Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's Got "Junk"!

Funny how those motherly instincts must kick in super early.  I predicted from about 10 weeks pregnant on that the baby was a boy.  Today we all (Chris, my mom, dad, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and the twins) crammed into the ultrasound room so that I could prove how right I was!

It's a boy!!

Beautiful profile

Sucking his thumb!

Waving his fingers at the camera!
We can't wait to meet little Elliot Oliver!  He's going to be super cute -- well, he already is!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Upcoming Surprise . . .

. . . will be revealed this Thursday!!

Snow Puppies

I just love the cuteness that is my two pups, Wembley and Escher.  See for yourself!

Camo Poodle

Wembley Face

Sweet Face

Head Tilt (just like Ollie used to do!!)

Vicious Wheaten attacks Poodle

Penguin Poodle

Snow Nose
It was so cool to have a beautiful white Christmas this year as the backdrop for all of our festivities!  The dogs loved the snow and were able to wear themselves out without bringing in mud afterwards!

Christmas Day

We have made it a tradition that every year, when the Italian neighborhood in Saint Louis (called "The Hill") has its annual Christmas walk, we go to pick up a loaf of Panettone.  We then freeze the loaf for the following two weeks, until Christmas morning.  We wake up Christmas morning and I get started making Panettone French Toast, from this recipe.  It is amazingly delicious.  Chris oohs and aahs over it each year.

We don't yet have a solid tradition on present opening, as we don't have children . . . yet.  We ended up giving each other our presents on Christmas Eve Eve this year.  It's so hard to wait!  So, after making Christmas breakfast, we prepared the house for our family get together at our place.  I didn't take as many pictures as I should have, especially given that I have a new, awesome camera!  But, the table looked beautiful, the house was clean, and you can see the massive amount of presents under our tree:

We have also started a tradition where everyone wears pajamas to Christmas dinner.  We all enjoy the comfy theme!  In order to stick with the cozy theme, I cooked up a meal of all comfort foods!  We delighted in the BEST macaroni and cheese (adapted considerably from a recipe by Barefoot Contessa), pasta con broccoli, and marinated chicken.  My mother-in-law brought delicious foccacia rolls and peppermint ice cream to accompany the chocolate gooey butter cake from our CSA.  The only non-comfort food was to be brought by my mother, a salad, which she forgot due to her post-surgery brain (she had a hip replacement December 14th and is doing mostly awesome!).  After dinner we opened the towering pile of presents and chatted while we waited for my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and the niece and nephew to arrive from Mexico, MO (where J'aime's family lives).

The babies had a fun time with the wrapping and tissue paper, as is expected from 8 month olds!

Okay, so they did actually play with their new toys as well as the wrappings.  They really liked their new puzzle and their plush farm set!  I'm sure they will love the books and blocks they received as well!

It was a wonderful and relaxing Christmas!  Thanks to my awesome family!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gallery of men that are ginger

I wanted to make gingerbread men (and women) this year, so that's what I did.  However, with the massive quantity of cookies I planned on baking I couldn't possibly decorate all of those gingerbread people myself.  So, I put Chris to work.  Can you guess which ones he did before I explained that we needed some gingerbread people that were suitable to give away to people at our work places?  Actually, it was really fun and funny.  We decided to make it a new tradition, only next time everyone will decorate their own gingerbread person -- the most creative wins (I don't know what they win).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Full of Thanks

Wow, this year has had its ups and downs.  However, I would say that there have been more ups than downs.  Obviously, the biggest downs were a failed IVF, the loss of BabyA, and the loss of our beloved poodle, Ollie.  But, on the upside, I have a lot to be thankful for, and would like to take the time to call you all out individually and give thanks:

Chris -- You are the best husband a girl could ask for.  You have such patience (except when you are driving), that I know you are going to be an excellent father.  You join me in appreciating life and the little things (as evidenced by the picture above of you enjoying a mangosteen).  You are loving, caring, empathetic, and just plain wonderful!  Thanks for always being there for me, for enjoying the ups, and helping me through the downs.

