palo duro canyon

This weekend Josh and I’s schedules realigned to give us two days off together (rare!). We took off for Amarillo to hike in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. After arriving, we hit up the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch, not for the famous 72oz steak challenge. It was exactly as kitschy as it looks. At one point, Josh said, “This feels just like Branson.” It really did.

We spent all day on Friday in the park, hiking a loop of five different trails for a total of about 15 miles. On Saturday, we came back for two more trails and eight more miles. Since it was chilly (in the 50s) and we were there on a weekday, it was conveniently empty.

The park hosts quite a few mountain biking trails, so it was nice not to compete with that traffic. We had some of the trails completely to ourselves, which we loved. When no one’s around we can move at our own pace, goof around on the GoPro and sometimes, even sing a little. Those are normal hiking activities, right? Fewer people meant more animals too; we saw turkeys, two whitetail deer, a fox, a roadrunner and lots of blue birds.

The miles and miles of farmland in the surrounding area stretch flat as far as the eye can see, then BOOM, a canyon.  Most of the trails wound around at the bottom, only two with real elevation. We walked past all kinds of vegetation, a sorry little river, red clay and other geological formations we underappreciated.

Amarillo itself was, hmm, how do I say this? a bit well, underwhelming. We spent about fifteen minutes at Cadillac Ranch and then headed back to the hotel. I did some research, but nothing really stuck out to me as a gem. We can’t recommend the margarita at Ruby’s highly enough though!

The photos do better than any of my words.

don’t donate blood before soul cycle

Spoiler alert, you really only need to read the title of this post to get the scoop. I’m an idiot, and now I know for sure.

Tuesday my schedule was packed. There was a meeting, then I donated blood, next an interview, a free class from Soul Cycle and a phone meeting to close it all down. I was looking forward to most of it, expecting a big day. I carefully planned and packed my meals knowing I would need fuel.

To preface, I donate blood regularly. By regularly, I mean every time we host a blood drive at work, which is every quarter or so. It’s easy for me, and I’m O+ (#LiquidGold). It seems like a surefire way to get into heaven, so I can handle a quick stick. Usually I’m a little tired the rest of the day, but nothing crazy.

After giving, I grabbed a free Oreos and CheeseIts and headed back to work. All good. Actually, I felt fine until the Soul Cycle class started. This is the part of the story where you squint your eyes a little and cock your head to one side. If you know me really well, you say, “Do you think you should have gone to that?” To you, I answer, “No, I should have stayed home and watched TV like a good American.”

See, the class was a promo through work. I know Taylor Swift goes to Soul Cycle in New York. Although I don’t like riding bikes and the one cycling class I took in college was torture, I thought, “Hey, maybe this will change my mind!” Oh, and it was free.

They gave me shoes, adjusted my bike and I sat there pedaling like an idiot, thinking I could do strenuous exercise missing 1/8th of my blood supply. I do not kid when I say that’s a tough class. Well, at least the first 15 minutes are tough. I could hardly do them. Ok  fine, I totally sat down the whole time. The base thumped as the instructor in an effort to pump us up started flashing the lights. Then I got some crazy vertigo. Like a Deadliest Catch meets Screaming Eagle feeling and I thought I was going to chuck my cookies in that tiny studio packed in with dancing, sweating bicyclists (some of whom were coworkers). There was no where to puke except on another human.

I couldn’t unclip my shoes from that stupid bike, so I just slipped them off and dove through the rows of elbows as I sprinted for the door.

Once I got out into the glorious, quieter, brighter lobby a well-meaning employee made me sit on a bench until I could walk straight. Then I walked straight into the bathroom and heaved while she pretended to clean the sink. I sat in the lobby for a while feeling like a baby and a failure. I am both, it’s cool. Then they made me fill out an incident report, and I left with what little dignity I could muster before the rest of my coworkers finished their totally rad workout.

Once I got home, I laid on the cool hardwood floor of our apartment and reacquainted myself with the gentle spin of mother earth, drank a ton of water and then went to bed at 8pm.

If you’re judging me, it’s ok. I deserve it. I can handle it.

women’s march

This Saturday we marched with 5000+ in Dallas and 2 million worldwide. My social media feeds lit up with friends and celebrities all over the country doing the same. While I couldn’t march with some of my friends, I felt the kinship from afar.

