Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last Picture of 2008

Jer and I took this picture with the timer feature on the camera...this is the last official shot of the Shaffer family in 2008. The bad news is that Colin and I have a horrible cold and are pretty miserable (which is why I look so hot in that picture. HA!) The good news is that we made a trip to Central Market for a special New Years Eve feast just for the three of us and it was FANTASTIC! We had the best shrimp cocktail that I think I have ever had and huge crab cakes that Jer cooked here at home. It was so yummy and I am pretty sure that Colin ate more of the shrimp than we did. That kid knows his seafood. :-)

After Colin went to bed, Jer and I tucked into our room to watch TV and toasted on a bottle of champagne. It was super quiet and very low key, but it was the perfect way to end 2008. This has been an amazing year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just Rambles - 2008

I can't believe that tomorrow is New Years Eve. I can't believe that I blinked and a whole year of Colin's life has gone by. I always get very melancholy when Christmas is over. There is no rival to the holiday season for me and I start getting ramped up immediately after Halloween. In fact, I love Halloween because I know that the ball is rolling toward Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love the entire time between mid October to the end of December. Everything about Fall makes me happy. As with just about everything in my life...once I am really passionate about something, it consumes me. Therefore, these days leading up to New Years always make me a little sad and sappy. I also get excited, though, because I know that I have a fresh new year to explore with Colin. There are 365 days looming ahead of me that will be filled with funny moments and major changes for my precious 17 month old baby. When I look back at this time last year, I had an infant who was not able to sit up unassisted. I remember that I was laying on the floor for his Christmas card pose, holding him upright out of the camera shot so that we could get the picture. He was just a little tiny baby, who I thought was so big at the time...strapping 5 month old that he was! I could never have pictured him as he is now...running all over the house and climbing on anything he can get his hands on. It's late and I won't turn this into my big New Years sign out post...I will save that for later. I was just sitting here tonight contemplating the end of one year and the beginning of the next. :-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gabby's Birthday Party!

Today was Miss Gabby's birthday party! She is two years old and just the cutest little thing you have ever laid your eyes on. The party was absolutely fantastic and I am beyond glad that I got to see my friend Dana again after way too many years. They had the party at The Little Gym in Plano and Colin had never been before. He had the best time in the world! He took off the moment his feet touched the floor and hardly even paid attention to his boring old parents. All the kiddos were around the same age and all had so much fun. My favorite part was the cake...all the little ones sat at a mini table and ate off their plates like they were big kids. I was honestly amazed that Colin sat in his chair and ate his whole plate of fruit and crackers. I don't remember ever seeing anything so adorable as all those toddlers sitting at the table. Gabby knew it was her birthday and ate up being in the spotlight. She even blew out her candles like a big girl!! After they finished eating, the kids headed back into the gym and there were tons of rubber balls thrown out and BUBBLES! Colin was shooting baskets and chasing bubbles like a champ. He really had the best time ever. I can't believe how long it has been since I have seen Dana and her sister Teri...I danced in high school with both of them and it was so nice to get to hang out for awhile! I also got to see another old friend from school, Allison. It was great to catch up with familiar faces from growing up. It was a great afternoon and we are so lucky to have such good friends. Thank you for inviting us to your awesome party, Gabby! Happy Birthday!

Here is a shot of Colin and Gabby. I am amazed that I managed to get them in the same frame more than once. :-)

Here is Colin flirting with the ladies at the table. This was seriously the cutest moment.

Playing with the parachute. I thought this might scare Colin, but he loved it!

Colin and Gabby were playing while everyone else was in the circle. He thought she was pretty dang cute.

My little man loving The Little Gym. I think we may have to join!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More Christmas!

