Our Christmas

We always kick off the Christmas season after our Thanksgiving feast, by watching Miracle on 34th St (the old version!). After that we watch whatever Christmas movies we are in the mood for. This year, for some reason (perhaps because of our trip to Mexico and subsequent visit by Babs?), we barely watched any Christmas movies until suddenly we found ourselves just a few days before the holiday! So Friday evening, after our trip to the Nutcracker, we got to work. Over the course of the weekend we watched some old favorites (Magoo's Christmas Carol, White Christmas, Rudolph, Santa Clause Is Coming to Town, Frosty) and I introduced my family to some new to them ones as well (It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, The Night They Saved Santa). By the time Monday rolled around we were definitely in the spirit!!

Our celebrations always really start the night before though. After eating dinner while watching It's A Wonderful Life, we headed out for our tradition of a Christmas Eve visit to see lights. We returned to the park that we went to our first year in Colorado. It was a chilly night, but the lights were beautiful. Daisy and Gwen enjoyed that no one else was around, allowing them to run and be crazy!

We returned home to lay out carrots for the reindeer, as well as Santa's cookies, milk, and - apparently he was extra good this year - hockey tickets. 😄

Santa came!

Christmas morning the traditions continued. Cinnamon rolls were baked for breakfast, and A Christmas Story was put on TV. We opened our stockings, then moved on to presents. Everyone was very excited and very happy.

As is normal for us, there was Harry Potter items, LEGOs for Gwen, things to wear, things to eat, and definitely things to read.

Travis and I both got tattoo money, and we "opened" our big gift to each other... our Ancesty DNA results! Absolutely NO surprises for him (75% Irish, 25% Italian; Migrations to Newfoundland), and no real surprises for me either (50% Irish/Scottish/Welsh, 43% Misc Europe West, 3% European Jewish; Migrations to Pennsylvania and New York). It was very fun to see it on the screen though, backed up by DNA. So that would make Gwen 37.5% Irish, 25% Irish/Scottish/Welsh, 21% Misc Europe West, 12.5% Italian, 1.5% European Jewish.

We spent the rest of the day in our PJs watching still more Christmas movies (George C. Scott's Christmas Carol, Peanuts Christmas, and the first Harry Potter - what, they celebrate Christmas at one point...), enjoying our new gifts, and Trav grilled us a nice steak for dinner.

I hope that whatever holiday's you celebrate, they were truly wonderful and magical this year! Ours were all we could have hoped for.


Semi-Wordless Wednesday {Nutcracker}

Last Friday we got Gwen out of school a little early, dressed up a bit and headed into the city for Gwen's first Ballet experience!

We saw the Nutcracker, and it was such a beautiful show! 

I don't think I had seen the Nutcracker at all since I was a kid, and never before in person. This definitely won't be our last time though! 


Merry Christmas

From our Family to Yours,

A Very Merry Christmas!!

We hope this holiday season brings you peace, joy, and so much love! 



Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, the longest night and shortest day of the year. From here on out the light gets stronger, a little more and more each day. It was also the second celebration in our new tradition surrounding the equinoxes and solstices.

Since Trav was out last night, we celebrated Yule on Wednesday night.

Pork, potatoes, carrots, wassail, and a log cake... plus decor of an evergreen wreath, poinsettias, and candles of course!

  Gwen actually ate everything, and happily!

I hope your days are more and more full of light, and that the Winter months treat you well. Happy Yule!!


Lady Gaga and Auntie Babs

Back in the middle of November, BFF Babs's husband Keil contacted me privately. He had an idea for an early Christmas present for Babs and I, and he wanted my input. Within a few hours secret airline tickets were purchased, and within a few days so were tickets to the Lady Gaga concert that happened in Denver last week!

So the Monday after we returned from Mexico found me back at the airport picking up my longest and bestest girlfriend.

We had 3 freaking fabulous days together...

But the highlight was of course the Gaga show!!

We were on the floor... probably a mere 20 feet from the stage!

You know before this I always enjoyed her songs when they came on the radio, but I never would’ve considered myself a big fan. Now I’m a huge fan! She’s an amazing person.

This was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. I’ve never felt more loved and accepted by both an artist and a crowd. It was fun, uplifting, inspiring, emotional.

And that woman is a POWERHOUSE singer!

Babs stuck around until Thursday, when I had to stick her back on a plane (wahhhh). We did hit up her first aerial yoga class in between though!

Any chance to see my girl is amazing, but a surprise visit for a killer concert was even better! Miss you already Babwa!!



Escaping the winter and flying to Mexico wasn't something I'd ever imagined we'd be doing at the beginning of December, but when Trav's parents asked us to join them there back in February, we were happy to say Yes!

It was their Christmas gift to us, and I would always rather have experiences vs. items! And this place, well, it definitely didn't disappoint!

The flight out was early, we had to be up at 4am (which was not anyone's favorite!), but that meant that I was doing this by 5pm.

The resort we stayed at was in Nuevo Vallarta, just outside of Puerto Vallarta, and run by the Vidante group. We stayed at the Grande Luxxe and it was unbelievable!

There were something like 32 pools, and the beach right there as well.

We hit different pools almost everyday, sometimes multiple pools.

They also had some truly amazing restaurants, and we ate at different restaurants almost every day too!

It was interesting doing the trip to France, and then the trip to Mexico, in a row. The vacations, both so wonderful, were completely different! In France we were going and doing and walking and seeing constantly.

In Mexico everything slowed way down. We swam and lounged, we read and talked. The day's eased together in the most wonderful of ways, and the time there didn't feel too long or two short.

There were some special activities. At the beginning of the week we got to see baby sea turtles being released to the ocean.

Sadly, of all those babies, they said that chances are only 1 or 2 will survive until adulthood, which is why the conservation programs are so important.

It was wonderful too to spend the time with Trav's parents, and his brother's family.

Gwen and her cousin Wyatt are only 3 months apart, and both are only children, so when together they treat each other much like brother and sister.

They laugh and play and joke and tease and drive each other nuts.

I love every chance we get to see them together.

We ventured into town once during the middle of the week, heading to a place called PiPi's for dinner. It was a family run place with a mariachi band wandering and playing while you ate.

They also have margarita's that you could swim in.

There are so many pictures I want to share, but only so many things to say about them. The views were spectacular, the weather and atmosphere amazing; but a day-by-day review would definitely read "another day, another pool!"

I can tell you about how the lazy river with two crazy 7 year olds was not so lazy, and I must have said "get in your tube!" 200x in a row. I can tell you also that the last day we rode it, the little wave maker in it that kept the current flowing was some how jacked up to an 11, so Gwen and I almost flipped at the section of river next to the machine!

Towards the end of the week, the resort hosted a Mexican fiesta on the beach.

There were a whole row of stations serving traditional and modern Mexican dishes, demonstrations of traditional Mexican music and dancing, and people wearing traditional Mexican attire from the various areas of Mexico.

They also had games for the kids, and man wandering around making balloon hats, and a woman with a bird that chose fortunes for you!

It was quite the evening, and the staff seemed to really enjoy it as well!

The last few days of the trip seemed to pass quickly.

We were ready to get home by the end, but also sad to leave behind such a leisurely existence!

While there were some disagreements, and some not so fun moments (do yourself a favor and try to time your child's ear infection for a time when you aren't flying to another country!), it was a very memorable week.

¡Hasta que nos volvamos a ver, México!