fill in the blank friday. end of the year edition.

1.   New Year's is (awesome/lame/other)   _usually awesome, but this year it will be a little lame, and definitely sad (I'm already feeling it)  .

2.  Last New Year's Eve I   _celebrated with at my Mom and Dad's home with the hubs, our kids, my sister and her kids, and our dear friend Trevor and his kids  .

3.  My New Year's resolution is  __to be sane. lol .

4.  The best way to spend New Year's Eve is  __with family at home. No driving anywhere.

5.  My prediction for an up-and-coming trend in 2011 is       hopefully kindness .

6.  This New Year's Eve I will   __be at home with the hubs, our kids, my sisters kids, and my mom .

7.  A fresh start is  __much needed !

Link up at Laurens!

the day before the day before Christmas

i still have shopping to do.
i still have laundry to do.
i still have wrapping to do.

but i am sitting here, still barely able to breathe. i'm so sick. just in time for Christmas. 
oh well. i'm really not going to stress over it. this Christmas is by far going to be the most difficult one to get through, and i'm just concentrating on getting through it in one piece. the rest, eh! lol

it other news, i had to share this photo with you... i think it's my new favorite wedding photo! seriously!
couple reading newspaper
i found it over at Green Wedding Shoes, so you can check out all the photoshoot info there.

some fun Christmas party love can be found at Hostess with the Mostess blog:
colorful crafty Christmas table ideas
colorful modern Christmas centerpiece

found this via Rachel Denbow's blog:
Adam Hayes, 'With you again'

THIS POST made my heart warm. Her blog is one of my new fav finds!

another wedding... this one is a Christmas themed wedding (always love those... my two favorite things in life joined together...) available to view at Green Wedding Shoes (again)
winter wedding inspiration
(isn't the bride absolutely stunning!)

okay. i'm off to tackle my mountain of a list today!

miscellaneous monday


-my aunt, and my uncle, and my mom' s cousing came into town on friday. i was glad they came to stay with my mom.
-saturday was mom's birthday. it was difficult. really difficult. daddy wasn't there, and i was sad. heartbroken. i can't imagine what christmas will be like.
-sunday funday. my sister came over and we watched football all day long. beer and brawts. can't go wrong.
-i won the neighborhood football pool. about time! lol
-i am addicted to playing Wordfued on my Droid with friends and family. if you have Droid, download game and hit me up. my username is jencoen (i know, how original).
-i woke up this morning sick sick sick! i can't breathe!
-i have not wrapped one single gift. not one... so you know what i'll be doing tonight.
-mom went back to CA. she'll get to see daddy's gravesite again (i haven't even been there once). 
-i'm in love with the song "Nights In White Satin" by the Moody Blues. i have absolutely no idea why. i think it's just the style of the song... the way the music plays. and the reading of the lyrics. i dunno. i just like it. lol
-i'm working in my office all by myself this week.
-i might have to drive to prescott, az to pick up a few gifts that aren't in phoenix. not exactly a bad thing (i could use the drive).
-i miss my friend.

Fill In The Blank Friday

{photo via Thompson Family Life via weheartit}

1.   Giving is      so much better than receiving, really. It makes your heart feel the warm fuzzies (especially if the gift is homemade, or personal) .

2.  Receiving is   nice as well. It is very important to the person giving, so make sure you show appreciation .

3.  The best gift I ever received was       oh geez, I would have to say (offhand) it would be the last birthday card that I got from my parents. My dad wrote 'I am so proud of you'. That is all I ever wanted. Three weeks later he passed away .

4.  The best gift I ever gave was    a personal scrapbook to my mom and dad .

5.  Something intangible that I wish I could receive is      self confidence. (ok seriously, had to look up intangible. lol. chino high education. lol) .

6.  Something intangible that I wish I could give is        confidence.  ha .

7.  The one gift I always wanted as a child, but never got was       a phone in my room    .

Wee Bit Wednesdays

{one} did you buy a christmas tree this year?
Yes, a 7-8 foot Noble Fir at Costco! ha! First year we didn't go to a tree farms stand.

