Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Catch Up (LONG)

Phew! Christmas has come and gone and I managed to have less time than I expected, but everything turned out very well! I hope that every one's holiday weekend was lots of fun and you all got to take some time for yourselves. I've got a fair bit of pictures and odds and ends to catch up on. So here goes!

Christmas Eve morning I got up early to take the dogs for a hike. I figured that a nice long hike combined with the nice long romp in the snow the day before should be enough to keep them happy and fairly mellow through Christmas day, where they would have a decided lack of outings. I am happy to say that it did! We stayed fairly local and hit up one of our fave new logging roads that we found. This road has plenty of little off shoot "trails" that I'm looking forward to exploring this winter. We were out for about three hours and I did a little over six miles. And once again, who knows how many more miles the dogs clocked in, with Bess putting in the most. The "trail" that we chose had some good climbing sections, so we were feeling the burn for part of it.

There were lots of great views that made for a breath taking morning.

We were high enough up that there were some interesting effects from a combination of really low lying clouds and fog. I told Bess that it was steam coming from the mouth of a monster that ate naughty little dogs who took off chasing deer. She wasn't phased. And yes, we did see deer and the dogs did give chase, with Bess being the most staunch follower.
After our hike I popped in A Christmas Story and wrapped all my presents. I have no idea why, but I really dislike wrapping presents. I enjoy buying gifts for people, but i hate figuring out how to disguise them. I have been known to deliver gifts in the bag in which I bought them. Yes, I'm sometimes that bad. Usually only to good friends who are understanding or family members because they're blood and have to put up with it.;o) Regardless, I put off my wrapping until the last minute. After that it was time to clean myself up, feed the pooches, and begin the Christmas Eve chaos!

We started the night at one of Adam's aunt and uncle's houses. They were hosting the giant extended family gathering. There's lots of food, lots of family, and lots of presents. I really enjoy the majority of the gathering. Everyone has a great time. The only problem is the present unwrapping part. I believe that shortest amount of time that it has taken to get through it all that I've been there for is three hours. I'm not exaggerating even a little bit. And I think that was short only because we had to cut out early because we still had to head down to my parents' who are over an hour away. The present opening is a very involved process. In part because there are a lot of people. The other part has probably to do with process itself. The presents get opening in order of age starting with the oldest. For each round, each person may only open one present at a time. We all draw names ahead of time, so it's not like we have to buy presents for everyone, but generally everyone has more than one present to open. It usually takes over an hour to make it through the first round. And it's understandable since the person buying the gift obviously wants to see the person opening their present. Understandable. But the length of time that it takes to open presents has gotten out of control. I would rather spend more time visiting with people and just chilling than sitting uncomfortably packed into an area for several hours, while waiting my turn. Thankfully we always head down to my parents' afterwards, so we usually cut out early because we don't want to arrive at my parents' after midnight or later.

So, we cut out early again this year because we were originally trying to make it to my parents' for my family's little Christmas Eve tradition. That was a no-go. It took too long. And we came home to a little bit of diarrhea in the house that needed cleaning up. Once we got the dogs loaded up we were on our way!

I think I've mentioned it before, but Heffner at least doesn't always sleep terribly well in places that aren't home. At my parents' especially he seems to be more "alert." Probably because every time we spend the night there it's because we're doing something exciting the next day. Also unfortunately, Adam is a really light sleeper. To the point where he can't handle sleeping in the same room as the dogs. So he slept in my sister's bedroom (she had to work all night) and I slept in the spare bedroom, on the floor with the dogs. Heffner enjoyed this immensely because he could get up during the night and lick my face or just plain dangle his lips over my unsuspecting self. It's a good thing he's cute! While trying to get him to lay back down on his bed, he usually decided that I was actually trying to get him to high five me. So there was a lot of pawing involved as well. The end result? I didn't get a whole lot of sleep that night. But it's Christmas Eve and I usually don't sleep well that night any way.;o)

