Friday, January 30, 2009

husband of mine...

B and I got to sneak out last night by ourselves under the disguise of having to do some birthday shopping for a certain little man turning the big 4. It was so much fun!

We were taking full advantage of a night out, so first we stopped for a coffee to keep us awake.

Here is the conversation that pursued at the coffee shop.

Coffee guy "do you want your receipt."
Me: "No, thanks, you can keep it, I mean I will let you keep it." (said to be kind of funny)
Coffee guy: "okay, I just keep them all inside and let them get all bunched up." (referring to the receipt machine thingy).
Me: quickly replying "ya know that's not good for you."

me and the coffee guy both laugh and I start walking to the other side to wait for my coffee, B lets out a laugh and says......
"wow, I forget that your funny, it's like you are a real person or something."

It is not that I was really even funny, but it was so nice to look at my husband and see what we both fell in love with... it's nice that we can still even see that. With two crazy little men, crazy schedules, crazy jobs, and crazy stress. It was nice to be looked at like the 20 something girl B first met in that dingy little music studio in Modesto.
We spent the majority of the evening cruising around toy stores, looking for the perfect gifts. I decided I wasn't a very fun mom. I kept getting drawn back to the educational toys, the books, puzzles and wooden stuff. I really wanted to get him something "fun" but just saw a bunch of plastic crap. It was funny too because of the CPSIA laws coming into affect it is amazing how many toys you see on clearance, like their all trying to unload un-certified inventory before Feb. 10th.
We ended up getting Ollie a set of Lincoln logs, a telescope, and a set of dragons.... we were pretty stoked, and I know he is going to Love them. When you ask what he wants for his birthday he always says... "a telescope, a dragon, a dinosaur, and a dinosaur, and a dinosaur, and a dinosaur." everytime you ask, the same thing....
B and I finished off our night at bridgeport brewery on Hawthorne, B had an awesome burger (blue cheese and bacon), and I had a great salad (hazelnut and blue cheese) and a pint of porter. We decided we could never eat another McMenamins burger after that burger last night. Bridgeport may be our new hangout. The food was great and the service even better. Nothing against Mcmenamins, but they are just so hit and miss, an easy option for a dinner out, but the food is nothing to write home about.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

we heart sellwood park...

I was going to add these to the last post, but I think I over pictured you there. Can you tell I like visuals. Most of the time I don't really want to write anything but love sharing the photos...

At the park we met two kids around our boys age and their nanny. It made me never want to hire a nanny. I know that all nannys are not like this one, but, arghhh. I nannied when I was in my 20's in Seattle, and I guess I saw a little of myself in the girl. She was early to mid 20's, she had a raspy voice, like she had smoked waaaayyy to much the night before, and had made comments of only functioning on 4 hours of sleep.

When we got to the park she was walking out, by herself, and commented that it was freezing. I forgot the boys vests in the car so once we got the boys safely in the park with aunt Rachel in charge, I headed back to the car. The nanny was parked in front of me and was digging through the back of the car looking for a jacket, she made a comment that she "hopes the kids are still in the park, their mothers would kill her if she lost their kids." The kids with her were on the complete other side of the park, if someone decided to take one, there is no way she would have made it back by the time the crazy had already taken off, and they were the only ones in the park. It gave me the momma heebie jeebies....

Anyway, I understand it is hard to peel two 3 and 4 yr olds away from the park, but still, I would never leave my kids unsupervised in a park, no matter what.

The boys actually really liked having more kids to play
with, we played hide and seek, and tag, and took turns swinging and teeter tottering.
The nanny stood against a tree texting on her phone, and taking pictures of the trees, she barely even gave a glance toward the kids. What if I was crazy, I could have walked right out of that park with that little girl. I could forgive the not really being into playing with the kids at the park thing, we all have those days, but she wasn't very nice to the kids either. On the teeter totter we were talking about being a mom, having kids full time and such, she had these two full time, so she could relate. But she talked bad about the kids, especially the little girl who was 3 or 4, calling her a brat and saying if she was hers, she would be much more well-behaved and not such a pain. I am sure the girl could test her patience, but she was sweet, and no matter what I would never want anyone to talk about my kids like that, especially not in front of them. Maybe this girl needed to find a more suitable job, I don't think childcare was her forte.

It kind of broke my heart. Just makes me realize my boys are the apple of my eye, but not everyone has the same love for my boys as I do. I wanted to ask for the kids parents number just so I could clue them in. She seemed like a girl who totally hams it up for the parents, and once their gone could care less what the kids were doing.

