Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ridiculous, or How I Spent My Christmas Holidays

Last Monday, Mark and I traveled to Chattanooga for the beginning of our Christmas festivities. Here's what happened:

We arrived around lunchtime, and ate lunch with the fam, and spent the afternoon catching up and wrapping last minute presents and such. That evening, Kelly and I helped Mommy cook for dinner that night and dinner the next day (Monday was our "Christmas Eve" and Tuesday was "Christmas.") Things got just a little bit hectic, since we were trying to cook too many things at once, as usual...

The fire alarm went off. Four times. Because the oil in the pans for the cornbread ... well, it burned a little bit.

We still had to use the oil for the cornbread, so we poured it in anyway. One bowl of batter set up ... and one didn't, so well. We also had some trouble with the eggs...

... and the pizza dough, which we were eating for dinner that night.

And then things, as they usually do in the Shannon house, got just a little bit crazy...

I really love her :)

So that night, Daddy gave Mommy her present from him a bit early - and she got the boxes! I had written the clues to send her all over the house, looking for her gift.

One box was in the freezer. That was fun.

After 10 boxes, and 10 clues, and 10 rooms, she finally found her present!

A brand new camera! (Which she so desperately needed.)

Christmas Eve night, we watched the finale of the Sing-Off, and then went to bed. Everyone except Mark got up early the next morning and ate breakfast. We woke him up, and opened stockings!!


I love my mother.

So, I think before we go any further, I need to pause and explain something. Mark always makes fun of me for making... I guess we could say unusual faces. Not on purpose. And he always, always laughs. Case in point:

Yes, ahem, a bit embarrassing. I was in mid-word - not posing, not making this face on purpose, just talking. I know, attractive, right? Well, I am here to say that this condition of mine is genetic.

Exhibit A: My mother

While this one isn't as bad as mine, she does pull out some really awesome faces, also not on purpose. I come by it completely naturally. Which you will see further proof of in...

Exhibit B: My grandmother, my mom's mom

This picture makes me giggle with delight every time I look at it. She, once again, is totally not meaning to make this face ... it just sort of happens. And there you go. Three generations of uncontrollable facial muscles. I think we should have a new syndrome named after us ...

Now, back to Christmas! And Presents!
We started with Ninny, and went down the line of oldest to youngest. (We're really nerdy and always take turns with our presents. This year was a bit different, but usually we each open one present at a time, around in a circle. It makes Christmas last much longer.) This year, we drew names and had a price limit in order to save money. Mommy drew Ninny's name.

A Snuggie :) (In fact, a kid's Snuggie - cause Ninny's so short.)

Kelly got Daddy's name - and gave him an argyle sweater!

I got Mommy - a few pairs of her earrings :)

Daddy drew Mark's name, and got him some books - this one makes him look like a white supremacist, but I promise he's not, he just studies them :)

Mark drew my name, and gave me these awesome slipper boots. I LOVE them!

Sadly, my camera died, and I failed to capture Kelly's presents. Ninny drew her name, and gave her a bunch of film for her camera, and some stirrup pants. Because, you know, my sister can rock anything.
I also missed the Snuggie insanity that commenced following the opening of presents. Kelly put on her green velveteen stirrup pants and posed with Mommy and Ninny in their Snuggies. It was amazing. And all captured on Mommy's awesome new camera!

Since Kelly and I missed seeing each other at Thanksgiving, we had to catch up on our annual photo-shoot. We are ridiculous.

Seriously, she's the best sister ever.

Then we played the new game that Santa brought us - it's called backseat drawer, and it was insanity. And so much fun.

Momma-daughter duo - Daddy was also on their team

Merry Christmas!

My mom has such a classy sense of style - everything is so simple, but so pretty. Her dining room tables are always gorgeous.

But as classy as she is...

...She still knows how to have fun. Dancing with the Cornish hens she made for Christmas Dinner :)

On Wednesday, we traveled to Griffin to celebrate Christmas with the Skinners. They are not quite as silly as my crazy Shannons (or, they are silly in a different way), and so I sadly do not have quite so many pictures. But it was still so much fun!

My husband, with the singing Santa hat, waving his arms and making himself look like he has paddles for hands. Love him :)

Wednesday night, we got to go to Fayetteville and hang out with my gpa, aunt, uncle, and cousins, which is always a fun time. Dada just got out of the hospital too, so it was nice to see him feeling a bit better :)

Back at the Skinner's, we opened presents on Christmas Eve, so they could go to their church and help out with the huge dinner they serve on Christmas day.

Thomas got an XBOX :)

Dad looks pretty as a picture ... I think he should wear this look to the bank, and see what they think :)

All in all, we had a very, very Merry Christmas. We came back on Friday evening, and got to see Avatar with Andy and Suzie, which was an AMAZING movie, and it's always fun to do stuff with them :) I worked the weekend, cleaned yesterday, and today Kelly is coming to visit! We also get to meet her new boyfriend, Colton, which I'm super excited about. She tells me I will love him - I hope she's right!

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


'Twas the day before traveling, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse...

We're leaving tomorrow morning for our Christmas travels. The last two days have worked out splendidly -  I've gotten 3 loads of laundry and over half of our packing done this morning, and I've still got about 45 minutes before I have to leave. Definite win!

I can't believe Christmas is so fast approaching. We've gotten all our shopping done, and came out quite well this year. So tomorrow morning, it's off to Chattanooga for the Shannon Christmas Eve/Christmas Day (monday and tuesday), and then Wednesday we leave for Griffin, and the actual Christmas Eve/Day with the Skinners. Hopefully we'll be able to see my aunt/uncle/cousins/grandpa during that time. I'm excited about all of them - it's been forever since I've seen Kelly (October?), and Thanksgiving since we've seen everybody else.

