Monday, December 30, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas

Blake and I switch off major holidays with our families.  This year it was Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with Blake's.  It's a nice system because everyone knows what to expect and when to plan on us.  Plus, we're able to buy our plane tickets way in advance, which is music to my cheapskate ears.

Blake's parents host Christmas Eve dinner and festivities at their house every year.  The 8 nieces and nephews come.  Iya and Papa (the grandkids' name for Blake's parents) give their gifts to the kids and the kids do a Christmas program.  I think Blake took some great shots of the gang doing the nativity and singing carols with matching Santa hats, but I've got to steal those from him, so I'll work on posting those later this week.

We also exchange gifts with Blake's siblings on Christmas Eve.  We pick names and have a specific dollar limit, which makes shopping and planning so easy and stress-free.  This year we had Tyler and Rebecca (Tyler is #2 of 4 in Blake's family).

I wanted to do some handmade gifts this year, so as soon as I confirmed who we had in the exchange I started working on a blanket.

Now that Christmas is over and there's no chance of my ruining the surprise, I can show the final product.  I did it in a thick, squishy, warm yarn in cream and grey.  The last two photos are truest to the color in real life.

It ended up about seven feet by seven feet - perfect for snuggling up with on the couch.  It's not perfect (don't look too closely at where I joined the yarn!), but I'm really pleased that I was able to complete it in time and that it actually resembles what I'd imagined.

Now I think I need a crafting break!  On to house projects for the New Year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Three cheers/chairs for garbage

I think I have a chair problem.  I can't see one on the street and not bring it home.  My basement is beginning to look like an old folks home - but instead of old folks it's old, bedraggled, slightly confused-looking chairs.

They migrate around the house depending upon my whim (and need for seating).  Right now I've got this emerald green velvet fella up in the nook in our room.

The back (where your head would rest) is slightly greasy and needs a good cleaning, so until I get around to that, I've draped a blanket over it.  See no grease, be not scared of grease.  Easy peasy.

If it doesn't clean up well, I'm debating covering it in a charcoal velvet - a color I think would go well with its masculine shape.  I also need to re-stuff the seat cushion so that it looks less tired.  Other than that, I'm really loving the way it looks in our room next to the little Christmas tree.

You really can't beat the price,!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A real tub o' lard.

I fell in love with this bin at an estate sale this fall - I loved the color, the shine and the patina of the metal.  When I asked the owner what it was originally used for, he said it was a lard tub.

So for anyone who remembers grade school insults and is curious what exactly a tub o' lard looks like, this is it:

Pretty, right?  And far less insulting a comparison than I'd always imagined.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas around the house.

I tried something new in my Christmas decorating around the house this year.  Each room had a color theme (more or less): the living room was red, the family room was green, and the dining room was silver and gold.

I had red plaid pillows on the couch in the living room, red candles and a red tree skirt.  In the family room I had green plaid pillows, green topiaries, and a green garland around the windows.  In the dining room I had my silver and gold candlestick collection down the center of the table (with all white tapers) and a new gold Christmas tree in the corner with silver snowflake ornaments.

It was probably too subtle a scheme for anyone but me to notice, but I had fun doing it anyway.  Nothing makes the house feel more cosy than a Christmas tree and twinkle lights.  We added more garland and twinkle lights to the mix this year because we just can't get enough.

You'll notice we didn't put lights or ornaments on the bottom portion of the tree - that's thanks to little Bear.  He's obsessed with the tree and the lights and we were worried lest he bite the lights and electrocute his fully self.

At least now when we catch him laying under the tree biting off the lower limbs (his new favorite past-time) we're not worried about sudden death.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Doggy discourse

This rascally ball of fur brought home a prize from our walk yesterday.  He often brings home branches and nuts that he finds along the way, so I didn't think anything of it when he was throwing something around to himself in the living room.

But.  What I thought was a twig turned out to be a rat leg.

They way I know this?

Once he was done playing with it, I went to pick it up off the hearth to throw it away and realized that it had a paw and claws.  Shiver.  It was one of the more disgusting dog-owner bits of business I've ever come across (and that's saying something seeing as I have to pick up his poop every day).  There is not enough anti-bacterial hand soap in all the world to make me feel clean after holding a dismembered rat claw in my hand.

Other than that, though, Bear is a delight.  He followed us around all day on Saturday while we were preparing for our annual Ugly Christmas Sweater party and cried and moaned when he wasn't allowed to taste all of the treats.  I think he's finally figured out how much better human food is than dog food.

But enough about the dog.

The party was great - tons of food, tons of people, tons of funny white elephant gifts.  It's one of our favorite traditions every year and it really helps it feel like Christmas.  Plus, it's a good excuse to get the house all decorated for the holiday.

My mom sent me a new ugly sweater for the occasion.  I'm wearing it below.  I got a lot of comments saying it wasn't nearly ugly enough...and that's true.  I think I'd actually wear it on a normal day.  It's more kitschy than ugly, so it's a winner in my book.

