Tag Archives: christmas

The Christmas Ban

Believe

 

 

Attics can be very mysterious places. Scary, too, and that’s why you’d never find Ruxin in one at night. Given the gray daylight, though, he didn’t much mind his mom sending him up on a mission to find sweaters in theirs, even if it might take all day.

 

Ruxin knew that when his mom said she was sure they were up here somewhere, that it was very likely there were no sweaters up here at all, but he had nothing better to do and he enjoyed watching the snow fall from the tiny octagon attic window at the highest point of their house.

 

Everything was covered in white for as far as his eyes could see and it just kept coming, a relentless sheet of snow burying them deep this winter. The heater struggled to actually keep the house warm, leaving the attic even colder than usual.

 

In his search Ruxin found all manner of blankets and scarves, but still no sweaters. He’d wrapped two mismatched scarves around his neck and draped a wool blanket over his shoulders like a cape to keep warm. It made him feel like some sort of winter superhero.

 

Hidden behind a tower of withered boxes, Ruxin discovered a tiny door, only large enough to crawl through. After prying it open, he found an old wood trunk inside. It had filigree carved edges and a winter scene similar to the one outside his house etched into the lid; tall pine trees, an old farm house, and smooth snow covering it all. In the yard there stood a man with a deer by his side. Ruxin ran his palm over the design in admiration, brushing aside the film of dust before tugging the trunk out of the cubby hole and unlatching the lock to lift the lid.

 

A musty burst of air escaped the trunk and he coughed for a second to clear his lungs. Dust motes trickled down around him like glitter floating to the floor as Ruxin reached into the trunk. His hand closed around the first item it touched and pulled out a long, white velvet cap with silver snowflakes embroidered into the fabric, and an edge lined with fur. It was a long sort of cap, the kind that’d hang down past your shoulders, and at the very tip, a matching fur ball dangled from its end.

 

Ruxin couldn’t resist the urge to slide it on his head, but it fell down over his eyes, far too large for a child. When he pulled it off, he noticed embroidery just inside the fur edge so he turned it inside out to find the name Nicholas Claus sewn in red cursive. The name intrigued him; it was unfamiliar and that told him this trunk didn’t belong to his family.

 

Holding the hat in his lap, he reached into the trunk again and pulled free a photograph set in a crystal frame that looked like ice. In it, a woman with cherry red hair kissed the nose of a man wearing the cap Ruxin held in his lap. Their cheeks were pink with the winter chill. Ruxin didn’t quite understand it, but there was something peaceful about the couple, something warm and inviting – an aura of happiness strong enough to emanate from a photograph. He also couldn’t help but notice his house in the background and the same pine trees that lined his yard’s borders.

 

He’d popped the back out of the frame before he’d thought better about potentially damaging the photo, but he’d seen old pictures in his mother’s photo albums and knew it was common practice to write facts about the snapshot on the back. Sure enough, written on the back in the same cursive as the cap, it read: Nicholas & Noel, Christmas 2013.

 

Ruxin thought, Christmas? What’s that? (more…)

Neff Family Christmas Card Shoot

(Click through the slideshow below!)

 

 

 

 

Luciano’s 1st Christmas Shoot

(Click through the slideshow below!)

 

 

Coleman Family Christmas Shoot

(Click through the slideshow below!)

 

 

 

 

High’s & Low’s

December is always such an awesome month for me. Heck, basically from the moment October 1st hits everything is just a building of happiness for me from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. It's almost hard to even contain, the excitement of it all. Because of the season's busy nature, though, I often feel like I don't get to enjoy the ambiance of it all really until after the big day has finally arrived. 

Obviously with it being nearly the halfway point of January, I shouldn't even still be thinking about Christmas. It's come and gone. But my tree and decorations are still up and I'm still clinging to the idea that it's still the holiday season. I'm starting to realize this year that this is getting harder and harder for me every year. The act of putting the season away. I had all these plans to at least clean and put the decorations away this weekend and work on getting the tree down by next weekend, but it seems like I did everything else I could do today so there wasn't time left for that. Some sort of internal protest. 

