Monday, December 31, 2012

A very long (and possibly annoying) post about Christmas

This last Christmas was a little much, in the best possible way. I was going to break it down into three or four posts, but I know most people are sick of hearing about Christmas as it is.

So for those of you who aren't on Instagram or any type of social media (ahem... Dad), this post is for you. Otherwise you've probably seen most of these photos, and you could probably move on to doing more important things, like make New Year's resolutions or take a nap. 

Presenting 36 things about the month of December:

1. I made close to 13 batches of toffee this year. That's 13 cups of sugar, 26 cubes of butter, and waaaay too much stirring.
2. June's first time at the temple. She was pleased. VERY pleased.
3. William showing June the Christ statue. I think she was moved... well at least I was.
4. Our lights on our little home. C7 bulbs are the way to go.
5. I wish that hat wasn't so expensive.
6. Our advent calendar found here. (We got to about Day 14.)
7. Lots of time outside... Arizona has the best weather this time.
8. Stacking blocks, over and over and over and over and over again.
9. Fuzzy tree
10. Four suckers at once. It's how June gets things done.
11. My favorite handmade gift for Kent, from Tauna. All knitted... Tauna is so talented.
12. I heart sparkle.
13. Toffee plate constructing.
14. Bathtime.
15. I cut lots of tags while I was sick.
16. One of my favorite Sunday dresses.
17. Christmas shopping with Grandma.
18. Recording our Christmas song... Thanks for listening!
19. June found a plate of donuts. This pleased her very much.
20. Favorite Christmas dress on June.

21. A GORGEOUS setting at the Coombs Christmas party.
22. The kids table is getting so crowded... I love it.
23. Dance party that occurs every year after the talent show.
24. Santa (Dad) passing out gifts.
25. June laughing at Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sara... her new favorite comedians.
26. Merry Christmas from me.
27. Merry Christmas from William.
28. Merry Christmas from a girl who can wiggle out of your hands faster than you know.
29. June trying out her big gift this year, a new bike trailer. SHE. LOVES. IT. Can't wait to ride bikes more this year.
30. A shot of William taking June for a ride.
31. "Ho Ho Ho".
32. A hipster in the making. 
33. My handmade gift to June this year: an A-Frame Tent. She LOVES it.
34. My gift to William: a Nerf gun. I've been shot too many times, and therefore regret giving it to him.
35. Our ginger bread house... I'll let you decide if that's a British flag or a Confederate flag.
36. Hooray!! The End!!!

Here's our Christmas card this year. Shot by The Langs. Designed by me. Sent to you.

And that was our merriest Christmas! Thanks to everyone who made it magical!
Now on to Twenty-Thirteen!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

World Premiere: "Christmas Club"

We decided for this year's song, we needed one that makes Santa want to stop in his tracks and dance until he's too tired to deliver toys. 

Sorry that Santa is too busy in da' club. 

(Obviously the best part is June's "It's a Ball" line. My baby girl's gots da beatz!)

And here's a list of our previous hits:

2011: "Frosting" - This song is like that feeling you get when you love someone and then you find out they have a 'Thug Life' tattoo, so you love them even more.

2010: "Baby It's NOT that Cold Outside" - This song is like that feeling you get when you love someone, but they had really bad breath, so now you want them to leave.

2009: "Gather Around (It's a Campfire Christmas)": This song is like that feeling you get when all your holiday to-do list is done, and you sit by the fire with a hot cocoa, and you stare at your beautiful Christmas tree, and wait for Christmas morning to arrive.

(video by Robz)

Bonus track from 2009: "Campfire Christmas"  Remix, called "Christmas Eve" - This song is like that extra cookie plate you unexpectedly get from a friend, and that amazing feeling you get eating the entire thing.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Photos by The Langs

I've been hugging June a little more lately. My heart has been heavy since Friday.

I'm not one to speak out much about events or issues, especially on this blog, my happy place. But I guess I need to heal a little bit.

My thoughts this last weekend was on being a teacher.

Since becoming a mom, this is my 2nd school year not working in an elementary school. I taught 5th grade for three years. I subbed before that. I was a student teacher before that. I volunteered in several classrooms (for college courses) before that. Teaching in elementary school has been a huge part of my life thus far.

Usually when someone asks me if I loved teaching school, I say "Yes... well, most days I loved it." 

It's true. I did love it. I feel like I was born to do it. I loved interacting with kids. I loved making them laugh. I loved teaching them a new concept, then watching them apply it. I loved telling stories, reading books, nourishing their creativity, celebrating the successes, learning their likes/dislikes, playing kickball, watching them make new friends, singing with them, discovering with them, etc. Teaching is so rewarding in these aspects. My hands are shaking even as I type this because I miss these aspects so so so very much.

But there were days when it was physically and emotionally so difficult to exert every portion of my energy, thought, effort, strength and soul towards 30 (or so) 5th graders. Thirty individuals I was trying to reach out to. Thirty individuals I was trying to help realize their potential. Thirty individuals I was trying to make their days better. Thirty individuals I was trying to help them feel worth, feel empowered, feel great. 

