Category Archives: Holidays

Things I Love: Christmas Ornaments

This is the third Christmas Chip and I have spent together as a married couple. We’re still slowly creating our own holiday traditions, but my favorite one is collecting new ornaments throughout the year. Whenever we go on a trip together, we try to always buy an ornament to take home with us. Over the first two years of our marriage, we collected ornaments in Italy on our honeymoon, an ornament from when we saw The Lion King and The Nutcracker at The Majestic here in town, our first trip to Fredericksburg. This year we were able to add a few more ornaments from our different trips. While decorating our tree the other weekend, it was fun checking out each ornament and getting to reflect on what this year has brought us. We hope that someday our tree will have only these types of ornaments that will always remind us how we’ve been  blessed and all the different adventures we’ve had together.

Cork Ornament from a day trip to Fredericksburg with my parents and the Behams

Cork ornament from a day trip to Fredericksburg with my parents and the Behams

Seashell basket from Nantucket

Seashell basket from Nantucket

Cape Elizabeth in Maine

Cape Elizabeth in Maine

From the Red Sox vs. Yankees game at Fenway

From the Red Sox vs. Yankees game at Fenway

San Francisco Ornament

San Francisco Ornament

Grape leaf from Napa

Snowflake from another trip to Fredericksburg for our birthdays this year and a grape leaf ornament from Napa

I love Christmas trees

I love Christmas trees

A Full Weekend

Last weekend was a wonderfully full, holiday-packed weekend. As busy as it was, it left me very happy and grateful for the Advent season and the community we’re surrounded by.

Friday kicked off with our youth group high school girls sleepover. After meeting for dinner at the Quarry and going to the Trinity Christmas Concert (always one of my favorite events of the holiday season), we spent the night at Haley’s house decorating Christmas cookies (which quickly transformed into Little Mermaid cookies), laughing at a hastily attempted lip dub to “Roar,” and watching a bit of Pride and Prejudice before falling asleep for the night.

Decorating cookies

Decorating cookies

Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies

Little Mermaid cookies

Little Mermaid cookies

Saturday morning, Chip and Matt were kind enough to bring over some breakfast tacos before we all left for the annual Redeemer Christmas boxes outreach event. Here’s a video that was shared based on last year’s turnout. I’m so encouraged that this year we had even more people volunteering than last year and were able to make more boxes in less time. It’s pretty awesome to see so many groups from San Antonio come serve together.

Once we finished Christmas boxes, Chip and I went back to the Behams house before we all packed into Chip’s truck to go get our Christmas trees at Home Depot. Now last year, we went to a cute little Christmas tree farm and bought some (way too expensive) trees. This year, we toned it down a bit and got some serious deals! And let me say, the quality of the trees at Home Depot was really good so be sure to check them out.

Loading up at Home Depot

Loading up at Home Depot

Chip and I then came home to set up our tree and start cooking our traditional lasagna for dinner. We usually have “something” happen when we’re trying to get our tree up. Our first year as a married couple, we got into a nice little argument over whether or not the tree was straight. I will admit that I had Chip go back and forth half a dozen times in adjusting the tree so his frustration was understandable. Last year was pretty uneventful, but we made up for it last weekend. While Chip would lift the heavy tree up, I was trying to move the base around so we could get the tree in more easily. Unfortunately Chip brought the tree down before I was fully out of the way, which means my right hand was still on the edge of the stand… I’m not going to lie, it definitely hurt, but thankfully my fingers barely even bruised and were just more scraped up than anything. The sacrifices we make for Christmas decorations…

Christmas tree battle wounds

Christmas tree battle wounds

Once the lasagna was in the oven we got started on decorating. This is probably the fullest tree we’ve had so we ran out of lights about halfway through. Thankfully Chip offered to run to Target real quick to get us a few more strands (pretty sure he didn’t want me to go to Target because I totally would have come back with more Christmas decorations). We started putting up a few of our favorite ornaments when Matt and Haley came over to join us for dinner and dessert, which was a coffee cake from Pippa Middleton’s Celebrate book – I’ll be sharing that recipe later!

First Starbucks red cup of the year - perfect for decorating the tree

First Starbucks red cup of the year – perfect for decorating the tree

Wrigley couldn't believe we ran out of lights

Wrigley couldn’t believe we ran out of lights

Chip decorating the tree

Chip decorating the tree

O, Christmas tree

O, Christmas tree

Wrigs wasn't ready for the picture

Wrigs wasn’t ready for the picture

Love these two boys

Love these two boys

Redeemer Christmas Party

Redeemer Christmas Party

Sunday evening was the Redeemer Christmas Party, which we always really enjoy. It’s fun to get dressed up, eat a nice meal, listen to a Christmas sermon, and sing along to some jazzy holiday tunes. This year we were able to bring one of my former coworkers and her husband with us and had such a great time catching up with them and hearing all about their sweet baby girl. The Christmas party was a wonderful way to wrap up our very full weekend and also remind us the true reason for this advent season and that however busy we may be with “holiday” events, we don’t make Christmas happen. God does. And for that, I am extremely thankful.