We have been lucky in the past when we needed childcare, I used to drive all the way to Gresham just to take Ollie to a place I felt he was safe, loved, and well taken care of... thanks Sarah if your reading this! It made me realize how lucky we were to find you.

weekday fun...

We have had gorgeous weather lately. Bright and sunny, still freezing but the sun has been out, and the rain has stayed away. Right now my backyard is a lovely white, we had a snow shower last night and it is still coming down, pretty, but I really enjoyed the sun.

To help us enjoy the great weather rachel and joey came up and spent two nights with us. Man three boys all under the age of 4, it was super fun.

Sooo, what do you do with three high energy boys to get all their wiggles out. We ran all the energy out of those boys. We took them to our favorite parks and the zoo for winter picnics. We had fun movie nights, and pancake breakfasts.
B even babysat all three of the boys one night so we could sneak out and see a movie. It was really fun, and just the break I needed from our crazy life right now. The CPSIA crap has taken over my brain, so it was nice to have fun company to take my mind off of things.

Friday, January 23, 2009


With the new CPSIA law...

swiped from another blog, I thought it was kind of funny and sad...

One other big issue is that the jury is still out whether books, including text books and library books will be exempt. If the law isn’t changed, libraries will have two options: “Either they take all the children’s books off the shelves, or they ban children from the library.” (according to Emily Sheketoff, associate executive director of the American Library Association).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

oh just some more light reading material

I grabbed this from

Scrap The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
Walter Olson

Why are Rep. Waxman and his allies so insensitive and deaf?

Last Friday,
I wrote about how the testing requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) threaten to drive out of business tens of thousands of small makers of children's products; the law also menaces thrift shops with legal liability if they deal in children's secondhand goods, whether or not those goods put any child at real risk.
Just as the article went to press came a new development: The law's prime sponsors, Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Bobby Rush, D-Ill., joined by Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va.,
sent a letter to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Nancy Nord proposing to mitigate a few of the law's burdens through regulatory interpretation. Some critics of CPSIA saw reason for hope in this news.

After all, only days earlier, Waxman and Rush had dismissed the protests of craftspeople, thrift store owners and garment makers as the result of mere "confusion" and "inaccurate reporting." Had the two suddenly seen the light?
Alas for false hopes. Whatever its value as a political feint (don't blame us for what's coming!), the lawmakers' Jan. 16 letter does very little to avert the coming business calamity.
The letter proposes two specific new exemptions that are both arbitrary and narrow, and which make little sense except as a way to placate a few of the law's more visible and politically salient critics.

It is not clear that the CPSC, whose hands are tied by the law, in fact has legal authority to adopt even these modest exemptions--and in no case can it put them into practical effect before the looming deadline. What is significant is the ongoing bad news: Waxman and Rush remain dead set against the only real way forward, which is for Congress to revamp or repeal the law itself.
For those who came in late, a bit of background. As of Feb. 10, it will become unlawful to make or sell anything intended for use by children under 12 without a program to test the goods for lead--even if no items of their kind have ever been found to pose a lead risk, even if you make and sell only a few inexpensive items a year, even if you've sourced their materials from the most conscientious local suppliers and even if they're items toddlers seldom convey into their mouths, such as dartboards or bicycle tires.

In August, relatively lenient self-checks will give way to a much costlier mandate for "third-party" lab testing. That will mean testing every lot of goods--typically each style/size combination--at a cost of perhaps hundreds of dollars per lot for simple items, and potentially much more than that for items with multiple colors, components or materials.

Because there is at present no green light for once-for-all component testing, the same bit of elastic or fabric trim will have to be tested again and again as part of each lot.
Meanwhile, resellers (such as thrift stores and used-goods sellers on eBay (nasdaq:
EBAY - news - people )), while not obliged to test, face liability if they inadvertently sell a vintage item with any component (the axle on a skateboard, the zipper on a size 10 jacket, the rhinestone on a doll's tiara) that flunks the tough new standards.
Since a broad-based testing regime will normally be incompatible with the economics of a thrift store, that will leave store managers with the unpleasant choice of : 1) ceasing to sell children's goods; or 2) predictably being in noncompliance on a lot of old items (without knowing which ones) and hoping no one ever decides to enforce the law against them.
"Short of not taking any more children's clothing and toys, there's no way we can be completely compliant," Sherri Collins, who operates three Other Mothers resale stores in the Phoenix area, explained to the Arizona Republic.

