Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Last Picture of 2011

The Last Picture of 2011

There are no words for how much I LOVE that a tradition started in 2008 is still going strong!  Tonight we celebrated New Years Eve with our usual Shaffer family celebration of delicious food and then I made the boys take our last picture.  Colin had SO much fun with it this year and I really don't know how we will ever top the above shot.  :-)  I have so many posts that are in production right now and I have certainly learned my lesson about procrastinating when it comes to the blog during Christmas.  There will be lots of December posts published over the next day or so, but I wanted to post our official last picture right on time.  I am beyond happy that we started doing this and I love the collection that I am gathering!  I am so blessed!  Here are the rest of the shots...Colin took some of his parents and we had LOTS of hysterical outtakes.  Colin was having so much fun that he wanted to set the timer and take shots all night...Jer finally gave up, which accounts for the lovely one of me and the peanut.  Have I mentioned how much I adore this boy?  :-)  Goodbye, 2011!   
Mom and Dad looking stunning!  ;-)
The first try and I LOVE Colin in this!  Too blurry to be "official"...
The attempt to get Enzo in the shot

Loves the camera...don't know where he gets that!  ;-)
I super love this one, too!  We had so much fun!
The Last Picture of Two Fruitcakes, 2011
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's Christmas, Ya'll!

FINALLY! CHRISTMAS! THE BIG DAY! HERE! Let me tell you, we had the most fantastic, blessed, amazing and wonderful Christmas possible! Colin woke up at about 6:30am and then went back to sleep when I got in bed with him! I still can't believe it! He woke up and called for me, but was clearly not totally awake and didn't realize what day it actually was yet. ;-) He fell right back to sleep when I got in bed and we slept until almost 8am!! WOW!! That was my Christmas present right there! When he woke up the second time, he jumped up and was beside himself to check out the spread.  He is such a special little boy.  Have I mentioned that lately?  Where most children (me included!) would run out and begin tearing into everything, Colin was very slow and thoughtful.  He carefully checked out all the wrapped presents and then would slowly decide which one he wanted to open.  He immediately asked us to save all the ribbons!  GOOD GRACIOUS!  I almost cried over that one, it was so cute.  My grandmother used to do that, so it was adorable and hilarious at the same time.  ;-)  He made sure that each and every bow was accounted for as he opened all the presents.  He loved the trampoline from Santa and was especially excited that Santa remembered his Cabela's truck and red vacuum.  He got two big Lego kits from us and literally jumped into our arms to say thank you when he saw them.  That just made my year.  Colin was so leisurely that it took quite awhile to open everything!  Once he finished, he and Jer immediately started putting things together while I got breakfast underway.  (We kept our pajamas on all day, I might add)  I used like 12 eggs to make our stuff and tried to put them all down the garbage disposal at once, which apparently is too many.  LOL!  Jer ended up under the sink to fix the back-up and it was so funny!  He is such a wonderful husband...first because he knows how to fix everything and second because he never gets upset and always takes me doing ridiculous things in stride!  I feel so lucky to have a husband that treats me so wonderfully!  He is a keeper, that one!  :-) 

Jer's parents came over soon after I got breakfast out of the oven and that was such a GIANT treat!  We have never gotten to see them on Christmas day (since we moved back to Texas) and I loved having everyone over, relaxing and eating and playing!  What a perfect morning!  I just can't say enough...we are so very blessed!!

Checking out the spread for the first time!
Look at that sweet boy showing off his loot!
The vacuum!  Yea!
Cabela's Truck! Thank goodness!
He was SO excited!

Glowy Christmas Morning...and an Easy Bake Oven!
Lucky Boy!

