Monday, December 29, 2008

Decorations are down and time for the new year to begin....

It was bitter sweet but my honey helped me pack up all the Christmas decoration this afternoon. He was nice enough to take down all of the outside lights, clean out the garage and pack the attic. I took care of the tree ornaments and packed up a few odds and ends inside. It would have taken me days to do alone. I am so grateful Chris had today off and was eager to lend a helping hand. Thanks Honey! Chris has the rest of the week off work, I wonder if he wants to help with any other big tasks???

Here are some of the last photos I snapped around the tree.....

Whose kids are these? Perfect teeth!

Jalen and Olivia visited Dr. Quackenbush today to have their teeth cleaned. They were really quite during the visit just anticipating what the cleaning was going to include. They both must be great brushers and flossers since they did not have any cavities. The dentist was shocked to see that Jalen only has two more baby teeth to lose. He said his teeth look better than 90% of the 12 year olds he sees! The two baby teeth that he does have lose are not supposed to fall out until the age for 12, they are already loose. I guess both of the kids are freakishly advance on teeth because Olivia is already cutting her 6 year molars. He said it is pretty much all about genetics so he was not surprised to see her progress. If you are looking for a great dentist I would recommend Dr. Quackenbush with Timber Falls Pediatric Dentistry in Gilbert. He is so wonderful with the kids and the office staff is so sweet.
Since both the kids did so well and had 0 cavities we decided to take them to Peter Piper for lunch. Liam rode his first ride on the baby carousel. He loved it but once it started moving he was a little unsure.

P.S. Olivia says "thank you" to Grampy and Mimi Rolinger for the cute pink outfit she is wearing. If you notice she has also not taken off the pink princess sunglasses that Papa and Nana Hancock gave her....Thank you guys she loves them!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"My First Christmas in Heaven"

I thought of a dear friend as soon as I read the title of this poem. Maybe she will find some peace in it. This poem was written by a 13 year old boy who died of a brain tumor that he had battled for four years. He died on December 14, 1997. He gave this to his mom before he died. His name was Ben. I find it very inspirational and hope that someday, I will be able to spend my Christmas there!

"My First Christmas in Heaven"

I see the countless Christmas trees.
Around the world below,
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars,
Reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away that tear.
For I'm spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can't compare,
With the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description,
To hear an angel sing.

I can't tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas,
With our Savior, face to face?

I'll ask Him to light your spirit,
As I tell Him of your love;
So then pray for one another,
As you lift your eyes above.

Please let your heart be joyful,
And let your spirit sing.
For I'm spending Christmas in Heaven,
And I'm walking with the King!

I know how much you miss me;
I see the pain inside your heart.
But I'm not so far away,
We really aren't apart.

So be happy for me, dear ones,
You know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift
From my heavenly home above.
I send you each a memory
Of my undying love.

After all "love" is the gift,
More precious than pure gold.
It was always most important
In the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other
As my Father said to do,
For I can't count the blessings
Or the love He has for you.

So have a Merry Christmas and
Wipe away that tear.
Remember I'm spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year!


Christmas Eve and Cristmas Day!

Our family had such a wonderful celebration over the last few days. It was so nice being able to see all of the kids open their gift and play with all of the new toys. We started out by attending service on Christmas Eve at City of Grace. Pastor Terry's message was absolutely amazing and I would have to say was the peek of my Christmas. It was not the traditional Christmas message you tend to here form year to year. He touched briefly on the economy and state of our nation. Pastor Terry is just so truly blessed with the ability to share God's word. After service was over to our house for dinner and gifts. I served ham and all of the traditional fixings. My parents, siblings and Nana and Papa all brought wonderful dishes for us to share as well. The kids were overjoyed with the hundreds of gifts they received. Chris and I were so excited they all received so many clothes. They are set well into the summer including shoes!!! We of course missed the Weitzel's who were freezing in Colorado and the Hancock's who celebrated with Janet's family in San Francisco.
Christmas morning started with Santa's gifts being enjoyed! The swing set was a hit, Chris assembled it late on Tuesday night and hid it on the side of the house. Jessica had the two older kids over for a slumber party and Chris figured he should take advantage of the time instead of the usual Christmas Eve assembly.
In the afternoon Christmas day the Self family came over for a brunch complete with cheese grits which were devoured by all. We were all glad Baylin was feeling better from having step throat and they were able to join us. After the house was cleaned and the kids were sleeping all snug in their beds I went over to my parent's to hang out with the Rolinger's. We had a gift exchange with the adults. My cousin Brealin and her husband Chris brought over their new baby Cohen. He was a absolute doll and a complete angel considering they had been going since 8am.
Gifts were not overdone this year and everything was so low key due to the economy. I must say I was happier and had a better time this year just enjoying our family. I think everyone else did too! Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and a blessed celebration of Christ's birth. May the New Year bring you health and happiness.

Cookie place cards.......

