Tuesday, December 28, 2010




Santa BABY!

This Christmas morning was one of those bitter sweet times... After going to bed late from all the Christmas Eve activities, then getting up during the wee hours of the morning (nothing usual there, haha) to assist Santa in his attempt to move around the house in the dark leaving goodies as he went (House Rule: IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE, YOU DON'T RECEIVE!) I went back to bed waiting to be woken up by either Sabriya or Shanel... but it was not to be. Mark & I finally awoke on our own around 7AM and my little grown people were all still sound asleep in their beds. And that's the bitter sweetness of the moment - when we as parents wake up on Christmas morning and the kids are still fast asleep - THEY ARE GROWING UP! (sniff sniff)

When they finally decided to arise and gather (although they didn't wake up early) the excitement of seeing what Santa left was definitely still there. SO it was time to OPEN PRESENTS, Yeah! and so we did...

Our Christmas Meal was even a bit different for us this year in the sense that we didn't have all of our friends and family over as we usually do because we were eating early and heading out to the football game immediately afterwards. Mark wasn't going to cook at all but I still wanted to have our holiday favorites so together we made the meal for the day. There were about 24 of us going to the game but only about half of that group stop by on their way to grab a bite to eat. Then off to the game we went...

Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shannon and Mark hosted our Christmas Eve Secret Santa Gift Exchange / Dessert this year. She made cupcakes and a heath cake - YUMMY! We've been doing a Secret Santa Gift Exchange for many years now and it is always alot of fun. But to make the moment of exchanging the gifts last a little longer, last year the kids decided to add a little something to spice up the moment. They came up with the idea of gag gifts describing the person they would be giving their gift to. It was FUN and we had a lot of laughs. This year we came up with a little rhyme describing each person, these were presented in the form of a gift tag attached to the gift and signed by various Christmas characters such as Santa or Rudolph or the Grinch (get the idea). The gifts were all placed in a neutral area, we each had to pick a gift that was not ours, and we took turns reading the rhyme and then we all had to guess/vote on 1) who we thought the gift was FOR and 2) who we thought the gift was FROM. It was unanimous, we will definitely be doing this again next year...

NOPE, I am not going to tell you WHO's WHO - you will have to guess just like we did. Have fun!
Hints and clues I will exclaim,
Guess who I am in this gift exchange...

Get up and go I never slow down,
So many activities the typical run around.
Video game systems a gamer I am
Either I’m on the computer or singing my jams
You blink and years pass but I remain innocent and sweet
But if you turn off my show it’s your butt Ill beat.
FROM: Mrs. Claus

Center of attention is where I like to be
Trips to the mall, to buy out Gucci.
A credit card I'll give but not to the clerk,
Cover your butt crack cause I’m always on the lurk.
Emotional I get when I am irritated
But it never gets me down cause I’m extremely motivated.
FROM: Santa Claus

365 days in a year as the seasons change
So does my career.
A man holds the key to enter my heart,
But I think he’s having relations with little Mark.
But I keep it calm never worry or bellow,
I take life a day at a time and stay very mellow.
FROM: Clarice (Rudolph's Girlfriend)

I don’t like to work and I don’t like to clean,
When I wear sandals, my feet cause a scene
Ditzy I am but my hair is not blonde
When the weekend hits I’m faded and gone.
I nurture and care because it’s my heart
Taking life easy, that’s how I start.
FROM: Yukon (Rudolph)

When I start to speak all my siblings listen,
If you think otherwise you must be trippen.
I work long shift’s which kinda gives me chills,
Gotta make this money, gotta pay these bills.
I’d do anything for my family at any or all costs
But when the cookie crumbles, we know that I’m the boss.
FROM: Sam the Snowman (Narrator of Rudolph)

I am really quite a jokester and I love to play around,
I love the white people in my life, you smith monkeys hold me down.
Gotta be home by dinner or I'll surely need some stitches,
Its hard out here for a pimp, when he got babies, bills, and ...
Families real important despite all the rest,
I’d do anything for my family; I love them all to death.
FROM: the Abominable Snowmonster

