Tag Archives: Christmas

Simply Christmas

Sean and I came home from all our Christmas visiting and have spent the last couple of days in complete relaxation mode (aside from the stress caused by reading the Hunger Games series). Our entire Christmas break has been incredibly restful and I’ve been grateful for the chance to spend time with our families and with each other before we head back to work (and I start my new job).

We went to Sean’s parents’ Dec 23 through Christmas Eve. We spent the day baking and readying the house for the next couple of days. That night, our good friends the Farmers came over for a visit and we spent the evening with them as we usually do, laughing and prolonging the visit as late into the night as possible.

On Christmas Eve morning, we woke up and exchanged gifts. Since Audra’s fiance Josh was even able to be there that day, it was great to have our entire family in one place.

We took a break from our gift exchange for brunch and indulged on a beautiful pastry Audra made:

One of the most popular gifts of this year were the remote control airplanes that Evan gave Dan and Josh. We completely overlooked the instructions on the package that these were INDOOR TOYS ONLY and took them outside to play. Within 30 seconds, Josh’s airplane had flown straight up and over the roof. After retrieving it with a ladder, we continued to fly both planes around the backyard, despite some difficulty. Apparently, the sensors on the planes get overwhelmed in all the space outside. Although the boys did get better at handling the airplanes, there were a few major crashes on the concrete before we headed inside.

Later that day we headed to Ohio to visit with my family. When we arrived, it was practically time to get ready to go to church. Ali got all the girls dressed up for the evening by sharing some of her fun DVF clothes! Before we left for church, we stopped to take some family photos with the new tripod we had received from Sean’s parents. Unfortunately, Sean and I forgot to take one of just the two of us.

Our family always spends Christmas Eve with our closest family friends – the Aboods and the Craigs. As usual it was a raucous time – with lots of laughter and the majority of the conversation at high volume. Mrs. Craig was thoughtful enough to get each of us an ornament with a personalized message. We ended the night by heading back home and opening our new matching Christmas pajamas.

We woke up crazy early (considering we are all adults) on Christmas morning. We took our time exchanging gifts and had an amazing breakfast. My favorite gifts we gave this year were OSU sweatshirts that I made for my parents’ dogs.

One of our Christmas traditions is searching for ‘the pickle.’ One of our ornaments is shaped like a tiny pickle, and each year my parents hide it on the tree for all of us kids to search for on Christmas morning. The winner gets an extra gift – but it’s mainly for the glory.

It’s always a fierce competition (and Sean tends to push a lot), but this year I managed to come through with the win!

And with that lovely photo forever imprinted in your minds, I will conclude my Christmas recap for the year.

Our families were more than generous, as always, and the time that we got to relax with them was such a blessing to us. Christmastime has gotten sweeter for me as we’ve gotten older and I’ve been able to appreciate time with family more. More than anything this Christmas, my family was striving to keep things simple – to spend more time in worship and less time focused on all the stuff. And so, instead of feeling drained and worn out from all the activity, this Christmas was refreshing and restorative. I pray the same for you as you enter the new year. That we can keep things simple – rejoicing in what truly matters.


I Spy a Mess

We came home last night from my parents’ house, and unpacked the car for half an hour. Between my overzealous packing, two sets of Christmas presents, and shopping bags containing my new formal work wardrobe – we were full on into what my family has coined “too much Christmas.” One Christmas morning when we were little, my younger sister suffered a major meltdown resulting from too much excitement Christmas Eve, followed by too little sleep, and too early festivities on Christmas morning. Amidst her cries, she announced that she had had “Too much Christmas!” My family, of course, responded with hysterical laughter at her expense, and we have since used the term year after year when the holidays, despite all the joy, occasionally wear us out.

Although we’ve managed to clean up our act a bit this morning, here’s what our house looked like last night…

I spy two shoes, and a lone winter boot.

And a black lens cap amidst all our loot.

