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Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Resolutions and the likes...

What a week!  With the Christmas festivities behind us and a quiet NYE ahead of us, we finally got a chance to breathe and catch up on life!

29 weeks...ultrasound on Tuesday!!
Brian made the kids a tent :)
Brian had a 4-day weekend last weekend and has another one this weekend.  Watching him at home with the kids is awesome...he made them a tent tonight!  It's also hilarious...I can already see him counting down the minutes until Tuesday when he can go back to work!  He's been mentioning lately how much work the two kids are...HALLELUJAH!  It's nice to have some empathy from the hubs :)!

I got an iPhone 4S!  Not for Christmas, but since Brian's job is paying for his cell bill, it was actually cheaper to start me on a new plan.  It was also great for my anxiety level because Sprint is AWFUL out here and I have been unable to use my phone to keep in touch with anyone!  I LOVE my phone.  That might be an understatement...but I truly love it!  It has been really easy to post things (like pictures and short notes) to the blog in just a few seconds...love that too!  No more digging out our camera and downloading all the pictures!  Gotta love technology!

There has been a lot of laundry done this week...apparently I had been putting it off :).  I also got to catch up with Lyda and Lauren which was FABULOUS!!  I knew I missed my friends, but I had no idea how much it effected my attitude until I got to catch up with Lyda and Lauren.  Even though we can't see each other, staying in touch is such a blessing!  I had a new sense of energy after catching up...and it was miraculous that I didn't drop a single call!  Gotta love Verizon!

On Wednesday, Lauren found out she's having a BOY!  They got to see some great views of their little man and it made me super excited to see my little girl on Tuesday!  I also saw the doctor on Wednesday and everything is going along swimmingly!  We've hit the 29 week mark  but I highly doubt I'll make it 11 more weeks...so it's possible we are down to single digits!  Wahoo!  I'm already over being pregnant :).  It's incredibly exhausting chasing after two toddlers with a watermelon on your stomach!  I've had to get the kids to pick up things that I have dropped for a few weeks now...and it's only gonna get worse!  I'm super excited for Vera to get here and I've finally been able to channel some of that excitement into my favorite thing...crafting!!!

My parents gave Brian and I money for Christmas (Wahoo!) and I decided to spend my on craft supplies.  It makes me feel productive, gives me a creative outlet, and it gets me one step closer to getting Vera's area more homey!  Since joining Pinterest my craft 'wish-list' has exploded.  Seriously.  I'll never have enough money or time to do all the crafts I want to do...unless someone wants to pay me for it :)!  

The current wish list for crafts is as follows:
Yarn Wreath
Crib Sheets
Yarn Letters
Embroidery with Vera's name
Felt flower Headbands
Ruffle Bedskirt (for crib)
Cover for rocking chair
Recover chair and sofa in living room
Quilts (one for Vera, Lauren, and t-shirt quilts for Sam and Beau)
Mobile (for Vera)
Chandelier (for Vera)
Ruffle Butt Onesies
Baby blankets
and a new baby bag

Yes.  The list is long...but incredibly exciting!  I've already started/finished some of the projects!  I even added one!  

When I was shopping I saw this giant "R" and decided to wrap it in yarn and decorate it for the house.  I also have a black empty frame that I'm going to re-spray paint blue and frame this letter on the wall in our living room!  It took the picture with my phone so the lighting isn't the best...but I'm super proud of it...it looks awesome!  It's about 2 feet tall...so it's pretty large!

I also did a yarn wreath for Vera!  Her room scheme colors are rose, cream, green, brown...you get the picture...soft and Victorian-ish.  It wasn't my first try at making felt flowers, but I did try some new kinds.  I had such a great time doing this wreath...it's amazing how easy it is!  I'm going to paint a dark brown tree on the wall behind Vera's crib and hang the wreath and other pictures off the branches...I'm pretty excited about it!

Remember that awesome deal I got on the fabric?  Well, I finally finished a crib sheet!  It was such a simple project and would have been SO much faster if my sewing machine didn't break.  We went through Hades trying to figure out what was wrong with it.  I called Brother to ask them what I should do.  Since it was less than a year old, they told me to bring it to a repair center and it would be covered under warranty.  I explained to them that I do not have the receipt still (we've moved 1900 miles since then) and they said that it was no problem.  However, when I went to the repair center they said that I have to have the proof of purchase.  Great.  They kept it and looked it over while I tried to find a solution.  We contacted Walmart (where we bought it) and they said to bring in the card and the date and they could print us off another receipt.  AWESOME!  What they failed to say, was that you have to go back to that SPECIFIC Walmart that you bought it from.  Well, since we don't live there anymore, that's not an option.  So, in effect, I was stuck with a broken sewing machine.  Monday we stopped by the repair center to pick it up.  I decided to buy new thread, needle, bobbin, and start all over.  AND IT WORKED!  Thank God!  So I finished the first crib sheet and put it on the mattress!  It's not perfect...but for my first one it's not bad.  Not bad at all!  To top it off...it only cost $2.50!  Beat that Target!  I think it's safe to say I will be making my own crib sheets from now on!