Pretty crazy to think that two million people not only agreed about something but showed up to stand in a crowd to be heard. That seems like a lot of people until you remember that half the world is women.

When plans started rumbling around about the march, I knew I would go. I told Josh about it and was excited he wanted to join. He’s a self-proclaimed feminist, but I love that he was ok to be one in public. Courtney was pumped too. We made posters, and the three of us walked the mile and a half route with the mob.

There were some of the protest types you’d expect to see- one girl waving burning sage and plenty of crunchy-looking yogis. People of all ages and races were out with strollers, wheelchairs and dogs. There were families with grandma, mom and young daughters all out carrying signs. Some in sweats and some in full-out suits. About 1/4 or 1/5 of the crowd was men.

This event had a woman’s touch all over it. There was a clear and succinct statement of principles. A woman stood near a hole in the sidewalk guiding people around it, saying over and over, “No twisted ankles at this march!” Before it started, a lady walked around asking people to take photos of the chant sheet, as to save paper on copies. Everyone was beaming and admiring each other’s tshirts and complimenting posters. Courtney got a lot of love for her rainbow of Hillary pantsuits tee.  It was the same buzzing female energy I felt before Komen Race for the Cure, maybe a little less pink. Everyone thanked every cop we walked past.

The signs were the best part. Lots of witty ones! I laughed out loud as Courtney and I pointed them out to each other.

It was important to me that this wasn’t an anti-Trump rally. This march on his first day at a new job let him and his supporters know his country is full of women. Women who won’t stand for being grabbed, for being dismissed by looks or having a period, for bring called nasty or any other name. We are worried about issues that directly affect us that he so easily shrugs off or, worse, signs executive orders to limit. Stuff like reproductive rights, accessible and affordable healthcare, violence against women, LGBTQ issues, workers rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigration and the environment.

Just a reminder, Don, we’re here. We’re loud. We’re watching and we’re participating. You work for us too, buddy.

Besides sending a message to our new leader, the march energized me. It reminded me that there are women and men all over Dallas, the country and the world who care too. There’s a huge mass (actually over half of the voting public, but like, who’s bitter?) who are ready to work. I hope it’s not a one day thing.

Being surrounded by powerful, active women gives me such a rush. Maybe because I’m close to my sister and my mom or the four years I spent with 600 girls, but I felt right at home. Going to an all girls school is the single greatest gift my parents ever gave me. I know that women can run anything from a student council fundraiser to a school. Women can ask questions and find a place to personally excel. Women deserve a seat at the table because we have innovative ideas and unique perspectives. It never crossed my mind that playing Mr. Rochester in our Jane Eyre scene was weird or that standing on chairs in the cafeteria belting Celine Dion isn’t a normal high school thing. Wearing a uniform leveled us, reminding us everyday that hard work was what mattered. And we worked hard. Even when I didn’t want to, I was inspired and encouraged by the young women around me who gave it their all, whether it was a calculus test or creating a haunted house. We hustled and saw that hustle recognized with grades, but also by the respect of our peers.

We didn’t see that hustle recognized in November, but the march this weekend gave me hope that women (and really anyone) like us are still heard.

My sign is a reference to a Hamilton lyric. I don’t think it got the love it deserved.

repeating dresses

One year later, I finally picked up Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. Is my life changed? Not quite yet.

Kondo brings up some interesting points about how attached we are to clutter for one reason or another- gifts, sentimentality, what if I need it, etc, etc.  She encouraged me to clean out and let go of stuff I don’t use. I’m planning a little purging this weekend.  I love how she says to store things in a convenient place to putting them away as opposed to using the items.

Her advice leans toward the extreme side, though. She’s ready to live in an empty place, which I like in theory. In real life, it would make me sad to keep all the things I love in my closet. Just not me.

She said that clothes you never wear should go. I don’t think Marie would want to shop with me. She advocates buying fewer, quality things and making them last forever. I love that idea. In my perfect world, I would do that.

Instead, I live in this world where I feel guilty about throwing out perfectly nice things that I may wear. She would tell me to do it and on the off-chance, I should just buy something else if I need a replacement in the future. This implies that future me will want to shop for a new dress/black slacks/or whatever.

I’ve always been a spiritual shopper. Sometimes I want to browse up and down aisles and touch and try on clothes. Most of the time, I want in and out. A quick lap around provides me enough info as to if I want anything at all.