{two} what is your favorite holiday tradition?
Our Christmas Eve party, gathered with friends and family. This year is the first year (in my ENTIRE life) that the party will not be at my parents home. It will be held at my home this year.

{three} do you open your gifts on christmas eve or christmas day?

{four} at what age did you stop believing in santa claus?
I still believe in the magic of Santa Claus and Christmas Spirit.

{five} do you fill stockings?
Yes, our stocking at home get filled by Santa, and we usually have stockings filled at my parents house, but again, I think that will be different this year as well.

{six} handmade presents or store bought presents?

{seven} do you have a favorite christmas meal?
Mimosas while gift opening, followed by our traditional Christmas brunch.

{eight} is your christmas tree real or artificial?
The main tree is real, the tree in my bedroom is artificial.

{nine} what is your favorite christmas song?
This year it seems to be O Holy Night by Josh Groban. But overall, White Christmas by Bing Crosby.

{ten} did you send out christmas cards this year?
As much as I want to, I don't think I can do it. I have tried several times, and I just can't bring myself to do it. What do I say. I feel like writing 'Hope You Have A Merry Christmas, I know it will be less painful than mine". lol... not exactly warm and inviting. ugh (this mourning stuff stinks!)

Link Up At LeighAshley

the three month mark...

i knew this day would come. just like i know the six month mark will come. and the year mark will come.
three months since daddy went to heaven.
hard to believe. 
i'm not sure how i feel. it's only 10am... and i'm working on minimal sleep.
i'm sad. my heart is sad. that is probably to be expected. aside from sadness, i can feel the physical pain of missing my dad. wishing i could pick up the phone and call him. the small hope in my heart that he's going to walk through the door. weird that most days i grasp that he's gone, but some days i honest to God don't believe it. i am learning that it is all apart of the process. the process of grief and mourning. 
i am so incredibly grateful to have so many friends and family members that are understanding and supportive. i really appreciate your kind words here at my blog.
i really am trying not to be such a debbie-downer. but today, the honest truth is that i am sad. and i know thats okay. because after the rain comes a rainbow. 
okay that was cheesy. lol

things i am looking forward today:
-going to costco (shopping... even grocery shopping, makes me oh-so-happy)
-my sisters kids are staying the night (because she has to close, boo) and watching ELF with them all before bedtime.
-its payday which means i can finish up my christmas shopping. yay me!
-making more 3D snowflakes
-working on a special (crafty) gift for one of my kids

have a super awesome and productive day! (yep, i said productive!!! hehe)

monday mess

monday mess = nothing really important to say. a mix of things to share with no general reference to each other apart from my finding them and wanting to share them with you good people who read this blog and try to understand me. lol.

This Post on This Blog made me cry. Yes, actually made tears roll down my cheeks. Ugh.

My cutie friend Gigi and her absolutely adorable decorating style!!

Mark Madoff's suicide on Saturday made me sad.

I can't wait to make Candy Cane Cupcakes

This wedding touched my heart... my parents met and courted at the Los Angeles Union Station in the 70s.

I am seriously...Seriously considering switching to Mac. Seriously.

Sarahs Holiday Party on HGTV this weekend makes me want to move to Canada.

I'm all about making Spiked Apple Pie

This took my breath away. Quite literally.

The End

weekend weepies


-was another difficult day... hard to get out of bed. Internal cry baby. You know, the normal grief and mourning bit.
-i went to work anyway. got the large Christmas tree decorated (pics to come) and that felt pretty good.
-was boys night out, which means moms night in...
-went home and made This Really Cool Snowflake (plans to make more with my kids are in the works.
-browsed through Flickr (it's been a while since I've done that) and got really inspired to pick up my camera.


