Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

*Disclaimer* I know it's not very PC, so if you choose to celebrate something different, please insert that holiday's name in place of Christmas.

Well, another holiday season has come and gone. I have to admit, I'm not too sad to see it go! With money being pretty tight this year, it just added a lot more stress to the holiday season. But Travis and I are both blessed with incredibly wonderful families, a roof over our heads, food on the table, health and one another. What else could one ask for?

This is our first Christmas spent actually living in Minnesota, so it was a little different for me. I campaigned pretty hard to drive down to Missouri for a day to spend it with my side of the family, but common sense won out. It turned out to be the right decision though - we've been slammed with snow since Christmas Eve! The roads haven't been great so it's probably a good thing that we didn't chance the drive.

Christmas Eve we walked over to the church for the candlelight service. As I mentioned before, Travis volunteered us to light the advent candles. I was a little nervous, and it didn't help that as soon as we got there the Pastor said "ok well we're going to do that first, so are you ready? I'm starting now." Umm, ok! I read a little too fast, and Travis lit the candles a little too slow, but in the end we did our job and no one complained. After church we went to Trav's parents for dinner. We had a great time socializing, eating, and playing the Wii. I'm still sore! I guess I got a little intense with my bowling.

Christmas morning we woke up (kind of early for us) to open presents and spend some quality time with each other. Now, I'm going to share some pictures, but I have to warn you: first thing in the AM is not the prettiest picture of me. Bare with us here.

See? I told you! Unfortunately you can't see the mounds of snow coming down outside. Trust me - it was buckets full.

OF COURSE we watched "A Christmas Story"! Unfortunately I seem to be the only one up here with such an affinity for the movie. We didn't get to enjoy the day long extravaganza of "F-ra-gi-le" and "soap poisoning!", but I made sure we watched it twice just for good measure.

Even Maya got in on the present action. She has decided that the couch is her permanent new home. If you sit there, you must pay attention to her, tell her she's pretty, and give her lots of pets. Or else.

We love our new waffle maker! We're trying it out tomorrow, so excited! It makes 2 at once!

After presents we went outside to play in the snow! Travis thought it would be a good idea to make a snowman, so he used all the snow off our sidewalk to make the base. We have since invested in a snow shovel so he doesn't have to make a snowman every time the walk needs to be cleared. Not to brag or anything, but I made his head and got his arms from a tree!

We eventually mosied on over to Dave and Leslie's house to give and get gifts. They got me this really cool wine cabinet! The front is actually an old window out of the basement of the house we live in. A couple from church make these, and I had asked them a few months back to let me know how much they cost so I could buy one. I never heard from them because apparently the in-laws called them up to buy it for me! So cool!

They also got us a Wii! The whole game system, not just the controller. Travis has been playing it a lot, but I've been a super wimp about being sore from the first night playing on Christmas Eve. And it looks like I'm the only one that was opening gifts but Travis decided to play sole camera man for the day.

Traditionally Trav's grandparents host a big shindig at their house a couple of days after Christmas. Well with Ray's poor health and Christmas falling on a Friday, I think everyone thought it was a good idea to just hold the party on the actual holiday. So we went over there for dinner and visiting with all the long lost family. Grandma and Grandpa Scofield live on a pretty limited income, so typically they give homemade jams and canned foods. This year, they said no gifts because a lot of their money has been going to medical bills. Well the kids couldn't accept that, so what did they get for their parents? A new toilet of course! What every person needs! Actually there is some use to it: the one they have is very short and it's harder for Ray with his limited mobility, so he needed a bigger, taller one. Well:

Tada! Here's proud Grandma Scofield with her brand new toilet! Of course it's in the requested color of almond because that's the color of the other one in their downstairs bathroom. Your toilets have to match you know!

Well, that's Christmas for us this year! Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Late Breaking News!

I finally broke Travis down - we got a dog!!! Her name is Maya, she's a 3 year old rat terrier. My, what big ears you have!!

I saw a posting on Craigslist for her, and the owner basically said that if she couldn't find a new home then she was going to the pound. A well behaved, potty trained, adult dog? That's craziness! So I emailed the owner and haggled with her about the "rehoming fee" that she wanted to charge.

