Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Picture of 2010 and Assorted NYE Goodness!

First of all and most importantly...THE LAST PICTURE OF 2010! The quality is horrible, the cord for the wreath coming through the door is very classy and we all look insane, but last official picture it is! :-) I love this little family tradition and wonder how many years Colin will humor me with it. I can picture the one when he is 17 and trying to leave for a party...that one might be interesting!

Here are a couple of outtakes...Colin said this one could not be "official" because it is missing Enzo, but I actually like it better. Colin looks so cute, despite the microphone stand that I forgot to move. Jer is cracking me up in that hat. ;-)

Colin actually took this one and I love it! Not bad for a 3 year old! We had a wonderful party night together!
SO...Here we are again and I am in utter disbelief, as usual. New Years Eve. 2010 is officially over in a couple of hours and I am sitting in bed with Jer, watching Dick Clark Ryan Seacrest and the ball dropping in NYC. We celebrated as we have for the last few years with a big surf and turf meal. It was wonderful! We started the day with breakfast at I-Hop, which was probably the worst food that we have had in a long time. There is clearly a reason that we don't go there anymore! YIKES! We ran errands afterward and then I left Colin home with Jer so that I could make my annual Central Market run for the ingredients for the big meal. It was CRAZY crowded and I was forced to park several stores over and walk, which made me very glad that I went by myself! I picked up some stunning filet mignon and shrimp and a big bottle of some delicious champagne that I am currently drinking with a splash of Chambord. :-) The big dinner ended up being filet with goat cheese and a shallot red wine reduction, garlic roasted broccoli, mashed potatoes and a loaf of crusty ciabatta bread. We also had shrimp cocktail and some different cheeses and crackers for an appetizer. Colin was treated to his favorite meal of 2010...spaghetti! I find myself looking forward to our tradition happily, although it is much different than parties of years past. We spent the evening playing with Colin in his new playhouse until it was time for bed. Colin has a little stuffed animal named "Peanut" that he got when he was born. It is one of his special "lovies". He decided this evening that we had to refer to him as "Peanut's Dad" instead of Colin and he picked Peanut up from school, cooked for him, fed him, played with him, put him to bed and the whole nine yards. His playhouse was turned into his home with Peanut and I made a makeshift baby bed out of a box for Colin to use. He tucked Peanut in carefully and then took the bed with us to watch our show before bed. He then carried the bed quietly into his room and tucked it into his own bed while we read stories. It was the sweetest thing ever and the most wonderful and precious way to end 2010. I told Jer afterwards that I am so certain that Colin will do something with his life that involves taking care of others. I don't know if that is simply being a wonderful father or a career path, but I know in my heart that he will be one amazing caregiver for the rest of his life. And those are my final thoughts for 2010. Well, that and one other thing...a girl named "Ke$ha", whose song "Tik Toc" combines not only her inability to spell but her complete lack of talent and the use of beautiful poetry like "I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack", had the top selling song of 2010. Thank the lord it is time for a new year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Christmas Mega-Post 2010

I have a bad habit of getting so overwhelmed with what I want to say that I don't say anything at all! Christmas was so wonderful and magical and amazing that I don't even know how to properly begin a post about it. I must have started this and stopped 10 times trying to find the right words. I will give up trying to write the most eloquent post of all time and switch to just writing down all the wonderful things that made this year fantastic!

On Monday, the 20th, I took Colin to Bass Pro Shop in Grapevine to check out their big Christmas spread. They have the greatest Santa, as well as all kinds of Christmas fun set up including a carousel with reindeer for the horses! Colin was interested in absolutely none of the Christmas stuff because he spotted their giant display of ATV's and four-wheelers. We were there for a solid two hours while he pretended to drive each and every one. I need to move this boy to the country. ;-) Jer met us up there when he finished work and we all had a great time.

On Tuesday, we had a book exchange and playdate for the boys at our friend Heather's house. We had a GREAT time and it was a perfect way to begin the countdown to Christmas in a big way. The only drawback was that it was 85 degrees and sunny. That is a bit much even for Texas. It felt like we were celebrating Christmas in the middle of the summer. Colin had a great time despite getting hot and sweaty on the first day of winter. CRAZY!

