Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of 2014

2014 is coming to a close. 
It was a good year and a lot happened. 


I graduated from my part-time MBA program after FOUR years (whew). 
Adam graduated FIRST in his class from Law School. 
Adam passed the bar exam on the first try. 
Adam started his job in Big Law Firm World at the largest firm in Philly. 
 And our cleaning lady started coming every other week instead of just once a month. 

Is it wrong to say I'm most excited about the last? 
Kidding. 


I can't do a full recap of 2014, because that would be the Longest Post Ever. 
So instead, I decided to put together an arbitrary and totally pointless post about my 2014 favorites. 
Please note that, especially in the case of the book, this does not mean that the item was put out in 2014, but just that I was introduced to it in 2014.  
So there. 


Best Family Photo of 2014

Easter. 


This will NEVER happen again. 
We are all looking at the camera AND smiling. 
Aaron was one-year-and-a-month-old 
(or, 13 months for those who like months)


Best Instagram Photo of 2014

My Little GAP Model 



This is a throwback to Aaron at 10 months old in January.
I love everything about it. 
Aaron's expression. 
Hoodie with a puffer vest 
and his little Ralph Lauren shoes that were completely impractical but too cute!


Best Movie of 2014
 
Divergent. 


I read the book series and this is one instance where I believe Hollywood significantly improved the books.  I call the books a bit "Twilight-y" 
(which is totally ignorant since I've never watched/read Twilight) 
i.e., a bit lovey-dovey for me. 
I think that Hollywood did a great job of turning the movie more towards Hunger Games than Twilight. 
And........... I think Four is hot. 
(Fun fact: Theo James who plays Four is only 15 days older than me!)


Best Book of 2014

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? 


This book made me laugh out loud in a way that few books ever have.
And although I still haven't seen a single episode of The Mindy Project, 
I feel a sort of kinship soulmate to Mindy Kaling. 


Best Song of 2014



"Burn" by Ellie Goulding. 


Just like the Mindy book, this did not come out in 2014.  
In fact, when I heard it in 2013, I hated it.  
Not sure when that changed, 
but now it is in my top favorite running songs. 
Ever. 
To be honest, I think Divergent had a lot to do with my appreciation of Ellie Goulding.


Best New Recipe of 2014

Spiced Rum Cupcakes 
 


I make a LOT of new recipes off of pinterest, and most of them are meals 

(as you can see from my board "Tried and True Recipes"). 
I already have a vast repertoire of desserts from my mom, 
so when I searched pinterest for a rum recipe ideas for a Rum Brunch, 
I never expected this to become a favorite. 
Well, they are phenomenal
I bake mine at 345 for 20-25 minutes, 
add an extra Tbs of rum to the icing, 
and don't do the toasted coconut. 
 But they are AH-MAZ-ING.



And that, my friends, is the Best of 2014. 
I now expect that all other 2014 Countdowns will pale in comparison to my masterful list. 
Sorry.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Back to Work

Back to work
Ughhhhh. 


In my former job as a Big 4 Auditor, we had 25 PTO (Vacation) days and everyone took off the last 2 weeks of December (sometimes 3 weeks... sometimes the entire month!). 
This was also the time pre-children where PTO days meant sleeping in till 11, getting brunch at the local diner, and watching bowl games on the couch for the rest of the day. 
Sigh.
Such was the life!


Now, I'm relegated to the corporate world of 15 PTO days (ugh) and have spent the majority of them on family vacations or child-out-of-daycare-sicknesses. 

So here I am, back to work before New Year's Eve. 
Bah humbug. 


Pros: Back to a schedule. 
Despite my love of lazy days, 
eventually my inner Type A personality wants some form of a schedule back. 


Cons: Once out of schedule, it's hard to get back in. 
Thanks to holiday events, Aaron has gone to bed around 9pm (2 hours past his bedtime!), which mean he sleeps in, which mean we sleep in.  Therefore, getting up at 6:30am this morning was brutal. BRUTAL.
Plus, after 5 days of fun, toys, and excess food, Aaron did NOT want to go back to daycare. 
I don't blame him one bit. 


