Tag Archives: Christmas

Griswold Christmas Memories Turned Magical

I had no expectations of how the Christmas holiday would go with our fourteen month old this year.  Last year, my daughter was only two months old when we celebrated the special holiday.  Her Christmas consisted of lots of naps, breast milk and excitement over the large crowd that congregated at our recently renovated house.IMG_0724 IMG_0751Our refrigerator died two days before the holiday.  I scrambled to find a repairman/replacement by Christmas Eve, but I ended up with a mini fridge from Costco in my living room.  We managed to fit most of the food for our family celebration in the mini fridge, but we did end up also filling a cooler on our back porch of what was left.  The temperature allowed us to keep it there for almost three days following.  To top all of that off, we found ourselves in the attic swapping buckets out from a leaking roof while our daughter slept gently in a pack n play in our room. A good old fashioned Griswold Christmas. We made it through.  Surely this year would be better?  Surely.

IMG_1679While we don’t go to church as much as we should, we got dressed up to make the trek out on Christmas Eve for the 4:00PM service at St. Gabes.  Talk about romper room.  We didn’t get there until 3:45.  Our mistake.  We ended up parking a quarter mile away before finding a small, steaming hot area in the back of the church to stand in.  Yep.  No seats left.  We found ourselves in the midst of several other desperate families with children coloring, crying and running all over.  There was no way that I was going to make it.  Pregnant.  In heels.  Toddler in my arms.  We did our best switching back and forth and “taking her for a walk”.  By the gospel we had given up.  We will reassess our plan next year (especially since we will have a nine month old in tow).

IMG_1686From church, we headed to my parents house to have a Christmas Eve celebration.  My daughter did great opening gifts.  Her big gift from my parents was a wheelie suitcase.  Something I had never thought about getting her but something she will use right away.   She considered the bag a toy.  I smiled as I imagined having my entire suitcase back when we go on trips.  My daughter has her own space to put her things now!  Great gift grandma.

IMG_1699I have to say, one of her favorite parts of Christmas was finding excitement in popping the bubble wrap.  Why does it always seem like she likes the things that hardly cost anything the most?

IMG_1691After dinner, we snapped a quick family picture.  It was great to have my parents and sister in town to start the Christmas celebration.

IMG_1708We headed home to get my daughter ready for bed before Santa came.  This is a special holiday for my husband.  His mom has been coined “Mrs. Claus”.  His house in New York is a winter wonderland during the month of December.  It is almost impossible to recreate. That’s it below.

10422530_10100413623821783_4486160939553337414_nI did my best this year.  Santa sure did come.  As my husband and I did one last pass of the living room before getting my daughter out of her bed, we glanced at the clock on the oven and noticed it was pitch black.  At some point during the night the oven and microwave blew out.  Of course.  I had fifteen people coming over Christmas dinner.  I had worried all night about how I would get all of the cooking done on time.  All for nothing.   Well, what do you do?  It’s Christmas.  Nothing will change.  Two years ago, I would have had a meltdown.  This year, I made up a new plan.  Before we set that plan in motion, we had to get my daughter out of bed to see what her reaction would be.

IMG_0741Santa packs my daughter’s presents in her own sack.  Pretty fancy huh?  He did it last year, and he did it again this year. Hopefully he can find another sack for baby number two next year!

IMG_1713Our most successful gifts of the season for our fourteen month old:

  • A children’s size broom (we are mimicking everything mom does right now) – Very cheap
  • A toddler size baby stroller/baby/baby bottle – hopefully this is an indication that she will be mommy’s little helper soon.
  • Books with Flaps – Anything that she can touch on the book to engage herself.
  • Last but not least – A kitchen.  Don’t skimp here.  It is worth the cost and labor to see how happy it will make your child.  He or she will likely spend hours playing with this toy.

