Christmas 2020

December 30, 2020 4:36 pm

Leading into Christmas the epidemiological situation escalated continually. This was expected since a lot of travel happened for Thanksgiving despite warnings and public-health orders. We got this emergency alert notification on the 18th:

Jess went out for a final grocery trip on either the 21st or 22nd and then we hunkered down. The new lock-down orders cancelled social-bubble buddies so we didn't hang out with friends. They also closed pretty much any entertainment centers (including zoos) and reduced store-occupancy limits. However, I don't know if anyone was enforcing any of these requirements. And if they weren't then it was really only so much hot air.

On the day of final-outings, Jess made a trip to the pharmacy to pick up one of her medications and said that the outlet-mall parking lot (which she could see on her way) was packed. Which just boggles my mind. Maybe because it's an "open air" mall people thought that made it safe? I don't know, but unsurprisingly the situation continues to deteriorate.

But, on to happier things.

I suppose this is a bit of gallows humor given that our family has remained unaffected by Covid-19 (other than inconvenience), but we got these ornaments to commemorate the year that we won't likely ever forget.

Mom sent us this one:

And this cartoon sums things up for our family pretty well:

We wanted to try and really make things feel different than the 9 months we've spent cooped up at home so this year we put the Christmas tree in the family room and bought some garland to put up around the house and Jess made bows out of ribbon to put up. This really spread out the Christmas cheer which previously had been pretty isolated to the living room.

We bought artificial wreaths to put on the interior doors throughout the house. I bought a poinsettia, which I don't normally do. And we even got out Jess' "Christmas Mouse" night-light thing (see picture of fireplace below). We've never set that up before. It has two, small 10-watt incandescent bulbs in the base which then glow through translucent bits of plastic. But because the lights are in the base and quite weak only the bottom part would glow and it was still quite dim. I decided to upgrade it to the 21st century. I bought a length of cuttable LED lighting with a dimmer switch and replaced the incandescent bulbs with the LED strip wrapped all around the wreath. Now the whole things glows quite nicely, is dimmable, and probably uses 1/10th the electricity.

On the 23rd my siblings and parents played Trivial Pursuit via video conference while I worked on my bûche de Noël. On Christmas Eve I spent most of the day baking baguettes, rolls, and cinnamon rolls and Jess made another chocolate-cream pie and sweet-potato casserole. For dinner we had cheese fondue (with the baguettes, crackers, and fruits). I read The Polar Express and Heather read The Night Before Christmas. And the girls opened presents from each other: lightfuries for both of them!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day involved long-lived, casual video conferences with many of my family members to try and help make people feel connected to what's happening when most of us weren't going to travel and congregate.

On Christmas morning the girls woke up at their usual 5 o'clock time. Since this is a normal time for them we felt it would be cruel to tell them to wait and let us sleep longer. So up we got--very, very tiredly.

Santa puts up streamers at the end of the hallway to remind the girls the need to wait before diving into new, exciting things they see. So they very excitedly peer into the room to evaluate the situation.

I've had a hammock in a box for at least 13 years. Never used because I never had anywhere to put it. Jess said she wanted a hammock stand for Christmas and that's just what she got (thanks Mom & Dad). So now we have a place to put the hammock, and now we just need a (real) place to put the hammock stand. For now it moves between the kitchen and the family room.

I found these customizable mugs at Uncommon Goods and designed a set for Jess. I think they're neat. Jess has a stack of books, I'm holding a camera, Heather is painting on an easel, and Corinne is wearing reindeer horns.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit uses a small R/C car to bring the racing action into our own home. You set up a course and then drive it using the Switch which produces an augmented reality race via a camera on the car. It's a clever set up.

It was a good day, if exhausting. And every day since then has been more playing.

Nowhere to go, no one to see.

Christmas 2019

December 31, 2019 3:29 pm

On the 16th we went to look at lights around town with friends. It was even a bit chilly.

Christmas Eve at home with cheese fondue with fresh bread and hot chocolate. And a couple of terrible, low-light pictures of the girls opening gifts to each other. Heather received a fossil dig kit and Corinne received 2 Magna-Tile plates (she ran around the house screaming she was so excited).

We added an alicorn and a narwhal to our Christmas lights this year. The alicorn immediately required replacement supports as it would fall over in a slight breeze and its lights are already having issues. So it may have to be returned. But the girls _loved_ it.

And I upgraded our "fire" with some flame-effect lights mounted on a board at the back of the fireplace. Surprisingly convincing in peripheral vision.

Christmas Morning!

I made another Bûche de Noël this year. Unlike last year I skipped all the hazelnut parts and went with a filling of dark-chocolate creme & chocolate-chips with dark-chocolate ganache frosting and chocolate chips for garnish. It was pretty good.

Christmas 2017

December 25, 2017 9:30 am

Heather had a Holiday Concert for school on the 18th.  She had a blast.  The program was all 4 kindergarten classes at her school so the multi-purpose room was packed.  Luckily she's a head taller than most of the other kids in her class so I was still able to get a couple pictures of her through the crowd.

Then it was quickly in to Christmas Eve with our own little "program."  Heather read us "Santa from Cincinnati":

After the program the girls opened their presents for each other:

Corinne fell asleep clutching the trowel from the garden tool set.  Heather woke up at no-one-knows-but-possibly-2-something and colored in about 3 feet of her 10-foot space coloring roll.

After bed Santa arrived bringing a fully edible dig site for Heather:

And in the very early morning we snapped an obligatory don't-move-yet shot:

You'll notice it is still dark outside.  Heather had been up possibly since as early as 2-something, but no later than 4.  Corinne was up starting at 4:30.  We held them off until 6:30, but couldn't keep them contained any longer.

Corinne got a chair in her favorite color:

Heather was a super helper handing out gifts from under the tree.

Corinne is enamored of this plane.

Jess is pleased with her yarn bowl:

After a brief break for some much-needed breakfast, the sun had risen, and the unwrapping was complete.  Now, nap time.