On Wednesday, we hosted Jer's parents at our house for what has become an annual Christmas tradition. I have started to pick that one night a year to make something very decadent and special and I found myself really looking forward to it this year! Last year, I made a seafood gratin that was probably my favorite thing that I made all year, so I was really excited to search for something equally delicious. I ended up making a few appetizers and lobster corn chowder for the main course. I served it with a loaf of crusty bread and it was beyond yummy. I certainly don't have the opportunity to cook with lobster very often and I was thrilled that it turned out so good. Colin went with me to Central Market that afternoon to pick out all the wonderful ingredients and we had a great time. We spent the whole afternoon sampling all the amazing fruits and cheeses and enjoying the bustle of the holiday crowds. Once we arrived home, we spent the rest of the evening cooking and listening to Christmas music together. The night was perfect and Jer's parents treated Colin to a remote controlled car and his very own Leapfrog Reader, which he LOVES. It was such a fun night!!! Jer gave me my present that night, which is a Roku! I had never even heard of it before, but it is a little box that connects to your television and allows you to stream basically anything you want to your TV. I can now stream Netflix and absolutely anything under the sun to our television set. Colin has been watching Bob The Builder ever since. It also has hundreds and hundreds of channels and content to choose from, including "Chow", a cooking channel sent from heaven. I can also stream "Hulu Plus" and get caught up on Glee and any other show that I decide to start watching. It was the most perfect present EVER! After Colin went to bed, we packed up the car with presents and carefully covered the whole thing in preparation for our drive to Tyler the following day.

Thursday morning, we drove to Tyler for Christmas at my parents house. It was everything that Christmas should be, as usual. The house was filled to the brim with wrapped presents and decorations and we immediately settled in. My mom got Colin his very own twin AeroBed with Santa Claus sheets so that he could have his own little space in our room and he loved it. We took him to the park that afternoon, which just happens to be the same park that I grew up in. Southside Park is also just down the street from my high school and I must have snuck off campus with my friends for lunch there almost twice a week for two years. ;-) It was almost overwhelming to see my own son playing there. The weather was finally cold and overcast and the perfect backdrop for Christmas. Afterwards, we met my whole family at Ken's Pizza per my request. They have the greasiest and most wonderful pizza buffet along with my favorite ranch dressing ever to exist. I have been eating at Ken's Pizza since I was probably 3 years old, so it always makes me happy to drag everyone over there for dinner. My niece Pryce was rocking skinny jeans, which was possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life and made my whole week. :-) It was a great night!

Friday morning was finally CHRISTMAS EVE! My poor son had been asking me if it was Christmas since the last week of November, so to finally arrive at Christmas Eve was wonderful. The whole family hung out, watched my mom cook, ate everything under the sun, and had a blast. We ate lunch at Jucy's, our favorite local hamburger joint, and then headed home to get ready for the big day. My mom made ham and lots of assorted appetizers and dips for dinner and Colin helped me make chocolate chip cookies for Santa. That night was the most wonderful Christmas Eve of my adult life FOR SURE! Colin set out milk and cookies for Santa and reminded me that Santa wanted "white milk and chocolate chip cookies with no nuts". This year was the first time that Colin truly and completely "got it". He was so excited for Santa to come that he could barely contain himself. He talked about it all day and night and knew that he had to go to sleep for the big man to arrive. We tracked Santa on NORAD and watched all the news updates about his path. Colin even asked to go to bed, at which point I almost had a stroke. ;-) He believes right now and watching the magic through his eyes was overpowering. He also understands the true meaning of Christmas and talked about baby Jesus during the entire trip and sang "Happy Birthday" to him on several occasions. He was also obsessed with my mom's nativity scene and I caught him standing in front of it many times, just slightly moving the figures here and there as though he was making it just right. We stayed up late after Colin went to bed making sure that everything was perfect, assembling lots of things, finishing last minute wrapping and listening to Christmas music. Everything about Christmas Eve was magical.

