We had a nice quiet fairly laid-back Christmas this year. Some pictures and highlights:
After a MUCH needed hiatus for a couple of years as "She Who Makes The Gifts" I was back in the saddle again. I'm really quite happy with how my gifts turned out, but since we still need to deliver some (many) of them, this is the only picture you get!
As I was packing up gifts, I noticed that my "Merry Christmas" was starting to look VERY much like the letters we received as kids that were "from Santa" and it made me smile.
All the gifties wrapped up and ready to go! (We still have to deliver SO MANY of these!) Anyway, I thought my wrapping of origami boxes decorated with silver marker and all wrapped with yarn were pretty dang cute.
Annual last minute "Christmas Elf" shopping trip with the whole family! We never invested a whole lot of effort in keeping up the "Santa" ruse with our kids, and being smarty pants, they figured it out pretty quick. In past years we have let them be "elves" for each other and fill their sibling's stockings. These trips almost always happened on Christmas Eve, because we're great big procrastinators it was a fun thing to do on Christmas Eve. I've always loved getting a stocking on Christmas morning, so this year the entire family drew names for whose stocking they were responsible for filling up. We gave everyone a general limit for how much to spend, but SOMEBODY *cough The Dad Elf *cough* takes after HIS Dad and enjoys treating his kids, so he blithely ignored that stipulation. Naughty. Also, I kind of wanted to just hug some of the people in the store and tell them to calm down, it was going to be okay, even if Christmas didn't end up being perfect. So many of them looked so very stressed out.
Eldest child and I ended up staying up until 3:30 poking around on the NORAD Santa tracker. We started looking at the maps around our area, but then it glitched and we ended up above Africa, so we spent some time checking out pictures of cities in the southern part of that continent! Some really lovely places, we both talked about how we would like to travel more!
Our dreams of a white Christmas were fulfilled - it started snowing on Christmas Eve, and by the morning we had a blanket of white several inches deep. I love the snow, and it was so very pretty. (Now if we could just make it disappear from the roads...)
In the morning, I told Glenn that we really ought to get up and out of bed so, ahem, the kids could stop waiting to open their stockings. He was not fooled, and noted that it definitely sounded like someone wanted to open her stocking, at any rate. My spoils included cute purple gloves, licorice snaps, AND the tenth Doctor. (Doctor Who, for all you non-geeky peeps) Well done, my elf!
Glenn got the Twelfth Doctor, so of course they had to hang out together. (insert brag about what an awesome elf I was here.)
Christmas breakfast of Pop-Tarts and coffee, because we're fancy like that. Actually, there is a longstanding argument between my sister and I. She insists that we always had Orange Danish on Christmas morning. My memories distinctly say we always had Pop-Tarts, because we were too excited to eat a big breakfast. (Brown Sugar and Cinnamon ones, ALWAYS) Our mom, being the peacemaker she is just always makes sure to have both whenever both the sis and I are going to be at our folks' house for Christmas.
After a morning spent at home, it was Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's house. Or, you know, through the backyard and up the deck to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Christmas dinner. Glenn and the younger kid shoveled a pathway for us. I think they actually used the hockey sticks, because we apparently don't have a snow shovel. But hockey sticks? Yeah, we have a couple of those. Kiddo did get a slapshot of snow to the face, but Glenn swears it was an accident.
The most precious gift we received for Christmas. Grandma VS (Glenn's grandma) passed away a couple of days before Christmas, and this was our gift from her. (It makes me so happy to see it hanging in my kitchen now!) It is sad to lose someone around Christmas, but we also have so very many good memories about her and Grandpa VS, especially around Christmastime. We enjoyed many Christmas dinners at their house surrounded by family and enjoying giving pats to the sweet doggies that were underfoot, and always spent time admiring the Christmas village that they set up for the holidays. (Glenn gifted them with a little ceramic house that was a building from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," and pretty soon all of Bedford Falls was laid out by their windows. We will miss her, and will always remember her kindness, humor, and love.
