Friday, January 17, 2014

Quick Recap...Thanksgiving, Birthday, Christmas, New Years...lots happening!

I know I've mentioned it many times...but our church family is a huge support. One of my friends who works in the CLG office called me after she heard about David's job to offer us a Thanksgiving basket. I've learned over the past three years to let go of pride and take any help that's I said "Yes please!" lol So that Saturday some members dropped off not only all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner, but a ton of groceries as well. I just about cried!!! I mean, we are still eating the peanut butter from those boxes. It was amazing and such a blessing! 

The kids couldn't believe how generous it was. It was such a gift and really, really helped!

Even though David had gotten the job offer, there were still a bunch of hoops to jump through before actually starting. I think he finally started work either the first or second week of December. In the meantime, we were wondering what our Thanksgiving would be was going to be our first one without any other family...what with Dad and Rachel down in Alabama for the Pow Wow. Sarah to the rescue again! :) She invited us over to celebrate...her mother-in-law was doing most of the cooking...I only needed to bring some dessert and drink ideas. I decided to make a recipe I'd found on, where else, Pinterest. Carmelized Apple Spice Cake with Brie Icing and Sugared Pecans. Can you say yum? I also brought a fresh cranberry compote, pumpkin pies, and some apple cider to make some bourbon cocktails. Delicious!

After watching the Manchester Road Race (a really fun race with thousands of runners every Thanksgiving that passes near our house. A lot of runners wear costumes and it's a fun, crazy atmosphere), we stopped by our neighbor's open house for some snacks and drinks.

male Leia, minions!!!
Kim and her oldest participated...jealous!!! :) We'll have to do it next year! 
Angry birds

These are just few of the crazy costumes. It's a really fun race...there was even a dude with sound system set up DJing on our block...people watching hand some of the runners's really funny. 

After that we headed over to Sarah's. We had a lovely time relaxing with Sarah, Dave and the boys, and his parents. All the food was delicious...even had some grilled prime rib...and the juiciest turkey. We watched a little football...drank some (spiked) eggnog, bourbon apple cider cocktails (yum!) and just visited. So great to just be with friends and relax. It's the first time I haven't cooked for Thanksgiving in probably a The kids played games and even had a dance contest. Sarah and I even dropped in on Kim to see how her Thanksgiving was going. ;) She was (after running in the race, mind you) cooking for over 25 people...needless to say, that was stressful! But she was happy to see us...I think ;) All in all, a wonderful day...thanks for having us Dave and Sarah!!!

Of course, with the turkey and fixings the church gave us, I did wind up making a turkey dinner for us later on that week...but there's a big stress difference is cooking for a regular meal and for

We put up the tree that weekend, as is our tradition. I was worried that I'd have to get a new tree...our basement had flooded earlier in the year, and I wasn't sure how our tree had held it...but it was perfect. I absolutely love Christmas time!!! My favorite time of the year (other than the cold ;). I was super ready to have some joy in the house!

I specifically remembering buying my mom a little evergreen reindeer exactly like this one when I was little. I was super excited to find one at the thrift store the other day! Brought back memories!
love this pic!
My ornament mobile...and yes, I hang ornaments on my chandelier, don't you?
Where's baby Jesus? 
Decorating is hard work!

December was jam packed! David started his new job. He didn't get his work vehicle for about a week, so that was a bit tricky working out transportation for him plus the kids in school, etc. We were able to start catching up on some bills and things seemed to be leveling off a bit.  David knew when he started that there was a lot of work in NJ right now...not his favorite place, but what can ya do. Parent-teacher conferences...all the kids are doing great! Yay! What with all the little things going on, all of a sudden it was Christmas and I wasn't ready!!! I did manage to make cookies for our cookie exchange at MOPS...which was then cancelled because it was a snow day...go figure. Yes, the cold, wintry, snowy weather started setting in...boooo! 

One of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen! 

But really, other than that, I couldn't believe it was Christmas...not to mention it was Red One's birthday on the 23rd! So super not ready...I was almost wondering if we'd have to hold off on Christmas (David's paycheck hit a bank issue...yuck!!! but it finally made it in a few days before). Let me just tell you, Amazon Prime is a lifesaver! that two day free shipping came in handy!!! haha...anyways, my friend Megan from church said she had something to drop off for me. She stopped by that Saturday with presents for all the kids, lasagna and a bunch of Christmas goodies! Unbelievable!!! and perfect...thank you so much! Again, just goes to show that God is always watching out for us...and blessing us with the people around us!

The girls were in the children's choir at CLG for the Christmas celebration the Sunday before Christmas. Red One had a speaking part and Red Two had a solo. They did awesome!