CHRISTMAS!!!! FINALLY!!! Colin woke up at about 7:00am and crawled into bed with me and Jer. He laid in my arms for a few minutes before looking up at me and saying his first words of the day, "Mommy! When will I hear the hooves on the roof?!"...I never will forget that moment for as long as I live! It was so precious. I hugged him tight and told him that we slept through the reindeer on the roof and that Santa had probably already left something in the living room for him. Jer jumped up and turned on the lights and started the video camera while I took Colin to the bathroom. He ran into the living room and proceeded to have the very best Christmas EVER. Santa brought a drum set with small keyboard, a castle play set with knights and all the accessories, a Cabela's duck hunting truck that Colin had begged for, a giant push firetruck with storage inside, a utility vehicle with workers and real lights, a talking Woody from Toy Story, a giant stocking FULL of trinkets and lots of other stuff that I know I am forgetting. My mom got him a microphone and stand, and a truck load of "Melissa and Doug" cooking sets. He got a cupcake set, pizza set, cookie set, apple pie set, trucks and traffic sign set, ice cream set and magnetic "Joey" dress up doll that turns into a pirate, fire fighter, police man and other things. My sister joked that my mom found a store called "Stuff that Colin Loves". He stopped everything to begin "baking" things for us and has not stopped since. To say that he was overwhelmingly blessed this year is putting things mildly. He also got lots of awesome stuff from his aunts, including a car that has rotating weapons from Mert and Cory. He has been "attacking" people with it since we got home. ;-) Alieson gave him a firehouse set that actually turns into a backpack and this was what prompted one of the best moments of all time. As she was getting it out of the box for him, he ran up to her and said, "YaYa, I love you SO MUCH! You are the best YaYa in the whole WORLD!". She cried, I cried, my mom was great. :-) At least the little peanut is grateful! Colin spent the whole night following Jackson at his heels and basically worshipping the ground he walks on. They played "swords" together and attacked Uncle Cory. Even Pryce got in on the action! Being surrounded by wonderful family was just the best thing ever, as always.

It should also not go unmentioned that my parents really went all out for us this year and I am SO thankful! I felt like a kid again, too! My big present was a NOOK COLOR! Reading is my life and always has been and let me tell you, I LOVE THIS THING. It is everything that is good in the world to a book nerd such as myself. I literally want to take a vacation that allows me to sit in a room by myself for several days and just READ. I also got a new Kate Spade purse that is fabulous, a steam mop (you know you are old when this is exciting news) and a big fluffy red monogrammed robe. There was a ton of other stuff, too...including a stunning monogrammed family bible that I already have visions of Colin using during his wedding. :-) It was the best Christmas ever! (she says for the 34th year in a row)

Here are some of my favorite shots from the week of fun. I took about 9 million pictures, but this post was getting rather long and rambly (I think I made up that word and it works perfectly to describe me) and taking me 7 years to write, so I will only post a few, I swear. :-)

A shot of my fridge several days before Christmas...we actually got a lot more cards after this was taken! I LOVE my fridge at Christmas and adore getting cards from our wonderful friends and family!

Mommy and Colin at Bass Pro...what a handsome driver!
Who cares about reindeer carousels when you have four-wheelers to drive! ;-)

Colin and several of the kiddos eating lunch at the party at Heather's house. SO much fun, but way too warm for Christmas!
Finally, things get colder! This is Jer and Enzo at Southside Park in Tyler.

Having a great time playing at the park!
I love this one...Colin checking out the presents under the tree at Mimi and Duke's house!

My mother makes the MOST beautiful Christmas EVER!
I walked in and caught Colin helping Duke wash dishes during all the cooking on Christmas Eve. It was the most precious moment that I have ever seen!
Colin dancing with his cousins Pryce and Jackson on Christmas night!
Rocking my new robe with my sisters!

Me and Mert and Colin!
Posing with my precious niece, Pryce Lucille! I love her!!

Colin rocks the party with his new drum set!
Opening the pizza set...what a GREAT Christmas this boy had!

The spread from Santa Claus!

Mommy and Daddy on Christmas Eve...tired, but happy!

Making cookies for Santa!
If you read this whole post, go take a nap! :-) MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I am tired and happy! This crazy busy week has finally drawn to a close after we packed in about as much excitement as humanly possible. Thursday was Colin's last day at school before Christmas break and they had their big PJ party and book exchange. He was both excited and confused about wearing PJ's to school. We started talking about it a week beforehand so that he would be accustomed to the just can't surprise Colin with a major change like that. :-) He was back and forth over which ones to wear, but finally decided on Santa for school and Reindeer for his playdate on Friday. He was so cute as he seriously mulled this over on the days leading up to the party. The theme of the party at school was "Jesus' Birthday" and the kids also had a wrapped book exchange which Colin thought was super cool. After their special lunch and present opening, they all watched "The Polar Express" with popcorn and hot chocolate! What a wonderful day! We also brought Miss Gina and Miss Keli presents of Starbucks gift cards and mugs after getting great advice from all my teacher friends. Here is my little Santa's helper delivering his presents to his teachers.

