Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas Blessings and a WONDERFUL 2 Week Break

Our Home this Christmas...

We had a wonderful Christmas visit with both our families! Our break began with Andy's 27th birthday on the 18th of December. His brothers, and best friend, Greg came up to celebrate and his cousin, Elizabeth, along with my sister and dad and our neighbors, Robbie and Cami, and David Jones, Andy's friend, along with Jake and Courtney, our friends from college/Andy's old roommate joined us at Billy Bob's for Reckless Kelly. It was a fun concert and we enjoyed listening to the good music! The pictures below are at dinner in Sundance square before dancing.
Andy's sheet cake with 27 candles on it - he got them ALL out in ONE blow!

At Billy Bobs...

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with Andy's brothers and cousin.

Then we got serious and finished Christmas shopping/gift making (my family's tradition), baking, laundering, and cleaning before we could leave town. I also had to start and finish my defensive driving course ha! A lot to cram into only a few days but we did it! We finished mopping the floors/showering/packing and loading the car by 8:30 just in time to leave. With the car packed to the gills with Christmas presents, enough pre-made food to last Eleanor while we were gone and all of the "stuff" necessary for 4 days in college station we stopped by Which Which and Costco gas and headed for College Station.

We arrived around 11pm Wednesday night and Eleanor, rested from her 3 hour sleep, got to play for a few minutes with Grammie and Grandpa as they reunited after a few months of not seeing one another.

We put Eleanor to bed and enjoyed the conversation with Andy's parents for a few hours. This was the beginning of many late nights at the Reinberg household. I sit here exhausted and decided I need another week of vacation to get back into my routine and relax from my vacation...typical though.

Eleanor was up bright and early on Thursday morning and excited to play...Daddy ws not ready to wake up...

Thursday morning we got a special visit from The Wentrcek family. Eleanor hadn't seen her godparents in a month or so and it was so wonderful seeing sweet Reese Wentrcek!
She has grown so much since we saw her when she was born!

We enjoyed catching up, eating Layne's (Andy's FAVORITE fried chicken finger place only found in sweet home College Station) and the girls' first real time to interact and play on the floor. Well, Eleanor was kind of rude and more interested in her toys than talking to Reese but Reese was so sweet and just stared at E the whole time. Soon they will be playing together and will be the best of friends! :) We just love that sweet little bug and hate that we live so far from our dear friends! After they left we made a quick trip up to St. Mary's, where Grammie works, to let Eleanor meet her coworkers and also people Andy and I worked with when we worked at St. Mary's in college. We snuck into Grammies office for a few shots, this is my fave of Eleanor in Grammie's chair :)

Thursday night we went to Koppe Bridge, Andy's favorite burger place, and his childhood friend, Amber, joined us.

Andy's childhood friend, Amber, who also sat with Eleanor as she slept while we were at Midnight mass. Thanks Amber!

We were going to go to Santa's Wonderland but the line was over a mile long so decided to go home and play games/watch Christmas movies instead.

Friday morning (Christmas Eve) we woke up and 'Nell and I went to get pedicures. What a treat, we even picked out red for Christmas to don our toes (and my fingers). We just hung out the rest of the day wrapping presents and watching more Christmas flicks and then ate tostadas, another one of Andy's favorites he usually can only get in CS (I am not one to cook refried beans in bacon grease and then dolloping them on grease saturated fried tortillas so I leave that to his mom and dad ha! Maybe one day I will attempt to learn to make them. Anyway, tostadas were Andy's birthday request and we celebrated his birthday with his family on Christmas Eve.

We showered and put Eleanor down after putting cookies out for Santa. My only regret was that in the rush of getting ready for mass we forgot to read Eleanor "The Polar Express." My family's tradition is to read it before going to midnight mass/before Santa comes. We kind of also hesitated reading it because we thought Pop Pop might read it when we got home but it never happened. Oh well, Pop Pop will read it next Christmas when Eleanor is a little older and can understand.

Mass was beautiful, Fr. David's homily perfect and the music beautiful! We came home and Andy's family kept up with their tradition of eating tamales and shrimp cocktail before going to bed. I had a glass of wine trying to keep my eyes open ha! We put our stockings out and went to bed to so excited, almost as much as when I was little, to see what Santa had brought. We didn't go to bed until almost 4 that night AH! Not good when your 7 month old wakes up at 7.

Eleanor let us sleep in a little on Christmas morning and we awoke to her talking and clapping excited to see what Santa brought (or just in a good mood ha but we can assume what we want).
I fed her and then we went down the hall to wake up the rest of the family.

We had a wonderful time opening presents and for me watching others open what we gave them. That is my favorite part! Grammie loved her apron with "Grammie" monnogrammed up top and Eleanor's handprint and the date at the bottom. It is going to be somewhat of a "charm bracelet on an apron" as Eleanor and other grandkids to come will stamp their handprints each year at Christmas! It will be fun to see how much they grow and who all appears over the years! Eleanor got a little kitchen from Santa and a star stacker that lights up and makes music that she loves from Grammie and Grandpa.

Andy's and my favorite gifts were relics that Andy's mom had blessed and touched the relics of my saint, Maria Goretti, the veil of Mary, and Andy's touched Saints Andrew, Jude, Anthony, and all the apostles. An incredible gift we will always love. Andy's relic is a rosary and mine a gold cross on a necklace.

