Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmas, Birthday, and New Year's, Oh My!

I don't want to freak out all of you by how much I've been posting lately, but I guess I'm just on a roll or something! ;) As I mentioned in my last post about the holidays, I wanted to break the posts up a bit since I'm so far behind! This post will cover a little bit of everything - time in Colby for Christmas, and lots of time spent in Madison over the holidays as well.

I was lucky enough to get off of work from December 21-January 3. Pretty much rocked my world. That being said, the beginning of my vacay didn't go quite as planned. I was slated to go to Madison that Thursday night (12/20) after work, and then L and I would head up to Colby on Friday morning. Unfortunately, Madison got hit with A LOT of snow (somewhere around 18-20") on Thursday, so I wasn't able to go that night. For most people, not a big deal, but it had been a couple weeks since I'd seen L, and I was just ready to get there and forget about the real world for awhile. I just hung out in Milwaukee that night, and then I got a relatively early start to Madison the next day. The roads weren't ideal, but definitely better than they would have been had I tried to brave the blizzard conditions the night before. L and I made some lunch when I got to his place, and then we had to run to UW Provision to get some prime rib for Smith Bros. because they had quite a run on them for the holidays. That took a bit because it's out in the middle of nowhere and the roads were bad, but eventually we hit the road for Colby. Since we got home after my mom went to work, we ended up going up to eat at Allison's with my dad. Just hung out for awhile, then went to the VFW for a bit. Pretty decent night. On Saturday and Sunday, the shop had to cater for the high school's madrigal dinner, so L and I volunteered to help with that. Nothing too extensive. During the days, we just kinda hung out and bummed around, so that was nice.

Sunday, we had our family Christmas. It was the day before Christmas Eve. We have always done it on Christmas Eve, but my brothers and their wives have a big gathering for the girls' side of the family on the same evening, so it always involved rushing on their part. In an effort to switch it up a bit, we decided that moving it up a night would allow us all to just relax and enjoy a bit more. At L's request, we ended up having prime rib, along with lots of other fixins. It was awesome! The twice baked potatoes were the size of my head. Perfect! We all got to just hang out, have a few drinks, eat, open presents, etc. I'd have to say it was pretty enjoyable! We all got lots of goodies as usual (thanks mom and dad!). It was really wonderful to have L there celebrating with us too. Aside from way back in the day, I haven't really been 'with' someone that I would want to bring home. Makes me happy to have that now. :):) I took very random pictures that night, so here are a few, and then you can read on for other happenings!
Mom surprised me with a small tree in my room that was decorated for me and L! :)
Pausing for a pic while L made bloody mary's. Love this pic! :)

 Homer just chillin' while everyone was doing their thing during Christmas!
Sisters. :)
Bear sporting Grandpa's glasses!
What's Christmas without a pic in front of the tree? ;)
 The kids seemed to really like L! :)
L's studying sign language, so he was practicing with Homer. :)
 A little time out in the Mud Bar! (Love this one too!:)
Mama and Papa!
Such jokesters they are in the back. ;)
All the kiddos!
 A few more tree pics! (Thanks to Casey/Court for the above pic!)

Lots of pics! Thanks for bearing with me! :) And now onto some other stuff. L and I had considered driving separately to Colby in the event that I wanted to stay longer (I had more time off than he did), but we ended up coming together. That means we ended up leaving Colby on Christmas Eve day. Kinda sad. I'm weirdly into tradition, and it felt odd to not spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with my fam. That being said, we already had our celebration, and that is basically all we do together anyway. Christmas Day typically involves church and sitting around. Awesome? Of course. But it was fun to have a few days with L as well. We drove back to Madison and got to just relax. His family did a Christmas Eve thing. It was different than usual because his mom was in town (his parents live in Arkansas), so they did their thing. L and I had our own little Christmas, which was really nice. One of my favorite things about Christmas morning was the picture below:
L was adorable enough to make me heart-shaped eggs, along with hot chocolate (my favorite!). Seriously, how cute is that?! My idea of a perfect morning. We spent much of the day together just relaxing, exchanging gifts, etc. I really enjoyed that we were able to do something with just us. I could get used to that as a little tradition. :) 

