Holiday Hangover

Anyone else still recovering from Christmas? I can’t even drink, but the amount of food I’ve consumed and excitement we’ve had has put me in a Christmas coma. It’s the 27th and I just now have a little bit of time and energy to edit some photos and write about how awesome my Christmas in Texas has been over the last week. We spend every other Christmas in Texas with my family, and this year is my nephew’s very first Christmas! Needless to say, it was full of adorableness.

annual parade
me and my nephew watching the parade together

It is also the first holiday season without my MawMaw, which means we have lost some of our family traditions, but at the same time we are creating some new ones that will soon become the traditions for our own kids. To really put a spin on things this year, my Bro-in-law had to work in Dallas on Christmas Eve and fly in Christmas morning to be with us. So our Christmas morning was slow to start, which turned out to be really nice and relaxing.

pawpaw

We ate breakfast, stay in our PJ’s, sipped our coffee and I taught Micah, the nephew, all about the very important tradition of watching Disney’s Annual Christmas Parade.

relaxing

Look at that adorable little Santa butt!
Look at that adorable little Santa butt!

My Mom makes seafood gumbo, potato salad, green salad, fruit salad and rolls every single year for Christmas dinner, and this year we all helped cooked and had everything ready before we even opened the gifts from Santa.

Gift opening was perfect. Even though Micah is too young to actually open his gifts or care about anything except the wads of ripped paper on the floor, it was really fun for us to give him gifts and take a billion photos.

first christmas

Besides, Micah’s gifts the rest of us seemed to have read each other’s minds when it comes to gift giving. My Mom and Dad each gave each other a new tablet, my Mom, sister and I all got new purses. My Mom searched literally all over the country to get me a BCBG coat that I have been dying to have, but couldn’t find anywhere.  AND, my sister, myself and my Mom all ended up making each other a very special gift from my Grandma.

ipad
dad opening his ipad

BCBG mom

My sister and I were super excited about making a framed picture of one of my Mom’s favorite quotes from my Grandma’s journal. Husband had the great idea to print it over a page copied from her journal, and with a little Photoshop it turned out beautiful.

to mom

After receiving the gift, my Mom disappeared for a minute and came back with two extra gifts for me and my sister. She said she had planned on saving them for my baby shower, but couldn’t wait any longer. Turns out that she found 2 poems in one of my Grandma’s spiral that no one has even seen yet. One was written for a daughter (probably for my Mother), and the other was written for a child (obviously a boy, and mostly likely written for my MawMaw’s 8 sons). My Mom had the poems printed and framed to go into our kids’ nurseries. It was the perfect gift, and it felt like a gift directly from my MawMaw.

All three framed quotes and poems.
All three framed quotes and poems.
The poem that will hang in Luna's room.
The poem that will hang in Luna’s room.

Perfect Christmas. Even the dogs has special treats.

belle leia

The rest of the day was spent stuffing our faces, having family stop by to visit and we even made time for some family exercising. (Luckily, it was relief day on Shaun T’s the Asylum).

relief

I hope each of you had an awesome Christmas, holiday, festivus, or whatever you celebrate. I hope to keep posting through the New Year, but with 2 baby showers, a drive back to TN, a New Year’s trip to the Mountains and a second family Christmas over the next week…who knows what will happen! Have a safe, wonderful and fun New Year, just in case I don’t see ya!

The last Christmas with just the two of us!
The last Christmas with just the two of us!

Cheers!

Ice at Opryland!

ice

Alright, alright, it’s that time of year. That super busy time when it’s so hard to get everything done, and right now I am lacking in the writing and sharing area. Tonight, though, I finally have some time to share a review of our trip to Ice at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville! The very nice people who work for Gaylord were kind enough to have come and check out their show that we just love so much.

frosty

Years ago, when we first lived in the Nashville area we went to “Ice!” every year. The Opryland Hotel always puts up an amazing exhibit of Christmas themed scenes all made of ice. This year’s theme is Frosty the Snowman (awesome…one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies). They used over 2 million pounds of ice to create the very colorful and very large scenes! It took over 40 talented artisans from Harbin, China to create the show. It’s very impressive.

Look at Frosty go!
Look at Frosty go!

