Snow

The day started with me waking up and peeking through the blinds of my bedroom window to see snow falling heavily. I laid there and watched it fall, able to hear it through the thin glass, and able to smell it through the cracks in the wooden window frame. Trey kept asking what I was doing, because I was making a lot of noise as I moved the blinds around to get a better view. We watched it fall, hopeful that I wouldn’t have to go into work. Eventually, I got ready for work anyway and we ran outside to play in it before I had to leave.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetSeveral hours, and four more inches of snow later, I came home to him making a decadent, thick hot chocolate, and pouring it into travel mugs so that we could go for a walk. I was so antsy and nervous that I had missed out on all of the snow fun, and that everyone would make everything soggy and melty before I could really get out there to see it. But, I was wrong. It was perfect. I hadn’t missed anything, and we settled in to hours and hours of white winter bliss.

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I thought that it was just a Homewood thing, but I found out that almost all of the homes in the communities around Birmingham have Christmas trees in their yards. Some of them are decorated, some play music, some are just glowing brightly with warm, white lights. We usually only see the ones in Homewood, and I’m best friends with all of them. I   love love love love that I live in a city that loves to celebrate Christmas.

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Trey took pictures of every snowman that he found on all of the walks that he took that day, but this one was my favorite.

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I love this amazing drone picture that my brother in law took.

We walked for miles and miles, singing “Snow” from White Christmas, laughing all the way. We came home to a cold apartment that we warmed up with space heaters, candles, and Christmas tree lights. We ate spaghetti aglio e olio and watched Christmas movies while our power flickered on and off, from the weight of the snow on the power lines.

More snow pictures will come, and hopefully more snow will come, too!

 

Newlywed Traditions

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I married someone whose body runs on jingle bells, sugar cookies, and old-fashioned Christmas decor. Starting with our very first Christmas season together, we wanted to accomplish all the things. We saw The Nutcracker that year, made gingerbread houses at a Christmas party that his sister threw. We cut out paper snowflakes and decorated everything with Christmas lights. I showed him all the best Christmas lights that I know of in Alabama. We watched Christmas movies every single day. I put Christmas lights all around his bedroom…attached to his ceiling. Which was a bad idea, looking back. But, from that first year, Christmas has gotten bigger and bigger.

We started a tradition last year where we pick out one Christmas ornament, and one Christmas children’s book. Last year, he picked out a plushy, dumpy, black and white, amorphous felty blob that somehow perfectly resembles our cat, James. I picked The Nutcracker. I loved this illustrated version of one of my all-time-favorite Christmastime experiences. This year, it’s my turn to pick the ornament, and Trey picks the book.

We spent last Christmas in Florida, where we forced it to feel like Christmas while we spent every day beneath palm trees, and celebrated anytime the temperature dropped below 70. When we moved back, we said that this Christmas, we were going to do it all. And so we are. We are focusing more on experiences rather than presents, and we are squeezing everything we can out of this magical season.

Mini Gift Guide: His Edition

This is a gift guide for brothers, fathers, male friends, cousins, male coworkers, and whoever else. It could be for husbands, too. But, not mine because then he would think that he is getting some of this good stuff and Christmas is a season for secrets and magic, so this is not a gift guide for my husband, though he would love all of this. What a sentence.  Here we go. Scroll over the photos for links.

  1. A fun sweatshirt and t-shirt. I love everything that Bitter Southerner does. Their apparel is perfect for the cool southerners in your life.
  2. Perfect wall art. I love vintage paint by numbers, and this Etsy account has so many options, and there’s something for everyone. This is perfect for that guy in your life that loves antique stores, and all things art.
  3. An educational book about cocktails. I think cookbooks are also always appropriate.
  4. A very, very fun flask.
  5. Socks from Little River Sock Mill. These socks are made in a small mill in Alabama, and are so soft and wonderful. They’re not just socks, they’re special socks.
  6. A perfect flannel. Because flannel is easy to throw on and go, and this is perfect for your brother who tends to wake up a little late, and needs something comfortable and easy to get him through the day.
  7. A dop kit. Perfect for YOUR husband or brother who keeps their toiletries a plastic bag when they travel. Get that fella what he needs.

 

Thankful

For the past several years, as we gathered in my grandparent’s eat-in-kitchen, we would hold hands and say a prayer. My grandfather would always give it, and he would ask for blessings over the food that we were about to eat, and he would give thanks. In the long, beautiful list of everything that he would express gratitude for, he would give thanks that we all were there, surrounding the room for another year. Every year, the prayer had that. At Thanksgiving, Christmas, any event that we all gathered at and a great deal of food was present. And every year it hurt more and more, because we all knew that this could be the last prayer.

This year, my older brother said the prayer. He also carved the turkey, which had also always been my grandfather’s job. The day had a weight on it. Everything that I wanted to be easy, felt hard. Every hug meant more. Every voice was a little bit quieter. But, it was a good day.

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I was able to go home for a couple of days before Thanksgiving, which I’m very grateful about. My mom and I got to have our favorite salads, and we sat in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace and looked at Christmas magazines together. I celebrated a best friend and the baby boy(!) that she will be having in the spring.