IMG_1718With gifts out of the way, I was left with figuring out how we would eat the rest of the day.  Thankfully, my parents live close.  I packed up a pork roast and some stuffing and headed there.  In three hours we would have the pork done.  Just a tip – if you do not have another oven close by, you could always cook a roast on the grill or in a crock pot.

photo 2-179Dad of the year whipped up some pancakes and bacon on the griddle.  This could also be done on the stove (which is not connected to the oven).  Here is where I spill the big beans.  After our situation last year and the fact that I have been completely worn down this pregnancy, I decided to outsource the sides.  I spent hours cooking and cleaning last year.  So many hours that I hardly had time to relax.  This year, I preordered almost all of my sides from Reid’s.  The kicker is that it wasn’t much more expensive (and it was delicious).  We used our toaster over and stove to reheat everything (without a microwave or oven).  For less than $80, we picked up:

  • Baked macaroni and cheese for 12-15 people
  • Garlic green beans for 12-15 people
  • Bourbon glazed carrots for 12-15 people

IMG_1720My daughter and her cousin sat at the kid’s table and enjoyed their dinner.  I will do it again.  As much as I love cooking during the holidays, I love spending time with the people I care about more. To be honest, most people appreciate the effort just the same whether you outsource or do it yourself.  Do yourself a favor.

IMG_1725As we enjoyed dinner, we forgot about the minor kitchen disaster.  In two years, we have had almost every major kitchen appliance die on us on Christmas Day.  Both years we have managed without letting it ruin the day. My daughter loved opening gifts, although she still doesn’t understand why she got them.  She worked hard to carry as many of them around as she could (in fear that we might take them from her).  She still wakes up in the morning and walks to the tree looking for more presents.  Over the next year, she will figure it out.  In the meantime, I’m going to work on developing mommy’s little helper with our new baby doll addition!




Pregnancy Update – Week 26

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a turnip?  If anyone eats those?  Approximately 2 pounds.

Weight Gain – After finally detoxing from the stomach flu, it appears that I officially gained no weight during the past week.  Still holding steady at 15 pounds.  As hard as I try to eat more food, I can’t seem to get back up in weight.  I have a feeling that I will make a turn over the holidays.  I see lots of good (and unhealthy) food in my future.

Movement – Movement definitely picked up this week.  As far as movement when I exercise (a lot of people ask this) – the baby typically falls asleep.  Almost immediately following, she is up and ready to go.

Sleep – Could bad get any worse?  My daughter has officially gotten on a schedule of waking up around 2:30 AM and not going back to bed for at least an hour.  I have tried letting her cry it out.  I have tried letting her co-sleep.  Nothing works.  Anyone have any advice?  I sure could use the rest!

What I miss – Geesh, sleep!  Look at my little angel just staring innocently at me in the middle of the night.

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Best Moments this Week – Finishing up preparations for Christmas.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?  After a rough first introduction to Santa, my daughter did better our second go round.  See pictures below.

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First try with Santa – wouldn’t even sit on his lap.


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Second try with Santa – we made it on his lap!

My little elf dressed the part while helping me finish one final round of baking and wrapping.

photo 2-178A family favorite of ours around the holidays is cake balls.  I make these GIGANTIC!  They are undeniably one of the most divine, unhealthy treats.  Hence, why we make them once a year.  Recipes are all over the internet.

photo 2-177We display all of the Christmas cards that we receive on the face of the cabinets in our kitchen.  It is a visual reminder of how lucky we are to have such amazing people in our lives.  We will keep these up for weeks, if not months.  I love seeing how much everyone has grown up over the year.  My daughter also loves pointing at her friends and having me name family members.

photo 1-169Finally, I have to finish my best moments of the week, with my doctor’s update for baby Duf 2.0. I had an appointment Tuesday.  The doctor was not concerned about me having had the stomach flu since I was on the mend.  My blood pressure was 100/70 and the baby’s heart rate was 152.  Perfect ranges.  I go back in the first week of January to get my glucose test done and meet with my doctor again.  Before long, I will be going every two weeks!  I’m going to try to convince them to let us get one more ultrasound.  It has been almost 10 weeks since we saw this little one!

