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Thursday, December 29, 2011

sentimental.

Sometimes when I spend the majority of the day alone, I tend to do lots of things. Clean, piddle, watch FRIENDS, solve the worlds problems, etc. etc. etc.

Today has been one of those days (after a super groggy yesterday) that I have had the inspiration to just keep going and doing and cleaning and being a good little wife (I know I'm not Andrew's wife yet, but today I practiced what I could)

After my day of thinking... I've come to one conclusion.

I am so beyond so blessed.

Sometimes I have a brief glimpse of how really blessed I am... I get a little bit sentimental and just look around at the COUNTLESS blessings in my life.  After lots of cleaning and piddling and dinner alone (a wonderfully odd and inspiring feeling I might add) I was taking down my Christmas ornaments and tucking them away for next year (yes, when I open that box next time, Andrew and I will be married. a wife. that's what I'll be...anyways....) I got to look (again) at all of my sweet little ornaments.

Like a good Mother should, my sweet Mom has always taught me to write the year and occasion or name on the back of any ornament I received as a gift.  It's always so fun to get them out of the box and remember where I was or when it was that someone let me open the ornament.  I kept seeing how many little ornaments came from my parents home (and consequently my mom's tree... sorry Mom, thanks for letting me have all my childhood ornaments) and how many ornaments were marked on the back "from Dad, Christmas ----" or from close friends and family :)  In the middle of my ornament-taking-down my sweet Dad called.

If you know my Dad at ALL, you know that he loves LOVING my mom, my sister, and me, more than anything in the whole world (next to God... but that's a given for my Dad).  He dotes on us and pours into us and loves on us constantly.

He called me while I was taking everything down and it just came over me how much I love hearing from my parents and how blessed I am to have them.  I love just having a simple phone call... hearing about his sermon for Sunday night and how in every commercial the scene changes every 3 seconds... Telling him how upset I was that one of my ornaments broke. Hearing about his day and him working. Telling him how much I've gotten done.  I just feel so blessed to get to hear from him and reminds me so quickly how blessed I am with the wonderful parents GOD placed in my life (well... really just placed me in their lives but whatever).

God is so good. I am so blessed and so thankful for the blessings he pours out on me.  So blessed.

Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

home for the holidays (part 1)

Instead of providing anymore disclaimers for the length of each post... I'm gonna put a stamp on this one and it can speak for every post from now on...

I talk a lot and I'm a long-winded blogger. 
This may not be for the faint at heart.  Enjoy.

Phew. Glad that's over. 

Wow... I know it's kinda lame but I have been looking forward to blogging about this since we left for Christmas travels/festivities :) :)  What a WONDERFUL time we have had over the past few days and weeks :) We got to see both of our wonderful families for the holidays, spent lots of time opening presents and even MORE time eating delicious food (which most people get sick of but I could still eat some ham, hashbrown casserole, and rolls right now).  It was such a great Christmas and I just feel so blessed by so many things and people over the past few days :)

Andrew and I had lots to do on Friday (him=work, me=all the things I could have done on Wednesday and instead waited til Friday) and so we left for Kentucky around 4:30 :) We are good car-partners (which is good for the whole getting-married-spend-all-car-time-together deal) and love riding on trips together!! A few weeks ago, Andrew realized that literally the only thing you had to do to make me laugh/giggle/smile/scream with excitement was to start singing a Christmas carol and I'd join right in.  So we LITERALLY sang Christmas songs almost the whole way to Murray :) the 12 days of Christmas have nothing on us :) :) We got to Murray around 6:30 on Friday night, just in time to eat dinner with my family and my mom's best friend's family :) We have been doing Christmas dinner with them since before I was born and it was so good to see them and get to love on all of the sweet kids!!...

and speaking of children (see what I did there? good segue I think...) wow HOW TARA'S BELLY HAS GROWN :) :) she is SO BEAUTIFUL and i seriously hope I look as good as her when I have a baby someday :) I got to feel sweet baby Kyndall kick and it. was. awesome. Tara doesn't quite love it as much when I touch her belly but she told me every time (to my knowledge) that she was kicking and I got to feel.. so precious... it's a BABY. A real sweet little baby girl. that is crazy and awesome and weird and wonderful all at the same time.

Christmas Eve always is an oddly wonderful feeling... Knowing Christmas is SO close and having the whole day to celebrate is always fun to me.  This year, we got to celebrate Christmas with some of our favorite people Nick and Meredith (and their sweet baby girls)! :) we had breakfast with their sweet family and got to play with the girls (Jenna is 6 and Grace Anne is 2) :) :) Here are a few snapshots :)





The tent party was pretty awesome... Until we fell over and couldn't get back up


Grace Anne loves elmo... we got her one that talks to her and says "Elmo is so happy to see you!"... She responded with a huge smile and said "elmo happy see me!!!!"... then I freaked out of course.  it was so so SO precious.




