Thursday, May 1, 2014

december backlogs: our merry little christmas

The week before Christmas, we were fully in festive spirit.
Dusty's family was coming into town soon, and we had decked the halls for Winter Wonderland!
We were bursting at the seams with holly jolly, so we just had to do something to celebrate all the joy that is christmastime. 
What better than gingerbread houses?

Oh, the art of gingerbread house building. It's fickle, it's delicate, it's tasty!

Dusty and I were shopping at Target one night, and suddenly we found ourselves being led to the Christmas aisles like a dog on a leash. Only there was no leash, there was just pretty colors and ribbons and candies. 
We saw this big gingerbread-house-making kit, and our eyes lit up. 
Instead of buying the kit, though, we decided to just grab our own fixings! Graham crackers, frosting, candies, etc. 
(Of course, it wasn't that easy -- at first I suggested making gingerbread, which confused Dusty, because he had only made gingerbread houses with graham crackers. Why do you think they're called gingerbread houses, Schanaker? I asked, incredulously. But, I mean, what can I say. He's a jimmy jon.)

In the end we stuck with the graham crackers for convenience and easier wall-building, and with our arms full of faux-gingerbread construction materials, we texted Colinoria and basically said, we have the goods to be architectural geniuses with frosting. you're coming over.

It's no mystery that this was a ridiculously fun time. The one surprise, though, was that gingerbread house-making is hard. It's not for the impatient or the faint of heart. You have to be precise, and earnest, and really focused. And you must have ample frosting. Otherwise (like Colin found out many times) your gingerbread masterpiece will cave in on itself, causing utter heartbreak and devastation.

I spent a lot of time dipping broken graham cracker pieces into the frosting for a mid-build snack.
We also had hot coffee with plenty of cream, which always goes well with sweets!
I put on a DVD of cartoon Christmas classics to play in the background (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman...and some super weird and creepy cartoon called Cricket on the Hearth that none of us ever want to think about again.)

My house
Victoria's house

Actually there were two surprises about this process: the boys were way more into it than us girls were.
I mean, Victoria and I were done probably a full hour before the boys were. Haha. Not that we were impatient or bored, because there was still plenty of candy and frosting on that table.

Dusty's house practically had a history to it, a storyline, with plot twists and character developments and all kinds of nonsense. His was the Father Christmas of gingerbread houses.

I mean, seriously, he made a sled for the front yard. And an ice rink. And walking stones. And Christmas lights. And a licorice log pile. And a candy cane doorway.

Colin ended up creating a rather convincing safe house for the elves, complete with "SOS" on the top.
It was the best.

Call me crazy, but I absolutely love a super messy fun table after a night of crafting or eating or whatnot. It makes me feel really happy and accomplished.

A few days later, Dusty and I decided to have our own Christmas morning tradition.
Dusty's family was coming in that Saturday, so we had to improvise and have our Christmas on a Friday! December 20th. I went into work late that day, so we could open presents together and, as always, go to IHOP.

We had a basement growing up as kids, which is where my brothers lived -- but our Christmas tree and the Christmas morning experience was always on the main floor, so we never had that tiptoeing downstairs to see Santa type of experience. The boys would occasionally sneak upstairs, but for me all I had to do was crack my door open, because my room had a full view of the living room!
I do remember one year though, when we decided to have Christmas in the basement. I don't remember why, but I remember it being so strange and fun.

Every year when we do our own little Christmas, I have gone downstairs, turned on all the lights, cleaned everything up and lit some Christmas candles, and then gone to wake up Dusty and have this kind of glowing moment at the top of the stairs.

Ah, what a lovely sight.
One of my favorites in the world. Christmas in apartment 813. 

(Speaking of 813 -- Victoria gave us a little Christmas ornament of a key, with a cardstock tag on it with our address on it, to always remember this home. Tears). 

We plop down in our pajamas, and always take turns opening presents.
We always get each other all kinds of little things, so we have lots to open and it's fun!
This year, Dusty wrote different "to"s and "from"s on every single package. Things like "To: Mac", "From: Cheese" and other pairings that are cute or romantic in some way.
Like Mary and Francis from Reign.

But then he threw in the worst one ever, because he knows how much I hate it. 
Evangeline Lily and Fili the Dwarf....or in other words, the bogus elf and dwarf love story from the new Hobbit movie. I'm sorry, but no no no no no no no. 
I think I ranted about this for a good hour after we saw that movie in theaters with Colinoria.
I still don't like to talk or think about it.
It infuriates me. 

Luckily the wrapping contained the Jurassic Park trilogy, so all was forgiven!

He also got me my favorite book, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, in hardcover -- and some really fun glitter OPI polishes (which inspired me to stop biting my nails).

We then got dressed up in some comfy sweaters to take goofy photos and head over to IHOP for breakfast!
Normally we'd go in our pajamas, but I had to work that day, so no pajamas for me!

I kept calling this his reindeer sweater, because I bought it for him for Christmas, and even though I know it's not a reindeer, it's still a reindeer sweater to me.

