merry christmas from ricky/tiffany christmas past!

christmas has already started in our little home. ricky's side celebrates a couple days early because we all disperse for the 25th. ricky and i are flying home to illinois on christmas eve and his side is going up to hanford where their extended family lives.

on monday night we opened presents (too many!!!) and last night we decorated cookies in our ugly christmas sweaters.

it's a beautiful time of year. the promise of God sending His son is being declared among the nations. yes, God loves us. yes, God is faithful. yes, He sent His son. yes, He will send Him again!


awwww, little ricky is so cute. i love him!

don't forget to enter the other 24 Days of Giving giveaways: urban rain packages, fabric garland, sketched portrait art, wedding program design, and the dainty woods bundle.


24 days of giving // urban rain

today we have a giveaway from one of our lovely sponsors, urban rain. urban rain is an easy shop full of beautifully hand-created stones for rings, pendants, and magnets. they can be custom created with your design in mind or you can choose from the beautiful glass gems in the shop.

we have 2 giveaway prizes available for today: 

Here's how you enter. You may do one or all of the following. Each number and comment below will be counted as a unique entry. That means you can enter up to 5 times!

1.) Head on over to the Urban Rain shop and leave a comment below on this post letting me know your favorite item. 

2.) Tweet!, Facebook, or Blog about this giveaway leaving a comment below with the link.

also - her blog.

don't forget to enter the other 24 Days of Giving giveaways: fabric garland, sketched portrait art, wedding program design, and the dainty woods bundle.


24 Days of Giving /// the Dainty Woods!

24 Days of Giving hasn't stopped - just taken over for awhile by the Christmas madness here at the Valdez home.

Today we are giving away a beautiful bundle from the beautiful The Dainty Woods etsy shop. Chelsea, the shop owner, creates the most beautifully and unique items with obvious care on every single detail. She makes tons of items for weddings: cake/cupcake toppers, boutonnieres, bridal hairpieces and more! 

The shop also has a variety of bows, clips, headbands and more. One lucky winner will win the package of the following:

Here's how you enter. You may do one or all of the following. Each number and comment below will be counted as a unique entry. That means you can enter up to 5 times!

1.) Head on over to The Dainty Wood's shop and leave a comment below on this post letting me know your favorite item. 

2.) Tweet!, Facebook, or Blog about this giveaway leaving a comment below with the link.

her shop,
her blog,
her twitter,
her facebook,
her music,
her husband's shop

don't forget to enter the other 24 Days of Giving giveaways: fabric garland, sketched portrait art, wedding program design


oh, children! oh, the Godman!

oh the humlity of Christ.

what a sweet video.

taken from the bff's blog.

take it back, back, back, back... (fades)

dedicated to my sister kerri. because she was obviously born cool.


snack time with amos...

the miracle of a child, is that the way they live, at moments, causes my heart to fall more in love with Jesus. snack times, even in their complete simplicity, tend to do this to me.


bikes, hearts, dogs and a giveaway!!! // 24 days of giving

and i lied. i wanted to post the winner last night, but didn't get around to it until today. ricky came home earlier than normal last night (8:45PM!!!) and so we spent the evening putting amos to bed (wayyyy past his bedtime) and laughing at old photographs of us when we were different people.

so some times things like LOVE, beat out blogging. you know? ;)

on a amos sleeping update. i woke up like a zombie at 5AM and with absolutely NO ability to think with logic - after 2 attempts at rocking i pulled him into our bed. i guess 2 step forward, one step back?

we also have some incredible giveaways coming up, and i think they are going to be rolled into one or two days. there are going to be some great etsy shops highlighted, and some of my favorite blogs too! i'm getting really excited.

for now, i wanted to introduce one of my favorite custom invitation sets i've made. it was for a wedding set in Chicago for the cutest couple EVER and their little pup. the brick was to match the industrial location of their ceremony and the Chicago skyline is also featured.

[please ignore the hideous carpet found in the hall of my apartment where the best lighting comes in.]

honestly, custom sets are my favorite. it requires real creativity and research and forces me to do what i wish i had more time for. create. i'm hoping to gain more of these projects in the future, and make some for pure enjoyment - and not always because of a purchase.

today's giveaway is also from see the skyline shop, and goes along with this invitation. i am offering a custom portrait sketch of you and your loved one (or your little loved animal) with a heart in between and the names written below (or 3-4 words). it will be mailed to you and perfect for any frame! it will be on a 5x7 canvas paper.

Here is how you enter!

1.) Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite item on your Christmas wish list and click here to vote for my blog!

