I'm in love with this kid. He is adorable and brilliant. I want to adopt him. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch the video! It's everybody's duty to give the world a reason to dance.
Not Cool, Robert Frost.
Thanks for sharing Amber, I needed the inspiration :)
Well it's officially been lightyears since my last blog post (which if you recall may have been about becoming a better (and more consistent) blogger), but hey...you win some, you lose some. Maybe it will make this blog post ten times more special??? Anyways, I'd like to dedicate this post to the Evans family. Why??? Because they are AWESOME! This was the first year Matt and I spent actual Christmas day together (if you recall, Matt spent Thanksgiving day with my family, so we did a swap-a-roo for Christmas) and it was so magical and special. So here's a blog post dedicated to my second favorite family!!
Matt and I drove up to Reno the Friday before Christmas. Well that was a rough start. It took us 9.5 hours to get to Reno from Sunnyvale (read as: that took us twice as long, and then some), which was awful (but weirdly Matt and I made it through without wanting to strangle one another). Literally we were stopped in bumper to bumper traffic for at least 2 HOURS. I could have walked faster. But thank God for Taco Bell and Kenny G Christmas music. So Friday night was kind of a bust, and we went straight to bed!
Our co-pilot for the trip!
Putting on chains for the first time!
When we woke up on Saturday, the 12 days of Christmas was in full swing. On the dining room table, there were Christmas gift bags labeled with each of our names. Matt had told me about the 12 days of Christmas traditions year before I had a chance to experience it, so you can imagine how excited I was to find a bag with my name on it. On that specific day, it was sugary breakfast cereals! I'm usually not a huge fan of cereal for breakfast (it's just too sweet) but I was ecstatic for my Cinnamon Toast Crunch!!! Every once in a while, it's fun to overload on sugar before 10am :) (did I mention General Mills now uses whole grain to make the cereal...so it's practically like eating vegetables!). Matt and I each scarfed down a bowl of cereal (I think he got Reese's Puffs) and then watched some football until it was time to meet up with his friends for sushi. All-you-can-eat-sushi isn't very Christmas-y but it is a very Reno thing to do. We tried a new place called Kitzmo Sushi and if anyone from Reno reads this blog, I highly recommend it. Great food, plus we got to hang out with Matt's brothers and his friend Bas (who is practically a brother). After sushi, we went back to Matt's house and he watched more college football (yay...not) while I got a mani-pedi with his sister Abby, it's always great to catch up with her (especially now that she's a college kid). Afterwards, we went to my favorite store, Charming Charlie, and stocked up on accessories, and hung out at their house until the rest of the fam came over. I'm jumping ahead, but every year Matt's family has a Christmas day tradition of watching a movie at the theaters, and this year, we were going to watch the Hobbit. So in preparation for the Hobbit, we decided we were going to watch all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So his entire family crowded around the couch and we started the first movie that night over takeout pizzas from Papa Murphy's! You know, I never really loved LOTR before (I had only seen each movie once in theaters before our movie marathon) and I actually really enjoyed it the second time around!
I made a cake, it says Merry Christmas!
