Christmas Recoup

The past few days have been interesting! Time flew leading up to Christmas. Our days were filled with baking, cleaning, last minute shopping, attending holiday parties, and throughout all that, leading up to Christmas Day, Jackson picked up a nasty virus. :( How could Jackson be sick for half of the Christmas Days he has been alive for??!?! He's managed... His first year he was only one month, so that year didn't count, the next year we spent Christmas watching carefully over him until we ended up bringing him to the ER to spend the rest of the day, last year was good, and I really had some high hopes for this year... But alas... The Virus. Poor guy didn't wake up until late, and here I was thinking he'd be running down the steps at 6am! I woke up early to make some Monkey Bread (mmm, so good!) and was all ready to go with the camera. Instead, he trudged out of his room with flushed cheeks, fever already apparent. I gave him a cup of OJ, and not 5 minutes after having that, he got sick to his stomach. Ugh, not a good start. He didn't even want to open gifts. Liam was more spirited and enjoyed his gifts, and after some Motrin Jackson came back around and we managed some presents. It was a subdued Christmas Day to say the least. We enjoyed our quiet time together and were thankful in remembering the birth of our Savior. We did make it out to the Isabell's for a few hours to have brunch and exchange gifts. There was even a special appearance by Buddy the Elf! Thanks Aunt Bethany!!! :)

Christmas Eve was a better experience for the boys. We went to the Medieros Family to celebrate with the Stevenson side of the fam. It was awesome to have Christmas Eve with Nan - and everyone was super impressed with Trisha's prowess in the kitchen. Mmmm! Beef Wellington. (wink-wink, I won't give away your secret, Trish! :cough-cough, the butcher made it, cough-cough: Ooops! We had a wonderful time and the boys had a blast opening gifts and playing. Jackson and Ava have so much fun together and it's neat that they actually go off together to play alone. So far no trouble!

The day after Christmas, uneasy about how the kids were, we ventured to the William Penn Inn with Justin's family to have a day-after-Christmas dinner together. Jackson got sick to his stomach while there, but insisted he was ok and wanted to stay, so we ate fast and enjoyed time with family before scurrying out.

Next year I will be attempting to quarantine the family two weeks prior to Christmas! Hopefully everyone will be healthy! In about a week we're all heading to Stowe, VT for a family vacation. Should be... interesting! No, we are really looking forward to some time away. Jackson might try his hand at skiing! Stay tuned...

Iced in!

A snow/ice storm was forecast for Saturday night into today. We were soooo wishing it would be a big snowstorm. Last night Justin and I kept checking weather blogs hoping for it to change toward more snow. At one point a snow calculation was predicting us to be in 6-12 inches. Woot! We went to bed excited that *possibly* we would wake to a winter wonderland and envisioned building snowmen and having snow ball fights with Jackson. I think I woke up twice to look out the window. (Am I a child or what?!) No such luck. This morning revealed a half of an inch of ice coating everything. Can't do much with that except stay inside and keep cozy!

My friend Lisa invited me to a cookie exchange today. It was a fun domestic-y girly morning for me! Yesterday my little 3 year old helper and I worked hard rolling dough into little balls and covering them in powdered sugar. Ta da! Chocolate Crinkles! They came out soooo good! We had a munch a few of them before packaging them up to be enjoyed by some other families. The fun part was bringing home some new goodies to enjoy, which I have been throughout the day. The newness of the cookies are so tempting. My new favorites: Chocolate covered cherry cookies. Jackson's favorite: the sugar cookies cut out like Christmas shapes. Justin is sticking with the chocolate crinkles and even Liam got to enjoy his first fresh from the oven last night.

If you want to try these yummy cookies, here's the recipe.

Chocolate Crinkles (a la Martha Stewart)
8oz Bittersweet Chocolate
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted softened butter
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners sugar

1. melt chocolate, set aside
2. sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
3. mix butter, brown sugar, eggs vanilla, and melted chocolate
4. add dry ingredients, alternating with milk until thoroughly mixed
5. divide dough in 4 batches and wrap, chill 2 hours
6. Heat oven to 350 degrees
7. Roll into 1 inch balls, coat with granulated sugar, then roll in confectioners sugar.
8. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper
9. Bake until cracked appearance on top, about 14 min's.

A couple weeks ago we had our first laying snow of the season. It certainly wasn't Jackson's first snow, nor Liam's, but it was worthy noting around here as we are a family who looks forward to the white stuff! Justin began prepping Jackson for snow the night before we were expected to have it. Jackson woke bright and early ready to go out. Sadly we got merely a coating, but it was enough to put on boots for according to Jackson.

We set up our tree (a couple weeks ago actually!) and I just had to get a few pics of Liam "meeting" it for the first time. He's now 11 months and it's been fun seeing his little personality really come out. He's such a sweet baby. One of my favorite things about Liam right now is how excited he is when you come to get him when he wakes up. When I go in his room he pulls up (if he hasn't already) on the crib and bounces up and down and rocks the crip too. He gets so excited! Liam has been enjoying eating new foods too. His favorite is pastina (tiny star shaped pasta). He's embracing his Italian heritage there. He loves it with some parm cheese and butter. He's not a fan of anything green. If you leave him hanging during a meal, he'll let you know he's unhappy. Too funny! Between Jackson and Liam, there aren't too many quiet meals in our home. Anyway, here he is meeting the Christmas Tree!

"Sooo big!"

Our littlest boy is now one unsteady step closer to growing up. Well, maybe one step closer to walking... One thing at at time! On 12/3 Liam took his first few purposeful steps. He was just out of the bath, and, well, nekkid, and took about 5 steps. It was so cute! He's taken one or two, but has been quick to drop to his knees to crawl before. But now he's finding motivation all the sudden! So here he is, doing his, "How big is Liam?!" "Soooo big!"