Friday, December 27, 2013


I'm a walking cliché with that post title, and I'm fine with it.
Things finally feel like they're calming down a little bit, and for that, I am grateful.
Last weekend M and I parted ways and finished up some last minute Christmas shopping. We had an unexpected visitor when Dana got trapped in Minnesota another night due to an ice storm. It was nice having her- and we met up with one of her college friends to brave the Mall of America the Saturday before Christmas. It sounds like insanity but we lucked out in finding a parking spot, and everybody maintained their sanity.

Saturday night we went to M's friends' parents house for a fondue party and giant Jenga. It was a lot of fun, and I'm always so thankful I married someone with such a great group of friends. As someone who doesn't have a cohesive "group" (I seem to have collected a hodge podge from various areas of my life) his is a lot of fun for me.

Sunday night we had Christmas round 1 with M's mom and sister in the cities. We'd be seeing her Christmas Eve, too.. but didn't want to lug presents up north when we live 7 minutes away in the cities.
{some Christmas scenes from around our house}
{helpless when a good chin scratch comes around}
Monday after work we headed up to M's dad's in northwestern Minnesota. It was nice to hang out and have some drinks and relax after a long drive.
(and sample some slightly burnt almond bark popcorn..)

Christmas Eve day was pretty lazy.. we lounged and watched a movie and wrapped a few last minute gifts. That night we went to M's mom's extended family's annual Christmas Eve. You follow that? The unfortunate part was that the aunt and uncle who were hosting lived over an hour away from M's dad's (which was already a 3 hour drive from home) so Betty (our car) logged a lot of miles this week.

We played a white elephant game in which I nearly won a shirt that said "Behold, fartacus" .. only to be saved by M's step-dad, go back to the pile of wrapped gifts, and come out with a Duck Dynasty shirt. M really wanted a gift that came with a mason jar with some hot apple pie (a sort of moonshine, if you will): said gift also happened to come with a Duck Dynasty chia pet. I haven't seen a second of the show and after .. ahem.. "recent events", I only wish we had a fire place so I could burn them both. Woof.  
{Christmas Eve}
We woke up bright and early Christmas Day to eat breakfast and open gifts with M's dad, his dad's girlfriend, and both of M's sisters. I'm really not a "post my gifts on social media" person.. it's not that I'm not proud of them but I don't like that it feels like a competition. That being said, I have to brag on Natalie who got me the most thoughtful gift that I have been wanting, and putting off buying, for myself: a BEAUTIFUL leather camera bag... a CUTE camera bag- it's a cross body and I am obsessed with it. Which is perfect because M got me a 50mm/f1.8 lens for my fancy camera (can you tell by the return of the "nice photos" on the blog!?). I'm so excited I'll be able to carry my camera without fear of it getting smashed on things or flopping around a normal purse. She got me a special insert that real camera bags have, too.. so once I get that (shipping mishap), my baby Canon will be coming errywhere with me. It's also perfect for Paris in March. I'm not sure if I've mentioned that on here? I'm going to Paris in March. Will have to post appropriately about that at a later date.

We left his dad's around 2:00 and headed back to the cities to pick up some dinner and do one last Christmas with my immediate family.

I have to say one more thing about gifts: I don't like giving "lists" to family and friends. If they ask, sure, I'll point them in a good direction... but lists feel like grocery shopping, and to me, a present is more than that. It also helps that I'm not picky, and generally, have been really happy with most the gifts I've been given over the years. So when my brother asked what I wanted, I told him scarves, mittens, and what colors I liked, and when I opened the two adorable scarves he picked out, it means a little more to me because these aren't just "things I asked for".. these are things he carefully selected, and are from my brother. I just prefer it that way.
I also generally prefer putting my thoughts into what gifts I'll be giving, and this year, I was MOST excited about one in particular: my brother's. After my dad got out of the hospital M was able to hook him up with a first generation iPad since his work was upgrading theirs. For a very UN-techy man, my dad was hooked. But I noticed something else, whenever Stephen was lounging in the living room, it was so much easier to just pick up my dad's ipad than get his laptop. I should mention his laptop is from 2008, and if it comes unattached from the charger for even a SECOND- it crashes. So, I thought, a tablet would be an absolutely perfect gift for him. We got him a Samsung Galaxy S4 (I think that is the right one) and impatiently waited for Christmas to give it to him. What followed was HILARIOUS and absolutely made my day.
<<Stephen starts to tear into his gift>> "oh,... wow! This is uh, way nicer than my cell phone."
pause... I slowly realize what's going on: he thinks it's a cell phone (he doesn't have a smart phone).
Me: Uh, you know that's not a cell phone... that's a tablet. Like Matt's. and Dad's.
Stephen: WHAT?! OMG that's even better! Oh god I was just thinking, "uh, I can't afford a data plan for this thing.... bahahah!" ...
I just lost it. Poor kid thought we got him a smart phone that came with a plan he couldn't afford. Once he realized that was not the case, the gift was about 10 times better. It was so fun watching him play with it, and kept saying how cool it was... and the google-search-voice-recognition thing? Both he and my dad were having a blast. M and I don't use our Netflix nearly as much as we should, so we gave Stephen the password so he could use it too, and we'd get our money's worth.
It absolutely made my Christmas to see him so happy. The stress of living at my parents still, especially with both my dad and my mom around 24/7, and he and my dad butting heads... often, I thought he deserved something nice.
And lastly, because as if you need a reminder what blog you're reading, some gratuitous cat photos:

Hope you all had a great Christmas weekend as well. :)


  1. Sounds like an amazing Christmas with family. I love the story about your brother. I think this was a Christmas to remember.

  2. Teej is a lot nicer to the tree than Mark's dog, who ate through the cord almost immediately (2 days in), thus why our pre-lit tree is no longer pre-lit.

  3. Sounds like a great family Christmas!
    Love the photo of you both in front of the Christmas tree! And loving all the cat photos...cats are so funny with xmas trees!
    The camera bag sounds really nice!


  4. Sounds like a really nice Christmas. Love the gift you got for your brother! I love picking out the perfect gift for people and seeing them love it

  5. Sounds like you guys had a great but busy holiday! Glad you made your brother so happy, thats the fun part about giving!

  6. What a great re-cap. Glad you had a great Christmas!!

  7. I'm glad you had a nice Christmas! That was such a thoughtful gift for your brother. I'm glad I'm not the only one who's crazy cats like to try and eat the Christmas tree! LOL.

  8. Sounds like a nice Christmas. I always enjoy the thoughtful gifts more, too, and I love coming up with a perfect gift for someone. It's usually my favorite part of the day watching them open it. =]