Lately {in photos}


1. San Francisco
2. San Francisco - at the Scottish gift shop
3. Isla looking adorable in her owl beanie
4. Enjoying a riveting conversation between a rubber ducky and a train
5. Christmas Eve park fun
6. More park fun
7. Starbucks on Christmas day!
8. Cousin love
9. Little miss sassy pants
10. Enjoying a beautiful sunset on the road
11. Ice cream
12. Isla and her boyfriend

The amount of stuff we have been able to pack into this holiday season has been amazing. We have been having a great time seeing friends and family and getting out and doing some fun stuff on our own. More on that later, but for now enjoy the pics!

The American Dream

Sometimes it's hard not to feel that the American dream has turned into the American nightmare. Case in point, our plumbing is all messed up. We are talking messed up to the point that there is some sewage chilling on our lawn. Like full on turds. Gross and embarrassing! Then the plumber kindly explains to me that we are responsible for the pipes until the middle of the street. And in order for them to be fixed, the street will have to be torn up. My head started spinning. Thoughts of torching my house filled my brain as the nice plumber, with my family's poo all over his feet, explained to me how much this would cost us. 

My instinct reaction is to shut down. I call Ian at work and he is just so insanely levelheaded about this kind of stuff. He's levelheaded and I make jokes to cope. We are a winning combination! Of course, sometimes I make jokes at inappropriate times, but that is a whole other story. And sometimes his levelheadedness irks me, but hey, who's perfect?

Oh and then there is the bathroom diy. I promise you it has nothing to do with the plumbing issues. It still isn't done though. And I am still having to run to the other side of the house if I decide I need to pee in the middle of the night. But the silver lining is that when you do diy projects around the holidays, family gives you gifts to help the project along. We are now getting a new counter top, new sink and new facet. And sometime before next Christmas it should all be done! 

I know you are still thinking about the full on turds sitting on  my front lawn. I am too. 

Christmas Tidbits

We started out Christmas Eve enjoying the beautiful weather with a walk and some play time at the park. 

In the afternoon, we headed to church for the Christmas Eve service. This is my favorite service of the year. I love the singing, the message, the jovial moods people are in, I love it all. Apparently my kids didn't get this memo. We missed over half of the Christmas Eve service because the kids just weren't having it. It was spent with us running around after our kids in the foyer. 

Then Connor fell asleep on the way to the in law's for dinner and presents. He was less than keen to be woken up to take part in the festivities. Thankfully a gift in the form on a cardboard train turned things around. 

Ian worked well into the night putting together a kitchen for the kids, our big present for them. I was so excited to watch them see it Christmas morning. They didn't disappoint. And Connor wanted to open every present under the tree, whether it was his or not. His favorite present of the morning seemed to be the present he picked out and gave to Isla, an ice cream set. 

Enjoying the festivities at our house made us totally late to my parents and everyone was waiting. The highlight there was Connor getting to play with his cousin, Tanner. Also, my mom got both Connor and my brother coffee machines for Christmas and had them open them together. The best part was, Connor seemed disappointed that his didn't turn on...looks like we have a coffee lover on our hands! After all the presents had been open and our tummies were full of food, my mom and I went to Starbucks. Isla fell asleep on the journey and when we got home, we sat in the car for an hour and half in front of their house so little miss could sleep. 

Then it was off to Ian's parents again for their whole family celebration. Ian's cousins played with our kids all night. It was great for all involved. Isla got grumpy and clingy for a little while, but snapped out of it as quickly as she went into it. 

It was a great Christmas. Busier than I would have liked. Our house has more toys than it needs. But we are surrounded by love. And hopefully, somewhere in the middle of the hoopla, my kids are learning the real meaning of Christmas. 

Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.   Luke 2:11

Hope you all had a great christmas! 

Lately {in photos}

1. Papa & Connor decorating the tree
2. A rarity these days...Isla snoozing on me in the middle of the day
3. Bath time! 
4. Me and my mini-me
5. Isla doing a little horse riding
6. On one of our 12 dates of Christmas, go cart riding
7. Another coffee lover in the family
8. And another quarter ride
9. Decorating daddy's Christmas present
10. The finished product
11. Play time
12. Cookie decorating

And if you don't already, feel free to follow along on my adventures on instagram, @JessGrim. 

