photos {christmas day}

matt had to work third shift on christmas eve. when he got home on christmas morning, i was up and made breakfast. we opened one gift each before heading to bed. around noon, we got spencer and headed to matt's parents' house to celebrate with this family. lots of pictures from that here. that evening, we went to a gathering at a friend's house (no pictures of that).

{christmas decorations}

This year, many of our christmas decorations are the same as last year, so I only took a few snapshots of some new items. If interested in seeing more pictures, check out my posts from last december. I adore decorating for Christmas, and I'm a bit sad to report that, as of yesterday, all of the decorations are down. I took advantage of having the time off from work to get everything back to normal - but it seems so bare!

Kitchen table centerpiece (with tree in den in the background). That is a real wreath around a cake stand, which holds three floating candle holders that are filled with real tree pieces as well. The picture doesn't really do it justice.

This is just a cool trivet that I bought last year after Christmas, that can also be hung on the wall. I love the vibrant read.

I got this awesome red bowl after Christmas last year as well. I've used it all year - for both food and for decorating. I love it.

These are framed prints of a local artist. Vernon Grant (the creator of Snap, Crackle & Pop) was lived in our town and did a ton of Christmas art in his day. Each year we purchase that year's beautiful gold ornament for our tree. Last year, we had one of these prints framed, but a friend helped us get a few past years and now we have 4 (we added one after this picture was taken). I love that they liven up the hallway, and add a special, local tough to our decor.

Our finished red/green tree in the den. I need to post a picture of our gold tree too...just realized I haven't done that.



for the past couple of years, i've been keeping track of books i've read or want to read in an excel spreadsheet (like most of my life). i am still doing that, but also joined good reads which is a pretty cool site for this type of thing. i also used to put little reviews on my blog, but i'll just be doing this at good reads now. i've added a link to the left of my blog. the types of books that i normally like are crime novels. i'm a big fan of james patterson, patricia cornwell, and john grisham. when i'm in a more romantic mood, i love nicholas sparks. i have also starting reading a few more 'girly' books like jennifer weiner and sophie kinsella. i'm always up for taking recommendations!!!


photos {christmas party}

earlier this month, matt & i hosted a small christmas party - mostly neighbors. i made lots of yummy food, and of course there were a few adult beverages. it was a fun night that lead to some goofy dancing and just good times. more pictures here. oh, by the way...i think these might be the first decent pictures of my new haircut.


photos {father/son pitching camp}

matt & spencer attended a father/son pitching camp at a local university. it was 2 hours per day for three days over a weekend. spencer also attended a 2-day 'total skills' baseball camp after school got out this week. i stopped by the pitching camp and took some pictures...couldn't resist! we are lucky to have a school willing to do these camps. more pictures here.

layout {christmasville}

yay! i actually did a layout tonight. not very pleased with it because i'm low on ink and the photos have a slightly purplish tint to them...and the scan makes it look even worse b/c of the photo turns & brads...but at least it's done!

this is christmasville last year, based very closely on a sketch from pagemaps.

supplies: patterned paper by scrapworks; font is AL featherbrained; photo turns; brads

photos {wrapping presents}

spencer always wraps the gifts that are from him. i love wrapping presents so i like that spencer takes pride in the process as well.

photos {stafford park}

a local neighborhood goes all out with christmas lights and it's become tradition for us to take spencer & matt's mom to see them on the weekend of their big display. on these nights, they line the neighborhood with luminaries and have people turn off their lights as they drive through. you get to vote on your favorite houses. matt had to work this year, but i still took his mom and spencer. this one picture is my favorite house. they put lit votives on every block of a wall! this year they added the red car with a life-sized santa. another house had the entire family dressed as the clauses...very cute. a few more pictures are here:

photos {festivale of carols}

our local university does a festival of carols every year as part of their tree lighting. more pictures here.

photos {christmasville}

spencer and two cuties (daughters of friends) at our town's 4-day christmas festival. you can see more photos here. they had some cute stuff for the kids to do: putt-putt, some snow that was shipped in, trains set up for viewing, gingerbread house contest, teddy bear clinic for fixing stuffed animals.

{christmas blessings}

feeling pretty lucky today...shopping is done, gifts are wrapped. looking at our tree surrounded by so many gifts makes me appreciate that we can afford these things and that i shouldn't take it for granted. i smile every time i see the lights throughout our house. today is quiet with no plans - i slept in very late. beginning tomorrow things will start to get crazy and i'm looking forward to the next week of hectic times with family and friends...so blessed to have a week of plans lined up. here is a little christmas eye candy from flickr.


{christmas ornament swap}

i participated in an ornament swap at red velvet art. this was my first time doing one and it was pretty cool. it's a great way to get really unique ornaments. here are the three ornaments i received:

the felt apple is from amanda - so super cute! i love that she stuffed it a little bit.

this unique frame is from michelle. perfect for this year's family photo.

this is the beautiful fabric star from ashley. i love the pinking shear edges and the homey feel of it.

{christmas ornaments}

this year, my sisters and mom (4 of us total) decided to do a handmade ornament swap (and plan to make it a yearly tradition). here are the ornaments that i made for my two sisters.

for the first one ("m"), i was inspired to use monogram because my sister, brother-in-law, and niece all have 'm' names (and their last name starts with an 'm' as well). i'd seen some at 2Peas and thought they'd be the perfect family for it. the base for the ornament is a paper mache circle and i chose papers (basic grey) that reminded me of my sister. I painted the chipboard letter and the edges of the ornament. I added light blue glitter on the letter as well.

for the second one ("h"), i created the ornament first with the intent of matching a themed tree that my sister does with silver and seashells. i felt it needed something at the end, so just added the monogram as an afterthought. this is just one of those plain glass balls with that fake snow stuff inside.

i already posted my mom's ornament here - i'm giving her the white tree because she has a very shabby chic decor and i thought it would go well.