The law was written so as to make the exceptions process laborious and grudging. On Jan. 6, after much effort, the CPSC announced three exceptions to the testing regime: Makers would not have to test components encased well enough inside a product that a child would have no way of getting at them, electronic items impossible to make without lead and goods made of certain natural materials like cotton and wood--a less useful carve-out than it sounds since most such materials must go through at least some finishing process before being used in products, thus losing the exemption.

The result of the agency action was to begin a 30 day notice-and-comment period on the proposed exemptions--which meant, given the Feb. 10 deadline, that makers would not learn how things would turn out until too late. As for further exemptions such as those suggested by Waxman and Rush, at this point the notice and comment period would ensure that final action came only after goods had already been swept from the shelves.
In their new letter, Waxman and Rush propose exempting as generally safe two more product categories: children's apparel consisting "entirely" of fabric (and thus with no plastic or metal fasteners) and ordinary children's books. The first category might let off a few small fry like sock-knitters, while still imposing the full force of the law on most apparel crafters (who would still have to go on testing all 10 fabric components of the paneled sweater because of its solitary plastic button).

The semi-exemption for children's books--which would not extend to maps, birthday invitations, origami paper, homeschooling kits or drawing pads--is described by the congressmen at one point as covering books "that have no unusual components or materials beyond those of an ordinary book," and only a page later as covering books "that have no painted, plastic or metal components."

Apparently, as CPSIA critic Rick Woldenberg of Learning Resources Inc. has noted, it is not well known on Capitol Hill that ordinary children's books are often bound with staples.
Along the way, the letter also promotes one undeniably good idea--requiring identical components to be tested once only--but the best time for that bright idea would have been a year ago, and the letter admits the Commission may not be legally free to move as far as it would like in this direction.

At any rate, these piecemeal concessions don't begin to address the law's systematic problems. Woldenberg, on his blog, quotes an unnamed source alleging that the congressmen are refusing even to hold hearings on the law between now and its pending Feb. 10 deadline, as some other members of Congress have been urging them to do.
If true, this constitutes an astounding display of contempt for the voices now being raised in concern from coast to coast on this issue. And Waxman is an exceedingly powerful committee chairman; failing some "members' revolt" of colleagues to take the issue away from him--or an extremely vigorous effort to twist his arm by the incoming Obama administration--he will tend to get his way.

Why is Congress so deaf? And why has it taken parts of the press so long to catch up on the issue? One reason is that on the Hill, as in some quarters of the elite press, it's usual to turn for guidance on consumer issues to groups like Public Citizen or U.S. PIRG--the very groups who gave us CPSIA in the first place.
Even the somewhat less-politicized Consumers' Union continues to pooh-pooh concern about the regulatory burden, dismiss thrift store liability as something only bad guys need worry about and so forth.

One might suspect that the heel-dragging and denials of these old Washington hands reflects in part a further calculation, conscious or not: If they can run out the clock for just a little longer, many of the protesters will be in less of a position to cause them political mischief--because they'll be broke, out of the kids' product business or both.
If we are to avert a disaster for American creativity and craft, the hour grows late.

Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Rule of Lawyers and other books. He edits

so freakin depressing....


I am so frustrated...
**Warning**lots of complaining below... if you don't feel like reading my rant... I don't mind... but I feel better just getting it out...

I am supposed to ship out my first "line" sometime in the next two weeks to July Krause showrooms. Samples for shops to place orders from. You know what I have to do first, get my garments tested for lead, and pthalates. Do you know how or where to do this?
No, I didn't think so, because the people that passed this broad supposed to be helpful, but ill-conceived, ill-thought out, poorly written piece of legislation don't know either.

I am so annoyed, I don't know if the felt I use on my designs is toxic... I put my trust in the company I buy from, I know, I know, stupid me. I chose to use that line because they were made from post-consumer plastic bottles... I thought I was making the better choice, using something that was recycled, already had lived a life, and was getting a new one. I contacted the company, and guess what, they haven't responded... why because they are probably in the same freakin boat...

I use organic cotton garments made in America from American Apparel. I thought again I was making a better choice, buying organic, American made.... haven't heard a peep from them either....
I dye the shirts, I do feel kind of bad about that, but I love being able to choose my own colors.... and have been looking for a more earth friendly method... but come on...... I guess what is killing me, is that I don't know... what if I am using unsafe materials... the freakin bottles that I bought for my boys are now known as toxic for F's sake.. these were the bottles recommended by the nurses in the NICU....... Everything is freakin toxic... I can't hardly stand it...