Cold but sunny day today, so we took a walk along the Portneuf. Couldn't resist putting together some video of the ducks we saw. (My kids did not think my "Pas De Duck" joke was as funny as I did.)
The youngest kiddo practicing on his guitar. (No, there's no actual video, just audio. My kiddos are pretty camera shy.)
Well, this looks like a pretty standard "celebrating the kid's birthday" pic, right? Cupcakes, candles, happy fourteeeeeeeeeeeeeehhh.... Oh. Oops. The kid is, uh, FIFTEEN. Luckily, he also found mom's goof to be pretty hilarious.
Grow mushrooms, grow!
This is what they looked like on December 7
This is my favorite angle to take pictures of them from, so you can see the cool gills really well.
And now, we won't get any awards for presentation, but they were delicious!
We were picking up some houseplants for the elder child's room, and saw this cool little mini mushroom farm, and had to get one to try. This is when the mushrooms just started poking out:
Here's a closeup from December 3:
Mushrooms grow FAST - this is what they look like this evening:
*For those among you who don't know, that post title is a reference to an ancient (in internet years) meme/animation. For the curious: Badger Badger (I hereby take no responsibility whatsoever for any resulting earworms!)
The kids playing each other at roller hockey Thursday night.
Aren't you glad no one has invented smell-o-vision on the internet yet? (Answer: yes, yes you are. There ain't no stank quite like hockey stank.)
Spur of the moment adventure after picking up the elder child from the zoo. Mostly because I wanted to take pictures of some little bridges for a project.
(Laptop Performance Laboratory from Callous Physical Theatre, in case you're curious.)
The youngest took some underwater (!) video with his new waterproof (wow!) phone. It was cool, but his hands were quite cold afterwards.
The elder child spotted an owl pellet that we had to stop and look at/through for a bit. Such tiny bones!
And then we had to stop and watch a train go by.
This was my tenth year of participating in NaNoWriMo* - and it was the first year that my word count did not hit that 50,000 mark. Now, there were multiple reasons for this - I had a performance in November, and craft shows I was preparing for, and I was busy and ...etc, etc, etc. But I have been every bit as busy in other years and still made it.
I think a lot of it was just that when I first started doing NaNoWriMo, I didn't have nearly as many creative outlets as I do now, and so it became very important to me to achieve the goal of 50,000 words. And at the time, it was exactly the kind of creative kick in the pants I was needing. And now I regularly give MYSELF creative kicks in the pants, so to speak. I don't need the structure as much anymore, but NaNoWriMo is a large part of why setting creative goals for myself is a part of my life, and succeeding a couple of times definitely gave me more confidence that I could rise to a challenge like this. And while I enjoy being a storyteller, I am starting to realize the format of a novel just may not be my jam.
People will often express reluctance to participate in NaNoWriMo because they are really busy and don't think there is any possible way they can write 50,000 words in 30 days. And they may be right about that. But my response is that they have nothing to lose by trying, and jokingly tell them that "nobody is going to take away your birthday!" if you try and don't succeed. I will now be able to affirm that as truth when spring hits and my birthday rolls around. Also, I point out that even if they try and don't make it, they will probably write more than they would have otherwise, and this held true for me. Even if I don't aspire to be a published novelist, exercising those writing muscles is never a bad thing for any type of artist. Writing and creating and thinking, thinking and creating and writing - they are so very intertwined.
This year, I just had a lot of FUN when I was writing, and that ain't no bad thing. And hey, I have 11,000 words of a story that still has places to go. (And I'm sure two of my characters would be quite happy if I could figure out what to do with the hippopotamus currently in their living room. So I will probably keep writing if for no other reason than to figure out what, exactly, it is doing there.)
So, if you've ever declined to take on a creative challenge like NaNoWriMo just because you are afraid you *might* fail? Well, failing is not the end of the world. So...do it anyway. I dare you.
*For the uninitiated. NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge in which you attempt to write a 50,000 word novel (or more precisely, the first draft of one) in 30 days. There's a website with forums and local get togethers - it's a lot of fun and I encourage everybody to try it at least once.
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