Finding Some Good

So with all of the sky is falling/our world is going up in flames/which way is up/wtf is happening  stuff going on in our world, I sometimes have to remind myself to focus on the good.  We are at a turning point in all of this hell we’ve been going through, and I think we’re finally starting to see the proverbial light.

First of all, we got really great news at the infectious disease doctor yesterday.  We were really nervous since Chris’ labs were less than stellar last week, but doc was happy and his infection markers are dropping which means the antibiotics are working.  Hooray!  Good news!!  High fives and fist bumps all around (really, that happened in the office) The plan is to continue the IV antibiotics for another month because they’re treating it as if the infection got into the bone, soooo, the bummer is that the IV has to continue (whatever, we prepared ourselves for six weeks, but I was secretly hoping it would be removed sooner), BUT, the good news is that the IV is going to be removed in about four weeks.

Also, physical therapy is working and the strength in Chris’ knee is slowly but surely coming back.  Thank Britney Butterflies and Unicorns the lords.  I’m super optimistic that all will be back to normal by the end of September/beginning of October and this will ultimately be a blip on the radar in our lives.

Sooooooooooo, if all goes as planned, this will all shake out just in time for our first anniversary.  :)  I’m not quite sure what we’re going to be doing yet, but I do have a few things in mind.  We were hoping to take a trip to celebrate our first anniversary, but with everything that has happened, I think we’ll end up staying local and do something low-key but still special.  I’ve also started thinking about the one year gift, sticking with the traditional gift of paper, and I have a few good ideas that I hope pan out.  Just another thing to look forward to!

In the coming months, we have friends coming to visit, and at some point, we’ll take some trips back home to Virginia (we haven’t been since May!), and then, soon enough, the holidays will be here!  I can’t wait because Labor day til January is my most favorite time of the year.

So really, through all of the bad that we’ve gone through in the past month or two, we really do have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.  We’re on the up and up and there is a lot of good as we make our way out of the bad.

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Christmas Wrap-Up

We’ve had quite the few busy days this weekend, but we had a great Christmas, so I can’t complain!

We kicked off the holiday weekend by going to my parents house on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts and hang out.  We ordered pizza, watched 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, and eventually got around to opening stuff.

Dad playing Santa!

Christmas pajamas!

After we left my parents house, we headed home for bed, but, I was able to convince Chris to open the rest of our gifts at the house that night.  My family and I began opening gifts on Christmas eve sometime after I graduated from high school, but Chris has always stuck to Christmas day.  It was fun to come home and tear into everything, but I’m not sure Chris is convinced we’ll keep the Christmas Eve tradition of opening gifts alive.  It was fun this year, but we’ll see what happens in future years.  A few snapshots of Christmas at our house:

I love how Chris addresses packages. Haha.

<3

Chris' clue that he was getting a mini kegerator.

On Christmas day, we slept in (if you consider 8am sleeping in), got up, made cinnamon rolls, and just vegged.  We headed over to my parents house around 3pm and had a delicious Christmas dinner with some of my extended family, as well as Linds/Kev and Kev’s parents.  We ate, played games and called it a night – it was really relaxed, low key, and fun.  I totally didn’t take any good pictures, but I promise it was fun.

My Christmas gifts looked like this this year – Huzby and family did a great job!

1. Moroccan Toms 2. Kiehls Clay Face Wash 3. Fit Bit 4. Custom Chevron Stationary 5. Christmas Tree Pandora Charm 6. Japanese Cherry Blossom Set

7. Kiehls SPF 15 Face Lotion 8. Crate and Barrel Lamps 9. Paper Plane Necklace 10. Garnet Pandora Charm 11. Target Gift Card 12. Woven Natural Stripe Toms

13. Canon Elph Camera 14. Michael Kors Watch 15. Jewelry Armoire

Happy, happy holidays!!!

2011: Best. Year. Ever.

2011 was the best year ever.  No, seriously, I’m not kidding.  So many incredible things happened this year and I’m sad to see it go.  Hopefully 2012 will fantastic, but I’m pretty sure not much can rival this year!

We started the  year off with a bang by going to the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh!