When we got up in the morning, we had a leisurely time of opening stockings, eating breakfast, and then opening presents. Bess promptly took over my sleeping bag once I got up. We thought she looked pretty cute and Adam put a blanket over her and tucked her in. Much more cute in real life than in the picture!
Our entire Christmas day was quite full. We had my family's Christmas morning. Then we loaded everything up and headed to the house of some very good friend's of ours for Christmas breakfast part 2. That was kind of a last minute addition and we had exchanged presents earlier. They had more delicious food and we enjoyed just hanging out and chatting. Then we headed home to drop off the dogs and the loot thus far. Once the dogs got their breakfast, they were pretty happy to just pass out and get the sleep that they had mostly missed out on that night. From there we headed to Adam's parents', who thankfully only live about a mile from us (and for those of you who shudder at the thought of having in-laws that close, I am very happy to say that they're good in-laws and it works out very well). We had a lovely Christmas breakfast part 3 with some more present opening. Phew! By the time we wrapped up all of that, I think it was about 2:30pm. Which gave us just enough time to go home and get cleaned up for Christmas dinner at my aunt and uncle's!

It was a very full day, but I was really happy to be able to see everyone and it made the day that much more special. One of my cousins deployed today, so it was especially nice to see him before he left.

And if you're wondering if Santa was good to me this year, he most definitely was! Hubby scored some serious bonus points on his gift. He got me jewelry. But not just any jewelry. He got me the kind of jewelry that makes my heart go pitter pat.:)
I was really excited because the pendant and pin that he got me just happened to match the pair of earrings that I bought at last year's national specialty!!

After all the chaos and excitement of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we were pretty much spent on Sunday. We slept in and just basically bummed around the house. The dogs had been so worn out by all the exercise and comings and goings that they weren't even being obnoxious about not getting to go any where. They would get up and follow me to each room when I would move, but that was pretty much the extent of it. It was a nice lazy day!

They did get one special treat yesterday that they were very excited about. This year, when my dad went hunting he got an elk! I told him ahead of time that if he got anything I would take absolutely anything that he didn't want and I gave him a lengthy list of the parts that he might not think about that the dogs would love. Well, once they took it to the butchers to portion it out, we got a few bags of random hunks of elk meet and lots of BONES! I had pulled out two of the big bones to thaw so that the dogs could dig into them. They'd been sitting in the freezer for about a month and a half to freeze off anything that the elk might have that wouldn't be good for the dogs (I did a little reading on that since I wasn't entirely sure what to do with wild raw game). The dogs were pretty excited about their bones.:)

The blankets are there so that they don't make a bloody mess of the carpet. Clean up is so much easier when all I have to do is throw the blankets in the wash!

And to end our lovely weekend, we got up early and met up with my dad for a little playing in the snow! The conditions were great with new snow on the ground and even more snow gently falling while we hiked around. And because I've already been quite wordy and still have quite a few pictures to share, I'm going to leave you with some of the pictures from today.:)

P.S. Remi's mom, the boots that Bess has on are from Dog They hold up really well! I've mentioned a few different booties that I've tried with them in this post. The Ultra Paws boots are the ones that Heffner is wearing and they are also holding up really well.


Sam said...

Wow, I'm just tired from reading your post! The pre-Christmas hike sounds like one to remember. And Marge is insanely jealous of those giant bones!

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

Sounds like a great Christmas!

I agree with you though, the gift opening procedure sounds pretty excessive. Excessive enough where it has to be called a "procedure"!

I LOVE your jewelry. I'd love to have some Malamute jewelry, but haven't seen it. They had one vendor at our National, but she came toward the end of the week when I'd already spent most of my spending money.

Layla is jealous of their large bones, and I'm jealous of your dad! My dad and I have been wanting to go Elk hunting forever, but we haven't had the means to get to the western US and do so. That's so cool that he was able to get an elk. My dad does go deer hunting out here, and I'm more excited for the dog parts than for the meat for us people!

Mango said...

We used to do something similar at the holidays where ever gift was opened one at a time and everybody had to ooo and ahhh and the recipient had to make appropriate happy face. Then last year we told the kids, no more presents. A collective sigh of relief went up. No more grouchy wrapping of a sweater for my son-in-law that he will likely donate to Good Will. No more straining to find something nice to say about some of the well intentioned but inappropriate gifts I get. This was our second no gifts year and it has made all the difference.

Mango Momma