Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The McHusband's birthday!

We celebrated the McHusband's 30th birthday on the 26th. The good thing about being born the day after Christmas is that you're typically able to celebrate with family since you're already with them for the holidays. The bad thing is that you're not usually able to celebrate with friends because they're busy with their own families and traditions.

Well, we had the best of both worlds this year: we celebrated with the fam AND friends (and even did some car shopping - and buying! - in between).

We started off the day with a good breakfast. Right, Chase?

(Don't try to say "Grammie" when having your picture taken. It isn't pretty.)

Then it was time to open some presents. The McHusband's ready for our St. Patrick's Day party.

After gifts, everyone but Grammie and Chase left the house. Jenny had errands to run, I met up with Bri, Sam, and Lyla for some shopping, and the guys went to a car dealership to take a look at a car the McDad was considering.

Bri, Sam, Lyla and I had lunch at Zoes Kitchen, which was very tasty. We have one in Raleigh near Cameron Village, and I definitely recommend it if you're looking for some fresh food. Their cole slaw was really good; it had Greek dressing and feta cheese.

Lyla recommends the grilled cheese.

After lunch, we wandered around a couple stores and Sam got friendly with some local wildlife.

Shortly after I got home from my shopping trip, the guys drove in and guess what? The McDad has a new toy!

We went to Maggiano's for dinner that night. Unbeknownst to the McHusband, I'd arranged for some friends to meet us there.

Byron and Lisa


And Bill and Veerle, who had just gotten engaged a couple days before. Congrats, you guys!

And, of course, the fam.

Getting the McHusband to smile for real on cue for a picture is next to impossible.

Trying hard and showing too many teeth:

Now he looks like I'm holding a gun to his side under the table and forcing him to smile or else.

It appears he's lost all focus and has his eye on someone's dessert.

NOW he's got the hang of it, I'm losing my smile, and the McMom's practicing her jazz hands in our frame.

Someone get me another Peach Bellini stat!

After dinner, we "kids" went up the street to a restaurant to hang out and visit some more.

And drink. {Hey, I'm just being honest.} No one got out of control or anything. After all, this was a 30th birthday, not a 21st. I think we were home by 11:30. I know, sad, right?

Well, we had fun while it lasted. Thank you, everyone, for celebrating with us.


It's my blog, right? So I can count a cookbook that I read through as my 26th book, which means I'm actually on book 27 for the year right now.

I really enjoy Pioneer Woman's blog. She's got fun stories, amazing photography, and some drool-worthy recipes. I got my mom hooked on her, too, and we said we'd buy PW's cookbook for each other for Christmas.

I kept up my end of the bargain. My mom? Not so much. I hadn't even opened the cookbook I gave my mom so I was pretty disappointed to not have one of my own to thumb through on Christmas morning.

Well, guess what arrived on my doorstep yesterday afternoon? My very own Pioneer Woman cookbook! Thank you, Mom!

I was thinking I could do a whole Julie & Julia thing and make every recipe in the book in a certain time frame and blog about it, but then I remembered that someone (me!) would have to eat what I make and I just can't have that. I do plan to try lots of these recipes, but I'll hopefully do it when we have a crowd to share the food with.

Anyone interested in joining us for dinner tonight?

Christmas '09: Part II

When we were done at Bri's, we headed back to the McInlaws' house for Christmas with them. We were closing in on Chase's nap time so we did his Christmas then did ours while he was sleeping.

Can you find the McHusband? He's almost lost behind Chase's stack of gifts.

Grammie got Chase a Sit n Spin. He doesn't quite know how to work it yet, but I'm sure he'll have it figured out in no time.

Note the tongue sticking out in concentration.

The McDad got a new scarecrow for his garden and Kevin and Jenny got him a cute t-shirt.

Jenny and I each had a big heavy bag to open. We saved it for last and opened our bags after everyone else was finished with their gifts. I helped Jenny with her bag (bags?), then she returned the favor.

Our duffle bags were each FILLED with wrapped gifts! Look how excited I am to have more stuff to open. I'm like the proverbial kid on Christmas morning!

We made a mess tearing through our bags and we had a ton of fun doing it. Thanks, McMom!

Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without an annual scraping of the burned stuff. The McMom tried a new broccoli-cheese casserole and it had those yummy French Fried Onions on top. Well, it was supposed to. Jenny and I had to scrape most of them off because they were a little too toasted for our tastes.

Oh, I can't forget. Even the puppies got a little something special from Santa a.k.a. the McDad.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas '09: Part I

The McHusband and I spent the holidays with our families. We were at Bri's house for dinner Christmas Eve then back there in the morning for gifts and breakfast. When we got to Bri's Christmas morning, Lyla was already playing with one of her presents: her Cozy Coupe.

Owen thought the car was pretty cool, but Lyla wasn't too sure she was ready to share.

At the beginning of the video, you can clearly hear Lyla say, "Mine," and then watch her push the car away from Owen and get in to further her claim on it.

Owen didn't let a little bullying from cousin Lyla put a damper on his Christmas spirit though.

Lyla and Owen, of course, had quite a pile of presents to open. Bri got each of them their own little backpacks so they can finally start pulling their own weight.

Lyla's is a mouse and Owen's is a puppy.

Lyla had lots of fun opening the presents but wasn't as interested as we were in what was under the paper. Owen was happy with snacks.

My mom got Lyla a crib with a canopy for her baby dolls. I think my mom made all the fabric stuff like the bedding and the canopy. Pretty awesome, huh?

There was even a mobile in there.

The McHusband, Nate, and Calvin put Lyla's car together the night before. Shannon noticed on Christmas morning that the front wheels looked a little off and sure enough, they were on the wrong way (the outside was facing in). So back to the shop the car went. Lyla followed in Uncle McHusband's footsteps, though, and monitored the repairs closely. You can't just let any yahoo work on your car, you know.

Lyla loves her car!

I think she must be backing up in this picture.

We got Lyla a slide for Christmas. Unfortunately, my camera's memory chose the second before she actually slid down to be full, but you can still see how excited she was just before she took the plunge.

Christmas with the McInlaws next!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

As promised, here are some exterior shots of the house all lit up at night. Please forgive my mediocre photography; between our okay digital camera and my skills, it's a wonder you can even see the house. If you click on the pictures, it'll make them bigger and easier to see.

I love the little trees on either side of the front door. I got those on sale at Lowes last year just after Thanksgiving, I think.

Next year, we're going to line the roof peak over the middle of the house with lights. That'll require me getting up on the porch roof so I needed a year to muster up the courage.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Standard operating procedure

I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear me say that the McHusband's a multi-tasker.

When we were putting up the Christmas lights, the McHusband figured that since he was already on the ladder/porch roof with easy access to the gutters, he might as well de-gunkify them.

I was a little confused when he asked me to go get a certain power tool, but he's the boss when it comes to this maintenance stuff.

What, you don't use a leafblower on your gutters and roof? It was just another day in the life around here.

FINALLY we got to hang the lights. I'd already done the front porch, I just needed the McHusband to do the stuff that couldn't be done from the safety of the ground.

I'm going to try to get a good picture of how the house looks at night. For now, this'll give you a general idea of how the outside is decorated.

Can you believe that Christmas is just a couple days away? I have to work until 12:30 tomorrow and then I'm off until January 4th. Yay!