Tag Archives: holidays

Scenes from Saturday and (Part of) Sunday

If the past two days are any indication of the holiday ahead, I am one lucky girl 🙂 Mike and I arrived at his parents’ house outside Charlottesville late on Friday evening for an amazingly full but also relaxing weekend. Instead of writing a full recap (which would take way too long and I’ve got cookies in the oven and a fire going right now), here are some scenes from the weekend.

Saturday 8 mile run. It was windy as hell but I loved it 🙂
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Been using my new Aeropress coffee maker EVERY day. The coffee it makes is AH-mazing.

And of course, topping it off with egg nog.

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Mike’s mom spoils us with delicious veggie scrambles from their beautiful garden… and pickles!

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Decorating the Tosto family Christmas tree!

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Curled up on the couch reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Little Mac at my feet

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Attending the Rapunzel’s Christmas Party

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Where we watched Mike’s mom perform as a member of the Charlottesville Albemarle Flute Ensemble!

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Sunday afternoon watching the Charlottesville Municipal Band perform in town (Mike’s mom on the flute and his brother on the tuba!)

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Finishing up last minute Christmas shopping on the mall. And I bought this SWEET hat that is shaped like a koala bear. I am obsessed with it.

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Swung by the DoubleTree Hotel to check out the gingerbread house village. Amy, this made me think of you!

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Fig and Mike wrapped some last minute gifts.

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And now I’m enjoying a hot cup of kukicha tea and getting ready for a night in with a fire, cookies, some presents, and maybe even a movie 🙂

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Catching Up

Helloooo boys and girls 🙂 I’m sure you’ve all been as busy as us this week preparing for the impending holidays! I have a pretty strict (READ: anal) approach to leaving for a vacation. My food purchasing / meal planning is like a science, complete with a complete refrigerator clean out the night before we leave. Today’s lunch features my classic “use it all up” salad, where I basically dump every leftover in the refrigerator on top of a bed of lettuce and call it a day. Today’s lunch includes romaine lettuce, yellow bell pepper, shredded carrot, cucumber, chopped celery, cherry tomato, chick peas, diced ham, and blue cheese… helloooo nurse. If only I had ANY sort of appetite this week 😦 ho hum. I also have to make a meticulous packing list / take my time or else I will most definitely forget something (I one time packed for an entire weekend in NYC with no bra… not a single bra).

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We are traveling with the kitties this week too so we had to start mentally preparing them to get in the carriers. Little Mac is very intuitive, so if he senses we’re about to travel, he’ll just hide under the bed. Therefore, we have to get the carrier out days in advance and then snatch him when  he is least expecting it. Fig has a carrier, but I also have a leash for him. Little Mac will hide under the bed, but once you pick him up, he basically submits to going into the carrier (he cries a lot though and it’s really sad). Fig, on the other hand, will fight you until the end. I actually cannot get him in the carrier alone. The last time I tried to put him in by myself, he drew blood. By the end, he was crying in the carrier, and I was sitting on the floor of my living room crying and bleeding from my hands. I decided to give the leash a try. He doesn’t walk on the leash, but he does let me pick him up and carry him to the car. I use the leash just as a back up in case he jumps out of my arms.

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All in all… Christmas presents are wrapped, bags are packed, the refrigerator is empty of any perishable food, and Operation Trick the Kitties is well underway. Hopefully tonight goes smoothly (pray for us).

On the sickness front… the week started out abysmal and is ending on a relatively positive note! Mike was the worst I’ve seen him yet on Monday and Tuesday. It was truly heartbreaking to see someone who I love so much in so much pain. Luckily, he went to see his primary care physician on Tuesday afternoon and got a pretty aggressive course of steroids to help with his symptoms (he had such a bad sore throat / swollen tonsils and glands that the poor guy could barely eat, swallow, or sleep!) After only a couple days, he is like a different person! He’s still not 100% and is being careful to rest, hydrate, and get enough to eat. All in all… a lot of R&R at the POTR household this week.