Yesterday we finished up our giant week of fun with our official Christmas playdate with all our friends. Eren hosted at her house and we had the best time! She had a big spread of food, coffee, mimosas, and the whole nine yards. I spent about 5 hours making homemade cinnamon rolls the day before...mainly because I felt that I could not live without them and therefore used the party as a good excuse to make them. They turned out delish and I hope to make them a holiday tradition from now on because honestly, there is no way that I am making them more than once a year. ;-) The boys had not all been together in one place in forever, so the playdate was extra fun for them (and the moms!). I am always reminded of the little reasons that I am grateful for my friends and yesterday was no different. Eren's big activity for the kids was Christmas cookie decorating and I realized instantly that she was brilliant. She used a muffin tin for all the decorations! Now, that probably sounds like something insignificant, but I NEVER would have thought of that on my own. I have tried to have cookie decorating afternoons with Colin before, but it always ended up being a confusing mess. Eren's idea was genius! She filled each tin with a different handful of sprinkles, sugars or candy and it was perfect for the boys to access and kept them from dumping whole cans of sprinkles onto the floor cookies. She also separated the icing into plastic cups with plastic spoons and there was no mess at all! I swear that I get all my good ideas from my best friends! :-)

Sitting at Eren's table with a big group of handsome boys!

Colin was very proud of his creation!
The boys were in heaven! Icing! Candy! Sprinkles! JOY! I also noticed while I was going through the pictures from the party that the boys always sit in the same spots when they do stuff at playdates. I have this identical picture from the 4th of July and Halloween. They always sit in the same order on their own! ;-)

Keegan, Colin and Jack being super cute!
This is how I found Colin and Jack watching a movie. I guess it worked for them! :-)
Christmas is drawing near and I am both excited and a little sad...I don't want the season to be over! We have a book exchange to attend at Heather's house on Tuesday, we are hosting a special Christmas dinner for Jer's parents on Wednesday and then we are heading to my hometown on Thursday. Colin is so excited about Santa that he can barely see straight and I can't tell you how much I love it. This is the first year that he REALLY gets Santa and the whole concept makes his eyes sparkle with joy. I am just trying to soak it all up!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Colin's Christmas Show and The Northpark Trains!

When I gave birth, there was a moment when Colin's life flashed before my eyes. Or maybe it was the life I imagined he would have. Regardless, in the matter of a heartbeat, I saw thousands of moments...his first day of school, his first dance, giving a corsage to his prom date, graduations, watching his bride walk down the was as though a giant master list of precious moments downloaded itself into my brain and I began a lifetime worth of countdowns until all of these things happened. On Tuesday, one of those milestones occurred in real life and I knew as I was watching it that I would never forget it as long as I lived. Colin performed in his first school Christmas program. It was his first performance of any kind and the first time that I found myself sitting in a giant audience, clutching a program and reading it to find out when Colin would arrive on stage. It was the first time that I charged the video camera, put Jer in charge of still shots and perched nervously in my seat waiting for the lights to dim and the show to start. It was the first time that I felt my heart literally swell out of my chest with pride as I watched my son perform. It was the most magical moment and there are not enough words to explain how much I will cherish the memory.

I have never been so proud of my sweet boy. He was so brave, despite being nervous around big crowds. He was clearly in his element and I shouldn't have been surprised. It has seemed from the very beginning that Colin is more comfortable "performing" for people than anything else. His shyness seems to drop away when he does anything in his performance mode. He genuinely enjoyed himself during the whole show and he was on stage performing for about 15 minutes! It was amazing. I cried, of course, and spent the whole show marveling at how big and strong and beautiful and talented my baby is. It was truly one of the best moments of my life. He has come so far since he started school in September. It is hard to believe this is the same boy who wouldn't get out of the car to go in the building just a few short months ago. Here is one of the video peanut is in the brown and white stripes.

