Thursday, December 25, 2008

.merry christmas.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! Hopefully you're reading this after a fun filled morning of holiday cheer. I know our family has been truly blessed this year, and I feel so grateful to all of our family and friends who have made that possible. I am continually amazed at how fortunate we are to live in this little community.
Now, back to the kitchen, I have Christmas dinner to worry about, and a delightful brunch to bake. And, if you didn't receive our Christmas card, which I am sure just about everyone in the universe did, since I was able to print them for .06 each (thanks winkflash), here it is again, because I just think my kids are so freakin' adorable! Much love, and Happy Holley-days!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holley-Day Hodge-Podge

It seems as though the Holidays got the best of me, and I just haven't had time to post about all of the fun things we did this December, so seeing as how it is almost the 'night before Christmas' I thought I better catch myself up! Enjoy the pictures of our holiday traditions. This truly was such a magical season. The kids are at the perfect age, and I enjoyed every last minute with them this year.

I found the most fabulous sugar cookie recipe in our ward cookbook, so we made a batch or two, or three, and had fun decorating them too! These seriously were the tastiest sugar cookies I have ever had, so light and fluffy! The recipe made a gazillion, so we sent about 30 with my Mom to her work, and they were a HUGE hit! Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.

We saw Santa for the second time at the Kid Time Museum, this was such a fun event, and thankfully the kids are still holding strong to their Pogo Sticks and Transformers! I was a little nervous that their requests would change! (side note: Can you see the yellow headband Aiden is wearing, in both the cookie making photo, and again with Santa? They made these 'I can be Honest' headbands at church, and he seriously wore it for like three days straight! Thanks Crystal, we love you!)

We still got the same result with Adeline too! It seems as though she hasn't warmed up to the Jolly Ole' St. Nick yet! Give her time!

After their little chat with Santa, the kids all got to decorate a sugar cookie. Thanks 'playplace' for another wonderful family event!

Later that evening we attended the Medford Light Festival, and I must say, Kudos's to them for a fabulous evening. I think Medford's Christmas Extravaganza has always been in Ashland's shadow, so this year they moved it to the next weekend, and came out with a bang. The kids started off with a little coloring contest, and when you turned it in you got a cookie, and not just a cheap cookie, but a Dark Chocolate covered graham cracker cookie from Harry & David! Yeah.

The Kid Time museum was also there doing crafts. The boys enjoyed making snowman picture frames. Lithia Toyota was also taking pictures behind a winter scene, you know the kind where you stick your head through the holes, but we opted out, since there were only three holes and seven of us!!

Let is snow, let is snow, let is snow!!

The highlight of the evening was the snow machine. They rented a huge snow machine like the ones they use in Hollywood, or at the Disney Christmas Parade. After a few false starts, and trying to maneuver the machine into just the right spot, the snow came down. My boys just loved it, you can see them trying to catch the snow on their tongues and with their hands. Santa came on a giant firetruck that the kids enjoyed climbing through, and choirs of children from different High Schools sang carols. There were different vendors, and free Hot Chocolate and Cider. You could also go around and rate the different holiday window displays too!

Here we are in front of the giant Christmas tree, trying to get a good group shot, but as you can see, this is as good as it gets!! Stay tuned for Holley-Day Hodge-Podge II. Where we go sledding, visit a Victorian Christmas, board the Polar Express, and make Gingerbread Houses to boot!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy 60th Granny!

Today is my Mom's 60th birthday, and we are celebrating! I had hoped to scan a bunch of pictures from my Mom's younger years, but just haven't been able to dig all the pictures out. Today is kindof anti-climatic, considering we are celebrating her birthday in January by flying down to LA to eat at my brothers restaurant, all four siblings will be together for the first time in almost five years, what a treat! So today, her only wish was to go sledding with the grandkids! I think we can handle that! She took the day off, and spent all of last night buying the kids new snow clothes, so today we will be on the search for the perfect snow for sledding.

