Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas

Christmas has come and gone yet again. Ours was really good - low key and filled with the magic of the season. I hope yours was great too!

After I put in my half-day before the much-awaited break, I picked up Kathryn and we headed back into town to finish up the last of the Christmas prep.
Naturally, we needed a Starbucks break.
The sunset that welcomed us back home.
Christmas Eve Day was all about preparing! We had a small gathering for Christmas Eve with my in-laws but there was still lots to do. Top priority: making Christmas cookies for Santa.
Kathryn was in charge of quality control.
Her gingerbread house looks like it has been through a tornado. She takes quality control serious on many levels.
Once I was in full-on cooking mode, I forgot to take pictures of nearly everything.

Christmas 2014 Menu
Appetizers
Pigs in a Blanket (because, of course), a variety of nuts and a cheese, cracker and grapes platter
Dinner
Beef tenderloin, lasagna, sage brown butter brussel sprouts, garlic bread and salad
Dessert
Fudge and chocolate cheesecake with chocolate ganache (actually got a picture!)
Festive drink! A sparkling White Christmas sangria.
Setting out Santa's cookies, milk and a carrot for his reindeer.
Annual reading of The Night Before Christmas.
Santa came!
My favorite time of year.
Christmas morning! At 7:45 a.m. K ran into our room screaming "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!"
That right-out-of-bed look.
Couldn't believe she got the maraca she asked for.
Reading a letter that Santa left her.
Our traditional Christmas breakfast. I don't even know what it's called. A friend of mine made it years ago at an office party and since then I've made this three ingredient dish the past few years (2 croissant rolls of dough - I get the reduced fat ones, not that it makes a huge difference with this one, Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage and a block of cream cheese).
There's no thrills but it's delish!
The amazing teepee from Uncle Sam. One of the biggest hits from Christmas!
The coveted Elsa (from Frozen) dress. Another huge hit!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Catching up: Four

FINALLY! All caught up. Here's to blogging on a more timely basis in 2015!

Kathryn is closer to five at this point, so what better time to update about her fourth birthday. Geez!
To celebrate her birthday at school, she picked out these Hello Kitty cupcakes because her old school didn't allow homemade treats. My baking-self hated buying store made cupcakes.
To celebrate Kathryn's birthday, Nana and Pop Pop came to Texas for a fun visit! So right after they landed, we went to dinner...to celebrate my birthday, a month in advance ;)!
She told the waiter is was her birthday.
As usual, it was a great visit with mom and dad. We stayed around the house a lot and just enjoyed each other's company.
Lots of back scratching.
Lots of reading.
Playing around with Nana!
For Kathryn's birthday, E. J.'s mom and step dad got her the ultimate treehouse/swingset. The catch? The setup. Luckily, Pop Pop is amazing and said he would take on the task (read: a challenge for anyone else but Pop Pop). 
Still no grass in the backyard...
A 2.5 day labor of love project.
The finished product!
She loves it! And thankfully has not lost interest. She plays on it all of the time.
For Kathryn's fourth birthday she chose homemade pizza and vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, which is exactly what she got!

FOUR!
After the celebrating was over, our least favorite part of the trip came: Nana and Pop Pop went back to Vermont.  We are so lucky that they were able to come down to make turning four even more special!

Kathryn's four year old stats (May 2014)
  • Height: 3' 6" (89th percentile)
  • Weight: 41.8 lb (89th percentile)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Catching up: Vermont

In July, K and I made our way to New England for a visit with family and friends! To say it was great would be an understatement.
Independent traveler.
Four. Four is the age of traveling with ease while alone with a child.
Perk of having a family member who works for American: Our first flight was delayed but we were able to squeeze in a quick visit from Aunt Monica, who met us on our layover in the terminal in Dallas and took us for a quick lunch :).
First stop: Connecticut! We got to spend the a fun night at Kim and Andy's new house and got some playtime in with Ben!
After our visit with Kim, Andy and Ben, mom picked us up and brought us to Vermont.  Nana knows the way to this girl's heart - my American Girl Doll, Kirsten and a tea set were already setup when we arrived at the house. 
It didn't take much time for her to put on my old matching Kirsten dress and get right into character.
I had no problem settling into relaxation mode. This trip came at the perfect time as I was transitioning positions at work so sitting on the world's most comfortable couch at my parent's while watching Sex and the City reruns and cleaning out my work inbox was just what the doctor ordered.
The doctor also ordered my dad's homemade clam pizza and salad right from his garden.
When Sam arrived he surprised me with three (yes, THREE!) dozen Georgetown Cupcakes. They were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Luckily there were lots of people around to help devour them.
Mom always plans a fun family picnic when we come and it was so great to have everyone at the house at the beginning of our stay.
Putting together a centerpiece of wildflowers.
The girl cousins!
Picking crab apples...and looking like she's in a trance.
S'mores!
Cousin Carly!
Caught.
A serious game of musical chairs.
After an exciting day visiting with family, we reverted back to easy Vermont days. 
Helping Pop Pop stack wood to prepare for winter.
And then she took things into her own hands and built a castle.
While Pop Pop and K stayed home one night, Mom and I had a date night out to a yummy meal and to see
The Chorus Line (which was phenomenal!)
Exploring downtown Brattleboro
Nana took us to a fun bead store, which was a hit!
We love Uncle Sam!
The Vermont Country Store - a must-go to place each visit.
Savoring her loot.
Exploring with Pop Pop.
Only Pop Pop lets you eat chocolate cupcakes for breakfast :).
Rolling down the hill is the best!
Mommy had her treats too - plenty of Dunkin' Donuts.
We took plenty of walks to the pond.
Best buds.
Taking a step by in time. Back in my Kirsten dress again!
Helping Pop Pop in the garden.
I snuck in a few quiet walks by myself. 

As usual, our trip ended far too soon. We couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable visit and can't wait for our next trip back to New England!