Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve @ GreatMama & GreatPapa's House!

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Me and my lovely, latin family (notice I'm the only blonde/not almost black haired person?) We celebrate Christmas Eve and Ryan's maternal grandparent's house every year. We eat the tamales we made and froze on Tamale Night. Ryan's grandpa actually makes toys in his wood-shop for the youngest grandkids (and great-grandkids) like a real, live Santa Claus! And his grandma paints them and sews blankets and outfits for the dolls. It's wonderful.

1. Gimmy, gimmy, gimmy, gimmy...!"                                                                                  2. True love.

3. Complete satisfaction. No interest in any other presents.                             4. We love our GreatPapa!

*the annual cousins in christmas pajamas shot. perfect.

Monday, December 24, 2012

'twas the night before Christmas...

* Wendy Lou, 4 1/2 years old, Christmas Eve 2012. Sleeping with the new doll her Great Grandmother had just given her that night.

Can't you just see the visions of sugar plums dancing above her head?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sorry Harvey.

*my children with the real Santa

Christmas 2012
Wendy 4 1/2 years old & Harvey 1 1/2 years old
Does it make me a bad mom if I love this picture? Sorry Harvey.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Introducing Michael Marshmellow

This year my mom, who is the best grandma around, bought us our very own elf on the shelf. Wendy named him "Michael Marshmellow." She said she chose "Michael" because "it's such a brotherly name," and "Marshmellow" because "she loves sweets and so do elves." (She loves the movie "Elf" and Will Farrel has taught her that elves love sugar- I seriously believe she would eat the maple syrup, chocolate syrup, marshmallow, m&m, pop-tart spaghetti for dinner if I let her). 


The month of December is so fun and exciting with a 4 1/2 year old in the house. Every morning she wakes up with a twinkle in her eye. She runs out into the living room and searches for Michael Marshmallow. She giggles with excitement when she finds him and runs back into our room. "Mom, close your eyes and hold my hand. You HAVE to see this!" Then, she literally drags one of her parents out of bed and down the hall. We pretend to keep our eyes closed and shuffle along behind her. I can't help but smirk at her excitement. When she finally gets to wherever he's hiding she tells us to open our eyes and relives her excitement as we get to discover what mischief he's been up to for ourselves. Just the expression on her face is enough to melt me... I wish I could bottle this up forever.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Williams Family Together 2012

I always LOVE our family photos by Amelia Lyon. Every couple years, I get to reap the benefits of the talents of this sweet friend of mine. I feel so blessed. The pictures she takes of me and my family are priceless to me. I joke that if my home were on fire, I would grab my children and my Amelia Lyon pictures. But seriously, I'm not joking. The rest of our 2012 family pictures are up on her blog: here

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Williams Style Thanksgiving

Every year our Thanksgiving is awesome and crazy busy. 
Here's the breakdown:

8:30am: Get up and go play a flag football "turkey bowl" at the field in my parent's neighborhood. I usually play for a minute then watch all the kids while their dads play. The SMART wives send their husbands with the kids so they can cook in peace. Maybe I'll get smart next year too :)

11am: Come home to put baby boy down for an early nap (it's gonna be a looooong day & he's gonna need it) and finish cooking up the side dishes I was assigned.

2pm: First Thanksgiving feast at my parents house with my dad's side of the family. He is the oldest of 7 kids,  I'm the oldest grandchild and grandkids are still comin'= lots of people and lots of fun. We eat on their beautifully landscaped drive way (sounds random, but it makes for a very nice atmosphere - would you expect anything less from a talented landscape architect?)

5pm: Head on over to the in-laws for a SECOND Thanksgiving with Ryan's Mom's side of the family. We have perfected this art of too much Thanksgiving by learning to eat light and ONLY eat your very favorite dishes at each house (at my parents, it's my Grandma Lamb's rolls, my dad's salmon instead of turkey, Aunt Chrissy's pumpkin cookies, and Martineli's sparkling apple cider. At the in-laws, it's Aunt Annette's creamed corn, my mother-in-law's sweet potatoes and Aunt Jacque's apple pie). 

By the end of the day, I have cooked in & cleaned up THREE kitchens. Maybe some day we'll get the guts to tell my sweet mother-in-law that we need to trade off every year because it's too draining. It's too hard, though, when your families live 5 minutes from each other and eat at different times. Plus, you feel a little un-grateful because having those 2 families so close is really a huge blessing in our lives.

Highlight of the day:
ME: "Wendy, you need to take four more bites of turkey, before you eat dessert, because you're four years old."
WENDY: "I. don't. eat. animals."