Pros: Back to a healthy diet. 
 I only gained 2 lbs this Christmas. 
That may be a record low. 
And to be honest, I don't even know how I did it. 
Because I ate and drank a ton, and did very little running. 
But I'm not complaining!  Not one bit! 


Cons: Leftover coworker Christmas cookies.
I should just barricade the kitchenette with caution tape.


Pros: No one important is here. 
No time sensitive work or last second requests. 
Aka: no real thinking required. 


Cons: No one fun is here. 
The stop-by-my-office-and-gab-for-30-minute coworkers aren't here. 
Boo.


And in case you were waiting for there to be a point to this post. 
There isn't. 
Just the tired ramblings of a disgruntled person. 


I decided to cheer up my grumpy self by taking a long lunch at the mall, 
which was a MADHOUSE of skinny tween shoppers. 

I scored big on some beautiful Christmas cards and Hanukkah wrapping paper from Papyrus (because finding non-tacky Hanukkah wrap is impossible). 

I then browsed Banana Republic and J. Crew for some NYE wear. 
And you know what I learned? 

I can't shop for myself anymore. 
I've become so reliant on StitchFix that I can't evaluate clothes on hangers anymore.
 I take 10 clothes into the dressing room and they all look ridiculous. 

Truthfully, I've never learned to shop for my postpartum body 
(wider hips, flabby gut, thicker thighs, etc). 
And since the lovely stylists at StitchFix do so well at it, 
I shouldn't even bother trying anymore.


Monday, December 29, 2014

21-Month Old Habits

A few random things about Aaron at 21 months:


He thinks burping is HILARIOUS. 
I 100% blame Daddy for this.
Whenever Adam burps, by accident or on purpose
Aaron giggles uncontrollably and asks for: 
"Mo' ugh?" 


Whenever Aaron is playing, 
if Daddy even goes NEAR his toy, 
it's a frantic "No, Dada, No, Dada!" 
Complete with frantic hand waving. 
And if any toy has an issue, it's "Mama, Hap! Mama, Hap!" 
Hap = Help. 
Again with frantic hand gestures. 


Leaving the bath is a terrible event of stress. 
How DARE we ask him to be removed from the tub?!?!?!
The only way he can deal with this stress is to clutch his bath toys 
and insist on dragging them around the house for the rest of the night. 


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holiday Awards

December is not yet over SO I'm going to sneak in one last Christmas post. 
It's also a way of kicking off award season on TV. 

Herein are my CHRISTMAS AWARDS where I am giving out the BESTS of our holidays.

 Acceptance speeches not required. 
Red carpet dresses are optional. 


Best Aww Moment


 Cousin Hugs

I've said it over and over again, these two cousins just love each other to death. 
7 months apart and they think the world of each other. 
They love to give hugs and do so with very little prompting. 
Aaron often asks for "Mo' hugs?" 
And Ryan always obliges. 
Melts our hearts every time. 


Best Expected Gift*


Thomas the Train Wooden Railway. 
This kid just LOVES his trains. 
Like, loves. 
Nothing has held his attention for so long as this train set. 


Other Best Expected Gift Nominees*
Pinhole Press Book 
Curious George Books 
Boon Flo Facet


Best Unexpected Gift 

Essentially, "Where's Waldo" with beautiful photography and a border collie. 
I love it. Aaron's loves it. And it's a highly mom-child interactive book. 



Best Gift for Me



This was tough, but I'm straying from my Wishlist and say my All-Clad Pasta Pot.  
I've had a multi-cooker pot before, but it was too large and I didn't love. 
I'm also a HUGE fan of high quality cookware, 
and while I have a healthy stock of Le Creuset, 
I was so excited to add the other line of Cookware Royalty into my home: All-Clad. 
Truly a beautiful pot. 


Best Gift for Adam


 Eagles Ugly Sweater
(Official name: "One Too Many Sweater") 
Despite the Eagles disappointing performance this December 
(huge understatement), 
Adam loved wearing this sweater and wore it for EVERY CHRISTMAS EVENT the entire month.



