Birthdays, recents, randoms, and resolutions.

Kevin had a birthday! It was a Monday so he had to work until about three but I think he still had a good day. We started out the morning with smoothies.  His work people took him to lunch at Los Cuates.  He was able to come home a little early and take a little nap while Ava was napping too.  Then we just hung out.  Ava and I made him Thin Mint brownies (from a box) which we had with ice cream after dinner.  Dinner was food his parents picked up Pars (Mediterranean cuisine) and brought it to our house.  We did presents and then bedtime for Ava and Owen.  Monday night football would have been on, so I’m sure we checked in on the game.  Kevin is just the best and I love celebrating him any chance I get.

I also had a birthday.  I felt lots of love – texts, Facebook posts, phone calls, etc.  Owen started off the gift giving by sleeping two four hour stretches overnight, plus a shorter stretch in the early morning hours.  Kevin got us breakfast burritos from our favorite spot.  Then he had to go to work and I hung out with Ava and Owen.  Sue came over for most of the morning.  Kevin made us delicious chocolate peanut butter smoothies for lunch (decadent but light and healthy enough to feel good after our massive burritos). Ava and Owen napped simultaneously for a bit.  He took a few good naps, including a cuddle nap with me, through the day and she took one really long nap in the afternoon.  I read my book and did enough around the house to make myself feel productive.  Kevin brought home roses and a beautiful card and an amazing spa package gift certificate.  His parents came over and we all went to dinner at Los Cuates.  I had steak fajitas.  Owen and Ava were both really good little kiddos in the restaurant.  We went home and had ice cream with Kevin’s parents who surprised me with my dream Coach purse and a pretty pearl bracelet as a gift.  The kids went to bed well and Kevin and I got to cuddle on the couch in front of the fireplace in our room.  Owen slept a four hour stretch to end the day.  It was such a nice day!

I actually didn’t have ice cream on my birthday because I’m doing a no sweets challenge with my sister this month.  It has not been too hard to resist the sweets because I made it a point to borderline overdo it in late December.  I was snacking on candy and cookies basically all day and now – dare I say – it feels good to NOT be eating that stuff.

Lisa and I are doing a year long challenge.  We each chose six things and then assigned one challenge category to each month.  Here they are, broken out:

January:  No sweets
February: We set dollar amounts and are limiting discretionary spending for the month so no going overboard with clothes shopping, Amazon purchases, eating out, etc.
March:  Send a card to a friend or family member each week of the month.
April:  10,000 steps per day each day of the month
May: We’ll each choose a book for the other person to read.
June: Drink half of body weight (or more) in ounces of water each day.
July:  Do a 30 day fitness challenge of some type (squats, lunges, plank, whatever).
August:  No eating out (I think Lisa’s going to try to do no eating out – I told her there was no way I could do a month of no eating out – hello, we eat Dion’s at least once a week – so I’m limited to one eating out event per week)
September:  No alcohol (I won’t drink at all; Lisa is limited to one drink a week – girlfriend loves her beer like I love my Dion’s)
October:  No fried food
November:  One big DIY project or two little DIY projects
December:  Try one new recipe a week.

Speaking of recipes, I had Dinner: A Love Story: It all starts at the family table on my Christmas wish list and got it.  It has soooo many good recipes that I can’t wait to try.  I basically read it cover to cover.

What else do I want out of 2018?  I want to be more focused – whatever it is I’m doing.  If I’m hanging out with Ava and Owen, I want to really focus on being with them.  I want focused, quality time with Kevin.  I want to accomplish things around the house without getting distracted by other things that need to get done.  I want to find a balance between keeping the house tidy (because it seriously stresses me out when things are cluttered) and just letting go and letting Ava and Owen enjoy their play spaces.  I want to get a lot of fresh air and I want to be physically active but not be a slave to working out x number of times a week.

What do you want to accomplish in 2018? What’s something random and recent in your life?

 

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Merry merry merry.

I don’t often blog, but when I do I recap every little detail.  Buckle up.

Lisa took all of the good pictures in this post; I took the sub-par ones. 