EVERYONE started cracking up. It's purely because of her hate for the taste/texture of meat, not some deep love for innocent creatures. She has never preferred the taste of meat. I make her take bites of white meat when we have it because she is a finiky eater and that girl needs some protein. My little vegetarian. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


If you can, you should come to this maxi skirt/colored skinny jeans party! These skirts are awesome and would make great Christmas gifts. I bought a couple  maxi skirts and a pair of colored skinny jeans at the last one I went to & I can't wait to get some more! They're so cute & comfy & cheap (I made my own with some teenage girls from church and it was more expensive to make it myself and not nearly as cute). Seriously, come!!

(note: I'm wearing one in the post below at Disneyland with Donald Duck. I swear it feels like you're wearing sweats.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall days at Disneyland

Fall is the best time to go to Disneyland! (Christmas time is awesome too, but more crowded- therefore, not THE best). I've been able to take my kids about once a week, for a couple hours during the fall season. The decorations are wonderful, and since the weather doesn't feel much different than summer, at least our surroundings there do. Man, I love living in California. My kids don't know how lucky they are (do all moms say that?). 

*can you tell which one of my kids is obsessed with the characters & which on isn't so sure? haha! 

Wendy's favorite part about going to Disneyland is getting to see the characters. It would be buying cotton candy, but moms don't buys stuff at Disneyland, only Grandmas do. Harvey LOVES the carousel. He actually cries and waves to the horseys when we have to get off. (But sometimes, because it's fall, it's so empty that we just ride it a couple times in a row). He also loves the petting zoo.

 Happy Fallidays!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Twenty-Twelve

*I call this picture "Oh, HARVEY!" I mean, seriously..

Happy Halloveen from zee Vilhelm family! 
(my dad told me "Wilhelm" is the German form of "Williams.")
   *Hansel & Gretel

I have been waiting and waiting for my children to fit into their authentic German lederhosen and dirndl. When the time finally came around Halloween, I had to take advantage and talk Wendy into wearing it as her costume. It was easy because she loves this outfit and she also loves the creepy classic fairy tales like "Hansel & Gretel" (anyone else find that story a little disturbing?). On Halloween, it was a very appropriate choice, with them on the hunt for treats all night.

Harvey is ALMOST walking. While we were trick-or-treating, he went up to a couple of doors for some candy, holding on to either my or my mother's pointer finger. He made a ghost-like, "OOOoooh!" at every pumpkin, witch, and ghost he saw (he's been doing that all month long and I love it).

*check out that pose! it was all her.
For Wendy's school Halloween party, I made her a red velvet cloak and gave her a basket so she didn't need her little brother as a side kick for everyone to understand what her costume was. She looked pretty dang adorable in it too. She also loves "Little Red Riding Hood," another creepy classic (am I right?).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's Halloween up in this HOUSE!

Normally my halloween decorations consist of a pumpkin on the front porch... and that's it. But this year I decided to decorate October 1st to make it fun/special for Wendy and make the holiday last all month long. This is our halloween front door. We made this wreath with a combo of stuff from the craft store. It plays a "trick" on you because you might think it's cutesy, but just LOOK at the beady little eyes on that tiny evil bird! Come on. It's scary.

For our spooky table, we found dead branches from our yard, spray painted them black, and stuck some spiders all over. Wendy likes to hide these little guys all over the house and name them names that start with the letter S: Sally, Suey, Sassy, Steve, and Scotty.

I took these pictures during Harvey's nap, aka "Mommy & Wendy's quiet time." Someone wanted in on the action. Above is her impression of a ghost :)

Love her.

We were so excited to decorate & get ready for halloween, I made the mistake of letting us carve pumpkins the 1st week of October. The following two days were in the 90's - thanks A LOT California. Hello Kitty witch lasted less than 48 hours before it melted and filled up with black fur. We will be re-carving pumpkins 3 days before Halloween. I also found out that vasoline along the inside and a sprits of bleach and water will make your pumpkins last. Or you could just wait a little.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clever Girl.

*practicing her smile/pose on picture day

Wendy was really excited, the other day, when I sat down to play dolls with her. She was laying them out and picking outfits for them. After she told me which ones I could "be," I picked up my assigned dolls and tried to start a normal doll conversation. 

Wendy: puts her hand out the way my mom does to the passenger seat in her car when she has to slam on the breaks, "MOM. Don't talk, okay?"
ME: "What?! But that's how you play dolls."
Wendy: "Mom...      all my dolls are mimes. They don't talk. Ever. Mimes don't talk. So don't talk, okay?"

