Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Congratulations Abram Family!

Finally the cat is out of the bag, and I'm officially allowed to give a public congratulations to my best friend Heather.....baby #2 is on the way, and I couldn't be more excited for their family!!! I have had the absolute privilege of witnessing their beautiful family grow and change over the years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
They are high school sweethearts- ...does it get much cuter than that??

We have a very close, tight-knit group of girlfriends- whom I lovingly refer to as "the group", and we had an epiphany the other night at our annual Christmas party.....in just the past 3 years alone, we have welcomed 7 babies {including soon-to-be} into our lives! Seven!!

Apparently something is in the water we drink at our usual Starbucks on Tuesday nights. So women be warned- if you want to join us sometime....bring your own drink :-)

Love you Abram Family!!!!

I'm At It Again.

Thank goodness for my delicious fruit trees!
Over the past 3 years that we have lived in this house, the harvest has almost doubled each year. I'm not sure what I'm doing right {or wrong} but they seem to be flourishing. As a side-note, if I don't use any fertilizer or chemicals on them....and they just seem to grow from sun and water alone....are they considered organic? Just curious.
Anyway, my dad and I picked all the fruit off the grapefruit tree, as well as the remainder of oranges from the orange tree {The lymons are pretty much done for the season, and my passion fruits haven't blossomed yet}.
We set to work with our grapefruit harvest and put the juicer to work yet again. This time, my whole family jumped in to help.
I'm telling you- it's the best juice ever. I usually don't drink juice- I don't know why, but I just don't. In fact, I probably drink Crystal Light more often than regular juice {I know, I know....tsk tsk} Actually, I probably drink more Diet Pepsi than I do juice or water....even worse, right?? Somewhere, there is a dietitian who is shaking her head in shame for me. But now I'm actually turning into a juice snob.
Only freshly squeezed juice will do.
Over a glass of crushed ice.
With a straw, please :-)

When The Cat Is Away....

This is what happens when the kids are in the playroom......and I am not.

Lesson Learned: You can't take your eyes off them for a second.
*And keep the big bucket of pretzels on the top shelf of the pantry.

A Wii Bit Of Fun :-)

This is my mom and dad.
I've been meaning to blog this because we all think these characters look exactly like them, and it's been cracking us up every time we play. John and I designed little avatars for everyone in the family on our Wii game, and although John, Bella, Ty, Emily and myself all look pretty darn close....we designed my mom and dad to look spot on.
I mean like oh-my-goodness-someone-shrunk-my-parents-and-put-them-in-a-video-game spot on.
So when they came for Christmas, we insisted that they stand by their characters, so that we could take a picture and marvel at the likeness! And of course, they were good sports about it. In fact, they were also amazed at how much they looked like them!! So here is a close up of my dad:
And here is my mom:
Amazing, right?!
It still makes m giggle every time I look at it.
And while I'm on the subject, I have to bring up the fact that I almost bowled a perfect game this past weekend...I had 8 strikes in a row!! A total score of 264! But the pressure got to me, and my streak ended in the 9th frame. But I just had to take a picture to document my historical game. Also, because if I didn't, John might try to tell me that I was making it up ;-) We are slightly competitive with each other like that.
To get an idea of what our house was like during the Christmas weekend, just picture us in our matching penguin pajamas {See below post} and playing Wii together for hours on end.
That pretty much sums it up :-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wrapping Up the Year Right.

Well, after a fun {yet extremely busy} week- Christmas has passed and our new year awaits.
We had a fantastic time with family over the holiday weekend....pretty much stayed in our pajamas for a couple days straight...but that's allowed during Christmas, right? I think it's a law :-)
I have lots to share- funny stories and pictures of recent happenings around our house, but I have to pace myself, so I'll post little bits at a time. First, here is a sequel picture to my post and picture last year of the Christmas pajamas my mom makes us every year. To hear the original story, click HERE.
This year, penguins were the pattern of choice :-)
John and I will someday be watching our kids go off to college and get married....but I'm 100% sure that my mom will still be making us matching Christmas pajamas :-) Right mom?
Unfortunately, the winter weather has also brought congestive colds to our household. Both Bella and Ty have been coughing and fighting some sort of nasty virus lately, which leads to a funny quote from Bella tonight:

We were driving home from running errands and Tyler was sounding really congested. So I said to John, "Ty needs to sleep by the humidifier tonight"
To which Bella promptly replied from the backseat, "Ty's going to sleep by a fire??!!"

