Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Celebrations, 2008 Style

I thought last year was amazing at Christmas time, well this year was unbelievable! Chris and I had such a blast hosting my family and really getting to play 'Santa!' We were like kids on Christmas ourselves, setting everything up and just so excited to see Bradley open all of his gifts.

Since both sides of our family seem to be growing with new spouses and new babies, there is beginning to be a new sort of normal for the holidays. With the wedding last week, we didn't get a chance to visit with Chris's family much! Hopefully we will be better organized next year and get time with both sides. Last year and this year my side of the family has gotten together on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts and have dinner. We decided to do that again this year, but we only let the boys open one present. We will see what traditions will start to form over the years, but I would love to go to church on Christmas Eve as well. So, it might have to be an early dinner next year! I decided I am going to buy Bradley and my nephew Sammy an ornament each year that represents them. I didn't get pictures of them, but I bought Bradley a John Deer tractor with his name and date on it. Sammy got a little toddler boy holding a blankie with his name on it as well. I was hoping to do this with all of my children and they could decorate their own trees in their rooms as they grow up!

Now that all of the craziness is over (sort of) I finally uploaded all of my pictures from December. There were over 850+ photos to sort through, but these are some of my favorites from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day....

I had to start with this photo from Christmas morning! It is kind of a weird shot because one side of the photo is the column in the family room. Bradley had just come down the steps Christmas morning and saw all of his gifts. He ran to the first one and shouted, "OPEN!!!" It was exactly what I had pictured him doing!!

To back track a little bit, I wanted to include some photos from Christmas Eve as well. This is Chris and I in front of the tree after Christmas Eve dinner with the family. Bradley was a bit excited, so we didn't try for a family photo. Hopefully next year we can make sure that happens!

I finally got my gold plates for my red charger plates in the dining room. I love the way the place settings turned out! I pulled out the fine stemware and flatware and we had a 'fancy dinner.' I guess if you include high chairs and booster seats it is still fancy.

One of our attempts at a family photo! I love this one of Bradley and Sammy
with Pop Pop and Gigi!

After everyone left from dinner on Christmas Eve, Chris and I turned on 'Home Alone.' While watching our Christmas movie Chris set up the train table and I filled the stockings. It was such a fun night for the two of us. We didn't get each other much this year. I actually wasn't expecting anything because I got my awesome camera. But, I did find two tickets to the upcoming Rascal Flatts and Jessica Simpson concert in my stocking! Someone is a very sneaky Santa!!

Bradley got lots of goodies on Christmas morning. Honestly, I didn't know where we were going to put everything. I spent a good deal of Friday morning rearranging the playroom, putting away old toys, and just organizing. I still feel like I need to go through everything again, but we are up and running. He loves these two planes he got from Santa, a passenger and cargo plane. They even have a little airport terminal that goes with them. Looks like we just need some plane tickets to a warm destination and mama and baby will be happy:)

Bradley got this awesome tool set from my sister Lindsay. He had to take his nap with the saw and the hammer. What a cutie! We spent a good majority of the day opening gifts. I think Bradley got a little overwhelmed by everything. Every gift we opened had to be played with for at least 20 minutes before he was ready to move on. Needless to say it was a long process!

Above everything else (even the train table) Bradley favorite toy is his new police car he got from Gigi and Pop Pop. It was really a beautiful day here on Christmas. We decided to take it out for a spin. Bradley didn't even have a jacket on! He has basically ridden in his car every day, all day since Christmas. It is the funniest thing. They picked a good one!!

Of course Daddy and Pop Pop had to take turns wearing the construction hat, per Bradley's request Christmas day! I didn't take a picture of our dinner on Christmas, but I should have. We fixed steaks and shrimp with twice baked potatoes. It was scrumptious!

There are lots more tidbits about the holiday that I want to post later this week.

Bradley woke up with some sort of cold on Christmas and has an ear infection, and it seems like I have gotten his lovely cold too! So, we are just resting and enjoying more family time with Daddy!

I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Wedding

What an amazing winter wonderland of a weekend we had! Three days filled with family, friends, and two baby free nights made for a wonderful time! Kim looked absolutely stunning in her gown, and the ceremony was beautiful.

