Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I have been wanting to do this post for a while but have been too busy fighting the masses at Target and other similar institutions for the last several days!! But now, finally, on Christmas Eve--the tree is trimmed, the presents are wrapped, the cookies are made, and there is time to sit, reflect on the meaning of tomorrow, and be with precious family. And write a blog post. :)

Disclaimer: my family is a big bunch of nutcases. And I say that with love in my heart. But we are! For example, one beloved Christmas tradition is, right after we bless the meal, my Uncle Barry does what we call the "hog call." He clasps his hands together over his mouth and starts making the most lifelike pig snorting sound I've ever heard! Like a hog coming to the trough for his slop. Apparently this is to encourage everyone to get their plates and eat up?! So strange. We love it. Don't judge.

Another one of my very favorite traditions: each time my ENTIRE family is together, which really only happens every few years, because usually someone is missing because of being at the other in-laws' house, having an out-of-town Christmas, etc--we get out the video camera and do what we call "Roll Call". Everyone in the family lines up, oldest to youngest, and takes their turn in front of the camera. Each person says their name, where they live and/or go to school, and what they want for Christmas. It's one of my very favorite traditions because we can look back over the years and see how people have grown and changed, and how our family has grown. I especially love looking back at the years before I was born and seeing my brother, sister, and cousins when they were young!

Another favorite: participating in Carols by Candlelight, my church's Christmas program. I have been involved in it in many different ways--cast in the drama as a king's attendant, a villager, and one year as Mary, children's ensembles, and now the adult choir. I love being a part of a music ministry, especially at Christmastime. I feel truly close to the Lord when I'm singing!

I didn't really grow up with a Christmas Eve tradition besides going to the Christmas Eve service, so it worked out perfectly that each year Taylor's family cooks gumbo and opens presents on Christmas Eve. They have been so kind to include my parents in it too, since my sister and brother each have Christmas Eve traditions with their in-laws.

Taylor and I discussed the other day what traditions we want to implement in our little family. First of all, we want to make sure we always read the Christmas story (maybe varying each year which of the 4 gospels we read from) on Christmas morning. Also, on Christmas morning we want to cook grits and grillades!! For those of you who don't know what this is, it's a traditional New Orleans brunch food consisting of beef or pork slow cooked with vegetables and served over grits. Mmmmm. Since most of Taylor's family is originally from Louisiana (my dad was born there too, actually), we thought this would be a fun tradition to incorporate!

Mmm yummygoodness in a bowl.

We are still thinking on the others. Of course we want to always take a night to drive around and look at the Christmas lights. (Although we haven't done that yet this year! I guess we'd better hop to it tonight!)

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and that you enjoy many traditions together with your family!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering....

Since I feel certain that you have all been sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering how my gingerbread men/women/Christmas trees turned out.....they were great!! Um...not so much, necessarily, gingerbread though. They kind of had more of a scone-ish taste. I call it sorta like a "coffee cookie"--which to me means a cookie that is sweet but not too sweet, that makes you crave a big cup of coffee when you eat it. It is also great for dunking into said coffee.

I decorated these, using icing and green sparkling sugar....

And Taylor decorated these!! Isn't the one with the necktie so cute? I also think the one with the striped boxers is pretty adorable. Not sure why he looks so surprised...maybe because we caught him in his boxers??

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Cheer!

A few of my blog friends have been doing this Christmas tour of homes to journal their Christmas decorations and to share ideas with other people, so I decided to jump in. Disclaimer: I am not, repeat NOT, good at decorating. I welcome any and all suggestions. I am a huge HGTV fan, so I watch that in my downtime and try to learn, but I'm flailing a bit. Ah well. I do love the idea of a good "space", and I always want my home to be a welcoming and nurturing place--but that is the biggest goal. If my decorating style is a bit off,--well, life goes on.

So here are some pics I took this morning (I have the morning off!!! Rare. Appreciated. Still in my robe!)
Here's our mantle. I love all of our stockings. Taylor's great grandmother made his, when he was a baby I think. My mom had an elderly lady who was an excellent seamstress and crocheter (?? ha probably not a word) make our family's stockings when I was a baby. Mine is soft and has a Santa face on the front with a soft fuzzy beard. And then the two in the middle--for our two little darlins (a Chihuahua/Pomeranian mix and a border collie mix)--are from Petsmart. :) I've got to get a picture of Teddy (the little one) to put in the little slot on the front of his stocking. This picture is not of the best quality, but I have some antler sheds that Taylor picked up in the woods intertwined with some sparkly green and gold twine with little balls on it. The keepsake box in the middle was a wedding gift, and then there are some muted red Christmas balls interspersed.

