Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!

I LOVE the Fall season and PART of Winter. I say PART, because it doesn’t even start until December 20th something and then I ONLY like winter up through January 1st!

I love Fall for the bright and vibrant colors of the changing leaves, pumpkins and other such things relating to the harvest season, the slight Chill that enters the air AND for college football season! Thanksgiving is also a wonderful time to spend with family and friends and to think of the many blessings in my life.

But, I think I love the month of December more than any other month! I LOVE the Christmas Holiday season!! And, here’s why. My top ten:

10. The "cheer" and excitement in the air... for the most part people are nicer this time of year!

9. Holiday movies that bring back memories of my childhood (like Frosty the Snowman) or just make me laugh and laugh (ELF!)

8. Receiving Christmas cards in the mail with pictures and updates on friends/extended family that I don't get to talk to as often

7. Decorating and the holiday decorations and sitting in front of a fire place with the lights off except for the tree

6. The yummy food and treats :)... and the holiday parties!

5. The chance to think about what others need and buy it for them without them wondering why you did it

4. A quiet day at home with family/friends and knowing I don't have ANY reason to be running errands or out and about

3. The Music!! I could listen all day long. I have a special place in my heart for O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells!

2. Family coming together or talking for a while on the phone

And, drumroll please...

The number 1 reason:
1. Jesus Christ: He has brought meaning to my (and everyone's) mortal existence and has given us the gift of eternal life! His is the perfect example of how I should live and it is because of him that I can feel hope, peace and joy not only during the Christmas season... but all year long!

There’s just some “magic” about this season… and I think it comes down to people letting the “Spirit of Christ” enter their heart... whether they believe in Him or not! It changes people and I think it’s a ripple effect. The change in one person’s heart and outlook, changes another, etc.

This December was just incredible for me and I feel very blessed. Here are some pictures to show some of the highlights, but really, when it comes down to it, the magic and wonder of Christmas is, for me, everything included in my top ten list… with number one being the best!

A couple of friends of mine organized the most elegant and fun Christmas party I have been to (ever, maybe). It was held at a beautiful home in Potomac, MD where there were more rooms on the first floor than rooms in my whole house! It was beautifully decorated for the holidays, and there were place settings for all 30 of us! I felt it such an honor to be invited!

We were told to wear our "best dress". Well, that slightly panicked me because
I don't own a dress! Crazy, huh? I own lots of skirts, nice sweaters and shirts, but no dresses, especially no fancy ones. I always have problems finding one that is the right length and not too short. It seems like the cute knee length dresses always fall way to short for me. And, because I wear jeans and warmups to work, my wardrobe has not needed any adjustments! So, I decided to give it another try and headed to Macy's on a Saturday in December. Me and a gazillion other people, but OH - I found a dress (2 actually!) And adorable black shoes and jewelry too! A definite splurge, but a very fun one! And, I got enough compliments at the party to make it worth EVERY cent!

We were asked to bring either a talent to share or a dessert. The choice was easy for me and I started to look through my cookbooks! Others were adventurous...

Practicing for the debut of (as I call it) the "Ho, Ho, Ho" song. Hilarious
Friends awaiting the talent portion of the evening.

Michelle - Looking adorable as a reindeer!
Chad and Chelsea taking their turn to participate in the "Ho, Ho, Ho" song!
Russ and Brad then taking their turn too!
Definitely one of the hits from the evenings talents.
These were the four girls who were the masterminds behind the party... and shared their special talent as well (learned and mastered that same day!)
Caroling around the piano
Chelsea, Michelle and I

Now transitioning. My employment this year as a nanny, means so much more than just tending children! I have many varied tasks and responsibilities, and one of them was decorating for Christmas. I will NEVER forget my reaction when I first saw this tree and the **** I went through in putting lights on it. I can look back now and laugh (a little), but I will never forget it!
I just don't think this picture does the tree justice! The room has vaulted ceilings, and as you can see it's taller the bookshelves, which are probably at the normal height of a ceiling. I had to use a ladder to get to the tippy top. It's also about 6 feet wide... maybe 7. It had to be delivered by a special truck! Despite my initial interaction with it, it was quite beautiful in the end. But, the entire time I envisioned a squirrel jumping out of it like in the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!

Christmas EVE!
I invited my mom, brother and sister in law over to the house where I work since they were out of town. We enjoyed dinner, sitting around the fire, and then a fun game afterwards that my sister in law introduced us to! It was such a wonderful evening! I love time with family!
Mom by the ever-famous tree!
Evan :)
Then, this is the tree in my apartment! My roommate totally decked out our kitchen and family room and I loved it! It was fun to sit by the tree at night with the lights off and just enjoy the beauty of it! So... this is me in my pjs all full of excitement for Santa to come :)

Christmas Day!
I had a PERFECT Christmas holiday. It was quiet, but just wonderful. My brother and Madison came over later in the morning to open gifts. I got some things I had asked for, as well as some very nice pieces of clothing my sister in law had picked out!

Madison and Evan also wanted to host Christmas dinner. They had invited Madison's cousin and her family to join as well. All my mom and I had to do was bring the turkey! Easier said than done. My mom has made many
turkeys in her motherhood years... no sweat right?

Well, it would have turned out perfectly if my oven had 1. Heated up & 2. Not turned itself off TWICE! We didn't realize number 1 till after an hour of cooking. And, we didn't realize number 2 until 2 hours into the cooking!

So, needless to say, 30 minutes before we are supposed to be at Evan's, I call and say we're going to be 30 min late. My mom and I take the turkey out of the oven and slice it into pieces. We then cook those pieces on the stove top like it's chicken breast! Pretty creative! We only cook enough for our dinner and then I take the basically raw turkey out to the dumpster.

Raw turkey getting sliced!

FORTUNATELY, dinner guests were very flexible and not "die-hard must have" drumstick and gravy or dark meat kind of people to make their Christmas dinner a success! Madison had made everything else for the dinner and it was all wonderful! We had fun getting to know her cousin and her cousins family and spending time just talking. So nice! They had a cute little 6 month old baby who was the star of the evening as well!

Mom and Evan setting the table
My mom isn't that short... he's just really tall!
Evan and Madison's Christmas tree!
It's really unique in that 98% of the ornaments are all hearts. In her family, each child has a theme for ornaments they are given over the years. She is a heart. They have labeled Evan with ships! So, there is one ship ornament on their tree and one White House 2010 ornament (which I gave them.) Every other ornament is a heart!
Evan and Madison
Family :)
I am always a bit melancoly when the holidays are over. Such a wonderful time of year. Fortunately for me, I had the week in between Christmas and New Years off... and was able to come home to PA for some of it! There really is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!... But, Christmas is where your family is, and that was what made it wonderful! Maybe some year we can ALL be together instead of spread out between Washington, Colorado and DC!


Maylene said...

I loved that you put up pictures of all the Christmas trees you visited! I'm glad you had a Merry Christmas :) That was so funny about the turkey. I would probably be so annoyed and grumpy about something like that. I guess you made it work :)

HaH said...

You looked stunning in your new holiday dress!

And I love the idea of Christmas ornament themes for people!

Arnesia Newsome said...

Seems like you had a ball! Happy New year and I love your pictures that you put up with this blog... haha about the turkey. stop by my blog sometime

Emma said...

Sounds like a great holiday. What a fun Christmas Party - you look gorgeous by the way - good job on the dress!
And good job on that HUGE tree! Yowza!