Ah, my sweet little Bella. :-)
Much more to come tomorrow, hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Beautiful Day For A Tea Party :-)

Yesterday Isabella put on a fancy dress, wore a brand new sparkly purse, put on a little lip gloss, and got all ready for a ladies tea party.
Have I mentioned that I love all things feminine and girly??
Miss Bella and I got all dressed up and went to the Ritz Carlton together for some mother-daughter time at their Christmas Teddy Bear Tea Party.
We drank tea (hot cocoa for her.....with about 3 dozen mini marshmallows), munched on delicate sandwiches and tarts, and nibbled on a variety of delicious desserts. My princess looked like the Belle of the ball, and I felt like I could just burst with joy every time I looked across the table and saw my little girl smiling from ear to ear with enjoyment.
There were carols sung, a teddy bear parade, story time with Mrs. Claus and a puppet show. It was fabulous- and definitely something that will be our Christmas tradition from now on.

{I have lots of pictures, so when I get a chance, I will upload them to a picasa album, and then add a link on this post}

But for now, I'm off to get last minute chores done before my family arrives for Christmas! Where has this year gone??!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Meet Team Yellow!!

Today, the NBC website had up a promo video to introduce each team for the new season. I was so excited to see the sweet faces of Sunny and O'Neal, but only about 10 seconds into it, and I already had tears running down my cheeks. Maybe I'm more emotional about watching them because I know and love them. Or maybe I'm just a big mush-ball :-)
But I couldn't be more proud to brag about them and show them off- so watch the clip below and get to know team yellow!!

P.S.- The lovely blond woman you see in many of the shots is Uncle O'Neal's wife Sarah. Sarah is John's aunt (the youngest sister of John's mom Becky)...that's how the family is all connected.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Yep, That's Right. I Made Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice.

I started with a big ol' bucket of oranges we had collected recently.
I mean, there's just no way we could eat all these oranges {if they were pomegranates, I could probably put a good size dent in the bucket :-) } So with Bella as my trusty side-kick, we started making a pile of all the oranges to be squeezed.
Don't they look awesome? Nothing like home grown fruit. It just tastes better.
And I have this new handy electric juicer thanks to Aunt Katherine! So this was it's maiden juicing.
Isabella loved the whole juicing process, it created a slight mess with all the excess pulp being filtered out {I personally like my orange juice with very very little pulp. Pulp gives me the eebie-jeebies. It's like little pieces of skin. Yuck!} And Bella was delighted to get able to sit on the counter and make a mess :-)
It took us a while to get through all the oranges, and we also threw in some tangerines...but soon we had a gorgeous pitcher of fresh orange juice! You just don't get that deep orange color and quality like that from concentrate ;-)
So what's next for me? Home-made bars of soap? Learn to whittle myself some new furniture? Actually, next on the list is John's mom's recipe for home-made sticky buns. Stay tuned....

Friday, December 18, 2009

He's At It Again.

Addendum To Previous Post:
My precious little sleepwalker Tyler has been at it again lately.
We put him to bed each night. In his room. In his bed.
Has he been staying there? Nope.
Just the other night, at around 10:00, Ty quietly slipped out of his room and went into his sister's room and shut the door. We were hanging out with friends in the playroom, and we saw the whole thing. We waited a few minutes to see if what would happen, but he never came out. So when we went to check on him, this is what we found:
{poor picture quality because I didn't use a flash so that I wouldn't wake them up}

He was all cuddled up in his big sister's bed, fast asleep.
And that is how we left them- and they actually slept well all night! In the morning, Tyler was delighted to wake his sister up, and the two of them played until they finally dragged us out of bed as well.
Stay tuned, and I'll share more funny places we have found Ty sleeping :-)

