Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas with Family by Love

As is our tradition since as long as I can remember, we have celebrated a special Christmas with Amy and her family. I am pretty sure I have posted about this before...but our moms went to college together and they are our family by love.

This year was my mom's turn to host, but because I love having people over, I volunteered our house as part of the rotation!

Once again, my sister stepped in and helped me clean and prepare for the evening. Of course, Adam did too, but she rocks in the kitchen!

The token view from each end of the table

After a yummy dinner of home made spaghetti sauce (provided by their family), salad, and stuffed cheesy garlic bread (YUM!), we headed to the family room to chat and open presents.

First we watched Doug's movie he made for his class this semester. He is going into film (producing? directing? editing?) and is super talented. He is going to be famous one day.

Adam and me with all our presents.

The girls!

I made Amy a scarf for Christmas in her favorite color.
.....Though...I didn't quite finish in time.
So she got a scarf with knitting needles in it still!

I think this was one of the coolest gifts. A pillow with a hole in it to put your drink! Genius!

My sis was totally obsessed with the yoga mat she got!

Of course, we had yummy desserts after opening presents!

We are so lucky to not only have wonderful family in our lives, but also friends who are just like family.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Day

After going to bed at 2:30 on Christmas Eve....

Because after finally saying goodbye to family, I realized I forgot to make French Toast Casserole for Christmas morning and had to make it....

We woke up and had Christmas for the two of us.

We are buying an extra freezer as our Christmas gift to each other, but we still did smaller gifts. We were supposed to stick about $30, but I overbought on gifts and while wrapping I texted Adam and asked, "Did you stick to the $30?" and he said "No" so I just wrapped all my gifts too!

I just love looking at the tree with all the presents. Most of these went to his brother's house for Christmas with his family. It is so fun to shop for other people and think about how excited they will be when they open their presents. I love finding the perfect gift!

My Nativity Scene again. Did I post it before? I just love it!

Christmas morning in OUR house!

Though she makes me crazy, I still did a stocking for Fudgie. I got her a Christmas tree with catnip in it that she is dragging around the house when we aren't looking. And a remote controlled mouse. Best. Gift. Ever. Video will definitely be coming soon.

After opening Just Dance 2 and squealing, we did a dance together and then rushed around getting ready, baking the French Toast Casserole, and getting ready to head to his brother's house for Christmas with his family.

We definitely had the most presents for Christmas with Adam's family. 2 kids there (and 1 nephew we mailed presents to and 1 we did the night before), Dad, step-Mom, aunt and the bros and significant others made for a lot of presents! For the brothers and their significant others, we all pick a name. It was decided years ago that it would be better to shop for one person and spend more money than buy for 8 other people and not be able to buy as nice of a gift. A couple years ago I suggested that the girls pick a girl and the boys pick a boy, because it is so much more fun to shop for one of my sister-in-law than a brother-in-law! Though.....I do that shopping anyway too!

The tree with all the presents!

I had Jessica as my person. I got her a sign to put in the front yard with a Dachshund on it and was very creative with the wrapping. Everyone kept calling it the plunger!

It was fun seeing the girls open all their gifts and get excited like they were little kids. They both got eReaders and I am a bit envious!

My super cool cake pan that can make any letter or any numbers! I am definitely the family cake maker now!

After a yummy breakfast and opening lots of presents, we headed to my parents house in the afternoon to do presents with my immediate family.

The tree there was also a little out of control considering there were only 5 of us opening gifts! But we all love Christmas and buying for each other!

The special gift we got for my parents. Except it didn't come in it. So....
We wrapped up an IOU and made a big deal about taking a picture with them and it....
But all it was was a piece of paper!

My sis excited about the hat I knitted for her!
We had an amazing Christmas Day and feel so blessed to have all of the family we have in our lives. We made sure to remember and pray for those who don't have or are not with their families during the holidays and that they remember they are loved too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

We have just finished a whirlwind couple days celebrating Christmas with friends and family! I have spent today....doing nothing.


Sleeping and reading. But that is what Christmas break is supposed to be all about, right?? That and Christmas!

