dinner with family

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bella’s present:

Fat Kitty’s Christmas present was the paper bags, wrapping paper and bows. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!

Preparing For Restaurant Eating

Thursday night Michael, his friend Jeremy and I met Michael’s family downtown for his belated birthday dinner. Michael was craving lasagna–that was his only request. So I made reservations at Mama Mia Trattoria for 7 of us.

I wanted to go into the restaurant prepared. I spent some time looking at their online menu and decided what I would order. My biggest pitfall in restaurant eating is not being prepared when I go in and getting overwhelmed with all the yummy food options on the menu. My eyes get bigger than my stomach and my willpower falters.

This time I was smart: I picked 3 entrees I was interested and Googled the calories (estimated) to see which would be the healthier choice. I finally settled on the Eggplant Parmesan and was super excited about eating it.

I ordered a glass of red wine: Frescobaldi, โ€œRรจmoleโ€ Sangiovese-Cabernet, Toscana, 2008. It was a lovely, crisp red.

The second part of my Restaurant Fails is the bread basket. It’s so hard to resist it for some reason. I ate a few pieces of the bread.

The third part of my Restaurant Fails is the serving sizes. This time I had a plan: when I ordered my dinner I’d ask the waitress to bring a To-Go box so I could immediately put half the serving in there to make sure I was only eating one serving.

Birthday Boy!


We arrived at the restaurant and it was still happy hour so our plans changed a bit. We got a table for 7 of us and I looked at the happy hour menu. It was different than the website. I didn’t panic–I zeroed in on what I thought was the healthier option:

LOSTA THE PASTA LASAGNA: pasta-free baked lasagna layered with sliced eggplant, ground beef, tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella & parmesan cheeses

It seemed healthy to me because there was no pasta and the eggplant was good. It was almost like Eggplant Parm. I tried to order that but the waitress said they had no eggplant because of the weather all the crops froze.


Second choice: Lasagna of the day. It was lasagna with white sauce, Painted Hills ground beef, Carlton Farms pork, veal, vegetables like carrots and celery, and cheese. I ordered a Caesar salad to start. It was really small, which was perfect.

I asked the waitress for a box and she said they didn’t do that for Happy Hour. Uh Oh! A little panic but I knew I could be strong. Luckily, the lasagna came out in a proper serving size! Since it was happy hour portions I didn’t have to feel guilty about eating all of it.

It was so good! I think there was egg in it too. It was light and fluffy and the veggies inside were a nice surprise. Delicious!

Since it was Michael’s birthday they brought him a piece of the Amaretto Cheesecake! We all passed it around and took a bite (so I had about three bites of cheesecake–the perfect amount). It was creamy cheesecake with an almond biscotti crust that flaked at the touch of a fork. It was served with caramel sauce and candied almonds.

It was to die for! It was a good night and it was nice to spend time with everyone. I feel like last night’s restaurant experience was a positive for me. I may have gone over my calories for the day BUT I did eat proper serving sizes, enjoyed some wine and a few bites of dessert. I say that’s a win!

QUESTION: How do you prepare for restaurant eating? Are you successful?