Hello! And happy 2013!
I haven’t been seen around here in a very long time due to the insanity of work, but fortunately Christmas break brought an end to all that, and just in time — I think I would have gone crazy if forced to keep the kind of pace I was keeping for much longer. The weekend before Christmas I was finally able to stop working constantly and start doing the Christmasy things that I love. Like going to see the Messiah, and getting together with Ben’s siblings to make gingerbread houses dripping with candy.
Ben and I even carved out a few moments to spend just by ourselves in our own little place, opening presents.
We didn’t have a whole lot of time to ourselves, but we never do anyway, and besides, Christmas is for family. I am deeply grateful for the time we were able to spend with our families this year. After spending almost the entire weekend before Christmas with Ben’s family, we flew up to Minnesota on Christmas Eve to be with mine.
I love being in Minnesota for Christmas, and this year the thick coating of snow everywhere made it feel especially festive. We spent over a week there, just hanging out as a family. Including, of course, opening presents. With ten people in the family, there are lots!
The holiday felt especially slow-paced this year thanks to a very, very bad cold that made its nasty way around to almost every family member that week. Succumbing to the bug brought with it a deep sluggishness and desire to do nothing much more than laze in front of a fire and play board games.
As exhausted as I already was from an extremely hectic month, it wasn’t so bad being sick. Honestly, the slow pace was a relief. We played a TON of games like Scrabble and Ticket to Ride. Watched old movies. Built roaring fires in the fireplace almost every night.
But we didn’t just sit around ALL the time. There was an epic ski trip, which I opted out of due to my bad cold — instead spending time with my sisters checking out my twin’s new apartment and shopping it up at the Mall of America.
We also did a lot of skating — where these pictures were taken.
Perhaps I should have toned down a little of that hockey-novice enthusiasm. Minutes later I fell — hard — and sprained my wrist. Exciting stuff for me; I have never been very accident-prone and don’t often get injured. (Of course that is partly due to my nerdy nature and indoor, bookish lifestyle.) I’m now proudly rocking a brace on my left arm. Glad to report that the initial pain and weakness have greatly improved and I’m now just resting it and waiting for the swelling to go down and the tendons to fully heal.
One of the last things we did before Ben and I had to go home was to make gingerbread men, or as we call them in our tradition, ginger laddies. Grandma always used to make them for Christmas and she always called them ginger laddies for some reason, so now we do too!
Our ginger laddies are a little strange and twisted compared to Grandma’s, though. Grandma used chocolate chips, raisins, and redhots to give her ginger laddies faces, buttons, hands and feet. We make plenty of them like Grandma’s, but we also make demon ginger laddies. Mystical rainbow people. Ninjas. And the like. Whatever comes to mind, really.
Perhaps most epic of all was Caleb’s cannibal cyclops laddie. Which I ate yesterday on the plane coming home. Eating a one-eyed ginger laddie with sparkly sugar blood running down his chest was way more comforting than I ever thought it would be.
My family is so weird and unique, and I love them all so much. The first couple of days back after visiting them are always hard, but I’m doing OK. Thinking back on all the fun memories, missing them, and looking forward to the next time I get to see them.
I even miss your dumb photobombing, Dan.
These are all taken at our favorite coffee shop, Moxie Java … a must if you’re ever in Fargo-Moorhead!
That’s all of us! Thanks for making my Christmas awesome, kids.
Here it is, folks … pictures from our Christmas.
First you have to see the piano Ben and I bought ourselves for our Christmas present!!!
We had been waiting and saving for a long time, and we got it as our gift to ourselves. :) It’s a beautiful, beautiful Yamaha. Yaaaayyyy.
We got to spend a lot of time this Christmas with family, especially my family since we spent Thanksgiving with Ben’s. We spent the evening of December 23rd with Ben’s family, and on Christmas Eve we flew to Minnesota to be with my family for about a week, and then we went to Kentucky to spend New Year’s with Ben’s grandparents!
Minnesota was such a blast. We did SO MUCH stuff in less than one week: ice skating, bowling, making cookies, lots of trips to our favorite local coffee shop, game nights in front of a roaring fire…. it was so much fun!!
Here I am playing hockey. Don’t I look legit? Ha, I really can’t play hockey … I just skate around and try not to fall over while attempting to whack the puck around.
Now these guys (my amazing brothers, plus some friends) really do know how to play.
Anna helping her friend Cindy learn how to skate. :)
Me and my coooool brother Caleb…
Naomi guards the (tipped over) goal… hey that’s my hat!!
Ben and my brothers also played a lot of football during the visit. It was very entertaining to watch them chase each other all over the field like little ants. Or very big ants … my brothers are all kind of HUGE. We got some great pictures. You’ll notice they didn’t have any snow … quite unusual for MN in December!
