Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"...and to all a good night."

Well, it's officially Christmas Eve and I am just now getting to take pictures of our Christmas decorations (for those of you that were asking) so...sorry about that. The good news is that Santa has already come! So now you can see all the goods! James is pooped so he's already asleep and I want to be too because it's REALLY late and we are getting up nice and early this might be a little short.

First, I should tell you about the rest of our Christmas Eve. I flew home (well, I guess to the new home because home really is wherever James is, but whenever I say "home," it will always mean California) to Florida this morning and that was really hard emotionally. Christmas Eve is always such an amazing night in our house. Hot chocolate, Christmas movies, sleeping squished up next to my sisters in my bed (yes, they all sleep with me!) I didn't go to sleep last night since I was packing and trying to console my poor mama. But my dad woke up and took me early this morning. I hate rushed goodbyes, especially with my dad. I slept a huge chunk of the way to the airport and I was so mad at myself for it. It's the only time I get Ashley-dad talks and he was so tired that I should've been talking to him while I had the chance. Ugh!! And then when we got there, I was late because I had forgotten to take out cash the day before so I had to make a stop at the bank. So anyway, after many many tearful goodbyes--the worst part of my trip--I flew home to my sweetheart, which made it a little better.

I was also really scared because so many flights had been delayed from the crazy weather & it being Christmas Eve. I knew how much it meant to James that he spend Christmas Eve at the big get-together his family has every year (that he's missed for 3 years now-mission & college) so I was so scared I wasn't going to make it. But Heavenly Father answered my prayers and I arrived right on time!

So after that, we went straight to his parents' house. And I have to say, after you're really sad from leaving your family, it is the greatest thing ever to come back to your other family and be immediately surrounded with love & big hugs. BEST. FEELING. EVER. After that, I got back into the Christmas spirit. Their party was awesome!! I was so stuffed from all the delicious food and it was awesome to know almost every person that walked through the door! There was games, so much food & desserts, and of course chatting. It was a really nice Christmas Eve and we stayed pretty late because we enjoyed ourselves so much.

So now we're home and exhausted. But I couldn't resist showing off our holiday cheer. So here it is!

Please don't mind the ghetto hooks. We don't have a fireplace. Haha Mine is the left, James's is the right.
This is most of all we could do this year. But we'll be adding more & more decorations each year!
J-O-Y jars my Mom made us last year.
They change every holiday! How talented is she?!
This was supposed to be all on one big
serving tray, but we couldn't find one this year. Boo.

LOVE getting these!! I'm missing my other cute sister's because it got left at my parents. Kill me. So sorry sissy!
So there it is. We didn't go too crazy, and our house isn't even all the way set up yet, so for this year, it will have to do. I am so so excited for James to open his presents tomorrow. Stay tuned to see how I scored major wife points!! Merry Christmas everyone! We love you!......zzzzzz......

Thursday, December 12, 2013

christmas cards & cones.

Alright. Fess up. You love the holidays like that camel loves Hump Day.

I won't even try to hide it - I looove the holidays!! I think it really is a pretty magical time of year. And I've been trying to make sure we were able to decorate and celebrate to the fullest, even with our meager budgets. Isn't that what all the most touching Christmas stories are created with?

The first thing on my to-do list was Christmas cards. It is a tradition I have always loved, (one that is sadly slowly dying off) and one that I plan on doing every year for the rest of our lives. We tried to get a little creative this year, since we're living in Florida now and let's be honest, there is no such thing as a "winter" here. [Our family thinks I'm a whiner I'm sure, but it's just not Christmas is you can't wear a big ole jacket!] So we had a little fun with our Christmas card pictures this year...


Thank goodness my sister-in-law is the puppet master of a camera. She is incredibly talented and we're always so so thankful when she says she will take a photo for us! [In fact, feel free to check out her amazing blog!] After that was crossed off, we had other things to focus on, like our tree, but I'll save that for it's own post because I'm pretty proud of how that little number came out.

I have also been called to serve in the Primary as the "Faith in God Activity Coordinator." Basically, I get to plan all the activities for the cutest, most fun girls in primary, the 8-11 year olds! So for our first activity, since it was so close to Christmas, I had the girls decorate Christmas trees out of ice cream cones & candy. They LOVED it!! They were so cute about how professional or how silly they wanted them to look and their eyes bulged out of their heads when they saw all the candy laid out to decorate with and snack on (sorry parents!) When I took these pictures, two of the girls had gone to the bathroom together and I didn't get a chance to take any more. :( But how awesome are they!?