I also started my embroidery project.  As soon as I get it finished (almost there!) I will post it!  

The kids have been busy breaking in their new toys all week :)  Until we get out there and make some friends, it's all they have to keep themselves busy, luckily they aren't complaining!

Ok...NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS (NYR)!  A lot of things went through my mind when contemplating what my NYR should be.  I thought of the typical: lose weight/workout/etc.  However, since Vera's not due until March, I didn't want to postpone a few months of resolution time, so I decided to resolve to do something else (though that's still a to-do for 2012).  After talking to my dad, he suggested I write a book.  Now, I love my Dad (LOVE YOU!!), he is obviously a Dad and partially out of his mind if he thinks I am any sort of good writer...or a bad one at that!  It did get me thinking, though.  I have really enjoyed blogging and I know that some have said they enjoy reading it.  SO!  On to the resolution...

I have decided to write a new post EVERYDAY.  I haven't quite decided what I'll write about or what sort of focus I will have.  My interests are varied and our life is a little insane, and honestly, I think that's what this project will end up looking like.  However, I think it will be a great challenge!  Blogging everyday is going to be time consuming...but I'm excited!  Some days I'll write about my family, others about my crafts, some about my Faith and things I am learning through bible study, maybe recipies that I've tried and then maybe some random posts!  I even thought of choosing something on Pinterest to do everyday; but I think that might have to come with time!

So there is it.  I would love to know who is reading this so I know which topics you would love.  In fact...help me out now!  Do me a favor and post a comment at the end of this post and tell me what you'd like me to write about!  I'd also LOVE to know YOUR NYR!  

I think I'll take the next two nights off and start fresh on New Years!

Be safe and have a fantastic New Years!  Here's to 2012!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone!  

It has been such wonderful couple of days...so here's a recap so you can enjoy with us!

Wednesday night we went to dinner at Left Bank in San Jose with Brian's boss and a few coworkers.  It was in a really cool part of town called Santana Row.  It reminded me of the Plaza in Kansas City...but I liked it better!  It was a little smaller but so beautiful!  There was an awesome Mexican restaurant in the center of it all that had a 5 piece band playing to those who were eating outside.  Yep.  People eating OUTSIDE 3 days before Christmas...so cool!  It was really great to meet some of the people that Brian works with...but it was a tad chaotic!  There were 8 adults and 5 toddlers...in an upscale restaurant!  We all survived and there were no spilled drinks, but I think we owe all of that to our smartphones! :)  It was great to get out of the house and meet other adults!  Brian's boss is incredibly sweet and great to talk to!  The kids had a great time meeting other kids, too!

Thursday and Friday were full of running errands so we weren't out shopping on Christmas Eve.  We got some last minute gifts, things for the stockings, picked up my (still broken) sewing machine, supplies for Vera's wreath (read further for info on that), and went out to eat on Friday night.  I have a question for the people out here...what is it with the BROWN salsa?!  Not tasty...the closest I have had to good Mexican food out here is at Chili's...and that is SO SAD!  I miss Mi Ranchito :(.  We also haven't found a Mexican restaurant with queso dip...sad story!  For those who know me well, you know this is a travesty.

Christmas Eve we cleaned the house to get ready for Santa and I started some small preparations Christmas Lunch/Dinner (take out rolls to rise, thaw ham, bake sweet potatoes).  We all had a lengthy nap (3 hours, Hallelujah!) and then it was time to get ready for church!  First, I will say we had an awesome dinner that consisted of Chicken Cord en Bleu casserole...go here for the recipe:


... it was awesome!  A super-easy go-to meal!  Ok...so on to the Candlelight service!

The kiddos got 'dressed up' (we don't really have any dressy clothes at this point) and took a few pictures in front of the tree!  They are getting pretty cheesy, don't you think :)?

The church we attended was the same we went to last week.  It's called Jubilee and it's located about 5 miles from our house, so it's super easy and quick to get to.  It is also the first 'Mega Church' that we have ever been to.  It has a separate building for all the admin stuff, the older kids, and a bible college. Whoa.  The candlelight service started at 6pm and there was no childcare open...so we brought the IPad and my IPhone :).  Now, yes, I want my kids to pay attention.  However, I am also a realistic mother of two toddlers.  They can only sit still for so long!  I'm glad we brought them, too, because it was a 90 minute service...and I loved every minute!!!  There is something 'other-worldly' about a mass of people all singing their hearts out to Jesus...it's unreal!  Christmas music has also ALWAYS been my favorite...so it was a double bonus...people praising Jesus with Christmas music!!  My favorite part of this church?  The worship team!  There are about 40 people on stage singing every service.  It's awesome!  They have a choir, multiple soloists and a huge band...with a cello!  Brian and I both agree that Dan Deeble (our pastor at Heartland) can NEVER be replaced.  He has a God given gift...no doubt about that.  But I love the music at this church and they have a lot of fellowship at this church (basketball, MOPS, etc.)...so we will go a couple more times :).  The kids did great.  They had their moments, but the IPad always helps, and Myah loves to sing, so she had a blast!

