A few of my favorite things

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. It kind of sneaked up on us this year, since we've been focusing on a new baby. But I love all the music, the lights, the cookies, the red, the family get-togethers, and the festive mood.
And just for fun...here are a few of my favorite things during the Christmas season. Some are new things I've discovered. Some are old stand-bys.

* Treats!
Of course I love homemade sugar cookies with yummy frosting. But I discovered a new cookie you've got to try: Trader Joes Candy Cane Joe-Joes. YUM!!!
They're like Oreos, but they have little bits of Candy Cane in the frosting. Keep them in a ziplock bag or they'll get soft. And try them cold from the fridge! (Trader Joes makes joe-joes in other flavors all year long)

* Movies
On my All Time Top Ten List is It's a Wonderful Life.
No matter how many times I see it, I laugh at Jimmy Stewart's funny acting and get a little choked up near the end when he humbly pleads for help to fix his life. Truly a great movie.

Another movie I watch every year (usually with other females) is White Christmas.
The acting is silly, the songs are fun, and well....you would never see two guys doing an act like that today. We usually fast-forward through a few dance numbers if my dad is watching with us. If you've never seen it, you really must watch it once.

And a new addition to our Christmas movie repertoire is A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart.
I know many versions of this movie have been made. But Casey discovered this one a few years ago and we really love it. The production value is high and the acting/sets are very authentic. Of course, Patrick Stewart is what makes it so great. Just look at that face. It airs tonight, 12/21 on local channels. Check it out!

* Music
It's been years since I've attended a Messiah Sing-Along. But they are fabulous. If you aren't able to attend one, you can still listen to the music! It's tradition every Christmas Eve that my family and friends sing the Hallelujah Chorus (along to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD). It's much fun!

* Lights
I love the house decorated inside and out with lights. This year, we were simple with our decorations. And we have the smallest tree in history. It's actually a tree I kept on my desk at work each year. But it sure looks cute on our fireplace mantel. It doesn't take much to make the house feel more festive.

* Snow (California style)

At the Grove in Hollywood, they make it snow several times each night! We took Lucy last year and it was really beautiful. We haven't gone there this year, but I know she would love it even more now. They also make it snow at Disneyland on Main street. It's so much fun when it lasts for just a 1/2 hour! (instead of 4 months)

* Kids playing with toys

Christmas was so fun as a kid, hardly sleeping the night before and opening gifts that morning. And now we get to live it all again with our own kids! Lucy's still a little young to understand. But it's really cute to see her playing with toys. This is a cute little gift we got from my co-workers when Owen was born:
Of course Lucy had more fun playing with the little red wagon than Owen did. We opened it yesterday and she pulled the wagon around the house all morning and night:

* Green and Red
Someone at Casey's work made this adorable green hat for Owen. I love the color. And it'll work great for our Christmas (or New Years) card picture:

* Family and Friends
I love this picture of my parents with the grandkids (3 of the 9):
I look forward to spending Christmas Eve and Day with Casey's family and hanging out with my family later in the week.

We hope you're all enjoying your favorite things this time of year!
Merry Christmas!


A week at Gram's House

We have been so blessed to have both of our families living near by. Linda, Casey's mom, took Lucy for us for almost 5 days when Owen was born. She loves playing at Grandma and Grandpa's house and gets the best undivided attention (not to mention the great selection of books and toy cars to play with.) Thank you Linda!

Then last Tuesday we came down to my mom's house for a week to recuperate and have some extra help with the kids. Casey's been really busy at work (everyone needs stuff before the Holiday break) so it was nice to get out of our small apartment, hang out with the family, and have fresh toys (and extra space) for Lucy to play with. And since her cousin Jeremy lives here too...she is in heaven! They keep each other entertained. And my mom was a big help, taking Owen in the mornings for me when she was up (at 5am):
Lucy has been an angel all week and has been SO great about having a "baby" around. I'm not sure she understands that it's our baby. But mostly she just points at him, smiles and says "baby!" or just "B!" (too bad we didn't give him a name that starts with a B). One day I laid Owen on the couch (on his stomach...don't tell my doctor) and I walked out of the room for a minute (don't tell my dr. that either). When I came back in, Lucy had placed all of her toys next to Owen and stuck a little Teddy Bear on his back. It was so adorable! I think she was trying to share with him:
Casey came down and joined us Friday night through Sunday. My mom and Dad watched all the grandkids Saturday night and all the young couples went to Chipotle and to see the movie I Am Legend (so good and scary. I was on edge the whole time).

