Friday, January 30, 2015

Christmas 2014

My favorite thing in life is to gather with the people I love to eat, drink and be merry, so naturally the holiday season is my jam.

This year we bought a $20 tree from the grocery store because Christmas tree farm trees are just stupid expensive. And I think it looks at least as lovely as any $100 farm tree.


 Every year over Thanksgiving dinner (this is how food-centered my family is!) we discuss what we'll make for Christmas dinner. We like to go all out with holiday food and never do the traditional turkey and potatoes or anything like that. We always go for all the way homemade and it's almost always Italian. This year we decided on Nana Stizzo's roast cooked in tomato sauce and pasta. The day before Christmas Eve my sisters, parents and I made fettuccini to be dried and saved for our Christmas dinner. Despite the photos, Van actually was not very helpful to the process.

We enjoyed a ham dinner on the Eve at T's dad's house. I made these bomb-ass potatoes. Van was gifted some Lincoln Logs and a Daniel Tiger stuffed animal that says "Hi Neighbor!" and "Do you want to make believe with me?". He loves it. And the farm dog figure that comes with the Lincoln Logs...the logs themselves mostly piss him off because he has a hard time matching up the ends. :)

After dinner and the exchange of gifts we headed to my friend's parents' house for some drinks, desserts and SANTA. I love that Santa shows up at this annual Christmas party for a bit because it'll be a cold day in hell when I wait in some mall line to pay $ for a picture of my kid on Santa's lap. Nope, no thank you.

singing carols with auntie kristel, waiting for santa
he told santa he wanted candy for Christmas. last year he asked santa if he knew how to play Christmas songs on the piano.

Christmas morning was fun, but rushed. I really need to remedy this for next year. Tony's mom's family gets together for Christmas day brunch/lunch which is really gnarly for us because we are such late birds. We basically force V out of bed each year, rush him through gift opening at our house, run him across the street to my parents house for a gift exchange, and run him back home to change so we can get out the door and to T's family's event. He's a really good sport about it, but next year I'm going to advocate for a little more time to ourselves Christmas morning so Van can relax and eat breakfast and play with his cool new stuff before having to put everything away to go to see T's family. I'll figure something out!

Nonetheless, he really enjoyed himself.

After brunch and games with T's family we headed to my parents' house to enjoy the fruits of our pasta making labor a few days before. It was as good as we hoped it would be. I had so much fun playing Heads Up at brunch that I made some of my family play it on Christmas night. We exchanged gifts with my sisters, ate hella food, and drank a bunch of wine...good times. The best times, really.

playing grocery store with granddad and his new cart and "food" from aunt rachel

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Still Crazy After All These (3) Years: Van's Birthday

Little Vanny turned three last month, a few days before Christmas. As has been tradition, we threw him a little, no gifts tamale party with our immediate families and few closest friends. My family has always made tamales the weekend or so before Christmas, so it's worked out really well to just invite over a few more people, add a cake and make a little Van celebration out of it.

A few weeks before his birthday I asked Van if he wanted a themed party since he's getting up there in age and might be into something like that. He told me he just wanted a "guitar party." Ok, kid.

So I whipped up a Woodstock-esque invitation and printed them out to be mailed. I bought the few kids that would be in attendance bubbles in a guitar shaped container and little guitar Christmas ornaments, ordered a big Mylar guitar balloon from Amazon and cut out images of Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia to use as cupcake toppers. Bam! Guitar party!

He had the best time. Tony and I got him a play kitchen that we revealed to him that morning, which he was completely stoked on. My sister bought him a chef's hat and oven glove, some little stainless steel looking pans with a whisk and wooden spoon. He spent his day running around, eating food, cooking in his new kitchen and being a little three year old animal.

Van is the best little kid in the world and I hope his third trip around the sun is his best yet. :)