Christmas 2017 was a wonderful one. We put up our tree the weekend before Christmas and Ava loved decorating. She really got into the ornaments and was very good about not touching them or the tree.

We have a tradition of gifting Ava and now Owen each with a pair of Christmas pajamas, a Christmas/winter book, and an ornament. They get to open these gifts on the day we decorate the tree. This year Ava got Llama Llama Jingle Bells, which she has been coveting for months, and Owen got That’s Not My Snowman. I ordered matching ornaments for them from this Etsy shop. The ornaments are very cute but I kind of regret going with the wood because one had already begun to split.

Kevin went to El Modelo on December 22 at 7:30 AM to pick up 4 quarts of posole and 2 dozen tamales for our annual Christmas eve dinner. He naturally also got us a couple of chorizo breakfast burritos because yum.

On the evening of the 23rd we loaded up in the car and drove around looking at Christmas lights and decorations. It was a fun start to a new tradition. I’m excited for Ava and Owen to be old enough to drink hot cocoa while we drive around.

On Christmas eve day I wrapped most of the gifts while Kevin tried to get Ava to nap (she seemed to be feeling off that day and they wound up taking a cuddle nap in the glider in her room) and Owen sat in the safari chair, staring at the Christmas tree. We started putting out our luminarias at around 4:00. We have ordered 8 dozen luminarias for the past few years and that seems to work out really well for us. My parents and sister got to our house around 4:15 and were a huge help in putting out the luminarias.

We started heating up the posole and tamales at around 4:45 and I made homemade tortillas. My aunt Jewell came over around 5:00 and she and my mom set to work shelling a bag of walnuts that someone at work gifted us. We don’t have a nutcracker so they used brute force and a pipe wrench. :)  My stepdad cooked the tortillas on the cast iron skillet while I rolled them out. Kevin’s parents and a family friend came over before 5:30 and once the food was all ready, we ate. It was so tasty, as usual. Owen was a good little guy in the Mamaroo. Craig and Sue had brought biscochitos for dessert and Aunt Jewell brought brownies. We were all full by 7:00. We took Ava up to bed at that time and she fell asleep quickly. Mom, Dale, Lisa, Kevin, and I watched a 2015 dog show that was randomly on TV. And bedtime came around 9:00 for all of us. It was a lovely, still night and I wish Kevin and I would have walked around the neighborhood to see the luminarias, but we didn’t know how Ava would sleep since she’d seemed off all day (she slept perfectly from 7:30-7:45, btw) and Owen has us up every three hours, so sleep seemed more important at the time.

Kevin and I woke up around 5:45 on Christmas morning and I fed Owen. He settled back into his bassinet and Kevin and I sat in the sitting area of our master suite. Kevin started the fire in our fireplace and we exchanged our Christmas gifts to one another and just relaxed and cuddled in front of the fire. It was a lovely way to start what was certain to be a busy day.

We went downstairs around 7:15 and my mom and sister helped me get this lemon and cream cheese croissant French toast casserole in the oven. We also made some bacon and hash browns. Ava woke up around 7:45 and started playing immediately. We took tea.

Kevin made up the herb rub for our prime rib and then went to his parents house to get it in the oven around 8:15. The casserole, bacon, and hash browns were delicious and Kevin and his parents came over around 9:15. They ate and then we tackled the mountain of gifts!

Ava was so cute. She opened a puzzle from my parents first and would have been perfectly content to play with that for hours. Kevin and Lisa had to coax her into opening more gifts! Eventually she got into it and would say, “What could it be?,” as she was opening each one.

Owen ate for a bit and then he was so content and cheerful and sweet, just sitting in the safari chair, looking at the tree as we all opened gifts around him. He was such a good boy all day!

Kiki made herself scarce, but Rue came out to find a comfy spot amongst the wrapping paper.

We finished up around 11:30 and hit the ground running with bread dough making, getting ready, vegetable prepping, encouraging Ava to take a little quiet time, etc. Before we knew it, it was 1:00 and time to head to Craig and Sue’s for lunch. There were 13 adults and Ava and Owen at lunch. It was so, so good and wonderful company. Owen napped through lunch which was great because it allowed me to eat way too much prime rib. :) Dessert was frozen cherry pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate silk pie, and apple pie. No one went hungry, that’s for sure!

