Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Very Lovely Christmas & Birthday

Hi Girls!  I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!  Mine was so wonderful, and I wished that it didn't have to come to an end.  (sigh)

I had this entire week off from work, and I just loved having some time to myself this year.  Hubs worked for most of the week (thanks to starting a new job this year and not having much vacation time), leaving me to sleep in, run errands and do whatever the heck I wanted.  I could really get used to this, but I can't because mama has to bring home the bacon. 

The Sunday before Christmas, I went with the Tampa Junior Women's Club to volunteer with Metropolitan Ministries, a HUGE food and toy bank that gives holiday meals and children's toys to those less fortunate.  My pal Tracy and I worked at Turkey Slingers, handing out frozen turkeys, chickens and hams to families that came through.  It was really touching to meet people who were so grateful for the food, and they were so very gracious.  It warmed my heart to see peoples' faces light up when we handed them a 20 lb turkey that would likely feed their family for several hearty meals.

They made us wear their t-shirts over our thick sweaters, so we just look lumpy. 
I was reminded that charity isn't a fashion show.

I just started getting silly, like riding around in the turkey wagon!
Metropolitan Ministries is a great organization and hopefully I'll get to do service with them again next year.

On Christmas Eve, I work up early and was busy all darn day!  Yep, even on my day off, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I had to run a never-ending list of errands, make a pepperoni pizza monkey bread, make a batch of chocolate covered pretzels, and pack my bags for our trip to my sister's house.  Hubs came home, helped me pack up the car, and we were off ot Orlando!

Hubs and I arrived in Orlando around 6:30 pm, and were greeted by the Roberts family welcoming committee:  My twin sister, my brother-in-law, my parents and my dog-nephew, Charlie the ginormous dachshund.  I loved getting there and seeing all of my favorite people in one place.  We unloaded the car, popped the monkey bread in the oven, and settled in for a super awesome holiday.

The Roberts women are ready to party, and Charlie photobombed our picture.

A gorgeous tree and a ton of presents.  We love to spoil each other!
One of my family's Christmas traditions is to open gifts on Christmas Eve.  We've been doing this since I was a kid, when we'd always host a huge celebration Christmas Day for my extended family.  My mom didn't want to have to clean up a big mess on Christmas morning, so we always exchanged presents the night before.  My mom is a little neurotic about keeping a pristine looking house, so it's no surprise that she wouldn't want a mess to deal with on Christmas morning.

In recent years, we also started doing heavy appetizers and desserts for Christmas Eve dinner, and we've all really enjoyed it.  We used to go out for a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve, but the finger foods just seem like more fun.

Our Christmas Eve appetizer and junk food buffet was glorious
Of course we also brought Bella, who got dressed up in her Christmas finery.  Isn't she cute?

Bella donning her velvet Christmas dress, and Charlie's wearing his birthday suit

We opened our presents, drank veeeerrrry strong eggnog (I had to cut mine with milk just to get it down), and watched Christmas movies.  It was the perfect Christmas Eve!  I have to give props to my family for giving me great gifts this year.  It's evident that they paid attention to my wants and needs, and who can argue with getting so many things on your wishlist??  Certainly not me.  Here are some of the things I got...

Gifts from the 'rents

These are my gifts from Hubs.  I loved everything!

My favorite gift is the framed photo in the upper right corner of the picture.  That's a picture of my great grandmother holding me shortly after I was born.  She crocheted my childhood blanket that I carried around with my for years (I was like Linus with that thing).  I still have what's left of that blanket (it's basically just a ball of shredded yarn now) in a box in my closet today.  Hubs found one section that wasn't completely destroyed and framed it along with my picture.  I broke down in tears when I opened this because it is the most thoughtful gift I have EVER received.  Bravo to Hubs!

My sister and brother-in-law got me a new Cuisinart coffee maker and a deep dish pizza stone, which I can't wait to break out for dinner next week!  Like I said before, I got spoiled!

So this was a really special Christmas, and it was my sister's first time hosting our Christmas festivities.  She did a spectacular job!  She thought of everything, just like my mom always does, so things went so smoothly.  I don't know if I'd do quite as well at hosting everyone (knowing what perfectionists my mom and sister are about this stuff makes it a tad bit intimidating), but maybe I'll get a chance to run the show one day.  And when that happens, I'll wow them with my amazing organization and hosting skills!

On Christmas Day, my brother-in-law made us his famous breakfast burritos and we had an early dinner since Hubs needed to drive home (he had to work on the 26th).  I ended up staying behind to spend a couple of extra days with the family, and it was just what I needed.  While I missed Hubs, it was nice to hang with the fam a little more. 

On the Tuesday the 26th, my mom and I took my sister to do her baby registries at Target and BuyBuyBaby!  I admit that I know ZERO about babies, so I was really just there for emotional support, but we had a blast.  I really can't believe how much stuff babies need!  Thank goodness my sister is going through this first so I can learn a few things before I have kids of my own.

On Wednesday, the 27th, I celebrated my birthday with my sister.  We went out to brunch, ate chocolate fudge cupcakes and exchanged presents.  She knows me so well and got me a Target gift card and Heaven perfume from The Gap (which I've been wearing since high school). 

My Happy Birthday cuppy cake

No hats or decorations this year, we were just happy to spend our birthday together!
My parents gave me a lift back to Tampa, and had a couple of important meetings to attend before Hubs came home from work.  He got home right on time, and whisked me off to The Columbia in Ybor City for some super delicious Cuban food.  It really doesn't get any better than this place, which has been a working restaurant in the same family since 1905.

This is the place, a true landmark in Tampa

Inside of this beautiful restaurant, still decorated for the holidays

Me, with the first of many glasses of white sangria

My, my... my cheeks were very rosy from all of that sangria!
I got some great birthday presents this year, like the things below from Hubs and my sister... I <3 family="family" my="my" p="p">

My husband, who is the sweetest man alive, had flowers waiting for me when I arrived home and brought a birthday cake home for me.  When we got back to the house from dinner, we cut into the cake, and it was my favorite:  vanilla cake with fresh strawberry filling!  I was stoked that Hubs did that for me, because I was convinced that I wasn't getting a cake this year.

My favorite birthday cake

And after that, I was officially stuffed.  Like, "put a fork in me, I'm done" kind of stuffed.  I wound up hitting hay at a reasonable hour because I was in a carb coma, and the only thing you can do it ride it out.

I feel so blessed to have had such a great Christmas and birthday this year.  My family and friends spoiled me, and reminded me about how much love I have in my life.  I just know that 2013 is going to be a great year, and I'm excited to see what's coming in the months ahead.

Hope you all had a great Christmas, too!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Your hubs is too cute! I'm in tears over the frame he did! Can I borrow him to teach my Hubs a thing or two??? Glad you had an amazing Christmas and birthday!!!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!

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