Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Anniversary Trip

Nine years ago I married my hubby.  We had a Christmas wedding, and I still think it was the best day of my life. 
We are leaving tomorrow morning for a little time away to celebrate, and I am so excited.  Our parents are so awesome, taking the kids so we can enjoy time without the little energizer bunnies.  I'll take pictures of the trip to share with you all.  We are going to a beautiful area!
We got married in our late 20's, but it was still early enough that digital film wasn't the norm.  I had to take pictures of the hard copy pictures in our wedding album in order to share some pics from our day, but I got a few.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two Days of Christmas

(My two boys on the left in the plaid and stripes, and my sister in law's children on the right)

We had a unique situation this year.  Ryan's family was celebrating ALL the Christmas traditions on Christmas Eve, as his sister was leaving for her honeymoon on Christmas and his brother was flying back to Ohio Chrismas morning.  My side of the family was doing all their celebrating together on Christmas Eve as well, including the four December birthdays in my family.  So, the busiest day for us was Christmas Eve!

I was in the midst of a BAD cold, so the morning was a bit foggy for me.  I was nursing a fever and chills, but I was thankful it wasn't the stomach flu.  I detest the stomach flu!  I felt much better as the day went on, and, for that, I am thankful!

We started the day by going over to my in-laws' for "Christmas" breakfast, taking pictures on the stairs and enjoying a long round of presents.  We let the five kids (all 6 and under) open all their gifts first and then ushered them upstairs to watch Polar Express while the adults opened their gifts in peace.  Genius!

After we finished, we drove to my mom and dad's for more presents, birthday cake, and time with my sisters, their families and my parents.  My kids are the youngest on this side, with three of the cousins in their teens, so it is a little more calm as we open presents. 

We drove to Christmas Eve services at church and then drove back to my in laws' for a prime rib Christmas dinner. 

It was a busy, full, but very blessed day!

Christmas, we got up slowly--recovering from the day before, and started by finishing off the nativity story and the Jesse Tree ornaments with my boys.  Then, we opened stockings together and enjoyed the Pioneer Woman's Baked Cinnamon French Toast.  After breakfast, we opened more gifts.  We scaled back this year.  Ryan and I only did stocking presents for one another, and we had a limit to spend.  The boys didn't get any BIG present from us this year, as we knew the grandparents were giving them some fun gifts that they would love.  It was so nice, and the boys were completely happy with the smaller gifts.

We listened to Christmas services online--our church livestreams the services, which is the BEST thing ever if you are sick or the kids are sick and you can't be at church.  Then my parents came over to our house, and we had an early Christmas ham dinner around 4.  We watched A Christmas Story and just relaxed, which was a nice treat after the busy day prior.  Here is a picture of my Christmas dinner table:

Yesterday, the day after Christmas, my husband and I cleaned the house top to bottom, took down our REALLY dry, fire hazard tree, went through toys to donate and organized the new ones, and did home projects.  It as his only day off this week, so we had to just dig in and be productive.

He is back to work at his new job today, and I'm getting packed and organized for our anniversary trip Thursday through Monday.  I'll share more about that later.  I'm SO excited!

I pray you had a joyous Christmas!  I'm excited for 2012!

(Our boys at the bottom of our stairs waiting to open presents under the tree on Christmas morning)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Tablescape Ideas

I recently got a question from a friend about her Christmas table.  She is one of my really creative, talented friends, so I know her table is going to be amazing!  She wondered about mixing formal and informal dishes/decorations on her table and even how to mix a woodsy theme with her inherited cherry blossom china.  I am not a trained decorater, though I love to decorate, but my rule of thumb is that textures and even "looks" can be mixed when you balance them, bring them together thoughtfully and unify them by color or some other theme.  In fact, sometimes a less matchy-matchy table is even more amazing than one that is pulled straight from the pretty tableware catalogue.  It made me start thinking about my own Christmas table.  I am hosting Christmas for a small gathering of immediate family, and I would love to have a beautiful table to welcome my guests.

I started searching Christmas table ideas on Pinterest, and I thought I'd share some cute ideas from other's tables. 

Red and White.  Candy cane stripes.  What is there not to love about the bold, clean look of crisp white and rich red?  These tables found inspiration there.

Style me Pretty
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Gordon Gossip shared this table by Eddie Ross
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Pier 1
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Woman's Day
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Hostess With The Mostess
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Tobi's Blog
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Globally Gorgeous
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Style Me Pretty
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Another great way to add pizzaz to your table is to put some metallics on your tablescape.  Chrsitmas lends itself to silver, gold or both.  Have fun with it!

