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Christmas was a good one this year. It's a good one every year, but I like it when everyone's a little poorer than usual. We find more creative and interesting ways to give gifts, and everyone manages to find miraculous specials on each other's wishlists.

I did not get out of the wishlist gambit this year. :/ Apparently everyone was tapped out from my refusal to offer a list last year, and so I was forced into coming up with some ideas. We all tried to keep our wishes within reason.

Noel made Beignets for breakfast while we all watched A Christmas Story, then we did PRESENTS.

Boy did quite well for himself:
Stocking:
Popcorn, Pocky, various chocolates & fruits
Accoutrements Musical Instruments - kazoo,
Friction Racecar
Pewpew Laser Keychain
Totoro & Catbus mini-posters
Farm Animals
Chik-Fil-A Gift Card (from someone @ the rents' church
Knitted "watch" bracelet (from his classmates @ the rents' church)

The big stuff:
Cootie & Don't Break the Ice (He *loves* hitting the ice.) (Santa)
Melissa & Doug Blocks (from GayGay & Dankünt)
Melissa & Doug Wooden Sushi Set (From Adger & Dankünt)
1 oz. of Silver (from Ian)
School House Rock DVDs (from Adger)
Veggie Tales Jonah (from GayGay & Dankünt)
Mickey Mouse Pirates of the Caribbean Playset (from Mommom & Daddy)


Angel did fairly well, too.
Stocking:
Standard candies, popcorn, & fruits
Pocket knife
Figment Figure - 1982, Ireland
Utility Light
Before They Were Stars - Wrestling DVD
Good Cigar
Accoutrements - He got a Nazi in one of the figurine sets LOL
Pew-pew Laser Keychain
Collapsible trash can for RV
First Aid Kit for RV

Sealab 2021 (Ian)
Kindred: The Embraced (Dad)
Wrestling Gold (Dad)
Disney "Behind the Scenes" DVDs (me)
Outfit (Al)
Old Spice Giftset (Me & Al)


I made out nicely as well!
Stocking:
Candy, Fruit, Popcorn
"Love Pirate" Eyepatch (realllllly disturbing coming from my parents...)
Black Cat Tape
Socks
RV Log Book & Journal (!!!)
Batteries Not Included DVD
Parasite Pals pencil bag & Address Book
Slice Ceramic Safety Cutter (from Noel)
Magnetic "Tacks"
Pink Elephant Beverage Napkins
Pirate Anne Bonny Action Figure


Electric Water Kettle (for tea!! From Mom & Dad)
"Power Plant" Indoor Gardening Kit (From Mom & Dad)
Harry Potter Clue Game (from Angel)
Ancient Egypt Knowledge Cards (From Angel)
Disney Apples to Apples (From Al?)
Lego Pyramid Game (From Ian?)


All in all, an excellent haul, and no one spent too much on anyone. I didn't keep track of what all the rents & boys got, but a lot of the gifts were things we'd purchased earlier in the year, and just held onto. I'm pretty sure the Power Plant was a regift from Mom, as she got one last year, and it's been sitting in the red room all year. I hope that's the case anyway, because Mom *has* a garden to go out into, and doesn't have room indoors for extra projects.

Dinner was a masterpiece. Dad got a countertop turkey fryer for Thanksgiving, and I gotta say it's incredible. It sounds like the worst idea, but everything's enclosed, so it seems safe enough. Of course, mom cooked pretty much all morning and wouldn't let anyone help.

We all played Apples to Apples right away. The guys were antsy about it being overly Disneyfied, but it's basically just illustrated with movie scenes. I got in a couple good ones with Noel & Angel. On one round, I pulled "Brave", and said immediately, "No cards from Pocohantas." Noel just glared at me, turned his deck around and showed me a card *of* the princess herself. LOL

On another round, Angel pulled "Surprise", and I played "Moms". I've felt weird for a few days, and he asked rather defensively if I was pregnant, so I've been messing with him for about a week now about it. When he picked up the played hand, he got to mine, and knew immediately whose it was. He glared at me, and I smiled and said, "Now honey, wouldn't that be just the most surprising thing you can think of?" Evil, right?

Pretty sure I'm *not* in a family way at this point. I don't think I could handle another pregnancy, much less a second (third!) child.

Still antsy to try out Clue and the Lego board game, but we need a couple more willing people for Clue to be a really good game.

I need to upload photos something awful.
lsdiamond: (Default)
Today was an awesome day. Since it was a 'bonus', we went to Maalac's house and played MechWarrior (clix) for about six hours. It was soooo much fun for a couple hours, but we're definitely going to have to tweak the games...start with fewer points, or time turns, or just time the whole game. Creating scenarios may be another way to help that. Six is just way too long...makes your butt HURT!

Noel left around 3:00 to spend the night with James, so that was the last we saw of him this trip.

