Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top Celebrations of 2012

As the year winds down, it's a time for reflection on the past year.  I thought I'd share with you our family's best celebrations from 2012.

1.  Jori's Open Heart Surgery
Surgery as a celebration?  Well, there was an evite that went out.  Why it qualifies is it means that my sister is healthy.  That makes it the best day out of the whole year.

Jori had a congenital heart defect that went undiagnosed until this year.  The catalyst for her seeking medical help was running in the Disney 1/2 marathon with other members of our family.  We are so incredibly grateful that Jori's doctors took the time to do all of the tests to correctly diagnose her.  I mean, she's such a rock star that even with a mis-wired heart she could pass the stress test at the hospital.

2.  Moving Day
If you've been following along, you already know that less than a month ago we moved into our first house.  It's been an busy time for us, but we are getting settled in.  We knew the moment we first stepped in the front door that this was our home.  It just feels right, just feels like us.

3.  Matt's Graduation/Job Hunt
Matt had gone back to college and in 2012 he graduated with a degree in philosophy.  Starting from scratch, he had four years to complete.  There were semesters of 20+ units and lulls when the California education budget cuts prevented him from taking any classes at all.  Watching him walk at his graduation was a great moment for us to appreciate his dedication to improving his/our future.

 After the graduation ceremony, we had a fiesta!  So much fun!  Infused tequila, cactus decorations, and awesome prayer candles were just some of the features.  You can check out more of the party here.

We had mentally prepared ourselves for a long job hunt.  The unemployment rate news wasn't promising and considering he hadn't worked in four years would make it challenging to find a suitable position.  Fortunately, that wasn't the case.  His graduation was on a Saturday, and on Monday he interviewed for a job.  The position is at Cal State Fullerton, from where he had just graduated.

4.  Celebrating Mom's 70th Birthday
I adore my sisters, but with us living on both sides of the county it can be a challenge to get to spend any real time together.  That's why celebrating Mom's 70th birthday together was such a special event.  We went to Temecula, CA to hit up some wineries and spend some time together.

5.  Getting Ready for Lyla
2013 is bringing a new baby girl into our world.  We got to celebrate the momma-to-be with a super fun gender reveal party and a baby shower.  The happy parents filled black balloons.  Party guests stomped and stomped, trying to find the balloon holding the results.  Go Team Pink!

We can't wait to meet her and include baby Lyla into the parties for 2013!

6.  Harper's Birthday/4th of July
Harper was born on the 4th of July.  Since a lot of our family and friends are out of town for the holiday, we decided to have her party the weekend before.  At the suggestion of her aunt Honey, Harper had a "Rainbow Unicorn" birthday.  Here's the party overview.  I put everyone to work for this one, and am so grateful my their hard work.  I adored all of the felt crafts, like the hobby horse unicorns and personalized gold medals.

Of course, we couldn't let her actual birthday go unrecognized.  So we made reservations at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel.  The buffet-style restaurant hosts a variety of characters who visit diners at their tables.  The birthday girl (and big sister) were so enchanted by Cinderella and the rest of their favorite Disney characters.

7.  Georgia's Scooby Doo Party
I said I wasn't going to go overboard for this one.  Whatever I got done was all that I could do.  Ironically, it was one of my favorite parties yet.  The birthday girl loooooves Scooby Doo.  I lucked out on decorations since Halloween is the same month as her birthday.  

The kiddos solved a case involving a disappearing cake, made Shrinky Dink dog tags, took photos in the Mystery Machine, and snacked on dogbone-shaped treats.  

It's been such a busy and exciting year.  I can't wait to see what's in store for 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

House Update: Before & Extended Before

We've been in our new house for two weeks now.  Two weeks sounds like so much time, but we've just scratched the surface of moving in and making it ours.

The difference between our experience and what I would assume is the norm is that we're starting from scratch.  We had sold most of our furniture and, other than bedroom furniture, we needed everything.  When you add in we were superstitious about purchasing anything prior to getting the keys, our wallets have gotten quite a workout the past two weeks.

Realizing our house is almost 100 years old, we knew there would be issues.  We just didn't realize those issues would present themselves so immediately.  Whenever we did laundry, Matt smelled gas.  The gas company came out, inspected, and then turned off our gas.  Eek!  There were four (FOUR!!!!) different spots where the gas was leaking.  So for four days we had no hot water, dryer, or stove/oven.  It actually wasn't that bad.  My parents loaned us some space heaters and the use of their bath tub.  The laundry piled up, but when doesn't it???

Now, we're fully running with new gas pipes.  This weekend was super productive and we started putting things on the walls.  Despite the limited furnishings still keeping us in the "Before" category, things are coming together.  Delivery dates keep getting pushed back, so my girls have been camping out on the floor to watch cartoons.

I think by Christmas we'll be ready to have people come over and hang out with us.  That's good considering we're hosting Christmas Eve dinner for my husband's family!