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!

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