I found out that the CPSIA right now is nothing more than a man answering a telephone... they know nothing.... The head of the CPSIA stepped down awhile ago and they haven't replaced him yet. Meanwhile, here I am supposed to be taking my first big step, trying to get burdy off the ground, a better life for my family, a home based business, which will allow me to be able to stay home and be with my kids, while still making a living.....but I am stopped dead in my tracks. I don't know what to do. I find myself getting sucked into political, legal crap that I don't want to have anything to do with. I have to go to weekly meetings, I have to devote precious time I don't have to a fighting a stupid law, that is a stupid answer to very big problems. It sucks, and makes me so angry. There are only 15 certified testing labs in the US.... only 15.... out of 105... do you know where most of the labs are... China... hmmm where this all freakin started in the first place.

If I chose to send one of my garments to one of the labs for certification, it would cost me around $600... that sucks.

This makes me just want to throw in the towel.

It makes me so sad, it is the big box companies that started this mess, and they are the ones that are going to be able to pull through. They are the ones that are going to be able to absorb the testing costs... it makes me sick.

What is a just starting company supposed to do?

Monday, January 19, 2009

oh stupid phone...

I hate cell phones, well I hate that I use my phone way to much... our last plan we had a ton of unused minutes... so in the spirit of saving money, I lowered my plan... We are still using up the roll overs.... but.... I talked 1550 minutes last month... WHAT...

that's my juice, Yo!

I'm glad I spent it with you...

Warm and fuzzy, that was the feeling of the day yesterday. I had taken off on Friday to visit friends and family in Salem. I stayed the night with John and Nicole to soak up as much of little baby emma as I could. She is so precious and tiny. Nicole and I had a chill Saturday morning, made even better by banana pancakes, and Hayley chasing the boys around the house and using up every last bit of little boy energy she could... thank you, thank you....

Me and the boys loaded up after lunch and headed home to meet B at the house, who was home early from work, now that is a special Saturday afternoon treat. There is nothing like a night away from your spouse, where both of us had time to relax, have some time to ourselves, and actually get a chance to miss each other. It was great.

Sunday was the best though. I got to sleep in, was awakened by the aroma of coffee on my nightstand (I love when B sneaks out in the morning and I awake to a Starbucks coffee on my nightstand) and the sound of happy boys playing with their dad.

We got everyone ready and hit up Kennedy School for breakfast, (puzzles are our new time passers at restaurants, they work great, apparently nose pickin passes the time for max..he hee he) we than headed out to some antique shops. We are looking for some new pieces of furniture, specifically a bench for the entry way. We found this absolutely gorgeous blanket trunk thingy... it was painted this fall orange color and was distressed and lacquered up. I loved it, but it wasn't what we set out for, so I snapped a pic, and maybe someday will go back for it.

Since we were in the neighborhood, and the weather was lovely, we headed up to saint cupcake for a little cupcake treat. Than continued our walk to the park, the weather was gorgeous, a little cold, but bright and sunny, and windy. I personally love the wind. It has been super windy here, trees blowing down, power going out, shopping carts blowing mad around the parking lot, But I LOVE it.

We spent a good 1.5 hours at the park, we loaded two very tired boys into the car and headed home. We than unloaded to sleeping boys, tucked them in and B and I got the afternoon to actually talk, without little men constantly running around out legs. The current issue of the house is the CPSIA law that will effect our burdy business, I am not to worried, I have a feeling everything will work out fine. Plus today I am signing the contract with the July Krause showroom, so it's all good, and I am moving forward as planned. I have a meeting to go to on Wednesday to find out more details, but maybe this will be a good thing instead of a negative... hopefully....

I than snuck out for the remainder of the afternoon, I went to the library and got a stack of book on home decorating... my latest new project! Than wondered around some antique stores in sellwood. It was so nice. We headed to my mom's for dinner and I made a smokin lasagna, which I will post about my new cooking craze at another time, I can't go into it here... you will be bored to death. What an awesome day though... it was sunny, it was fun, and everything went smoothly.... I hope my week will continue on the same note!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

so excited...

I am so excited about this book. We have bought a couple of her paintings and LOVE her style. We love children's books in this house. We have a huge appreciation for beautifully illustrated books, and I can't wait to get this one... check it out!
and see her work here....
she inspires me to get out my paintbrushes...

oh brother...