Best Meal

Creamed Potatoes
I have heard about these potatoes since Adam and I started dating in 2007. 
Adam's uncle makes them every Christmas Day. 
I have missed them every year because usually we do Christmas Day with my family and Christmas Eve with his family, but this year we flipped it. 
This dish is WOW good. 
On first glance, it looks like alfredo gnocchi. 
Thick, white creamy sauce with small white chunks. 
Turns out, those small white chunks are super-soft potatoes and the sauce is this delectable combination of super heavy cream and delicious spice. 
I guarantee you there's 1,500 calories per 1/2 cup serving.



Best Dessert: 

(with regular oreos, not peanut butter)
I wish I had a picture for this but Adam's aunt wouldn't let me. 
Truth is, the aunt's cookies looked more like little trees of white chocolate with an oreo on top.  Absolutely nowhere could you see the snowman face. 
She called them an "epic disaster." 
No way. 
They were DELICIOUS. 
I ate way too many. 
WAAYYYYYY too many. 
Just goes to show that it doesn't have to be "pretty" to be good. 




* The "Best Expected Gift" Award is a bit preemptive as we actually haven't OPENED his Step2 Kitchen, Play food, or Cookware yet.  Why?  
1) They are going where the Christmas tree currently is.
2) I don't like "overloading" Aaron with toys, and would rather bring it out later after the initial toys have lost their "wow" factor. I've noticed it helps him concentrate on the toys he has.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014 Recap

It wouldn't be a blog if I didn't provide you with lengthy Christmas recaps. 
And it wouldn't be an EMILY Blog without haphazardly posting pre-Christmas recaps after Christmas, and then subsequently posting the actual Christmas recap just hours later.

You should expect no less from me. 


Also in classic ME fashion, 
this is TEN TIMES as long as it needs to be 
and TWICE as boring as it could be. 
So you are well prepared. 
If you want cute, happy, and makes-you-go-"aww," 
I will direct you to the Massey blog where Baby #3 announcement just melted my heart. 


Moving on... 

Every year, we make our annual excursion to Central NY. 
My grandparents (Aaron's great-grandparents) are all around Syracuse, NY 
(4.5 hr drive from our home)
and Adam's extended family on his father's side

(the non-Jewish extended family)
are in Binghamton, NY 
(3 hour drive from our home)

Is it hard to travel all Christmas? 
YES. 
But with the health of grandparents, 
we never know when will be our last year. 
So we make the trek every year and try to enjoy it to the fullest extent. 


On Tuesday, Dec 23rd, 
Adam army-crawled out of work at 4:30 and we were on the road by 6. 
We picked up my sister and arrived at my grandma's house at 10:30pm. 
Aaron slept for 3 hours of the 4.5 hour car ride, so not too shabby. 
He of course was WAY too excited to be awake again and took a good hour to settle down. 
It was kind of cute lying in bed and watching his little head pop out over the Pack N Play again and again, smiling and saying "hiiiiiii". 


The next morning, it was Panera bagels and cream cheese 
(hello, Asiago goodness), 
and presents from Grandma to us. 
(And by "from Grandma to us," I mean my aunt sent a check, we bought presents, wrapped them, transported to NY, and then opened in front of Grandma so she could feel like she "gave" us something). 



Sadly, my grandma has severe dementia and other physical ailments. 
She asked Adam if she had met him before (yes, several times) 
and then asked me and my sister which one of us was Aaron's mommy. 
My aunt explained in advance that this is common. 
However, because of my weekly emails (one Aaron picture + one paragraph blurb), Grandma always knows "the little boy" is her great-grandson 
and she was so overwhelmed with joy to see him in person. 

My cousin Hannah was there which was FANTASTIC. 
I have 9 cousins on that side but all others live too far, had work, or other obligations on Christmas Eve, 
so to be able to see at least one was such a treat. 
And Aaron LOVED Hannah. 
LOVED. 



At noon, we packed up the car and drove 30 minutes south to my other grandparents house, where we had a full Christmas meal of ham and all the dressings, 
and my cousins Holly brought her cat, who Aaron followed after calling "Meow! Meow!".

Basically, it was Aaron's favorite Christmas Eve ever. 