Here are some of the still shots...I have decided that there is nothing more adorable than a preschool Christmas program!
Colin knew all the dance moves! :-)

This is one of my favorite pictures ever...Colin looks so sweet and his little friend in the red was not exactly pleased. :-) I also ADORE Arthur, the little boy on the very end in the suit. Oh my gosh, he was SO CUTE! *more about Arthur at the end of the post*

Wednesday we woke up and got ready for another big day...a trip to Northpark Mall in Dallas to see the model trains. This is a big event every year and I had been dying to take Colin. We met our friend Kayrene and her sons Ryan and Jake. Colin loved it, since he loves all things train related. He was especially in love with the conductor hat they had for sale, so we picked one up for him. I will say that he is not the biggest fan of displays that he can't destroy are not interactive, so he was rather unimpressed that he couldn't touch any of the trains. After we finished up there, we headed out to eat lunch at the food court and saw a high school orchestra getting ready to play Christmas music in the atrium. Colin was so excited! He is very serious about music and instruments and immediately asked to go down and watch them up close. We were on the 2nd level at the time and we told him he would probably have a better view from above, but he was not having it. He wanted to be right there in front of them. Kayrene stayed up on level 2 with her stroller and baby Jake and I took Colin and Ryan downstairs to watch the music. It was wonderful and Colin was absolutely mesmerized. It was blowing my mind...he was utterly still and just staring with his eyes like saucers. After each song he would burst into applause! He even pointed out to me at one point that the trumpets were playing and he loved those the most. I didn't even know he knew what trumpets were! I had a great time watching him and immediately began wondering what instrument he might play when he gets bigger. We had a great afternoon all the way around!

Here is Colin at the train gift shop...this was his kind of store! ALL TRAINS! It should also be noted that I got in trouble for letting Colin sit on that blue train. Now, the signs did clearly say "Do Not Ride", but I wanted a picture and so I fudged the rules a bit. An older man who clearly ran the place came up and told Colin to get out and then told me that I needed to do my job and keep him off the train and "make him mind". YIKES!!! I am not easily angered or confrontational in the least bit, but I came close to beating him up. I stopped myself when I realized that a) I had my child watching me and b) I technically did totally ignore his sign and let Colin climb on it. ;-) He was still a huge jerk about it, so I contented myself with imagining myself beating him up. LOL!

Here is a shot of Ryan and Colin watching the orchestra play. SO SWEET!

Finally, we have Colin back home and playing with his Thomas while rocking his awesome new conductor hat. We have been having the absolute best build up to Christmas!
*on Arthur...he is a new little boy who just joined Colin's class about a month ago. He has been VERY upset about being dropped off at school. Miss Gina pulled me aside last week to tell me that Colin took him aside that morning and put his arm around him. She snuck up to listen and she said that Colin said, "Arthur, it's okay. I used to cry a lot, too. I will be your friend. Let's go look at all the books!". Miss Gina even got teary telling me about it. She said that Colin went and got his best friend Keaton and took him over to play with Arthur, too. I just love how sweet and caring he is and I am so proud that God choose me to be the mother of such a special soul. I LOVE HIM!

Monday, December 13, 2010


I think I may have just finished the busiest holiday weekend of all time. It was festive and wonderful and I am happy to report that I am more than making up for my solid month of illness. I feel great (knock on wood) and we are having a blast!

Let's start with something that just screams Christmas. Enchiladas. Okay, maybe it whispers Feliz Navidad, but still. I made these glorious things last week:

They were AH-MAZING. Seriously. Jer said they were as good or better than any that we have ever gotten in a restaurant. As is typical with Mexican food, they were a bit tedious and time consuming to make, but also super easy and soooo worth it. Not to mention that we had leftovers for days and they even got better as time went on! You really must make these. They will make you MERRY.

Now, let's talk Santa. Jer took Colin to "Breakfast with Santa" last weekend while I was recovering from the plague strep throat. Jer's mom is a member of a group of ladies who put on the breakfast out at the clubhouse of their country club. I wondered how Colin would react to meeting the big man and the story did not disappoint! Colin waited in line for 40 MINUTES to talk to Santa. He was serious about this. Jer was blown away because waiting in line for anything is not exactly Colin's strong suit. For Santa, he made an exception. Also of note...Jer's mom was Santa's elf. She looked SO cute and all of 12 years old. Seriously. Anyway, when it was Colin's turn, it will come as no surprise that he was NOT okay with sitting in his lap. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with that. He stood in front of Santa and told him very seriously what he wanted. He only asked for 2 things (despite telling me 2,345 things he wants) and they were a remote controlled car and his own house. His own house. What the what?!? He had not mentioned this to me once. We quizzed him when they got home and it turns out that he was referring to a giant playhouse that he saw in a Little Tikes catalog that came in the mail. It was so important that he saved it to tell Santa and Santa alone. This resulted in what I am sure will not be the last panicked rush to figure out how to accomplish this goal for "Santa". I am fully aware that Colin will not always get what he asks Santa for, but this is the first year that he actually understands and really and truly took a request to Santa Claus. I just couldn't crush the dream on the first shot. :-) Luckily, Santa managed to find an AWESOME Step 2 Adobe Playhouse on craigslist. A family about 15 minutes from us was selling their originally very expensive house. This thing is even has a PORCH! They had kept it indoors in their loft playroom!! As Jer put it, it looks like they took it out of the box and then posted it on craigslist. This thing is brand spanking new. We would never have been able to afford it new and the fact that we got it still blows my mind. Colin is going to DIE! I cannot wait for him to see it!!

