Jan 28, 2012

Canvas Art Print

I titled this post "Canvas Art Print" in a truly loose sense of the word.
Also, I should have titled this post:
"In Which I Make Something So That We Don't Get Robbed".
Also, it was also a project in which I learned a lot of "that didn't work out at all" lessons.
Also, I'm not even sure that the following qualifies as "art", although it is on a canvas, and it is a print that I adhered to it.  Yes,yes, wrinkles and all.  I feel that I could have gotten those out better.
Also, I feel that I have used the word, "Also" far too many times before this post has even really gotten started.  So I'll stop.

I decided to make an old-timey print to go next to the door pointing down at the kid's shoe boxes.
So why should I have titled the post, "In Which I Make Something So That We Don't Get Robbed"?
Well, our amazing house designers decided to put the alarm box right in front of the window next to the door instead of around the corner in the hall. I mean that makes sense. Now we can advertise to the world whether our alarm is off or on.  Great.
 Hey, robbers, just look through the nice window by the front door, and decide if we are worth it today or not.

I decided it needed to be covered, and a canvas fits nicely over the top and can be quickly removed when needed.  It just lifts on and off.  Well, for about two weeks, I just had a blank canvas hanging over it.  
Lets not talk about how many people (including my husband) wanted to know why there was a random blank canvas just chillin on my wall. It's the new kind of minimalist art, you know.
Alright so here's how I did it.   First I created this little piece in photoshop.
 I read a post on how you could run tissue paper through your printer and then adhere it to the canvas as an art print.  I got it from pinterest.  I found it intriguing and decided to try it.
 First I cut a piece of white tissue the same size as an 8.5x11 paper and trustingly ran in through my printer to print this photo on it just as the nice lady said it would work.
Lesson 1 learned.  Tissue paper does not run through a printer now matter how you feed it.  It always tears.
So I read another post and method.
Lesson 2 learned.  Even when taping it to a piece of paper to give it weight, it tears.
Dang pinterest.  That's two pins that show how "easy" printing tissue paper is down the tubes.
But they were not dealing with an amateur and I don't give up the ghost easy.
I had a brainstorm.  What if I cut out a piece of heat and bond, ironed it to the tissue paper, and then ran it through the printer?
That was sufficiently stiff enough and solid to make a nice print.  Then I peeled off the backing as you can see below.
Then I laid the tissue paper now backed with the heat and bond down on the canvas.  This part is even better.
You see, since I used heat and bond, I can iron it right to the canvas.  Yep. It totally stuck and worked.  No glue needed or messy Modge Podge.
I just smoothed out the wrinkles as I went.  I feel that I could have done better at this.  Next time I will.
Then I took black paint and painted the sides to finish them off.
Then I totally, should have stopped.  It looked great.  But no.
I was still following my pinterest tutorials in part.  I really didn't learn the first time did I?
I broke out the Modge Podge to give it a shiny top coat.
Dumb. Move.
The Modge Podge totally smeared the black ink.  It didn't smear the color though so maybe if I didn't have any black in my art this would have worked.  I was blotting the smears up with tissues, and salvaged it (kinda), but it's not as pretty as it was before I made that mistake.
Lesson 3 was learned.
This picture makes it look worse than it actually is because the photo is also blurry.  It's not that bad, but I can see some purplish streaks where the black smeared.
Anyhow, the alarm box is hidden and this sign hangs right over the kids shoe boxes by the front door so the saying has a dual purpose.  
So now you know a few things.  I'll tell you what you know now.

Don't blindly trust all tutorials on the intra-net, people.  Even the nice lady who says it totally works and puts up some really nice pictures on her post may not be telling a truth that works for your printer.

You can cover up an alarm box with a canvas so you don't get robbed.  Well, actually, I'm not guaranteeing the whole "don't get robbed" part.  But at least it won't be because your alarm box shows.

Modge Podge smears black ink.  At least in my printer with the ink I have to buy.  So maybe test that out first.

And Heat and Bond can save the day.  I dearly love that stuff.  I go through rolls like nothing flat for all kinds of things.

So there you have it.  Another method for adhering some art onto a canvas.  My version.
Go ahead and pin it to pinterest so someone else can follow it and swear that this really nice lady doesn't know what she's talking about.

Jan 27, 2012


So this week, the theme was sunshine for my verse and photography.  Isn't it funny how when God is teaching you something, everything seems to point to that lesson?