Not sure who was more excited here... look at that sweet face.


Jenna loves puzzles right now.... we got her a Fancy Nancy puzzle and when we started to put it together, she said "this one is too hard and I really just want to play with Andrew"... ummm thanks sweetheart.  I do love how much she loves Andrew but it still hurts ;)



Sweet Jenna is going to be the Flower Girl at our wedding and we got to ask her on Christmas Eve!!! She was SO sweet and SO excited!!!!!


Her reaction. We asked her what she thought and she said "I think I'm gonna be embarrassed!"... sweet girl. We are so excited to have her their on our special day :) :)


they absolutely love him!



We love spending time with them and LOVE their sweet girls so much. I also got to ask Meredith to be one of my bridesmaids!!! I am so blessed to have her in my life and couldn't ask for a more wonderful friend/mentor/kindred spirit!! :) :)

Fast forward to Christmas Eve NIGHT :)... one of my favorite nights of the year=Christmas eve :) :)  My family (Dad's side) all gets together on Christmas eve since I was little :) We exchange stockings (a sentimental gift for one person... sometimes they get a little out of hand but it's always so fun to watch every person!!)  We all draw a name at Thanksgiving and make a little presentation for that person on Christmas eve.... This is literally the biggest part of our Christmas Eve :)  This year, I got my SISTER!!! I kinda cheated (whatever) and drew her name on purpose :) I was so excited :) :) I wrote her a poem (yes, i'm a shockingly good rhymer) and finally got to ask her to be my MATRON OF HONOR!!!! :) :) It was so fun to write/ask and she was so sweet and excited.  Here are a few pictures :)


The kid table keeps growing :)






My sweet grandparents :) :)


Tradition:  Larry and Connie get us a gift from Tiffany's every year!!! This year, the prettiest necklace!!


Merry Christmas to Us :)
&
Stocking for Tara :)





Andrew didn't do a stocking this year (he got the chance to observe/watch) so Stacy and Garrison (my cousin) dressed up as HILARIOUS elves and gave him a stocking presentation. It was hilarious.




Mallory (my cousin) and Tara (my niece's mom) :)

My sweet Aunt Connie drew my name this year and it was so sweet :) I am so thankful for her and our whole family :) Such a blessing :)

Sidenote:  I (slightly) pride myself in how good I am at Wii bowling. I used to beat everyone every time and it was awesome.... but this week.... the stars have unaligned themselves and I lost every time.  My Dad, me, and Stacy stayed up late almost every night playing and it was terrible (awesome to play, terrible to get beat at the only real thing I used to be able to dominate... very sad)... anyways...

Christmas Eve we all put our shoes out and waited graciously in hopes that Santa would come visit.  I had "accidentally" stumbled upon some of Santa's deliveries and shaken just a couple of them, but couldn't figure anything out so it really didn't even count.

Christmas morning was SO MUCH FUN with my sweet Andrew there! It's always fun and wonderful, but this year was especially exciting getting to say "Merry Christmas" to him instead of over the phone!! My sweet parents always make Christmas so so so special and it was such a wonderful morning :) Next year is CRAZY to think about. 1. We will be MARRIED and 2. Kyndall will be 8 months old already!!! Things are for sure changing in wonderful and exciting ways :) :)


Good MOOOOORNING Christmas :)







Dear Louisa, this isn't creepy. My dad really wanted this picture in a frame. Merry Christmas :)





I made my Dad a book with lots of pictures and notes in it :)
&
We got all of our old VHS home videos put onto DVDs for my parents!!! they SERIOUSLY loved them and it was so fun to watch them the next day :) :)


Santa must have thought we were all REALLY good this year.


Don't worry... There is lots more to come :) Happy Wednesday :)



Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas cookies :)

Andrew's mom, Jeannie, makes the MOST delicious sugar cookies and they are Andrew's absolute favorite... She makes them every Christmas and Andrew loves to help her cook them :)

I got the recipe from her this week and adventured last night in the kitchen to try my best to make them... They weren't as good as Jeannies, but it was fun to try :)

Hope you can make some of these for your friends/family in the next few days :) Merry Christmas :)


What you'll need:
3 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 egg
3 tbl. whipping cream (or half-n-half)
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into mixing a bowl. Set aside. 
Cream butter, sugar and cream. Add egg and vanilla, then lend thoroughly and add dry ingredients. 
Place in ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
Roll out on surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and sprinkle with colored sugar. 
Use ungreased baking sheet and bake 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees.
Place on cooling rack/sheet and then ENJOY :) :)




This is also the Gingerbread House we made on Date night this week :) Pretty proud (even though I would have never thought I was so terrible at messing everything up that I touched. Whatever)