Thursday, April 23, 2015

Playing Catch Up - Part One


So I've been wanting to write a post for ages...but just couldn't get myself to do it. I've had to mull some things over, figure out how I actually feel about things before I could think about blogging. It's been a busy, stressful, tumultuous, up and down nonstop roller-coaster ride for the last several months. Not that it's been bad...just life, magnified. I will probably have to have a two-parter...and just skim over the big events. Let's get started. ;)

A while ago I had seen these ads for brain cancer awareness bracelet that I really liked. One of the one's I usually wore had finally snapped, so I was in the market. This particular bracelet was really pretty, something I could wear everyday, and even better, they actually tell you how much they donate, $10 to whatever cause you are buying for, which made me happier about spending a little bit more! I was glad to have $ go to Brain Cancer research (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure). And the packaging was too sweet. I really liked the design, the metal and leather band, not to mention how encouraging it is to look down and see that reminder..."be brave"



Gray alert!

Here's a link to their website. I highly recommend checking them out! They have a great back story.
Bravelets

Thanksgiving was coming up...this would be the first time in our marriage that David and I had ever celebrated on our own. We've always either been at my in-laws or one time we went to our friends' house. This time it was just us. I have to admit, I was a bit melancholy...but had fun planning the menu. Neither one of us is a big turkey fan...so we figured, since it is just us, why not try something new? In the past, his company gave everyone a turkey, but the new company doesn't do that. Thought we'd give goose a try...if I could find one. Well, I did...but boy, are they pricey! Oh well, when else would we ever try roast goose? Let's go for it!

The feast...and desserts!
Gorging ourselves!
Isn't that the cutest little owl decor???

So, apparently goose is known to be a bit tricky...I read a lot to try to figure out the best method...I think I actually did wind up overcooking it a bit...but even if it had been juicy still wouldn't have been our favorite. Not bad by any means, certainly better than turkey, lol, but not worth the extra trouble and expense...but it was fun to try it out! All the sides were awesome though! That's always the draw for me at Thanksgiving...stuffing (both kinds, corn bread and regular!) and gravy and sweet potatoes and cranberries of some kind and mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts...oh my, it was SO good! And then the pies, the beautiful, lovely pies! (Yes, I might have had a bit of a Dean moment...for all you Supernatural fans ;) Pumpkin (made with cane syrup, the best ever), pecan, sweet potato, apple, and a maple cheesecake. Divine! But by the end of the night, after I was completely worn out and over-stressed, I was totally miserable! Thanksgiving just wasn't the same without sharing it with family and friends. I think I bawled for ages...poor David...lol.

We were all  excited for the Christmas season to start though. Everyone was supposed to be there for Christmas! My brother Mike had a two week leave, so he was going to fly in from Qatar to spend it with Sparkle and us. Papa and Rachel were going to be back. It was gonna be so good to have everyone home. We followed our tradition of decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving. The girls had fun helping me with the tree...although I had to bite my tongue a few times...lol...like, really, that's where you want to put it? I was even able to (mostly) refrain from fixing the tree after they went to bed! haha...anyone else have that problem?

my silly elves
decorating is hard work!
I absolutely love the glow! Christmas is just my favorite time!

I loved blasting Christmas music all the time, very loudly. I don't care if it's cheesy, it makes me happy! (David somewhat puts up with it...he loathes Christmas music...hahaha)

Christmas vacation is always hectic for us, because Red One's birthday is the 23rd, then it's Christmas Eve, then Christmas...I'm usually running around like a crazy woman planning and cooking. :) Plus, Mike was flying in and the in-laws were coming to stay. So Papa and Rachel get in the Thursday before Christmas...without their RV!!! I was so shocked! I had totally been banking on them having the RV to sleep in, and then we'd have Mike sleep in Buddy's room. Lol...best laid plans...oh well, we totally made it work. It was so funny though...I was like, aaaggghhhh!!!! Anyway, Mike got in early the next morning. Sparkle was SO happy to see her dad, she just flew into his arms! It was so sweet. I had a really great visit with my brother...haven't been able to just hang out with him since before we were both married...it was awesome reconnecting!
Look at this amazing piece of art he whipped up one night of Red Three! He's such a creative person, he puts me in awe at times...at others I just want to whack him and try to bring him back to reality...lol...sibling love right there!

Red One was having a momentous birthday...13!!! I still can't believe it, and it's been a few months! lol...We decided to take her to a hibachi grill for her birthday dinner...the kids had never been. Unfortunately Rachel and Papa couldn't make it to dinner...Rachel had gotten into a car wreck on Red One's birthday...again. Although there were some worries about her eye at the time, which she had banged up in the accident, thankfully everything healed up fairly quickly. Anyways, the kids loved the restaurant...we had a great time!

