Actually, now that I look at this picture again, that's GOOD compared to what it's like out now!!! YIKES! Church 5 hours from now could be interesting!!!!!
So, as I said, we got up a little after 8 this morning, and got ourselves all set for our "Christmas" morning. We feel very blessed in that our tree looked as though we had never sent any gifts out to family - there was all kinds of stuff under there!!! Jason and I probably went a little overboard on each other, too... but the new budget starts next week, so next Christmas probably won't be like that. I'm excited because my big gift was a macro lense for my camera - a lense specifically meant for taking VERY close up pictures. Since that's my favorite anyway, I think I'll be getting a LOT of use out of that! Jason's big gift was the starter kit for his own home beer kegging system. He had a hunch that's what he was getting, but I assured him that "over my dead body" would I allow an ugly college-kid kegerator in my house!!! With the right self-made cabinetry (right, Jim?!), though, it won't look like a college set-up, and will be a nice upgrade to his brewing hobby. He's excited to not have to bottle anymore (which takes more time, and makes you have to wait longer for the beer as it carbonates in the bottle), and I'm excited at the prospect of a regular supply of blackberry wheat on tap! I'd post a picture of Jason opening the box with the supplies in it, but all the pics I took make it look like I was trying to blur the individual to protect the innocent or something, so we'll skip those! Instead, here's a sample shot of a couple of gifts from Maryanne and Jim. Unfortunately, we have no pics of us opening gifts from Mom and Dad, because we were actually chatting with Mom on the speakphone as we opened! So, here's Jason with his new bear beer tap, and me with a fabulous down vest!!
Although we got Fred a couple new toys for the big day, he, of course, was more interested in the wrapping paper. He was so interested, in fact, that he would stare at us as we unwrapped, waiting for us to ball up the paper and throw it into the pile for him! Eventually, he just buried himself in the giant pile, and rooted around for a while. Somewhere in that pile are four very nice new toys, complete with rope, felt and stuffing, suitable for dogs. Note that there is actually a piece of wrapping paper IN Fred's mouth in this shot. Yep, sure am glad I spent that money on the toys. Jason said we shouldn't bother, but I didn't listen!!
The cool thing about having Christmas a day early was that it wasn't actually a holiday, so the post office was still open. That came in handy when some last minute gifts came in from Maryanne and Jim. Of course, we missed the second package slip in the mail (they don't deliver packages bigger than a mailbox here... we have to go get them), so Jason made two trips to the post office in our winter wonderland. I just had to share a shot of his first run - I made him go before he had the chance to put real clothes on or anything. Sadly, he fit right in without anyone batting an eye in this get up!
Doesn't he look Kodiak fabulous?!!? And, for those with a keen eye, you'll see that he's sporting his XtraTuffs, which I referenced in our Christmas party post. XtraTuffs are fully accepted as everyday wear here in Kodiak... just not as formal wear. On a day like today, they're almost necessary!
Speaking of referencing old blog entries - I had to share the contrast of our giant Thanksgiving dinner with the Koehlers to our intimate Christmas late lunch by ourselves. Jason decided on steaks, which he was probably regretting when he saw the weather out there today, but he braved the storm to cook us up some NY strips. My job was the mashed potatoes and zucchini. It's a little sad to see the table, but we REALLY enjoyed it. It was nice to have a quiet dinner with little fuss, lots of flavor, and the chance to just sit and enjoy each other for a little while.
I know, it's not much, but it was nice! We think you should learn something new everyday. Today, we learned that Jason and I have been married a LOOOOOONG time. How did we figure that out? We opened our cards to each other. I'll leave it at that.
I thought that was too funny not to share!
Again, it took me forever to get this blog done, so we're back from Aaron and Melissa's - we had a great time and it was so nice that it worked out that they could throw something together real quick! Now we're about an hour away from heading out to church... we'll be giving ourselves at least double our normal 10 minutes to get there since the snow is blowing around so much that we're seeing white out conditions. It'll be slow going, but worth the trip in the end! We promised we'd call Mom when we got back so she'd be sure to start her Christmas morning nice and early, but we'll probably cut her some slack on that and just wait to chat again later in the day. Depending on the weather, I may join Jason out at the base tomorrow for dinner. If I don't feel like driving in the blizzard, though, our friends (and neighbors - handy!) Mary and Keith invited me over for dinner with them and their kids. I've also been invited for the morning gift-opening festivities, but I'm going to guess that I won't be awake time for that! I'm excited about joining them for dinner, though... it'll almost be like a taste of home - Mary is planning a few different types of soup, just like Mom does for Christmas day!
I should wrap this up. I've got to go find something that matches my snow boots to wear to church tonight. As much as I'd like to get all dressed up, tonight calls for practicality! I'm not sure exactly how much snow we've gotten, but it's not just a little bit - and it's drifting a LOT! Instead of heels, I'll sport my LL Beans (no XtraTuffs for me!), and just realize a little bit more how much I've acclimated to Kodiak!
We wish everyone the Merriest of Christmases!!!! We're missing our friends and family off the Rock, but we're also enjoying our first Christmas in our own house, surrounded by all of our new surrogate family here in Kodiak.
We love you all... Merry Christmas!!!