I didn't get a great deal of pictures because Chris and I were both in the wedding, and Bradley was the ring bearer. So quite a bit of time was spent hopping from one place to the next and keeping a two year old under control before the ceremony.

My parents were saints!! They stayed with Bradley and brought him over for the ceremony. My Mom went to the dollar store and bought him a ton of goodies to keep him occupied. We wouldn't of been able to do the weekend without them!

We love you Kim and Adam, Congratulations!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Randomness

1. Kim is getting married on Friday!!! I can't believe it, I have so much stuff to pack and do...but I find myself reading blogs and writing posts...whoops!

2. Bradley and I 'baked' Christmas cookies on Sunday. Pictures below explain what I mean by baked. Mostly I rolled the dough and Bradley threw flour all over the kitchen. He had a blast so this mama is happy. It is sometimes hard to let stuff go, and let your child make a mess. (well, for me it is hard)

3. We are officially done shopping for everyone! Whooohoo! Now, I just need to start wrapping!

4. I love getting Christmas Cards. I mean nothing really makes me more happy. I love seeing pictures of everyone's families and what they are up to. This year I decided to be insane and stamp my own cards...all 150+ of them. Our list each year seems to grow, and I have a lot of students that I used to teach that I still send cards to each year. Chris and I were just saying as we were putting the cards in the envelopes how wonderful it is to see all of the friends that we have from so many different parts of our lives: high school, college, family, mommies, it is fun!

Merry Christmas from Chris, Clare and Bradley!

Monday, December 15, 2008

29 and Holding

Today I am celebrating my 29th birthday...no really I am!! I can't believe that I am already 29, the past 10 years have just flown by...college, marriage, baby, oh my! Chris and I went out on the town on Friday night celebrate, out to dinner and then we saw "Four Christmases." It was a great night, and we had a blast hanging out together. We were talking about how long we have been dating/married, a total of seven years. It is so crazy when you have been with someone almost longer than college and high school combined. I just think about how much I learned, changed, and grew up in those years and really came into myself. As I reflect on this past year it has been wonderful! Watching Bradley change so much, he was only saying a few words last Christmas and now he can talk in almost full sentences. Time is just flying by with him at my side! Chris and I's marriage has grown in many ways too, and I am still very much in love with him as when we met in 2002. He cooked me a fabulous dinner tonight, coconut shrimp and crunchy noodle salad (my request!). He is currently whipping up some 'molten cakes' as I type. I Love You Chris, thanks for a great birthday!

This is also a random post, it is so hard this time of year to keep up with my blogging and get everything done. We were up late last night finishing up the Christmas cards, I made them myself this year. I will post a picture this week!

I wanted to include some of things we have been up to lately:

Since it is my birthday, I wanted to post some of my pictures with my new camera. I love this picture of Bradley outside with his new truck. We have been trying to play outside every afternoon, even if it is really chilly. It is just so nice to get out of the house!

We went to the Ringling Brothers Circus on Saturday! It was so much fun! I got a few pictures of the elephants, but it was hard to get photos with Bradley switching from lap to lap. He LOVED the elephants and the tigers!! There was also a little dog show that he kept talking about. We bought a program and he looked through it a bunch on Sunday talking about the different parts of the show. Here he is with his clown nose on!

This was one of the first shots I snapped with my new camera.
Daddy and baby playing!
I love it!

Before we went out on Friday night we 'took' our Christmas picture. This isn't the photo we used for the card, but I LOVED it! It shows a small glimpse of life with a two year old boy. Trying to wiggle away, even after we bribed him with candy. His little face looks full of mischief!
Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Tis the Season!!! I thought since this is my first Christmas blogging that I would do a 'virtual tour' of our house decorated for Christmas. Please keep in mind that this is only my 5th Christmas decorating on my own as a married lady:) And this only our 3rd Christmas in this house. Each year we have added new things to the decorations. I have a few projects that I would like to spice up this year. It is so fun to pull out all of the decorations and put them up. This year was especially exciting, because Bradley was really into the whole process. He ran around the house pointing at everything. He even got into the ornaments. We would show him the different things or animals we have collected. He loved it!

