Time to Ring in the New Year and Time for a Quick Update!

Oh, heyyyyy! Yes we are still alive and kickin’ over here! Last time I checked in was just after my 30th birthday so over a month ago. Monthly posts are what is happening these days I guess. You know what else? I don’t hardly take any photos (besides of Bode of course!). But ya know, It is what it is!

So, since my last post here this is what has happened…

1.I thoroughly enjoyed my favorite meal day of the year, Thanksgiving, and so did Mr. Bode! I was much too excited to eat therefore no food photo was taken. Before we ate, we ran in our favorite 5k.

2. A couple of days after Thanksgiving, Bode got to hang out with grandma and grandpa for a week while Dana and I went on a Caribbean cruise. The cruise sailed from Miami to Panama and stopped at Cayman Islands, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. In Cayman Islands we swam with the stingrays and got to hold a big female stingray! In Jamaica we climbed up a bunch of waterfalls and laid by the beach, and in Costa Rica we took a pontoon tour and got to see sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, and other beautiful wild life.

The cruise itself was exquisite. Everything was included so we ate and drank like kings and queens. It was my mission to eat bacon everyday, and mission was completed.

crystal cruise

Formal night/Captain’s dinner…

crystal cruise

The “elves” decorated the boat while we were there! So pretty!

crystal cruise crystal cruise

As fun as the cruise was, I was sooooo excited to get home and snuggle my baby. That is the longest I had ever been away from him!

3. After the cruise we were busy into the holiday season and lots of fun holiday parties! We all got hit with the stomach bug pretty bad, and after that we all got colds. In fact, my whole entire year was this way. Bode gets sick, mom gets sick. Welcome to parenthood, right? Thanks daycare! 😉

4. Christmas was celebrated in Colorado with Dana’s family and then back here in Minnesota with mine. I still can’t believe Christmas is over! We had so much fun with our family and friends.

5. Now here we are about to kick off the New Year! Where on earth did 2015 go? It surely was a great year but as always, I’m excited to see what 2016 has in store for us. I wish you all the best of health and much happiness as we ring in the New Year!

Check in with you all who knows when! 😉

xoxo

The Christmas Recap

Did everyone survive Christmas? Is anyone else feeling the post-Christmas blues at all? I am a little bit. I am definitely going to keep the Christmas decorations up for a little while to help myself wean off of the holiday high.

Christmas was a blast. The majority of the celebrating started on Christmas eve morning.

Dana and I volunteer every year at the Children’s Hospital where we help wrap presents that have been donated to the children who have to be in the hospital at Christmastime.

Children's christmas eve gift wrapping dana and melanie

Children's christmas eve gift wrapping

I am always amazed at the amount of gifts that are donated. Each child gets 5-8 gifts and the bags with their gifts are all labeled so that we know the first name of the child and the age. It breaks my heart to think of anyone having to spend Christmas in the hospital, and I hope receiving some holiday cheer helps to lift their spirits.

This is about one-quarter of the amount of gifts that were wrapped.

Children's christmas eve gift wrapping

Once we were done being elves, we dashed home to get ready for Christmas Eve with Dana’s family. I threw together a fruit salad (recipe from Katie!), made myself some lunch, changed into my Christmas outfit, and headed out the door.

dana moose melanie christmas eve

We spent the afternoon and evening munching on delicious appetizers, sipping wine, opening gifts, and eating a nice Christmas eve dinner.

appetizers christmas eve

Beef tenderloin, asparagus, horseradish mashed potatoes, and my fruit salad…

christmas eve dinner

Later in the evening Dana and I met my family at church for 10:00 pm mass. They played my favorite song and mass was beautiful.

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, we made our way to my mom and dad’s. Awaiting our arrival was this glorious loaf of monkey bread. I was amazed to learn that not everyone knows what monkey bread is. You have to try this stuff! It is caramelly and cinnamony and so darn good!