Mom -- I am so thankful to have such a great mother-daughter relationship/bond.  You are the greatest listener I know, which has been so helpful over the past couple years.  You have helped us emotionally and financially, and I am forever grateful.  I can't wait to give you the grandchild you have been hoping for; I know they will be well read-to, played with, and loved.  Even though we often tease you, it's the very things we tease you about that we love about you.  You are a great country road!

Pop -- I love your schadenfreude attitude!  You are hilarious, and I am so glad that I got your sense of humor.  I am very thankful to have a father that has always been involved in my life.  You are a wealth of information. Whether or not the information you give is accurate, I still enjoy learning from you.  Your interrobang e-mails are always interesting, I never know what you'll send next.  I can't wait until my kids can call you "Grumps"! 

David -- I am very thankful that you and I have finally developed a brother-sister relationship over the past year.  You are a very kind, caring, helpful brother whom I really appreciate.  I enjoyed getting to know you even better on our trip to Thailand.  You surprised me several times with your openness to new things.  You are a great traveling buddy, and you make excellent Thai food!

Peggy -- I am so fortunate to have a mother-in-law who I get along with so well, and with whom I have so many things in common.  You help me keep the baking traditions alive and well in our family!  You are always there for Chris and me when we need you.  I am so glad that my parents and you get along so well, and that we were all able to travel Europe together!  I can't wait for you to be a grandmother again!

Bob -- Monsieur photo, you are the best father-in-law a girl could have.  I love your appreciation for tile and architecture . . . and life in general.  I know I can always count on you to "ooooo" and "aaaah" over anything I bake, always making me feel good about myself.  I love how much you love the dogs, and I know you will love our child even more!

Matt -- I will always remember the time you stopped by after my first egg retrieval to bring me flowers.  That meant a lot.  I appreciate your taste in music, and your willingness to share!  I am thankful to have a brother-in-law who has so much in common with us and enjoys a lot of the fun things we enjoy.  It also helps that you have two cute babies for us to play with -- I am very thankful for them as well!

J'aime -- I always wished I had a sister, and now I do!  I am thankful to have a sister-in-law that I have so much in common with.  It is going to be a lot of fun taking our children out on play dates together!  You are a wealth of baby information, in addition to having all kinds of interesting knowledge about a variety of things!  Someday I hope we can all share our love of travel together, and go on an amazing family trip!

DeMeres -- I am thankful for such a fun extended family!  I always look forward to our game nights and Christmas Eve together.  I can always expect to go into a full on asthma attack from laughing so hard with you all.  Becky, I am grateful that you became part of the family.  You are one of the most thoughtful, sincere, and kindest people I know.  It means so much to me that you asked me to be Josie's godmother!  Chris and Nick, you two are such awesome cousins.  You both turned out to be such wonderful people, I only wish we got to hang out more often!  I miss the kickball days!  Ella and Josie, you are the cutest little gals I know!  I look forward to seeing you every chance I get.  Ella has so much personality, I love it!  Aunt "B", I am thankful for how excited you have been for me when we found out that we were going to have a baby!  You are always there for the family and make the gatherings even more entertaining!  Uncle "Toes", I am thankful for your sense of humor and your kindness.  I hope you are ready to mess with my kids and tickle them to death the way you did with us!  Aunt Jaime, I am grateful for the kind words you send my way on Facebook!  They are very heartfelt.  I only wish we got to see you more often!  Tyler, I am glad I have you on my side for reinstating game nights!  Your enthusiasm is awesome!  You are a very cool kid, and I can't wait to see you Sunday!  Jill, I remember playing with you constantly when you were a baby!  I was so excited to have a new baby in the family.  You have turned out to be a cool chick!  I am proud of your hockey abilities, and am thankful that I have at least gotten to see one game!  Matt, we miss you man!  Do you know that I haven't seen you in 5 years (aside from a rare sighting at Whole Foods a couple years back)?!  I am thankful for your humor, your writing abilities, and your creativity.  I miss our Lego building!  Howpa, I am thankful for your endless supply of historical knowledge.  You have a ton of familial stories to share!  Nancy, I am thankful for your knitting and quilting talents!  You create amazing works of art!  I am also thankful for your desserts that have become a staple (the pineapple cake in particular)!  Maybe I got my baking interest from you?!