Here are the pictures from my camera...please note our awesome pj's as modeled by my silly sister. Meredith and Jackson are the cutest...that may be the best picture I have ever gotten of them. Not to mention that Meredith crammed herself in a toddler fort. LOVE IT. ;-) The other picture is also a favorite...all three sisters and their good looking guys together on Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After

The fun has continued today and I am now starting to think that Colin is going to go into withdrawls when we drag him home tomorrow to our boring old house. He has been having an absolute blast! He slept again until 7:30, which is insanity! All this play is tiring him out! He started with all his new toys right off the bat this morning and went at it all day. He had 8 adults running after him for his favorite game, "I'm Gonna Get You!". He loved that when one of us got tired, another stepped in. He basically spent the whole day squealing with delight. Colin in bliss equals Mama in bliss. I love it! We had a big lunch of leftovers and laid around like stuffed whales watching football. I made my "Racquet and Jog" run to get a new long sleeve t-shirt. I love wearing my T-town gear when I am away from is like a little inside joke that I just have with myself....and any Tylerite I happen to run into. :-) Anyway...after a nice long nap, we packed up the whole gang to have dinner at Little Italy. It was just what I wanted and tasted great. Colin ate an entire slice of cheese pizza, not to mention olives and tomatoes off Jer's antipasto plate. He was hungry from all the action! Afterwards, we ended at my parents house, got Colin snug and sleeping and then my saintly parents agreed to stay home while Colin slept so that Jer and I could go hang out at Mert and Cory's new digs. It was a great time hanging out and I got to kiss on Jackson all night! Bonus! Jer also got to play Wii for two hours and I am pretty sure this means we will own one by next week. ;-) It was a great day and I am sad the week is officially over. We have had so much fun!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This has been a VERY Merry Christmas!! We have had the most amazing few days here at my parents house...I have loved every minute of it! Yesterday was a blast...Meredith and Cory came over along with Cory's mom. Alieson and her boyfriend Robert arrived as well. Robert brought the most amazing spinach artichoke dip I have ever had, and that began the eating frenzy. We had queso, cheeses and crackers, chex mix made the "mama" way, not to mention sheets of her famous homemade fudge!! My dad and I made a last minute trip to the grocery store and ended up packed in with throngs of other folks with our same plan. That was a special treat for me because I never get alone time with my Daddy anymore and he is very popular at his store. I loved seeing all the people coming up to say reminded me a lot of being a little girl. I have lots of memories like that with him at his store. I felt like a kid again. My mom made a huge Christmas Eve feast and we all gathered at the table to eat and laugh. Colin has been an absolute joy the entire trip...he loved being surrounded by everyone at the table. In our family, we get to open our "Christmas Eve Gift" before bed. It was always the only present we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas. This year was no different...they are light blue with penguins. I love them and am looking forward to retiring the "cheeky monkey" pair that I have been wearing since last year. I love getting the new ones into rotation. ;-) I don't have the cord for my camera here, so the pictures will have to wait for a later post.

Today dawned bright and beautiful with just a slight chill in the air. Colin woke up at around 7:30, which was so late! We made pigs in a blanket for breakfast and opened a few gifts. Colin made out like a bandit....I still can't get over all the toys he received! Santa brought him "Elmo Live", which he thought was amazing. He keeps trying to grab his mouth when he talks, so it may be a few months before he actually gets to finish a story. This toy just blows my mind...I think the grown-ups had more fun than Colin did with it!

Meredith and Cory came back to the house later in the morning with Jackson and we were so glad to see him! The real present opening began at that point...the boys were knee deep in wrapping paper and having a blast. They were so sweet to each other...Jackson and Colin shared all of their toys! This is a shot that Robert got of all the action.
Colin got a gigantic pop-up play fort, complete with tunnels that connect the rooms. There is no way it will fit anywhere in my house, but oh well. We sat it up in the living room and the boys went nuts playing in it. That was a huge hit. Meredith ended up climbing in it...another great pic that will have to wait for my camera download. It was hysterical! Colin spent the whole day soaking up his Aunt Alie, which is no surprise. He has really enjoyed being around all of his aunts and uncles. Jackson got a car that required some serious assembly and I love that I got this next picture. All the men are working on it. Even Colin got in on the action and hid several of the bolts in Alie's boots. HA!
The first and last pictures are sweet shots that we got outside this afternoon...Colin went through several clothing changes after all the meals...he has been eating almost as much as me! We took hundreds of pictures, so I will probably be posting more later. I want to remember this Christmas vividly because it was so beautiful. There were so many moments over the last few days that made me step back and think about the gifts I have been given in my life. We are a blessed family to be sure. Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Who Needs Christmas Presents?!