 By some miracle, we got him down for a 2 hour nap 
(Aaron, not the cat)
and he woke up refreshed and ready for more presents. 
Aaron also had 2 Spiced Rum Cupcakes for dinner. 
Whatever, it's Christmas Eve. 


Then that night we packed up the car AGAIN and drove an hour south to the hotel in Binghamton. 
We unpacked and fell fast asleep. 
Or we tried. 
I got sick. 
Aaron was asleep in the Pack N Play so I had to be quiet as possible, 
And Adam could sleep through a bomb. 

As I suffered in silence, 
I made up this gem of poetry: 

'Twas the night before Christmas 
And all through the hotel, 
not a creature was stirring except a few mice. 
The toddlers were snuggled in their Pack N Plays, 
while visions of cupcakes danced in their head. 
 And hubby in his boxers and I in my tank, 
were all snuggled in for a quiet hotel sleep. 
When within my belly there arose such a bubble, 
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. 
Away to the toilet I flew like a flash, 
Threw up the lid and sat without a bash. 

And I didn't get much further than that. 
But I'll let your imagination finish it. 
Fortunately, it was short-lived and I believe my body was rebelling from a month of excess refined sugar and processed food. 
Next morning I was fine. 


The next morning (Christmas morning) Aaron got his favorite thing IN THE WORLD: 

COUSIN RYAN. 


 The two are 7 months apart and just adore each other. 
They both SCREAMED and shook with joy when they saw each other in the hotel hallway, 
and proceeded to RUN up and down the hotel halls, LAUGHING IN JOY. 
Cutest Christmas morning ever. 


I am absolutely positive that we woke up every guest on the second floor of the hotel. 
And you know what? 
I couldn't give a damn. 
If you can't stand the joyous laughter of two toddlers on Christmas morning, 
then you don't deserve to celebrate Christmas! 
SO THERE. 
(For the record, every guest was very cheerful and smiling towards the boys, so really there was no need for psycho protective mommy to come out) 


After breakfast which included TWO helpings of scrambled eggs and hash browns... 



... we headed over to Adam's aunt and uncle's house, for Christmas lunch. 
The house was beautifully decorated for Christmas and we spent the entire day eating, drinking, and letting the two boys run WILD and just LOVING every second of it. 



The boys love to give each other hugs. 
And this is one of my favorite pictures by the Christmas tree. 
Aaron, who has been putting words together for a while now, 
will often ask for "Mo' hugs!" which just melts my heart. 

Around 6, we again packed up the car for the FINAL time and drove 3 hours home, 
complete with our classic "chinese firedrill" at a rest stop to switch drivers. 

Got home, unloaded bags, and Aaron did NOT want to sleep. 
After 2 days away, he just wanted to play with his Thomas trains. 
Eventually he was in bed and we crashed on the couch watching Bridesmaids. 
We all slept in until 8am. 
8am!!!! 
I don't think Aaron has slept that late in his LIFE! 


Our day after Christmas morning was absolutely bliss perfect. 

I had all our presents to each other wrapped and under the tree. 



We had pancakes for breakfast. 
Pineapple mimosas while opening gifts (my favorite)
We kept Aaron's gifts simple with a ton of books. 
I listed them all out in his Wishlist
but the #1 winner was (as expected) the Pinhole Press customized book
We read every book as we opened it (in typical toddler fashion) 
but he wanted to read Pinhole Press OVER and OVER again. 
Second favorite was definitely Curious George books 
... which he refers to as "mon-nah boo" ("monkey book").


After opening and creating messes and drinking mimosas, 
Adam went out to get us Shake Shack for lunch 
and Aaron and I crashed on the couch watching Thomas. 

Let me tell you, my child is NOT a cuddler. 
When moms posts all these pictures and statuses of "cuddling on the couch with my little one" I just want to throw my phone across the room. 
My child doesn't cuddle dammit. 
At soon as breastfeeding was up at 14 months, he never sat still with me again. 
So when he curled up right next to me, I was just in heaven. 
And I knew he was exhausted. 
But I loved every split second of it. 




After Aaron went down for his nap, 
we tackled the unpacking and gifts. 

