Jolley Holidays!  Things have been full of craziness and laziness since Christmas - my apologies for my lack in posting.  Christmas was incredible and I'm looking forward to ringing in the New Year...complete with a long list of resolutions.  I will return with many an update.  Until then?  I hope you have a festive evening!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  


'Twas the night before...

I LOVE Christmas Eve!  The anticipation, the magic, the excitement...it cannot be matched.  I often wonder if I look forward to the Eve of Christmas more than the actual Holiday.  I practically jumped out of bed this morning and have been singing and dancing ever since...even when disciplining my wee sugar plum fairies (who, it seems, sometimes act in a way to diminish my Christmas spirit - they shall not succeed!).  My home is filled with Christmas music, movies, it smells of pine and cinnamon...

Where did December go?  Can I ask?  This month always goes too fast and I think most of us are left scrambling to get everything done in time.  Did I make enough cookies?  Did I wrap everything?  Did I decorate everywhere?  Did we sing carols?  The other day I went out to run some last minute errands with my Mom and Jess...and the baby boys.  It was quite the adventure!  The day was a complete white-out.  It was snowing so hard and it snowed ALL DAY.  I snapped many pictures because, while treacherous, it was SO beautiful!

This park by house is filled with huge trees.  I love when all the branches are covered in snow, it's so pretty...

The road up to my parents house...
Christmas lights at dusk during a snowstorm?  Is anything more beautiful?

We drove carefully from stop to stop and completed our errands late that afternoon.  I came home and started dinner, dreading the 8 inches of snow I would have to shovel once the boys were in bed.  Ah, not so!  
For my Knight in Shining Armor (also known as my Father-in-law who is solid gold) came to my rescue on his snowplow 4-wheeler.  Cache put on his coat and gloves and ran outside to help Grandpa clear the snow.   After the walks were clear, Gary gave Cache some coins and said, "Put these in a safe place and when it's Summertime, we'll go get a Coke."

My excitement for today and tomorrow is obvious, but I am also feeling so blessed and lucky at this time of year. I have a delightful, beautiful family whom I love so very much.  A husband who is my heart and my match in every way.  A warm home, brothers and sisters who are my best friends - friends!  I have the greatest friends in the world, hands down.  I am grateful for the true meaning of this wonderful season, of the love of a Savior who we celebrate on this most sacred of Holidays.  I am so humbled.  I love the Gospel with all my heart, I am truly grateful.

I hope you have the Merriest of Christmases!  From our 'Jolley Holiday' to yours!


Snow in the Streetlight

I grew up on Center Street and in front of our house there was a streetlight.  We relied heavily on this streetlight many a time - to help friends find our house, to shed light on our all-night parties on the fourth of July, etc.  There it stood, ever helpful, always on.  The most important purpose of this light, however, was during Wintertime.  Every time it snowed, my brothers and sister and I would pile  on the couch in our living room and watch the snow fall in the glow of the streetlight.  We would sit there forever, just watching the snow.  We all loved to watch it, but my sister Andrea was the biggest fan.  She would always be the last to leave the couch.  I remember there being a fire in the fireplace, the smell of the Christmas tree, us in our pajamas pressed up next to the cold window...warm memories.  When my parents were building our next home, they insisted on having a streetlight put in on our drive so that my sister could watch the snow fall.  

Cody and I were up really late last night finishing a batch of caramel (yummy).  As I was going through the house turning off all the lights, I checked outside to see if it was snowing.  I stared at one spot for a few seconds and couldn't tell...didn't see any snow.   I opened up my door and stepped out on our porch and checked the streetlight that is just outside my house.  I saw the snow flurries and immediately was flooded with memories of watching the snow fall at night with my sister.  It was so quiet and still outside.  I snapped some pictures of the snow in the streetlight for my sister, who I miss SO very much right now.  I love her, she is my bestie.  Merry Christmas, sis!


Christmas Dinner

Last night we had a few friends over for a casual Holiday feast of sorts.  We sat and talked in the kitchen while the kids played around the house and wore each other out (bonus!).  It was so nice to hang out.  The dinner was mighty tasty and after we were full we made gingerbread houses!  I put on some festive tunes and we got right down to business.  It was a messy craft, but so much fun.  I always love seeing what everyone creates.  The kids were especially eager about this portion of the evening - they ate most of the candy before it reached their frosted dwellings.  

Our equipment

Ann's ginger-palace complete with garage!
My snowy cottage...
Adam's solar-powered gingerbread house.
Cache putting some last minute touches on his 4 story ginger condo (Cody may have had something to do with that...)

