Christmastime!

Christmastime is just the best. To me, it always feels as though people are generally making a greater effort to be kind and generous and happy. Regardless of our religious traditions, I love the feeling of that little extra bit of hope and excitement in the air.

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Also, I don’t feel quite so silly wearing these awesomely festive pants/leggings.

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I also love how Christmastime makes me want spend more time with friends and family. My wonderful friends gathered for a fun, festive, beautiful best friends Christmas party, complete with a “favorite things” gift exchange. It was so fun.

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In the weeks leading up to Christmas we talked a lot about things we would like to do and traditions we wanted to begin. We definitely didn’t get to everything on the list, and some of the things we did get to, turned out to be a bust, but we made a good start.

Bust: The lights were turned off at the house that has so many lights it even has its own website.

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We tried to take advantage of as many Christmas-y things as we could.

The weekend before Christmas we went to this really awesome vintage movie theater to see It’s a Wonderful Life. I LOVE that movie. The tickets were only a few dollars, and the popcorn was drizzled with REAL butter. (Actual sweet cream butter, not the pretend kind that is called “REAL”) Also, the theater was massive and really cool. It was sort of a surprise date for Grant. When we walked in, he said, “This is AWESOME.” During the movie, I couldn’t help but smile thinking about all people in the theater laughing and enjoying such a classic, wholesome movie.

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We didn’t really have a Christmas tree this year. We decided early on that we don’t really have the room to store one or the ornaments to decorate one. Naturally though, I got kind of sad about that and figured we could at least have something representative of a tree. So, I found a bundle of pine boughs at the grocery store down the street and decided that would do. They smelled lovely, and once in the vase, we were even able to hang a few ornaments on the boughs! Also, since we thought Santa might be coming this year (because after all, we figured we had been really good this year), I picked up some stockings about a week before Christmas. I kind of loved it.

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Also, we kept getting more and more Christmas cards in the mail! I just love this tradition. I think it’s such a fun, easy way to catch up (even if only visually) with family and friends. I feel like there is a little bit of love that comes out of each of those envelopes. We even sent out cards this year! (not without one of our better disagreements though) I think I’ll keep them up as long as I can. It makes it feel like family and friends aren’t so far away.

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New Traditions

We talked about traditions quite a lot even before we got married. We both wanted to know about the traditions of the families each of us already had, and we were (and still are) excited to beginning new traditions in our own family. This weekend, we took one of our first steps towards making our own Christmas traditions…Christmas sugar cookies!!

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Which one do you think Grant made?

Although I love baking and love sugar cookies, I think Grant was the one who really wanted to start this tradition. I found a recipe that only made 2 dozen-ish cookies, and it was perfect, not too much work or commitment to the cookies.

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Roll, chill, cut, repeat. Roll, chill, cut, repeat.

It was really so fun! I love how the cookies turned out.

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And my favorite cookie of the bunch:

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What are your favorite traditions?

 

The time we ran down the up escalator

This actually happened. We went down an escalator that was going up. I thought it was funny then, and I still think it’s a pretty funny story now. Why would we do such a thing? Because I had to save my earring, of course.

It happened like this-

We got into the building where I work after another freezing cold walk to work. I took off my ear warmers, got on the escalator, and then realized my earring was gone. I can’t say that I was very surprised, given that one of these earrings falls off almost every single time I wear them, but until then, I had always been able to quickly find the lost earring in my scarf, hair, or somewhere very nearby. This time was different. The earring wasn’t anywhere, and I really bummed.

I knew that I had taken off the ear warmers right before I stepped on the escalator, so I thought there was a pretty good chance the earring came off there. If these would have been some inexpensive, $2 earrings from Target I would have just chalked it up as a loss for the day, but these were my favorite earrings, and they weren’t so cheap. I didn’t feel like being sad about losing them or spending the money to replace them. I had to try to find that earring.

At this point, it seems that any normal person would just take the escalator back down and look for the earring. The problem with that plan was that the down escalator was not only broken, but it didn’t even really exist. It was an empty hole with no steps. Also, there are no stairs near that escalator, so that wasn’t exactly an option either. Given the pickle I was in, I did what any normal person would do at 7:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning: I ran down the up escalator to find my earring. Looking at the upward moving escalator from above, this seemed like no problem. It would be just like a treadmill, and there wasn’t anybody around case something went horribly wrong.