Eventually the party broke up and everyone headed their separate ways. It was such a nice day with the people I love most.

Happy birthday, Jesus!

How was your holiday? 

That’s a wrap {November}.

Links to Love:

  1. Kevin showed me this and it’s hilarious – farting in public with attitude.
  2. The other day I feel down the rabbit hole that is subscription boxes.  The mother load can be found on Cratejoy.  I found one for basically everyone I need to buy Christmas gifts for and a few I want for myself.
  3. The cheapest and most expensive states in terms of real estate.  New Mexico is somewhere in the middle.
  4. Did you find any awesome deals for Black Friday or Cyber Monday?  (Which are both basically a week long now.  Consumerism.  No joke.)  I may have indulged in a little shopping on the Gap and Nordstrom websites.

 

Making Memories:

  1. We hosted Thanksgiving!  It was a lot of fun to have my extended family and Kevin’s parents and their close friend over for the day.  Ava was like, “Whoa – what’s going on here?” because we usually lead a very quiet life and there were 30 adults and 15 kids in her space, but she did great and we appreciated not having to travel!  The food was great – (we do potluck so it’s not like I have to cook for all those people when it’s at my house) and the weather was fantastic.  We have a pretty big space and a good layout in our house for entertaining, but it still would have been crowded indoors if the weather was bad.  We were thankful for a clear day in the 60’s!
  2. Kevin went to a 30/80 party for a judge he formerly clerked for. The Judge was celebrating 30 years on the bench and his 80th birthday. He’s an exemplary man and Kevin loved working with him and learning from him.
  3. Owen and I went to a friend’s baby shower and I had the chance to catch up with some friends from my elementary school days. I really enjoyed it.
  4. Owen started melting our hearts with social smiles this month and Ava continues to make us so proud as she learns to pull up and stand and balance in the brace. We sure do love these kids of ours.

Bookish:

  1. In November I finished Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (5 stars – really recommend this one.  I listened to it, but think it would read really well too.), Chestnut Street by one of my favorites – Maeve Binchy (4 stars), and I listened to The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell (3 stars).
  2. I just downloaded Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bumni Laditan but haven’t started listening to it yet. I am a few pages into Do You Come Here Often? by Alexandra Potter. I started Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly last month but it was due back to the library and had holds on it so I couldn’t extend it. Maybe I’ll pick it back up someday. I have A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett going on my phone/iPad but haven’t made much progress.  I also am working on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Lots of book irons in the fire.
  3. Kevin finished listening to Vengeance by Newt Gingrich and gave it 4 stars. The series is set up for a fourth book and he said it’s starting to get a little ridiculous.
  4. Kevin is currently reading Naked by David Sedaris and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership.  
  5. Ava has been loving The Little Blue Truck and That’s Not My Owl. 

Challenges:

  1. We had our pediatrician refer us for an ultrasound to get Owen’s hips checked out and it did show that a slight issue with his left hip.  We got him in to see Ava’s pediatric orthopedist two days after the first ultrasound and he ordered a second one to review himself. He agreed that there was an issue and put Owen in a Pavlik harness, which he’ll be in until the hip normalizes.  Because they grow so rapidly at this young age, hopefully it’ll normalize quickly and we are sooooo grateful that it is being addressed now rather than when he’s 18 months old, like Ava was when we found out about her hip dysplasia.  But it was still a blow and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely overwhelmed by the thought of having a toddler in a brace and an infant in a harness.  We’re making it though!

Sustenance:

1. I think the only new recipe I tried in November was this spaghetti bolognese. It was fine but not something that blew me away.

How was your November?

A couple of thirty-something birthdays.

I turned 32 a few days ago and Kevin turned 33 back in December.  The birthday celebrations for each were fitting for thirty-something…low key and based around food and home – two of our favorite things.