I can't begin to tell you what a joy it has been to have Granny around for the kids. I feel kindof selfish, hogging her all to myself, but hey, if my other siblings want her around, they can move to Oregon too! We are so grateful to never have to get a babysitter, let alone pay for one! Granny is always willing and ready to watch the kids, no matter how short the notice or however long we may stay out! She also spoils my children rotten, she is very thoughtful in her gift giving, and takes alot, and I mean alot of time deciding the perfect gifts. She takes into account their cute little personalities, and knows their likes and dislikes. She has been such a saving grace to us over the past two years financially, she has kept us afloat, clothing my children in the cutest clothes, and providing Halloween costumes, birthday presents, and our entire Christmas! She is truly an amazing Granny. The boys always get so excited when Granny comes home after a few days in Yreka, they always ask 'Granny, did you bring us any surprises?' and Granny always responds 'I brought myself!" Too cute! So here's to a fabulous pre 60th celebration, we will go sledding, eat at Red Lobster (her favorite restaurant), open her dollar store 'treasures' my children picked out for her ie; buff puff, Q-tips, socks, & Kleenex. Remind me to not let my children pick out my presents, what's with all the practical stuff?? And maybe, just maybe, I will get those pictures out and scanned, because let me tell you, she may only be getting Kleenex from my kids on her 60th, but her 50th was a rockin' party in Las Vegas, and I have the pictures to prove it. Lets just say, my Mom got her grove on in a little Piano Bar at the New York, New York Hotel, and danced to the YMCA and Yellow Polka Dot Bikini. I didn't get my spunkiness from my Dad, all those jeans come from my Mom's side of the family! She really is a hoot that lady. We love you Granny, here's to another decade of fun!!

Granny with Adeline at Ryan's Baptism-March 2008

Granny with the twins at the train park, September 2007.

Granny, getting ready for Ashden's 2nd Birthday Party, October 2007.

My Mom and I at a family reunion in Grants Pass, Summer 2000.

Just for laughs, and a taste of things to come! This is me and my brother, I know, I laughed too, so go ahead and let out a big snicker, I seriously laughed so hard when I saw this that I cried! My sisters and I put together a digital photo frame for my Mom, and collectively, each of us has tons of family photos that none of us has seen in almost twenty years, so this has been such a fun trip down memory lane, but so far this is the only one I have downloaded onto my computer!! This will make for some great blackmail for my brother some day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joseph's Lullaby

This is my absoulute favorite Christmas song. I am not sure who originally wrote this, but the version I first heard was from the Christian Rock Band MercyMe. I couldn't find it on when I originally made my Christmas mix, but I found this beautiful video on YouTube, which captures this song so magically. It uses images from The Nativity Story and The Passion, it is really moving, I warn you, I was sobbing, not just teary, but gasps. The sheer magnitude of His life, brings me to my knees. I only hope you will all enjoy it as much as I did. (You will have to pause my music player, so you can hear the sound from the video).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Wonderland!

Maybe this will work the second time around! I am having the hardest time with blogger right now, it totally deleted a whole post I had set and ready to go, so here it goes again!!

There is nothing better than waking up to a perfect blanket of white snow, I just love it. Snow somehow makes everything look so fresh and pure, that is until my kids find it! They were literally begging me to let them go and play in the snow at like 7:00am, and I kept telling them after breakfast, so finally after breakfast I let them go outside and play in our few inches of snow. I know my window was small because in true Southern Oregon style the snow was gone by noon, but the kids enjoyed making mini snowmen, and snow angels, and eating all the snow they could handle. My kids aren't schoolagers yet, so the term SNOWDAY means nothing to them, they just see it for what it is, a really cool sand box! Enjoy these pictures of them enjoying our Southern Oregon bounty over the last few years!!

Sweetest Adeline, those gloves weigh almost as much as she does!

I think Anden ended up throwing that snowball at me, that little dirty bird!

First attempt at a snowman!

Anden, so proud of his mini snowman!

Frosty, January 2008

Snowstorm, January 2007, when in doubt improvise with a laundry basket, and a belt for a rope! You do what you can to keep the kids happy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tree Trimming and PJ Party!!