I hate how I felt so alive and happy just a couple weeks ago, but just the idea of officially putting all the visual representation of the season away makes me sad enough to wallow like this. To avoid it like the plague when I know it's time to finally clean up. 

You would think at 30, I'd grow less attached to the joy of Christmas, but I swear I'm more attached to it now than I was even when I was a kid when Christmas is the most magical thing in the world. 

I'm dreading this next week. I've got to make myself pack Christmas up. I've just got to. And I suspect I'll be extra sad as a result. *sigh*

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Christmas Loot 2012

Previous posts were just pictures from Christmas, which auto-posted from flickr (and I thought that was just super awesome), so I'll recap a little here before I brag about how spoiled I am. 😉

My sister had to work on Christmas Day this year unfortunately (she's a nurse), which sort of disrupted our normal Christmas Day routine. But so that we could celebrate with her family too we had breakfast in our jammies on Christmas Eve together and exchanged the gifts we had for each other. Steve (my brother-in-law) made this Krispy Kreme egg sandwich that was completely wrong and so very right at the same time. It was good times.

We parted ways and got fancied up for another break from our Christmas Eve traditions (sort of). We always have a fancy Christmas Eve dinner with my Dad's side of the family, but it's usually at my parents house and this year it was at my uncle's historic house in Baltimore City. My aunt was here from Wisconsin (it's been years since I've seen her) and my grandparents were home from Florida, too. We ate a fancy four course meal and shared lots of laughs. Overall, despite it's different location, it was one of the better Christmas Eve celebrations.

Christmas Morning Heath and I headed over to my parents early to open gifts as we normally do. When we were finished, we started getting Maw Maw & Paw Paw's country breakfast (the thing I long for all year long) ready for the rest of my Mom's side of the family to arrive. After lots of good eats and more presents we headed home to get ready to visit Heath's family. Gifts were shared and a Christmas dinner was consumed (as if I was in need of more food at all after two days worth of heavy eating) and we came home ready for jammies again.

I finally picked through my gifts the following day, completely incapable of focusing on any one thing for too long. Like sensory overload. I hadn't realized I'd gotten so much until I put it altogether for this picture. I am way too spoiled.

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Baking Stuff: Cupcake carrier, rolling pin, glass pie pan, pipping bags with decorative tips, dough kneader, rolling/cutting board, The Great Cookie Recipe book, an apron, and cupcake liners.

Photography Stuff: Lighting Set, Camera bag ("SAW it, shot it" <– catchy right, my initials!), Lens hood and assorted lens cleaning stuff, and mini tripod. 

Books: ance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter, Touched by Cyn Balog, For Darkness shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn, In Honor by Jessi Kirby, Germ by Robert Liparulo, Stephen King Leatherbound Classic (Not pictured), Jules Verne Leatherbound Classic (Not pictured), and an ESV Thinline Leather Bible.

DVD's: The Hunger Games and Big Bang Theory Season 1.

Misc. Other: Samsung Galaxy Tablet with Keyboard, 17 Old World Blown Glass Ornaments and case, Not of this World Hoodie and sticker, assorted lotions and body sprays, candles, a coin purse, a notepad, Bath & Body Works wallflowers, 30" Silver Chain, Owl Charm Necklace, 2 book lights, novelty lens mug, a bookmark, Big Bang Theory 2013 Wall Calendar, a snakeskin purse (not pictured), and a variety of gift cards. 

I don't know why I am spoiled like this, but I sure am grateful. 

