Dec 29, 2009

Christmas Day

Christmas Day....we made it through the holiday season without many tears. I only cried once on Christmas night! It was different to be away from family, but like I've said many times before, we had new traditions we started. Anyway...enough of the sentimental stuff. :)

Jarrod actually slept in until 6....he has such a hard time sleeping in, especially since he's up so early most days for work. So, he turned the TV on and we laid there watching TV. We got up and got the cinnamon rolls started around 7, since surprisingly, Gavin wasn't awake yet! This is what we saw out the front door. What a beautiful sunrise! And this is what we saw in the living room! Santa set the presents up so nicely for Gavin :)
So, these cinnamon rolls that I thought would become one of our I'm not so sure! First of all, the recipe I was using (from the Creating Post It Notes blog) was a bit confusing. I didn't notice until half way through that the steps on her blog and the print out recipe were different. So, I don't even know if I did it right. We definitely would need more cinnamon and sugar next time, and we would probably cut the recipe in half. We ended up with like 32 cinnamon rolls.
They were good, and the icing was so yummy that I decided I'm going to start making my own icing for cookies, etc. But, they weren't blow-me-away great like I was expecting. Plus, they whole process took about 3 hours (because we had to wait for the dough to rise, etc.) and it definitely would have been easier if I had a Kitchen Aid mixer.
So, on to the presents. Gavin woke up around 7:30. Jarrod laid with him on our bed until I was at a good stopping point with the rolls, and then we brought him out into the living room. I don't have any pictures of him opening gifts. We set the video camera up and just enjoyed the time opening gifts with him and not worrying about the camera. After all was opened, I took some shots.
It was so cute when we walked out and saw the table and chairs. He went right for them, saying, "Wow!" They belonged to Megan and me as kids, and then they were in my classroom for the past 4 years. He loved them! We sat him down and started opening. He did a really good job getting through the paper.
He liked the nesting blocks a lot. They have the alphabet on them, so it will be great for mommy to work on his ABCs with him!
This was definitely a favorite. Santa must know that Gavin had been playing drums on mama and daddy's mixing bowls and got him his own drum. He LOVES it!
And yet another musical instrument. He really like this, but I think the drum was liked a little more than the keyboard.

Taking another break at the table!
Yay! Bert and Ernie! Gavin's been walking around for weeks now saying, "Bert....Ernie....Where are you?" I guess he found them! :)

For those of you that know Jarrod well know that keeping surprises isn't something he's good at. Well, I'm very happy to say that he totally surprised me with two gifts this year. I told him many times not to get me anything, because of the camera he bought for me in November. So, I hadn't given him any ideas of what I wanted. He surprised me with a new grill pan (which I had said many times I'd like to have one day) and new dishes. Here's Gavin showing off one of the mugs.
Jarrod taking a Christmas afternoon nap with Shirley and Duncan (John and Erin's dog....we were dog sitting while they were in Long Island.)
Gavin picked this nutcracker out for Daddy at the store, and he loved it even more once Daddy opened it! He carried it around all day, pushed it around in his grocery cart, and just kept taking it off the shelf. We love it because it looks like a Buckeye football player. By the 26th, I had to do some minor surgery and super glue the football back on because Gavin had pulled it off, but it looks good as new!

We didn't cook at all on Christmas Day. I'd prepared a lot of snacks in the days before, so we just snacked all day - Beer Bread, Garlic Bacon dip, salsa, pinwheels, etc. It was around dinnertime, when things settled down, that I started to get homesick. Jarrod could tell I was getting upset, so he distracted me with two games of Rummy. We had a great time! And it was nice because it felt like home.
When it came time to put Gavin to bed, he tried to put the drum into his, sorry, honey! That's not going to fit between your crib slats.
So, one more rockstar song! :)

Then, he tucked into his bed easily, all snuggled up with Ernie on one side, and Dog Dog and Bert on the other. :) Sweet dreams, Bug!

Dec 28, 2009

Christmas Eve

Now that the holiday is over and we enjoyed the last several days together, I finally got pictures uploaded to the computer and can share. Of course, you know I take too many shots, so I decided to divide them up so I don't bore too many people. Today is devoted to Christmas Eve.

Jarrod got home from work around 2 on Christmas Eve and we got the roast ready. It looked delicious before even going into the oven. It was a learning experience though...I don't like my red meat as rare as Jarrod, so it took some work to get it to the right 'doneness.' And, it ended up being a little too fatty for my liking. But the flavor was great. Here's what the finished roadt looked like!

