My sister Andrea her hubby Ryan and Ava came from Idaho bringing a truck full of potatoes!
We went on walks tot he park, golf for the boys, baseball and lunch at the Surprise Stadium, Shopping and lunch for the girls in scottsdale. I made her teach me her never-fail chocolate chip cookie recipe-- which by the way I've puled off twice now! I feel like I can finally make good cookies! I think a good time was had by all. I loved being a hostess and cooking good food.. Little cutie Ava was a doll. Max still says, "where'd that go Aba?"
Next- three days later- my parents and sister sarah came for T-day!! It was so fun to have them and host again. I think I wore my mom out!! If you didn't know my family you would wonder where my dark hair came from because so many people have red. Some day I'll post pics of my dark haired family people. We went the the train park in scottsdale, down to some shopping, and lastly to the mesa temple!
Cutie Sarah! It was fun to "happen upon" the lights! I wanted to just show them the temple and surprise the lights were on! pretty cool. Then home to back my pies!! On Thanksgiving morning my dad took Max and James fishing with robert at surprise pond/lake. James had been begging for Grandpa to do this with him since he sees all the other grandpas out there. My dad has AMAZING patience!!
After all my planning and creating - this is what I created below-- much more simpler than I originally thought- but hey my table is SMALL!! I bought the wine glasses at Goodwill- the turkey platter my mom gave to me she bought in the 70's for $1!!! I made the table cloth, napkins, and runner out of linen. It was a good day with lots of yum from scratch-- After 5 pints of whipping cream and 4 lbs of butter I think we were satisfied!
The day they left I was exhausted but I was so excited for christmas that I had to put my tree up-- that night!! and all my decor for that matter. But I still have 5 of my 9 plastic bins full of stuff I didn't use because our place is smaller- it is nice to have a simpler look.
I loooooovvvvveee making bows- I love ribbon. I have two bins full of ribbon.
Somethings wrong with me...
Free Christmas Tree! From John and Myrna- their garage is like a goodwill!
can I beg you any more to grow indoor bulbs. They are fabulous!
Of course this plate was fuller at one point, and of course it was gone at least a week ago...
James rearranged the nativities he could reach so everyone was making a circle around baby Jesus. So adorable. In the process he broke one of the Marys. I still haven't glued her head back on- I think of how Jesus would have missed her so much. He needed a great mother to be the king of the world!!
Also--- in lieu of all my visitors I started unpacking a few boxes and hanging up pictures. I FINALLY printed off pics that my friend Liz took a year ago. They look gorgeous and vibrant in their frames!!
Thanks again Liz for the beautiful pictures.
The day my parents left My dad took some pics of our family-- he is an aspiring Photographer!!
He says he will gracefully roll from Musician to Photographer as he retires!!
Here is a sample...
And of course- last but not least.... I went to the Dr's The day before Thanksgiving.....
and found out we are having
Im going to take a belly shot someday.
And in the next few days my goal is to post something that happened in the month of December...... haha
We find out what the baby is in less than 2 weeks. I would love a boy or a girl (secretly a boy would be easy to throw in the mix) so I have been looking at nurseries for ideas. I can't help my self! I loved both of these rooms. I think the 2nd picture could be used for a boy or a girl. I love design but never have money to go crazy so everything is on a budget- But with sewing and paint anything is possible- so I have big plans!
My sister and her husband are coming to visit next week and so I've been cleaning out the 3rd bedroom we have used as storage. I couldn't believe I cleared it out with everything fitting into closets I needed to reorganize. We received a free bed from Roberts brother and then I went to town! With our baby dresser, an old nightstand, and random linens and pillows from around the house our guest room came alive!! So now anyone can come and stay!!!
After My Post yesterday I need to write about Gratitude.
I needed to vent my feelings of frustration and where better then my blog?! But after reading my post again I sound ungrateful especially during this time of year. We are so very blessed in a million ways that I am grateful for all the time, really I am.
Even though things don't turn out how I imagine they should, God always makes up the difference and then some. He has carried us through things that we didn't think we could bear and continues to show us over and over again how he knows who we are. He knows our thought and desires. He knows our concerns and regrets. He LOVES US so much despite our short comings.
"All we, like sheep have gone astray and every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all."
For this I am grateful for the Atonement of Christ over and over again in my life.
I am also grateful for:
1. Healthy Children
2. a New Life who will join our family!
3. A great hardworking, loving Partner
4. a roof over our heads that is sufficient for our needs and so much more.
5. A Job!
6. My Education
7. a gazillion answers to prayers
8. To live in America
9. For really good parents that have taught me great things
10. The energy and strength to live a very full life
11. Lots of great great great friends!!
So even though life can be frustrating there are even more wonderful things to Love about this world then we can even write!!
I try to ignore the crap that goes on in the world because the crap is endless!!! (Why ignore it?- maybe feeling like Im too little to change it,)
Why dwell on the negative right? But when the crap hits you full force in the face it is hard to ignore it.
This year our premiums went through the roof. We also lost our 90/10 health plan that we have been paying for in lieu of new baby coming.