-woke up early to get started making Glogg for the Glogg party that night.
-burnt the first batch of Glogg (yes... I burned wine... only I could do something genius like that! lol)
-made another quick batch of Glogg
-wrapped Secret Santa gifts for the exchange
-went to the party
-had to leave the party early (personal, crybaby reasons... you understand)


-stayed in bed the majority of the day
-watched AMC
-watched the Arizona Cardinals beat the Denver Broncos
-had Panda Express for dinner
-went to bed

another fill in the blank

{Erin Nicole Photography via weheartit}

1.   I wish   my dad was still here, at least for this holiday season  .

2.  Yesterday I   went to lunch with my sister and my niece for my grandmothers 88th birthday .

3.  Today I will   get my car washed, work til 3pm, go home, cry, decorate the Christmas tree, hopefully watch a Christmas movie with my kids, and wrap gifts .

4.  Tomorrow I will   get up early, wrap gifts, make gloog, babysit my sisters kiddos, get showered and dressed for a holiday (gloog) party   .

5.  Maybe     I can fit in some time to get some craft time in _.

6.  Someday   __I hope to be able to take time out for myself  .

7.  I love  __my family and friends !

Link up at Laurens!

oh Monday (aka the beginning of the first full week in December)

so much to do this week. more christmas shopping (even more christmas wrapping). i'm taking tomorrow off (i'll blog tomorrow, no worries) which means i have lots and lots of work to get done now. so with that... i'll leave you with some really cool vintage christmas advertisements!! loves u!

holiday shopping = supporting family

So... many of you don't know that I have a brother. Two actually. And they aren't my brothers by blood. We grew up across the street from each other. We spent every holiday and vacation together. Our parents are best friends. (And now, both Daddies are 'droppin a fishing line' in heaven waiting for us). 

My older brother, Stephen (Stevie) has recently opened up his very own (brick and morter) jewelry shop. I am so incredibly proud of him! He is one of the few people I know and love actually out there chasing his dream!! 
He is incredibly talented. Please, check out his website.

And if you're in the Inland Empire (IE) or Southern California, you can visit his store in the quaint little Downtown Upland.
F and C Creations
220 North 2nd Avenue
Upland, CA 91786

Here are some of my favorite pieces:

on the third day of december...

i had every intention of blogging the second day of december. but, i didn't get that far. so sorry. the cliffnotes would be that i was super busy at my second job, while still calling and scheduling for my first job, then off to run all around the west side of phoenix for christmas gifts. yay.

on the third day of december, i am totally swamped with invoicing at my first job, so i'm gonna go with the 'ol fill in the blank friday (which, to be honest, i actually really like to do). play along!

1.   Holiday spirit  _ is best thing ever! I sorta wish it lasted all year long, but totally understand why it cant... I just seriously love it love it love it  !!!

2.  The holidays are incomplete without  __family, baking, and good food .

3.  My favorite things to do around the holidays is  __decorate and shop  .

4.  A holiday tradition my family and I have is   __Santa Claus would always come and visit our party on Christmas Eve and bring toys to the kids. We also have Christmas Brunch instead of the traditional Christmas dinner. This year will probably be different .

5.  Holiday music is     joyful, fun, and uplifting.

6.  This year, I'll be spending the holidays   __with my family. The in-laws are coming and I am so grateful for that. This will be our first Christmas without Daddy, so I am not really sure how it all is gonna go .

7.  Holiday wish list  _ We aren't doing gifts for the adults this year (which is totally fine!!) but if I had a rich uncle (lol) I'd ask him for 1. A Record Player, 2. Fuji Instax Film (100 pack), 3. A Food Processor, 4. A Tripod with a Ballhead for my camera, 5. Nike+ gear (shoes with device, armband, etc.) !

Link Up At Lauren's!!

Happy December!!