And our Christmas Eve dinner plate ~ roast, a veggie mix (green beans, carrots, and onions sauteed with garlic), mashed potatoes, and honey cornbread. Jarrod thought the cornbread was the best part. It really was delicious! You should try the Krusteaz brand of Honey Cornbread!
Gavin enjoying Christmas Eve dinner....which of course meant he ate nothing. :)
One of the traditions I want to start is a family picture on Christmas Eve in front of the tree. Of course, that meant that we had to rely on the self timer. I was wondering how it would work out, but surprisingly, we got this on the first shot! I was amazed :)

After the family picture, it was time to open stockings. Gavin loved his taxi car and play dough.

The slinky was another hit! Thank goodness for Target's Dollar Spot. That's where most of his stocking stuffers came from.
He loved Jarrod's candle that was in his stocking. Here he is trying to get Daddy to smell it!
He carried it around forever, smelling it, and picking at it with his fingernails.
Then, he got to open one gift. He opened the pajamas from Aunt Sandy so that he could wear them for Christmas night. One pair had monkeys on them, one pair had moose and Christmas trees. He opted to wear the moose PJs.

Shirley loved her stocking stuffer, too. It actually got thrown away the next day because we couldn't take anymore of the red rubber pieces all over the carpet!
Cuddling with mama before heading to bed! We finished Night at the Museum 2 before he went to bed, and surprisingly, Gavin watched most of the movie.

After Gavin went to bed, Jarrod and I watched some Friends episodes (of course!) before we headed to bed ourselves. It really was a nice Christmas Eve! Tomorrow I'll post about Christmas Day.

Dec 26, 2009

Two Christmas surprises

I'm just finishing up dinner on the 23rd when Erin calls. She tells me that she'd booked double massages for her and John, but he wasn't up for going, so she wanted to see if I was interested in taking his place so it didn't go to waste. Ummm....let me think about it...... YES!!!! So I got to relax with an hour long Swedish massage! Awesome surprise.

The next morning, I ran into Melon Bean to have Andrea make up a little basket to give to Erin to thank her for the massage. I walked in and she said she had something for me, but that it wasn't from her. Ok...I was confused. She hands me an envelope and tells me to open it. Inside is a gift certificate for Melon Bean made out to me, from Megan! She'd called into the store, and explained to Andrea that she lived in Ohio but wanted to buy a gift card for me. How awesome is that? It was a great surprise, and made my day!

I know you're eager to hear about our Christmas and see our pictures, but you'll have a wait a bit. I've been working hard to get all our pictures transferred to Shutterfly so I can finish our calendar for next year, so I haven't uploaded Christmas pictures yet. They're coming though....I promise!

Dec 24, 2009


Well, it's here! Christmas is upon us! This is a year of changes and firsts for us, and this will be my first Christmas away from home in 27 years! Yes, that makes me sad... But, as I've done with this entire move, I've tried to be positive and make the best of it. I hear often from my friends that they can't believe how busy I am here or how I'm always talking about someone new or something new. I tell them the same thing every time...I keep so busy because I have to! It is what has made this whole move doable. When we first learned about the move, I decided I can do one of two things. I can be miserable and constantly think about how much I miss home; or I can "bloom where I am planted," as Heidi told me. So, knowing we wouldn't be able to make it home for the holidays, I went on a mission to make the most of this time of the year and started asking everyone I knew about traditions they grew up with so that we could start our own family traditions. Here are the plans for us today and tomorrow:

Jarrod is working today, but will be home around 3 hopefully. We're making a roast for dinner, one of the firsts for us. We're going to make green beans, mashed potatoes, salad, and cornbread. To make it simple, we just bought an apple pie for dessert, but we're going to take it up a notch and top it with Dulce de Leche ice cream! Then, Gavin will get to open one gift tonight (which happens to be the PJs Aunt Sandy bought for him so he can sleep in new jammies for Christmas) and we'll do stockings.

Tomorrow, we're going to begin another tradition, or so I hope. We're going to make homemade cinnamon rolls. I've never claimed to be Betty Crocker, so let's just say I hope these turn out. It was quite an adventure in the grocery store trying to find yeast! I had no idea what it even looked like. We'll open gifts from Santa, and we're just going to relax, play with new toys, and eat snacks all day. I'm going to make a pizzeria cheeseball, my rainbow salsa, some pinwheels, beer bread and dip.

