December 31, 2011

Cape Cod Christmas!

On Thursday we celebrated Christmas with the Doc's extended family on the Cape! It was very laid back, relaxing day filled with lots of yummy foods. We did a tapas style shmorgishborg, with stuffed mushrooms, little smokies, homemade baked beans (my favorite!), spinach & artichoke dip and then spiral ham and roasted turkey breast for sandwiches! We topped the day off with our annual Yankee swap and I'm proud to say that this is the second year in a row that I have ended up with the gift I contributed and I'm not ashamed to say it!

Of course, no function where I am in attendence would be complete without a family picture. It's nice being able to use the tripod so that one person (usually me!) isn't left out of the picture!

Merry Christmas to all and a very prosperous, happy & healthy 2012!

December 26, 2011

It's the Holiday Season...

Hard to believe that another Christmas has come and gone. This was the first Christmas in the new house and it was everything I could have possibly dreamed! We started some new traditions and well as keeping some of the old! We had a lot of Christmas festivities during the month, including the annual Christmas Party at the Revere Rec center! Even though we no longer live there, it didn't stop us from driving south to visit our friends to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!!

Me and the boys!

The boys got to see Silly Willy the clown but the highlight of the day was seeing Santa!

Even I am not too old to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what I wanted for Christmas! He was a good listener and my speedlite will be arriving via UPS on Thursday!!!!

On Christmas Eve, I started cooking up a storm. I finished putting together my gifts for the neighbors

Then got ready for the IL's to arrive for a Christmas sleepover! I began by starting my dough for the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls and while the dough was rising, I prepared my meatball mixture for our Pasta and Meatball dinner.

One of the new traditions we started was putting out luminaries. This was something that the Doc did as a kid and wanted to do with our boys! The boys helped Daddy and Omi make up the bags and then they set them up along the driveway. I was in the middle of frying meatballs but I took a break to snap a few pictures. It looked really nice once they got them all lit, but unfortunately the picture doesn't even begin to do it justice.

After dinner, it was tubby time and the traditional opening up of the Christmas jammies. Then it was time for Evan to go to bed, while the older boys helped get Santa's treat ready!

Everyone leaves milk and cookies, we decided to leave out brownies and hot chocolate! Oh and a peanut butter filled celery stick for Rudolph!

Christmas morning, Evan woke up first at 6:30. He had a rough night sleeping due to a low grade fever and runny nose. David and Shaun woke up at 6:45 right on schedule and ready to go downstairs. But first we had to make sure that Santa had come and gone!

We headed downstairs and the boys started with their stockings, while the grown-ups got their coffee. Then they got to open up their gifts from Santa. Santa wraps all presents in the same special paper so it was easy to tell which ones were from Santa. After the Santa gifts were opened the boys found a card in the tree. Looks like Santa had one last trick up his sleeve. It was a scavenger hunt. In order to find the last gift they had to find all the clues!

Daddy helping the boys read the first clue!

The scavenger hunt led them all over the house and eventually down to the lower level where they found a brand new drum set waiting for them! It was a big hit with David and Shaun and Evan probably would have enjoyed it too, had he not been accidentally walked into a door by a very excited Shaun. Poor kid was having a pretty hard day already and then got to add a nice shiner to the mix.

After the scavenger hunt, we took a break to eat some yummy cinnamon rolls and muffins before opening the gifts from the IL's. While the kids were busy eating I ran up stairs to take a picture of the tree from above!

After gifts it was time to start cleaning up and getting ready for my family to arrive. But of course, I had to take a quick break from my prep to get a picture of me and Charlie by the tree!

And then of course a whole family photo (have I mentioned how much I love having a remote for my shutter!)!

The IL's headed out and I got the Prime Rib seasoned and put into the oven ready for my whole family to arrive! I set up the appetizers and we did our family gift exchange while we waited for my Aunt, Uncle and cousins to arrive for dinner! Doesn't my Prime Rib look delicious! I cooked it just a tad too long, but it was still juicy and flavorful. Next year I'll listen to my instincts and take it out when the temp is 125. But for my first time, I was pretty psyched with how well it turned out!

The gang all enjoying Christmas dinner!

It was an amazing Christmas weekend and one I will never forget. I am looking forward to many more happy Christmas's here in our new home!

December 25, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 25

Day 25: Family ~ the best gift of all!

*photo assist credit goes to my wonderful SIL for pushing the shutter button after I set up the tripod for the shot!

December 24, 2011

December 23, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 23

Day 23: White Christmas!

About a month ago I read a post on the Pioneer Woman's photography section of her website that showed a picture of the snow falling from the sky! I have been waiting for a day where the snow would be really coming down, heavy and wet so it would show up nice in a photo! I think my version came out pretty well!

December 22, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 22

Day 22: Reindeer Games at the Hospital Christmas party a few weeks ago!

December 20, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 20

Day 20: One of my favorite things about Christmas - receiving all the beautiful Christmas cards from family and friends!

December 19, 2011

December 18, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 18

Day 18: A little Christmas snow yesterday morning, not enough for a white Christmas but still pretty to watch falling from the sky!