Our kitchen table. Simple but cute! The pottery piece here was also a wedding gift.

The table in our kitchen with the nativity scene.

I borrowed this idea from my sister--she always has great simple ideas for making things look festive, and she doesn't even try! It comes naturally to her I think. Anyway--just take some pretty ribbon and tie Christmas balls to your chandelier!

Our tree! Our new house has tall ceilings, so we haven't put the topper on yet--a giant gold star that is lit from the inside. We've got to borrow a ladder at some point in the next few days! I love the colored lights--I know the white ones are pretty and a little more chic, but I am a tried and true colored lights girl!

My McCarty pottery shell--also a wedding gift (sensing a pattern here?)--filled with little Christmas balls. Simple but I love it!

Poinsettia on the other end table. I just hope I can keep it alive for two more weeks. My thumb isn't green or even's more like black. I'm trying though!

Table with our two nutcrackers on it that Taylor's mom, Lisa, gave us for Christmas last year.

Ok so not sure what happened with the arrangement of these pics, but I'm just gonna go with it. I love the nutcracker on the left--he is a fisherman! He has a string of fish in his left hand and a basket for them around his waist.

This ornament is one of several that we have that I collect. I try to get one each year at Mistletoe Marketplace, a Christmas tradition in my hometown! We now have one each for Taylor and me (below), one for our first Christmas together, one for our engagement, and one for our new home!

Taylor's is the businessman above--and I'm the dentist below! I love my little female dentist! I was so surprised that the company made one. They each have our names on the back.

And last but not least--my FAVORITE Christmas thing of all (he's gonna kill me for putting this on the blog....)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So I am making my maiden voyage into gingerbreading, dear friends. Ginger, check. Sugar, check. Flour, check. Other random things you need to make gingerbread, check. Should be studying and not covering myself in flour for fun, check.

My dough is the consistency of brownie batter. This could be a problem. Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting journey into the world of baking!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

She Got It Honest

So my sweet half real-life, half blog friend Sarah Denley tagged me for this Honest Scrap post, in which you basically just post 10 things about your life, or thoughts, etc, that are just plain honest.

Rules for the award:
1. Must thank the person who gave you the award and list their blog and link it.
2. Share "10 Honest things" about yourself.
3. Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged you.
4. Tell those 7 people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving the award.

I am desperately in need of a break from studying/scheduling patients/being stressed in general right now, so I think this short little creative outlet is exactly what I need. Ok, this first one may come as a shock to some of you, so get ready…

1. I am not a Republican. (GASP!) Wait, wait, before you run, hide, and shun me forever, hear me out. I am a moderate. I am morally conservative—ie, I detest the practice of abortion and what it entails, etc—this is a biggie. I feel deeply for the girl who may be pregnant due to rape, or who may be facing certain death if she carries her baby to term. I pray for that person, encourage them that the Lord has a plan for their life, and for that of their child, and that the Lord does not make mistakes. Her baby is NOT a mistake. HOWEVER—I think that at those encouragements, those prayers, and those acknowledgements of the Lord’s sovereignty—my role in that woman’s decision ends. It is her decision, and her life. Due to the freedoms that our country affords and stands for, I don’t think that I can tell her what she has to do. She is the only one who can make that decision. It is my job as a Christian to love her, counsel her, and do my best to help her make the right decision.

I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman only. However, I have several very dear friends who happen to be gay. They are just people, just like everyone else. While that’s not the lifestyle I choose, and I don’t think it’s what God originally intended, I think that the consequences of what happened in the Garden of Eden leave things in a state that is not exactly jet black and stark white. But I do know that the Lord is sovereign over everything. I could go into a MUCH longer discussion here, because I have some very definite opinions on the subject. (They may not be what you’d think- -please email me or comment if you’re interested, and I’ll be glad to respond.)

