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Kladder Update: Christmas Parties, Dragons & Sugar Cookies

Christmas East GR.jpg

We're posting ahead of our bimonthly schedule but we've got a lot to catch up on so lets jump right into it... 

Last week Wednesday the women I golf with at Watermark hosted our first Holiday Party. As a member of the board this year I can share that one of our goals for 2018 is to grow and strengthen our membership. We aim to do this by continuing to build our female golf community which includes things like hosting Holiday Parties. I will also share that part of our motivation for growing our numbers could maybe, possibly be (you didn't hear it from me) that if we had more women golfing on Wednesday nights that we could justify staffing a beverage cart. Mostly a joke, but also totally true. The party was a lot of fun and my favorite part (which is my favorite part about league altogether) is the range of women that make up our group. The game of golf (and the socialization that comes with it) has no age barrier and I love that. As Watermark continues to be part of our social lives, I look forward to improving my golf game and relationships in 2018. 

And with the shopping and wrapping and baking and packing all checked off my to-do list in the days leading up to Christmas, it allowed us to spent quite a lot of time with friends and family. On Tuesday we hit up one of our favorite local spots for $5 pizza night with neighbors who were first timers. They moved onto our block late this past summer and we were happy to share in their inaugural Harmony dining experience. PS - anyone know what Harmony's plans are for the new space (formerly Subway) that's currently under construction? I can't find any new news coverage on it. Super curious. 

On Friday evening we met up with my in-laws at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for the Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids exhibit showing now through May 20. I'd say the exhibit is good for kids but less impressive for adults. There are lots of large pieces (a giant dragon, unicorn and eagle) that are show stoppers for the little ones, but the content and detail behind the mythology are lacking. All in all, Natalie really liked the exhibit and enjoyed the carousel even more. Afterward we ate dinner at The Wheelhouse which continues to impress me. It was our first time there with kids and they were super accommodating (great kids menu, crayons, sat us in a booth where Natalie could shift a bit). We'll be back at Wheelhouse for NYE dinner and I'm looking forward to it. 

On Saturday Natalie got to decorate cookies with her pal Maxi which was a huge hit until we put the kibosh on eating heaping spoonfuls of icing. Pretty grateful the event was hosted at Maxi's house where there is a dog who can help with the massive amount of sprinkles that did not make it onto the cookies. 

This past weekend was a marathon of fun spending back to back over-nighters with both sides of our families. On Christmas Eve, we kicked off the celebrations with extended family in Vicksburg at my Grandparents house. This year my Grandpa made Natalie a wooden music box which she fell in love with - she insisted on sleeping with it last night. That same afternoon we met up with friends at the local American Legion for Christmas Cocktails - something that should probably be officially named as an annual tradition since it's happened so many years in a row now. 

Then it was back to my parents house for Christmas Eve dinner with the family. My Dad always prepares something extravagant - this year it was surf and turf. And per usual my Mom attempted to convince everyone that we should open our gifts early because she couldn't contain her excitement. She failed outside of our usual ornament tradition and pajamas for the kids. The next morning we opened stockings and drank Bloody Marys by the fire. Natalie was much more into opening gifts this year which made Christmas morning doubly exciting. 

Around noon we headed north to Rockford for more celebration with the Kladder Family. The roads were awful! Thank heavens Jeff is an excellent driver and extremely confident driving on less than ideal road conditions, but despite my trust in his capabilities, I was sick to my stomach the whole way. We arrived in Rockford safe and sound but it took me a good 30 mins to wind down to the point where I could finally eat lunch. And by lunch I mean mimosa. 

Together we opened stockings, played games and ate Christmas dinner. The entire day was a lot of fun but the highlight was certainly the moment we all unwrapped our Mickey Mouse ears and Grandma and Grandpa announced our Family Disney Trip for 2018. Sure, the kids were excited but I have never been to Disney World so I'm feeling a little bit like a kid myself with my excitement level. 

We're back at home and reorganized from the goodies we accumulated over the weekend. There are still items in boxes that require a screw driver, some patience and a few beers... but we'll save that till next month. This weekend we look forward to ringing in the new year with friends on the 31st and kicking off 2018 with a bang. See you all next year! 

POSTSCRIPT - Stuff we're into lately... 

  • Wheelhouse - Who were extremely accommodating for dinner out with the kids last weekend: great (affordable/realistic) kids menu, crayons for coloring, high chairs, changing station in restroom). 
  • These Kitchen Sink Blondies from Boston Girl Bakes Blog - Because we got ALL kinds of candy in our Christmas Stockings and it's been recycled (and used up before I eat it all myself) into dessert for dinner with friends this week. I tossed in everything besides the Lifesaver Books! 
  • All of your beautiful Christmas and Holiday cards! Goodness I love them. They'll be up on our lockers through the new year!