Monday, December 31, 2012

our 2012

I had a really hard time choosing a photo for each month—there were just so many good moments this year!

Some of my best days in 2012 were spent:
1. Traveling to Arkansas in April to meet our 3rd niece.
2. My friend Emily’s wedding in Kennebunk, Maine in June.
3. Countless trips to visit Nolan’s Grandmas and Grandpas.
4. Our friends Kevin & Julie’s July wedding in Cleveland.
5. Nolan meeting 5 great-grandparents.
6. Celebrating our baby boy’s first birthday in September.
7. Attending the dedication for my sister’s memorial in Chicago.
8. Flying to Minnesota for Thanksgiving with my family.
9. Spending Christmas at home, and then with our families in Indiana.
10. And of course, enjoying each day with Nolan—teaching him, feeding him, loving him, and watching him quickly grow into an amazing little boy!

Thanking God today for this wonderful year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May the new 2013 bring many blessings to you!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

designer desserts

My mom’s side of the family is rooted in Valparaiso, Indiana (a nice town 60 miles east of Chicago), so that is where we headed the day after Christmas. We ended up in a hotel in Cleveland that night (still 5 hours from destination) since Winter Storm Euclid hit hard, and the Ohio turnpike was not plowed. But we still made it to family Christmas on Thursday night!

Yesterday morning, my aunt insisted that we make a second visit to the local cupcake shop “Designer Desserts” in downtown Valparaiso.

Two photos from our first experience back in September:

I was excited to see how they decorated for Christmas, and they did not disappoint.

And these were the cupcakes we devoured yesterday:

My cousin-in-law’s sister Sarah, my cousin Dayna, and my Aunt Lori

Dayna, Grandpa, me, and Lori

9 20122
I think we’ve started a new tradition every time we come “home” :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

our Christmas photo + outtakes

the one that I love most (that we sent out).

the chair idea didn’t work from the very beginning.

laughing at how difficult it was to take a photo on a timer, with a tripod, and get a dog and a baby to cooperate.

when I ran back from the camera and sat on the chair, it sank into the ground, and I thought we were falling over backwards.

okay, good shot, but dog not looking.

joyful photo
I won a giveaway for this etsy design.

oh, and a cute shot of just the two of us.


Monday, December 24, 2012

a Christmas Eve engagement story

Steve’s and my relationship was mostly long-distance. I was in college in Chicago, and he was in college in Pennsylvania. Christmas break was exciting because we could live in the same town for three weeks, and see each other every day. On Christmas Eve 2008, Steve spent the majority of his day last-minute shopping. He asked me if I would like to go out to dinner, or get dessert with him after church that evening. We had been dating for a year and a half, and he had never asked me to a late night dinner before. So, like any other girl with a serious boyfriend around the holidays, I began wondering, “Is this the night?” We met up at our cozy little church at 7 pm, where we listened to the story of Jesus’ birth, and sang “Silent Night”, everyone holding tiny lit candles in the dark.

When it was time to go, my family was heading out to one Christmas party, while Steve’s family was leaving to go to another Christmas party. Though we were invited to both, I still had my mind set on Steve and me going to a restaurant by ourselves. (If he was going to ask me an important question, I thought it would probably happen when we were alone.) Unfortunately, we didn't realize there are no restaurants open after 8 on Christmas Eve. So we ended up in Steve’s parents’ house, babysitting his 5-year-old niece while she slept (so her parents could go to the first Christmas party), and we played Guitar Hero—not exactly what I had in mind. At this point, I gave up on the idea that it was “the night.” Steve’s family came home from the party, and we left for my mom’s house. 

It is Scandinavian tradition to have Christmas dinner and open presents on Christmas Eve. It is something we’ve done my whole life, and I love it. My mom, my stepfather, my stepfather’s son Tim, Steve, and I gathered around the tree, distributing the gifts, and taking turns opening them. Once everything was unwrapped, Steve said he had something in the car, and asked if I would come down to the basement. He went out the front door, while I watched him from the window. There was a lot of ice out that night (his car actually got stuck to the driveway when he left, and had to be pushed out of its spot), and he fake-skated his way to the car to get a laugh from me. 

When he came back inside, he had a medium-sized gift bag in his hand, and we went downstairs. We sat down on the couch, he handed me the bag, and inside was a little photo album. I began going through the pictures from our whole relationship, while he told me the story to go with them. It began with, “This is a story about a boy, who fell in love with a girl beautiful beyond belief…”

After many pages, I found photos of us that we had taken in front of different bodies of water. Two of our very first pictures together were self-shots on Lake Chautauqua and Lake Erie. After that, we had started a little goal to take photos of ourselves in front of every lake, river, or ocean we visited—us by Lake Michigan, us by Niagara Falls, etc. 

After those photos, the album went blank. Steve began to ask, “But where is the Atlantic Ocean? Where is Lake Superior? Where is Lake Ontario, the Pacific Ocean, the Finger Lakes?” There was then a photo of us making disappointed faces. 

He told me, “It is going to take a long time to travel to all of those places.” I turned the page again, and there was a photo of the brand-new chapel at the camp that we both worked at for many summers. 

He got down on one knee beside the couch, pulled out a ring, and asked me, “Rachel Julia, will you marry me?” 


Friday, December 21, 2012

oh tannenbaum

I wanted to share our little Christmas tree.

Some history—here it is on our first married Christmas, 2009, with our 6-month-old puppy Ivy. Tiny, right?

Then here it was Christmas 2011, with our 3-month-old baby.

This year, it is not on the floor, or on a coffee table, since little baby has turned into mischievous toddler. It is actually on top of our entertainment center, high above his reach. I’m hoping next year we can buy a bigger tree, since we’ve outgrown this one.

Zooming in on a few special ornaments:

Steve found me this gem on Ebay, three years after Hallmark issued it in 2007. This was the year we started dating, and had our first kiss… on a rowboat.

Meet Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy. I am not a Star Trek lover (yet?) but they hold a prominent place on our tree. (Don’t worry, you can still find McCoy at Hallmark this year if you’re envious).

Baby’s 1st Christmas, 2011.

Another 1st Christmas ornament.

We got this one in September from the Wizard of Oz Fest in Chesterton, Indiana :)

My grandfather made these two years ago. Amazing, right?

My mom and stepfather got this hand-painted buoy for us on their vacation to Maine this past summer. It has our names written on the back.

Plays “Santa Baby”. I bought it the day after Christmas in 2008, since I had just received a ring from Santa Steve.

IMG_5868Will we be able to find a “Nolan” to add to our collection?

From my friend Irene last year.

Got this shiny one for $3 at Target this season.

Lastly, my new favorite. I went to a Christmas party that involved an ornament exchange. We drew numbers, and I had the first pick….which means I had the last pick as well (people were allowed to steal for their turn instead of unwrapping a new one). Isn’t it gorgeous? It can be found at Carson’s/Bon Ton/Younker’s—whatever they call it in your area of the country. I love the little snow pellets inside!

Four days til Christmas! Happy weekend!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...