Mood Board:

Out with the old, in with the new.

I’ve been spending all of my “downtime” sorting, selling, donating, and throwing away. We had a day recently where Trey and I rearranged our living room because it was feeling too “meh”. Granted, this new furniture composition has opened my eyes to so many things that our home is missing, which will be an ongoing project. BUT, I’m just feeling tired of the NOW.

I’m tired of spending far too long looking at my closet, trying to decide what to wear, knowing that I’ll end up wearing one of the button-downs that I wear every other day. I’m tired of digging through drawers of socks to find one of the ones that won’t show over my sneakers. I’m tired of looking around and thinking, “Gosh, we have a lot of stuff.”

I want to be able to move from here, with less than half of what we came with. I want to be real with myself about what I love, what I want, and how I treat my body. I want to stop eating luscious, pillowy HERO Donuts, just because my husband is addicted to them. I want to cool it on the red meats a bit. I want to add more color to my diet, and more activity to my day. I’m not being too hard on myself with all of this, though. Grief knocked all momentum out of me, life happened, work drained me, and then it was so.damn.cold. BUT. Sunny days are like a healing balm for me, and the temperature is warming up just enough so that breathing in deeply doesn’t feel like pins sticking my lungs.

So, I’m ready now. With this change, and this step forward, I’ll be evolving this blog. I’m tired of looking at it, frustrated that I can never make it look like I want it to. SO, I’m enlisting the talent of a friend, switching to a new platform, and we are going to work to transition this space into one that I’m happy with, and proud of.

Decking the Halls

Today I found myself sitting in a chair, and staring at my Christmas tree for a very, very long time. It felt luxurious, to sit and stare like that. George slept soundly on the couch, while James slept under the window. I almost made my mom’s hot chocolate recipe so that I could make the experience even more perfect, but instead I pulled out my camera and began documenting nearly every inch of decorated space. In a few weeks, all of this will be transformed back to the ordinary, so I want to remember our first Christmas back in Birmingham, where we had a snow day, and where I helped Trey dress while he was recovering from surgery.

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My coffee table this month held a candle that smelled of frankincense, a bowl of my favorite polaroids from past Christmas seasons, the most gorgeous gift tags that I saved from a gift from a friend, and my Christmassy books.

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Trey picked out this vintage edition of The Night Before Christmas, and I love the quirky printing.

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This is the book that I picked last year that took one of my favorite stories and made it swirlier, twirlier, and sweeter than I had ever seen it. I always felt that I related to the heroine in The Nutcracker. Her brother broke her toys, as did mine. Some editions have her named Sarah, others Marie, others Clara, others Maria, but I’ve always felt that I related to each and every version of her.

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One of my all-time favorite Christmas books is I Spy. I remember making my older brother sit and look at it with me. He had one page, I had the other, and we would spend hours, laying on our bellies in the floor, searching and searching.

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This year, I dried oranges and hung them all over our tree. I love the way that the light shines through them, resembling stained glass. Years ago, Trey and I made cinnamon ornaments that are still holding up, despite moving many times. Last year, we filled clear glass ornaments with paint on our anniversary trip, and one of those can be seen here.

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This year, we spent part of our anniversary scouring antique stores for antique sheet music and antique Christmas post cards. We found a treasure trove, and I stocked up.

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Below are a few of my favorite finds, a page from a book showing Santa Claus stuffing stockings, and a postcard featuring a giant Christmas tree with a city skyline behind it. I have these displayed proudly beside a photo that I took of my grandfather with film years ago. It was one of the last times that he grilled for all of us, and I sat outside with him while he sang to me and told me stories while the smell of charcoal filled the cold air. I recorded these conversations, but I can’t bring myself to listen to them yet.

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Below is a closeup of the vintage stamps that a friend used on a Christmas card sent to us years ago. She put so much work into her Christmas cards that year, even hiring someone to write everyone’s instagram names in calligraphy! This is a prized possession of mine, and it brings me overwhelming joy when I see it.

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I strung up more dried oranges in a window with my “Merry and Bright” banner. I love love love these dried oranges, and I’ll hate to see them go.

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I’m spending the rest of today curled up on my couch, surrounded by the home I’ve made, and deeply appreciating all of it. It’s making these cold, January days feel so much warmer.

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Welcome, 2018!

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2017 was a challenging year. We started the year in Florida, where we felt our priorities shift, and we both changed our minds about what we want to do with our lives. We found strength, and comfort in each other. We moved back to Alabama, soaked up as much time as we could with all of the people that we had missed so much. My grandfather passed away, and I was able to be by his side through it. Grief hung like a cloud over the rest of the year, but there were so many sunny memories that shined through. I celebrated the marriage of my Abbey, and the pregnancy of my dear friend, Hope. I got to see my older brother more than I have in years, since he and I both live in AL again. I moved my sister in law into a dorm at UA. I was able to catch up with my friend Tess, and we’re practically neighbors and it’s fantastic. I made a best friend out of a coworker, and it’s the fastest friendship I’ve ever known. I hosted a Halloween party, and attended a Friendsgiving, and a Christmas party, all with people that we are so happy to know. And, we added a puppy to our family last week.

But last night was one of my favorite memories of the entire year. We were invited to several NYE parties, and invited to go to a friend’s house for cocktails and Monopoly, but we ended up staying home. It was fifteen degrees outside, and we had just turned our heat on after holding out for as long as we could. Trey mixed up some cocktails for us, we popped a bottle of champagne, and we curled up on the couch with one of our favorite shows. The night turned to Trey taking me through his Apple Music, playing the songs that he found this year and fell in love with. He danced. He sang. I took a couple of secret videos because he is the funniest person I know, and I fell in love with him all over again. Β  I feel like nights like the one I just had are the nights that solidify the foundation we set in our marriages. When you are just together. And that’s it. You set work, worries, anxiety, and everyone else aside and you’re just together. We found ourselves laughing our way into 2018, and my heart feels light.

 

Happy New Year, to you and yours.