Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Year...

I used to look at New Years as a sad time. I just hated that Christmas was over, winter was far from over, and I would be heading back to school or later work. Perspectives change as we get older. Isn't that funny how that happens?

While New Year's Day is FAR from my FAVORITE holiday. I appreciate it more now. The calmness after a very busy, full of excitement holiday. I appreciate the way it makes me think about just how much I have to be thankful for. Man, did 2011 rock! Every single day? Well no. But overall, I have lots of incredible memories from 2011. But perhaps best of all, is the fact that it feels like such a fresh start. I've got more resolutions this year then I probably should have (among the long list is to get in shape, get more organized, blog more often, and really get my Etsy shop up and running). So here I sit, on December 30th getting a head start on the blogging (check!) and shamelessly plugging my Etsy shop (check!).

I knew this Christmas was going to be an emotional one. My Uncle Paul passed away very unexpectedly just before Halloween. Last year he was smiling from ear to ear watching Caleb "open" his presents. He went out and shopped on his own and bought Caleb a crib toy that lights up and plays music and some Carolina Panthers onesies and shirts. He was so proud. We all felt his absence. I can't help but get a lump in my throat when I think about the fact that Caleb won't ever remember him. I am so very thankful that we were all together. We were there to hug one another when we needed to. There were definitely some tears. There was also a lot of love in my house this year. A fill you to the brim and leave you feeling so very full of love and thankfulness for all of those that are still here. There was also one excited little boy. He walked right to his train set and started playing and making noises (which sound more like car noises but make my heart and my face smile). I just LOVE that there is a little to celebrate with again. He has brought MAGIC back to Christmas and I am so excited to celebrate more holidays with him as he gets older and really "gets" it.

We used to go to my grandparents house every Christmas but last year we volunteered to have Christmas at our house since we had a baby. The buck has been passed on my friends. Last year I ordered a ham from Honeybaked Ham. It was arrived on my doorstep, we popped it in the oven-BAM! Christmas dinner was ready. This year, we were brave. We decided we were going to cook a turkey. And not one from Honeybaked either. I found a great sale about a month before Christmas, loaded up my cart with a big turkey, and froze him until the week before. I didn't know just how BIG it was until our company arrived and asked if I had bought a Bald Eagle instead of a turkey. It was 21 lbs. You read that right. Not 12, I didn't transpose those numbers...our turkey was just 2 lbs. shy of what our 16 month old weighs. Chris saw it as a challenge and stuffed apples, onions, herbs, and two sticks of butter in that sucker and it was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself! We even had turkey salad, turkey pot pie, turkey and cheese pockets, and made turkey stock! BOO-YAH!

My mother trying to take credit for this massive bird. I believe she took a ladle and scooped about 3 scoops of broth out of the pan, then handed it all back to Chris. Don't let her fool you!

I was an elf this year. No, not in the sense of the pointy shoes and bell on my hat (although my husband will likely think that's hilarious being that I am barely 5 feet tall). I started making gifts in October and actually have a couple left. Shhhhhh....don't tell please! I didn't get pictures of everything, but I do want to share some of them. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't proud. I love crafts. I can't help it. It's in my blood (I wrote about that on my Etsy shop...don't worry a link is coming, wink, wink). It drives Chris crazy sometimes but I think he is secretly okay with it. I made crayon totes, felt food, doll quilts, mug rugs, bath salts, felt notebook covers, a felt book. Next year, I'll start in June! It was worth it though. For several reasons...saved us money, we were able to give unique gifts, and I, of course, loved every minute (almost every minute anyway).

I know I am going backwards here, but I have to include some pictures of Caleb with Santa. He was a wiggle worm while waiting in line and thank God it wasn't a long line! He wanted nothing to do with sitting or standing still and everything to do with running away from us and right to the inflatable helicopter with Santa driving that was outside of Santa's house. When it was finally our turn, we plopped him down on Mr. Claus' lap and he sat still and perfect and cut eyes back and forth, careful not to look directly at Santa for more than a glimpse or two. He slumped down after a minute...I guess he decided Santa's lap is pretty cozy.

Alright, last but not least...I have an Etsy shop (revamped with a new name and new listings!) Please check it out. Favorite it, check back often, buy something you get the gist.

Well, I am off to bed!