Kevin’s birthday fell on a Sunday and Ava and I insisted he open his presents from us right away.  (She had her personal assistant – me – get him a photo that we know he likes for a frame in his office.  I got him a few things including this steak brand, which he really likes and I highly recommend as a fun, unique gift for the grill master in your life.)

We headed to Flying Star for breakfast, which was very tasty and filling, as always.  Then we went home and hung out and played for awhile.  Ava went down for a nap right around the time the Broncos started playing and each of those things occupied us for a couple of hours.  We grabbed coffee in the afternoon and just relaxed at home.  At around 5:00 we picked Craig and Sue up and went to dinner at Bravo.  Ava was a little charmer, as she tends to be in restaurants.

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That little lady loves dining out.  We got gelato after dinner and paused for pictures at the big Christmas tree.

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Then it was home.  Kevin enjoyed his birthday and we mega-enjoyed celebrating him.

The following weekend we traveled to Denver for a Broncos game; the tickets were an awesome and much appreciated gift to Kevin from his parents.  You can read about our adventures in this post.

My birthday rounded out the holiday season on Wednesday.  Every time we said the word birthday, Ava would giggle.  “Is it Ava’s birthday?”  Giggle-giggle-giggle.  “Is it Daddy’s birthday?”  Giggle-giggle-giggle.  “No!  It’s Mama’s birthday!”  Giggle-giggle-giggle.  She was really excited to talk about birthdays.  Kevin picked up burritos from our favorite burrito spot.  Bacon, Christmas (that means the burritos had bacon and both red and green chile).  Kevin went to work and Ava and I hung out.  We read books, played in her kitchen, did some laundry…  At one point we were hanging out in her room and I was sitting in her bear chair, talking on the phone.  She threw all the clothes out of one of her drawers and started rolling around in the clothes.  It was completely random and hilarious.

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She wore herself out and took an hour and a half crib nap.  Which, I like to think, was her gift to me.  I finished Truly Madly Guilty while she napped, and read a bit on Team of Rivals.  When she woke up she helped me get ready for work and we cuddled a bit.  My favorite.

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Kevin brought home Blake’s burgers and fries for lunch because there’s no time like age 32 to continue clogging those arteries.  I went to work and had a productive day.  At work they surprised me with a cake and bouquet of flowers and a card.  It was lovely.

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I headed home around 5:00 and hung out with Ava while Kevin whipped up my requested dinner:  green chile spinach alfredo with chicken and rotini.  It was so very delicious.  Craig and Sue came over for the meal and fantastic, heartfelt gifts and cards.  It was a really nice time.  The card Kevin gave me was specially chosen for me by Ava earlier that day and she had basically held on to it all afternoon.  She didn’t want to let it go at the store when the clerk needed to ring it up and she’d carried it with her on her walk around the neighborhood with Kevin.  At one point on the walk she tired of it, I guess, and flung it over the side of her stroller.  Fortunately Kevin was paying attention and saved it.  Sue had brought cupcakes made from my favorite cake recipe that was passed down to her from a friend.  They had a delicious buttercream frosting.  After Craig and Sue left, we put Ava to bed and just enjoyed the remainder of the evening.  I was floored by all the sweet birthday wishes on Facebook.  It was also really fun to hear my phone buzz excitedly as text messages floated in through the day.  I love the people in my life!

And those were the birthdays.  32 and 33 are proving to be great ages, thus far!

Do you like big birthday celebrations? 

Christmas recap.

Christmas 2016 was a lovely one. Ava – at 14 months old – was old enough to realize that something special was going on, but too young to understand what exactly that special something was. She basically ignored the tree and we didn’t put the presents under it until Christmas Eve, so she couldn’t get into too much trouble with bags and boxes and tissue paper.

My mom and sister came to town on Christmas Eve and Craig and Sue and my great aunt and great uncle and a family friend came over for dinner. We served up tamales and posole which Kevin had ordered from our traditional spot. This is the fourth consecutive year we have done this with basically this same group of people and we love the tradition.