Here is the "official" shot with Santa. Mom Mom made one heck of an elf! :-)
Colin telling Santa what he wants for Christmas...from afar. And as a side note, I LOVE THAT SANTA!

Colin watching the trains with all the other boys and girls. This picture just makes my heart melt. There is nothing better than seeing this season through the eyes of those precious kids!
Onward to more festive fun! On this past Friday night, we went to Jer's company Christmas party at the Embassy Suites Outdoor World in Grapevine. This company also happens to be my old company before I left to stay home with Colin, so it is always a fun night getting to reconnect with my old crew. We got all dressed up and my mom spent the night here to watch Colin. The food was great and so was the company! Jer looked so handsome in his suit and it felt very decadent to be out on an official date with my man! The only drawback was that Jer had to work a very long day on Saturday, so we didn't get to stay out very late. But who am I kidding...we don't exactly stay out late anymore. :-)

Mom and Dad looking sharp!
Posing with Ellen, Chris and Michael at the party. It was so great to see so many old friends...I wish I had taken more pictures!

The next night was the annual "Turner Family Cheesy Christmas Party". Jer had to miss the fun because of work, but I went and had the best time. We have the funniest and best friends in the whole world. Everyone was told to wear the cheesiest thing they could find and bring a white elephant gift. I laughed so hard that I came close to losing my voice again! I was honestly hoarse all day Sunday. The presents were absolutely out of control. I came home with a classy pair of Dr. Dre and Tupac glasses. And it should also be noted that I got those on the last possible steal after being snatched up twice before. I love a crowd of people who will fight over glasses featuring 90's rappers.
My girls looking EXTRA HOT. I am probably going to wear that headband for the rest of the month. Eren is on the far left and was the hostess with the mostess for sure. This party was a blast!
There was a lot more room on that couch before the pregnant girls squished me out. ;-) I also find it annoying that neither one of them took the rules seriously. They look nice and normal. I, however, am rocking a Wal-Mart Christmas scene sweater, gold jingle bell earrings and necklace and a super cool headband. Whatever.

Finally, we come to yesterday afternoon. My friend Wendy, who I frankly want to be when I grow up, invited a group of girls to attend high tea at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Dallas. The runner-up from Top Chef "Just Desserts", Chef Morgan Wilson, put on a special Christmas tea with his original cupcakes. It was INSANE. As I arrived and the liveried footmen opened the grand double doors for me, I knew that I was where I was meant to be. ;-) The hotel outfitted in all it's Christmas finery was almost more than I could handle. We were presented with a box of teas that we had to smell and decide which two we would have. FOR REAL.

We chose the orange jasmine and the chocolate truffle. They were soooo good. I had no idea how much I loved tea. Or love fancy pants Ritz tea. Or the idea of someone pouring me tea out of ornate tea pots. Or getting to live out every tea party fantasy I have ever had since birth. Sigh. We were served tea, champagne, and the best cupcakes that I have ever tasted. EVER. I mean, how good can a cupcake be, right? I have had "specialty" cupcakes before. I have been to Ganache in Tyler. I know a good cupcake. NO, I DIDN'T. There is a reason why people are on Top Chef. It is because they are cooking gods, that's why. AMAZING, my friends. It felt awesome to be in such a beautiful place, wearing beautiful clothes, talking to beautiful women and eating beautiful food. It was the perfect battery recharge.

How is that for a fabulous spread?! For the record, the one with the orange frosting was caramel with orange infused icing. It was not too sweet, had some kind of caramel in the middle and the icing...oh, the icing. It was subtle and the orange flavor actually appeared after you swallowed it. Apparently that is what "infused" means. Good LORD.
The whole group posing in the lobby. Wendy is in the blue dress. She rules.

