Monday, December 21, 2009


Good morning! Mackenzie, Shannon, and I have been busy bees! Kenz beaded herself a lovely Christmas necklace, while Shannon was a craft maniac. She has created an adorable gift tag, a Navy-themed picture frame for her grandfather, and an AMAZING cut-paper piece for her sister.. which I can't post until after Christmas. No peeking! I spent last night working on a framed layout of our most recent trip to Tucson on December 12. All the papers are from the Wonderful Winter pad by My Mind's Eye. I found it at Michael's a few weeks back and I'm using it for everything! Love it!

The annual trip has become a beloved tradition over the past 9 years and we wouldn't miss it for the world. We spend the day light hours slowly shopping the 4th Avenue Street Fair, where other artisans and small businesses set up booths facing both sides of the almost-mile-long boulevard. There's jewelry, clothing, artwork, crafts, food, music... you name it. This year's purchases include a print of a pop-style Wicked Witch, a lovely pearl and beaded necklace and bracelet set, and some of the most delicious kettle korn ever!
After the Fair, we always dine at Mandarin Grill Chinese restaurant - by no means fancy, but special to us nonetheless. And the Sesame Chicken is to die for!
We wrapped up the evening hayriding through Winterhaven, a long standing neighborhood where nearly all the homes decorate extravagantly for the holidays and the HOA decks out all the common areas. Admission is free, although the local food banks graciously request canned good donations. You can walk, carriage ride, hayride (our usual method), or even drive through on specified nights. This year the weather was perfection, the crowd jovial, and it definitely put us in the Christmas spirit.
For now, housework is calling, then wrapping all of Shanni's Christmas gifts. Harry Connick, Jr. and Karen Carpenter are crooning carols on the radio, there's a fresh batch of noel pecan balls in the kitchen, and the tree is aglow. It doesn't get any better than this. Hope you find your Christmas spirit too!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Most Wonderful...

month of the year. While we've been making a concerted effort to actually ENJOY this season, not rush through it tackling one task after another, this holiday season still seems to be blowing by. We did pause to celebrate my graduation, earning my M.Ed. in Educational Supervision and Administration last Thursday.

And we're doing everything we can to make time to craft and bake and bask in all the traditions we love most.

Friday night, we went in to Phoenix for a handmade gift exchange with some long time friends. Last night I made Shannon's favorite Oatmeal Molasses cookies while she finished up some shopping. And tonight Mackenzie's going to sleep over - I'm guessing we'll spend the rest of the day making cards, tags, and watching either Elf or The Grinch. Either way, we'll have ourselves a fling! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Time sure seems to be flying lately. And the faster it goes, the more precious it becomes. We just celebrated Shanni's birthday. On Thanksgiving, we put candles in her apple pie and partied with Mom and Dad. But on her birthday proper, we went to Sushi Broker's for my first official sushi dinner. Delish! And afterward she had a chance to blow out the candles on a real birthday cake.

Monday, she and I went to a new doctor to plan the start of our family. I can't tell you how ready we are to be parents, and how much we are hoping to be blessed with a healthy new baby.

And, on the other end of the spectrum, my friend Kathy lost her mother Carol this weekend. Only 66, she had long battled with aneurisms, lung cancer, and many other health issues, and her poor, tired body finally gave in. Absolutely heartbreaking. My love and prayers go to Kathy and her family.

In the midst of all these crazy life events, births and deaths, it reminds me to treasure every moment I have with my parents. So often, I get bogged down with the burden of care-taking, the worry, the inconvenience, the frustration with Mom's illness, forgetfulness, carelessness and Dad's gruffness and poor planning. But none of that crap matters. What matters is I can still pick up the phone and hear their voices, drive literally around the corner and hold their hands. And, when we can't take it any more, we can yell and fight, too. I made dinner on Monday night and took them half of the meatloaf, and last night we went to dinner together at Long John Silver's. My goal this holiday season is to stay focused on what a gift it is to still have my parents with me, strive to be a care-giver, and to celebrate our time together.

Wishing you and your family love and time.....