Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015


While Christmas morning has come and gone, there are a few pictures I couldn't resist sharing with you all.  Like last year we had a low key Christmas day right here at home with the girls, our pj's and a yummy dinner.  My parents spent Christmas down with Joey and Andy this year.  Dan, Ellyn and Auntie Erin came to our house for the day and we had a great time!


Aside from more presents than anyone can count we had a delicious beef brisket that we smoked.  It's a long story how we decided on a 13 lb brisket for 5 adults but man was it good!  We started it on Christmas Eve around 10 pm thinking it would take MUCH longer than it actually did to smoke.  Which, ultimately meant that Ryan spent an hour fiddling with it at 3am in the garage in his underwear, but it wouldn't be an exciting story without that!


Long story short, we learned a ton with this first brisket and while there are some things we'll do differently next time, it turned out awesome!  And we have plenty of left overs frozen for future delicious dinner!



Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!!  Bring on 2016!!!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Visiting Santa


Two weekends ago we were back in Freeport for Ritterbusch family Christmas.  Near my parents house there's a family that does a really great Christmas display of lights and a few nights during the season Santa even visits for a few hours.


Santa wasn't scheduled to be there on the night we were visiting but my Mom called ahead to see if he could make a special appearance for the girls.  It was really special and we were really lucky that busy Santa was able to fly down from the North Pole for a few minutes to sit with the girls.


The girls were in awe!  I was sure thankful because earlier this year when daycare had Santa come visit Abby told him "DeDe, you were a really good Santa".  That little sh*t!  How in the world did she know that?  She's THREE!


Since Santa was making the long drive just for us my Mom also invited Grace to come visit him as well.  Might as well squeeze in one more little peanut right?  There's always room on Santa's lap for good little girls and boys!


Hazel was actually sleeping when we got there so she'll have to wait until next year to see Santa.  I don't think she minded.


We sure were lucky to get this special experience all to ourselves.  Mom said that a friend of theirs took their kids on a night when Santa was scheduled to be there and they waited over an hour to see him!  Thanks Mom and Dad for organizing this special event for us!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

1 Family x 12 (Dec)


On Christmas Eve there couldn't be a more perfect family photo....Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Baby Cunningham (Quilt)


You guys, my quilt making has slowed to a very slow pace.  Like a snail.  So slow!  Most of it is having a newborn, some of it because work has been crazy busy but I'm dying to get back at my machine.  Luckily, I started this guy quite a few months ago right after Hazel was born and when I was still on maternity leave.  This guy is for a very special friend of ours, Betsy.  She's due with her second around the end of Jan.  Which meant that I had plenty of time!  But, Bradley, Betsy's first had his own plans about when he'd be born and came into the world at just 31 weeks.  So, I knew I needed to get this quilt done early.


I can NOT tell you how much I love this quilt.  There has never been a more perfect example of a quilt that I personally would love.  I mean, I love all of the quilts that I make, but if I was choosing a color scheme for my very own quilt, it would look just like this.  It's blues and greens with a little bit of yellow and lots and lots of grey.  Basically that equals Sadie to a tee.

There are over 200 fabrics in this quilt and over 750 - 2 inch squares.  It's scrappy and fun and so so pretty.  I tried fussy cutting for the first time as well.  For those of you that don't know, that just means that I'm very careful of the placement when I cut so that the squares include whole pictures, like that tiny Babar painting in the top left.


Betsy - we are so excited to meet your new little girl (or guy....yes, she too decided to be surprised).  I'm secretly hoping girl, but we'll love them either way.  I hope he or she loves this quilt to death and drags it around everywhere!  Quilts were made to be used and loved so let the babies spit up all over them...that's life!  We can't wait to meet you Baby Cunningham (though not too soon!  Keep baking!).


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gingerbread Houses


Last year my mom started the tradition of doing gingerbread houses with the girls.  Well, it's really a resurfacing of a long standing tradition of doing gingerbread houses with Danny and Stephanie from when Joey and I were kids, but the girls don't know that :)  

I'm not going to lie, pictures are getting harder and harder with this one.  She's figured out the fake "cheese" smile and no matter how hard I try for a real one, they are hard to get!  

Abby did SO good with her house this year.  I did the frosting (it's hard to squeeze) and she did the decorating.  She so carefully placed those little tiny balls.  She reminded me SO much of me in that moment.  Most times her personality is all Ryan while her looks are mostly me....but I saw her quiet perfectionism and enjoyment of the process come out in this activity for sure!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Snow Day!



Well, you can tell I'm a little behind since the snow has long ago melted and has been replaced by sixty (60!!!) degree weather in mid December.  I'm not complaining, I love not having to stuff Abby in a giant coat into her car seat or having to bundle up just to leave the house, but I do miss the snow and hope that it'll return just in time for Christmas.  It just doesn't seem like Christmas without snow and it certainly won't feel right if it's raining and sixty out!


This is probably the first year that Abby was truly excited about the snow and really able to play outside in it.  She was so pumped to get her snow boots on and get outside in the snow.  We were probably out there by 8am.  Luckily it all fell on a Friday night into Saturday so we had all day to enjoy it instead of stressing about getting to work/daycare.  We played, made snow angles, made hot chocolate, watch movies on the couch and just relaxed at home.  We NEVER do that!


Check out Abby's adorable Fox River Millwork Carhart.  Just like Daddy's.  My parents got this for her last Christmas and it still fits.  She loves dressing up just like her Daddy.



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas Tree Cutting 2015


Ryan's family has a tradition of cutting a Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving.  While I grew up with a fake tree and have loved the convenience of grabbing it from the attic, not debating over the height and width our house could accommodate and the ease of tossing it right back in the attic year after year, I've come to love this tradition and look forward to it each year.  Besides, we wouldn't be McGrath/Ritterbuschs' if we didn't have traditions!


A REAL smile from my little peanut is hard to come by these days.  She's in that whiney three year old phase and has learned the fake "Cheese" smile (below) so I love when I can snag a real one on film.  Abby was very excited to talk to Mrs. Clause.  She asked for "Jakes", as in Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  I think I'm going to sit down and help her write a letter to Santa mostly because I want to document all the hilarious things she asks for year over year.  She told Ryan the other day that she wanted "salads" for Christmas so it should be interesting!


She got her pick of either the Santa cookie, a Snowman, or popcorn...who is surprised that she picked Santa??



Mostly I'm just excited for the photo montage that we'll be able to create one day documenting how our family has grown and aged.  It was just two short years ago that I was carrying Abby around in the carrier inside my coat!


We picked a rather short tree this year because we decided to put it in the basement instead of our upstairs living room.  In the winters we spend most of our evenings downstairs by the warm fire.  And, since I work from home, in the basement office, I pretty much spend my entire day downstairs.  Now, when I look out the office door I get to see our pretty Christmas tree all decorated and twinkling all day long.  Talk about a day improver!!