So, now on to the pictures. I thought we'd celebrate Christmas with a look at our tree and some of my favorite ornaments. The thing I love most about decorating our tree is that it really tells a story. We get an ornament for all the places we visit; we have personalized ornaments for all the places we've lived; ornaments are on the tree for all the big moments in our life together. And now, we'll have an ornament added every year for Gavin and any future children we have. Here are some of my favorites! One of many wedding ornaments we have. I love this one because I love that picture of the two of us!
An ornament from one of our stops on our Alaskan cruise honeymoon. Our first house! I love this ornament because it was our first Christmas in our home, and we had just found out that we were expecting our little boy! No one knew the name, so we had it personalized with 'Baby Pate.' And of course, Shirley's name is on there, too!
Just like our wedding, we have quite a few "Baby's 1st Christmas" ornaments. This is my favorite, though, because it's from Gigi. We celebrated Christmas a few weeks early with her last year, and this ornament was in the stocking she gave to Gavin. It brought back a lot of memories this year when we unwrapped it. Miss you, Grandma.
Of course, for Gavin!

Can't forget our first "child," Shirley!
And no matter where we end up, we'll always be Buckeyes at heart! :)
Ooops...not an ornament, but he sure is a cutie!

This year's ornament for Gavin is of Handy Manny. He really likes the show on Disney. When I put it on the tree, he immediately tried to take it off.
Merry Christmas, everyone. We love and miss you all and can't wait until we can be together again and celebrate together.

Dec 22, 2009

Our Home at Christmas Time

So, I realized that I told some of you I'd post pictures of our new "home" months ago, and never did. So I took some pictures of our place all decorated for Christmas that I thought I'd share. As you know, we left our home in Ohio and ended up in an apartment in NY. There are some things that are actually better about the apartment than the house. Like, for one, Gavin has his own full bathroom. I love that he has his own bathtub that I can leave his toys in and that he can't get into our shampoo, razors, etc. Surprisingly, I think this kitchen is larger than our home kitchen. We still don't have enough counter space, but I think we actually have more cabinet space here. For example, at home, the only low cabinet was the one under the sink. There were drawers, but the stove and dishwasher took up the other low spaces, and Gavin loves to get in our cabinets here and explore. I'm glad he can do that, even if it does drive us crazy at times picking everything up 5 times a day! I like that our kitchen overlooks the living room. Back home, if I was in the kitchen, I couldn't see Gavin in the living room.

Of course, there are things that I hate about the apartment that I miss terribly about our home. The yard and garage are two big ones. I miss my neighbors! Valinda and Dawn were the best neighbors ever. I miss our hardwood floors and all the paint colors on the walls. I miss the privacy of our own home. Though they aren't horrible, I would love to be in a place where I didn't have to hear my neighbors walking above us.

Here's our place! Enjoy :)
The kitchen - that door leads to our "pantry." It's actually the storage area where our furnace is, but we've added shelving units and now that's where much of our food is stored. It's also where our garbage and recycling are stored so that Gavin and Shirley can't get into them. The dining room, complete with our new "grown up" dining room table. I sold our old one in the garage sale before we moved. Gavin had pulled the chair over on him twice because they were so light weight, so we decided to go to a furniture store and get a new table. We love it! This is without the leaf, so it actually gets even bigger. Perfect for family dinners!
The table set for Christmas, complete with the placemats made from Gavin's footprints last year.
In our dining room
The only place we could figure out to put our stockings. I think they look really cute up there!
The living room, looking out onto our patio. That's where we park, too.
Looking the other way
Our photo wall and Gavin's toy parking :)
Gavin's bathroom
Our bathroom, which we share with Shirley :)
Our master bedroom

I just realized while doing this post that I took the pictures while Gavin was napping, and therefore I don't have any pictures of his room. I will post some another time. It looks pretty similar to the nursery back home....minus the pretty green walls and cute Winnie the Pooh wall decals. He has his crib, book shelf, dresser, changing table, and toy box.
Hope you enjoyed the tour of our home. We can't wait to have an actual house again. Jarrod misses cutting grass so much! And we were just saying the other night how we can't wait to decorate the outside of a house for Christmas again.