Monday, December 30, 2013

Loose Ends

Quite frankly I find it annoying to have pictures on my phone that I can't post.  The only thing I've been able to figure out so far is emailing them to myself and then downloading them on the computer.  Also, they aren't as good as my camera.  I think because I can't control the picture as much or something.  So I have more that I need to pull but here are a few that I think have been overlooked for now.

Abby sitting with Santa at the ward Christmas party.  She asked for roller skates.  In the car after Christmas she asked us if Santa brought her roller skates.  We told her she was still too little.

William LOVES books.  He loves to be read to as well although that typically means reading the same book 20 times in a row.

Megan with Santa at the party.  Yes she is smiling.  What did I say about making progress?  She asked for a rocking horse.  That didn't happen either.

This is from a while ago.  William threw Abby's vacuum cleaner in the bathtub full of water.  When he does this the girls just start yelling for me -- they don't take stuff out of the water so whatever he's tossed in there gets pretty water-logged before I get to it.  Chopper ended up having to take it completely apart to hopefully dry it out.  Fortunately, it worked!  And William really enjoyed the process of taking it apart and "helping" daddy put it back together.

Also from the ward party -- it just goes to show how different my girls are.  A friend of mine put a Christmas dance routine together for a bunch of kids in the ward.  I opted out because I knew Megan would not want to do it and I didn't want to drag 3 kids to practices when only 1 (Abby) would be interested.  At the ward party they performed and Abby asked me if she could join in.  I told her yes and she got right up there and watched the other kids to follow along.  Later, a pair of families (seen below) got up to sing a song and Abby disappeared.  It didn't take long to find her on stage with them, singing along.  That's her in the pink shirt enjoying herself! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Family Christmas

For spending an entire week with my family, I sure don't have a lot of pictures of them to show for it!  Hopefully my brother Mark will send me some of his -- he took some family ones on our last day together.

It was a huge blessing this year to have my entire family come together for Christmas.  We rented a house in San Antonio and it was fun to spend time together and explore a city I don't know much about.

What was most fun though was seeing family -- including this one whom I had never met!!  Seven months old -- baby Grey was a big hit with the girls.  They loved on him quite a bit.

 Liam was also lots of fun.  He's just a few months younger than Abby and quite possibly talks more than she does.  And that's saying something!  He is also quite adept at rationalizing things to get his way, or try to get his way.  He and Abby struggled over toys after Christmas but I thought all of the kids got along fairly well for the time we were there. 

After our arrival Sunday night, we did some exploring of San Antonio on Monday.  Of course we had to see the Alamo . . . 

There's Liam's face!

It did get chilly later but started out pretty nice and Megan refused to wear a jacket of course.


Once it got dark we headed down to the Riverwalk.  My camera of course cannot do it justice but there are colorful, twinkling lights dangling through all the trees.  It was very pretty. 

Awww, the love.

Christmas Eve I took the girls (and Grandma and Grandpa and Denise and Liam) to see Frozen.  They loved it!  And I think it was Megan's first movie theater experience where she wasn't freaked out just by walking into a dark theater.  Maybe we've made progress and conquered that hurdle!

After a Whittacre family traditional dinner of tacos (enhanced by tamales, yum!), we tried to reenact the Nativity -- a Gasser family tradition.  Megan would not participate though so a reenactment with 4 kids that are aged 3 and under is pretty quick.

Liam played Joseph and ran a lot faster than the Grandpa donkey. 

William was a shepherd. 

Abby got to be Mary. 

Grandpa was the donkey of course.

Grey was baby Jesus who never got to be held because quite frankly the rest of us were positive that "Mary" would drop him. 

Megan being an avid watcher.

So afterwards we watched the Nativity as well as Mr. Kruger's Christmas.  I do love that movie although I have to laugh at some of the cheesiness of it as well. 

I've come to realize that I do not take good pictures and never get good ones of Christmas morning but at least I've documented the fact!
The girls always go straight for the stockings, I think because we have them put them out so they know that they'll be stuffed full. 

But once we reminded them that Santa did also leave presents, they were ready to go!  Abby was very excited -- all my pictures of her are blurry because of the jumping. 

What's the point in documenting presents?  But we had a good time opening them -- we let the kids go first and then the adults sat around an talked and opened presents while they played with their toys.  I really liked spending that time with my brothers and their wives and my parents.  Plus I already knew what I was getting (I pretty much bought all my own presents!) so I didn't have a lot to be surprised about!!

William did get a lawn mower from my parents and it has been the best thing ever except for the fact that I think the batteries are running low and it perpetually stays on.  At least I hope it's just the batteries . . . 

The day after we went to the Japanese Tea Gardens, rode a miniature train, and had lunch at a great restaurant that does Mexican street style dishes.  It was cold but so worth being outside and exploring.

And then the plague set in.  I managed to stay healthy for a whole week before Christmas while Megan missed 5 days of school and she and Abby and Chopper suffered.  Well it came to get me after all and got me hard.  It's been awful -- some horrific cross between the flu and a nasty cold.  My back hurts from all the coughing.  But I did spend one more day with my parents seeing the San Fernando Cathedral and the Mexican Market downtown and Chopper took the girls to the children's museum. 

We got home late late last night and the girls saw their dollhouse.  Megan was up first things this morning arranging furniture and then dragged me in to show me all the little details -- look mommy at the toilet paper!  And the tiny books and the cookies!  And there's a bathtub and a sewing room!  

