December has to be the busiest month of all time - as noted on my absence from the blogosphere. But it is good busy! Great, actually, because my schedule is suddenly cleared of things like appointments and meetings and filled with things like visits from people I love and plenty of Christmas traditions.
Here are a few things that I have been doing this December:
I had a visit from one of my best friends from college. (You’ll recognize her from my visit to Oklahoma in August and my Yellowstone trip in the summer of 2011). It was her very first time in Tennessee so I got to show her all around! We hit all of the Nashville sights.
Nashville's Parthenon Replica
The Grand Ole Opry
The Life-Sized Nativity at Opryland
Christmas Lights at Opryland Hotel
And I took her to see the town where I grew up. She and I are both wanting to see all 50 states, so I drove her across the border to KY so that she could mark off two states this trip.
I had my Christmas party with my 8th grade girls from church. Let it be noted that this was not a tacky Christmas party, but the other leaders and I all showed up in something tacky.
LOVE these two
Sweatshirts… and a furry apron that was stolen in a “Re-Gift” Dirty Santa game (We played Dirty Santa with a gift that you have in your house that you don’t want anymore. I got a snowman light-up cup. It's pretty awesome.)
Some of our 8th Grade Girls
And my sweet friend Sarah turned 26 just a few weeks before she is going to run 26 miles at the Disney marathon. More power to ya, girl.
Our work Christmas party had a Dirty Santa game too. Everyone’s goal was to “bring something to embarrass Emily” which is not too hard to do. So I couldn’t take something plain and boring. I racked my brain for something incredible to take… and ended up with the PERFECT Dirty Santa gift.
A real, live Pink-Toe tarantula.
Oh, yes. It was wonderful. It was the very first gift opened. For a moment the girl just stared at the container and said “What is this? Soup?”. Then she saw the label and said “Oh. Is this a joke? Am I supposed to think there is a tarantula in here?” Then she turned the container, spotted the tarantula, and had a minor freak out moment. Fortunately she didn’t drop the container! She just sort of flung it into her husband’s lap and let out a panicked squeal. So yes, others brought gifts that embarrassed me, but my gift TOTALLY trumped all of theirs. I was proud of myself for even purchasing it and carrying it to the party! The guy at the store made me prove to him that I could carry the plastic container before I could purchase it because he sensed my awkward nervousness about it. I daintily carried it to my car and then kept it in it's container in a box in my bathtub with the bathroom door shut. I was a bit paranoid!
The container wasn’t going to open easily. And I do realize that if it had somehow gotten out, yes, it could have climbed out of the bathtub, but I gave it as many obstacles as possible! By the end of my time with it I was pretty comfortable, but if that thing had gotten out in my car or my condo or my office or at the party… I would have freaked. The spider lived in our office for a few days before moving to its new home with a coworker.
Speaking of the work party, the majority of the people who attended the work party – including me - all picked up a stomach virus. No, it wasn’t food poisoning – definitely a virus.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So I missed a couple of Christmas events, but at that point I didn’t care. I just wanted to lay in bed and be far, far away from any party food!
I have been so blessed to have tons of quality time with my family over the break. We have done everything!
We visited lots of family friends.
We took a day trip to a cute little town called Glendale, KY to browse through the antique stores and eat at The Whistle Stop restaurant.
We played lots of Spades and Sequence and other card games.
Ally and I volunteered at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital’s holiday store for the parents of the sick children to pick out free holiday gifts for their kids.
The four of us went on a Christmas Eve lunch/comedy cruise on the General Jackson.
The Steve Hall and Shotgun Red Show
With Steve Hall - He was quite the interesting fellow!
We had Christmas brunch with my grandparents.
My favorite conversation with my grandmother went like this:
Grandma: My cousin just got a new cat. Yep... A Parmesan Cat.
Me: Wait… what???
Grandma: A Parmesan Cat.
Me: A Parmesan Cat? There’s no such thing!
Grandma: Oh wait, Parmesan is a cheese isn’t it. Siamese. It was a Siamese cat…
The two are easily confused I guess...?!?!
And then we had our family Christmas together!
We all got lots of great new things.
A Creeper with Casters - my favorite name of a gift!
Ally with a piece of her favorite Larry Allen pottery
She was very excited about her therma rest for camping.
I was excited about my kitchen knives and embroidered Vera Bradley apron. We are very different sisters. :)
My weeknights in December, which are normally filled with more things like… blogging… were filled with cutting and trimming and snipping and pinning and sewing. That’s right. I made a frayed quilt! It was my fourth sewing project, and it was surprisingly a success. Now, it’s not perfect. By any means! The pieces are all different sizes and the seams aren’t straight and I thought that it was going to have to be tossed altogether, but the quilt and I both survived and it ended up just (imperfectly) perfect! I gave Ally (who didn't even realize that I actually knew how to sew) her quilt on Christmas morning. She was surprised... and loved it!
I’ll post more on the quilt another time... (1/5/2013 Update: View Fray Quilt Tips Here)
We saw the first snowflakes of the season! And we may or may not have put a winter coat on my mom’s dog. She was cold…
My other sister got snowed in, so she came into town a few days later for Christmas. Christmas with kids is so much fun!
Remote Control Mario
Remote Control Excavator
(Notice he happened to have an excavator on his shirt. He loves construction equipment!)
I spent a lot of time playing with the remote control vehicles...
... And reading animal facts!
My little guys got me an apron and drew a T-Rex on a dish towel for me!
I'm already excited for Christmas next year!