All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

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Advent Ornament Project – December 10

It’s been a rough few days over here, (which I’ll save for a separate post after this one), and I really needed some fun today. This project, believe it or not, brought me a lot of fun!

The boys and I came home after an exhausting lunch together and got to work on a project I found today at Michaels. They cost $1.00 each, so I was super excited about them! Well… They were total failures. They look nothing like the picture and I should know by now that if it says, “glue needed” on the box, to PUT THEM BACK. The cheap materials used in these kits don’t adhere well to my favorite glue. I know this.

Take a look!


Ha ha ha! The bear ended up looking like a llama because there is NO way to glue a relatively heavy ball on the side of another ball. It doesn’t work. So… Llama. I just had to laugh at this colossal failure!

After nap/quiet time, I invited the boys to do another project and Bryson said, “no thanks, Mom. I’ll watch Justin Time.” Ok, buddy. 😁 Matthew was super excited when I showed him our do-over project – painting wooden ornaments! He was even more excited when he saw, “all of those paint brushes!”. He started with the round sponge wand and put a different colored paint circle all around the top ornament. Then, he got started on his tree. I was painting my own tree and we both just painted beside each other, I helped when he asked. He kept looking over to check out what I was doing but did his own design. It was so fun! When we got done, Matthew said, “I had fun painting with you, Mom. Thank you!”

So worth it!


Advent Ornament Project – December 5

Holy smokes, I almost forgot about our daily advent project! I was making dinner (Thai chicken and mushroom soup) when I realized my screw-up and wracked my brain for a quick idea to do after bath time.

Thank god for clear acrylic ornaments, glue, and glitter!

I have no idea how these will turn out once dry, but I don’t really care – all I care about is that they loved making this one! I put the glue in and then let the boys pick their glitter and poor it into the funnel to get it in there cleanly. 😉 They seriously love glue and glitter, so they thought this was tops! I let them shake the heck out of them and then they got dressed for bed.


Bryson was not at all interested in having his picture taken – poor kid is soooooo tired these days (despite 2-3 naps) and just wanted to get to bed. Matthew put his ornament on the sofa table garland right after I took his photo, without being told. That means he liked it. 😁

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Advent Ornament Project – December 1

I picked a SUPER easy project today that required nothing but a pair of scissors. I’ve had this little foam ornament package for over a year, just waiting for the right moment. We literally had 15 minutes between getting home and nap time, which made today at 1:15, precisely the right moment!

Bryson was INTO it! He was so excited to help me make his ornament and put it on the tree. It had to go, “right next to Thomas!” Every single favorite ornament of the moment must go right next to Thomas… He is VERY popular and like the cool kid in school, his spot at the lunch table (or in this case, on the tree) never changes. 😉

Matthew was all about making his ornament and I let him, because that’s what this is all about. He took no instruction from me (“don’t put stickers up the middle, you can put stickers on both sides of the tree, use up all the stickers I gave you if you’d like”) and ignored everything that Bryson and I were doing – he was in the zone. Once done, he tossed it at me and grabbed some crayons to color on the HUGE Amazon box that arrived yesterday. He was over it!

Pictures with Bryson went so well because he meticulously put his ornament on the tree himself. I had to force Matthew to pick a spot on the tree and stand still for two seconds so I could take a picture.

Official Day 1 (but actually Day 2) was a success!




Mother of the Year… or Just Plain Stupid

Remember how going off of the pill made me more pleasant?  During that high (my realization that the pill has probably made me a crazy you-know-what for 21 years), I went to Michael’s and  It was full-on Christmas preparation there and they were stocked full of the things that would be hard to find a month later (been there, done that).  I started buying things, craft things, creative things, things for me, things for the kids, you name it.  As I was perusing the aisles, looking for clear glass ornaments to fill with paint and glitter and shit, I decided…

Our advent calendar will be one of daily craft projects this year, not chocolate!

Oh yes.  Oh YES – this would be fun!  Every day, starting on December 1st, we would come home from lunch and make a Christmas ornament, or a decoration, that would then be put on the tree or strategically placed wherever the boys chose for said project.

I loaded up my cart – at both stores.

