Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Highlights of 2008!

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve! Soon it will be 2009. The year has gone by so fast. It has been a great one.

Max turned 3
Mia turned 1
We moved to Tennessee
We drove from the west coast to the east coast
We discovered Panera
Thanksgiving in North Carolina with Adam and Tina
Celebrated 5th wedding anniversary
Twilight the movie
Ty started anesthesia school
Christmas on our own
East coast pizza is way better than west coast pizza
Mexican food is better in California, and Mexico for that matter...
I discovered blogging
Line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon
Gigi's Cupcakes (a great replacement for Michelle's cake in California)
Ending the year healthy (woo-hoo for antibiotics!)
Horseback riding in Utah
Theron's custard
Bracken Bird Farm
Found out what humidity feels like
Fried pickles
Meeting all of our new friends
3 trips to the emergency room
playing SORRY with Ty, and sometimes winning
Indian Motorcycles
Law's apple pie ala mode in Oak Glen
Laguna Beach
Halloween at Moss Wright Park
Ty became the worlds sexiest man...Again!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Centennial Park

I finally made it to Athens! Just Kidding...It's downtown Nashville! This full-scale replica of the Parthenon was built in 1897 for Tennessee's Centennial celebration. I had no idea Tennessee was that old!
The Parthenon was really amazing. It was weird to drive up to it in the middle of the city.

Inside the Parthenon there is an art museum. Ty and I thought it was awesome. The awesomeness was somewhat lost on the kids.

This swing was outside on the park grounds by the lake. It was the perfect place to take a rest and have a snack.
I wanted to be in a picture so here it is!
This engine was part of the Nashville, Chatanogga, St. Louis railroad. It was HUGE! Max was so impressed. Ty always breaks the rules, and he climbed onto the train just like the sign said not to.

I was thrilled to see Max so happy. He has had a rough week. The park was a great distraction. We all enjoyed the fresh air and walking paths. It was a wonderful morning out.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

Christmas arrived pretty early at our house. I got up before everyone else to finish up some Santa business. Max was up next and he was ready to go. We had to wake Mia up to join in on all of the fun. Mia finally got her baby doll and stroller. She loves them!
This is a tired little Mia snacking on a lollipop only moments after waking up!
Max found a dinosaur in his stocking! He was pretty excited!
Ty gave me a new pink camera! I am very excited to use it and to start carrying it around like an accessory. I gave Ty a new leather jacket. I think it looks very amazing on him. After the presents we had breakfast and Max and Mia played. I guess Christmas morning is exhausting because by 11:00 we were all having naps. It was a great Christmas on our own in Tennessee!

Ready for Santa!

I just love these cozy robes! Max used his as pajamas. My cute little elves!

Our Christmas Eve Party!

We had a hugely successful Christmas Eve party! lots of our friends came over. We had a ham and lots of yummy food. We put on a little nativity play, starring the kids and a few lucky dads. It was so adorable. They got all dressed up! Max was a shepherd and Ty was one of the lucky dads that got to be a wise man. Mia was an angel but she cried and refused to participate, oh well. After the play we had a white elephant gift exchange and I think everyone left with just what they had always wanted :) It was so much fun. Thank you to everyone that came and helped!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Reasons

My sweet little Max spent the first few years of his life visiting all sorts of Doctors and specialists. He had several individualized health issues that no one seemed to be able to help with. Through much prayer, medecine, and work he has been able to grow into a healthy little boy. There are occasions, however, that these health issues come back seemingly at full force. This has been the case the past few days and this morning Ty took Max to the emergency room. He is home now and doing okay. We are hoping he will be himself again soon.
And it is Christmas Eve! And I have much reason to rejoice despite the difficulties. We have been here before with Max and I now know how to handle the problem. As I taught in my relief society lesson last week, knowledge is power and it casts away fear. I have knowledge that we are celebrating this wonderful Christmas holiday because of our dear Savior, Jesus Christ. He came into the world to fulfill His glorious mission, and succeeded.
Max opened the last door on his advent calendar and inside was a picture of the Baby Jesus. He has loved opening all of those tiny doors.
I cannot wait for Mia to open her baby doll. She can finally have her own!
Max has just requested chocolate chip cookies so I am off to make them! Merry Christmas! Men are that they might have joy. I know this to be true. We just have to find the joy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chinese Food and the Magic of Christmas

