Friday, January 27, 2012

Catching up....

It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  Jules and I went back to Iowa on Sunday the 15th and were there for 5 days.  Even though the circumstances for why we were there were sad and hard to deal with, it was SO nice to be with family.

My sister Lauren and her husband Cody came up from Texas on Sunday too and it was SO GREAT to see them.  It had been almost a year and that was too long!  We were able to spend all of Tuesday with them and we had a blast together. 

It snowed Monday night while we were there and Cody (being a southern boy and all) had never seen that much snow.  He was up by 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday and outside playing in it and DYING to drive his new 4 wheel drive truck in it!!!!  We indulged him and let him take us all to breakfast at a local diner. :)  The most hilarious part of the day was that he doesn't get cold very easily, so he bummed around town that day in his Texas gear - shorts and a t-shirt!  We got some strange looks, but he thought it was great!  Courtney joined us for lunch that day and then it was the Three Bush Sisters, a husband and one child. Watchout world!! We laughed so much and had a great time - especially when we all almost went down in the icy parking lot of a restaurant and then Courtney bit it big time taking Jules down with her.  If I wasn't laughing so hard, I would have tried to help her.  :)  Good times!  Drew came into town Tuesday night and we all went out to dinner after the visitation.  It was great to see our husbands together and getting along so well.  We are both so blessed to have such wonderful husbands who love us more than anything.  It makes me tear up seeing how much Cody loves Lauren and how great they are together!

On Wednesday Jan. 18th was Grandpa's funeral.  It was seriously one of the most beautiful services I have ever been to. Lauren and I were honored to be asked to read 2 passages from the Bible during the service.  I thought I could do it, but broke down mid-way through, but managed to finish my reading.  It was just so tough knowing we had just seen him the month before and now he was gone. 

I am so thankful for the time we did have with him and the relationship I had with him as an adult.  He was very close to me, but also with Drew and especially with Jules.  He meant (and still means) so much to all of his and we will miss him dearly. :( 

My Mom and Tom came back to Columbia with us for a couple of days.  It was so nice to spend time with them and Jules and Papa Tom were joined at the hip for 3 days straight! 

On Friday night after a long exhausting week, Mom and Tom offered to watch Jules for the night so Drew and I could have a date night!  Well you don't have to ask us twice!  We haven't had a date night since we moved.  So we prettied ourselves up and headed out.  Mom had given us a giftcard to a steakhouse here in town for Christmas, so we used that and had a nice dinner, went for a drive, washed our new car and picked up some toilet paper.  Oh yes, that's how we roll on a Friday night!  :) We were home by 10, but it was just what we needed! 

Mom and Tom headed back to Iowa on Saturday and then flew back to Phoenix on Sunday. 

Such a nice week in so many ways and I am so glad we could all be back to celebrate the life of my Grandfather.  I think my favorite moment of the week was looking through all of the old pictures of my Grandpa growing up and of us as kids with him.  Precious.  And those images will stay with us forever. 

Love you Grandpa T.  See you again one day! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Wonderful Grandpa Tonsi

Yesterday I received a call that I had been dreading.  My beloved Grandpa Tonsi wasn't doing too well and had been admitted to ICU.  The cancer he had been battling was just too much and by the end of the day he was gone. 

I have been through so many emotions.  Hurt and pain because he is gone and I will never see his sparkling blue eyes or laugh with him again.  And relief and happiness that he is no longer suffering and is rejoicing in heaven with my Aunt Gayle. 

He was the strongest and most determined man I have ever met.  Last year he had eye surgery and Drew took him so he could drive him home.  The Dr's told him to rest for a while after the surgery and then he could go home.  The Dr. had no sooner left the room and he had his shirt on and told Drew "Let's go get breakfast at Perkins!" 

He was so sweet and caring to me growing up and continued that sweet demeanor with Julianna.  They had such a special bond - one that she can still feel.  This morning she woke up and asked me how I was doing and said "I can feel Grandpa Tonsi in my heart, he is sitting next to Jesus holding his hand."  How completely sweet is that.  :)

Last night Drew and I were talking about what a blessing Grandpa was to us and we realized that all of the letters in "Tonsi" are in "Stinson". For some reason, we both took great comfort in that.