Making "Wuggle Pets" with Mom Mom!
Pop Pop carefully reading the Wuggle Pet Instructions!  ;-)
PERFECT Christmas Morning!
My AMAZING husband under the sink...with antlers.  I LOVE HIM.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Christmas Eve. I don't even know where to start. This year was totally different, which made for a lot of mixed emotions, the presiding one being that we had a fabulous time. My parents house is still under major renovation and there were no decorations hung there and nowhere for guests to sleep. There was just no way that we could have our usual Christmas there. Now, it should be noted that we decided last year that we would stay at our house for Christmas Eve this year. Getting "Santa" to my parents house in Tyler was a logistical nightmare last year and we knew that Colin was going to be old enough this year that we needed to stay home to preserve the secret of Santa Claus. That was hard to imagine because NOBODY and I repeat NOBODY does Christmas like my mom. It truly is important to create your own traditions as an adult with your own family, and going to my parents house during the season will remain an important one for the Shaffer household. We had planned to go there for either the days leading up to Christmas and come home on Christmas Eve or drive there on Christmas Day and spend the days after Christmas. But we didn't get much farther into planning because the renovations are far from done and it just wasn't an option. SO, we stayed here at our house for the duration of the holiday. It was actually surprising wonderful because there was no stress to travel and we got to really relax and enjoy the whole holiday. That part, I loved. I did, however, truly miss being surrounded by my big loud hysterical family. There is a moment when we are all together, with the cousins all playing and the adults all eating and the absolute joy of my parents house decked from the rafters with Christmas stuff when you just feel at peace. Colin missed Jackson and Pryce a LOT and asked about them so much. The only way I can describe my parents house at Christmas is "happy". It is just so happy and full of joy. That was GREATLY missed this year.

We decided to go over to Jer's parents (mom and step-dad) house on Christmas Eve in the afternoon and have our special meal and let Colin open his presents from them. That was AWESOME because we normally have our Christmas with them on the 22nd before we leave for Tyler. It was great fun to be here that week and then go over to hang out with Mom Mom and Pop Pop before the big Santa prep started. :-) We had a great time! Mom Mom made our now family favorite Christmas meal, Seafood Gratin. I LOVE THAT STUFF! Colin opened presents and played with his toys and we ate a TON of food. I brought meatballs and a salami and cheese tray with roasted grapes. I also made Pop Pop his very own pecan pie for a a present and also whipped up my mom's lemon cake to take. It is amazing that I can still wear my pants after all this awesome food! Colin loved his presents and was especially taken with his Lightning McQueen remote controlled car. He thinks it is the coolest thing ever and has been playing with it constantly ever since! Jer's dad and step-mom and sisters got Colin the Leapster LeapPad and let me tell you, those two presents have been in CONSTANT rotation. Grandparents always seem to win when it comes to gifts! With the amount of time that Colin is on that LeapPad, I am hoping it teaches him to read. And do math. But I digress. :-) After we stuffed ourselves silly and had as much fun as possible, we loaded back up to head home for the big night. Colin and I jumped right in to making cookies for Santa and reindeer food. Reindeer food is our newest tradition and one that we will absolutely be keeping. It was so simple and Colin had the most fun putting it out in the yard! He was taking it so seriously! Colin dictated a note for me to write to Santa and then informed me that he only likes chocolate milk. I made some that we left out with a few cookies and the note. I really should devote an entire post to our other new tradition this year, which is "Elf on the Shelf". We purchased the elf for Colin this year and it came in a beautiful boxed set with a book and instructions. Colin named him "Snowflake" and he would perch somewhere all day in our house before flying home to the North Pole every night to report back to Santa about Colin and how he did that day. He would then fly home before we woke up, but land in a new spot. Every morning for the whole month, Colin would BOLT out of bed and begin looking everywhere for Snowflake. It was so precious! You can't touch him or else he will lose his magic and Colin was so very careful not to go near him and only chat with him from afar. I loved absolutely every minute of it. Colin actually got teary on Christmas Eve because we knew that Snowflake would get picked up by Santa that night and would not return to us until next year. Colin asked to get his picture taken with him (his last perch was in the middle of the Christmas tree) and then sweetly told him goodbye, that he would miss him and that he loved him. Ever since that night, he has asked me randomly what I think Snowflake is doing at the North Pole and happily chatting about when he will come back. What a wonderful new tradition!! After we finished up with everything, Colin went to bed and Jer and I started to put everything together. I had wrapped everything in the days leading up to Christmas Eve, so all I had to do was make a million bows and Jer put together Colin's new trampoline. We listened to Christmas music and carefully laid out Santa. It was so peaceful and wonderful. It was just us together in our cozy house with our sweet little family surrounding us and I honestly loved every minute of that night. How lucky I am!

Christmas Eve!  Click on the picture to see it in it's glory!  :-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Lights at Texas Motor Speedway

Colin got to stand and look out the sunroof the whole time!

Jer was not happy that I disobeyed the rules and got out of the car...but I had to!
How can you pass up getting a picture of this?  :-)

The slurpie made the trip even more fun!
Colin loved this part the most!

