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!

the annual christmas card

Yes, I am a sender of Christmas cards! However, these are no store-bought packs with slightly personalized messages inside! Nor are they letters updating friends and family about my life (though I have considered doing those as well, since I am pretty good at making a joke of myself). Nay, these are 6×9 inch beauties constructed with cardstock, love, and photoshop monstrosities printed at my local Walgreen’s.

I like to think the photo clerk at Walgreen’s prints out my order each year, over thirty 4×6 photos of the same horrendous image, and sheds one tear in the holiday spirit.

2012 is when this tradition began. Randy and I teamed up to fight off the Grinch.

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You’re not getting any of my goddamn presents you thief

Pretty good, pretty good. I forgot to save myself a copy of the finished card, like a FOOL, though I have a couple extra copies of the photo insert, and of course the digital file.

2013 I knew I had to up my game a bit. I decided that one 4×6 image could not capture the full majesty of what I envisioned, so I expanded to two. We had done the self-serving thing the year before. This time we rescued Santa from a Kraken, thus ensuring gifts for alllll the good little Western girls and boys of means.

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I think I did a good job pasting Randy’s manly abs on that fish tail

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Santa waving meekly like he wasn’t just about to get his ass swallowed by a sea monster

In order to have the two images side-by-side I needed my 6×9 card to open horizontally rather than vertically. Unfortunately, 12×12 paper cannot be cut in this manner, so I made a bunch of 6×9 pieces and hinged two together for each card. I think this went… okay?? I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the durability or appearance of these glue stick creations.

So this year I am going back to the single-image format. I’ve got a pretty good plan. I think it will be a respectable addition to the set (and trust me, befuddled friends and family, you will one day be pleased if you own a complete set!).

Tune back in around Christmas! When I can safely assume that everyone has received their cards and won’t be spoiled for the surprise, then I will post the new card on my blarg for posterity.

this is halloween

I was going to write something kind of snotty called “the core tragedy of high school” about how the main theme of high school is finding a way to fit in, and then you get to college or the workforce and the only way to get ahead is to stand out, but look in one long sentence I already said everything I need to say about that.

So instead I will feel nostalgic about Halloween, because the year finally came in which I felt no urge to dress up or go to a party. I read a very swashbuckling book and fell asleep at 9 p.m.  Is this adulthood?? Or just a messy schedule that landed Halloween on a Friday at the end of a work week full of heavy lifting? It doesn’t matter. Guess I have to have a kid now so I can revitalize all of the traditions that grow stale after *cough* 28-ish years. Marvel as I gestate wildly in order to have a dazed baby in time to wrap it in something ridiculously cute, yet still warm enough to withstand Southern California’s autumn temperatures (spoiler: about 65 degrees at dusk).

my feels!

I’m too weak to party!

The real loss is that I have so many great costumes in my closet– so many that we, in fact, have devoted half of the library closet to be Costume Closet. But with the hubby working and me so sleepy, ah well, save it for the next convention.

I think the real culprit of this pointless three-act tragicomedy was our mid-October vacation. We left and it was still the end of summer, still ass-hot, my workplace full of students just starting semester projects. We returned and OH SHIT THE HOLIDAYS ARE STARTING.

Lucky for me, my new favorite holiday is Thanksgiving! This year’s Sibling Thanksgiving theme is pretty rad, so I will happily spend the next three weeks getting our place ready.