Monday, December 10, 2018

Weekend Recap / 2018 Christmas Bucket List

Hi all!

This weekend was a good, good, good one. So happy to be recapping it today.

Per the title of this post, it feels pretty lazy to include our Christmas bucket list at the end of a recap post, and it is pretty lazy. But we're heading toward the middle of the month, we've already completed a good portion of these, and I just want to get this on the blog for the sake of documenting so at the bottom of a random post it goes.

But first—the recap!

Chelsie came over Friday night so we could make many, many cookies. My future MIL does this with her best friend and they make enough to last them through Christmas (and then some) and I've always thought having cookies on hand throughout the season was a great plan, so we decided to do it this year!

We made five different ones (started small this year) and we split the ingredients and the resulting cookies. I grabbed a frozen pizza from the store and had it ready when she got there so we wouldn't waste our time with cooking stuff for dinner or waiting on delivery.

We made white chocolate, peppermint, Oreo cookies (stupidly good), chocolate chip, peanut butter with Hershey kisses in the middle, shortbread, and pretzels with kisses and M&Ms.

We exchanged our gifts as well, which really means I got a gift and Chelsie got to HEAR about her gift since Amazon ruined hers. But first, she got Henry a Christmas gift which was so sweet!

When we were in SJP's pop-up shop in NYC, we smelled her candle and decided we would get it for each other for Christmas, so she gave me her candle (the part of her gift from me that Amazon ruined) and this insanely beautiful ornament for our tree. I love, love, love it. I told her her candle is on the way... and also got her a pair of socks from Barefoot Dreams.

Our haul.

And this guy watched over us all night and was pretty darn good except for eating one whole cookie and a Hershey kiss with the foil still on.

And I went outside to see her new car and we realized we didn't take any picture inside sooo we took a selfie in front of my garage hahaha.

Saturday morning, Morgan and I met up and went to a "holiday faire" at the McHenry County fairgrounds. In addition to being a craft fair, they had events you could enter for best chocolate chip cookie, decorated cookie, crafted stocking, ornament, etc. Well Morgan and I showed up and no one else brought in their entry and it remained that way until we left. We were the only dorks in the county who entered cookies--ha! Morgan received an email this morning saying that she won first place (obviously...), but I, hilariously, have yet to receive my email, so either it's still coming, or I made a REALLY bad cookie.

After the fair, we stopped at Allen's Corner so I could introduce Morgan to the amazingness. And then we chatted for a little while at my house and exchanged Christmas gifts. I gave her a blanket that says "This is my Hallmark Christmas movie watching blanket" (because we're obsessed) and two Harry Potter items that have yet to arrive. She gave me (for my birthday and Christmas) this AMAZING mug I will use until I'm 1000 years old, a HP blanket (so I guess I'm officially a fan now), vanilla dipped spoons for coffee, and gorgeous hand sewn Paris themed tote bag.

I was happy to stay home all night cleaning the house (for a brunch I was hosting the next morning), doing laundry, organizing our guest room closet, and working on our Christmas cards (which still have to be sent out). I also got a chance to watch Dumplin' and I loved it. I loved the book, so I was glad the movie lived up to it.

Finished the night putting away a big pile of laundry, watching Girls Incarcerated (swear to God, I'm obsessed with our prison system), while Sammy clung to Henry as soon as he got home from work. You know, the usual.

Sunday morning I planned a brunch so some of my favorite people could come over and see our house and Henry, and so we could all be together during the busiest, most wonderful time of the year. And so Sammy (before we went to work) and I could ask one of our cousins to be the officiant at our wedding.

I kept it pretty simple. We did many mimosas, two dips as appetizers, and for brunch, my mom made two quiches, I found stuffed bagels at the grocery store (Bantam Bagels if you've never heard of them, they're real good), and my grandma made spinach pinwheels. 

Some boy was incredibly good all day, I was pretty damn shocked. Even after everyone left, he kept on napping and being such a sweet guy. We may be out of the insane puppy phase after all!

The women... I can't even describe how I feel about them. Being in their presence completely lifts me up. They are my church and my religion. And asking one of them to be our officiant was so fun. She and my mom teared up, and she was so surprised, even though she definitely shouldn't have been. (She was born to do this stuff!)

I truly love them (and their children) more than I can say. I was so happy to have them in our home and spend the day with them.

We sat around eating cookies and talking, while they asked me what songs I wanted to play at our wedding and I played a few through the TV. These are the best kind of memories and I'm so grateful for them.