Now that it officially feels like Christmas, I can hardly believe it's only a little over a week away!  Where is the time going?  December, how come you move so fast?!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Santa Paws is Comin' to Town

I think when you adopt a puppy you're signing some sort of cosmic contract that says, "I, the undersigned, agree to never pee alone again."

And then you're held to that contract every moment of every day.  Close the door to the bathroom before he can get in?  No worries, he'll just cry, moan and scratch at the door until you give in to his pleas.  Then again, with a face as cute and fluffy as Bear's, it's really hard to ever say no.

It's also really hard to want to be away from the little guy.

We brought Bear up to New York with us this past weekend (we tagged along with Blake's parents who were up there for the law firm Christmas party).  He was, as usual, a fuzzy celebrity everywhere we went.  He's such a diva.

He got his own seat in the car between Blake's parents and loved every second of the ride - alternately putting his head on Brent and Marilyn's laps for snuggles.  He got to sneak up on the bed at the hotel (hey, I'm not the one washing those sheets, ok?).  He walked around SoHo with the knowing gait of an uptown pup, allowing himself to be snuggled and photographed by all sorts of admirers.

He was, however, particularly sad when we didn't let him eat any Tacos from La Esquina (our favorite place for Tacos), even though I tried to tell him it was for his own good.

After a fruitless 10-block search for a potty spot around our Hotel in midtown, we decided that NYC is just not a dog-friendly place.  Where are all the dogs doing their business? On the streets?  That thought makes me want to take another shower today.

Bear has been trained not to wee on the cement, so he held it for ages while we located a suitable dirt patch.  What a champ.  For only five months old he did pretty well in the big city.

New York, we love you, but we're sure glad to be home.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A tisket, a tasket

Blake took Bear to his parents' house a couple of times while I was away.  Iya and Papa's house is Bear's idea of Heaven and makes himself right at home every time we visit.

He especially loves the basket where Iya keeps her old newspapers and magazines.  It doesn't look particularly comfortable to me, but maybe all that paper is soothing?  Regardless, it sure makes for a darling photo.  All that frizzy hair and the droopy ears.  Be still my heart.

I know I'm biased, but I'm fairly certain that he's the cutest puppy in the entire world.  The entire universe, maybe.

P.S.  Bear has his own tab above. The little guy has his own Instagram account (@sheepadoodlebear).    He's such a little fame whore.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In the Homeland

This was the first time I've visited when none of my other siblings are living at home.  I feel selfish for saying this, but it was so fun to get to spend so much undivided time with my parents.  We ate good food, saw Catching Fire, took beautiful drives up the canyon, went on long walks, did projects, went Christmas shopping, and ate more good food.

The two weeks flew by (even though I was missing Blake like crazy- darn that flu!).  

Nothing makes me feel older than driving by my old high school when it's letting out for the day.  Did I look so young back then?  I swear I was older than those kids.  

And same with the college freshman.  I went to one of the freshman wards in my Dad's stake and felt positively ancient.  So many memories of freshman year with the fatties came flooding back.  Looking around the room I half expected some of my old roomies to come walking through the door. It's hard to believe it was almost 10 years ago that I was in that stage of life.

Oh dear, I'm turing into such an old fuddy duddy.  

But seriously.  I'm learning how quickly life passes us by.  It's been my new goal this year to really try to enjoy each day and to get the most out of it.  Live without regrets. That's going to be my motto for 2014.

But before I wax more poetic than my writing ability can endure, here are some photos of the trip courtesy of my iPhone.

A couple views from my daily morning walks with Mom and Noosa:

My Dad and me at Sundance

My Mom and me at Sundance (of course the only day I remember to take photos is a day I don't wash or brush my hair. Sigh. Why does that always happen?)
More of the beautiful view at Sundance

My lovely parents at Sundance
Noosa guarding the entrance to my parents' house.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rise and Shout

I just got back from a two week trip to Utah to visit my family.  I was fairly successful in "unplugging" while I was there, which felt so good.  It's hard to remind myself how little I actually need my screen time.

Blake got the flu a few days before he was scheduled to come out and join me, so he spent Thanksgiving alone at the house in the throws of his sickness.  It was so sad not to spend the holiday together (though thank goodness it wasn't Christmas!).  All I know is that this Thanksgiving is going down in our family record books.  At least Blake had Bear to keep him company - though I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing when you're trying to rest.  Bear is such an active puppy!

But, back to Utah.

My Dad picked me up from the airport on Saturday morning and we headed down to Provo.  I got to tag along with him to the last BYU football home game.  One of the best parts about tagging along with my Dad is getting to sit in the President's Box.  Football games are an entirely different experience when you're watching them from a climate controlled room with an endless buffet dinner. I could get used to that type of football.

Provo is beautiful in the fall.  I got to see the last of the bright leaves and the beginnings of the snow-covered mountains.  It snowed during the game and the misty mountain view from the stadium was fantastic.

I think DC is gorgeous, but man I really miss those mountains.