Friday, December 31, 2010

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 2010. Can't wait to look back at 2011 to see all the fun we had!

Ashley started off the year with an impromptu visit.

Enjoying the company of friends in the freezing cold.

My friend Angie's son, Nick (what a great name!), is born!

I traveled to Sarasota to host a baby shower for Casey.

Took a quick trip to Louisville and visited Churchill Downs.

Adopted the cutest Beagle in St. Louis.

Took a weekend trip to Chicago and saw a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

Made another annual trip with my two college roommates - this time to San Diego.

Met Ashley and CJ in Kansas City for baseball and BBQ.

Headed to New Orleans to celebrate my mom's birthday.

Took our second anniversary trip to Arizona and saw the spectacular Grand Canyon.

Christmas in St. Louis was snowed in but we tried to make the best of it!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
Oprah Winfrey

It's the most marvelous day of the year!

My birthday, of course.

Happy 28th to me. I have a lovely day planned that includes a half day at work (They're closing up just for me. Or for the holiday weekend. Same difference.), lunch with Sarah, a manicure and then dinner out with my handsome husband.

As with any holiday, I'll take any reason to celebrate and birthdays are not different. Here's to a fabulous year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Which Christmas is the most vivid to me? It's always the next Christmas.
Joanne Woodward

This Christmas was to be the first time I hosted at my home. I had prepared weeks, even months in my mind, for Christmas Eve with dinner and church, brunch on Christmas morning, sledding and a big fancy dinner on Christmas Day. I was so excited for Nick's parents, his brother and our sister-in-law, his sister and Grandma to come to St. Louis. I love entertaining and hosting and just couldn't wait to have his family here.

It was the Christmas that never was.

Snow moved into the Midwest late on December 23 and by mid day on Christmas Eve snow was coming down heavy here and they were snowed in up in Iowa.

They couldn't even get out of the driveway. To say the least, I was devastated.

Our first Christmas married, we spent the holiday alone. Nick had taken so much time off in November for our wedding and honeymoon that we simply couldn't get away for Christmas. It was very sad to be all by ourselves for such a family centered holiday. I promised myself that, if I could help it, I'd never do it again.

Now just two years later, here we were again. Alone on Christmas.

It was a terrible feeling but absolutely nothing we could do about it. It was no one's fault. Simply a turn of weather fate.

All we could do was make the best of it.

As the snow laid heavy on the trees, Nick was working on Christmas Eve. He came home we set our "oh crap we're alone again" plans in motion. We headed to the local park with Winnie that afternoon for sledding.

Beautiful snow that ruined Christmas.

Sweet Winnie prints on the way to sled.

Nick and Winnie heading to the sledding hill.

With Winnie on the sledding hill.



On Christmas Eve, as planned, we headed to church for service. The roads were terrible so I think I told Nick about 75 times how thankful I was that we took me. The service was beautiful of course. Candle light and an angel-like choir.

In my heart of hearts for my whole life I've always loved Christmas so much. With this officially titled "Crappiest Christmas Ever" it was good for me to be at church on Christmas Eve and understanding how it was all simply so much bigger than us. The beauty and magic will return each year and that I can simply look forward to all that is to come!

Putting the angel on the tree Christmas Eve.

Heading to church.

On Christmas morning we slept in. The cynic in me thought, "whatever do we have to get up for?" But when we did rise we had a delicious breakfast strata with cinnamon rolls. This year we (stupidly, hindsight is 20/20) agreed to not exchange gifts. So the only thing we had to open was from my mom. Our gifts really were lovely, monogrammed terry cloth roles from Land's End. Cozy and so thoughtful. Winnie and Bella also had gifts from Santa Paws who stopped by... they were very excited with fancy wet cat food, a squeaky reindeer toy and Dentastix. It's the little things.

With Winnie on Christmas morning.

Coffee in his fancy new bathrobe.

When I knew Nick's family weren't coming for Christmas I put a semi-desperate plee out on Facebook. I had dinner for eight that I'd gladly open to anyone that didn't have a place for dinner. Or if anyone was gracious enough, I could supply food, drink and a free golf lesson for family that was willing to open their home to me and Nick.

Thankfully, a woman I have known through my Tri Delta alumnae group (I'll forever extol the power of Tri Delta) extended and invitation to her family's big lunch on Christmas day. It was so nice to not only have a place to go but also invited into such a welcoming home. We had a delicious lunch (they even humored my Christmas poppers!) and even had her two darling boys lead us in a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday, Jesus."

A big lunch at Kara and Greg's home - complete with my Christmas popper crowns!

After lunch we took the long way home through Forest Park (we conceded to sledding, too cold!) and then enjoyed an evening on the couch with a warm fire. It was not at all the Christmas I planned but it was a very nice day and now I just have next year to look forward to!

At the base of Art Hill in Forest Park, you can see all of the sledders behind me!

Fancy Christmas dinner for two. Random leftovers plus a delicious grilled steak. Can you spot the Beagle?

Um, hi, are you going to eat that?