(yes... I did say Happy... hehe)
It is December 1st... and yes, I am wearing Christmas jammies to work. Why? Because I can! hehe

Oh... I am in a good mood today. I've been getting lots of sleep (for once) and listening to Christmas music every day makes me happy. I love this time of year. You know, it IS the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

So many of my bloggy friends make their monthly lists on this first day of the month. I thought I'd make mine and share it. It's really simple.
1. Enjoy every breath of every day.
2. Make Christmas special for the kids. (Daddy would want that).
3. Don't stress.
4. Make sure everyone in my life knows that I love them. (Including God... but I'm pretty sure he already knows that, hehe)

Today I am planning on going home and (finally) putting up my Christmas tree in my bedroom, and maybe crawling into bed and watching a Christmas movie with the kiddos while sipping on some hot cocoa and peppermint tea (thank you Jamie for my new winter addiction. hehe)

(cyber) mondy ramblings...


1.  when i look for random pics (like the one above) i look up by one word, then go to page 21. always. lol

2.  i did NOT participate in any black friday or cyber monday shopping. boo. 

3.  i had my first winter sbucks on Sat morning, thanks to the hubs (Peppermint Mocha)

4.  i'm a winner-winner-chicken-dinner over at the fancy biscuit

5.  got all (ok, almost all) my Christmas decorations up. still need to put up my tree in my bedroom (yes, I am that spoiled) and this year i do believe i get to buy another (fake) tree for the formal living/dining room (with no furniture). the real tree goes up next week in the family room.

6.  turkey day was good. much better than i imagined it to be (aside from the timing of the food. lol) but we all got through it... without curling up in fetal positions and bawling. (i'll post pics on that soon).

7.  i really Really REALLY want a laptop, like super-di-duper badly. (but not holding my breath either... this year, gift for KIDS ONLY)

8.  had a seriously yummy sushi dinner (company din-din) at Pure Sushi Bar in Scottsdale. Their Creamy Bake Lobster Roll was honestly the best Sushi Roll I have EVER had!!

9.  temps in AZ dropped into the mid to high 20s last night... therefore leaving the business SUPER-CRAZY-BUSY! I've been taking calls all morning long (it's 1pm now) and have blogged here and there. I got the hubs service schedule booked into OT (overtime) tonight AND tomorrow!! Crazy crazy crazy!! 

10.  we took the kids (and my nephew Jake) to BWW and then to see the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 last night... great movie (and for the record... the snake scared the be-jesus out of me!!!)

11.  Was thinking about a Red Velvet inspired giveaway... hmmm, maybe??


Thanks LA for sharing this! I've watched it ten times already! lol, What?!?


This year I feel that it is important (for me) to point out what I am thankful for. This year, I have so much to be thankful for... I've never felt so thankful, and grateful for all the small things that I do have in my life. Don't worry, I'm not going to list everything-everything (like I am thankful to have running water in the house, and the gas heater turned on) lol, which I am thankful for... but here are the big ticket items...

1. God's Love.  I have felt the love of God more in the past two and a half months than I ever have (probably in my entire life). Nobody is perfect, and everyone is a sinner... but thankfully, in God's eyes we are perfect. I am thankful for His love, his grace, his gifts, and his blessings. Without God, I am nothing.

2.  My Daddy. This one is tough (and I am already crying). I miss my Daddy every second of every day since he's been gone. I am so incredibly thankful for every single second that I had him in my life. Every second. Even the ones where I was in trouble with him. Every single one. I am thankful to have such an amazing Daddy. A man who was (in my eyes) near perfect. He will always be with me. He will always be in my heart, and in my thoughts. And I am thankful (again, God's love) that one day we will be reunited in Heaven. I love you Daddy.

3.  My Family. I am thankful to be blessed with my children. I am thankful that God gave them to me, allowing me to be their momma, and give them all the love I have. I am thankful for my husband, who has had to literally pick me up off the floor when the pain of losing Daddy has become too much. Day in and day out this man has had to endure the process (and sometimes reprocusions) of grief and stress. I am thankful for my Mama. Every day, every hour, and just about every minute is a struggle for life, a struggle to live without Daddy by her side. I can not imagine how difficult that is. I am thankful she fights through her days because she loves us. I am thankful for my Sista. Without her I don't think I could survive all of this. She knows exactly how I feel, because she is going through it all too. I am thankful for her advice (even though she is younger, lol) and thankful that she is here with me, in my life every day. I am thankful for my nephews and niece. They bring me so much joy, and so much love, (and so much chaos) that it is nice to be able to love them like my own children. I am thankful to my in-laws, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my second cousins, my third cousins (we're Mexican... we're a big family. lol). The amount of love and support that they have shown me, and my family during this time of mourning has been powerful. My cup runneth over.