December 16, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 16

Day 16: My Dad's Uncle Dinny's Nativity set. This Nativity set is older than I am, and probably even older than my Dad.

December 15, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 15

Day 15: Wrapping Christmas presents

Evan - 19 Months

Because we couldn't get an appointment for him last month, on Tuesday, Evan got a 19 month check up! He is doing really well and had a HUGE growth spurt from the last time he was measured and weighed! He has gone from the 20th percentile for his height at 12 months to the 70th percentile! He's talking up a storm now, there are many words that only I can understand, but most of the time other people can understand him too! Right now my favorite is his Merry Christmas - it's ADORABLE and I am going to try and get it on video! He's not interested in being recorded so he tends to make a liar out of me! I am just glad he sang for everyone at Thanksgiving because I haven't been able to get him to do it on video.

Anyway, here are Evan's stats from his check up:
Height: 33 inches - 70th percentile
Weight: 28lbs 12oz - 75th percentile

He is the same height Shaun was and almost 5lbs heavier than David!

And of course, no post would be complete without a few pictures!

December 14, 2011

December 13, 2011

December 12, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 12

Day 12: The Egg Nog Latte - it's not the Christmas Season without one (or two or three!)

December 11, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 11

Day 11: Finn takes time to smell the faux flower arrangement.

December 9, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 9

Day 9: Hanging out at the Rec tonight, while I photographed the kiddos with Santa, here is David as he decorates a gingerbread man cookie!

December 8, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 8

Day 8: Christmas lights! I love outdoor Christmas displays and couldn't wait to decorate our house for Christmas this year! I love the look of candles in windows and wreaths on doors, so I knew that would be part of my display. Next year, I would like add something under each garage door light, like a swag. The houses in this neighborhood really go all out, it's awesome!

December 6, 2011

December 5, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 5

Day 5: More decorations! I just love decorating my house this time of year!

I Heart Faces / On Your Feet

This week's I Heart Faces challenge is showcasing feet! I was going to try and stage something with my boys this afternoon when I noticed the little guy munching on his toes. He thinks it's funny, especially when I grab his foot and tell him, "yucky stinky feet!" He laughs and does it again!

Check out all the other feet over at I Heart Faces!

December 4, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 4

Day 4: I know it's not exactly Christmas, but today is MIL's birthday and we spent today celebrating with the boys at Imagine That and then the grown ups all went out for dinner! So I am posting a picture of MIL with the boys! Happy Birthday MIL!

December 1, 2011

25 Days of Christmas Challenge: Day 1

Today is the first day of my made up Christmas challenge. Each day (until Christmas) I'll take a picture to represent all the things I love about this time of year! This first picture, making my tree glow, is something I saw on Pinterest (my new internet time suck) and I couldn't wait to try out. Unfortunately, my boys, are less than enthusiastic or cooperative when it comes to Mommy practicing with her camera, so I often have to resort to bribery. Tonight, I bribed them with candy to be my assistants.

So, yes, this image is totally posed, and while I prefer to "capture the moment" it is a lot harder to do that when you're trying to duplicate a specific technique and you have unwilling assistants. It is the reason I have had to resort to using stuffed animals as models before.  Anyway, as it turns out, after re-reading her post, I went about it all wrong! I'm still happy with my image but you don't get the same sense of "glowing tree" in my image.

 Here is what I did differently, I was not in manual mode, I was in TV mode (or shutter priority) and I used a lower ISO, a much slower shutter speed (which increased the aperture to f/22) and I spot metered on the boys, instead of the tree. Two things that were the same, were, the room was dark and I didn't use a flash. So with those above settings the end result is this: close, but no cigar!
 ISO: 1600
Aperture: f/22
Shutter: 1 second

November 30, 2011

More Holiday Decorating!

So we finally got our tree issue sorted out, long story short there is a defective section of lights on the top and we had to bring it back to the store. It's not fixed, but they gave us a temporary solution and will get it fixed it after the Holiday season. We decided since they do plan to fix it, this year we'd let it be, because it's not that noticeable. And tonight we (FINALLY) begun decorating! At least it's sorted out, I really love the tree and didn't want to have to return it. Plus we had already put it all together!

Last night we wrapped the tree with a red sparkly ribbon garland and then started adding ornaments tonight. I need to get some hooks for some of the new ornaments so we'll finish it tomorrow. But here is what it looks like so far. I also want to get a larger tree skirt, but the Doc seems to think it's fine. It's WAY too small if you ask me!

I also (thanks to a Pinterest link) spent this afternoon tapping ribbon to my kitchen cabinets as a new way to display my Christmas cards. I liked my wreath but by the end of the month I couldn't see some of the cards, plus it wasn't holding the cards as well anyway. I thought this was such a neat idea, I wanted to try it out! And wouldn't you know, by chance I got my first two Christmas cards of the season, so I was also able to test the new display! Check it out!

Once I get more cards (and I clean up my kitchen a bit!), I'll pop on my wide angle lens and snap a better picture, but you get the idea!