Wednesday, December 9, 2015

holiday home tour.

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the lights and the trees and the holiday treats and the good cheer. I love giving gifts and spending time with the ones we hold dear. 

And with that,  I would like to invite you into our home. Oh how I wish we could host you all for a warm dinner or a cup of coffee, but for some, time and distance will keep us from that this year. So instead, I invite you in via pictures and words. It is my prayer that you would feel the love and cheer we share in our home as you take our holiday home tour. 

First, I invite you into the kitchen where the majority of the holiday madness takes place. I bought this adorable snowman spatula you see below at Williams-Sonoma. It reminds me of my granny who always made it a point to bake with me during the holidays and has a beautiful snowman collection. 

 One of our naughty elves also resides in the kitchen atop our cabinets. I like to think he's supervising the holiday baking. These elves are just two of my great-grandmother's collection. It is so sweet to have a little piece of Christmas tradition that has now been passed down 4 generations in our home.

My favorite part of our entire apartment is our dining room where we have our tree and we host friends and family. The space is a little tight, but then again what space isn't tight in a one bedroom apartment. 

When you don't have a fireplace, you must get creative with the stockings. 

Our centerpiece is something new I put together this year with a little help of Pinterest inspiration. I got this beautiful red ceramic bowl on clearance at HomeGoods and filled it with pinecones from the Wisconsin north woods my mom picked up for me (she's the best!). I added 3 pillar candles in the center, a few greens and bam... a gorgeous centerpiece that reminds me of home and the quiet woods. 

We have these letters up all year, but I really love how they look with our natural, rustic Christmas tree. I don't think I could've planned it any better. 

Most of the ornaments on our tree were handed down to us from my momma. She and I picked them out a few years back from "the idea store" in Green Bay. It is seriously the best place to get Christmas decorating ideas. 

Okay, let me tell you about these colored lights you see. Roy's parents so graciously gave us this tree to have this year (thank you!).  It is a gorgeous tree, however it is prelit. With colored lights. Not my thing. So we did what all teachers do... we problem solved. We just took one bulb out of each set of colored lights and there you have it... no colored lights. Well, at least none that come on. When you look at our tree from a distance, you would never know there are colored lights on it. It's only when I take super up close pictures that it looks a little funny. But like I said, the tree is so full and beautiful that I just couldn't turn it down simply for it's colored lights. 

Although I like to carry on the themed tree, there is always room for the Packers ornament. 

Elf #2 (they really need some names... suggestions appreciated!) hangs from the top of our tree. I imagine he's climbed all the way to the top and now doesn't know what to do with himself at this point. 

I originally bought this lantern for our wedding, but I've changed the candle with each new season and it's like a brand new lantern every time. I love the versatility of it. Our Christmas countdown was also a Pinterest inspired homemade creation. I just used some scrap wood, letter stamps and a clothespin.


And of course our family room has a few little touches of Christmas. 

This tree was given to us by my dad and the snowman was my mom's. One of the reasons I love Christmas so much is that it is a time to spend with family, and even if this Christmas means I will be spending it away from them physically, they are definitely in our home spreading holiday joy and love.

Thank you so so much for spending some time with me in our home for the holidays. It is a joy and honor to share with you.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

one year.

A year ago today, Roy was wandering the streets of Chicago carrying on normal text conversation as though he were teaching back in Houston.

I awoke as normal, put on an old college sweatshirt to match my school's spirit day, and packed my things to leave for home after school. I had 2 eggs and bacon, per usual, with my best friend and her husband (also my roommates and lifesavers), made my coffee and went about my day. I had no idea what was about to be.

My day was normal. I taught some sort of American History to 8th graders who didn't really care to listen. At the same time, Roy was riding a train to Chicago, wandering the streets of the city lined with Christmas lights (my absolute favorite) and waiting for my sweet friend Amy to pick him up from the train station. She so graciously brought him to Green Bay to pick up the ring and anxiously wait.

After school I headed for home and planned to meet my dad and Russell at the Botanical Garden of Lights. On my way home I tried to call and talk with Roy but he was "out to dinner with family and couldn't really talk". Instead I listened to the sounds of the seasons (aka magical Christmas music) and answered every call from my dad, mom, and best friend asking how the drive was going and where I was. Little did I know, this was the longest drive of their lives.

When I finally got into town, dad gave me strict orders to meet him at the Botanical Gardens. I was not to meet him anywhere but there. At the front doors. Park and ride the shuttle yourself. I thought it a bit harsh, but then again, dad always has a plan. As I rode the shuttle to the entrance gate, a Christmas wish ran through my mind... what if Roy surprised me and came to Green Bay for the weekend? Just as fast as that wish came into my mind though, I denied every possibility of it. Where would he fly into? How would he get all the way to Green Bay? Surely everyone couldn't keep that secret from me.

But as my dad and I walked in to Garden of Lights, I felt a gentle tap on my right shoulder and what to my wondering eyes should appear but... my dear.

In a flash my dad left us with 2 tickets and I was in a whirl-wind. We walked around the lights, Roy seeking the perfect spot to do what he'd waited so long for, and I still trying to figure out how everyone pulled this surprise off.

Roy suggested we jump the fence to get a picture under the arbor and I followed in my giddy state. Just as I took a picture of us, Roy dropped to his knee. I wish I could tell you all that he said and what happened next, but all I remember is saying yes!

We kissed and hugged and people around us cheered.

We walked around to see a few more lights, but Roy had more plans in mind for us. We headed to the restaurant where my friends and family sat anxiously awaiting our arrival.

One year. It's crazy what can happen in a year. And it's even crazier how much more you can love someone in a year.

Thank you Roy for your constant surprises, laughter in all of my days, and love that knows no bounds. I am honored to be your wife and will never forget this magical day under the twinkle lights.