December 29, 2016

Merry & Bright! Our 2016 Holiday Recap

Now that the holidays are beginning to wind down, we're taking this week to rest a bit and reflect on all of the busyness that can easily be considered what we call the holiday blur. Today we're rounding up a few of our favorite events, decorations and family photos from the last few holiday-heavy weeks.

Early December means the welcome return of Richmond's annual Christmas parade. We like to walk over to Broad Street as the morning gets going to preview all the balloons lined up in front of the Children's museum. This year it was Santa who stole the show — and let us know he'd see us again very soon :)

Later in the week we spent time in New York for work — a time we love to just generally soak in the sights and sounds of the outdoor decorations and re-emergence of corner tree lots. 

New York never fails when it comes to both classic favorites (hello Rockefellar tree!) and new designs like the geometric tree decorations we saw in downtown Brooklyn above. It's also a fun place to look for unique gifts and stocking stuffers to bring back home just before Christmas.

Speaking of stocking stuffers, we hung all four along the mantle (including my very own!) next to the Christmas tree Tim had cut down from the tree farm this month:

We're still waiting on the 4th and final stocking holder on backorder from Lillian Vernon, so our little vintage brass reindeer stood in to honorably do the job this year and I have to admit, I quite like him:

When it comes to decorations, we have a mix of old and new favorites. You may recognize the rustic holiday card display above as the rescued wooded beam Tim repurposed several years back.

We have a few antique figurines and ornaments that we group in different places — and this year the angels found themselves keeping watch over our weimaraner and kitty on the back dining hutch:

It's a similar story when it comes to our tree ornaments. Instead of a unifying theme, we take great joy in "re-discovering" the mixed batch of collected ornaments that make up our blended family each year. Tim describes it well — since they are stored away, the fun is in remembering each, with the memories attached when we pull them from their storage bins each December. Many bring a smile, others a laugh and some a more sentimental feeling — no matter the memory, each are old friends we are happy to see and spend some time with once again.

When it came time to bring the tinsel out, Basil even humored us for a few snaps:

This will be the 6th Christmas we've spent together since Basil came into our lives and while he's beginning to slow down a bit, he likes to be right there with everyone in the action — be it snuggling on his bed to watch a family marathon of Netflix's The OA, or happily coming when called to pose with an oversized string of tinsel. To say the least, he's our #gooddog.

When it comes to Christmas dinner, we're creatures of habit — it's all about the salted country ham and thick cuts of hog jowl to pair with southern greens. Tim begins preparing the ham a full week in advance of the meal and prepares it in a way his mother taught him that includes a thick outer crust of molasses and brown sugar. Need I say more?

Just after carving the ham and waiting on the turkey to finish cooking, the kids spent time with Tim's parents asking questions about family heritage in order to piece together an online family tree Stephanie has been working on. I may be a bit sentimental, but don't think I'm too far off base when thinking how lucky they are to have these moments. I often think back on how nice it would be to have the time to sit with one of my grandparents, to just have a few more moments to ask questions about who and what they were, where they came from and what dreams they had.

I truly mean it when I say how blessed I feel that this bunch welcomed me into their family, and on a lighter note — how everyone obliged when I requested a few family snaps on Christmas day on our newly painted front porch & entry:

To add a touch of insight, just as we were taking the next set of photos with Basil a squirrel ran across the street. To no avail did my whistles or calls for him to look forward calm the urge he had to simply jump up and run after it. While the look on his face is undoubtedly intense, it was a Christmas miracle he stayed put while he did:

Just before wrapping up photos with Stephanie & Brandon, we were able to snag one of our own:

With that, we thank you for taking time to check in on us today and share in some of our favorite holiday memories this year. Here's wishing you and yours were just as full.

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  1. Love seeing pics of the family...and definitely him! My Madison would have leapt with gusto after that squirrel! Wishing you a lovely and wonderful 2017!

    1. Lori,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to take a look. Wishing you and yours all the best in 2017!

      Tim and Mary


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