I wanted to share a great place card idea that all of your friends and family would enjoy. Jaime's dear friend Miss Vivian had the request of me make place cards for her Christmas dinner party out of sugar cookies. She wanted the ornament cookie cutter personalized with every ones name. I wrapped them individually in cellophane then tied a silver ribbon on each. I was pleased with the final look. I wished the cookie had just been a tad bit bigger due to the writing on them was complicated. Plus with the white icing and black writing it was obvious where the mistakes lied. Vivian and her guests were happy with the look so I guess that is all that matters. I am sure once her table was set and the cookies were out it looked amazing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A 150+ sugar cookies.........

Yesterday I baked about 160 sugar cookies. There was no way I was going to be able to frost them all myself so I held a cookie frosting party with Tanya's and her girls. Mike, Tanya and the girls came over with pizza about 5 pm. Brooklyn, Jalen, Olivia, Lauren and even Liam got in on the frosting action. Well Liam enjoyed eating the frosting off the cookies rather than putting it on. Lauren frosted the most and to think I thought she wouldn't last long. Her cookies were defiantly 3D with all of the sprinkles and sugar decorations she piled on. Jalen frosted a few then ate them both.Olivia was really into the red icing.....she covered every cookie she did completely. Mike and Chris just hung out, Mike frosted a few but ended up eating them. After the kids were cookie out they watched a movie like absolute angles!
Tanya and I ended up frosting the rest of the cookies and somehow she still had the energy to go to the gym once everything was done! I wish all of you could have the privilege to taste these yummy treats but I only have 90 left sitting on my counter waiting to be bagged. I hope my neighbors like sugar cookies with a ample supply of sprinkles. Santa will be pleased to have such a tasty treat!

May all of your have a blessed celebration over the follow week.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Poem

The day our Savior was born grows near.
Your hearts and souls are filled with cheer.
This holiday is not about good Old Saint Nick.
The message from the Angel to Mary was not a trick.

Baby Jesus was sent from above,
Son of our Father, gift of God’s love.
The three wise men traveled so far,
to Bethlehem led by one shinning star.

Jesus doesn’t want gifts for his birthday
or a stocking hung with treats this day.
He’s not asking for presents under a tree,
like selfish you and me.

Santa is just a story…
Why does he get all the glory?
The kids all wait for a man pulled in a sleigh.
Tell them the story of baby Jesus this holy day.

So during this holiday season
celebrate, but don’t let Santa be the reason.
Bring someone to church this Christmas eve
When they leave they may just believe.

Let your love for Jesus be know all year,
he died for our sins and loves us all down here.
Don’t let the tinsel, lights and trees take away
from the real meaning of this sacred Holiday.

By Mommy Self

Amy Fraughton Photography

My dear friend Vanessa Cuevas sent me over some pictures that Amy Fraughton took of her daughter Isabella and her little girl friend this past weekend. I was amazed at how talented Amy is so I wanted to share her contact information with all of you. I can't wait to get some family pictures done with her this spring. You will have to follow her blog to see all of her work with other families.
She is also holding a awesome contest for a free photo shoot for a family in need. What a blessing for a family that has been struggling though this tough economy and not had money to have a professional family photo done. This is defiantly something that a family would cherish for years to come. You can enter right now and the winner will be announced on Christmas Eve! So exciting...I can't wait to see if she picks the family I nominated!!! Hope all of you enjoy looking over her blog and admiring her work.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday night in the snow!

Friday night, what to do???........I received a flyer in the mail this past week about San Tan Village in Gilbert. They make it snow in the kids area every Friday and Saturday night in December. I believe it starts at 7 and snows every half hour until 9pm. We had dinner at Johny Rockets with the kids then walked down to the play area. You can also see Santa there too! If you have time or older ones San Tan was also offering FREE horse drawn carriage rides...FREE, what a deal! The line was a little too long for Liam to wait in.
The kids also enjoyed looking at the Puppy Love and the Disney Store also located right on the children's play area.
Seems like the kids had a good time and where else can you have snow fall on you in 65 degree weather?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Nutckracker with Highlands 2nd grade