Monkey Bread

We all hung out, watched A Christmas Story, and waited for everyone else to arrive.

mom and melanie

Once the crew was there, we sat down to dinner.

christmas table mom and dads 2013

Ham, cheesy potatoes (!!!), asparagus, and strawberry spinach salad…So good!

christmas 2013

I filled my tummy to the perfect amount of satisfied, and then we all dove into the Christmas gifts. That was quite the lengthy ordeal! We must have been very good this year because there were LOTS of presents!

christmas 2013 mom and dads

After gifts we opened up our stockings and then reeeelaaxxeed. A major theme of these two days.

stocking

Eventually, it was time for dessert: Christmas cookies and ice cream, but not just any ice cream, Edy’s slow churned caramel delight ice cream. Oh my goodness, so good  ice cream dessert

We finished watching A Christmas Story, watched a home video, and then headed for home. It was such an incredible Christmas as always—we really missed Jeff and Ana though. Muchos xoxo’s to you!

I am so lucky to have such amazing families! I love you all.

So tell me about YOUR Christmas! What was your favorite treat? Your favorite gift? Most memorable moment? 

A Christmas Full of Family, Friends, and Joy

Well hello there my beautiful friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday full of family, friends, and the joy of the season.

I gave the food photos a break this weekend, and really the camera in general as well. I soaked up every moment of the celebrations. I’m feeling a bit groggy today so I will be short-winded, but still wanted to recap the events for you all and relive them for myself.

Sunday: Extended family get together on my mom’s side. There were LOTs of people there (I have like a million cousins). We all hung out, caught up, enjoyed some great food and great company.

These photos weren’t taken at the party but they were still fun to share:

A beautifully festive bouquet from my sweetie…

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My not so festive outfit…

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And my oh-so-festive nails…

festive nails

Christmas Eve: Gift wrapping at the Children’s hospital in the morning and then shuffled off to my mom and dad’s for appetizers, gifts, dinner (french onion soup, tortilla soup, oyster stew, bread, and veggies), and 10:00 pm church service. We actually had my whole immediate family home and of course I had to make sure we got a family photo. I’ll be posting it soon—-very special to me!

In the meantime, another family photo…

christmas eve

 

Abbie girl…

abbie christmas

 

Papa and Dana with some gifts…

papa christmas   IMG_1193

 

Christmas Day: A lazy morning and a yoga session (we opted out of our run given it was –15°F windchill) followed by Moose asking nicely if he could open his Christmas presents…

moose so cute

 

I made homemade monkey bread made gluten-free with almond flour…

christmas breakfast

 

Our baby boy opening up his stocking stuffer…

 

moose christmaschristmas moose

 

“Man, only one present? I must not have been a very good boy this year.” 🙂

christmas moose

 

Kidding, he LOVED it! Plus his auntie Abbie gave him another toy too…

IMG_1198

 

She may not always act like she loves him but I think secretly she does. She’s just playing hard to get.

Next, off to Dana’s parent’s house for a celebration full of gifts, food (ham, beef roast, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, etc.), and again, wonderful company. I did not snap one single photo at Dana’s parents house but I can tell you we had some great food and lots of time to relax.

We got home around 8:30 and after putting away a few gifts, cleaning up the kitchen, and washing my face, I hunkered down on the couch with my new slippers as we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and continued planning a future vacation which is yet to be revealed!!

 

christmas relaxing

 

I had the most incredible Christmas. I am so very grateful for my amazing family and friends who fill my heart with so much love and whom I love unconditionally. I hope you all had an equally delightful holiday.

Now, it’s time to get back into the clean eating!

I’m off to do about 5 loads of laundry and clean up this house a bit! Happy day to all!

 

 

 

 

Christmas Survey (my turn)

After yesterday’s more serious post, I was feeling the need for a fun light post. So that’s exactly what it’s going to be today.