This was my favorite part!  What a GREAT time we all had!   

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Annual PJ Playdate

So our playdates have been going strong for years now and the annual Christmas version is getting cuter, louder and bigger as time goes on. The babies are not babies anymore and now the overall din of a huge group of 4 year old boys and their not-so-little siblings is like a dull roar. But it is still wonderful. Eren hosted it again this year and added a book exchange to the fun. All the moms brought delicious treats and most of us even wore our own pajamas, which was awesome.  I continue to be extremely grateful for finding these women and their children at exactly the time in my life when I would need them most.  Sometimes the fact that Colin is an only child can hurt me a little bit more during this season because I remember the joy that my sisters and I shared together growing up.  But having all of these fun things to do with our best friends certainly lessens the pain because Colin and these kiddos have grown up together and are exceptionally close.  He gets to share these moments with his de facto brothers and sisters and it is so much fun to watch!  We have the most wonderful kids!
Trevor (I think...could be indentical twin Elliot!), Colin, Anders and Ryan picking out their books!
Look at all these cutie pies!
Lots of cute boys!  I love Colin's moose pajamas!
The kids that we actually managed to get in a picture together.  :-)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Merry Twosome

There is a lot that I want to remember about the Christmas season of 2011, but toward the top of the list has to be the dynamic between Enzo and Colin and how much it has changed and grown in such a short window of time.  Enzo is an Italian Greyhound, which is code for skiddish and not fond of children.  Colin is a child.  The combination was not exactly ideal.  Enzo has never been mean to Colin, but he did like to go the other direction when toddler Colin headed his direction.  That has been the way of things for a long while...Enzo kind of just stayed out of Colin's reach unless he was being offered food.  Clearly he has no problem accepting food.  But I digress.  ;-)

During the last two months, something dramatically changed.  I don't know exactly how it happened, but one day, things were different.  Enzo started getting cozy with Colin on the couch and then wanted to start getting into his bed during the bedtime routine.   I found myself posting lots of pictures on Facebook of Colin and Enzo together.  And it became very clear all of a sudden that Colin had become Enzo's "boy" and Enzo is Colin's best friend.  It is the ultimate childhood relationship, I think...a boy and his dog.  I am so glad that my two boys have each other! 


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Monday, December 19, 2011

Cheesy Christmas 2011

I have been waiting for months and it finally happened...the infamous annual "Turner Family Cheesy Christmas Party". It was, of course, hysterical. Bryan and Eren are seriously the funniest and most wonderful couple in the world. I would gladly watch any sitcom devoted to those two. ;-)  The premise is to wear the ugliest and most cheesy Christmas outfit ever and also impress the crowd with the funniest White Elephant gift.  This year, we took a bottle of Drakkar Noir and a set of plastic bracelets that said, "I LOVE BOYS" in neon.  I thought it was pretty classy, if I do say so myself.  I made jalapeno bacon poppers and some candy cookies and bought matching turtlenecks for me and Jer.  They were solid black with red stockings all over and they were absolutely hideous.  I LOVED IT.  While it is hard to pick a single favorite moment from this party, it would have to be walking in to find that Lindsey and Frank had made sweatshirts to wear using other peoples family pictures.  Lindsey choose us and Frank choose the Turners and I had tears literally rolling down my face when I saw them.  It was absolutely HYSTERICAL.  We look good on a sweatshirt, I tell you!  We have also started a new tradition lately that was passed down from Nate.  He has a signature move where he takes a "pass out picture" from everywhere they go and the more inappropriate the setting, the better.  Like you will be looking through random vacation pictures of their family and then BOOM, you see Nate laying on the floor pretending to be passed out in the middle of a hike or at the dinner table.  We get the biggest kick out of these photos and they usually make me laugh until my stomach hurts.  ;-)  Last summer, we start posing the famous pass out shot at some of our group parties or date nights and they are so funny that I can't stand it.  We even took one all dressed up during the fancy party at Bryan's parents!  (I know this is lame humor, but I am already aware that I am a DORK.)  Bryan posed our biggest shot yet during their party and I will probably be laughing at that one for a LONG time.  :-)  Cheers!   
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Cards!