Desde My Ventana
Subtle silver, tans, and white
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House and Home
Gold and White
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A Little Inspiration
Tans, white and subtle gold
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My Notting Hill
(Silver and green)
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Pottery Barn
Silver, cream and green
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Southern Living
Silver, Gold, Green and Red
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Some tables are traditionally spectacular.  Pine, green, red, plaid or pinecones make everyone feel the warmth of Christmas.

The Lady in the Stone House
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Sweeter Homes
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The Bride's Cafe
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Cut Rate Crafts
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Happy tablescaping to all of you hostesses!  Be yourself and have fun with different colors, textures, themes and decorations!  Share your link if you post a photo of your Christmas table!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lessons from The Little Drummer Boy

Like most people, I love a good rendition of O' Holy Night or The First Noel, but the song that tears me up each year is The Little Drummer Boy.  Yup.  Are you thinking, "Why?"

I love the words and the message they have for us. 

"Come, they told me
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
Our newborn King to see
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum

Our finest gifts we bring
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
To lay before the King
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
Rum, pa, pum, pum, rum, pa, pum, pum

So to honor Him
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
When we come

Little Baby
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
I am a poor boy too
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum

I have no gift to bring
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
That's fit to give a King
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
Rum, pa, pum, pum, rum, pa, pum, pum

Shall I play for You
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
On my drum, on my drum

Mary nodded
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
The ox and lamb kept time
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum

I played my drum for Him
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
I played my best for HimPa, rum, pa, pum, pum
Rum, pa, pum, pum, rum, pa, pum, pum

Then He smiled at me
Pa, rum, pa, pum, pum
Me and my drum"

Although this is a fictional account, and there wasn't a drummer boy with the wise men (in fact, the wise men did not visit Mary and Christ until well after they were already home and not in the manger--read Matthew 1 and 2 carefully), I love the fact that this song reminds us that God gave us each our own circumstances and gifts.  Whatever we have, whether a poor drummer boy with a drum or a great wise man with riches, we need to joyfully and sacrificially honor God for His glory.  He is greatly pleased when we worship Him with such sincerity, thankfulness and obedience.  He is worthy of our best--whatever that may be!

We know we can't earn God's favor.  Only repentance for sin and faith in what Christ has done for us can save us, but, as Christians, we can show thankfulness and honor to the God who sent Christ to live the perfect life for us and then die and face God's wrath for our sin.

Don't let circumstances keep you from giving God your best and the glory due to Him.  He sees our hearts and knows when we are truly honoring Him.

Do you have an opportunity to share the gospel?  Can you serve a needy family dinner or buy some presents for them, inviting them to church?  Can you share your testimony with a friend?  Can you use your talents to serve others at church? 

What is your best gift that you can give to God to honor Him today?

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Wedding

My sister in law, Katie, got married to her new hubby, Jon, on Sunday.  It was absolutely beautiful.  She had thought through so many details, and it showed.

It was clear and crisp for the wedding, and both of my boys walked down the aisle without incident--Woohoo!

My husband and I were both in the wedding party, so there are no pictures of the ceremony, but I have some before shots.


The beautiful bride getting ready

Her GORGEOUS dress!  I wish the lighting were better.  I was trying not to make the REAL photographer upset. . .

The colors were champagne, cream and cranberry.  Here are the dresses we wore as bridesmaids. . .

My mother in law had a beautiful cranberry dress.  Isn't her hair pretty too?

The flower girls

Just before the ceremony.  This shows some of the amazing dress details.  She was such a pretty bride!

The bridesmaid flowers

The bride's bouquet

The programs

Setting up for the ceremony

Flowers on the chairs at the ceremony

Our family right after the ceremony.  I put on my jacket because we were standing in short, sleeveless dresses in chilly weather during the ceremony outside.  I have a shot of the dress further down. . .

The boys were given treats to stay quiet during the ceremony.  Do you see the sugar kicking in?

My big boy

My little munchkin

This is the only pic I got of me in my dress.  It isn't the best picture, but doesn't my hubby look handsome?

I made a banner for Katie's hot chocolate bar, and I'll share some details in a later post.  She had regular and Mexican hot chocolate.  She had three flavors of marshmallows, peppermint sticks, cinnamon sticks, fresh whipping cream, chocolate shavings, caramel sauce and more.  It was a very popular place!

A centerpiece at the reception

Giving her new Uncle Jon a hug . . .

It was a breathtaking day!  Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. B!
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