The master ice carvers actually travel all the way to Tennessee to create their sculptures. They work in 12 hour shifts in the 9-degree freezers to get the job done! The sculptures are then set-up and put together in large rooms for all of us to tour, but these rooms are also kept at 9 degrees. The guests are provided with long hooded warm parkas, but I’d say it is still VERY necessary to dress warm. I had a gloves, close-toed shoes and a scarf and still felt chilly.

fire

The scenes from Frosty were just adorable. The characters were flawless and dialogue from the movie played as you walked from room to room. Even before entering the exhibit we were entertained. The que was lined with big screens TV to entertain us while waiting. We were then ushered into a large room that gave the played a short film on the history of “Ice!” and ended with “snow” falling on us.

que

wait room

snow!

Besides the cute characters and scenes there is also 4 large slides made of ice to enjoy, but beware: lines are long. There are also tons of opportunities for cute photos around all the ice scenes.

slides train

When Frosty’s story ends there is a bonus NYC room this year! Because we are cheesy and sentimental we were especially excited about this section. We are really missing New York this time of year, and all of its holiday glitter and fun. It was nice to walk around a fake New York made of ice. It had all the iconic Christmas in New York attractions…Rockefeller Center’s ice skating rink and giant tree, Broadway, Time Square, 5th Avenue and the Statue of Liberty.

nyc

Can you find Husband on the big screen in "time square"?
Can you find Husband on the big screen in “time square”?

broadway

The final room in “Ice!” is the traditional and always beautiful Nativity made of ice. This room uses all clear glass (no color) and is always the grand finale.

nativity

Afterwards, we defrosted and let our hands regain feeling in the guest shop right outside of “Ice!”. They sell a bazillion souvenirs, hot chocolate, kettle corn and what-not. This year, there was also a special Gingy room. Gingy is a character from Shrek and they had an entire gingerbread house set up where kids can get their photo taken with Gingy, buy a stuffed Gingy and pay to create an entire Gingerbread house. It looked like fun…maybe when Luna is here and a toddler we can actually try this part out!

gingy toy gingy

If you are interested in seeing Frosty and his friends all carved from ice then head over to Opryland by January 1st!  Check their site for prices and times here.

Cheers!

Belated Turkey Day

2013

Our first Thanksgiving in Nashville in 5 years was about as perfect as a Thanksgiving could be. First of all,  I cooked two dishes and BOTH turned out edible. In fact, one turned out to be freakin’ awesome. I cannot tell you how many times I read the recipes while cooking. I quadruple checked each step because for once I wanted to not screw up a dish. I still burnt the heck out of the top of the sweet potato casserole, but who really likes the marshmallows and pecans anyways?

I got both recipes from the Chew (spectacular mashed potatoes and candied sweet potatoes) because it’s the only cooking show I’ve ever actually watched…and if Clinton Kelly can make mashed potatoes then by golly, so can I!

We ran (walked) 5 miles in the Boulevard Bolt Thanksgiving morning (more to come on that later). Then, came home with enough time to watch the last 2 hours of the Macy’s Day parade, which is my all time favorite thing to do on Thanksgiving. Seriously, I don’ t even care for most Thanksgiving foods, but the parade is always so magical.

We had Thanksgiving lunch at our Aunt’s house with about 14 people and about 24 dishes. I ate enough for me and three babies and made sure to ask each person if my now famous mashed potatoes were the best mashed potatoes they ever had….they were, and I’m sure no one was just humoring me, right guys?

pregnant
baby or a soccer ball?

zoey

I was so tired from all the staying up late, cooking, running/walking 5 miles, being pregnant, eating and forgetting the $65 worth of ice cream for everyone (woops!) that I passed out on the couch while everyone chatted around me.

exhausted

There were sooo many deer having their own feast right outside the window!
There were sooo many deer having their own feast right outside the window!

AND because no Thanksgiving is complete without multiple dinners we had supper at our friend’s house with another amazing prepared feast and about 20 more people. This Thanksgiving dinner is more friends than family and more food then 100 people could eat. After stuffing our faces one more time, we retired to the game room for a night of “Just Dance” on the Xbox…another honored Thanksgiving tradition.

just dance me the boys

We danced until midnight, and I have to say that watching Husband and his friends dance to synchronized choreography together while competing for the highest score is one of the most hilarious and enjoyable things we EVER ever do. I think these pictures speak for themselves.

woops, who is supposed to be hugging who here?
woops, who is supposed to be hugging who here?

pandd dance line

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over I am overwhelmed as I lie in bed and think about how so so lucky we are… If I’m being completely honest, the day was not perfect…I was more tired than I’ve been since my first trimester, I burnt things, forgot things, became highly annoyed with Husband for stupid reasons, felt guilty for being so irritable this time of year, missed my family in Texas and accidentally locked my cat out all night in the freezing weather. (Yes, I cried and I feel AWFUL.) However, now that the day is over and I realize how trivial my worries are I can fully appreciate that the good far outweighs the bad in my life… and I have more to be thankful for than I could ever imagine. Oh, and before I forget it’s also the start of Hanukkah! Yay for more celebrations!

hanukah

Hope each of you had a day to be thankful for and many more to come.