I couldn't do it some days. I'm human. Their failures became my failures, every one of them. I cried those days that I felt like I couldn't do it. I may have cried quite a bit. (My eternal thanks to those who listened to me on those days I cried.)

No matter how hard those days were, they still needed me. They needed me to listen to their story of what happened at recess. They needed me to laugh at their silly jokes. They needed me to teach them fractions (sometimes over and over and over again) so they could feel confident for the quiz. They needed me to come to school an hour earlier so I could educate them on sea stars in Oceanography Club. They needed me to get them a bandaid, give them a snack, call their mom, take them on field trips etc. etc. etc. So on those hard days, I put on a face, and did the best I could. I just had to hope it mattered.

But, boy, did I love those kids. Every. Single. One. Including the ones that I wished would be kinder, or the ones I wished would try harder... I still think about those kids so much. And I hope they are doing okay.

Whether or not you like school, it's an important aspect of every person's life. It is incredibly difficult for me to watch a place of refuge, learning, and innocence, become a place of unimaginable horror. On top of everything that teachers have to do and worry about, to think what they had to do in Sandy Hook at that moment of terror, is just monumental. 

And of course, those tiny students... I'm absolutely numb.

I guess after everything that has happened this weekend, what I'm trying to say is this: Please don't underestimate what a teacher does. Even the ones who seem to be quietly doing their job. And make sure to say "Thank You" to a teacher as often as you can.

You better believe I thought about my own students this weekend... and of course I hope they are doing okay. Every single one. 

And thank you again, teachers. I hope you feel appreciated.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our early Christmas present...

Recently I won a giveaway from 'The Photog Hotties', also called the Langs.

I love their style, especially the candid shots and their locations. June wasn't completely into it like I wanted her to be, but Stacie managed to get some really great ones. I'll try to refrain from sharing every single shot, but these were just SOME of my favorite:

And apparently The Langs are also miracle workers. In the (almost) 5 years that William and I have been married, we've only taken maybe one or two GOOD photos together. Of course, Mrs. Lang happens to get like TEN GOOD ONES in one photo session. 

These were my favorite:

Believe me, I have MANY others to share, but I must refrain and save for future posts, for Christmas Cards, etc.

Thank you again, Langs, for the free photo session. Merry Christmas to us!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I wish that I can film June for the ENTIRE month of December. 

Last night, we went to the temple lights, and she practically danced around "Ooooing", and "WOAHing" at every turn. It's so magical to have a little one discovering everything about Christmas. Her reactions are so priceless.

Our Advent Calendar bags are filled with suckers (for June), chocolate (for me and William), a scripture about Christ, and a picture of Christ (which will eventually become a photo album for June). I'm trying to do as much Christmas things as I can, but I also know I need to continue to stay focused. All the christmas movies, hot chocolate nights, delivering treats, singing Christmas songs, etc. will come as we countdown.

24 more days!! (Yikes?)

(The 'JOY' Marquee sign was inspired by this project.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eat, Eat, Eat, Full, Eat more anyway...

We had the kind of Thanksgiving that makes me feel full for days, but it doesn't matter because I still eat as much as possible anyway.

We prepared two turkeys (one cooked in a Dutch Oven), one ham, rolls, pies, 5-sticks of butter stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, fruit salad, and a cheesecake. It was enough to have at least 4 meals of leftovers. 

And on top of all that, June got an early Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa. As Alan would say, "Practicing for Black Friday": 

Thanks to my parents for letting us invade their house so we could have room to cook and eat. Thanks to William's parents for being generous and getting June some awesome gifts. Thanks to everyone else for the laughs and good times. Oh and we saw 'Lincoln', so thanks to Lincoln for being the best president ever.

Oh and speaking of Christmas, who's excited?
I guess I am.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankful Day 1... on Day 11.

Last year, I did a "Grateful" blog post everyday in November.

This year, I'm lacking in those posts. I'm not sure if it's because I haven't picked up my camera in a month, or if it's because we're painting our house, or if it's because June needs a little more attention lately. 

But I'm still very grateful....I just needed everyone to know that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I guess June likes talking on the phone.

June has been all kinds of wonderful lately. I keep thinking, "this is the best age", and then it just gets better and better.

Planning: my handmade Christmas. This is the first Christmas that I'm going to try to make most of my gifts (we'll see).  I've got about ten decorations and presents to make just in the next few weeks.
Also planning: our annual Christmas Song. I feel like we just got done writing this one... I guess this year flew by.
Eating: Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream. These Ice Cream recipes are blowing my mind (and my diet).
Hoping: to win these Christmas Cards (It's definitely a long shot).  But if not, I'm trying to design our own. It's kind of fun designing, but kind of (extremely, horrifyingly) difficult.
YEARNING: for Thanksgiving. Even though it seems like I'm already planning all things Christmas, my favorite holiday hands down is Turkey Day. (I'm crossing my fingers for a deep fried turkey.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tricky Treat

As much as I love the month of October, I'm always a little glad it's over. 
Last night we made two kinds of delicious soups, baked four batches of cornbread, drank ginger ale, cream soda and Yoohoo, and ate two chocolate pumpkin pies.

