Thursday, December 31, 2009

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
Edith Lovejoy Pierce

This was a busy but certainly nice year! Here are my favorite photos, one from each month, from 2009. Can't wait to look back at 2010 to see all the fun we had!

January: Shoveled my first driveway

February: Saw the penguins take their walk at the St. Louis Zoo

March: Traveled to Las Vegas to be in Ashley's wedding

April: Finally "get" why people love Spring! The Dogwood trees blooming.

May: Nick turned 30 and we hosted a backyard BBQ party.

June: Enjoyed a Cardinals baseball game with two for one scalped tickets

July: Continued to enjoy the beautiful summer weather

August: RaeAnna and Ashley came to visit

September: Headed over to Illinois for Sarah's sister's wedding

October: Visiting Chicago for my mom's 60th birthday

November: Celebrated our first anniversary with a trip to California and Las Vegas

December: Went to Florida for Christmas

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

There is still no cure for the common birthday.
John Glenn

Happy 27th birthday to me!

(and two years ago today, Nick asked me to be his wife!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Charles Dickens

We returned yesterday from a great five day Christmas vacation in Florida. It was a nice chance to relax as well as spend time with family and friends.

This week is busy too with a St. Louis Blues hockey game tonight, dinner for my birthday tomorrow and then New Year's Eve! I'm looking forward to a quiet three day weekend to take a vacation from our vacations!

Enjoying the nice weather on the back porch

Beautiful tree

All the stockings hung - including ones for the dogs!

Pups with their Christmas bows

On our way to Christmas Eve service

With my pretty mama

Chilly morning (see, it isn't always hot in Florida!) near Tampa Bay
- on our way to the airport

Home to a snowy car - back to the Midwest weather!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.
WC Jones

Nick and I are heading to Florida to spend five days with my mom for Christmas, visit friends and check on our house (especially clean for new renters - super fun!). A little vacation and much needed rest for us both, a little work and all around enjoyment.

Hope you all have a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together.
Clark W. Griswold, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

On Friday night Nick and I joined a friend at the Ugly Sweater Christmas Party she was throwing. It was a fun time to meet new people and of course, look a little ridiculous!

We all decided the holiday season has become the new Halloween, an excuse to dress up for fun. This time with Reindeer headbands, Christmas socks and tacky sweaters!

Looking snazzy with Nick.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • our first "sticking" St. Louis snow.
  • two days until Florida!
  • Christmas bonuses.
  • yummy corporate holiday gifts at the office (the brownies were the best!).
  • The Coronado ballroom.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold,
everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

With the Christmas season in full swing, I thought it was appropriate to share one of my favorite Christmas stories again this year. My mom always read it to me so I always enjoy it each time I hear it.

In my mind, it perfectly captures why I love Christmas so much!

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

Dear Editor:

I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun it's so."

Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"

Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street


Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus.

The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.

Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory,
like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.

Garrison Keillor

There are lots of ways to share and see what everyone is up to this season. I have been especially looking forward to the Christmas Card Carousel today! I love getting Christmas cards at home to now I get to see even more.

Last year we sent a wedding photo and this year I did a little "hello from St. Louis" collage. We really didn't have one great, standout photo of the two of us so I went with a few different favorites. I ordered them for a steal from my favorite place, Vista Print.

Left photo is at a Cardinals game, middle photo is New Years Eve 2008/2009 and the right photo is at Oktoberfest in Soulard.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

There aren't enough days in the weekend.
Rod Schmidt

On Saturday, I have the rare treat of having Nick for the whole day because he was off from work. Other than some time off he took for vacations he rarely gets this day off (a lot of people play golf on Saturday!). So we took advantage of the day to enjoy two St. Louis favorites: breakfast at City Diner and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Outside one of the green houses (the fountains behind him were frozen!).

Pretty fountain in the Climatrom

With an aloe plant. Nick loves his aloe.

Tower Grove House - beautifully decorated for Christmas.

Henry Shaw's den decorated.

Christmas tree in the living room.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.
W.T. Ellis

Getting into the Christmas spirit and joining in on the Christmas Tour of Homes! Although my decorations aren't extensive it is fun to share and browse other beautiful homes.

We won't be home for Christmas (in Florida with my momma!) but it I do always love to decorate. No tree but certainly some little touches around the house to bring in the festive spirit of my favorite time of year!

In the dining room. The sign under the clock says, "Dear Santa - I can explain."

On the kitchen window sill.

On top of the fridge (I cannot out the angel anywhere Bella can reach it!). This angel is a family tradition - photos next to it are me with my father putting it on our tree through the years.

The angel and photo.

Mistletoe in the hall.

Christmas card basket in the living room.

Nativity in the living room.

Dining room.

Little touch in the bathroom.
Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern
Sunday gratitude:
  • having Nick off of work on a Saturday (I cannot remember the last time that has happened!).
  • checking out fluff magazines from the library - flip through them and then give them back without a penny spent!
  • birds enjoying our feeder even in this cold weather.
  • all the fun Christmas cards coming in... I love seeing the photos of lives, children and such happiness through the year!
  • Nicholas Sparks' movies on cable TV.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Life is partly what we make it,
and partly what is made by the friends whom we choose.

Tehyi Hsieh

Last night I attended my local Tri Delta alumnae chapter's annual Pine Party. A year ago this was my first St. Louis Tri Delta event so it was nice to have it come around again. It is just an informal gathering and then we all bring items to make little gift bags for St. Louis Children's Hospital emergency room (coloring books, crayons, etc.).

I drove out with a new Tri Delta who I met through a work connection. We get along great so it was fun to enjoy the evening with new friends and old. Helped some kids, ate a lot and laughed until I cried. Thank heaven for Tri Delta!

Making the gift bags

Tri Delta napkins of course!

With Sarah - it was our "one year anniversary." She picked me up a year ago for my first Pine Party and she has become my closest St. Louis friend!

With my new Tri Delta friend, Laura. We were stealing left over Amighetti's sandwiches.

Laura at too many Peperoncini peppers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marge, it's 3 a.m. Shouldn't you be baking?
Homer Simpson

Last night I joined three of my five Junior League committee members for a cinnamon roll baking shift. Cinnamon Rolls are the main fundraiser for the Junior League of St. Louis and this holiday season we've been overwhelmed with orders so they are desperate for some extra help in getting all of these dozens and dozens of pans made.

So I canceled our regularly scheduled committee meeting to head over to our baking kitchen to help out! It really is a fun process, a nice time to chat and then you leave smelling like cinnamon and sugar. Along with three other women we cranked out 54 dozen cinnamon rolls!

For you St. Louisans, they make a great hostess gift or addition to a party menu. Check out the link above for all of the selling locations.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and
behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

Norman Vincent Peale

On Sunday, I joined three fellow St. Louis bloggers for a fun afternoon at St. Charles Main Street Christmas Traditions.

We enjoyed lunch, explored the shops and all of the Christmas decor. It was nice to chat and catch up and also attend a festive seasonal event that Nick would never go for!

Historic buildings decorated for Christmas

One of the many time period Santa Clauses - this one from the Civil War

Watching the parade (and keeping back far enough so we would have to dance!)

The parade


Puppies for sale on the street - I should have just took her and ran!

With Angie, Heidi and Alyssa in front of the Christmas tree.
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