Morgan and her cute house!  Please note the candy in her hand and in her mouth...she's so cute.

Our Gingerhood

After we said goodnight to everyone, Cache wanted to sing through some of his favorite Christmas songs.  Here we are singing, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas".  And now a hippo tops Cache's Christmas list.  Along with a dragon.  Awesome.


Santa's got a brand new bag!

How great is this?  Merry Christmas to me!  Andrea drew my name this year and a few days ago mailed me this GORGEOUS green bag.  I love it.  Yeah yeah, it's a few days before Christmas, but whatevs - I couldn't wait.  The size is perfect and it has the enviable single strap - I adore it.  Thank you, sis!

Kate was in town this weekend and we were able to record some songs on Friday afternoon.  It was SO much fun!  Hannah met us there and we recorded 'Blessing' and 'Homeward Bound'.  We messed around and sang some random songs...it was a blast. 

Kate and Hannah listening to our track.

Hannah and I haven't recorded anything together for almost 4 years, and the three of us haven't recorded anything in 7.  It's been a while!  It was really fun being in a studio again.  We'll have to polish up some more songs and go back next time she's in town.

That night Rhonda, Kate and I went to dinner at Los Hermanos.  Always delish. We laughed our heads off and took lots of pictures.

I couldn't keep a straight face...
"...are you gonna take the picture?"
After we ate we went to see Twilight (yes, it's my third time).  Rhonda hadn't seen it yet and she loved it!  We grabbed some treats and ended up at my house.  Hannah came over and we talked for a bit before starting 'Pillow Talk'.  Hannah had never seen it - and still hasn't, she slept through most of it!  Rhonda and I are die-hards (or idiots) and we stayed awake for the whole thing.  It was an eeearly morning, but it was so much fun to hang out with the girls.

Saturday night I had a show with The Thrillionaires.  It was SO great!  The cast was elite - Brett, Matt, Maclain, Lisa and Hailey.  We wore tacky Christmas sweaters and the show was a complete blast.  I love it so much!  I don't have any shows until next month, so a few weeks off will be nice.  But come January, onward Thrills!

Are you ready for Christmas?  Is anyone ready for Christmas?  I can't believe it's NEXT WEEK and I am so not prepared.  Christmas music!  I found this lovely little album on iTunes a few weeks back and fell in love with these songs:

All My Bells Are Ringing - Lenka
The Christmas Song - Catherine Feeney
Blue Christmas - Nicole Atkins
Silent Night - Priscilla Ahn
Winter Wonderland - Kate Havnevik

I listen to them every time I get in my car.  Go get 'em!  Oh, has everyone sent out their Christmas cards already?  Am I the only one who hasn't done that yet?  Or made a gingerbread house?...


Bringing Classy Back

It's no surprise that I fancy some retro flair.  I'm a huge fan of the 40's, 50's and 60's - the artwork, the music, the fashion...oh, the fashion!  Amelia and Tanya came over last week and we were gushing over pictures in a book about fashion, admiring how glamorous women used to dress on a daily basis.  My Mom told me that when she was little, her Mother would get all gussied up before running errands to the Post Office and the Grocery Store.  She would put on a nice dress, gloves, a hat...fabulous.   Women really knew how to dress feminine back in the day - skirts all the time, hair always set.  One of the reasons I love old movies is seeing the dresses all the women wear.  All the coordinating outfits and jewelry pieces, everything matching perfectly, the sounds of their shoes on the sidewalk as they walked to the office with a fur muff over their hands... 

Our society has become so casual.  I realize that a big part of it is that casual is practical.  I love getting dressed up, but I realize that wearing a pencil skirt and heels whilst chasing kids around your house all day is not possible.  It's hard to get sassied when you have little hands grabbing at your earrings, leaving bits of food on your shoulder and pulling off your bracelets.   But what about just upping the ante a wee bit?  Bringing classy back?  Making an effort to look fresh and put together and in my case, incorporating some vintage pin ache.   I can't seem to decide whether I want to look like a 40's bombshell or be a jeans and t-shirt chick,  but I think the fact that I aspire to be both is a start.  I'm going to do it.  I'm going to get glam.  I'm bringing classy back!...just as soon as I can find where my son hid my nail polish...


Decking The Halls

My house is finally decorated!  Well...almost.  We still have to put lights on one of our trees (we have 6), set up our village and put some faux presents on top of the cabinets in the kitchen.  I LOVE my house at Christmas!  The stockings are hung above the computer with care...

