Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Recap

Just a little post-Christmas update here—the last couple weeks have been crazy in my house. It seems I haven’t stopped shopping, baking, wrapping, cleaning—basically MOVING—for days. However it was all worth it to be able to spend some time with my family and Erik’s, share holiday traditions, and just enjoy each other. We spent Christmas Eve with Erik's family and had a fantastic time (Erik's mom outdid herself with the food and Erik's nephew got a visit from Santa) and Christmas Day was at my house with my parents who drove all the way from St. Louis to be with my brother and I.  The only people we were missing we my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew who were up in Ohio celebrating with my brother-in-law’s family, and Erik's sister Lori and her girlfriend (both of whom I haven't met yet) who were vacationing in Ireland. <---ugh, can we say jealous here??

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about hosting my first family Christmas at the house—mostly because my mom broke her arm a few weeks ago and wasn’t going to be able to help me with cooking and baking which meant Christmas dinner was up to me. Yikes! I wanted everything to be perfect for a couple of reasons: 1. My mom always makes Christmas so special for us at her house and I wanted to do the same for her and my dad, and 2. Erik’s parents were going to be joining us for dinner and it would be the first time our parents would meet. All in all I think everything went very well. Dinner was pretty easy-- I bought a Honeybaked ham (always delish), cooked green beans,  a squash casserole, an orange jello salad (a traditional Christmas dinner item in my family), and my mom was able to throw together her yummy scalloped potatoes. Erik’s mom brought dessert—an amazing white chocolate bread pudding that was too tasty for its own good. Everyone ate and chatted and seemed to have a great time.  The parents got along well (which I wasn’t too worried about if I’m being completely honest) so I was really happy about that too.
The only misstep that occurred this Christmas was mostly my fault. I made the mistake of giving the same Christmas list to my mom and Erik’s mom. As a result we got 3 immersion blenders (Erik bought one for me having not even seen the list—he just knew we needed one), 2 griddles, and 2 blue-ray dvd players! Admittedly this is not a bad problem for Erik and I as the receiver of these gifts but I did feel bad for both moms. Next year I guess I will need to focus on preparing 2 different lists. Lesson learned.

(Oh and just so you readers know the immersion blender was not the only thing I got from Erik. He also gave me an awesome Kindle Fire. Just felt he might want you to know that.)

So with Christmas behind us Erik and I are looking forward to celebrating the New Year together (god, can you believe it’s almost here??). We’ll be partying with my brother and some friends playing games, eating finger food, and praying that 2012 will be full of jobs, good health, and lots of love for everyone.  Oh and did I mention it will also be Erik and I’s one year anniversary? That’s right—we had our first date New Year’s Eve last year. Can I get a collective awwwww? It’s almost hard to believe because I feel like we’ve known each other forever. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have found such a fantastic, sweet, wonderful, loving, and caring person. You know it must be love when you can’t even think about the person without smiling to yourself…but enough of this gooey gushing. I only wish that everyone could feel as loved as I have this year. 

And with that, I hope everyone out there has a fantastic New Year! See you in 2012! : )

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Up In Here

As promised here are a few pictures that capture the Christmas spirit I have tried to invoke at the house. My apologies for the picture quality--it is taking some practice to get good indoor shots. Hopefully this will improve will time and practice (and taking the time to learn Photoshop--sigh). Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!


The Christmas tree--an eclectic blend of
ornaments from my mom and grandmother. Interesting fact:
the icicles were my grandmother's from the 50's/60's and
they glow in the dark . Random and a little creepy, I know.

Ornament my mom gave me to commemorate the first year
in the new house.

Table Decor

Side note--the contraption to the left is a stove top espresso maker
that I found at the local Goodwill. Haven't tried it out yet but I love the
way it looks with my vintage Santa Christmas card!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Project

Today I decided to tackle a project that I have been avoiding for weeks: cleaning out my linen closet. Check out these before and after pictures:
Before: an embarrassing disaster.

After: All fixed up!!
All it took was a few storage boxes I picked up from Target and filling up 3 bags of old linens to donate to Goodwill. I'm so glad its all finished though--no more panicking every time I open the door! Hooray for small victories!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm Baaaack!

Hello blog world! No I did not fall off the face of the earth--let's just say I took a little breather from writing to tend to what has been an interesting (but ultimately good) fall.

So what I have been up to lately? Well a lot of work, shopping, decorating, and a little vacationing. I had 3 big projects going on at the same time for work all of which needed to be completed by the end of October and 1 report that needed to be sent out before Thanksgiving. AND my department held a company wide meeting where each member of our team was responsible for a presentation. In my case I had two, both of which were updates on programs I have been working on for the company. Now, generally I will avoid public speaking like the plague (I hate getting in front of a crowd) but since I had no say in the matter I put on my big girl panties and rocked the heck out of my presentations (my boss actually complimented me afterwords--score!). So, yes work has been busy.

In terms of the house, the small budget has limited me from doing any big projects but I have my sights set on purchasing a leaf blower for Christmas (woo-hoo for grown-up presents) to tackle the insanity that has become my backyard. I've decided I hate trees--but only the ones in my backyard. However, in my attempts to forget about my yard I did get the inside of my house ready for Christmas. I'll post some pictures of my tree and mantle later (they're nothing fancy, but I think it looks pretty). Erik keeps joking that I have too many ornaments on the tree. Since when can you have too many ornaments on a Christmas tree??? I have also been hard at work making some homemade Christmas gifts which I am very excited to handout (hopefully the recipients will love them too)! I'll be sure to blog about them after Christmas because they're super cute and very easy.

In other news Erik and I went to my parents house in St. Louis for Thanksgiving. It was the first time he was exposed to my family for an extended period of time with no escape (haha) but I think it all went well.  Lots of good food, football, and sleep. Oh and this insanely cute little human being to entertain us all:

We weren't able to take Lulu with us (due to many factors) so we boarded her at this local doggy daycare called Bark ATL which offers cage-free boarding, 24 hour staffing, and web cams. The webcams were great for us because even though she didn't know we were watching we were able to get some comfort by checking in on her everyday. She was a little confused when we picked her up and brought her home ("what did you guys just put me through???") but after slipping into a doggy coma (I am not kidding when I tell you she pretty slept for the next 3 days) she was her old self again.  I guess I can't blame her though-- she had never spent the night away from us before and with all the constant stimulation of being around other dogs 24/7 I know she had to have been exhausted. She was a trooper though and it's hard to believe she is going to be 7 months old next Monday. She is definitely getting big--33 pounds at her last doctor's appointment--but she is very tall and lean. It's amazing that she has gone from this:

 To this in only 4 months:

Sweet Girl!
So that's my life in a nutshell right now. I promise I will try and check in more often (since I know you all missed me soooo much-hehe). My goal for the New Year is to concentrate on my photography so I am going to try and accomplish various photo assignments--playing around with shutter speed, aperture, and all that good stuff so stay tuned if you're into that sort of thing. I also hope to blog more about DIY projects since I have become addicted to Pinterest and what's the point of pinning all of these awesome ideas if I am not actually going to try some of them?  Bring it on 2012!