This was a rainy week.  It was cold and grey.  And I thought, "Yeah, Jen. Great job picking a theme for Sunshine in January.  You really thought that one through, huh?"

Actually, because it was cold, wet and grey, the theme for sunshine and my current thoughts for the week ended up being perfect. I love you, God.  You SO knew, didn't You?

I am reading a book called "The Good and Beautiful God" and in Chapter 2, it talks about how God is good.  All the time. No matter what.
The author speaks about how he had a child who was born with a severe chromosomal disorder and she died before age 2.  He said that He discovered that God is always good, so God was not punishing him or his wife or his child, but that God had and has a purpose that it is a good one.  
Even in that grief. 
Good things and Bad things happen to both good and bad people and there is no apparent distinction to why or who.  Good things don't come because we did something good and visa versa.  This cause and effect doesn't play out in reality and God's goodness isn't dependent on these circumstances.  Yeah, yeah, sure, I know this, but actually, I play this mind game in my mind all the time.  Maybe I'll do something right and God will reward me with a lottery win.  Wait, my car just died?  Maybe I'm doing something wrong and I'm being taught a lesson.  Actually, God doesn't play that way. Well that seems strange.  Um, huh?  Well then, HOW is He GOOD? Explain puh-lease!

Rather God's unwavering goodness comes not in circumstances but through them. Those differing circumstances are going to come to all people good and bad regardless of what they do. But God is still good. Often His blessings and goodness reflect in internal blessings, such as peace and joy, rather than external .  Sometimes it's knowing there is the hope of heaven and of an omnipotent God who sees a plan clearly when we cannot.  One day all will be revealed.  God is good.  He is constantly working out His good plan. The chapter ended by challenging us to sit everyday for 5 minutes and be still and reflect on God's goodness and to notice God in His creation and beauty around us.

Now remember it was a cold, wet and grey week.  The verse I was reflecting on was one on sunshine and there certainly wasn't a ton of beauty outside that I was seeing.  My normally pretty yard needs to be trimmed to the ground ready for Spring but right now it's brown sticks, since I haven't done it yet.  Not much pretty sunshine to reflect on there.
But one morning, I had to take Tone to work.  
It was early.  And foggy.  And cold out.

But as I was driving back, the sun came through.
Everything was transformed.  I was on a particularly high part of the road and I could see the fog stretched out over the fields and the black trees sticking up through the golden light.
It was gorgeous.

And today.  The sun came out for a half hour.  I ran outside and snapped this picture of my rose bush which is mostly sticks with just a few leaves and a couple roses hanging on.  The sun was shining right through those tenacious peach roses.  
It was gorgeous.
I have also had a very heavy heart this week for friends who have had a very hard blow this week.  I have been constantly in prayer as things appear very dark. The darkness of the world outside my window reflected the dark mood and grief I was feeling all week for my friends.  I am thankful for beautiful glimpses of light which remind me that God sees and knows and has a good plan.  Though the dark clouds still surround, I know that the sunshine is bigger and brighter and right there, just on the other side.

For you see, as the Isaiah verse above says, nothing is hidden from God.  Nothing on earth. 

The line in the verse, "I equip you, though you do not know me" is about King Cyrus who God used to help His people though the king did not know God.  God uses every grief, every joy. Every person, for His purpose and ultimate plan.

You could read the verse two ways.  "There is none besides me" can seem commanding and assertive and if you see God as a God who punishes and gives blessings on a whim, it can be frightening.  Or you can read the verse differently.  "There is none who is as good as me. I see all.  I am the light that shines. Trust me.  I will use all for my goodness. Even when it's not even good, I will use it for your good. I am God.  I have a plan."

God's light is so very beautiful when it shines in darkness.  It's so very good.  It's full of life and healing.  It breathes of peace and joy.  There is no one like my God (as the verse says).  No one is as good as Him.
No one else can take darkness and make it beautiful and transform it like He can.  It turns out that focusing on the fact that no one is like my God and on sunshine on a cold, rainy and heavy week can be a perfect theme.

And by the way, I highly recommend the book, "The Good and Beautiful God" by James Bryan Smith.  You will see God in a wonderful way.

Jan 23, 2012

Two Littles Came to Visit Too

These two little girls came to visit my house too for Katie's birthday.  But they deserved a post all their own.
For such little things, they sure make a splash wherever they go.
Molly, left. Zoe, right.
Tessa wondered why there were two.  One was enough in her mind.  
She likes to poke them.  
Mostly their eyes which is super safe and nice for them.