Cheers

Christmas Traditions

I love holiday traditions with my family. In Texas, my family has lots of little special traditions I looked forward to each year while growing up. We eat seafood gumbo, say a prayer before opening presents, watch White Christmas, and spend Christmas Eve at my Grandma’s with our extended family every year. When I became serious with Husband we began splitting holidays. At first, it was a big adjustment. I was sad to miss out on my Texas traditions, but I soon realized I was gaining a whole new set of family traditions! Now, I feel lucky to have two families to celebrate with each year.

The year is a Tennessee Christmas. (We swap holidays every year.) Husbands family also spends Christmas Eve at his Grandmothers. His extended family is much smaller than mine, but it is really nice to be able to have a close relationship with everyone.

Me and Zoey
Me and Zoey

One of their Christmas Eve traditions is to decorate the tree together.

Aww aren't they matchy and cute?
Aww aren’t they matchy and cute?
IMG_3768
Zoey has put the top on the tree every year since anyone can remember.

Then, the whole family eats chicken cacciatore (and vegetarian cacciatore) together.

IMG_3745

Once everyone is stuffed, we go home so Santa can fill the stocking at Grandma’s with goodies. I, of course, went to sleep watching White Christmas.

Best movie ever.
Best movie ever.

On Christmas morning, everyone goes back to Grandma’s for homemade crepes with fresh fruit, chocolate, and homemade whip cream.

IMG_3778

The rest of the day is spent opening gifts, playing games, watching TV, eating all day, and spending lots of quality time together.

Some of Grandma's handmade stockings.
Some of Grandma’s handmade stockings.
We found the old Sega game and started a tournament!
We found the old Sega game and started a tournament!

IMG_3780

Mom-in-laws modern doll house gift from us.
Mom-in-laws modern doll house gift from us.
We had a nice fire going too.
We had a nice fire going too.

Christmas in Tennessee was wonderful, and I still have a few days left of vacation time! I am thoroughly enjoy the break, and the much needed extra sleep.

And the cuddle time with the cats.
And the cuddle time with the cats.

Cheers!

 

 

OH Christmas Trees!

While visiting my parents in Texas I had enough time to help my Mom put up her tree…(AKA I put up the tree while she said, “Um, I think that ornament needs to be moved a little to the left.”) Putting up the tree together was a tradition with my Mom and I when I lived at home. Arguing over where they should be placed, and sneaking the “ugly” homemade ones to the front was all part of the tradition. Taking out the ornaments each year was like Christmas for me.  My Mom bought my sister and I a new ornament every year that we picked out.

Pretty sure that's Elf playing in the background
Pretty sure that’s Elf playing in the background
The final product
The final product
Well wasn't I just adorable?
Well wasn’t I just adorable?

By the time I was 18 it was pretty humorous to look back at all the ones I’d chosen. They are a collection of my interests over the years. Age 3-6: all puppy ornaments, 1st grade: Ninja turtles, 3rd grade: Lion King, 5th grade: Santa playing basketball, 8th grade: jazz dancer, 10th grade: ballerina, and now? I’ve got the most random assortments of ornaments.

Husband and I have our own tradition now; we buy each other an ornament every year. We also buy (or try to buy) an ornament on every trip we take. Sadly, most of our ornaments are in storage in Nashville. Our NY tree only consists of ornaments collected over the last couple of years.

IMG_3336

I miss our large ornament collection.
I miss our large ornament collection.

IMG_3334

From the time we went to see the Rockettes...
From the time we went to see the Rockettes…
That time we went to the Macy's parade...
That time we went to the Macy’s parade…
From the Prada and Schiaparelli exhibit at the MET
From the Prada and Schiaparelli exhibit at the MET

Oh, and did I mention our NY tree is 12 inches tall?

Belle looks like Clifford the big red dog here.
Belle looks like Clifford the big red dog here.

We decorated, ate chocolate, and watched Home Alone 2. I love the holidays!

IMG_3355

Cheers!