I haven't gotten round to introducing my stables or my characters yet, but here is a few of "the team", entering in the Ugly Sweater flavour...in not-so-ugly sweaters. Oops. I just couldn't find true ugly sweaters, apart turning the current sweaters a revolting colour...which I just couldn't bring myself to do.
Single father Maksim Vasiliev stepped into the rustic kitchen of his new home, and tried to hide his groan of horror, immediately regretting his decision to ask Dotty to look after his children. With her flushing freckles and burning dark hair, she had the heart of a saint and could never say no to the youngsters. She'd beamed when far-too-confident Alaska had insisted that Dotty look after them whilst he was out, and he hadn't had the heart to admit she'd be too soft with them.
Theo was teetering on a stack of boxes, hiding somewhere in a Santa hat that kept slipping over his eyes as he adoringly gazed up at Dotty. From the stack of bowls and the way she was scattering clouds of flour everywhere, it looked like they were creating their own version of Christmas baking.
"I don't think you need that much flour," Maksim bravely stepped further into the kitchen, earning a gooey smile from his two year old son.
"Whose baking these cookies?"
"Oh good, its got you confused too," His large hands snatched the box of flour from her hands before Theo turned into a ghost. It would take a stack of cookies just to get the dirt-loving child into the bath long enough to remove the flour and sguar from the hair poking out of his hat. "I uh, I didn't know you can bake, Dotty."
"I can't," She admitted happily, placing her hands over Theo's, sending the rolling pin through the sticky dough. "But I do hope you like your cookies well done."
In the brightly lit living room, Maksim didn't find the peace he'd been hoping for. Instead he came across Callixta, his boss's long term girlfriend, looking thoroughly amused in the far corner, hugging her knees and wearing some antlers draped in twinkling lights that he was sure were hanging in Alaska's room before he left.
At five years old, Alaska loved creating games and often roped everyone else in; even Pixel and Muffin, their two cats, bolted out of the house when Alaska wanted to play. With her hair typically in pigtails of some kind, she often charmed people into the illusion of being an angel.
Then they got to know her.
"Daddy, you need to go in the naughty corner too!" Alaska stood determinedly, a stance she had learned from himself over the years. Spotting that steely look in her dark eyes, he held his hands up in surrender and sank down in the corner.
"Now, you know why you are in the bad corner. Don't you, Daddy?" Alaska took her position in front of them both, her young face scrunching up as she wagged a finger at the two adults lounging on the cold wood floor.
"Yes dear," Maksim chuckled. "Because of my ugly sweater."
"It should be red - like mine!"
"Yes, love." He promised to let her choose a new Christmas sweater for himself on their next shopping trip. "What are you in the bad corner for?"
"My antlers," Callixta was still struggling to keep a straight face. "They aren't shiny enough."
After the latest batch of cookies came out of the oven a brilliant colour of dark, dark gold, coated in burned sugar dusting, Maksim rallied up his two rascal children, scooting them outside into the ankle deep snow that fell like a blanket over the land. The truck his new boss had loaned him had carried him safely into town and back, picking up the advent toy he'd seen Alaska admiring on their last trip in the store. She stood proudly next to it, her little hand grasping the side as they gathered around for a group shot. And let's just pretend that Theo is wearing shoes
So that's my entry for the ugly sweater section, sorry its so long with all the writing! And here are just shots of the rest of the house, after the destruction of two excitable young children.