Earlier that afternoon Kevin, Craig, my mom, and my sister had set up the luminarias around our house. They were especially beautiful this year and a lot of our neighbors set them up as well so the neighborhood looked lovely. After dinner my mom, Kevin, and I walked a few streets in the neighborhood, admiring the lights and chatting with a few neighbors we saw out.

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When we got home from our walk, Elf #1 (Lisa) was hard at work, setting up the little play kitchen we’d bought Ava for Christmas. Mom, Kevin, and I dove in to help and it was quite an undertaking! I think it took us about 3.5 hours to get that kitchen operational.

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We are so grateful that Lisa and Mom were there to help. Otherwise Santa and Mrs. Claus probably would have moved the million parts into the garage and sent Rudolph to deliver it in the spring.

The next morning Ava woke up at her regular 6:30 and Kevin brought her into our room. While she nursed he brought our gifts to each other and her up into our room and turned on the fireplace. It was so cozy! We started to open gifts near the fire but Ava was a girl on the go and promptly crawled into the bathroom area. So we opened a few presents in there. :) Marginally less cozy, but she was content dropping things in the tub, so everyone wins really.

We moved downstairs and my mom and Lisa had woken up. Nibbled on a bit of food for breakfast and then moved to the gift area. Ava loved her play kitchen and it made our trials the night before seem worthy. Her current favorite activity is to open the cabinet doors and shut the cabinet doors and put things in the cabinets and take things out of the cabinets. She discovered the phone that came with the kitchen and really enjoys holding it up to us and grunting an urgent grunt to let us know there’s a call. We take the phone, hold it up to our ear, and have a pretend conversation. She gets a real kick out of it and let me tell you, that phone has been ringing off the hook since Christmas.

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Kevin went to his parents’ house to start the prime rib and when he got back home Craig and Sue came over and we began opening gifts. Then Dale (my stepdad) arrived and the gang was all there. It was a lovely, joyful time and while I know it’s not at all about the gifts, I’m always humbled by the generousity and thoughtful love and care that goes into the selection and exchanging of gifts.

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Kiki laid low all day, but Rue hung out with us. The cats got a few new toys and a bag of treats, but Rue was most interested in the boxes.

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Craig and Sue left to tend the prime rib and the rest of us finished getting ready and napped (Ava) and watched John Wayne on AMC and started preparing some of the side dishes. We went to Craig and Sue’s and met up with the other lunch guests. The food was all so delicious – prime rib, green chile mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and kale, two types of bread (including my favorite rolls that my mom makes), green beans… Such a hearty meal! We had frozen cherry pie and Craig’s sugar cookies for dessert. No one left hungry!

Mom, Dale, and Lisa hit the road and Kevin, Ava, and I headed home ourselves. Ava was too wired to take a second nap so we basically just hung out and played and fielded the phone calls coming into her play kitchen. :) She was a busy little bear.

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It was a lovely holiday and I am so grateful for Jesus and that God blessed me with this family.

How was your holiday? 

A weekend away a week ago.

Do we drive or fly?

That was the question Kevin and I asked each other for the months leading up to our long weekend trip to Denver that was last weekend.  Ultimately we decided to drive and now – with a week’s worth of hindsight in my rear view mirror – we do not regret that decision.  Yes, we had to sing many, many versus of Row Row Row Your Boat and Tideo, but considering it was around 14.5 hours round trip, we can’t complain.

We started out at 9 AM on Friday.  Ava fell asleep around forty-five minutes into the drive and Kevin and I easily got into our audiobook – Duplicity.  Ava woke up after a solid 2+ hour nap, right as we were getting into a small town on I-25.  We stopped to eat, stretch our limbs, and fuel up, then hit the road again.  At first Ava was a bit annoyed with us for sticking her back in the carseat, especially when we realized 30 minutes after starting back on the road that I’d forgotten to nurse her and so we pulled over as soon as we could to get Starbucks and feed her.  After that she fell back asleep pretty quickly and woke up as we were getting into Denver.  5:00 traffic on a Friday afternoon annoyed all of us a bit, but we made it to Kevin’s parents’ place and there was beef stroganoff almost ready and we all forgot the long hours in the car pretty quickly.