You can also gain multiple entries for the giveaway by any of the following

2.) Blogging, tweeting (with @seetheskyline in tweet), or facebooking about this giveaway. Just leave a comment below. (please put link to blog, if you have one!)

3.) If you haven't done so, go to facebook and like my page. :)


oh! and the winner of the see the skyline custom christmas labels is:

she accidentally left the comment on my facebook page, but it still counts!

Erin, please email me @ seetheskyline@gmail.com with your address and I'll send over your labels!

oh.... and the "mom with toddler attempting to tackle the san diego mall full of angry, angry customers" did the following today...

oh geeez. thankfully, the angry shoppers were too crazed to get to shopping that they forgot to steal my car. Praise God!


oh and don't forget about the wedding program giveaway and the fabric garland giveaway!


some thoughts, real ones, in paragraph form. // these glorious moments...

there are about a dozen meaty blog posts i've thought about doing lately. meaty, as in, actual thoughts articulated into sentences and paragraphs and so forth. this is a rarity in the life of a mother who does all her online business in 5-10 minute increments while little amos flips through his picture books or finds a piece of string to play with that catches his attention.

those allow for some uploaded pictures with small summaries. nothing of much intelligence - i mean let's be honest.

amos' grandpa, "papa", picked him up today and took him to the zoo. later he's going to go christmas shopping with his grandma. i packed up my bible, notebook, laptop and headed to panera.

like the ol' days.

so i thought i'd give a more thorough update. i know i have some newer readers that may be interested, or may not, either way it's okay. i think it's good for a growing mind to write. especially for a writer to write. i think i'm a writer. maybe?

and something has to be done when your husband is in a perpetual state of learning as he attends graduate school classes and talks with the "intellectuals" every night of the week. i don't want to be THAT wife who doesn't even know what's going on in the news... or starts talking baby talk to every adult she encounters.

at least, for us, that wouldn't work. we are public radio nerds who thrive off of a healthy, civil debate. and baby talk isn't very sexy.

and so here are some of the thoughts of a mom of a toddler who's greatest interaction with the outer world happens via NPR, blogs (does that even count?), and my husband's midnight conversations.

- i am almost done with my christmas shopping. i tried really hard to shop as local and/or as handmade as possible. why? because i'm a LOCAL, HANDMADE SNOB!  no, no just kidding. it's because i actually financially survive on hand made goods. and hopefully soon will sell them local. when someone buys from me it may actually enable me to move into a two bedroom apartment where my son can have his own room with his clothes on little hangers (and not just shoved in a falling apart ikea dresser) and cool, kid artwork on the wall and maybe a child's easel and rocking horse. or i don't know. all the cool stuff that makes up a nursery/kid's room. so, i'm sowing what i want to reap. *cough cough* buy from me!

- we are currently in the middle of training Amos to sleep in his crib all night, and hopefully phasing out night nursing to help him sleep through the night - or at least have only one night waking. amos slept in our little bed up until he was 9 or 10 months, and then, slept in his crib for half the night and in our bed the other half. i am wanting to a do a more thorough post on this in the future (add that to the never-ending list of to-do's). this process has, honestly, been the most difficult parenting endeavor i've went on thus far. it's included lots of sleepless nights, literally sleeping in his crib, sitting outside the crib watching him cry his eyes out, and so forth.

i truly believe it is in his best interest to be independent and confident. i knew it in my heart the time to make each transition. amos is aware that his mama loves him and she is going nowhere. last night was the first night in a couple weeks that i felt we were making headway. he awoke after about 4 hours (as he always does) and i picked him up and nursed him very shortly, delatched, rocked him, cradled him and then laid him down. when he realized he was in his crib he started screaming and i did the whole process even longer - rocking him for even longer and got the same results so i just let him cry while i sat outside his crib. he just watched me and cried and cried... and it was an almost tearless cry - which i know to be one more of frustration and anger rather than fear. his dad was snoring on the bed, his mom was looking in his eye, and all he needed to do was lay down. he even knows how to put himself to sleep, he just refused to do so. poor little guy.

but, the grand thing about last night, is that he cried for awhile (a long while) watching me... and then he stopped, and fell asleep. he slept until the morning, and he stood up and made a little whimper. i said, "ricky! ricky! go get him! he made it through the night!" and ricky swept him out of the crib and amos was giggling... for real, he was as happy as ever.