We just got back from a great evening out. We were able to meet with some friends and have a dinner before everyone went away for Christmas. We had Chinese, because it just screams Christmas! Max very much enjoyed the jell-o, and Ty had his fill of crab legs. The kids were extremely spoiled with presents from everyone. Max got this really cool race car track, and Mia got a dress up doll from Beauty and the Beast. It was a really fun night. I was excited to get out and have some fun after we had all been so sick. I am enjoying Christmas week. We have watched a countless number of Christmas movies already; The Grinch, a Muppet Christmas Carol, Olive the Other Reindeer...and we did get the nativity out and teach Max the Christmas story. He has been playing with the set ever since and telling us about everyone that came to see baby Jesus. 2 Days left!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Grandma Newman's Christmas Candy! + Box

We got a great big package today! It was filled with the world famous candy made by Ty's Grandma Newman. We were super excited for the caramels and toffee! Mia was super excited about the box. She had so much fun while Ty pushed her around the apartment. It was just her size!

Sick Day!

We are having another sick day at our house. Max and Mia woke up yesterday morning with horrible colds. They spent the day in my bed watching movies. I got pretty stir crazy but I was able to make tons of phone calls, read everybody's blogs, and bake homeade bread. I guess it was a pretty good day after all. I hate that they are sick, but they are both so cuddly right now and I am going to take advantage of it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MTSA Christmas Party!

We had so much fun at the Christmas party put on by Ty's school. The food was delicious!
Max was not feeling very well. He had been sick and we had to wake him up from a long nap to bring him to the party. We soon discovered a balloon animal making elf that lifted Max's spirits.
This balloon is actually a t-rex. Max's favorite dinosaur.
At the end of the night Santa arrived. Max was one of the first to sit on his lap. Santa gave Max the cutest stuffed reindeer. I am sure he and Mia will be fighting for it at bedtime!

Guitar Hero!

We are big fans of guitar hero. I am the master of the easy level. I tried moving up to medium but it didn't do much for my self esteem so for now I am sticking with easy! Max loves to play too. We always tell him he wins even if he doesn't!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Max is a huge fan of the "Little oranges" we have been buying. I love clementines. They are delicious and very Christmas like. We had a great morning. We had hot chocolate at Starbucks (I decided to break out my Christmas gift card early on account of the rain) We bought rubber ducks at Wal-Mart, and we went to story time at Barnes and Noble. It was gingerbread stories today. After the books were read the kids got to decorate cookies. It was a mess but they had fun with it. For our family night treat tonight we are having candy cane oreos. I am very excited about this discovery. Only 9 days until Christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Keep the Light On

I went to the gym early this morning. When I left the sun was just rising. The grass and trees were all frosted with a layer of ice. It was quiet. It was beautiful. I took some time to think. I love the new David Cook song, Keep the Light On. It is about finding strength and courage and hope. I find great strength and courage in my Heavenly Father's plan. I find in my times of distress and need the comforter comes quickly and fills me with hope or light. I am thankful that the light is always on when it comes to my Savior. I always have a place to turn to in the darkness and a light to lead me home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kitchen Helpers

We are busy baking today. Getting ready for the ward Christmas party. I have two great helpers in the kitchen. Max and Mia love to measure ingredients and taste the cookie dough. We made our favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup salted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream the butter with the sugars. Add vanilla, egg, and yolk. Mix in milk.
3. Add baking soda and flour.
4. Mix in chocolate chips.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Super Amazing Ty!