We started off Christmas Eve with heading to Mass at our church. My second grade Religious Ed kids acted out the nativity during the Gospel reading and it was super awesome.

Before leaving for church

Zowie, Adam's niece, came over to help set the table. She's so good at folding napkins!

Each setting at the table. I love it looking like this!
After Mass, we hurried home to finish getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner for my family. My awesome sister spent the day before at our house helping to clean, prepare, bake and cook. She came with us right after Mass to do the same. It NEVER would have gotten all done as nice as it did with out her.

We had 16 people around our dining room table! I love it!
The view from my end of the table.

The view from Adam's end of the table.

The Christmas Tree!

After dinner, Adam's nephew stopped by so we could give him his Christmas presents. He wasn't going to be there Christmas morning and I wanted to be able to give him his gifts. He was SO super excited about his Star Wars Legos Visual Dictionary. It was a hit!

After that, the girls headed to the kitchen to do lots of cleaning. We have used our China 3 times now since we've been married so I am excited about it. The downside? Handwashing it all! Luckily my super awesome sister stepped in again and our cousins were lifesavers as well.

After all the cleaning was done, we headed in to relax and have the kids open presents. We don't do presents for anyone but the kids (and Grandpa) with my family, so it was very low key.
The only real "kid" opening gifts

After presents we had yummy dessert! Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake (I used her Strawberry Recipe and made it Raspberry...A-MAZ-ING!) and French Silk Pie.

After all the food was digested, we decided to do some photoshoots!

My and my honey on our first Christmas married.

He was such a good sport!

The girl cousins on my dad's side. We were so mad that we forgot to get a picture while our cousin (the girls' bro) was still there. He is a Marine and is home for the holidays.

Our cousin on mom's side. Her little boy is the one who was opening gifts earlier.

After the photoshoot was done we got serious about some Just Dance, the first one. At that point I didn't know what was waiting for me under the tree....Just Dance 2!

As you can see, I had to change into my dancing clothes!
After Just Dancing for quite some time, we busted out the Sports Resort Sword Fighting. I will spare you millions of picture of that and leave you with this one of my cousins. Everyone was getting really into it and though the closer to the TV they were, the better they would do. I was seriously afraid a Wiimote was going through my TV screen! But it didn't.

We woke up a little sore on Christmas morning from all the dancing and sword fighting but the night was still a blast. I love having people over and it was great to have my family spend Christmas Eve at our house. It always makes me realize how important family is and how we are creating these memories that we will treasure forever!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Downtown

Every year since I was 16 or 17 I have gone downtown with friends of the family. Kailey (16-on the left) was a Junior Bridesmaid in our wedding. She is hard of hearing. I met her when she was 3 and she got me into sign language and deaf education. We have just grown closer over the years! Kailey's Aunt Robin, my friend, and her sister Linsey and I are the usual crew. Her older brother used to go, but now he is too cool for us.

Every year we go downtown and eat in the Walnut Room, shop in Macy's (Formerly Field's), look at the windows and just have fun. One year we waited NINE hours for the Walnut Room. It is much more reasonable now.

We take the El down, so this is our classic waiting for the El picture.

Me and the girls in front of the tree outside.

The tree used to be made up of many little Christmas trees put together, but now it is one HUGE tree!

The tree inside the Walnut Room. It was really pretty!

From the viewing window on the floor above.

The tree from our seats at our table. And we only waited about 30 minutes for lunch??? It was crazy. We waited 10 minutes to get a pager, 15 minutes for it to go off (when they said 60) and then 5 minutes in line to get seated. I should have bought a lottery ticket!

I took advantage of getting a wish from the fairy in the Walnut Room.

My DELICIOUS meal. Butternut squash tortellaci! Yum!

When the waiter brought Linsey's food and said, "Here is your applesauce", we both burst out laughing. Seriously??? A tablespoon of applesauce??? What if she had picked the fries? Would she have gotten 3 or 4!?

Kailey and I split the Frango mint ice cream pie every year for the last couple years and BOY IS IT YUMMY! That is one dessert I eat no matter how full I am!


After that, we headed outside to look at the windows. This year they were a cute story of believing in Santa Claus.