When I’m on a mission to find something specific, it’s too forced. It’s not fun and I don’t find what I’m looking for in the allotted time. I know that I do my best work on my time. Things find me, even during the wrong season. But man, when I find something that clicks and it’s a deal- it’s mine. I’m not worried about when to wear it, unless it’s a full-out formal.

So I have a closet FULL of dresses, in particular. I’ve worn most more than once and I keep them in hopes to wear them again and again. I’m not the kind of person who buys something for a specific event, wears it once and then forgets. Some women treasure the feeling of something new for an event. I get excited to pull one of these babies out of the closet. Josh is the same way about his suits. He has three (I think?) and all three fit him and look great. He likes all three and enjoys wearing them.

My dresses get loved. Social media rats on how often I rewear these babies.  Here’s a walk down memory lane where I call out myself on repeats. Also, thanks to all the wedding photogs for these photos.

I bought this dress at Loft and wore it in Tahiti (not pictured), for my cousin’s wedding in July 2015 here:

And again at Kristen’s wedding this summer:

My mom found this dress with gold polkadots before college graduation. I still love it and want to wear it every weekend. It made an appearance under my graduation robe:

Here it is again at the Heart Ball in 2013 (?):

Once more time at Emily’s rehearsal dinner in December 2013. I think Alexis may have repeated the same dress from the Heart Ball that night too.

Before my wedding, I was searching high and low for a fancy white dress to wear at the rehearsal dinner. I hated everything I tried on in those weeks. I finally, released myself from the need to wear white for that event. Only then did I stumble across this pink lacy dress. I wore it the day before the wedding.

It came back out to play at Katie’s wedding last April. Also, not pictued at Steve’s rehearsal dinner.

I bought this dress without a plan and wore it to Kelly’s wedding in Kansas City.

It resurfaced at my bridal shower, with different accessories.

This black flapper dress was a steal from Charming Charlie’s. Here it is at Stef’s wedding.

It danced again at Carolyn’s wedding in October.

All of these dresses are still hanging in my closet begging for another round. I hope to wear them all again.

If I would have cleaned out all these dresses like Marie wanted me to, I would wear the same two dresses all the time or spend half my life shopping. I’m guessing her wedding hustle is not as strong as mine.

Goodbye Obamas

don’t get political here, Shannon
*saves another draft of ramblings in google docs*

no one wants to hear you complain, Shan
*saves draft to google docs*

Watching Obama’s farewell address this week was bitter sweet. Ok, it was mostly bitter, but there was some sweet. While he spoke, my social media feed erupted with praise for his character and accomplishments. Lots of Mizzou friends shared photos of the speech he made on campus right before the 2008 election. Here’s mine. 

Taken five days before voting in my first election.

Barack is a skilled speaker and he was in fine form sharing his greatest hits.  It meant a lot to hear him speak about some of his shortcomings too. While Barack Obama hasn’t been the perfect president (have we had one of those yet? umm no), he’s been a leader and a role model in my adult life.

I kept it together until he started talking about his wife and kids. The last eight years we watched his family and how he treats and interacts with them. In case you missed it…

Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion.  You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily.  Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad. 

Still getting full body shivers over here.  I love that a father figure, maybe the most powerful dad since Danny Tanner, proclaimed to the world that the most important thing about his daughters wasn’t the way they looked or their smarts, but they way they act and treat people. That’s Feminism with a capital F. That’s what we should be telling our kids of either gender. No amount of As, looks, awards, money or fame should make a parent proud. Instead, we should set an example for our kids to be kind, thoughtful and full of passion.

Obama walked the walk, especially when it came to his family. I saw this with George and Laura Bush too. Granted, a president’s job is not to be a rock star dad, but it’s pretty cool when we get two for the price of one. We didn’t hire him to watch him raise kids or kiss his wife, we hired him to run a powerful country and he made time to show us both.

The press captured tender moments between Barack and Michelle and candids of the whole family on vacation. The rest of us at home thought, they are real people. People like us, who work hard and still find time to be moms, dads and daughters.

The way he and Michelle talk about each other set an example for marriage that operates as a partnership. Two highly educated and accomplished people join forces to support each other. He lovingly jokes that she’s the boss without making her sound like a nagging b*tch. She supports his work, but maintains her own sphere of influence. They appear together and apart in the news and entertainment worlds, but always maintain a unified front.

