Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

He came! He came! Santa...he came!

We didn't discover that Santa had come until well after 8:30 - in the morning! I think this might be the very last Christmas morning Court and I aren't roused from our beds before dawn and boy did we enjoy that little bit of extra sleep!
Helping ...  I mean all that wine drinking, music listening and preparing waiting really tuckers you out! So  as I tell myself every year...next year I've got to be more organized...but onto the merry making!

Elife - our incredibly generous Elf on the Shelf - left little notes for girls...

...as well as some chocolate treats all the way from the North Pole!! We won't see him until next December!

Then it was off to see if Santa like the cookies we left him! But first Grace got distracted by the one gift from Santa that he didn't wrap...

She calls it her hopper ball and it was a BIG hit! 

Our Christmas morning tradition is a bit different than most and definitely most different from what I did as a kid. Trying to mesh traditions from two families is always challenging but even more so when those two families have such different traditions. So Court and I are doing our best to mesh the things most important to us. So here is how we do it.

Wake up.
Open stockings.
Take a break for breakfast. 
Shower and Dress.
Presents are opened one at a time and there is a lot of stopping and starting because during all this a Christmas meal has to be made AND the little ones usually require a nap. 
Most people are in jaw dropping shock when they hear this is how we do it because again it isn't how most people do it and it isn't the way I did it as a kid! We'll see how this "evolves" over time but the best thing about it that Christmas lasts ALL DAY LONG! It isn't over in five minutes! It lasts ALL DAY LONG!

Looks like Santa ate all the cookies AND filled our stockings!


Charlotte was just mesmerized by everything!
The presents, the cookies, the chocolate! She loved it!

Grace opening the pink and purple fairies she has been asking for for months!
Wow! Santa really does listen!

Stocking opened and overall magic making officially made, it was time for a fire and our traditional bread dough pancakes for breakfast! Mmmmm!

We also noticed that Santa's reindeer ate all of our yummy handmade reindeer food. How could we tell you ask?

They left behind some evidence.

Each year, we each get one ornament that commemorates the year. Grace gets one. Charlotte gets one and  Court and I get one. My parents started this traditions for me and my siblings. When we get older (i.e. move out on our own where we have our own tree to decorate) we are given our collection of ornaments - 20 or so! Because you know those first few years of having your own tree are pretty sparse. You don't have lights, ornaments, a topper - nothing! So my parents gave us a head start on our Christmas ornament collection and so I am doing the same for Grace and Charlotte.

This is this year's ornament. A flamingo to remind us of our unforgettable trip to Miami in the spring of 2011. (Mazel Tov Tarin and Tom!) Unfortunately, I could only find two of these little buggers...but maybe the Easter bunny will track one down for me and Court! ;)

Finally, after all the gifts from family, friends and Santa were opened it was time for Grace's special gift from Mommy and Daddy.

Grace got a doll house which she has already racked up hours of good old fashioned imaginative play! 

And little Miss Charlotte got her first car!

As you can see, we are going to have to have a talk with her about texting and driving!!
What does Oprah say? 
Arrive alive. Don't text and drive?
Well, Charlotte this will be your first driving lesson!

I didn't take any pictures of our meal. But it turned out well! I tried a new turkey recipe from Ina Garten -the Barefoot Contessa herself...and our conclusion? We won't be making it in the future! It wasn't bad...just not outstandingly delcious.
We'll be sticking to brined turkeys! Much moister and much tastier!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

 While my plan was to get up super early on Christmas Eve to get a crack at my to-do list before the little ones woke up...

that didn't happen! We spent a leisurely morning snuggling in bed before finally getting up and tackling some of the prep work for Christmas Day dinner.

Lucky for me, I only had one meal to plan for this year as Christmas Eve dinner was being prepared by Manna and Boppa.

We decided it best to spread our reindeer food BEFORE dinner so that it was still light outside and we could capture some pictures.

Reindeer food 

We decided to put it on the porch so the camera...uh I mean reindeer were sure to find it!

Can you even believe the weather? It was a bit nippy but no snow!

After Christmas Eve dinner, we started a new tradition.
We decided to go look at lights!
I don't think I have the correct lens for night photos but this was a great light display of a tractor out in the middle of no where all lit up!