Reason Number 468 for not allowing your toddler son access to the bathroom. ;-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008


We headed over to Southlake Town Center tonight to take in the Christmas lights after dinner. It was in the 20's before the wind chill and as you can imagine, we were COLD. We only lasted outside for a few minutes and got a couple of cute pictures. Colin seemed to be exhilarated by the cold for a little bit and the lights were spectacular. I hope we get a chance to go back another night next week when it is warmer. They have carriage rides that I know Colin would get a huge kick out of, but it was just too cold tonight. It has certainly been an action packed and very fun weekend!

Colin's New Man Chair

Jer and I decided to give Colin one of his Christmas presents early today...he is the proud owner of his own toddler recliner! It was way too much to lug to Tyler for Christmas morning, so we thought he could enjoy it for the next couple of days before Santa comes. I have video that I also need to post...he absolutely adores it! I caught the picture below about half an hour after he got the chair...he had cozied up to watch his cartoons. I can't believe what a hit this was...apparently he really wanted his own chair! :-)

We just got back from lunch at Rosa's and a trip to Toys R Us for Jackson's present. I am also pretty sure that Santa is going to bring "Elmo Live" to Colin this year. ;-) That ought to be some fun video footage. I can't believe Christmas is just around the corner...I am getting really excited!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Breakfast and Fun!

We went to breakfast this morning with Jer's parents at one of my favorite places...a dive of a cafe in Denton that serves the best breakfast food! I had a blueberry pancake that was the size of a long oval dinner plate that was chock full of fresh berries. Colin had some potatoes, eggs, texas cinnamon toast (which he adored) and some of my pancake. It was a big hit for everyone involved. I love breakfast food, so this brought me a lot of joy in particular. :-) We went back to their house afterwards and opened our presents from them early, since we are going to my parents house for Christmas. It was a great morning....Colin discovered the stairs and spent a good deal of time going up and down them. He even started trying to walk up without using his hands and he got pretty good at it! We were all very impressed at what a big boy he was. It really seems like he conquers something new every day.

Also, I finally found slippers last week for Colin...they are bear slippers from Gap and he picked them out himself. They had a bin of bear, race car, and dinosaur shoes and he clearly leaned into the bear bin to grab them. They are soft with a sturdy rubber non-skid sole, so they are perfect and they fit (although they are a little big at the moment). Before dinner, Jer changed his diaper and slipped on the shoes without his pants. I thought he looked so adorable that I made him stand for a picture, and got the shot below. He was furious with me for stopping dinner to take this shot, but it turned out too cute for words. Jer pointed out that this will make a great picture to show his girlfriend one day. hehe!!! :-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

17 Months Old...A Little Update

Today was a good day...I finally got to see Dr. Smith and I am so glad to be on the road to recovery. My back is sore from the physical therapy, but I am feeling better! It was 75 degrees this afternoon, so I took the opportunity to take Colin to the park and he enjoyed getting to run around outside after a pretty cold week. This weekend is going to be very busy since we leave for my parents house on Tuesday. I have to get everything for Christmas done and I am still behind. I can't believe Christmas is less than a week away...this season seemed to go faster than ever!!

Colin will be 17 months old tomorrow and he is growing up so fast. This week he blew me away with his latest development. He took an extra long nap on Monday and when he woke up, I asked him (like I always do), "Did you have a good nap?". This time he looked at me and said, "I did!". I could not believe it. I said, "YOU DID??" and he said it again..."I Did!". I thought it must be a fluke, but he has been saying it all week!! Today when I got home from the doctor, I asked if he had fun with his Aunt Alie. He grinned from ear to ear and announced, "I DID!". It just kills me....I have not taught him that phrase at all and he just came out with it on his own.

