Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in Colorado!

We had a wonderful Christmas in Colorado this year!  Both kids traveled fairly well...Ava talked non-stop both ways, and G slept on the outbound flight (I sat next to him) but he was a little restless on the return flight home (Scott sat next to him.)  I'm just really glad the flight is just under two hours; I'm used to traveling alone where I can catch a nap while in-flight, but not with these two kiddos!  Our outbound flight was a little delayed, but G entertained the gate area with his cute shenanigans (a random man picked him up and sat him on his lap - made me a bit nervous, but Scott was right next to him the whole time) and Ava made a new friend who she could play "Monster High" dolls with.  Couldn't have asked for a better situation in a delay!  One woman actually made a comment to Scott and me about how wonderful it is to see such loving parents with their children.  I'm going to tuck that comment away, and pull it out whenever I'm feeling a bit frustrated with either of them!

It was great to see my parents, eat lots of REALLY good food, bask in the Colorado sunshine/blizzard (yep, it was definitely a white Christmas in Colorado,) and even get a surprise visit from Santa at the house.  My parents' close friends came over for dinner on Friday night, and during the course of conversation, Scott and I discovered a new place we need to check out in Wisconsin - a smokehouse!  Can't wait to head over there with a cooler and stock up on some yummy meats and cheeses!

This year was the 1st year that G had a clue as to what was happening during the holiday (last year he was less than 2 months old at Christmas, and was only aware of sleeping and eating) so it was fun seeing how he reacted to the gift opening, and the general chaos that surrounds the holidays.

And my own personal favorite part?  I actually took a break from work.  I've been working so many hours that I'm almost at the point of burnout, so taking several days off, and only working maybe 3 hours over the course of 6 days was much needed.  I'll be back at work tomorrow, but with a new goal...less time at work, and more time with my family and friends.  As much as I like my job, I needed to remember that I work to live...I don't live to work!

Ok, lots of pictures to share - get ready!

My sweet, sleepy travelin' G

Scott, Ava and the "man who didn't say a word"...I'm really impressed that Ava didn't try to talk his ear off. (But, she did on the return flight when a younger woman sat next to us - poor lady!)

The frozen tundra of Colorado...

Decorating Christmas cookies with Grandma Karen

Hangin' out!

Ava found a little nook in the office and spent a lot of time on her tablet...

I promise he wasn't as uncomfortable as he looks - and check out that belly!!

Grandma Karen, Scott and G

I don't often post food pics, but these smoked salmon apps were delish!

"Ho, ho, ho!"  Look who dropped by to check in on Ava (and wisely told her that she would need to wait until she's older to get a big trampoline!)

G's 3rd Santa visit in two weeks - amazing!

We had a stowaway - George!  Glad you made the trip to CO!

Hahahaha!  (Stop with the pics, Mommy!)

Another food pic...our family's traditional (German) butterball yummy!

Snuggle time with Ava before watching "The Polar Express"

Time to open gifts...G was most intrigued with the ribbon and the boxes...

Usually Ava's the tricky one to get smiling for the camera

Totally freaking out when she realized she got an American Girl doll

Meet Annie (the flight attendant asked me if it was Samantha...I said no.  And then I marveled silently at the fact that a grown man knew enough about AG dolls to know the name of one of the dolls!)

The very first American Boy doll! :)

Leaving treats for Santa...

...who gobbled them up when he came to visit!

Such a great picture of the two boys...

G was admiring his lion sun catcher...

...until a flashy, noisy fire truck came along!

I'm bummed this pic is blurry...this is Ava's real smile.  Love that dimple!

It was a big Christmas for Ava...not only did she get Annie, but Santa also brought her a pink .22 rifle!  (Not sure how I feel about that, but I know that Scott will be with her during the learning and shooting process, and I know I can trust him 100%!)

What 1-year old doesn't want beer-flavored jelly bellies??  (J/K, they were for Scott and Grandpa Doug!)

A nice mimosa on Christmas morning...

Back to the tablet, in her own little world...where there are lots of colorful ponies, and a big pink Dreamhouse...

Colorado snowstorm!

Ahhh...sibling love!

So, that was Christmas, part 1.  We had part 2 yesterday, and will have part 3 this coming, more pics to come!  Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Secret Santa

One of the many fun things about this season is that my team does a Secret Santa for those people who want to participate.  It's a fun, easy thing to do, and is a definite day brightener!  My Secret Santa did awesome this year...I was having a very rough day on Wednesday, and when I came back from a client meeting, I had 3 bottles of booze and a box of my favorite crackers waiting for me!  At that point, I knew it had to be someone who sits by me, as another coworker and I also talk about how we just can't get enough of these crackers.

