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Geek Out: My Family Edition

December 1, 2010

Geek Out: A Gathering of Inspiration from Around the Web

In all honesty, as much as I lean toward optimism to a fault, sometimes I massively underestimate my family. I love them. I always love them. Some members of my family have this habit of saying what they’re thinking, even if it’s unnecessary and hurtful. As the most talkative one of the bunch, I’m often the target of some of these useless, sucky phrases.

Over the years, I’ve gotten used to the idea that I’ll probably tear up at some point during the holidays and say to Isaiah, “They just don’t get me.” He’ll console me and wish that I would let him play with my uncles instead of keeping him all to myself.

This year was different.

Sometimes people astound you with what they see. Sometimes they astound you with what they don’t.

But this time, my family pleasantly surprised me.

You go through phases with family. You start out thinking they can do no wrong. They’re all wise. They’re all completely in love with you and your adorable little toddler-10-year-old self. My little cousin (13) is in the teenage phase where you think everyone hates you and that no one understands what you’re going through. I went through that. I think I got used to expecting that phase. At some point (for me, slowly over the last four years), you start to see your family in a different light. The glass image of them has been broken and you start to repair it…loving them for who they are and what they’re interested in as people. This may sound like common sense. Maybe I got it all too late.

My family really wants the best for Isaiah and I. I wasn’t sure they did.

My aunt even said to my mom about Isaiah and I, “Those two are going to make it.” It was the most heartwarming comment to hear secondhand. She believes in us. My mom agreed that she did too.

They talked for a while about how they believed in our relationship because of the way we fight. Never malicious and always over quickly.*

I enjoyed playing with my little cousins…daydreaming about the children that will be someday…how beautiful they’ll be. It was the perfect Thanksgiving. My aunt set up the table beautifully…she would kill me if she knew I took photos after we put butter on the table in the containers. You don’t mind though, do you?

Thanksgiving Table Setup

We came home and at the end of a day-long drive, we unpacked the Christmas tree to decorate. My mom still puts my handmade ornaments on the tree from preschool through whenever-you-stop-making-ornaments-in-school. She gave us a beautiful mini-tree for our apartment. It looks so Christmas-y in here.

I bought a SUPER-tiny miniature tree for toddlers (the brand is called “My Own Tree”) with little mini-garland and tiny ornaments for the nightstand. Isaiah bought a candle called “Christmas.” It’s starting to smell and look like the holidays I remember loving.

Spending the quality time with my family over Thanksgiving really helped get me back in the giving, Christmas spirit. I got to spend a few days with my dog. Did I mention I have a dog? I named him Wishbone when I was 9. I hope it’s clear that I regrettably named him after a short-lived TV series that he reminded me of. He’s a cutie-pie though.

Wishbone - Dog for the Holidays

What’s got your Christmas spirit up to threat-level-red-and-green?

*We want to talk later, semi-in-depth about how we fight…I think it can be one of the most defining things about a relationship…for now, we’ll just leave you with that tidbit.


Fingers Crossed and Other Pet-Peeves

November 30, 2010

Fingers Crossed

Image via

I have many pet-peeves.

There are an annoying number of things that annoy me.

I can’t stand loud eating noises. Something that actually makes it difficult for me to imagine a day I will calmly stare at a child of mine while they smack away on a Goldfish.

I can’t be around people who call others out. Hence why I’ve never told anyone but Isaiah to either chew quietly or move far, far away from my ears. I learned something at a young age, “You don’t have to say everything that comes to your mind.” Most of the hurts we go through in our lives (barring the deaths, the illnesses and the like) could have been prevented if people just thought about what they were going to say before they said it.

I have many small pet-peeves that might seem neurotic to (cough, Isaiah) many people around me. However. There is one thing that I think is bigger than a pet-peeve. It’s something that rocks my spine like a car wreck every time I hear it.

That thing? Have I built it up too much?

I can’t stand when people get married and all along the way drop little cliché phrases like, “This will be our only marriage, fingers crossed” or “We’ll be together forever, knock on wood.” Perhaps it’s the way a couple of recent, close divorces have affected me and my way of thinking on this topic.