This Christmas survey has been floating around the blog community (I got this one from Courtney who got it from someone else and so on). It’s time to relive some Christmas memories! Are you ready?!

1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? .

The past couple of years I have been really into Glee Christmas on Pandora. Also, my bro got me Lady Antebellem’s On This Winter’s Night CD and I have been listening to that each morning as I get ready for work. I like hearing different versions of Christmas songs versus the originals over and over and over…

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?

Usually I would say no running in the morning, but this year since we are training for a 10K on January 1st, and Christmas falls on a Tuesday (our 3 mile run day), and since we don’t have plans until later in the day, I think Dana and I will be running a Christmas morning 5K together around the neighborhood. I may have to wear something festive or maybe carry bells? 🙂

3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?

Growing up mom would always make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and I loved them. I’d always try and pick out the one with the most frosting. Mmmmm…

4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?

I keep trying to decide if I want to answer these in the present moment or from the past. I think I will go with the past to relive the memories…On Christmas Eve we would go to 5:00 mass which I always love because of all of the great music and warm holiday spirit in the room, and then we would travel to my Grandparents house who lived just a short distance away. Grandma would make spaghetti with homemade meatballs and although it has been quite some time since I’ve had them, I still remember how delicious they were.

After dinner, we would exchange gifts amongst the siblings as well as give mom and dad their gifts from us (usually something homemade from school) and then gifts to grandma and grandpa.

On the ride home at the end of the night I would watch the sky for Santa and his reindeer and would usually mistake an airplane with a red light for his sleigh. I didn’t tell anyone of course.

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree?

I grew up with a real tree, and continue to go the real tree route. It’s become a tradition for Dana and me to go and cut one down ourselves. I LOVE the smell of real trees, and it’s a “greener” way to go, plus I love that it’s become our tradition as a couple.

6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay?

Not usually but I did used to sport some amazing homemade PJ’s from grandma back in the day. That woman really knew how to sew. Someday I will be like that!

7. Where do you spend the holidays?

Now that I’m married, our Christmas plans pretty much change every year. This year, we will be with my family on Christmas eve, and Dana’s family on Christmas day. Both of our families live near by which makes it very easy to celebrate with both sides. I am very lucky.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat? 

Cookies! Although I don’t like to keep too many around the house because both hubby and I have incredible sweet tooths.

9. Open presents all at once or take turns?

We always take turns. We usually do oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest. Something simple. We’ve always been good about waiting for the other person to finish opening before starting to open our own.

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie?

Elf, Home Alone, White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Holiday. A couple of classics, a couple more modern.

And that ends the survey. That was fun!

I have to add just one more Christmas photo from the past and then I’ll be done…

Because really, it doesn’t get any cuter than that. I feel so warm and fuzzy! I have so much love for my family and can’t wait to have EVERYONE HOME very soon! Happy Holidays to all.

A Cozy Day to Make Cookies

I had every intention of making actual cooked meals this weekend but for some reason when it came time to do it, I just wasn’t in the mood. You saw Friday night’s dinner and now here you have Saturday night’s dinner…

On Saturday night we stayed in and watched “The Change Up” which was an okay movie. I did like that it was filmed in Atlanta, more specifically in Piedmont Park, which I loved so much when I visited Kate and Luke last month in Atlanta.

We were also entertained by the dog per usual…

Sunday

Minnesota got slammed with snow yesterday…12 inches of snow where I live. It is a winter wonderland around here and I LOVE IT!

What a perfect day to head to mom and dad’s and bake some cookies. Check out this little one out in the snow. She’s my little furry snowball.

Mom and I baked for about 5 hours. I’m always amazed at how long it ends up taking to make Christmas cookies.

We made peanut butter blossoms…

Spritz cookies and chocolate spritz cookies, chocolate chip M & M cookies, and homemade caramel.

We had tentative plans to make peppermint popcorn but being that is was 4:00 pm and the sun was going down, coupled with the fact that I had about 8 inches of snow to wipe off my car, we decided to wait on it.