Zoe is happier than Molly who was quite upset with life most of the time.  However, they both got quite wore out and then Zoe wasn't having it either.  Here is a picture of Zoe in a happy moment.

She's already sticking her tongue out at me.
She should know that it's probably best to stay on my good side.
Ainsley was fooled by the happy moment and got sucked in.  She asked to hold her.
This is what happened.  

No matter. We repositioned Zoe to a happier angle, and Ainsley got her happy again by talking to her and playing with her hands.
And poking her cheeks.  
Hey, whatever works.
Hunter tried holding Molly.  He should have known better.  Molly thinks life is against her at this point in time. He's pretty proud though of his little cousins.  His smug face says it all.
Even though Molly isn't thrilled.  Hunter still can't resist giving her several kisses on the head.  He really loves his cousins.

Poor Molly.  It's becoming apparent who is the more sensitive one already.
Good luck with that in Jr. High.

Jan 22, 2012

A Birthday Visit

Katie, Brad and the twins visited a the week before we left for Oregon.  Katie's birthday was on the 11th and she wanted to celebrate with her sisters.  
Here is something my sister loves: CAKE.

So I asked my kids what kind we should make.  Hunter thought she needed a bear cake.  Ainsley thought a cat.  The flavor was already established.  Yellow with chocolate frosting, Katie's favorite.

They fought.

Then Hunter came up with a genius plan.  Put animal crackers on top of cupcakes and have all the animals!
So I made carnival cupcakes for my animal loving sister.
I literally finished the banner (which took two minutes with a pair of pinking shears, red gingham fabric, my sewing machine, some kabob sticks, and a dab of hot glue on the ends to attach) two seconds before she walked in my door.
 I thought they turned out cute and were special for Katie's birthday, but quick and easy for a mom of three littles who was throwing a party literally last minute.  I got the picks from Walmart around Easter and had been hoarding them for such an occasion.
Seesters.  The birthday sister on the right just had twins.  
Not too shabby.
 We sat around, ate a good dinner, ate cake, put the kids to bed, played some games, had Katie's best friend and Krista and Thomas over, and laughed our heads off.
You should have seen Thomas attempt Mad Gab.  Straight up funny right there.  In contrast, Krista whooped our behinds at that game.
Happy Birthday to my sister who is now a fellow mom.  Good luck with that.
Happy Birthday to my friend.
Thanks for letting me be born first, because we all know that I'm bossier and I like it that way.
Thanks for being the silly one because we know bossy is already taken.
Thanks for your rich sense of style which we clearly both got at a young age.
Thank you for boosting my self esteem in high school when I got that really really short haircut by getting yours cut the same way a few months later.  We were totally in style.
Clearly, you wanted curly hair just like me.  Mom needs to pull back the reigns a bit on the amount of curlers  she thought you needed to achieve the amount of curl I own.  I believe you more than nailed it.
And then copying me yet again after I got my headgear by getting your very own facial reconstruction piece a couple years later.  They were straight up sexy.

Thanks for sending me cards that are completely random for no apparent reason except for the love of randomness.

Happy Birthday Katie!  We love you!

Jan 21, 2012


While we were in Oregon, they had their first snowfall of the year.  We were lucky enough to be there for it.
We had the most gorgeous drive one morning in the new snowfall.  These pictures were shot with my iphone through the car window.
While snow is just covering up the ground underneath, in contrast God says that our sins are completely gone. Not just hidden.  
He doesn't see a sinner when He looks at us.  He sees a saint.
As a person who regularly beats myself up for the things I can't seem to get right, it's good to know that those things are forgiven ahead of time and has no bearing on how much God loves me.
Because I'll never be perfect. I'll never get it perfectly "right".

Every sinner has a past.  Every saint has a future.
Every sinner has a future.  Every saint has a past.
God loves me just the same.

Red and white make such a contrast.  I love red barns, but on the white snow, the contrast was amazing. They showed up ever so much more than a black barn could.
I think red against white is such strong imagery.

God's love for me is so strong.  The imagery is appropriate.

I have a former Catholic friend who says it's so strange to be taught that he is a saint not a sinner.
Saints are those special elite few who managed to achieve some sort of perfection.

But God says we all are saints if we love Him.
We all have equal access to Him.
Not just an elite few.
Even when we mess up.
He sees us as pure white snow.
Again and again.

It's not a free pass to keep doing wrong.
But rather that kind of love is is strong motivator to keep doing right.
Fear is a bad motivator.  Love is a stronger one.

