Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Eve.

 Oh, man, have we been having the Big Fun.  There is constantly something to keep us busy around here, which is awesome!  Christmas was just simply amazing, but I will get to that in my next post, as I have other fun things to blog about.  Penny's aunts made some gingerbread houses for the kids to decorate, and Penny actually got a lot more into it than I thought she would!  She made a very quaint, dot-covered cottage.
Jonah did an awesome job as well.
Here's Penny obsessing over Riley, as usual.
There has been SO many treats, as usual.  But this time I was prepared, and really limited myself.  I've managed to keep the weight off this holiday... so far.


Fondue!  Thanks for letting me share my tradition.  Perhaps it wasn't quite Simply Fondue standards (this was an incredible Fondue place we all ate at last week.) but it was still fun to have a little Graham tradition.
My friends!
Jeff is REALLY excited about this dinner.  And about how puffy his hair looks.
Grandma showed us where all the dance costumes were, which Penny immediately took to.  She loves a good dress up, and this was a huge bucket spilling forth with tutus and dance costumes.
Jeff and his brothers worked really hard practicing a rockin' version of O Holy Night, in the arrangement of the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  Jeff was just to the left on the Piano.  It sounded great!  They whipped it together in less than two days!
We had a Nativity, of course.  I'm not sure making two toddlers the leads was entirely wise, but it made for good entertainment.  Such as when they knocked on the door of the Inn (the bathroom door) just to hear there was no room, Jonah matter of factually declared that there WAS TOO enough room in there! And both made their way in.  It was a little creative interpretation of the story :)
Penny's Mary costume may have needed a little tweeking...




OMG SANTA CAME!!1!!!!!111!!  Along with Sparky and Spunky is jolly elves.  As Santa has been on a diet, his elves have helped him not cheat by eating all the milk and cookies, which explains the dramatic weight increase since last time we saw them.

Penny was not happy about these visitors.
But upon further inspection, took quite a liking to this elf.
And even braved to sit on this fella's lap.  And good thing too, or else she wouldn't have received these cute jammies!

Gotta go to bed cause Santa's gonna come! (know what I'm referencing, sibs?)
Jeff and I bought ugly sweater shirts from woot, which unfortunately didn't come in time for our Christmas party a few weeks ago (you can bet that our overnight shipping was refunded...)but we enjoyed wearing them on Christmas Eve!  Anyway, the next morning exceeded our expectations, filled with surprises and presents ALL over the place, which mostly leaves me wondering just how we're going to get it back across the country...  Anyway, I'm off to sketch and paint with my brand new Wacom Intuos Tablet!!!  WHOOOO HOOOOOO!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Update.

Our cross country flight was a wild success.  Penny was very obedient and well-mannered, and thankfully was occupied most of the time with the toys and movies we provided.  Fortunately both legs of our flight were not even close to full, so pretty much all the seats around us were empty, leaving us plenty of room to wander about.

Right off the airplane, we stopped at the Ghirardelli chocolate factory close to Jeff's house and loaded up on probably too much chocolate.  I have been trying hard to stay away from those delicious temptations.

Penny was excited right away to see all these people to play with her.  And I was happy to learn they were just as eager.


But I think Penny's new favorite activity around here involves this little friend:



Poor Riley is not doing well healthwise, so she mostly lazes about, which gives Penny easy access to play with her.  There are also two cats out in the garage, which are unfortunately not to sociable, so Penny chases them for a while until they burrow deep into the bowels of the storage.

There isn't any question as to what MY favorite thing around here is...

I have been in here nearly every night since we got here.  It feels especially good since I caught a terrible cold/flu since I've been here, and it eases my aches and pains.

We've also visited our good friends, Joel and Elise Crane.  We enjoyed some very authentic tacos from a food truck, and went to Berkley to visit one of my favorite stores, Buffalo Exchange.  It is a buy-sell-trade shop that always has very eclectic and different clothes, mainly due to the nature of the people in the city itself.  I think a lot of the inventory is handmade, or from grandma's closet.

Pen really enjoys her very attentive audience as well, and never passes up an opportunity to show off.  There is so much Christmas decor around here, Penny has really gone into overdrive with the Holiday spirit.  She will say "Merry MISmas!"  over and over again.  One of her favorite games is putting the presents under the tree.  Here's a video of Pen showing off in front of the family at dinner.



So, we're looking forward to the rest of our vacation!  The weather has be lovely!  I was soaking in the warm sun on the slightly brisk morning while walking with Pen.  Jeff is busy working still, but we are not complaining, as we think it is awesome that he has a job which allows him to work remotely, meaning a longer trip for us! Ironically, his boss flew into town the day we did, and Jeff was able to meet up with him in San Fran for a few appointments.  Killing lots of birds with one stone!  And I love the extra sleep and naps I have been enjoying!  Let me tell you, one of the biggest perks of having a sleep trained baby is it makes traveling so, so much easier.  We have hardly had to make any adjustments to bedtimes.  Penny is usually down between 6 and 7, and has slept in as late as 9!  It makes traveling a lot less stressful.

Also, since Penny sleeps in our room with us, I have since discovered her sleep talking habits.  Normally she'll just laugh and say, "Funny!  Funny..."  or other silly things.  She is such a heavy sleeper!  I think it is mostly due to sleeping in a hallway for most of her life.  She can sleep through anything!  I also discovered if she wakes up too early, we simply say, "go back to sleep, Penny." and she does it.  I'm learning lots of new things about my child in this trip...

 Here's a scary picture of Jeff.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Party!

Emily and I felt like hosting a little Christmas party with a few friends from the ward.  What started out in our minds as a fancier cocktail party quickly turned into an Ugly Sweater Mocktail Party.  We felt we would all be much more at ease while donning hideous winter wear.  And we were:







Included in our drink selection were the basics; Sparkling Cider, Sherbet Punch, Festive Nog, and we even found a giant keg of rootbeer!  But the true star of the party was our "mocktails," which we made little instructions so people could mix their own drinks.
 Appletini recipe.
 Pina Colada recipe.
 Pomegranate recipe.

All drinks were very fancy and delicious, and I think everyone enjoyed them.  Here was our little station:

 Not to mention ALL the appetizers and treats everyone contributed.  This here was our contribution.  The food supply steadily grew with amazingly delicious treats.  I think Emily outdid herself with the delicious mini goat cheese balls.

You always know there is going to be amazing snacks and cheeses when Emily is involved.

So, we had a fun time with the gift exchange.  Jeff and I gave a book with 400 facts about Chuck Norris with a Sponge Bob DVD, as well as Season 2 of Lost (I've become so desperate to get rid of those that I'm GIVING them away...  Don't need 2 sets of Lost taking up space in my house.)

Jeff and I ended up with a portable charcoal grill and a very cute clutch purse (which I actually have been in the market for!) so we can't complain. I think we made out better this year than last year's VHS of Sweatin' to the Oldies with Richard Simmons.

Here's Emily, enjoying a pina colada garnished with a slice of starfruit.

 Hilary and Chris showing off their drinks.
 So sophisticated!
 Ryan was the winner of our Ugly Sweater contest.  Where EVER did he find such a gem?  The best part is that we found out they got pulled over just outside of Cheverly, and after the cop saw their festive sweaters and ate some of their left over cookies, he let them off!  Ugly sweaters FTW!
 Here's our group!

 And a funny one!

So, the evening ended after 12, so of course we were wiped out. 



 And so, another successful Christmas party come and gone.  I hope everyone had the big fun!