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what holidays?

It’s January 23rd, 2013.  What happened to the holidays?  I am not sure if I even took enough pictures.  The truth is I know I didn’t take enough pictures and this bums me out.  I know I wanted to update the salty grape numerous times telling tales of ice skating, sugar plums, Santa gifts, New Year’s fire pit, firecrackers, and pork and sauerkraut but I have not made the time to do this.  The honest truth is that as much as our kids are nearly on the same schedule when it comes to seeing their other parent and being with us, keeping up with that schedule, mix in some holidays and a lot of activity was a lot on our plate.  This is our first year where SB and I really combined everything we did.   Have I mentioned that I work full time too?  I love my job but closing out 2012 has taken up quite a bit of my time.  My company had a great year so I have been busy tying up loose ends which are yet to be tied.  We also just celebrated my eldest daughters 9th birthday.  Bink is 9!  She is my joy and as most mother’s say, growing up way too fast.  However did she get this old?  Let me summarize our holidays and then I will feel good enough to move on with the New Year.  Let’s not talk about the 10 lbs I need to lose.  I do blame this on Surfer Boy.  I definitely packed on the comfy, warm and happy 10 pound this last year.   Hopefully he hasn’t noticed the extra ring around my middle.

First sometime in mid to late December Surfer Boy took the girls and me with Ace to the tree-lighting ceremony in our old-town circle to see Santa and Mrs. Clause.  It was a little rainy but a lot of fun!

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Seeing Mrs. Clause seemed to be a huge deal!!  They were thrilled!

I bought this Amaryllis for Ace.  It bloomed just two days after Christmas and kept blooming until after New Year’s.  I love this flower and it made Surfer Boy’s kitchen a little more Christmassy.

Amaryllis

The weekend before Christmas was a whirlwind!  Saturday we went to an old friend’s house where his entire family and close friends make dozens and dozens of sugar cookies!  There is a ton of food and the kids have a blast.  This picture of Squirt is the best one I have.  Isn’t he cute?

Nolan CookiesNo joking, the foiled table in the background is not even half of the cookies baked.  These sugar cookies are not hard tasteless cookies.  These sugar cookies are sweetened perfect and very moist and soft.  You actually want to eat them. I know because I think I had four or so. After we did all this decorating, we had two buckets of cookies.   SB wanted to take all our cookies and donate them to the homeless shelter, or more like a kitchen to feed the homeless.  After a few minutes in the car, the kids were on board with this idea.  Unfortunately we drove over and the kitchen was closed.   The kids were bummed but we were happy they were in the spirit of giving.

The next day was Sunday and we had plans to go ice skating with SB’s brother and sister in law.  They have two little girls age 8 and 12.  We all met for breakfast and we were off to the rink.  I love how ice skating is like riding a bike.  We had so much fun!  Bink, Juju, Squirt and SB’s youngest niece all took a lesson.  They skated much better after that. Again, I took the worst pictures and the one of the boys I stole from SB’s sister in law.  This first picture is of Juju (blue shirt) taking a lesson.

Juju Ice SkatingHere is a great shot of Ace and Squirt! Stolen picture of course.

Nolan and D ice skatingHere are two of the girls and Squirt with one of the coach’s.

ice skating with coach

Ice skating wore these kids out!  Driving home they passed out.  How cute is this one? Hopefully they won’t be too mad at me for this picture someday.

Nolan and J sleepinbgPreparations before Christmas were on!  Monday morning was Christmas Eve.  I celebrated Christmas Eve with my girls this morning because this year they would be with their dad on Christmas Day.  As time goes on sharing holidays get a little easier and by easier I mean easier to accept.  I sure did miss them for Christmas Eve service and dinner at our traditional Italian restaurant we all love so much.  Here is how the day went down.  We got up and I put my Monkey Bread in the oven.  We opened presents with Gammie, Uncle (my brother) and his girlfriend.  It took almost 2 hours.  I love making opening presents last a long time while eating breakfast and hot chocolate sometime in the middle.  I got Bink a Kindle Fire.  She was so happy she fell on the floor and rolled around a bit.  When she gained her composure this is the smile I captured.

Bink with Kindle Fire

That’s it for the pictures.  Oh boy – do I need to simplify so I can make time to smell the roses and take some pictures.   We opened toys, and cleaned up a bit, said goodbye to my little loves and then I was off to the races again.  Later in the day I did some last minute shopping.  My mom (a.k.a Gammie) made the most delicious dessert for Christmas Day.  She made a salted caramel cheesecake.  It was delectable!  She could not find this ingredient.  Once I got to a Pavilions, I found it and texted her a picture to make sure this was one.

La Lechera

Later that day I made it to Surferboy’s house.  We were going to Christmas Eve service and dinner with my family.  I look forward to this service every year.  The message hit the spot, the music and being there to celebrate the birth of Christ is what this season is all about for me.   This year is the first year SB and Ace would come with me.  This made me so happy!  Dinner is always fun and this year the food tasted better than I remember.  In this picture is my brother’s girlfriend of 6 years, me, my twin cousin (our dads are identical twins), and our very good family friend Allison.

CEve - GirlsSB says I am not allowed to let him wear this “shiny” green shirt again. There will be no shiny.  Noted and noted my love!  This is an excellent picture of Ace.  He is so handsome!

CEve - SB and Ace

The next day was Christmas! This was actually the first Christmas morning I have spent with SB and Ace.  We had a great morning.  Shortly after we opened presents together, SB’s parents came over for breakfast, and it was time for Squirt to come home and spend some Christmastime with his family. I made a Bacon-Mushroom-Gruyere Frittata, fresh fruit, and this sticky bun style monkey bread.  Dad made Bloody Marys!  I was very happy with the way everything turned out.

Monkey Bread

Later in the day we went to my aunt’s house where we do a gift exchange and have dinner.  I missed my girls of course, but the day was really wonderful.

Another wonderful thing happened between Christmas and New Year’s.  My very best friend got engaged!   I am so happy for her and her fiancé!  SB and I had dinner at her house with them the night after he proposed.  We toasted champagne, she made an amazing pork loin, and we talked till pretty late that night drinking wine by the fire pit.

Engagment Toast

I brought her some gifts to get her started and these great little napkins to use around the house during her engagement.

Engagment Fire

SB and I bought a fire pit for his house sometime while we were Christmas shopping.  Purchasing a fire pit in CA during the winter really isn’t that big of deal and the logic of it is overlooked since our weather typically stays mild.  Most nights you can sit by the fire and stay warm with a light jacket and a blanket.  We had some neighbors and friends over for New Year’s Eve.  We decided to put the fire pit in the front yard, open the garage and set up the party out there.  We had so many kids that is was only logical since they played soccer in the front yard and rode their bikes back and forth from one house to the next.  We had a ton of food, made pizza’s late night, and toasted champagne at midnight with friends and neighbors.  The first pic is of the girls.  My girls, our friend’s and neighbor’s daughter’s too.

New Years - Girls

Here are few of the boys.  Sorry for the picture quality!

Bonfire - with boysAfter midnight we did poppers and had a huge girl slumber party in Surferboy’s living room.  He was thrilled! *wink* We really did start the New Year off good!

Bonfire - late night

The next night was my family’s traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner.  My mom made the entire dinner. The traditional sides are Harvard beets, mashed potatoes, green beans, and an orange jello mold that we unfortunately only get once a year.  So filling, and so yummy.  Happy New Year all!  Hope this 2013 is starting off as good as ours!

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