Once upon a time I use to photoshop every single picture I posted. I’d swap out faces, fix flaws, and crop out what I didn’t like in order to have the “perfect” picture every single time.

And now I’m finding joy in the pictures that aren’t perfect. The faces that are silly. This is life. There are no edits, no do overs.

It’s messy, it’s imperfect. And it’s beautiful.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Enjoy the pictures.



This Christmas was a bit different than years previous. We moved into our new house on December 22nd. It was a crazy exhausting day, but before Jordan and I went to bed that night we set up the Christmas tree. The next day the kids decorated it a little bit, I think we had like 10% of our normal Christmas ornaments on the tree. No tree topper. No ribbon. The rest of the house was sparsely decorated. Unless you count boxes and random stuff everywhere “decorated” 😉 No Santa plate. No cookies. Not even milk, because we didn’t have a refrigeration yet. That’s okay though, Santa doesn’t care. Our Elf on the Shelf only came twice this year, his job was easy! Our Christmas countdown started at “2 Days Until Christmas!” Stockings weren’t hung, they lay on the coffee table. My Christmas cards were late.

But in it’s simplicity it was wonderful. The kids still enjoyed themselves, loved their presents, and had way too much candy. Sydney and Audrey slept on the couch, read a few Christmas books. In years past we’ve let them watch Christmas movies until they passed out but our computer wasn’t hooked up to the TV yet, so that didn’t happen either. Zachary was booted for being a pest within an hour and slept in his bedroom. On the floor, because his bed wasn’t put together yet. Ruby slept in her pack and play in her room. Regardless of all of our “not normal” things it was enjoyable and it was memorable.

The girls tried to wake us up at 3 am, and were sent back to sleep.

I made all four kids their own pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajama pants. And they each got a shirt that was one of the turtles “colors.”

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Christmas with the Shermans

So it’s taken me a while to get these up. Why? Because I was slightly upset when we did these pictures. Because they weren’t “perfect.” Not everyone was smiling, I was running back and forth to my camera, that sucked I really should buy a remote. After torturing my family tying to get what I thought was the “perfect” picture I gave up and realized I had several good shots, I’ll just change out faces and completely photoshop my family’s Christmas picture.

I loaded the pictures all into Photoshop, picking out the best ones for each of us where we look our best. I started swapping before I suddenly realized: HELLO?! You’re family isn’t perfect! Zachary’s silly smile is great. But Audrey’s face where she’s trying so hard to show her “pretty” smile is JUST AS GREAT.

So here’s my family on Christmas Eve and on Christmas NO PHOTOSHOP.


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Speaking of not always looking perfect….


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This year we did a Secret Santa, each kiddo drew another siblings name and then I took them on a date to pick out a $10 present for their Secret Santa.


Zachary had Sydney and he bought her a My Little Pony t-shirt.


Audrey had Zachary and she bought him a plane.


Sydney had Audrey, and she bought her a Princess Aurora barbie and Hello Kitty socks. I love the look on Audrey’s face here!


The Elf on the Shelf

Personally, I always thought Elf on the Shelf was a rather cute idea.

Sure, some people go way over board with it. But that’s Christmas in general, right?

Jordan thought the elf was rather creepy, so for years I’d beg for the Elf and he’s said no.


Finally I convinced him of it. The girls named him Noel (after Jordan tried to name him Chucky, oye.)
The girls LOVE Noel, and they love finding him every morning. Even Audrey, at age 2, loves to find him, she’s rather good at it too.

How did I convince my super stubborn husband of the elf?

I agreed to take this picture.



Merry Christmas

I was amazed at how well our Christmas Eve jammie pictures turned out!
Normally, Audrey just stares at the camera, with a stone cold look on her face.
(see Easter, Primary Program, and Mother’s Day for examples.)No matter how much noise we make, how much we bounce her before pictures, she always looks bored.

