Category Archives: christmas

Catching Up

So apparently I am The Suck lately at keeping this blog updated. Which is dumb because I think about it all the time, and then at the end of the day I’m still sitting there like “damn it! I didn’t update my blog!”

C’est la vie I suppose.

So here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

Birthday!

Bean had her first birthday two weeks ago! We had a party. There was cake. There was a preponderance of presents. There was singing, but Bean mostly looked at us like we were crazy.

Professional Photos

We took Bean to JC Penney to get some professional photos done for her first birthday. It ended up being more expensive than I thought it was worth and we weren’t really crazy about the products they gave us, so I doubt we’ll go back at any point, but whatever. These were some of our favorites.

12 Month Checkup

Bean had her 12 month checkup yesterday and weighed in at 18.10 pounds and 29 inches tall. She is right on track for weight gain and a little bit short for her size, but otherwise is developmentally perfect. She can say “Dada” and sometimes “Mama.” She talks nonstop and has several phrases that I hear her repeat often, so they must mean something to her. Who knows. She will walk all day long behind her push cart and cruise around the furniture (and over it, and us) but has yet to take any independent steps without holding onto something. I catch her standing independently every so often, but it only lasts as long as she doesn’t realize what she’s doing. She’ll be on it in no time, she just has to get up the nerve to do it on her own. ¬†She has no problem getting places, crawls like a speed demon, climbs the stairs like a pro, and can scurry backwards up a slide like it is her job. I definitely see the makings of a daredevil. Her new favorite is standing on top of her new chair (Harold the Chairold) and trying to climb onto the tv table. Nothing that could go wrong there, right? Cameron is concerned that she’ll be able to climb out of her crib, but since she has yet to figure out how to vertically scale things, I think we’re safe for a little while. Basically I’ve accepted the fact that as soon as she gets her feet, I’m doomed.

What else….

I Drank the Kool-Aid

Uh, yeah. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you’ve probably heard me bitch about my frustrations with constantly getting hit up by friends and family who do the “It Works” thing. I think the whole thing is a sham, but that’s neither here nor there, and if you think it works that’s fine, and if you sell it, that’s fine too. I’ve always been resistant of sales companies like that, and then I came across this thing called Jamberry which is basically THE SHIT. I like it because it’s 1) an actual product that doesn’t claim to make you lose weight through magic wraps, 2) it’s non-toxic and made in the USA, and 3) It’s fun, cute, and inexpensive. I can do my nails at home in about 15 minutes for waaaaay less than it costs to get a manicure in a shop. The designs are gorgeous, you can mix and match, they stay on for 2 weeks (no lie, even on Mommy hands), and they’re super easy to do yourself. They somehow manage to make even my teeny tiny fragile nails look bomb. I was pretty much hooked after one order. Anyway, all of this is a long way of saying that I drank the kool-aid and signed up to be a consultant for Jamberry. And, because I hate a hypocrite, this is officially the last time you’ll hear me talk about this here. If you’re interested in learning a little more or ordering, please leave me a comment…but I’m not going to go talking about it all the time. I will however leave these pictures of some applications I’ve done because shit, they’re just so cute.

Anyway.

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and then Christmas! You have no idea how badly tempted I am to put up the Christmas stuff now, but I’m making myself wait. We have yet to figure out what to do about our tree situation. Our tree bit the dust last year and I haven’t decided if we should shell out on a new one or go for a real tree this year. My gut is telling me buy a new artificial one, since I’m sure Bean will be more than happy to ingest pine needles if she could. We also have to figure out where we’re going to put a tree. Our place is slightly awkward for setting up a tree, especially since I am freakishly right-angle about everything and feel like a tree has to be in a corner or dead center in the middle of a window. Anybody else like that?

