The Adventure Starts Here: December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Bye 2011!

This New Year's Eve, Chris and I decided to have a nice relaxing night.  I was very happy for this considering that we've been very busy this month, but especially this last week of December.  It is always busy for us between Christmas and New Year's with family get togethers and celebrating Chris' birthday and this year was no different.  I had to work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday that week, but Chris was off on vacation.  Thankfully he got a lot of errands and chores done for me while he was home :)

Tuesday night, Chris picked me up at work and we drove to Weehawken.  Every year the Flinns have a Cousins' Party... since Chris' dad is one of 8 kids there are lot of aunts and uncles and cousins there and is always a good time.  It was pouring Tuesday night, so that combined with the normal traffic made it so that we didn't get to the party until 6:45.  The party had started at 2 today, so by the time we got there most of the fun had already taken place.  Thankfully they warmed us up plates of yummy food, we gave Angela her gift (and Chris got his), gave his Gram the Shutterfly Calendar, and sang Happy Birthday to all the December Birthdays.  Tuesday was also Chris Sr.'s 60th Birthday so we made a bigger deal about his Birthday!  

 Wednesday night we met Chris' friend Craig and his girlfriend Jenny for dinner at Chilli's to celebrate Chris' Birthday.   We had planned to go bowling afterwards but when we got there we found out there were leagues going on.  Since Jenny and I both had to work the next day we really couldn't wait around for the leagues to finish so we decided to take a rain check.  I'm so glad we were at least able to meet up with them for dinner.

Thursday night, Chris and I drove down to Warren to my parents' house.  My cousin Dixon and his family were down visiting and I hadn't seen them since my Grandma passed away in 2009 and Chris has never met them.  We came down for dinner and it was really nice to catch up with them and get to know their girls, Alexia and Sophia.  I'm so glad we were able to get a picture with them before we went home!

I took the day off from work on Friday since I had one day left and it was Chris' Birthday... he turned 34 this year!  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday... originally it was tickets to a Rangers game, but since the Giants may make it to the playoffs he's decided to hold off on getting tickets since he'd rather go to the play-off game if they make it!  We discussed ideas on what to do on his actual birthday and we finally decided to go the NYC to see the tree, walk around, and go to dinner.  Traffic was horrible, the crowds were insane, and at many times we wished we hadn't gone in and contemplated going home, but in the end we got to see the pretty decorations, got some nice pictures, and had a very delicious dinner.  I'm very glad we went in and braved the crowds!

I hope everyone had an amazing 2011 and a happy new year!  I can't wait to see what 2012 will bring!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Santa was very good to all of us this year :)  As I posted before, my parents got me and Chris a new camera for Christmas and let us have it early.  I was so glad because as a result I was able to get some pretty cool shots this year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Chris and I got up early and headed back to my parents' house to see the kids open their gifts.  Santa came and was very generous.  We had fun opening gifts from each other and then playing with everything.  I was the designated paparazzi and was on the floor most of the time trying to get great action shots.  Grandma, Grandpa, David, and Kaitlyn went to church.  We stayed home with Trisha and Matthew since he was still sick with pneumonia.  We then had a nice lunch and had fun just relaxing and playing.

Kaitlyn asked for drums for Santa... she loved them! 

Matthew loved his ball pit  

The Barbie Cash Register was a hit... Chris was great and played store with all afternoon. 

Grandma and Grandpa got Kaitlyn an American Girl Doll... 
she named her Kaitlyn and put on her new ballerina outfit! 

 One of Kaitlyn's favorite gifts was her Beauty and the Beast Tea Cart... 
thanks Grandpa and Uncle Chris for putting it together (despite the lack of detailed instructions!)

That afternoon we said good bye to the Freels and headed over to the Flinns.  Kaitlyn was cute and was saying Goodbye MeghanChris (we have become one word now) and saying "See you later crocodile".  We had to explain that it was "See you later alligator" and "In a while crocodile".  It was nice to have her waving to us at the door as we drove away.  We will definitely miss those kids!

We had a really nice afternoon with the Flinns... it was nice to see his parents, Justin, Aunt Doreen, and JoAnn.  We all exchanged gifts, watched some TV, and then had a nice family dinner.   It was a big change of pace from my parents' house where kids are running around and constantly playing with toys that often require make believe.  Instead we got to relax and have adult conversation... and everyone calmly opened gifts rather than seeing who could tear off wrapping paper faster.   At dinner, we didn't have to cut up anyone else's meat or have plastic cups with lids on them.  While Christmas at each family was very different they were VERY fun in their own ways.