Eventually she emailed me saying that a family with 4 kids had adopted her. One of the daughters was crying for a dog for Christmas, so she thought it would be a perfect fit. Yea, I'm sure a family of 6 has plenty of time to spend with a dog.

So we took that to mean that we weren't meant to have a dog. It is kind of a crazy idea anyway - not sure I'm using my best judgment in the situation.

Then Monday evening I received an email from the owner again, she had the dog back because the little girl wasn't "bonding" with her. Go figure. Would I still like her? Heck yea! So after some last minute planning, we are the pround new owners of Maya! Formerly Nya, but we didn't care for the name.

Here she is in the coat we bought for her. It's cold outside! Luckily the pet store was having a big sale, so we got this snazzy little number for $10! She came with a crate, 2 beds, leashes, collars, toys, and food. So the transition hasn't been to difficult for her.

She seems to be very well behaved. She "tells" Travis when she needs to go out, she listens to our commands, and she's pretty much just a big cuddle bug. I think she's decided that she likes us already and is settling in nicely.

The only issue we're having so far is everyone adjusting to each other. So far there are a lot of standoffs like this. Chloe just stays in our bedroom, but Zak is interested in coming out and sniffing around. Just as long as Maya doesn't notice him! There's been a lot of hissing and whining, but nothing serious. One of the good things is that Maya sleeps in her crate at night, so the cats can roam around freely then. And torture her by sniffing at her cage. They'll just take some time to get used to one another!

But as you can see, she's already become a part of the family! What a great Christmas present!

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 more days!

The countdown has begun! It's officially "Christmas week" and the festivities are on. This weekend we attended the kid's Christmas program at church. Travis landed a solo playing "We Three Kings"! Who knew he was a kid, eh? Anyway, he did awesome! I have a feeling that they're going to try to make him play a lot more now. After the Christmas program I was notified that he volunteered us to light the advent candles on Christmas Eve. Good thing there's a script! All we have to do is read from it and light the candles in the correct order. Doesn't sound too hard - so here's to not messing up!

We've also decided that since we're having our first Christmas in Minnesota, that we need to mix in a little of my traditions too. So the plan is to go for a Chinese lunch before the Christmas Eve service. I know it's weird but that's what I do!

Since funds are tight this year, I decided to make Christmas gifts instead of buying them. Here's what I came up with:

Cookies in a Jar! All the dry ingredients are in there for you to make chocolate chip cookies, all you have to do is add an egg, butter, and some milk I think. There are 12 of these bad boys and let me tell you - it was tedious work! But they came out pretty good in the end. I hope people enjoy them!

Oh yea, some chocolatey goodness! So that's all we've been up to this week. Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Chaos!

This is what my life has boiled down to. Complete chaos! And they said that this stay at home wife stuff would be easy!

Saturday night was the holiday party for Trav's company down at the Black Bear Casino. The casino is about 2 hours south of us, so we decided to stay the night and make a weekend of it. Fun right? Oh yea....

Now normally I am the best packer on the planet. I never bring to much, but I think of everything and I rarely forget anything. I guess I am never allowed to say this ever, ever again. We left around 2 pm so that we'd get there around 4 and have time to relax and get ready before cocktails at 5:30. So we get everything loaded in the car and get on our way right on time. No problem! Until we were about 20 minutes away when I realized that I had absolutely none of my jewelery. Not even my wedding rings! It took us 10 minutes of going back and forth on whether we should turn around before Travis finally did and we went back for my jewelery.

I get everything, we get back on the road and we think "ok, now we're good." Again, 1/2 hour away and I think "oh shoot! We forgot the camera!" But I told Travis to just keep going, we'll just have to do without (hence why there are no pictures in this post!). We continue on our way, making good time, until we're about 1/2 hour from the casino. I look at Travis and ask "where did you put my dress? It was on a hanger." He turns to me, eyes wide in horror, and says "I didn't touch your dress. It was hanging with my dress shirt. I thought you had them!"

So now we have no dress clothes. Wonderful! Luckily Travis had packed his dress pants, shoes, and a nicer sweater in our overnight bag. But all I had were jeans, a sweatshirt, sweater, pajamas and shiny silver shoes. Now those shoes can make just about any outfit look good, but pajamas are a far stretch! Ok, new game plan, we can handle this! I tell Travis to just go to the Wal-Mart in Duluth, which is only about 20 minutes out of our way. I'll go in and grab something quick. Well, of course, since I'm a girl, this can't really be as easy as I think it is. After 20 minutes I find a shirt that will work with my jeans and shiny shoes and we finally get out of there.