That’s Harold the Chairold, in case you were wondering.
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Merry Christmas

We had an excellent Christmas week with Caroline. On Sunday, we went to my parent’s house to watch football and finish our shopping. Monday, they took us to dinner at HuHot Mongolian Grill for Cameron’s birthday, and then they got us a hotel room to spend a nice baby-free mommy daddy night, also for Cameron’s birthday. (He turned 30 on the 20th!) The hotel was AWESOME and Caroline had a sleepover with MeMe and Papi while we enjoyed nearly 12 hours of continuous sleep. Ahh. We went out to breakfast the next morning (Christmas Eve) and then went back to my parent’s house to help them set up for my mom’s party. That night some of our family and close friends came to visit and spread some holiday cheer. The next day we got up early to open presents, had breakfast, and hung out until Cameron’s family arrived. After a casual dinner with them we headed back up the hill and the next morning had Christmas round 2 with his family. So many fun presents! Caroline made out like a bandit in the toy department. Cam’s family heads off to visit with some other friends and family later this afternoon, so it was a short visit but really fun. Needless to say I am looking forward to just relaxing again…it has been a busy week! Caroline has her 2 month appointment and vaccinations on Monday, and Cameron returns to work on Wednesday, so we have a big week of transition ahead of us. Anyway, in lieu of a blow-by-blow of our Christmas week, enjoy some photos instead. I hope you had a fantastic week and were able to enjoy fun times with your family and friends. ūüôā

Meeting her Grandpa Bruce for the first time

My new espresso machine

Why Santa Matters

Hanging with Santa Claus in Berlin, 1990.
Hanging with Santa Claus in Berlin, 1990.

I remember the year I realized that Santa wasn’t real. It was the year we had moved to Colorado Springs from Syracuse and I must have been 7 or 8. It was the first time I’d witnessed a Christmas without snow, so naturally I asked my dad how Santa would land on the roof. Without missing a beat he said Santa put roller skate wheels on the bottom of the sleigh. Later, I found wrapping paper in my parents’ closet that was the exact same paper that had covered the box containing my Pocahontas talking Grandmother Willow bank. When I asked about this, dad said that sometimes Santa got too busy to wrap presents, so he would drop them off and ask the parents to wrap them for him. He tried so hard to keep that one going, but it was pretty much over for me at that point.

The strange thing was, though I realized he wasn’t real, it didn’t mean that I stopped believing in him. The older I got, the more I identified with Santa. Or the spirit of him, I guess. I came from a family of atheists, so Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of any deity figure for me. As a loose follower of the ancient Celtic religion, I celebrate this time of year as Yuletide and the passing of midwinter, one of the origins of modern-day Christmas. But growing up, Christmas was about Santa Claus and celebrating family, friends, good food, and yes, gift-giving. It’s not all¬†about the gifts, and I think it’s important to instill that in our children–in fact, one of my pet-peeves is when people ask what I want for Christmas or worse,¬†tell¬†me what they¬†want for Christmas–in my book, gifts should come from the heart and you should appreciate that the giver took the time to think of you in the giving of it. Christmas is not a time to ask carte blanche for cash. You know all the Whos down in Whoville who loved Christmas just because it brought people together and it was a time to love one another and spread joy? That was my family. Our house was decorated warmly and festively and it was, like the song says, the most wonderful time of the year. Still is.

And that’s why I’m continuing the Santa tradition with Caroline. Since we don’t celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus, I want to give her something to believe in during this season. Lately I’ve read a lot of other bloggers who seem to hate the idea of introducing Santa to our kids. A lot of people seem to think it’s about the worst lie you could possibly peddle to your kids and I think that’s ridiculous. What’s wrong with Santa? What’s wrong with getting our kids to believe in magic and create a sense of wonder in them? So what if it’s not real, so what if some day they’re going to find out. If you’ve done it “right”, it shouldn’t matter, because they will still believe in the magic and the spirit of Christmas.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. You know the story of¬†The Polar Express? The boy who finds himself doubting Santa until he meets him and receives the sleigh bell which will only ring for people who believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas? The adults can’t hear it, but he always does, because he believes. My dad still hears that bell. 58 years old and he can still hear that bell. Which means that I do too.¬†

And I hope Caroline always will, too.

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Daily Prompt: Gimme

Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received? What was it?

I always wanted an American Girl doll when I was a kid. I remember getting the catalogues every year and just pouring over them. I thought they historical dolls were just the shit and I especially wanted the one that was based in the American Revolution–was that one Samantha? I had forgotten all about them until last year when I was working in the bookstore and people would bring in used copies of the American Girls’ books. Man those were the days!

