Sunday, December 14, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving came and went and now it's Christmas! Boy, does time fly.

Our Thanksgiving plans to visit my grandma, dad and Nancy in Arkansas changed abruptly when Madeline got a nasty flu bug. We had no choice but to cancel our travel, and though we were disappointed, we ended up having a wonderfully relaxing four days at home, preparing our first-ever Thanksgiving turkey (thank goodness Conan had the Butterball lady on), picking out our Christmas tree, taking long walks and building fires every night. Our Louisiana-born neighbor, Stader, even adopted us one night, inviting us to have dinner with his family.

We've been busy the last several weeks! Going to Chuck E. Cheese and indoor playgrounds on rainy days, playing outside on the sunny ones, preparing for Christmas, baking cookies as gifts, and getting Madeline's sleep back on track after being sick (20 minute naps are no good for her or for me at seven months pregnant and working 12 hour days...).

Rob and I hired a babysitter and went to his work holiday party at the Loew's Vanderbilt Hotel, where John McCain stayed during the Nashville presidential debates. There was an elegant cocktail reception, four-course dinner and dancing to a fabulous live band. I broke out my sequin sweater, highest heels (oh no, I'm not giving them up yet) and red nail polish -- what a fun date night! We also watched three Tennesse Titans valet their (very) fancy cars and walk through the hotel lobby wearing Gucci scarves, carrying Louis Vuitton luggage and sporting the kind of team coats and gear you see on high school boys and super fans. But the best part of the night was the new friends we made -- two fun, young couples! In fact, we've already spent time with both couples in only a week's time (you know you're in the Bible Belt when your first double date isn't dinner, but attending church together).

On Thursday, we officially kicked off Christmas in Nashville. When I woke up in the morning, I could hear the soft thumps of Madeline's footsteps downstairs....strange, considering Rob was at work. Bewildered, I went downstairs and smelled fresh coffee. Rob and Madeline were both in their PJs -- Rob had taken a surprise day off to celebrate our little Vlach Christmas! It was a perfect day (besides a flat tire) -- we built a fire, wrapped presents, listened to carols, made a wonderful dinner (starting with shrimp cocktail, a Christmas tradition of my moms!), then opened stockings and exchanged our gifts to each other. We talked about all the things that we're thankful for, and our goals for 2009.

Yesterday, the Christmas road show began. We started our two-week journey with an overnight visit in Louisville with my dear college friend, Jamie, and her adorable son and husband, Kainoa and Eric. (Jamie just started a fabulous new blog -- check it out!). After the babies were in bed, Jamie and I went to a girls-only Christmas party with all her friends.

The next morning, we took off for Geneva to start the next leg of our journey with Rob's family. We left a 72 degree Nashville and pulled into Chicago at a blustering -4. My sister, Mollie, flies in from Denver on Christmas Eve to celebrate with the Vlachs, and then Christmas Day, we'll drive the six hours to Minocqua, WI, for four relaxing days of cabin life with my family, as well as my sisters' boyfriends, Kenny and Kyle.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! We are thinking of you!