We actually managed to be only 15 minutes late, and no one really noticed at all. Phew! So after some meet and greet and cocktails, we finally sit down to dinner. At a table with only one other couple. Who, we find out much later, are only dating and are something of a new item. Awkward! Luckily we were able to push through with some small talk about old jobs and whatnot. Now it's time to gamble!

Trav's boss was very generous and gave everyone $15 to spend in the casino, or however you wanted to spend it. I spent mine on booze and slots. I can still feel the burning sensation of it being ripped out of my hands so quickly. Travis, ever the cautious gambler, spent his a little slower but lost his in an equally brilliant blaze of glory. We decided we'd have much better luck on the dance floor, so off we went to boogey down in the casino lounge.

What we didn't know was that it was AARP night in the lounge. So we danced along with a bunch of blue haired 70 something's, trying not to knock anyone over and cause a broken hip. We managed pretty well, but I was starting to get pretty warm so I thought a walk around the casino would make me feel better. Boy was I wrong! It was pretty much all downhill from here. I started feeling horrible and ended up passed out in bed, leaving Travis to his own devises for the rest of the night. He went back down to the casino until 4:30 in the morning, but surprisingly didn't spend or lose any money. Alright hubby!

So the next morning we decided to skip breakfast and just head home. This process was complicated by the fact that I kept getting sick on regular 1/2 hour intervals. Now I know what you're thinking: "oh you wimp, you can handle a hangover!" This was no hang over. I don't know who poisoned my food, but something I ate had me sick all day long. The only thing different that Travis and I ate was the cooked pineapple in the ham plate, so we've decided that it was the pineapple. After my third rousing round of toilet hugging, we decided to make a break for it. We got safely down to the lobby and out to the car. We're doing great! We get on the highway, stop to buy a bottle of water, and get back on the highway - no problems. I'm feeling much better! Until all of a sudden - oh boy, pull over! Lucky us, Travis brought the plastic baggy from the hotel ice bucket. Win!

We managed to get home safely with only having to pull over one more time, and I holed up for the rest of the day at home in bed. Monday morning I woke up feeling fine, almost all better even. What have we learned from our weekend? Always make a list and follow it closely, double check said list 50 times, and don't eat the cooked pineapple if you don't know how long it's been sitting there. So you can commence your berating now, I hope you get stitches from laughing so hard at me.

Monday was spent buying all the necessary ingredients and supplies for making cookies. Today was cookie day. I sit here, on the couch, barely able to move, as the cookies have declared me their evil nemesis and they have definitely won. I'm glad that baking only happens once a year in this house!

Happy Holidays kids! Only 9 more days until the chaos is over!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Deck the Halls part II

Well it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in the Northwoods! It's been snowing for about 4 days now, and we have a good 5 inches stuck on the ground. Perfect Christmas weather! We're finished decorating finally, inside and out. Out took a little longer than in since we weren't really sure what to do out there. This is the first time we've gotten to decorate a house instead of just a little apartment balcony! I promised pictures last week, so that's what this post is going to be all about!

Here's our little house with the Christmas lights up! We don't have a ladder tall enough to reach the top roof line, but trust me - if we did, there would be lights up there! Notice there isn't any snow on the ground here.

And here we have our beautiful wreath that Travis made. Now look at all that snow!

We even have icicles! The sun came out for a few hours yesterday afternoon, so I ran outside to snap these. They're still there however as it hasn't gone above 15 degrees in the past two days. Brrr!

Here's our lovely Christmas tree! Complete with presents under it and all! It looks really pretty from the road when you drive by :o)

The Christmas Angel shelf. With a few extra odds and ends

The new kitchen cabinet is a great place for decorations too!

And our cute, cuddly cats getting in on the snuggling. They know it's Christmas too!

Besides decorating, our lives haven't been too exciting lately. We're both just plugging along, doing our jobs and trying to stay warm up here! Next weekend is the Country Financial Christmas party at the Black Bear Casino. Should be a fun time! It's about two hours from us, so we're planning on staying over in the resort's hotel. Pictures shall follow!

I hope you all are staying warm and getting in the Christmas spirit!