Beyond that, because I had so much time off, I spent the next week+ at his place. He worked the two days after Christmas, so I just spent a lot of time relaxing on his couch. ;) It was really nice to just be mindless for those few days, although, of course I would've loved if he had off work too! Oh well. Sadly, on Thursday night, I started to get kinda sick. I didn't do much of anything, aside from spend far too much time in the bathroom. :-/ That Friday, I was still feeling a bit icky, but we ran a bunch of errands and went shopping. He wanted to get me a suit for my birthday. I have one business suit, and it works, but I've been on the hunt for another one for quite some time. Sadly, because I'm itty bitty, I have a very hard time finding one. If I do, it's in the juniors section, but for whatever unknown STUPID reason, they pretty much always have tops and bottoms, but not ones that match. WHY would you do that?! Every time I got remotely close to finding something that worked, we'd realize there were no bottoms to go along with the top. So frustrating! So, between not feeling the best and not having any luck, we ended up leaving the mall relatively empty handed. He did buy me a couple of scarves, so that was fun! After shopping, we went to Longhorn Steakhouse, where I got the below meal:
Parmesan Crusted Chicken with a Loaded Baked Potato

Can you say YUM?! It was so friggin' good. I love cheese, and I love saltiness, and this had it all. It was so flavorful! I just wish I had felt better to truly enjoy it all. It was two pieces of chicken, so I was able to take one home for leftovers, and it was still awesome. L had a gift card for there, so that's why we went. Well, it's one of those cards that's good at multiple chains - Olive Garden, Red Lobser, etc. - but we chose to go there because neither of us had been there before and the menu looked awesome. We were both very satisfied!

The next day, we did some more bumming around town, and we did lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise, one of Jimmy Buffet's restaurants. It was pretty fun! I'll admit, the name made me a bit skeptical since it sounded kinda cheesy, but L had a $10 off coupon, so it was worth a shot. Turns out, it was a neat atmosphere and the food was really good! We hung out there for a bit, and then we went to a place called Club Tavern. It's a local pub that L has frequented, and it's pretty cool. I have since found out that they make a killer bloody mary, so you best believe I will be going back for that! I still wasn't feeling well at that time, so it's probably good that I didn't go that route. I was sporting one of my new scarves and new coat in the below pic. Can't see it that well, but I also got this awesome blue coat pea coat at Kohl's that was majorly on sale, so that was exciting! I wish you could see it better. The color combo was pretty cool. :)
 He'd probably be mad at me for posting, but L got an awesome fruity drink at Cheeseburger in Paradise. SO good!
My meal - also delicious!

Last topic of importance to mention is my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;) I turned 27 on New Year's Eve. Didn't have too big of a freakout moment, although 27 seems old! I fortunately had a break from the sickness that day, which was perfect. I got up, and L made us birthday bloody mary's (see below). After that, we had brunch at Perkins, and then we spent a few hours at an Irish Pub in the area. That was a lot of fun. I love, Love, LOVE Irish pubs for some reason! Then we decided to give shopping another go, and I came much closer in my suit pursuit, but still nothing. Sad day! We ended up meeting L's sister T back at the Irish pub for a couple more hours. She had dinner reservations downtown, so we were just hanging out until she left. We had a few drinks, rang in the Irish new year at 6:00 pm (midnight their time), and just chatted. It was perfect! All along, the plan was for L to make me a nice birthday dinner, and while it was getting late, I wasn't giving up on it! We left the pub and headed back to L's. He made chicken, stuffing, and rice with gravy (one of my faves)! The chicken took a bit, which was okay because we'd gotten appetizers at the pub. We didn't end up eating until almost 10:00 that night, but that worked out well. We then topped it off with ice cream cake from DQ right before the new year hit. He even bought me candles for the cake! :) Overall, it was a legitimately perfect day. I felt good, I was with wonderful people, and I couldn't have asked for a better time. Very thankful and blessed! On New Year's Day, we packed up some food and went over to T's apartment to hang with her and L's other siblings for the Rose Bowl. Sadly, the Badgers kinda forgot to show up and lost the game, but at least we got AWESOME food! T is a fabulous host, and L is a grillmaster, so he braved the cold and made awesome chicken and ribs! (See ribs below). I got to hang out in Madison until Jan. 3rd, and I couldn't be happier about that. I felt truly lucky to spend that much time with L. Was wonderful and can't wait to go back. :) A few more pics below, and thanks for reading along!
Birthday bloody! :)
Me and L at the Irish pub!
Me, L, and T!
Birthday dinner, made by L. Yum! :)
 Happy 27th birthday to me! :)
 L's ribs about to go on the grill. Awesome!



Courtney Smith said...

happy belated birthday Renee! gosh I love vacation. SO glad to hear you enjoyed yours. you deserve it! continued crossed fingers and prayers :)

rlzimmerman said...

Love love love all the pictures! Looks like you had a great holiday vacation!

Renee said...

Thanks Court! I love vacation too. I wish I could go on a permanent one! ;) I definitely enjoyed the time I had. Thanks for all the well wishes. Means a lot to me! :)

Renee said...

Thanks, Laurie!! There were definitely A LOT of pictures to share, so I'm glad you enjoyed! I wish I could rewind already. Was a great time!

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