So, what did you guys get for Christmas? How did you celebrate it

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EDIT: I also got THIS from my critique partner (), but it slipped my mind for this post because I had already made a post about it on tumblr. Cool, right? 😉

Christmas Day 2012: In Pictures

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Christmas Day 2012, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Christmas Morning at Mom and Dad’s

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Christmas Day Evening 2012, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Christmas with the Harris’s

Christmas Eve 2012: In Pictures

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Christmas Eve Morning 2012, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Presents and breakfast with the Huff's

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Christmas Eve 2012, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Christmas Eve dinner in Baltimore City

Baking Cookies Like a Boss

This weekend I set out to bake 500 cookies. I always bake cookies around the holidays because I like to give them out as gifts and people seem to really like my cookies. Usually I bake around 300, but I had a lot more requests for them this year and planned to make more. About halfway through the bake-a-thon though, I realized I was going to have far more than 500 cookies when I was done. 

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Cookies prepped for baking

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Cookies fresh out of the oven

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Peanut Butter Cookies

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Chip with Pecan Cookies

7 hours later, there were 791 cookies. O_O

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In case you're wondering, this is what 791 cookies looks like.

It took 4-5 more hours to prepare all of them as gifts, with all the tissue paper, ribbons, tagging, and packaging. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement. I’m still tired.

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And you might think that I’d quit after that, but nope. I just had to make something else this year. So I made an old family recipe for Holiday Spice Cakes

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I can’t wait until everyone’s received their goodies! 😀

We have this running joke in my house around the holidays that I’m a Keebler Elf (partly because I’m so short, partly because of the cookie baking). I’m pretty sure I got the “Most Productive Keebler Elf of the Season” award this year. 

Music Friday – Christmas Edition

Over on Tumblr, I frequently post songs at the end of the week that lived on repeat. I tag this "Music Friday." With it being December, and me listening to pretty much nothing but Christmas music, I've started tagging them all "Christmas Edition." In the past here on LJ, you know I've done "25 Days of Christmas Music," but there isn't much participation in it (which is true for most of my blog posts these days, eh) and so I decided to skip it this year. But, since I'm still finding new Christmas tracks worth sharing, I figured I'd compile a small list here in case any of you are actually reading and looking for some new Christmas tunes. Ready? :)

This first track comes from what is easily my favorite Christmas album this year, "August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin' Hill, A Holiday Album." I am typically a fan of musicians taking a stab at a Christmas album anyway, but I'm even more delighted when it's a band I really like, putting out an unconventional Christmas album in a style of music I really love. This is totally the case with this album. Now I could really make a post strictly for this album because there are so many great tracks on it, but I won't. Just know that you should seriously consider checking out more than just this track.

August Burns Red – "Flurries"

I'd never heard of this next band until I heard this song and while I've yet to hear anything else by them, I'm really looking forward to it. I don't even think I was much of a fan of this song prior to hearing their rendition of it, but there is just something so mellow and perfect about it and I can't stop listening to it. I'm especially fond of the turn it takes at 2:45 and how it sounds almost nothing in the end like it did when it began. Also, the piano is just… well I mean, come on, if you know me, you should already know I'm drawn to it because of the piano. 

The Head and The Heart – "What Are You Doing New Years Eve?"

I admit I've always really wanted to sing this song with someone, but I doubt that day will ever come. And so, I find enjoyment in other people singing it and what better than the likes of Mindy White (from States) and Anthony Green (from Circa Survive)? Mindy's voice, in particular is perfect for Christmassy tunes. She should totally put out a holiday album. Aside from their voices though, I really enjoy the dips in the music itself. 

Mindy White & Anthony Green – "Baby, It's Cold Outside"

This last song is just one of those feel good songs. The story in it's cute, the video for it's cute. It's sort of what I consider a typical, happy Christmas song. But I thoroughly enjoy typical where Christmas is concerned. I want songs to make me feel cheery, as I want anything that has to do with Christmas to make me feel. 

Train – "Shake Up Christmas"

I've got an enormous Christmas playlist, but I don't want this to get unbarably long. Perhaps I'll do another before the month's end if there's a demand for it. Do you have any newer Christmas song suggestions I might want to check out? I'd love to hear them if you do! 

P.S. I really wanted to post the song I'm currently listening to in this batch too, because it's strings are ridiculously beautiful, but I wasn't able to find it in an embeddable way and so all I can do is link you to it. You should really click HERE to listen to Punch Brother's version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

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