When we left church we went to Target to get cookies for Santa (Brian was very excited about this).  We went home and put out some cookies for Santa, Cheerios for the reindeer, milk and water, and read two books.  My parents sent this AWESOME book that they recorded for the kids.  You turn the page and my parents read the book to the kids...such an amazing way to stay in touch 3000 miles away!  After 'reading' that book, we read "The Night Before Christmas".  I know a lot of people of have this tradition.  For as long as I can remember, my dad read us this exact book to us on Christmas Eve and in 2006 Brian and I got the book (the year we married).  We have read the book to the kids the past 3 years and will continue to do so and hope to pass on the tradition!

Finally it was time to get the kids to bed!  Surprisingly, they went down really easy and didn't even get out of bed!  Brian and I had some wrapping to finish (he doesn't like to do ANYTHING ahead of time...).  Then Brian set up the train set my dad gave us and we set up the presents.  We are so blessed to have so many people in our lives that love us.  We received gifts from all over the country (Maine, New York, Kansas) and we feel so lucky.  I knew my great grandparents growing up and I'm so excited my kids get to have the same wonderful privilege.

I 'caught' Santa at our house...check out the picture...

He also left a note and ate all the cookies :)!!

Myah woke up first at 5:30 am.  Not bad at all...I remember waking my parents up at 4am :)...I'm counting myself lucky!  She came in and said "Merry Christmas, Mommy" and then asked to open presents :).  I sent her to wake Eli up (which took about 15 minutes) and then we went to open presents.  Growing up, we had a great tradition where we 'had' to eat (cinnamon rolls or monkey bread) and open stockings before we could even SEE the presents around the tree!  We tried to do this by putting up a sheet at the doorway to the living room...but we were realistic enough to know that there was NO WAY we were getting the kids to wait until breakfast was cooked before we got to the tree...so we went straight to the gifts!  I have a video but I'm still trying to figure out how to post them, so check back for the video!  The kids were great waiting their turns (one present at a time) and it was hilarious trying to get them settled down after almost every present opened!

Waiting to open up presents after tearing
through their stockings!
Daddy had to jump in and help sometimes...
My GGma Bedore sent the kids
some remote control cars...
they were a HUGE HIT!  Thanks,
Grandma B!
I think Brian had more fun putting
the train track together than the kids did!
Isn't he so cute?!

Opening presents took about an hour (not bad for our smallest Christmas :)) and the kids had a great time!  We all got some wonderful gifts!  The kids got cars, airplanes, hats, books, puzzles, games, a train set, a tea party set, candy, money, cups, and lots more! Brian and I are really loved as well and got some gifts from my parents! I got my first Chi and we got some money!  Gotta love money!  We Skyped with Brian's family and the kids did a great dance for them and showed them some of their toys!  While I was getting lunch ready, I remembered I didn't have any aluminum foil to put on all of the food.  So, Brian offered to go to the store.  During the time he was gone, I cooked and the kids played with their toys.  It was really relaxing...which should have been my first 'clue' :).  When Brian got home, he asked why the kids were so quiet.  We walked into the living room and Myah was playing with the train set (Good girl!) and Elijah was sitting over the candy bowl downing his 4th or 5th chocolate!  He was off his rocker for the rest of the day...there was also a lot of diaper changes...at least he didn't throw it up!

We had a delicious lunch and nap time.  When we got up, the kids played with their toys and I started working on my newest project...a yarn wreath for Vera's room.  I've seen these all over Pinterest and I enjoy a challenge and DIY projects so I was really excited to make one!  It cost less than $10 to make and I think it turned out alright!  It will be on a soft green wall, so the colors will pop!  Here's what it looks like:
Myah set up a tea party...the boys
were very excited!
Say Cheese!












We finally got to catch up with my family on Skype right before dinner.  I miss my family a lot right now, but in just a few short months my parents will be out here!  I am so excited!!!  We watched Elf while eating dinner and then it was time for bed!  While it was a great day, I am so tired!! Brian wants me to watch Dexter with him...but I'm thinking watching the back of my eyelids seems like a better idea :).  I hope you all had as wonderful a Christmas as we did!  We love you all and don't forget to tell Jesus 'Happy Birthday!'

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dinner at Left Bank

Hi Friends! I need some advice :)  Brian's boss is taking the family out to dinner here:

http://www.leftbank.com/menu_sanjose

and I have no idea what to order...suggestions?!

