I have to admit that the end of December was tough for me. Work was more difficult than normal and I shed some tears. I wasn’t excited about Christmas or the birth of the Christ child and I felt a lot of guilt over that. And now the new year has started and I’m wondering what it has in store for me. I’m going to spend the first half of the year fasting in different ways and I’m praying that God will use it as a time of worship and preparation for what’s coming in my life, whether things will change externally or not.
Anyway, besides that, it was a good month! Lots of time with friends and family and food!
At the beginning of the month, Monica had her annual ornament exchange. Mama came up and spent the night and Sarah and Pease came. We had a lot of fun and we always strategize to get what we want. It usually works out!
We also had Ryan’s work Christmas party and our Sunday School Christmas party, both of which I took zero pictures at. In the moment, I never want to stop and take a picture (plus, I feel a little awkward doing that), but then I end up wishing I had. Oh, well. It did all end up working out that every Christmas party we had was on Friday and then we had Saturday night to chill and hang out. And lest I forget, watch tons of basketball. And by that I mean Ryan watches while I read.
Of course, we put Jolene in an Arizona t-shirt. She actually tolerated it, unlike the Falcons jersey Ryan put her in. And yes, she always sits back on her butt like that with her legs kicked out. Other people think it’s hilarious, but I just always wonder how their dog sits on the sofa…. Isn’t that normal?
Sometimes I worry we won’t like our kid as much as we like the dog.
Of course, my favorite party of the year is always Kathleen and Avery’s Tacky Sweater party. This year is actually the first year Ryan didn’t have an excuse to get out of it (jokes) and we had a great time!
I think this picture may make our Christmas card for 2015. It’s too bad Jolene’s not in it because then it would be a sure thing. I probably shouldn’t spoil the surprise, but let’s be real. No one is going to remember that. Ryan is totally obsessed with that sweatshirt though and I’m quite sure it will be seen a lot more this December.
Because I am a lame blogger, I use the same picture collage that I posted on Instagram here. But that bottom picture is totally my favorite ever and I’m thinking of having it blown up to put over the toilet in our hall bath because Ryan likes having things to look at while he’s in there.
The next night I made Ryan take me to Tanaka because we hadn’t had it in a while and it seemed like a good way to kick off Christmas. (He got a vest for Christmas when Monica took him shopping and when he wears that vest with his hat and the beard, oh man. He’s the cutest thing.)
Christmas Eve was spent at church with Pete and Monica and then dinner with them and Kylie and Mama R.
Christmas morning, we woke up in our house and opened presents. I got Ryan socks and he got me a trip to the Grand Canyon so we were both happy.
We went up to Ryan’s parents and had breakfast at Waffle House, which is our new tradition. It’s awesome and totally one of my favorite things. Those hashbrowns are the bomb dot com. (I realize no one says that anymore, but it was the first thing that came to mind and I’m sticking with it.)
This was another one of my Christmas presents from Ryan. I’m somewhat obsessed with it.
All of Ryan’s family came in for Christmas and we had so much fun with the kids. After dinner, Ryan and I went downstairs and wrestled with them. Too much fun. Until Ryan took their side and helped them get my shoes off to tickle my feet. And while I was tickling Carter’s feet, things got a little crazy and he kicked me in the face. Totally worth it though, when he came up to me later, put his arms around me and said, “Aunt Sloan is my favorite.” Kid, you can kick me in the face anytime.
Well, that wraps up our month through Christmas Day and this is long enough. Stay tuned for part 2!!
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is all of the Christmas cards! I love sending and receiving them. Of course, this year, we got to include our newest family member.
(I do wish that I had put the year on there. I will have to remember that for next year.)
Our first Christmas in our house! Crazy! I didn’t do a ton of decorating, because we just don’t have a ton of stuff to decorate. But I did do the big stuff- wreath, mantle, tree. Along with a few other things like towels in the bathroom. Mama used to do stuff like that and it just made me happy. My new thing I want is Christmas china. Maybe one day.
The only thing we did outside was a wreath. Next year, we’re going to have to step up our exterior game because it looks so dark and dreary at night. But I love our live wreath and I even like the bow I made for it, although it probably needs to be bigger.