On Sunday we celebrated Ava's first birthday. Laura and Eric decorated the dinner table in pink and white with little bowls of cheerios and pink m&ms. Here's the little birthday girl actually drinking her bottle. Laura must be happy. It will be fun over the years, because now Ava and Owen share the same birthday...12/7)
And here's the cake Eric made. They wanted it to be her favorite thing....so they made a giant Cheerio on a big silver spoon:
We put pants on Owen for the first time (it's just so much easier at that age/size to keep them in gowns). The pants were so tiny!
And everyone thought he looked like a boxer in his warm-up gear. Little Rocky? Funny:
I was worried that when we got back to our apartment, Lucy would be a little more jealous of Owen and would wonder why the baby was still with us. But so far, she continues to be great. She again tried to share her toys with him and put some blocks in his swing. I just need to make sure it doesn't get more agressive than that and teach her to be "gentle".
Here's a little video of Lucy sharing with Owen:

And Lucy's favorite word right now is "hat". Whether it's the lid on the milk carton, a toy on your head, or an actual hat....if it seems like a hat, it's a hat!
Here she is with a bowl hat. It makes me laugh:



I've been meaning to post this for a while, but I've gotten behind.
This is a post about Granner, my grandma. She passed away a few weeks ago on 11/27.
She was 81 and lived a wonderful life full of family, friends, singing, big earrings, homemade pizza, and cheerfulness. She was always so happy to see each one of us, asked about our lives, and made us each feel special. My mom said that when they saw her over Thanksgiving (in the hospital) she commented about 5 times about how cute Lucy was in her Strawberry costume for halloween. She really treasured all her children, grandkids, and great grandkids.
Here's Granner with Lucy last summer at her 80th birthday party:
4 generations - my mom Cindy, me, Lucy, and Granner (last summer):One thing I'll always remember her for is that she taught me how to sew. When I was 10 she taught me and my sister Camille how to use a sewing machine. She took brown paper bags, drew straight lines on them, and had us sew back and forth as straight as we could. This has led to years of sewing projects, clothes, baby items, and even scrunchies (haah). Sewing is a skill I will always cherish and appreciate the talents she shared with me.

Granner had a great sense of humor and often laughed at herself. A couple years ago the men in the family had a beard-growing contest. When it came for them to model off the beards for judging, Granner came out in her own beard and joined the festivities. Funny lady:
It's sad to think that Granner won't be at my parent's house this Christmas and that there won't be any more "happy birthday" songs over the phone from her. Her health had been up and down for a few years. And when the end came, it was a little sudden. So we were sad to see her go, but we know she is in such a happy place now and so happy to be with my Grandpa again. He died young of a heart attack at 58. So she's spent many many years alone. How fun to be reunited with your sweetheart!

It's a little crazy that over the past month our weekends have been - Funeral, Funeral, and birth of our little boy. We really ignored doctors orders with all of our traveling. But I'm so glad we were able to be there for both funerals, to celebrate the lives of our grandparents.
For this service, both my parents and Aunt Karen gave wonderful talks sharing stories about Granner. Aunt Terry, her husband Eric, and daughter Debbie sang. And all the grand/great grandkids sang as well. It was a beautiful service.
Here we are with most of the siblings at the viewing:
Ava looked adorable in her little black and white dress. And I finally got a picture of Makenna! She takes the best close-up shots:
All of the Grandsons were pallbearers, except for Colin who's serving a mission right now in Belize:

Some impromtu singing at the gravesite:
My sister Camille and me:
The entire Suman family were together for the first time since Mark got married. So we got a family photo. I can't believe how big just the immediate family is getting!
And here are my favorite photos of the weekend.
Lucy and Casey at the cemetary:
Little Ava. Jazz hands! Sprockets? Spirit fingers? She's totally pro:
Gram (my mom) with Ava. I love this picture. It looks old-fashioned.
And finally, a shot of the three littlest Grandgirls. Makenna, Lucy, and Ava. The all had on blue:
It was an emotional, but beautiful weekend.
Bye Bye Granner. We'll love you forever!
(photo from my wedding day)


