Thursday, December 31, 2009

~ christmas was wonderful ~
and we're sad to see it go...
i'll blog about it soon
but for now i just want to wish everyone a
i love this time of year
i love the new beginnings
and second, third, fourth chances...
i have big hopes for 2010
may 2010 bring you much joy and happiness

Thursday, December 24, 2009

~*~ the twelfth day of christmas ~*~




we wish you happiness, health, peace, prosperity, faith, hope, joy, friendship, mercy, love, laughter and the merriest of all christmases!

~*~ on the eleventh day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
eleven random christmas
pictures, traditions, games, quotes, jokes, stories, recipes, music, what-have-you's
1. christmas eve traditions:
atticus in his christmas eve jammies
while darek reads and acts out the nativity story
atticus trying to remove baby Jesus from his manger
we also sang the first verse of each christmas hymn which is a tradition i inherited from a family on my mission. and we read 'twas the night before christmas before bedtime. atticus is barely understanding this whole santa business but nevertheless he can tell something exciting is happening tonight and he was so hyper and racing all around the apartment. i can't wait for christmas morning!
2. christmas joke:
what would have happened if it had been three Wise Women who came to the birth of Jesus instead of three Wise Men?
they would have asked for directions
arrived on time
helped delivery the baby
cleaned the stable
made a casserole
and brought practical gifts
3. christmas quote:
"i stopped believing in santa claus when i was six.
mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph."
~ shirley temple
4. christmas music
another straight no chaser song
the christmas can can

christmas games:
5. play line rider HERE
draw a line for the little snowman to ride on his sleigh, add jumps and hills and stuff.
my little guy wipes out everytime and atticus thinks it's hilarious.
6. play christmas tree light up HERE
figure out how to arrange all the electrical circuits so all the lights light up.
it's addicting - in fact, MOM, i'm pretty sure this is this year's tetris for you!
7. play other christmas games HERE
like decorating a tree, arranging a nativity scene, building a snowman, etc.
8. christmas quote from President Monson:
"The Savior gave freely to all, and His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing and bestowed light in the darkness. "He gave us His love, His service, and His life. What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit—the Spirit of Christ. With the pure love of Christ, let us walk in His footsteps as we approach the season celebrating His birth. As we do so, let us remember that He still lives and continues to be the Light of the World, who promised, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
9. Christmas Eve dinner recipe:
in my family we usually have our big turkey dinner on christmas eve afternoon but we've decided to push that until tomorrow and tonight we made christmas fettucini.
10. christmas childhood memory
10. darek's uncle jim used to come spend the holidays when they were younger. he took it upon himself to be the sole protector of the presents after the kids went to bed on christmas eve. jim would lay out a sleeping bag in front of the tree and guard all the gifts through the night to be sure that none of the rascally mccoy kids got into them before morning. needless to say every year it became a personal goal for darek and his brothers (also known as the "three boys") to sneak down and try to get to the gifts while jim slept. jim, of course, was much too smart for this and won that battle every year!
11. read THIS to find out what happens when the twelve days of christmas goes bad...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

~*~ on the tenth day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
ten christmas story riddles
i went through the ten christmas books that darek has given me
and listed a quote from each below so you can try to match them with the books they come from.
some are more obvious than others. the answers are at the bottom of the post. i made a deal with santa,
he agreed to bring you extra gifts if you got them all right. good luck!
the ten books are:
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
The Polar Express
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Snowmen at Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Look-A-Likes Christmas
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Riendeer
A Christmas Carol
The Nutcracker
My Penguin Osbert
and the ten quotes:
1. "There they met a Charlie-in-the-box,
a polka-dotted elephant,
a train with square wheels,
and many other toys that were just a little different."
2. "The cathedral will fill on Christmas Eve night
With the songs of the chior - and lollipop light."
3. "Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe."
4. "God bless Us, Every One!"
5. "And the year before, I had really wanted a trampoline.
I wasn't sure how to spell it, so in my letter [to Santa],
I just sort of described what I wanted...
He sent me a pogo stick."
6. " 'Why, my sweet little tot,' the fake Santy Claus lied,
'There's a light on the tree that won't light on one side.
'So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
'I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here.' "
7. "He opens his sack
With a jolly 'Ho ho!'
And pulls out their presents
Each made of snow."
8. "When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer."
9. "...and be careful. He'll crack your nuts for years,
but you must not abuse him."
10. "Before their very eyes it transformed into a beautiful Christmas tree."
Post Intermission:
i can't blog without telling you that The Nutcracker was absolutely magical last night. it felt so good to spend a few hours in fantasy land! i'm pretty sure i had a look of awe on my face the whole time. I LOVED IT! the dancing was stunning and the music was incredible!
thanks hub for taking me! you're a good santy claus!