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I was on the verge of a total meltdown earlier this week about my potentially getting sick too (you remember by very dramatic Marathon Musings). I freaked out and went to an urgent care center near my office on Monday at lunch. Luckily, I got an awesome nurse practitioner (I fully support NPs… see them ALL the time and they are amazing) who is ALSO a marathon runner. She did oblige my request to give me a mono test, which, as of Monday, was negative. However, she cautioned me that this didn’t necessarily mean I wasn’t getting mono. She urged me to just relax and try to stay as healthy as possible. I’ve had no appetite this week, and I’ve actually been a little nauseous too. I’ve still been eating relatively normally (me? not eat? surely you jest) but I’m not really enjoying it (except last night we went out for pizza… I enjoyed that very much). I’ve also been pretty tired, so I’ve been budgeting in a little extra sleep every night (I normally sleep 7 hrs per night, this week I’ve been getting more like 8 – 10) I talked to her a lot about training for the marathon and she was very reassuring. Mike read this article that suggested that if you get a mono diagnosis, you shouldn’t run for 10 weeks! This had me TOTALLY freaking out. The NP suggested that I take it easy this week, to not put too much stress on my body. I’ve run some but not as much as my schedule called for. My muscles have been VERY fatigued (on Tuesday evening, I felt like I had just run a half marathon, not a 5 mile marathon tempo run) so I’ve been doing my best to listen to my body. I’m hoping that taking a little rest this week will allow me to come back to normal next week or the week after. She reminded me that I still have PLENTY of time, and encouraged me not to freak out just yet. Sometimes you just need a professional to say these things to you 🙂

Before I sign off… Mike and I exchanged Christmas presents last night! We like to do this privately before we join our families for the holidays. I got Mike this awesome plaque from the Philly Marathon with his finish line photo and his name / time, and I am making him a scrapbook with all of his race numbers. Right now we just have them piled in a drawer. I thought this would be a better way to store them / remember all of the races! Finally, I got him this SWEET camping chair with a footrest. Last year at Bonnaroo, some other people had one and we were all about it.

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Mike came up big for me this year too … because he is wonderful and thoughtful and amazing. I LOVE coffee (as I mentioned earlier this week) and I wanted a french press to make better coffee at home. Well, Mike put on his researchers hat and did me one better! He got me a hand grinder for beans (and a bag of Starbucks Christmas blend whole bean coffee) and this AWESOME Aero Coffee Press. Apparently it’s even better than a french press and makes amazing quality coffee. I cannot wait to use it. I’m tempted to bring it with me for the holidays 🙂

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Gifts or no gifts… I am the luckiest girl in the world to have Mike 🙂 But I LOVED this gift. It’s very me and I can’t wait to enjoy it. I’m going to bring my laptop with me on vacation, but I doubt I’ll be daily blogging. I am hoping to check in a couple times, but we’ll see how it goes 🙂 I am looking forward to some serious R&R, and quality family time.

If I don’t talk to you… MERRY CHRISTMAS! Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas… it’s a great day to go skiing!

Christmas Survey!

Saw this survey on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and thought it looked like fun 🙂

I’m trying really hard to get into the holiday spirit over here! We’ve been busy and the apartment is basically like a hospital ward so it’s not SUPER festive. We did bake chocolate chip cookies this weekend AND I made a gingerbread cake roll (special post on that is happening since it takes care of one of my Winter To Do list items). I don’t know if many of our planned “Christmas” activities are happening this year (ZooLights or others) since poor Mike is so sick. Definitely not putting pressure on ourselves right now, and favoring nights at home with warm mugs of tea and the kitties 🙂

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1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? I’m probably going to get stoned in the blog world for saying this because everyone like LOVES Christmas music, but I don’t get super super into it. I like traditional Christmas carols but I never really listen to pop Christmas music. The one song I specifically love though is J-i-n-g-l-e Bells by Frank Sinatra. I remember listening to this song when I was little, decorating the Christmas with my grandmother and my dad. It’s a very happy memory for me 🙂

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off? Run or exercise of some kind. I like getting a little sweat in before spending the rest of the day being blissfully unaware of the amount of butter I am consuming! Last Christmas my mom, dad, and I went on a family bike ride on Christmas morning which was really fun!

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3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning? First things first… coffee! We are a huge coffee drinking family and I remember as a little kid my brother and I would be dying to get downstairs to open our presents but we had to wait for the grown ups (my mom, my dad, and my grandmother) to get their coffee first. Then after we open our Christmas presents under the tree, we stop and cook family breakfast before heading over to open our stockings (which, for my entire life, have always been filled with personal care products like deodorant… Zimmermans are practical is nothing else!). We cook a pretty standard breakfast of bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs (with cheese… but that’s a given), and toast.