So, off to do more packing and grab something to eat before time for work. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This Christmas, or How I Don't Feel Festive

This holiday season hasn't felt very much like the holidays to me. I don't know whether it's because I've not been able to go to church since working the weekend shift, or because we're not close to family anymore, or what, but I have been decidedly less festive than normal.

It made me sad.

Until this morning.

Because this morning, I realized how I've been spending the holiday season. I've not been rushing around like an insane person, trying to buy presents for everybody and their brother. I've not been stressing over Christmas cards, and who to send them to. I started to plan a Christmas party, only to cancel it. Instead of all those "holiday" type things, I've been spending time with people I love. My husband. Andy and Suzie. Elissa, and all her crazy bunch of friends. Mark's family, and my family. And this year, I wouldn't have it any other way. Yes, we did indeed decorate our tree. I did get my Christmas china down to use when Suzie came for dinner one night, and we have our pretty red tablecloth on the table. I've bought some presents. But for the most part, the largest chunk of my time, I've been surrounded by the people I love. I've been building on my relationships. I've traveled. And I've been so very happy.

And all that happy, people time is going to continue on through the first week of January. And it makes me so, so, excited. I think that I've come to understand a whole new part of the season this year - a part that doesn't stress me out, a part whose theme isn't tied up with red and green. It's all about love. I always knew that before. I mean, obviously - Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. The beginning of the most epic act of love ever to exist. But this year - this whole year, really - I've learned and discovered new ways to be immersed in love, and immersed in relationships. I love it. I love my life so, so much.

I am so thankful for my friends and family. They are everything to me :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

"you're being a busy bee..."

What Mark said to me after he got up yesterday (at 11:00). I actually got some stuff done.

My most major accomplishment, though, was cleaning the bathtub - it had this nasty gray-looking soap-scummy stuff on the bottom, and scrubbin' bubbles never even touched it. I'd clean it and clean it and get absolutely nowhere. So yesterday, I decided to try something new.

This stuff is incredible. I use it on my stainless steel cookware when it has nasty stainy smudges on it, and it'll take everything off. So, in a small stroke of genius, I realized you could use it in the bathroom too. And now my tub is white. WHITE. Whiter than it's ever been, even when we first moved in. There are a few spots around the edges that my arms were too tired to scrub (and scrub, you have to do for it to work on soap scum that thick), but the difference is absolutely incredible. I HIGHLY recommend this product. It's amazing.

In other news, things that I am excited about:

-After another 2 days of work tom. and sunday, we are headed to Nashville (again!) to celebrate Lissa's birthday! It will be a lovely time, as always. And extra exciting: we're going on a triple-date with Mark and I, Matthew and Lissa, and Price and Mel! Yay!!
-Two more days of work, and then it's Christmas Week! 2 and a half days with my family, plus 2 and a half days with Mark's family = lots of fun! (And lots of mileage on my car...) Which reminds me, I need to get my oil changed...
-Two more days of work, and then Kelly comes! She's staying the week of New Year's, and I'm not quite sure what we're doing, but it will be a fun time with her here :)
-Then THREE days of work (yay for $$$!) and we'll be off to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg for a 3-night vacation with Andy and Suzie. We're staying here and I am so excited and it will be just lovely :) Can't wait!!

And now, I'm off to my job as editor/proof-reader for my hubby - who got an A in his first class! Woo!! He's such a smart-y :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This whole "getting things done" thing is not working out so well for me. Yesterday, rather than getting up and doing things, I stayed in bed until noon. Lazy, much? Ran some errands yesterday afternoon, then went into work at 4. Stayed till like 8:30, came home, and went to Outback with Mark and Andy and Suzie. We didn't get out of there till nearly 11 - the poor guy who had to close had only been there a couple of days, and he was a bit slow. Nice, though...

Work has been insane. We're keeping a pretty steady census, which is nice, but it's just CRAZY. Feast or famine, for sure. At least my paychecks will be nice :)

This Christmas season has been so weird - I can't seem to get in the holiday spirit. Normally I am like OMGCHRISTMAS!!!! But this year I'm just sort of apathetic about it. I'm going to try to go get the last box from our storage room today and finish decorating (and I am NOT working today - too much to do!!) I don't know if it's because we're in Birmingham, or because my family is doing Christmas a bit differently, or because we haven't done any Christmas-y things, but I'm just not very festive-feeling. Maybe I can make some cookies or something and be a little more spirit-ed...

Now. I'm going to read until 9, and then I am going to GET UP. Tooo much to do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

my life is crazy, but awesome

I woke up this morning to the sound of a really happy chirpy bird outside my window. The sun was up. And I think it will be a good day.

I've been lazy this morning and stayed in bed for like 2 hours, but now it's time to get up and start the cleaning process. After being out of town so much lately, the mess has just overtaken - I'm glad I'm home this week so I can actually get some things accomplished. (Like putting up the rest of our Christmas decorations.)

Mark is done with his classes for the semester, save one paper, and we're traveling and party-ing and cleaning and all sorts of -ings for the rest of the month. Last week was Thanksgiving in Chattanooga, which was a lot more low-key than normal, but still fun. This week, like I said, we're home, and then next week is another trip to Nashville. And then - Christmas! Heaven knows when I'm going to finish all my shopping....

Oh, and happy news, Kelly is spending New Year's with us! Yay! I'm really, really looking forward to that, since we didn't get to see her at Thanksgiving.

I've stayed in bed too long. Time to get up and get things accomplished!