Here are all the photos! Finally!

I originally wanted to post this Monday night, when I actually typed it, but I can't get any of the pictures to upload to blogger, so enjoy this post, minus the tree trimming photos!

I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up on my blogging while my kids are happily enjoying a Charlie Brown Christmas, a holiday classic!! I am a little behind on our holiday happenings. We trim the tree every year right after Thanksgiving. Growing up, we would hunt for our Christmas Tree on my Mom's birthday, December 18th, so this only allowed us to enjoy it for a few weeks. It was always a huge production, and the process and outcome were always the same. We would all pile into the car, bundled from head to toe, we had hot chocolate in the thermos, and an assortment of treats, Christmas music would play from the radio, and we would all sing along, whether we liked it or not! We would go from lot to lot, looking for the perfect tree, when ultimately, the perfect tree was always at the first lot, but we never realized that until we had gone to at least 5 or 6! My Dad would always try to haggle the price down, and who knows if this actually worked, but he was known to talk officers out of tickets, so I am sure he shaved a few dollars off the price! The decorations were always the same and we hung them one by one, by birth order, saving the Tinsel for last. All of our old ornaments are stored in our garage, and I should pull them out, just for memories sake! I will, and then I will take pictures for my siblings, so they can reminisce. My favorite was this one of Smurfette with mistletoe in her hair. I wonder if she will be in that box, if she is, I will post pictures to share with all of you, I know you will be waiting with baited breath. Now that I have taken you down a pointless memory lane, on to the more exciting times at the Holley house.

We do not 'hunt' for any tree, unless you call walking into the garage for our pre-lit 10 ft Douglas fir an adventure. No need to bundle up or pull out the thermos for that excursion! I know it takes a little of the holi out of holiday, but it allows us to enjoy the tree all month without the worry of it drying out and catching on fire. The kids all get to put on a strand of garland, and then it is a free for all with the ornaments. We usually end up with a heavily decorated bottom half of the tree, and then when the kids have gone to bed I evenly disperse them, but they enjoy doing it all themselves. Every year we do themed pajamas, and this year my Mom pulled out all the stops with the matching sock monkey Christmas PJ's, courtesy of Target. They have matching adult size too, but they are the zipper kind with the feet, and that sort of freaks Ryan out, so we will be using last years PJ's instead. So there you have it, our decorating extravaganza, we still haven't put up any lights on the outside, and hopefully we will get that done this weekend, but at least the inside is done. Oh and I hear they make a fabulous 'Christmas tree' scent spray, for all of us with fake trees, so if you see it out while shopping give me a call, because that is the only thing I miss by not having a real tree, that fabulous pine smell.

(PS I just wanted to give a shout out to Charles Schultz for keeping the real Christmas story in his holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, I am sure it is the only cartoon shown on TV during the holiday season that gives any airtime to the birth of Christ, so Thanks Mr. Schultz for keeping it real!)

This is the only picture that I could get to download, so until blogger gets up and running again, enjoy this homely picture of Adeline, at least the antlers look cute! That hair is such a mess!

The kids had so much fun decorating the tree, they took their responsibility very serious. They placed each ornament just in the right spot!! Note that Aiden is the only one dressed, the rest of us fools stayed in our PJ's all day! What a great way to spend a Saturday.

Is this the cutest photo ever? She was so excited to get in the container, I think that is why she just piled all of the ornaments in one spot!

PJ Party

So my Mom came home that evening, with these adorable sock monkey jammies! The kids were already in their PJ's, but wanted to put these on, so you can see their other jammies poking through! Too Cute!

Aiden, dancing with excitement!

Ashy, showing off his Christmas style!

Anden, giving us the first 'gift' of Christmas!

Adeline, in all her glory!

Trying to get a group shot in front of the tree, but Adeline was at her limit, and Ashy is watching in awe! (FYI, I had to take Adeline to her 15 month checkup this week, and the boys asked, 'Are you taking Adeline to the Dr. to find out why she cries all the time?' I just had to laugh, but she is a princess!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Who's afraid of the big bad..Wol, I mean Santa?