Sibling Love

As I've mentioned before, my kids don't exactly play the best together. Plenty of body slams and biting happens in this home! Well, it appears Connor & Isla have found something to do together, peacefully.

Isla loves riding on the train, but can't push the button herself. And usually Connor only wants to play with the train when Isla is on it. Story of my life! Last night Connor decided to hop on the engine and the two of them rode the train round and round for a while, happy as could be. Now I know, if I need them to stop fighting, I can just send them to the train!

Christmas Presents

This year is the first year that Christmas presents are really a big deal in our house. Connor finally understands that something great is behind the wrapping paper and wants every single present he sees, whether it is his or not. Up until this point, we really haven't bought our kids presents for Christmas. Usually just one or two small things, and it was stuff they needed. But this year is different. And thankfully I was prepared. 

I knew that somehow I wanted to control how many presents my kids got. First and foremost because they already have so much stuff, but secondly (and really this should be first) because Christmas isn't all about the presents. Last year my friend told me about what they do for presents for their kids and I copied her. Three presents per kid and one to share.  

One to:

Wear - Since my kids are still small and don't have a huge choice about what they wear, I tried to get them something I knew they would like for the "wear" category and something I probably wouldn't normally buy them. For Connor that is coming in the form of Mickey Mouse pjs. He really needed some warm pjs and when I saw Mickey Mouse ones (MM is his latest obsession) I knew he would love them. And since I am not a huge fan of character clothing, pjs are a great compromise. 

Play - Except for the "share" present, our kids get only one toy from us. Well, plus some little things in their stockings. But I think this works great. They already have plenty of toys and I know our car will be loaded up with toys from the grandparents anyway. 

Read - This one is great for me. I love to read and want my kids to love to as well. So I will never pass up the opportunity to buy my kids books! 

Share - This is the big present that is for the kids to share. This year we are getting them a play kitchen. In years to come I am sure the things they collectively ask for could become rather ridiculous...I remember what it was like to be young and ask for the moon! 

And another thing about presents, wrapping paper has always been one of those things that I find ridiculously expensive for what it is. In years past, I have bought it on clearance after the fact and saved it for the following year. I am also a little anal and like my wrapped presents to match. This year I decided to go with a simple and cheap theme. And I like how it turned out. 

I used brown mailing paper from the dollar store and stenciled on the gift recipient's initials to the present. Of course, I also quickly learned that most of our relatives have the same first initial, so for the more popular letters, people got all three initials (first, middle and last name, in case you were confused!). And lastly, to add a little pizazz, I wrapped up some packages with twine. Simple. Cheap. Fun. Ok, fun might be a stretch, but I am using mr. sketch scented markers and smell them every time I stencil the initials on to the packages and that is fun enough for me! 

And in case you were wondering about the more colorful package in the picture, that is Connor's present to Ian. He decorated it himself! 

That Mom

Not only did I try the reindeer headband on Isla in the store, as all the old ladies surrounded her and oohed and aahhed, but I actually bought it. And not only did I buy it, I then took it home and did a photo session with it.

And you better believe Isla will be sporting this beauty on Christmas...for at least as long as I can get her to keep it on her head. Or until Ian takes it off. Whichever comes first, we shall see!

So now not only am I that mom (the one that frequents Starbucks drive thrus) and that mom (I still bribe with lolly pops), I am definitely still that mom (the one with a trashed car. always.) as well.

A Visit with Santa

I took the kids to see Santa yesterday. Leading up to the visit, I really thought Connor was going to have a problem with it and Isla would be totally fine. When we were headed to the mall, I told Connor we were going to see Santa. He flipped out. Like flipped out the same way he does when I say we are going to the post office (not sure why, but he HATES the post office). Things weren't looking good. So I decided to not talk about it more and just go.

When we got to the mall and over to where Santa was, there were plenty of fun things for Connor to look at. Huge Christmas trees, flashing lights and maps to track Santa. With all the fun, Connor did fine. Once it was our turn to see Santa, Santa was nice. He took time talking to Connor and making him feel comfortable before Connor got on his lap. Once Connor was fine, I handed Isla over. Poor girl lost her cool. Apparently she isn't a fan of Santa. And her tears didn't stop until she was safe in my arms. Maybe next year will go a little better, but I still think the picture is cute. And I think it will be fun to watch the kids relationship with Santa change over the years via cheesy Santa mall photos.