It was a wonderful weekend and left me feeling rejuvenated for the week. Now—the bucket list! I want to handwrite this like I did our 2018 Fall bucket list and post it on the fridge, (which Sammy may add to if I have forgotten something!) but I want it here as well.

2018 Christmas Bucket List

Pick out our Christmas tree
This would be an example of me cheating a little on this list because I wrote this down after we already did it ;) we got our tree the day after Thanksgiving, just as I had hoped. We cut it down this year and I think that'll be the last time haha. I just want the tree, I don't need to make a whole thing out of obtaining the tree. Next year, we'll go to the church parking lot down the street ;)

Decorate the house
Another cheat. Done before I wrote the list! Decorating a home for this time of year is truly the number one reason why I wanted to buy a house. I can't tell you how much this means to me and I love how it turned out.

Decorate our gingerbread house
Doing this week!

Get Henry a festive bandana
Done! Plus a bow tie for Christmas Day ;)

Play outside in the snow with Henry
Done! We didn't stay out long because Momma can't hang, but I'm sure we'll get another opportunity or two before the season is over.

Do at least one festive thing with each of our extended families
We have plans this Sunday to have a Polar Express experience with Sammy's family. And we'll be hosting Cugini Christmas this year at our house with all of Sammy's first cousins.

I've already gone to a Christmas craft show this season with my mom, she's come to CL for the Christmas parade and tree lighting, and the brunch I hosted this past Sunday felt relatively festive. I also have traditions with my dad and siblings that I'm sure we'll do this year too. Always happy to tack on festive events/traditions each year with our families.

Host a festive gathering in our home
Done! And more to come!

Watch Home Alone 78 times
Well on our way.

Watch nostalgic Christmas movies/shows
Always a favorite. I've been trying to watch something festive almost every day.

Go to a festive event in town
Done! Went to two so far! I hope to squeeze more in or just more time downtown CL while it's all decorated.

Start a new tradition
This came about organically without even discussing the idea of starting a new tradition. Sammy mentioned to me he bought me an ornament as one of my Christmas gifts because he saw one he thought I would like, and then he said he wanted to start a tradition of getting each other an ornament each year. Check that off the list! And I can't wait to see what he picked out. I still have to find him one!

Read three Christmasy books
I have one on my Kindle right now from the library, and should be able to plow through two more if they're "light" enough.

Do something festive every day
This has been easy and so fun. Whether it's having a cup of cocoa by the tree, reading by the tree, watching a festive movie, wearing festive pajamas, or all of the above, I try to do something every day that's specific to the season.

Continue my wrapping tradition
Every Christmas, once all of the gifts I'm giving have been purchased and delivered, I gather everything, make mac & cheese, grab a Coke, turn on Home Alone, and eat and then wrap all the gifts in front of the TV. I absolutely love doing it and now I get to wrap even more gifts because Sammy is decidedly not a fan of wrapping ;)

Start a Christmas tradition with a friend(s)
Another one that came about organically. I feel like we spend a lot of time making an effort to have traditions with our immediate families and significant others, which is obviously very important, but I think it's also important to make time for traditions with our friends as well. Chelsie and I started our cookie baking tradition this year, and I hope we carry it on until we can barely walk. My girlfriend is also hosting us this Friday for a festive girls night and I hope we're able to do that every year as well!

That's it for me all. If you made it this far, you're a saint. xo

Friday, November 30, 2018

Life Lately

Hi, friends. It feels like I haven't posted in a month, but it's only been a week! I have much to share and document.

This past holiday weekend was just so, so good. Sammy and I got to spend a lot of time together, we saw our families, and Henry was relatively calm (could we possibly be moving a tiny bit out of the puppy phase?!) every day. 

We did many festive things and even fit in another venue tour (of which, I'm super excited about).

But back to last week...

We were able to leave work early on Wednesday afternoon, which was a nice treat! When I got home, I snapped a few photos of our "Thanksgiving decor" while it was up because I knew come Friday it would all come down to make room for the best decor of all ;)

Sammy went out with his friends for Black Wednesday, and Henry and I were very content to stay home and watch Jeopardy before calling it an early night. 

I got up early on Thanksgiving morning and watched An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving because it seemed like something that would be right up this nerd's alley. And it was. And because I knew Sammy would never want to watch it with me ;)

But he was keen on making us pancakes to eat while we watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Only the greatest Thanksgiving film ever created. And I think we found ourselves a new tradition.