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I have so many things to be thankful for. But right in this moment, I am grateful for my husband. He loves me in my lowest lows and my highest highs. Happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours from me and mine.

Good Together

This weekend, Abbey married Colby. The ceremony was beautiful with hawks flying overhead, and they were married beneath a tree, in her parents’ backyard behind their barn. Everything was perfectly Abbey. The reception was a wild dance party. Her godfather wore sparkly gold vans that he made himself “for his fashionista goddaughter”. The family brought out the Topper cigars that are present at every Crain/Roth get-together. There were moscow mules and manhattans for the sipping. The dinner was HeAvEnLy, and just so happened to be from the place where Colby asked Abbey’s father ‘s permission to marry her. I’m confident that every single attendee had a wonderful time, which I don’t believe can always be said for all weddings. This was special though. There is so much love on both sides of Abbey and Colby, and so much support that is ready to be given should the need arise.

Here’s a recap of the best wedding ever.

Thursday: I went up for the wedding a day earlier so that I could help finish up a few things and spend some time with Abbey. We went to dinner with her family and her *new* in-laws, and then spent the evening listening to Christmas music and wrapping up wedding to-do’s. Christmas music seemed to play in the background throughout the weekend, which kept everyone extra cheerful, and kept the bride calm.

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Friday: We had a slow start to the morning and sipped coffee on her parents’ back porch. We went on a scenic walk to get our heart rates pumping and to work off a little of that steak and wine from the night before. The rehearsal went well and then there was a Halloween themed rehearsal dinner for the two of them. There was a video, expertly made by her cousin Daniel, and there were speeches given by a few of their nearest and dearest.

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Saturday: Wedding day. The morning was moody and dim, which I’m thinking was meant to be, just so Abbey could  sleep in. We watched Father of the Bride and drank mimosas and snacked all morning, turning Christmas music on whenever Abbey started feeling a little jittery.

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We pampered ourselves, had our hair and makeup done, and just spent time together. Props to Abbey for finding a squad that is so easy to like and love.

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I mean LOOK AT HER. I would marry her.

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I only saw her for a few minutes after the ceremony because brides have to be on the MOVE. But, she looked phenomenal. He looked so handsome.

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BADA$$ BABEZ

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My three favorites. Notice that nod to GoT on Daniel’s jacket.

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Despite the chill in the air, everyone had a smile on their face.

 

Abbey and Colby, “may the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

This Season

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I can’t say enough about this man that I married. I talk about him all the time, and thankfully no one gets annoyed. My days end with coming home to him, or him coming home to me, and I think that is one of life’s simplest pleasures. He is smart, witty, handsome, sincere, kind, loving, strong, generous, chivalrous, warm, and I said before that I think his body runs on tinsel, jingle bells, and antique Christmas ornaments. He is merry, and oh how I love him so. He is such a romantic. He is thoughtful and I don’t think that I’ve ever had to remind him to be thankful for anything. He is the perfect match for me, in every single way. Where I can be careless and scattered, he stands one step ahead with the thing that I thought I forgot. Where I can be moody and grouchy, he knows when to sit tight and let the wave roll by, and when to chime in and bring me back to reality. So often, it feels like he and I share a wavelength that no one else is on. We communicate so well, and we know which buttons not to push. We know how to throw water on the fire, and which moves to take to avoid fanning any flames. He knows when I need my mom. He knows when I need my girlfriends. He knows when I just need to come home and crawl in bed. He knows where my bobby pins are, while I never do. These are just a few examples, and are nothing in relation to the entire picture of what makes him who he is, and what makes him perfect for me.

If you want to gag and stop reading go ahead, but I’m still going.

We are in this season of our lives that we have never been in before. We are pressing pause on travel plans, so that we can tackle bigger things. We are talking about getting a puppy one day in the not so far away future. We are soaking up every bit of time with each other before we bring anyone else into our little family. We are trying to balance work with visits to our families. We are continuing to learn about each other, and gaining strength through this. We are working towards our future, and finding joy in every step of the process. I said in yesterday’s post, “if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.” This remains to be true. We must be doing it right, because we are having fun.

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A few thoughts:

I married my own, personal hero. He saved the day and saved me from melting into a weepy puddle on the floor yesterday by recovering some lost recordings of my grandfather singing me the song he has sang to me since I was a baby. I looked everywhere for these, and pulled all of my tech skills to the front lines for the search. I scoured my hard drive and found backups upon backups, but couldn’t find the recordings. I wasn’t patient enough to wait for Trey to get home, so I looked, failed, and gave up – positive that they were probably deleted years and years ago by mistake. Moments after I had declared them lost forever, Trey waltzed in the door and within ten minutes the recordings were found. Then, I turned into a weepy puddle on the couch.

Our home is coming along, day by day and I like it more and more every time I walk through the door. There are still things that it needs, and changes that we will make – but it’s our home and it feels like US.

I think I’m going to paint Saturday when I’m off work. I need to work on my embroidery, but it has been so long since I’ve worked on anything other than our home – that no matter what I do, it will be a happy vacation from my current norm.

My dad and step mother sold their home, which means that a colossal weight has been lifted off of them. I’ll be making a quick trip to Florence tomorrow to sort through boxes and boxes of Highschool Sarah’s treasures.

It’s time to wake Trey up.