2017 – A Year to Remember

I’m reflecting back on 2017 as we humans are prone to do at the end of the year. Overall, there was a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, but when I get down to it, it was a pretty good year personally. So in order to have a record of the goodness 2017 had to offer, I’m going to go ahead and write it down.

January: My husband started a new job at a place that he loves. We also had a one night getaway aboard the Queen Mary for his birthday.

 

February: Ah the school musical. After months and months of planning, shopping, creating props, rehearsals, and more, it all came together and we put on our last musical ever at Leffingwell Elementary. Pretty sure it was the best one ever.

 

March: Jessalyn was initiated into the Rainbow Girls Buena Park Assembly. It’s been really good for her. She’s made some good friends and great memories.

 

April: We managed to pull off a surprise birthday girls evening at Downtown Disney for a very dear friend. What a wonderful time spent showering someone so special with love and margaritas! (picture is of said friend, not the party because apparently I was having too good of a time to take pictures and put them where I can get to them easily)

 

May: We got to spend another weekend at the KOA in San Diego with friends. Our KOA weekends are truly one of my favorite getaways.

 

June: I had the privilege of volunteering at WordCamp OC and had a great time doing it.

 

July: July is always a fun month. We’re on summer break, we spend a lot of time at Soak City,  and there’s the annual 4th of July bbq and swim party. This year was extra because we had “boots in the house” as they say. My son came home from Okinawa and got to spend some time here before heading back east for training.

 

August: Jessalyn turned 12. Man, time sure is flying by.

 

September: Jason and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We also got to run away to San Jose and see 30 Seconds to Mars and Muse in concert. We’ve seen them before, but never together. We’ve also seen both bands 3 times now. A week later, the three of us went down to San Diego and saw U2 play The Joshua Tree. We had a surprise airport layover with Christian. We got to meet him there and take him to In N Out before he boarded a plane bound for a far off land. And lastly, we started a monthly dinner and game night with my mom, oldest daughter and her boyfriend, and our family. Super fun.

 

October: October is always a fun month. Aside from 3 family birthday’s, there’s Halloween, which if I’m bring honest is my favorite holiday. We Trunk-Or-Treated, and Jess Trick-Or-Treated while wearing my old uniform from when I was in tall flags in high school.

 

November: We kicked off the month with a showing of Thor: Ragnarok. Thor is my favorite. We attended the annual extended family Thanksgiving dinner and then celebrated on the actual holiday with my family and bestie Christie and her family. What’s not to love? Oh, and Jess got to take her first airplane ride to Nashville for WordCamp US with her dad, which actually started in November but the bulk of the trip was December. Speaking of December…

 

December: That brings us to now. We’re currently on Christmas break, we just made it through all of the Christmas gatherings, presents were given and received, and now I’m preparing for our annual New Year’s breakfast in 2 days. This is my absolute favorite way to kick off a new year. Many of my favorite people gather in our home and we share a ridiculously delicious breakfast followed by a letterboxing adventure. Then whoever is still with us will have dinner here. It really doesn’t get better than that.

Anyhow, if you’ve made it this far, thank you. While the above in no way captures the entire year’s events, it’s a small snippet, a reminder that 2017 was a pretty good year for the Tucker family.

I’d like to wish you blessings beyond your wildest imagination for 2018. I wish you more ups than downs. I wish you peace, love, happiness, luck, grace, mercy, and more.

Happy New Year!

Joy

Joy

What brings you joy?

Here are a few things that bring joy to my life. In no particular order:

  • Early mornings before everyone wakes up. The house is nice and quiet while I enjoy my morning coffee.
  • Christmas Shopping. I love picking out gifts for people.
  • Wrapping my little one up in a towel and carrying her downstairs after a bath.
  • Empty plates after dinner has been consumed.
  • A good sandwich.
  • Penguins
  • Disneyland
  • Spending time with my husband or my friends.
  • A full fridge and full cupboards
  • Making tamales with my (“ex”tended) family
  • Eating one tamale from the first dozen tamales we make. There’s nothing like a fresh tamale.
  • Playing Apples to Apples with the Wright boys.
  • My grandmother’s apple cake recipe.
  • Target and the chance to win a $300 gift card to my absolutely favorite store EVER thanks to Barking Mad

Christmas Wishes

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Here we are again. It’s that time of year where we struggle to find the perfect gift for the kids. I have a large whiteboard that holds my grocery list and any notes that need to be remembered. It’s also an art board for the kids. When people come to visit, half the time they leave little messages on it as well.

This time of year it becomes the place the kids write their wish list.

Here it is:

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What’s that? You can’t read it? Well here, let me help you.

Christmas Wishes

What do you think? Too passive aggressive? A mom’s allowed to wish for things too right? And hey, it won’t even cost the kids any money to fulfill my wishes!

Beautiful Day

I love the 4th of July. It’s my 3rd favorite holiday, right behind Halloween and Christmas. The funny thing is Jason and I rarely do much for it. Another thing is we just never know what the weather will be like. Some years it’s cold, others blazing hot. This year the weather was darn near perfect. It was in the mid to upper 80’s and had been for a few days. That gave the pool time to warm up, and what better way to celebrate than with a BBQ and a pool party?