And here is where my Christmas enthusiasm deflated like a popped balloon. 

So excuse me while I interrupt this beautifully poetic recap for a brief venting session: 

I am an EXTREMELY practical person. 

 When I see clever DIY gifts on Pinterest, I get a twitch. 
An awful nervous twitch. 
I have said before "if money can't buy you a gift... then you're getting money." 
I mean it. 
If I can't find something practical, then you're getting a giftcard or money.

Also, I am NOT sentimental.
When someone gifts me a "delicate golden teacup that's been in our family for 5 generations," my first thought is "will the Goodwill take it?" 
I know this makes me a TERRIBLE person, 
but here's a few truths about my life: 

1. We have a small townhouse. We do NOT live in the sprawling suburbs with a 4-bedroom house, playroom, etc. We do not have the storage space to house extra "things." 

2. "Sentimental" is a subjective term and cannot be transferred. 
You may have sentimental feelings about your great aunt's golden teacup, 
but I have no memories with than teacup and thus do not care about it. 


ALSO... 
(venting not complete)... 
I hate little shit. 
I like Aaron's toys to have themes and sets. 
Hence why I'm so supportive of Thomas Wooden Railway. 
Or a play kitchen. 
Or Little People. 
Or books. 
But little random shit makes my head spin. 
What the hell are we supposed to do with all of it?


So needless to say, when it came time for sorting the gifts, 
I spent more time piling items into the donate, JBF, or "return" piles than I did actually putting things away.  


Putting my bitchy-ness aside, we DID get some fantastic gifts. 

Like the Little People Superhero collection that I've wanted forever. 

This really clever book called "Find Momo" that basically Where's Waldo but with beautiful photography and the photographer's border collie. 
It's very difficult (even for me) but I absolutely love it. 

And clothes, clothes are always great for playtime and daycare! 

For Adam and I, we got cool gifts like beer collections and olive oil varieties.


I type this as Aaron is just waking up from his afternoon nap. 
We'll see what the evening has in store for us and I'm SURE I'll have more fascinating recaps of the weekend ahead.

Mommy's Days Off


This is what we call a BRAG-post. 
It's really just me basking in my own bragging. 
Guaranteed to bore readers of all ages. 

I took off Monday/Tuesday this week before Christmas, 
but we left Aaron in daycare because he needs a minimum of two days in daycare a week or else its a "shock" to get acquainted back. 


That meant for two days, it was MOMMY'S DAY OFF. 


And oh my, the things that I did!


DAY ONE:
 
First things first: WRAPPING. 



This looks impressive, but in reality I only wrapped like 5 presents.  
All the rest had been wrapped previously with the Hanukkah presents. 

Then it was a laundry list of items to do: 
Laundry (of course),
Spiced Rum Cupcakes for Christmas (YUMMY!), 
Crockpot Balsamic Chicken for dinner (Daddy approved; Aaron denied),
Packing away old toys and board books, 
(did you know you're supposed to do this every 14 days? I do it once a year) 
 and a lengthy list of other odds and ends around the house. 
The type of small items that always get brushed off yet continue to nag at my existence.
And then errands... 
Dry Cleaners, 
Bed Bath & Beyond, 
and 
(of course, the Mommy Mecca) 
Target. 

And since Target is so close to Aaron's daycare,
I decided to pick up the Chubs man while I was out. 
This was very risky. 
But I had a specific purpose. 
Aaron is SO EXCITED about his new Thomas trains, that he was heart broken to leave them in the morning.  
I thought "maybe, just maybe" I could pick him up early and let him play with the trains while I continue to get stuff done. 
If you're a parent, you know this is a HIGH RISK operation. 

BUT, every now and then, grace smiles on stupid parents. 

 Aaron played happily with his trains, never leaving our makeshift train table (old IKEA coffee table from mancave), all the way up until dinner and AFTER dinner too. 

I'm telling 'ya, this may get "GIFT OF THE YEAR" here with the attention he paid to it.


Also something this train set has taught me about my child... 
Aaron gets quite anxious when the trains fall off the tracks. 
"Hap! Hap! Hap!" 
(Help!  Help!  Help!) 
he'll call out in DISTRESS. 
Future OCD, maybe? 

