A Very Merry Christmas 2018

What does it mean if you’re sitting in your office on the morning after Christmas, thinking back on all that happened and trying not to cry over all the gifts and delicious meals and gatherings and mostly, the people who put all those things together?

I was standing in the doorway between my hallway and kitchen on Tuesday night, looking at all the presents I’d been given, our little pup asleep in his bed, Joey cleaning the last of the dishes and felt this wave of happiness and gratitude wash over me.

This holiday season felt too good to be true! ♥

img_7066img_7067img_7068

Saturday

I was about to reheat oatmeal (boring!) when Joey suggested, then made, whole grain gingerbread pancakes (not boring!).  I walked in the cold to get my nails done and we got our grocery shopping out of the way, including a trip to WF for our 22 pound turkey (!!!) but the main event was our annual holiday show with Lori.  We went to Rhein Haus first for dinner and feasted Bavarian-style on a giant pretzel and many sausages, then saw Cirque Éloize Hotel at The Buell.  I was blown away by the crazy talent of the performers and the quirkiness of the show, so the hour and a half it lasted seriously FLEW by.  What a wonderful night!

img_7069img_7070img_7071img_7072img_7073

Sunday

We packed up the turkey and a few other things and headed to my father-in-law’s, where we dry-brined the bird — she was so glittery looking and I maybe called her Lady Gobble Gobble and Joey didn’t think it was funny… — before heading up to Loveland to see my brother, sis-in-law, niece and nephew.  There were presents (Mom thought giving two kids kazoos was a good idea…), there was lunch, there were boys playing video games and football and girls drawings pictures and chatting away.  My niece braided my hair for me ♥  It was all so much fun and so so nice to see everyone for Christmas!

Back at home, I maybe made two pans of cinnamon rolls that took me until almost 11 PM and made me burn my arm on the oven rack but whatever because we also watched Love Actually and got to spend the night at home in our pajamas and that felt perfect.

img_7039img_7074

Christmas Eve!

I know I say it every year, but I really really love our Christmas Eve breakfast and a movie tradition ♥  We met up at Steuben’s for breakfast before seeing Mary Poppins Returns and look, I was fully prepared to find it just okay, but then I ended up LOVING it.  It’s technically a sequel but really, it’s a re-make because it’s a scene-for-scene copy of the original, just new takes of those scenes.  Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins flew down from the sky and I was just barely holding it together.  I think they’ve done such an amazing job capturing and re-creating what makes the original film so beloved.  Also, please don’t listen to any of the reviews, I thought the plot was fine and the music better than fine!

img_7077-1img_7075-1img_7078

Back at home, a round of presents for everyone!  We got Andi a bacon treat that he has shown zero interest in and a raccoon toy that he’s been starting to play with.  Lori got us both a bunch of wonderful things but I was really excited about this Harry Potter Sorting Hat mug that called me a Ravenclaw and though I won’t agree, I’ll take it as a compliment 🙂  We also prepped a few things for Christmas Day lunch before heading out to our Christmas Eve celebration.  Can I just take a moment to tell you Joey’s aunt Cathy had an accident at work, had surgery, is in a wheelchair and still had Christmas Eve at her house?  That is some dedication and serious family teamwork!  Soups were eaten, a new gift swap game — in which I was Rudolph and Joey was Bushy Evergreen the elf — was played and then we headed home to exchange our own gifts.

img_7079-1img_7080-3img_7081-3img_7093-3

I got Joey some snowboard/ski (he hasn’t decided which) gear that I’ve requested he also wear while shoveling snow this winter 😛  He spoiled me with too many things that I don’t deserve, including Heart coffee, a clutch that actually fits my phone and a diffuser that I’m already loving!  He’s too good to me ♥

img_7082img_7084img_7083img_7085img_7087img_7086img_7090img_7089img_7088img_7056

Christmas Part I

So this is the third year we’ve cooked the Christmas meal and it was our smoothest by far!  We pre-packed a bunch of stuff so we wouldn’t be rushing around Christmas morning (duh, why hadn’t we done that before??) plus we didn’t have to lug the turkey over to Steve’s since it was already over there brining.  What can I say except that being in the kitchen of my father-in-law’s beautiful home with Joey, a mug of coffee and a warm cinnamon roll, while White Christmas plays in the background is the best!  Joey was nervous about the bird burning since we usually cover it in foil but it turned out great and though we were worried the gravy was going to be a huge disaster, it also turned out fine.  I thought everything tasted great!

