Thursday, December 26, 2013

Judging our neighborhood's Christmas lights

Judging our neighbor's holiday lights

This evening Mom and I decided to drive around our neighborhood to see if anyone else decorated.  1st Place - There were not many lights and we really thought we would end up being confirmed as the best.  However, the last possible street we could check out revealed the above as the best decorated.  They even had a Santa and some penguins on the porch.

Judging our neighbor's holiday lights

2nd Place - Our house with icicle lights, red & green lightbulbs, and my Penguin Army.

Judging our neighbor's holiday lights

3rd Place - Right next door to first place, this house placed with its reindeer and driveway lighting.

Judging our neighbor's holiday lights

Honorable Mention - This house did not have any holiday lights, but it was funny with Santa splatted on it and saying Peace on Earth.

Judging our neighbor's holiday lights

Honorable Mention - With a lighted dog in the front yard, this house gets an honorable mention since it was the only other house besides above with decorations beyond just the porch and on the house or bushes.

Christmas Eve 2013

Christmas Eve 2013
Christmas Eve 2013 started with Mom & I heading grocery shopping around 8 a.m.  We then stopped at the storage unit to load up one of the tables we wanted to take to the lake house. Back at the house we loaded up the rest of the stuff for taking to the lake house (mainly my round red).  The truck certainly has come in handy for situations like this, especially with the lift gate that actually is a powered lift.

Mom & I then headed to the lake.  We gave Mik the option to come then or when Dad came after work.  First thing he said was why do I have to go to the lake?  Apparently, he thought we did the presents on Christmas, so he did not think he had to be there until Christmas Day.  I guess we have not done actual Christmas Eve on Christmas Eve for so many years that he did not realize that our family tradition has always been opening them on Christmas Eve.  Once he knew there were presents he was good with going to the lake house, just not any earlier than necessary, so he choose to come with Dad.

Mom & I had to go up by noon, though, as we had scheduled for the internet to be installed.  The install guy was actually there at the beginning of the install window.  Unfortunately, he quickly discovered the house was too far from the relay point and they have to have a survey team and construction team come out to upgrade to the current requirements, so no internet for at least another couple weeks.

Christmas Eve 2013

We spent the early afternoon putting away the random stuff we had brought up to the lake house.  We also "wrapped" the last of the presents and filled the stockings.  We meant to bring the whole wrapping paper container, but ended up forgetting it.  We had to get creative with wrapping and used an organizer box, a drawstring bag, and a Santa hat.

Christmas Eve 2013

By 4 p.m., we expected Dad & Mik to at least be on the way to the lake house and we were totally out of things to do to get ready.  Not only did we have the cheese tray and stuffed mushrooms ready, but we even baked the pie that needed hours to cool.

Christmas Eve 2013

At 4:30 p.m. when we realized they still had not even left Huntsville, Mom & I decided to go for a drive.  We called it The Grant Expedition because Mom wanted to see the "town" of Grant.  There really is not anything there, but they do in fact have an Ace, which we love because we used to go there all the time for things in Tucson and miss not having one in Huntsville.  After also driving out towards Scottsboro, we stopped at the boat house on the way back so I could take a late sunset picture of the lake.

Christmas Eve 2013

To warm up when we got back I made some Viking Coffee.  We could not get the Bailey's open, so I ended up substituting some Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer.  We also did not have any sugar or Truvia at the lake house, but we had all the baking decoration stuff and used some green sprinkles instead.

Christmas Eve 2013

Mik & Dad were still not there, so we started playing Scrabble on the iPad.  I was watching out the window for cars coming across the bridge while Mom was taking her turns.  The last time she told me it was my turn I said wait I am going to watch this car come across the bridge first.  Halfway across the car put its turn signal on and at that point I was pretty sure it was them because there is a decent amount of traffic on the bridge, but very little coming onto our road.  It ended up being them and after unloading Billy, Mik, and the stuff they brought up to the lake house we were finally able to celebrate Christmas Eve around 7 p.m.  Of course, as usual as getting unload and putting some stuff away, it was Mom that was the most impatient to get to the present opening with Mik a close second.

Christmas Eve 2013

Mik's first present was a stack of Reese's candy.  He quickly held it tight to hide it because he did not want anyone to even know to steal it from him.  He then had it hidden hopefully safely in his room, which turned into his lake house candy stash after he got his stocking on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve 2013

He was also pretty excited about the Tom Clancy audiobooks Mom & Dad got him.  He had been hoping for some iTunes cards to get some, but this was better, although the next day he realized not quite so as some ended up being abridged versions and he sent us a group text to us saying in the future make sure you only get unabridged.