So there were several times I had to abandon whatever I was doing to "rescue" the train. 
At one point, he got so anxious that we had to do a time out just to calm down. 

(Note: we don't use "time out" as a punishment, but only to calm down.  He sits on my lap in the corner and I set the iPhone timer to 1 minute. It's been remarkably successful so far and I need to write a post about it. Because, you know, having done it for ONE WEEK makes me an Expert. Te he he.) 


Aaron is so obsesed with his train set, then I had to wrangle him away for dinner and it was near World Ending when we had to say goodbye to the trains for bed. 
It's a tough life toddlers lead!


We watched Monday Night Football which was a $300 game for us. 
Adam was in the Fantasy Football Championship 
($500 winner and $200 2nd place). 
Going into the game, he had a 16-pt lead on his opponent, 
with A.J. Greene left to play. 
Well, Greene got hurt on the first play and his opponent,  who only had Emmanuel Sanders, ended up beating him by THREE POINTS. 
Ugh.
But I snuggled in with my 7-and-7 drink and enjoyed the night regardless. 


DAY TWO: 

First order of business: PACKING 

This was a daunting task. 
Packing our 3-person family for a 2-day, 3-house excursion to Central NY for Christmas. 


Whew.
At noon, I got in the car and headed into Philadelphia. 
Every year at Christmas, I go to the jewelry store where Adam bought my ring, get the prongs tightened, and the bands polished. 

And ohhhhh how it sparkles!  



Also, let's please take a second to appreciate my manicure. 
All over instagram, I see all these moms with cute nails in seasonal colors... 
ALL YEAR LONG. 
Who has time to get a manicure that often and 
HOW do you keep it from being scratched 10 times a day? 
I swear somewhere there's a photoshop app that automatically adds seasonal colors to mom nails. 


Tangent over. 


While my ring was getting all sparkly beautiful, 
I took a cab to Adam's office. 

And yes, if you're actually paying attention (bravo! bravo!
you'll notice I drove into the city and then took a cab. 
Parking in Philly blows and I wasn't about to move my car from Jeweler's Row once I had a spot, but I also wasn't in the mood to walk the 14 blocks to Adam's office. 
Justification complete.  


Adam introduced me to his secretary 
(a lovely charming woman who is probably the same age as my mother) 
and several of the other associates. 

Then we went to Luke's Lobster Rolls
 which was quite good, 
but more importantly, I loved the tiny half-underground rustic little spot. 
Brought back memories of all the places we used to lunch back when I worked in Philly. 
Nostalgia. Sigh. 
After picking up my ring, 
I headed home to complete the daunting task of actually packing the car. 
It was surprisingly easy and I'm quite pleased at my work. 
All of the presents/food for Christmas Day are tucked in the back of the trunk, 
while all the bags we need on Christmas Eve are easily accessible in the trunk. 
Aren't I just the little engineer? 
:: Self applause ::

So that's the end of my BRAG-post. 
Stay tuned for the long-anticipated CHRISTMAS RECAP! 
I should sell tickets.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Another holiday weekend recap

Another holiday weekend recap. 
I know you're on the edge of your seat. 
Don't lie.


The weekend started early on Friday afternoon when I took a half-day to get a mani pedi
and tackle the Christmas/Hanukkah cookie icing challenge. 
Challenge Accepted. 
Challenge Completed. 
Boom.


Then Friday got even BETTER when Adam got home BEFORE midnight. 
Woooooohoooooo. 
We had a few beers and watched one of my favorite Christmas movies 
(Home Alone 3... Still no it's a wonderful life). 
And we went to bed at 10pm. 
Epic happiness. 
(Really, it doesn't take a lot for us)


Aside from Aaron waking up at 12:30am with second year molar teething pain, 
Saturday was a wonderfully relaxing day where I got to run, wrap, clean, 
and even chill on the couch watching lame TV! 
Seriously, what more could a mother ask for????


