okay, starting with last night:

it seems like the Myers family Christmas traditions aren't -too- different than what I grew up with. We did a little pageant (of course there were enough people to even have some animals, but I don't think we had a Herod), and sang songs, and opened one present each (although we didn't get to pick), which is pretty much what I'm used to. The present each family got was an olive wood nativity, it's beautiful and just what we needed since Jon and I didn't have a nativity set yet. We gave Jon's parents their presents (slippers and Set) and played a bit of set before going to bed. Jon slept like a baby but I just couldn't fall asleep. That's been happening a lot lately though, I think because of stress, not because I was excited about Christmas of course.

((Edited to add the photo--thanks, Katie!))

Jon and I got up around 5 because I was terribly, terribly bored (I pretty much spent all night trying to sleep, giving up on that, drawing little donuts on the computer, and trying to go back to sleep), and we got online for a little bit to open up christmas presents in our online games. (My hunter has all 4 winter minipets now, 8 more til I have enough to get the skunk pet, which now that I think about it is really kind of a weird prize...)

We opened presents at 7:30 (David and Sarah came over too), all the little kids were having a ton of fun. Alex seemed very interested in my white chocolates, maybe because the wrappers were shiny--I gave him one but it was too big to bite so he just gnawed on it until Jaymie told him he couldn't have any more candy (at which point he stuffed the whole thing into his mouth and tried to escape. It didn't work.) Jon's mom and dad gave him a shirt and cologne, and gave me driving lessons (which will be great!) and a My Little Pony I didn't have (eyeshadow/henna Scootaloo) which I totally was not expecting! I actually had spotted it when I was helping move stuff around upstairs, but I figured it was for one for the little girls. =D I think they know me better than I give them credit for.

Jon and I had Jaymie's family and they had us--we loved the present they gave us (hats and gloves and BB&B gift cards will be great!), and hopefully they liked our present for them, which was a popcorn bowl and movie treats and a card for Blockbuster. I didn't get to see them open it though, so I guess I feel a little disappointed, but I bet they loved it. (It was so fun to put together, too.)

Jon and I snuck back into our room to open the presents from my parents (among other things, HUGE hot chocolate mugs and some of my mom's hot chocolate blend, YUM!) but came out in time for breakfast, and then I went back in and finally got some sleep. I've been so tired lately, but at least I got some rest, and I felt way better after I woke up. Maybe I was just excited about the presents I got for Jon after all... a loot card he's been wanting, a CD from a group he was interested in, a little Wiimote candy dispenser, and some other smaller goodies. I was definitely relieved when he liked all of them. I think, for our first Christmas together, I did not do so bad at all.

And Jon got me a premium membership for the forums I go on, and more pony stuff (Winter Minty, Music with StarSong) so he definitely knew what he was doing too.

Jon and the other guys went to go play basketball at the gym, he had tons of fun but now he's sore and tired so I think tomorrow we'll use the hot tub out back. After he got back we talked about what we're going to do with WoW once we get out own place, since I don't feel like I can raid with my hunter once the nerfs hit. The guild needs healers, but I don't want to level another one from scratch and we can't afford recruit a friend, so his idea is to transfer his shaman to my account. I already have a level 70 resto shaman, so I know how to play the class, and it'll keep me from having to level another one (I can't use mine since Tanakyll is Horde and I play Alliance now). I think it should be interesting at least, and it'll be nice to be able to contribute to the guild again (besides just with my cooking).

We all had a big dinner (ham and the usual traditional stuff, plus this awesome jello thing) and everyone told stories about when they were kids, there were some really weird ones but mostly they were pretty funny. After we ate I came back in here to *start* this post but of course we had to come back out for pie and games (Taboo and Set). I totally won at Set, but Taboo was boys vs girls and we lost. Everyone's out watching a movie now, but I think Jon and I are probably going to read for a bit and go to bed early. I think tomorrow we'll see about getting up a little earlier than usual and using that monkey bread kit, mmm...


more hanukkah stuff

dinner was a bit different than planned, the meat we were going to use for the fondue was not of a quality to work well with that, so instead we had stir-fried veggies and chicken which was delicious. donuts also did not work out as I didn't realize the dough needed to be made the night before so it could rise (oops). So both of those we'll probably be having later in the week, along with more latkes since they were such a hit. :) a triple batch, gone in about 20 minutes...hehe.

One of the candles had a really long wick which I should have trimmed, it ended up burning really really fast but still lasted long enough once it slowed down a bit. I'll be more careful tomorrow night.

anyway, Jaymie and family got here safely, if very very hungry, and we all had a good time playing games before bed. everyone kept jumping at the falling branches though, it's a little scary to hear since some really big ones have been breaking off, and the backyard is a mess. I don't know if we can even move the fallen branches without cutting them up first, I guess if the weather is better tomorrow we'll find out.

whee, almost christmas!