1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
2. Look-A-Likes Christmas
3. The Polar Express
4. A Christmas Carol
5. My Penguin Osbert
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
7. Snowmen at Christmas
8. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
9. The Nutcracker
10. A Charlie Brown Christmas
and just in case you're not familiar with the "Look-A-Like" series, check them out HERE.
they are so fun to look at and find all the ordinary items they used to create the scenes.
i wish i had that job.
thanks for playing!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

~*~ on the ninth day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
nine suggestions
to make your season merry and bright
1. watch joyeux noel
here's the trailer
2. make homemade oreos with the easiest recipe ever
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/3 c. oil
2 eggs
roll and flatten into oreo sized cookies
place on ungreased cookie sheet
bake for 7 minutes at 350
serve with vanilla frosting
3. start a new tradition
the year before we got married darek bought me How the Grinch Stole Christmas
and read it out loud to me. now every year he gets me a different children's christmas book,
let's me open it on christmas eve and reads it to me. i love it. i got my book early this year - The Nutcracker. we read it last night, and when i got to the end two tickets fell out...which brings me to number four
4. surprise your spouse with tickets to the nutcracker
(or some other fun date night)
i've been pregnant-lady-balleting all around the house today
in preparation for our outing tonight
5. as another tradition we also buy christmas ornaments
from everywhere we travel so that each christmas we can reminisce about our adventures.
this year's addition: a new york taxi cab
6. listen to christmas music
this is an obvious one...
here's a current favorite of mine
7. play in the snow with your two year old
there really is something magical about having a white christmas

8. another tradition: we have a christmas photo album
and each year we print a few pictures and add them to the album, then each year when we get out our decorations we can look through all our previous christmases together
9. and finally...
remember the reason for the season

~ our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ~

Monday, December 21, 2009

~*~ on the eighth day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
eight funny christmas statistics
* there are currently 78 people names S. Claus living in the US, and one Kriss Kringle
what were those parents thinking?
* december is the most popular month for nose jobs
is that on your christmas list?
* to deliver his gifts in one night, santa would have to 822.6 visits per second,
sleighing at 3,000 times the speed of sound
* at that speed, santa and his reindeer would burst into flame instantaneously
what a tragedy that would be!
* the average child in britain will open 18 gifts (worth approx. $600 total) on christmas morning
* of those presents 10% will be broken by the new year, only %40 will make it to march, and 25% will be intact next christmas
* 16.6 billion cards, letters and packages will be delivered between
dec 1 and dec 23 this year in the US
* 2009 was the first year darek bought amberli surprise tickets to the nutcracker!
for tomorrow night! WOO HOO!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

~*~ on the seventh day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
seven snow day activities
the blizzard finally arrived! as all you east coasters know it traveled up the coast yesterday. it was supposed to hit boston by 4 PM but didn't actually make it's appearance until midnight. nevertheless it delivered the 12+ inches of snow that it promised and we had a snow day at home. so warm and snuggly inside while it was cold and blizzardy outside. atticus got a touch of cabin fever by the end of the day but in general we found enough to entertain us...