Merry Christmas

Ah, yet another Christmas day has come and gone. All this time waiting for it to get here and now it is gone so fast. Always the way.

We spent Christmas eve and Christmas day with my parents. (And as much as I love spending time with them I am so glad to be sleeping in my own bed tonight; their guest bed is small and not spectacularly comfortable) My mom’s annual Christmas eve shindig was small this year, only about a dozen people, but it was fun. It was nice to get to talk to everyone instead of fighting your way through a crowd. After everyone left we planned to watch¬†A Christmas Carol¬†like we do every year but Cameron and I were really tired (and I’ll be honest, I’d had too much wine) and I crashed hardcore.

This morning it was just my parents and us. My brother was with his girlfriend and only came over for dinner (not even going to talk about it–suffice it to say I was highly annoyed). Santa (and my parents!) were very nice this year. We got a new smaller crockpot (with a timer!) from a family friend, an electric carver, an onion chopper (sounds like uber-practical stuff but considering how much time I spend in the kitchen it’s all awesome), a set of stemless white and red wine glasses (yay! finally a matching set!)…um, what else….Cameron gave me an awesome new phone cover with a graphic of¬†The Hound of the Baskervilles¬†on it and a “perpetual calendar” which I can’t even explain because it’s so awesome so I’ll post a picture of it instead. (P.S. Wicked kudos to Mr. Hubby, both of his gifts to me were things we happened to see randomly in stores over the year and I pointed them out to say “ooh how cool!” and he remembered.)

One word: magnets.

My parents also gave us both zip-up hoodies for our favorite football teams (my brother also gave me a Broncos t-shirt) and a couple other assorted odds and ends like the soundtrack to the new Les Mis movie (which I’ll be seeing on Saturday with my dad). Also between the two of us (and Cameron’s birthday) we got a good several hundred dollars’ worth in Home Depot gift cards (whenever family members asked what we wanted we just said Home Depot gift cards) so we are SOOOO excited for that. We can finally get a working sink in our master bathroom! Hallelujah! Plus it’ll be nice to have a little kitty for home renovations as they arise. (Maybe for doing the nursery hopefully soon??!)

On top of all that, we were so impressed with my mom’s swank new camera that we ordered one for ourselves so that we will have it to take with us to Hawaii. We have been thinking about getting a new, nice camera for a while and hers was so great and they got such a good deal on it through the military shopping website (no sales tax + no shipping) that we found one almost identical to hers for the same price. All in all we paid less than $200. I’m so excited for it to come. I have always been interested in photography and now that I have a great camera it will give me a good excuse to learn some more about the craft and start taking some great pictures.

Taken with my mom’s new camera

The furry family members got treats too–Santa brought the dog a big bag of chicken flavored rawhide chews and the kitties each got a mousy catnip toy that makes a squeaking noise when it is touched. (Great practice for kids and their toys!) Whiskey has been throwing his up in the air and batting it around all night.

After presents I made breakfast for everyone and then we relaxed for a while before starting up on the dinner preparations. My mom made a roast and a turkey breast along with a sweet potato/sausage smash, corn casserole, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Nom! My dad cracked a bottle of Mouton Cadet for the meal and it was¬†awe-some. After dinner we had some coffee and then loaded up the car to come back home. It was a great day and I’m glad we got to spend it with my parents.

Trying to stump the “smile detector” on the new camera–not sure if it worked….

In other news – 2 weeks till we leave for Hawaii!!!

2012 Highlights

Well, we’ve come to the end of the world the year. The solstice is here and now the world begins to turn back toward the sunlight and the coming of spring. (Which is why I much prefer the notion of today being midwinter instead of the first day of winter!) Guess it’s about time to give a little recap of the year maybe!

2012 came in snowy, cold, and windy here in Estes Park. We spent a lot of time up in the Park snowshoeing and exploring. Here’s the highlights of the year!

In late January, we brought Sherlock home from the shelter.