In February, we bought our first house!

We got thisclose to President Obama at the Memorial Day Wreath Laying at Arlington National Cemetary!

We got engaged!

We got married!

Added a new country (Curacao) to the passport!

…and we hosted our very FIRST Thanksgiving!

Bon Voyage, 2011 – you’ve been amazing and I’ll remember you forever.  Xoxoxoxoxoxo!

Holiday Traditions

Chris and I have naturally started traditions when it comes to the holidays, even before we got married.  I love having something that is ours that we have created as a family, and I can’t wait to build more traditions when we eventually expand our family.

The National Christmas Tree!  I had never visited the tree until we spontaneously decided to go for a date shortly after we started dating, and now, three years later, it’s something I look forward to every year.

Wreaths Across America!  Even though I’ve participated in Wreaths Across America for three years, this year was the first year Chris could participate, so I’d really like to continue that!

Holiday Pajamas:  Growing up, my one gift on Christmas Eve was always holiday pajamas, and I have loved this tradition for as long as I can remember.  This one is definitely staying with us and our children which we’ll have one day.

…and we open one gift on Christmas eve:  This goes along with the holiday pajamas, but since my parents still get them for us, we get an extra gift to open from each other as a warm up for Christmas morning.

Sometimes, someone gets realllllly excited.

This year, Christmas has seemed extra special to me since it’s our first one as a married couple.  Cheesy, right?  Welp, it is what it is!  I’ve been all aboard the holiday train and have really wanted to start traditions this year which has been fun.  So, what’s new you might ask?

We did the holiday concert at DAR which is held every year, and I’d love to do that annually! 

We put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving and I’ve loved having it up the entire month of December.

…and we did the Christmas lights at the National Zoo!

So what’s missing from my list of holiday traditions that we haven’t done?

1.  Making a gingerbread house

2.  Elf on the Shelf (I suppose we need a kid for that!)

Not too shabby!  Any other holiday traditions I’m missing out on?!

Now, on to a holiday tradition survey:

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?  I like both, but I especially like eggnog
2. Does Santa wrap presents or leave them under the tree?  Santa and his elves wrap everything.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  We got super colorful LED lights for the tree this year and I love them.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?  We don’t, but we should.
5. When do you hang your decorations up?  The weekend after Thanksgiving.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (besides dessert)?  Probably turkey or mashed potatoes.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?  I just remember being soooooo excited on Christmas Eve, and I loved that feeling of waking up on Christmas day knowing it had finally arrived.  When I was five years old, I asked my mom point-blank if Santa existed and she refused to lie to me, so I sucked the fun out of that pretty early on, but it didn’t ruin anything.  My parents had a rule that I couldn’t get out of bed until 7am and wake them up for presents, so I would wake up, lay in bed and just stare at the clock until it hit 7am.  Then, I’d  bolt to their room where my mom would take her time getting her robe on, make coffee cake and coffee and somewhere around 8am, we’d finally get to the opening of gifts…7am my ass!
8. What is on your Christmas wish list?  This year I really want a specific pair of Toms, the entire series of Friends on DVD, maybe a new camera, and a watch, but those are really the only “specific” wishes I have.
9. Do you open any gifts on Christmas Eve?   Christmas pajamas from my parents, and one gift each from under the tree.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?  We definitely don’t have a theme.  This year we went with red and gold with some other random ornaments thrown in.  We do colorful lights but no garland or tinsel.  We also have a cute tree skirt!
11. Snow.  Love it or dread it?   I love it for the first day or so, then I’m completely over it.  I enjoy it on the weekends if I have time to be snowed in, but when I have to venture out into it, I can’t stand it.
12. Real tree of fake tree?   I like both.  I hope one year we can trek out to a tree farm and pick out our own, but for the majority of my life, I’ve had a fake tree.  I really do like both, but the clean up and maintenance of a real tree is a big turn off.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  I really can’t name one specific gift that was the end all be all of Christmas gifts.  I remember going nuts over Cabbage Patch kids and Pound Puppies as a kid, but as I’ve gotten older, kindles and cameras have been big highlights with me.
14.  What is the most important thing about Christmas for you?  Spending time with family, laughing and building new traditions.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?  Pumpkin pie!
16. What is your favorite tradition?  I think visiting the National Christmas Tree.   Honestly, there isn’t much to do other than just look at it, but there’s something about being there with other people who want to be festive that makes it really fun.
17. What tops your tree?  A gold sparkly star.  I’m pretty sure it’s temporary because Chris wants one that lights up.
18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?  Giving gifts is my favorite!!
19. What is your favorite Christmas song?  Santa Baby

