Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ornament A Day~ 25

We MADE it to 25!
Merry Christmas everyone!
It really IS all about the Savior of the world, who came in a lowly manger, when he could have come to us in royal robes! I love this ornament collection and the reminders that Jesus will come again and He has atoned for all of our sins. 
Come unto Him

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 24

This sweet ornament was given to me by one of my best friends. She and I met one day and have been close ever since. We taught at the same school, were pregnant together with our boys, and had them within days of each other. 
Whenever I hang this ornament on my tree, I think of my friend. I also think of all of my friends both near and far. I am so grateful for all of you in my life!
TOMORROW will be the last ornament! 
Thanks, as always, for reading and Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas from the Beach

Wishing your family a very Merry Christmas from my family!
Thank you for all of your support!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 23

Ornaments sure don't have to be fancy to be special! It is so ironic to me that we forget how little our kiddos were. This is Dayton at about 15 months old. His BIG brown eyes have always dazzled the women. I loved his bowl cut, until he cut it off on Thanksgiving Day! 
Dayton has always had a great imagination and would play with everything, especially a cardboard box. He continues to be smart, mature and so handsome. He has accomplished much in his first twelve years. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us in the future!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 22

Like any mom, I cherish my children and the role of motherhood. When Emma came into our lives, almost 16 years ago, a light sparked in me that has never gone away. I knew very early on that she would teach me things I had never even thought about...and that has completely come to pass. As a young child, she was sweet and musical and vibrant. As she is a grown woman, now, she is still all of those things and so much more! She has been tried and tested in these last couple of years and yet still continues to be a light to everyone who sees her. It breaks my heart to know, that in just a few short years, that she will move onto another phase of life where we will be less involved. But, I know, that no matter where she is our connection and her example to me will be just as strong!

Ornament A Day ~ 21

Another example of my mother's talent. She made these one year with glass bulbs and snow. My mom loves to garden and when the weather gets yucky in Nor Cal she usually has an ornament that she works on instead. We are always so lucky to get her ornaments!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas at the Beach ~ Part I

Merry Christmas from Hermosa Beach!
I love Christmas, especially the lights. I snapped some pics of a few of the sights on my early morning run. This is the strand between the Hermosa Pier and the Manhattan Pier.  Hubby and I have a date on Saturday night to walk the strand and check out even more beachy Christmas lights! Stay tuned...

Hermosa Beach Christmas tree at dawn

Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza at dawn

Manhattan Beach Pier at dawn

One example of Christmas lights on the Strand

A beautiful, traditional display

Cape Cod Victorian with red bows

Icicles on the sand

Ornament A Day ~ 20

I can't believe we only have 5 days left! So exciting, but also sad to see Christmastime end. It is just so magical!
Believe it or not, I don't have many ornaments from China (well, that we bought there I mean!). I guess it was something about living there that made us not in the habit of buying souvenir-type things. However, I did pick up a few of these. I can't quite remember the name of this artistic process, but it is very labor intensive and popular. 
Seeing the Pandas in Schezuan province was one of the highlights of our time in China and in my life. I will never forget their sweet dispositions. 
If you missed my panda post you can check it out here

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 19

This is our honeymoon ornament! Mark planned our entire honeymoon to Victoria, British Columbia. It was absolutely perfect! We stayed at the legendary Empress Hotel and had wonderful meals, went to the Botanical Gardens and even took a carriage ride! However, we had a little mishap on a scooter that landed me in the hospital. Yep! But it makes for a great story!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 18

Today's ornament comes straight from France. It is one of my favorite places that I have visited. My niece was lucky to live there for a year and brought me this cute guy. Such a lucky aunt I am!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 17

I am proud to be an American! I always have, but after living in a foreign country it is more so. We got his in DC when we traveled as a family there. Not my favorite trip, I was moody! The beauty and the sights were amazing though.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ornament A Day ~16

When Emma turned ten there was a reality show on called "Grease, You're The One That I Want" where they casted Danny and Sandy on Broadway from the reality show. Emma was very into Broadway musicals at the time and her Dad thought it would be great to use frequent flyer miles and Marriott points for her to go to NYC to see Grease on Broadway. My mom, Emma and I went and had a blast! We ended up seeing all the sights, three Broadway shows, and shopped until we dropped! A total and complete dream come true in the Big Apple! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 15

Another amazing ornament made A LONG TIME AGO by my mom. What is it about us buying all of our ornaments now? I feel like in the past people used to work so much harder on things like this...and look at the love I have for it. Much better than something I picked up at Target, along with my bread. Thank you Mom!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 14

Yep! I have turned into "one of those" dog people! How did it happen? I have NO IDEA! All I know is that Dayton was starting Kindergarten and I found myself driving to a breeder and falling in love with Jupiter. He is my third "baby". He is Mark's favorite family member. He was my buddy on those long and lonely Beijing days. Now he is a beach dog! I wouldn't trade him for the world!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 13

This ornament came from my dear friend over ten years ago. She and I met as we worked at the front desk of a hotel while we were in college. We became fast friends and it hasn't skipped a beat since then! She gave me this ornament and it has a special spot on my tree each year. Now, as we live in Southern California again, I get to see her more often...what a blessing!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 12

I absolutely love ornaments that have pictures in them! 
We were really lucky to have neighbors who became like family to us. You know the kind, where you can call day or night, and they would come? The kind where the kids would go back and forth multiple times a day, switching between houses. 
Yep! Those were our neighbors! For Christmas one year we were given an ornament like the one above with both of my children with one of their children in it. These are so special because, as you know, those moments don't last forever! The kids grow up, families move away, and time passes by. Thank goodness we have our memories, pictures like this, and Facebook to keep those special friendships alive!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 11