Sorry, Frosty

I recently wrote about how much I love Christmas music. Well, I have a confession to make… even though I could listen to Christmas music non-stop (which I have been for the past month and a half…), there are some songs that I honestly cannot stand. If these songs come on my Pandora stations, they are sure to get a thumbs down. Or if they come on the radio, I will either quickly pull up my Pandora app on my phone or if I’m in my car I’ll put in my Garibaldi Christmas CD or just halfheartedly sing along. I know. So terrible. I’m slightly ashamed.

 So which songs get under my skin? At the top of the list is “Frosty the Snowman.” Does that make me a grinch? I think part of it is because I never learned this story/song as a child past “Frosty the Snoman was a jolly happy soul….”, and another part is that to me this song has nothing to do with Christmas (is Frosty here just because he’s made of snow?). While I know the lyrics now as an adult, I just don’t have any interest in it. Sorry, Frosty, I don’t think we can be friends.

Another one that I really can’t stand is “Grandma Got Run Over by  a Reindeer.” I mean, really? How is this a Christmas song? Thankfully I will hear this song only a few times a year, guess it just isn’t a popular song request (can’t imagine why…). I also struggle with “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.” I guess it’s cute-ish in theory, but definitely not my favorite. Pretty much the only version I will listen to is by the Jackson 5. Little MJ has some awesome Christmas music.

Now, my next one isn’t necessarily a specific song but anything by The Carpenters. I can’t take it. Everything they sing sounds so…. meh. Do they intentionally sing every song slower than normal? I will literally roll my eyes whenever their songs come on my Christmas stations and try to hit the skip button as quickly as possible.

One last song that just doesn’t do it for me is “Silver Bells.” For some reason I’ve just never been a fan of this tune.

Sigh… I feel so much better getting this off my chest. Are there any Christmas songs you could do without?

Thankful

It’s here, folks. Thanksgiving week! It’s finally feeling like fall here in San Antonio so I am more than ready to kick off the holidays.

I saw this quote on Pinterest recently and it made me realize that I don’t spend hardly enough time thanking God for all the blessings He provides. Hard lessons, sweet friends, times of rest, times of joy, a crazy dog, a supportive husband, a messy house. This week, I am hoping to do a post everyday with something I am thankful for and I encourage you to do the same. We shouldn’t just rely on Thursday’s dinner to quickly share what we’re thankful for, but be in constant reflection.

What are some things you’re thankful for?

Source

Things I Love: Christmas Music

Confession: I really really love Christmas music. I saw this on Pinterest the other week and thought it was just about perfect:

Time to Rock Around the Christmas Tree

Time to Rock Around the Christmas Tree

If I can make it to Halloween without listening to Christmas music, then I’ve shown serious self-control. This year, I had one week where I got over-excited (pretty sure we had a cold front come in) so I had to play some holiday tunes for a few days before listening to more Monster Mash for Halloween. But once November 1st hit, it was on. Christmas music full time. Thankfully Chip has fully accepted this part of me and no longer complains when there is constant Christmas music going on (although if he gets command of the radio/itunes, he’ll go to anything not Christmas).

I’ve just about always loved Christmas music. There have been some classic favorites over the years and also a few new ones each holiday season. So get ready to Jingle Bell Rock with me and check out my list of favorite Christmas songs that Buddy the Elf would be proud of. Please note: this list was extremely hard to keep to just 10 and I apologize to all the songs I had to leave off.

Garibaldi:

I have been listening to Garibaldi’s Christmas CD pretty much my entire life… it was always our Christmas morning tradition to listen to this while opening gifts. Nothing takes me back to childhood memories around the tree faster than this CD can. Please note: this music is so old that this was the only song I could find on YouTube. I was hoping to find Las Posadas, but no such luck. If you’d like to hear it, let me know. This CD is always in my car.

O Come All Ye Faithful:

This has been a favorite of mine over the last few years. I appreciate how simple the lyrics are while speaking to the Christmas story so beautifully, especially with the verse “Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given; word of the Father, now in flesh appearing: O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.” Nat King Cole’s version will always be a favorite, but I love how Josh Groban has the song crescendo to the last verse.

