Monday, December 9, 2013

Wonderful Life

Eek, another whole week since I've posted. With the holidays in full swing and work being busy, it's been tough to find any bit of extra time lately. But with the unexpected blizzard Jersey got yesterday, Matt had a 2 hour delay at school this morning which meant I could steal some time away from my usual morning mom duties to catch up with you all.

All last week we spent our evenings decorating in and outside and doing some Christmas shopping here and there. The house feels so warm and cozy now!

(Riker is so excited about the holidays this year and it just melts my heart.)

Cooking time was sparse, so to get us through the week I made a big pot of escarole, cabbage and tomato soup, which honestly I ate for lunch and dinner at least three times. It was really good, especially when paired with an Ezekiel bread and Cabot cheddar grilled cheese, but it's safe to say I'm done with it for a while.

Friday came around quickly, and I have to say it was a really good one. It was one of those weekends where I felt like we got to do a little bit of everything - home time, family time, friend time - and I woke up this morning feeling happy and refreshed.

On Friday night Riker was a little tired and went to bed early, which meant dinner & a movie for me and Matt. I made our favorite shell-less tacos, and we ate them on TV trays watching Christmas Vacation. It's not the holidays until we watch it!

While grocery shopping this week Matt spotted a new Guy Fieri chipotle salsa he wanted to try, and I'm so glad he picked it up on a whim. This stuff was seriously good and it made the tacos. It was smokey with a kick but not too much heat, so it didn't overpower all the other fillings.

Saturday was a really busy day, jam packed from 7 am until midnight. I mentioned last week that Matt totaled his 4Runner, and our insurance only paid for a rental car until Friday, so we were under the gun to buy a car like, that day. Can't have just one car in this crazy household. We originally had plans to visit family in south Jersey, so we looked up some dealerships in that area and made an appointment down there so we wouldn't have to miss any family festivities. Ambitious, huh? Well, we made it work. We left here at 8:30 on the dot, dropped Riker off at my in-laws' for the morning (they met us down there in the afternoon), and drove the 1.5 hours south to go car shopping. After 4 hours at the dealership - it's never a quick process, as much as I'd love it to be - we drove away in a Chevy Equinox mini SUV. It's definitely smaller than the 4Runner was, but it still has plenty of room for Butters and all our ski equipment and it has waaaay better gas mileage than the big old Toyota.

Side note: It was most definitely the car salesman's idea to take a picture of us in front of the car. I declined multiple times but he insisted. Cheeseball, I know.

Car shopping done, we met up with Matt's extended family in his aunt's town for a little Santa meet & greet for Riker and all his cousins.

Clearly Riker wasn't really into the whole "sit still for a picture" thing.  It took us about 50 tries to get a family shot, and it still came out blurry. :/

We had an early dinner back at his aunt's house before hitting the road again. I didn't snap a pic, but I had a helping (ok, two) of homemade mac and cheese, a bunch of salad and a gingerbread cookie. Yum. All of Matt's cousins were there and it's been a while since we've seen them, so it was fun catching up. It's also so nice that all the kids are old enough to play together on their own now, while us adults hang out in the kitchen doing our thing. Love it!

And thennn we got back in the car for the 1.5 hour drive home, just in time to head out to Seaside for a night out with friends. 

One of our good friends' girlfriends unfortunately had a bout with cancer over the summer, and she's been such a trooper fighting it tooth and nail. She was recently declared cancer-free, so everyone got together for a big celebration. I can't think of many better things to celebrate!

This is the picture on the invitation we got. Tell me this girl isn't amazing. 

Such strength and beauty. You're awesome, Casey!


Since Saturday was so busy, I was really looking forward to a relaxing Sunday, and it was perfect in every way.

Coffee and homemade banana walnut pancakes for breakfast.

Christmas shopping for all of Riker's presents (my MIL took him for an hour so he wasn't there for the gift choosing), and walking out of Toys 'r Us to this. My love for snow is unreal.

A family lunch with Matt's mom and Missy.

(That would be Riker and my MIL listening for reindeer.)

Wrapping presents and watching Elf while Riker napped, with the snow falling outside.

Playing in the snow and watching Riker's joy as he tried to build a snowman and make snow angels.

And topping it all off with Riker's very first mug of hot chocolate, ever. I loved pulling off all his cold, wet gear, hanging it to dry and then sitting him on the counter to help me make the cocoa. It just seemed like the epitome of parenting, and I remember how much I loved those moments when I was a kid.

It's a wonderful life. <3


Time to head upstairs for work now. I hope you had a great weekend!