She's been so excited about it and sooooo possessive.  Granted, Abby's not as interested but every time Abby moves something out of place, Megan fixes it.  She does have a few little Sophia the First dolls that are the prefect size but I think she's mostly running imaginary stories in her head.  It's fun to watch. 

Oh, cute one of Jeff and Grey. 

I'm hoping for more pictures of the whole family but this is what you get.

I'm really grateful for all my family who were so willing to travel to be together this Christmas with us.  I feel buoyed up by their love and support and since I know it will be a long time before we have time all together again, especially touched by their willingness to do it at Christmas.

I only lost it twice!  Once talking to my mom (because who doesn't cry when you're talking to your mom about your trials!) and once watching Chopper play with Grey.  I couldn't help but hope I see that with our son.  Anyway.  It was an awesome awesome Christmas though and I'm grateful for a family who enjoys spending time together.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Today I was released from being the Relief Society President of my church ward.
It's been almost exactly 2 years.

The release was extended 3 weeks ago but was postponed twice -- once because of that ice storm and the church cancellation.  I thought that sitting on this for 3 weeks would make it easier but no.  I still cried through the entire release and sustaining process and also through Relief Society itself.  I don't think I have ever felt this emotional about the end of a calling.  On the one hand, I am grateful to be done and be able to focus on my family and the baby.  I have been really really worried about balancing family, hospital, and Relief Society and knew that I would feel guilty about whichever one would get slighted.  On the other hand, I have loved the sisters of our ward very much and while this has probably been the hardest calling I've had to date, it has also been incredibly sweet and fulfilling.  I don't have a new calling either, which leaves me floundering a little bit.  But I know that in 2 months, my next calling will be born!  It's nice to be able to prepare for that!

Another release in our lives -- Megan's primary teacher passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Friday from a heart attack.  She was not that old.  Megan has taken it surprisingly well given that she had a meltdown earlier in the week about going to heaven and leaving us.  She says she misses Sister Bradley and wanted to know how long she would be in heaven (forever honey -- until we go too!) but hasn't cried or been upset.  I don't know if she's still processing or if she just kind've understands and is ok.  She had a fever this morning and missed church where I know that the primary talked about it a great deal so we'll see how she continues to cope as the changes happen.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Miniature Housewarming

I was a big fan of dolls when I was younger.  Specifically Barbie dolls.  In fact, I played with Barbies for a lot longer than I care to make public.

I loved going to my Grandma's house because she had big bins full of Barbies and clothes and we would confiscate a corner of the living room next to the piano and create beds and things with handkerchiefs and boxes.  I always wanted a dollhouse and, to his credit, my dad made me one for one Christmas.  It didn't have anything in it and I don't think I used it that long but I had one!  And I almost feel like it's a rite of passage for a little girl to have a dollhouse!!!

Chopper agrees and Megan and Abby do like to pretend with dolls -- just not Barbies.  So we bought a kit, Chopper painted and glued and tore things apart and glued again.  He spent a lot of hours putting this amazing dollhouse together for our girls!!
And after he finished it -- I got to decorate!!!  I think I did more than he expected -- we were going to leave it fairly bare bones -- but I couldn't help myself!!  Today I finished the last touches!  Although then I thought of a few more things . . . . but Christmas is coming and I have other things that need to be done so it's finished for now.  I'll add more later!!!  In the meantime, this has been too fun for Chopper and I.  And I can't wait to see their faces when they get it!!  So on to the house tour!

The whole house from the back -- 4 rooms and an attic space with partial walls so they're only somewhat separated.

Living Room
I LOVE red and white and tried to go for a more modern spin with the gray wall.  But as I got decorating I realized I am a girly girl and more traditional than I pretend to be.  Every window has lace curtains!!  This room I made all the furniture.  I used an online tutorial for the couch and chairs and the rug and the table is an empty thread spool with a wooden disk glued to the top and then of course the tablecloth!  The bird on the back wall is the art work of my very very talented sister-in-law Denise.  I kind've scaled it down and I hope that's ok with her . . . 

See that dark spot next to the door?  The doorknob came with tiny keys!!  But obviously they will be the first thing to disappear (probably in someone -- ahem Abby's -- mouth) so they're at the door.  And my crooked chair art from a piece of fabric I love.

I was not confident in my DIY skills for the kitchen so the only thing I did myself was the art on the right side -- just graphics printed off and matted with scrapbook paper.

The scrapbook section at Hobby Lobby has these vintage cards that were awesome!!  So there's baking ones in the kitchen, sewing ones in the attic, and a first aid one in the bathroom!  


bed quilt -- folded fabric star -- super easy to make and adorable!  I used a friends machine to embroider the flowers on the pillowcases to match.  I need one of those things . . . 
The bedroom furniture I also bought on clearance because you can't get better than that!

The artwork is mine and the clock is a Hobby Lobby charm.  I HAD to buy miniature books for every room in the house.  Every house needs books!!!

The art above the bed is from a thank you card -- there is so much cute stuff out there!

This is almost totally DIY!!!  Toilet is a shampoo cap glued to a dental floss container (with floss inside, I couldn't get it out) and the sink is the bottom half of a $1 hutch from Michaels with a polymer clay sink with random stuff making up faucets and toilet paper holders, etc.  Bathtub is some kind of dollar store ramekin.

The mirror is just tin foil glued to a wooden round.  I didn't want to use a mirror piece because of sharp edges. 

You have to have a mini-sewing room with a quit in progress and bolts of cloth!

And a Christmas tree. 
And that's it!!  Still room to grow and maybe decorate for the holidays but it turned out soooo cute!!!