The Obamas let their kids go to concerts and meet celebrities, but Sasha also missed the farewell address for a test. Real Mark and Lynne move, if you ask me. Instead of picking silly fights or defending himself to his critics, Barack, and Michelle too, kept working. They showed their actual kids and this nation full of kids that people are always going to dislike and distrust you, but you have to keep doing what you think is right. They could have got into petty shouting matches on social media, but the Obamas are above that mess.

They both are avid readers and share their picks.  They advocate for health, education and the environment, all relatively voiceless causes. They milked their celebrity to shout about people in need and improvements to be made instead of personal attention. Whether or not you agree with his politics, Barack Obama has displayed nothing but character and personal integrity in the last eight years.

Luckily, the Obamas will probably remain in the spotlight and we’ll get to continue to watch.

2017 plans

It’s time for resolutions. Actually, these should have happened last week, but it’s not like I can just wait until 2018 now. Here are my goals/resolutions/plans for the new year. You’ll recognize some of them from previous years and other from all of humankind’s lists.

Read a Jane Austen book. It’s embarrassing that I haven’t.

Write more. This gets on every list every year. This time, longer stuff and loves notes that I can mail.

Get my digital clutter under control, including regularly backing up photos. My gmail inbox is demanding a deep cleaning this year. So many newsletters, so little time. I finally unsubscribed to most of the sales and promos.

Eat more vegetables and less processed crap.

Eat less chocolate. Just kidding, maintain usual chocolate levels.

Catch up on back issues of magazines and some of unread books that are laying around.

Go somewhere new.

Explore Dallas more. I’ve heard of this crazy big mall I’ve never been to, also we need to check out the aquarium.

Try new recipes. Josh and I got some cookbooks for Christmas and I need to use them!

Continue only buying quality, comfortable footwear and using my anti-aging cream at night. Those hotdogs (my wrinkles) are coming in HOT.

More moving, less laying on the couch.

Learn to write the number 7 more beautifully. Why is it so ugly in my handwriting? Maybe I should improve my handwriting in general…

Ok, let’s go, 2017!

 

 

2016 numbers, etc.

You know I live for end of the year recaps. This one is my favorite so far. A Canadian astronaut named Chris Hadfield shared his list of all the progress we made, and it’s pretty impressive. Here are mine from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

This year I..

Flew 62 flights, adding up to 46,570 miles, for a total of 114:24 hours (yep, that feels about right).

read 44 books, thanks to a lot of airport time.

danced at 10 weddings.

made six videos: NYC, Big BendKristen’s BacheloretteLondon, Hefferfest and Phoenix.

filled two notebooks.

wrote 75 blog posts.

Other things of note that I want to remember fondly of 2016…

I went to New York City for the first time and then two more times. I love that place, what took so long? Josh and I also went to Big Bend, Phoenix and Tahoe as firsts.

Over the summer I traveled to Ireland, semi-alone. It was tricky at times, but mostly exhilarating.

My dad is adding on to the back of the house and he took out my basketball hoop. I’m not bitter at all. Not even a little.

Hamilton weaseled its way into my life when I thought I didn’t care. Oh boy, do I care. Thanks to the soundtrack, I’ve spent quality time googling and learning more about the revolution and Lin-Manuel Miranda. As an adult who no longer gets formal classroom learning I love getting bitten by a good book, or a show, and getting a secondary shot at an education. There’s so much to learn.

In the vein of continued learning, this year I subscribed to the New Yorker, the Skimm and the Dictionary.com Word of the Day emails. I highly recommend all three to keep the ole wheels turning.

I learned what the word demagogue means.

Not to dwell on the election, but it’s a real bummer that it was so late in the year and left a taste in my mouth. I was upset for a while, but I’m slowly letting go; forgiving others and myself. I’m instead pushing forward for progress and positivity.

 

If nothing else, I hope I look back at 2016 as a powerful time for the female friendships in my life. There’s been deep conversations over lunch, late at night in Airbnbs and on the phone about work, marriage, politics, family and the future. I’ve giggled over group texts that picked up exactly when I needed them. We squeezed in some weekends away and shared plenty of dances while celebrating each others’ weddings. This summer I saw my high school friends more than I have in years and loved feeling those bonds we created at 17 strengthen almost ten years later. For Christmas I received two notes that made me cry, realizing how lucky I am to live this life with these people.