So there we have it, folks. A very long post full of Christmas goodness! Tomorrow is Colin's Christmas program at school, so prepare yourself for a post full of me losing my mind over that one. :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Long and Sick November...on to a WONDERFUL DECEMBER!

This is insanity. I cannot BELIEVE that I have not posted about THANKSGIVING. OR ANYTHING. IN 3 WEEKS. This is absolutely unacceptable, but in my defense, it has been a little on the crazy side around here. Seriously. You know that things are insane when I don't post about my all-time favorite holiday season!!

I have been sick. REALLY SICK. For seriously ALL of November. It all started again a little over a week before Thanksgiving. I came down with my second sinus infection in 2 weeks and immediately got laryngitis. If you know me at all, you know that is BAD. I cannot tolerate not being able to speak. It came on out of the blue as we were out at the Fort Worth Children's museum. All of a sudden, I couldn't yell out Colin's name. It was insane. I went to the doctor and started my 2nd round of antibiotics in a month. I was not happy about it, but did start to feel a tiny bit better right before Thanksgiving. Which brings me to:

THANKSGIVING! We spent this year at my parents house with my whole side of the family and we had a wonderful time. We all arrived the night before Thanksgiving and met for dinner at Bruno's, which is a hugely popular locally owned place. It was PACKED with people and took us about 9 years to eat. I think that every family in Tyler decided to eat there that night with all their families in tow. It felt good to be home and amazing to be at a giant table with all my family. The next day we woke up bright and early and started cooking. My mom cooked the turkey, her famous dressing and corn souffle and Meredith and I split up the rest of the sides, apps, and desserts. I spent the entire first half of the day cooking with my mom in our pj's while Colin and Jer watched the parades and played outside. In a major change this year, we decided to eat Thanksgiving dinner instead of lunch, which was PERFECT. We ate at 5pm and it gave us plenty of time to cook all day and not spend the entire day before prepping. It also gave us plenty of time to eat WAY TOO MANY appetizers and treats, but it was so worth it. :-) There was an INSANE amount of food. It was SO GOOD! I ate myself to death, which was glorious in so many ways. I made pecan pie for the first time and it was outstanding...thanks to an absolutely fantastic recipe from my girlfriend Pioneer Woman. My love for her knows no end. This pie was seriously unreal! We ate it into the night and drank wine and hung out and just spent time loving each other. It was awesome. Jer had to work on Saturday, so we had to cut the trip short and head home on Friday, which leads me to:

The weekend. I started to feel crappy again on Sunday. I didn't feel right and felt my throat starting to hurt again. This cannot be, I thought to myself. I put it out of my mind...nobody could seriously be sick again after 20, yes 20, days of antibiotics in a month. Monday morning we had a playdate with friends and I was not feeling super and then Monday night I started to feel really bad. Tuesday was horrible and Wednesday I finally went BACK to the doctor. I had actually spent the whole night before imagining that something was really wrong with me. I felt like I was dying and far sicker than I have felt in years. The doctor was very quick to notice that I had a major case of strep first time EVER. My doctor actually looked so sad when he verified the results with the swab test that I thought he was being a bit over turns out he was totally right to feel sorry for me. It was HORRIBLE. Strep throat can disappear for all eternity! I was knocked to the ground for no less than 4 in, can't get out of bed, can't do anything at all, sick. My throat felt like battery acid was constantly running down it on top of feeling flu-ish and throwing up. AWESOME. Colin even stayed home on Thursday from school because I simply couldn't get him there. UGH! I missed our city tree lighting (my favorite thing ever), lots of Christmas themed events with my best friends, and then missed breakfast with Santa with Colin. I was pretty melancholy. My favorite time of year BY FAR is Thanksgiving and Christmas and I feel like I have been off my game and not my normal self all season. Which bring us to:

I FEEL BETTER! The super antibiotics did their job and I finally started to perk up a bit on Sunday and by Tuesday, I was a new person. I ran around like a mad woman while Colin was at school on Tuesday and must do the same tomorrow. I have SO MUCH to do in a very short amount of time. We have Jer's work party on Friday night, a party at our friends house on Saturday night, a special tea and dessert party to attend with friends on Sunday afternoon, Tuesday is Colin's big Christmas Show at school and then Thursday is the class pj party that involves a book exchange. AND I have to buy presents for his teachers. And then a Christmas playdate on Friday morning. All this in a week. I really shouldn't have written all of that down. I get easily overwhelmed. Have I mentioned that before?