And incase you want to check out last year's photo, you can here.

On a more somber note, while I was taking my kids to see Santa, moms on the other side of the country were learning they lost their little babes. This senseless tragedy has made me sick to my stomach. It has made me hug my kids a little more these past couple days and be a little bit more patient with the temper tantrums. I just can't imagine. It makes me realize how much of life is out of our control. And with that, I cry out to God and remember that ultimately my children's lives are in his hands.

What Isla Wore {three}

The more I dress this little munchkin, the more I get used to my role of dressing a girl. A few months ago I wasn't too fond of putting her in dresses. Maybe it is the change of season or maybe a change in me, but seeing this little girl in a dress (or skirt) and some crazy tights is about too much for me. I love it! It also helps that I feel it is more acceptable to dress a girl in an acceptable level of mismatched items. Eclectic and fun. 

Vest: thrifted
Shirt: Gap
Skirt: The Children's Place - hand-me-down
Tights: Old Navy
Shoes: Stride Right 

Never mind the fact that my adorable little munchkin will no longer stay still for a picture. And her bangs are so long, they hang down to her mouth...and she pretty much refuses to allow a clip to be on her head for longer than 3 seconds. I love this adorable little gal and the girly little person she is becoming. She has a serious love of bracelets and purses. Too freaking cute, if you ask me! 

Awkward/Awesome {eleven}

Awkward: Connor running away from me at the grocery store
Awesome & Awkward: The lady in line after me running after him as my hands were full
Awkward & Awesome: The old lady behind her yelling "run little boy, run"

Awkward: That moment when someone knows your name and is going in for a hug and you have no clue who it is

Awkward: My brother farted really loud and asked Connor "Who did that?" and Connor said "Mama!"

Awesome: Being awoken at 9am by a text and realizing your kids let you sleep until 9am! 

Awesome: Running into a former teacher and catching up
Awkward: He was trying to sell me something

Awkward: When the car in front of you in the Starbucks drive thru turns off their car
Awkward x2: All I wanted was a simple coffee

Awesome: Every single stinking time Connor goes poop in the toilet. I still can't get over the magic that is one less in diapers! 

Awesome: I got my car washed
Awkward: I called it correctly when I said it would rain since I got my car washed
Awesome: I love rain and was so excited to actually clean the inside of my car, so no harm done

Awkward: I went to mail my Christmas cards at the post office and the parking lot was full 
Awkward x2: I decided to suck it up and go in anyway
Awesome: I walked in and NO ONE was in there
Awesome x2: I told the lady helping me it was a "Christmas miracle"...seriously, I probably said it a little too loudly and excitedly, but whatevs! 

Anything awkward or awesome been going on with you?


There is nothing like adding to the chaos that is the Christmas season by doing a diy project in your house. Good timing on our part, right? Sure I wouldn't have chose this timing, but while dog sitting a week ago, a dog scratched up our bathroom and kind of lit a fire under us...well, really Ian, I could have lived with it for a bit. And it really is unfair of me to blame all of this on a dog. Just the timing is the dog's fault. Everything else is really bad quality by the people who flipped our house. The paint in the while house is pealing, so slowly we have been sanding and redoing everything. Maybe I should clarify, slowly Ian has been sanding and redoing everything while I take the kids out of the house. 

Now that demolition has begun and I have bathroom stuff mixed throughout my house like Christmas decorations, I am rethinking our timing a little. I can only hope things are complete by Christmas, but I am guessing it will more be the days after when Ian has some time off work. In the mean time, I am hoping Connor gets the hang of stepping over the shop vac because he is constantly managing to trip on the cord and make a ruckus when his sister is sleeping. 

And on a semi-related note, we ripped out the shower doors on the bathtub, which I am so excited about. Those doors are just not conducive to bathing children. Anyway, apparently the door tracks weren't calked on the inside of the shower. It makes me sick to think of the grossness that has been right next to my kids. I thought about posting a picture, but decided it wasn't necessary. I decided you would prefer seeing a cute picture of my fireman in the bathtub, rather than the nasty mold that was surrounding my bath. 