{favorite christmas songs}

one of my favorite things about christmas is the music. i just love christmas music! i've always looked forward to pulling out all of my cd's as i unpack the decorations. of course, now it's just a matter of syncing up my christmas playlist on my ipod (which is currently at 143 songs).
so, anyway...in the spirit, i thought i would share some of my favorite christmas songs... in general, the three christmas albums that i would most recommend are:
as a note, as i was finding links for these, i realized that all three of the artists above have released another christmas album since these and i don't have any of them!! i will have to take care of that next year!!

favorite songs in no particular order:
  • "merry christmas with love" performed by clay aiken

  • "mary did you know" also performed by clay aiken

  • "what are you doing new year's eve" by clay aiken, again.

  • "baby it's cold outside" sung by vanessa williams (on the star bright album)

  • "sleigh ride" by debbie gibson, available on a very special christmas 2, also a great album in general

  • "go tell it on the mountain" by garth brooks

  • "i pray on christmas" by harry connick jr

  • "christmas in dixie" by alabama (a southern staple!) - alabama christmas

  • "where are you christmas?" by faith hill from the soundtrack of how the grinch stole christmas

OK, that's it for now...but i'm sure i left off some that i really love...



I am soooooo excited. I won this awesome market bag on becky higgins' blog. I can't believe it! All you had to do was comment and then she chose one winner...there were 451 comments. I love the bag. If you haven't seen this woman's stuff on Becky's blog yet, definitely check it out. She will make custom stuff and her prices are so incredibly reasonable. Here is her website: Karlee's Kreations. According to Becky's blog, she'll have some new stuff posted after Christmas.

I can't wait to get my bag!!!


photos {spencer goofing off}

during the whole tree process, spencer was quite a ham for the camera (which suits me just fine). here are some of the silly shots he made me take. he also had fun being on the other side of the camera so i have

more pictures than usual of matt and i decorating the tree.

photos {decorating the tree}

so, we found the perfect tree and got it home...
matt brought it inside.

spencer worked on his homework while matt started putting lights on the tree (yes, i think he's dancing...on a chair). as a side note: i'm very picky about my lights and i ended up having to finish the process myself before it lead to divorce :)

finally, we got to decorate it (after a minor electric shock for me and much heartache over the lights). here are shots of each of us doing our part (we pretty much have to force matt...but at least he sort of plays along).

after the ornaments were all hung, I added some ribbon and bought a new red star for the top.

photos {picking out our live tree}

we went tree hunting the wednesday after thanksgiving. we started with a few roadside lots without much luck. then we headed to a local tree farm. they don't grow frasier firs there (our tree of choice) but the selection they had brought in was much better than what we'd seen so far. plus, the atmosphere was cool - candy canes, hot chocolate, cool fresh air, and good people.

spencer checking out the stats of a tree...price, size...he's well-trained.

the tree farm had this snowman with a height marker. i think right above spencer's head it says "too tall for your age so pants are impossible to find"

spencer assigned himself the responsibility of holding up this tree...

then he decided he needed help to hold up the one next to it.

love this picture


{these are a few of my favorite things}

inspired by a local morning radio show, Ace and TJ, who was inspired by Oprah, who was inspired by the song (I guess)... here are ten of my favorite things (not people and the normal things we're thankful for...covered those at Thanksgiving).

computers & the internet

ice cold beer at the end of a long day

DVR (or TiVo...whatever)

Books, bookstores and libraries...love going there

cell phones



scrapbooking, of course!!!

accessories (hats, gloves, scarves, headbands, cheap jewelry, pocketbooks, etc)

porches & patio - no better place to hang out!


{letter to santa}

spencer protested a bit on writing his letter to santa for some reason. i told him he wouldn't get anything if he didn't write one, and of course he didn't believe me. however, when i said "are you willing to test it?", he gave in.
what's cute about this year's letter is that they have learned at school how to write a "proper" letter so he automatically included the date, opening, closing, and all. plenty of misspelled words and grammatical errors...but that's what gives it character!


photo {rio}

i posted some pictures of cooper last week and i can't leave rio out...

about two weeks ago, i did a photo shoot with both dogs to try and get an acceptable picture to include on our card. i did get one, but not in front of the tree, as you can see i was trying here.

photos {thankgiving}

thanksgiving at my sister's...
this was the first year i'd spent some time on thanksgiving with my family in several years, so it was really nice. my sister hosted about 30 people and my dad was there as well. we had deep friend turkey and tons of other great food.

brother-in-law carving the turkey...

my sister's beautiful table...

my sister and her two boys that were fighting right before the blessing...


photos {cooper}

just a couple of snapshots of cooper basking in the sun. he will lay in the house wherever the sun is shining in and he'll rotate as the sunny spots do. these aren't the best pics because of the light/dark aspects, but i still think they are cute of course.


mosaic {silver christmas}

i used to not be fond of silver associated with christmas (loved it outside of the season). i thought gold was so much *warmer*. however, i have broadened my horizons lately and do enjoy silver as part of my holiday decor now.
so, just for some inspiration and eye candy, i put together this silver-inspiration christmas mosaic.

1. Silver Tree, 2. Question, 3. x-mas ornaments, 4. picking out the perfect gift..., 5. Enchanted forest, 6. Jingle Balls, 7. Silver Self-portrait, 8. Vintage Holiday, 9. If I Am Suddenly Murdered, The Reindeer Did It., 10. it's that time of the year..., 11. Chlla cactus, 12. Christmas 2007 (our apt.), 13. Quiet*