We spent Christmas weekend in Maryland and Delaware: window shopping, eating family meals, drinking wine and talking, watching a light snow fall outside, catching up with friends we haven’t seen in forever, exchanging gifts, posing the doggies for pictures, scarfing down cookies and fudge, and playing team Scrabble. Just perfect.
Last night we went to the parade of lighted boats down at the Southwest Waterfront, and it was pretty awesome. There were holiday tunes and mulled wine and even a fake snow machine (!!!) and of course Santa. The boats left earlier in the evening from the kickoff spot in Alexandria, all decorated with lights and blow-up decorations, ornaments, and other festive decor. They then reached SW, gliding up and down the Washington Channel in full view for the crowd of people waiting and cheering. I kept busy trying to take photos of every single boat, kind of a fail without the tripod, but oh well. Bowser enjoyed meeting lots of other doggies and searching the grounds for dropped cookies and marshmallows. Good times! I kind of want a boat now, just so I can decorate it (Matt is going to kill me when he reads that).
my personal fave, a simple Christmas tree boat
this was the winning boat, I believe, peace and love
On Christmas afternoon, we headed up to Delaware to spend some more time with family. We had breakfast for late lunch/early dinner and opened presents. One of the traditions that I’ve learned from Matt’s family is how to open one gift at a time, going around in a circle and taking turns. Growing up, it was always chaos with everyone going at once and paper flying everywhere, and then afterwards inspecting what gifts had actually been given. There is something nice about both methods, and I love the fact that we get to do it both ways now. Another tradition of theirs is eating grapefruit. Though I tried it one year, I just can’t get down with it, but it is still a comforting reminder of Christmas day for me now, regardless of the fact that I don’t eat it.
The day after Christmas, we decided to get out of the house, and went for a walk around the lake at Carousel Park with the doggies. It was windy and chilly, but it felt nice to stroll around and let Bowser and Tiki enjoy some play time.
Woweeezowweee, I can’t believe that the new year is almost here, and I only managed to post twice before now in the month of December. We are still alive! We’ve been crazy busy, but in a good way. Finishing up the semester always feels like it rolls right into the holidays without much time for a breather, and with family visits, home projects, and all the rest in between, this last month has really flown by with lots of happy times. Matt and I each put two more grad classes behind us and are now a 1.5 years (Matt) and 1 year (me) away from our Masters Degrees. Woo hoo! Will life go back to normal after that?
In early Decemeber, David and Kristy flew home from Alaska to visit until Christmas Eve. We got to see them a bunch of times, and Kristy even came up to Delaware for the day with us ladies for the annual Christmas tea. A few nights before Christmas, we had the whole family over for dinner. We exchanged gifts, ate sweet-potato-chicken chili for dinner, and played Bananagrams (best game ever). Oh, and we all ate lots of cookies and drank chocolate falvored wine. Kristy and I came up with the idea that maybe we should line the rims of our wine glasses with Nutella. Kind of like the same idea as a salt rim for a margarita. Though we didn’t actually execute our plan, I still think we were onto something brilliant that night.
cookies, fudge, and bananagrams!
please note the awesome tuxedo shirt that Kristy is wearing while playing Quordy so quickly that her fingers are blurry.
Things got all busy all of a sudden! Work, school wrapping up for the semester, parties… Holiday rush. Here are some recent photos I haven’t had time to post until now.
Went shopping in Old Ellicott City with the family.
Christmas-y window displays!
We went and got our first real live Christmas tree this year. If you remember this event as a special sort of warm, fuzzy family moment, where you spend an hour wandering around a tree farm with a red wagon, and then Dad bravely cuts down the perfect tree after 45 minutes of looking–maybe there is a better one up ahead! — … well, picture the opposite. It was 9pm on Sunday evening, and I demanded that we go get a tree then, because our crazy schedules were not really free again until it was practically Christmas anyways… so, we headed to the tropical plant place on New York Ave. Picking out the perfect tree consisted of a toothless guy and his cat hustling us along through some dark rows of trees leaning in piles, and us taking the first and cheapest tree we saw that had branches. While the guy and his cat tied the tree to the top of our car, Matt paid for the tree and an extra $3 for a fresh cut on the bottom. It all happened in approximately 12 minutes. Not exactly magical. BUT! Our tree is now home, lit, decorated, and it’s perfect!
…experience complete with giant blow-up Santa.
and, Bowser. Hanging out in bed on a rainy day… BUM.
Last night we took my cousin Katie down to the Ellipse to see the National Christmas Tree. We met up on the metro, which Katie handled like an old pro, and then scurried down from Farragut North, past the White House, to see the beautiful tree. It may be cheesy, but it puts me in the holiday spirit every single year.
Lucky for us, our timing was perfect. As we circled to check out the ornaments on the 50-states little trees, a bagpipe-playing Santa came out of the elves workshop right in front of us, piping some Christmas tunes and ho-ho-ho-ing. It was pretty legit as far as holiday displays and music go.
We were freezing at that point, so it was time for some dinner — Katie’s favorite: Chipotle. What a great and totally festive way for us to spend the evening 5 nights before Christmas and almost the winter solstice.
On a side note, the lights on the tree are MUCH improved from what I remember in past years. AND the train display was running it’s path around the base of the tree. AND it wasn’t so crowded that you couldn’t get up to the front to bask in the yule log warmth.
Iowa’s tree! You’ll have to take my word for it. The camera-phone doesn’t deal well with the varying light levels… MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Yesterday, approximately seven minutes after my family had finished eating our belated Thanksgiving dinner, we began the trimming of the Christmas tree — our meals were still being savored, and we had already moved along to the next holiday. I suppose, however, that is just the nature of things this time of year, always in a rush to what is next. Advertisers had already declared it Christmastime weeks ago anyway, and intrepid shoppers are already trading Black Friday war stories. And the tree process, which at one point was a day-long endeavor and involved sharp objects and getting inevitably covered in sap, has been distilled down to unpacking a single box, putting three pre-lit tree sections together, and plugging in an electric cord.
So, while the transition from turkey and Pilgrims to mistletoe and Elves did feel a little abrupt this year, I’m not complaining, as it did not detract from the pleasant enjoyment of trimming the tree with family. It’s an event which always pulls on my nostalgic heart strings. This year I shot a series of pictures with my old Pentax K-1000 that my father passed down to me awhile back. The series can be seen here (along with some other “bonding” shots from the weekend). My personal favorite ornament is the yellow bike pictured above. Having parents that were both avid cyclists earlier in their lives leaves you with some fun little velo tchotchkes. This bright yellow fixed gear ornament, complete with “true track geometry,” is no exception.
We’ll have to see how long I can keep the holiday spirit up. A trip the the White House Christmas Tree is always good for reinvigorating the cheer, and I’m sure it will be in order soon enough. Long time followers of Juxtaexposed will recall that the White House tree, or more accurately the yule log, was the topic of our first post almost two years ago.