Red Two and the birthday girl
Mike and Sparkle
I love the looks on their faces...before
after
We had such a good time!

After dinner we headed home for cake and presents.

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake...so good!
She got a really nice new paintball mask in her favorite color...purple!
Me and my teenager...did I seriously just say that???

Next up was Christmas Eve...in the past we'd usually spend Christmas Eve at my in-law's house, lots of finger foods and just relaxing...and we'd open their presents, but save our presents for the kids for the morning. But this year was all new...we still did lots of appetizers and then we opened presents...and then kept opening presents...lol...we wound up opening everything in one go. I was the fuddy-dud...I like my traditions...but David was all "Yeah! Open them all!" haha...The kids were happy, so that was all that mattered. And they still had their stockings for the morning.

Ready to open presents!
Papa had a mountain man look going on ;)
joyful kids!
I found a good deal on a pair of Beats for Sparkle, which she really wanted...without telling her what we were thinking about, David asked her if she'd rather have the name brand but not as good kind, or really good thing but not the "popular" kind...she picked name brand :)
But David couldn't get those "crappy" ones for his girl...she wound up with a pair of Grados (which are audiophile quality, if you care...lol...they're just not the in thing with the kids with all the bright colors etc...but better sound...haha)...but they were each totally happy with what they got.
happy chaos

Christmas morning...

The Christmas gingerbread house tradition was maintained at least ;)
gray alert!
Buddy actually asked for a Doctor Who shirt for Christmas...that's my boy!
Before Dad left...so sad he had to go!

Honestly though, things were quite stressful the whole time...and we were all sorry that Mike had to head back to Qatar...it certainly wasn't long enough! and Papa and Rachel went back to Alabama. While there had definitely been some really good times, it was also the most upsetting Christmas I'd ever had...just family stuff...and sadly, I couldn't wait for it to be over. I usually love Christmas and want to drag it out as long as possible...but this time I just was hoping for everything to go back to normal.

Thankfully, both my besties, Kim and Sarah, and their families were able to come over for New Year's Eve! We've been able to have at least one of their families for NYE for several years. We had such a fun night!!! So nice to be able to relax with the truest friends I've ever known!

always gotta have a food pic...we've been taking these since way before Instagram was around...lol...such hipsters!
My favorite ladies in the world! This is us in a nutshell!!!

Unfortunately, winter started in earnest soon thereafter. This winter was brutal!!! It might not have been the most snow we've seen since we moved up here (but it was close!) but I definitely think it was the coldest and most drawn out. Poor Sparkle was just SO glad that Connecticut decided to show her a real New England winter...lol!


Not only was it an awful winter, weather wise, but I also wrecked my van...in the snow! literally right in front of my house! I had just dropped the kids off at school...it was snowing like crazy and as I'm turning onto my street to park I skid right into the light pole in our yard...like, seriously?!?!?! I was so close! I was totally fine...I wasn't even going 10 miles an hour, and I'm so glad none of the kids were there...but the van was totalled...wasn't worth fixing, it was so old. So while it was super inconvenient, we had already been thinking about getting a new (to us) car, and now we had to! David really wanted an SUV instead of a minivan...I thought a minivan would be way more practical, not to mention economical...but guess what we wound up getting...an SUV. Haha...but, I must admit, I totally love it! It's a 2010 Lincoln MKT (which I had never heard of, or even remembered seeing before), we got a great deal on it! It's so high tech, and I feel like such an imposter driving around in it...like, I am not classy enough for a Lincoln! hahaha!!!

Ain't it purty???

Speaking of wrecks and bad weather...I literally saw three wrecks on the way home from shopping one day...ridiculous!

One last event I'll cover quickly...we went over a friend's house for their annual Oscar viewing party...I love that I get to dress up! I got to wear this beautiful dress I had bought for David's office Christmas party that was going to be on a ship in the NYC harbor...which we missed because they brilliantly decided to schedule it for a Friday evening, in NYC, and not let everyone off work early...um, yeah, great idea! We literally missed the boat by like 5 minutes...and apparently a bunch of other coworkers did too, including the manager! Nothing like driving 3 hours in rush hour traffic to not even make it! Hahahaha...anyways, not that I was bitter at all...but I finally got to wear the dress in public! and everyone loved it! lol...not that you can tell how cute it is in this pic...but it was a fun night! And Sarah made it too...she looked so adorable...pretty in pink moment going on!


Alrighty, gonna wrap up for now...that's almost 4 months worth of catching up...I'll do the rest of February up to now in the next post, which I guarantee, will be in just a few days! Thanks for not giving up on me :P