Love you!

Jen

Monday, December 19, 2011

A few random updates...

Just a few things happened over the weekend and I thought you might like to know!

Brian got his holiday gift from Google on Friday...the brand new Nexus Prime phone!  He also found out that Google will pay for his phone bill...so that helps us on our monthly budget!  So far Google is paying for our internet and Brian's phone bill...love it!

We worked on the house all weekend and still have A LOT to unpack...it feels never ending!  BUT we did get the crib set up and I started to work on the new crib sheets (they would be done if my sewing machine didn't stop working ugh!).

Brian went to lunch with his coworkers on Friday and again today for different groups.  He is part of the HR department, but he is also going to be a TA for a class taught at Google and he's gonna "try out" for the basketball team!  On Wednesday his boss has invited the whole family out to dinner.  She has a little one and his coworker (who is also going) has two toddlers...so we will be out numbered!  It's a French restaurant, so it should be very interesting :).

I saw a great deal on Wishbone Italian Dressing at the local store today and since we use tons (for marinades, etc.) I stopped in to get some!  Regularly $4.99, on sale for $.99!  I also had a $1.00 off coupon...which means I bought 3 for $1.98!  Woot!  They also had Ragu on sale for 3/$5 so I got three of those.  I picked up a few more things (french bread, apple pie, mac n cheese) and after using my $10 coupon I had received for spending $75 on Friday, we only paid $3.74 for $30 worth of groceries.  I'd say that was a success!!

Christmas is just a few days away and we haven't finished shopping yet...wish us luck!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tim Tebow

I don't care who he is playing or how good he is.  I will be a Tebow fan as long as he is a man of beautifully professed faith.  I would still like the Pats to win, though. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We're Nomads...

Is it SERIOUSLY one week from Christmas?!  Holy cranoley...time flies!  


As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I spent all last weekend making holiday treats...which are FINALLY ready to be shipped...Monday.  The snacks didn't work out the way I was hoping.  When I went to the Post Office to get the boxes to ship in, I realized that the boxes were WAY too small to fit what I had originally wanted to fit in there.  So, Brian's coworkers will be getting a few platters of treats next week :).


I did get a chance to finish the Christmas cards and sent those out today...so you should be getting yours soon!  In case you are wondering, they are super handmade...so perfection is NO WHERE in the picture :).  Also, since they are our fingerprints, don't go trying to steal our identities or anything! :) JK!


This week we fell behind in the school program we had started.  We did two days, Monday and Tuesday, and then I looked around the house and saw how much needed to be done.  So, the kids have taken a hiatus from school.  We will be starting FULL FORCE on Monday :)...they are very excited!


After posting a picture of my VERY giant belly to the FB world, I realized that I have less than 3 months until Vera gets here.  Yep...less than 3 months.  WHAT?!  This house is a mess!  We have 1/3 of our boxes still packed and none of the baby's things are out or set up.  Sure, we have time...but it goes fast.  So, I started to get a little nervous and we have been spending all last week and this whole weekend unpacking boxes and fully moving in.  There is NO WAY we will finish this weekend...but with Brian at home we are making a huge dent and I should hopefully be able to finish by myself next week!


We also started going through our 'old' bins of clothes and setting aside all the things Vera will need...they are so tiny!  The kids are very excited with the whole process and Myah asks all the time to give the baby a "high-five".  She has been talking about holding her and patting her head...she's a very excited big sister!  I think Elijah's just excited to get someone to pick on :).


I had a sad 'mommy' moment earlier this week.  We were driving home from an errand and the kids asked where we were going.  I told them we were on our way home and Myah asks "Where's home?". I know this was an innocent question and she was probably just asking a question to ask (if anyone has a toddler, you know what I mean), but it still made me think.  In the past 12 months, our kids have had 4 'homes'.  4!  And that's not including any of the hotels we stayed at on the trip out here.  As a military brat, I know that moving when you are young will NOT scar you and will only make you stronger.  I KNOW this.  It is my own personal story.  But as a mom...this just makes me sad!  And in 18 months we will be moving...again.  


We are so incredibly blessed that the reason we have had so many 'homes' is because we sold a house, built a house, and moved to California for an amazing job.  We are, by no means, true nomads.  However, the sentiment is still there.  Luckily, being a military kid, I learned early on that 'home' isn't in a building.  It's where your family is, where love is, and where you feel safe.  I hope that my kids feel the same way and I hope that I can do as great a job as my parents did of instilling in me the true meaning of 'home'.


Off that sad subject...


I went to my first fabric store today in San Jose...WAHOO!!!  I dragged Brian and the kids along and found two fabrics I will be using to make Vera some crib sheets.  Oh, have I mentioned the AMAZING deal I got?  The fabric was ONLY $2/YARD!!!!  That's right.  So I got 8 yards and tons of elastic for less than $25 including tax!  I am more than positive I will have extra fabric left over which means I can make a blanket, pillow, top sheet, dress...the possibilities are endless!  I know I'm geeking out over here...but come on!  So exciting!!