Finally, we decided to head home! There was still work to be done in order to get ready for Santa!
But on the way home, we ran into a drive thru nativity!
Basically, a local church set up an outside nativity display and at the entrance they gave you a CD. As you drove through, the CD played music and told you the story of Baby Jesus. It was actually pretty cool and the people involved were quite committed because it was REALLY cold at this point! 

This was the only picture that "turned out". It just looks sort of cool but in the waaayy back you can see the star the wise men followed...as did all of us in our cars!

Once we got home, it was time to write our letters to Santa, put out our cookies and say good bye to Elfie as he would be heading back to the North Pole tonight.

The handwriting is ours but the words are all Grace's! Oh! That's her own signature too!

Charlotte's signature.

Once the girls were asleep, we cranked up the Christmas music and cracked open and bottle of wine! Our favorite Christmas tradition!!

Now it was just time to sit back and wait for Santa to come!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!

 Operation Sit-on-Santa's-Lap


Now off to bake, cook, clean...you know? Overall magic making!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 23, 2011


I have a million things to do and about 36 hours to do them! Anyone in the same boat? (Please say yes!)

Yesterday was baking day...or supposed to be baking day. I had dreams of baking and decorating sugar cookies and all sorts of goodies. But between entertaining the girls and the other daily tasks my day of baking quickly went sideways.

In all the years of baking and decorating sugar cookies, this has been by far my worst.  I ended up making 4 different double batches because the dough just wasn't turning out right. Baking went ok. But the frosting proved to be an utter disaster. I couldn't get the consistency right and between having to stop and start my cookie production line in order to referee the endless battles over toys, puzzle pieces and hair pulling, my frosting eventually went bad. UGH. 

I think I started at about 8:30 am yesterday and by 5:30 pm I think I had about 15 completed cookies. Seriously. 

I am a planner and a to-do lister so by the end of the day my wits were frazzled. FRAZZLED. And I realized I had completely lost the whole point in doing all this baking and decorating and wrapping. For me, it is all about them. Grace and Charlotte. They clearly weren't having fun watching me look at the clock and frantically dive back into the frosting bowl. And I was DEFINITELY not having fun.

So I had to take a deep breath and tell myself that it was ok that 35+ cookies weren't' going to be decorated. I've never left any cookies unfrosted. This was huge for me. The cookies that I somehow managed to frost look so sad and pathetic. They aren't the works of art I had dreamed of...we'll just have to shift that dream to next year - when everyone's (i.e. Charlotte's) attention spans are a bit longer and we aren't climbing on the countertops and knocking over bowls of frosting and sprinkles and driving our mothers to drink....again, I'm not alone in this, right?

We did manage a little fun. Grace frosted and decorated for the first time her very own cookie. This one is extra special and will definitely be displayed for the big man himself on Christmas Eve.

Couldn't really subdue Charlotte with cookie decorating...so I just kept throwing cookies at her.
It worked until the sugar high wore off.


Ta Da!
Grace's cookie for Santa. Complete with a missing bite!

Hope you all get your to-do's done but with peace, calm and a smile!
If that doesn't work, throw in a gin and tonic for good measure!

Merry Christmas!

Partay! Family Style

Tonight was our family shindig...hosted by our nearby relatives!

See Grace's shiner?
She and Charlotte accidentally smacked heads last night and Charlotte's head hit the sweet spot.
It turned almost instantaneously into a black eye! Thank goodness are Santa pics have already been taken!

It was good times!

Really good times! 
(OK don't judge him...one of those is for me!)

A really fun family tradition!

Monday, December 19, 2011

One Party Down, One to Go

It's hard mixing groups of people at parties so I decided to have two birthday parties for Grace this year.
One for family and one for her friends.
I kept the friend party small and followed that age old rule...one friend for each year of life! 
It's a good rule because it was a perfect number!

Lucky for me, most of the decorating was done!

I decided to forego a cake for a group of three year olds and offered solely cake pops!
Easy, cute and less clean up!
Plus not a lot of leftovers that my a** so doesn't need!

Charlotte playing with Grace's friends.
Hmmm....reminds me of another little sister I know! 

So fun celebrating Grace's 3rd birthday!
Now it's time to focus on Christmas!
Time to make merry and shop!