Hanukkah update

Picked up a menorah (cute tiny classic-looking one) and some candles at Hallmark, and some picture books at the library. Sarah was cutting sugar cookies when we got home, she'd found a Star of David one and was so excited (and so am I!) that we will have some themed cookies for Hanukkah. We'll do white icing and blue sugar probably.

Still need dreidels, an Oregon member of the MLP Arena was able to help me out there, she's mailing them tomorrow so they should get here by the second or third night. :) Have the chocolate coins already.

Menu is latkes, fondue, and cottage cheese donuts. Mmmmmm.

Still need to find a book with a short explanation of the Hanukkah story, and the candles we got have the blessing on them in Hebrew (once with Hebrew characters, once written so I could at least read them but my pronunciation is likely to be a bit off) and I would like an English translation so that everyone can understand.

I don't think I've forgotten anything...

I hate this...

Everytime I start spending time online I run into people who have serious issues going on at home--wait, scratch that, even in real life. Maybe it's because I am fairly sensitive to emotions (Jon thinks of this as a good thing, and mostly I do too) and so I really CARE about everyone I meet. And really the worlds seems to be a messed up place right now, parents can neglect and emotionally abuse their kids all they want so long as the kid isn't starving or being beaten, even doing weird shit like happened to Sara P. where they withdrew her from school one weekend without even a chance to say goodbye to friends, drove her like halfway across the country, and left her with her mother and stepfather. Permanently.

What really gets me though is that so many kids won't DO anything when they are being emotionally abused and neglected. Sara was a skinny kid, I believe she didn't eat at home very much, and she never brought a lunch or lunch money to school. We started sharing our lunches with her, and after a while brought extra lunches because she was so hungry. We could never get her to talk to one of the teachers or a counselor about it, and she didn't want us to, either. Maybe I'm just mad at myself because I didn't do more--I should have told someone, regardless of what she said. But her telling an adult would have had the largest impact--we had no way of knowing for sure what was going on at home, but she had the full story, and her word would have been able to get her some help.

I've been thinking about this because, like I said, I keep running into these kids. Especially online it seems, maybe because they have a need to get away from their lives and talk to people who are generally more caring...I don't know. It's not usually attention-whore drama drivel, it's kids asking what they can do to stop their parents from being disappointed in them, kids who wonder what they're doing wrong when the real problem is that their parents have no idea how to have a healthy, loving relationship. Plenty of adults, too, who grew up that way, and are able to at least give sympathy and comfort.

Jon and I went out to a Chinese buffet--a woman and her two kids were placed at a table next to us despite the place being nearly empty, and we got to hear her yelling at and belittling her kids the entire time we were eating. Telling them to shut up, that they were stupid and worthless, that she was never taking them out to eat anywhere again. The kids were very quiet, and absolutely adorable (though the little boy went straight for the food that still had antennae and claws attached). The awful shouting just made me sick, and if we hadn't been watching our money so carefully I would have done something to make a point maybe, like pay for their dinner on the way out and ask the cashier to give them a message from us. I can just see it.... "The young couple who were sitting next to you have already paid for your meal, and wanted to let you know that your children are adorable and well-mannered but your HIDEOUS SCREAMING VOICE spoiled their appetites." But I should have at least said something. :(

What is wrong with people?

I've been thinking about this sort of thing tonight because of course another one popped up, this time on the PonyIsland forums. I've given her all the advice I can, and I HOPE she gets some help soon. But even if she does, there are still so many others out there.

I want to help them all somehow, but at the same time it scares me. I get so angry and full of hate when I think about these people who treat their children poorly, it makes my stomach clench up and I'm sure my face gets a little red because I feel hot all over, and I want to punch them. Who DOES that sort of stuff to kids? Do they not realize how seriously messed up their kids are getting?

I know the organizations that are supposed to help with that sort of thing are overworked dealing with cases of physical abuse and serious neglect and starvation and stuff. Hell, there are even people who kill their own kids, getting them out of danger of death certainly should take priority. But emotional abuse IS real abuse, and so common makes me hurt inside to think about it.

There's got to be something more I can do besides give scared kids links to information websites, there just has to be.



Mmm, cookies!

I'm making cookies cause I can't sleep.

I'm thinking about using Twitter. I may be too busy/spastic to write real blog entries right now.

Speed Racer = fun fun eye candy. (The movie, not the character!)

*hugs all*