Also, I believe that in many instances the Democratic party can be the more compassionate one when it comes to the nitty gritty of what Christ calls us to do—help the poor, give to the needy, take in the orphans and the widows. “Oh wait”, we may say about taxes, “but that’s almost 50% of my income!! Why should I allow the government to take it from me!?” Much of this money goes to provide for those who are less fortunate than I am. I am ok with this.

Obviously the most important thing here is leadership. Thus, I vote for the candidate. In my criteria, he or she must be a Christian, and a person of integrity who “cuts the crap” as we say, and makes sure that our tax dollars are used in the most effective way. Among many other things of course.

Bottom line, you can argue politics all day, and I have no desire to do that. I just felt the need to get that off my chest to the blog world for some reason, and also to say that it is not about tolerance for me, but rather, respect. Also--I am always open to discussion!

2. I am seriously obsessed with my dog. Possibly unhealthily so. He is the cutest little guy you will ever see. He was my wedding gift from Taylor, and he is so snuggly! Taylor said he gave him to me to ward off my “mommy instinct” for a while, and that if I have a little dog to take care of, maybe it will help keep the baby blues away! Ha! Lord willing, we’d like for me to be out of school and work for at least a year before we have kids. (I think Taylor’s plan is working.)

3. Speaking of being a mom—I have to admit, I have felt a little tiny twinge of jealousy of my friends and blog friends who have little babies, and who are stay-at-home moms. (To those of you who are doing this—I think that is wonderful! What an amazing, difficult, and wonderful job to have!). I know myself though—and I know that if I did not do something outside the home as well as inside, I would go crazy. I am too high strung and high powered not to. I am super-excited about being a dentist, because (besides the fact that I love what I do) I feel like I will be able to work anywhere from 2-4 days a week and provide a healthy supplement to our income, while still being able to spend a large amount of time home with our kids.

4. I LOVE treating my patients. I love how happy a sweet patient was a couple of weeks ago when I gave him the dentures I had made for him. He didn’t have any teeth…and then all of a sudden he did! I am so thankful that the Lord has given me this opportunity to be a dentist, so that I can help people in this way and others, as well as develop lasting relationships with my patients.

5. I am really nervous about the business aspect of running a dental practice. I know that this is completely normal, but it’s still scary! I am so excited that, Lord willing, I will be going into practice with my dad and he can show me the ropes of business ownership as well as maintaining a thriving practice.

6. I think my husband is the funniest person in the world. Better put, just the best person in general! He is so selfless, so much fun to be around, and he makes me laugh every single day. I can say without a doubt that he is the strong Christ-like leader of our home that I always prayed for!

7. If I could make any food be calorie-free, it would be ice cream. Any kind of ice cream. Every kind of ice cream. It’s like Bubba from Forrest Gump, but with ice cream. Ice cream in a cone, ice cream in a cup, ice cream cake, ice cream soda, ice cream sandwich…

8. When I was in the 5th grade, I was in a reading contest with one of my best friends to get the most points for the year in our reading program at my elementary school. I had this old armchair that was wedged between my closet door and the end of my bed that had a reading lamp clipped to it. I was so hardcore that I would stay up til midnight reading, and then I would set my alarm for 3 am to get up and read. I did this for MONTHS. How crazy is that!! I was in the FIFTH grade! I’m really not that competitive of a person…maybe all my competitiveness was spent after that!

9. Honestly, I am running out of honest things to say…I may have to start making stuff up here in a minute. I think my brain just hit a wall. Too…much…studying…

10. I am SO excited that it is Christmastime! I love my family so very much—I am blessed with a big extended family (as is Taylor), and we are all pretty close, so I love spending time with everyone, just hanging out, watching Christmas movies, etc. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Christmas Vacation? I think I watch it a minimum of 5 times over the holiday season. I’ve already chalked up one viewing, a couple of weeks ago. And ok, maybe it is playing right now too...

I am going to tag only five people for this award: Lane , Marley, Audrey, Emily, and my brother, Neil. I’m not sure if any of them will do it, simply because their blogs aren’t necessarily the kind that accommodate these types of surveys/awards. Speaking of—I am trying to find my place in this big blog world. Some blogs are written at minimum, simply as an update for close family and friends. Some are much more active, and are a creative outlet. Some are to reach out to others and meet new people, “blog friends”. I’m not sure where I fit. Somewhere in the middle, I guess! Who says there has to be a label on everything, anyway?