Christmas

Four Christmases

Christmas Eve was pretty low-key. I went to the gym. And then my friend Star and her boyfriend Larry came over for the afternoon to celebrate a mini-Christmas with us. It’s been way too long since we saw each other!:(

Christmas Eve Logan went to bed early and Michael made Christmas enchiladas and we watched Elf!

Christmas morning we woke early (thanks baby!) and we had our first Christmas with Logan. It was so amazing to watch him experience his first Christmas. The chaos, the wrapping paper, the presents…it was a lot of new stuff for him! And Logan gave us a present!!

Logan made it at daycare and they wrapped it and gave it to us on Friday when we picked up the little guy. It KILLED ME to wait two days to open it. Seriously, it was like I was a little kid and I was dying to open my present! 😉

Bella’s present:

Fat Kitty’s Christmas present was the paper bags, wrapping paper and bows. 😉

About mid-morning my parent arrived from Seattle and the five of us went to Gracie’s for brunch, as we usually do! Logan did so great at his first brunch. He was a little wiggly and didn’t want to sit still but we took turns holding him while we ate our yummy breakfast and thankfully he didn’t get fussy!

Last year I was pregnant (awwww) and my number one pregnancy craving was orange juice. I remembered that their freshly squeezed OJ was out of this world so I ordered it again this year. It did not disappoint. For breakfast I got the smoked salmon hash with poached eggs on top. It was just ok. I remember the food being better last time.

After brunch we took the obligatory Christmas tree photos in their lobby:

After brunch we went back to the house and opened presents. My brother and I got our parents an ipad mini for Christmas (their first foray into smart phones) and Michael and I helped them set it up and I gave them a tutorial. Then we skyped with my brother and his wife (as part tutorial on how to use it, and also to talk to them on the holiday, of course!).

Around three my parents said their goodbyes and we packed up the car to go to Michael’s mom’s house for Christmas dinner!

Michael’s mom made a wedge salad. It was so delicious! I don’t think I’ve ever had one before. She also made a pot roast, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli. Dinner was delicious.

Then round four opening presents. Logan was both starting to get the hang of ripping open the paper and also getting overwhelmed and tired. But he had a blast checking out his presents.

The motorcycle was a huge hit!

It was definitely a memorable weekend. I can’t wait until next year when Logan is older! The magic of Christmas was so fun to experience through him.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Shiny and Bright

Saturday I made it to the gym!!! After being snowed/iced in for two days I braved the drive and made it. My little car would not have made it out of our street –which was a sheet of ice–but the Subaru did great and once I got on the main streets it was clear.

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It felt SO good to get to the gym! I hadn’t been since Monday. I was also slightly sore still from Thursday’s at home workout. Squats and kettlebells ALWAYS get me.

At the gym I did some light body weight/ab stuff, went through a circuit of the weight machines and then did 27 minutes on the elliptical. It felt awesome!

Then home to clean up and get ready to go on a date. Michael’s mom and stepdad came over to spend some time with the little dude so we could go out to lunch and possibly get a Christmas tree.

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The roads were decent but sidewalks were super icy still. We ended up going to Lardo on SE Hawthorne for lunch. It’s been years since I’ve been there. The place was packed when we arrived. We ordered and then sat outside in the covered and heated patio area.

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We both got the Block 15 Sticky Hands IPA. For lunch Michael got the Grilled Mortadella:

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I got the Lardo Egg Sandwich, smoked pork belly with a runny egg and cheese. It came with a hash brown patty on the side.

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Michael got an order of their “dirty fries” –fries with cheese, pork pieces and pickled peppers on top. I nibbled on some. I didn’t love the fries. I did enjoy the pickled peppers, though!

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We talked about getting a Christmas tree. We both had concerns, obviously. Logan is almost 9 months old (on the 22nd!!) and he is an ACTIVE little boy already. He’s been crawling for two months, standing for a month and he’s already “cruising” (walking while he holds on to things like the coffee table). He also goes right for all the things he shouldn’t have and big, sparkling, blinky Christmas tree would be a bad idea.

We talked about getting a small tree and putting it on a table, that didn’t really seem feasible, because we a) don’t have a table that would work and b) he could probably pull that down too. I floated the idea of getting a tiny living tree (something I’ve always wanted to do) and putting it on this one tall side table we have in the living room. So we went to Lowe’s to check it out and found the small living trees.

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For about the same price as a large Christmas tree we got the living tree. It’s small and the needles are super spikey! That’s the only downside. But I like that we can plant it in the yard somewhere after Christmas and it doesn’t feel like such a waste.

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It’s okay, it does the trick. Next year we’ll go all out and it will be great! And Logan will be old enough to “get it”.

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Saturday night we were supposed to go to the Milwaukie Solstice Festival and then some friends were coming over for dinner but our friends were sick, I was still under the weather and we just didn’t feel like going back out. So Michael made dinner for us instead and we just chilled.

He made French Onion Soup!

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Here’s the recipe:

French Onion Soup

From: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/french_onion_soup

Ingredients

  • 6 large red or yellow onions (about 3 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced root to stem (see How to Slice an Onion), about 10 cups of sliced onions total
  • 4 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
  • 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme (can also use a few sprigs of fresh thyme) OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 8 inch-thick slices of French bread or baguette
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere and a sprinkling of Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Caramelize the onions: In a 5 to 6 quart thick-bottomed pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with the olive oil.
  2. Cook the onions, stirring often, until they have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter and cook, stirring often, until the onions start to brown, about 15 more minutes.
  4. Then sprinkle with sugar (to help with the caramelization) and 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to cook until the onions are well browned, about 10 to 15 more minutes.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more.
  6. Deglaze the pot with vermouth: Add the vermouth to the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom and sides of the pot, deglazing the pot as you go.
  7. Add stock and seasonings: Add the stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.
  8. Season to taste with more salt and add freshly ground black pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Add brandy if using.
  9. Toast French bread slices: While the soup is simmering, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil and preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven.
  10. Brush both sides of the French bread or baguette slices lightly with olive oil (you'll end up using about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil for this).
  11. Put in the oven and toast until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
  12. Turn the toasts over and sprinkle with the grated Gruyere cheese and Parmesan. Return to oven when it's close to serving time and bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
  13. Serve: To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and transfer one cheesy toast onto the top of each bowl of soup.
  14. Alternatively, you can use individual oven-proof bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350° F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51311

Dinner was great!

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We missed the Winter Solstice but we did manage to go to Peacock Lane this year!

I told Logan we were going to see sparkly Christmas lights. He giggled:

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We met up with a friend of mine who has a baby about 2.5 months younger than Logan. Peacock Lane was PACKED! You could barely walk there were so many people. But the babies loved the lights!

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I’m really looking forward to Christmas this weekend!