Tags: holidays

snow on cat

Let's get our Christmas on!

Shara over at calico_reaction put up this tidy little form on her blog, so I thought I'd steal it because the holidays are so hectic, having something to organize my thoughts as I put them in here can only be a good thing.

We basically have three Christmases at our house. Both sets of parents live in the city, and we have our own little family unit, so it makes for a busy season. Most of the holiday organization falls to me, since the husband doesn't remember it's coming until December, and by then if the ball hasn't started rolling, it's probably not going to. But I love Christmas and all the preparations that go into it. Just... the whole season. I know some people hate it, and some are heartily sick of it by the time December 25th rolls around, but I honestly just love the whole thing, from beginning to end.

Yesterday was our first day of Christmas, spent with the in-laws, so it's clearly time for a holiday update!

Favorite tradition: There are several traditions I haven't participated in yet this year, since there are still a couple days of Christmassing to be had. Of the ones we've done so far, though, letting the kids dress up in their seldom-used "fancy clothes" for the holiday events is pretty fun. They get so excited to do it.

Favorite holiday song: I'm not sure I have one particular song I've been hankering to listen to over and over, but I do truly love the Barenaked Ladies' holiday album. It's a wonderful mix of sincere and silly that captures just the right mood.

What I've Been Doing: Everything! Wrapping, shopping, baking, decorating, organizing, mailing, taking photographs, visiting... it's busy but it's been a good busy. It's been fun, not frantic (well, for the most part).

What I've Been Baking: All the cookies! I've made spicy chocolate chili crackles, mint chocolate chip, cherry chocolate kisses, macaroons dipped in chocolate, cinnamon snickerdoodles, and peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip. I also made red velvet cupcakes with creamcheese icing just because I was on a roll and I just re-found the recipe (the husband accidentally threw it out a few months ago). We're, uh, pretty set on the baking front.

What I've gotten: I got a gorgeous package full of dance goodies through the gift exchange organized by beafarhana through bhuz (the cat wasn't included, but the cat toys were). I was sent some delicious cookies from a friend of mine, and my brother bought me Guild Wars 2 when he could get it on sale. (This last is more significant if you realize I spent a long time in the original Guild Wars game with a pretty tight-knit guild, all of whom moved on when the new game was released. I couldn't justify spending the not-inconsiderable on a new game for me, especially now that I have less time for gaming than I ever have, but I've missed my guild friends.) I'll do a fuller post later about yesterday's Christmas activities and gifts, but that'll focus more on the kids' gifts, because they're the ones I have all the photos of and are more fun to talk about, so I'll list what I received here: there was a DVD and CD for dancing, two books (Ann Aguirre's Enclave and Sarah Beth Durst's Vessel), a "soft kitty" shirt, a very pretty Christmas ornament (I get one every year; at least half of what's on my tree is from them), and a gift certificate to spend at Dahlal for more dance stuff. Om nom nom, dance stuff.

What I've Done for Others: There hasn't been a lot in the way of charity, since I've been so busy working on getting things together for my own family. Not sure what that says about me really. I did box up my maternity clothes to send to a friend pregnant with her first baby, although that wasn't really holiday related, just happened to be timed for this month. I'm involved in the earlier stages of putting together a steampunk calendar for 2014, the proceeds of which will go to charity, but it's mostly ideas beginning to coalesce at this point (meaning nothing has yet been booked or paid for). It should be a fun project, though!
Christmas Amy/Eleven

Holidays! Hurray!

I hope everyone's holidays have been awesome thus far and continue to be. Or, if you're done with your celebrations, I hope you have an awesome... uh, rest of the time where everyone else is still celebrating. Yup.

It's been busy at my house. Dec 24th we had Christmas with my in-laws, which involves food, gift exchange, and lots of games. Then we had the annual gift wrapping party at my parents' house. Dec 25th had us at home with the kids in the morning, then at my parents' for Christmas dinner and the big gift exchange with everyone there. Today is what's known as the Hardy Party, wherein a friend of ours (and my former roommate; guess her last name) is in town for just long enough to have a dinner party inviting all her local friends before she heads back home.

Also I should hit a boxing day sale today at some point so I can pick up a birthday gift for the husband. His birthday is January 2, so I usually use post-Christmas sales to get him something. Then at least I can be sure I'm not buying him something someone else has already gotten him for Christmas.

So it's been busy around here, but it's a good busy. The kids are exhausted, so it's a good thing we have most of today to chill. Hope everyone else's celebrations have gone as well.
things never end

New Year's

Well, it's a shiny new year, and so it's a time of reflection and examination. A lot of my friends are taking a look at the past year and its events and then adding something like "I hope 2011 will be even better," but considering I gave birth in 2010 I'm not sure how I can top that this year. I'm not planning to have another baby right away, so yeah, that kind of makes 2010 more awesome by default. Sorry, 2011, it just does. No offense.

I have spent a bit of time pondering resolutions, though. I usually try to make it something achievable, something I can stick to with a bit of work. Last year my goal was to buy fewer books (which did happen) and to make a good dent in my TBR pile (which did not happen). Ahem. Yeah, it turns out that with enough ARCs, you can add to your stockpile without buying many books at all. At least I got the book budget under control?

This year I spent a while debating what goals I wanted. At some point this year I'll be looking to lose that baby weight, but I can't make that a new year's resolution since I'm still breastfeeding, which means no dieting. I do want to be pickier about what ARCs I take on this year, since last year I put a lot of pressure on myself trying to get reviews up in a timely manner and wound up burning myself out a bit. I have a good collection of authors and series I know I love on my shelves that I just haven't had time to get around to, and I want to make more time for those, because reading for pleasure means I should be enjoying myself more often than not, yeah? I kind of feel like that's a pathetic New Year's goal, though. "Enjoy more books that I enjoy!" Uh, yeah. I guess I'll give myself a few more days to think about it.

At any rate, best wishes to all of you, and may each of you have a year full of all the awesome you deserve.
book 1


Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving. So happy turkey day to everyone living in this corner of the world, and may we all remember how lucky we are to be living lives that don't suck.

Seriously, I have my family, my friends, and my many many books. I live in a pretty awesome country, and in a time period where women actually have rights. Also, I have a belly full of turkey and pumpkin pie. Yup, good times.