Sleigh Ride:

Let’s be real. This is a classic; it’s not a holiday season without this song. There are lots of different versions out there, but the Boston Pops Orchestra is my favorite. You just can’t beat the brass instruments coming in around 1:45. Makes me want to do a good jazz square. Harry Connick Jr. also does a great rendition of this song.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:

I wasn’t really a big fan of this song too much growing up, but it has become a favorite over the last couple of years. The lyrics just hit me at “God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay, remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day to save of us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. O, tidings of comfort of joy.” Such a great reminder of what we’re really celebrating when it’s so easy to get caught up in the buzz and sparkle of the holidays. This MercyMe version is one of the best (in my opinion), but you should also check out Glee’s cover.

Little Drummer Boy:

Little Drummer Boy is one of the most underrated Christmas songs. I really like this version by Jars of Clay, but MercyMe and Josh Groban also do a great job with this song.

Do You Hear What I Hear:

Another song that I feel is too underrated. One of the things I love most about this song is how it builds the story through each verse. My favorite goes to Carrie Underwood because she actually does all four verses. Best dramatic version is definitely Glee, although it drives me crazy that they don’t do the last verse of the song. #angryelf  Destiny’s Child also has a great cover (but skip the last verse) and Whitney Houston can’t be left off of this list, either (she also does all four verses).

Joy to the World:

Over the last few years, this has been my favorite Christmas song. It’s such a great declaration of the feeling we should feel because of Christ’s birth: joy! While not 100% accurate lyrics wise, I absolutely love Mariah Carey’s version of this song. Get ready to clap along, it’s just about impossible to resist. Also, shout out to Mariah for another favorite – All I Want for Christmas is You.

O Holy Night:

This has been a favorite of mine throughout the years. From about 6th grade to too far into high school than I would like to admit, NSYNC’s version was my favorite (I’ll never forget buying their Christmas CD at Target with my dad and brother). Mariah Carey’s is also up there at the top of the list. If pop music isn’t your style, Nat King Cole can’t be beat.

12 Days of Christmas:

An awesome cover of one of the oldest songs out there. Love the creativity in the lyrics and the ending to the song is pretty darn brilliant.

Need a Little Christmas Now:

You want an instant Christmas dance party? Listen to this version by Glee and be sure to have the volume up. Makes me want to go get our Christmas tree now.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?

More on our two year anniversary

This past weekend, our friends Riley and Becca got married in Tennessee. We were so excited to celebrate their love and spend time with so many friends. I’ll be posting about that fun weekend in Nashville soon, so stay tuned! Having just celebrated our two year anniversary last week, it was so great to hear once again what the Bible says about marriage during Riley and Becca’s ceremony.

Our marriage is a covenant made between Chip and myself and our Father in Heaven. I am so thankful to be married to a man that finds this covenant incredibly important and am grateful for how committed Chip is to making sure we never forget to rely on Christ everyday, regardless of how easy or hard life is. Marriage is a wonderful gift that challenges us to be selfless and serve each other and I am so glad I get to share it with this guy.

As a quick follow up to my last post on our anniversary, here are a few pictures from the day.

Chip was super sweet and dropped off a huge flower arrangement at Bromley for me to enjoy at work all day. It made my desk smell amazing and it was pretty fun trying to figure out how to get these flowers home.

Flowers from Chip

Flowers from Chip

Flowers

Flowers

We went to Piatti for dinner and had a nice meal together. With Chip’s study schedule, we don’t always get a whole lot of time together right now, so it was great to just slow down and talk and laugh without having to worry about finishing dinner in time for Chip’s evening study session (thanks for taking the night off of studying!). We also brought a bottle of wine from our trip to Fredericksburg last year for our first anniversary. We are definitely going to have to get this wine again!! So. Good. The food was pretty tasty and our waiter did a great job taking care of us. Once he found out it was our anniversary, he covered our corkage fee for us and even gave us an extra dessert (thanks!!)

Wine from Pedernales with dinner

Wine from Pedernales with dinner

Celebrating two years!

Celebrating two years!

After dinner, we spent a little bit of time at Barnes & Noble looking at travel books. We’ve always wanted to travel more together, so we’re going to try to go to San Francisco and Napa sometime in the fall as a belated anniversary gift. Can’t wait!!

Planning for fall 2013!

Planning for fall 2013!

Two year anniversary

Today is our two year anniversary… hooray! After the learning curve of our first year of marriage, I feel like we’ve grown a lot this past year, both as a couple as well as individually. I am so thankful for all that we continue to learn from each other, from family, from close friends, and from the community in Redeemer. All of you may not realize it, but you really do have an impact on our lives and we are so thankful for each of you.

Thanks, Chip, for being such a great husband to me. For always making me laugh. For serving together. For encouraging me to experiment with different recipes. For spoiling Wrigley. For being a pro at mowing the lawn. For being my voice of reason and biggest supporter. For being my best friend. Here’s to many more years to come!

Took a trip to Colorado

During our trip to Colorado last summer

One of this year's Christmas pictures

One of this year’s Christmas pictures

May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011