Nativity

I am not Christian–not even a little bit. But I love nativities. Every couple of years I remind Will that I really want a handmade wooden one, but of course they are not cheap.

This year, my in-laws downsized, and they sent us a few things they knew we’d love.

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My father-in-law traveled a lot for work.

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My mother-in-law accumulated quite a collection of lovely little nativities.

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These are nativities too.

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See?

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Very Merry

us

We are having a lovely, quiet holiday season this year.

Until Sunday, I had a pretty bad case of the grumps because Will and I couldn’t afford to buy each other presents. I was feeling pretty lousy, especially because I worked my ass off on sewing commissions to pay for Christmas but the children come first, of course. I mean, that wasn’t even a question. But sometimes being the grownup is no fun.

Then my dad’s gift–cash–arrived and we split it up to spend on each other.

christmasevepizza

We made our traditional Christmas Eve pizza. This year’s came out so good that Grace devoured hers down to the crusts. I use the olive oil dough from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day (I have the older edition and a case of the wants for this one), and this year I bought Trader Joe’s jarred sauce instead of making it from scratch (I could barely tell the difference). I made Sam a loaf of bread from the same dough, because he is horrified by pizza. (He doesn’t like cheese or foods touching. Pizza is a nightmare.)

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Sam scored bigtime, with a new watch, his very own camera, video games, and lots of other stuff. But his favorite gift seems to be the two Jeff Smith comic books we bought him, Tall Tales and Rose. He loves Bone the most of everything on earth and was so excited to find out there are more stories in that world.

verygraciechristmas

This pictures shows Grace’s fifth or sixth setup of the day. She immediately integrated her new toys in with her already-beloved things, except for her new rainbow blocks which CANNOT BE USED TOGETHER WITH THE BROWN BLOCKS, SO DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, BUSTER.

P.S. Not only did Will get me exactly what I wanted, but my in-laws sent us Amazon gift cards so I also ordered a fitbit and hiking shoes. And, um, a ton of baking stuff. Heh.

Dwarven Advent

My friend Liz, who shares my interest in Thorin Babenshield, said there ought to be a dwarf-themed advent calendar, and so I have made one! Enjoy.

(I will activate each link as we get to the day. This is about as low-tech as a digital advent calendar gets, so bear with me please.)

December 1

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December 24

The Meal I Didn’t Cook

So…I cancelled Thanksgiving. I mean, not for everyone else. But I am not cooking.

The main reason is the paramedics who checked me out on Saturday night, and I don’t mean they thought I was cute. (I mean, maybe they did? But probably not.)

I’d worked all day at a roller derby tournament. I ate and hydrated (though I maybe could have hydrated more) but around 10:00 I very abruptly felt like I was going to fall asleep immediately. My friends helped me lie down and got the in-house medical staff, who determined that I had zero blood pressure. Someone called Will, and someone else called 911, and more paramedics showed up. (What up, Dan O’Bannon zombies.) I was hooked up to an EKG, which determined that I was probably not having a heart attack. The dizziness passed and my blood pressure went back up to normal-ish. At that point, I just felt tired, so I declined a ride to the hospital, where I know from experience you can’t get any sleep, and went home.

I feel…not great, but not terrible. I’ve decided to avoid driving or going very far from home without another adult for a few more days. (Grace is angling for a trip to Starbucks. I might try it. It’s only four blocks.)

So, I need to find a doctor. I haven’t had one for a few years. Ugh, what a drag.

I’m a little sad about not making this amazing feast, but not at all sad about not doing the actual work of making this feast, since making rice yesterday was a little challenging. Hi, I need a break. Anyway, I thought the menu was pretty excellent and wanted to share it.

Hors d’oeuvres
Cranberry chevre
Camembert
Toasted baguettes

Meal
Roast turkey
Gravy
Cornbread dressing with onion and sage
Baked macaroni & cheese
Cranberry sauce
Mashed potatoes
Dinner rolls (I was going to buy these)
Creamed spinach
Roasted Brussels sprouts

Dessert
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Coffee
Applejack (homemade apple-cinnamon whiskey)

Man, now I’m really hungry.

We are still making mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. Will is going to have a steak and I am going to have macaroni and cheese that I bought at the store. (Actually, Will bought it at the store.) The children can have anything they want.

LOW STRESS HOLIDAYS. Let’s make it a thing.