A very merry little Christmas indeed. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

december backlogs: long live friends

Everybody do the Chandler smile!

Welcome to the third annual Friends party. Oh, how we all love Friends.
Friends has efficiently permeated our relationships, resulting in constant quotes, references, and reenactments of this classic show. 
To celebrate this, Allison hosted the first Friends party 1L year. It was so much fun we decided to do a sequel, which culminated into a well-rounded trilogy when Greg and Allison moved back to town!

This time around, the only ones left in Lynchburg from the original group were me and Stephanie. We decided to open it up as a couples party, so Dusty and I carpooled out to Salem with Stephanie and her husband Josh. Our other friends Heather and Chris decided to come all the way down from DC to join the party, too! It was such a fun reunion!!

The menu was pizza, of course, and Allison made her amazing deep dish for the occasion.
We also had chocolate pie and cheesecake, because, the one with the cheesecake!

We always like to try and dress up as our favorite characters, and we each pick our favorite episode for the evening's marathon. It's always a fun and eclectic selection!
I decided to dress up as Phoebe, as I did 1L year. Dusty was going to dress as Mike, but he was a little bummed because Mike pretty much dresses exactly like he always does. He wanted a real character.
So, naturally, he chose Joey -- as Freud!

Greg and Allison went all out for their Chandler and Monica outfits.
If you've seen this Halloween episode, then you'll know how great this is!

Best costume award.

It was just great to be together again. Especially since so much had changed! Both Allison and Heather had had little girls that past April, Stephanie and Josh had graduated and were moving at the end of the year, and Dusty and I were getting read for our last semester of law school! It had all gone by so quickly.

So cute!

My favorite episode will probably always be The One with the Videotape. It's pretty incredible.
But, for those who care to know, this is my list of the top 10 Friends episodes (from a Facebook post I made our very first month living in Virginia, when I was still unemployed!):

Get ready for this. These last few days of unemployment have been spent making this, I wouldn't say I am ready to laminate this...but it's pretty darn close. 

My top 10 favorite Friends episodes. 

1. “The One with the Videotape” (season 8)
--Because it’s brilliant, and hilarious. Nuff said.

2. “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” (season 5)
--Because I don’t think there is anything funnier in the history of friends, than when Phoebe screams out “My eyes, my eyes!” and they get Ross to jump into their excitement. I also enjoy "naked Ross". And on top of everything else, Phoebe’s dance to seduce Chandler. Chandler  Monica.

3. “The One with the Stoned Guy” (season 1)
--Because of tartlets, sugar-o’s, and dirty talk!

Side note: I've recently been rewatching this season, and it's so great. I also love "the one with george stephanopoulos"'re still getting to know the characters, phoebe wears footy pajamas, the girls have a sleepover, and rachel realizes she's gonna be okay -- "i have magic beans!"

4. “The One where Ross is Fine” (season 10)
--Because of…everything. This entire episode. Oh my goodness. From Ross’s fajitas, to his L-O-V-and-E…hahaha. 

Side note: the one right before this, “the one after joey and rachel kiss”, has some of my favorite phoebe moments. Her and Mike on the plane, and when she’s talking to Precious, Mike’s girlfriend…”Dang it woman, pull yourself together! Have some pride, for the love of God!”

5. “The One with the Embryos" (season 4)
--Because of THE GAME. The rooster and the duck, and because of Mrs. Chanandler Bong…(and I love the intimate Phoebe/Embryos conversation. It reminds me why Lisa Kudrow is so great).

6. “The One with all the Cheesecakes” (season 7)
--Because of Chandler and Rachel. I love them together, and this is the only real episode where they’re paired up for a significant amount of time. I also love the portrayal of Phoebe and Joey’s relationship…I love that they spend so much time together. And David returns!

7. “The One where Eddie Won’t Go” (season 2)
--Because I LOVE the Eddie episodes. His laugh, his creepiness. And the Goddess meeting. 

Side note: “the one with phoebe’s husband”, also from season 2…phoebe never ceases to surprise, and i love the back-and-forth that reveals that chandler has a third nipple! "whip it out, whip it out!"

8. “The One with Ross’s Inappropriate Song” (season 9)
--Because of the rap. And, I love fancy Phoebe at Mike’s parent’s house. I love everything about this episode.

Side note: season 9 is a great. I love mike. I also love “the one with phoebe’s birthday dinner”, because of the baby/eagle fiasco.

9. “The One with the Apothecary Table” (season 6)
-Because I love Phoebe and Rachel as roommates, and love that they make an entire episode around pottery barn. Ah, the days of yore.

Side note: a close runner up to this is “the one where paul’s the man”…because I really like Ross and Elizabeth’s relationship, and Bruce Willis is hilarious. When Ross is behind the door in Paul’s room, and he slinks down to crawl under the bed…kills me every time.

10. “The One with the Giant Poking Device” (season 3)
--Because “if you’re alive, you ANSWER your phone!” and “Monica bang”…”It’s just a blood bath in here today!”