Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Just-Right Christmas

How would you describe your just-right Christmas?

If I had my druthers, I would start with a Christmas Eve with attending one church service 
and then enjoying time with the students and volunteers in the
special needs classroom I manage at church.

Assuming my energy was excellent and unending, I would then head over (I guess via teleporter!) 
to the festivities with my extended family at my parents' house in Minnesota.  My brother and his wife and kids are there, in addition to my special Auntie Cindy, her children, and their kids.  It ends up being a pretty big group.  My Mom makes it magical and sparkling and festive.  This year Greg and I won't be there with everyone, but I definitely was thinking about them.
A nice video call helped the loneliness a LOT!

Christmas Eve should end with a nice crackling fire (faux for us),

a good book (or many!),

and cute cats!

Christmas Eve for Greg should include his special sandwich:
corned beef on dark rye with sour cream and ripple potato chips!

My Christmas Day of choice would start out with waking up and cuddling a bit with my
Very Favorite Person (Greg!)
We'd enjoy the gorgeous sunny weather, the plants and the bright blue sky!
our neighbor's bougainvillea peeking over the wall into our backyard 

the sky from our backyard

We would head out for a chilly hike in the desert.

Since that sounded so nice, that's exactly what we did!
We headed to the First Water trailhead and chose the Massacre Grounds Trail.

Apparently a massacre did indeed possibly take place in the vicinity.

The road off the main road was quite bumpy.

We enjoyed the sunshine, the exercise, the interesting plants, and the fascinating animals.

I felt happy and calm and reasonably healthy, and I was grateful and hopeful that the next year would be full of days where I felt happy and calm and healthy.

We did NOT get rabies.

The clouds made interesting rings around the sun.

Parts of the hike were quite steep.

The mountainsides have beautiful colors and textures.

I found a little cave!
Here I am climbing up . . . 

It's a pretty small cave.

Can you see Greg?

Here I am coming down!

Inside of a cholla ("CHOY-uh").
They have beautiful lacy bones.

Prickly pear.  You can see the prickly part, for sure!
The "pear" is the fruit they give.

Can you see a teeny little Christie jumping with happiness?

Greg in the wilderness:

Ideally, when we got home, we'd take a warm shower and possibly a nap. Yes to the shower, for sure!
But I didn't feel like taking a nap by this time.
Instead, we had a good hot early dinner - chalupas!!!

I made some chicken ones for Greg. 

And some vegan ones for me!  It was easy 
since I now have a second crock-pot (thanks, Mom-In-Law!)

Then we opened some gifts! Some of ours will have to wait until Friday,
since my parents are coming in (to stay in Chandler for the whole winter!) and we're planning a late Christmas feast and party.

But we already were honored with lots of wonderful thoughtful gifts from lovely generous people.

Amazon gift cards - hooray!

Salt lamp - love the pretty orangey-pink glow these give. 

Yay, a new diffuser!
My main one is making a horrible gurgling rattling sound, and I fear it might die at any point.
This one is GORGEOUS blue glass and I am excited to set it up!

Allistair had already sort of unwrapped this one!

Lots of great books, The Great Muppet Caper, and a Meg Bowles ambient space music CD.

Greg was super excited to receive this fancy pants pole saw!

Sounds pretty great, huh?
Yeah, it was!!!

How would you ideally celebrate Christmas?


Belated story:
I had a Christmas party to celebrate the volunteers with the 1:1 (special needs) team I manage at church.  We had a great time!  I made vegan shepherd's pie and apple butternut squash soup, and my friends brought sides and desserts.  YUM!  I'm going to make the same meal (plus some desserts) for our party on Friday.

The tree and presents looked pretty.

We had a little gift exchange, and I wrapped up this cool gold cactus jewelry holder.

I bought some new jazzy ambient Christmas cds:

Cool Christmas

Indigo Christmas

The coffee table was set up with trees and coasters. 

Here is the apple butternut squash soup in progress.

I vacuumed, of course.
I LOVE our tile floor that's so easy to clean and that looks so nice when it's clean.
I also really love the color in spite of the fact that it shows all manner of fluff and fuzz!

I found these cute little salt and pepper shakers at Changing Hands Bookstore.

The dining table looked pretty.

Tree light ON!

Everything was tidy and open and cozy!

 Here was the table ware:

It was a lovely evening with lots of stories and laughter shared.
I hope that's how your holidays are going, too!

Allistair is currently curled up as small as he can get (which is not that small) in my lap, trying to make more room for himself, but not wanting to be too far away from me.  It's lovely to be needed!
I think I'll honor his wishes and grab a book and a hot water bottle plus some fizzy water and get in bed!  Have a lovely evening.


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