What a year.

Books of 2016

Tis the season for the best books of 2016 lists. Browsing them makes me feel like an underachiever, but I see a couple on there from my list.

My goal for 2016 was to read 35 books and I hit 44! Nothing makes me feel like I had a great year like looking back at my favorites. Here’s the whole gang in photo form.

I know that’s impossible to see, but you can see the list here on Goodreads. Seventeen of them were nonfiction.  Thirty of them were written by women.

This year was a good one in the book department for me. Last Christmas I got a Kindle so this year some of my books were in digital form, most of them from the library. I tried to read more books that came out this year. Basically, this meant getting on the list at the library ahead of the curve (or reading Carolyn’s before she turned them back in), but it was doable.

In no particular order, here are my favorites:

The Martian by Andy Weir – So fun! I’m not a real science-y person, but this story cracked me up and had me excited for space.

You by Caroline Kepnes- This book was a creepy stalker thriller set around young professionals in NYC. It’s gritty and intimate in all the right ways.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem- She’s a feminist hero and an incredible storyteller who lived through modern history.

I’m also now immune to politicians who say, “I’ve traveled the length and breadth of this great land, and I know…” I’ve traveled more than any of them, and I don’t know.

All I knew was that my father enjoyed my company, asked my opinion, and treated me better than he treated himself. What more could any child want?

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi- This was my #1 for the year. I cried a couple of times and thought deeply about death and mortality.

Love, Nina: Dispatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe- This book is all letters from Nina who’s a delightful British woman working as a nanny. I laughed and maybe you will too.

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist- This book made me so uncomfortable I almost shriveled up and died. It’s also hilarious and touching in its moments.

The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer- She’s a weirdo with a lot to share. I think about her rock and roll lifestyle a lot when I let myself depend on other people.

Couchsurfing is about more than saving on hotel costs. It’s a gift exchange between the surfer and the host that offers an intimate gaze into somebody’s home, and the feeling of being held and comforted by their personal space. It’s also a reminder that we’re floating along due to a strong bond of trust, just like when I surf the crowd at a show, safely suspended on a sea of ever-changing hands. It can feel almost holy, looking at somebody else’s broken shower nozzle, smelling the smells of a real kitchen, feeling the fray of a real blanket and hearing the crackle of an old steam radiator.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld- This is a story loosely based on Laura Bush’s life. It speaks to marriage and family in a sensible and sensitive way. Plus, it was entertaining to see the story come together.

She was the reason I was a reader, and being a reader was what had made me most myself; it had given me the gifts of curiosity and sympathy, an awareness of the world as an odd and vibrant and contradictory place, and it had made me unafraid of its oddness and vibrancy and contradictions.

But what I did care about, what I wanted most fervently, was for her to understand that hard work paid off, that decency begat decency, that humility was not a raincoat you occasionally pulled on when you thought conditions called for it, but rather a constant way of existing in the world, knowing that good and bad luck touched everyone and none of us was fully responsible for our fortunes or tragedies. Above all, I wanted my daughter to understand that many people were guided by bitterness and that it was best to avoid these individuals—their moods and behavior were a hornet’s nest you had no possible reason to do anything other than bypass and ignore.

It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort- This was my second favorite of the year, I think. Nora lost her dad, miscarried her baby and lost her husband within six weeks. This sounds like a real downer, but it’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Plus, I’m a sucker for essays by lady writers.

I don’t know what is next, and that’s okay. It’s more than okay, because I actually get to decide what it is.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi- There are a lot of characters to keep track of here, but it rewards the reader over and over. This vast story follows a family from the 1700s to the present day, dealing with colonialism, race, incarceration and family struggles. It’s beefy, but worth it.

Hell was a place of remembering, each beautiful moment passed through the mind’s eye until it fell to the ground like a rotten mango, perfectly useless, uselessly perfect.

Each year my family swaps our favorite books to share. Here’s our 2016 picks… (mine is When Breath Becomes Air).

As for next year, I think I’m going to aim for 40. I would love to decide to read only books by women or or only books that are on high school reading lists or only nonfiction, or maybe only anthologies of short stories.  Perhaps this is the year I will tackle Les Mis. Also, I have never read a single Jane Austen, isn’t that sad?

