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!!
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