Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kick-Off to Christmas!

We are spending Christmas in Tyler this year, so the night before we left, we had a little party at our house with Jer's parents. It was a wonderful night and the PERFECT way to start the festivities! Mom Mom and Pop Pop gave Colin his present from them...a TRAIN TABLE AND TRAIN SET! Colin has been wanting one for ages and it was the most wonderful gift. They surprised him with it when they arrived at our house and he was so excited that we were completely unable to get him to eat dinner! He was beside himself over it and ordered us to play with him throughout the evening. We have it set up for the time being behind the dining table, which is probably where it will stay for awhile. Our need for a bigger house just keeps growing! ;-) I decided on a whim to cook something special for dinner and I am so glad that I did! I served a sweet and spicy brie (recipe and ingredients courtesy of my wonderful friend Kim), seafood gratin and baked apples for dessert, all of which turned out far better than I could have predicted! Seafood has been my final frontier when it comes to cooking. I have been a bit fearful of cooking it myself, especially since the good stuff is expensive and I don't want to mess it up! I threw caution to the wind after stumbling upon a mouth watering recipe and ended up in Central Market stocking up on halibut, scallops, shrimp and even saffron! I think it turned out to be my favorite thing that I have ever cooked, which reminds me that I need to continue to test myself when I feel daunted. It was so great! The baked apples were the perfect ending to such a rich dinner and afterwards we stayed around the dinner table chatting and drinking coffee while Colin laughed and played. It was a cozy and really lovely evening and I could not think of a better way to kick off Christmas! Here are some of the pictures:

Colin and his awesome new train table!

Laughing with Pop Pop

Mom Mom was being so silly...look at Colin laughing!

One happy little man!

Daddy and Colin playing with the trains. It took FOREVER to get Colin in bed that night!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...North Pole Express!

The weekend before Christmas has come and gone and I can't believe it. Saturday night we went to a party at our good friends house, The Roberts, and had such a wonderful time. It was the perfect evening of great friends, great food and Cowboys Football! I must say for posterity's sake that the Saints were undefeated...until now. ;-) As I sat around watching all the toddlers running around together and all of my amazing new friends, I was reminded how extremely blessed I am. This year brought very special new people into my life and I don't remember what I did without them! I feel like my heart has grown with all the happiness they bring into my life and I feel like they are one of the best blessings that I have received in 2009. We got home pretty late from the party (10pm is late now) and Colin crashed FAST. I was very happy that he made it home and into his bed...perfection!

Sunday was a very interesting day, to say the least. We had originally planned to ride The North Pole Express in Grapevine with several of our friends, but almost all of us waited too long to order tickets. Once sold out online, you must wait for the "first come first serve" tickets sold the day of the event at the station. We left Colin in his Christmas pj's and headed over to attempt the 11:00am train with no luck, sold out. We purchased tickets for the 6pm train and went to have brunch. We went back for the evening ride and very strategically did not mention that we were waiting to get on a train. Colin is nervous about getting on anything he considers a ride and we decided it would be best to just get on the train without freaking him out first. The whole experience was mixed...it had wonderful and not so wonderful parts. When we thought we were boarding the train, we were actually being ushered into a big tent where there was a 30 minute "show" before the train ride. Let me tell you, I was NOT happy. I read the entire website before we went to this event and nowhere did it say anything about a show; it only mentioned the train ride. How on earth they left this out is beyond me. Colin is extremely sensitive to loud noise and chaotic crowds and I would never have put him through that if I had known. The volume in that tent was insanely loud and the "show" consisted of a singing conductor and three teenage girls who wished they were Britney Spears singing songs in what can only be described as ear piercing soprano. Colin, who was in great spirits while in line, dissolved into tears while holding his ears. Lovely. Even the big kids around us were holding their ears, so you just knew that was too much for Colin. Jer and I were so disappointed, but we did everything we could to keep Colin together until the show was over so that we could get to the good part. The walk to the train was so cute; they had a ton of real Christmas trees lining the way and snow blowers overhead so it really felt like the North Pole. Colin loved that part and was so happy to be out of the tent from hell. :-) Once he saw the train and realized that we were boarding it, the meltdown started in full force. He was screaming crying, arching his back and yelling "Don't want to ride Mommy!!". It was one of the moments where you just have to laugh and realize it will make a funny memory down the road. It was too late to get off, so I had to hold Colin down and try my best to make it better. Sure enough, once the train started moving he calmed down and actually decided it was awesome. Thank GOD! Then comes the announcer talking over a very loud microphone and playing super loud music while making the crowd stomp their feet in the floor to the beat. Guess who that was too much for? Yep, Colin was again not pleased. I am really upset with myself over the whole thing...I don't know why I was picturing a quiet picturesque ride. In my head, it was a beautifully decorated train with soft music playing in the background while we all pointed out the window and drank hot chocolate. I should have known better...the volume of the whole event was that of a rock concert and pretty much the opposite of what Colin would enjoy. He was a trooper and seemed to like seeing the lights out the window, so that was nice. The best BEST part of the whole thing was when Santa came into our train car and started making his way down the row to greet all the kids. When I saw him, I started to pray that Colin would not pass out from fear. After everything that we had put Colin through that night, I thought this would be too much. I could not have been more wrong. When Santa turned to Colin, that little boy lit up like the 4th of July! His eyes turned into saucers and he grinned from ear to ear. He looked at Santa with all the wonder and awe that you see in the movies. It was priceless and the sweetest thing you have ever seen! So THAT made the whole fiasco worth every crazy moment. I will say that we will probably not attempt a train ride again for awhile though. Whew! ;-)

Here is my favorite picture of the season so far...Colin fell asleep on the couch with Enzo and I managed to get this wonderful shot. This is what joy is all about!

Colin and Mommy after the train ride...glad that we made it! :-)

Colin decides he likes the train...finally!

He was singing Jingle Bells here...very sweet!

Look, Daddy!

Colin LOVED the walk to the train with the trees and snow!

Colin doing his own performance while waiting in line.

Easily his favorite moment of the night...eating a corn dog. ;-)

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