I can't even begin to describe the feeling of freedom that I have when school isn't in session. I work part time so I go from basically working/being in class for 12 hours a day, four days a week to having Mondays completely to myself and getting off of work at 3:30 pm during the rest of the week. The Monday school was over I spent the afternoon baking a family favorite: English Muffin Bread. My dad makes it every year at Christmas to give friends and family. I grew up eating it every time we visited my grandparents in New York, so I have a definite sense of pride when I bake up my own batch and give it to friends.
The other thing my dad makes every year is English Butter Toffee. I decided to try my hand at it this year and I actually did a pretty good job if I do say so myself!
Bro Brennan and I went Christmas shopping together to pick up some gifts for the family and spend some quality sibling time together. Here he is lamenting the fact that Lego Bionicles are so much cooler now than when he was a kid.
The boy and I checked out the National Christmas Tree in President's Park, something we did the first Christmas we were together but haven't done since. A few things have changed since then...
I had most of my wrapping done by Saturday afternoon and finished wrapping some gifts that trickled in the night before Christmas Eve. I used leftover silver and gold wrapping paper and picked up an extra roll from Target to finish things up.
On Christmas Eve I headed over to my parents' house after picking my dad up from work (my, how times have changed). We went over to my grandma's house like we have done every year since I was a little kid. We also did something new this year: my family went over to the boy's parents' house and we spent the rest of the evening there with a couple other families. Our families haven't really hung out together thus far (kind of crazy considering how long we've dated) so it was nice to get everyone together and have a good time. And I was able to offload some leftover Sweet Clover merchandise during the white elephant gift exchange.
The boy and I each spent Christmas morning at our parents' homes opening presents with family. In the afternoon my family went over to my grandma's where we had dinner and opened more presents. The boy joined us there which was a lot of fun. My mom picked up some musical Christmas Crackers from the Christmas Attic. I'm not sure what she expected would happen when she gave eight people whistles, but these two certainly had a good time:
Afterwards the boy and I went over to his house to spend the last few hours of Christmas together and exchange our gifts. The boy knows I'm a huge fan of Kate Spade Jewelry so he got me a couple gorgeous necklaces, including this statement necklace.
The boy also knows that if I could live on two foods for the rest of my life they would be tacos and macaroni and cheese. Being the thoughtful guy he is, he gave me these silly TacoPropers (microwave safe!) and this awesome mac & cheese cookbook written by the owners of a Homeroom, a Mac & Cheese restaurant in the San Francisco Bay area. I already cooked the most basic recipe, and it was delicious! It's definitely an indulgence, but I'm looking forward to trying more of the recipes.
Both of us were off of work between Christmas and New Years. We used the time to lounge around and have a good time with friends and family that were in town. For New Years we decided to forego the expensive parties downtown and instead went out to a nice dinner together followed by wine at home by the fire (there may have even been a couple rounds of Battleship). It was by far the most low-key New Years celebration we've had together to date, but we enjoyed it and saved about $250 (probably closer to $300 with cab fare), so I'd say it was a success.
Yesterday I dragged the boy to the U.S. Botanic Gardens so I could see their exhibit of DC landmarks and World's Fair structures completely made out of plants. The detail was amazing.
They also had a clever sculptural exhibit that showcased various spices and dried plants that you could lean over and smell. I love a good interactive installation!
Today the boy is back to work and I am trying to get all the things done that I wanted to get done before I have to go back to work and school starts. We'll see how that goes. Tomorrow I'll take down the decorations, but since it snowed overnight I think the outdoor ones will stay up for a little while longer. I kind of hope everyone else decides to keep their lights on in the snow!
Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!