I know I have posted the above photo before, but I love our tree in the front room. It is our 'silver bell' tree, with glass and silver ornaments and red velvet bows all over it! Below is a picture of our stairwell and the garland that we hang up each year!

Here is our 'family tree' that sits in our great room. We always get a real tree, and it is so much fun! I know it can be a pain, but I LOVE picking it out and loading up the truck with it. Ever since Chris and I were dating and we went on our first 'weekend getaway' we have been collecting ornaments wherever we go. So, we have a ton of different ornaments from all of our travels. I love pulling them out of the boxes, and this year we started to tell Bradley about all of the places we have gone together.

Sweet Bradley and his ornament hanging skills are still developing. He insisted on climbing on the step stool (because he had watched Daddy on it) to hang up his ornaments this year. We let him put on a ton of them. You can tell because they are all crunched down at the bottom. I left them like that because they make my heart happy!

The final product was a bit interesting, but it is staying for now!
The poor branches are a bit tired!

More pictures are below, but my sister did this fun holiday meme and I thought I would add it in to my 'virtual tour'::
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? definitely gift bags, wrapping presents is fun, but when it isn't in a box it drives me nuts to try and wrap it!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real Always!
3. When do you put up the tree? We aim for the weekend after Thanksgiving, but we decided to wait until after Bradley's party this year.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after Christmas, I start to feel cluttered by all of the decorations.

5. Do you like eggnog? NO!! and I heard on the today show that egg nog has as many calories in one cup as a McDonald's quarter pounder! (DAD, are you reading this??)

6. Favorite gift received as a child? wow, we always got great presents! I remember getting a big doll house one year that was amazing. I also remember the big ride on horse that used the springs. So fun!

7. Hardest person to buy for? Probably would be my Dad, he says he never needs anything!
8. Easiest person to buy for? Bradley

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Not yet, I have been searching each Christmas for a really nice one that isn't cheesy and I never can find one that I like. My mom has a beautiful one that was painted by family, and I just can't seem to find one like it.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? of course mail them, I make them too! they still aren't done...should probably be working on them now instead of blogging!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? the one and only gift I got from my hubby last year............a DUSTBUSTER. let's just say that better not ever happen again:)

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? has to be the clay Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, love it!!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I always think we will get better at shopping earlier, but we unusually start in November. Next year I am really going to try and shop earlier!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? no, wouldn't dream of it:)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? my grammy's fudge and cheesecake!

16. Lights on the tree? yes!!
17. Favorite Christmas song? Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree or anything by Bing Crosby

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? we are definitely staying home this year. too much running around, we just want to be a family and hang out in our pjs if we want!

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? yes, i have read 'twas the night before Christmas' about a million times for Bradley in the past few weeks, he loves it.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? we have an angel, and i love her

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? always in the morning, we we probably open one small one on Christmas eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? the crowds when you are shopping

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? one room is my 'gold and red' room, and then I have blue and silver with all of my snowman/snow stuff

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? honey ham, but Chris and I were talking about starting our own food traditions this year. I'm not sure what we will come up with
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? well, i already got it! my new camera, i think that should do me until next year. but i will love watching Bradley open all of his gifts this year!

some of my favorite ornaments from our travels

i started a tradition last year that i buy one ornament for Bradley and one for Sammy (my nephew). I won't tell what I got this year yet!

gotta represent the Alma mater

from our tickets to the lion king on Broadway during our first Christmas!

this is from my future sister in law rebecca, i think it is just so cute!

This is our morning room table. I have snowflake plates that match the decor, I love it!

Another holiday thing I love is snowman. I have been collecting them for a while, here are some of my favorite little guys...

I found these snowman at Hallmark this season and I love them! Go Hokies!

My mantle has been a work in progress. I have gotten my stockings, but I wanted something to add. I also felt like I didn't have my representation of Good Old St. Nick around. I found these fabulous Santa's at Marshall's for dirt cheap. I love the wooden look, I feel like it goes well with the stone and the mantle and all.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

My dining room is still a work in progress. It is currently my red and gold themed room. I just bought these two golden trees at Marshalls as well. I am hoping to get some gold plates to go on top of the red chargers I already have. Always something to add...

Well, I hope you enjoyed the Christmas tour! Any decorating ideas are welcome!! Merry Christmas!