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! ♥



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!






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.


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!


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.


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 ♥


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’.


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!

Thanksgiving Weekend: Top 15 Moments

What day is it??

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been off of work for the past 4 1/2 days and I’ve lost all sense of time.  I kinda feel like I’m back in school and have been on Thanksgiving break.  And I kinda like that feeling.  In other words, I’m not ready to go back to work tomorrow.  Anyone else?

I feel like so much family, food and fun went on this weekend, so I won’t bore you with a play by play.  Instead let’s recap the top 15 moments.  In no particular order:

1. Thanksgiving prep on Wednesday.

I made clover rolls on Wednesday evening and finished them off on Thursday morning, but they came together really easily and relatively quickly.  Relatively, because when you’re working with yeast and it has to rise, it can’t ever be that quick.

2. Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot.

On Wednesday night we got an email from the race director saying he had gone out to California and personally driven the race shirts back to Colorado only to discover that the design had never been printed on them!  So yes, there were a few minor races glitches and the wind blowing against us for the entire 3rd mile wasn’t my favorite, but otherwise it was a nice little race.

3. Realizing we forgot to make a dish 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave for Thanksgiving #1.

As we were running through the list of things we needed to bring in the car before leaving, I basically screamed “the brussel sprouts!!”  Luckily, we had chopped them up the night before and it took all of 10 minutes to finish the dish.  Gotta love doing those kinds of things on important holidays 🙂

4. Thanksgiving meal #1.

Joey’s mom aced the turkey this year!  I’m not a huge fan of turkey and honestly it’s my least favorite thing on the Thanksgiving table, but it was so good that it was the first thing I cleared from my plate.  Oh look, brussel sprouts.

5. Getting to eat the clover rolls.

Mmm, buttery.

These turned out great.  There’s nothing like warm, fresh, homemade bread, is there?  Okay, I promise to stop talking about the rolls now.

6. Spending time with Joey’s side of the family.

I could basically sum it up by saying there was (too much) football, moonshine, slow-motion watching of a certain TV commercial and that awesome Kraft turkey.

7. Thanksgiving #2.

Joey’s plate always looks the best.  Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be right without mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and a home-cooked meal made by my mom.  I have such fond memories of my mom cooking on Thanksgiving.  Our celebrations might have been small, but they were always special to me.

I’m happy to report that not a thing has changed.  Except there’s a few more people and I love my mom’s stuffing even more.  I didn’t even think that was possible.

8. Spending time with my family.

Okay, so maybe my nephew was bouncing off the walls and driving my brother insane and Andi didn’t want to stop barking and the men decided to watch Monster’s Inc. by themselves, but I love spending time with that crazy bunch.  After my brother and co. left we settled down to watch Casino Royale because my family is all into James Bond after seeing Skyfall last weekend.  It was such a relaxing, albeit slightly violent, end to a great Thanksgiving.

9. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It was as silly and embarrassing as ever!  I just love those cheesy Broadway performances and all the awkward lip-syncing.  Why can’t the artists on the floats actually sing their songs??  Also, I’m kind of scared for the future of music after listening to some of those younger singers.

10. Christmas ornament painting.

Joey and I did this once a few years ago and haven’t done it since, despite thinking it was tons of fun.  Turns out getting lost in concentration while painting intricate lines and shapes and listening to weird conversations going on around you really is that fun.  Plus I’m super excited to see how these turn out.  I may have also got a parking ticket while we were painting.  Definitely not a top moment.

11.  Putting up our Christmas tree.

I tried to convince Joey that while he might be allergic to real trees, I’m allergic to fake ones.  It didn’t work, so fake tree it is.  Anything decked out in pretty lights can’t be that bad though, right?

12. Impulse buy.

We were at the mall for an hour yesterday and I managed to buy two things… for myself.  Wow, I really suck at this Christmas giving thing.  Anyways, See’s lollypops totally remind me of my childhood and upon seeing them at the mall, I instantly knew I needed a box.  Life is so much happier now.

13. This sky.

Oh my god.

There was no shortage of pictures of this sunset on Instagram yesterday.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought it was breathtaking.

14. Dinner with friends at Steuben’s in Denver.

I truly think Denver is such a cool town.  Maybe one day I’ll live there, we’ll see.  For now, I’m totally content to visit its swanky restaurants every now and then.  Steuben’s is like an upscale diner with classic but fancied-up comfort food.  And also $10 cocktails.  Apparently.

15. Sunday morning cinnamon rolls.

I used this Alton Brown recipe and did everything but bake them last weekend.  After the second rise, I wrapped the dish in aluminum foil and plastic wrap and stuck them in the freezer.  I took them out and put them in the fridge on Thursday night so they could thaw and then all I had to do was bake them this morning.  They turned out perfectly!  I totally recommend this recipe.

Okay, I guess that was in a particular chronological order.  So I guess that makes it Sunday night.  How depressing!  I truly hope you all had an equally long, relaxing and fun holiday weekend.


How was your Thanksgiving celebration?

What else did you do this weekend?

Do you watch the Thanksgiving parade?