In early February we went on a short vacation to Ouray (near Telluride) in the San Juans and it was AWESOME! We spent time at the hot springs and we got to go sledding and snow mobiling in the mountains (well, for a little, till Cameron dumped the snow mobile in 16 feet of powder). We also got to go on a zip line! It was so much fun.

Standing on the side of the Million Dollar Highway outside Ouray
Snow Catting in the San Juans before we took the most epic sled ride of our lives

Snowshoeing at Cub Lake

In March, Cameron shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s. Scary!

In July we bought a house! We were able to move from our 600-sq ft cabin into our very first, very own 1600-sq ft house.

Over the summer I got to see Florence and the Machine (birthday gift from Cameron) and Mumford & Sons at Red Rocks Amphitheater. AMAZING.

September brought a trip to Santa Fe to visit the renaissance festival there. One of my favorites!

In October, of course, we ate candy. Just kidding–we got married!

Right after the wedding, I got an offer from a literary agency to represent me and my book.

This year was my first Thanksgiving! It was nummy.

Mom approved.

Some other photo highlights, in no particular order:

Saints versus Broncos

Colorado Renaissance Festival

Hiking Lily Mountain

Christmas cookie party

Home renovations

Playing Lady Macbeth for an acting class (wish I’d gotten to do the whole show)

Samhain festivities

Sugar Skull Dancer and Queen of the Ravens

Singing with the Oratorio Society of Estes Park

My 24th birthday

Cameron’s 29th birthday

Hard to believe that 2013 is already upon us. We are leaving almost immediately as the new year comes in and heading to Hawaii for 3. Whole. Weeks. Good lordy I can’t wait to be a beach bum for a while. We are also hoping that 2013 might include a mini Carruthers joining the family–keep your fingers crossed for us!

Christmas Questionnaire

When do you start decorating for Christmas?
The weekend after Thanksgiving. (i.e. Black Friday) They come down New Year’s Day! (or shortly thereafter)
 
Christmas attire, casual or dressy?
Depends on the event!
 
Best gift you ever received?
Oh man…I dunno! I got an iPod one year that was the bomb.
 
Worst gift you ever received?
A used pair of earrings.
 
Snow, love or hate?
I LOVE SNOW!
 
Favorite Christmas song? Least favorite?
Carol of the Bells is my favorite. I loathe “Santa Baby.” Yuck.
 
Best Christmas movie? Worst?
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I¬†don’t know if it’s the worst Christmas movie, but the cartoon Frosty the Snowman is really creepy.
 
Christmas tree, real or fake?
We haven’t had a real tree since I was probably 12 or 13. I wouldn’t even know how to take care of one! Plus, buying a pre-lit tree is pretty swell.
 
Do you have a favorite ornament?
Cameron and I get a new ornament every year. At my parents’ house, my favorite ornament is the one of Lt. Worf in the….ship whose name I cannot recall for the life of me. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. Anyway, when you press the button, Worf says, “I wish you a most honorable holiday. Kaplak.”¬†Yeah, we’re¬†Trek nerds.
 
Family traditions?
My parents have a big¬†to-do on Christmas¬†Eve every year. Family and friends come over and we have snacks and drinks and my mom plays Santa and gives everyone a small gift. Usually after that party the family watches the George C. Scott version of “A Christmas Carol.” On Christmas morning we open presents and then have breakfast, and then we have a big dinner later that day. Recently Cameron and I have started the tradition of watching “Forrest Gump” every Christmas Day after opening presents.
 
The easiest and hardest people to buy gifts for?
I actually kind of pride myself on coming up thoughtful gifts for people even if it’s not exactly what they “wanted.” But that’s what makes Christmas special,¬†to me. I kind of hate it when people ask what you want and¬†get you exactly that. I love surprises and surprising people¬†by being thoughtful.
 
Do you open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas?
Christmas. Usually we get a small gift on Christmas Eve from my mom, and if we have family over, presents from those family members will be opened that night since we might not see them the next morning.
 
Clear or colored lights?
White lights for the house. But I love putting colored lights on the tree.
 
Travel or stay home?
I’ve always preferred to be home on Christmas.
 
Themed or homey decorations?
Homey decorations with a motif! I, for example, have a reindeer motif along with all my other decorations.