Tomorrow we will be going to our first church since being out here.  While I'm not looking forward to the difficult process of finding a church we can call our own, I am looking forward to "getting my God on".  I really miss Heartland and the friendships I made there.  I don't know if I can ever be as lucky or as welcomed as I was there.  But I still believe that God has an amazing plan for the Relph family out here in California, and we will find our new church home when it's the right time.  For now, I just need to sing some worship songs and be around those who feel His love!  Plus...IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME!  What better time to be surrounded by Christians than now?!


Hopefully we will get the crib up tomorrow and I can convince Brian to let me paint it white...we'll see how that goes :).

On a final note, my friend Audrey got married to the man of her dreams Joe today.  I am so excited for them and extremely sad that we can't be there to celebrate with them!  I can't wait to see pictures, though, and I'm sure she rocked the house with the amazing dress she found!


I hope your weekend was as successful as our was!  Also, in case you haven't noticed...I figured out how to mobile blog, so you will be seeing a lot more short posts with pictures to keep you up to date when I don't have the chance to sit and write our life story :)!


We miss you all, especially around the holidays.  


Jen

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One month!

Brian celebrated his first month at Google yesterday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's that time of year...

Hello Friends, Family, and Others: (gotta love Modern Family!)

It's been a busy week!  Still trying to unpack (I'm pretty sure I will unpack the last box the same month we are supposed to move out!), started preschool with the kids, trying to finish holiday preparations, and about a million more things!!!

Last week I got the kids' preschool program in the mail! I was so excited!  It's from Star-Brite and, so far, we love it!  It's really hands-on with multiple project that the kids do everyday!  We also talk about the weather, dress Wendy (our weather girl) in the appropriate clothes for the weather, put up a new day on the calendar and learn the days of the week, and SO MUCH MORE!  Myah loves the school atmosphere and keeps calling me "Teacher" (even though I have told her she can still call me Mommy :)).  She's learning to write numbers and letters and is still trying to learn patience...:).  Elijah is still pretty young for a preschool program of this capacity but he enjoys sitting next to Myah and trying to follow along with the lesson!  We went to Ikea today and bought each of them a chair and a desk...no more getting up and down off the floor for me!

We met our OB/GYN on Wednesday morning and really like her!  Since my medical records had not been delivered yet, we made another appointment to see her in 2 weeks: 12/28...and we get to have another ultrasound!  So excited to see our little nugget again!  I will post pictures as soon as we get them!

Wednesday night we decided to take a tour of one of San Jose's pride and joys: Christmas in the Park!  It's an awesome place to bring the kids in the winter!  It's a park full of Christmas trees that have been decorated by different groups around the area; NHS groups, Churches, Preschools, Elementary Schools, etc.  The kids loved the trees!  There were at least 100, probably more!  They had lots of rides for the kids and Santa was there to take pictures with!  The best part of this...IT'S ALL FREE!!!  The kids were so excited to see Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas (both want an airplane)! Neither were scared and ran right up to say hi!  I have a video and as soon as I can figure out how to post it...I will!  After seeing Santa, we went to dinner at Original Joe's to celebrate one whole month of being in California!  Yep, it's only been a month....feels A LOT longer than that :).

On Friday Brian and I went to the Google Holiday party at the San Jose Technology Museum!  It was our first night away from the kids in MONTHS!  We are so blessed to have an amazing friend in our landlord's son-in-law and he offered to babysit the kids!  The next challenge was finding a dress that was less than $100...I have nothing against maternity dresses...except that the formal ones are so expensive!!  After doing some online shopping and going to MANY maternity stores, I finally went to JCPennys.   I don't know why I didn't go there in the first place...that is THE place to go for evening dresses!  Cute, large selection, and CHEAP!  I got a great (non maternity) dress for $50!  I also bought Brian a matching shirt and gold tie...very sharp!

Now that we have the sitter and the outfits I just needed to get ready!  I haven't gotten myself all 'dolled' up in a while so I relished in it...started getting ready during the kids' naps and took my time!

Fabian (our sitter) came over with a coloring book and crayons...seriously...this guy is awesome!  The kids had a great time and suckered him into playing all the games in our game closet :)!  While they were at home playing we drove to Google to get on the shuttle that would take us to the museum.  The museum is right across the street from Christmas in the Park so traffic was crazy!  When we got there we stopped at the photo booth and took some fun candids...and Vera got a shout-out as well!  The pictures are in the prior post!