the crazy thing about little children growing up, is that their iniquity is unveiled. amos, in all honesty, probably idolizes me. probably idolizes the breast. i mean, this little boy needs a Savior. to become at peace with God. and all i'm called to do is, "train him up in the way he should go so he won't depart from it." i'm not meant to replace God for him. in some ways, at a certain point, i don't even think i'm suppose to be his entire source of comfort. and that's no easy revelation to embrace as a mom. there is something so wonderful about being his source of food, happiness, joy, you fill in the blank... but there is this moment, and you'll know it when it comes, where it's time to point him to something greater - and with that comes refrain, comes discipline, comes, perhaps, a little hurt.

so now is the time to train him up in the way he should go... and I don't even know exactly what that looks like. for the here and now. for a little toddler. but i'm praying for understanding. and i'm praying that even in those moments of sheer frustration that he can't get his way, and that things are changing, and that he has to sleep alone in a crib - God will move in... that He will reveal Himself to a little one year old... that He will whisper, in words Amos can understand, I am the River of Living Water - I am your Reward.

- on a less serious note, but almost as serious, i believe when a person finishes graduate school, i think they deserve the greatest congratulations. especially if they are married. ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE A FAMILY. the amount of work and dedication my husband has put in this semester (and will be putting in for 4 more semesters) is unbelievable. i had no idea what would be required of him - and am continually blown away by his perseverance. this is obviously when i settle out of my own disgruntled annoyance that i'm alone 95% of the time. when the dust settles, amos is down for the night, and i'm sitting in my living room with all the toys to be picked up and dinner to be warmed up for my soon to be home husband, i realize he is doing this so that i can continue to stay home. it's not easy living off one income in southern california.  i mean, it's practically impossible unless you married a doctor or lawyer, who chances are, is never home either. ricky's doing this so that in 3 semesters, when more babies will come and Amos will want to play catch, he can be there knowing i was with his kids all day - and we can eat fresh produce, and have a kitchen big enough to cook in, and a driveway to park are car - and even, Lord willing, a small family vacation.

moral of that story, i'm thankful i didn't marry a dud, you know? so thankful.

and so thankful my 9-5 includes moments like these:

my chris farley baby.


here's to the closing of 2011. can you believe we only have a couple more weeks? wow, thank God we made it through.

stay tuned: tonight 2 new giveaways and the winner of our first giveaway for the custom christmas labels. this giveaway and this giveaway are still open so GO ENTER! :)


Cranberry Spinach Salad


Yesterday I posted about the baby shower we threw on Saturday and mentioned this spinach salad. It was so delicious and I am a major fan of homemade dressings. I make them and then store them for a couple days in mason jars in my refrigerator. YUM!

Cranberry Spinach Salad

1/4 c. concentrated cranberry juice
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1/8 t. pepper
1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. olive oil

Spinach (pre-washed is easiest)
Mushrooms, sliced thinly
Red onions, sliced thinly
Feta cheese, crumbled
Cranberries (you can use canned whole or craisins)


a lil' brown baby shower + a giveaway!!!


this past saturday my friend lori and i threw a baby shower for mrs. april brown. she is a glowing, (i mean, really glowing) pregnant mother of two beautiful little girls with a third on the way. it was honestly an honor to throw her a simple little event letting her know how much we love her and appreciate her as a mother.

because, really, april is an exemplary example of who women are called to be. i have watched her serve her husband (and his ministry, Justice House of Prayer) and her children with such love and grace.

the decor was simple. we really wanted it to fit april's style and the season of Christmas. i bought fresh flowers from a little hut down the street from our apartment early saturday morning and we hung silver and pink ornaments along the windows.

it was brunch, so we served spinach salad with a delicious homemade dressing which i am going to post later this week - because it is so delicious and so easy! we also had some quiches, small croissant sandwhiches and a couple other items.

i was suppose to include the fruit salad, but while packing up my car i left it sitting (in my favorite bowl i found at a yard sale for $2) on the electrical outlet on the corner of the street. when i arrived at the house where the shower was at, i realized it was missing so i sent ricky to go retrieve it. when he got there is was gone. i mean, really!?, who steals FRUIT BOWLS?!

when i talked to ricky about it, (he was a little frustrated to have to leave his grad school 10 page paper writing that was due that night to go get a fruit bowl that wasn't even really there) i started crying. i haven't done that since i was pregnant, cry about some pineapple and grapes. i just thought it was so hilarious the things that can move our hearts.

i also made some pink, fabric garland to hang below the serving station.


We do have a giveaway today for the 24 days of giving, at is some torn, fabric garland similar to this one with your own color scheme!


to enter please vote for my blog here by clicking on the right owl and leave a comment letting me know the color you would like. this giveaway is open through the month of december!!!