It was the perfect cozy day to make cookies. The snow was coming down, we had the football game on for part of the time and Christmas music on for the other part, it was cozy, we were energized…it was wonderful.

I’m hoping to get back on the ball this week with making actual meals again. Wish me luck!

Question of the Day: What are your favorite holiday treats?

Fitness Shoes and News

What a FANTASTIC weekend!

A quick summary of the weekend: I PR’ed in Hale to the Bird 5k, successfully hosted my first Thanksgiving, cleaned the house, took down the  fall decorations, put up the Christmas ones, got our Christmas tree, decorated our tree, put lights up outside, hung our wreath…I’d say it was a productive weekend. Now it’s over…waah waah. 🙂

So to catch you up…

Moose started his Saturday morning off with a very special treat: the few remains of a Parkers peanut butter container.

He licked that thing clean! Happy holidays to Mooser! Lucky duck.

The holiday decorations are up in full force in our house. I am realizing that I don’t have as many decorations as I would like. This may be my year to get out to the stores after the holidays and stock up on some clearance items!

Our decorated Christmas tree…

I mentioned that this year we went with a white pine whereas in years past we have gone with the Frasier fir. The needles are a lot different (longer) but I love how full the tree looks compared to the Frasier’s.

Here are a couple of photos from a few years ago…

2009 at Dana’s old house–before we were engaged

Our first Christmas in our house together–2010. This photo was taken right after our professional engagement photos, so I thought I would flash a couple of those for you too for the sake of good memories!

Awwww! 🙂 Our engagement photos were taken a day after a huge snow storm and it was absolutely freezing the day of our session. The snow made for some pretty great photos though!

Back to reality…

After Thanksgiving I have been on mission veggie load to get back on track. I’ve been getting in a whole lotta greens the past few days…

Saturday night dinner: mixed greens with tomato, black beans, feta cheese, broccoli, and hummus

Sunday morning: omelet with fontina cheese (we discovered this awesome cheese in Italy), spinach, mushrooms, onions, and tomato

Sunday dinner: mixed greens with tomato, broccoli, black beans, corn, cheese, green olives, and light ranch dressing

I think it’s safe to say I’m back on track in the veggie department. I’m feeling better already.

**********

Fitness News

First, remember those snazzy Asics I bought a couple of weeks ago? Well, they weren’t fitting my foot quite right, so I exchanged them for another pair thinking that it was maybe just a faulty pair. After trial two with the same model of shoe, it turns out that whatever changes they made to the Asics Kayano 19 compared to the past couple of models don’t agree with the shape of my foot. So yesterday, we made a trip back to Marathon Sports yet again to find me some shoes.

I tried on a different style of Asics, but they weren’t right. Next, they tried me in a pair of Brooks. I took them for a test jog outside of the store. I really like how light they are, they seem to have enough cushioning, and are very comfortable and fit well to my foot. I decided to go with Brooks Ravenna 3; my first pair of Brooks. We’ll see how my first run with them goes tomorrow.

Speaking of running, on to the second part of my fitness news. In order to keep myself in check and keep me running over the holiday season, I have registered for a 10k on January 1st. That means not only will I need to continue to run, I will need to train outside in the Minnesota cold. It’s time to toughen myself up. I will be learning about safety precautions when running in the cold, experimenting with layers and warm gear, and amping up my mileage weekly. I will be keeping you posted on my progress as I go along.

The race is being put on by Team Ortho which is the same organization that puts on the half marathon and Get Lucky (to name a few), both of which I completed this past year. I really like their races. They are always very well organized and participants and spectators really seem to enjoy themselves at their events.

Team Ortho’s Get Lucky 7k: Race Recap

Team Ortho’s Minneapolis Half Marathon:

I am excited to start training! Dana and Kevin will be running it as well.

I am off to get loads accomplished today (hopefully). Have a great day my friends.