Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Party - before and after

I told you I was going to be posting a lot this week =)  Earlier this month, I hosted my Second Annual Ornament Exchange with my Denver lady-friends.  This is a tradition my girlfriends and I started back in Georgia, and I was excited to keep the theme going when we moved out to Colorado.

I normally wouldn't dedicate an entire post to the non-exciting parts of a party like this, but I felt I had to provide some "before" and "after" shots of the planning.  I love to hear how other people plan and execute social events amid their crazy schedules - it makes me feel like I'm normal and not a total psychopath - so I thought I'd return the favor and provide a "glimpse into the crazy" at our house =)
Keep in  mind, I had just been in New Orleans for a week and Marc was out of I had to do all of this on my own (goodness, cleaning a house is so much easier/faster when there are 2 people involved!).  I definitely got a little stressed at about - oh, say - t-minus 3 hours to kick-off, but then I remembered that when all was said and done, the people coming to my house were my friends and they seriously did not care if the house was spotless or the food was home-made.  All that mattered was we had a fun time full of catching up and merriment =)

So here we go.  You are about to see some pictures that may shock and scare you...

Some "before" pictures of the house:

Ahh!  Boxes, bags and coats everywhere...
Vacuum cleaner is shouting "use me!"  If you had super micro-vision you could see all the puppy-hair-dust-bunnies all over the floor...
So embarrassing - magazines everywhere, blankets askew, TJ Maxx bags all over.
Wrapped gifts under the tree, plus a nice little shot of the pile o' mail by the front door I have yet to organize...
Yeesh!  What a disaster - and I have company coming tomorrow!
Polly is like "Mom, just chill.  I can help you vacuum if you want...or I can sleep on my blanket and hope you won't lock me up when your friends get here =)"
Wow.  So that was what my house looked like the day morning before the party.  What a mess!

After a few calming breaths, a glass of Pinot Grigio, and some happy thoughts, I was able to plow through and get everything finished.  And, I have to say, that even though it looks like a "messy bomb" went off in my house, I was quite pleased with the final results.  Once the first guest arrived, I had forgotten all about the hassle of cleaning, decorating and cooking and just enjoyed myself.  That's what parties are all about, right?  It ended up being a super fun night and I was so thankful that we decided to get together.

Here are some "after" shots:

Day of the party and I forgot to chill my champagne - no worries in Colorado!  Just use what you have =)
*sigh* So much better!
So last year, I only had a few bottles of wine to drink.  This year, I wanted to do a few fun and festive holiday drinks plus some wine.  I managed to stock up on liquors...but forgot all the mixers!  "Would you like some vanilla vodka with...nothing?"  Next year, I swear I will get the drink table nailed down perfectly =)

The most challenging part of the evening is trying to figure out how to fit all the food on my table!

The table is set, food is in the oven, drinks are cold, and I'm all dressed and ready for my party =)
Here was the menu for the evening:
  • - Pimento cheese sandwiches
  • - Deviled eggs
  • - Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus
  • - Cucumber "crackers" with smoked salmon
  • - Stuffed mushrooms (the crowd favorite)
  • - Baked brie in a bread bowl (thanks, Lainey!  It was awesome and a huge hit)
  • - Hummus with veggies
  • - Fruit - for fun
  • - And, of course, an assorted variety of cookies and fudge provided by my lovely guests =)
I don't have any "full table" views of the food, but you get the idea...

I did have one festive holiday drink - champagne plus vanilla vodka plus pomegranate juice.  It was our theme cocktail of the night =)

The dessert table!  I estimate that each cookie is roughly 2.5 I ate about 30 =)

And some shots of all the fun =)

Jenny and Annie with her festive necklace!

Hold up yo' ornaments!

Annie made these awesome personalized bags =)
The whole group - thanks for making this such a great time!!
So there you have it!  This was seriously such a great night and I'm so thankful for everyone in that picture (plus a few others who weren't able to make it!).

