Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007

We started our Christmas week with a stroll down one of the nicely lit streets on the Peninsula. The word 'decorated' doesn't even describe these homes... maybe the name "Griswald's" does! Most of the homes are beautiful but there are some owners that just stuck everything they could outside on the lawn;-)

During the 6-week show, this owner spends $4000 on his home and the adjoining home, also of which he owns.

On Christmas Eve, we co-hosted an evening dinner, complete with turkey, trimmings, and tiramasu. We met a new couple that our friends had brought with them. The six of us had a wonderful evening and Russell was a saint, playing on the floor quietly with his toys. Yeah!!
The next morning...

On Christmas morning, we (yes, us) opened Russell's gifts. Maybe next year he'll comprehend all the unopened gifts. Andrea had his name in the 'name draw' and gave him two Fisher Price trucks:-) Dan's parents had sent the FP airplane, so the set was complete! I was surprised to see that the toys came complete with batteries.

Russell and his gifts: three new Thomas trains, three Matchbox airplanes, and the FP toys. (Not shown: Russell's huge Thomas the Train play-house. See video below...)

Finally, it was our turn:-) I received much needed shoes and Dan bought me a gorgeous coat. Dan used the money sent by parents/grandma to buy something for his computer...

After opening our gifts, we headed out to Lodi to visit Dan's cousins. Maria had her family in town so there were 9 adults and 4 children (aged 1-3). It was a full household but we were so grateful to our cousins to open their hearts and home to us. Russell loved the little tree and the red chair...

We stayed overnight in a hotel and enjoyed the next morning with Jon and Maria. After lunch, we headed home and back to our little place.

Since we didn't leave town this year, it was a nice and restful break. Dan starts his new job in two weeks and he needed a quiet vacation. We antipicipate the New Year and all the adventures ahead with a 2-yr-old little boy! Hope your holidays were enjoyable and that you have more memories to smile over:-)

Christmas Home Video 2007

View this montage created at One True Media
Christmas 2007

This is a 6 minute video of our Christmas morning. You can scroll through the 'time bar' to fast-forward the video. Included: Russell opening his toys from Andrea, his grandparents, and playing in the used wrapping paper.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Prepping for Christmas

Dan and Russell- wires and more wires!

Even in 37F temperatures, this boy needs his walk.

We opened Russell's present from Aunt Bev and Uncle Kurt early! Russell loves skipping on it. He will learn to jump on it eventually.

I remade the Chewy Molasses Cookies after I realized that the recipe read '1/2 sticks of butter' and not '1/2 cups of butter.' Oops. It is a wonder I have a chemistry degree! I knew Martha couldn't let me down. I also made the two Swedish Tea Rings:-) I started baking them annually in high-school but I haven't in the last few years, so it is nice to be back in the baking game. I don't bake bread except for the rare occasion.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Signs of the Season

Here is a list of some 'Signs of the Christmas Season' that I've noticed:

1. Vastly overstocking of celery, yams, and potatoes in Safeway.
2. The UPS driver towing a U-Haul with his UPS truck.
3. The FedEx driver driving a Budget rental truck.
4. A small-ish tree missing from the park (yes, the stump is still there!). Someone is a little cheap and dishonest!
5. No parking spaces at the post office.
6. Hearing the same Christmas song on the radio more than three times in one day.
7. Receiving many anticipated cards/letters/pictures from friends and family.
8. The empty rack of egg-nog in the grocery store.

There is so much to notice in everyday life:-) All it takes is a little observation!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007 Cookie Disaster

Last year, I made MS' Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies and they turned out perfectly- good enough to share with my neighbor. Now, for the second time this month, these cookies have flopped- literally. I even tried refrigerating the dough before baking. Obviously, that was no help. Although I am disappointed, I have two men in my life that will not be. Russell kept circling the cookies and saying, "Eat! Eat!" And Dan always likes something to snack on at coffee time. I'll try making this recipe once more before Christmas morning, and if it sinks again, that is that. I'll use less butter, I guess...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pre-Christmas in San Diego

On Friday afternoon, I flew down to SD by myself (and 129 other lucky Southwest passengers). It was the first time in two years since I've flow without Russell (we flew 6 times in his first year of life, plus our trips this past year). All I can say is that flying with out baby-gear and with only a carry-on is a picnic. I stayed with April for the first night, and the second night, we stayed in the Hotel del Coronado. Above: April at the new NTC station on Point Loma...

Christmas in San Diego- just perfect.

We checked into the Del about 4:30pm. They had an ice rink set up between the hotel and the beach. There were surfers in the oceans and skaters on the ice.

Sun setting with two fighter planes in the foreground...

Point Loma in the background. Our old home.

At 6pm, our friend Dinorah and her family came for a drop-by. I used to work for Dinorah in property management when we first moved to San Diego. Little Noah was born the month of our wedding. I used to rock him to sleep- now, he is a busy 5-yr-old boy.

We enjoyed a nice dinner with our friend Julie, who also stayed the night with us. I haven't seen Julie in almost 3 years and it was nice to catch up.

A picture perfect goodbye.