I remember reading on a blog (the particular blog I can’t remember, I apologize) that there are good years and bad years in marriage. With a mentality of “I hope this one takes,” how can we be expected to make it through those times? Prepare yourselves for the long-haul. Imagine forever. Know that you’ll make it, don’t “hope” or expect luck to take care of things for you.

I feel as though we’ve been taught to think believing in true love is silly. We’re lofty if we believe that our marriages have what it takes. I think saying, “At least I hope we’ll be together forever” is only to satisfy to everyone around us that we are aware of the risks.

Decide. Marry deliberately for forever. If it doesn’t work, so be it, recover, move on…but don’t prepare for the worst from the beginning.

What are your thoughts?

ChristmaHanaKwanzika: Angie

November 29, 2010

Angie is the first guest poster in the series ChristmaHanaKwanzika celebrating what the holidays look like/feel like/sometimes smell like in every home. Without further delay, in her own words.

As the eldest child of a single mom, I was burdened with one primary responsibility – to keep the secret of Santa safe. Being her accomplice was no easy task. I went to every single toy store in the state with her. I helped her wrap all of Santa’s gifts until our fingers bled.* I even helped her hype up the Santa Hotline.** Together we very carefully planted all sorts of evidence that Santa had visited our tiny townhouse. However, there was one job I had to go into alone – eating Santa’s cookies. I was a pro. The trick was to make it look like he was in a hurry – take a few bites here and there, save some milk in the glass, and be sure to leave crumbs on and around the plate. One year I even left a trail of crumbs leading to our front door. (We had no chimney, he had to get in somehow.) After I wolfed down both mine and Santa’s share, my mom and I would lay by our beautiful Christmas tree, me in my self-induced cookie coma and my mom with her bleeding fingers, just watching the small, electric train travel around the trunk.

My mom made Christmas a lot of fun. She even caved in one year and let us get the big-colorful-blinking–bulb-seizure lights my sister and I wanted. My mom is a Christmas tree freak. Her trees look like they came straight out of the NYC Macy’s window display. She layers ribbons, strings of pearls, white lights, and strategically hangs each ornament until it’s perfect. PERFECT. She goes through phases of decorating – one year it was country chic, a few years later it was bright metallics, then after that it was hand blown glass, and now she’s obsessed with an all red and green tree. She collects three new ornaments each year for my brother, sister, and I to have someday. She’s just about replaced all of the old ornaments, except three. When my mom started her ornament hoarding, my sibs and I thought it would be a great idea to DIY some for her. We picked up three clear plastic globes, some paint, ribbon, glitter, and a handful of tchotchkes. Our inspiration – the snow globe. Brilliant, right? All three turned out great. They were the perfect set of snowy goodness made with love. And where does she put them? On the back of the tree that faces the window in her living room. She says she wants the entire neighborhood to appreciate the craftsmanship, but we know she’s full of it.

As an adult and a wife, the holidays still mean very much the same thing. Cookies and ugly ornaments. Kidding. For me, the holidays are about the memories you make and the people you share them with. I appreciate the memories my mom created for us all those years, and I hope to do the same for my family. This is our first year celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas as a married couple. The traditions we create now may very well be the same ones we share with our future children, which is very exciting. And just in case you’re curious, we haven’t decided what to do about the whole Santa thing. Someone even suggested partnering him up with Hanukkah Harry. I think this can be dangerous for both Josh and I. (Exhibit A: Double the self-induced cookie comas.) Not to mention the whole he-sees-you-when-you’re-sleeping thing creeps me out.

We started our own holiday tradition just last year. Just before Christmas Eve we get together with a handful of my cousins and exchange gag gifts under $15. We eat lots of food, drink lots of drinks, and make cracks at our new gifts. Last year, Josh’s Secret Santa got him his most favorite things in life – a pack of Nathan’s hot dogs and Ghirardelli’s Peppermint Bark. He must have been a very good boy.

* Not really. There was no blood involved.
** You could call some local number and either hear a recorded message from Santa or a where-is-he-now status report. It was ridic.

Sidenote, you should know that Isaiah loves Nathan’s hotdogs, and considering we’re Vienna-all-beef-Chicago-style-hotdog-snobs, that’s saying a lot.