I have to give a shout out to Ty!
He got all A's in his first quarter of grad school!

Yum-O Chicken


I got this recipe off one of my fav. blogs, Get Off Your Butt and Bake. I made it for lunch today and everyone (Max and Mia included) loved it. So I thought I would pass it along!


1 clove garlic, minced
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 1/4 pound), melted
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
A large pinch of Italian seasoning (herb mix)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 lbs of skinless, boneless, chicken meat,
cut into pieces no larger than 2x2 inches


1 Preheat oven to 450°F.
2 In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the melted butter. In another bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat.
3 Place coated chicken pieces on to a 9x13 baking dish. Try to leave a little room between each piece. Drizzle with remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Note that the chicken will get much more browned on the bottom side than on the top.
Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mia's Breakfast

This Morning I made french toast for the kids. Mia loved it and for the very first time wanted to feed herself with a fork! I was super excited! She is such a big girl!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Cookies and Model Trains!

Ty had the whole day off , so I made him join us for a field trip. We went down to West End and spent the morning at Phillips Toy Mart. Ty and Max had a great time with the model trains and Mia was so excited about all of the baby dolls.
At home we watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which incidentally stars Robert Pattison, who plays Edward on Twilight. In Harry Potter Robert is killed at the end of the movie. Ty looked at me and asked if that was why they had to turn him into a vampire. I thought it was hilarious!) After the movie we put together our Christmas cookie plates and were able to deliver a lot of them. We all had a great time. Mia rolled around on the floor eating cookies and Max did a happy dance. It was great to have Ty home today. We will miss him tomorrow!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Green Hills Mall

Last night we went to the Green Hills Mall. We had a great time. Max got to visit Santa and I got to look at all of the fun stores. We had a late dinner with a bunch of friends at the Cheesecake Factory. It was very delicious (and very much a splurge). The kids fell asleep on the way home. I am so glad it is the weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jessica's Favorite Things

Here are some of my favorite things for the month of December in Nashville:

Fav. Hot Chocolate
Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Fav. Family Activity
An evening at Opryland, the decorations are beautiful, the hotel is amazing, and there is lots to do and see.

Fav. Christmas Treat
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
Heat milk, chocolate, and butter over medium-low heat until melted. At this point mix ins can be added (nuts, marshmallows, m&ms...)
Pour fudge into an 8x8 inch pan and refrigerate until firm.

Fav. Christmas Movie
A Christmas Story
(TBS always plays this movie for 24 hours straight beginning on Christmas eve. My brothers and I always watched this movie while we waited for my parents to wake up on Christmas morning.)

Piggy Back Rides

Mia loved getting a piggy back ride from Max (with a little help from Ty) Max still thinks of Mia as a little baby. He always wants to hold her and sometimes tries to carry her. He is the best big brother!

Jam Session

Music has always been a big part of my life. Max is getting an early start at it as well. We were just like the partridge family. Max was on vocals and Ty was instrumentals. Mia thought the whole thing was a bit strange, but I thought it was great!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Cocoa Tree

This morning I took the kids to Germantown so that we could visit The Cocoa Tree cafe. It is a new place specializing in chocolate! Max picked out a few chocolate dipped treats for himself and I ordered a mayan hot chocolate. I have wanted to try one for a while now. At first it tasted just like a really good hot chocolate, but after I swallowed the chilies burned all the way down! It was definately a sipping cocoa, not a guzzler. Afterwards we went to Trader Joe's to stock our snack shelf. We should be good for a few weeks now!

Monday, December 1, 2008


We had a freezing cold day in Nashville! I had Mia so bundled that if she fell over she would not have been to get up again (Just like on A Christmas Story!) It was a perfect day for cinnamon rolls! I made a batch to have with dinner. I love how they smell when they are cooking and I love to have the oven on when it is so cold outside.
I am busy writing Christmas letters and sending packages. We only have 23 days left!