Christmas Eve 2013

We made Dad open wait until everyone opened all their presents to open his last present because it was the ultimate present, which sort of a present for all of us since we all wanted it.  Dad was just the one person that did not know about it.  For years Mik has been wanting to get all the JAG seasons and we already own some of them, but until I saw the JAG Complete Collection on Amazon as a lightning deal last week I did not realize they had a collector's set.  I quickly texted Mik and asked if we could split the cost to give it to Dad as a gift, since we had not got him anything, yet.  Mik said yes and recruited Mom to be in on it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Billy finds the stocking stuffers

Today I left for Tucson and am coming home right before Christmas Eve, so yesterday Mom and I finished getting our stocking stuffers at Dollar Tree.  I know when I left for the airport at 4am, I closed the door between the kitchen and my room. However, someone (Mom!) opened it at some point and didn't close it when they left, so Dad came home tonight to find the bag of stuff by the dog door and wrappers in the yard.

I totally thought Billy might try to get into the stocking stuffers, but thought they would be safe in my room.  I never like to spend money on dog treats, so Dad always buys them with his money. I thought it would be funny to put a bag of dog treats in Dad's stocking because it is something he likes to try for Billy.  Now that Billy found the stocking stuffers early, I am even less inclined to ever give him a stocking stuffer.  Dad said it seems he mostly are the sweets, although Mik's beef jerky might have also attracted him.

Mom's Interpretation of Being there with Bells On

Yesterday somehow we got to talking about what either Mik or she should wear to Kirsten's wedding next weekend.  I asked if she RSVP'd as coming with bells on or not. She said she hadn't even seen the RSVP note. Dad must have just mailed it without showing her.

Mom said she is most definitely going with bells on.  How that ends up will be G rated and festive, as she also plans to have lights on.  However, she had some inappropriate ideas first.  Mainly, she said I should photoshop her wearing three very carefully placed ornaments (think bikini) and send it to Kirsten as a warning as to how my mom planned to take the attire recommendations very literally and attend the wedding with bells on.  I said I wouldn't even go that far with her crazy idea, but I'd put it on the blog in words.  I don't think anyone wants to see anymore of a visual of her idea than this.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mik's North Pole Village 2013 Version

Today I managed to put out all of Mik's North Pole Village on the counter in the dining room.  I originally thought we would have to put some on the upper cupboard or over on the piano, but I managed to get them all to barely smoosh in on the counter. Of course, that doesn't take into account that Mik hasn't picked out his building this year.

This morning he found a Coke one he wanted on Amazon with a warning it wouldn't arrive before Christmas. Now that it won't fit with this year's set up, it seems worth getting and just incorporating it next year.  We did add a little Cars accessory that Dad and I bought him when we were at Disney World earlier this year, so at least there is something new this year.

Mik has now added having an area that can be used to display his village to the requirements for our dream house on the lake that we are saving up for.  This is especially important as his village keeps growing and he also said next year he is going to save money to buy himself a building and thus get two next year with one being the one from Mom & Dad (I always get him an accessory).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Stockings are Hung Part 2 (and Mom's Phone is Found)

This evening Mom and I went up to the lake house to take a load of stuff and hang the rest of the stockings.  As we were leaving Mom couldn't find her phone. Cell service is iffy out there and I called it several times with no luck.  We have up on searching after a little bit and got in the car to drive towards the city for a better signal because I wanted to get an Amazon lightning deal and we thought we could then use the find my iPhone app on my phone to find Mom's. I ended up being too slow on the deal and then we couldn't use the app because we had put Mom's phone on airplane mode to listen to Christmas music while decorating and avoid the static with the speaker.

Backtracking to the lake house and a quick search led to me finding Mom's phone on the floor right up against the toilet in the downstairs bathroom.  Two things learned. One Mom relies too much on the Find my iPhone app. Two never put her phone in airplane mode unless actually on an airplane.

Losing Mom's iPhone also led to me finding her work badge in her car.  Too bad we hadn't found it earlier because then we could have picked up the legs for the dining table top we already have at the lake house.

Stockings Are Hung

This morning while Mom and I were at Target for something we decided to get a stocking and two stocking holders, since we didn't find all the stockings in the Christmas boxes and had no idea where they could be from the move.  About an hour after we got home, Mom was doing some sorting of her office and found a box conveniently labelled Christmas stockings that had the missing stockings as well as two stocking holders, which we weren't even sure we had in the first place.  She put them up with her two stockings at home, so the mantel is more festive.  Above the fireplace is also decorated for the holidays with tractors lights in our antique alcove, although now that they have been up there we are thinking they will stay year round.