Well, on Christmas Eve, Audrey thought it was fun to run back and forth with Mommy to see what the picture looked like, and she was giggling the whole time, so we actually managed to get a decent picture with her in it! It was actually Mama who made us retake pictures four times (I had some wardrobe malfunctions…and I blinked…) Yes, only four! Yey! :)

The other issue we have is when we try to get pictures of the girls together. Sydney wants to cuddle and hold her baby sister, and Audrey screams her head off. Sydney doesn’t understand why, and holds even tighter, which does NOT work.


But this year, everything worked out great, and I was so impressed (and happy!) with how well the pictures turned out!!

We let the girls sleep “under the tree” on Christmas Eve. (This is put in quotes because I don’t allow them to actually sleep under the tree, as Jordan’s siblings and he did growing up, so Sydney sleeps on the couch, and Audrey was in the pack-and-play. But we still call it sleeping under the tree.) Audrey did great, and fell asleep before Sydney did. And then she woke up at 1am screaming her head off, and was in hysterics for the next hour before she finally fell back asleep, in her own crib. I dunno what that was about! But we decided that they now have to be 2 before they sleep under the tree. (We didn’t let her do this last year, because she barely slept through the night in her own bed, let alone some place else!)

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Week/Break

This week we did a Christmas theme. The preschool pack that I used is from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Sydney is still struggling with counting past 12, but I definitely see some improvement.

She’s also gotten better at identifying numbers. When she wakes me up in the morning she tells me what numbers are currently being shown.

I didn’t realize that I had only planned on the Christmas week being 4 days long. I realized this on Thursday when I was getting ready to pack Friday’s stuff into the box, when I expressed my surprised over this Sydney replied, “That’s okay, Mama, we just won’t have school tomorrow!”

Today we did a craft (which we still need to complete) and she did her calendar time, and I put up all the numbers for the rest of the week and told her we won’t have school again until January.

We read How the Grinch Stole Christmas, J is for Jesus, The Legend of the Christmas Stocking, and Fancy Nancy’s Splendiforous Christmas.dsc_2208

I also finally did what I’ve been meaning to do since August. School pictures. I guess this is actually kind of silly, since both my girls have summer birthdays. But I really want a yearly picture, and a “official” school picture. Even if school starts 4 weeks after Sydney’s birthday.


Whew! Merry Christmas, everyone! See you in 2012!


Zoo Lights

Last year we went to the Zoo Lights.
Zoo Lights is a lot of fun, but the events of last year made it decidedly not fun. At all.So this year we decided that we were going to go, just us, no one else.
We were not going to dinner first.
And we were actually going as soon as Sydney got out of dance class (4:30) and we were going on a Wednesday instead of a Friday.

This was great planning. First, Wednesday was a lot warmer than it had been this week. Second, there was parking at the Zoo, unlike the last year when we had to wait for 2 hours in the freezing cold to get on a bus to just get to the zoo.

We also rode the train around the Zoo, something that our companions last year very against, in their attempt to get through Zoo Lights as quick as possible.

So, yes, we had fun. The train was a lot of fun, and the girls really enjoyed it. They also enjoyed all the fun lights.

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And with this trip, we have officially made our Zoo pass worth it :) Since it was purchased in December 2010, we’ve gone to Zoo Lights, August Trip to the Zoo, Boo at the Zoo, and Zoo Lights again. Whew! Just in time for it to expire too, lol.


Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve

This is post #100! WOW. Which is so fitting, as two years ago I started this blog, on Christmas Eve. :)

So here was our Christmas. Not as crazy as last year! This year, we went to my Grandma and Grandpa Smith’s, like I’ve done every year since I was very young. And the girls were spoiled, of course. =]

And then we came home and we got into our new Christmas jammies, and got all ready for Santa!

My Girls
In Jordan’s family the kids always slept around the tree. Jordan has asked about Sydney doing this for years, and I’ve always been super nervous. The first Christmas I spent with Jordan’s family (with all of us sleeping around the tree) I woke up to his parents laughing and throwing presents to each other and making SO MUCH NOISE! And then they laughed, because I was the only one who woke up, everyone else was asleep! I’m sure they slip something into their kid’s hot coco, no one can be that heavy of a sleep! (Just joking, of course, Jordan is a terribly heavy sleeper.)

