December feels like a distant dream. We had my company Christmas party (yay for free margaritas and steak), and the next day Josh and I headed to Myrtle Beach for our annual anniversary trip. We scored a super sweet ocean-front hotel Groupon that meant we could afford to stay there for 4 nights! Unfortunately, we quickly discovered why the hotel was so cheap… and had to change rooms because I found long, black hairs everywhere. In the shower, all over the bathroom, in the bed, on the pillows… it was like no one cleaned the room, and I got grossed out. We switched rooms, ended up with a better layout and a better room, and we were happier. 🙂 The first night, we decided to run to Publix to get some groceries… and a fun anniversary treat. We got our wedding cake from Publix (highly recommend), a grocery store we don’t have in NC (at least anywhere close to us), so we got a little cake for our anniversary treat. It’s been a few weeks, so honestly the trip is a blur of eating out, and enjoying the hotel’s cable (HGTV)!!! We had all sorts of food- wings, breakfast, Mexican, pizza… watched two movies- Hunger Games (SO GOOD) and Ricki and the Flash, played board games, went to the aquarium, walked on the beach, read, and slept in. It was so refreshing to have a break from cooking, cleaning, working, commuting… and so nice to be on a vacation alone.
Next, we headed to Columbia for Christmas! It was hot and muggy our entire stay in South Carolina. “Welcome Home,” right? My mom blew us away with her cooking, and Josh got to experience all our “weird” traditions including glow sticks and books on Christmas Eve. We decorated gingerbread cookies, exchanged presents, ate a ton, and watched the neighbors’ house burn. In the middle of Christmas dinner, fire trucks rolled down the street and stormed the house two doors down. It was incredibly sobering, and I gained renewed respect for fire-fighters. The owners of the house were out of town, and the fire was started by a heat lamp for one of the reptiles. The owners are avid animal lovers, and we saw two dogs and a cat be carried out of the house, then watched the workers attempt to revive them… and cover them with a white sheet. It was so hard to walk back inside, knowing this family’s Christmas was ruined and forever marked as a sad occasion.
In contrast, our Christmas was a joyous occasion. We went on tons of walks, ate tons of food, laughed until we hurt, and I am so thankful my entire family was able to be together. Every time we’re with with my parents, I am so encouraged by the ways they invest in and love people. I’m so thankful for the hours they spent with us talking, processing, and advising. The most hilarious moment was when Josh opened a pair of shoes… and we realized that instead of putting an adult-size 12 on his list, he put a child-size 12. 😀 Since Josh is a detail-guy, my mom figured he had the right link on his wish-list and didn’t even double check what she was ordering… we all laughed until we cried!
New Years was spent with our BFFS the Gilmores. We celebrated Joseph’s birthday with an amazing meal at Outback, introduced him to fire works (his birthday is New Years Eve!), turned his high chair (and his body) blue with acrylic paint- he really liked painting- just not the aftermath (also now mommy and Aunt Deborah know that acrylic paint stains BADLY), decorated for and had a Winter Onederland (get it?) birthday party, stayed up late playing board games and laughing hysterically, doing ridiculous things to get a laugh out of Joseph, and wishing we could stay longer.
My birthday was simple: we got Taza Grill and Cheesecake for date night, then on my actual birthday we made cheese fondue (wasn’t awesome) and Josh surprised me with a beautiful book of letters from my friends and family. I cried and cried and it was basically the best birthday gift ever. YAY for 25 years! The guys decorated our house to replicate an episode of The Office where Dwight decorates with balloons and streamers that match The Office. Spoiler: it looks like crap. I walked into the house after a long day to the hilarious decorations and it made my day!
We’re on week 3 of my goals, and I have to say I am getting pretty consistent. The best thing I did was download a checklist app… I kept forgetting (thanks, 6:15 am) if I had taken my vitamin, and always felt like I was forgetting something. If you’re a list maker like me, and trying to form a habit… get a checklist app. It is a game-changer.
One of my goals for this year is to add recipes to my arsenal. I tried my hand at pot roast, without a kit, and it was AMAZING. Huge huge hit with the boys. I threw a bunch of potatoes and carrots in the bottom of the crock pot with some water, with the roast, packs of brown gravy, Italian Dressing Mix and Ranch Mix on top and let it cook for hours. I made a delish ravioli dish, and made the easiest, most addictive ham and cheese sliders of my life. This weekend I am going to try a baked potato soup, since it is supposed to be insanely cold and they are calling for snow. When it snows, I need soup. It just makes sense.
I am so thankful for all the happy memories we made over the holiday weeks, but I am also thankful we are able to enjoy some time at home now. Thanks for always being enthusiastic about new meals, getting up early so I can do my quiet time, and bringing me coffee while I do my devotions. You’re the best.