Monday, December 31, 2012

First Married Christmas

"Blessed" is the best word I can think of to describe our first Christmas as newlyweds - although I know there are plenty more. We spent lots of time with our families in both Mississippi and Louisiana and enjoyed some quiet time in front of our fireplace and our beautifully lit Christmas tree.

Our decorations were pretty simple this year - we chose to continue with our tradition of picking out a real tree - and it only took two tries to get one close to the size we needed. We ended up with a 10 foot tree that we decorated in red, green & gold. I never was able to get a good picture and the close up turned out best. I used some left over pine limbs on our mantle, added some Christmas lights, along with glass canisters of both pine cones and Christmas ball ornaments as well as a few extras from Paul Michaels. I ordered our personalized Christmas stockings on Etsy and was super excited at how they turned out. Don't worry, Avery wasn't left out, she had her own personalized stocking too.

We went to visit my family in Mississippi the weekend before Christmas and had a fabulous time catching up, making Christmas candy, watching football, and exchanging gifts. My mother has three Christmas trees that she puts up every year (this year she added a fourth) and I love that the ornament we brought her back from our honeymoon in Hawaii made it to what she calls her "funky" tree.

Here are my two favorites ready to watch some Saints football!


Have I mentioned how obsessed Avery is with Andrew?  She is always getting in his lap and giving him kisses.

 On Christmas Eve, we headed back to Louisiana. It was the only day the weather was pretty enough to take pictures. This is outside my parent's house right before we left.

Avery is so good when it comes to traveling. We are so lucky to have a dog who enjoys being on the go just as much as we do. She goes almost everywhere we do! I have become so attached to her, she is such a sweetheart.

On Christmas Eve, we made it back in time to attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church. I absolutely love getting together with our church family and celebrating the birth of Christ. I can't imagine a better way to spend Christmas Eve. After the service we went to Andrew's grandparents house where we had the traditional Christmas Eve meal of gumbo along with a ton of fabulous desserts. We also exchanged gifts and shot fireworks.

Christmas morning we spent at our house and Avery had a blast destroying the majority of her new toys.

Andrew & I decided not to exchange gifts this year - there were several big purchases we wanted to make for our house so we decided that those would be our gifts to each other this year.

A little bit later on Christmas Day we went to Andrew's parents house and opened presents, ate breakfast, and spent most of the day watching Christmas movies. It rained and stormed most of the day so it was a good time to just enjoy being together.

I loved the personalized tags Andrew's mom made in place of name tags on our Christmas presents. I especially loved seeing both our pictures together on this package to the two of us. Apparently, we both enjoyed playing dress up - me in my mom's high heels and Andrew in his cowboy hat.

Andrew's brother Nic got a new puppy - a black Lab - a few weeks before Christmas. We had a little fun tying a bow around her neck and taking pictures with her. She is just the sweetest thing - until her and Avery start playing together and then they both get a little rowdy. It's a good thing they are so cute!

Andrew & I both got so many wonderful presents from our families - more than we needed - and we are so thankful for them all.

I feel so overwhelmingly blessed this year - to have gained a new family to spend time with at the holidays and to have gotten to share this time with Andrew - our joys were definitely doubled this Christmas season.

If you are experiencing loneliness this Christmas, please know that I am praying for you. I spent many Christmases longing for someone to share them with, but as I look back, I realize what a great gift God gave me in those times that I spent in reflection and prayer. Those were some precious memories in themselves and I am a better person for them. If you have specific prayer requests, please contact me and let me know how I can pray for you specifically.

As always, I stand in awe of how God chose to enter our world - as a precious but helpless baby. How lucky we are to have a Savior who loves us so much that he became like us so that he could rescue us. It was the greatest sacrifice of all and I don't want to ever take it lightly.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:15-17


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