So this year we let Sydney sleep by the tree. We thought she’d NEVER go sleep! She was up until 10 p.m.!! We set our alarms for 3 a.m., and it’s good thing I checked on Sydney before I went to bed (at 11) because she was asleep, so we quickly did the Santa stuff, and at 3, we were woken up to a crying 3 year old.

“Santa came! And he painted my pillow!”

She woke up to a bloody nose! Poor thing, there was blood everywhere, all over her pillow, all over her and on my couch. So we quickly cleaned her up, I did laundry as I wanted her to wear her jammies, and then Sydney and I were up for the day. We tried to sleep, but Sydney wouldn’t let me, so I put on a Christmas movie for her and told her when it was over to come get us, I figured 6 was an okay time to wake up Audrey.

Sydney got her coveted Barbie car. She saw one at Macy’s in September and has been asking Santa for one ever since! She also got a Belle Barbie, and a Prince Adam Barbie (did you know that The Beast has an actual name?) which can go from being Prince Adam to The Beast, it’s pretty spiffy, if you ask me, she got tons of clothes, books, a Lite Bright, doctor kits, tutus. We also bought her a Ken barbie, but Sydney hasn’t shown any interest in him, so I asked her if she would rather get a different barbie, and she asked, “Can I get another Princess?” Glad she knows what she wants. :)

Audrey got tons of toys, books, and clothes. She showed little interest in anything except eating the wrapping paper. Until we opened all the toys and put them all in her room, then we put her in her room and was crawling around, drooling on everything and having a ball! I wish I would have gotten pictures.

All in all, we enjoyed our day of opening presents and spending time with family. We did brunch at the Sherman’s and Christmas dinner with the Cornelison’s, it was fun to see everyone and then to crash once we got home. :)


And next week, my baby is a Sunbeam, I told her that this Sunday was her last Sunday in nursery, and she goes, “Yup, next week I’m going to Primary.” And then she paused, her eyes got wide and she goes, “With the big boys.”




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My girls and Santa!
I’ve been on the activies comittee the last three Christmases, so I’ve insisted that we had Santa, so that I can save the $20 for Santa each year. I was even more excited this year, as I really wanted a picture of each girl, and a picture of both girls with Santa. Thus saving me $60! Yey!

I was also very glad that this year we had both girls happy in the pictures. Next year we’ll probably have a screaming girl :)


Christmas 2009

This year for Christmas we pretty much exhausted ourselves. On Christmas Eve we went to my Uncle Matt’s house in Woodland, we got lost and ended up in Cougar, but we eventually made it. After that we headed to my Grandma and Grandpa Smith’s house for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Sydney really got into the spirit this year of opening presents. She was SO excited. When she woke me up on Christmas Eve she asked, “Is it present day today?” She kept telling people it was Christmas Eve all day.

IMG_1295IMG_1301(Sydney with Santa’s muffins)

On Christmas morning Jordan woke me up. As soon as he woke up he sat up in bed and said, “It’s CHRISTMAS!” and started doing a dance. He is so silly. We woke Sydney up, she was so cute. We went into her room and said, “It’s Christmas, do you want to see what Santa brought you?” She stands up and goes, “PRESENTS!” and promptly falls over in bed. She couldn’t stand straight.

Sydney was so much fun. When she opened EVERY present she kept saying, “Oooh! Yey! Look what I got! Thanks, Mom and Dad!” Before she even knew what the present was. She got a skirt that was in a white box and she was thanking me for the white box! She is so sweet, and I am cherishing these moments, because I know they won’t last.