We all exchanged gifts afterward and every year, I’m impressed by all the lovely things everyone gets each other 🙂  We got to relax for a bit afterward and Joey even had time to try out the virtual reality game his cousin got for Christmas before we headed over to my parents’.

img_7091img_7092img_7064

Christmas Part II

Every year, I ask Santa to bring me a second stomach for Christmas and I guess he delivered this year because I was hungry for this prime rib meal!  We opened stockings and gifts when we got there and though I distinctly recall telling my mom NOT to buy ALL the jackets I sent her photos of, she didn’t listen.  I’ll forgive her because I love them (and her) ♥  My dad got me a super cushy yoga mat that I’m so excited to use and my sister and Wayne made our lives so much better by gifting me a mini food processor, because sometimes you need to blend a small amount of something 🙂

Lori joined us and I told Joey when we got home “I love that your mom comes over and eats with us, she’s such a good one.”  It’s true!  Forced Andi back into his elf costume one last time to take a family photo then went home and crashed into bed, feeling so lucky and loved.  I hope you all had a truly wonderful Christmas!

Weekend Things

Here’s to all the unexpected delights of this weekend!  Like “having” to leave work early to have a our sprinklers blown out, waking up early enough to go to Snooze on Saturday morning, finding a honeynut squash at the last Farmers’ Market of the season (crying emoji!), running a fast 10K and just having the most delicious fall weather ♥

img_6540

I volunteered to meet our sprinkler guy at the house but it only took something like 15 minutes and I used the rest of the afternoon to read and take our pup on a long luxurious walk.  Joey picked me up later to hit up Whole Foods for pizza dough and cheese but then we maybe also left with Perfect Bars, veggie chips and ice cream.  Why, Whole Foods, why??  We made this Pumpkin and Gouda Pizza and watched The Land of Steady Habits, which we liked but didn’t love.  Something was just slightly off.

Sometimes it’s Friday and I’m itching to go out and do something and sometimes it’s Friday and I just want to be at home and go to bed at a normal hour and the latter felt so so right this time around.

img_6534img_6535

We weren’t sure what we wanted to do for breakfast on Saturday, but since we had plans to visit the Union Station Farmers’ Market and it was still semi-early, we decided to take ourselves to Snooze.  I had this Protein Punch Bowl (which, for the record, was not described as being covered in chia seeds!) and we shared the pancake of the day, which was some kind of buttermilk pumpkin situation that tasted amazing.  It’s a sad day when the Farmers’ Market comes to an end, but a happy one when you leave with pretty little apples and the cutest honeynut squash.  Till next year, FM!

We headed to the Denver Rock n Roll Race Expo afterward to pick up our packets then did some backyard clean up.  We raked up 5 bags of leaves and were seriously only at it for less than an hour but somehow, my hamstrings are INCREDIBLY sore now.  Send help!

img_6531

I got an afternoon facial — Joey did our grocery shopping while I was out relaxing and it made me so genuinely happy — and when we got back, the weather was nice enough to take Andi on another long walk.  We also aided in the recovery of someone’s cell phone, so it was an eventful outing, ha!  Then we made this super simple but really satisfying Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Meal Prep for dinner and watched The Goonies which, get this, I’d never seen!  I was really into that scene where they found the pirate ship but less into everyone basically being in hysterics the entire movie.  It was making my brain hurt.

img_6544img_6539img_6543

Sunday was race day!  The difference between running a half marathon and running a 10K is sort of crazy to me.  Joey was running long distances back to back days every weekend for months and I basically did nothing except my usual weekly running and a few 5 milers here and there.  I sort of felt like a fraud amidst all the hard working half marathoners!  Joey wanted to do it in an hour and 42 minutes but ended up zooming in in one hour 39 minutes and 44 seconds!!!  I’m so proud of him!  And not to discredit myself because I finished in 58:46.  Under an hour without even trying and it felt so good and easy!

My mom, sister, Wayne and Lori came and then we all went to Acova for brunch afterward.  Guys, I really really like this place for being close to our house, being open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch and delivering on taste every time!  Not to mention it’s got plenty of space and hasn’t ever been crazy busy.  My breakfast tacos were LEGIT.  The rest of the day involved naps, more puppy walking, lunch prep, watching Hotel Transylvania and leftovers for dinner.  This weekend was such a good one!