Our TV unit has this connecting piece that we’ve been procrastinating doing. Ryan didn’t think he would like it and I thought we were going to have to take everything down to put it all together. However, I knew I wanted to use it like a mantle because we don’t have a fireplace, so it forced us to do it. And it wasn’t as hard to put together as I thought and Ryan really likes it. We should have done it months ago. Oh, well.
But like I said, I’m using this as our mantle. It’s not ideal because it’s deeper than a regular mantle, but it works. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.
Trees are just impossible to take pictures of. They never look as pretty as they do in real life. This year, I layered regular lights with bigger, outdoor lights and I love how it turned out. I’m of a heritage that believes you can never have too many lights on a tree.
I didn’t have tags when I bought this tree, so I used post-its for now. Classy, I know. I do try to coordinate all of my wrapping. I’ve bought so much after Christmas at Target for 75% off that I’m never going to run out. And the cords are a mess, I know. Type B+ over here- lights are perfect, but the cords are a disaster.
This little vignette on the dining table is probably my favorite part of the entire house. Love the old ornaments, those tumbling Santas that were Mimi’s, that little reindeer in my Christmas cactus, the whole thing.
We hung our Christmas cards in the window of the kitchen. I love how it looks, but it’s impossible to take a picture of. And we’ve already gotten more since I took this picture. I may need to add an extra string below.
And that concludes our little house tour! Y’all come back, now, ya hear?
For the past several years, I have made a list of 50 things that I am thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving. Why 50? Well, because that’s how many The Frugal Girl does and I “borrowed” this idea from her. Annnd, better late than never.
- Our home- it’s not perfect, but it’s ours (well, it’s the bank’s) and it has been a place where we have gathered with loved ones for fellowship, which is exactly why I wanted a house.
- Clean drinking water- it is an absolute luxury that I can turn on a faucet and clean water comes out of it. I hope I never take it for granted.
- Ryan- let’s just say I don’t know where I would be without him.
- Jolene- it’s hard to believe that one little puppy could bring so much joy to our lives. We love her and almost everyone that meets her wants to take her home with them. She is a total cuddle bug.
- Books- I love to read!
- Thanksgiving- I’m thankful that our forefathers took a day to rest and give thanks for all we have been given. Our country is far from perfect, but there’s no where else I’d rather live.
- Jesus- no one has changed my life the way he did. I’m so full of gratitude that he thought me worthy. I will spend my whole life trying to live by his example. Sweetest name I know.
- A warm bed- I will always think of The Blind Side when Michael Oher says he’d never had his own bed. I pray that one day Ryan and I can provide a bed for someone that otherwise wouldn’t have one.
- Nicole Curtis and other historic preservationist- I love old homes and hope I get to live in one someday. They are doing amazing work bringing awareness to this.
- The Bible- God’s word is living and moving and I hope that I will always learn something new from it every time I pick it up.
- My family of origin- for better or for worse, they are they reason why I am the way I am. I hope I make them proud.
- My job and Ryan’s job- we both enjoy what we do, which is an extra blessing on top of everything else.
- As always, my TV shows- we don’t watch as much regularly as we used to, but I do still love The Amazing Race, Nashville, Scandal, and Girl Meets World. Along with many others.
- Squirrels- Yes, those funny little animals just make me happy.
- My friends- I have some friends that I’ve known my whole life, some I’ve known since college (almost TEN years! gulp), and some for just about a year. They are all so precious to us.
- Glasses and contacts- I wouldn’t be able to see without them and I’m terrified of Lasik, so that’s not an option.
- Walks with Jolene- love getting out in the fresh air and moving.
- Our health- almost everyone I know is relatively healthy (and we had some scares this year) and I hope I never take that for granted.
- Plants- even though I let the ones on our front porch die in the cold, I love that plants connect us to God’s earth.
- Food- I have never been truly hungry and that is a blessing that I will never get over.
- Our Sunday School class and church- I have loved connecting with other people our age and in our life stage that have the same desires and priorities that we do.