Every year Jordan guesses what I buy him. This really is an annoying habit of his. Drives me CRAZY. I usually take a shot at what a present is right before I open it. But I never guess days before Christmas. Every year Jordan knows exactly what is under the tree. Drives me CRAZY. Two years ago we bought a Wii, and we had some issues with it so we had to exchange it. Well when we exchanged it, it had a game in it, Wii Play, Jordan was very sad about this and for Christmas “Sydney” bought him a new copy of it. But it was pretty obvious what this present was. So I put it in between 2 DVDs in my Charlie Brown 3-Disk DVD set, knowing that Jordan wouldn’t notice if it was gone, as he hates Charlie Brown (boo!) and the best part, he didn’t know what it was! He was so convinced it was a DVD set, and after a few days I decided it would be fun to coach Sydney to say, “Star Wars” whenever Jordan said, “What did Sydney get me?” So he thought he was getting Star Wars. I made him open his present from a certain side, so that he would see Charlie Brown and think I got him that. Love the face!

For Christmas I really wanted a Willow Tree Nativity set. I put this on my list before I’d even looked at the price. One day I saw it in the usual store and saw the price and promptly crossed it off my list. It was WAY too expensive and I could never ask Jordan to buy me that. Apparently I’ve been a very good girl this year, because Santa brought it for me. I was SO shocked. And unbelievely happy that I got this wonderful gift. And a little sad that I have to wait until next year to display it. We went to the Halmark Store the day after Christmas so I could get some ornaments for Sydney for 50% off and we noticed that the Nativity was also 50% for the next 2 days. Jordan asked if we had the money to spend the Wisemen for the collection and my first reaction was to say, “No, that’s okay, you already spent enough on my Christmas gift.” But then, while I was waiting in line, I remembered how expensive they are and agreed, with the knot in my stomach I get when I spend too much money on myself. Luckily (kind of?) they were all sold out, so I don’t feel guilty. But I got an AWESOME present. Now to search for discounted Wisemen.


Merry Christmas! :)


Christmas Pictures.

So, since I haven’t written in a while I decided I would make this post about Jordan and Sami’s Christmas Past. :) So this will be filled with stories and pictures (where I have them anyway!)

Was the first year that we knew each other and exchanged gifts. His family is big of disguising gifts and trying to guess them. Mine is not. I bought him a yo-yo and when I handed it to him he whispered, “You got me a yo-yo!” So he knew what mine was, but he disguised my gift. And he wouldn’t let me open it until AFTER Christmas when he was with me. In the end he decided that he would call me at midnight and we would open gifts then. This kind of became a tradition. My gift was a yellow Funshine Care Bear. Which he put tin foil over the ears so I couldn’t tell what it was.

This was our first Christmas together, I spent the night at his parent’s house, and spent Christmas with them. Jordan and his sisters would sleep under the Christmas tree each year. They could sleep through ANYTHING, including his parents making a ton of noise, throwing presents, laughing loudly, etc. However, I can NOT sleep through all that, and I woke up. Apparently that was the first year they had anyone wake up.DSC04077


(Jordan got a cell phone that year, and made me Care Bear pj pants)

This was another year where we had Christmas over the phone. It was honestly a very small thing. We decided to minimized Christmas and make New Years the big thing, as that’s our anniversary. So we just exchanged gifts and then spent New Years together.

This was Sydney’s first Christmas! We spent it with Jordan’s family, and all slept under the tree again. Except this year everyone woke up. Brandi (the youngest sister) isn’t so good at being sneaky. It was really funny though, she kept dropping things and stepping on people, and we were all trying to pretend to still be asleep.


(Us and our big pile of presents)

This was our first Christmas just the three of us. We told Jordan’s family that we would have dinner with them, but that we were not coming over before then because we wanted to spend it as a family. Well, after reading the story of Jesus’ birth, opening presents, eating Jordan’s yummy breakfast there wasn’t much to do. By the time we cleaned up everything it was 9:30, so we went over to Jordan’s parents at that time.One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the traditions that families have. In both my family and Jordan’s family the tradition was that you got new pajamas which you opened on Christmas Eve. (I’m sure plenty of you out there have the same tradition!) In my family we also got our Christmas ornament. I modified that tradition a bit, because I hated that we got a new ornament and couldn’t put in the tree til the next year. So instead we get the ornament when we decorate the tree, and we give Sydney a book on Christmas Eve to go with her new jammies.