When I came home, so proud of my idea, I just had to tell Hottie about it and his response was luke-warm, at best.  “Every day?  You’re going to make them make an ornament every day?  I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.  You’ll just end up yelling at them and doing the projects yourself – like when you did those Pint.erest cupcakes.”  What?  Of course it’s a good idea!  We’d buy a tree for each of their rooms and they would slowly decorate their tree up until Christmas.  What wasn’t he getting?  This was a freaking OUTSTANDING idea!  This was a Mother-of-the-Year (or at least, a Mother-of-the-Holiday-Season) idea.

This was going to be FUN!

My idea started going downhill when I left my two HUGE bags of projects out while I ran on the treadmill one morning.  Bryson came in, carrying a strip of foam stickers, and I thought, “hmmm.. I wonder where he got those.”  It didn’t take long to figure that one out.  He’d of course ripped open the box of foam bits and pieces to build a pretty cool foam sticker train (tacky, but age-appropriate) because you know, it was full of stickers.  I smiled, unfazed, and stuffed everything back in the box.  I was sure there were missing pieces, but who really cared.  This was going to be FUN!

I became a little concerned when I tested out the glass-ornament-filled-with-paint project.  I have a shit-ton of these glass ornaments in the shapes of balls, boxes, and tear-drops.  I have two big containers of acrylic clear ornaments especially for the kids.  The project is a no-brainer, but I will likely end up doing 95% of them, leaving the kids the job of picking the colors for each one.  Not a ton of fun for them, but their attention spans aren’t great, so it will be fine.  This was going to be FUN!

I started to worry quite a bit when Bryson proved that he is not ready for his own tree this year.  Matthew has a very small tree in his room and Bryson likes to take the ornaments off of it and play with them, leaving a trail of hooks behind him.  He does the same thing with the big tree in the living room, and has destroyed quite a few ornaments shaped like cars and toys because, you know, they look like cars and toys to play with.  Again, I’ve kept my cool because they’re just ornaments and who really cares?  Even if he can’t put them on his own tree, he can put his daily creations on the big family tree.  This was going to be FUN!

So today, on November 30th, a day ahead of schedule, I pulled out project #1 (no, they’re not all planned out).  I picked an easy one, one involving felt sticker bits to make a Christmas banner, complete with a snowman and Santa.  I figured this would get them in the spirit – it had all the things they love (Santa, a snowman, sticker pieces, ribbon) – and this would get them excited about doing a similar project each day.  They were into it for about 90 seconds before Bryson started putting the discard pieces in his mouth and Matthew started sticking random pieces all over the place.  I kept my composure and just kept working through it, asking for pieces here and there and letting Matthew peel off the sticker backings (Bryson was still eating discard pieces and having a great time doing so).  We got it done – without any yelling (take that, Hottie!), without any tears!  And they loved it!

I decided to take a picture of them with their “very neat” banner and asked them to sit next to it (“but don’t touch it, that glue is drying.  I mean it, don’t touch it.  Please stop touching it.”)… and that is when it happened.  That is when the inevitable, the unavoidable, happened.

“Please look at the camera.  Please look at the phone.  Please stay there a second.  Please look at Mommy.  Please, both of you, smile and sit still.  Please just look at me.  LOOK AT THE PHONE!”

I raised my voice…

But only once!



Tis the Season

The day after Thanksgiving is perfect for shopping, unless you are like me and can’t stand the crowds. In our house, this is the day of decorating.

Being perfectly honest, I don’t love decorating for Christmas. I grew up with a mom who was OVER.THE.TOP when it came to decorating for Christmas… But SHE didn’t do the decorating… We girls had to do it. Every year she’d shake her finger to and fro, telling us just where to put everything. We had very little creative license even when it came to her gigantic snow village, which really DID leave much up to your imagination. No no. “The man carrying the wreath goes here and the toy salesman goes there.” Good god, decorating her house was miserable. Even my dad would say, “if you want it a particular way, then YOU do it.” That never worked, she just would demand more.

So (and you thought this was going to be a jolly holiday post!)… Yeah… I don’t like decorating for Christmas. It makes me tense and sad. I really despise the Christmas village and just can’t bring myself to put mine up. I don’t think I ever will.

Because of my memories of preparing for Christmas, I refuse to make the boys take part in decorating for any holiday. I let them jump in when they want, and jump out when they’re ready for a break. I’d rather surprise them, quite honestly, with some decorations than make them be a part of the process. Matthew was adamant that we decorate right after thanksgiving but then he did very little once we got rolling, and I am fine with that. Decorating is my thing, I won’t force it on them.

