Sunday, December 27, 2009

Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown Christmas... what a classic! Since we are not in our new home we had to make-do with what Christmas decorations we could get our hands on. Last year we had an 8 foot Carolina Fir, holiday place settings, a twinkling mantel, and a Santa in every room. This year we had our first and very memorable Charlie Brown Christmas. I found a mini tree in our storage plus a box that had some of our holiday gear. Check out how we got down with the holidays this year!

Here are our gifts and tree on top of our coffee table. The ornaments seen here were from ornament swaps and decorating parties from this year.

I was excited to find a Santa platter!

"And their stockings were hung by the tv with care..."
We don't have a mantel YET, so the tv is the focal point of our rental den

Above is our tree from last year, but we are so glad to be in Birmingham together
So hooray for Charlie Brown Christmas and the memories we will one day share with our children!

Our Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone! I cannot believe we have made it through another holiday season. It only reminds me of how blessed my husband and I are that we have so many family and friends to visit. I took a few days off for vacation and spent my entire holiday traveling. First, I went to southern Illinois and saw my Grandpa, aunts, unlces, and cousins. My dad's has 8 siblings and I think I last counted 28 first cousins on this side. Not everyone was there, but I had the opportunity to see everyone since my Grandma passed away last winter.

I drove up to my parents and hitched a ride (like the old days) while my Dad drove and my Mom navigated. Two of my three brothers were in the back with me and we slept and watched movies like we used to when I was at home. I think the only difference is how much taller we are compared to when we were little. I am now the one crammed in the far back, being that I am much shorter than my middle and youngest brothers. They offer me the front, but I feel bad seeing how much room their long legs have in the far back of my mom's mini van. Yes, it does look like a clown car with my "all legs" brothers.

John and Thomas when we drove to STL to see the family... we just finished a movie on a laptop

We have portable speakers and place the laptop on a pink stool from my parent's garage. Who needs built-in DVD players? This is old school!

After I got back from 4 days in St.Louis Jonathan and I went to my in-laws in Magnolia Springs, AL. The Nelson's live on the river and had a TON of rain. Once we unloaded the car we moved it to higher ground and it's a good thing we did. By the time we got back from church and Jonathan's Uncle's house the water had come over the slab and it was pouring! We stayed in the downstairs room and I had to sport the hubby's boots to get upstairs. You do what you have to do to get some home made egg nog!

Their Lab Zeke and I at the edge of the slab which is covered in water

In the foyer and I had to tuck my snowman pj's into the boots

My in-law's Cynthia and Craig enjoying a Christmas Eve nightcap

On Christmas morning we had breakfast with the Nelson's and opened gifts with his sister and her husband. Not even 24hrs in South Alabama and we left to head back to North Alabama to see my parents and brothers. Thank goodness Miss Cynthia gave us some homemade rolls because it is all we had to eat until we reached my parents house. I guess we forgot fast-food would be closed when we started driving 5 1/2 hours.

We finally arrive in Decatur with a major carb load from all the rolls and the Sunkist we drank (we packed a liter and chugged it once we got to Birmigham, we forgot we had it!)

Thomas, John, Me, and Jonathan
We are missing my brother Chris who is serving our country this Christmas

Jonathan wanted to do "Prom Pose" in front of the tree, but he got vetoed!

He wanted to take "celebrity pose" while he pretended to get an important call

My turn to "shake my present and look intrigued pose" everyone was telling me my face looks more excited than intrigued, but I couldn't stop lauging!!

It was a great Christmas and we are thrilled we were able to visit with both families. We always want to spend more time with the people we love, but are thankful for the time we have with them. Chris, we are sorry we were not able to spend Christmas with you, but cannot wait to celebrate when you come home. You are loved by so many people and we are grateful to our service men and women for giving us a wonderful gift... our freedom!

We miss you Chris
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Monday, December 14, 2009

First Offer

We are in the process of buying a new house in Birmingham. Jonathan and I have been looking online since we moved here in July. If we find a house we like there's always a catch when it comes to making an offer. A few things we are looking for are three bedrooms, two baths, hardwoods, completely done kitchen and bathrooms, one level, large flat back yard, and so on and so forth. The problem is if we find a house that house most of those items we are either sacrificing in location or compromising on the items we would like to have done in the new house.

With that being said, we are waiting until after the first of the year to make another offer. The house below is one that we made an offer on during Thanksgiving. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, no hardwood floors except for the foyer, no molding in house, plus the walls need a lot of TLC. We love the home because it had such great character, but the list of cosmetic upgrades was so high that we would not be able to do anything but renovate for the next year.

Hopefully a ton of homes will come on the market, but until then we will continue to live on top of one another with our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I think this is where fun memories are made. I should take pictures to post!

House in Bluff Park in Hoover. It has wonderful surb appeal and I am still in love witht he front! It has been on the market since May and I hope the family will be able to sell it.

I loved that it had a carport in the back, but we did not know how to fence in the yard.

The kitchen was cute, but needed some new appliances and molding around the top. The counter tops were not terrible, but they were laminate.

Master bedroom, which was HUGE! It is 12x19 and the carpet was nice. It had a decent walk in closet, but the shelves were falling down. All the doors in the house would need to be replaced because they had holes in them... I don't even want to know how that happened.

Dining room (besides color changes the ceiling was damaged and the molding was scratched)

The fireplace was so heavy the floor and wall was sinking on that side of the house!

Front formal living room, nice but all the ceilings in the house had think popcorn... not my thing! Until next time we will keep looking!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Camp

This time of year many southern women call themselves "hunting widows." The name comes from when their spouses head off to the hunting camps and leave their wives behind each weekend. I never grew up with my dad or brothers leaving to go and hunt. In fact, I didn't know anyone that did this except for my uncle who went on long trips to Canada. When you marry a man from South Alabama you figure this will be one of his past times.

Three years ago Jonathan and his dad joined a camp just outside of Monroeville, AL called Hetherington Swamp. It is not the typical camp, where only men are allowed, but a large facility where all are welcome including the wives. The two story lodge has a large front porch and back deck both equipped with swings and great views. When you come in the front porch there's a wide open common area that is decorated from top to bottom with deer heads, still flying ducks, and a giant moose over one of the couches. It definitely has a rustic feel and I wear slippers on my feet the entire weekend as to not dirty up my socks.

Jonathan asks me to come along with him and I typically will go. There are many rooms off the front room and about three sets of bunkbeds in each. I can sleep in when he leaves in the morning to go to the woods and catch up on books I have been meaning to finish. There's always a pot of coffee on and the best part is I don't have to cook all weekend. The guys prepare all the food and everyone shares around the long distressed farm house table. It's nice to have a meal prepared and not even have to clean up. After everyone has pigged out someone will light a fire and you can choose one of six rocking chairs to settle in for the night.

These are some pictures of when Jonathan and I took Dax up to the camp. Of course he is in the water 24/7 and will sleep for three days straight when we bring him home.

Dax in the front pond

He is waiting for me to throw a stick into the water... not going to happen!

This is my favorite shot. The bridge that goes across the river to the other side of the camp. (yes there are Christmas lights across the side that we keep there all year round)

Jonathan is preparing the grill. Camp rule number one: always bring charcoal

I finally got Dax to come and hang out. I think he knew we where putting Conecuh Sausage on next

The bridge across the river (and yes it does swing) Dax has tried to cross it. I think I scared all wildlife away when I was yelling at him to come back!

Jonathan, I am excited to spend all my free weekends headed to the camp with you!