I returned to SF on Sunday afternoon:-) Dan is/was the best husband ever to encourage me to take a weekend 'off' and he would stay home with Russell. Russell did just fine without me and cried the next morning (Monday) when he realized Dan had gone to work. I'm not much for spas and manicures, but a weekend in SD will do wonders!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Questions

I stole this from Alysun's blog. I liked it that much;-)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Fake. It is 3 feet tall and has fiber-optic lights.

3. When do you put up the tree?
After my Dec. 1st birthday.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Around New Years

5. Do you like egg nog?
No. I don’t like the consistency but will have a little in coffee.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
“The Heart Family” (Barbie knock-off) playground. I still have it at my parents’ house.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, the ‘Willow Tree’ set. It was a wedding gift.

8. Hardest person to buy for?

9. Easiest person to buy for?
Myself- why is that?!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. I don’t like e-mail cards- I guess I’m old fashioned. I like to have cards to keep.

11 . Worst Christmas gift you ever received????
Don’t remember.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
Serendipity (I know it is not an official Christmas movie, but I like the winter scenes.) Maybe it is the ‘magic’ of the movie.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
November- I like to have the gifts to Canada posted by the first week of December.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
If I have, I don’t remember.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Martha Stewart’s Cranberry Walnut Stuffing.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Colored fiber-optic (no wires!!)

17. Favorite Christmas song?
“Mary Did You Know?”

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
This year, staying home. It is getting more expensive to fly now that we have to pay for three seats.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
No- but I did learn that Santa’s reindeer must be female because the male reindeers lose their antlers in the autumn, and the female’s have theirs until January.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star- it is pegged on the top.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning! Dan opened presents as a child on the Eve and he said the next day “there was nothing to do.”

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Big credit card bills.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

24. Favorite part of Christmas dinner?
MS’ Cranberry-Walnut Stuffing, the turkey, and mashed sweet potatoes.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Great memories.

26. Gift Cards. Yes, I like them, or No, too impersonal?
No problem here, just Dan has to find something personal. Poor guy;-)

27. If yes, where from? If No, best place to shop for your present?
Macy’s or Williams-Sonoma.28. Any plans for New Years? No plans.

A Day in the City

Notice anything (well, anyone) missing? We left Russell at his friend Owen's house for a few hours and went into the city for lunch and a fun afternoon. I think the city is more enjoyable in the fall when the skies are clear from fog and the majority of tourists have returned home. The streets definitely were "hustling and bustling" but without a stroller and child, it was a picnic. It has been three years since we landed in this foreign city and we like it more as we get familiar with it. This is the tree in Union Square... (try counting the total number of individual Christmas trees on this posting)...

And Macy's- what a wonderful store! The Cheesecake Factory is on the top floor and we enjoyed every bite of lunch and Dan even managed a piece of cheesecake. We had a nice time talking and not rushing our meal.

We took a Christmas-decorated cable car over to Fisherman's Wharf. It was almost deserted.

The tree at Fisherman's Wharf.

White? Snow? No. Just bird dung. This is the only 'white' you'll see around here!!

Crab nets, just resting on the docks. Obviously, the crab-fishermen are resting, too.

The afternoon sun setting on Alcatraz.

True to his Navy roots, we found a submarine- probably the only one- in 500 miles;-) It was in use from 1943-1945. It had 75 men on it at one time but the poster board didn't show any berths. If we had taken the tour, maybe we would have seen them? Even the sub had a Christmas tree...

Did you count the number of individual Christmas trees? There are four!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Food for Thought

I began this morning by making Russell's toast, as usual. He says "toast" and points to the bread and toaster:-) After sitting down with him to eat, I noticed Dan's (men's) vitamin bottle said, "Before consuming, consult doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding." What a consultation that would be!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

One Size Fits All... or not!

Yeah- what a fun birthday! Dan took Saturday off from work and we enjoyed my birthday as a family. He brought me my cards and gifts when I woke up and then we had breakfast. One of Dan's gifts to me was a much needed apron. He bought a Martha Stewart apron from Macy's:-) On the tag, it says, "One size fits all." When I put it on, the hem almost reached my ankles and the back overlaps at the waist. I wonder who was the model for the pattern since most women are not 6'4". I've since tied up the neck and fold over the waist ties when I wear it. I love it, though, and it is hard to misplace in the house!

The evening of the 1st was Dan's work's Christmas party. We dressed up and went to Palo Alto. I loved every minute of the evening. Our friends, Lisa and Scott, babysat with their son, Jack. The weather was cold and crisp and the parking was free;-) We enjoyed a delicious dinner (Dan had rib-eye steak, I had the salmon) and friendly company (Dan's boss's wife {Diane} and I know each other and we sat together). I was surprised later in the evening when the waiter brought out an individual sized cake for my birthday- complete with a candle. Thankfully, no-one stood a table and/or sang;-) We saved the cake for the next day since dessert had already been served. We didn't think to take our camera with us, and so no pictures exist. Maybe we should get a camera-phone.

Thanks to Lisa for these pictures; our two 'Thomas the Train' boys. As you might notice in both pictures, Russell has snagged Jack's stuffed doggie. They later fought it out;-)

Dan's time at his current job is coming to a close. For privacy reasons, I don't want to write about his new job on this blog, but will send out a e-mail at a later time. He starts January 7th. It would be an ideal time to take a few weeks off and just travel but with Russell and limited funds, reality wins and off to work he goes. Thank-you to all who have prayed for direction concerning Dan's job.