It's been a crazy few days!  Last week I helped my Mom get her house all decorated for a wedding reception that was held at their house.  It was so much fun spending time up there with her decorating and listening to Christmas music.   Her house looks gorgeous!

Last Wednesday we went to pick out our Christmas tree!  We go to the same lot every year - Baum's Christmas Trees.  It spreads across a few lawns up in Grandview and they have a HUGE selection.  This year we walked straight to the section of flocked trees and perused for a minute or two, walked through the evergreens to the next group of flocked firs and instantly saw the perfect tree!  We paid the man and loaded the tree in our car - the entire trip took us less than 10 minutes.  Record time!  And our tree is the bomb.  Or...'Baum'.   We still have bags and BAGS of ornaments to put on it, but here is a sampling.  What am I saying?  I'm not done decorating...

I haven't delved into the world of Christmas shopping just yet, but I have dabbled.  My husband is quite possibly hardest man to shop for, along with my parents...and his parents...AND dearest BC readers, the time has come for the 'Stocking Contest' between Cody and I.  Last year I won by a landslide when I presented Cody with a ring that had our son's named engraved on it.  You can be sure that Cody is planning something spectacular to win this year, but we can't let that happen, can we!  Any ideas?  Send them my way...

I better finish bedecking, and why isn't it snowing?


There is too much...

I am so behind on blogging - shameful.  I have much to fill you in on, but where to start?  So many trivial tidbits...The season has consumed me with the usual bustle and craziness, I have little time to get things done and I already feel like I'm missing out on Christmas goodness.  However, rather than list off the highlights of the past week, I opted to play a wee game of 'Christmas Tag' that was on my friend's blog.  Lucky you! Here we go..

Do you like Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?  Yes. Equally delicious!
Does Santa wrap presents or just put them under the tree?  Can't answer for the big man, but we generally wrap all our presents.  Unless it's too big or awkward to wrap...or if I'm too tired on Christmas Eve and simply don't care...
Colored lights on tree/house or just white?  I'm with Shaunee on this one - before I was married I was ALL about white lights - didn't fancy the colorful ones.  Now we have colored lights on our house, in our yard, on one of our trees.  They look so festive! On our main Christmas tree, however, we still use white lights (old habits die hard).  
Do you hang mistletoe?  Yes!  I don't really enforce it, however, unless it's Cody.  But you may just get a wee kiss on the cheek...watch out.
When do you put up decorations?  I start after Halloween....
What's your favorite Holiday dish?  It's not really a dish, but I love the dinner we have on Christmas Eve with Cody's family.  It's always SO delish.
What is your favorite Holiday memory as a child?  My parents would set up barricades so we couldn't get into the Living Room on Christmas morning until we ate breakfast and did the dishes.  They placed them just right so we couldn't see anything!  We would lean and stretch to see if we could steal a peek and we never succeeded.  I loved that...
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?  We used to when we were little, but we haven't really started that tradition yet.  I love opening all of them in the morning!
How do you decorate your Christmas tree?  Lots of lights, lots of ornies...it's very festive and bright.
Snow!  Love it or dread it?  I love snow, I just hate to drive in it.  There's nothing better than a white Christmas, am I right?
Can you ice skate?  I can...I just choose not to.
Do you remember your favorite gift?  Wow, too many to choose from, I've had amazing Christmases.  One that does come to mind is the first year Cody and I were married he gave me a Firefighter Maltese necklace.  It made me cry.  
What is the most important thing about the Holidays for you?  Being with family, enjoying every minute of the Holiday.  I love creating new traditions with my own little family!
What is your favorite Holiday dessert?  Jolley caramel!!  Seriously, is there anything better?  We make it ever year and it is to die for.  I eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It's true.  If you've been good this year, perhaps I will make you some.
What tops your tree?  A vintage tinsel star.
Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?  Well, if I say 'receiving' I sound like a brat, don't I?  I love giving gifts because I love seeing their face when they open it!  
What is your favorite Christmas song?  'Baby, it's cold outside', 'The man with the bag', 'Hey, Santa!', 'Snow', 'The bell that couldn't jingle', the Scrooge soundtrack...hundreds more!  I love Christmas music, I listen to it all year long.
Candy Canes?  Ew, no - I hate peppermint.  I love how they look, so I use them to decorate and have them in the house for others to eat, I just don't partake.  Ew.
Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized?  Not really.  I know what Christmas is all about and I love teaching my kids about it.  I kind of like being saturated in it - it's only for 4 weeks and it's fun!
Favorite Christmas movie?  Scrooge, White Christmas, Elf, It's a Wonderful Life....