Yes, that bottom left one is mine. Theirs were way more fun!!
Then I read them this story I found called "Teach The Children." I wasn't a HUGE fan of it for kids, because it's long and some parts are a little over their heads, but nevertheless, they participated! It's a story about how a child catches Santa on Christmas Eve and he's putting ornaments on the tree, and after each one, he says "Teach the children that [this] symbolizes [that]."  It is supposed to show children to teach other children that Christmas is more than presents & greed & fast-paced. I had the girls make bracelets and for every symbol read in the story, I told them to pick a bead out of this box of them (that a sweet lady in the Relief Society donated) that represented that symbol.

We used twine and tiiiiny beads, so the activity didn't work that well, but they tried and they got the point so that was all that mattered to me! I'd say a pretty successful first activity!

So just know that Christmas is slowly but surely starting to make its way into the Anderson home and we can't wait to show you everything else we have in store! YAY for the holidays!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

gabbing, gobbling, & gratitude.

I don't know why I was dreading Thanksgiving this year. I think it all started back my first semester of college when everyone got to go home for Thanksgiving and I, being an actual poor college student, could not afford it. Instead, I stayed back and made myself a "canned" Thanksgiving dinner, all by myself, and would watch hours of the OC. It was depressing.

Ever since then, people have opened their homes to me, which seriously made my whole college experience even better. In fact, that was when James & I took our first road trip together and met each other's families. I didn't even think we were that serious, but about a week later, the first "l word" was exchanged. :) Anyway, I always felt bad because everyone was so kind that they wanted no help with the dinner! So I always felt like such a mooch.

THAT saga is why this year, I was SO excited to get assignments. James & I were in charge of the deviled eggs and the sweet potatoes! Now, my grandma has always made the BEST candied yams, and I wanted to make sure that special item stayed in our (James & my) family traditions. I basically made him totally responisble for the eggs since a) I do NOT like them, and b) that means I have never made them ever in my life. I had no idea what they even really were! Just that I hate the smell, the texture, and the breath on people afterwards. 

So we did those in the morning and then went over to his parents' house. They have a big family dinner, complete with friends, so we had quite a few people there-my kind of dinner.

One thing I love about James's mom & sisters are they are big time decorators. They deck out their houses (especially his mom) for every holiday and I love it! This was no exception of course, and they had made the table look SO cute! Plus there were assigned seats, which in my world, are very fancy.

Also, their meal is quite different than my family's. We are very traditional: turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, green bean casserole, Grandma's sweet potatoes, and not too much else. But his family is a whole different story! There was seven layer salad, corn casserole, real cranberries, and deviled eggs...and of course, traditional foods made it up there too. And I was so pleasantly surprised! I tried to try everything (except for the salad...I just couldn't) and it was all very tasty! So of course, by the end of it, I could hardly walk. But I still had room for the yummy dark chocolates that were filled with caramel. I mean, who would pass that up!?

He did so great. So proud of my little chef, who had never made them before either!
The other cool part was that one of the sweet ladies there loved my potatoes so much, she took all of them home with her!! The potatoes weren't done until everyone had already finished eating, so I was scared no one would want them or try them. But when she raved about them, I bubbled up inside. I was so so happy. No one else really got the chance to try them for those reasons though, so I can't wait until the next time I can whip them up! High five Grandma K!

After dinner, we were all trying to digest before dessert and talked about Black Friday. Now, of course, we all thought it was terrible that people had to work on Thanksgiving and that the sales have just been starting earlier and earlier. What is the point of even calling it Black Friday anymore?! However, we figured that if we went late enough, like late, than maybe those people would forgive us. We didn't have the intention of buying anything, but we just wanted to look and see what some of our favorite stores had "in store" for us.....punny.