Catty Girls -- I am so glad that you all let me into your group.  We always have a great time together, whatever we do.  I love all of your creativity.  I love how thoughtful everyone is, always surprising each other with little things.  I love our e-mail communications throughout the work day -- they help pass the day quicker.  I love how everyone's personalities are so different, yet we all have a lot in common that brings us together!

Katie M -- My oldest and dearest friend!  No one else can say that I was their Swiftwind!  You are an awesome friend, a great listener, tremendously talented, and always a ton of fun!  I love how comfortable  our friendship is, and how we can enjoy our time together regardless of what we are doing.  I lurve you!

Jenn -- I am so thankful that we have become friends!  You are such a thoughtful, caring person.  I love that we can complain to each other openly and continuously (you and I know, there is plenty to complain about!).  I guess that last statement didn't sound too thankful, huh?  I am also grateful that our husbands have become such good friends.  I always look forward to our Dexter dates -- we'll have to come up with a new obsession after the season ends!

Katie K -- I am thankful for your amazing texting abilities.  It is all because of you that I upped my texting package!  You are a great friend!  You have awesome taste in music, food, and fun!  I am so glad that I was forced to come to Commons Lane . . . it resulted in a great friendship!

I am also thankful for so many of my friends that I didn't call out individually.  I don't have pictures of everyone on hand!  Julie K, Shawnee, Andrea, Jackie, Monique -- I haven't seen you all in so long and I really miss you gals!  I am thankful for any visits we have together, and I hope we see each other again very soon, because regardless of the distance, you are all very dear friends!

Thailand -- I am thankful for the fact that I have had the opportunity to travel to so many awesome places.  Thailand was especially unique and "once-in-a-lifetime".  It was a great bonding trip for my mom, brother, Chris, and me!  And, we all came away with the most amazing Thai recipes that actually taste better than any Thai restaurant in St. Louis!

Ollie -- I am thankful for the 7 years we had with you -- the best dog in the world!  I love all of your quirks -- the fact that you loved to watch the Puppy Bowl on my computer, when you tilted your head when you heard "Wall-E" because it sounded like "Ollie", the doodle dance, your obsession with squirrels, your unending love for your people, and so much more!

Wembley -- I am thankful that you actually turned in to an awesome dog.  I really was worried in the beginning, thinking I would have to give you back because you were so stubborn.  Thankfully, you were the cutest puppy ever!  But, now, you are a wonderful dog, and you make us very happy!

Escher -- I am thankful that you came into our lives when we needed you.  You are a cuddle bucket and I can't wait to get to know you better!  I look forward to puppy classes with you every Monday night!

Baby B -- I am so so thankful that we finally got you!  I am grateful that you are healthy and "perfect".  It took two years of hard, medicated work, lots of emotions, trips to compensate for the failures, disappointment all around, but you are real and will be here in 6 months!  Along the same lines, I am thankful for modern medicine!  Without it, we would never have been able to experience pregnancy or a baby of our own.

House -- I am thankful that we have a nice, large house to welcome two dogs and a baby, as well as a great place to entertain.  Even if the neighbor kids destroy our lawn, play on our porch, and run into our cars with their bicycles, I just appreciate the fact that we have a nice place to live that we can afford.

There is so much to be thankful for, the list could go on and on!  I am thankful that both Chris and I have jobs, I am thankful for our talents, for our educations, for our intelligence, and overall, I am just thankful to be alive!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  What are you thankful for this year?