Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in Atlanta

We spent four days last week in Atlanta for Christmas. I love spending holidays with my family and all the traditions we share, but none are more special than the ones we have at Christmas!
The trip started with a puppy-play-date at my friend Stefanie's house, where Jax got to meet her white lab, Grissom. The two got along really well and looked so cute together! While the pups played, the girls baked cookies and the guys taste-tested. That evening we all braved the chilly temps and went to watch my brother-in-law Lincoln play tennis in the final round of a K Swiss tournament. Thankfully, after an almost 3 hour (!) match, he won! It made sitting in the cold, all bundled up, worth it and it was fun to see him play so competitively.On Christmas Eve, we always go to Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church for their service and then head home for a yummy dinner of shrimp and pesto pasta. Despite the sprinkling rain, we made it there and back safely and settled in for a nice night of great food, wonderful company, and a few sibling gifts - a tradition in our house, to trade gifts amongst the "kids" before Christmas morning.Kelly and Lincoln were the head chefs this year, making a scrumptous (and a little garlicky) meal for us!Christmas day, we woke up at Kelly and Lincoln's house but decided to keep with tradition and (after showering) headed over to my parents' house in our pajamas. While breakfast cooked, Jax got to open her stocking - at one point she even had her head stuffed in there to see what presents "Santa" had brought.Ever since we were little we have posed on the stairs before rushing the tree to see what Santa left for us - this year was no exception, complete with all the pups.We switched things up this year and actually ate our brunch before tackling any gifts - a delicious tradition of egg souffle, blueberry muffins and mimosas. Yum!
Then, on to the presents! Alex and I both got new racquets, which I have already put to good use. I am so excited to start really playing!It took a few hours to get through everything...we all take turns, each opening one at a time. It was a great morning - so relaxing and such a fun time spent with family.Jax brought gifts for all the pups, and Westin wasted no time tearing into his. He opened it all by himself!I love my husband so much, and had such a wonderful holiday spending time with him!It felt like another quick trip, and such a whirlwind with all that activity, but so well-worth it to get to spend time with my family. By the last morning, the pups were exhausted and Jax and Westin enjoyed a nap on the couch while we packed up to head home.

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone already, with all that preparation and anticipation for this big day so fleeting. But I wouldn't trade all that time because it's one of my favorite holidays and such a joy to spend with the ones I love. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with the ones that mean the most to you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas in Florida

Merry Christmas! While today is the actual day, we get to celebrate the holiday multiple times, with all of our families, and it started last Sunday with Ryan's mom, brother and sister. We hosted a dinner of delicious tortellini soup and exchanged lots of gifts. It was a great start to the Christmas festivities and got us into the holiday spirit early!
Wow, look at all the presents!
The dinner table, set for our company. Ryan did a great job setting out all of our wedding pieces!
Group shot before dinner
Family photo in front of the tree
Jax even got to help open gifts
And she loved her Uncle Brad and Aunt Sarah!
A final group shot to wrap up the night. We had a great time!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and truly enjoy the holiday, while remembering the true reason for the season! More on our Atlanta Christmas and Christmas in Florida, part two coming soon...

Making Spirits Bright

My VP had a Christmas party for our team on Saturday night. I didn't want to come empty-handed so I got a little crafty with my new sewing machine and made a fancy wine bag to bring over a bottle. I may have to make more of these!

Puppy Play Date

Our friends found an abandoned puppy not too long ago and decided to take the sweet girl in for their own. After getting her first round of shots on Saturday, we figured it was safe for little Gracie to come over and meet Jax..."little" being the key word!
She was pretty good about letting Jax come over to check her out and Jax was okay about leaving her along while still trying to get her to play, but we could tell she was scared, so after a while we put Jax inside and let Gracie have free range of the backyard on her own.
She is adorable and I am curious to see how she looks as she grows up...my bet is her cute floppy ears stick up like Jax's before too long.
Their first meeting
Little Gracie
So cute!
Not so sure about this big dog!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It appears we need new net lights

Only one of the four strands now works. Bummer.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Boo-boo baby

Our poor little girl has a boo-boo on her belly and after determing that a cone on her head (!) would do no good to keep her from scratching it, Jax is now fashioning a little tube top around her skinny mid-section to help it heal.

After spending the day at the vet, the poor pup must be exhausted, because she is curled up on her dad's lap sleeping, which is so not like her. Here's hoping she heals before Christmas so she doesn't need the tube top for our trip to Atlanta!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I love decorating the house for Christmas. It just makes it feel so much more warm and full. Here are a few shots of how we decorate for the season in our home...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Crafty pillows

Through a friend's blog, I found another person's crafty blog post about making burlap pillows. I took the idea a few steps further and, using my A-W-E-S-O-M-E sewing maching and embroidery functions, created a couple of pillows of my own. The bench in the foyer was a little bare, so I think these make the perfect finishing touch for the holiday season! And maybe, when Christmas has passed, I will just flip them over to the plain side so my hardwork doesn't go wasted.

Catching Up: Trip to Atlanta

I missed a whole week+ in blogland and figured I should catch up and recap what we did on our second trip up to Atlanta in two weeks. My mom had had surgery during the week to remove a nasty cancerous "nodule" from her lung so while Ryan made the trek up to watch his team play in the SEC Championship, I tagged along to be with my mom and (hopefully) help her recupe.
While home, we all got to attend a cookie party at a dear family friend's house. It was a great idea and so yummy! Everyone brought cookies to share and there was a contest for best tasting and best looking. While I didn't bring any, I was sure to participate in the judging.
I also got to take advantage of being in Atlanta to see some good friends. The first long-time pal just had her second (!) baby girl so I got to drop in to deliver a handmade gift and see the new little one, not even a week old. She is beautiful, just like her big sis, and I was so thankful to have the time to catch up with her mom.
Then, on Sunday, it just so happened that another dear friend was having a baby shower, so I got to hang out with her a little before the party and then see some other great pals at the shower itself. I also delivered another handmade gift. I had been busy painting in preparation for the trip!

It was a short, short trip but as always so good to see family and friends. I can't wait to be back up in a week or so for Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tidings of comfort and joy

I absolutely LOVE the version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" sung by Sarah McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies. Perhaps an odd combo for a holiday tune, but their voices harmonize so beautifully and make the words of the song all that more powerful. I was rocking to it my whole drive into work this morning, on repeat, and actually got a little choked up belting out the words at the top of my lungs, thinking of how special this time of year is and what the true reason for the season is. I have so much to be thankful for, and God's love is number one. It is truly a message of comfort and joy to hear "that Christ our savior was born on Christmas day to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Well, we don't actually have a chimney, nor do we have our own stockings at home with us (they're at our respective parents' houses) but I felt that the pup needed a stocking all her own. This is her first Christmas (with us), after all. So I got a little crafty, tried out the embroidery function of my sewing machine (finally! love it!), and put together a special little stocking for all of her treats.