with the gifts. Matt got an electric leaf blower, he loved it! I really am all about the practical gifts!


And playing some more.

Here is our little schoolmarm, wringing her hands around all her gifts.

Christian with his loot.

And Alexis with hers.

Matt was already out using his big gift.

And finally, after months of driving this...

...months of struggling to get Addie in and out, hitting her head, backing into things, and feeling like a hillbilly! After months of scrimping and saving, I finally got this!

Yay, we can all fit now! And the kids can even bring a friend!

About the old truck. When Matt left Clovis to come to California in August, we decided it would be more economical for him to take the Camry since he would be driving more. Remember, I'm a thrifty lady, so I was all for this idea. But it was tough to drive the truck everywhere. I had to back it into our driveway because it wouldn't fit the other way. It's only a two-door, so it really was difficult getting Addison in and out. And I accidentally hit a few things. :) Nothing major, and there's no damage on that tank-of-a-truck, but it's huge and kinda tough to drive. My latest crash (and the one that broke this camel's back and forced me to tell Matt that I was done driving the truck) happened just a few weeks ago. We were getting ready to leave for a Wednesday night activity at church. The kids had gone out to the car first and I thought they had opened the garage door. Can you see where this is going? It was dark, and like I said, the truck is hard to see out of.... anyways, I backed into the garage door, thinking that it was open. I bent the garage just enough that it wouldn't open. Did I mention it was Young Women in Excellence that night? Ugh, it was not a pretty scene. Oh, and Matt was working late, so no one to help me! Soooo, we were trapped at home, and all dressed up and ready to go to church! Do you feel sorry for me yet...? The truck's not all bad, just not a family car. PS - Matt was able to bend the door right back into place and you can't even tell I crashed into it! Hooray for Matt!

Anyways, back to Christmas! We ate dinner late and I didn't feel the need to get pictures since I already captured my amazing cooking of Thanksgiving dinner. :) Everyone pitched in to make dinner so it was really nice! We snacked all day (hence the late dinner) and I had bought some things to remind us of our childhood Christmases.

These always remind me of mama and daddy Rays's house at Christmas! So I had to buy them!

My mom would make queso in the crockpot and we would eat chips and queso throughout the day. Yum!

There was more snacking of course, just stuff that I didn't capture. Anyways, we had a wonderful day. And a beautiful reading of the Christmas story in the bible. We missed our families, but we had a nice family day of our own. Hope you had a Merry Christmas too!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Okay, I know that a lot of people have been elfing themselves lately. As my family was enjoying everyone's funny elf dances they talked me into making our own. So here you go, we just couldn't resist!

Merry Christmas!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 15, 2008

The house

Here are the long awaited pictures of our home. A lot of people have asked why I say I would never buy this house. There are a few reasons. One, the ceiling. It looks like we live in a lodge in the woods. Two, the humongous rock wall. Three, our driveway is steep and it takes you down to our house, and most of the houses on our street are like that, so we never see our neighbors. It feels kinda like we're isolated from everyone. So there are a few reasons, I have more but I'll keep them to myself. :)

It might look kinda funny cause I took some of the pictures when we had our Halloween decorations up and some with our Christmas decorations. Kinda like Nightmare Before Christmas pictures.

The living room.

The beautiful view out the living room windows. We have an awesome view of the lake, but unfortunately they drain most of the lake for the winter and they did it the week we moved in. It's still pretty though. :)

Another view of the living room.

The ceiling. This would be nice if we owned a vacation home in the Alps. I don't love it for a primary residence though.

Stairs leading to the garage.

The bidet. I would have turned on the fountain, which is the front round metal thingie, but the other day when Christian and I were cleaning it, we somehow turned it on super-full blast and the water went all the way up to the ceiling and drenched both of us. Yuck, we were both pretty much drenched with toilet water. So I didn't dare risk it with my camera in hand.

Two toilets living in harmony. :)

The ROCK wall. Yuck. That's all I have to say about it.

The kitchen.

Another view of the kitchen

There's that rock wall again. And there's us trying to cover the rock wall.