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Looking forward to – Lots of family time!  My parents and sister are in Charlotte from now until after Christmas.  I love that they are willing to celebrate the holiday with us.  My daughter truly adores my sister.  It is also nice to have a babysitter on call at most times of the day!

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Cravings – Everything.  Since I got my appetite back from the stomach bug, I have been consuming an excessive amount of food.  My mom made a classic vegetarian pasta dish for us for dinner on Sunday.  Look out for the recipe this week.  Healthy, yet melt in your mouth good.

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Symptoms – Tired.  Did I say tired?  Besides that, the big thing is restless legs syndrome.  If you haven’t experienced this, it’s a tingly sensation in my toes that makes me feel like I need to move them.  This usually just happens when I am laying down at night.  This is also a symptom that I had last pregnancy.

Workouts –  I am officially done running.  Not because of comfort, but because of time and other things going on.  I am on the bike three-four days a week, which is all the scheduled cardio that  I need at this point.  I have trouble gaining weight as it is.  The rest of my workouts involve weights and walking my daughter.

Monday – Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVD

Tuesday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte

Wednesday – Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVD.

Thursday – Ride Flywheel Charlotte with Meghan Lee (pre-ride picture with pregnant barre instructor, Carrie, below).


Friday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte.

Saturday – Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVD.

Sunday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte.


Pregnancy Update – Week 22

Size of Baby (per “What To Expect”) – Size of a small doll.

Weight Gain – 13 pounds

Movement – Those little kicks are starting to get bigger!  It is a great thing to feel the baby moving.

Sleep – I slept like a rock this week.  My daughter is starting to get used to one nap a day. Introducing her to a toddler class daycare wears her out, so she is sleeping later in the morning.  That means mom sleeps later.  I’m taking advantage of this now.

What I miss – Believe it or not, nothing due to pregnancy.  I truly just miss the warm weather.  During week 22, temperatures were as low as 16!  It’s November.  Come on.  This is going to a long winter.  I guess I need to invest in a pregnancy coat (or get used to wearing my husband’s?)

photo 4-12 Best Moments this Week – We started setting up Christmas decorations this week.  While this is not a picture from this year, this is our tree.  More pictures of decorations to come. This is a special holiday in the Dufrense household.  Let the extravaganza begin.IMG_0469A big part of any Christmas is the Nativity scene.  My daughter apparently thought that my parent’s Nativity decorations were a doll house.  After several hours of playing with each person in the set, we later found baby Jesus in a cabinet.  Hence the reason why I bought her her very own Little People castle to play with.  It would be an understatement to say that she was pumped.

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Looking forward to – Thanksgiving!  We celebrate Thanksgiving with my family (since they are so close).  We also do an annual Turkey trot in the morning.  My plan is to run it again this year (at a much slower place).  Last year, my husband and I ran it just four and half weeks after my daughter’s birth.  My sweet girl was just a month old last year at this time!

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Cravings – Food!  I have been on overdrive.  The baby must seriously be growing, because I can house some food.  I’m wrapping up things at work, which is making me a little stressed.  I am looking forward to slowing life down a little bit (for at least a few months).

Symptoms – Continued pregnancy congestion to a much lesser extent.  I’m sorry if you catch me blowing my nose or clearing my throat.

Workouts – Lots of Tracy, Tracy, Tracy this week.  With the cold temps, I kept a lot of my workouts indoors.  Strength work has started to get extra tiring the further I get along.  Doing the Tracy Anderson pregnancy series is a perfect at home workout that I can do with little to no impact.

Monday – Lunch Hour DUFifty workout at the gym
Tuesday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte 7:30 PM
Wednesday – Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVD
Thursday – Flywheel Charlotte Ride with Zach
Friday – Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVD
Saturday – Tracy Anderson Pregnancy DVD + Neighborhood Run + LOTS of decorating!
Sunday – Teach Flywheel Charlotte 7:30 AM

Still keeping up with a decent run (or two) each week.  I even jammed out to a recent playlist this weekend.  You know it will be a good one when I use it in my own workouts to get pumped up!

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