He is turning into the most thoughtful and sweet little boy. When I give him his juice, he then lines up his stuffed animals and gives them "drinks". He started this just a couple of weeks ago and I actually teared up the first time I saw him doing it. He was so gentle and sweet offering his juice to each little animal. I can't express how adorable it is. He is all boy...he loves to climb and jump and get into everything and he has a lovable little personality that is all smiles. He still eats absolutely anything I give him...some days he eats lighter than others, but he always tries everything I put on his tray. His absolute favorite food is still guacamole. This cannot be understated...he adores it. Tonight we had dinner at our little Mexican place and he ate an entire large guacamole on flour tortillas. That's my boy!! :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Aching Back

Well, my back problem is rearing it's ugly head at the moment and I am none too pleased. Yesterday morning, I noticed the exact same strange pain in the dead center of my back. This was the same pain that I felt about 24 hours before ending up in the damn ambulance, so needless to say, I flipped out. There is no way that I am going through that again. I called the back guy that helped me last winter and called in my sister to drive out here and babysit. I showed up at the appointment only to find out that 1) the stupid receptionist is still incredibly rude and a gigantic idiot and 2) I had to get a new referral from our family doctor to make sure my insurance would cover it. That seemed odd since we have PPO on purpose to avoid referral messes, but I digress. I had to LEAVE and make an appointment for today with Dr. Green. Jer stayed home from work to make sure that I did not pick Colin up and have to call 911 again and allow me a chance to go to the doctor. It took literally all doctor was running over an hour and a half late and then it took CVS almost an hour to fill the scripts. Luckily the visit paid off...I now have pain pills and and a series of steroids that should keep me from locking up before I can visit the back doctor again on Friday. I have not been doing any of the exercises that I am supposed to be doing for my back...I know that Dr. Smith will have something to say about that when I see him. I hope he can work his miracle again because lord knows I don't want to deal with this over Christmas!!! I have stuff to do!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Festive Weekend!

This has been a busy, tiring and good weekend. Today was the highlight...we took a trip over to Bass Pro Shop in Grapevine to see their Santa Land area and Colin had a blast watching the trains and race cars. He is such a boy! Once he was out of the stroller, he went running toward all the awesome fishing and camping equipment. I really have a feeling that once this boy gets a little older, I will have to take up outdoor activities or never see him again. :-) After Bass Pro, we went over to Grapevine Lake and let Colin play at the edge of the water. He was in heaven picking up rocks and throwing them into the water. He would have played there all day if he could have. We got some really cute pictures, which always makes me happy. It was a little nerve racking since we had to keep hawk eyes for glass and things that Colin should not pick up, but we managed to find a clean area to play in for a bit. It was a beautiful day here and in the 80's! Tomorrow the high is only 40, so I am glad we took advantage of the random "summer" weather for a family outing.

On Friday night, we attended Jer's work Christmas party at The Gaylord Texan. It was my first year to attend as a "spouse only" rather than employee. It ended up being a lot of fun...we got all dressed up and my sister Alieson came over to stay with Colin. We got home slightly after midnight, which felt SO LATE to me. It was our first date night since our anniversary in early July, so it was really nice to get out. The Gaylord was just as amazing as it is every Christmas and it was great to see all of my old friends from work. It felt like a homecoming for me, except I got to just enjoy the party and not show up for work on Monday. hehe! I also drank entirely too much wine and then ended up taking a tequila shot thanks to my lovely friend Tom. That was not the best idea...while I had a great time being warm and tipsy for the first time in ages, I felt miserable on Saturday. I am really getting old. :-)

Here are some of the pictures from today...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Santa

Well, Colin hated his visit with Santa. The poor little guy was scared out of his mind. He was in good spirits and watched all the kids go ahead of him with no problems. He even closely watched the little girls that were directly in front of us and was still all smiles. They were really rushing everyone through, and I think if he could have looked him over for a second first, it might have gone at least a little better. However, it was a complete disaster. As soon as I sat Colin down, he started to cry. This shot was that first went downhill from there! I was shocked...I really thought he would go for it, since he is pretty laid back with new people and things. Oh still makes a cute memory! Maybe he will like him more next year. :-)

Happy Wednesday!