After whatever point that we decided the game was over, Ian, +Kyle and I Played DDR Max 2 on their bigscreen TV. It was awesome! We all suck, but at least we had fun doing it. I am in love with the game, and must save up for it as well. First must come the costume stuff, and of course there's the move to take into consideration.

Speaking of which, I should call Nancy this week to tell her I have the pattern needed, and will need to know what she'd charge (on top of cost of goods) to make it.

Around 6:00, we decided it was time to go and obtain food. Formosa Chinese Buffet! Honey Chicken! Crab! But alas, alack! Formosa is temporarily closed for remodeling. Oh how I hope it's finished in four months, and as good as ever. I have sorely missed Formosa.

So we went to Joy Luck, and since they were going to close shortly, the food SUCKED. Okay, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't even as good as the place here in Ardmore. Oh well.

After that, we bummed around Target (that's 'tar-jhay', for you low-brow Mart of Wal shoppers... ;) for a few minutes just because we didn't feel like going back to Elkmont right away. Nothing of much interest.

We hung out at the rents' house until 10 or so, then went back to Frank and Ava's.
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We got rather a late start Saturday, leaving the house around 9:30 to surprise Pam and Maalac with a visit. I say surprise...that's not really correct, as they knew we were in town, but we hadn't made specific plans with them. It was wonderful to spend time with them, and we talked as if we had never been gone...largely about games and funny stories from work. We did lament not being able to play a round of Mechwarrior with him. They seemed to enjoy their gifts: Habanero jelly, a disc of mods for Morrowind, a dolphin sculpture, and some chocolates from Braum's. They gave us a lovely throw with a snowman on it.

Neither one could believe how different I look now. Maalac said I am really beautiful now, because 'the outside matches the inside'. He noted my (years long) struggle with finding myself and was especially pleased with that progress. ^_^

They said how much they miss us, and Pam mentioned how few and far between real friends are for them, because of odd interests. Of course, Maalac is just insane, so for him to find someone who'll accept him for who he is is a huge deal. I can completely empathize with that. They really wish we'd move back to the area, I think more even than Mom, Dad, and the boys.

We were unfortunately forced to leave, because Maalac had to get ready for work, and time simply didn't stop for us. It was a quick goodbye, but we were sad to go, since we'd be leaving the next day and didn't know when we'd get to see them again. I have to admit to crying a bit over it. They've always been our best friends, and I really don't want to leave. Even +Kyle said, "As much as I hate Alabama, I really miss them." I wonder if he misses everyone badly enough to come back. It all depends on work, when it comes down to it, though.

Mom and Dad both keep saying, "when you come back" like it's a sure thing that we'll be back in May. I can't help but feel annoyed about that, even though I *would* like to be closer to everyone. It's just too hard to have to wait a year between seeing people, and then for only a couple of days. But even so, we've said from the beginning that we don't know what's coming next for us. We don't know where we're going to end up. It would be nice to be closer to everyone, but what if that doesn't happen? Maybe I'm just annoyed because it's too much like everyone getting their hopes up for something that may or may not be. Maybe I'm afraid to get my own hopes up.

So anyway, after we left P&M's house, Ian, +Kyle & I went to Decatur. +Kyle was going to have an interview at JC's Guns and Tackle, but something came up...

When +Kyle called Mr. Vaughn, he said that it wouldn't be a good time to come by, because of the post-holiday rush. They were really backed up at the store, but he still wanted to talk to +Kyle and see his work so far. Could he come by on Tuesday? +Kyle said he thought that could be arranged, as we had already talked about what was going on. Before we ever left, I told +Kyle that if, for some reason he couldn't get in touch with whoever he needed to talk to during my alloted time off, we would stay until he could. Family emergency. Well, it happened, and I stand by that decision. I have no qualms about it whatsoever. +Kyle is a little nervous now, but for the first time in a long time, I have made a decision and it's solid. I know that I know that I know that it's the right thing to do. Whether I'll have a job to come back to next week, I don't know, and frankly don't care. It's only four and a half months till +Kyle graduates. I'll work at McDonald's if I have to.

We hassled Maalac at work, and told him what was going on, inviting him to that round of Mechwarrior. We'll play Monday morning. Yatta!

We then went to Decatur Mall - Ian and I were going to DDR as we've planned to for months, but their bloody machine was out of commission! We didn't have time to play in Huntsville on Friday night, and now this. Bah. We bummed around, and Ian spent money he doesn't have. LOL! I found a copy of Gothic II for only $20, and since +Kyle was responsible and said we really couldn't do it right now, Ian picked it up. :P My brother is just wrong, but I guess it's a kind of therapy for him. He really hates his job right now, too.

Ian also had to pick up something for Dirty Santa for our family Christmas party. Well, he didn't really *have* to, but he was insistent. He got a rubber spider and a "Mystery Date" game keychain from the Mart of Wal. What a combination. LOL! We giggled immensely over the concept.