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4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition? I used to love putting up the Christmas tree with my dad. Unfortunately, not that I don’t live at home anymore, he puts up his tree and I put up my own little tree. Right now I would say it is baking OR shopping for stocking stuffers with my dad.

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree? When I was little we used to get a real tree. I wasn’t super into picking it out (I mean they all kinda look the same to me) but I loved that every night before bed my dad would crush up an Aspirin and my brother and I would go put it in the water under the tree. See, my dad is a chemist so most of my young life was an extended chemistry lab. Apparently, when you cut a tree’s trunk, the tree will create a seal over the exposed surface. Over time, the tree will not being able to suck up water anymore and dry up. The aspirin dissolves this cap to keep the tree healthy longer! Sweet right?

But then as we got older, we got a fake tree because the dog kept drinking the tree / aspirin water. My dad loves having a Christmas tree up. If he had his druthers the tree would be up from the day after Thanksgiving until Epiphany (which is January 6th in case you weren’t aware). I got my first tree of my own in December 2010 and I was so proud of it (it was also fake). This year we have two mini trees. We originally had one out on the balcony and one in the apartment but the cats demolished the inside tree within 5 hours so that went outside too. Here is my parents’ tree and both of ours.

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6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay? I could see myself being into this but I’ve never had any. I normally don’t actually wear “pajamas”. Sometimes I have flannel pants but its usually just tshirt and pants or shorts.

7. Where do you spend the holidays? Well up until this year that was really a no brainer… with my family. I was, as we know, a single gal (well Mike and I were together last year but we weren’t at the spending the holidays together point yet). When we lived in New Jersey we always saw my mom’s brother’s family on Christmas eve and my dad’s side of the family of Christmas day. My grandmother always came and stayed with us for Christmas too, until she passed away when I was in 5th grade. Now that my parents live in North Carolina, I go there and spend Christmas with them. We skype with my Dad’s side of the family to exchange gifts though (we do a gift exchange where everyone buys a gift for one person). This year though Mike and I will be spending the holiday up through Christmas Eve with his family in Charlottesville and then driving down to North Carolina later on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas day and a few days after with my family.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat? So we are Italian… but my mom has PTSD related to her grandmother soaking a baccala (that is Italian for a giant smelly cod fish… in case you were interested) in the bathtub next to her bedroom. So we don’t do the traditional Italian meal of the seven fishes. Which is totally fine by me. We usually eat pasta on Christmas Eve (sometimes its rigatoni with vodka sauce, recently it’s been fettucini alfredo with spicy Italian sausage), and some kind of meat on Christmas day. We used to do a turkey on Christmas but we abandoned that tradition because it’s too much work! We were eating ham for many years… but I don’t actually love ham that much. In recent years it’s been steak, potatoes, and veggie dishes supplied by moi (I like to trick my family into eating brussel sprouts hehe).

Christmas is always about baking with my Dad though. I got him a pizzelle iron a couple years ago so now we make those (with vanilla extract instead of anise because I don’t like anise!). We also make traditional chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. The sugar cookie is heavily debated every year though. My dad insists on making the “easy no-roll option” and cooking them until they are “crispy” which is dad-speak for burnt. I always want to make the kind you roll out, punch shapes, and decorate with icing. No dice though haha. I also added snickerdoodles to the rotation a couple years ago and they’re a big hit! I personally always want to make a chocolate pecan pie for dessert… I think I’m the only one who likes it though 😀

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9. Open presents all at once or take turns? Take turns! Even when I was a little kid we had to open our presents one at a time and watch when other people were opening their presents. I love that tradition. It made us savor Christmas morning so much longer. It was also nice that everyone got the attention on them when they were opening!

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? A CHRISTMAS STORY! Mike and I have been discussing this a lot recently because he has… wait for it… NEVER SEEN IT. I feel like that is a complete travesty. I mean the movie is only on 12 times in a row on TBS starting at 8:00 pm on Christmas Eve. 24 hours of A Christmas Story! Mike never had cable though… so that’s probably it. His favorite Christmas movie is The Muppets Christmas Carol. My dad is a big fan of A Christmas Carol too but he likes the super old version. Every year I’d wake up on a Saturday morning to find that he had just watched it (on VHS clearly). The rest of the holiday is typically sprinkled with my dad sporadically yelling out “ARE THERE NO PRISONS??” My dad is such a hoot 🙂