We will miss him greatly and we are looking forward to celebrating his life next week and I am glad that I will be able to see my Mom and Tom and Lauren and Cody too. 

Rest peacefully Grandpa T.  We love you and you will have a special place in our hearts forever. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sue and Dad Came to Visit!

Sue and Dad had a nice drive down to Missouri on Saturday.  They had not had a chance to visit since we moved and it was nice to be able to show them around our new little town! 

We drove them around and showed them Julianna's school, the University where I work and the restaurant where Drew spends his time. :)  We enjoyed a nice lunch at a local brewery (thanks Dad!) and then explored the town some more.  After driving for a couple of hours, we went took them to the Candy Shoppe and then walked around downtown and did a little shopping.  It was a great day that went by WAY too fast!  Hopefully they will visit more often now that they know it is seriously the easiest 4 hour drive they will ever make!  :) 

Jules had a welcome sign for them when they arrived!
 After we were done driving, eating and shopping, Jules had to show Grandpa her shooting game (remember her dad's gift) and Grandpa, of course marveled at what a great shot she was and tried his hand at shooting the cans and bottles.  They were cracking up and having a great time. 
 After some hugs and a few tears, it was time for them to leave. :(  Sue is the new treasurer at their church and they had to be back for Sunday morning. 

 Such a fun spur of the moment day. Can't wait for lots more just like them from anyone who wants to come our way!!!!!!

One of my favorite Christmas gifts

I like to think that I am pretty 'hip' and keep up with certain trends.  I mean I did have a blog before EVERYONE started having a blog!  :) 

With that being said -  I started couponing WAY before any of these crazy tv shows came out and are now causing people to roll their eyes at me as I come through the check out line. That will never stop me though - I can coupon with the best of them.  I very rarely buy anything without a coupon attached to it.  And if you get me a gift card to somewhere, you better believe I will wait to use it until their is an instore coupon to stack with it ($10.00 off $25.00 purchase at Penney's with $100.00 in gift cards - HELLO!) 

Anyway, so my cutie pie husband has been known to call me "Sexy" when I pull out the Sunday Paper and start clipping away.  Saving money - doesn't get any sexier in his opinion. 

So imagine my delight when on Christmas morning - I opened some of my gifts to see - New Scissors, a calculator and baseball card protectors!  HELLO!!!! 

My couponing has never been more organized!  It takes a little work, but it is so worth it.  Our weekly budget for groceries is $100.00.  This past weekend I spent $43.00 and saved over $20.00 with coupons!!  I didn't clear any shelves and I don't have a borderline "hoarders" stockpile in our house, but I do stock up on a good deal when I see one and I only buy what our little family will use.  I am curious to see how much we will save this year.  I have never tracked it, but I think I will just for fun. 

Anyway, you know me and my pics - I had to take a picture of "Limey" my green coupon binder.  I named it Limey because obviously it is lime green (my favorite color), but what else is green - MONEY.  And what is this binder all about - SAVING MONEY! 

So thanks babe for hooking me and Limey up.  Be prepared for all of our sexiness to come out in full glory on our next shopping trip!  ;) 

Friday, January 6, 2012


Sue called last night and said that she and Dad are coming down tomorrow to spend the day with us.  We are going to show them around and go to lunch some place fun!  Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Years Eve Party at the Stinson House!!!

:)  Not really.  Drew was REALLY sick and Jules was still getting over her cold, so we made roast and baked potatoes and settled in for the night. 

The plan was to watch movies, but we were drawn into the countdown on t.v. They had the 40 best performances over the past 40 years and they brought back some nostalgia for Drew and I, and we watched the whole thing until midnight! Jules loved doing the countdown with us and we celebrated with a little sparkling grape juice and then went to bed. I know we are getting so wild in our old age! :) You know it's bad when your five-year-old can out last you on New Year's Eve! It was a nice night together as a family and we all really enjoyed sleeping in the next day! :)

Jules enjoyed dancing to all of the music we grew up with! 