When we woke up on Sunday, 12 days struck again. This time we got socks! I loved them, mine were red and green and yellow and pink (I think). We ate breakfast (sugar breakfast cereal FTW) and popped in the second LOTR movie. It was pretty gloomy outside and kind of snowy so we figured, why the heck not? Afterwards, Matt and I did a little shopping until we went to church. Matt's brother Brandon is pretty involved with a church called Living Stones in Reno, and they had a really great service. If I lived in Reno, that would be my church of choice! After church, we piled back into the Evans' SUV and went through the drive-thru at In & Out. Needless to say, they hated us. Just kidding, there was only seven of us, and we were pretty organized with our ordering! Plus we got to say hi to Matt's friend, Levi, who also works at In & Out. Guess what we did when we got back to the house!? You're right, we did watch the last and final LOTR movie!!!! Plus we got to do the Walmart gift dash! Because there are so many people in their family, the Evans have a tradition where they draw names out of a hat, and go to Walmart as a family to buy a gift for the person whose name they drew out. So of course, I picked the one person who doesn't write anything on their list, so I had to scramble around trying to find something fun, creative, clever, and useful (I take gift giving very seriously). Luckily, I found an electronic indoor basketball set, because what 20-something year old guy doesn't want to play basketball against their roommate sitting on the couch? In all seriousness, I love this tradition: running around Walmart at 10PM shopping for gifts is kind of fun, especially when you're ducking behind things so that the other family members don't see what you're holding. Yes sounds a little sketchy, but I promise, it's loads of fun :)
When we woke up on Monday, there was nothing in our 12 days bags yet. We went to lunch with two of Matt's best friends (Jeremy and Bas) at BJ's and played pool at Bas' house. These guys are a riot, especially when you get them all together! Plus Jeremy lives in Naaasshville, so it's been a while since both Matt and I have seen him. For Christmas eve, Matt's family always goes to his Aunt Merrie's house for Christmas Eve dinner, and this is another tradition I've been dying to be a part of!! His aunt always cooks like a 12-course meal, and all he can ever talk about is the shrimp cocktail and the prime rib. Everyone was there, including Matt's grandparents, his uncle Chip (who is married to Merrie) and even Caitlin's brother Sean and dad Jeff (Caitlin is Brandon's wife). It's always great to see Matt's extended family because his grandparents are the nicest people, and his aunt and uncle are the biggest Lakers fan (well only his uncle, but Merrie by association has to be a Lakers fan too). The dinner was SPECTACULAR. Literally, this woman is a culinary genius. Being a big foodie, this was like a dream come true: everything was so original (creamy celery soup and pistachio-crusted grapes) and delicious (Prime rib, shrimp cocktail, prime rib, shrimp cocktail). Seriously, I would gain 400 pounds if I ate like that all the time. Definitely a feast to remember. Thanks for cooking Merrie. After dinner, we did the gift swap with everyone. There were so many presents everywhere! Thanks for including me in everything and making me feel like part of the family (definitely loved my Starbucks gift card and bath set). When we got back to Matt's house, his parents gave us our last 12 days presents. And guess what I got!??!???! A ONESIE!!!!!!! YES, full on footed pajamas. And yes, I was ecstatic. Literally Abby and I looked at each other and were like, "Can we put these on?" "yes!!!!!" So naturally, I spent the rest of the night in a onesie. And I'd never been happier :) :)
On Christmas morning, we woke up to a Christmas breakfast. His mom made french toast and bacon, and all his brothers came over. Another recipe I'll have to save for later: baked french toast. Seriously, I feel like I ate my way through Christmas. After breakfast, we did presents. Matt's parents really go all out for this. Every single person had a pile of presents, myself included. I can't stop saying thank you, but thank you Connie & Jerry for including me in everything (and also for my new Chi straighter, cooking gear/recipes, gift cards, and everything else). It was so much fun going round and round in circles watching everyone's faces light up over their presents. Plus his family is so close that it really is just magical being part of it. When we finished with presents, we did their annual movie on Christmas and went to see the Hobbit. I loved it, I think it's a great story, and I'm hoping to read the book soon! Plus when you're surrounded by popcorn and family, even the worst movie could be good. Afterwards, we came home and unloaded our stockings, which were filled with little gadgets and trinkets, like Lakers pens, Giants stickers, recipe cards, etc. Probably the most random assortment of stuff ever, but you can tell Matt's mom really thought about what was going into each person's stockings! We also did the Walmart gift exchange, and I gave Brian his indoor basketball set (which I think he really liked). Guess who got me? MATT. No wonder he wouldn't shop with me when we were at Walmart. He got me a cupcake holder (which I had pointed out while I was in the store) and plenty of candy (because I have a sweet tooth like no other). He really is the best isn't he? Afterwards, his mom whipped up a last minute dinner, which included a full ham and twice baked potatoes. Even last minute meals are very homemade at the Evans household. Unfortunately, I had a plane to catch right after dinner, so we said our goodbyes and Matt drove me to the airport. The whole time I was hoping that I would get snowed in, but unfortunately, my plane just got delayed for two hours instead. Overall, this was probably one of my favorite Christmas holidays to date. I love Christmas with my family, but it's much more low-key than Matt's family. His family really just relishes the Christmas traditions and you can just tell they love each other so much. I'm so incredibly grateful to have been with his family this year. Thank you for a wonderful celebration of family and love and baby Jesus. I can't wait for many more Christmases to come with the Evans.