christmas 2014

We kicked off the 2014 Christmas season by putting up our Christmas tree about two weeks before Thanksgiving.  Last year was similar: we couldn’t wait any longer, so we just put it up.  We chose a snowy Sunday that we deemed too dangerous to drive to church, and spent the morning getting the tree set up and lit (thanks to Danny for spending over an hour on the lights!).  We hung the ornaments a couple of nights later (I like to put them on when it’s dark out and only the Christmas tree lights are on), and I decorated the rest of the house after Thanksgiving.


^^ Danny in his traditional putting the tree up attire. ;) ^^

We helped put up my parents’ tree on the night before Thanksgiving (seen here), and helped Danny’s parents, alongside his brother and his wife, on the day after Thanksgiving.

All throughout December, we watched Christmas movies, as many as we could get our hands on (from the library) – The Santa Clause 1, 2, and 3 (next year we’ll definitely skip all but the first), Arthur Christmas, and The Christmas Card.  Next year we really need to make it a priority to watch Elf, Home Alone, and White Christmas, all ones that we intended to watch but didn’t get until after Christmas…at which point we weren’t feeling too Christmas-y anymore (even though our tree was is still up).


^^ Watching The Santa Clause and stringing popcorn and cranberries for the tree. ^^

During the first full weekend in December, we met up with my parents and Mysteridge and spent Saturday morning volunteering at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Denver.  We’ve been doing this for as long as Mysteridge and I have been old enough, and always enjoy it very much.




In what’s becoming an unintentional annual tradition, we had lunch at Chipotle afterwards and then checked into our hotel.  We relaxed in the afternoon before heading downtown for the Parade of Lights.  When I was growing up, we went to the Parade of Lights almost every year, but then in high school and college, we got busy, and it just didn’t happen for a while.  This year, however, we made it a priority and made plans three months in advance to spend that weekend in Denver and go to the parade.  It was cold, but not too cold, and a lot of fun.  I love the big balloons, marching bands, and the magic of a nighttime parade, lit up mostly by Christmas lights.  After the parade, we were ready for a snack, and Mysteridge suggested Voodoo Doughnuts.  It was our first time, and I think we all thoroughly enjoyed our treats, which we picked up and ate back at the hotel.  I had no idea they had such a large selection of vegan doughnuts!



The next day we ate breakfast at the hotel and walked around the 16th Street Mall before parting ways with my parents and Mysteridge.  Danny and I had lunch at a hot dog place with vegan dogs on the menu, spent some time at Barnes & Noble, and met our friends Amanda and Oliver for an afternoon of coffee and homemade vegan pop tarts.

Two days later, Danny left for Charleston and I joined him a few days later.  The day we got back from Charleston was Danny’s company Christmas party at the Broadmoor.  We had fun dressing up, eating tasty food, listening to great music (Denver & The Mile High Orchestra), and seeing many of Danny’s friends and coworkers.

P.S. I know the picture of us is a tad blurry, but it’s all I’ve got. :)



The following weekend, the last before Christmas, we went to Greeley for the wedding of our friends Andrew and Anna Gray, and were able to squeeze in some Christmas activities while we were there, including making and decorating Christmas cookies and driving around to look at Christmas lights.



On the eve of Christmas Eve, my parents came down to our place to spend the next couple of days.  We spend the first day visiting Danny at Compassion, wandering around Bass Pro, eating our traditional meal of chili and cornbread for dinner, and going to the Electric Safari at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.







On Christmas Eve, we went to church with Danny’s parents and siblings, had dinner with them, and opened gifts together.  It was a very nice evening, and we were so busy having fun, I forgot to take any pictures!  Next year I will really try to do better.

On Christmas morning, we opened stockings, ate blueberry coffee cake, and gave gifts to each other.  Christmas morning is my favorite…the food, the gifts, being together, wearing our pj’s…I just love it.


^^ Our stocking have become too heavy to be hung by the fire with care. ^^


^^ Best meal of the year?  Quite possibly. ^^


^^ I know it looks like a misshapen tennis racket, but turns out it’s actually for racquetball!  And I obviously don’t know how to spell racquetball because the computer kept trying to correct it and I kept writing ‘racketball’ until I finally Googled it and realized I was way off. ^^


^^ “Find Momo,” one of 2014’s best book finds. ^^


^^ I surprised Danny with a helicopter (and I say surprised because I think we ended up buying almost all of our own gifts, and this was probably one of the only things he didn’t know he was getting) and he played with it until it died within 24 hours.  Sad but true.  Hopefully next year Santa will bring a higher quality helicopter.  ^^


^^ At my request, we gathered all of the boxes and wrapping paper in front of us for this picture.  I realize that writing this makes it sound like I’m five.  ^^DSC01201

^^ Some of my Christmas morning spoils. ^^

In the afternoon, we went to my aunt and uncle’s for lunch/dinner, games, and a few more presents.


