2017 christmas card

Previous cards:
2012-2013
2014
2015-2016

Every year I make 40 Christmas cards (~35 to send out, 1 to keep for myself, and a couple extra just in case I forget somebody or accidentally destroy some in the production process).

And every year I remember, too late, that every step the card requires must be completed 40 times. This year I remembered this pesky fact after I decided to put a cutout on the front in addition to pasting my usual Photoshop masterpiece inside. Cut out 40 cutouts, paste on 40 cutouts, paste in 40 inserts, sign 40 times, stuff 40 envelopes. ONE DAY I’LL LEARN MY LESSON.

But it was worth it. Because this year, LONG OVERDUE, I heralded the arrival of our (presumably) final family member with [drumroll pleaaaaase]… a Star Trek theme!

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why did I do this to myself

Hurk! I cut out 40 communicators for you people.

The finished product speaks for itself.

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And here is the insert, in all its glory:

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Yes that is Mr. and Mrs. Claws, thank you

I’m well aware that I used a TOS communicator on the outside and Wrath of Khan uniforms on the inside, but I just can’t resist those maroons. Also, it would have made more sense to have Kirk’s chair on the front since he’s dictating the captain’s log, BUT I couldn’t find a good image of the Wrath of Khan era chair, and the TOS chair looked too bulky, so since I was mismatching my eras ANYWAY I went with something easier to cut out, i.e., a communicator.

Anyway anyway anyway.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM OUR SNAPE TREE TO YOURS!

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[*cough* that’s 15 family members worth of presents btw…the pile for my own kids won’t be coming close]

christmas card 2015 and 2016

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Previous cards:
https://samtasticbooks.com/2014/12/07/the-annual-christmas-card/
https://samtasticbooks.com/2014/12/28/2014-christmas-card/

Somehow I neglected to post my 2015 Christmas card last year, which means you, my faithful readers, get double the Christmas bonanza this year!

2015 was our first year incorporating a baby to the proceedings. The process of making my annual card is usually: pick a theme, photoshop the hell out of it, print 40 copies at CostCo, and paste them into a card. After a couple years of breaking my hand handwriting text on the cover, in 2015 I decided to print both cover image and interior image. And since babies are absolute beasts, it seemed like Pacific Rim would be a good theme.

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the set-up

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the beast

So, it turned out a lot of my friends hadn’t actually seen Pacific Rim and got a mild but thoroughly confused chuckle out of it. Randy and I are jaeger pilots! We synchronize our brains to control a giant robot suit in order to combat our beastly kaiju of a son! Oh–never mind.

2015 might not have been such a beast, but 2016 certainly was. It called for a message of hope. Perhaps a message of… New Hope? This year I got extra fancy with printing my cards at home (although obviously still sticking to the incredible photoshopped image insert), and I figured: if my scifi franchise was too obscure last year, I’d better go with something more recognizable this time around.

So I picked the most popular science fiction franchise of all time.

And then promptly settled on the most obscure joke I could think of, because it was funny.

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wait for it…wait for it…

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ahahaha–what?

Yes, that’s me as Endor Leia, and Randy as Dagobah Luke, and our munchkin as a Henson puppet strapped to his back. And up in the sky, those are our household cats dressed in bright red robes, floating up into space with glowing balls in their hands, because they are obviously celebrating the Wookie winter holiday of Life Day.

Didn’t you see the notoriously awful, never-released (but constantly recopied from somebody’s old VHS TV recording) Star Wars Holiday Special?? It was the first appearance of Boba Fett! In some shitty 1970s cartoon digression! Carrie Fishier (RIP) was totally coked out! There’s fifteen minutes of nothing but untranslated Wookie growling! There’s a hideous grandfather Wookie who DEFINITELY stops to watch VR porn for a while!

Well well, it’s your lucky day, because the awfulness is all over YouTube (though who knows for how long). I don’t actually recommend you watch it, unless you are a masochist for bad movie nights like I am. By which I mean, I totally recommend you watch it and then complain to me because why on earth would I tell you watch such a horror.

Happy Life Day, all!

Harry Potter and the Day of Thanks

Have I mentioned that Thanksgiving is MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY? After a few years of it petering out as most of my family got married/moved houses/had kids, my siblings and I decided to take over the proceedings for ourselves and make a huge thing out of it. That means massive amounts of food. Games. And THEMES. Because what’s more fun than a costume party?