Google rented out the entire museum for the night.  The tech museum was pretty cool!  All of the exhibits were open for everyone to participate in...I even grew some Jellyfish protein and Brian experienced an earthquake!  There was a lot of food on each floor (there were 3 floors!) including the most amazing smoked salmon, trout, and shrimp cocktail!  Around 9 pm a band started to set up on the main floor and they were AWESOME!  They are called "Foreverland" and are a Michael Jackson cover band!  This could have been really awful...but they were awesome!!!  A 14 piece band complete with brass pieces?  I really wish I had been able to dance because they were so fun!  We are looking forward to next years party when we know more people and I'm not pregnant :)!!!

We were home by 11 (HELLO?!  I'm 7 months pregnant with two toddlers...I was tired!) but it was a fun night!

We are almost done with the holiday preparations.  I spent the whole weekend making treats to send as gifts and we made reindeer thumbprint cards for our holiday card this year!  I will be sending these out this week...so look in the mail for yours!

I hope you guys are having a great week!  Christmas is less than two weeks away...are you ready?!

Just a few pictures...


Monday, December 5, 2011

Get ready to be impressed...

Hi, All!

We got our Christmas tree up and decorated with only ONE glass ball broken by the kids...I call that a success!  The kids love the tree and get so excited to see it every time it is on!  We also set up my dad's old stereo system so we have Christmas music playing all day long...I'M IN HEAVEN!!!

Here is a picture of our tree:


I plan on adding lighted garland along the tops of the windows at some point!  I will also be setting up a Christmas village and a train set...I'll post more pictures when they are done!

Sunday was our last time at the apartment...thank God!  It is so nice to be able to let the kids be loud and not shush them 4000 times a day!  It took an hour to gather the rest of our things and pack up...but we did it!  Thank you, Google, for giving us a great place to stay for 30 days...we feel very grateful!

We also Skyped with family over the weekend.  We finally had to set up the camera on the desktop because the kids refused to stand back from the IPad screen...oh, well.  What can you expect from a 3 and 2 year old?

Today was a day full of ups and downs.  We really needed to go grocery shopping but I have really been trying to start this couponing stuff and I hadn't prepared.  So...while the kids ate cereal I spent 45 minutes creating a coupon list of things I wanted to buy that I had coupons for.  I totally reccommend this site for anyone starting to coupon:

www.thegrocerygame.com

The local store that I shop at is Safeway and they also offer a lot of "load-to-card" coupons which means I don't have to print, clip, and organize coupons...they are taken off automatically at checkout...love it!

So at 9, the kids and I took off to go grocery shopping.  The trip didn't start off too well.  The kids were going wild, running in every direction, and being LOUD.  After calming them down (i.e. putting Elijah in the cart and strapping him in) we finally started the long process of shopping with a plan.  By the time we were finished, we had the ENTIRE cart overflowing with food and even used the part underneath.

You might be thinking...does she NOT have a grocery budget?

I do...I do.  While this hasn't been my first time using coupons at checkout, this WAS the first time I made a conscientious effort to ONLY buy things I had a coupon for, or that were a GREAT deal.  This takes time, energy, focus, and control...all REALLY hard things to come by when you are VERY pregnant with two toddlers....but I did it!  Get excited...I'm about to tell you how much I saved...

First, though, we hit a snag.  After over an hour of shopping, the kids were ready to go home and eat.  I was ready to get home as well.  We went through the checkout, gave the coupons, and paid.  Nope, didn't pay.  Because my STUPID bank froze my card.  And since I don't have a debit number, I had no way to buy all this food.  I could have just walked away and come back later to purchase these things...but I was not willing to waste the time, patience, and skill it took to get all of these things in a cart.  I mean, I had 10 sheets of paper I had to keep referring to...there was NO WAY I was going home without this food!

So, I called Brian.

AN HOUR LATER it was FINALLY all figured out and I was able to pay.  Brian had to send a fax, talk to multiple people, and tried to set up my debit # that STILL won't work.

We ended up being in the store for almost 3 hours!!!!  But first, picture this: two toddlers who are hungry, want to go home, and have been in a grocery store for almost 2 hours, a pregnant lady who is tired, and two carts full of food in shopping bags...we looked a hot mess.  We survived, but I can't say I want to test my patience with a situation like that again!

The kids did an amazing job.  No, they weren't perfect, but for toddlers they did awesome!  So, after all  that grocery shopping...we went to McDonalds.  I don't care.  I was tired and the kids loved it. :)

So...for the awesome news!  I bought almost 100 items that retail for $363.27.  My take included:
10 boxes of pasta
10 bottles of Ragu
Steak
4lbs of Chicken
Pork
(3) Bags of Tyson Chicken
(5) boxes of Nature Valley Bars
(5) boxes of Pop Tarts
(7) boxes of cereal (assorted)
Bisquick
Diced Tomatoes and tomato paste
Mac N Cheese
Salad Dressing
Spaghettios
Ice Tea packs
Hot Choc and Coffee for the Keurig
(3) bottle of KC Masterpiece BBQ
tortillas
shredded cheese
(2) frozen waffles
(3) Party size frozen meals
milk
bread
2 lbs of sandwich meat
bananas
green and red peppers
apples
pears
carrots
and sweet potatoes (the fresh stuff wasn't pictured)

After all of the in-store savings, coupons and manufacturer coupons my grand total was:


$175.85!!!!  I saved 52%!!!