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The scene of the crime. Notice the yellow thing blocking the down escalator. (on the left)

 

All these thoughts happened over the course of a few seconds. I remember looking at Grant and saying something like, “I’m going back down.” The look on his face said (1) I was crazy, (2) he didn’t think it was a great idea, and (3) he wanted to get to work. I covered myself by telling him he could totally go to work and I would continue the search. Now that I think about it though, I’m pretty sure if he would have taken his free pass and left his distraught wife alone with that escalator, he wouldn’t have made it very far because he wouldn’t have been able to look away from the sight of me going down the escalator. He opted to continue the search.

I took off down the escalator. Once I got on, I realized just how quickly I had to run down the upward-moving stairs. About halfway down, I could feel the sweat starting. I hesitated a few steps from the bottom only to have Grant push* me down the final few stairs. I can’t remember his reason for pushing me. I’m sure it was logical, but it’s sort of funny that he did it nonetheless. Neither of us fell, we actually got to the bottom without any injuries, and for what? Nothing. The earring wasn’t there. Now, I was super-bummed.

We took the ride of shame back up the escalator and eventually parted ways for the day. Once I got to my office, I very carefully searched my layers: the coat, the scarf, the cardigan, and low and behold…I FOUND THE EARRING.

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Lesson learned. I’m switching out the backs on those earrings.

*Grant would like to clear his name. The “push” he gave me on the final few stairs was more of a necessary “gentle nudge” since my momentary pause had caused us to start moving back up the escalator.

Thankful we still have our toes

We arrived safely in North Dakota after a long 8+ hour drive, most of which was in the dark, and when I say dark, I mean dark. There aren’t a lot of city lights along the interstates in North Dakota. On the plus side though, you can actually see the stars, so so many of them. I could gaze up at a star-filled sky all night. I decided since we were going to get in pretty late, we should at least make the most of the road trip. We made a quick (and I mean really quick) stop at the infamous Red Pepper in Grant Forks for Grinders. Basically, they’re warm sub-style sandwiches topped with a weird consistency taco meat. I think they’re delicious, which says a lot because I’m not a fan of questionable meat. IMG_6482 Our first day in North Dakota was Thanksgiving! Of course the food was delicious, but it was so nice to be with family. I think the only Thanksgiving tradition my family has (besides being together for a meal at Grandma’s house) is Mickayla and Mackenzie breaking the wish bone.  Grandma always saves it for them after the turkey is carved, and they break it after the meal. IMG_6487 Also another favorite memory of mine: my Grandpa and his cool whip. (or should we call it dream whip?) Whenever there is pie and cool whip, he gets the sweetest smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, and says, “I like pie with my cool whip!” and then smiles my favorite grandpa-smile. pic grandpa and cool whip It seemed like it snowed all day on Thanksgiving. It was a really beautiful snow though, like you were standing in a snow globe beautiful. Sadly, I didn’t get any photos of the snow falling, but we did get in a fair amount of shoveling after it finally stopped falling. (That’s almost as nice, right?) IMG_6491 Oh, and did I mention it was freezing? It was below zero the entire time we were there. IMG_6575 That didn’t completely keep us in though. We checked out the festivities downtown for the lighting of the Christmas tree with my sweet, wonderful grandma. IMG_6563 After about 30 minutes I was ready to move on to something warmer. I hate it when I can’t feel my toes. Good thing my most-favorite bakery was nearby! Mackenzie joined us for a treat as well. That chocolate cake was heavenly.   IMG_6564 IMG_6566 IMG_6568 Grant picked up a new pocket watch at Hobby Lobby. (I just can’t resist that place) IMG_6574 And I scored a small victory with this little moment of friendship. IMG_6486 Despite the cold and snow, it was a great trip to North Dakota. I got to catch up with more friends and family than I anticipated. (But sadly I still missed a few!)  We are grateful for family and friends, near and far, that are just so so good to us. And thank you Minnesota, for welcoming us back with such familiarity. IMG_6578 I refuse to get used to this.