Friends and family,
Wow! So much has happened since my birthday! I suppose that's what I get for having a mid-December birthday... Christmas follows 13 days after and New Years a week after that. Busy, busy! But so much fun.
The week after my birthday was the wedding of one of my good college friends, Elizabeth. I was part of the house party and was in charge of helping decorate for the reception and cutting the bride's cake. The wedding was a beautiful winter wonderland! It felt like Narnia. It was magical.
The house party: Hannah Key, Melissa Barnett, and Hannah Anderson
We were blessed with the opportunity to see nearly ALL of our family over the Christmas holiday. It was quite a crew, but Christmas tends to bring out the best in us so we enjoyed every moment. A few of the highlights included (but are not limited to):
1) Our first married Christmas together!
2) Sleeping in every morning! Which, unfortunately for us, means about 8:30am these days...
3) Too much delicious food:
*Apricot French toast casserole goodness from heaven--made by my mother, who else
*Schnitzel and spaetzel with carrots, mushrooms, and parsnips--a German feast hand-crafted by Barbara Key
*Curry!--a MUST at every Huddleston family gathering and it NEVER gets old!
*Pecan pie, sour cream apple pie, cookies, divinity, fudge, and these peanut-butter things covered in chocolate that I cannot remember the name of...all of these made by my grandmother, Mema, who makes my desire to NOT gain 20 lbs over Christmas that much more difficult because each of these treats is cooked to perfection and displayed on a large white counter top just within finger-reach every time you pass through the kitchen
*And an assorted pot-luck dinner at the Key Family Christmas.
4) Somehow managing to come away from all of that deliciousness and temptation without gaining a single pound! WAHOO!
5) A little shopping trip with my #1 cousin--ASHTON REELY!
6) The giving of gifts, but best of all, the faces of the recipients
7) My Papa Huddleston's sense of humor--he gets funnier as the months progress!
8) Stockings--I dare say I enjoy the tiny gems inside my stocking more so than the gifts.... it's a close call
9) Christmas Day trip to the movie theater with the Keys--a long-time tradition of the Key family. This year's flick: Up In the Air with George Clooney (totally worth it just to see him)
10) An evening of four-part harmony singing accompanied by Jim and Levi at the guitar on Christmas night. It was beautiful. A new tradition, I hope.
Jim on the guitar
11) The sense of "home"--family members coming together; my brothers and daddy's laugh; my mom's ability to turn any space into an inviting and warm haven, complete with Lavender Mist Febreeze that she fervently sprays into the atmosphere ;-) ; oh so many dogs that bark at the slightest stir, leave hair clinging to my sweaters, and make my eyes itch, while simultaneously making me laugh at their clumsiness and feel loved by their welcoming tail-wags and kisses; in-laws that are in fact very normal, fun, loving, and hospitable (how did I get so lucky?); and, of course, the reason for the season and who I owe all of my thanks for giving me "home": Jesus Christ.
One of those laughs I was telling you about
New Years was fantastic as well! We drove up to Dallas to visit Scott's sister and her husband and a few friends joined in the mix as well. Stefanie's friend, Kevan, and Kevan's daughter of 4 named Aubrey came up New Years Eve night and stayed through the weekend. Aubrey is quite a little bundle of energy and joy! She developed a crush on Scott and relentlessly clung to him like, well, dog hair to a sweater, the whole weekend. She would hop in his lap at every opportunity, start pillow fights in the middle of his reading, and attempt to kiss him on several occasions.
Aubrey and Scott, after a long attempt at her trying to steal a kiss. (She fell and and got a hole in her pantyhose--her solution: shipping tape.)
I thought she was hilarious (mostly because she was leaving me alone) and could not have been cuter! Stefanie gave us a wonderful New Years Day meal, sure to bring us all kinds of luck this year with the black-eyed peas and sauerkraut, glazed pork, and garlic mashed potatoes--YUM.
Scott's ready to eat some grub!
We took a trip to the Dallas Aquarium as well and saw a variety of aquatic as well as land life.
Scott's sister, Stefanie walking with Aubrey to the Aquarium
The scariest part (well, to me anyway) was the shark aquarium. If you know me, you know that not only am I terrified of deep water and its creatures, but sharks in particular give the eebie-geebies.... This tank, though, was very unique in that it felt like you were actually swimming with the sharks. Allow me to explain: you walk into a tunnel that is surround on all sides (including the roof) by very thick clear plexiglass and water. The sharks are free to swim around the entire tunnel, including above your head.
This picture of me is what my face looked like the entire time we were in there; that face was NOT staged.
They had a little sloth climbing on some limbs; the display was not behind glass or a fence! You could walk right up to the sloth! It was really neat. Parrots were flying everywhere and the aquarium had a set-up that was like the layers of the rainforest. It was four stories high and had a walking path that took you through all four levels. The very bottom level was a large pool that held two HUGE manatees! They were SO cute! One of them was playing with a floating log, hugging it and rolling around on it's surface.
The Wyly theater designed by a famous architect: Joshua Prince Ramus
Dallas Art District
So, that was our life for the past 2 1/2 weeks! Now that I am all caught up, there should be a post once a week :-)
Much love and blessings as we start this new year: WELCOME 2010!