Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas Traditions pt. 2

Christmas Tree Card Wall: I love seeing these warm reminders of our loved ones

Christmas Tree Card Wall: I love seeing these warm reminders of our loved ones

I love that Missy did a post on Christmas traditions! With a little one on the way, our next Christmas will undoubtedly be very different experienced through a child’s eyes.

I’ve been thinking about fun holiday traditions we would incorporate into our family and to be honest, love the current ones Nick and I try to celebrate every year. It would be nice to keep them going. A few are Seattle-based, but I hope we’ll find something comparable wherever we end up!

Every Christmas has been different (sometimes we’re here if Nick’s working, or we’re in California or Omaha) but we try to do the following every year during the holiday season:

1) Drive around to see the Christmas lights in our West Seattle neighborhood. The trip always culminates at the Menashe Family Display, where they seem to outdo themselves every year. The family owns a local jewelry business and their house was featured on the TLC channel a couple years ago as one of the Top Ten House Light Displays in the country. Last year, we also visited Candy Cane Lane in our old Ravenna neighborhood as well and it was so fun to see an entire street of quaint little houses lit up!

2) Instead of the Nutcracker, we always check out Seattle’s OTHER Holiday Tradition- the Seattle Men’s Chorus Annual Holiday Show! It’s one of our favorite things to do this time of year. Each festive show every year mixes a wonderful blend of holiday classics and tongue-in-cheek skits and versions of nostalgic favorites. Founded in 1979, they’re the largest community chorus in America and are also the largest gay men’s chorus in the world. We’ve seen everything from a Big Bang Theory-themed show to a drag queen singing Santa Baby carried in on a litter by hunky elves. One of our favorite things they do is their lovely version of Silent Night. They are so talented and we love supporting them.

3) If we’re home Christmas Eve, we make pizzas and open gifts. Stockings are opened Christmas morning with eggnog french toast.

4) Hold an annual holiday open house to visit with friends and hold a White Elephant Gift exchange. I would like to start encouraging visitors to bring an unwrapped gift for Toys for Tots as well to share in the spirit of the season.

5) And last but not least, every year, The Sheraton in downtown Seattle holds a Gingerbread Village contest benefiting a local charity. Each themed gingerbread display is a collaboration by a team from one of Seattle’s top architecture firms and the culinary staff at the hotel. Past displays were centered around Train Stations Around the World and Once Upon a Time (Castles). The theme for this year (the 21st Annual Event) was  “There’s a Rhyme and a Reason this Holiday Season” or Nursery Rhymes and each entry was spectacular. It’s so fun to go every year and see each innovative design, the incredible detail that goes into each display (Wheat-thin Roofs! Trident Gum Walls!), and to see how much people of all ages enjoy walking through the village. Here are some photos from this year’s visit! These are taken from my camera phone so please excuse the graininess!

This will likely be the last post before Christmas, but I hope you and your loved ones enjoy your own holiday traditions over the coming week! Merry Christmas! xoxo, Krystal

"Hey Diddle Diddle!"

“Hey Diddle Diddle!” the cow actually moves!

"Hey Diddle Diddle" detail- with the dish running away with the spoon!

“Hey Diddle Diddle” detail- with the dish running away with the spoon!

"I Saw A Ship A-Sailing"

“I Saw A Ship A-Sailing”- and the ship actually rocks back and forth

gingerbread 4

"There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe"

“There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe”

"Hickory Dickory Dock"

“Hickory Dickory Dock”

"London Bridge is Falling Down" section 1

“London Bridge is Falling Down” section 1

"London Bridge is Falling Down" section 2

“London Bridge is Falling Down” section 2

"Jack and the Bean Stalk"

“Jack and the Bean Stalk”

"Jack and the Bean Stalk"...and Seattle

“Jack and the Bean Stalk”…along with Seattle’s Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and Seahawks Stadium


Old Friends

Since we don’t get to see family very often living so far away, we often get a little greedy with our time with them and so it’s hard to see all of our friends.  Luckily I was in town longer than normal and Nola and I were able to meet up with two of my dear friends and finally able to meet there littlest ones and make there introductions to little Nola as well.

I have met some pretty special friends out here that I am beyond thankful for, but I also am so grateful for that handful of relationships I still have from when I grew up and who I met in college.  I think what I appreciate so much about old friends is that instead of telling my backstory they often have been a part of it.

After going out to eat my friend Vicki and I did a Target run.  It’s been a year since we had seen each other last and we were shopping like we see each other all the time.  Aren’t friends who you can catch up with and be 100% comfortable with no matter when the last time you seen them seriously the best thing!

IMG_4195 ^^^Our two little cuties^^^

Next I was able to meet up with my old college friend Laura.  We got to see their new house (which Nola and I were a little envious about).  It was so nice!!  We went out to eat at the Milwaukee Ale House in Grafton and they had the same pasta dish I was addicted to in college!!  It was funny thinking how back in the day I would order that with probably a drink and now I have this little girl throwing pasta all over the floor.  Boy time has changed 🙂  Same thing with Laura, I know we will be friends for life and looking forward to going out to eat with each other in all phases of our lives.  Hopefully in the near future it will be a little less messy!

IMG_4260 ^^^Isn’t this photo hilarious, it’s their serious pose^^^

Love you girls and so thankful to have seen you both!!

Christmas Traditions

It happens every year where I’m shocked it’s December already, much less in 8 days it’s going to be CHRISTMAS!!!  This year both sides of our families have made the gift-giving very low-key other than for the kids which has made things pretty easy.  It’s funny though, I still feel like there’s a long list of things to do beforehand and it’s been busy!  Since Nola is getting older I’m trying to think of things we will do to celebrate Christmas and what traditions we will make with our little family other than opening gifts of course.  Here is a list of things we will be doing this year.