And there we have it!  Now go do it on your blog.  Upcoming posts?  Family, bringing classy back, good friends, old movie club...stay tuned!


Wrap Up

Happy Thanksgiving!  How was your feast?  Cody and I ate up at my parents house and MY what a spread.  Turkey, potatoes, corn, rolls, pies...the list goes on.  It was so yummy!  I stuffed myself and then followed up with 3 pieces of pie.  Yes, I had a nap later.  After dinner we went over to Cody's parents house and hung out with them for a while.  Gary put up their Christmas tree and there was a fire in the wood burning stove...I LOVE their family room, I never want to leave!  It's so warm and cozy.  We finally made it home and got the boys in bed.  It was a fantastic day and I'm thankful for so many things!  Here is my final list of thanks:

1 - My family.  Pretty sure I already noted that this month, but how I adore them!  ALL of them.  The Patch family, the Jolley family...they are everything to me and I'm so grateful to be related to both of them.
2 - Heated seats.  Where would I be without those??
3 - Music.   
4 -  My Grandma Ada and her pie recipe.
5 - Cody and my little boys.  

I failed to mention that I went to see 'Twilight' on opening day!!  I was able to disperse my reserved tickets amongst a fantastic group of girls and we all headed up to the Theater last Friday afternoon.  We ordered some quick lunch and rushed over to meet my Mom and Jess for the movie.  My thoughts?  I loved it.  It was actually pretty good!  I went in with very low expectations, I was already anticipating it being horrible and lame and cheesy.  But I enjoyed it!  Could it have been better?  Sure.  But I was entertained and my heart fluttered and Edward is delicious - just as he should be.  If you're too serious, you'll miss the fun of it.  It is what it is, right?  A teen romance.  I will certainly be seeing it again, want to come?  OH - and they are making sequels...YAY!

And finally, the Christmas season is officially upon us.  Did any of you get up early to go shopping this morning?  Me either.  After that meal  yesterday I was lucky to get out of bed at all.  I am planning on cleaning up my house today and finishing up my Christmas decorating.  I LOVE this season!  It's not just the Holiday I love, but the actual feeling that is in the air at Christmastime.  Half our neighborhood already has their homes covered in lights and I'm praying for snow!  I'm also trying to suppress the desire to host a Christmas Party this year.  I LOVE throwing parties and Christmas ones are such a blast!  But I have decided not to stress myself out with yet another big party this month (already hosting 'Girl Friday', you coming?), and instead will invite friends over throughout the month for dinner, movies, wrapping parties, etc.  I can't wait!  Better turn up the Christmas music and get to work!


Comfort Kit

Wow - how nice is Hannah!  She brought me all this goodness today.  Everything is my favorite; pink roses, chocolate orange, Dr. Pepper, Pringles....

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes.



Today my Granddad passed away.  He was an incredible man!  My Mom called me this morning to let me know that he was taken to the Hospital last night.  He was in ICU on life support until this afternoon.  His passing was very peaceful and he was surrounded by his family.  

Words truly cannot describe the love I have for this man - I feel so lucky that I was able to grow up with him in my life.  He and my Grandmother came to our Birthday parties, Thanksgiving Dinners and every family Christmas party.  He was brilliant, righteous, patient, loving and humble.  A grand example to me.  I'm thrilled that he knew and loved my sons.  I think the greatest gift he gave me was a Father who is just like him - My Dad is the same kind of man that my Granddad is.  

Of course I will miss him terribly, but what a blessing that he was finally able to go.  He was ready, it was his time.  I love you Granddad!

Today's thanks...
1 - The comfort of the Gospel.
2 - Having such amazing people for Grandparents.
3 - The EMT's and nurses that took care of my Granddad.
4 - My family.
5 - Cody, who is my rock.


Save The Date!


I am going to do it!  I am hosting a craft show on December 3rd!  I have creative friends and I thought it would be fun to host a party so they can sell their goods.  There will be refreshments, mingling, not to mention a plethora of handmade, one-of-a-kind and exclusive items to rev up your style and your home.  Just in time for Christmas!  Ideal gifts for friends, neighbors, teachers...yourself.

If you are interested in coming, leave a comment with your email address and I will send you an invite with all the info.  Want to participate?  Let me know!  The more the merriest...