- That I am starting to enjoy cooking- it’s not so much the actual cooking that I like, but really the act of providing good food for people to enjoy.
- Blogs- I love reading blogs and seeing the things that people have to say and how they live and have them inspire me and challenge me to live outside of my box.
- Bible study writers like Beth Moore, Shauna Niequist and Jen Hatmaker who teach me and inspire me and challenge me.
- All of my favorite apps- Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Timehop. I can’t think of a better way to waste time. ;)
- The people that shop in the store. Yes, we have some grumpy, demanding people, but for the most part, everyone is super nice and delightful.
- Seasons- I can never choose a favorite season because I honestly love them all for different reasons. But winter is my least favorite, if only because it gets dark so darn early.
- Artwork in all of it’s many ways and forms.
- Ryan’s friends- he has great friends that he has known for years and they have all loved and accepted me.
- All of the great community organizations that are in Atlanta- we’ve started to get involved in some through our Sunday School class and we are wanting to start some on our own. I’m so thankful that people band together to help those around us.
- Mark Richt and the Georgia Football coaches and team- I feel like I say this every year, but there is no one on earth I’d rather have coaching my football team and leading those boys that him. This has been a tough year, but I never feel like he isn’t doing the right thing and that is something that I appreciate.
- A country where I am free to speak my mind, worship the way I want to, and am protected. We aren’t perfect by any stretch, but it’s great to be an American.
- A comfortable bed to sleep in every night. My bed is my favorite.
- Naps- It’s been a long time since I’ve taken one, but I do love them.
- My Rainbows. If I could only wear one pair of shoes for the rest of my life, those would be it, no question.
- Good smells like lavender, cilantro, dirt, and tomato vines. Without a doubt, brushing up against a tomato vine is my favorite smell. I can’t wait for summer!
Annnnd here’s the truth. I just need to wrap this up and be done with it. So it’s incomplete. But I’m not letting perfect be the enemy of good here and just publishing as is, now that we’re 2 weeks to Christmas. (Ahhhhh!!!)
Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day for Easter. It warmed up, the sky was clear blue and the flowers were in bloom. The perfect day to celebrate our Risen Savior. Our church had four different service options- sunrise, 8:15, 9:30 and 11:15. Typically, Ryan and I are 8:45ers, but that extra 30 minutes was a deal-breaker. I think the 9:30 service was the way to go.
The flowers in the church were absolutely stunning. It looked like a wedding.
The sermon may have been the best I’ve heard from our preacher. He talked about how we go through difficult times, but God does his best work in the dark. It is easier to appreciate the good news when you look back on the journey. Life and this world kills our dreams, but God brings them back to life. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately- the hard times are when I feel closest to God. (At this point in my life, I’ve never been through anything particularly difficult, that being said.) However, I don’t want that to be true. I want to feel close to God always. So, I’m working on taking some steps to get there.
After the service, we went outside to try to get a picture next to the Living Cross. This is one of my favorite Easter traditions.
The crowd of people around it was kinda crazy, but we eventually made our way up there and snagged a picture. It might be my new favorite of us. I was a little worried about my hair because the wind was blowing, but I think it looks pretty good.
After church, we went to Pete’s parents’ house for linner. It was delicious as always. Then we came home and I finished Divergent (um, why the heck did I wait so long to read this???) and watched The Amazing Race. A good Easter Sunday, I have to say.
Where, O Death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Some days are, dare I say, lucky. And some times, those days just happen to fall on St. Patrick’s Day.
First of all, I slept in until 10. I’m not sure if that’s lucky or lazy, but I don’t care.
Daddy came into town to bring Big Daddy to the doctor, so we went out for lunch. We had lunch at Marlow’s Tavern and they brought us a basket of free chips! They were super yummy.
After we got home from lunch, I grabbed the mail and received a check for $75 because my car had depreciated in value from a little accident I had gotten in in the Target parking lot! I wasn’t expecting that at all, so it was totally exciting!
I also got to pick up my new glasses yesterday! Yay! I like how they look, but I’m just waiting to make sure they don’t give me a headache.