Christmas Lights

Tonight we decided to go check out some Christmas lights. We drove to a neighborhood that has their lights set to music. Connor was talking about them in the car, but not super excited. I decided to pull him out of the car and stand in front of the main house with him. I am so glad I did. He was AMAZED by it all. Here is a little snippet of his excitement.

Next time I plan on bundling us up so we can stand in front of this house all night long. Just watching Connor's excitement spills over to me and fills my heart with such great joy. This seriously made my day.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas {2012}

Last year I tried something new in December with Ian. I copied someone else and did the twelve dates of Christmas with Ian. I really didn't put much planning into it. I basically decided on the day what I wanted to do and wrote a note to Ian telling him what we were going to do. Between having a newborn and the lack of planning of dates, we didn't do twelve dates. So, this year I decided to plan. 

First I listed out all my date ideas. I knew I didn't want any two dates alike (i.e. only one dinner date, etc.). I also knew six dates were going to happen at home because lets face it, baby sitting twelve times in twenty-four days is just a little much. Then I took a december calendar and started filling in days with dates. Lastly, I decided to up the ante a little bit and made a book for Ian that holds the information for each date. 

Each date is enclosed in an envelope, so they are a surprise. On the outside of the envelope is the date the date is going to happen (follow that? date, date...yep, you got it!). And I normally let Ian open the envelope an hour or two before the date so he knows what to expect. 

So far we have been on three dates - breakfast at a restaurant, wine & cheese at home (after the kids were in bed!) and a dinner date. I can't tell you the rest of them as Ian doesn't know! But I am excited. Though I mostly chose things we love, I threw a couple in there of things we never do, so it should be fun! Now I feel like I am not only keeping Ian in suspense, but all of you as times! 

Oh How Our Family Has Grown

After we got our family pictures taken a couple weeks ago, I went back and started looking at pictures from the past couple years. Its fun to see how quickly our family has changed in such a short amount of time. Especially because it seems like this is just how it has always been. It feels so right.

I'm glad we have had our pictures taken in the fall every year and hope to continue to do it. It is a fun and easy way to watch all of us grow and change.

Of course, at the same time, the sentimental sappy side of me comes out and starts thinking about how quickly the past three years have gone and how before I know it, all my kiddos will be gone...there I go again, already worried about empty nest syndrome. Maybe I will get lucky like my mom and my kids will never give me a moment of peace leave me alone!

A Little Visitor

Today while I was making dinner, I hear Connor yell from his train table "Mama, there is a turtle on my train". I went in there to find a ladybug on Connor's train. 

It was cute how enthralled with it he was. Yet at the same time, I am sure this little ladybug was scared for its life. You see, when it got off the train, Connor proceeded to chase it with the train. When it went off the track, his train followed. Of course, he would also pause to take close up looks for himself. Finally the little ladybug smartened up and flew away...of course, it is still trapped in our house somewhere! 

It was a pretty darn cute little scenario. And it warms my heart to be able to relive things like this through my kids eyes. Sure I do still get excited when I see a ladybug, but not that excited.


Last year I saw and idea on another blog where someone gave their kids a book for every day of advent. I thought it was a great idea and decided to do it this year. As soon as Christmas was over last year, I started buying Christmas books second hand. I won't stand on my soap box about this, but I love buying books second hand. They are a fraction of the price, like 90% off retail, and most of the children's books I buy second hand look brand new. And to be honest, my kids destroy books and at the rate that they do, it seems wasteful to spend $10+ a book. But back to Christmas...

So I started buying Christmas books as I came across them. By mid-summer, I had all the books I needed. I paid anywhere from $1 all the way down to free for the books. About the free one, apparently when you try to buy one Christmas book at a garage sale during the summer, the people will just give it to you! On average I paid about a quarter for each book, making this a pretty dang cheap activity. 

Tonight Connor was pretty excited to get a present, Isla could have cared less. As soon as Connor saw that it was a book, he dropped it. Isla picked it up and looked through it. I read it. Then Connor picked it up and "read" it out loud. I was impressed. He was paying more attention than I thought when I read it to them. It was fun and I look forward to doing this every night until Christmas. 

Now I realize this isn't something I can do every year, as my kids don't need that many Christmas books, but I like the idea and think I am going to run with it. Picking a different theme each year seems a lot more fun than buying a chocolate advent calendar...though I have to admit, getting a piece of candy every day was pretty dang exciting for Connor last year! 

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