Christmas Wrap Up 2014

I have quite possibly been the most ambivalent about Christmas this year as I've ever been, although I can't say with certainty as to why. Maybe because Thanksgiving was later and then BOOM here comes the Christmas snowball and I was not prepared.

Not that I ever am.

Scott hung the icicle lights on the house right after Thanksgiving, so the outside of out house was semi-festive, but the inside was oh-so-not (other than the holiday  dishtowels on the oven and changing out my subway art frame). We didn't get our tree until December 13th, which is rather pitiful.

After a long standing tradition of choosing Frasier Firs we switched things up for 2014 and got a Noble Fir, (what?) which we (I) named Norville. He stood naked for a while in the corner before lights and then eventually decor. Norville was a good sport about our general lack of elf-ittude.

(We did watch Elf though.)
In random but still holiday related news, the Girls and I, along with several ladies from church enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Mugs & Muffins brunch at the lovely home of one of our elders. It was perfectly delightful, as always!

Along with our decorating procrastination we also did our traditional loser late Christmas card photo session. Again, I was lacking motivation and felt like we threw together barely coordinated outfits and highly un-creative poses, as we were scrambling to get something before the sun set.

We took a selfie to document the fact that we managed to not kill each other during the grueling photo session.

We then we retreated to Starbucks for treats, as per our tradition.
Annelise got her first ever frappuccino, java chip, needless to say, color her hooked.
One thing that I did manage to get together early (what?) were gifts for Annelise's three main teachers, Starbucks gift card in a to-go cup with holiday kisses and a scarf. Her PE, band and computer teachers got Mrs. Meyer's soap and peppermint bark, which is useful and tasty. We did the same thing for her dance teachers (we don't usually, not sure why this year was different) and put together a little gift for her dance class gift swap (lip balm, nail polish, socks and candy--hopefully the girl that got it liked it, you never really know).
The Girls and I got together for Pink Christmas, the Painting Version, which was fun.  We had planned to eat dinner first at a local steakhouse but did not count on needing reservations (whoops), so we ended up eating pho at a Vietnamese place which was really out of the norm for us but quite yummy just the same.

We painted these monogrammed ornaments which was fun but way more stressful than I anticipated, what with all the straight chevron lines to you know, not smudge up and all.
But they turned out super cute.

From a distance at least.

Christmas day was low key, as per always. Since my dad was (is) still recovering from his surgery we went down there after opening a few presents at our house. Peggy cooked a big country breakfast and I added bubble bread so we feasted and opened more gifts.

Annelise got a new bike and so did I (what?), which is fun. Hers is a black mountain style bike with a touch of pink and mine is a purple retro style. I predict much biking in out future.

(There are no photos from Christmas Day because I am currently too lazy to whittle through them and upload them, my apologies).

She also got purple Beats headphones from us which sent her directly over the moon, so, yay.

Peggy's son and his family came over for a short visit that afternoon, Annelise loved getting to see Cole and Colin, even for just a few hours.
We spent the rest of the day snacking, chatting and doing a whole lot of nothing.

Which is always a favorite.

And that is a WRAP on our Christmas 2014.

I hope yours was blessed and joyful!


On a Monday

(My lame title makes me sing "I Got Stripes" by Johnny Cash & George Jones.)

My sweet daddy had hernia surgery yesterday.

I'm still slightly unclear about what a hernia actually is. I mean, I think I know that it has something to do with some of your parts poking through other parts of your parts and it's uncomfortable.

I'm okay with being vague.

All is well, thank goodness, but any surgery is still surgery and there's usually lots of anxiety and waiting and prayer and pain along with good drugs, possible nausea, and then recovery.

He had met his deductible for the year (apparently this is a thing) (thankfully I don't know much about meeting deductibles due to doctor visits, tests and so forth) and decided to go ahead and get his hernia situation taken care of. 