Friday the 12th of December I accompanied Miss. Rolinger's 2nd grade class along with Jalen's class to the Nutcracker Musical. After dropping Olivia and Liam at mom's I headed over to the school, buses left promptly at 10am. The musical was performed at the Broadway Palms Dinner Theater in Mesa. This place is awesome, if you have not been before I would strongly recommend it. It was so refreshing to see all the little guys and gals dressed in their Sunday best. Allot of the boys even wore a tie. Mr. G looked very GQ in his black suite! The girls were in their Christmas dresses and tights with dress shoes. Jalen applied at least 4 sprays of cologne and brushed his teeth before and after breakfast!
The theater served a full buffet luncheon that the kids were able to get themselves. We had everything from chicken nuggets, homemade mac and cheese, spaghetti along with a full dessert buffet!!! The kids loved being able to make all of their favorite selections, one ate so much he was throwing up. Over all everyone stayed in their seats during the performance and they were very into the show. After the closing curtain the cast came out to answer questions and sign autographs, they even took time to pose for pictures with the kids.
I was so glad that one of the Dad's in Stefanie's class was not able to make it at the last minute, I was not going to be able to go due to limited space. The 2nd grade teachers at Highland Elementary went out of their way to plan such a memorable day for all of the 2nd graders!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Today was a big day in the Self house.....We visited Santa! Since Jalen had a half day I figured a weekday would better than a weekend. After decorating the wagon with garland, ribbons and a sign that said "We Love Santa." We headed over to Superstition Springs Mall in Mesa. The Santa there is so real looking, beard and all!
The kids were very patient for the hour and 45 minutes we waited in line. Luckily we ran in to Jalen's friend Isaiah and his mom Heather. Visiting with them made our wait seem a little faster. By the time we approach the front of the line Jalen's hair looked like he had just crawled out of bed....Thank you Isaiah for letting Jalen borrow your Santa hat for our picture.
Once on Santa's lap Jalen told him he wanted a dirt bike, BB gun and any Xbox 360 games. Olivia told him she wanted a dirt bike, a swing set and a BB gun too. Liam was just following Santa's every move and closely examining the beard. He did not cry or act scared at all. After they told Santa all the gifts they had on their lists he handed them each a book and we headed HOME.....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Poem by Mama Self

This is the Red Velvet Cake I made to take to the Self's house. I will let you know how it turned out after we slice into it!!!

Thanksgiving Day

As Thanksgiving Day grows more near,
changing seasons bring much cheer.
The things we are thankful for are so clear.

Soon the turkey will be baking,
butternut squash, Mom we will be making.
Foods on the counter, little hand are reaching up and taking.

We are thankful Dad did not roast a duck.
The kids are all running a muck,
in his walker there goes my chunk .

With everyone so excited to eat,
this day is such a treat,
too bad we still have the Arizona heat.

Let us pray and bless this dinner
MMM that Costco pie looks like a winner
too bad it won’t make me thinner

With our tummies all full for the night,
don’t let us Lord lose sight
to hold all that is dear tight.

I am so thankful for all I treasure.
This year has been such a pleasure.
We love you all more than we can measure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some of my fave photos from the weekend.....

The Rolinger's and The Self' issues but I love that we are all together! We missed the Weitzel's and Hancock's.
Olivia and Liam just looking into each others eyes. So sweet!

Here are some of my favorite pictures we took this weekend. I ended up ordering my Christmas cards yesterday from They had such cute cards at a great price! I used 4 photos! I guess you will all have to wait until you get your cards to see the the ones I used. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Looking forward to see some of you.

Cabin weekend in Overgaard, AZ

The kids wondering away after pictures. They were pretty much done after about 4 or 5.
Stefanie and Jessica with the kids!
My sweet boys, Jalen is such a good big brother.
The little kids love Mimi and Papa's big bath tub.
We went up to Ben and Lila's cabin in Overgaard this past weekend to relax and take some family photos. The Rolinger's all came up with us as well. You can imagine how hard it was to get everyone ready and keep them clean for a few pictures. There were some lighting issues with all of the trees and the sun shining through some of them. We worked around it!
It was pretty chilly out I don't think it got much over 50 during the day, nobody seemed to be bothered by the cold weather though. The kids had a blast roasting marshmallows and making smores. Unfortunately there was not any snow fall but the boys made a make shift sled out of a wagon and went down the hills. I guess the next best thing to a sled right? Olivia was happy being free and wondering around and getting dirty. Liam hung out in his walker on the front porch. His original walker had finally seen it's better days and broke. I went ahead and bought another one last week on craigslist. It was well worth my $10! Can in really handy as a highchair as well.
The Wienman family was able to make it up for a night along with their twin 2 year old boys. I don't think the boys ever sat down nor did mom and dad. They were very well behaved and loved having free rome of the area. They brought up their Rhino for all of us to ride around and have some fun on. The kids loved it! It was very cold since it is all open, mittens and scarves were a must. The Rhino is fully equipped with seat belts and a roll bar to it is pretty safe.
It is such a privilege to have such a wonderful place to hang out at and enjoy our family. Thank you again Ben and Lila for allowing us to all us it. We all really appreciated it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Olivia writes her name!!!!

Olivia has been practicing her name with sidewalk calk. We had a afternoon of fun on the back patio enjoying this perfect weather. On Thursday she wrote her name all by herself for the first time! I am so excited for her. It is really amazing the difference between boys handwriting and girls handwriting.
Liam had a wonderful time as well with the calk and evidently it does not taste half bad either!

P.S. That cute little Quicksilver outfit on Liam was sent to us from Brett and Janet Hancock when Liam was just a newborn! Finally it fits him and perfect timing! Thanks Hancock's, he loves it.