Instead of writing all about it, I figured I’d show you snippets of our day. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

chillin

3girls

funky

chicken

cannonball

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kkafter

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Can’t wait to do it again next year!

The Season of Giving is Over

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Another Christmas has come and gone, and I’m left with toys, boxes and random stuff with no home. This has to be the hardest part of getting gifts. Finding a place for everything isn’t so easy when you live in a relatively small place. I’ve been making some good headway over the past 6 days though. Yes six. Our official Christmas gift exchange began on December 23rd and I’ve been putting stuff away ever since.

There were some fantastic gifts and some that, as I mentioned would probably happen, missed the mark.

The Good

My wonderful husband fulfilled my biggest wish, a wish I’ve had for the past seven years. A brand new KitchenAid mixer, in red. *swoon* Today I’m going to put that baby to work and attempt my first homemade bread. Garlic pull-apart bread to be specific.

My mom also got us a printer/scanner/copier along with paper and ink.

The Bad

My stocking stuffers. Honestly, I have no one to blame but myself. I’m in charge of that task, so when my stocking lacks fun stuff, it’s because I didn’t get myself anything fun.

You’re not actually expecting me to mention anything else are  you? Because I’m not going to.

The Ugly

The piles and piles of trash that gets left behind. I like to call it Glee Debris. And there’s the inevitable trip or 5 to the Goodwill to drop off all the old stuff I had to get rid of in order to make room for the new stuff. And the piles of dishes left over from Christmas breakfast and the general cup/utencil/plate/bowl usage and lack of getting to the dishes because I’m too busy trying to put away stacks of other stuff.

Anyhow, it was a lovely Christmas spent with the people that are important to us. I’m pleased with how it all went, and I’m looking forward to the new year with new memories to be made. Keep in mind though, Christmas 2009 will be here before you know it. Don’t believe me? Just think back a year. How quickly did that time fly by? For me, it seems that every year speeds by at an impossible rate. The years are just flying by. It’s like the old addage goes; The days are long, but the years are short. How true that is.

The Friday 5 – The Holiday Edition

jessalyn2005

Christmas Eve 2005

Jessalyn at 4 months

Today I bring you the Friday 5 plus 3.  So I guess that would make this the Friday 8, for 1 week only!

1) What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

There’s no simple answer to this since I have a few. The first tradition begins on the first Saturday in December when I get together with the family to prepare our Christmas Eve tamales. Another is getting together with said family on Christmas Eve, scarfing down a boatload of delicious tamales and then the goofy Christmas carol sing along just before we pass out the Christmas gifts, and then of course the gift opening. Another favorite tradition is watching the move White Christmas from 1954. I just love that movie. And another event that is looking to become a tradition is just before Christmas, my girlfriend Kelly comes over and we make food gifts together. Oh and for the second year running, driving out to a neighborhood that really does up their Christmas lights. So fun!

2) A favorite cookie recipe?

Really you can’t go wrong with the Nestle Toll House cookie recipe. A classic and so yummy!

3) Share a story behind a special ornament on your tree.

At least 3/4 of the ornaments on the tree (and still packed away because they didn’t fit) are special. None of them really have a good story that goes with it. But there are a lot of ornaments I used to get every year as a gift from my grandmother. And now, my tree is full of ornaments I’ve been collecting for my 3 children over the years. They’re all special to me because each ornament for my kids represent that year. Most of them have pictures of them so I get to look at them year after year and see how much they’ve grown. If the ornament doesn’t have a picture, I went out of my way to get something that related to the year. One year Caitlin was really into Hello Kitty, so I got her a Hello Kitty ornament. Chris was into Toy Story so he goot a Woody ornament. Jess loves Tigger and so, well you get it.

4) All you want from Santa is….?

A KitchenAid mixer!

5) What’s your favorite Christmas movie and why?

White Christmas without a doubt. Bing Crosby’s voice is amazing, Danny Kaye is hilarious, The music is beautiful, the choreography is incredible, the sets are quaint, the story is sweet. That movie never fails to make my eyes water. I ALWAYS get a tear in my eye at the end when the General walks in and there they are, his regiment from the Army. Oh man, it’s so great. I just LOVE this movie!!!

6) Are you dong anything special for the holidays this year?

No more special than every other year. But it’s all special to me.

7) What’s the best toy you ever got when you were a kid?

I’d have to say it was the year I asked for Barbie clothes. By the time I was finished unwrapping everything, I think I had every outfit on the market for Barbie at the time.

8 ) Why is Christmas special to you?

I love gifting people. There’s just something wonderful about taking a few moments to think about each person on your list, and thoughtfully pick out something they’ll hopefully enjoy. It’s the perfect time to express gratitude for being your friend, family member, spouse, child… And it’s a time when everyone can sit around and share stories and make memories together.

I know not everyone reading this celebrates Christmas, but in our family we do. So I’m going to wish  you a Merry Christmas as well as Happy Holidays!