I spy a present bigger than me,

And a new tripod that was tucked under the tree.

I spy a cook pot that’s especially deep

And a husband who, like me, is ready to sleep.


We are more than thankful for all the gifts we received this year. But much more than that we are grateful for our families and all the time we got to spend together over the holidays! We love you!

Pretty Presents

Last year was my first foray into creative Christmas wrapping. And I had so much fun that I decided to try again this year. I found lots of fun ideas on Pinterest and combined my favorite ones for this year’s gifts. Sean was even up for brainstorming with me and helped with the entire process, including the 4 trips to Target we accidentally had to make – each time after discovering another piece in the process was missing (tape, tissue paper, etc…)

(My mother, who is forever trying to get me to plan ahead and avoid instances like this, is shaking her head right now)

My favorite addition to the presents this year were the two pear ornaments that I made and attached to the outside of a couple of the gifts.

I love giving gifts and I can’t wait to give these away, but for now, I don’t mind enjoying the pretty packages under our tree.

Merry Christmas!

…and Happy (last-minute) Wrapping!

Christmas House Tour 2011

I love decorating for Christmas each year. It’s the time of year when our home looks the homey-est and I love sitting in front of the tree each night in December. This year, I tried to use our decorations in new ways – and although I haven’t been adventurous enough yet to venture out of reds and greens, I did spice things up a bit by throwing in some gold.

Sean is not a big fan of decorating for the holiday, but I somehow manage to rope him in every year. He even went so far as to suggest some ideas of his own this time. As reward for his participation, I did compromise with him a bit on the Christmas tree. We usually have a fake one that was handed down from Sean’s parents. It’s a good-sized tree, but it also has to be put together branch by branch. The cheap, scrawny tree that I got at an after-Christmas sale last year is pre-lit and is only two pieces that you put together. Of course, you still have to wrap some garland around it to fill it out…but that’s neither here nor there…So, for the sake of convenience (and Sean’s attention-span/allotted time for caring about Christmas decor) I opted for the pre-lit tree.

Here’s a peek at how things turned out…











Christmas House Tour 2010

A Day of Winter Fun

In true ‘January Edition‘ fashion…

A couple of weekends before Christmas, Sean and I embarked on a full day of winter festivities.

We started the morning off with a visit to the Model Railroad Museum.

Instead of sifting through all our dark and blurry train pictures, here are a bunch all at once. The exhibit was so detailed and we loved all the fun vignettes we found along the track.

We even found our garden in the exhibit!Sean spent the entire time we were at the exhibit searching for a tiny hobo. He found a group of them around a tiny campfire at the very end of the exhibit. He almost jumped up and down with excitement.

Before we left, we stopped to play with the trains they have for the kids. Sean had to wait in line behind a couple of little boys before he got his turn.

Of course, no trip to the train museum is complete without this guy…

Before we left, we stopped to sign the guest book…

What’s that Matthew???

It must be said, we thought the train museum was “Aswmen” too!

Our day of festivities continued as we headed downtown to see the Gingerbread Houses at PPG Place.

We saw some holiday favorites…

And some fan favorites…

I think this girl scout troop got a little overzealous…

This one was my favorite…

We went inside the building to see the display they have every year with life-size Santas from all over the world. I failed to take any pictures and vowed that this would be a one-time trip because each Santa we saw was creepier than the last.

On our way outside we stopped to have our picture taken with the giant Christmas tree.

And just when you thought we’d go home (and finish this long and tedious post)…

We took a quick trip to…

…to see the storefront windows all decorated for Christmas.

There we found Sally and her pal, Ollie…all made out of paper!

Each window told the story of Sally’s search for the real Santa Claus and was complete with moving pieces and 3D details.

Sean and I consider ourselves fairly talented snowflake-makers, but we are really no match for the folks at Macy’s.

We popped inside the store for some last-minute shopping and then headed home for the day – full of holiday cheer (and only slightly scarred by the international Santas).