^^ My grandparents, two of their three kids, four of their seven grandkids, plus Danny. ^^

The next day we played games and relaxed while Danny was back to work (I took the day off).  My parents and Mysteridge left in the afternoon, and we started slipping into our January hibernation.  Compared to the busyness of December, January has pretty much consisted of going to work during the day and staying inside all evening, watching movies, playing games, and enjoying the tree some more.  Don’t worry though, we’re having a little Super Bowl gathering this weekend and I’ve decided that the tree must be down and put away before then.  But before that…one more Christmas gem:



christmas eve and day 2013

I was going to take down our Christmas tree today – and I still might – but it is a real winter wonderland outside, and I can’t help but think that leaving up the tree is a good idea.  Or maybe I’m just procrastinating.

Regardless of whether or not our tree gets to take up residence in our living room for another day or not, I figured it would be a good time to finish up my Christmas posts with our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day happenings.  And I would like to deliver a warning, too: I was dealing with a serious hair crisis around Christmas time, and it is evident in the pictures.  It is getting better each day, but on Christmas, I was still in the thick of it.  So bear with me while I wallow in regret for only going halfway with my bangs experiment.

Christmas Eve was Danny’s last day at T.Rowe Price, and as he had hoped, they let him go early.  We were able to enjoy a walk with my family at Fox Run Park as well as a game of Awkward Family Photos before we went to Danny’s parents’ house for Christmas Eve festivities, where we had dinner and opened presents.  And yes, a mustache pillow was involved in the gift-giving.






Christmas morning began with a Christmas miracle: my dad was spotted reading a One Direction book.  After he realized that One Direction is truly the best band ever, we opened stockings, ate blueberry coffee cake for breakfast, read the Christmas story straight out of the Bible, and opened presents.  And if it looks to you like Danny and I got to open two stockings each, you’re right.  It was so glorious.  I love stockings.  And the perks of being married.











After all of the wrapping paper had been stuffed in the trash and the bows put away for next year, we got ready to go to my aunt and uncle’s house.  They live in south Colorado Springs, and we were also joined by my grandparents.  We ate a hearty lunch and spent the afternoon playing Reverse Charades and opening gifts.



On our way back to our apartment, we stopped by some nice Christmas light displays and wondered how long until we too could buy a house and go all out with our decorations.  Not.  My parents went back home to Greeley, but Mysteridge stayed so that he could watch “Duck Dynasty” with us all night long.  It only seemed fitting, since Danny got seasons 1-3 from my parents, although some of you may have deduced that from the Duck Nasty bandanna he was wearing in a few of the pics.

highlights of the 2013 christmas season

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year.  The lights, the music, the excuses to be with ones you love…it’s all so magical.

This year, although it was my first not being in the same town as my family, was pretty great.  We listened to She & Him’s Christmas album over and over, because we don’t have any Christmas CDs of our own yet, and to be honest, I really like it.  We went to the Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  We watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Santa Clause” and “Elf.”   We went Christmas shopping and I realized that I really prefer shopping online (and next year I need to plan ahead more).  We made cinnamon and applesauce ornaments and we strung cranberries and popcorn on thread and hung them on our tree.   We went to the Electric Safari at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  We served at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Denver.  We drove around and looked at Christmas lights.

And that’s not even counting the glory of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day!

Enjoy our December adventures in some pictures…



















DSC01811I’ll be back in a couple days with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day pictures!

operation christmas child 2013

Every year for quite a few years now, my family has spent a couple of hours in December volunteering at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Denver.  If you don’t know much about Operation Christmas Child or Samaritan’s Purse, check it out here.  We think it’s a pretty great group.

Our time always starts out with a brief training and is followed by being assigned to a work station.  I’ve been the pre-inspector the last couple of years, which involves looking through the boxes for money, typically in the form of a check, which helps pay for the boxes to be shipped to their destination.  Next, someone inspects the boxes for banned items and adds things like small toys or candy if the box seems a bit empty.  This year my parents both worked as inspectors.  After the boxes are full and looking good, they need to be taped up and secured.  This was Danny’s job this year.  Finally, the boxes are put into larger boxes with a bunch of other boxes, taped shut, and put on a conveyor belt, which leads to a pallet, which leads to a truck, which will take them to a plane, and on to their destination.  Mysteridge was in charge of this step (not the truck or plane part, but all the rest), and this year the boxes we worked on were headed to Mexico.

We love being able to serve with such an awesome ministry in such a tangible way, and being able to do so as a family is an added bonus.  Here’s some photos from our time helping out this year…










Until next year, Operation Christmas Child!

oh christmas tree

This year, we have had the distinct pleasure of decorating three Christmas trees.  I know that may sound sarcastic, but it really isn’t.  We love the Christmas season around here, and getting to decorate not one tree but three has been super fun for us.  Last Monday (yes, it was before Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving was late this year!), we started out with our own tree…



DSC08108^^ Still on the hunt for a tree skirt and topper, but we’re off to a good start! Oh, and this was pre-ornaments and garland. We’re not done with all that good stuff yet. ^^

And then two days later, we got to help my parents put up and decorate their tree…




DSC08086This past Sunday, we went over to Keith & Susie’s (Danny’s parents) to decorate their tree/house…


Danny had the pleasure of hanging the mistletoe, and then luring me under it later on…





Merry Christmas!