christmas tree VI

Jason was a good sport about this year’s Christmas tree picture. I’m pretty sure that has something to do with setting the camera on the this-year-acquired tripod instead of four textbooks stacked on an ironing board. I love this tradition, even though–or perhaps because–they aren’t the best ever photos of us (check out my gimpy leg in 2009). Happy Christmas from the Frosts!

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2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

 

christmas tree, etc.

You know you’re not newlyweds anymore when the interval between planning to put up the Christmas tree and actually doing it = nine days. We had every intention of doing it the day after Thanksgiving, and by the next Wednesday I had moved our decoration boxes out of the hall closet and into the living room. On Thursday I put the tree up myself but that effort (because it is, after all, a whole three feet tall) was enough for one night. After realizing how ridiculous we looked with a bare tree–okay, it had three or four ornaments on it–when our good friend Monica came over to cook on Friday night, we girt our loins and decked out the rest of the tree on Saturday.

[Yearly Frost Christmas tree photo forthcoming.]

Other than that, life’s been good. Work is great. We’re happy and healthy. I haven’t taken many (any) pictures lately, but not for lack of fun-having.

We’re still tearing up the NYT cooking app and on Sunday we made this this stew. Highly recommend. We had chocolate chip cookies a couple times last week and I made our first pistachio cookies of the season. That recipe was reason enough to join the Frost family.

I was convinced yesterday was Thursday and thus assumed I’d missed my chance to pick up my books on hold at the library (which is only open late on Tuesdays and Thursdays and who really can get there by five p.m. anyway?). Then I realized this morning that today is Thursday. This is what happens when Jason’s gone, even if for only 30 hours.

christmas in connecticut

We had been thinking about surprising Jason’s parents on Christmas for a while. (Aside: I can’t really explain our latest fixation on dropping in on our families unannounced, but now that we have surprised everyone, maybe we’ll be more transparent about future trips.) We waited on the weather and some work stuff and finally realized last week it could really happen. With the help of Dave, we mislead the Frosts and secretly prepare for our New England Christmas vacation.

Jason and I woke up at four AM on Christmas Day. We packed up the car and were out the door by 5:15 AM.
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Turns out early early Christmas morning is the very best time to drive the beltway; it was completely empty.

We made great time and got to see the sun come up from inside our toasty warm car.
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Once we made it to the Connecticut state line, Jason turned on WTIC and we sang along to Christmas carols until we reached la casa de Frost. Oh, we also saw this classy sign.
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We texted Dave to let him know we had arrived and tiptoed up to the front door. Jason rang the bell, his mom answered the door, and much happy yelling ensued. I will have to get Dave to send me the video. Jason’s parents were definitely surprised!

Also surprising was how well Dave and my Christmas button up shirts match. Jason is wearing gingham too,
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We opened presents and helped get ready for the Kennedy family Christmas. Jason’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins came by around 3 PM. His Grandma Funny was in an unusually acerbic mood, but that only made her more hilarious. We had delicious dinner and sat around talking for a long and wonderful while.

Late that night Jason and I chatted with the Pullans mid-Christmas party. The fam passed my dad’s phone around the whole group, which was great and really made us feel like we were in the middle of the scrum.
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Grant’s hair is the best, no question.

Though six hours of it was spent driving, this was definitely one of the most memorable of our Christmases.

Christmas Eve

I had Christmas Eve off, which is as it should be, but still got up early to bake Jason’s work cookies. Our package from my parents arrived bright and early and contained all the Pullan treats I have been craving: cinnamon bears, dipped pretzels, mint m&ms, gingerbread, German chocolate bars, and dipped caramel peanut clusters. Oh, and homemade chex mix, also known as scrabble, also known as the fifth food group of Christmas. There were also potholders and a couple wrapped gifts, one of which I was almost sure was David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.
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After Jason left for what turned out to be about a 3/4 day, I sat down on the couch to read Big Fish and promptly fell asleep. Can I tell you, taking an uninterrupted nap at 9 AM is a beautiful thing. I woke up forty-five minutes later and decided it was time for a quick run. I did 3.5 miles (just 6.1 left until my goal is reached!) and stopped at Safeway afterward to pick up some foodstuffs for our Christmas Eve feast.

Jason got home around 2, after which he rested (still getting over his sinus thing) and I cooked.
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We elected to open presents before dinner, since we would be getting up so very early the next morning. Jason and I had been pretty transparent–and sometimes blatantly obvious–in what we were each getting. When we got home from Utah and there was a package from Gap sitting on our doorstep, Jason remarked, “oh, is this something I’m giving you for Christmas?” Thus, there were not too many surprises, except for the pajamas I got from Jason, which I had ordered but not seen in the flesh…
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…and the Finnbear, a Finnish utility knife my parents sent Jason. The Finnbear is half a Pullan joke, half a Pullan necessity. It made us both laugh (and then Jason tested its mettle on his arm hair).
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The other surprise (for insistent me, at least) was that the book was actually one by Alonzo Gaskill, which we are both very excited to read.