To stall (and keep up with their tradition) we went over to Tyler's dad's and had a little bonfire out back. We were there for quite a while. There was quite a group and I liked listening to everyone's stories about growing up together. James & his friends have all basically been friends since they were little. I always wanted that and it's always funny to hear how different my life was compared to James's teenage years. I couldn't drive until I was 19 (I was forever deny that in public) and he was getting out of speeding tickets. They'd go camping & fishing, and I spent my nights at other people's houses. It's cute to hear about James, pre-Ashley. Anyway, Tammy was nice enough to bring us hot, fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookies. And dang did I stock up on those. I mean, if we were going to do anything aftwewards, I had to be prepared! Those were gone in like 5 minutes. James had at least 9 (they're his favorite when they are Tammy's and they are hot!) So after the last log had burned out, we decided it was time to head out.

Little did we know how crazy Black Thursday has gotten. Yikes. People were literally wrapped around stores. Maybe that seems logical to people with kids, but as I was watching them, I just thought, "No way. How can people stand in line for hours & hours starting at 11pm?!" But maybe I'll understand when I'm older.

We checked out a couple places with Zac & Ana, but James & I didn't actually buy anything ourselves. So we went home & I called my parents & talked to my dad for a while. It was so heartwarming to hear about everything going on across the country in Arizona. THANK YOU to modern technology, because for the first time in YEARS, I was able to be passed around and say hi to my cousins that I hadn't seen in years. It actually did bring tears to my eyes that I could still be with my family on Thanksgiving. 

James actually did wake up this morning and do a little shopping. I'm excited to see what happens when he gets back! 5am was hopefully worth it for my little sweetheart!

And of course, I had my little James, who makes every single day just the best day ever. I'm so excited to spend every holiday with him for the rest of my life. I can't even begin to number my blessings because I know I'd lose track. They are countless. I am so grateful for everything we have. I live in a fairy tale. Here's to hoping your holiday was just as special and full of gabbing, gobbling, and gratitude! Happy Thanksgiving!!

It was late. Please excuse the tired, forced smiles. :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

our humble home.

Alright. You asked for it. I fiiiiinally put the pictures up!!

Let's start with the bedroom. Now, it's obviously been cleaned since this picture. But. I was too determined to get these up to make it really pretty. James got SUCH a good deal on the furniture. I want to give it a makeover, but he loves it. So. Maybe someday we can compromise? For now, I have to give it to him for getting all of these pieces for so little moolah.

Master bath
Now let's go to the other side of the house. Here is the final guest bathroom that James repainted. Ooooh, right?!

Remember, we're still really new here and we probably won't stay long. So this is just what it looks like for now. But. We're getting pretty good at making temporary homes our own.

Sorry about the clutter. Kind of. I'm so proud of James for organizing it for me at least!

Extra bedroom (this is where all the fun guests like my family will stay!! And it will look better!)
Also, yes. That is my husband's giant plushy fish laying dead on the bed.
Aaaaand the room I was debating to show you. But. Here is where all of our random stuff is.
I'm sorry you have to see that. We just keep the door closed so we can't see this eyesore.
Well! Those are the pictures! The guest bathroom is on one side (right) and that splits the two extra rooms. Then the living room, and that leads to a kind of hall where the "laundry closet" is and that goes into the kitchen. Then the door on the wall of that hall leads into our room (the other side of the house) and the bathroom. Oh! And I will have to upload another post dedicated to the backyard (gorgeous!) and James's little garden! Yep. That's right. My husband is becoming a full-fledged gardener. I'm so proud of him and so excited to fill this house with lots of fun things and even more fun memories. Can't believe how lucky we are to have this opportunity. We sure are blessed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

**slowly catching up**

**As a side note, which I will eventually delete, I have 17 drafts sitting in the queue. 17!!!! So be patient. The hardest part is trying to get all the pictures on here!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

the power of paint.

Ok, ok, ok. I know. I haven't been updating when I should have. Yes, many fun things have been going on in the Anderson home. For starters, our home! Haha

We were supposed to move in a while ago actually, but there was a LOT we had to get done here first. Now, we absolutely love the people who really own the house. They are amazing people who have helped us more than we can ever thank them for. And we understand that they lived here, with a family, for years. So obviously, there is going to be a little wear & tear. Nothing we can't handle.