I hope you had a Christmas and Holiday that was full of fun times and laughter with your friends and family.  Happy Thursday to all!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Decking our Halls =)

This is a teaser post - Marc and I literally just got back from Pittsburgh and are in the process of unpacking (and ordered a pizza for dinner...detox will start tomorrow, I promise!), and I wanted to showcase our first real "decking of the halls" in a real house...

..when we weren't freaking out about burglary, flooding, vandalism, the police, our landlord discovering we got a puppy...and moving...

...all at the same time =)

Here you go!  I swear I took a TON of pictures of the twins first Christmas, and those will be appearing later this week =)

Full view of our living room - complete with "Once Upon a Time" in the background =)

More pinterest inspiration - I plan to continue to change this out each season.

Next year, I am absolutely not waiting until the last minute to order some cute, personalized, PB stockings.  I've been kicking myself to two years in a row since every time I try to order them, they're sold out!

That cute boy is not part of my Christmas decor =)

My mom gave me this Nativity scene - it's the one I grew up with =)

I love a seasonal table runner - can you tell?
Note how insanely "non-childproof" our house is...opened liquor, toothpicks, wine and variety of other alcohol-related items in plain site on the bottom shelf.  The next time the twins visit, we will have a better storage facility for such things =)

Decorating the chandelier like this is such a huge pain.  I'm doing something completely different next time.

Also, next year, I'm stealing some pinterest inspiration and changing up my Christmas card display.  This is way lame.

Fabulous fake Christmas tree!  If we ever stay in town for Christmas, I will consider getting a real one.  Right now, I like the low-maintenance-ness of the fake one and I light a "balsam fir" scented candle.  Works for me!

Hey pup!  She's enjoying her new blankie =)

Sarah - this is, by far, still my favorite ornament!

Some new additions and yes...

...the Biebs made an appearance this year!  This was a "gag" gift I received as a hostess gift...but it's still front and center and I plan on keeping it there =)

Not many people have seen the downstairs of our house.  You may or may not care, but I thought I'd snap a few shots =)

If you are my guest, I will lay out fancy towels for you and light a candle =)

And I will fluff your pillows.

"Glamour" shot of the bathroom since Atlanta peeps have never seen it.  Complete with cooling curling iron!  Also, please note the grandma-esk sink in the shape of a seashell.  I have grown to love and appreciate my beige, seashell sink =)
Merry Christmas to all!
There you have it!  The "casa de felice" all decked out for Christmas.  Up next, Christmas twin pics that are so cute, you will think your eyes are planing tricks on you =)

Happy Wednesday!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Times the Fun =)

Yes, yes.  It's true!  The twins came to visit and it was such a special treat!!  Dave and Rach were able to make the trek out to Colorado with 5.5 month old babies in tow, and we are so thankful we got to spend some time with them =)  Here are a few highlights:

They got in to town late on Friday night.  Marc and I knew mom and dad would be hungry, and the kiddos would be pooped, so we had a few snacks available for them.

Who would like a cookie?
...or an adult beverage?
Our spread of snacks for the hungry parents.  That bruscetta is courtesy of yours truly - we canned it over the summer and were able to enjoy it now!
Uncle Marc and Dominic - look at that adorable face!!
Sweet baby girl.
Hi Renata!
Polly was quite curious - not the best picture but had to show you - she stood on her hind legs for several minutes trying to get a better look at Domonic

Again - not the best picture quality - but Polly is checking out Renata.  The picture reminds me of what pictures looked like in the 60's...
This was Polly's first time around babies of any kind.  We were kind of nervous about how she would handle infants, but she was insanely well behaved!  She was mostly just curious - new sounds and new smells galore.  I was incredibly impressed with how calm and gentle she was.  There were a few "face licking" incidents, but we tried to keep those to a minimum.  It was mostly just sniffing and setting her head down close to the cutie pies =)

On Saturday, we spent most of the day lounging and letting Dave and Rach relax.  Plus, Aunt Nicole and Uncle Marc wanted some play time with Dominic and Renata, so we were a little selfish and hogged them to ourselves =)  We spent the day with lots of snuggles and bouncies =)  Can I just tell you that little baby laughter is like heaven to my ears??  I couldn't get enough - what a beautiful sound!
Bah - it's blurry.  But what a sweet face!
Okay in this one, Dave's face is precious =)
Polly just wanted to rest her head on Dominic's cute little tummy.
Hey baby girl!
Polly scoping out Dave and Renata.

