December Highlights

Sunday, December 30, 2018
Happy almost new year! Before I switch right into full on year reflection mode, I'd like to take a little time just to appreciate some highlights from this month, now that we're post-holiday madness.

This month has been jam-packed with festive activities from start to finish. In the first week of the month I headed up to Omaha with John's family. We started with dinner at Modern Love, an amazing vegan restaurant by the awesome Isa Moskowitz. After stuffing our faces, we headed to see the annual production of A Christmas Carol at the community playhouse. I'd never been before, but I was thoroughly won over by the amazing sets, the humor they injected into the script and the acting. And if that wasn't enough, the play ended with fake snow falling on the audience and everyone was given a little loaf of bread! After all of that and seeing all the little kids dressed up in their nicest Christmas outfits, I was well in the Christmas spirit.

The next weekend we got together with John's parents again and headed to the movie theater to watch a screening of the original version of Miracle on 34th Street. I'd only watched the 90s version with Matilda aka Mara Wilson before, and even though that one is really good, I think I prefer the original! There's just something about the old outfits and cars and designs that makes it feel a little bit more special. Getting to watch it in a recliner with chocolate covered raisins and a giant bag of popcorn doesn't hurt either.

This year my sister and brother-in-law are going to be with his family in Mexico for Christmas (jealous), so we did a little Christmas celebration before the actual holiday and we'll do a little after they're back as well. To kick it off, we went to the winter edition of Love the Locals, a little handmade goods show. It's always super crowded, but it's fun to browse what kinds of goods, art, crafts and clothing people are making here. I didn't buy anything this year, but I took full advantage of the free toffee samples, thank you very much. Afterwards, we went back to my parents' house and started a cookie baking marathon. We tamed it down a bit from previous years, but we still made 4 different kinds of cookies: regular molasses cookies, a veganized version of the same molasses cookie recipe, peanut butter blossoms and double chocolate ginger cookies. We all went home with way more cookies than 2 people could want or should eat, but they disappeared way faster than I'd like to admit.

I spent Christmas time with all kinds of family and friends. Christmas Eve we went to John's extended family's annual celebration dinner. Later, because my parents always play in the Christmas Eve service, we went to the service to watch them play (part of being in a musical family means lots of sitting in church pews alone while they gig). On Christmas morning we woke up, mowed down the cinnamon rolls my aunt always gives us for Christmas, opened our stockings and presents for ourselves and then went to John's family for the rest of the morning. They always go all out for Christmas, so we had more breakfast with them, did stockings and presents and then ate Christmas lunch and hung out for a little while. Then in the afternoon we went to see my parents and do presents with them followed by dinner (we cooked them a tasty vegan dilly stew with rosemary dumplings from Isa Moskowitz's Isa Does It cookbook). Lots of shuttling around, but totally worth it.

Christmas isn't the only thing that happened this month even though those last few paragraphs might suggest otherwise. My grandma's 92nd birthday was this month and it's always great getting to spend time with her, especially since prior to the last few years she's always lived in another state. She might hate living where it's cold again, but I'm glad I get to see her as often as I do now, especially since she's getting up there in age and won't be around forever. This month was also the college volleyball playoffs and Nebraska made it all the way to the championship match! They ended up losing, but getting to see a team that wasn't expected to be championship material this year play their way up was really fun. It also helps cure the heartbreak of a less than stellar football season. 😅Finally, we went to see a movie with my parents as well, which never really happens, but it was really nice. We saw Pick of the Litter which follows a litter of puppies along their journey to becoming guide dogs for the blind. Me seeing two movies in a single month is pretty much unheard of but when one movie is a sentimental movie about animals, it's a little less surprising. I recommend seeing it if you want a feel-good film!

This was a pretty great month to cap off a really amazing year. Now onto 2019!

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