20. Candy Canes, yuck or yum?  Ick.
21. Favorite Christmas Movie?  Mixed Nuts
22. What do you leave for Santa?  A whole lotta nothing.
23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?  Cinnamon rolls and opening gifts before spending time with our families.
24. Do you prefer to shop online or at the mall?  I couldn’t tell you the last time I did any shopping at the mall for the holidays.  With all of the free shipping offers and promo codes I can find online, it’s absolutely the way to go for me.
25. Christmas letter, or Christmas card?  We did a Christmas photo card this year.  I loved sending them, and I loved receiving them!
SIX MORE DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS!!!

Wreaths, Holiday Festival and a National Christmas Tree

So, the time of year of traditions has arrived, and we welcomed the season in a big way yesterday.  As I previously mentioned, we started our Saturday morning off bright and early and headed down to Arlington to do the annual wreath laying.  This year, we brought my sister/brother in law, Linds and Kevin, so it was great to have more people!  We also had my uncle Mike’s side of the family join us, so we were quite the crowd.

We all gathered at Ft. Myer and made our way into the cemetery on foot where we found the first 18-wheeler filled with wreaths.  The driver who had driven the truck all the way from Maine was incredibly nice, and my aunt got to talking with him and we learned that he lost his son who was serving in Iraq in 2006.  He said it was an honor to be able to drive a truck in memory of his son and it was incredible to hear him talk with such proudness.  I remembered the date he said his son died (for some reason,the way he said it stuck with me “4/06 of 2006”) so I looked him up when I got home to find out his story.  After reading how young he was and how he died, it made the wreath laying all the more important and I’m so glad we participated.

The gang!

Helicopter flyover.

Kevin and dad handing out wreaths.

Aunt Brenda laying a wreath.

Lindsay and a wreath.

Once we finished our section, we split off from the big group and made our way throughout the cemetary to lay wreaths on my friends dads grave and my dads friends grave.  We had a nice walk, and it was nice to see all of the other volunteers out and about paying their respects.  Here was our path:

We took this picture at stop #2:

Linds, Dad, me, Chris and Kev honoring David Trundy.

…and this picture from stop #3:

Dad remembering Kip Taylor.

The wreaths were a great way to start the morning, especially since we had a holiday concert later in the night to look forward to.

My uncle hosted “Pershings Own Holiday Festival” at D.A.R Constitution Hall last night and it was awesome!  We were invited to a reception before the show which was held adjacent to the old concert hall (which is now a beautiful library) and it was super fun.  The show was great and defintely got everyone into the holiday spirit.

Pretty architechture! Those are the old boxes from the old concert hall which is now the library.

Fam in the library.

Santa!

After the awesomely festive show, we decided to walk over to the National Christmas Tree for our 3rd annual Christmas date.  :)   This time, we brought Linds and Kev which made it even more fun.  The tree is new this year which was…interesting.

In February of this year, the tree was damaged and was beyond repair (it had been there since 1978), so they decided to replace it with a smaller (24 foot) tree which will grow as it ages.  I’m not going to lie, it looks kind of sad.  The top is all kinds of a mess and they even had to fix the lights to attempt to give it a pretty effect.  Hopefully in the coming years it will fill out and become really pretty.  Either way, we had fun checking it out and taking pictures.

White House from the tree.

3rd annual tree picture. :) Love this tradition!

Love this.

I loved this weekend.  It was so fun and festive and filled with family, and it was just the best.  We had such a great time that we’re now planning on visiting the Christmas Lights at the National Zoo next weekend!  The fun just continues – happy holidays!!