As you can see from his grin, Colin loves nothing more than using our couch for a jungle gym. He is having a very good morning of climbing. We had a bitter cold front roll through, so I think we are going to venture out to the mall playland today to get some exercise and get out of the house. The cold front has also reminded me that I still don't have non-skid slippers for Colin. It is my mission to find some this week. I did find a couple of options online, but with Colin's odd shoe size, I am hesitant to buy any that I have not actually tried on. I keep thinking that I will find some, but I am close to giving up and buying the ones I found online. All the cute slippers at Wal-Mart and Target so far don't fit. He has very wide feet, which are so hard to buy cheap stuff for.

Some random Colin tidbits: We have a new nightly ritual here...every night after Colin's bath, he gets up on the couch between me and Jer and we all watch "Toot and Puddle". It is a new show on Disney that we all adore. Toot and Puddle are little pigs and they live in Pocket Hollow. They travel all over the world and we think it is a great show for Colin to watch. They are such sweet characters and each show teaches all kinds of things about the world. Anyway, I record it during the day and we all watch it as a family before Colin goes to bed. He is really sleepy and mellow at this point and snuggles right in between us with his head resting back on Jer. Enzo always lays on top of the couch between us and Ferris Mewler even joined us last night. This is easily my favorite moment of the day and I find myself looking forward to it as the afternoon wears on.

Colin seems to be transitioning slowly out of the extreme separation anxiety. He has moments where he won't let me cook dinner or other assorted things that take my attention, but it is getting a lot better. He is back to mostly solo play and does not seem to look for me nearly as often. Right now, for example, he is playing with Ferris Mewler in the extra bedroom with no regard to me being on the computer. There was a long stretch where that was unacceptable. :-)

Since we took the ornaments off the tree, Colin could care less about it. There are decorations on the very top, which looks ridiculous. Jer wanted to take the rest off, but I insisted we leave them on. The silliness makes a funny memory and I like seeing at least a couple of my beautiful ornaments.

We inherited a toddler table and four chairs from my parents last weekend. It used to be Jackson's, but he has grown out of using it. I had been looking for a set, but had not found one that fit my price range. This one is GREAT and Colin absolutely adores it. I was not sure what he would think, but it is without a doubt his new favorite thing. It is in the kitchen and he goes around sitting at each chair all the time. He puts Teddy in each chair, too. He gets his snacks on the table now and sits there like a little man eating, which is too sweet. He also stands on the chairs and tries to jump off, which is giving me heart palpitations.

We got Colin a toddler size recliner for Christmas, which is hiding in Jer's closet. It is so silly cute and I think he is going to love it, judging from his reaction to the table and chairs. It is all I can do not to give it to him now. :-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Wedding Weekend

Well, I only took two pictures with my camera during the entire wedding weekend. We were all so busy and I kept forgetting it! We took the above picture at my parents house after the wedding. We had to come home to get Colin to bed, hence the pj's and Jer missing his tie. Jer was such a trooper all weekend...he was Mr. Mom all the way. I was so busy with being the matron of honor and Jer had baby duty. He stayed home with the little man while we went over to the dinner afterwards. I really missed him, but it did feel good knowing that Colin was well taken care of during all the action. I had in my mind that Colin would have been able to stay awake long enough to at least have dinner with us at the reception and then Jer could have taken him home. That ended up not working...Colin was totally worn out from all the activity by the time we finished the wedding. Colin and Jer watched the wedding mostly from the church lobby and luckily Jer kept him busy and quiet during the ceremony. The rehearsal was the most fun for Colin...everyone was paying him plenty of attention (his favorite thing!) and he got to run wild around the entire church. I will remember him running up and down the pews at his Aunt Meredith's wedding forever. :-)

The wedding was absolutely stunning and Meredith wore my mother's wedding dress. My parents just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary two weeks ago and it was breathtaking to see Meredith in that dress. She looked EXACTLY like my mother...the mirror image of the wedding pictures that I have stared at my entire life. The church was decorated beautifully for Christmas and we had a backdrop of poinsettias and a cathedral ceiling sized Christmas tree decorated in all ivory and gold, which were the exact colors of the wedding. It was awesome. I could not imagine a more perfect weekend for our family!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wedding Recap