Anyway, this was a rather dramatic post, but you know I am all about flair. ;-) I feel sad that I haven't posted much from my favorite time of year. There is so much more to post about...but I felt I should start with the big being sick all the dang time!

*I also wanted to add that I attended a memorial service tonight for a co-worker and friend who passed away from lung cancer this week. It was a wonderful service and it served to remind me to tell all of those around me that I love them and am thankful for them. Tonight, I feel lucky to be alive. And blessed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Most Wonderful Sunday!

Today was a very VERY special day! Let me back track for a second...when I was pregnant with Colin, I joined a message board for women expecting in July 2007. It was on that board that I met Kimberly for the first time, long before she moved to Texas, and April...long before I hung out with her precious family over chicken fried steak. ;-) I have talked about that board several times on the blog, so this is not news to anyone. The 3rd person that I really connected with was Keisha. Keisha is brilliant, beautiful, eloquent, crafty and cooler than me...all of which I gathered from simply knowing her online and reading her blog. Her son Matthew...oh, heavens. He is simply the cutest child you have ever seen and he is a genius. Really. If memory serves me correctly, he was reciting his favorite nursery rhymes when he was 9 months old. Seriously. :-) Anyway, their family had a work trip to my neck of the woods and we finally managed to meet today! In real life! In one place! It was awesome. Matthew and Colin are so much alike personality wise and they hit it off, just like I knew they would. We met them at Founder's Plaza at the airport to watch the planes land and then went to lunch at El Fenix. Colin spent the whole lunch telling "jokes" and Matthew was hysterical. He was basically slapping his forehead and telling Colin that he was ridiculous. ;-) THEN, Matthew starts telling his own joke...and it starts out, "So this man walks into a psychiatrist's office and he's got a duck on his head...". It was absolutely the funniest, most amazing moment in the world. I mean, this boy is 3! Jer even said, "Did he just say that?" Oh, it was SO CUTE! Colin was very impressed. I wish we could have spent longer together!! Now I just have to get April and Keisha to move to Dallas. ;-) Here are some of my pictures from today:

The four of us, together in one shot! I still can't believe it!

Just the girls! I should add for the record that I was eyeing Keisha's super cute haircut all day and wishing it was mine. Except for the small fact that mine would look nothing like that if it was on my head.

Okay, this shot is classic to me. Please note Matthew and Colin behind him with the exact same expression of concentration on their faces. SO cute! They thought those paved squares in the grass were the coolest things ever. And both of them almost ran into traffic while jumping them. Boys!

This is when the boys were served surprise sopapillas after lunch. I think the waiter thought they were precious...the grown-ups sure didn't get any! :-) Matthew was a big fan of the sugar and Colin loved the honey.

The boys running at Founder's Plaza.
All in all, this has been a superb day. The only drawback to this weekend is Colin's mess of a cold. He has had one for over a month now (what the heck?!) and I finally took him to the doctor on Thursday because his cough just won't go away. The pedi gave him oral antibiotics, but it tastes horrible. Colin has sensory issues and something that tastes foul does not work for us...and I mean DOES NOT WORK. He needs the medicine twice a day and Jer and I have to double team him, hold him down on the floor together and pour it down his throat kicking and screaming bloody murder. Then he closes his throat and shoots it all back out of his mouth, even when I hold it shut like a lunatic. Needless to say, this is not working and he has not gotten any of the meds inside him. I am going to take him back and beg for a shot instead...poor kiddo. I can't wait for him to be able to take pills! Yikes! It should also be noted that we had the meds flavored and when that didn't work I have tried mixing them into all kinds of delicious things...nothing works. Colin can sniff that stuff out of anything! ;-)
So back to my wonderful day, it ended on an even better note! Colin woke up at 5am this morning (damn daylight savings) and so he was ready to drop at about 6pm after our busy day. He crawled up in my lap while I was at the computer and put his head on my shoulder. On a whim, I asked him if he remembered when I used to rock him every night. He asked me if we could still do it and of course I said YES! I moved all the stuffed animals out of his old glider and we started rocking. It was absolutely wonderful! He laid in my arms just like he used to...although we were a tight squeeze and his legs hung down way farther than they used to. :-) I started talking to him about our day and he promptly fell right asleep, just like he used to do every night. I spent an extra few minutes memorizing the way he felt in my arms before I carried him to his bed. Those are the moments that I will miss the most one day!! What a precious boy!!
Now if only he could sleep later tomorrow...
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