I do, however, love decorating the front of the house! My parents didn’t do this until we were in high school and they hated doing it, so completely left it up to us, which we enjoyed! I always swore I’d be a white lights kind of gal but with kids, you just can’t be. They like color, and colors that do.not.match! Every year I get more stuff to put in my yard and I look forward to it no matter how cold it is outside. I’m doing the outside tomorrow, but I did buy some porch trees today that I’ve wanted since we moved into this house, and I couldn’t wait to get them outside! I added lights and ornaments and ta-da! Done!

We’re also decorating the tree tomorrow, but I told Hottie that’s his job. 😉


Annual Santa Photo – CHECK!

I took the boys to the mall to visit Santa today.  Last year, they both seemed a little put-off by the big fluffy guy, so I did a lot of prepping this year.  We went to “just look at him” last week (but rode the train!), bought our “Santa outfits” this past weekend, and talked about visiting him nightly.  Both kids were SO EXCITED to tell him what they want for Christmas this year (Matthew wants yet ANOTHER set of walkie talkies, Bryson wants Lightning McQueen) and could hardly wait to go.  On our way to school, Matthew kept asking why we had to wait soooo long to see him.  After leaving Matthew at school, Bryson insisted that we go see Santa that instant (the mall was not open yet – I told the truth!!!).  I had high hopes!

Prior to this morning, I did have a few worries that Matthew would get cold feet – after all – that is what happened with the Easter Bunny in April (in all fairness, Matthew just opted out and poor Bryson wasn’t given a choice and sobbed his little eyes out = best picture EVER).  I thought for sure that Bryson would run right up to Santa and chat him up.

The opposite happened!

Matthew had almost no hesitations, and all Santa had to do was smile at him and he sat right down next to him and started spilling it.  Bryson, on the other hand, was scared to pieces.  As Matthew was smiling and talking with Santa, while I was trying to coerce Bryson to “just sit next to him,” I asked the picture gal to please start snapping photos because I wasn’t sure how long this was going to last.  Matthew started to be concerned about his little brother and tried helping me convince him that it was OK to sit with Santa.  Bryson disagreed – BIG TIME.  So, I did what any good mom does and plopped him down there and walked away.  We got one photo that did not look like we were torturing him  😉

And now we’re done for another year!  Ho, Ho, Ho!!!


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Family Pictures – Finally!

We had family pictures taken 4 months after Matthew was born, in the crisp fall of early November.  Two years later, we followed suit when Bryson was 4 months old, and it was fun to see how our family had changed in just two years.  We thought about getting pictures taken again last year, but we weren’t 100% sure if we were done having kids and figured that we’d wait until we knew for sure.  Because there was a possibility of a third baby, I wanted to save the money for possible birth photos.  Shortly after missing the crisp fall weather, we were told by two doctors that we were done having babies.


2011 Family




I scheduled our family photos in July for the fall, because I love nothing more than a fall setting and sweaters!  I scheduled them for the end of October, a little earlier than we’re used to, but I was hoping for a little more green grass this year.  I immediately got to work on coordinating our outfits and decided to go with blues this year instead of our “normal” browns and tans (Hottie accidentally wore a brown quarter zip sweater in both our 2011 and 2013 photos – it was a different sweater, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the pictures).  It all started with Matthew’s sweater and then the rest of us each had a different shade of blue on.  It looked great in theory!

The pictures were not easy – Matthew gets so crazy and wild when he has an audience, Bryson was tired even though he’d just napped, I was wearing a dress that was way too short for my comfort level, and Hottie just wasn’t in the mood.  I felt like we got a few good ones, which is all I wanted, and we called it after 20 minutes.  Denise, my photographer friend, sent me a few teasers and I knew we’d gotten the few that I’d hoped for, after a few head swaps  😉  I waited for a couple of weeks, then, as she edited and took a much-needed vacation.

I got the full collection of photos on Sunday and they are so great!  They capture our family, our craziness, my exhaustion (I’m not in many!), and the boys’ personalities.  I’m really glad we waited 2 years from the last time because that’s a good amount of time to show some major changes in the kids.  And.. I’m running out of wall space because I can’t bear to take any of the old photos down!




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