So intense!! haha
After deciding that a career in football was just too exhausting, the men decided to try modeling instead.
My brother is hot… *cough* sorry Jesse.
Also isn’t my family’s new doggie cute? His name is Casey and he is a holy terror. Just kidding, well, he does get into a lot of trouble but he’s a good dog at heart. Just has some growing up to do. :-)
I love my siblings so much. We have so much fun together!!
We’re a silly bunch.
Speaking of family pets (we were, remember?) here’s my family’s new horse. Her name is Sadie, and she is beauuutiful … she has one blue eye and one brown one!!
And more shots of the always adorable (and mischievous) Casey…
Yes, my parents do live in MN with all of my siblings …. :) Here they are, group shot from our annual bowling night!!
Another yearly tradition is making cookies. We like to make ginger cut-out cookies like my grandma used to do. She called gingerbread men “ginger laddies.” So we call them that too. We made a lot of gingerladdies.
An unfortunate gingerladdy death. Isn’t it awful? Yeahh, we can be kind of morbid…
OK, parting shots …. I know this has been a lot of pictures!! But these last two are beautiful. It finally did snow, the day before we left.
Thanks for reading!! Hope your Christmas was merry & bright …. ours was wonderful. We are so blessed.
I’m back. And so, so ready for Christmas break!!
I’ve been extremely busy working the last few weeks. I finished school, then work got CRAZY. I work for a charitable organization and one of the major things they do is a Christmas food & toy drive to benefit needy families in the area. We gave out food to over 1,000 families and toys to over 1,000 children. People give a lot of food & toys for the drive, and the work is done by volunteers. Ben and I helped manage the volunteers, interviewed clients, gave out the food & toys to clients, among many other things. We would work 12-hour days several days a week, and the last few weeks we have worked much more than that, basically living at the warehouse where the whole thing took place.
It was pretty dang arduous …. and I am relieved to be done since you can’t keep up that kind of pace forever … but it was really successful I think. I feel good about it. Plus we got the warehouse AMAZINGLY clean yesterday (thanks to a steady stream of volunteers). It had been very messy before, and by the time we left yesterday it was just … shiny.
It was an incredible feeling to be done with something I’ve been working on since the first week in September. The last volunteer walked out the door, the haze of dust from sweeping the floor finally cleared, we looked around at the clean space and the leftover food stacked so neatly on the shelves ….. I quickly went over to the computer and pulled up the Hallelujah Chorus on Youtube. We have a great surround sound system in the warehouse. I turned that baby up LOUD and blasted the Hallelujah Chorus. Ben & I ran skipping and dancing around the warehouse, to the amusement of our co-workers. Good thing none of them had a video camera handy. ;-)
So now I have one day to get my life together (ack!) and tomorrow morning EARLY EARLY we get on a plane headed for Minnesota. I can’t wait to see my family and spend a nice long holiday week with them. YAY.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!!!
[the question in everyone’s minds: who is basket boy??!?]
A lot of times it seems like Christmas gets closer and closer without me really feeling like it’s Christmas. Maybe it’s the lack of snow around here. But I don’t know, sometimes I just have a hard time feeling Christmasy.
This year is different. I’ve been feeling Christmasy since October. Please don’t think I’m one of those people who actually likes hearing Christmas music playing in Walmart before Halloween or anything. I’m not. I don’t really particularly want any of the commercial craziness to get here any faster than it has to. I’m just excited for Christmas to get here! I can’t wait to go see my family, see the pretty Christmas lights, sing the songs, eat the cookies, all that fun stuff. So even though Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, I have been thinking about Christmas.
I’ve been thinking about decorations and WHERE in the world I am going to put them. My small apartment lacks many of the features that are useful for decorating — things like a mantel, shelves, I don’t know, SURFACES ….. it’s just pretty cramped. The main problem is always the tree. I love Christmas trees, but we don’t have room for one in our place. I have one of those 2 to 3-foot fake trees. Guess where we put it up? In our bedroom. Because there’s no room for it anywhere else in the house. :-D
[a tree like this is a distant dream. a very distant dream. because most of us don’t have a whole room in our house to hold one enormous tree.]
I also love the idea of Christmas stockings. It’s so fun to fill them with little things for the ones you love. But I have racked my brain and I don’t know where I would hang stockings!! A mantel? Nope, we don’t have one of those. A grand staircase like in an issue of Southern Living or something? Kiiiinda don’t have one of those either. Um. The wall? :-P Yeahh, prolly not.
Any ideas for either of those problems? I welcome any suggestions!
And don’t get all in a huff about a Christmas post before Thanksgiving. I promise I won’t put up any more Christmas posts until after turkey day, OK Mr. Scrooge? I just can’t wait for Christmas, that’s all! Yay! If you have a problem with it, just leave me a “bah humbug” in the comments section. :-)