1. dream of a white christmas while watching the snow come down
(and freeze by the awful drafty windows!)
2. undecorate the tree

3. wrap christmas gifts
then stack them on top of the shelves to keep atticus from unwrapping them

4. read, read, read
i'm currently reading THIS, it's intense!
5. and watch movies on dad's blackberry

6. shovel snow, of course

7. mmm...and make cafe rio pork salads
(looks like you've started a new prego craving for me teaplant!)
THIS is the recipe i used - good, but not the real thing
i did get the glorious news that a cafe rio is finally being built in CA and in my hometown, laguna hills, nonetheless.
reason # 89,372,638,503,721 i'm dying to move home!
we also took long naps!
mmm, and made chocolate chip cookies
and cinnamon raisin bread in the bread maker
it's been a tasty day!
i hope you all stayed cuddly and warm on our blizzardy day!
and i don't want any of you CA, AZ, LV peeps pulling a
"oh send some of that cold our way, it's still 109 degrees out here"
comment business! the drafty windows are torture enough!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

~*~ on the sixth day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
six scroogie pictures of the mccoys
a couple months ago The Christmas Carol train passed through boston and we were able to visit and learn about the making of the new film, see an extended trailer and get our faces morphed into those of the characters. here we are in all our scroogie glory!
darek as scrooge

amberli as scrooge
atticus as scrooge

darek as tiny time

amberli as tiny tim

atticus as tiny tim

creepy right?
the movie looks really good, although the extended trailor scared atticus so be warned if you're planning on taking young children. has anyone seen it? what did you think?
no bah-humbug for us!

Friday, December 18, 2009

~*~ on the fifth day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me

five christmas trivia questions
(answers below)
1. in frosty the snowman who brought frosty back to life?
2. in the grinch who stole christmas what biological shortcoming made the grinch so mean?
3. what was the biggest selling christmas single of all time?
4. name the three reindeer whose names start with "D"
5. in the song grandma got ran over by a reindeer what did grandma go to get?
1. santa
2. his heart was two sizes too small
3. white christmas
4. dasher, doner, dancer
5. her medication...poor grandma!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

~*~ on the fourth day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
four christmas confessions
atticus helped me wrap darek's christmas gift yesterday,
after which he promptly helped himself unwrap it


* it's entirely possible that we've been eating far too many christmas treats around these parts *
i'm suffering from a severe case of mother's guilt as i made the difficult decision of throwing away one of atticus' prized treasures yesterday. i had to. it's so very much a choking hazard i'd be a bad mom if i didn't. atticus is mostly past putting things in his mouth but this item, he could not resist. it was a marble sized plastic bead that looked like a baseball. he loved it. he cherished it. he held it in his tiny hand and stroked it, whispering "my precious" gollum-style. he woke up this morning and said, "ball?" and i pretended not to know which ball he meant...oh the guilt!
and finally...
i put THESE on my christmas list!
me! queen anti-skechers. oh the shame!
could i be dorkier? no. i cannot. this is as dorky as it gets.
and yet, i find that as i get older i get dorkier.
so dorky in fact that i'm kind of OK with being dorky.
be embarrassed on my behalf if you will.
un-friend me on FB if you must.
i understand...
but i'll be sure to let you know if they deliver all that they promise to do!
because if they do, you're going to want to be a dork too!
and please forgive me you skecher lovers out there - let us just agree to disagree on this particular matter
and one last note: FYI - i had a follow-up with my OB today and she declared me currently free of preterm labor symptoms! woo hoo! thank you for your concern and support, here's to a complication-free remaining ten (hopefully eight) weeks!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

~*~ on the third day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
three stories of christmas kindness

