Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the Christmas Wrap-Up Part 2

As is our usual custom, Adam & I split our holiday time between our families, spending Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with his.

This year, my brother David hosted Christmas at his & my sister-in law, Dara's, house. It was lovely, reed thought the Christmas tree was a thing of magic. And luckily, Dara is a photographer and we got lots of wonderful pictures from the day's events.

Playing with his Christmas Ho's (& Gordon).

Me & my sweet little nephew Luke.

Father-Son talk about the art of opening presents. And don't ask me why Reed insisted on putting his hat on.

David's really excited, apparently.

It looks like I'm weighing in on the opening presents lesson.

Isn't my husband sweet with the babies?

For Christmas Day, fewer pictures were captured, or if there were more pictures, no one is being real speedy about putting them up on Facebook. Largely, this was due to the Flip video camera that my father-in-law Jerry received from Andrew & Nicole and we were far more focused on taking videos.

While both dinners were delicious, I'll admit I was looking forward to dinner at Andrew & Nicole's a tad bit more. Last year, Andrew got a deep fryer and we had deep fried turkey. This year, I pretty much demanded another serving. To say it was delicious is putting it mildly, it's a little like heaven. Normally, I exercise a bit more self-control when it comes to the fried food but once a year can't kill me. Right?
A big thank you to Adam & Andrew for the delicious turkey.

As far as presents were concerned, Reed made out like a bandit, especially thanks to both sets of his grandparents. The major theme of his gifts were Thomas & his friends, with a few segues to the Toy Story characters and some Lego sets. I have a feeling he's getting on board with this whole Christmas thing.
Did any of my awesome followers give, recieve or eat anything of note during the holidays? Do tell. 
 And with that, I say Au Revoir to the Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the Christmas Wrap-Up Part 1

Christmas has come and gone, with the final vestige of my holiday cheer was lived out last night at our girlfriend Secret Santa potluck dinner at Ronni's. I truly wish we had taken pictures, Ronni set her dining room table beautifully and all the food (tomato bisque, cheesy french bread and potatoes au gratin), cocktail of the night, gluehwein (German mulled wine that my dear Amanda made) & dessert (peppermint ice cream) were all delicious.
But alas, we were hungry and I guess Molly was busy because she always takes pictures.

Robyn was the recipient of my Secret Santa gifts this year. I decided to go practical and cozy with her presents and so she got cozy socks & a new pair of gloves, both of which she had mentioned she needed fairly recently. I also gave her the Glee Christmas Album.

As it turns out, I was also Robyn's Secret Santa, which hasn't happened in the last few years that we've done this thrifty means of gift exchange. You'll notice, but I'll state the obvious anyways; Robyn is a far more creative gift giver than I, God love her for it.

You can't tell from the picture but it is massive. Adam is very jealous, I love it.

Robyn put this necklace together and gave one to me & one to Ronni, so we now have matching necklaces :)

This was hard to get a picture off (and of course I just noticed that my kitchen cabinet is open) but it was my favorite gift. Robyn got it when she went junking for some chairs, repainted the frame and now it's beautiful.

Ellie and I also had a minor gift exchange last night, for and from Reed.
As I'd imagine most of my followers would know dearest Elspeth was my maid of honor at my wedding so reed, being the thoughtful little fellow that he is, thought she would appreciate a framed copy of this picture:

And, knowing his love for all things Thomas the Tank Engine, Ellie got reed this:

We broke them out for bath time tonight and Reed was pretty thrilled that he could pick up ole Percy and draw not only on himself but on the walls of my bathtub.

Originally I was going to recap the entire weekend, family Christmas included but it turned into the world's longest post that wasn't even holding my attention. So this shall be a two (or maybe three if I'm feeling extra crazy) parter. Sadly, I have no really amazing cliff hanger for anyone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lists of Four

As remiss as I have been in my blogging of late, I've fallen even further behind on my blog reading. I was catching up and saw that my darling Shannon tagged me in this post, and so I will play along. 

1. Four shows that you watch:
one: The Office
two: Grey's Anatomy
three: The Venture Brothers
four: Family Guy

I was going to put Glee but Robyn made me feel like a hipster for following the crowd. Thanks, Robyn.

2. Four things that you are passionate about:
one: my sweet baby reed.
two: my wonderful new husband, Adam.
three: my friends. Oh, how I have amazing friends.
four: blogging. 

3. Four words & phrases you use a lot:
one: reed. reed. REED!
two: you're ridiculous (mostly to Ellie).
three: NO.
four: You're an Asshole (mostly to traffic when reed's not in the car)!

4. Four things you've learned from the past:
one: Not everyone is going to like everything you do.
two: None of my friends is ever going to think I should go blond, no matter how much I ask them.
three: Love is a gift, but that doesn't mean it isn't work.
four: If you get four positive pregnancy tests, it's not necessary to keep taking them.

5. Four places you would like to go:
(I've been to some of these but I'd like to go back with reed & adam)
one: New York City
two: Paris
three: Italy (yes, the entire country).
four: I will travel to New Zealand and walk The Lord of the Rings trail to Mordor and I will hike Mount Doom. 

6. Four things you did yesterday:
one: I took reed to the Children's Museum.
two: I visited Adam at work (& got a latte).
three: I went to work.
four: reed & I ate a lot of popcorn.

In case you can't tell, yesterday wasn't very exciting except for the morning at the CMOM.

