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. :-)
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