story #1
circa 1983 when cabbage patch kids were ALL! THE! RAGE! childhood amberli asked for one for christmas, as did every other young girl in the western hemisphere, i'm sure. my mother went to the ends of the earth and back several times to track down the last cabbage patch doll on the planet for her little girl who believed so whole-heartedly that christmas morn would bring her her beloved prize. as i remember it, my mom had to full body tackle hundreds of other desperate mothers also seeking the last doll on the shelf. having the natural talent of a buff wrestler that she did, she succeeded and came home victorious with doll in hand. the only problem was that it was a boy doll. short blond hair, jeans, a blue and white striped t-shirt and white sneakers. childhood amberli was tom boy enough to love baby doll dressed as a boy but alas long blond hair was still a necessity (as i was a natural blond back then and of course would need my cabbage patch doll to be too). miracle worker mom did as she had numerous times throughout my childhood - she worked a miracle. the kind only moms can do. somehow she pulled out the hair on two patches of the head and miraculously sewed back into those two patches long, blond braided ponytails, thus transforming the last cabbage patch doll on planet earth into a little girl. a little girl named heidi, in fact. i remained oblivious to my dolls gender transformation until adulthood called upon my mother to tell me all the secrets of childhood. i always knew that as the first of THIRTEEN cabbage patch dolls i'd eventually own, heidi was the most special but until a few years ago i didn't realize just how special she was! thanks mom!

story #2
my cousin's family decided several years ago that they would stop buying gifts for one another each christmas and instead pool all their money and do christmas anonymously for a family in need. i'm sure we have all heard of people doing these things for others and i gotta say that it just tugs on the old heart strings every time. christmas time really brings out the best in people - appropriate as it's supposed to remind us of our Savior and His example of kindness and charity.

story #3
this just befell me two days hence. i had, unfortunately, a little incident with preterm labor symptoms. never fear, all is currently under control and it's hopefully unlikely to be much of a threat for the remainder of my pregnancy. anywho - a dear friend dropped me off at the doc's office and took atticus home with her which was blessing #1. i was poked, prodded, monitored, etc. at my doc's office but it was determined that i needed to go to the hospital for further testing, blah, blah, blah. i was without a car so i stopped a cab and asked if he took debit card, as i am "chronically cashless amberli." he said yes. i climbed in and asked for a ride to the hospital. he said he couldn't do it, the charge had to be a minimum of $10 to use debit card and the ride would only cost a few dollars. i hesitated. i thought of my other options? walking, while maybe in preterm labor? not a good idea...i panicked. i became an overly-emotional pregnant girl pouring out her heart to any poor soul who'd listen. i started to tell the driver what my situation was and before i'd even finished the first sentence he said, "get in, i'll give you a ride." i told him i had no money and he reassured me that money isn't the most important thing. ok, folks so you probably know that i already have me a tender heart, but when you add that to my hormonal pregnant state you gotta know that the tears come easily (i mean i teared up yesterday watching lightening mcqueen push the king over the finish line at the end of Cars, for crying out loud!) and the tears came a gushing. i tried to play it cool and such but honestly i was so grateful that this stranger would help me out that i just couldn't help it. i thanked him and thanked him and said a prayer that he would be blessed for helping out the emotional pregnant girl!

i hope you're holiday season is full of kindness!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

~*~ on the second day of christmas ~*~
my true love gave to me
the true meaning of christmas
according to
the grinch
and linus
picture taken by atticus
" 'And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice-cold in the snow
Stood puzzling and puzzling: 'How could it be so?'
'It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
'It came without packages, boxes or bags!'
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store!
'Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!' "
~Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
"And there were shepherds in the field, keeping watch
over their flock by night. The angel came and said,
'Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which will be to
all people. For unto you is born this day a savior, which is
Christ the Lord. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes lying in a manger.'
And suddenly there was with the
angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace,
good will toward men.
"Everyone was silent when Linus finished.
'That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,'
he finally said."
~Charles M. Shulz
A Charlie Brown Christmas

Monday, December 14, 2009

~*~ the twelve days of christmas ~*~

it was a tradition in my family growing up to do the twelve days of christmas for some unsuspecting family. i'm going to (attempt to) do it on the blog this year - a post a day with a christmas thought or recipe, maybe a giveaway or whatever. i'm not sure how it will go but we can find out together! stay tuned!

as for today i'll leave you with my favorite version of the song

straight no chaser - the twelve days of christmas
let the countdown begin!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

~ healthy holidays! ~

i really admire a good friend of mine, Marci Anderson, who has started her own business in cambridge, ma as a registered dietician. as you many of you know, i worked as a social worker in the eating disorder field for a few years before having atticus. it's a tough field but an oh so worthy cause and Marci has expanded her business not only to serve the needs of those interested in improving general health and well being by learning about nutrition and exericse but also those suffering with eating disorders. her website and blog are full of good information, frequently asked questions, resources, recipes, and how to find a healthy balance between food and exercise.