It was supposed to be outpatient/day surgery with a probable overnight stay (I'm not sure how you classify that). Some doctors do hernia surgery laparoscopically but his must be more old-school so he's got a good ol' incision going on and will most likely stay in the hospital until Wednesday.

After taking Annelise to school and getting myself together, I ventured toward the Houston Medical Center, about 40ish minutes away under ideal conditions. As I was approaching Methodist Hospital I got a call from the school nurse saying that Annelise wasn't feeling well.


No fever but headache slash vague stomachache slash I really don't feel like being at school today thing.

Thankfully Scott said he could pick her up and work from home so I could be at the hospital. 

I got to see my dad for a while before they took him back, so that was good. Two couples from their camping group were also there to keep Peggy company while she waited which was sweet. You wouldn't think waiting would be hard but it can be. I was all prepared with a new book to read headphones and snacks (coffee, apple and cheese) but I mostly just sat there and listened to them tell stories. I really had wanted to start my new book but thought it would be rude to get it out. Hashtag introvert problems.

The room was full of people waiting for news about their persons and I kept wondering what their stories were. I'm nosy that way.

This group of singers came up to brighten things up a a bit with some Christmas carols. They were accompanied by this darling little five year old. She was a hoot!
Sidenote: I really like Methodist Hospital. I mean, I don't know personally, just as a visitor, but from my dad's experiences and I'm really impressed. Everyone is so helpful, polite and friendly. Plus, you know, good at their jobs.

It's like the Chick-Fil-A of hospitals.

We got to see my dad in recovery for a minute and then later up in his room. He was mostly snoozing, which was good.

I left around 4:00 to try and beat the monster known as Houston traffic--and all things considered, (including missing my intended turn and taking Loop 610 home instead of the Beltway, oh well) it wasn't too bad.

Listening to my Merry& Bright playlist on Spotify helped bunches (played on shuffle).

I may have even cranked the volume up and sung along quite dorkily to this song:
I may have even repeated it three or four times in a row.

Whatever gets you through the crazy Houston freeways, man.


Miscellany Monday

A few randoms of late...

I got to hear my little trumpet player perform at a special Christmas chapel last week. Fifth grade band played Good King Wenceslas and Jingle Bells and did a great job, meaning, the songs were not only recognizable they sounded pretty good too, so it was not at all as painful as I feared.
After six-ish months it was finally time to mix up another batch of homemade laundry detergent. I used all of the ingredients pictured below plus three bars of grated Fels-Naptha laundry soap, adding them alternately to my large glass jar and mixing well (I also ended up with a bit of overflow stored in a small plastic container and the empty Oxy-Clean canister).

I use an Oxy-Clean scoop per load (I put it in the bottom of my top-loading HE washer before adding clothes) which is a bit more than 2 tablespoons and it cleans really well while smelling super fresh (but not knock you out fragrance-y). There are tons of variations of recipes on Pinterest (this one is from Edie @Life in Grace on Instagram), even liquid ones (which seem a little too labor intensive for me), so if you've never given homemade laundry detergent a whirl, I'd highly recommend it. Not only is it easier than I thought, it's cheap and makes you feel ever so slightly like Ma Ingalls (minus the hog killing and all that mess).
Scott and I had a breakfast date Friday morning at our favorite place. Again.

We are so predictable.

(Some might say boring.)
Except THIS time I got an egg white frittata (I've never had a frittata before) (it's fun to say frittata, btw). Scott got the Viva la France french toast, as per always, because he loves it and likes to order it with a touch of french flair.

We ventured into downtown Houston this weekend to eat at the Spaghetti Warehouse for an early dinner.
Before making our way over to the Hobby Center to see this...
It was a fabulous show and a great way to kick off our holiday season. The Rockettes are amazing! 

Sidenote: We still don't have a Christmas tree.

We finished off our night at The House of Pies for well, um...pie and such.
Annelise had hot chocolate and a brownie AND a chocolate chip cookie. Scott had Coconut Cream pie, I had Key Lime and we shared French Silk (layered milk and dark chocolate) because we had to have some chocolate too (you have to cut the tart of the key lime and the intensity of the coconut with an alternating bite of chocolate, you know).

