"Happy Christmas, Harry"..."Happy Christmas, Ron"

I delved into the world of Harry Potter this Christmas. It's been several years since I read the series, and for some reason Christmastime always reminds of Harry Potter, so I felt it was time to visit my old friends Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Also, I really needed a break from textbooks. The weeks between Thanksgiving and finals were brutal. I'm thankful for Rusty and my friends (especially Christina who stayed up until 1 a.m. editing my behemoth of an anthropology paper the night before the due date) for keeping me sane during those stressful couple of weeks.

I've been in Utah for two weeks now. I haven't had a break this long in YEARS! It has been the most glorious break ever. It has mostly consisted of shoveling snow, unpacking boxes and bringing in new furniture, time with kiddos, many episodes of Fixer Upper, and 5 1/2 Harry Potter books.

We spent a quiet Christmas Eve at the house, and a very white Christmas morning at Gared's parent's cabin in the mountains. We had a delightful time watching everyone open presents. I almost wished Christmas hadn't been on a Sunday this year, with all the snow we got I was so tempted to go sledding!

Thursday after Christmas we went to temple square to take family pictures and watch the Christmas lights come on. It was a bit cold, and everyone could only handle a few minutes outside before we had to escape to the visitors center. Prime lighting though, I was pleased with most of the shots I managed to grab.

William, the little goober, makes the funniest faces. He also snorts. Hahahaha...
I'm very much looking forward to 2017. This is the year I graduate! I'm starting the process of applying for jobs and masters programs. I have zero clue where I'll end up, which is a rather thrilling thought. I could end up anywhere! Utah seems likely for the short term, as that's where a lot of the jobs I'm interested in are located. But grad school and long term...? It's a mystery!

Looking at my goals for 2016, I think I did alright:

1. Read 5 new books: Check. Nicholas Nickelby, Secret Life of Bees, Lady Susan, Mansfield Park, Young Victoria. The Help.
2. Go on double dates with 6-10 dudes: Partial check. I asked 4 guys out on dates.
3. Summit 1 new peak: Check. Forgot the name, it's somewhere in southern Idaho.
5. Run a 5k: Pfffft no. I've had half-marathons and 5k's on the list for like 5 years now. I'm lowering the expectation to just "some kind of race" this year.
6. Cross something off the bucket list: No, but not for lack of trying! This year I wanted to see a Moose. I spent time in a couple states that have plenty of Moose. Never saw a single one.
7. Attend one community cultural event: Check? I went to the community theater? I attended a couple football games. A&M has it's own culture after all...
8. Submit one photo to a photography contest: Nope.
9. Vote: CHECK

New Years goals for 2017:

1. Read the LOTR series
2. Read at least two other pieces of good literature
3. Summit 1 new peak
5. Ask a guy out on a single date
6. Learn Toccata and Fugue in D Minor on the organ
7. Participate in some kind of race/contest
8. Participate in a cause/movement/service organization

Good luck this year, everyone!