Red One turned 12 this year. I still can't believe it...she's huge and thinks she's bigger, stronger, and older than she can't take it! Even though it's her turn for a friend birthday party, we always do that in January. December is just too busy! But still, we thought it would be fun to go to Nomads (an indoor adventure/arcade place) for the day. We bought passes for the kiddos and let them loose.

As you can tell...they only had a little fun ;) They played laser tag for the first time, rock climbing, bumper cars, spinning teacups, bounce house...and playground. It was a blast! We headed home so I could make dinner (well, actually heat up the lasagna that Megan made)...but I needed to run to the store for ingredients for the cheesy artichoke bread Red One wanted to try. While I was there, Dad called me, said Rachel had been in a car wreck in Rhode Island (heading home for Red One's birthday) and that she was at the hospital. He didn't know how she was at all, but he had to go. We weren't quite sure what to do...but we went ahead and celebrated Red One's birthday, cake and presents, etc. If it was serious, then I was probably gonna head there later that night...but we didn't know her status at that time...and it was a couple hours away. While the kids were sad Rachel wasn't there...they prayed for her...but we had fun anyways. Red One's been finally getting into more girly stuff like clothes and hair, etc...I thought a fun gift would be a gift certificate for a pedicure. She got some other cool stuff too...Daddy even gave her a paintball mask. He's decided to get the older two into they knew their present this Christmas would be paintball guns.

my beautiful girl
Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Cake

Dad was keeping me posted...around 11 that night he said they were releasing Rachel so they were heading back. Thank the Lord it wasn't serious...scary for sure, but just a bunch of bruises and scrapes. Could have been so much worse.

Next day was Christmas Eve...thankfully all the presents arrived on time ;) Red One opened her birthday presents from Papa and Rachel. Rachel got her a bunch of gift cards to go shopping (now that she like that sort of and Papa got her her very own Kindle! She was thrilled! Our tradition for Christmas Eve is to keep it simple...we usually just have a bunch of appetizer type snacks...we hang out, open some presents, etc. David couldn't wait till Christmas Day to give them their paintball

Our Christmas mornings are a little hectic...the kids usually wake up before us and open their stockings...then we head to Christmas mass. After that we have some sort of nice breakfast, then head to the living room for presents. Before we actually open them, we read the Christmas story out of the Bible (this year Red One read it for us), and then we open presents. After presents the kids usually play for a bit, then we have Christmas dinner (ham and whatever other fixings...gotta have ham so you can use the bone for black eyed peas on New Years ;) and then we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and have birthday cake.

Freckles was ready!
I loved how my hair came out! ;)
Boys and pointy things
That's how you play after a long day!
Jesus' birthday cake; Eggnog Cake with Swiss Meringue good!
Red One played some Christmas songs for us on her viola.

Unfortunately Rachel had some business to take care of out of state, so she was unable to be with us on Christmas. We did presents with her when she came back though.

I hadn't had a chance to hang out with my girl friends in a while, so I never said yes so quickly when Sarah asked me if I wanted to go see American Hustle.'s been a bit of an emotional up and down then past several weeks...and the same for her. Kim was free, so we headed out for drinks before hand. It's so great to have such wonderful, caring, loyal friends I can always count on...and I know they feel the same. It's been a tough year for Sarah and Dave as well...all I can say is that cancer sucks! The movie was really good too...all the actors were fantastic and the story was pretty entertaining.

The last few years, Kim, Torrey and the kids come over and hang out for a bit on New Year's Eve...and since they're only a couple houses down, they can walk over...wink, wink ;) Anyways, they came over again this year. We had so much fun!!! I finally got David to play board games (have I mentioned he hates them?) and we played my favorite, Taboo!!! It was hilarious!!! I seriously haven't played it in like 10 years at least...but it was a fun as I remembered. The kids watched a movie and times!

Kim had been wanting to have a party, but we weren't able to work out everyone's schedules before Christmas, so we did it after New Year's. She had a lamb leg she wanted me to cook...I was excited, I actually had a recipe I wanted to try out. It worked out...the lamb came out super delicious! even if it did take longer than expected and make us late! lol All the food was so good! Kim even had cookies for the kids to decorate...perfect night out! We played another fun game, I forget the name, maybe Guess Who? It was pretty funny. Thanks for having us Kim!

Torrey breaking out the air guitar! bwahahaha

 Laughter and silliness with friends, what could be better?

And with that, I do believe we are pretty much caught up...:) I hope all of your Christmases were blessed and your New Year will be filled with joy and hope!