The thing I was most nervous about going into this trip was sleep.  I love my sleep.  I need my sleep.  I covet sleep.  And I was worried that a few nights in a new environment was going to completely derail my perfect little night sleeping baby.  (Fear that any future babies will be bad sleepers is the number one reason Ava may be an only child.)  I’m not gonna lie – they weren’t the best three nights of sleep we’ve gotten, but they certainly weren’t the worst.  The combination of four hours worth of daytime sleep, a strange place, and the new bed (on the trip we used a travel crib that we normally corral her in when we’re getting ready in the morning) caused her to really fight falling asleep.  Eventually I got her to fall asleep – but she was in the adult bed.  I told Kevin we’d try co-sleeping and that worked for a hot minute.  Then Ava woke up, sat up, and was very excited to be having a slumber party with us.  The problem was that she didn’t especially feel like slumbering.  How do co-sleepers do it??  Kevin stood up, cradled her, and rocked her a bit until she fell asleep.  Then he set her in the travel crib and immediately laid down on the (hardwood!) floor next to her when she started to fuss.  His proximity calmed her down and she slept pretty well the remainder of the night.  Kevin stayed on the floor for most of the night – father of the year – and I think he still slept better than I did.  It was just one of those nights – I was nervous about Ava waking up again, guilty that Kevin was on the floor while I was sprawled in the comfy bed, annoyed that I couldn’t sleep, etc.  Ugh.

But!  We all survived (Kevin’s shoulder just barely), and woke up to half a foot of snow.  It was beautiful!  Freezing – around 5 degrees.  But beautiful.  And the condo is so well insulated that the air conditioner was running inside, so cozy, cozy.  We had a nice breakfast – Sue and Craig had bought fruit, English muffins, peanut butter, so Ava got her regular breakfast, which I think she appreciated.

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We relaxed and played and went to Micci’s for lunch.  On the drive home, there was a minor incident involving Pearl (the car) and an icy road and a road sign pole, but the pole took the brunt of the damage and sacrificed itself to keep us from hitting another car, so all in all…whew.  Pearl has a slight scratch that you’d only notice if you knew to look for it and the pole is still standing – just at a bit more of an angle than before.  After lunch I managed to get Ava down for a crib nap and Kevin and I escaped to the Cherry Creek Mall.  I needed to get a couple of watch batteries and a few links taken out of a watch so it would fit better.  Kevin stopped by Art of Shaving and we wandered around.  We tromped home through the snow and found that Ava had woken up soon after we left so the nap had been quite short.  Boo.  More playing, relaxing, etc. and then we headed downtown to The Chophouse for dinner.  It was delicious – I had the prime rib, Kevin and Craig had the bone-in rib eye, Sue had the filet, Ava had sweet potato fries, cornbread, and a bit of everyone’s steak.  We made it home safely – the roads had not gotten any better as the sun went down.  Night two brought good sleep for all of us – Ava fought going to sleep once again, but once she finally surrendered, it was fine.  Craig and Sue’s couch in Denver has one long cushion, so Kevin brought that into our room and slept on it next to Ava.

On Sunday we had a relaxing morning and Ava cuddle napped with me for an hour and a half or so.  Craig went to pick up Panera and we ate that before bundling up and bidding Sue and Ava and Teddy adieu to head to the main event – the Broncos versus Patriots football game.  Tickets to the game were a generous birthday gift to Kevin from Craig and Sue.  Craig drove us to a friend’s house where we loaded up into his car and he drove us and Jana, another friend, to the light rail train station.  We took the train to the stadium and found our seats.  We were there 45 minutes or so before kick off, and because it was pretty cold, the stadium filled up slowly.  It was nice to have so few people there initially and we got to watch the teams warm up.

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We were in seats facing the sun and I didn’t mind at all the fact that I’d forgotten my sunglasses because it was downright comfy, despite the mercury sitting at about 20 degrees.  That blessed sun was a game changer.  Once it went down it got a little colder and the game was a bit disappointing.  It was awesome to see Tom Brady play in person though – he makes that quarterbacking thing look effortless.

