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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

 Santa came!

 Thankfully, we spent Christmas Day at our own home so that we could recuperate from the wild Christmas Eve festivities. We'll start with Christmas morning. Santa never disappoints and always comes through with wonderful presents.

Oh, kitty socks!

Whoa - kitty socks!

Happy with her Legos.

Look at that happy girl with her Legos!

Stopping to look at her book.

Yes - our child actually pauses to look at the books that she got.

Opening her scooter.

Lauren was really excited to get a Razor scooter. She's been riding it in the house all week, which is not so exciting for Mark and I.

My beloved foam brushes.

Then it was time for us to open our gifts. My beloved foam brushes! This is Mark's idea of a joke. He likes to make fun of me because I prefer to paint with them rather than a brush (I can't stand it when paintbrushes shed their bristles into the paint!).

Not in there this year. Darn.

I checked, but I'm not in there this year. Maybe next.

Cathrineholm teapot

Ooo...Cathrineholm teapot to display in the new kitchen!

Mark examining his rollerskates.

Mark evaluating the roller skates he received from Lauren and I. Now he doesn't have to rent them when he takes her to the Romp 'n Roll!

Mark shows off his presents.

Mark overwhelmed by his fabulous Mini Cooper coasters and "Cool Dad" flashlight (One of four flashlights he received this year).

Craig and his love.

In the evening, it was time to open presents with my family. Here's Uncle Craig cuddling on the couch with his love.

Craig and his other love.

Here's Uncle Craig cuddling on the couch with his other love - a Panera gift card (And note the matching hat)!

Grandma and Pappy.

Here's a Pappy and Grandma methodically opening their gifts.

 Pappy explaining his bucket insert to Grandma.

Two hours later, here's Pappy explaining to Grandma the intricacies of his bucket liner.

 3 Cowboys.

And lucky Aunt Phyllis! She arrived at our house with one cowboy, but will be leaving with three! Yee haw!

 Me and Mark.

And on that note, we'll conclude Christmas 2011.

The Ross Family.

Actually, this would be a good time to conclude 2011, as I'm probably not going to have time to do a year-in-review post today. So Happy New Year from the Ross Family - I know it's going to be a great one!

Christmas Eve 2011

Snowman cookie.

As usual, the week after Christmas got away from me. I worked through Wednesday and then spent the rest of the week playing video games and eating cookies. Since Christmas was already a week ago and the New Year is upon us, we better get to it.

 Under construction.

As per tradition, Christmas Eve was spent with Mark's family. Oh yeah, we all know how this is gonna go.


Mike tossing it back.

 Mike and Noah.

Baby Jacob laughing.

See Baby Jacob - you're not the only one who gets real happy after you have your bottle. Your brother Noah will explain this Christmas Eve business later. He's already been there.

Angel guarding my drink.

And lo! The Angel of the Lord came upon us, and guarded my drink and Wii remote all night.

Giant bottle of Snapple.

But then the night really spun out of control after Grandpa brought out the biggest bottle of Snapple on human record.

Beth and Jacob.

You're right Baby Jacob - that giant bottle of Snapple that Grandpa was holding was pretty weird. I'd run to my mommy too if she was here.

Grandma Pinky and her sweatshirt.

Well, Baby Jacob, maybe things will calm down now, since it's time to open presents. Look, your Grandma got a nice, cozy sweatshirt.

Hockey showdown.

And there's Grandpa trying out Noah's air hockey table.

The Winter Classic.

It was good clean fun until Cousin Sean checked Cousin Lauren into the rigatoni and meatballs.

Lauren and her Webkinz.

But she got her revenge by unleashing the Webkinz.

Webkinzmania running wild.

More Webkinzmania!

Webkinzmania, running wild!

 Hulkamania running wild.

Hulkamania runnning wild!

Watch out for the tickle monster.

Who got the Tickle Me Melissa? I thought they were all sold out.

Happy Baby Jacob.

Isn't Tickle Me Melissa the best gift ever, Baby Jacob?

 Me and my lasagna.

