Random Thursday: A Randomly Illustrated Wesson Christmas

The last two days contained a lot of Christmas.

Here are some random highlights, which don’t include much from Christmas Eve, since I was too busy badgering the kids to get ready for the pageant rehearsal before the Children’s Service, making myself presentable from the neck up—the “best” part of my Sunday Best depends almost entirely on green polyester choir robes—and shoving water bottles, pretzels, cheese cubes, and a square foot of washed grapes into our rolling cooler for the young actors, who tend to get cranky without Craft Services on hand,*  to remember my camera.

Just as well, really.


My brother-in-law arrived Sunday and left this morning.  If I had to sum up his visit in one photo that wouldn’t give a family therapist a field day, it would be this one:

Sneaky Niece

This is Sunny, tying his shoelaces together.  He totally deserved it, for not allowing her to decorate his Scott Ian beard** with her pink rose barrette.

We’re actually kind of proud of her—he had to take off his shoes to get the knots undone.

Can tying her own shoes be far behind?


Christmas morning was unexpectedly peaceful for longer than anticipated, possibly because the kids were sugar crashing exhausted from the chaos of the night before.

We even had time to take a pre-discovery photo:

Santa Scat

This year, Sunny waited until 7:30 before she thundered down the hallway to find the musical snowglobe Santa had given her.

Christmas Morning

And the flashlight.

Flashing Christmas

Her sister woke up half an hour later, pretending boredom with the whole ritual, though we noticed it didn’t take her long to get into the spirit of the thing—or into the contents of those wrapped boxes.

She even admitted out loud that Santa gave the best awesomesocks.

Awesomesocks Reprised

It was difficult to stop the kids in full present-ripping mania—surprise, surprise—but certain traditions must be upheld and delaying the gratification of desperate small children on gift-giving holidays is a family favorite.

So it was only after my MIL went to church,  my BIL was retrieved from his hotel, and some of us had showers and we all had a leisurely brunch of sausage casserole and eggs and chocolate pumpkin bread, and the dishwasher was emptied and refilled . . . the adults mutually decided that we should go down to my MIL’s living room and open presents before the children detonated.

Christmas 2013

There was a special package for Janie, too, thoroughly wrapped by her father, in the hopes that he would use up That Roll of Christmas Paper.***


True story:  even though Janie rushed towards it like a cross between a demented kangaroo and an air horn, it wasn’t until this point:


. . . that she screamed, “Oh!! It IS a bike!!”

I think it says a lot about our family that  after almost eleven years in it, she wouldn’t find it at all strange that a bicycle-shaped package would turn out to be something entirely different—though we weren’t sure what she thought it could be instead.

A book, maybe, or a giant Hexbug?  A puppy?

We were afraid to ask.  But at least she wasn’t disappointed.

I received some great stuff this year myself.  This kids gave me Myrtle and Hortense, because turtles are definitely a thing now.

Christmas TurtlesI don’t mind at all.

My parents bought craft and activity sets for everyone this year—the kids were given paint sets, origami and sock puppets, my husband has a new yo-yo set and Watson has a juggling kit.  I was given Knit and Purl Pets by Claire Garland and a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory pop-up book, which are  exactly what I would have wanted, had I known they existed.

Even thought I’m probably going to have to knit Mom an aardvark now . . . 

Speaking of awesome gifts, remember that Lord of the Rings bookpurse Watson made earlier this year?

Look at this!

Sherlock Bag

It’s perfect.

She wrapped the denuded book in the same box, because it hurt her to think of throwing it away—it would have hurt me, too.

Looks like one of us is going to have to take a bookbinding course . . .


After we cleaned up, Watson and I decided that it was time to make Christmas cookies to keep the kids from playing with the messier gifts we didn’t want to deal with happily occupied.