1.  Opening pajamas Christmas Eve and wearing them all day Christmas Day

2.  Having fondue Christmas Eve after church

3.  Blowing out candles to celebrate Jesus’s Birthday in some type of dessert

4.  Going to see Christmas Lights on Eucalyptus Ave in San Carlos

5.  And as Nola gets older it’s so important to us that as a family we serve or give gifts to those less fortunate than us because we are truly blessed

I know every year we maybe won’t do all of these things or we may change the list up, but hopefully some of these will stick.  To me traditions are events that are (hopefully) fun, but also gives each holiday some regularity and warmth when thinking of them.  That’s the best way to describe how I feel when I think of my upbringing and the traditions my parents did with us.  I’m curious to know what your family traditions are?  It’s most likely the little girl sleeping in the next room, but I am sure looking forward to Christmas this year!!

“And We Danced…and had a really really really good time”

Photo by Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times

Photo by Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times

Nick and I were so lucky to get tickets through How About We for the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert last night, one of three sold-out shows in Seattle this week. I was hoping to get tickets a few months ago but prices through resellers were so high. When I spied them on How About We, I was thrilled! They have so many great date ideas for couples and this was perfect timing. Adult time is going to be precious before the baby comes and so this was the perfect excuse for a date night. We had so much fun! I don’t even think Nick was expecting to enjoy a rap concert as much as he did.

To say that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are having a big year is a gross understatement. As of this post, they were recently nominated for seven Grammy Awards, their song Same Love promoting gay marriage and equality has garnered worldwide attention and their music videos on You Tube have wracked up millions of views (465 million for Thrift Shop alone!)

I first heard their music during Thanksgiving 2012. Their album, The Heist, had just been released the month before. We were lazing around after the big holiday dinner at our friend’s house when someone mentioned their song, Same Love. We all piled on the couch to watch the moving music video , where we got teary, it was so beautifully done, and then laughed in hysterics soon after while watching this one. It takes a true talent to be able to convey both the meaningful and ridiculous in such unique ways.

A few days after, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts where they blew the roof off the tiny room, and I was officially hooked by their social message,  infectious energy and beats. It is still one of my favorite performance of theirs. Soon after, several singles from The Heist took off and the rest is history.

Originally from Seattle,  Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have a dedicated following of fans here that have been around long before they got famous. Both musicians love their city and feature it prominently in their videos. Last night, it seemed as if all of their local fans were out to support them. I couldn’t believe how diverse the audience was. Most of the fans were young but we saw children as little as 8 years old to people in their 60s and 70s. Everyone was having the best time.

photo 1

photo 5


photo 2

I’m no concert critic but we thought they were phenomenal live. And they still seemed very humble despite the incredible year they’ve had. At moments throughout the evening, you could tell they were taking it all in, coming back to their hometown flush with success after more than a decade of hard work. The crowd embraced them and my ears are still ringing this morning from the noise. Our baby girl was going crazy the whole night at her first hip-hop concert!

Their rendition of Same Love was as beautiful as I remember it on the radio, and everyone got to their feet with the always-rousing Can’t Hold Us (my favorite). To my delight, his encore was “And We Danced.” In those moments last night, we saw the best dance party happen at Key Arena.

photo 4


If you’re interested in reading more, here is a review of the concert from the Seattle Times today and a look back from 2011 that provides more of Macklemore’s (Ben Haggerty) backstory.

*This post was sponsored by HowAboutWe, a wonderful site I’d highly recommend if you’re looking for a creative and fun date idea! You can sign up for free and browse their dates in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle (and they’re expanding to new cities soon.) BONUS: Use this link to get $50 off your first date! Thank you so much, HowAboutWe!


What We’ve Been Up to Lately

Sorry it’s been awhile again since doing another post!  I wanted to share a little about what we have been up to recently If you care to see.


We’ve been wanting to go for some time now and finally went to the California Academy of Sciences which did not disappoint.  Nola had so much fun running around and looking at everything, I hope to post more about it soon.  Here Nola and Daddy are checking out the fishies.


Our good friend’s Minah and Chase also came over and made dinner for my birthday!!  The food was amazing and it was so nice catching up with them.  Isn’t this the cutest gift?!!  I feel so blessed to have such great friends in my life.


We also went to the San Francisco Craft Bazaar which we also like doing to see if we can find some good gifts and just get inspired.


I brought Nola to see Santa which resulted in a marker, candy cane, cookie and mama to get her to get near the guy.  Santa opened the candy cane to see if that would warm her up and all the while I’m thinking this is actually a little creepy and giving my child mixed messages.  I’m letting this old guy try to coax my child to come by him with candy, hmmm.


Here’s a photo of Nola with Santa last year.  Isn’t it crazy how much she’s grown since then, crying right now!

photo (2)

And the funniest thing that has happened as of late.  Nola was super excited one day after we were playing with her and it seemed the only way to express her happiness was trying to do a breakdance move.  CJ and I both looked at each other with the same thoughts, “our kid is crazy, but also realizing she is the coolest little toddler we know!”  People this whole having a kid thing is pretty hilarious sometimes.

I have so many things other things to write down and share, but life seems to keep on happening.  Hopefully I can eventually share all the things that are stuck in my head.  Some of you may wonder why I even blog and other than the obvious of sharing with family and friend’s what we have been up to living so far away, it also is a way for me to document family memories and thoughts and ideas, it inspires me to explore more and try new things and in a very open world of being a Stay At Home Mom it challenges me to be disciplined in a very small way.  So if you take the time to pop on our blog to see what we are up to, know I love it, but even more than that, I kind of feel like Kathleen from the movie You’ve Got Mail  and when she’s writing to ‘NY152’, “Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”