We just got home from Meredith's wedding...this has been a very special day for our family. There will be so many pictures and stories to tell about tonight, but I had to at least check in on the official day before I went to bed. I gained an amazing brother-in-law today and all feels right with the world at the moment. It was a sweet small affair, full of only very close friends and family...even the photographer is one of our BEST family friends, Melissa. It just felt right being surrounded by such love tonight. Jer had Colin duty tonight, so he kind of watched the wedding from afar while taking care of the little man during the ceremony. Despite the logistical issues with little ones, it turned out amazing and I can't wait to share some pics. I am just happy that our family grew today by a very good man. I love you, Cory! Welcome to the family!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cold Morning

It was 25 degrees here when we woke up this morning and luckily we had watched the weather and Colin slept in his warmest pj's. I caught this picture as he watched Enzo doing his morning business. Colin does this every morning...Enzo always gets up about 20 minutes after the rest of us and Colin always rushes to the window to keep an eye on him. It is one of those trivial daily routines that I am so used to that I forget to mention it. I love it when he stands at that used to be on his tip toes, but now he is tall enough to just look right out.

We have had a pretty low key week so far. Colin got his first big boy haircut yesterday at Sport Clips. He loves to go to the kiddie place, but they charge $22 for his cut and I am trying to save money. Sport Clips was $13, which was much more reasonable. However, I had to hold Colin in my lap and he did not have near as much fun. I guess that is the price we pay. He would not let her use the clippers around his neck, but he was just fine during the haircut, which was a blessing. There was a man sitting at the chair beside us and Colin got a huge kick out of watching his haircut, which kept him happy during his own. My sister is getting married on Saturday, so I will be running last minute errands today and heading over there tomorrow with the family. We are all very excited for the big day!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Wiggles Play Center!

We took Colin to The Wiggles Play Center in Frisco yesterday for the first time! I discovered it a long time ago and knew Colin would love it since he absolutely adores The Wiggles. It is almost an hour from our house, so we had yet to make the trip. We packed up yesterday and headed over and Colin had the best time. It is much smaller than Going Bonkers, but that was actually much better for his age. This place was very bright, full of Wiggles movies playing on screens, and had the best slides ever. Colin was a little overwhelmed at first, so we spent the first few minutes in the little toddler room for kids under 18 months. It was separate from the play land area, so that helped Colin check things out in a quieter environment first. Once he ventured out to the big area, he was in heaven. He LOVED IT! He spent over an hour going through all the mazes, climbing through tubes and going down slides. It was awesome. It was also a LOT quieter than Going Bonkers, so I did not feel like I wanted to pull my eyes out of their sockets, which was really nice. :-) I wish there was an indoor place like this closer to would be so amazing to spend time there during the winter months. It was a great time! Shannon....Carson will love it! Oh, and Dana...I am pretty sure it was right around the corner from you. I did not even think about it till we were on the way home...we should meet Gabby there sometime, too!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The New Use For Ornaments

Colin and what is left of the tree. :-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Christmas Tree That Never Was....