It turns out, June was born to Trick or Treat. After about the second house, she knew exactly what to do: knock on the door, hold out her bucket, followed by an "ooooOOOOOO" when candy was given, then on to the next house. (As a former teacher, I really do believe children learn quickly when candy is involved.)

When we dumped her candy on the floor, she only grabbed the suckers. She'd suck on one for about a minute, then find another one. We ended up with about six uneaten suckers, but at least my girl was happy.

October was amazing, but let's move on to more important holidays, shall we?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A useful list of "Last Minute Cat Puns Halloween Costumes"

So this year for Halloween, I chose to be a...

... because really, without the cat ears I'm just a plain old cat burglar.

But then I started brainstorming all of the other Halloween costumes you can do with a set of cat ears. My pals, Natalie and Daphne, gave some excellent ideas as well. We came up with the greatest "Last-Minute-Cat-Puns-Halloween-Costumes" collection you've ever seen.

I mean really, have you ever seen those articles for "Last Minute Halloween Costumes", only to find that their definition of "last minute" is 2-3 hours? In addition, you better have an entire craft store in your closet?

These seriously only take a couple of minutes... you just need a set of cat ears and one or two other supplies.

Oh and sorry but there are no sexy cat costumes here (I would probably break the internet posting such pictures of myself). 

This is just good ol' fashion cat puns. 

Cat ears + Trash =

Cat ears + 'TOM' name tag =

Cat ears + Pajamas + optional "Jazz Hands" or cool dance moves =

Cat ears + Pajamas + Sleeping after partyin' =

Cat ears + Looking like you're scared all the time =

Cat Ears + "STEVENS" name tag + optional guitar =

Cat ears + A friend who likes cat puns and is also wearing cat ears =

Other possible costumes:
Cat Ears + A scratch across your face + a thermometer = "Cat Scratch Fever".
Cat Ears + Walk around the party grabbing other people's tongues = Cat got your tongue.
Cat Ears + Bum clothes = Feral Cat
Cat Ears + Carry around a fish = Cat Fish
Cat Ears + Steal stuff from the party = A REAL Cat Burglar

There you have it. Have a happy and lazy Halloween.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Trees

Greer, AZ
I've got a list of a thousand things to do, but I'm going to stop for one minute and share to everyone how much I love my family and friends right now.

Here's why:

· He loves to eat waffles at least twice a week, and plan fun outings, and drink soda late at night, and watch scary TV shows, and listen to music all the day long, and plant luscious green winter grass, and go for walks to look at holiday lawn decorations, and record an a m a z i n g album that I am so proud of.

· She has cute pigtails and curly hair, and loves "bubbus" and "doggies", and loves to chase around a ball, and give kisses with delayed 'smack' sounds, and obsess over new shoes, and push grocery carts, and eat an entire apple on a stick, and have dance parties.

· They invite us over for Sunday dinner every Sunday, and prepare us 72 hour kits so we don't have to, and take June to the carousel to ride at least 6 times, and they sew us curtains and blankets, and buy ten different kinds of cheeses, and challenge me to Tetris to which I win triumphantly or lose terribly.

· They throw parties at the last minute that look like it took weeks to prepare for, and serve soup in bread bowls, they recommend good music and TV because I'm so out of the loop, and they have pizza ovens in their backyard with every pizza topping you can dream of, and they are talented and help me to remember to push myself and, most importantly, they make me laugh.

This is terribly written, but it's true.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oo-da-lolley golly what a day...

William's family came to town last week, so we spent the day at the fair. 

We rode the Ferris Wheel and ate plenty of fried foods.

While June seemed hypnotized by the color, lights, food, and noise, I was hypnotized by the inhabitants there. The fair makes for some fine people-watching.

Monday, October 8, 2012

General Conference

I always feel so enlightened after conference. The messages always come at exactly the right time for me. 

This was quoted at the General Relief Society Meeting from Sister Burton's talk:

The words, "empower us", kept repeating in my mind after I heard them. I love this idea of feeling empowered, or having more confidence and strength. I listened to the rest of conference, with this message in mind. I realized that it will take much study and service on my part.

It's time to get to work. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Greer 2012

Greer was tops this year. There is just too much to say and too many photos to share, but I'll be brief.  

We did pretty much everything I said in this post. The following are a few more highlights:
· My mom had the famous "Dana Cabin Bear" shipped from Utah to tell the amazing story of Grandpa Joe killing the bear. I think every Dana has heard the famous words: "... In one ear and out the other...." But it was fun sharing that story with the great-grandkids of Grandpa Joe.
· The cabin was amazing. But the best part was the game room. Many tears were shed in that room (because I didn't win a single game of pool). 
· Each night, my family prepared a mini devotional. I loved hearing the testimonies of my siblings.
· William's birthday celebration (I'm WAY behind on posting, but more on that later).

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for creating so many great memories for us. 

Original Coombs:

New Coombs + Dana Bear: