Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Parts Three through Six, oh who's counting?

I am bummed I have no pictures to post here. Something fried our memory card in the camera. Hopefully I can get some from Papa Paul of the festivities from the holidays.

Christmas Eve was the usual hustle and bustle. Every year we've always attended two sides of the family's get-togethers, but we're thinking this may have to become an every-other-year thing when there are toddlers involved.

We started the afternoon out by going to the Hill side (Lisa's step-dad's family) in Roseville, MN for food, photos, presents and family. Not letting the food digest, and before Lucy could fall asleep, we hopped in the car and headed to Lake Elmo to the Duffy side (Lisa's dad's family) for more food, photos and presents. Lots of good eating was had, that's for sure, as Grandma Duffy had prepared my favorite-since-birth recipe of salmon spread. We could only stay a short while as Lucy started to have a meltdown being way past bedtime and overstimulated with all the Christmas to-do. In our haste, I forgot my purse and didn't discover that til we were home. No worries, we would be heading back in the morning!

Christmas morning we got up and we opened gifts as a family (Troy, Lucy and I, that is), packed the truck to the gills, and headed on our journey to Lake Benton, MN. After a quick stop at my cousin's for my purse, we were off and by 2:00 had reached Duff and Pam's house (Troy's aunt and uncle, Vicky's brother). We visited before getting ready to head over to Grandma Glady's for Christmas dinner. As we had secretly suspected, Cousin Heather and Andrew got engaged the day before and came sharing the news. After a big dinner, Troy took Lucy up for a bath where the great poop escape of 2008 occurred. I was crying of laughter, what can you do? Shortly thereafter while helping with dishes, I was summoned to the entryway where Troy had fallen down the stairs on his ribs and was immobile. As is customary, everyone stood around looking at the fallen and offering medical advice. Vicodin and beer was the answer. Troy slept on the couch for our stay.

On Friday we headed over to Ivanhoe, about a 20 minute drive from Lake Benton, to Troy's aunt Donna (Paul's sister) for Christmas Brunch. After a huge meal, we visited and opened gifts. Troy and I headed back to Duff's, where everyone napped. In the evening, the entire Trautman clan, now including Cousin Josh, who surprised everyone by driving from Madison in to be with the family, came to Duff and Pam's for appetizers, games, and lots of laughing.

Saturday morning we packed up and said our farewells. After arriving home and unpacking we got ready to head back to Maplewood to my parents for Jamie's first birthday. The girls enjoyed the frosting on their cupcakes way too much!

Today, Sunday, Troy headed with Mark up to the cabin for ice fishing for a couple days. Meanwhile, Lucy and I stayed in our jammies today and Lucy played while I spring cleaned the kitchen. It looks and smells fabulous, but I'm beat! Tomorrow begins another full work week for me, being on call. Troy is off for the week and his projects include installing a new garage door opener and possibly putting in a closet system for Lucy's new bedroom. I hope we figure out the camera issue because a blog isn't a blog without some photos!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Parts One and Two

(This was meant to be sent on Sunday, December 21st after attempting to retrieve lost Christmas photos...)

After about a foot of snow had fallen, this weekend started our holiday gatherings with Saturday evening with Troy's parents and brother Eric at their home. We had a lovely halibut dinner and I made dessert as is tradition. Then the present opening began and Lucy (and everyone!) made off with quite a haul! Lots of gifts were had, her favorite three so far being her tricycle, V Tech laptop computer, and froggy tent. Our child is all of 20 months old and maturing way too fast! She knew what to do with the tricycle and the computer (she was actually clicking on the mouse!) Either that or mom and dad spend way too much time on the computer when she is around!
Lucy in the froggy tent from Uncle Eric:

Today my parents, sister and neice came over for lunch and games and more gift opening. I got the girls matching pajamas and even though it was early in the day, gave them baths and got them all dressed for gift opening. Again, Lucy made off (as did we - a Nintendo Wii!) with a haul, including a travel DVD player (yes...for that long trip to Lake Benton this week) and about a thousand plastic/paper food items for her kitchen. Troy set up her new froggy tent from Uncle Eric and she had a field day in there just laughing it up.
Cowgirl Lucy, she loves this hat:
Jamie shows Lucy how to use the mouse on her new computer a la Uncle Eric:
Lucy made mom wear the cowboy hat while opening presents:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back from Chicago

We are back from a whirlwind (and expensive!) belated anniversary weekend in Chicago. While Cousin Heather and Nana and Papa took turns watching Lucy, we were walking and shopping our tushes off in downtown Chicago. We stayed at the historical Palmer House Hilton hotel. It is a beautiful hotel with excellent service.
We arrived Friday early evening and settled into our room. Not quite hungry yet we walked up State Street to peruse Macy's and a few other shops before dinner at a small joint next to our hotel. A coworker of mine who works in our Michigan office was in town that week for training and staying until Saturday. We agreed to meet up for breakfast in the morning.