As promised here are a couple of failed attempts to see Santa. I showed these pictures to the boys the other day, and they didn't get why they were crying, now that they are wise to Santa's ways! They know who brings the goods! Enjoy, or reminisce on your own failed attempts to have your children sit on Santa's lap.

The cute girl holding Ashden, is my BFF's daughter Tess, she thinks this picture is hilarious!!

And just for good measure, here is the adorable picture we used for our first Christmas card with the boys, it doesn't get any better than that, they were so stinky cute!! I have to give props to our amazing friend and photographer extraordinaire Jolyn from Ambience Photography, seriously she is the best, and she takes like a million pictures, and when you have four little ones, that is a must! So if ever in need of a good photog, give her a call!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ashland Christmas Parade

OK, so this is not what you are looking for! But literally I am getting tons of hits a day for people looking for the Ashland University Christmas Card, so here is that link, enjoy!! And leave me a message if you want!

Every year the day after Thanksgiving, we head on down to the city of Ashland for their Christmas Parade. This kicks off the Holiday season for our family. We have lucked out the past few years, and the weather has been chilly, but dry! This year was no exception. We bundled the kids up in all of their hats and scarves, and trekked over to the parade. The only down part, is that literally thousands of other people also kick off their festivities here as well, and parking is a pain in the behind. We never find a great spot, and when we arrive it is still light, and when we leave it is dark, so finding our car after the fun, is always a real treat!! But, even after all of that, and waiting in line to see Santa for over an hour, it is still worth it, and we will return next year.

All the kids were bundle up and ready to go. The parade starts around 4:45 up at the college, and heads all the way down Siskiyou Blvd to the Plaza, ending with the big man himself Santa Claus. There are bands, dancers, carolers, and even a book give away. We were a little late, so we only caught the tail end of the parade, and the books had already been given away. Next year we will arrive earlier. After the parade, everyone who has lined the street follows Santa down to the Plaza, where he heads up to the balcony of Alex's Restaurant. He gives a little speech about being on the Nice List, and we sang a few carols, and then the count down begins for the big illumination! 10,9,8,7,6,5.......
4, 3, 2, 1 Lights On. And the whole city of Ashland lights up! We were told there were over a million lights. WOW. And look at that crowd, there were so many people, it was just amazing!

This is Ashden inside of Santa's Sleigh, the twins were too scared to get inside. They were afraid it would take off, and they would be sent to the North Pole without us!!

Here were some sweet Carolers who kept us entertained while we waited to see Santa. After his duties on the balcony, Ole Saint Nick heads down to one of the Shakespeare theaters to greet the children and listen to what they want for Christmas. (our hour wait would have been much less if the crazy teenage girls would have just let children under 12 sit on Santa's lap, where were their parents!)

We were first greeted by Mrs. Claus, and as you can see, the boys had their eye only on Santa, they know who has the real power.

Aiden with the Ole Lady, he looks a little less than thrilled that he has to wait a few seconds longer to see Santa.

Here are Anden and Ashy, excitedly telling Santa exactly what they want: Anden-a Pogo Stick, and the Firetruck Transformer, whose name is Optimus Prime, but he looks like a firetruck. Anden was adamant to explain all the details to Santa, so that he would not be confused about which transformer he wanted. Ashden just wants a 'BIG GUN' and he said it just as loud with his arms showing the exact size. It is actually a batman gun that he saw in the Toys R Us catalog! Aiden also wants a Pogo Stick, and the Bumble Bee transformer. He has a little more faith in Santa's ability to decipher which transformer he wanted and didn't need to go into many more details. And then came Adeline.....

She wanted nothing to do with Mrs. Claus and even less with Santa!

That is about as good as it gets for the Holley family Christmas card, I guess this photo isn't going in the card. I will post pictures of past Santa visits, they are all about the same at that age!

Here she is after she got her candy cane, and all is well in her world again! So there ends our night, the kids were so excited, the weather was great, we finally found our car after we left Granny waiting on the corner for awhile, but nothing beats a holiday parade!