It was like our own little pie buffet.


Don't worry, we did not eat it all, maybe half. It's amazing how quickly you can go from YUM to sick, it's a fine line.

Happy Monday, y'all!


Miscellany Monday (The Turkey Edition)

Hello December.


This morning's alarm was rather rude after a week of not having to set one and re-entry into the morning get-ready-for-school-shuffle was a tad rough. But we made it, in fact we were a little early, go us.

Last week was mostly an exercise in laziness punctuated with occasional spurts of activity followed up with more laziness and slothdom. I met The Girls one night for coffee and chit chat and laughter, which was delightful of course, Annelise had a sleepover with Pappo and grandma one night and most of the other days were a hazy blur of nothingness.

Except for Thanksgiving.

My dad and Peggy hosted 20 people (if you count the one currently gestating, which we did) for a Thanksgiving feast. There was way too much food and no vegetable was allowed unless it was coated in cheese or sauce, except for my Big Salad, which has kind of become my thing to bring for every family gathering, usually by request, which is fine, but only a few people really bother eating it because there's always too much other competition from all the beige comfort food, which I totally understand.

After the first round of feasting, during a break in one of the football games, we gathered outside for group photos. 
Daddy and Peggy's dear friends, Jack and Penny (front chair on the left below) spent the day with us too which was nice. Sidenote: They brought a fried turkey which was slap your mama delicious, I'd never had fried turkey before, I might be a convert.

There were also two doggie guests, Snuggles, the teacup Yorkie and Jojo the boxer.
Annelise had a BLAST (as per always) playing basketball, football and hide and seek with Colin, Cole and Cadence. Some of the big guys played basketball too in between their football viewing and naps. The outdoor fun didn't stop until way after dark when we confiscated the flashlights and shut it down due to the cold and the fact some of them had to go home (boo hoo).

We did not, I repeat did not, do any Black Friday shopping.

Not that this is anything new, we've never gone Black Friday shopping because I am not down with that kind of crazy.

I am however down with online shopping in my jammies with a cup of coffee beside me.

Yesterday after church and lunch we did something a little outside of our norm.

We went to see two movies back to back.

I know, we are WILD.

We started out with Big Hero 6, which we all three LOVED and were surprised by how much we loved it since we didn't really know that much about it going in. After that we walked directly over to the ticket machine (we love the ticket machine and hardly ever use the ticket windows) to get three tickets for Mockingjay.

Over the last several months Annelise and I have watched the other two Hunger Games movies on Netflix so she was anxiously awaiting this next installment. I'm not crazy about them milking the last book into two movies, I mean I know a lot happens but I still feel like they're just trying to capitalize on the HG mania and make more money with two movies. But whatever.

We liked it. I probably like the first two better but I kind of expected that going in because Mockingjay in general is just a darker story (yes, darker than teens killing each other in a televised competition) what with the rebellion and all.

We don't usually get popcorn or candy at the movies because I'm a smuggler but we didn't smuggle anything in this time so we all shared a big popcorn and got drinks for eleventy billion dollars. We noticed several people going out with empty buckets and coming back with filled ones and then finally saw the Free Refill note on our bucket. No we did not NEED a refill, a refill was not healthy, but we got one anyway just to stick it to the Man a little.

Subversive popcorn refilling. It's a thing.

We didn't eat it all either.

In other news, Scott finished putting up our Christmas lights over the weekend. We still do icicle lights like it's 1999, but whatever. That's our only nod to Christmas so far. We need to shop for a tree but I refuse to do that until we have colder weather again, because sweating while picking out a Christmas tree sucks my Christmas spirit out faster than you can say The Grinch.

Note to self: Now that the Chrismas lights are twinkling around our house we might should move the scarecrow by the front door back to the garage muy pronto.

Timely. Is what we are.

Happy Monday, y'all!

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