What are we left with??!
A High Deductible Plan!! Now our baby is going to cost us $5000 instead of $1500!!!!
This is because OBAMA recognized that companies that can afford to pay premiums for good health plans should have those dollars taxed. Well most companies cant afford the tax and are doing away with the 90/10 and 80/20 plans. great OBAMA care for the middle class.
What is your open enrollment telling you??
What else is killing us financially???
A little history:
Our Mortgage!!!! We bought a home with a conventional 30 year mortgage with a payment that was mostly affordable we paid CASH for closing costs we paid CASH for money down - a very high 5 figure #. This was unusual! The Brokers didn't even know how to deal with cash at closing they didn't even know how to deal with our loan that should have been a sign of corruption!!!! We did everything we could to be conservative and honest with our loan.
Our home value has dropped over $50,000 well whats new? everyone has lost value.( but we moved for a better job opportunity like lots of people have had to do too (and luckily found a great renter!!!! Yeah!))
We are still losing over $300 a month - when we pay for a repair like this month we lose $400.
OBAMA has put a ton of little laws and clauses in the mortgage world to help people refinancebut do you think any of them apply to the middle class???? NO!!!
The only way we can refinance our loan to take advantage of the low rates and minimize our monthly loss is to miss payments!!!
Wow! so does that sound logical or honest? Don't get me wrong we'd love to miss a payment- but we are:
1) Honest!!! We told someone that we would pay them and we will do it. We'd rather starve then miss a payment- which we have done!
2) Rob works in insurance and finance his credit score is a huge part of being marketable - he needs to show that he can deal with money.
How are we suppossed to carry this loss for 10 years until the market bounces back? or the other option-- how are we suppossed to come up with 20-30 grand to cover our homes negative value?
Where is our Joe the Plumber relief? Believe me-- we are in the middle of the middle class--I am seeing my Wealth distributed to those who have less and more- making our family suffer. I see:
1) High Medical Premiums -each year they go up like crazy and this year is the worst.
2) The Home Market collapsing- it is still in a downward spiral in Utah and AZ and who knows where else. Where is the BAIL OUT for the housing market?
3) Property taxes continue to rise and as our income bracket grows so does our taxes along with now not being able to write off student loan interest next year.
4) I especially see: Our net income is stagnant!! With every raise or promotion there is a fee or tax or premium that offsets the new money. We are essentially making the same money 4 years ago when we had James- but now we have a mortgage under our belt and 1 1/2 more kids.
5) I see my money being given to others that haven't worked for it.
6) I see the rich getting government relief in the form of Bail Outs.
Do I sound a little angry?
This is getting a little long but I do want to say I don't believe in Bail outs-- I believe little government intervention is essential. BUT if you are going to take my tax dollars and relieve the RICH and the POOR then you better relieve the MIDDLE CLASS too!!!
I don't believe in Democrat or Republican or Tea Party I just believe in Honesty. I don't hate Obama but when I hear that people LOVE LOVE LOVE Obama who are in college or who have young families and they haven't experienced life yet-- I want you to think about people that are suffering with real issues. We have been sooooo blessed compared to others who have lost everything so I couldn't imagine their frustration!!!
Someone please help our country. I'm ready to move to Switzerland.....
If you haven't tried indoor bulbs before you MUST MUST MUST!
It is so easy- go buy an amarylis bulb or paperwhite bulbs at your local nursery or walmart-- plant very shallow in dirt, rocks, coconut fiber, or both!!! They are so easy to grow and are so beautiful for the holidays.
You must start them today!!! Because they take 5-6 weeks to bloom. The blooms could last 3 weeks if you are lucky!!
I planted mine in river rock and soil mixture then added a little green moss on top- not necessary!! Just keep moist--do not over water or they will get moldy- do not cover bulb with water either. I love planting them in glass container but this year I did an old cookie tin because I thought the red container with the green stems and white flowers would be gorgeous. You dont have to choose a container with drainage on the bottom (ie holes) so anything funky could work! Good Luck!
On the Christmas note-- (I know already right?!-) Order your Christmas Cards or Christmas Photo Cards TODAY. Costco and other online options already have their templates ready! Can you imagine having them out of the way?! Do I sound like a magazine calendar? Well I ordered mine in attempts to try and stay ahead-- get stamps too!!
you also need to go thrifting today!! There are so many good finds! If you are hosting thanksgiving there are tons of fun decorations. I found this old silver bowl for $2.00 at Goodwill. It is tarnished but I love it for a rustic fall look. I think I will clean it up for christmas and make it shiny!!
And last of all- I am Hosting Thanksgiving!!!! ( for my mom and dad and one sister)Some of you know we are in a small nasty rental house for right now blahh. but I cant miss the chance to decorate. I found this leaf idea in an old Martha Stewart magazine I had-- green scrapbook paper with real twigs hot glued or twisty twine for a twig. Im going to the craft store today to buy the paper. I imagine persimmions, eucalyptus branches (Im going to steal from my neighbors tree) and some gords or fruit.