(Also, there’s more applejack for us this way. Ha.)

Resolved

Deadlines just about killed me this year. I only missed one, but I really missed it. (And actually, now that I think about it, I also managed to miss a few baby knits I intended to make.)

The worst part (besides the stress and guilt) was that I didn’t really enjoy gift-giving this Christmas. I rushed to finish gifts for my nephews and when they were done I just felt sad and empty. And because I’d so overcommitted myself during the year, no one else got anything.

So here is my 2013 resolution: I am just going to make stuff for people whenever I feel like it. NO DEADLINES. (That includes Christmas. For real, I forbid myself to make Christmas a deadline this year. Let’s see if I manage to hold to that one.)

So if you’re on my Nice list, you might get a surprise in, like, April. Or September. Or something.

Wrap-Up

(The title of my post is a pun. I feel the need to point that out because everybody knows that pointing out the pun makes it even funnier.)

For posterity, an incomplete list of our Christmas booty:

Will

  • power drill
  • books on leather carving
  • assorted other books including the Batman: Arkham Asylum comic, a cowboy RPG book, and replacements of two favorite anthologies)
  • Lego: Lord of the Rings for the Wii
  • Dracula score by the Kronos Quartet
  • Punisher: War Zone blu-ray

Sam

  • Skylanders for the 3DS
  • assortment of Marvel and DC heroes and villains
  • Draw Write Now
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • The Avengers blu-ray
  • Justice League, the complete series (including JLU)
  • Harry Potter movies 3 & 4
  • penny whistle
  • new PS3 controller (so he can play with his dad)

Grace

  • toy drill
  • robot building game
  • BusyTown game
  • all of the Playmobil (ALL OF IT)
  • Brave DVD
  • Tiny Toons (first season)
  • rubber stamps and washable ink stamp pads
  • glockenspiel (like a xylophone but with metal keys)

me

  • yarn ball winder
  • Scarf Shop scarf (in Fog)
  • blue canary nightlight
  • Holga camera
  • The Fall and Lockout on blu-ray
  • immersion blender (I actually got TWO! I’m returning one.)
  • Swiss Army watch (which turned out to be a men’s style and too big, so I’m exchanging it.)

As you can see, it was a banner year. 2012 has been really incredibly difficult in a lot of ways, which makes this bounty extra nice.

Now on to Grace’s third birthday, the New Year, and Will’s 38th birthday!

Merry Christmas! and Year-End Pattern Sale

We had a great day.

Christmas Eve was a blur of homemade pizzas and A Christmas Carol (both The Muppets and Orson Welles with the Mercury Theater), and then putting presents out once the children were in bed. We assembled the tent, and when Sam got up this morning (at 4:30 in the morning) he saw it and said, “I don’t believe it!”

One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to publish 12 patterns. I didn’t quite make it–the year is closing out with 10 published patterns, but I do have two more completed and waiting for publication (one in a book and one by a yarn company) so I’m not complaining. I am looking forward to my design break and knitting 13 shawls (and a cardigan) in the new year!

To close out 2012, I am offering all of my self-published patterns at Buy One, Get One. Just add any two patterns to your Ravelry cart and the discount will be automatically deducted. Treat yo self! (I really wish Donna and/or Retta was my friend.)

Scary Christmas

Grace’s advent calendar this year was Playmobil dinosaurs. I think it is from last year or possibly even the year before, but her uncle Shelby tracked one down for her.

She is crazy about dinosaurs and has loved opening her calendar toy every day. Today, the ultimate day of Advent, she got a break-open egg with a baby dino inside.

This afternoon, she and Sam were playing when suddenly Grace came running to me in the kitchen. “Sammy scared mine baby dinosaur!”

I may possibly have taken a Calvin’s Dad tact. “No one can scare a baby dinosaur! It will eat anyone who tries. Go tell Sammy your dinosaur will eat him if he scares it again.”

She ran back over to Sam. “Sammy! DON’T EAT MINE DINOSAUR!”

December Project #whatever

So much time, so little to do! AHHH HOW IS CHRISTMAS IN FIVE DAYS!?

I finally got my nephews’ gifts sent off. Inside the packages are superhero capes, which I failed to photograph. They’re red on one side and deep blue on the reverse. I’m really pleased with how they came out.

I’m also really delighted with the wrapping! I got the idea on Pinterest (where else).