 Silly (hyper) girl! 
 The highlight of her night of course, was having her picture taken with Justin Bieber!!!!! :) :)
 Hope everyone had a safe and Happy New Year!!!!

Christmas Day!

After our nap, we woke up and finished opening our stockings and opened our gifts from Julianna.  She got me a very nice lime green (my favorite color) pearl bracelet and gave Drew a pocket knife.   She got a real kick out of her stocking this year.  Lots of little goodies. 

 Who doesn't love Travel Farkle in their stocking!  We LOVE this game! Great game for teaching your child to think and work on their numbers.  :)

 Dinner was lookin' good!!!
 She was DYING to open up the rest of her gifts, but I wanted to make the day last, so we snuggled in at watched Santa Clause 1 & 2 and prepared dinner.  Please note that I attempted to clean up after Santa, but it was pretty much a lost cause, that the living room would be clean and tidy that day! 
 All set for dinner!!!!
 And dinner was AMAZING!!!  Smoked brisket and pork ribs.  Grilled Sweet Potatoes and......
 ....Jalapeno Mac-n-Cheese!  To.die.for!!
 After that it was time to open gifts.  Are you able to see Julianna in the picture below?!??  :)
 She was SO excited to give us these gifts she made in school.  Adorable.
 Her facial expressions are the best.  Just what a parent wants to see when they give their child a gift they think they will really like! 
 New purse and wallet from Grandma Lili! 
 Every year I get Julianna a gift that is just from me.  Something special that I think she will love.  Drew does the same.  From me she received a bracelet with the word "Daughter" on it, in a special box with a poem.  She also got a matching ring and a jewelry box to put it in.  I can't even describe the look on her face when she opened it and the hug she gave me afterwards.  I love this precious girl so much and I am so blessed that she is my daughter!   Oh, what did Drew get her you ask?  A pretend gun with cans and bottles to use as target practice.  Yep.  Loved it just as much as the girly jewelry.  Actually she might like it a little more.  She plays with that thing non-stop....and so do we!  Every time she plays it she sayd "This was a REALLY good gift, Dad!" 

 Earlier in the summer, Drew and I saw these Lite Sprites advertised on t.v.  We thought FOR SURE this would be the must have of the Christmas season.  So we ran right out and got the set for Julianna.  Well I never saw the ad again and never saw them on any must have Christmas list.  BUT, Julianna LOVED them...and so did her mom.  We played with these for hours on Christmas night.  Seriously, where was this stuff when I was a kid.  Lauren and I would have had a blast with this set!  SO much fun!  If you have a little girl, Google "Lite Sprites" and watch the videos of what these little sprites will do.  They.are.AWESOME!! 
 At the end of the night, we told Jules she could play with whatever she wanted and we would put everything away the next day.  After we cleaned up dinner, this is what Drew and I found her doing.  Working on math problems in a workbook Grandma Lili got her. Gee, could she be my daughter?  You will have to ask my mom sometime about the time we took at trip to the Grand Canyon and all I wanted to do was go back to the hotel and read my book!  :)
 Before bed, Julianna reminded us that we still had a Gingerbread house to make.  Drew and I were pretty much down for the count by that time, but we had promised her the night before that we would do it on Christmas Day, so Daddy got out the mixer and started making frosting.  I must say, this was my favorite memory of the day.  It was so much fun to work on it as a family and get all of the "detail" just right. :)  Perfect way to end a perfect day!

 I had to post this, because I am known for coming right behind you as you open a gift with a trash bag to get it off the floor.  Or a storage container to put the toy parts in right away.  Drives Drew nuts!  This year, I didn't care.  We let the living room stay like this for a couple of days and let Jules have her fun.  She played with every toy over and over again and had a blast!  In fact I am going to get the Lite Sprites out again when we get home tonight!  SO much fun! 
 So there you have it - our first Christmas without running around from 5 a.m. til' 2 a.m.  And yes we stayed in our pajamas ALL day and we enjoyed every minute of it!  And before I forget, we did take time throughout the day to reflect on the true meaning of the day and talk with Julianna about the true reason for the season and the faith Drew and I both share and the love we have for Jesus and the love He has for us.  Her response "I know about Jesus' love, I carry it in my heart every day!"  :)

Hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas!  
One of my favorite gifts this year - given to our family from my Mom and Tom.  I love thinking that this print will be in the family for years/generations to come.  Thanks Mama!

