2013: The Year of Family

Hi strangers! Whew, it feels good to be back after our whirlwind of a Christmas vacation. Scott and I were all over the place these last couple of weeks and I think we figured that we slept in six different beds in eleven days. Needless to say, it was SO wonderful to come back and sleep in our own bed. I seriously almost cried. I was so happy to be back in our house.

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To kick off our Christmas roadtrip, we headed north to spend some time with both our families. We always say it is a blessing and a curse to have our families live close to each other since we have to split our time with each family, but the blessings always win. This was actually the first Christmas in three years that we were actually able to be home with our families. Scott usually had church duties being the Worship Director, but since he took a new job back in May, we’ve assumed more of a volunteer role which allows us to skip a Sunday or two, now!

The Sunday before Christmas, Scott’s parent’s church held a special service where the choir and a chamber orchestra performed Handel’s Messiah. Scott was asked to perform a couple solos and we both sang in the choir. I know I’m my husband’s biggest fan and may be a little bias, but he did an AMAZING job performing his solos. Any time he performs my heart is so full of love for him and to see his home church congregation experience his talents made me smile that much bigger.

Scott singing

We even had celebratory homebrews with a special label waiting for us when we got back to the house after the performance. They were literally “Too Hot to Handel”. Gosh we crack ourselves up. Around our house I’ve dubbed Mr. George Frideric Handel as “Big Sexy”. Seriously. How could you resist a wig and eyebrows like that?!

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While at Scott’s parents we got into all sorts of fun projects. One of which was chopping down a Christmas tree. Scott and I were out on a nice wintery run and talking about anything and everything when we came upon his grandpa’s property. In the later part of his grandpa’s life, he owned and operated a Christmas tree farm on his property. The tree farm is no longer, but there are plenty of Christmas trees still out on his land.

I’ve never had a real Christmas tree before and with Scott’s grandpa passing earlier this year, we thought this would be a great way to have his memory around during the holidays. After searching for a little while, we came upon the perfect tree. Scott ran back to his grandpa’s house and found his old ax. It was quite nostalgic to chop down a tree on his grandpa’s land with his grandpa’s ax.

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Thankfully we weren’t too deep into the woods and were able to carry the tree over to Scott’s parent’s house and set it up on their back porch.

Christmas 2013-001Once back at the house, Scott and his dad trimmed the tree and got it a “stand” (i.e. a 5-gallon bucket of golf balls) and decorated it with lights. It was wonderful! We’ve decided to make this a tradition each year. We can’t wait to have little kiddos and go out on their great-grandpa’s land to cut down a Christmas tree.

We also were bitten by the baking bug and decided to make a brownie gingerbread man. I whipped up some delicious homemade icing and had a little too much fun decorating him up.

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We headed over to my parent’s the next day and celebrated Christmas with them and were spoiled with all kinds of goodies, traveled to my mom’s dad’s house to celebrate there and then the next day having Christmas with my dad’s side of the family. We were overloaded with Christmas, but soooo thankful to spend time with all our family.

I don’t know if it’s because we are getting older or what, but this year we valued our families and friends more than ever. We have some pretty cool and hilarious family members and we’ve found that we absolutely LOVE spending time with them more than ever. God has truly blessed us with close families and we definitely do not take this for granted.

To round out the year, Scott and I headed down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to build a house for a family that had theirs destroyed by a tornado in February 2013. We’ve never done anything like this before, so it was a little outside of our comfort zone; but our goal for 2014 is to be more intentional in giving to and loving others … not just when it is convenient or easy for us. So, this trip was a perfect way to start off the new year. I’ll have more on this “Project Christmas House” in my next post.

And I finished my 2013 resolution to run 1,000 miles in a year!!!!! This was such a fun challenge and it was euphoric to carry out and finish a personal goal over the course of a year.

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Because every finish line needs prize, I rewarded myself with a “race t-shirt” I designed and my medal was a nice bottle of bourbon. Holla! Scott and I have decided that we build on this fitness goal in 2014 and try to run 500 miles and bike 2,000. It should be interesting!

Finally, another goal of mine came recently from Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore blog. She created a calendar called “Best of My Days” where you record a joy from each day of the year. Like she said, I hope it “nurtures gratitude in my heart” by recording a joy from each day. It can be big stuff or small stuff, but the hope is that you find the blessing each day offers and as you write all these down, you can reflect back on the previous days to remember how much you’ve been given.

Click on the photo below to head over to her site to download the PDF, it’s free! She’s done all the hard work, you just have to print it out!

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So, that’s how our year ended and we are happy to start the journey of 2014! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Any resolutions or goals you are trying for this year?

– Allie

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4 thoughts on “2013: The Year of Family

  1. Thank you for this wonderful recap of the holidays. It brought tears to my eyes when you shared the grandpa Christmas tree story. Thank you so much for the start of a wonderful new addition to our Christmas traditions each year.

  2. We appreciated you lending your voices to our choir for our Christmas Eve service, it made it extra special to have you guys and Lanier help us out, thank-you ever so much

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