Shiny Happy New Year

Usually, I think of celebrating the new year as sort of a weird, made-up thing. It has always seemed a bit arbitrary to me. However, this has been a year of just getting by, of feeling comfortable and then being surprised with some sort of massively stressful event. This year will be known as the year of Lily's troubles and near-death, and of endless yard sales just to pay the rent. I am so ready to say goodbye to 2011.

Of course we always share the most positive things in our lives on our blogs, so it's nice that I can look back and say that even though the year has been pretty brutal, there have been lots of great times as well. I was fortunate enough to see The Honey Trees perform quite a few times & meet them, I ate a lot of cupcakes, and got to be an audience member for a couple of award shows (and was on tv for a few seconds, ha). I also was lucky enough to meet quite a few lovely people like Jennifer, Kat, and Emily. This has been a great year for my little blog; I have made so many friends here, and I was humbled by the kind words and generosity of those friends in the midst of Lily's illness. I feel pretty darn lucky to know all of you.

I am so excited for 2012 because I know it's going to be our best year yet! Jose starts his first real teaching job in a few weeks, which means we can move to a place where we can have heat, drain the kitchen sink, and drink the water - what a concept! It also means that now I can quit the job I've been miserable in for years, which is an incredible relief. I can finally see rays of sunshine emerging from the clouds, and it feels absolutely amazing. I can hardly believe this is my life!

Happy New Year!

We might dress up to celebrate, just to be fancy, but we're staying at home with my family, so here's my little imaginary New Year's Eve party. When I think of welcoming 2012, I see nothing but sparkles and light!

Have a fantastic New Year's Eve, and I'll see you next year! I can't wait!

A Silly Cat Christmas

I'm not sure how many people will be around blogland to see this, but here is a peek at our photo for this year. Since we didn't have one last year like he wanted, Jose was determined to make a beach themed card this year... and why not? Who doesn't wear sweaters and bring cats to a tropical beach? I love how serious Lily looks. He's so darn handsome! He's a remarkably patient model too; Sweeney was struggling to flee in every single shot, while Lily just sat in my arms, purring for most of the time.

I hope everyone has a marvelous and restful day!

Antiquing for Gifts

Jose and I have been doing pretty much all of our Christmas gift shopping this week, and astoundingly, we're just about finished. On Monday, we took a little trip out to Los Alamos to do a bit of antique treasure hunting for somewhat more unique options. We hit up the big antique mall first, and though there were plenty of interesting things to look at, we were a bit underwhelmed when it came to actually finding things to gift.

Holy cow, am I ever awkward when it comes to standing. For those interested, everything I'm wearing is from Forever 21 except the scarf, which I've had for years so I don't remember where I got it. I love it because the colors remind me of ice cream. Anyway, we searched a few other shops, which all had an even less impressive selection, so we ended up back at the antique mall to make a few more laps and to finally purchase a few nice pieces. I'm almost finished wrapping everything, so soon we can finally sit back and enjoy our much-needed holiday.

Our Christmas Card Tradition

The year before we got married, Jose and I made our first Christmas cards together, and since then we've been continuing the tradition every year. We usually wait until the last possible minute to come up with a concept and take the photos, but I have to say we do rather well for a short time frame and a self-timer. For our first year, 2007, we went with a goofy retro theme.

I remember laughing hysterically for most of that photo shoot, especially when we dunked our faces in whipped cream. That was our fanciest year, because we used three different options and had them completely custom made, which turned out to be waaaay expensive, so we've switched to more budget-friendly methods since then. The inside of the card read Wishing you a swell Christmas and a nifty New Year.

For 2008, we had gotten married a few months before, so we wore our wedding clothes. Sweeney made his first card appearance, and because he kept trying to escape, it was such a challenge to find a photo where he wasn't totally blurry. He does look pretty cute with his little Santa hat, though.

Lily joined the family early in 2009, so that year was his first card appearance. You can imagine how next to impossible it would be to get a decent shot like this with everyone in the frame, with the cats actually sitting still while being tangled in lights! So we had to be a little creative and put a few photos together for the final result. Jose's expression cracks me up, and Sweeney does not look amused.

Last year I offered to do an illustrated card, but Jose wanted to take a picture at the beach. However, the December weather had other plans, so I quickly put together this little family portrait. It was definitely easier than trying to wrangle unwilling cats into sitting still for the camera. What's in store for this year? You'll just have to wait and see! I will say that we found a pair of matching vests at the thrift shop last week.

Wintry Shimmer

Still Sicky McSickerson over here, but I have a few peeks at our Christmas decorations to share today. I am really picky when selecting winter decor; I'm not much for the usual bright red and dark green for the most part, I'm more partial to silver and muted blues. We are slowly adding to our small collection year by year. It's a challenge decorating with two destructive felines in the house, so our tiny white tree is way up out of reach for the cats who would otherwise destroy it. Also, this is the first year we've put lights up outside (rather Jose put them up), and so far we're one of the only houses on the block to do so.

Fancy Wine Drinkers Eat Cupcakes

That nasty cold virus has taken hold of me and I'm getting sicker and sicker by the minute, so not much is going on around here. For now, here is another cupcake adventure! Over the Thanksgiving break, my aunt and cousins drove up to visit. Of course we had to head over to Enjoy, and this time we did the wine pairing to go along with the cupcakes.

We all split a few of the mini flights. It was a really fun time! Watching my cousin Jamie's face as she tasted the wine was particularly entertaining, since she's not big on any alcoholic beverage other than strawberry margaritas. The wine selections went surprisingly well with the cupcakes, but it seemed like the amount poured was significantly less than anywhere else I've been wine tasting before. Of course the cupcakes were superb, and it was so tough just having a half of a mini version of each flavor. Some of the flavors included Eggnog, Chocolate Frangelico Hazelnut, and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough.