Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End

Despite any cheesiness, I'm starting my last post of the year with my favorite version of Auld Lang Syne. I love listening to this song while reflecting on another year that has quickly passed.
2012 was a good year. My first instinct is to say that it was just a decent year.  But then when I really think about it, I realize that I'm being ridiculous because the stressful times are outweighed by the many good things. E. J. and I both started new jobs this year (on the same day), we traveled to New England for a wonderful trip to visit family and friends and we are constantly reminded of how lucky we are to be parents to the best little girl in the world. I'd say that makes for a great year.
*I don't like going too crazy with the New Year's Resolutions, but with my favorite elastic waist stretchy pants feeling a bit tight, perhaps the oh-so-popular resolution of trimming down would be a good idea, especially since I will celebrate my 30th birthday this year. And by trimming down, I mean continuing to work on feeding my family healthy meals and enjoying food (in moderation) and in return, hopefully seeing a difference in myself (on multiple levels).

*I'd also like to get more into reading (which I realize might sound weird to some people). Let me clarify: I read magazines and articles (mostly online) but I don't really sit down to read books.

I've always liked the idea of being a reader who snuggles up with some tea/hot chocolate/coffee (hellloooo, I got a Keurig for Christmas this year, which is the perfect reading accessory). I've thought about becoming an avid reader a lot but never actually acted on it (how's that for lazy?) because I have a hard time sitting down without thinking about a million other things I need to be doing, such as watching TV. I have many books on our bookshelf that I've been waiting (I'm not sure "waiting" is the right word) to read and the upcoming year would be an excellent time to dig into them.

*I'd also like to work on being more present. I have become a pro at being somewhere physically without being there mentally, if you know what I mean. It's not a good thing to be great at and I'm  annoyed with myself because I tend to not be present, a lot.

I successfully completed my 2012 Resolution, Project 52, despite being painfully behind (since life got in the way for about 6 months). I won't bore you with the remaining pictures right now, but will bore you will them in the upcoming weeks. It will feel really great to finish up the documentation knowing that I actually finished up the project I set out to complete.

I think 2013 will be filled with great things and I hope it is just as great for you.

                                                               Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Entertaining: Not a Form of Entertainment

The days leading up to Christmas Eve caused my body to be in intense pain. My ankle felt like it was sprained, my back was killing me, and I could barely walk on Christmas Eve because my feet hurt so badly. You would think this was caused by a crazy workout. Don't be silly. This was because I was cleaning like a maniac for days. FYI - staying up to 2 a.m. multiple days while cleaning and baking does a number on your body.

You would think that I'm complaining but despite my body being in pain, I actually enjoyed every second. It was my idea to host Christmas Eve at our house this year and from the moment it was confirmed that we were hosting, my planning hat was on. I'm an entertainer at heart.

I recently came across a quote that is now one of my favorites "If you think it's easy to do something simple, it's not" -Unknown. I find this to be incredibly true from the work I do in career to something like putting together a party. Simply put, it's no easy task to make it come all together.

Before I went on Christmas break, I made 20 loaves (15 pictured) of cranberry orange bread to give out to people in my immediate office as well as some other friends. I don't think I'll need to reference the recipe ever again because I'm pretty confident that it's forever ingrained in my head.
On Christmas Eve Day I made up some cinnamon rolls with a maple icing with the intention to hand them out to everyone as they left our house. Did I remember to give them to anyone? No. I completely forgot. Apparently entertaining also turns you into an idiot. But I did manage to give them out to everyone on Christmas afternoon.
Kathryn and I also made up some iced sugar cookies that she could set out for Santa. 
I also forgot to set these out with the other desserts. Nice.
Talking to Sally, the Elf on a Shelf, one last time before she headed back to the North Pole.
The rest of Christmas Eve Day was me running around (but actually staying right on schedule). E. J. was working an off-duty job and was gone a majority of the day, but I somehow managed to complete nearly everything. Nearly.

The Christmas Eve menu was:

Pigs in a blanket (a must-have for E. J.)
Brushetta (it didn't happen - guests arrived 30 minute early and suddenly my kitchen was crowded and I couldn't prepare it, sadly)
Cheese, crackers, and grapes

Green beans
Garlic bread
Scalloped potatoes
Beef tenderloin (the only picture I got of the meal, below - precooked, obviously)
Peanut butter cups
Double chocolate cheesecake
Frosted sugar cookies (as previously mentioned, also forgot to put those out)

I was happy with how everything turned out, especially because I had never made a lasagna, scalloped potatoes or beef tenderloin before. Perhaps Christmas Eve at our house may be a new tradition. If so, I'm all for it, even if it means I'm unable to walk by the end of the night.
The only Christmas Eve picture from that evening. Cool cowgirl.
After the guests left, we started the Christmas Eve preparations.
Cookies for Santa
FaceTime with Nana, Pop Pop, and Uncle Sam. Laugh-filled, of course. 
Wish we could have been together.
The Night Before Christmas
 Obligatory last minute Christmas gift assembly (a new easel!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Magic

I don't know how Christmas is right around the corner, but time is simply going by too fast. Cliche? Yes, but it's reality. Work shows no signs of slowing down and neither does Kathryn. So when a rare night approached that we would all be home together, we scheduled our second annual outing to see the lights and visit Santa.
Fake snow: check
Hayride: check

Millions of lights: check
Actual Christmas-y weather that allowed it be acceptable to drink hot chocolate: check
And of course, Santa: check
Although K insisted she didn't want to sit on Santa's lap leading up to the this picture (and even suggested that she sit in my lap and Santa could take our picture) she did surprisingly well after a brief moment of being nervous. I was so impressed!
Texans love Christmas. Texans also love Texas.
This picture makes me ridiculously happy.
I just need to accept that Christmas is going to be here before we know it. Despite the hustle of the holiday season, we'll be trying to keep the next 10 days just as magical.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dear Santa

Christmas is in full effect in our house. K has named our Elf on a Shelf, Sally. Sally moves to a new location each night after reporting to Santa and Kathryn makes it a point to find her each morning. As she's searching for Sally, she says "I'm lookiiiinnnggg, I'm lookiiinngggg...." until she finds her (and she's really good at locating Sally).

With Christmas right around the corner, the excitement is most definitely escalating. We performed the very important task of writing Santa's letter yesterday morning. Word for word, K's letter reads:

Dear Santa,

I've been a very good girl this year. Can you please bring me:
  • Presents
  • A baby doll
  • Play doh
  • A tea set
And that's it, okay?


That last line had as much attitude as you're imaging when she said it out loud. I hope Santa doesn't mind.

After the letter was signed and sealed, we went to deliver. The post office had a special mailbox for letters to Santa and she knew just what to do.

Christmas is at a whole new level this year. And you know what? They're right. Christmas is so much more fun experiencing it with your own child who is soaking it all in, one traditional at a time.