Last year it was Thankvengers: The Winter Solstice. This year we decided on Harry Potter and the Day of Thanks. What’s that, you say? Harry Potter is in England and has no Thanksgiving? Never fear! In this holiday fanfic, the entire cast is on a field trip to America. And every book is happening simultaneously. Accept it and move on!

For better or worse, Thanksgiving is an all day affair. Everybody comes over by 10 or 11 (or already lives there…) and we decorate the hell out of the place and cook half the day, inevitably eating dinner later than expected and wondering why we didn’t make lunch. Then, when everyone is good and comatose, we play games. Usually there is some combination of Mario Kart and Loaded Questions, the former designed to trounce children and make them cry, the latter designed to kick kids out of the room so we can indulge in filthy jokes at each other’s expense.

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When I say we decorate, I mean WE DECORATE

This year we had 8 adults and 6 kids. Help, they’ve nearly outnumbered us!! To start the festivities, we lined everyone up and sorted them into Houses. For the sake of fair competition, we had one kid and one adult in each House (leaving out the kids too young to care and a few adults to cook and judge the games).

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And leaving Snape to judge your choice of beverage.

We played a few rounds of corn hole Quidditch, which ended up being more challenging than expected because apparently nobody knew what corn hole was.

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Look at this little cheater. Slytherin for sure.

There was also a backyard hunt for the Golden Snitch, which ended in tears. Sorry kids, THERE IS NO CONSOLATION PRIZE IN QUIDDITCH.

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House Points: the ultimate motivator.

Of course, the Harry Potter world isn’t all frivolity. There were some escapees from Azkaban lurking around, ready to cause trouble:

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We’re looking for HAAAARRYY POTTERRR.

And everybody got freaked out once or twice glimpsing a certain pink-suited spy in our window. (Don’t worry, I’m definitely not keeping her around the house to hide inside cabinets and windows and other startling locations…)

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Oh helloooooo

It was great, and I love everyone, and we made way too much food so in the end I could only take a few bites of each dish, and by Sunday night I swore off Thanksgiving leftovers for all time because ungh, when do we ever need that much ham?

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Salud!

Oh and Sirius Black peeked in on the proceedings at one point, too.

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HAARRYYY

 

THANKVENGERS: The Winter Solstice!

I’m almost a week late posting this blog because directly after Thanksgiving I fell into a pit of baby-won’t-stay-asleep. After several nights of zombie-walking through the wee hours I entered a state of semi-consciousness which is difficult to describe. I could see sound? My limbs were no longer connected to my nervous system? My husband tried to roll over in bed and I shoved him away because I was convinced he was about to lay down on knives and screwdrivers?

Anyway, things are improving, and you aren’t here for baby woes, you’re here for THANKVENGERS! The holiday was a blast, even though we were a couple siblings short this year. Everybody dressed up, I got to put my new kitchen to the test, and the decorations… well, I’ll let the decorations speak for themselves!

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Edited for content.

Even the beverage station got in on things, and while we didn’t finish off the drink stand (I think somebody would have died), we were certainly feeling toasty by the time dessert rolled around.

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Google her.

We ended up expanding the theme past the MCU. For one thing, Wolverine showed up (um, he did a comic run with the team!). For another, Daredevil and Kingpin made appearances (though they WERE the MCU versions). There would have been even more chaos if all the family kids made it, but my family doesn’t need a lot of children around to act like them.

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We need a theme song.

There are plenty of photos of individual battles, food being chopped by adamantium claws or smashed by Mjolnir, and my baby being the adorable Hulk, but I think you’ve got the idea.

So that’s it for this year! Now I have 1.5 weeks of madness leading up to our birthday/housewarming party, followed by an additional week of madness leading up to my family Christmas party, followed by one last week of madness leading up to Christmas itself.

I’m basically a fool for ever expecting to accomplish personal goals during the last quarter of the year. The holidays consume me. In January I will emerge from the ashes, phoenix-like, to read all of my holiday books and write up a storm.

At the end of the day, I have a new family photo to plaster everywhere worth plastering:

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MERRY THANKMAS EVERYONE

the move part 2 / thanksgiving part 1

Dear lord I am down to my last couple of boxes, and those are waiting on a shopping trip for baskets and other creative storage solutions. Perhaps second in importance to the present-ability of the living areas: my books are up!!