Eleanor also was given an "elf outfit" by Andy's parents and she ended up wearing it all was quite hilarious!
Andy's dad smoked the most amazing smoked turkey I have ever tasted for Christmas dinner and we stuffed ourselves with that, all the usual sides, and wine of course. We loaded the car so we could leave first thing the next morning and enjoyed visiting with Amber and her mom, Linda and drinking wine/eating desserts along with playing a very boistrous and wild game of "Apples to Apples."

Our visit in College Station was super special being our family's first time to celebrate Chrsitmas with Andy's family AND Eleanor's first Christmas. We feel like we don't get to see his family enough so it was great getting to spend a few days with them and not have an agenda! We truly got to just relax and hang out which was much appreciated.

With it being my first Christmas away from my family you could only imagine my excitement to make it to Dallas to see them and spend time enjoying Christmas #2. We arrived right around noon on Sunday the 26th.
Eleanor all ready to open more presents, now at Marmi and Pop Pop's

Marmi and Pop Pop, Aunt MEA, and Aunt Keekda were ready with cinnamon rolls in the oven and coffee made. We started opening presents as E had just awoken from her road trip nap and was in good spirits. Eleanor got so many more fun gifts including a piano you can hook up to the TV...what will they think of next!? My Aunt also sent her this adorable little mailbox that she loves!

Dad got Tiger Woods golf from the kids and all of us got a Dance game for the Wii from Santa so we played on the Wii all day and enjoyed an amazing dinner ( as you call tell our break has been marked with delicious indulgent and not so healthy food) of Dad's famous London Broil and all the fixins. As you can see, Marmi got an apron as well with Eleanor's handprint.

We capped the night off with desserts and wine with the Walhoods for an impromptu Happy Birthday Jesus party without the cake...

The next morning Aunt Mea and I went shopping and spent the rest of the day preparing her and Dad for their long-awaited trip to visit Aunt Katie in "Nica." That night, Andy and I took the packed car home, unloaded it, and I unpacked and started laundry that still has not been finished and we are now two days out from school starting up again...

Tuesday, I had a hair cut appointment and after discussing with my sweet hair-cutter, Michelle, decided Eleanor needed her first hair cut. Andy brought her up and she was so good. You can see more about that in her haircut post. Afterward, Andy and I made some returns and ran by Marmi's to get the remainder of the Christmas presents that couldn't fit in the car the night before.

We then enjoyed a super fun day with Amanda, Annabelle, and Hallie.
Eleanor and Annabelle playing in her room before we went shopping. Hallie was napping and missed out :(

They came up for a few days and we were so excited to get to spend some time with them. Hallie napped at Granna's and Annabelle and Amanda, and we went to Buy Buy Baby and shopped with the girls and then went back to Granna's and got to play with Hallie for a bit (Eleanor had to get dropped at home for a nap). I miss my sweet bosom friend so it was such a treat to get to catch up and spend some time together and to see her sweet babies who are just growing way too fast! That night, Andy and I made a really yummy tortilla soup and margaritas and watched movies. We have so enjoyed this time to be together and not worry about work!

Wednesday Eleanor and I went downtown for a Dr. appt. and then met up with Heather, a friend from school, and her 10 mo. old son, Jace. We had so much fun with the kids interacting and of course did some shopping.

Eleanor insisted on me carrying her instead of being pushed in the stroller...we will need to break her of that preference! Wednesday afternoon we got to meet Casen Place, Andy's gradeschool friend, Clifton's third son.

He was so sweet and made me probably a little closer to being ready for another baby. We still would like to wait a little while longer but it was so funny watching Eleanor interact with him.
She was actually a little jealous when I was holding him which makes me wonder if she needs a sibling before she gets too old and used to being the only one! :) Until then, we will just enjoy all the babies our friends have! That night, The Vaniceks came over and ate Pot Roast and played 42 with us. The girls played and them went to bed, it is so fun that we can put them down and have time just the four of us to hang out! The girls are such good friends, we love how much time we get to spend with sweet Katie Jo!
Thursday was such a treat! Andy watched Eleanor while Mom, Kelsey, and I (the ones left behind while the other three of our family are in Nicaragua) spent the morning and early afternoon at the Spa at the Crescent. We got massages and then lounged around for a while in the spa, sauna, and steam room, took our time getting ready and then enjoyed a lunch at Breadwinners. What a fun day! I hadn't felt so relaxed in a LONG time! My massage therapist said I need to do this more often...maybe I can convince Andy of that ha though I wished he was able to enjoy the spoiling as well because I know his neck needs it just as much as mine! That night, mom treated us to a date night out. She came over so we could go see "True Grit" at Studio Movie Grill with a gift certificate Andy got from his students!

Friday morning we woke up and Andy headed to mom and dad's with Wes to commence the day of smoking the brisket for our NYE feast. Eleanor and I hung out at home getting random things done such as cleaning out/organizing the freezer, writing thank you notes, working on but still not finishing laundry, and straightening up the house/getting ready to head to mom's for NYE. More New Years Eve dets to come in the New Years post. We had such an amazing Christmas with family and friends and are gearing up to be motivated as we go back to school next week!

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