Designer things are what I like whether it’s Louis, Gucci, Fendi,
People always check me out cause I’m very very trendy.
Always doing something creative if I have the time,
Baking sinful delicious treats is my biggest crime.
I play a game of hide and seek and squeeze a toy until it squeaks,

I pull a wagon and sang a song I teach the children right from wrong.
FROM: Frosty

One of a kind, Trueys I rock
Fashionably late is what shows on my clock.
Happy with life it’s moving so fast,
The girl that I date eats doughnuts out the trash.
Caring and real are my tricks of the trade
I’ve been punking Big Mark since the 1st grade
FROM: Rudolph

Age is irrelevant you get what you see,
Always scheming and plotting you would think I was three.
I don’t do my homework that’s where boo comes in,
She works hard for my A’s while I watch ESPN.
I like the focus on me but don’t like the drama
I'll punch Big Mark in his stomach and then go “slap yo mamma”
FROM: Donner

Loudly I enter everywhere I go,
I’m not your ordinary average Joe.
Just a forewarning I'll let you know,
Touchin’ my treats is a no go!
My favorite color is the color green,
I feed my dog chicken and his skid marks are mean.
FROM: the Grinch

You’re patient when I’m foolish.
You give guidance when I ask.
It seems you can do most anything.
You’re the master of every task.
FROM: Charlie Brown

Your wisdom and knowledge have shown me the way,
I’m thankful for you as I live day to day.
I don’t tell you enough how important you are,
In my universe you’re a bright shining star.
FROM: Hermey (Misfit Elf from Rudolph)

Ahhhh okay, maybe I'll post the answers after I am all done with my Christmas posts, so stop back by to see...

Christmas Eve Service

A few quick shots snapped after our Christmas Eve service at Christ Life Church in Tempe. Some of Ken's family joined us tonight for the service.

Gifts for Trey & Boston

After dinner we stopped by the house for Trey & Boston to open their gifts from MiMi and PaPa... It is so much fun to watch them tearing into the paper and then rushing on to the next one and it brings back all the fun memories from when our kids were little and did the same thing. Trey got his own little Leapfrog Leap Top Laptop (wow, try to say that a few times), a Cash Register and some LEGO Bricks. Boston got some Busy Poppin' Pals, a Little Tikes Sports Center (can't ever start them to early) and a Musical Block Wagon...

Christmas Deco's

Christmas Eve Dinner

There is a new restaurant that opened near us a few days ago - Lin's Grand Buffet - and Mark decided he wanted to take the family there for our Christmas Eve dinner (something different for us).  We have been watching them build this place for months and had decided that we would definitely visit as soon as they did. So Christmas Eve it was to be...  It is the largest buffet I think I've ever seen. Three rows of hot food...a row of desserts, fruit, and salad. But there's more. A sushi counter and a Mongolian grill! It has every dish you could think of and more. Enchiladas, crawfish seriously!  But of course for me nothing could beat the time spent with almost all the kids. Shamesha (had to work a double shift today), Reggie and Marcus (spending family time with their families).

Mark & Anna - Naughty or NICE ???

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Anna Smith
Nicer than nice. A real champ! I was really proud of all the hard work that went towards changing those "naughty" habits of last year. Treated friends nicely and was exceptionally honest (which happens to be one of my favorite traits!) It's amazing what a good old fashioned "I'm sorry!" can do for a rating. Keep up the good work!

Mark Smith
Recently moved from naughty list over to my nice list. Made the nice list by helping out around the house a little more than usual, and not talking back. I'm sure the good work will continue. Someone I really like !


Santana - Naughty or NICE ???

Santana Smith
Has been on best behavior most of the year! A real "Nice" surprise. Always plays by the rules. Is a good, polite listener, even when bored. Set a new record of only interrupting 75 times in 365 days! Always says "bless you" when somebody sneezes. Every now and then gets a little cranky. (Like last Thursday?) Let's try and keep the good attitude every day!