Double O' Heaven

At long last, the much-anticipated Bond movie has arrived!  I am SO excited to see this movie I can hardly see straight.  How I love me some Daniel Craig.  Like most, I was a little hesitant when I heard he would be the new Bond.  But 4 minutes into 'Casino Royale' I was a believer.  I grabbed my martini, golden gun, pink silk dress and strappy stilts and jumped on the Bond train.  I mean, look at that picture!!  The tie, the steely gaze, the....what?  How can you not love him?  Plus he never shows any pain after breaking ribs whilst chasing bad guys through a crowded market place.  Throw in a high speed boat chase and soaring bullets?  I'm all KINDS of on board with that action.

Cody is at the movie right now with some of his crew from the Fire Department.  I am SO jealous!  Maybe he'll love it so much (and love me so much) that he'll want to take me out tonight to see it again!  Hmm, not sure they'll let me in the Theater with my golden gun, but the rest of my ensemble should be alright..

How was I able to let him go to this movie without me?  I'm just wicked awesome like that.  Well, that and the tiny fact that I will be going to a new release next weekend without him.  It's this vampire movie, see, and he doesn't really want to see it.  I, on the other hand, have been waiting for this movie to come out FOREVER!!  And I may or may not have purchased and entire ROW of tickets.  Yep.  After I get my fill of Bond, I'll be getting all gussied up to drool over Edward.  I love November. 

Today's thanks...
1. Reserved seating!  I was able to reserve my seats for the 'Twilight' movie and I got an entire row in the middle of the theater!  I am SO excited...
2. Dry Cleaners.
3. Cache's wit - he is so quick and hilarious.
4. Stain remover.
5. Blue skies.


And now, to work

I got a job!  I am now employed.  Starting next week I'll be working part-time for Priddis Music (the karaoke company).  I'll be doing a few things - the first being Product Promotion for some of their clients.  The other will be helping them synch their music with the karaoke on-screen lyrics.  You know when you are singing Karaoke (and who doesn't every weekend?) and there's a DVD you watch with the lyrics of the song?  And the lyrics light up when you are supposed to sing them?  Yep - that's what I'll be doing.  WORD.  I'm so excited!  The best part? I get to work from home!  Awww, yeah.  

It's probably too early for me to start rewarding myself for working, but I have decided that I will set a bit aside each paycheck in hopes to eventually purchase this desk!!  My sister put this picture on her blog and I immediately fell in love with it.  Just look at it!  Candy Apple Red??  Yes, please.  Darn PB Kids and their too-cute-to-resist-furniture-pieces.  I'm sure I'll get more work done on a shiny red desk, right?  Right.

Things have calmed down quite the much since the show closed and Halloween is over.  I am getting SO excited for Christmas I can hardly stand it (as if my blog design didn't give that away - go to Rita's Sweet Shop for yours, her designs are always SO cute!).  I've been taking down all my Halloween stuff during the past week and I'm eager to put up Christmas in it's place.  Think I'm crazy?  Go talk to my neighbors who already have their homes covered in lights.

And finally, I have something to run past you;  my sister and her friends have a 'craft show' every 6 months.  They create all kinds of things - jewelry, clothes, blankets, cards, etc.  They select a house, set up all their goods with price tags and start the evening!  Everyone just walks around looking at the cute things for sale, mingle, eat, and at the end of the evening they purchase their finds and call it a night.  I have wanted to do this for a while, would you want to come?  Participate even?  I don't have much time, but I would love to host one before Christmas.  I'm thinking early in December.  What do you think?

Today's thanks...
1 - Heather.  She designs my Holiday blog layouts...and any other theme I come up with.  She is so great to cater to my every whim!
2 - Sunday naps.
3 - Talking on the phone with my sister.
4 - Washing machines.
5 - Garbage Day.


A day in History...

I voted today!

It's interesting to be a part of history...we have all witnessed so many things that our children will learn about in school and today will be one of them.    How amazing to have an African-American candidate?  A female running for the office of VP?  So many issues and problems to be addressed and hopefully resolved.  I'm not a political person by any means, but I felt extremely Patriotic when I voted today.  I hope whoever takes office will be able to turn things around for the economy and be a leader we can trust.

As is customary for my November posts, I will list 5 things I am grateful for:

1 - The freedom to vote.  You saw that one coming, I'm sure.  I love that I can have my voice heard in such a historic election.
2 - The security of Cody's job.  This economy is terrifying and we have certainly felt (and are dealing with) the effects of it, but I am so thankful that Cody's job is stable and secure.
3 - My Cocoa-motion.  Hmm.  A bit shallow after my previous thanks, but I LOVE this little machine!  I put in milk, my cocoa mix, press a button and in 2 minutes I have perfectly blended, toasty hot chocolate.  Yum!
4 - A husband who tolerates (and even joins in on) my love of Halloween.
5 - Sweatshirts.