Tiny Dancer {Part II}

Well, last year I wrote a post about Bella's ballet recital {fiasco}, where she stood there the whole time, lifting up her tutu over her head and refusing to dance.
(You can see that post HERE)
But what a difference a year makes! This time the performance was much more casual, which I think relaxed Bella a little. They were allowed to wear any outfit they wanted....and Bella insisted on an outfit that we bought for her last year and is waaaay too small on her {which explains the hilarious "wedgie" in one of the shots of her backside!!} but if it made her happy- then fine with me.
I tried to get a few pictures of her before we left-
But then she started giving me the "no more pictures mom!" look.
Then, much to our surprise, she loved dancing up on stage! She wasn't nervous or scared, she just danced her little heart away! We were so proud of her. She genuinely enjoyed dancing, and it didn't seem to bother her that people were in the audience watching.
Below is a short series of clips that John put together of Bella's performance.....watch for Ty at the end who started calling out Bella's name when they exited off stage. Then he turns around and exclaims, "Mommy! Bella's all done!" Then he ran up and hugged her when she came off stage. Adorable!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Few Sneak Peeks....

John and I had fun discovering videos and sneak peek clips of Biggest Loser- especially if we were able to see a flash of yellow tee-shirts in the background! The NBC website has up the official bio's and pictures of the new cast, so go check it out!

Can you tell we are super proud and excited for them??!
Trust me, they will make you cry {which isn't too hard for me!}
Below are 2 promo clips for the show, and Sunny and O'Neal have a few brief moments, plus you can see them in the background a couple of times if you watch closely.
Enjoy! And go team yellow!! We love you soooo much!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If It's Leaked Onto The Internet....

...then it must be true :-)
Or at least, it means we can actually confirm what we already knew, and spread the news!!

Meet Uncle O'Neal and his gorgeous daughter SunShine
Yahoo online just posted pictures of the new cast of the Biggest Loser.... and there were the smiling faces of John's Uncle and cousin!

It seems so surreal to see them on the internet, and I can only imagine how we are going to feel as we watch the show this season. It takes a lot of guts and confidence to get out there in front of millions of viewers, and let them in on a very personal struggle. They are allowing themselves to be vulnerable in order to make a dramatic change in their lives, which must be harder than I could ever imagine. I am so proud of them.

I fully anticipate on crying every episode.

So join us for the premiere party on January 5th!! And if you live far, then you better watch from wherever you are!! And wear your yellow!!

Click below to see an article about the new cast.

I can't say much right now.....
but please join us on Tuesday, January 5th at our house!
Those of you who know.....you know.
Those of you who don't, then email me and I'll be happy to fill you in :-)

Mark it on the calendar.
And find something yellow to wear ;-)

{I sent out an evite, but I might be missing people's email addresses, so email me at brianderson24@hotmail.com if you want info!}

Monday, December 14, 2009

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

They shriek, they hug, they jump, they dance, they twirl and then they collapse into a heap of giggles and exhaustion.
If you spy on them and listen in on their conversations, its just cracks me up to hear their squeaky little voices playing make-believe and comparing their princess dresses and accessories. While we were over celebrating our {early} Anderson Christmas, the girls virtually disappeared for a few hours as they ran, danced and played until we finally had to drag them apart and say good-night. Oh to be 4 & 5 years old :-)
And just for fun...a quick flashback! :-)

This Can't Be Comfortable.

Ty has been going through a strange phase recently.
When we put him to bed, we often check on him later- only to find that he turned the lights on in his room, and he is sleeping somewhere odd. Sometimes it's in the middle of the room on the floor. Sometimes it's over by his closet. One night we found him sleeping in the hallway! This particular night we found him curled up on the floor, sleeping right by the door. We had to gently open the door and scoot him away in order to prevent the door from whacking into him!
But he was fast asleep, and totally content there on the floor- lights on and everything.
I'm not positive- but I think it has something to do with the walking/talking dinosaur we got him for his birthday...
We thought he would love it, but Ty refuses to stay in his room if he thinks the dinosaur is somewhere near by. I think it scares the heck out of him- especially in the dark.
Looks like a career in paleontology has been ruled out.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Building a Legacy.