We cleaned the carpets (twice) trying to get the lingering smell of 4 dogs out of the bedroom (but the carpet itself was very well-kept!), the bathroom was the brightest thing I have ever seen, and there were a few scuffs on our wall that we could in NO way clean off. So James painted the whole bedroom totally white. [Which is a sore subject-at the very beginning, the spray painter wasn't working properly and was leaking ALL over. First time I have actually ever seen James SERIOUSLY angry!] It looks sooo clean in here now!! The smell is just about gone (I don't know what I did before I owned a Scentsy) and the bathroom, as you can see, is now GORGEOUS thanks to the best husband not even money can buy. He found both the white and this grey paint , both very expensive brands, on super duper sale (ALL of it was under $15) and made what was....a room with a LOT of character into a much more muted one.

*Headslap: I can't believe I didn't take a before picture!! However, I DID take a picture early one morning (hopefully I rock the gross t-shirt look?) before he finished the whole thing, and this is all I have to show you! [Yes, the entire bathroom was this did make everyone look a little more tan though!]

And after! I love being married to a handy man!
So once he finishes that, I think it will be time to upload all the ones of our new little temporary home. We're both really excited and so so blessed to have this opportunity. I can't even believe it. We love cooking together, watching movies on your suuuper comfy bed, and doing normal couple stuff. It's kind of weird not having "roommates" and coming home to an empty house, but their is something so cool about it because it's ours. We're trying to make this little house a home and I can't WAIT to see what other little things we get to do to it together. So stay tuned!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

medieval madness!

I went to one major festival in my whole life. That was the Civil War Reenactment that our school encouraged us to go to every year (and it was awesome!!!) But other than that, my big fair & festival count is zero. Well, Sarasota has this HUGE medieval fair...I think every year?...and we went to that yesterday. It was pretty darn intense.

There were seriously sooo many booths there that we didn't even try to visit every single one. James had his fun with some more than others...

He took these pictures to send to his friends and I had to take like 6 because I was laughing so hard.
They had camel rides...yes...real camel rides!! And if it wasn't so expensive, I would've done it! The camels I heard were not that nice though, so maybe that was a good thing?

Although, I did catch a picture of one that looked like he sure was having a good time! He even smiled for me!...

I think the coolest part was the activities. They had this booth where you could make those ribbon dancer things, try on costumes, and a freakin jousting activity where these kids can slide down a zip line and try to get a jousting stick through a ring (and even though it was for kids, I was very tempted to say the least). Then for the adults, they had a fire eater, a man who did all these tricks on this giant hamster wheel, and these awesome games (that frankly, no one was good at. The men of those days must have had serious aim!)

They also had a gigantic human chess game going on at times throughout the day and it was PACKED! That was probably the most popular event I'd say. It was cool to watch....for like 2 minutes. We couldn't hear and I couldn't see so it was lost on me for sure. James had to get these pictures for me (kudos to me for marrying a tall man!)

And of course, there was an actual jousting match. Now that show was worth waiting for! They didn't try to hit each other, which was a relief since we had all these little kids and we did not need them to be learning that! Instead, there were targets painted on bales of hay.

As you can see, everyone was very into it.
The other most fun part of the day was when we watched a show called "The Washing Wenches,' which a comedy show with these two cousins who are "wenches" that wash everyone's clothes for a living. It was HILARIOUS. I found out that they travel all over the world doing this because everyone loves it so much, so if you get that chance, you don't have a choice - you have to see them. The show is a little dirty, but since I'm a married lady, it wasn't so bad...that is, until they called James up to participate.

I did get a video, but I'm not going to share it, and here's why. I feel like it makes me look like a bad wife. They called him up and it was pretty funny at first. But then they asked me if I was a jealous woman, and even though I'll admit that when it comes to James--YES! But I didn't want to be one of those lame participators. So I said no, and that made it worse for James. They were all over him. Even I was suuuuper uncomfortable when they reached up his shirt and were twisting his nips. But, I really didn't know what to do! Poor poor James. When they asked me that, he was shaking his head up & down like a mad man but I had already said no at the same time. I felt like a terrible wife the rest of the day. But the show WAS super funny! Our friend Melissa's husband, Bo, also got called up and he ended up getting all wet. So it was still a fun show, even though I was apologizing to James the rest of the day. Haha

This festival will surely have to go on our "Fun Family Things to Do" list. It was a lot of fun and I was really glad I broke that "no festival" streak. I hope we go again in the future so I can try one of those GIANT turkey legs...and maybe share it with a camel for a ride! ;)