We had a pared down holiday meal in light of our leaving town the next morning. I made a tiny ham, of which we now have many leftovers in the fridge, these updated Mormon funeral potatoes from the New York Times, Lion House rolls that I hadn’t made in a long time, and green beans. For dessert, we feasted on pistachio cookies, after which we watched Elf and video chatted with our respective families. Then we packed our bags and headed off to bed (where visions of sugarplums danced in our heads, of course).

christmas tree V

We finally got the little ernie pine out of the closet and up on the end table, which takes about four minutes but feels like a serious effort. A far cry from our first Christmas, the poor tree is almost overwhelmed with ornaments. This year we added a kayak (from our trip to Maine) and the Mystic Seaport ornament we got on our honeymoon but accidentally left in Utah when we moved away almost four years ago.

Per tradition, I made us take an obligatory awkward picture by the tree. Jason does not love this custom, but I do. Since my dad was in town, we had him take the photo on Sunday. This saved us some self-timer grief. While the terrible photo quality is part of the charm of these pictures, last year’s were so very bad that we gave up in the interest of saving our marriage. Hence, no 2012 living room picture for public consumption. The capitol Christmas tree is for us all to enjoy, right?

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2012
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“nee-oh-kee”

This is a thing I saw this morning. We’ll see if the snow sticks past lunch time. I’m optimistic that it will not, but a delayed start on Thursday might be nice.weather
I came home last night to two packages at our doorstep. One I recognized as my new running pants and Christmas sweater. Ignore my valley girl pose and super-enthusiastic grin.

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The other, from my Grandma and Grandpa Pullan, was unexpected. I cut the tape and pulled out the packing peanuts to reveal the best sight of all for a lonely girl: our Christmas “stockings”. Every year, my grandparents put together sacks of candy and treats for the kiddos on Christmas Day. They used to come in mesh stockings, but now come in cellophane bags. The carefully packed candy and perennial favorites (fruit snacks! tiny boxes of cereal!) were just as they always are and made me feel so close to my Utah family. It was a wonderful surprise.

Last night and the night before, I got home late from work and though I was famished, nothing sounded good for dinner. I wandered the aisles of Safeway aimlessly, which is quite different than my militant, list-in-hand style when Jason is here. On Monday I decided that the only thing to quell my hunger was a caramelized pineapple quesadilla. On Tuesday, I decided to make gnocchi.

I’ve been wanting to try homemade gnocchi since Jason’s birthday dinner at Gloria’s Little Italy in 2009. As I point out to Jason often, what’s not to love about sweet little potato pillows? Smitten Kitchen provided the recipe yesterday, and I went to town.

Problem is I started at 7:15 PM. I talked on the phone to my grandparents and Adam while the potatoes were baking and to my mom while I was mixing up the dough with my hands. After a while, I had some respectable rustic little gnocchi, ready for boiling.

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[They are not the prettiest. I am okay with that.]

I ignored the tomato broth portion of the recipe and tossed my little potato pillows with some Trader Joe’s arriabata sauce and parmesan cheese. At 8:30 PM, I finally sat down to supper and the UK vs. Tennessee game. It was worth it, and now I have three units of gnocchi in the freezer for another day…perhaps tomorrow.

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Christmas Week

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through Virginia, the Frosts were accomplishing many sundry feats.

On Monday we hit up Jason’s Patterson alumni reception and my Grandma’s package arrived.

Tuesday evening Jason had church stuff to do, so I went and read in the foyer.

I did my first long(er than 6 mile) run of half-marathon training on Wednesday morning and had a crazy-busy day at work. That’s all I remember about Wednesday…oh, except having to explain the Wear Pants to Church thing to my boss. That was awkward.

Thursday we stayed up watching the BYU bowl game. So glad the defense can make touchdowns.

I got out a little early on Friday (and so technically did Jason, but we got home around the same time). It started snowing a little bit, but not enough to stick. We had our usual Friday night homemade pizza for dinner and watched the BYU basketball team lose to Baylor.

We were awakened Saturday morning by our doorbell at 8 AM. Jason went to get it. Instead of the missionaries (who are pro at stopping by at inopportune times) it was a Christmas package from my fam! Inside was a butcher paper Christmas tree like the one I’d helped my mom pack up for Hannah when I was in Utah, along with paper ornaments with messages from the extended Pullan clan. 20121226-103754.jpg20121226-103801.jpgIt was the best surprise and so fun to hear from everyone. Also included in the package: the gray dress I accidentally left in Utah, our Christmas presents, a bag of homemade chex mix and white chocolate Rice Krispie treats. I fully intended to take a picture of the edible goods, but they are gone.

On Saturday night we had taquitos and got together with the Oswalds.

Sunday was fantastic. Jason only had one pre-church meeting and the Christmas sacrament meeting program was probably the best I’ve ever heard (not that we’d expect any less than our high-achieving ward). Primary was easy; I only had three kids and Jason came and helped for the last bit of class.

We had lunch when we got home and I settled in with Anna Karenina, but could not keep my eyes open. Jason finally told me to go lie down, so I took a three hour nap. Jason fell asleep a little after me, so we didn’t sit down to dinner (meatball grinders with caramelized onions) until much later than usual.

20121226-085036.jpg We made some quick sugar cookies after dinner, intending to frost them on Monday.
20121226-085108.jpg I’m not sure if it was my nap or the adrenaline of Christmas, but at midnight I decided that instead of going to bed, we should probably try making royal icing for the first time. I put it together while Jason read, then proceeded to frost all the cookies. 20121226-085118.jpg We finally got to bed around 1:30 AM, which would normally kill me, but is fun when you’re on Christmas vacation.