Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Christmas With The Carpenters!

Did anyone else have a Christmas season that seemed to whiz by faster than usual? One minute we were eating Thanksgiving Dinner and celebrating Dan's Birthday with our friends, and it seemed as though the next thing I knew I found myself in a Christmas food coma. Where did Christmas go!?

I look back through my texts messages, hotmail inbox, and calendar, and by golly I think I figured out where the time went. We were so busy that the days just flew on by! Here are a few things that kept us busy this Christmas season.

Fins and Kids Holiday Toy Giveaway
Early December Dan and I along with many other Miami Dolphins participated in the Fins and Kids Holiday Toy Giveaway. Over 160 kids from four local elementary schools as well as the Alternative Family Care Center, Cooperative Feeding Program, Urban League of Miami, Project Medishare and ChildNet were gifted with items off of their wish lists.
 (Photo Courtesy of Miami Dolphins)
Read More about The Fins and Kids Holiday Toy Giveaway and see more pictures in my December 15th post here. Or the Miami Dolphins website here.

Books and Bears Program
Two days in mid December I participated in the Books and Bears program. Miami Dolphins sponsored this program run by Broward Public Libraries.
 (Photo Courtesy Miami Dolphins)
To read more about this program, and see many pictures from the events, visit my earlier post here.

Dick's Sporting Goods Event
Dick's Sporting Goods paired up with the Miami Dolphins to transform the store into a shopping wonderland for 20 area foster kids. Each child got to shop with a Miami Dolphins Football Player, Alumni, Players Wife, and/or a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader. A gift card was handed to each child to shop their hearts out. This was a great event! Dan and My shopper was a very nice girl who was a senior in high school. Her plans were to go into the services, and have them pay for her school. Smart girl. Here are a a few pics from the event. Courtesy of Miami Dolphins.

 Dan and I with our shopper! She was all smiles. Mostly bought stuff to train. But we managed to get a few fun things too:)

Below: Reggie Bush talks to foster children of the area before the Dick's Holiday Shopping Event. He is a very inspirational speaker.

 Below: Some of our favorite Miami Dolphins Kids. One of the coaches kiddos. Group of five. Coming from a family of five kids I have an automatic soft spot for these guys.

Below: Ryan Baker and his shopper.

Below: Vernon Carey trying on shoes with his shopper.
To read more about the Dick's Sporting Goods/Miami Dolphins Holiday Shopping Event click here.

Christmas Day Visit to Chris Evert Children's Hospital
This year on Christmas, Dan and I decided to start a new family tradition. In the season of giving, we thought it would be nice to help put a smile on someones face. I hope that this is a tradition that we can continue to practice with our children someday...The tradition of putting a smile on a strangers face. 

This year we decided to buy and deliver presents for the Children at Chris Evert Children's Hospital. We invited Katie and Brandon Fields to help us deliver the toys to the patients in Pediatric, NICU, and the Cancer Center. What a great time we had! The kids were so excited to see Dan and Brandon and get their toys, fuzzy socks, and blankets from Katie and I. It felt good to put a smile on their little faces as well as their parents. Here are a few pictures from the event. Courtesy of Chris Evert Children's Hospital.  
We can't wait to go back next year!

Above: All the Christmas Morning goodies for the kiddos at the hospital.
Set up and ready to go. When Dan got home from his game late Christmas Eve, I showed him all the goodies before he got to open his Christmas gift from me.

Above and Below:  Emily - 6 yrs. She got to go home that day.
What a wonderful Christmas Present!

Below: A nice couple in the NICU. They had twin boys. Took me back in time. Reminded me of my sister and her husband with their twins 5 years ago.

 With some of the staff. They were a smiley group full of Christmas Cheer!

Above and Below:
Ronan is 4 years old.
He liked Dan and Brandon. 

Below: Jonathon - 9 yrs old. 
He is Lego Master!

Do you have any Christmas Traditions that your family practices year after year? 

Hollywood Military Family Gets House Makeover From  Miami Dolphins!
A very deserving military family in Hollywood got a house makeover from the Miami Dolphins. Dan and I along with Anthony Fasano, Brian Hartline and his girlfriend Kara, Ryan and Susanah Baker, Tyrone and Jessica Culver, Will Allen, Special Teams Volunteers, Dolphin personnel, private contractors, and many more all came together and helped fix a repair a military families home. 

To read more on this touching story and very deserving family you can visit.
Miami Dolphins here.
Orlando Sentinel here.
Channel 7 news video and article here.
CBS Miami video and article here.

I baked a TON of different things for our Ugly Sweater Party Christmas night at the Fields' Residence. We had a blast! Sadly, I am not allowed to share everyone's "awesome" outfits.

Dan helped out with Christmas Dinner. The time between the Children's Hospital visit and the Ugly Sweater Party we prepared dinner together. This was really fun. It isn't everyday that Dan helps me make dinner and having him take part in it was a great experience. Definitely some good QT...Makin' Memories.

Prime Rib on the grill rotisserie.

Flat Stanley Project
Dan and I also participated in a Flat Stanley Project for a young student in Washington. For those of you who do not know what Flat Stanley is, here is a link to explain the children's project to you. Flat Stanley.
I am mailing him back tomorrow. I am sending a few post cards, an alligator tooth from an airboat tour in the everglades, and these pictures for the class. I hope they enjoy!

Dan took Flat Stanley to practice with him.

Dan's Aunt Mary and I with Flat Stanley at the game.

 Flat Stanley at the game.

Relaxing Afternoons
This hectic Christmas season, I made sure to take a little "me time". A few times a week, I would be sure to enjoy the last 2-3 hours of daylight with Dan. It didn't matter if I was elbow deep in cookie dough, or in the middle of cleaning bathrooms for the next round of out-of-town house guests, I promised myself that when he came home from football with the desire to get out on the water, that I would drop it all. I think that this is important. Sometimes even if you think you have no time at all for fun, you have to force yourself to relax. You will always be happy you did. 
Now that Christmas is over, Football season is over, and 2011 has come to an end, I am starting my list of To Do's, ready to start eating right and exercise often (yeah right), and filling out our off-season calendar.
One thing on my To Do list is to finish decorating my house. To all you girly, decorating ladies out there....good for you! Sadly you are alone. My house has potential to be beautiful, but I may need your help and opinions often. 
Please stand by for before rookie questions.  
 Dan and I are very excited to get some good time on the water, and travel for business, charity, and pleasure. We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season yourself, and that 2012 brings even more joy and wonderful memories than 2011. 

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