Lately we are going through a rough patch. Sometimes Ollie can be the sweetest big brother. Helping Max up and down the bunk bed ladder, reading him books, and sharing his snacks, when max has already gobbled up all his own. But.... We also are having a problem with biting.... still, and now we have added hitting, and just plain being mean. Telling max he can't play with him, banning him from the top bunk in the bedroom, and taking whatever max has, and running the other way. Not nice.

On Monday I had a horrible day, the boys were on the last leg of recovery from a week of colds. I didn't want to check them into the gym, because max still had a cough, but desperately needed a break. B worked 70 hours last week, and is working a 70 hour week this week. My normal back-up, aunt jo, stayed far away from our house, she didn't want to catch the lovely bug we had. So it was me and the boys, cranky and sick all week.
By Tuesday morning, when we had successfully made it all night with no sick symptoms, we loaded up and were off to the gym... yeah... an hour and a half alone.... After I worked out I went to get the boys out of the daycare, ollie was in time out, seems he didn't want max to play in the kitchen. So he hit him with a toy soup pot. Nice... this is the first time Ollie has gotten in trouble, Max has been kicked out of freddy's playland, but that is another post completely. So Ollie got a stern talking to at the gym, with two twenty something daycare workers looking on, it felt kind of weird, it was the first time I have to discipline ollie in that kind of environment. Anyway, I loaded the boys up after making ollie apologize to everyone involved, and headed home for a quick little break.
We than re-loaded up happy and with a snack and headed to freddys, I had a ton of grocery shopping and love freddy's playland. I checked the boys in and got started in the produce aisle. I got a half cart full of veggies before I got called back to the playland. In all our time going to playland, Ollie has never had a problem. That day he thought that biting Max was a great idea. I love the freddy playland employees, they are all these super cute grandma types, my favorite is Imogene, who was working that day. She handed me Max, crying big crocodile tears, as Ollie was sitting in a chair in time out. She told me what happened and that Ollie had actually held his bite on max's hand while she was trying to stop him. I wonder if it was a deer in the headlights kind of thing, like he knew what he was doing was really bad, and he knew he was going to get in trouble, so he just froze.
Imogene and I discussed what would be best, I take Max with me to finish shopping? Or I check Ollie out, you can't play after being bad! Imogene was hilarious, both boys wanted to come with me, well Ollie had to, max just wanted to come along because ollie was coming with me... Imogene in a hushed voice said "mom, he really needs a spanking, he bit him hard." which I totally agree! and "how are you going to shop with both of them." My reply, " probably the way you did with your kids, before they had a playland, it won't kill me."
The punishment in this house for biting is, you go to time out, and you get a spanking. It kills me to spank the boys, I am cool with the swatting of the butt (not really spanking) when it is an immediate reaction, like when their misbehaving and the little spank is a last resort. not many of those happen around here. But the go to time out, and wait for mom to come in and spank your butt thing killllsss me.

So I put Ollie in the childs seat in the cart, that was part of the punishment, no walking around fun at the grocery store, you sit, you get buckled, and you be quiet. Max was a great little helper and by the end was sitting in the big part of the cart with all the groceries. Through the store we had many conversations that went like this....
Ollie: "You don't have to spank me, look I am being a good boy."
Mom: "You are a good boy, but you made a bad decision, you bit max, when we get home you have to get spanked."
Ollie: "but I am being good."
this went round and round, with him smiling, being charming and funny... little manipulator.
When we got home, we ate lunch, I got max down for a nap, and than me and ollie had a sit down. I had to explain that I didn't like to spank him, but he had bitten max, and that has to be punished. He squirmed around but I got the spanks in. He cried, big crocodile tears, and than looked at me, with big eyes and said "that didn't hurt very much"
I replied... "do you want me to try again"

He said No of course, we hugged and cuddled, read a book and he went down for a nap.

What a day, with many more to follow, what did I get myself into.
Wednesday we had a great day, we hung out in the morning, we rode bikes, and went to the zoo for lunch... We sat and ate lunch at the polar bears. There really was'nt many people at the zoo, and all the animals were out, probably soaking up as much of the sun as they could, just like us. The Polar bears were out, playing and swimming. What a perfect place for lunch, I sat the boys on the bench in front of the huge plate glass underwater windows, we all watched as the giant polar bear swam in circles right in front of us. It was awesome! We also spent quite a bit of time at the sea lions, they were putting on quite a beautiful show too...

