January 8, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  This is now the fourth annual New Years-A-Palooza!  It's always fun and having the big sleep over means welcoming the new year without anyone having to drive home after!  Next year we'll have one more little girl in the mix and we can't wait!

The gang ~ 2014
It's always nice to get the grown ups in a few pictures too!  And we do them first thing so that we have the rest of the day/night to relax and enjoy each others company!

Baby Zoey stayed put!

Every year the menu changes slightly - we decided to keep it simple and stick with what works.  Lots of pigs in a blanket and other munchies!  It was really nice to not have to worry about planning a sit down meal.  The only problem this year was that there was probably too much food.  We'll work out the kinks for next year!  I was excited to try out my new fondue set though!

And it wouldn't be New Years Eve without our annual fireworks display and sparklers.  It was freezing cold (about 15 degrees) so we didn't light all of them off.  Plus the grown up boys were having issues with the lighters not working to light the fuses.   

Brian helps the boys light their sparklers!

After the fireworks, we had some dessert (chocolate fondue and some yummy pastries!) and let the boys toast the new year with some sparkling cider!

Then it was time for the kids to hit the hay and for the grown ups to have a little fun.  We played Cards Against Humanity and toasted in the New Year with champagne.  There is no better way to ring in the new year if you ask me!  May 2015 be the best year yet!

December 30, 2014

Wonderful Christmastime!

I know I say this every year, but Christmas really is the most wonderful time year!  We didn't have a white Christmas this year, and instead we ended up with a massive rain storm instead.  Sadly, that prevented our tradition of putting out luminaries on Christmas Eve, but it was still magical.

Like every Christmas Eve since we moved into our home, we have hosted MIL, FIL, SIL and GG, and this year my future BIL got to join in the fun!  I made a Beef Tenderloin with roasted shallots, bacon and port, with candy and brownies for dessert.  A slightly more fancy dinner than the traditional spaghetti and meatballs.  It was a bummer that we could not do the luminaries this year, but we still had a great time hanging out.

Before the flood gates in the sky opened up the boys decided to play in what little snow we had left.  It's all gone now.

And Christmas Eve would not be complete without finding out if they made the naughty or nice list.  Santa sends them all a little email video and they anxiously await to hear the results.  They were excited to see that they all made the nice list!

Evan was surprised the Santa knew exactly what he wanted!
Keeping most of our Christmas Eve traditions alive, (I was still bummed about the luminaries!) the boys opened up their Christmas jammies.

We then set up Santa's goodies.  Earlier that morning the boys each decorated a cookie dough truffle and we decided to give Santa a to-go cup for his hot cocoa.  And of course carrots for the reindeer.  David and Shaun both wrote letters to Santa.  David asking, again if there really was a Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer and Shaun wanting to make sure that Dasher got a shout out!

And then it was off to bed, but not without the traditional before bedtime reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Santa came!
Christmas morning, the rule is that no one is to wake anyone up before 7am.  The boys have been really good about waiting.  A little after 7am, after coffee was brewed and everyone was awake, the boys headed down stairs to see what Santa brought them.

The annual before heading downstairs picture!
The calm before the storm!
Evan found his spot
Enjoying some goodies from his stalking!
Shaun loves his new bean chair!
After the boys went through their stockings, David read the letter that Santa left the boys.  He told David that, indeed there was a Rudolph and he always enjoys the carrots that are left for him and his crew.  He also told Shaun that Dasher appreciated the well wishes.

Now it was time to open their Santa gifts!  The last gift from Santa was a scavenger hunt.  Santa hides one of their presents and they have to go looking for it.  They look forward to it every year.
Who you gonna call?
New spy glasses!
David reading one of the clues.
Running to find the last clue!
Santa gifts are opened and the boys enjoy checking out their new tablets from Santa!
After Santa gifts were opened, it was time for a little breakfast.  I make cinnamon rolls each year and MIL brings bagels and muffins, which we serve with fresh fruit so it's not all bad for you!  Then it is time to get reorganized so they can open their gifts from the family and from us.

This year, since we started an allowance with the boys, they each pooled their money to get something special for each brother.  They also picked out something special for us!  It was really sweet to watch them open their gifts from each other. 

David and Shaun picked out Mousetrap and a dancing Groot for Evan, he was so excited he ran over to hug both his brothers!
They boys got loved all their gifts and we loved their gifts to us.  The boys got me two new Alex and Ani bangles to go with the one I had received at Thanksgiving from my Aunt.  I had asked for a birthstone one, but they didn't see it at the store and so they picked out a Patriots one and an owl.  Shaun told me he chose the owl because I work at the school and we're the Owls.  And David said that choosing the Pats was so obvious for me, because I love the Pats!  The thought behind how they chose the bangles they did meant more to me than the actual bangles.  The boys chose the game RISK for their Dad.  It was a game he played all the time when he was young and had been talking recently to David about teaching him to play someday.

All the guys checking out RISK.
After all the gifts were opened it was time to clean up and get organized since my family would be heading over soon for Christmas part 2.  And of course, no holiday is complete without the traditional family portraits!

Four Generations

Now onto Christmas part 2 and to get the traditional Prime Rib into the oven!  YUM!  To go with the prime rib we had We had a feast fit for a king, with ham, baked potatoes, brussel sprouts, asparagas, rice pilaf and rolls.

The pièce de résistance!  
After dinner before things got too crazy with our gift exchange and Secret Santas I made sure to get the family portraits!  We forgot last year!

Now time for gifts!  We all gathered into the piano room and let the kids go first.  The boys got gift cards for our upcoming Florida trip!

Pete the Cat!
I may or may not have had a lot of bourbon punch!

Me and my brother trying on the minecraft heads!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!