That's some kind of love right there.

PS. This post is for week one of my 52 week scripture photo theme.  See this post for more themes.

Jan 20, 2012

Scripture Photo Theme a Week

So last year around Valentines Day I thought I would try home date nights once a week and Tone got right on board.  We may not have been able to do 52 over the course of the year, but Tone and I certainly made a valiant effort and we spent a lot of time together in the evenings.  We are still trying to do fun things in the evenings. This month saw us standing in the living room in front of a cheesy video learning to ballroom dance.  REALLY cheesy video.

That was not a joke.

It really happened.

It was fun too.  I never knew I was quite that awkward.

So while I am not giving that up this year, I decided I liked a weekly challenge and wanted one for photography and for scripture memory.
You've heard of the 365 pictures in a year thing by know. Or a picture a day. I know you have because it's EVERYWHERE.  I realized in loading my pictures recently that this is not my problem.  I loaded "the good" photos of the last year and just January through June I had around 1650 pictures.  That was not a typo.  I really took that many photos that I want to keep.  Clearly I need to focus my pictures for more quality not quantity.  One can always get better.

I am a creative soul and I wondered if I couldn't somehow combine those.  To which I say:
Sure you can!  So I picked out 52 verses to memorize and think about during the week and a photo theme to go with it during the week.  I hope to post a lot of them here.  Clearly, I am running a bit late since I didn't start January 1st, but who said you had to start on the first?  It's still January.  I also would like to mediate, write a journal entry and do something creative with perhaps a scrappy journal page each week.  Some of them will land on the blog.  Here are my scriptures and photo themes for the year.

Feel free to play along on your own blog or on instagram.  I think this will be really fun.  Some of my pictures will be taken with my fancy camera, but I also take a lot of photos with my iphone and post to instagram.  If you don't have the instagram app...you should.  And then you should follow me @jennyplumb.  Then we can be picture buddies and be super cool like that.  But if you don't have instagram, then you should know that my instagram pics also post to my facebook.  And if we aren't facebook friends...

...well, doggone.

You're just gunna have to wait for my blog posts.

Jan 19, 2012

Off to see the Grands...

We got home today from visiting Oregon to visit the Grandparents.  We visited Tone's grandparents and his Aunt Lisa and Uncle Jack and also my Dad.
Traveling always means getting up before it's light to be at an airport around 4:30am.  The kids don't love it, but they like the adventure of going new places.  Here they are peaking out of the window to see if our airplane had arrived.  Tessa loved going around the airport pulling a little backpack on wheels and waving "bye bye" to us.  For added humor, her shoes squeak like dog toys when she steps so we don't lose her.
We arrived in Oregon feeling good at about noon on Sunday.

The rest of Sunday and Monday we spent with Tone's family.  Tuesday we visited with my Dad.  Wednesday we were up at the crack of dawn again to fly home.

It was SO good to see my dad again since Tessa had gotten so much bigger than the last time we saw him.  Hunter and Ainsley chattered away at the restaurant and Tessa was her usual pain making trouble at the table. We shot the breeze and he brought the kids little toys which delighted them. It didn't take long for my kids to get reacquainted and Tessa let him hold her which is kind of a big deal for her. We would have gone up to his house but he lived up the hill and we kinda got snowed out so he came down in his truck.  Welcome to Oregon.  

It was also good to see Tone's grandparents.  Grandpa Bernard married us (along with my pastor) and he did a little speech on the importance of passing on our Christian heritage.  Well, here we are doing our best to pass on that great legacy to our three children.  I had a wonderful time listening to his stories at night. He had plenty of them after 38 years of pastoring before retiring. He is full of humor and grace but calls a spade a spade.   He's a really wonderful man who married an equally wonderful woman and I only hope to be similar when I am 87.

Monday we had a big lunch with Tone's grandparents at Tone's Aunt Lisa and Uncle Jack's house.  I love Tone's Aunt Lisa and we are blog and facebook friends. Her blog is full of good recipes and thrifting fun. Isn't it funny how one can get to "know" someone through the internet?  It's a wonderful tool for that sometimes. I didn't get any photos of Lisa or Jack who entertained Hunter for quite a long time building a Lego contraption with gears.  Bummer. Grandpa especially loves games so we finished it off with a game of triple Yahtzee.  Lets just say Grandpa and Grandma may have slowed down physically, but they are still sharp as a tack.  Here is Grandpa getting a Yahtzee!