Shamesha - Naughty or NICE ???

and SANTA says....

Shamesha Smith

Nice, but a few naughty marks. Good sense of humor helps others to laugh. Manners show improvement, though must keep working on being polite. "Please" and "thank you" go a long way!!

Reggie Sheffield

So far, fits into the "Nice" category. Cleans behind ears and brushes teeth regularly. Rarely winces when being kissed on the forehead by old folks. Smiles at babies. A real pleasure to have on my list. Be careful not to interrupt during conversations and don't have another day like�I think it was�last Wednesday. Right now, it's our little secret, but I'll be watching!


Shamara - Naughty or NICE ???

SANTA CLAUS has determined thatttttt....Shamara Smith

Nice, but has naughty lapses. High marks in the good deeds department. Better than average manners. Hopefully, thoughtfulness will continue to be as good as last month. Neatness needs improvement!

Ken Iwebema

Even after an "iffy" October, still has a "Nice" rating (hey, 11 good months out of 12 isn't bad!). Didn't eat vegetables and got caught sticking out tongue. Got parents really mad that one time. (Was it two Saturdays ago???) On the other hand, is kind to animals, finishes chores and almost always washes hands before eating. Should finish with a "Nice" rating if those awesome manners are kept up!

for BIG!!!


Ken gifted Shamara with one of the MOST SPECIAL things EVER! A years lease on her new salon appropriately named SALON 91 ...... When he thought of the idea and how he would present it to her, he decided on wrapping her salon key in a box and he said to me, "Watch, when she opens it she's gonna have this confused look on her face and ask - "Why is my key wrapped up?" and she did exactly that." I captured the following pictures of her right at that moment of opening. I don't know that he could have come up with a more meaningful gift, Ahhhh, well maybe one (just kidding). LOVE YOU KEN!

Christmas 2010 Photo Shoot

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We have such a fabulous time each year planning and putting every thing together for our annual family photo session that it is now a very strong on going tradition that all of our family and friends seem to love sharing with us and so with that in mind I thought what a shame we only get to share one or two of the hundreds of pictures that are taken each year. So I had this genius idea to make a small coffee table photo book that can sit out all year long that we can pick up because it'll always be right at our finger tips and reminisce through whenever we feel like it. SO THAT'S WHAT I DID! I had so much fun putting it together but it was also very hard to not use every single picture taken, but I did restrain myself and picked only some of the hundred or so. Anyways, after the book was completed and I was ready to order it, I was offered the option to share the book via the web (on the blog & facebook) and I thought WOW somebody else thinks like me and had a genius idea too. I was seriously so excited to be able to do this but once again I had to restrain myself from doing it right away because the Christmas cards needed to be sent out and received by you all before I could blow the theme out of the water with this post. So I had to wait and you had to wait but the wait was worth I think, and I hope you will enjoy it and think so too.
 FYI: Now if you know me at all then you would have guessed by now that I couldn't just make one photo book for 2010 - NOPE I had to go back through the last several years and YES I DID... I made those adorable little photo books all the way back through 2006. Okay, okay, I promise to post those too in a few days, but I just wanted to share 2010 with you first.


This 1st set is the shots on our Christmas Card...

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A GLIMPSE BEHIND THE SCENES: There are 2 things that I just want to share with you about the 3rd picture in the above set.  1) We are all laughing because before this shot was taken Shamara standing in the very front of the picture all of a sudden realizes and says out loud, "I'm just up here posing away and my nails are all messed up." or something to that nature but the way she said it had us all cracking up as you can see and of course John doesn't stop shooting it's as if the camara is on auto pilot...  2) If you didn't notice yet, take another look at the picture and you'll see that because we all found this to be so hilarious we were just doing the natural thing and our attention was taken off of the camara BUT NOT SHANEL'S, she was laughing and posing all at the same time, she is the only one still focus on that next shot. Does that surprise anyone??? Haha!
This set is some of the 100's of other shots...

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Zoo Lights

Monday, December 20, 2010

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