Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas 2019

Christmas Eve we had Daniel and Emily over; Emily's family typically spends hours making spaghetti and meatballs. I gave over the kitchen to her and she went to work and made the best spaghetti and meatballs I've ever had. I made some roasted brussel sprouts with shallots and garlic, green salad, and a flourless chocolate cake as well as a ginger-pear punch. It was a delicious Christmas dinner and the chocolate cake even turned out well! Also, bonus, Mal loved the brussel sprouts and asked for seconds.

Afterward we all watched A Christmas Carol together. Normally we would have hot chocolate during this, but we were all quite stuffed from our dinner and the chocolate cake so skipped that this year. Everyone headed out/off to bed and Ryan and I stayed up to prep for Christmas Day.

We started with the boys hanging out in our room while Ryan and I got ready, then stockings and our traditional breakfast. Then regular present-opening. Mal got a kindle, Gareth got Mario Maker 2.

At our friends' white elephant party, Mal had grabbed a bow, stuck it on himself and declared, "I'm a present for today!". He repeated this with three bows Christmas morning and curled up in a ball on the floor and made me pick him up to "open" him.

Then he made a hat out of the top of Ryan's present packaging.

I was pretty proud of my gift for Ryan. Managed to stump him when he was opening it. After he got the wrapping off, he saw it had been shipped from England, which only stumped him more. When he was a kid, they'd had the vinyl album for Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds musical (Ryan will play this sometimes for us all; I rather enjoy it). He would spend a good chunk of time staring at the album art, particularly the pieces by Geoff Taylor.

Image result for war of the worlds album art

Image result for war of the worlds album art

He'd pulled these images up online a couple times in the past year. I decided to see if I could find any of the artwork. Turns out it's pretty hard to find, but I found reference to a limited edition run of prints from several years back. Found the artist's website and they were on there, but with no price information or any indication if any were left. So I emailed the artist and there were some left, so I ordered a set from him. I debated getting them framed before gifting them to Ryan, but realized they wouldn't be ready before Christmas, so we'll take them to the framer sometime this next week.

We also received a delightful book to add to our "children's" book collection. Mal, who won't watch Dr. Who because it's too scary and who claimed to have difficulty sleeping after watching A Christmas Carol, loves these sorts of books. We all got a good laugh out of the first story about a malicious playground.

Emily and Daniel came over in the afternoon and we made some GF sugar cookies, enjoyed various family video chats, and just generally enjoyed one another's company. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2019


It's been a little off-feeling to have Thanksgiving at the very end of November and thus have just a couple days between it and the start of Christmas season. The past couple weeks have passed by in a whirlwind. This past weekend we went out looking for a tree. We started at a lot just a few blocks away, but quickly discovered that while their trees were inexpensive ($35!!), there was perhaps a reason for that. They were almost out of anything over 5 feet, didn't have much supply in our favorite type of tree, and what they did have was a little sad-looking (and short). They promised they would be getting more trees in the next day, but we had set the time aside for this that day and couldn't wait. So off to Swanson's we went. Where the trees are more expensive, but you're guaranteed a certain level of quality and decent selection.

There, we found a tree in just a couple minutes, paid for it, they loaded it on the car, and we were on our way. And for the first time in years, we managed to get the tree up, lights on, and ornaments on all in the same day!