This is how I looked outside looking at the windows.
I hate the cold.
I'm not ashamed of bundling up.
Though I could use a cuter headband.
Hmmm....maybe I could knit one of those ones that is wide in front and skinnier and buttons in the back...? Or maybe Target has them.
So that is one of my Christmas traditions. Does anyone else do the Macy's thing for a Christmas tradition? What other Christmas traditions do you have?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Trees Galore!

We have had such a busy month, but on Tuesday of last week we were finally able to go pick out a Christmas Tree! We decorated for Christmas the weekend for Thanksgiving everywhere else in our house, but we finally got our tree!

At my apartment I had an artificial little tree, but there wasn't much room. I was so excited to pick out a real tree just like when I was growing up!

Comparing all the different trees. Which one to pick????

It was very cold! But I liked this one!

The tree we picked out!

Monday night we were finally able to decorate the tree! It was way huger than we imagined when we got it in the house and in the stand. We had to do some definite furniture rearranging so there was room around it to put presents. I was so excited to decorate the tree because it was always a special occasion growing up. We would have eggnog, mom baked cookies, and Dad, Erin, and I would put lights on the tree while all listening to Christmas Carols. Well....since neither Adam nor I are huge fans of eggnog, we had Hot Chocolate instead, but we did listen to Christmas Carols on the Christmas channel on the TV.

Adam trying to untangle the lights. We had quite the discussion about how to put lights on the tree. Growing up we did it very methodically. One time around with the lights right around the trunk and the next time around with them more on the outside. You get better light coverage and the tree really glows! Adam just wanted to put them on the tree. But after her understood my idea, we tried it and it was awesome. He is a fan now.
Tour of a few ornaments on our tree:

Our new ornament this year that my friend Bridget gave to us.

The ornament we got on our honeymoon. It was quite the ordeal to find the perfect one!

One we got in NY when we went there in the summer of 2007.

An ornament my mom got me a couple years ago!
*I guess I should mention my sis got one that said "Second Born-Mom's Favorite" *

1 of 12 ornaments my friend Angie gave us as a German tradition for a Bride and Groom to get for their tree. Each one has a special meaning. The pine cone is for fruitfulness*.
*Speaking of fruitfulness....Christmas time is really a time that makes one have a baby craving. We will NOT be having kids for a couple years....but still. All the cute babies in their Christmas outfits celebrating Christmas traditions with their families....I'm just saying!

An ornament Adam got from my parents. My mom and I love these snowman ornaments with funny sayings from one of the craft shows we go to every year!

1 of a set of flip flop ornaments I got from Amy's family. I love me some flip flops!!

An engagement ornament we got last year from Kristin and family. It was one of my monthly countdown to our wedding presents!

An ornament from my mom one year when she thought my attitude was rather stinky. Good thing I have such a good sense of humor!

Our tree all lit up!!!!
For now we have a tree skirt that was an old one of my parent's. I really want one of
these personalized tree skirts, but I kept trying to convince myself they were too much. I think I am going to break down after Christmas and just do it for next year. They really aren't that much than buying one in the store! Tree skirts are crazy expensive! I just like a simple one, no lace, but I love having our name on it.

Our other trees:
I love Christmas trees! I would be happy to have one in every room of the house!

Our black and white tree in our black and white dining room!
I have been thinking about this tree for over a year. Most of the ornaments I got on clearance after Christmas last year for 90% off from Hobby Lobby! We got the white tree from Walmart for $38 after searching and ignoring hundreds of hundred dollar trees! I just love this tree!

Our pink beach tree in the foyer. I also got this on 90% off clearance after Christmas last year. I have my flip flop Christmas lights and several of my winter at the beach type ornaments on it!

Here is one from my vacation to the Bahamas with my family in 2008.

Here is just one of my fun Christmas at the beach ornaments!
I'll spare showing you Santa riding on a whale and Santa drinking a fruity cocktail on the back of a flamingo!

That's the tour of our Christmas trees! I love decorating for Christmas. I especially love decorating for Christmas in this house because there is so much more room than trying to fit it all in in the little space in my townhouse. I love all our trees and I love creating new Christmas traditions together.

What do you have on your Christmas tree??