I’m probably going to do a longer recipe post on this later, ’cause it was a hoot and this post is getting a bit long to fully explain the spontaneous Ethel Merman competition, which I won by sheer volume—plus my kids were at a chronologically-based cultural disadvantage —or why it’s absolutely necessary to sing “Making Christmas” as you roll out the dough, but here are some of the results.

If you look closely at the decorated ones, you can tell exactly when we realized we had more cookies than patience.

But before we reached that point, we made cookies with an astounding array of cutters, including Watson’s special Star Wars set, because nothing says a Wesson Christmas like pretending to be Sarlaccs with a tray of sugar-frosted Boba Fetts.

The Cookies Strike Back

Or making Chia Yodas.  His face is still visible because of the Force.

Chia Yoda

These are mine.  I would like everyone to know that I did the mitten with my left hand, because I didn’t know I couldn’t.

Happy Cookies

Edible Louboutins.  Couldn’t you just die ?

But then things got surreal. I don’t remember the Gingerdeadmen being this difficult last year^–thank goodness we keep bone candy sprinkles on hand!

Surreal Cookeis

The Rainbow Unity Ninja on the right is Sunny’s—she’s a modernist at heart.  The mutant angel at the bottom is mine . . . I’m pretty sure I was trying for a pinafore, but it went terribly wrong somewhere . . .

But Christmas didn’t.

How was YOUR Thursday?


*And who were given bags of candy by someone else anyway, oh, well. By showtime the start of the service, all the shepherds and one cow had chocolate beards.   And so did Mary, who was visibly vibrating.  I don’t suppose y’all would be shocked to know Mary was one of mine?

**Lead guitarist for Anthrax.  This is probably not a coincidence.

***You know the one.  No one remembers buying That Roll, but it’s there in the stash with its sidekick, The MultiSpool of Faded Self-Shredding Ribbons, and it will continue to dole itself out for Christmases to come, sending its package-shaped spores to other households like festive and probably benign mushrooms.  Our Roll is reversible, to prevent us from using it for any other occasion and eyeblindingly electric lime fugly on both sides.  And, no, of course my husband didn’t use it up, because it can’t be done.

^Are those the same plates?  Do we have a Those Holiday Paper Plates problem now?


Merry Christmas, Mom!

. . . and Dad, too, of course, and the rest of you, but Mom was the one who told me that if I didn’t do a post on the gift she sent me, she’d take ’em back.

And I’m not letting these go:


Thank you!!!

You know that now that I know you can get these at Jungle Jim’s,* I’ll be expecting regular Care Packages, right?

It was a good day for everyone.  Some of the highlights:


Pure Awesomesocks from Santa, who also went a little crazy at the accessory store—if it’s meant to attach to hair, it was in the kids’ stockings.

Watson made the kids hats that go with our family’s favorite movie** and one of our favorite in-jokes–with no written pattern:

Sunny Hat      Jane Hat

She also gave me my new favorite tee-shirt:

Coulson Lives!

Because I’m a big ol’ nerd—this can’t be news—who firmly believes that what The Whedon takes away, The Whedon can bloody well give back.

Since the Christmas turkey roast was put in the crockpot at 10 this morning with four heads of garlic, I spent the afternoon playing computer games with Jane, reading a few of the books given to me by friends and family,  and, as a personal challenge, decorating cookies.  These cookies:

Gingerdead Man

The trick with  is to make the icing just the right consistency—but by the time I mastered the technique, I’d run out.  It was tough, but I found the experience humerus . . .

I hope you all had a great Christmas—or a rather nice Tuesday—and that your evening is filled with the equivalent of the Doctor Who Christmas Special and just this side of too many strange and tasty cookies.


*If you’re anywhere near Cincinnati, go visit Jungle Jim’s—it’s an experience, right down to the bathrooms. And if you forget the name before you can, just google “Weird Grocery stores in Cincinnati,” and it’ll pop right up.  There might also be a video.

**Collectively, I mean.  Our individual tastes differ.  A lot.