This year, Pinterest has dominated my holiday decorating and I am SO glad! It is no secret how much I love Christmas cards.   LOVE THEM.   Every year, I use the fridge to display them all, but I have been looking for a better way.  Two years ago, I hung them around the mantle, but ours is rather small and it looked pretty cluttered and I ran out of room quickly.  Last year, I went back to covering the fridge, which is cute, but I wanted them in sight more often.  I found the idea on Pinterest to run ribbon over kitchen cabinets (making the doors look like presents) and pin them there.  That was my plan, but then at the last minute, I decided to move it to the entry closet door right as you walk in.  It made the door look like a giant present, which was super cute long before the cards started rolling in.  Then Colin and I had a blast making the pins, which are just tiny clothes pins that we put Christmas craft stickers on.  It turned out absolutely adorable and it was one of my favorite things in the house this year.  These cards make me feel cozy and loved and I don't think it will EVER get old to receive them and put them out on display!  We even got several more after this picture was taken!  I LOVE IT!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Colin's Class Christmas Party!

Somehow, another year has passed and I was able to attend my SECOND annual preschool Christmas extravaganza today.  I really honestly don't know how it happened.  Five minutes ago, Colin was in Miss Gina's class.  And now here we are.  Where does the time go?!?  I wonder how many more times I will say that over the next 50 years?  Probably at least twice.   Being a mother really turns you into a cliche.  :-)

Due to the fact that I am completely insane slightly addicted to cooking, I decided to make Colin's teacher gifts this year.  We spent literally all day Wednesday baking.  I LOVED IT.  This is honestly one of the very tip top reasons that I love this season.  I love to make people happy.  Seriously, I know that sounds over the top cheesy, but I get my kicks from surprising people with something that makes them super deliriously happy.  I made a huge batch of chocolate chip/pecan/toffee cookies and my homemade-from-scratch-awesome-carb-filled-heaven-scented cinnamon rolls.  I see those cinnamon rolls in my dreams.  And this is the time of year that I make batch after batch and pray that I can still wear my pants in January.  Which I never can.  But that is another post.  Anyway...
I made a pan of the rolls for Miss Courtney and Miss Blake and Colin was very quick to inform me that he HAD to bring presents to Miss Gina and Miss Heather from last year.  SO, we arrived at school this morning with wrapped baked goods up to our eyeballs.  Colin has gotten into dictating very detailed notes to me whenever he gives gifts and the cards did not disappoint!  He comes up with cutest things to say and I am 99% sure that he asked Miss Blake on a date in her card.  He asked her to "come have dinner at my house and see my beautiful Christmas tree".  Yeah....that sounds way too much like a date for my liking.  Their class party was a Grinch themed pajama party and the teachers were dressed so cute!  Colin was a big fan of the "Grinchy Green Juice".  Super precious! 
Pizza at school is still the coolest party ever
Green and red food = AWESOME
Laughing with his friends at lunch
Musical chairs at a 4 year old party is ADORABLE
Miss Courtney stopping the music!  LOVE Colin's face here!
Colin (far right) and his whole class opening their book exchange presents
The cinnamon rolls.  JOY in swirled dough form.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our Newest Member

Colin got a new kitty named Evi this year and "Evi-the-cat" (as I like to call her) or "Evingston" (as Jer likes to call her) is Colin Shaffer's best buddy. They love each other. A LOT. The love affair has gotten to the point that Evi stands at his door and meows at all hours of the night if we leave it closed.  I used to come out of Colin's room and close the door after our bedtime routine.  That does not exactly work anymore.  Evi likes to come to the kitchen and get dinner with Ferris Mewler, but soon after her meal, she is standing in the hall yelling to be let into Colin's room.  She gets let in and out basically all night long.  :-)  I took these shots right before bed...Colin was singing Christmas carols to her!  She is the sweetest and most loving kitty in the whole world and she lets Colin hold her and tug on her and even carry her around, despite the fact that her back paws drag the floor.  She sits in my lap every single time I sit down at the computer and loves to lay on her back to get her tummy scratched.  She prefers to drink water out of the running sink and sleeps during every moment that she is not eating or being scratched behind her ears.  We bought her a contraption called "The Furminator" and she loooooves to get brushed with it.  You would not believe the amount of fur that we pull off this cat!  She also LOVES my dad for some reason and will spend literally every moment that he is here in his lap being loved on.  Anyway, she is an absolute joy and is the perfect new addition to our family.  We are so thankful that 2011 brought us her little white tipped paws!  It makes it even more special that we adopted her from our best friends...she really does have quite the extended family!
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