Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Rewind

We’ve all received those Christmas cards that include a carefully drafted letter from the sender, re-capping their family’s entire year’s accomplishments - “Suzie was pre-pre-accepted into Yale…at the age of 15”, “Tommy built an entire house for a homeless family… with his bare hands”, “Dad got the big promotion and found a cure for cancer”…. and on. and on.

Now don’t get me wrong, those are all wonderful things and I love to hear about what others are up to and the blessings God has given them….but I often wonder about the things that didn’t  make it into the letter.

What are the things they chose not  to tell you about this year?

I believe in being real.  I mean…. really real. That is, nobody is perfect…

(hmmm, suddenly I have the lyrics of a certain teen pop-sensation’s music running through my mind and I’m fighting the urge to do some fist pumps in the air along with the beat ‘Nobody’s perfect, I gotta work it again and again”…. alright, digress already).

So, in an effort to promote ‘real-ness’, I present you with our Christmas letter….

no filter.

just simply a real , honest-to-goodness narration of our year (+  photos ).

Yippee! Just what you always wanted!

This year:

Chris and Ashley helped paint and re-decorate an office building for an adoption agency.

Ashley was as bossy as usual


January 2010 068


Ashley initiated a genius plan to spray paint, mod podge and glitter-ify a large bouncy ball.

She had good intentions. Honest!

No further comments.

                        FEB 2010 032


Chris and Ashley bought their first home.

It came with this kitchen wallpaper (no extra charge).

They kept it for a while….just because it was certainly way

easier than actually doing something about it.

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(sorry for the pic Ma, it was the only one I had)


Chris took Ashley our for many dates to get ice cream over the summer.

So much so, that she almost couldn’t fit into her wedding dress.

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Ashley is a wonderful cook.



Ashley made a quilt for a wonderful friend’s baby.

her first quilt, ever.

probably her last quilt, ever.



Chris played on a church basketball team.

They were magnificent!

Their record is 0 wins, many losses.



Ashley mis-printed the wrong uncle’s name with the wrong family’s

name and address on a wedding invitation.

Chris discovered the error after everything had already been mailed off.

Ashley cried.



Ashley received a sewing machine for her birthday….

then promptly lost the manual.



Sometimes Aunt Ashley and Uncle Chris mean well, but….


things just don’t work out.

Sorry for the ride-of-terror, Pickle.


Chris has specially designed, high-end protective eye wear for when he has to chop onions.



Ashley was late to her own rehearsal dinner because her nail appointment ran late.

There was also a spelling error in her apparently-not-so-carefully proofread home-made ceremony programs.

Ashley cried.




Chris refined his sick sense of humor.



Chris and Ashley got a new camera.

Chris enjoys taking pictures of Ashley doing her usual stuff.

Ashley continues to use the coffee table as added height to see her full ensemble in the mirror before heading out the door.



This concludes our year in review.

The End


What do you think? Too much, too fast?

Well, I’d be interested to hear what you would share in your ‘real’ Christmas update letter.

…and, cue music and fist pumps!


Nobody’s perfect,

I’ve gotta work it

again, and again

‘til I get it right




Sunday, December 26, 2010

This will warm your heart… unless you’re the Grinch.


I know it’s a bit late for ‘Christmas’….

but it’s never too late to thank God for what He gave to you.



‘They called the baby Jesus….and they loved Him’

Christmas Shenanigans

My sister and brother-in-law and two nephews came down from Boston for the holidays.

It was good to catch up ….

but, we HAD to get out of the house. (it’s only a matter of time before a 1 year old and a 3 year old get themselves in to trouble at Grandma’s house when grandma’s house isn’t baby-proof anymore).

So, off to the Children’s museum and winter wonderland.

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   this face means trouble


Christmas morning was bittersweet; the first Christmas without my Nana.

Having my nephews there definitely added to the entertainment, though.

I wasn’t sure if the Pillow Pets would go over well…









I guess these photos speak for themselves.

all you really need for happiness, though, is 2 boys…a tent….and a flashlight



Merry Christmas!

Hope yours was full of joyful memories.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A giveaway from Tidy Brown Wren

Hello all.

I just want to assure you that I am currently working my little fingers to the bone putting together a fantabulous blog post depicting all the juicy wedding details….

ok, maybe 30% of that was actually true.

it will be fantabulous. and the details are juicy. but I haven’t had much time to work on it over the past 2 months.

however, I wanted to make time to fill you all in on a sweet giveaway going on at Tidy Brown Wren. In case you weren’t aware… she is the organizing queen.