Santa Came!

Christmas Morning.  Such a delight.  We are treasuring it as much as we can as our little inquisitive one may not be a believer for too much longer. This year she was in awe with her gifts and couldn't believe that Santa brought her what was on her list - an easel, a pottery wheel and a gift card to a paint your own pottery place!  I mean when you have a five year old that would rather create than get new toys, what else can Santa do, but give her just what she wanted!  :) 

 Something special for the whole family - A NINJA blender!  We are making green smoothies every morning to boost our immune systems and stamina for the day.  This again was Julianna's idea. 
A blender.    For Christmas.

 This is what she saw Christmas morning.  Don't judge.  I am a bargain hunter after all.  But we did want to make this Christmas extra special since it would be her first without the rest of the family and her sister (which is still too hard to talk about) so we may have amped it up a bit for Jules.  But I will say, she is the most gracious child and was so thankful for everything she was given.  And we have all had a blast playing with it all!  :)
 And this was her face, when she saw the treasure trove that awaited her.  Yes, Julianna there IS a Santa Claus!!!! And he sure does love you.  A LOT!!!!!

After that we played with some of her new things and I looked over and found her fast asleep.  So we all headed back to bed for a nap and didn't wake up until NOON!!!!!  Merry Christmas Drew & Adrian!  :)

Christmas Eve 2011

We had a great Christmas Eve this year! Because we weren't running around crazy, we were able to enjoy the day as a family. Jules and I baked all afternoon while Drew started to get things ready for Christmas dinner. Then we lazed around all night watching Christmas movies and eating our baked creations. It was just wonderful!

Jules getting the marshmallows ready for our "Christmas Wreaths"
 What's Christmas without sugar cookies!!!!  I believe they are Santa's favorite!

 Um, let me just say, this "Christmas Wreath" idea was easier said than done.  It was SO messy.  And let's just also say this - I will never eat one of these if someone else made them.  Your hands are literally all over them.  My own creations are fine because I know where my hands have been.  So let's just keep this project for eating at home - ok folks!?  :)

 We had so much fun making everything and snacking on it ALL weekend.  Um, hello extra 5 pounds.  :)
 Every Christmas Eve Julianna gets a new book, stuffed animal and movie.  This year my mom provided the book and stuffed animal, and something a little extra......
 ....a nice and soft blanket.  I have tried to steal it a few times, but she always finds it.  :)  It is awesome!  We all snuggled under it on Christmas Day. 
 I love it when Jules gets a new book.  She will look over it for hours.  Too cute! 
 Right before bed we made sure to put out the food for the Reindeer - they must have loved it because it was all gone when we woke up!  ;)

 Working really hard on her letter to Santa.  I love that we have a picture of her doing this every year!  :)
 All ready for Santa!

 O.k., so I had to post this picture.  My mom saw this sign and ordered it for Julianna.  It has been hanging by our front door since Thanksgiving.  On Christmas Eve, Jules asked me to take it down.  She didn't want Santa to see it and then decide that she didn't need him (or his presents) anymore because she has her Grandma.  :)  Precious. 
 After she went to bed - Santa's "helpers" came out and got the house ready for his arrival!  :)

Julianna's stocking
 My stocking
 Drew's Stocking
I love our stocking tradition.  It started for me as a child with Sue and Dad having stockings filled to the brim with lots of goodies and little gifts that meant something to each of us.  Ex. a jar of green olives and new pens.  I love those things and don't necessarily buy them for myself all the time.  So we have carried on the tradition in our home.  Sometimes I think the stockings are the best part!  Lots of thought and effort go into them each year!  :)