While I may not have walked out of there with everything for free like on the TV shows...I saved my family a TON of money by being a smart shopper!

When I went home and looked at the receipt, I noticed some awesome things:
I got each box of pasta for $.09 and each bottle of Ragu for $.085...WHAT?!  I have no clue how they got so cheap...but how exciting!!!  So, OF COURSE, I wanted to go back and get some more.  I don't want to go and get 100 of each, or anything, but my family DOES eat pasta very frequently (at least once a week) and it has a great shelf life, so why not?!

After dinner (hot dogs, homemade mac n cheese, peas) I went back to the store and loaded up a cart of 30 Ragu bottles, 50 boxes of Barilla pasta, 2 bottles of Ketchup (we ran out!) and a broom (because we didn't have one).  It was just my luck that I left the receipt at home proving what a great deal I had gotten because when I got to the checkout...it didn't give me the same price.  WHAT?!

So, I asked if I could speak to a manager about honoring the prices.  Now let me say this: I try not to be a greedy person.  I did not clear the shelves and I shared with other shoppers about my great deal earlier in the day.  However, the look that the managers had given me made me feel so dirty!  I had to speak to 2 different managers (not sure why) and they both said they couldn't help me.  I swear, I had a smile on my face the whole time, I apologized for being so difficult, and the only thing I asked was if I brought my receipt in, if they would honor the price.  Had they been understanding and given me a simple "I'm sorry, it's not our policy to do that", I would have been fine!  I didn't want to rip anyone off.  But after the second manager gave me such attitude, rolled her eyes at me, and told me it "must have been a computer malfunction", I left steaming mad!  I am not one to complain about workers...but you bet your bottom I am talking to a manager tomorrow about the way I was treated.

It has NOTHING to do with giving me the discount...but you don't have to be rude either.

In any event, I got a great deal on the food that I bought for the family and I am definitely going to be able to stay in budget this month!

For those who are wanting to save money this has helped me a lot:

Don't make a dinner list and then shop for those items.  Shop for the items that are on sale and THEN make a dinner list with what you bring home!  It will save you a lot of money!

Tomorrow will be full of planning meals, unpacking boxes, doing laundry, and setting out more Christmas decorations...and then a doctors appointment Wednesday morning!! Wahoo!!

Jen

Saturday, December 3, 2011

We've moved in!

Thursday was a CRAZY DAY!!!  We had the movers, Comcast, and DirecTv all here at the same time.  Add in two EXTREMELY excited toddlers and a cranky pregnant woman and you get chaos!  Needless to say, pretty much everything arrived (not all in one piece, though) and the kids are happy to have their own bedrooms with their own beds!

While I was at home making sure we got all of our belonging and the kids didn't try to run away; my DH went to a winery in Saratoga and tried lots of wines and had a grape stomping contest.  Doesn't seem fair, does it :)?!

The kids normally take naps at 12, right after lunch, but the movers were here until 3:30p so we didnt' get a nap until then...and THEN we had to pick up Brian at the bus stop!  The kids were cranky, but McDonalds helped.  What?  You thought I would cook my first night home??  Yeah, right!  I didn't get a single box unpacked until after the movers left...ugh.

Friday was full of unpacking boxes.  I managed to do the whole kitchen and both the kids' bedrooms before I gave in to fatigue!  Moving heavy boxes while walking around with a watermelon on your stomach is not easy business!  The kids were fantastic!  They have been able to play in the back with their bikes and wagon anytime they want and they love the freedom!  Frankly, I love it, too!

So far today has been all about setting up for the holidays!  We went, bright and early, to get our Christmas tree!  The winds out here have been horrific as of late, so we decided NOT to go to the mountains and cut our own tree.  Eli's so small he gets knocked over in the wind!  We got our smallest tree as of yet...just 6.5'!  The ceilings aren't very high, but it smells wonderful!  We dropped the tree off and went to IKEA to do some Christmas shopping for the kids and get some mesh bins to organize the kids' toys (dear, Lord, they need help!).  After laying the kids down for a nap, I unpacked all of our Christmas decorations and I can't wait until the kids wake up so we can decorate!!  Hope you are all having a great day!  I will post pictures of our decorations when they are done!!!

Jen

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Taken advantage of...

I am in need of prayers. I have been taken advantage of in the worst way and my family is taking the hit for it. I don't want to be a vengeful person and I'm afraid my anger and pride will get the best of me. Please pray that I will be clearheaded and trust that He will take care of the situation...