We saw all the animals we wanted to see, we even got to watch some huge construction equipment at work, half of our zoo is torn up, which was perfect for my two little men. we had a gorgeous bright sunny day, and no kid melt downs... now that is how I would like all my days to go....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

pdx lumberjax...

So my bro-in-law is doing design work for the portland lumberjax (lacrosse), part of the arrangement is tickets to all home games. I wasn't sure how the boys would do, but hey they were free tickets, so even if we had to leave I wasn't out anything. Brian had to work that day, and had worked a long week, so he got the night off to hang with the guys. I loaded up the two little men and headed to lloyd center to meet my mom, jo, wendy and ryan for a quick ride down to the rose garden. The boys love the max, I wish we lived closer to a max stop, but it is always such a fun little adventure when we do take them on the train.

We took a quick ride and got a bite to eat at burgerville, a rare treat for the boys, we try not to do fast food, usually only on road trips really. But my boys are definitely their father's son, they love a burger and fries.The game was sooooo fun, we met jeff, annie, gavin, and chloe there. There were huge halls to run around in when the boys got tired of sitting, and there was enough going on that they really didn't start getting antsy until the end. I was lucky though, I had 6:2 adult to kid ratio, plus two cousins, there was plenty of help.
Jeff had bought this funny beard off of etsy, here is chloe modeling it. I never got a pic of the boys, they took it off before I could get the camera out. We passed it around and all had a chance to look like a lumberjack.

The boys probably liked the food the best, I keep their sugar consumption low at home, but out with galinda, jo, gavin and chloe... they got to try sugary gross shaved ice (blue poop for a week) cotton candy, and redropes... Ollie the kid with a sensitive tummy had too much and actually puked at the end of the night, one minute he was sucking down shaved ice, the next puking in his seat, and looking at me with wide eyes, like "what just happened, it tasted so good." Note to self, pack my own snacks next time.

We got home around 10 p.m.... both boys fell asleep in the car, I had to pry their mouths open and brush their teeth in bed. No way was I going to chance one night of no teeth brushing after all the gross sugary things they consumed. Funny thing, they never even woke up. Those are the type of outings I love. The ones that result in two extremely sleepy men.
okay maybe it was'nt the outing, maybe it was a sugar crash, but they slept all night, cool with me!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Handmade Christmas...

With my family every year we do a gift exchange, in the last couple of years it has changed to a handmade gift white elephant type gift exchange. We all make a handmade gift, pick numbers, and than steal, steal, steal... it is so fun. Everyone gets so creative. This year B and I were supposed to be in California, so we didn't plan on making anything. When we got stuck on the highway, and had to throw in the towel on our California Christmas plans... we had to think fast and get our crafty on...

I ended up making homemade bath bombs, which turned out awesome. I can't wait to make more. I scented half with rose powder and jasmine, and half were lavender, with just a hint of patchouli.

B made a set of nesting bowls, they were made out of pages of magazines. You fold the paper to about 1/4 in and wind it together like a collapsible cup, than you pop it out, and cover with a coating of modge podge, or elmers glue, whatever you have on hand. They turned out so awesome! We are going to make some more for around our house, I am totally bummed I didn't get more pictures of them, but we were making them up until the last minute on Christmas day.

B came home with an awesome wind chime made by nick out of hardware parts, pics to come soon. I got a cook book compiled of family recipes and aprons handmade by john... they are pretty freakin sweet, and it is so awesome to have a book of family recipes, included in the book are bread recipes from my grandpa's bread book... he was such an awesome baker, so it feels pretty special to have his recipes.
Also in the exchange...
  • Candle holders hand painted and embellished by rachel
  • a B-52 drink mix kit, put together by jason
  • handmade set of birthday cards by annie, there were enough cards for an entire year to send one to every person in our family... we have a huge family so I think there was like 30 some odd cards.. impressive
  • custom painted speakers, custom painted by none other than jeff
  • a set of grocery and produce bags handmade by becki, complete with wine and beer already in them...
  • a coffee quilt, coffee, and mugs by mom... the quilt was awesome.
  • a comfy cozy handmade fleece blanket and a borders gift card made by nicole...
  • and a lovely framed family tree made by jo, with our entire family on it, it was super cool.

what a fun tradition we started, this is really one of the highlights of Christmas, I can't wait for next year to see what we all come up with.

Holiday goodies...

We also had way to many holiday goodies to go along with the holiday fun...

Aunt Jo is to thank for the gingerbread house, and the cookie making fun...