After nap, we headed off to Adam's extended family Hanukkah
Madness. 
Sheer madness. 
8 kids under 8 running around 14 different adults, 
with everyone trying to keep their eye on one of the saddest Eagle games ever. 
Aaron had a BLAST. 
He adores his cousin Ryan ("Rah-Rah"). 
They are only 7 months apart and think the world of each other.
I hope they are forever this close.



Plus... the FOOD. 
Aaron had one meltdown when we wouldn't let him eat an ENTIRE WEDGE of brie cheese. 
(Like, choking sobs... over brie) 
but generally was quite pleased when he was allowed to walk around clutching tortilla scoops. 
I apologized to Adam's cousin Rachel about 1,000 times about the fact that she'd be finding tortilla scoops for months [years] to come. She has 2 boys of her own and was wonderfully gracious. 



We got an insane amount of toys. 
It was such a busy present-opening madness that I have no idea who gave us what. 
From Aaron's Wishlist, we got: Step2 Kitchen, Green Toys Cookware, Play food, and Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway pieces. 
We also received beautifully classic books ("If you give a mouse a cookie" and "brown bear, brown bear"), plastic building blocks (like gigantic Legos), a handful of other things I can't keep track of, and THIS monstrosity:


A Thomas-themed indoor ballpit with a thousand freakin' balls? 
Aaron's DREAM COME TRUE 
and Mommy's LIVING NIGHTMARE. 
But honestly, he loves it TOO much for me to take it away. 
So it shall stay........ for now. 


That night, after wayyyy too many cookies,
 Aaron went home with MomMom and PopPop (Adam's parents) 
while we went to another friend's Christmas party. 
It was absolutely wonderful to catch up, 
and even met NEW mutual friends who live like 5 minutes away from us! 
Bonus!


But that night, I didn't sleep well. 
Kind of like I can't sleep without Adam
I have trouble sleeping without Aaron home. 
Now, most times Aaron when sleeps over at Grandparents, either Adam and I are out of town or we've participated in some excessive drinking. 
But Saturday night I was the DD, so I DIDN'T fall into a drunken stupor, 
and instead I woke up a LOT, checking the powered-off monitor, freaking out, and then realizing Aaron wasn't home.  
Lots of adrenalin-pumping middle-of-the-night moments does not make for a good nights' sleep.
The next morning I was aching for my chubby little man.


Bright and early, we walked into MomMom and PopPop's house to THIS: 



My child. 
Sitting in his highchair.
Eating his cheesy eggs breakfast.
IN THE LIVING ROOM.
IN FRONT OF THE TV. 

How spoiled can you get?!?!
Aaron saw us and just GIGGLED. 
He KNEW he could never get away with that at home. 
Never. 


Even MomMom and PopPop were a little ashamed that we "caught them" spoiling him. 
I still shake my head when I see that photo. 


On a tougher, serious note... 
Sunday afternoon I went with some friends to visit our family friend at the psych hospital. 
I wrote about the situation here
As always, I played up my humor-in-all-situations and got some good laughs. 
Humor is my coping mechanism for awkward/tough situations. 
 Some people bring kind words and loving hugs. 
I bring the inappropriate humor. 
Still, it was tough, but I'm glad I visited.


After that, I met Adam and Aaron at my parents house where we had dinner and let Aaron open one of his gifts (saving the others for later). 



Check out Adam's AWESOME Ugly Eagles sweater


In the event you decide my inspirational photography drives you to buy one for your man, 
I HIGHLY recommend sizing up. Adam is normally a Medium to Large, and after reading reviews, I got XL and it fits perfectly.


Aaron cheese-ing it up with Grandpa (my dad). 
He FINALLY "smiles" when we ask him too. 
(He hasn't done this since 6 months old!)
His smile is the cheesiest smile ever and I LOVE IT. 


Aaron's gift was another Thomas & Friends piece, which included the trains Thomas, Percy, and a Caboose.  Aaron carried around all three trains ALL NIGHT LONG.
When it came time for bed, he BAWLED. 
Hysteria tears. 
They are now sitting out with the rest of his wooden railway tracks, 
anxiously awaiting his playtime tomorrow.


I'll wrap up this RIVETING recap with this classic family photo. 
Of course, I look great. 
Adam looks great. 
And Aaron is like... wtf?