We spent the morning in our pajamas, lounging around.

And then I made Henry take several staged photos "for Thanksgiving."

Before I started getting ready for dinner, and after Sammy went to work, Henry and I went on a walk. While we were walking I was thinking of how different this Thanksgiving day was for me. I've never spent one minute of Thanksgiving by myself or home alone, so it was kind of weird, but also nice, to have such a leisure day. 

I got on the train later that night and headed over to my grandma's. She lives real close to the train station, so I took the opportunity to walk through their downtown and see some of the lights they put up.

Forever love men in the kitchen ;)

My dad always comes to my grandma's for dessert, and it's forever a reminder how blessed we are to have parents who (now) get along post divorce.

All bets were off Friday morning when it went from fall to CHRISTMAS real quick in our house. Sammy had to work later that day/night, so we got up early in the morning to get our Christmas tree :)

Someone HAD to roll in all the mud. I think next year we'll go to the church down the street and get our tree from their lot haha.

Very impressed with himself haha.

We got home and I laid out all the Christmas decorations we've collected so far while Sammy put the tree in our stand.

And this guy watched over everything.

We decorated the entire house, except for our trees. Sammy had to go to work so I figured the real tree could use a day to relax and sit in some water before decorating (which we did Saturday). I'm hoping to do a separate post showing our outside and inside decor.

I proceeded to eat leftovers and watch Home Alone. I've watched it several times already, so get ready for many references. And yes, that's a Home Alone picture book. It's a lifestyle.

More snacks, of course, and Hallmark movies for the rest of the day.

My mom came over later that night for pizza and to go to the tree lighting ceremony/parade downtown CL. We met Tina and Brad who were there with Tina's family, and it was fun to be together for the little parade.

I felt like I was in a Hallmark movie during the tree lighting. There were so many people there and everyone cheered when the lights when on the tree--I almost cried haha. Such a sucker for this community.

Saturday morning we got up early again to head up to Lake Geneva to see another venue. They had champagne waiting for us, so I was sold. Where do I sign?

We toured Geneva National and I'm officially obsessed.

There were a bunch of indoor spaces in addition to the ballroom we could use for whatever we want (extra cocktail hour space, place cards, favors, dessert later, etc.) and a gorgeous outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour space.

Doesn't look like much here haha, but the balcony is so pretty off the ballroom/indoor space. I've seen gorgeous photos of people using draping and string lights to make this space look so romantic.

The only slight downside is while the ballroom is pretty, it isn't totally our style. So we'd have to make a few changes decor wise to make it a little prettier, but if those windows aren't redeeming, I don't know what is.

Hopefully it can look something like this, a little more airy is all we want.

We came home and decorated our tree downstairs as well as our tree in loft upstairs.

Later on, we got ready to go to a second Thanksgiving at Sammy's aunt's house.

Sammy had to work Thanksgiving, so I know he was thrilled to have an opportunity to celebrate with part of his family Saturday night.

Where we played with lots of animals and did lots of airplanes.


When we got home, part of Sammy's groomsmen proposals had delivered. He got all his guys monogrammed yeti koozies. He's going to put their favorite beer in each one and I'm attempting to make "will you be my groomsman?" tags to hang from the neck of each beer. I think they turned out awesome.

And then Henry spent the rest of the night burning off alllllll his energy while we tried to watch The Grinch ;)

Sunday we laid around lazily which is my favorite thing on earth.

Sammy had to work again, so Henry and I had the house to ourselves which meant cozy food (aka pastina) and Hallmark movies.

But he did stop home for a visit halfway through his shift :)

I had groceries delivered because why leave the house?

We played in the snow before it started to really come down hard.

Did more napping #blessed

And proceeded to only go outside in short bursts because the wind had picked up to 25 mph and it was snowingggg. Which meant... I got to work from home on Monday because we ended up with way more snow than we thought.

Lived my absolute best on Monday. It was so nice to be able to stay home. Forever grateful for a company who is as flexible as they are awesome.

It was a really great weekend, and I'm looking forward to a good coming up! I have no plans tonight or Sunday #blessedtobealone, but I'm meeting Sammy's mom and SIL for a nails appointment and lunch tomorrow, and then my mom and I have plans to go to a craft show in the afternoon. Love getting to spend time with some of my favorite women.

Have a wonderful weekend all!

*linking up with Andrea & Della!