Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goodbye 2011!

Wow - and just like that the holidays were over.  Where did this year go???  I will attempt to catch you up on all of our holiday events . . .

We got out of school the Thursday before Christmas (December 22nd) and I was SO ready to get out of there!  It was a 10 week quarter and I was done and the kids were definitely DONE.  Ian got a picture of me grading on one of our half days, I wasn't in the best mood with most of my kids getting Incompletes!

We were so happy to get out of there on the last day that we snapped a pic in the parking lot:

On Friday I headed to Zoo Lights at The Phoenix Zoo with my family.  It was cold and crowded, full of people just milling about, hypnotized by the lights.  It was nice to finally see everyone but Zoo Lights just isn't my thing, they let too many people in now (they didn't used to).

(Fuzzy pic because it was dark - my mom and I.)

Saturday morning was our annual Spini family nail party at Valley Nails.  They accommodate like 15-20 of us every year for manicures and pedicures and then we head to lunch after at Z' Tejas (who have a gf menu now, by the way).  It was so much fun and my best girlfriends, and sister-in-law Kelly, came with us, just like last year!

(A blurry pic of Christie but a cute one of Kelly and my Aunt Donna.)

(Christine and I)

(Playing charades while we got our toes done!)

(Aunt Sonja petting Christine.)

(My niece Amanda, Kelly, my cousin Stormy, my cousin Shilo and a stranger I don't know at the end.)

(There's Sonja, always taking cute pics that we NEVER SEE!)

(Amanda showing off her nails and my mom holding my cousin Cyrus.)

(Me and Jenny)

(Me and my mom - check out my outfit on the 24th of December in AZ!  It was beautiful out, and still is!)

(After nails my girlfriends and I opened presents outside before lunch.  I got a ton of glitter eye shadow and a gift card from Christine!) 

(Lovely ladies.)

That night we hung out with my dad.  Usually we go to Ian's families' house but Kelly had to work so we put off celebrating with them until the 26th.  We invited my dad over, made seafood stew and gf orange rolls.  I usually get the Pillsbury ones and eat them on Christmas morning every year, but since this year I'm gluten free, I had to make my own.  I combined Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix with this recipe I found online and they turned out DELICIOUS.  Here they are, before frosting (not very pretty but tasted just like the real thing!).  They were super hard to work with and the dough definitely does not roll out like regular dough, but we did it, thanks to my dad's help!

My mom usually comes over on Christmas morning but she was making me a special batch of sauce for ravioli later that day so we just decided to go to her house a bit before to open presents.  And that meant that all of the orange rolls were for us - yum!

(Ian opening his presents - he got a Sony Blu-Ray player - our first one!)

(My step-dad Joe got custom insoles from us, just what he wanted.)

(My mom and Joe got me a gift card to Vidal Sassoon to get my hair cut and colored - a BIG deal!  Yay!)

(And keeping with our mustache theme from last year, I HAD to get my step-brother, Joe, some more fake mustaches!)

(Amanda even put on the blonde one, too cute!)


(My mom, so cute!)

(Blurry pic again, stupid iPhone 4.  My mom makes ravioli every year for Christmas dinner, since we are Italian.  My Nani and grandpa used to do it but since my grandpa passed away my mom has taken over.  This year she went out of her way to find me gf ravioli, Joe and her made me a special batch of sauce and meatballs and I brought the gf bread that my dad made the night before.  I love them for caring so much to do this, it makes me so happy!)

(Yum!  Now I hadn't had ravioli since Christmas last year so I only had regular ravioli to compare my gf kind too.  Let me tell you, it tasted JUST LIKE the real thing!  She got me this kind and it was SO GOOD!)

(Why do Ian and my friends not get that you look at the camera on our phones, not the screen when you're taking a pic!)

(Aunt Donna)

(We had no idea that Christmas was a "no burn" day in AZ until the next day!)

(My dad and Aunt Susie stopped by after their brunch to say hi to everyone.  It made my day, I love it when all of my family is all together - words cannot describe.)

The day after Christmas we headed to Ian's families' house to celebrate! 

(Reggie wiping the table.  Little did we know that he stores food in his mouth and after Ian lifted him up, he drooled chocolate all over him!)

(Chocolate face!  It was too funny!)

(Watching Chip and Dale videos.)

(Ian and his sister)

(Blurry Reggie - but he loved his new Camelbak water bottle!)

(The BEST present we got Reggie - too bad he hated wearing it because he looked SO CUTE!  This girl hand makes them on etsy!)

(Reggie loved his Clifford dog.)

(This is the night Reggie fell in love with Gremlins.  He now watches it every day and has a Gizmo doll he carries around with him.)

The next day, after the 26th, we laid around all day.  It was so nice to have a whole day with nothing to do, although we did love spending time with our families.  The rest of our week was full of relaxing, excercising and working on the house.  Ian successfully cleaned out the laundry room, built new shelves for it and organized the shed while I kept things neat inside.  We also had a chance to go see the Los Noches de Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Gardens with Christie and my dad, it was fun but more fun if you were drinking wine and over 50.  Lots of live music and lots of live candles and people - not that impressive but still something we'd never done before.

On New Years night Ian and I opted to stay home.  We got invite to his brother-in-laws and out with friends, but we always enjoy New Years best when it's just the two of us at home.  So, we made a cheese platter, homemade gf bread and some other yummy appetizers and settled in to watch a movie, Kung Fu Panda 2 (ha!).  It was such a relaxing night and for the first time ever, I had a hard time staying up to watch the ball drop!  (And as someone pointed out in this pic on another site, those pills are prenatal vitamins, in case you were wondering.)

(I made gf apple crisp for dessert - so good!  As I've said before, I just use regular recipes and sub out the flour for Bob's Red Mill gf flour instead.)

(Ian is making a fake smile and I just got done crying my eyes out in this pic.  I don't know what is was, well I do actually, but midnight struck and I started balling.  Last year was the worst year of my life, seriously, and I was just so happy it was over.  It was like that last bit of emotion had to come out and then I was done.  I cried for almost a half hour until I made myself go to bed.  They were happy tears and sad tears all combined, it was the strangest thing.  I hope to be toasting to next year instead of crying, it was the weirdest but best thing.  I'm so happy 2011 is gone.)

We continued to work on the house for the rest of the break.  I found time to go use my gift certificate at the hair place (woo!) and Ian spent some of his time working and carving a kachina while we watched TV.  I even bough Christine a friendship bracelet maker for Christmas, which I kept to try out because she was busy working, and made a few friendship bracelets with it.

(Snacking under the crazy dryer!)

(Christine wanted to see my hair after the salon so I stopped by and went with them to pick up Espen at school.  He was surprised to see me, and my new hair looked cute!)

This has been one of the BEST breaks we've had in a long time.  We found time to have fun (even went to the Mesa Comic Con and Pirates exhibit at the AZ Science Center) and get some work done (car port is almost ready to be painted!).  It was relaxing and exciting and I'm bummed that school starts again on Monday.  I felt like this was just what we needed to recharge and keep us going until Spring Break.  Some breaks don't do that, sometimes you work too hard and it just flies by and you find yourself back at work again.  This one was a good one, we both agree.  

I hope you enjoyed your time away from work for the holidays and got to spend some time with your family too.  And, that you got to relax and have fun like us!  We were lucky to have two weeks off, I know that others aren't so lucky.  I just so wish I didn't have to go back to work (and I'm sure you've thought the same thing!)!  Happy New Year my friends, I hope this year is full of peace and love for us and for all of you too!

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