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After the game we trekked back to the station and caught a train, disembarking and finding our friend waiting for us in his warm car.  He took us back to his house where we got into Craig’s car and he dropped us at the condo while he went to pick up Ollie’s (Chinese – some of our favorite food in Denver) for dinner.  Jana came over, Sue filled us in on the fun she, Ava, and Teddy had while we were at the game, and my feet eventually thawed from their game induced state of frozen.

I slept on the cushion next to Ava that night and we all slept well.  Just what we needed for the ride home the next day.  We left a little bit before Craig and Sue, but we all made it back to Albuquerque at around the same time.  Ava slept well from Denver to Raton, where we stopped for lunch, but she didn’t nap on the second half of the drive.  She grumbled a bit and we sang a lot of songs.  We were all giddy to be home!  We had a wonderful time with Craig, Sue, and Teddy, and it had been a great trip, but there is truly no place like home.  And we all missed Kiki and Rue.  They’d had a family friend stay with them, and they seemed a little disappointed to see us walk in that evening instead of her.  We tried not to take it personally.

Do you like road trips?  What’s the longest road trip you’ve taken?

A Thanksgiving sweekend.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love that it reminds me to be thankful of the many blessings in my life (really – shouldn’t every day be Thanksgiving in that respect?) and I love the family tradition that my mom and her siblings and their spouses have kept since my cousins and I were babies.  We get together every Thanksgiving and Easter and those are two of my favorite days of the whole year.  My extended family is so much fun.  My mom has three siblings and between the four of them there are 12 in my generation (I’m the oldest and the youngest is a decade younger than me).  Ava’s generation has…I don’t even know how many kids.  16?  She’s the second youngest thus far (wait – third youngest!  My cousin is expecting her fourth baby in a few months!) and the oldest two are in Kindergarten so I know that these cousins are going to grow up as close as me and my cousins did – if we do our job and keep bringing them together for holidays.

Anyway, Kevin and I downloaded a book on Audible and hit the road Thursday morning around 10:00.  Ava barely peeped during the whole drive – it aligned perfectly with her naptime.  We enjoyed our book, and it was just a great trip all around.  We got to my aunt and uncle’s house around 11:30 and started having fun with the fam.

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Ava loved exploring Dale and Gail’s huge house, we all enjoyed a lot of great food, and there was a great game of Squeak (basically group solitaire).  We did a mannequin challenge mid-game and that was really fun!  Here is a video I put together, showing off our mad mannequin skills:

We headed home around 4:00 – right around when Ava needed another nap – and she slept like a champ on the way home while Kevin and I listened to our book.

Friday we took it pretty easy in the morning.  Craig and Sue watched Ava for a few hours mid-day while Kevin and I ran some errands, met a friend of his for lunch, and took a nap.  Then we went to Craig and Sue’s where we decorated the Christmas tree and enjoyed some tasty creamy chicken soup.

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The evening included cuddles on the couch, football, and Andes mints for dessert.

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On Saturday morning I went for a pedicure and the remainder of the day was a relaxing one at home.  Lots of reading and football.  Ava took an amazing two hour crib nap mid-day.  We took a family walk – it was dreary and grey but not cold.  Saw some ducks.

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We picked up Dion’s for dinner, which was delicious.

Sunday we did our grocery shopping and Shawna dropped off some family photos she’d recently taken for us.  Ava took another great two hour crib nap (she feels sooooo good when she gets a great nap!  Especially in the crib.).  Mid-afternoon we turned on Louis Armstrong Pandora and started making our favorite beef stew.  It is so delicious and the time in the kitchen with Kevin reminded me how good we are at cooking together.  We’re so in sync – carefully working our way through different parts of a recipe and merging the finished products for a delicious meal.  I love cooking with Kevin.  His parents came over for dinner and it was a lovely evening.  Ava went to bed at 7:00, Kevin and I read and watched the Broncos game (so close!  Disappointing ending, for us anyway).  And that was the sweekend.

How was your Thanksgiving?  What is your favorite holiday?  Share your favorite cornbread recipe with me, please!  (I was disappointed in the one I used made to go with the beef stew.)