I then headed to the mall. Monica wanted me to pick some stuff up for her at Anthropologie and I had my birthday coupon burning a hole in my pocket. I found a few tops, a jacket, and a vase that I had wanted at Christmas. Not so lucky for Ryan.
After the mall, I went to meet Ryan at work. I got to see his office for the first time. About time, since he’s worked there for almost two years now.
Then we went to downtown Roswell to meet Pease and Ross at Mac McGee’s for dinner. It was yucky and overcast outside, but was fun and awesome inside. They had an Irish menu and the food was great. We just had fun hanging out and talking. Much different from the St. Paddy’s Day of the past, though. Of course, we had to drink a Guinness. It tastes good, but I swear it’s like drinking a loaf of bread.
We were home by 9 and I still got an episode of Scandal in. Slowly, but surely I’m catching up.
So is it too “late” to do a Christmas blog post? Well, if it is, they’re my memories and I want to remember them.
Because we spent Thanksgiving with my family, we spent Christmas with Ryan’s. I took embarrassingly few pictures, so most of these are “borrowed” from Facebook.
I worked 8 days in a row up to Christmas Eve. It was crazy, but good. I was glad to have my week off after that. Ryan went to Virginia to see his dad and family up there. He got back Christmas Eve. Present buying was stressful and I have vowed that this year all of my shopping will be done before Thanksgiving. Here’s hoping.
Christmas Eve we went to church with Pete and Monica and then out to dinner at Milton’s. Mama R came and met us at dinner and Kylie met us on her way home. It was delicious, but the two appetizers at the bar kinda killed my appetite.
We spent the night at Pete and Monica’s. Christmas morning, we were trying to figure out what to have for breakfast and decided to go to Waffle House. It was awesome and I think we may have found a new tradition.
After breakfast, Ryan and I ran home to wrap all of our Christmas presents. Never again will I do that.
We then went to Yia Yia and Papou’s for presents and lunch. This is the only picture I took.
It was fun and the food was delicious, of course. We had lamb and pastiza (I have no clue how to spell it, but it was some kind of pasta dish. “You don’t spell it son, you eat it!”) which is not our traditionally Christmas, but it was fun to have something new.
The next day, Ryan worked and I slept in and laid around like a sloth. We went to dinner with Brendan and Megan, who were in town from San Fran and then went to Jillian’s for the oyster roast.
The next day, we headed to Greensboro and went to visit Tori and the Fagan’s and then went to dinner with Mama. Saturday, we got up early to go see Lala and Big Daddy and then head to Charlotte to see Mama’s family. Eula has gotten so big! We ate dinner at a pizza place that was nice a quiet.
It was a little weird and sad because Mimi wasn’t there, though.
The next morning, we woke up and went to see Papa again before we left. He’s so funny. I’ve started asking him all of these random questions that I want to know about him. Like how all 12 of them ate dinner at the same time while he was growing up. (They sat on benches and there were always more than 12 of them because the farm hands ate with them too. I just think it must have been so chaotic and fun.)
After that, we got back on the road for Jacksonville. The Dawgs were playing in the Gator Bowl down there, so we went and relaxed for a few days beforehand. Mostly, we walked on the beach and read. Mama and I went shopping one afternoon. It was perfect, except I wish we’d had one more day.
This picture is a tribute to all of Iz’s “creeper” pics she took in Europe.
I finished one book, read two more and started another on this trip. Success. I actually read part of every single book I brought, which never happens.
New Years Eve, we went to dinner with Mama and Daddy and some of their friends. We went to a few bars after and were in a cab home at 12:15. Have I mentioned that I’m not a NYE fan?
Taking pictures in a dark bar isn’t easy.
The game was the next day, so we piled in and headed to the stadium. Of course, as we were walking in it started raining and didn’t stop the entire game. And then we lost. It was lame, but none of us really cared that much.
After the game, we headed back home to real life. I started my new book (LOVE IT) and it was back to work the next day.
A very successful holiday, indeed. Family, food, relaxing, football, shopping, reading. I’m not sure I could have asked for anything more.