I can say without a doubt that my mothers instinct is pretty much dead on accurate. I hope that you are all enjoying the pictures of the Christmas tree, because it looked like that for one hour. And that was the one hour Colin was asleep. ;-) I finished putting up the decorations during Colin's nap yesterday and let me tell you, it was a huge disaster when he got up. I purchased tons of plastic ornaments from Garden Ridge in preparation for Colin pulling the tree down, and at least that was a good idea since they are all over the house now. I wish I had captured the look on his face when he saw that tree. It hit me immediately that I was expecting way too much out of a 16 month old baby. The tree was a giant shining glittering shimmering beacon of heaven to his little self. I thought he was going to pass out from the joy of a giant glowing tree of toys hanging from it. Except that they were not toys. And he was not supposed to touch it. Yeah. Brilliant idea, Mama. He went after every ornament, bow, light, tree skirt, cord...everything. I spent a long time alternating between yelling, silently removing him (while he screamed), getting on eye level and telling him no, grabbing his hands and saying no, crying and saying no, and finally banging my head against the wall while saying no. It was a lovely afternoon. I realized that I was being unfair to Colin and really setting him up to fail by placing the worlds largest teaser in front of him. I surely could not spend the next month in a war with Colin over the tree and it would stress me out beyond measure to watch that tree like a hawk. I want this to be a joyous time for him, not a time for me to yell at him constantly. He does not understand the tree yet and really does not understand why he can play with his normal ball pit, but not the balls hanging on the tree. Therefore, the tree no longer has ornaments on it, except for the very very top. I took everything off today that was in arms reach, and with a tall toddler on tip toes, that was pretty high up. It looks utterly ridiculous, which in itself will be a funny holiday memory. The tree is pre-lit and Colin seems to have no interest in the bare tree with no goodies on it, so it stays like it is. At least there is a tree up. A tree with one quarter decorated. Peace has been restored in the house and I am happy. I think if we had a larger house where the tree was not literally in the middle of where Colin has to walk, I might have been able to pull it off. Maybe. For those of you who gave birth to toddlers who actually could walk past a shimmering tree of joy and not touch it, just shut up. ;-)

Here is the looks much prettier in real life. Colin would reach the stockings, so none of those this year. I plan to string up all the Christmas cards we receive along the bottom of the mantle as well. I saw the idea in one of my magazines and it should look cute and be a fun way to display them. I love getting Christmas cards and never have a good way to showcase them, so I think this will be fun.

This used to be a nice view of the decorated tree. If you click on the picture, you can get a nice view of my plastic ornaments. Now imagine it with the star on top and two ornaments. ;-) Forgive the messy kitchen and gigantic pile of toys. We have one of those tall skinny trees that I bought back when we were cool and lived in downtown Dallas. It worked well for our modern apartment in the city and still works for our small living area, at least size-wise. I am ready to go back to the classic shape tree, not to mention the fact that I collect special ornaments and I am running out of room on this one. I think I may buy the new tree next year. I will keep this one should look nice in the entry of the huge house that I should own by 2040. hehe!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! It has been a VERY busy couple of days around here which finally ended in extreme eating this afternoon. We had a great day and it was wonderful to be surrounded by our loved ones. I am so thankful to have such an amazing husband and beautiful little boy to call my own and I find myself incredibly grateful for all that I have been given.

We celebrated the big day at Jer's parents house, which is simply the perfect place to have any party! My parents and sister Alieson came in town to celebrate with us, which was a special treat. It is rare to get to celebrate holidays with two sides of our family at one time and it was so nice. My other sister Meredith and her fiance Cory are getting married next weekend, so they skipped out this year to stay home and work on the wedding. We missed them a lot, but we will all be together next weekend, so that made it better. I spent all day yesterday cooking and running wedding errands since Jer was home to watch Colin. In what I am sure will be the most re-told story of the year, I had to make FOUR chocolate pies due to the fact that I ruined the first two. Our family chocolate pie is a much loved tradition and this was my first year to make it instead of my mom. I practiced it earlier this year and was ready to go. I was making two pies and I got completely finished, including made from scratch crust (which had to chill first and then bake beforehand) and filling. Both pies were made and stunning when I went to whip up the egg whites into meringue. I spooned the sugar and vanilla into the egg whites, whipped them up, poured them into the pies and THEN tasted my fingertip....I had not been paying attention and used SALT instead of sugar in the meringue. I kid you not. I poured a salt lick over my precious pies. It was a sloppy salty mess and I knew the egg whites were taking too long to set up, but I was not paying attention and just poured it on the pies. It would not come off and both pies were ruined! I had a complete and total meltdown...I was beside myself! Jer tried to remind me that we would look back at that moment and laugh during holidays down the road and he is right...but there was no consoling me at the time! UGH!! I ended up making them all over again because I could NOT handle missing chocolate pie on Thanksgiving, not to mention that I would never have lived the story down if I had not produced a pie. :-) I made them all over again and they were great, thank goodness. What a mess! After that fiasco, my family arrived at my house and we all settled in for chili and cornbread that I made earlier in the day. We had a great time hanging out and chatting and Colin had a blast running around and showing off for his family. He had a whole room full of family to laugh at him, which he found highly entertaining!