 The Flinns got me the black Longchamp bag I asked for :)

Once again I made a personalized calendar for The Flinns on Shutterfly 

Chris' Dad loved the gift card we got him... for his new favorite restaurant in Morristown 

Chris loves his jelly beans :) 

Christmas this year was a lot of fun.  I'm so glad we were able to see all our family and spend time with each.  I love it when we get to relive the joy of Christmas and Santa through our niece and nephew's eyes.  As we get older Christmas loses it's magic and is more about just spending time with the ones you love.   It was really cool when Kaitlyn (and then Matthew) was born so that we can once again get really excited about Christmas and all the fun traditions that we grew up with.

We hope everyone had an amazing Christmas...  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas Eve with the Freels

I won't post all my pictures because I posted a lot on Facebook, but here's a recap of our Christmas Eve and a few of my favorite pictures...

Christmas Eve Morning Chris and I met my family at Picture People at the Bridgewater Mall.  This is the first time since last Christmas that Luke and David were home at the same time.  Since that happens so infrequently we decided to use this opportunity to get a family picture taken.  The last professional photo we had was at my wedding, but Matthew had not arrived yet.  We had a great girl taking the pictures and she even got Matthew to smile... not an easy task as Matthew is a pretty serious kid.  We were able to get a whole family shot, one of my parents with their grandkids, a family shot for David, Trisha, and the kids, and a picture of me and Chris.  Here's the result of the family picture framed and on the wall at home...

The rest of the day we relaxed, played with the kids, and decorated cookies for Santa, all while Mom prepared our Christmas Eve Feast!

I love this photo for many reasons... they both look so relaxed 
and there aren't many photos for Kaitlyn with her Uncle Luke!

The day we also surprised my mom with an early gift.  I don't want to say it's a Christmas gift because it was just replacing something that she already had... but it kind of was a "Christmas Miracle" (to quote Elmo's Christmas Countdown).  The story goes... my mom had this cheese grater for a really long time and has had a few over the years as each got old and needed to be replaced.  It suctions to the counter and then you just put the bowl underneath and can easily shred the cheese by just turning the handle.  Since the Freels love cheese, this was a lifesaver.  Well over the years it got harder and harder to find this exact model.  She even tried different versions but none ever made the cut.  Well when I got married she decided to give me her cheese grater thinking that she'd be able to find a replacement for herself somewhere.  This was not an easy task.  So Chris decided to go on a mission to find the beloved Cheese Grater.  He finally found it online being sold on the Bed Bath and Beyond equivalent... in Switzerland!  It took a while to ship (and extra shipping costs), but we were able to get her a brand new one... Mom was super surprised and loved it!  I also love that I have the new camera that takes rapid fire continuous shots so we could capture her immediate reaction!

Christmas Eve dinner was great.  Mom made turkey and all the usual sides and I made tilapia and shrimp fried rice.  We decided to add these dishes to the menu because Luke is trying to eat more vegetarian now, but the dishes were a hit with everyone... even the meat eaters :)

After dinner we acted out the Nativity... our annual tradition.  Earlier that day we asked Kaitlyn who everyone should be.  Right away she said she was going to be Mary and Chris was going to be Joseph (she really loves Chris... one of the reasons is cause he's always willing to play with her).  She told me I could be the angel.  We asked her what Daddy should be... "a cow", then grandpa... "a camel"!  This made us crack up laughing... very demanding roles they were given.  Then Grandma, Mommy, Matthew, and Luke got to be wisemen... she said that there could be four instead of the usual three.   The nativity was a lot of fun and we enjoyed singing Christmas songs as well.

It was getting late so after that the kids got in their PJs, Kaitlyn picked out some cookies to leave for Santa, and we tried to get a shot of the two kids together.  This is not easy since we have to get Kaitlyn looking at the camera and Matthew not trying to run away.  We finally decided that this photo was the best and represented their personalities.

 Then it was off to bed for the kids and Chris and I went home.  We left my parents and David and Trisha to be Santa's helpers... I heard it was a late night!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Our early Christmas gift!

For Christmas this year my parents got me and Chris a fancy camera... the Nikon D5100 to be exact.  We also got some cool extra lenses.  I have been getting really into taking pictures the last few years so we decided that we would finally like to graduate to the "big leagues".  Since they knew I'd (we'd) like to use this camera on Christmas they let us have it early.  So this week I will be spending a lot of my free time figuring out the camera and taking lots of practice shots.  Any tips are welcome :)

December (the first half)

I just realized I hadn't posted anything about what Chris and I have been up to in December so far.  We had my work holiday party... another excuse to dress up.

We also went to Marlaina's Christmas party this year...

High School buds... me with Sarah and Marlaina 

The Gift Exchange got pretty funny... The Situation Snuggie and Ninja Turtle Cloak

At work the women threw Katie a baby shower.  She is expecting twin girls the beginning of 2012 so we all wanted to surprise her with a shower during lunch.  I made cupcakes for dessert, we brought in sandwiches and a fruit platter, and had fun opening gifts.  

I was able to find these fondant cake toppers on Etsy... everyone loved them! 

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