Best Christmas ever, per Winnie.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:

  • my wonderful husband who drove me to church on Christmas Eve in the snow.
  • to have friends here in St. Louis who welcomes us into their home on Christmas when our family couldn't travel because of the weather.
  • the pure "weeeee!" when sledding down a hill in the snow.
  • opening presents with Winnie and Bella - Dentastix are very exciting to a Beagle!
  • brand new matching monogrammed bathrobes.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Judy Garland

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Here is my very favorite Christmas piece that my mother read to me each year and now I do the same:

From the Editorial Page of The New York Sun, written by Francis P. Church, September 21, 1897.

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

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except 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 child-like 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 you 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 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.

My husband, Nick, circa 1984

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
J.B. Priestley

Last weekend we had the first good snow I've seen this season here in St. Louis. Not too much, about 3 inches, but just enough for it to be fun. As a Florida girl I still think the snow is simply magical. I love watching it and seeing how to softly coats the neighborhood. We had never seen Winnie in the snow so I considered it her "first snow" and just had to take pictures.

Just like her mama, she sniffed for a bit and then decided the arm chair by the warm fire was the place to be. Snow was very pretty. To watch from inside in the living room.

View from the front porch on Sunday morning.

The rocking chairs look happier in the summer.

Beagle in the snow.

Funny video of her in the snow (Then doing her lady business. It happens).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • fancy country club holiday lunches.
  • glossy, freshly painted nails.
  • a class with my favorite Zumba instructor.
  • finally cleaning the grime and salt off of my car.
  • the upcoming three day work week.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa honey, I wanna yacht and really that's not a lot
I've been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight
Ertha Kitt

This year Nick and I agreed not to exchange gifts. To be honest, the last thing we need is to spend money on stuff (although I'm sure very nice stuff) that I don't really need. Things we do need include a new car (that has heat for goodness sake) which, in my mind, is where I'd want my money to go to this year. I know we will receive plenty of lovely gifts from our families and I'd like to spend any extra holiday money hosting a great Christmas dinner, going ice skating and simply enjoying the season.

So, what are you asking for this Christmas?

Just for fun here are some items that I'd love for Santa to put underneath my Christmas tree (just not with my money, to clarify):

A set of 10 oz. couple monogrammed Tervis Tumblers

Source: The Palm Gifts

Canon PowerShot point and shoot camera

Source: Best Buy

A personalized tote bag for Winnie
(yes, she has a lot of stuff)
Source: LL Bean

Complete my everyday china from Crate & Barrel
Source: Crate & Barrel

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • homemade Beef Stroganoff with buttered noodles.
  • sitting on a rainy day with a cup of hot tea and People magazine "gettin' my hair did."
  • an $87 fix to my car heater (although I still need a new car).
  • seeing one of my clients featured on national television.
  • a crowded mall at Christmas time - the most wonderful time of year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A charming woman is a busy woman.
Loretta Young

I had a really fun and productive weekend - the best kind in my opinion:

  • Zumba first thing in the morning.
  • grocery and Target shopping, including all of the lights for my Christmas tree!
  • attended a baby shower at Cyrano's for my Tri Delta alumane chapter president. The desserts were amazing and she's having a girl so it was fun to see all of the cute stuff.
  • got together with a Junior League friend and her husband (our only two fellow St. Louis Husker fans) to sadly watch the unsuccessful go for the Big 12 Championship.
  • cleaned the entire house like a maniac because our landlord came over to patch and (fresh!) paint our hallway.
  • finished putting up my Christmas tree.
  • joined Angie (and Nick came along too!) for the Kirkwood Historical Society Holiday House tour (our favorite was 643 E. Monroe).
Angie snuck this picture of the house on our way up the driveway.
Obviously, I'm not paying attention and talking with my hands.

  • cooked Spinach Lasagna Rolls with a big salad and garlic bread.
  • relaxed by the fire and wasted the evening watching Old School, football and reading magazines.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • my first, very own Christmas tree.
  • when my boss unexpectedly closes the office at 3 p.m. on a Friday.
  • Winnie all warm in her sporty jacket.
  • all the cute stuff at a baby shower for a little girl.
  • ordering Christmas gifts online with free shipping.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
Roy L. Smith

Well it's official. Officially the very best month of the year!

I just adore the entire Christmas season, festivities on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, my birthday and New Years Eve. A delightful month full of entertaining, parties, shopping, crafting and wrapping and, let's be honest, frequent days off from work.

So cheers to a lovely December for all!

Our snazzy 2009 Ugly Sweater party outfits

Rabbit, rabbit!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.
Joyce Brothers

Nick and I had a whirlwind tour of Iowa and Nebraska this Thanksgiving weekend. Nick joked that it was like a baseball team trip, hoping from one city to another. It was a "productive" trip seeing lots of friends, family and even my first Nebraska Huskers game in Lincoln!

Here are some photos from our fun long weekend...

The Gray Sweater Mafia (friends from high school)

Let's play, how do we fit six people plus luggage in the car for the road trip

Pat and Joe (best in laws ever) at Thanksgiving dinner in Des Moines

A little living room football with the cousins

Sisters (in law)

In Lincoln on Friday from the Nebraska Huskers game

One reason I love the Huskers, their colors fit so nicely in my wardrobe

Go Big Red!

With my favorite Husker fan

Nick manning the basement bar at his grandma's house in Carroll

With his grandma and family

Last night of vacation

His old friend and best man at our wedding, Chad

Last road trip stop, lunch with his college
friend Aaron, his wife Crystal and son Andrew

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