Since yesterday was my first ornament, today is hubby's first ornament. Who remembers Shrinky Dinks? He still loves this ornament. The date on this cure little soldier boy is 1980. Who knew hubby was so artistic?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 10

This was my OWN very first ornament. I was four years old and it was given to me by my favorite aunt, Auntie Joan. This sweet angel used to have a bell that she was holding, but it disappeared long ago. I remember, as my mom decorated our tree growing up, I would look for this ornament to put on myself. 
Auntie Joan lived in Minnesota. I spent a summer visiting her between my 8th and 9th grade. It was a lot of fun! I, also, took Emma there to visit during January! It was cold, but Emma was only three, and she bundled up easily. Auntie Joan passed away a few years back. I am grateful to have this on my tree to remember her by.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 9

The reason for the wonderful Christmas season is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This was made by Emma when she was three years old at church. This baby Jesus sits gently on our tree, year after year. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ornament A Day~ 8

It is no secret that I love the beach! Not particularly the sand, but I love the view of any water. It makes me happy and instantly calm. This ornament was bought in Newport Beach, CA a while back. While we lived in Northern California we spent a week in Newport one winter. Orange County holds a special place in my heart because I went to school at Cal State Fullerton and Newport was my playground. That particular trip was a blast as the weather was nice, we went to Disneyland and played in the tide pools. Not to mention, Laguna is right near by and who doesn't love Laguna Beach?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 7

Disneyland has been a huge part of my life. From memories, as a child, to my "fun" days of being in costume there! But my all-time favorite memories of Disneyland are the ones I had there when my children were little. Each year, of our first ten years of marriage, we purchased a Disneyland ornament for our tree. 
We were lucky enough to have season passes while Emma was little and Dayton was a baby and toddler. I will never forget moments like Emma dancing with Snow White and having sparkles in her eyes. Or the time when Dayton had a sword fight with Captain Hook. 
Sadly, Disneyland prices have turned us away a little bit now, but I love reminiscing about our memories with each ornament. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 6

You will soon learn that I am Disney lover...not a fanatic, but I do love the magic of Disney! My sweet mother-in-law knows that about me and, one year, gifted these two Lenox ornaments to the kiddos. They really are so pretty and we love anything personalized, right? The only problem is is that when my kids take all of their ornaments, for their own trees, mine will be pretty bare...oh well, more shopping!

I am so grateful for my mother and father-in-law. They have always treated me like their daughter and are such wonderful grandparents for my kids. It has been such a blessing to be able to live closer to them now. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 5

Today we are hopping across the pond!
Travel is a big part of our family, not by my choice. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to sound ungrateful. The experiences we have had, as a family, are insurmountable because of the places we've been to. I just get SUPER anxious about all the details...hence the reason I like to go back to the same places.

But enough talk about me, let's get to these chaps. I got these at The Buckingham Palace shop (one of my favorite boutique-style places) on my first trip to London. I went with my mom and sister and WE HAD A BLAST! My kiddos were little and hubby encouraged me to go. There is not a week that goes by when I don't think of something fun from that trip!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 4

Today's ornament is courtesy of my hubby. He had always been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and, before we met, he served a two year mission in Japan. This ornament is from his mission. 
While he was in Kobe and Osaka I learned more about the church while in college. My older brother and sister had converted while I was very little and I was interested in defending their beliefs while people attacked them. Once I read the Book of Mormon and learned about Heavenly Father's plan of happiness for us, I knew it was true. I have never looked back.
When hubby finished his mission he went to CSUF where I was ready to graduate from. We met and the rest is history and I am so grateful that we are an eternal family! 
I am thankful for his mission and the lessons it taught him, the experiences it gave him and, most of all, the example he is to be a disciple of our Savior. 
If you have questions about anything I believe in, please don't hesitate to ask!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 3

Todays post is dedicated to each of my past students and their wonderful families!
Many, many ornaments on our tree are courtesy of my sweet students throughout my fifteen years of teaching first grade and kindergarten. I, especially, love the ones where they wrote their name and year on it. As I put up my tree, year after year, I think about each student and what they might be doing. It is so fun to see them on Facebook, graduating from college and getting married, a joining the Armed Forces and continuing on in their lives. 
When I taught, I would host my class at my house at Christmastime. It became one of my very favorite things to do because we gathered around the tree, sang songs and munched on cookies. Most years we even pumped up some tunes and had a little dance party! I cherish those memories so much!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ornament A Day ~ 2

This ornament takes us to the island of Hawaii. The first time Mark and I went together was for New Years 1994. I was six and a half months pregnant with Emma. 
I bought this "Angel of Aloha" for our tree on that trip. It is hand made on Kaua'i out of Monstera plant leaf sheath, with shells and seeds. She has held up perfectly over the years and I love reminiscing about those early "newlywed years", especially that magical trip to Hawaii.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ornament A Day~ 1

Welcome to an "Ornament A Day"!
Each day I will post a picture of an ornament on my tree and tell the story behind it. If you are like me, your Christmas tree is a journal of friends and wonderful memories. What other way to honor that by sharing it and documenting it here? 

If you would like to join in, PLEASE DO! You can share yours on your blog, comment section of my blog, Facebook, Google +, Instagram...anywhere! Just be sure to use the #ornamentaday and tag @jenbottom me so we all can see it too! 

Sure this is a funny looking guy with a broken wing, but this is from my parents first Christmas tree when they were newly married SIXTY YEARS ago! 
Many things on my tree, you will see, are because of my mom. She is a very creative, giving and loving person who really struts her stuff during Christmastime. I am grateful that she has had such an impact on my life and I hope to be such a positive impact on my children's lives.