As soon as I can find a decent way to explain the situation, I will.  Right now I would be naming names out of anger...and that's not the person I am or want to be.  


Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!


Jen

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's been a week?!

Hi friends!

It's been a while since we've had a chance to catch up!  It's been a busy week with Thanksgiving...and it's been great!  Here's what has happened in the past week:

The doctor's appointment went great and I got to ask for my own doctor who was recommended to me and I'm really excited to finally meet her on the 7th!  By the time we go to the doctor, it will have been almost 2 months since my last appointment...thank God Vera is active!  In fact, the kids each got a 'high-five' from her today :)!

They have their own garden! So cool!
After the doctor's appointment we went to meet up with Brian to get a tour of his new job at Google!  I promise you guys...it's for real!  Here are some pictures from our trip!
The kids on the Google Campus for the first time!


Brian's name tag at his desk!
This is his desk! He got balloons his first week:)!


The game room in Brian's building
There were lots of cool things for people to do on campus...
including designing your own Google image!

The bowling alley in Brian's building!
They were setting up a video shoot for
Google Music...how cool!!
Eating lunch at one of the Google Cafeterias!


The kiddos loved the telephone booth
for Google Voice
 It was awesome seeing where Brian gets to change the world; one day at a time!  The kids got to ride their first 'bus' (the Google shuttle) and see where Daddy worked!  Since it was the day before Thanksgiving it was pretty empty which was great for us so the kids could run around outside!

That evening Nam and Erin came into town from Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with us!  Wednesday night we went to In-n-Out burger and they introduced us to a new series on AMC called "The Walking Dead".  Ok, so I'm not into the zombie stories...but this show is awesome!  We are almost completely caught up with the current season (it's only season 2).  I would recommend this show...the whole first season is on Netflix...watch it!  Reader beware: it is very gory...very.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and we spent the whole day eating...it was awesome!  We had Maple Brown Sugar Bacon Turkey, Candied Yams, Green Bean Casserole, Twice Baked Potato Casserole, Stuffing, Gravy, Cranberry Sauce (from the can!), Pecan Pie, and French Silk Pie!  After naps we went to the new house to show Nam and Erin and showed them where they will stay when they come to visit!!  Here are a few pictures of our feast!




Don't act like you aren't hungry!!
After dinner we went to see the new Muppet movie!  It was really cute and the kids loved it!

Friday was a GREAT day! We headed out to Monterey and went to the aquarium, Bubba Gump's for lunch, and the beach for a stroll in the Pacific Ocean!  It was a day full of fun and excitement!  It was our first time seeing and being in the Pacific...we can now say we've been in the Atlantic and the Pacific!  It was 60 degrees outside and it was absolutely beautiful...a perfect day for being a tourist on the beach!  The aquarium was also awesome!  The kids love looking at fish and we were there for 3 different feedings; the penguins, the mahi tuna, and the sharks!  It was completely packed, but two hours later we made it through the whole things!  I'd love to go back again when there are less people, but man alive it's expensive!

Eli refused to look up...
They had tons of exhibits where the kids could touch
the starfish and other fun things!


The Relph's first trip to the Pacific!



Isn't this a great picture?!














We did have a great time and made plans to go back to the beach sometime soon for a picnic...so lucky we only live an hour away from the beach!

After we got back, we had a relaxing afternoon at home eating pizza and having 3 rounds of desserts (thanks to Nam) :)!  He got the kids all excited about the 3 rounds of desserts: 1. Candy Bar 2. French silk pie 3. Gingerbread houses!  Erin is always prepared and brought the kids a gingerbread house making kit and tons of crafts for the kids to do...she is awesome!  I got a lot of craft ideas from her!  She helped the kids put the house together and they had a blast!  While the house was drying, they decorated Christmas trees with stickers!


The guys helped by "staying out of the way"
(their own reasoning...)









We were so lucky to have such great friends come visit us!  They do live 10 hours away so it will be a while before we see them again...but we plan on going up there over the summer!  Maybe we'll go to Seattle and I can catch a fish in the market!

The rest of the weekend was low key.  We spent a lot of time at the apartment and relaxed!  We also took a drive through the state park by our new house...it is so beautiful!  I also got really lucky and Brian let me sleep in and take a long nap on Sunday!  It's safe to say the third trimester has hit me head on!  

This week we will be busy moving into the new house...can't wait!  I'll be able to set up for Christmas and get some projects going!  Brian has a lot of fun things going on as well!  On Wednesday he is attending a "life-balance" tea and on Thursday he is going to Napa Valley with the HR department (where he works) for a wine tasting and grape stomping (I am soooooo jealous!!!).  This week I'll also get my labs done for the pregnancy and "double-check" that it's a girl!

Thanks for checking in!  Please post comments and questions!!