4. My Friends. I am so thankful. I have the most amazing friends in the world. Friends that have been there to do absolutely anything for me in this time of need. Friends that flew out, drove out, were there by my side the first minute they could get to me. Friends who let me cry to them on the phone, or in person. Friends who let me ramble on (I'm sure repetatively) about my pain and heartache. Friends who read my blog and send me support. Friends who call me, send me cards, send me emails. Friends who care far beyond what they should or what I would ever have thought. I am so thankful for each and every single friend. They help shine light into my life. Thank You.

I wish each and every one of you a very Thankful and very Happy Thanksgiving.
I love you all. xoxo

this lady...

is CRACKING ME UP this black friday season!
everytime her commercials come on, i can't help but laugh (like really, really hard). this commercial is my favorite... but she is all over the tv and all over the internet. props for target! shes a funny lady!!

i bet ya didn't know...

i know, two blog posts in one day. i'm making up for lost times. lol
i came across THIS inspiring Library Love Shoot over at Ruffled (one of my favorite wedding blogs) and it sparked my flame (and my memory) of when i used to work in the library in high school. 
eco-friendly wedding
eco-friendly wedding
eco-friendly wedding
i'm thankful to my parents, they always took us to the local library when my sister and i were kids. i loved checking out books, and sitting in their big oversized chairs and begin to read the next great story. i remember the first chapter book that i read (twice) was called "Wonderful Me"... I was an avid reader of the Christy Miller series and Nancy Drew books throughout elementary and junior high school. once i got to high school i enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby and Fahrenheit 451. A book completely out of my range but I still greatly enjoyed it was Always Running: La Vida Loca. it was on one of my 'shelves' that i had to keep organized. 
i loved cataloging books, and looking at old school yearbooks in the back, and thumbing through all the back issues of LIFE and National Geographic and TIME and Seventeen magazines. ahhh, i could go on and on about my fascination of one time being a librarian. reading is so powerful, and it wasn't until this past year that i remembered my love for it.
just something to share...

touched my heart

i know my heart is sad and struggling. i've tried leaning on God to get me through this, and it has helped tremendously, but there are times when trusting God is hard and seems practically impossible. as often as i feel grateful to God for his blessings and his gifts to us, i also feel distance and disheartened as well. i'm not perfect (and certainly not a perfect christian). but it is truly a 'God Wink' when you're feeling distance from him that something leads you right back to him... something touches your heart and you know, you just Know that he really is there.
my beautiful friend Janel has been posting a Thankful 30 Challenge, and Day 23 has truly touched my heart, right when i needed it most.
a reminder that i need to be in my Bible reading his promises, helping to heal my heart and take away my pain. 

three days til turkey day.

i'll be honest. i am filled with anxiety about Thanksgiving day this year. the hubs is gonna prepare the bird. i'm gonna make the stuffing. mom and sista are making sides. we are eating at our house this year, instead of my parents. the table will more than likely not be elaborately set like previous years (my mom is a genius when it comes to table-setting). i don't even have any fall decorations up in the house. and there will be a great big hole in the room where Daddy should be. i don't know what to expect, or how to prepare or get through this. one step at a time. one breath at a time.

on a side note, today is the hub's 33rd birthday. such an old man. lol. we celebrated yesterday (going to cabelas... his favorite store). today is back to work, but thankfully it's a short work week. :-)

that's my dog

i took a few photos of my dog the other day, and i thought i'd share.
his name is Gunner. we call him Gunner Boy. 
he just turned 5 human years old on Halloween. he's getting so old... see the gray??

© something Big is coming...
Maira Gall