Wow. I didn't even know she knew what a mime was. I think she really just wanted my presence, undivided attention, and to dress and stage her dolls... not so much my embarrassing mom pretend play. It was her very clever way of telling me to please shut up. Ha.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Piggy Bank full of Penny Freckles

I recently came to the realization that my daughter is old enough to benefit from the vital life lesson that can only be learned through doing some good ol' household chores. So we went online and printed out this toddler chore chart I've been saving. She was INTO it. Her "chores" include brushing teeth, eating her breakfast (eating has always been a chore for Wendy), getting dressed, making her bed and cleaning up her toys. Even though only the last two are real chores, the consistency is good. She gets to put a sticker under each category as she completes it, then after she fills every thing up for the whole week she gets a dollar. When I told her the deal, her little face lit up. I could see the wheels turning in her head, "So... I could go to the 99 cent store and get WHATEVER I want?!" I would love to teach her the concept of saving for something bigger but that might be a little over her 4 year old head. It was an interesting week teaching her the joys of contributing. She really impressed me. Sometimes having her help is actually more work (and takes more patience) than just doing it myself, but her enthusiasm for chores was impressive and adorable. I almost got choked up watching her pick up some of her toys in the playroom (without being asked, mind you). I knew it wouldn't even make a dent, but her desire to help out was so sweet.

Turns out, a week is a long time. And, after taking out Sundays (the sabbath), Mondays & Wednesdays (the days I work) it actually took two weeks. When she finally completed her 1st chore chart, I only had a twenty in my wallet. She had waited so so SO long for some reward for her hard work, I gave her the twenty, told her it was a dollar and switched it out of her piggy bank for a single the next night after she fell asleep. She lost a little enthusiasm by that point, so I upped the ante. We changed the deal to a quarter per day she does all her chores= mo money + instant gratification.

She also gets a nickle for every night she goes to bed without any funny business (crying, yelling for us, getting out of bed, etc.). She couldn't remember what a nickle was called and said, "You forgot to give me one of those, um... you know Mom... like a... penny... freckle... thing?" So now we all call them penny-freckles. Her piggy bank is full of them & it is SO worth it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Oh H no.

   *birds in order from left to right: bluish, whitish, peep, silly guy
awesome names courtesy of Wendy

Ryan: Uh... babe? I only see 3 birds in the cage. I think Whitish is missing.
Me: No, my eyes play tricks on me sometimes too, because Whitish gets lost against the white cage and white wall behind it. Maybe you should check again.
Ryan: ...No, there are definitely only three birds in here.

That is when I drop whatever it is I'm doing/holding, pick up my 30 lb baby and quickly exit the patio/playroom. I announce to Ryan that I refuse to go out there until the bird is found, and since that is where my treadmill is located, he is going to have a fat, grumpy, tired, unhealthy wife if he doesn't find it soon. (at this time, the room is a DISASTER. I'm talking can't-see-the-floor-under-all-the-toys disaster. Millions of little, tiny toys. Like squinkies and legos tiny. So it was actually pretty easy to loose a living, flying animal in there).

A couple days later my father-in-law found him in the doll house with all the barbies. I can just imagine that little bird checking out those hoochie dolls from across the room and planning his escape to get to them. My awesome father-in-law chased Whitish all over the patio (incredibly, without tripping and breaking his neck) and put him back for me. So, no harm no foul, but now I can't go out there without obsessively, compulsively counting the four birds a couple times. Dang pets. They're just glorified food storage. (don't tell Ryan I said that)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Before & After: Kitchen Remodel



I've really been procrastinating posting photos of the new kitchen, because, even though it's finished, I don't feel like it's complete. There are still a ton of little things I would like to do (i.e. stain the grout in the subway tile back-splash light gray, get/make some flat roman shades with the perfect white & yellow geometric patterned fabric, find the perfect piece of LARGE art to hang on the blank wall behind the dining table, and the list goes on and on). Then I had an epiphany. There is not a single room in my house that I feel is "complete." At this rate, I would never share my beautiful new kitchen and all the hard work that went into it. So here it is...

*I threw my friend, Sharla, a baby shower (more on that later) and just left up the bunting. It goes in Harvey's nursery, but that big wall is so bare. I guess I'll leave it there until I find the perfect piece of art to take its place.

I adore this little kitchen. The first night it was done, I suggested to Ryan that we should bring our pillows and a blanket and sleep right there on the hard wood floor so I could star gaze at it all night. It's all the little things, things you can't really see, that make my day. Things like: 
  • the height of the counter tops being up to standard (I guess the last kitchen was built for a very short woman in the late 1960's, leaning over to chop or do dishes used to kill my lower back)
  • the refrigerator being hooked up to a water line so the water/ice machine works (I LOVE to have a glass of ice water with me at all times. And now, we'll save a small fortune by not needing to buy so many water bottles)
  • having drawers. yep, that's right, our last kitchen had NO drawers. 
  • cupboards that close, even if you don't shut them at the exact same time.
  • being pleasantly surprised all over again every time I walk out into the living room, I hope I never get used to it.
I could go on forever, but I won't. I was hoping that having a nicer kitchen would automatically make me a better cook. It totally has. It's just made me WANT to cook, which is a big step for me. I just want to be in there all the time. I love it.