The family Christmas party was starting between 5:00 and 5:30. We got there at 6:00, because I had to wrap our stuff, and we really needed to let Washu out, and get her ready to take with us so Leslie and Kim (our cousins) could meet her as well. Oh well, we were late, but Zack (another cousin) was later. LOL! It was great to see everyone. I have a new nickname, "Teeny". Hey, I really *am* Justine now! :) Zack is really looking good. He's been clean for awhile now, and we're all really proud of him.

Dinner was oiishi... Frank is the king of fried turkey. ^_^ Yum!

Dirty Santa was a blast - much better this year, as there was no Gas-X in the mix of 'lame' presents. There were some really good ones, too. Somehow, I wound up being the one from whom everyone wanted to steal. I had my eye on a backpack, but Leslie got it. There was a cooler thing for sodas or whatever, and Zack got that. I took a DVD from Uncle Mark just to be a butt, and he coerced daughter Jenna to get it back for him. LOL! I wound up with a hilarious fake cellphone. The box is too much fun. I'll scan it and share the joy at some point. I may try to eBay it, but probably not...it really is a great gag. +Kyle got Crows, which are licorice Dots. No one tried to steal from him, which was just fine, because he loves licorice. Blech! No kiss for you, +Kyle! ;)

After that, Peggy was ready to go back to her hotel, since she'd be leaving around 5:30 Sunday morning. She enjoyed being around everyone, and I think I managed to convince her that our family is her family, too. She really doesn't have anyone up in Virginia. We took her and her car to the hotel, since she doesn't drive after dark.
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We went to Mom and Dad's around 7:00 am. Dad was making a special breakfast: Eggs Benedict. He hadn't even had them in about 20 years, so he fretted quite a bit during the preparation. They were pretty good. I'm not big on eggs unless they are *in* something, but the Hollandaise sauce helped some, with its lemony goodness. All were pleased.

Ian had gone to work before we got there, so we didn't see him for quite some time. We did go to Piggly Wiggly to visit +Kyle's old co-workers and friends. They miss him terribly, and we talked for an hour or so with everyone. Afterward, +Kyle and I went to Athens for a couple of errands. We took my rings to Osborne's to get resized. I'm down to a 4-1/2. Yay! My engagement ring was a 7. The girl who helped us out was very sweet. They were able to resize the wedding ring right away, and the engagement ring would be ready by 3:00 the next day. Excellent!!

We then went to Sam Goody. I had a gift card for $25, and we wanted to pick up Pirates of the Caribbean. We also renewed our Replay subscription. Yay! We have like $30 in bonus cash, so I need to get a certificate for that.

We went back to Mom and Dad's to pick up Peggy. We'd decided to have Rosie's for lunch, then would be picking up tickets for the 7:00 showing of Return of the King. This was about 3:00. Rosie's was delicious as always. I had the fajita salad, and +Kyle strayed from his usual Burrito for something new: a Rosiechanga. Peggy had that as well. Mine was really good, but I must remember to tell them NO MUSHROOMS next time. Blech!

We would be meeting Ian at the mall, but we went to Hobbytown first to look at their model train stuff. They had some really nice engines. It's going to be an expensive hobby, but we're looking forward to it when we are able to. The detail is incredible!

Hobbytown had a lot of other gaming items, model kits, and puzzles as well. It's a really neat store, and I hope it sticks around. There was a 12,000 piece puzzle of the New York skyline from before, which was supposed to be about 9'x3' when completed, if I recall correctly. It was absolutely incredible at 25 lbs. and $130. I'd love to have that puzzle someday.

We didn't have much time at the mall. Ian grabbed a quick bite for dinner from Sakkio, and we went to Suncoast to swap out one of Dad's gifts. He got a copy of Thunderbirds set 6, but already had it. He needed 1 or 3.

We ended up being 10 minutes later than we had intended to the movie. It would have been fine, except for the fact that they started letting people into the room earlier than they were supposed to. It seems people were going to riot or something. We still got seats more or less together, but we were the second row from the front. Neck cramp! The place was packed, but there were a few empty seats scattered about.

ROTK was excellent, and a good ending to a fabulous series of films. I may write more about it later.
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Thursday Morning - Christmas Day

YAY! Christmas! The only day in the year when I can't sleep past 6:00 no matter how hard I may try. I was up by 5:30, and *forced* myself back to sleep for...20 minutes... Managed to lie in bed until about 6:15 and then got up to start getting dressed, since I was just going to be bored anyway. :P The alarm woke +Kyle up at 6:45, so we left for Mom & Dad's a good deal earlier than we had expected. The boys were of course awake, having torn into their stockings as is our custom. We found a nosh, then dug into ours as well. Stockings are a big deal, so we always get good fun little things in it.