Today dawned very early and my mom, sister and I started cooking. We made tons of stuff to take to Thanksgiving. I made my sweet potatoes with pecan strudel topping and brown butter mashed potatoes to take with my pies. My mom made her dressing, seven layer salad, corn souffle, ham sauce, and more stuff that I can't think of at this late hour. It was a major feast! We took everything over to Jer's parents house by 11:00am and they had tons of appetizers and wine for us to start with. They made the turkey and ham and Jer's mom made from scratch pumpkin pie! It was awesome!! There was so much food there that I could pass out just thinking about it. Colin ate a ton of food...easily the most I have seen him eat at one time. He loved it all! We ate ourselves to death and then hung out on the patio relaxing while Colin took a nap. We caught some of the Cowboys game and then finally made it home at about 5:00. Colin had a light dinner and was asleep by 7:30. It was just a wonderful day all the way around and I am now ready for the official start of the Christmas season!! Here are some pictures from our day...this is me and my sister attempting a self-portrait. We are such dorks!

This is my daddy and Alieson at the dinner table.

Alieson cracking me up...I told her that this picture was going directly to the blog. :-)

Colin loving his huge feast!

The grandmothers cooking and harassing Colin. :-)

This is one of the out-takes from our family photo shoot in the backyard. I am saving the good ones for our Christmas cards, but this one is sweet. If Colin had been looking up, it would have been perfect for the card. I love my boys!

Mama and Colin lounging on the couch...getting ready to eat!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Colin's New Move

Colin has a brand new move that he unveiled today. I had the television off and was returning an email this morning. I heard the TV turn on in the living room and just shook my head to myself that he was poking the buttons on the TV when he knew better. I finished up the email and headed into the living room to check on Colin, when I saw the above picture. Colin had turned on the TV, went and got his juice and Teddy and climbed up on the couch to watch TV with Enzo. He was intently watching when I rounded the corner. I almost fell down from the adorableness. First of all, he has only managed to get on the couch unassisted once or twice before and that was this weekend. He has always needed a boost before. Second of all, this is the first time that he has done something so grown-up...turning on the TV and getting on the couch to watch! That is such a big boy thing to do!!! Third of all, Enzo actually stayed there to sit with him!! Enzo ALWAYS leaves when Colin comes close, so this was a big day! How cute are my boys?!?! :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Update

This has been a VERY busy weekend. We ran all sorts of errands, including a trip to Wal-Mart on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Remind me never to do that again. It was total insanity to say the least! We put up most of the Christmas decorations that I wanted to take care of early and Jer put the lights around the house today!!! He gets extra bonus points for that one. We moved the furniture in the living room back to where it was before it turned into a play land and I love it. I needed a change and sometimes moving things around does the trick for me. Jer was not exactly pleased to be lugging entertainment centers around the house, but he was a good sport. ;-) Jer even hung several pictures that I have had sitting around and moved the filing cabinet in the office. He is such a good husband!
This morning we took Colin out for our favorite Mexican breakfast and then we tried out a new park that is just around the corner. It is next to the public library and it turned out to be the best park we have been to! It was huge and had a whole toddler area where things were Colin's size. The whole place looked like a castle and he had an absolute blast. Of course, he ended up in the bigger kid area and seriously almost gave me a heart attack playing on that extended wobbly floor thing. He came out without injury, so all went well. He is too brave for me sometimes! I just knew he was going to topple off that thing!!
This is going to be a short work week for Jer, which is great. He will be off on Wednesday and my family is heading over that evening. I am very excited for Thanksgiving and the Christmas decorations are giving me that fun buzz of holiday excitement. Now if only I could stay out of Wal-Mart until January. Sheesh!!

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