Touchdown!  Snow rules!
Sweet girl - Mommy is making funny faces behind the camera.
Uncle Marc - I am not amused...
Say what???

Aunt Nicole - stop hesitating and feed me!

Saturday night, we decided to be brave and head out to dinner at Barolo, a fun little Italian place just down the street from our house.  Dinner was yummy, but there were definitely a few "meltdown preventions" taking place.  I think the time change and the disrupted schedule was definitely taking a toll on Dominic and Renata, but once they calmed down, dinner was a breeze.

The grown-ups at dinner.  Can you tell they're brothers??
Sunday, we woke up and decided to head to our favorite breakfast spot, Waffle Brothers.

Getting the kiddos bundled up for our walk.  How adorable is that cover-up?

This thing is insane...
Here's our crew - rollin' rollin' rollin'...

We made it!  The pictures look more dramatic than it was.  It was 60 degrees outside and about a half a block away =)  Well worth the walk!
Sunday night, we headed out to Rachel's sisters house for dinner.  Kind of a funny story, but Rachel's sister got a job out in Denver earlier this year, so the whole Lauchli family moved to town from Bloomington (they used to live in the same town as Dave and Rach).  That's actually the reason Dave and Rach came to visit - Lauren and Mark had the whole family in town for Christmas in Vail - so they came out early to spend the weekend with us, and then met up with Rachel's family to do their Christmas.

This was the first time that Dave and Rach had seen Lauren's girls in almost 6 months.  They were both so excited to see Jane, Avia and Caroline after so long (they used to see each other almost every day!) and I won't lie - I got a little emotional at their reunion.

Big Jane, Little Jane, and Avia seeing Renata for the first time.

Beautiful girls!
All the cousins!
Together for the first time - Bahh so mad it's blurry!!
Also, Rachel's other sister, Natalie, is pregnant!  It was just such a joy to be around the whole "Barnhill" family and we were excited to see everyone (we hadn't seen her side of the family since their wedding a few years ago!).  After dinner, the girls got to do their Christmas before heading up Vail the next day.

Nat and Dominic
Practicing for Baby Blake!

Lauren and Mark's home is immaculate.  Check out the dinner spread!!  We did NOT leave hungry - that's for sure =)

All the girls.  Jim has a much better shot of this one =)

Jane and Baby Caroline - how sweet is she??

Opening presents!  I love Avia's face in this one =)
...and now Caroline.  Too cute!!
Pop playing the piano while girls open gifts.

Men holding babies =)

Caroline looks hesitant...

Okay...I guess I'll open this huge gift that is bigger than me!
Hah!  I love this - Miles holding Dominic and Dave is about to tickle monster him!!
Miles is practicing being a daddy for Baby Blake =)
I totally want a grown up version of this toy!

Jane got ice skates!  I also wanted a pair =)
Miles, Dominic, and Jim - our fancy photographer =)
How cute!  I a polar bear onesie for Dominic =)
And a sweet winter outfit for Renata.
We were sad to leave Lauren and Mark's house on Sunday night, but the time had come =)  Marc and I had to get home and finish packing since we were flying to Pittsburgh to be with Marc's family for Christmas.  The other exciting part?  Dave and Rach are coming too!  Yep, that's right - they spent a week in Vail with her family, flew home on Thursday, and drove out to Pittsburgh on Friday to be with Marc and Dave's side of the family for Christmas.  Quite the crazy schedule, but I won't complain about getting to see the twins again =)

But that will be a separate update =)  Hope everyone is having a fabulous week and Merry Christmas to all!
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