She (yes, now I know who it is) really did well...Christmas decor, chocolate, candles, liquor and crackers, and then on Friday, she had put together a mini garden for me in a glass bowl.  These are a few of my favorite things!  Turns out my SS was a developer who sits right across the wall from me...she hears my rough days, she hears my good/bad conversations, and she definitely hears me crunching on crackers throughout the day.  A big thanks to Rachel for making my days this week a little bit more merry and bright!

We've made it through the 2014 Christmas "checklist"...all gifts (even the last minute ones) are wrapped, all packages have been mailed, Christmas cards are stuffed and ready to be mailed (wish they had been done last week, but oh well), Christmas light looking is done (finished that last night after a dinner out with the family) and we finally made it to see Santa. 

In order to make that happen, I told my directors that I was leaving on time on Wednesday night, no matter what was happening at work...I had a commitment to my family that I intended to keep.  I made it home at a decent time, and we were off to visit Santa!  The line wasn't as long as last year, but sheesh, who knew there would be so many people waiting to see Santa on a Wednesday night!?

Patiently waiting in line...taking an "elfie selfie"!

They did great - no tears, only smiles!

Garrett was a super lucky little boy as Santa also made a stop at his daycare on Thursday...and again, he did tears, just smiles!  I love how this little guy is so easy-going!

This coming week is going to be a whirlwind...Scott and I both work on Monday, and then on Tuesday, we catch a flight and head off to Colorado to spend the holiday with my parents.  Hoping for great weather, good food, and wonderful memories!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gingy's New Home

Another super, crazy busy week is in the books, but we were able to end it with some holiday fun.  All of the 1st grade classes at Ava's school invited the parents to join them in making gingerbread houses on Friday afternoon.  It was a GREAT excuse to leave work early (no worries, I got in way more than 40 hours of work this week,) and spend some one-on-one time with Ava doing something fun and different. Most of the parents took the kids home once the gingerbread house building was done, but I had another plan...and I stuck to it.  I felt a tiny little bit bad about leaving Ava at school, but there were other kids there until the end of the day, so she had fun playing with them, and meeting new people.

She used the cone to catch the didn't end up being a tree like it was supposed to be!

Our finished project...not sure it really looks like a house, but we had fun, and that's all that matters!

So what did I do with that free time?  Well, I took those extra two hours and got my gift wrapping done!  That doesn't seem like a huge deal except that I really, really dislike wrapping gifts.  I dread it...the monotony of the task just puts me over the edge. If I wasn't so practical, I would hire someone to wrap all of the gifts every year! 

In any case, I came home, put on some Christmas music, drank some eggnog, and wrapped every last gift that we had.  Yahooo!  And I then met Ava at the bus stop, and went and picked up G from daycare.  It was a nice change of pace for an afternoon...much better than being stuck in meetings, or behind my laptop at work.

We were supposed to do a few more fun holiday things yesterday (meet up with cousins to see Santa, and then go to Christmas party last night,) but I picked up a nasty cold, so had to bail on both of them.  Instead, I was able to spend some much-needed time at home, and then we went out to dinner as a family, headed to Toys R Us (that was Ava's favorite part - she was SO excited) and then drove around looking at Christmas lights.  We hit up the old neighborhood last night for lights, and then next weekend, we will drive around Rosemount to see how people have decorated. 

Ava and I also found time to bake three loaves of Grandma Goers' delicious banana bread...can't wait to dig in and eat it up.  So good!!!

Look at that outfit (I didn't choose it!)

On the move!


Always a protective big, she was hitting him on the head with the ball.

It's been really weird Minnesota winter all of the snow is gone, and it was WARM yesterday.  I'm not complaining, I'm really not.  We vividly recall how very cold and snowy last winter was, so all I can hope is that we have somewhat of a normal winter this year.  As we were heading home last night from Christmas light looking, it got really foggy, which we don't see happen too often.  Scott often likes to refer to the move "The Fog" once the fog came out, we headed home!

I noticed we had weird designs in our yard yesterday morning...our version of crop circles??

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just 11 days away.  I have just two more gifts to buy, and we are done with the holiday prep...all we have left to do is enjoy it!