Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Ethan and Grace Christmas.

The last week has been comprised of a lot of running around, friend reunions, last minute preparations, baking, and all-around happiness.

Christmas Eve was mainly family-centric, but I saw a couple of friends and ate more than enough food for all of us. My family enjoyed a fondue dinner, which was amazing!

I saw E for about two seconds when I dropped off some baked goods for his family. Naturally, we needed at least one photo to keep up our tradition.
Remember my peppermint cheesecake squares? Here's the standard version, for Christmas Eve dessert.
A slice of perfection.

So, Christmas came int he morning. Amazing as always. Very blessed. I love my family so much.

It was Sonny's first Christmas, and he took a big liking to the tree. As beautiful as the tree with all of the presents under it looks in the photo above, my mom assures me it was prettier before Sonny attacked it. My mom placed a toy for Sonny in a small stocking we purchased for him and it took him all of thirty seconds to spot it and get out. Maggie's stocking is bone-shaped. ROCK ON.
Sonny spent the majority of the morning wreaking havoc on the presents.
I was overwhelmed.
My brother was enthused!
He bought me a calculator, and a giant one at that. :]
Parents went above and beyond and purchased us some reminders of our favorite things: a drumhead signed by the band No Doubt for Tucker; framed photos and a ball signed by Tim Lincecum, double Cy Young Award winner, for me. NO BIG DEAL.
The damage was severe.
My baby!!! Taken with my new macro lens - hallelujah!
We found Sonny sleeping under some tissue paper. :P
After relaxation and general merriment, Ethan visited for a little exchange of our own, highly reminiscent of last year's extravaganza except at my house this time. Naturally, Sonny and I had this set up for him. Please note the inclusion of our Christmas Bear and usual stockings in the celebration.
Allow me to explain: each of my packages for Ethan was labeled "something to keep you..." and an adjective. For instance, I labeled the cologne I purchased from him "something to keep you fresh." The sweatshirt, "something to keep you cozy." I thought it was a cute way to change up the standard gift tag. It looks like a lot, but honestly... I'm such a bargain shopper! You'd be surprised to know how much I saved!
Under this cute wrapping is the bane of Ethan's existence...
Peanut butter oatmeal cookies! Which he - and his family - just loved. I have to say, this recipe is amazing!
It's a sort of visual journal of our relationship - like a scrapbook but more art-focused and abstract. Most of the pages are private, so I can't really share them here (maybe one day). I started with about ten pages finished and add about four to five for each momentous occasion in our relationship - birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, and, of course, Christmas. It's something very fun for me and almost sacred to Ethan, who told me more than once that it was new pages in "The Book" to which he was most looking forward to this Christmas!
The whole shebang.
The best part was watching Ethan open his presents! :] So cute.

I think now is the time to remind people: Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth. Although it probably actually happened in August and three years sooner than scholars originally thought, December 25th is the day that the Christians choose to acknowledge God's gift to earth: the birth of His son, a direct link between we humans and God, who would go onto die to offer us salvation.

I find it funny that year after year, people critique the Christian symbols of certain holidays - Christmas, Easter, and so on - when it is out of the basis of those Christian symbols that the holidays developed. I saw a news story about a man suing the city for which he worked for using stars and angels on the Christmas trees. Another man commented that her thought the lawsuit was fair. I don't remember his exact words but they were something along the lines of "I understand because I don't think we should all be forced to believe what Americans want us to believe about Christmas." Hmmm.

If you're not celebrating the birth of Christ, what is Christmas? I can understand - heck, I even support - equal representation of beliefs other than the Christian standard... But to try to strip a holiday of its inherent purpose - or rather, cover up that inherent purpose - is silly. If you're not celebrating Christ's birth, you're not really celebrating Christmas. Thus, such complaints about the Christian "claims" on the holiday and the use of Christian symbolism of the holiday becomes irrelevant. Viola! Problem solved. Are we good?

Tomorrow, my dad, Ethan and I are embarking on a journey to the snow! It's a reprise of last year's trip. I'll be back on Tuesday but on Wednesday, Ethan and I are heading back up with four friends for a couple of days to have some fun and ring in the New Year. :]

Hope your Christmas was as merry as ours! And, if we don't talk to you sooner, hope your New Year's is equally as happy! :D


Anonymous said...