Here I am at Macy's posing with the unicorns, a tribute to my friend Kellie:
Saturday morning we met Diane and her husband Joe at the hotel and went to the Corner Bakery for breakfast and chit chat. We all headed over to the Christkindlmarket but it was not open yet, so we parted ways. Troy and I headed back to the hotel where we spent a lot at a particular store I cannot mention until after the holidays (as we did some gift shopping here!). Then it was a cab ride over to Gino's East for lunch of their fabulous deep dish pizza - yum!

Troy at Gino's in their infamously graffitied booths:

After lunch we cabbed it back to the Christkindlmarket, now open and wall to wall with everyone in the city. We perused all the booths, drank some Kinder Gluwein and did more Christmas shopping.
Here I am looking at some beautiful nutcrackers:
Us in front of the big tree at the Christkindlmarket:
After a brief rest at our hotel, it was starting to rain, so we took a cab over to a mall on the Michigan Mile, where we walked down Michigan Avenue checking out many shops. Our first was, duh, the Hershey store:

A few hours, a few blocks, and more purchases later, we cabbed it back to the hotel where I could've collapsed except it was onlyh 5:30 and that would be lame! We asked our concierge for a recommendation on a CLOSE restaurant for good steak or seafood. He recommended the Rose Pointe and made us reservations.

We hoofed it in the rain to the restaurant and it was so worth not crawling into bed for! It was voted by both of us as the best meal we have eaten in our entire lives! The ambience was awesome, the waiters were decked out, just perfect. Being a steak house, the entrees were a la carte. We both decided to have our meals (Troy had a top sirloin, bone in, huge steak, and I had the Rose Pointe bone-in filet) served "Oscar style", which means, served on a bed of asparagus, topped in KING CRAB, with hollandaise sauce on the side. Say no more. We shared a side of wild rice, which was completely unnecessary. The photo below is of Troy's steak before he started. It really does it no justice. He DID finish the whole thing. I however sadly left half of mine.

The waiter overheard it was our anniversary and brought us out a complimentary key lime pie. I normally don't eat much in the pie department but this was homemade with real key limes and pure heaven. Not a bite was wasted. For me, it was like having a margarita in dessert form.

Stuffed and unable to move, we waddled back to our hotel where Troy immediately called his parents to give details on the meal we just ate (it was THAT GOOD). Then we collapsed into bed.

Up early this morning, we headed for home around 8:45 with word of storms heading our way. Needless to say we missed whatever they were predicting, minus some minor drizzle, we were home by 2:45 and very anxious to see Lucy! We had never left her minus a parent over night, either one of us have been away for a few nights, but not both. She survived, I missed her terribly!

Christmas is approaching soon and I'm glad I took tomorrow off as a vacation day. A lot of projects to get done as I do some handmade gifts myself. Nearly 26 weeks pregnant here with the baby boy we call "Max". (Cute story here - while we were away, Abby was diligently keeping guard over her "baby" Lucy, following her everywhere. When we got home, Troy asked Abby "did you take care of your baby while we were gone?" and Lucy says "Max?")

Happy holidays everyone, and if I don't post again, I'm sure it will be after Christmas with LOTS of pictures!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Vacation

On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, we went to a local hotel to use their swimming pool with friends. Lucy has never really been swimming before and I think we're ready for lessons! She wasn't shy at all, loved being tossed in the air, and especially loved going from pool to hot tub, back and forth.
Lucy and Abigail Rumpel enjoying the hot tub:
Thanksgiving. I guess we didn't take any pictures of the meal preparations, but I did receive some hard copies from my aunt proving we did cook a lot! Lucy was very social that day and I love this picture of her, always with a smile:
Lucy and Great-Grandma Duffy:
Black Friday. Mom and I went shopping while daddy and Lucy hammed it up at home. Here she is with her singing snowmen from Auntie Shannon:
OK. This is something she does and I don't know what it means but it's comical. She puts both her pointer fingers really close up to her face and acts silly. Any time you wrap her in her bath towel she does it:
Happy to go to church:
Time is flying and Christmas will be here before we know it! I have been busy getting some scrapbooking projects and gift-wrapping accomplished. Still lots more to do in less than three weeks! I am loving that there is snow on the ground and the lights are on the tree. I think it gets darker in the winter earlier so we have more time to enjoy the Christmas lights!
The rest of the month will be busy and filled with travels. Tomorrow my high school girlfriends are getting together for our annual Christmas dinner at Emma's house in St. Paul. Each year is usually some theme, this year is italian food. We eat and drink and gab all night. I often get comments from my family on how great it is that I've had these girlfriends for (egads) 20 years!
Saturday we are being treated by Troy's parents for a belated anniversary dinner (lunch) while my mom babysits Lucy.
The following weekend is our trip to Chicago. The weekend after that we celebrate Christmas with the Lovestrands and then Christmas with the Hills at our home. Then the big day is here and we will travel to Lake Benton, MN to celebrate with Troy's extended family. uff da!
And oh, I'm still pregnant with baby boy here. Tomorrow I go in for my 24-week appointment and glucose test (yummy!). There is small movement going on and I am reminded of when I was far along with Lucy and her butt was right up under my chest. I was huge! Time is flying and I need to remind myself to get moving on my Transcriptionist work and not slack. Since it is self-paced it is up to me to get the work done and the homework submitted for grading!
Take care everyone!