ChristmaHanaKwanzika: The Series

November 29, 2010

Winter Photography Christmas We Heart It

I had the most wonderful holiday. I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to go as smoothly as it did, but shame on me for underestimating the holidays. Lately, things haven’t been as we want them necessarily. We are extremely thankful for being simultaneously unemployed for the time being, although the whole “enjoying this phase” thing is getting drowned out by our desire to be able to pay our bills and the amount of work (8 hours/day = full time job) that we are putting into finding new jobs.

However, for the time being, we are loving every minute of getting to spend this much time together. It doesn’t happen very often in life.

That being said, we wanted to introduce a new series for the month of December. What started as an “I want to share a few lines about everyone for Christmas (mini-gifto)” kind of thing, turned into an awesome guest post series on the holidays and what they mean, what they look like, how they feel to some folks in this community.

With only an hour of waiting, I’m getting Angie’s post together and recovering from Thanksgiving/catching up on blogs and homework, in that order. I hope you enjoy it.

Image via


November 27, 2010

I enjoyed the disconnect this weekend. I had an excellent time with my family. Picked up a couple of great deals from Black Friday sales, something I never participate in. New jeans…much needed. Not that you care.

I’m looking forward to diving into your blogs tomorrow and catching up!

In case you were wondering, the Thanksgiving Sandwich:

Get some great bread. That’s the key. Some seedy, Italian or wheaty bread is the best. Put your favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner on the bread (I recommend stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, turkey and a tiny bit of mayo and/or gravy). Eat. It’s freaking delicious. I actually like it better than Thanksgiving dinner.

Hope you had a lovely holiday. We’re looking forward to getting back in the swing of things at home…see our super cute little kitties and spend some time together tomorrow night before school really starts moving at a serious speed.

Template Thursdays: Desktop Wallpapers

November 25, 2010

We’re in Georgia for the holiday. Between my graduation photos and the craziness of the holidays, we didn’t have time this week to make a download. We did want to share some great Thanksgiving and fall desktop wallpapers from around the web.

I found this Give Thanks wallpaper on Crucial Design Blog and thought it was pretty great.

As soon as I saw this bad boy, I made it my desktop image. It’s adorable, yeah? Found it on Deviant Art.

Adorable Desktop Thanksgiving Wallpaper

Thank you graphic wallpaper would look pretty badass on a Mac, from Smashing Magazine.

Thank You Graphic Desktop Wallpaper

“Enthusiasm” desktop wallpaper from Deviant Art.

Thanksgiving desktop wallpaper "Enthusiasm"

“Goodbye Fall” is semi depressing, but really pretty. I love winter best, so this is a pretty beautiful sight in my eyes. How about yours? From Deviant Art.

For my vegetarian homies, also from Deviant Art.

Enjoy, sorry for the lack of a download today, but we’ll get right back to that on Thursday. Enjoy your Thanksgivings!

Geek Out: Thanksgiving Shtuff

November 24, 2010

I generally dislike Thanksgiving on a very primal level. As in, every single thing inside of me hates Thanksgiving. I love giving thanks. I love the food. I hate the cannibalism that sometimes affects my family (and many, many others) that includes symptoms such as: Bragging about the year’s accomplishments in such a way that put others down, laughing at the weakest link of the year’s expense…I know, it sounds like a lovely holiday, doesn’t it?

I do love certain parts about Thanksgiving. Spending the entire day with my mom, which doesn’t happen often enough. Learning a few recipes a little better than last year. Spending the week preparing with my mah, cooking desserts, pie crust from scratch…and what not.

But because most people don’t hate Thanksgiving, I’ll share a few Thanksgiving inspired posts that inspired me recently.

Liz’s “Thankful” post. Read it.

Thanksgiving giveaway and brilliant post on A Los Angeles Love.

Some Free Downloads

From us

Thanksgiving dinner place cards featured on Sweet Little Thrills.

Jackie’s oh-so-sweet trade-off of fall mailing labels for the season!

Recipe cards for your bad-ass Thanksgiving recipes. We’ll have a kick-ass recipe for you soon…related to your after-Thanksgiving-ness.

The kick-ass blogger button we made only because we’re extremely thankful for all of you.

From elsewhere

Thanksgiving downloads from The Sweetest Occasion that are way too cute!

More coming tomorrow! Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s Thanksgivings! We’re in Georgia with my lovely family.