Grandma doesn't like this picture of herself, but I like it because she read to Ainsley quite a bit while we were there and Ainsley was mesmerized.   Grandma Audrey was a teacher for 29 years and she has the BEST reading voice.  It almost mesmerized me while I was listening!
It was a short two and a half day visit and we were off again at 4:00am Wednesday morning.  It snowed  or rained the whole time we were there. We had to go home via Salt Lake City because of loaded flights, but we were still home by noon.  We seem to spend a great deal of our life in airports.  Is it worth it?  Most people tell me that they wouldn't do it.  Flying standby with four littles is not for the faint of heart.

Yes, of course.  This weekend was spent full of family that I love.  It reminded me why I do what I do with my children.  I want to leave a legacy, and I want my children to know the people who have impacted Tone and me in leaving that legacy.  So: Totally worth it.

Jan 8, 2012

Thrifting day

I hung out with my sister last night.
 I arrived and she was looking like this.
I know.  I've pretty much hated her my whole life.  Just kidding. Let us embrace her gorgeousness together, shall we?

I, on the other hand, had forgotten to change out of my grungy yard shoes and was wearing a comfy old sweater that had seen one too many years on it.  Doggon it.  I sucked it up and went shopping with her anyways.  I'm not gunna lie though, I may or may not have kept on my pretty wool coat the whole time so at least the sweater was covered up.  I have a "little" dignity still.  I blame it on being so excited to get out of the house kid-free I ran out the door without checking my apparel.  However, I was still totally conscious of my shoes the whole time.

She bought this navy and orange shirt last night.  We happened to be perusing the whole three stories of Forever 21.  That place always sucks me in and spits me out.  

Today we went thrifting together.  I decided in my outfit choice I better bring some A game after last night.  Because when you go thrifting in dingy old shops, that is an occasion for your A game.  Clearly.  I got the new striped sweater, belt, and burnt orange beret last night too.  All three for less than $20. Total.  It's why that store always sucks me in and spits me out.  I can't resist under $10 prices.  We discussed that we both have very different styles.  There is no way I can pull off the streamlined look Krista can, and I'm much more eclectic.  

And she can't wear hats.  Or beanies.  So there.

I tried to get Ainsley to take a fashion photo of me too.  Here's mine.  Does it compare to Krista's?
In defense, Ainsley can't aim or hold a camera steady and a little person wanted up.  There may or may not be a cracker on the floor behind me and a little kid trike bumped into my legs. 
Totally fashion forward.  It's the new trend in fashion photography.

So what do we have going on here?  Braids? A beret?  Stripes? Are we hippie, French, confused?
I dug it.  I felt like it was going good.
Maybe someday I should attempt to tame Tessa's hair.  Someday.  I already use adult conditioner on the back and even that doesn't really help for long.  That kid has the coarsest hair for a bondie!

I also felt that my suede wedges would go great with my wide flare pants.  I LOVE these shoes and they were definitely a step up from the yard shoes I wore last night.
Anyhow, what did I find today?  A little china cup and saucer with yellow daisies on them in a stand for $2.  A washboard to hang in my newly organized laundry room for $5.  I totally splurged on my metal lunchbox and matching plaid thermos for $10 (Actually, that's a steal, but $10 is a lot for me right now).  I was feeling good about my treasure hunt.  The kids managed to score some free trinkets from the nice lady (dinosaur and plastic teapot) and some .50 books.  They were delighted.
This was the last score of the day.  I know.  You are wondering why.  It's a plastic horse with an old broom handle bar stuck through his ears.  Straight up quality. Well, Tessa likes to rock.  There is one of these at church and she rocks it as hard as she can and won't get off for the other kids to use.  I, however, have been unwilling to purchase her a new one for the price.  Though I really, really, really, wanted to get her one for Christmas.  I found this bad boy for $4.99.  Score to the lady in the weird orange hat and hippie wedges!

Here I am feeling definitely pleased with my purchases today.  All in all, a good day with my sister, and successful day in the thrift stores. (Again, a blur.  4 year old hands remember?).
Meh.  Forget it.  Fashion blogs aren't for me (though I do enjoy a good read on them).
  I'm going back to playing with the baby.
PS. I'm not skippin church today.  I wrote this last night to post today.  So there.

Jan 7, 2012

Getting it together...a Freebie for you!

It's the new year. 
I am a total list maker.  It really helps me stay focused when I have a list.  Otherwise, I forget just about everything.  Is there anyone else with me?  However, I have noticed that by making lists, I have to give myself some leeway room for um, not actually finishing the list.  Ha!  Anyone else with me?