More pictures

Time for more Owen pics, right?
We've been staying at my mom's house for the week which has been a great help. My mom even volunteered to take Owen for a couple nights. Woohoo! Sleep!
And Lucy loves playing with her cousin Jeremy. This morning my mom was out doing yard work and she had the ladder out on the grass. Lucy-the-brave climbed on up and just kept going. We ran over to keep her from falling off and she was almost at the very tip top. It looked pretty funny:
Owen has been doing a TON of sleeping. I know that's what little babies do, but it seems like he should open his eyes at some point. And tonight he finally woke up for about a 1/2 hour. He was eyes open, and we got some cute close up shots:
Totally cross-eyed:
Finally, a picture with mom:
Grandpa Suman loves all his grandkids. He's always excited to hold them:
Back to sleep Owen...


Welcome Home Owen

Everyone's been asking for pictures. So here they are! Sorry for taking so long....I just wanted show good variety of the little guy.

Out little baby boy is here! Owen James Willard was born Friday 12/7 at 4:30pm. He was three weeks early and still weighed in at 7 lbs 11 oz (glad I didn't go full term!). The fun thing is...he was born on his little cousin Ava's birthday. She turned exactly 1 while he was being born.
Friday morning I went to the dr. for my normal check-up. I had been very uncomfortable the night before and thought I was having some contractions, but it's hard to tell since I've had braxton hicks the whole time. So I had him check to see if I was dilated and sure enough, I was at a 3 and the baby's head was super low and ready to come. So he decided to induce me and have the baby that day. I was able to go home first and get some stuff together and drop Lucy off with Casey's mom Linda and by noon I was hooked up the IV and machines.
Here I am, walking in to St. Joseph's:
4 1/2 hours later, our little Owen was here! The whole process was super fast. I had an epidural, but it started to wear off toward the end. Thinking that I'd be in labor for longer, I didn't push the button for an additional dosage because I didn't want that to wear off too. I was holding out so I'd have some comfort for the home stretch. But the nurse said, well, go ahead and push the button...it'll take 15 minutes for the pain killer to set-in. Just then she checked my progress and what do you know, I was at a 9 and 1/2. Um, we're having this baby now!

In came Dr. Schmones. He asked if I could feel my contractions (so I'd know when to push)...uh....sure can. Thankfully we only did three sets of pushes and he was out. But I now understand why women scream during labor. It hurt real bad and I felt like throwing up. I'm just very thankful I was never a pioneer woman, delivering a baby on the snowy plains.
Here we are after delivery with our nurse:
And one with Dr. Schmones. He is so great. We love him:
Both our parents came up to visit us. But Owen was in the nursery for a few hours being monitored, so they only got a peek of him through the window. Lucy came too and she was just the cutest thing, running into the room, so happy to see us:
We had fun visitors come see us over the next couple days. I should have taken pictures of everyone, but only got one of my sister Camille, her husband Bryan, son Jeremy, and his special "Honey Bear" (he's Jeremy's Show and Tell bear at school. So they took a picture of him, Owen, and Honey Bear so he can share the fun news with his class this week. Cute)
Thanks everyone for stopping by. It was so sweet of you and we loved the chit chat (along with the peanut butter cups, Chipotle, flowers and gifts. Woohoo!)

Owen is sweet little guy.
He looks so much like Lucy when she was born. We just keep having flashbacks to two years ago. Check out the resemblance. Here he is, little Owen!:
And here's Lucy at the same age:
He does all the normal baby stuff and is taking a snooze in his swing right now. Last night was a bit rough. But I'm hoping that tonight goes better and hallelujah for naps. It's been helpful having Lucy stay with Linda for a few days. We went out there last night to visit her and show off Owen to Casey's parents. So Lucy met her brother for the first time. It was funny coincidence, but their first encounter went like this:
"Lucy look, baby!" Lucy smiled and pointed, saying "baby".
"That's your little brother"....to which she replied, "uh oh".
So true. We all got a good laugh. She was okay when other people were holding him, but kinda freaked out when I had him. So it'll be an interesting next month (or year?) as it is for all families with multiple kids.

We're so blessed to have 2 healthy children and we already feel weird saying "our kids"....it's plural now! I'm a little freaked out to be in charge of both of them all day. But everyone else has figured it out. I'm sure I will too.

Welcome home Owen. We love you already!