The more I think about those ideas, the less I want to commit to anything for a year. I want the flexibility to read something that just looks good exactly when I feel like it. I never want to feel like it’s a challenge or a chore. I can’t wait to get started.

Any recommendations?

how’d those 2016 resolutions work out, shan?

I’ve been a neglectful mother to this blog, but nothing gets me back on the horse like some end of the year lists! So here’s what I said I’d do last January with my end of the year updates in purple.

  • Actually read magazines. I have them all over and never pick them up. This year that will change. Last spring I subscribed to the New Yorker thanks to a killer deal. While I’m wayyyy behind, I’ve been reading and loving them. Way to go, Shan! 
  • Say no. To projects, to social stuff I can’t realistically fit in, to books that I don’t love. There’s no measurement, but I think I did ok. I didn’t feel particularly overwhelmed. 
  • Say yes. To stuff I want to do, people who are important to me, new experiences, fresh perspectives. This is easy and I carpe’d a lot of diems in 2016. 
  • Listen. You know the person who you tell something important to and instead of asking a follow up question or being interested, he or she just provides a counter story? I don’t want to be her. When you tell me something, I want to listen and ask questions. Can I get some feedback from other people on this one? Did I improve?
  • Eat more veggies. Welllll, this could have been better. 
  • Suggest a solution or shut it. If something is wrong, I’ll throw an idea in to the ring. If there’s nothing to offer, I’ll can it. Or at least I’ll try. This could also be better. 
  • Not nag about inconsequential stuff. Julie and I both agreed we do this more than we are proud of around the house. This year I’m going to let go of some of the details. Ehhh, hard to say for certain. Josh?
  • Read 35 books. I read 39 this past year and hope to have just as great of a year in 2016. I also have a Kindle PaperWhite to sweeten the deal. DONE! 44. 
  • Call my grandma more often. I was better at the beginning of the year, but I can still improve. 
  • Get YouTube famous. Or at least make some movies. We have a GoPro now, so watch out. Famous? No, but I did make some fun videos. Like NYC, Big BendKristen’s BacheloretteLondon, Hefferfest and Phoenix
  • Read less Buzzfeed. It’s not hard-hitting news. I need to filter out the lists and click bait in general. I tried to filter out most of the trash. Thanks to the election there was a lot of junk out there. I would say I did pretty well. 
  • Be punctual. It’s not hard, right? I really think I improved on this one. I’ll count it was a W. 

What should I add or keep for next year? 

Christmas 2016

We spent this Christmas in St. Louis, like we always do and probably (hopefully) always will. Traveling for the holidays is kind of a pain to pack and prepare, but on the other hand, I love the unplugged feeling of not being at home or having my usual responsibilities. We’re lucky our families live in the same place and like to hang out.

We got in town on Tuesday night and spent the week prepping and relaxing before the full court press of the holiday weekend. Once the weekend started, we bounced back and forth from hikes to cousins to dinners to presents to games to Mass. I appreciated having a little slow time at home on the front end to soak up some time with my parents. Of course there was time for Cheech and Chong’s Christmas, dad’s very favorite Christmas story.

On Christmas morning, Josh’s sisters gave me this great cookbook I was hoping for to improve my six go-to recipes. Later that night, my sister was looking through it and offered to trade me for her socks, her purse and her nail polish. I didn’t trade her, but she might have a surprise anniversary gift heading her way in the mail.

Josh’s mom gave us not one, but two spatulas. Will tried to take one (not even a trade!). I held strong.

Santa/my mom brought me a pair of the most perfect leather booties that are the unattainable mix of beautiful and comfortable. Ole Santa approves of my change to supportive shoes this year. Naturally, I left them at home so it’s been a long week in my old, cheap boots knowing those beauties are waiting for me to rescue them this weekend.

Besides the gifts, there were plenty of Christmas cookies and kids. My cousins and Josh’s cousins have taken a mission in reproducing, so there are small people everywhere. Small people who like to jump off stairs and wrestle anyone at their level. Miniature humans who giggle and point to every Santa and Frosty. Tiny adults who love to make necklaces and play strange games. It was impossible to keep their holiday spirit from rubbing off.

Hope whatever you did for whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year was just as joyful and included plenty of fudge.