7. Four things you are looking forward to:
one: Reed getting his big gift from Santa.
two: Christmas Eve Lunch with my family at my brother & sister-in-law's.
three: deep fried turkey & sweet potato casserole at my brother-in-law's on Christmas Day.
four: New Years Eve at the Pennel's

8. Four things that you love about winter:
one: drinking hot lattes.
two: the month-long break from school.
three: cozy socks.
four: when it's bloody OVER.

Today, the actual first day of winter, doesn't apply to most of these. For those not in Memphis, it was nearly 70 degrees outside.

9. Tag four people to play along:
Amanda @ Your's Truly
Amanda @ Because I Said So

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Grinch's Guide to Christmas Shopping

It's not a secret that I'm not really a Christmas person. Or a holiday person.
As an adult, I just haven't found it to be my cup of tea. However, this is one of the many hang ups of mine that I have no desire to pass on to reed, so I'm trying to leave my Scrooge-like ways behind.
Adam could take or leave the holidays as well and so I've taken it upon myself to get both of us into  the holiday spirit. So in keeping with that, I'm really throwing myself into the Christmas shopping. As it turns out, giving him essentially nothing to do and no one (except his wife) to shop for is one of the easiest ways to get Adam in the mood for Christmas.

If you need an actually helpful take on Christmas shopping, particularly as a general concept, please see my dear friend Robyn's blog. She has two posts on the subject.

With my seasonal employment with Gap Kids &Baby Gap (Wolfchase Mall, ya'll), the discounts from all the Gap stores, Old Navy & Banana Republic have been quite influential in planning my Christmas list.
I've found that sticking to a handful of places helps figure out what I'm getting people (I'm a horrible gift giver, I can never think of what to get) and so my store lists consist of Old Navy, the two Gap stores and Target. If you're not into Christmas shopping, lists (both stores and the actual gifts) are critical in my opinion because otherwise you will go to the mall and realize you've just entered the fourth ring of hell.
I've managed to get most of my shopping done already, with a trip to the mall and Old Navy planned for later today with my love Elspeth that will wrap things up for me this year.

Some money saving shopping tips that I've picked up along the way:

1. It's all in the packaging. Nearly every store you'll frequent during the holiday season will have gift boxes of varying shapes and sizes. Take advantage of this. In the past, I have been the queen of gift bags and tissue paper. I might has well have lit money on fire every time I gave someone a present. Between free gift boxes and wrapping paper available as cheap as a ginormous roll for $1 (dollar tree), it's way more cost effective to wrap your presents.

2. Limit how many people go on your gift list. Hey, times are tough, or haven't you heard? This year, I'm a part of two Secret Santa groups. My dear girlfriends and me & Adam's rock band dinner group each drew names, cutting the amount of presents I have to buy from 9 to 2. Or in my friend Ryan's family, the siblings only buy presents for the kids and not for each other. This goes a long way to help out around the holidays and make them less of the stressful, soul-crushing endeavor that I have grown to know & dislike.

3. Sometimes less is more. When it comes to gift giving, I hold with the smorgasbord of smaller gifts over the giant, sometimes over-the-top, presents. Despite what television advertisements want us to believe, most people do not expect a brand new car, a diamond tennis bracelet or a 60' plasma TV. And when you're like me, and the idea of the one big gift is a daunting task, sometimes it's a lot easier to think of three or four smaller things that the recipient would enjoy.

Hopefully the knowledge I've acquired has been helpful to someone, but if not, at least I succeeded in getting through both Christmas shopping and the first 2 weeks of December without running around with my hands over my ears screaming that I hate Christmas.
Hey, I'll take whatever small victory comes my way!

Happy Holidays :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...Break!

I think you already know what I'm going to say. Obviously, I've neglected my blog.
There were times where I could have updated it but for the sake of sanity and not having total sleep deprivation, I decided to take blogging off of my list of things to do and stick to being a momma, working, and studying for finals/writing papers. Oh and not letting my house fall into total disarray.
However, as of about 15 minutes ago I turned in my last paper, all of my finals are over and my fall semester has officially come to a close. Well, all except selling all the godforsaken textbooks back.

In my absence from the blog world, life did go on for the Hinson family, slightly beyond school and work.

The most important of which is the food. Adam and I went on a few date nights, the first of which was at Old Venice. Sadly, we went with friends and I didn't feel comfortable asking them if I could photograph their food. The second was a happy just for me, Adam treated me to sushi at Sekisui Pacific Rim and a matinee of Love and Other Drugs. Sushi and a naked Jake Gyllenhaal. Do I have the best husband ever or what? 
My Spicy Salmon Rolls with Avacado :)

Adam got California Rolls because he's scared of raw sushi. I ended up eating most of them.
I treated him to a burger after the movie.

And lastly on the topic of food, my dear friend Heather & I had a play date with our boys and, after a long day of school, she made me lunch. Isn't she adorable?
In case you can't tell, that's a peanut butter sandwich, baked lays, grapes and spicy pickles.

And here's what reed is up to:
Reed managed to find all things Thomas in BookStar within 2.5 minutes.

He became his father. At least I don't have to worry about him being the 16 year old dad on the 2020 version of 16 & Pregnant (he'll at least wait til 24).

And wait for it....
And then he joined the teeny tiny Village People.

Celebrate my return to my blog. Seriously. Have a party with really good food and cupcakes and then invite me. It'd be kind of lame if you didn't. Next up in the life of Raquel, Adam & Reed Hinson....Christmas Shopping! Stay tuned.