She’s giving away a beautiful gift basket full of goodies to help you get organized…

just in time for the hectic holidays!

The gift basket includes:

~ a folding tote bag
~ a vinyl photo envelope
~ a coupon organizer
~ 6 ID tags
~ 4 tidy totes
~ a belt/scarf hanger
~ a set of sticky notes /page flags
~ a copy of the booklet:  The Simple Life by Thom. and Art Rainer
~ a hanging pocket organizer
~ a Christmas pickle ornament
~ 6 Baby Button Wreath Clips


Head over there now and enter! The last day to enter is December 6th.

Friday, October 29, 2010


The honeymoon was the one aspect of our wedding that I left completely mostly to Chris.

While I’d love to say I trusted him 100% with the details of our amazing, relaxing, post-wedding vacation, the truth is I still did some checking up on him in the months leading up to our big day to make sure plane tickets and hotel reservations had been made and confirmed (what?! I just didn’t want any last minute surprises!).

The choice to go to Hawaii, though, was completely left to my new hubby.

He had visited his mother in O’ahu once before, had a blast, and had always wanted to go back to Hawaii.

We spent almost a week in Kauai, then island hopped to Kona, on the Big Island.


We left Virginia Beach at 4am the day after the wedding

(what can I say? crazy cheap flights are at crazy early times!).

The flight was long, but we didn’t mind…

The common phrase of the whole trip was “I can’t believe we’re married”!


(notice the bags under our eyes? I don’t think they went away until day 4 or 5)


I think Chris and I both agree that we thoroughly enjoyed people watching in the airports on our way to and from Hawaii.

I apologize in advance if this is your mother/sister/wife/aunt/grandmother…

it’s just too good not to share



Like I mentioned before, our first stop was Lihue, Kauai.


We learned pretty quickly that all you have to do

is mention “honeymoon” or “just married” to receive instant perks…

…like a free upgrade to a convertible (byebye compact… hello wind-in-the-face)!


The resort was beautiful.





The scenery outside our room was breathtaking.


My camera simply can’t do it justice.



we loved watching the sunset from our balcony.


While we were in Kauai, we spent our time driving around and exploring the Island.

It’s the oldest and smallest Island of Hawaii.

We enjoyed doing so many once-in-a-lifetime things, like….


downhill biking at the edge of “the little grand canyon”

Waimae Canyon





horseback riding along the coast…




I love this one… Chris looks like a total PRO!



This cave was used in the filming of an Indiana Jones movie

(“cuvah ya haaat, Indie, cuvah ya haaat”             … anyone? anyone?)


and this bay was used in the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out…


my horse, Youknowhow, also makes an appearance in the movie!


Helicopter ride around the island


don’t be fooled…. this smile was a “I’m so nervous about possibly getting sick in this helicopter that I’m about to hurl any second… and we haven’t even left the ground” kind of smile… but I think I played it off nicely as a “very excited to do this” kind of smile.


amazingly enough, I never once felt nauseous on the flight

(thanks to Dramamine, that is!)

**by the way, that little yellow envelope strapped to my waist was apparently what was going to “save” me if for some reason the chopper crashed….joy.



It was an amazing view of the island.









Snorkeling off the Na’pali Coast



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ate yummy food…

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got massages…

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shopped at local markets…

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yes, they even had Starbucks there…




After 5 days in Kauai, we island hopped to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. When we got to Kona, ‘adventure’ took on a completely different meaning. We soon realized that we had no hope of renting a car (or even a scooter or a bike, for that matter) because that same weekend just so happened to be the weekend that a little event called the 2010 Iron Man World Championship Triathlon was taking place. Every car on Hawaii, and even neighboring islands, had been reserved months before. That did put a bit of a damper on our plans (mostly just my wish to see hot lava… since you can’t exactly walk around the island to find that!). Fortunately, there was a shopping center with some restaurants and a grocery store within a mile (up-hill) from our resort, then a beach about a mile past that. Though we did find ourselves repeating “I wish we were back in Kauai” a few times, I can honestly say that it was a completely amazing experience in a completely different way than Kauai had been.

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                            Banyan tree… like the ones on LOST, only smaller


This is the beach where we went snorkeling.

The one regret that I have is that we didn’t bring the underwater case for my camera on this day (I was trying to minimize the load Chris had to carry while we walked)… and of course, this was the day that we swam with sea turtles while snorkeling!

They were so beautiful and calm; just floating along with the current…. exactly like in the movie Finding Nemo. Noggin! I wish so badly that I had a picture of them.

Oh well, one more reason to return to Hawaii.

Until we meet again, Mr. Turtle. Until we meet again.