The dining room which is attached to the kitchen.

Front entry way. Carlen, do you recognize our beautiful wall hanging? (It was a gift for our wedding and we love it!)

Guest bathroom. You know you like the picture window with the hummingbirds on it!

Addison's room. It was so much cuter with pink walls and cute border.

Another one of Addie's room. Out those windows you can see the driveway. Since I'm a worrier, one of the scenarios I've concocted is that we'll lose control of our brakes driving down the driveway and crash into her room. Scary stuff!

That's all for now. The master bedroom is still in need of some work. Namely, the bed frame is broken, again! Matt had fixed it and then one night Addie and I were laying on it and it broke! No pictures of the downstairs yet. The downstairs family room has no furniture in it and the kids rooms... we'll just save those for later too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December stuff

Blogging is a lot like journal writing. I try to stay on top of all of our doings, I inevitably get behind, then I start to feel overwhelmed by all the things I need to write about and how many pictures I need to upload. So here's to trying to be a better blogger!

It's just not as easy as it once was. My newborn baby that used to lay in my arms and happily eat while I uploaded my heart out is now a 17 pound chunk that likes to lay down and eat and that I'm trying (most times in vain) to feed solid food. Also, if I hold her to feed her, I usually feel like my arm is gonna fall off after just a few minutes. Not conducive to being a good blogger!

Anyways, here's some of what we've been up to. Last weekend Matt was away for his Navy weekend. The kids and I decided to drive into the big city and go shopping. I got about half of my Christmas shopping done, and bought Addison's high chair with my Babies'R'Us coupon. Is it just me or do you lose your self control when you go into Babies'R'Us and become convinced you need everything too?! I really have to watch myself otherwise I'd come home with things like bottle warmers (she doesn't drink bottles), video monitors (I would love one of these but they're so expensive and so not necessary!), and pads to put under her high chair! (this one I still might buy even though Matt says, and maybe deep down I know, it's unnecessary)

Here is Addie enjoying her new high chair. And no, we don't usually keep it in the living room, we had just put it together. :)

We shopped till about 5:00 and then hurried over to our ward Christmas party, A Night in Bethlehem. It was really cool and we all had a good time. Our ward in Clovis did this a couple years ago and even though I helped to plan it all, I wasn't able to go because my work party was the same night and I had already committed to being there. So it was neat to finally see how it goes.

They had the lights low and "stars" hanging over us to make it feel like your outside.

The pictures are a little blurry, but I kind of like that because it protects peoples anonymity. :) I sometimes worry that I'll post someones pictures and they'll get mad because they don't want it online, you just never know! Here's the angel and shephards.

Mary and Joseph walked around slowly going to all the booths to see if they could stay the night. Then they slowly walked to the stage manger, it was very moving!

The three wise men with their gifts.

I was very proud of myself on Monday because I got all of my out of town presents wrapped and to the post office, and all of the presents I have for the family wrapped and on the tree skirt where the tree will soon be. :) Here is what my living room looked like after wrapping 40 presents, packaging 5 boxes to be mailed, and taking care of a six month old. Yikes!

On Thursday we went out to celebrate the completion of Matt's training. Yea! It's been a lot of long hours and hard work and we are so excited he's done! Our mission was to buy a tree, but after looking at trees for awhile we decided to go fake. :( We were planning on going fake after this Christmas, but my friend Joy said that Lowes has all their Christmas stuff 50% off already, so we figured we'd just do it sooner rather than later. I love real trees but I figure it's more economical and better for the environment to go fake. And my hope is to someday have two trees, one fake and one real. :)

The Mexican restaurant where we ate was decorated so cutely! They had hundreds of ornaments hanging from the ceiling. They said it took about 200 man hours to get them all up. Only 50 women hours though. :)

After lots of weatherman talk, we finally got some of this!

These were taken on our ride home from church. But alas, as we drove down the hill towards home it started to turn to rain with just a few flakes intermingled.

I think car pictures of everyone like this are becoming a Ray family tradition.

Okay, my family is complaining of hunger pains. My work is never done. :) More on our weekend to come...