Stocking Goodies )

So, our other family tradition is that we can't touch presents until Mom and Dad are both up. Mom had been up awhile, but Dad usually gets up around 8-ish unless we make enough noise to get him up earlier. :) He and Mom stayed in the kitchen for a long time preparing the turkey for lunch and making stuffing, etc. We got started around 9:30, which was soooo hard to wait for. LOL! This year we had rounds of presents, then they'd go back into the kitchen, then we'd have another couple of rounds.

Peggy (+Kyle's Mom) called around 11:00 to let us know she'd gotten to her hotel. We gave her directions out to the 'rents house, and she got here around 11:30. We still had a couple of rounds of presents to go, plus her gifts, and she had brought some little things for everyone. It was all really great, and everyone had fun.

One of the best moments was when Dad opened one of Mom's gifts. He felt the package, and knew what it was right away - a Wooly Willy. He loosened the tape without looking at what it was, held it up beside his face, and slid the wrapping down, grinning. What he didn't realize at the time was that Mom had doctored it, and put his picture inside. (Dad shaves his head regularly, so this was ingenius.) So I snapped this picture of Dad holding up a picture of himself embedded in a Wooly Willy. ROTFLOL! The room exploded as the image registered, and we all laughed. Dad looked at the gift, and realized the enormity of what had just transpired. He and Mom laughed so hard they were clearly in pain. I just kept snapping, because the whole scene was toooooo hilarious! I'll have to post some pictures somewhere.

Peggy even had a good time with us, which was encouraging. :) She gave us a bunch of useful items from Kroger, as well as some money which is designated for the move in May. We now have enough for a U-Haul saved, and if we keep saving, we can get gas money and maybe enough for a couple of deposits. It's still going to be tight, but much more doable than it would have been without this gift.

My Big Presents )

+Kyle's Big Presents )

2:30 or so: After presents and cleaning up and playing with new toys, we had lunch, which was divine. Turkey, dressing, green beans, corn, Mom's homemade rolls, and my Aunt Kathy's sweet potato pie. Gosh, she could cook, and I'm glad that recipe did not disappear.

At 3:30, we left for Huntsvegas for the theatre. We were going to see Return of the King, but alas, the 4:45 showing was sold out, in spite of the fact that the girl who I spoke to on the phone told me that they hadn't been selling out of shows. :P The movies are really the only thing open on Christmas Day, but we've never had a problem with any film before. We got refund tickets and opted to try again Friday.

Back at the house, we lounged, visited, played with goodies, and made plans for the next few days. Peggy decided to go back to her hotel at some point. We left for Frank and Ava's around 11:00, I think. It was pretty late, and they were not up.

Christmas pictures are forthcoming.
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Wow...It has been a delightful visit up to now, and it's barely just begun.

We arrived around 8:00 am, as expected. The drive took just about 14 hours, due to numerous stops involving the mutt. She was actually good for most of the trip, but every time we'd come to a stop in some town, she'd start howling, ostensibly to get out of the car and run around, but when we'd let her out, she wouldn't eat or drink, and didn't want to do much more than just sniff around. We didn't stop at every town we came to, just about once every two hours. It was rather interminable, and neither of us got much sleep at all.

We spent most of the day just resting, and fell asleep on the couch for about two hours. There was church in the evening, of course, and everyone was so happy to see us. *Kyle enjoyed seeing everyone as well, but I was exhuberant.

For the evening, we visited further with mom, dad, and the boys until about 10:30 or so, then decided to go on to Frank and Ava's. They were still up, so we chatted for a bit, discussing news and movies, etc. They saw The Last Samurai and were enthralled as we had been. They're people, so it's a good thing. :) I used to have a hard time dealing with Ava because I thought for years that she just didn't like me. I'm past that now.
lsdiamond: (Default)
...where the sky is not always blue, especially in winter, when it's largely grey with greyer clouds...

...where the governor is generally a moron...

...but where I will be spending the holidays with my beloved family!

that is all

Christmas

Dec. 29th, 2002 10:00 pm
lsdiamond: (Default)
My parents paid the way for us to come visit for the holidays. Thank you, mom and dad!!!

We were off for the whole week of Christmas at work, due to the way the publication dates fell, so it made for a good visit. We saw lots of friends, and most importantly family.

Everyone says we look great, and are amazed at my successes with weight loss. Tommie has also been on WW, but is on a plateau right now. She had prepared meals suitable for WW for the family Christmas get-together, so that was excellent. I didn't have to worry about keeping up with points too much.

So much happened. We had to leave right after the family event, so we could drive all day Sunday and get back here. I didn't want to leave ever again, and cried for a long time. I miss everyone terribly. I know +Kyle does, too, but never to the extent I do. He just wasn't raised in a close family unit, so he doesn't "need" it as much.

But enough negativity. The new year is soon to be upon us.

January 2012

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