She even comes with lasagna!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 25

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 25

Another Christmas under the belt, and the 25 Days project completed. It was touch and go, but in the end it all came together. In middle, I thought to myself that there's no way I could do this again next year, but then I started to reconsider. I still had quite a few tricks left that I didn't have a chance to pull from my sleeve, so between those and a few new ones, maybe I could pull it off again. Besides, the thing with Christmas is that each one is different. You may have the same decorations and the same traditions, but there's always something new to see in them.

Now to take a little time to myself to recoup and try to remember what it was like to not be preparing for Christmas every moment of the day. I'll still be doing my usual Christmas recap in the days to come. I have over 150 photos to cull, so bear with me. The project may be over, but there's still lots of good stuff to come!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 24

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 24

I know that I promised for today I would take a photo of the finished nativity at the local church, but I just didn't have time to go up there. Besides, does it get any more Christmas Eve than cookies for Santa?


Bonus - today's challenge was "all wrapped up." It's become a tradition for me to take photos of my finished packages, so I had already planned to take this one. Here it is, Christmas Eve night, and I don't think I can say that I have Christmas all wrapped up. I was chatting with someone the other day about being "ready" for Christmas, and I said, "Christmas is kinda like having a baby. You can never be truly ready for it."

Friday, December 23, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 23

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 23

I finally did some baking tonight, so my initial thought was to take some cookie photos, but since the weather finally dried up today, I revisited yesterday's plan to head outdoors and capture some light displays. This is our neighbor's house. Their icicle lights twinkle, which really gives a nice effect. They also added the shooting star just this year. They used to have a giant moose made out of lights that I always wanted to show here, but I never got around to it. They had to disassemble it because they're adding another addition where the moose used to stand. Maybe it will make a come back when the addition is finished. I sure hope so!

Our house in lights.

Here is the front of our house. I had to take this standing across the street. The road is pretty busy, so I was fearing for my life and for my expensive camera equipment.

 Peppermint stick birdhouse.

Mark wrapped the birdhouse so it looks like a giant peppermint stick.

With just two days to go, I'm thinking that there's going to be a lot of material to draw from, so instead of being challenged to come up with ideas, I may have difficulty choosing!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 22

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 22

Sorry my photos are so unvaried. I had plans to take a photo of my neighbor's light display, but the rain prevented that from happening. Instead, I'm sharing the gingerbread house that Lauren made in school today. The marshmallow concoction on the left is a snowman, in case anyone was wondering.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 21

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 21

Last night, we made these ornaments by squirting and swirling acrylic paint into clear ball ornaments. It made a big mess, but it was fun. The colors that we used were really pretty (Cloud, Bright Red and Caterpillar), but unfortunately, I thinned out the paint a little too much, which caused it to mix into a yellowish brown color in some of the ornaments. I'd like to try this again next year if I'm able to find more clear balls, and I think it would make a fun craft for Girls Scouts. At least it held Lauren's attention more than the candy cane mice!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 20

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 20

In order to keep them a surprise for the recipients, I normally wait until after Christmas to unveil any handmade items, but desperate times (i.e. I need a photo today) call for desperate measures. This weekend, I made these cute candy cane holders. They were born from the minds of the nice folks as Martha Stewart Living.

 Candy cane mice.

I'd like to say Lauren helped with these, but once she made one for herself, she got a better offer and went to help her daddy set up the train.

Monday, December 19, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Day 19

 25 Days of Christmas - Day 19

This weekend, I mentioned to Mark that I wished we had space to display my father's train set that I had inherited. I used to beg my dad every year to put it up.

Small town.

 I'd bank there.

Long train coming.

And then before I knew it, I had a train in my dining room. The hamburger joint is my favorite part.

 All aboard.

Lauren even got a train of her own in her Wendy's kid's meal. We set it up like the train at the mall, complete with a giant Christmas tree in its center. And just like the mall, you have to stand in a very long line to ride it.

Looks like we're in the home stretch...I have all of the next six days planned out, so I think that I'm going to make it!