I made a weekly planner page from my vintage graphics collection. There are spots for Chores around the house, appointments, dinner options, and purposeful moments you want to take to live a life on purpose (ie, bake cookies, read a book, go on a hike, etc.). I also added the quote, "I will hold myself to a standard of Grace, not perfection" as a reminder that life doesn't always go on schedule and it's never perfect, but we are only held to a standard of Grace that God gives.  I plan on using it.  It prints out super cute.

You want to see it?  Here you go:

Here it is chillin on the front of my fridge.  I took this pic late tonight after I finished making it and slapped it up there.  Even though this is a horrible picture, I promise you, my fridge took on a whole new level of classiness in between the kiddie artwork and animal magnets (not shown).

I know it's hard to read my writing on this picture, but I've been trying to stick to a cleaning schedule for about a month now and it's not going too bad.  It makes sure I get to all the areas in the house but I only have to do one bigger chore and one tiny one a day.

Monday:  Do all the laundry in the baskets and fold after kids are in bed, water plants
Tuesday: Put away the laundry and clean bathrooms (people come over on Tuesday nights, those bathrooms have to get clean!)
Wednesday:  All surfaces dust or wipe down.  (Includes kitchen counters and cobwebs), take out trash
Thursday: Vacuum the carpet, wash the sheets on the beds
Friday: Mop the floors, Organize one thing (closet, drawer, kid's clothes, etc.)
Saturday and Sunday: Catch up on what was missed and rest.

Many days I don't get to the cleaning assigned for that day, but there is a deep cleaning method and a quick method, and I try to at least do the quick one.  As long I don't only do the quick method every time, the house stays clean underneath all the messy kid clutter that seems to pile up everyday.

I told you there was a freebie for you.  You can print out your own page that I created for you HERE.
Yay!  Have fun staying organized but remembering life isn't perfect and nobody said you had to be either.  There is no standard for perfection anyways.  For some it's never having a messy dish out, and for others, it's ignoring the dishes to take a time out for the kids.  I've found that when it comes to the household, it's a place for family so some discretion needs to be used in which should come first because neither can at the same time.  I've learned through years of feeling sometimes like a ragged failure that that's totally OK and has no bearing on whether I am a great wife and mother or a child of the King.  Though clearly, by making this, I am trying to achieve this year a higher level of order out of my often chaotic household.

Linking up to Life Made Lovely, Today's Creative Blog, a Bowl Full of Lemons

Jan 3, 2012

The Magic of Christmas

Oh what?  Christmas is over.  
Yeah, I know, but I'm always running a day late and a dollar short.  I just need to throw up my pictures from Christmas day so that if my computer ever goes AWOL at least I'll have my pics saved someplace in the internet.  And here you thought I was blogging for your viewing pleasure.  Pish, I have no idea what would give you that idea at all.  

Someone woke up right on time on Christmas.  Hunter has been getting her up in the morning, lifting her out of her crib and bringing her to me.   Aren't siblings a beautiful thing?  It means I can enjoy my warm bed for at LEAST 20 more seconds...which I relish.  I really do.

All the kids went out with us and we checked out what Santa brought.  Tessa was completely delighted with her barking, walking dog.  Watching her giggle and giggle was the best Christmas present ever!
 Here they are with one of their two gifts that they got from us this year. Well, technically, one was from Santa and one from us, but I believe that all my blog readers are above the age of 8 so letting that cat slip out of the bag will not spoil Christmas for any of you I hope.  If so, two things:
What are you, 8?
And: I believe I stated at the beginning that this post was for posterity's sake anyhow, and therefore, selfishly written.    And I happen to know Santa is a fake.  So there.
 Clearly, Legos are a big hit this year.  We put the grandparent's gifts under the tree too, so they still had quite a bit to unwrap.
 Tessa quickly figured out that wrapping paper had cool things inside, and she was all up in everyone's business to see what was in there.  If we didn't get back to her turn quick enough, she would start ripping into one of my presents.
For an 18 month year old, she made out alright this Christmas.
I believe I stated that we were cutting back this Christmas, but the kids still managed to litter the whole living room with new toys, paper and boxes.  I took a picture of the aftermath, but honestly, that's too embarrassing to want to add here for all posterity's sake.  The amount still feels pretty ridiculous for all our efforts to try and cut back this year.
Whew, that's over, moving on to the New Year....shooting for being less materialistic seems to have come with a steep learning curve.