First off, how do you get your teeth so white? I love how perfect your teeth are!

Second off Merry Christmas and looks like you had an amazing time indeed!!

Third off I wanted to commend you for making a true point. . what IS Christmas if we take Christ out of it? It has been driving me crazy how lately it seems people want to take Jesus out of everything and decieve the nation and world with replacing Jesus with an image of a jolly man. . .who did the job FOR Christ! I don't understand why our country is so bad with that. I am going to proclaim Him from the mountain tops forever!

+Victoria/Justice Pirate+

CupcakeSniper said...

awww yay! you looked like you had such a great christmas! you look absolutely beautiful and your eyes omg! I wish I could have them! lol

I love the did for Ethans presents and you are the most sweet thoughtful gift giver! I can just imagine how excited he was when he got his presents!! your peppermint cheesecake and cookies look delish! you're such a little martha stewart!!!

I love you!!

Allison said...

Wow, this is amazing! Your pictures are fantastic, and you look like you gave, got, and truly enjoyed the (true meaning) of Christmas! :D

Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year!)

PS- your tags for Ethan are ADORABLE. I might have to use that idea someday! :D

ashley moe said...

awee it looks like you two had a wonderful day! And that cheesecake certainly looks delicious.

Anna said...

this sounds like a beautiful christmas! i really love the tags you put on the gifts!

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

Your teeth are not bucktoothed looking at all! I used crest whitening strips for 5 months before I got married and they helped my teeth so much. I have a calcium mark on my front tooth and so I never smile showing my teeth because I am embarrassed by it. I got it covered when I was 14 and it looked great - bumpy but great, but now the covering is almost gone so the mark is showing up again. ugh. I was using a whitening paste while putting it in a football mouth guard and letting it sit for 5 minutes or more while I shower, but after all this time of trying it I am unsuccessful. Maybe I should go with the expensive strips again like I had used before. :: sigh ::

Yes my Christmas was very nice. Sherlock Holmes was amazing!! I don't think you look like anyone in it. There are only two women in it for sure unless you want to count the woman with the pipe who is on the streets in a scene. haha. hmmm.

Anonymous said...

I dont truly know what you talking about right here. This cant be the only way to think about this can it? It appears like you understand a lot, so why not explore it more? Make it more accessible to everyone else who might not agree with you? Youd get a lot more individuals behind this should you just stopped making common statements.

Grace said...

@ Anonymous: I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about because your comment was sort of vague, but I’ll attempt to address it the best I can!

Of course it's not the only way to think, which is why there are so many differing opinions on issues like this one - if you knew me, you'd know that I am extremely openminded and that I've explored such matters extensively because of it.
This is my opinion, but it is backed up by fact - fact meaning that Christmas is a celebration of Christ's birth, not fact that Christ was ever important at all (to me, He is undoubtedly; to others, perhaps not).
So in my answer here I will not be defending my beliefs, but this issue specifically.

Let me begin by saying that so many people celebrate what they call Christmas but do not celebrate it for the reasons inherently tied to the holiday.
Clearly, there are other things you can be celebrating that time of year – a Pagan holiday like the Winter Solstice, the winter season in general, the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one – but, you see, none of those are Christmas.

My point is this: you can certainly celebrate things for the heck of celebrating things – this is the way many people celebrate Christmas.
To them, it takes on a different but also poignant meaning – good cheer, quality time with family and friends, etc – and that’s just wonderful.
But because holidays like Christmas and Easter have become so commercialized, we easily gloss over the fact that they have their basis in the Christian faith.
To forget this and to celebrate Christmas ignorantly would be akin to me, as a Christian, partaking in Ramadan or Hanukkah without ever looking into the significance behind them.

So my intent in addressing the issue was not to say “Everyone believe what I believe or else don’t celebrate this holiday!” but rather to say this to anyone and everyone: go ahead, celebrate away – but know that the holiday wasn’t always all about presents and Santa Claus; rather, whether one believes or not, it is about the ultimate present – the gift of Christ.
I just wanted to urge people: know what you’re celebrating, even if you don’t subscribe to it; realize that, without this basis, the holiday does not exist.

I hope that answered some of your questions, but please let me know if you have more!
Thanks for the input.

<3 Grace.