from her site:
"I help my clients make sense of their eating habits
by incorporating principles of nutritional science
with insight into the behavioral and emotional components of eating."

who doesn't need a little insight into the behavioral and emotional components of eating? any of you who know anything about me at all is that i'm a health nut with a wicked bad sweet tooth, or perhaps a whole head full of sweet tooths! the holiday season is wonderful and delicious but, at least in my case, requires something of a recovery period after the new year has begun. i've got some big health goals lined up for 2010 and thought that if you did too perhaps you could find some helpful information from Marci's website: i've also added her link to my sidebar so be sure to visit frequently!

Friday, December 11, 2009

so i think it's real funny

that my son thinks his new potty is a laz-e-boy. i suppose that's every man's dream. who doesn't want to watch TV while sitting on the pot?


so, i know that my blog has been real boring of late - please accept all apologies! i've been doing me some deep thinking though, having some learning/growing experiences...never fear, nothing tragic has befallen me but i have seen some significant struggles in the world around me, including in the lives of people i love and that's never easy. it just really puts things into perspective for me, all that "don't sweat the small stuff" type life lessons that i learn over and over again but still hurts sometimes. i feel humbled and i feel grateful...

i hope all your holiday seasons are full of meaningful experiences

peace on earth, good will to men

Friday, December 04, 2009

at twenty-eight weeks
i'm pretty sure i'm about the size
i was at thirty-eight weeks which is
when i delivered atticus


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

survival mode

i've kind of been in survival mode for the last two weeks while i was serving on jury duty. it's been busy! you working moms are there are superwomen! i don't know how you do it. yesterday was the last day of jury duty. it was an interesting process to be part of but i was happy to kiss it goodbye. i came home last night totally beat and atticus was even more beat, poor little guy. this is when "survival mode" kicked in. to keep atticus happy until betime, last night's survival mode included no less than five packs of fruit snacks, two lollipops, a handful of hint of lime tortilla chips, a just-for-fun bath that resulted in a very wet bathroom, one hour of curious george, reading lots of books, an easy-to-make dinner and a sink full of dishes that were left until morning. and for me: two tylenol when i got home and two tylenol PM at bedtime. oh and the ice cream darek brought for me on his way home from work. what a good husband!

so anyway, things have been hectic lately but it was so nice to have a break from jury duty for thanksgiving. i hope you all had a happy thanksgiving as well. we hosted again this year which is always fun. we had the durazzanis and the donvitos over and the food was delicious and our kids were rambuncious! perfect! we are grateful for wonderful friends that help make up for being so far away from family, especially during the holidays.

and today i'm so happy to say hello to december! isn't this the most magical month? magical can also be code for cold as atticus and i froze like icicles on our walk this morning. that part isn't fun about winter but at least the holiday season tricks me into viewing cold weather as "cosy." come january and it's nothing but torture but that's still a month away. december is particularly magical for me because ten years ago today i arrived in rome as a new and profoundly clueless missionary. the following year i was serving in the rome 1 branch and spent my christmas there. rome is incredible at christmas time and i miss it every year, but love the happy memories.
to kick off the christmas season we've had the christmas music playing constantly. and isn't church always better when you get to sing the christmas hymns? i love it! i'm pretty sure i've posted this in decembers past but to kick off the christmas month i'm posting two verses from "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." We're practising this song in young women's to sing in church later this month. Verse three is so sad but i have to post it here so that you can really appreciate verse four.
verse three:
"And in despair
I bowed my head:
'There is no peace on earth,' I said,
'For hate is strong
and mocks the song
Of peace on earth,
good will to men"
verse four:
Then pealed the bells
more loud and deep
'God is not dead,
nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail,
the right prevail,
With peace on earth,
good will to men!"
k, i hope that song is stuck in your head now
merry christmas-month!
i hope it's magical!