I do my best thinking when I clean.
I know it seems weird, but when the kids are napping and the house is quiet, I listen to music on my iphone as I start doing chores around the house. The music selection always depends on the mood I'm in....so does the floor cleaning {I've been known to take out frustration on my poor wood floors. The good news is- they end up sparkling clean!}
Sometimes I think aloud, sometimes I go over my to-do lists in my mind, sometimes I spend my quiet time praying as I clean, and sometimes I'm just quiet and let my mind wander.
My best friends and I are currently reading a book together called "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer, and it has been opening my eyes {and mind} to really listening when I feel God might be talking to me.
Those of you who know me well, know that I can talk. Really talk. So the art of quieting myself and truly listening has been a hard discipline to learn.
Today as I cleaned I listened to Nichole Nordeman's song "Legacy", and a little light went off in my mind.
What legacy and I leaving my kids? My husband? Among my family and friends?
I haven't quite figured out my thoughts on the details just yet...but maybe this is the beginning of a New Years resolution. From this day on- to be purposeful and aware of the legacy we are building as a family, and for our kids.
Last week John sent me a text from work, with a link to a fun activity he found. It was an overnight stay up in the snow, and a real train ride with Santa on the "Polar Express" for the kids. He knows how much Tyler LOVES trains, and he thought Ty and Bella would just flip over such a fun night together as a family. He told me to go look and it online and see what I thought. He followed it by saying,

"It's a little expensive, but I think it's worth it. It would be awesome".

That's what I'm talking about. Building a legacy.
Making family time a priority.
And that is why I love that man so much

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An Orange A Day...

There is a nice sized orange tree in the back corner of our yard.
It isn't too big- yet it gives an amazing harvest of oranges, which cover the tree each season. I have been amused to find all sorts of little surprises hidden around our home since we've moved in. When we first decided to move to Scottsdale, I begged and pleaded with John to help find a house that did not have "desert landscape" and cactus all over the yard. My childhood in California has raised me to believe that front (and back) yards should have grass and trees...inviting kids to run and roll around. There is nothing about a 10 foot saguaro cactus that screams "come play!"
And so- God smiled on us, and we found a home with green grass, lots of full bushes, palm trees and lots of mature trees for shade and color. I used to brag about our cactus-free yard all the time. Then one day something caught my eye.....snuggled deep in a corner of the front of our house, hidden behind our lemon tree, was a small round little cactus. We got a good laugh out of that.
I've also been pleasantly surprised at the productive fruit trees. A lemon-lime hybrid tree (I call it a lymon...is that a real fruit?), a passion fruit tree, a grapefruit tree and the orange tree in the backyard. In a way, those trees fool my mind into thinking I am back in California....they are like my little piece of home in my yard.
So today the kids and I collected our first orange harvest of the season.
Bella took pride in finding the most "orange" ones, while Tyler took aim and played "basketball" by throwing them into the bucket.
We didn't come close to collecting even half of the oranges, and we filled our bucket!
Anyone have any good uses or recipes using oranges??

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Did Someone Say December?!

Well, I'll be.
As we wrap up a busy weekend filled with family and activity, I sit here trying to catch up and look at my schedule for the next couple weeks....only to find that Christmas is just over 2 weeks away! I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year because Ty is old enough to understand the fun of opening presents, and both kids are eagerly looking forward to our tradition of making cookies and leaving them out for Santa :-)
We've got many parties to attend (and host), dinner with friends planned, gifts to buy and wrap, and some new fun surprise activities coming up that we have planned for the kids. Phew!
Exhausted doesn't even begin to cover it!
But first things first- I must give some special attention to a few awesome cousins.
We were super excited to be blessed with the company of John's cousins Arece and O'Neal, and O'Neal's wife Bridget, this past weekend. They flew in from Minnesota for a quick weekend getaway, and to attend the Vikings vs. Cardinals game.
Sure, they are smiling here...but that quickly changed, right guys?! ;-)
We enjoyed meals together, roasted marshmallows, got spa pedicures ( a little treat for us girls), shopped, played games, watched football, went out to dinner, saw an improv comedy show, and visited with family. All in one weekend!
I told you we have been busy!

But who needs sleep, right? We gave that up 4 years ago :-)Once again, thanks guys for coming out to visit. We had a blast with you and enjoyed every minute.

And in another special cousin shout-out...I have the pleasure of announcing that my adorable cousin Lindsay and her husband Ian are expecting their first baby! To know Lindsay is to instantly love her. It's hard not to be drawn to her bubbly and contagious personality. Linds, you and Ian are going to be incredible parents for that very blessed little baby. I can't wait!

And now I head out to tackle the rest of this busy week....happy tuesday! :-)