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Just don’t turn around to the other side of the room just yet…

We’ve spent this week scrambling to prep the next-door unit for my brother and sister to move into (hell yeah we are talking family compound over here), because I’ll be damned if we are not ready for Thanksgiving next week.

That’s right, my new favorite holiday! In 2012 my husband and I began to host dinner for my siblings and their progeny. This was after a couple of years in which he worked on the holiday, and then a year in which I realized nobody in my family was stepping up to host for the current generation and that was supremely lame.

The first year we decided to launch an all-out attack on Autumn and made crowns and everything:

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Queen of Thanksgiving motherefferrrrs

 

The second year was still in our teeny condo, and we didn’t even have enough seats for everybody so this happened:

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Who needs chairs??

But we watched a bunch of Xena: Warrior Princess and had a Mario Kart championship slumber party. The notion of having a new theme each year stuck, and in 2014 (by this time living in an apartment) we concocted TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURKEY!

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There were also children dressed up I suppose

This year… hoo boy am I excited about this year. Now we have enough space to justify a party! And I’m not pregnant this time so I can drink! And we are going all out on the theme! I mean ALL. OUT. Our costuming expectations have leveled up dramatically over prior years’ token efforts. Don’t bother showing up if you aren’t in character.  Also don’t bother showing up, who are you?

So be prepared for some epic party pics next week, because I am off to decorate.

2014 christmas card

Previous cards:
https://samtasticbooks.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/the-annual-christmas-card/

The reveal! If anybody hasn’t received their card by now, something has gone seriously wrong. And I’m out of cards (except for the single copy I kept for my own collection), so my apologiiiiies.

This year we went with the theme, “Jingle Bell Rock.” I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

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2014 xmas card

I included the cats for the first time. Glorious. I was nearly Prince on his Purple Rain motorcycle, but I spent a couple minutes trying to cut the damn motorcycle out of the poster and gave up in the name of a more easily manipulated image.

I sent out 38 cards this year, which seriously made me consider whether there is a way to ease up the ‘handmade’ aspect of the cards.

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After writing “JINGLE BELL” over a hundred times something snapped in my brain and I wrote:

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Just bell

So perhaps next year I will print out the exterior and interior designs, and spend an afternoon pasting it all together.

Hope your holidays rocked!

christmas babies unite

Phew! Missed my usual Sunday posting due to a whirlwind week-and-a-half of birthday celebrations, early Christmas celebrations, and working overtime to wrap up my second job. When I return from the holidays I will be working… only one job!! It’s a Christmas miracle.

This year the craziness of December got me thinking about the experience of being a holiday baby. Growing up I was the only December baby in the family, though now I have married into a family that is bursting with them. My birthday was simultaneously kind of special (take that, back-to-back summer babies!) but also decidedly not special (well, you’ll all get presents next week anyway).

I am actually pretty fond of this. My birthday has always been associated with a time of year when I spend extra time thinking about my friends and family, planning ways to make other people happy. In recent years my family has switched to a Secret Santa exchange for the adults, but there is a new generation of kidlets to take care of (aaaand I try to sneak in something silly for everyone else anyway).

As a shiftless, freeloading elementary school student with no job of my own, the early years of Christmas giving relied on my superior craft-making skills.

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Take my word for it.

The later years relied on my allowance. I’ll have to ask my mom what it was… but surely not more than a dollar or two a week, because I remember the wonderment of accumulating $50 for the first time. I was an obsessive little saver, and I would stack up my dollars throughout the year for the purpose of buying Christmas gifts.

What a dork!

I would then splurge on cheap, crappy trinkets. Cheap, crappy trinkets for everyone! I have a particularly vivid memory of some kind of Fall craft fair at my school, a cornucopia of weird home-crafted items that only cost a couple of dollars apiece. For everyone!

When I was old enough to get legit birthday money and not just dolls ($20 from Nonna, hollaaaa) this became a holiday windfall that fueled my ability to buy a slightly advanced level of weird crap. My birthday was a tool by which I could buy things for other people. It still kind of is! Know that if you give me birthday cash instead of gifts or even gift cards, you are subsidizing your own presents. Actually… when you put it like that it sounds like a scam.

There isn’t a moral to this post. I’m just feeling particularly affectionate because every year as my birthday approaches it sparks the associated thought, “Oh man, what would everyone else like?” and whether it is individual gifts or a group gift, I start brainstorming ways to make my loved ones laugh. Awwww!