Friday, December 30, 2011

Out like a lamb

You know that old saying about March? In like a lion. Out like a lamb.

Well, as we near 2012, I think 2011 is exiting like a lamb. I feel warm and fuzzy. I catch myself smiling for no reason at all.

For me, this was a good year. A growing year. I learned a lot about myself. I taught myself to think that the best years of my life are now because previously, I was always looking forward to my "next chapter". I kept thinking about how happy I'd be when I got married, or had kids or bought a home.

Turns out, I'm rrrreeaaalllyyy happy now. And...I always have been. I just decided to focus on the present instead of the future. The future will always work itself out. These are the days to remember.

I know it hasn't been a good year for everyone. I know that some friends and family have had rough patches and it has tested their faith and strength and happiness. Sometimes this helps me through those tough days:

 You're braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem
and smarter than you think

--from Winnie the Pooh

If it's possible, I think my relationships with my close friends and family have grown stronger and that's an incredible gift.  I can't forget that 2011 brought this little guy into our family. And what an incredible gift that is too!

Lookout, 2012: I've got big plans for you.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Pictures

Just a few pictures of Christmas festivities and happenings:

1. Me and my brother-in-law
2. The family turns into the paparazzi when it comes to babies and Santa
3. Christmas morning was wonderful even though I awoke with an annoying cold
4. My dad and Maverick. I captured this photo just moments after Mav decided to spit up on him :)

To my parents--You continue to make Christmas extraordinarily special. Your generosity amazes me and although I love all my presents, I love the time with family even more.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I need practice

In preparation for a large family photo, my sisters and I decided to test out the consecutive picture option on the camera. To combat the cold and the post-dinner coma, we attempted a jumping shot.

Back (L-R): Kate and LC
Seated: Ann and my cute nephew

The camera wasn't set for action, so they are a little blurry but they still make me laugh. Clearly we don't care about looking rediculous AND we need to work on getting some more air!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fabric Garland

I'm not the best DIYer, but I'm very happy with my fabric garland project.
I bought green and red patterned fabric,
cut it into 1 to 1.5 inch strips,
and tied them around a string of twinkle lights.
The result turned out to be a little bit rustic and a little bit country,
and I LOVE IT!

 I had lots of fabric strips left over.  
So, I bought an 8" wood embroidery hoop and clothespins.
I'll tie the fabric around the hoop, hot glue the clothespins in place,
and (hopefully) have a rustic cardholder wreath.
Here's my inspiration: Christmas Card Wreath.
My goal was to have it complete by Christmas, 
but this season has gone by WAY too fast.

Merry Christmas to all!
Hugs to our followers,


Here's what we've been doing at LC's house for hours upon hours a day!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!
Hugs to our followers,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

This newspaper clipping continues to make me happy and believe in miracles at Christmas. I think it sums up everything quite beautiful even years later.

This excerpt was taken from the Newseum

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This other time at the White House...

Somehow in the last 12 months, I managed to finagle my way into the White House...TWICE.

Most recently, I took a tour of the East Wing to gawk at the beauty of the President's house decorated for Christmas.

Highlights included:

--Looking at each president's Christmas cards and their chosen china pattern for state dinners.

--Bo, as the First Dog, showcased in almost each room. Sometimes made out of fabric, or buttons or candy (as seen above).

--There was an 18 foot tree that was pretty spectacular and was decorated to honor the service men and woman protecting our country.

Happy Holidays from the Nation's Capital.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Do you remember my excitement about getting my first Christmas Tree?
Well, here it is.
And I love it.

On several occasions I have fallen asleep on the couch
slumbering in the soft glow of the twinkle lights.
And I awoke, pleased as punch,
to have such a gorgeous tree adorn my home.

You know what?
I don't think my happiness stems just from this tree.
This holiday season has been magical.
I feel lucky. and light and dreamy.
I hope you do too.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Sugar plum fairies

It may be in the 70's here in North Carolina but I'm doing my best to bring the Christmas spirit to my house.  We have stockings at work so I like to come up with some creative goodies to give to my coworkers.  Here's a roundup of my projects this year.

Candy Cane Peppermint Bark

So easy

And so cute!

Lazy Man's Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Start with some pretzels on a baking sheet

Have some pretty chocolates for decorating on hand

After putting some chocolate on each pretzel, bake for a few minutes to melt chocolate. Then decorate!

I wrapped them up and tied them with a bow

Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Treats

So incredibly easy it kind of felt like cheating

 Smore's Cupcakes (Chocolate Cake, Marshmallow cream filling, and Graham Cracker Buttercream)

Decorated and ready to go

Gingerbread and Apple Spice Bread

I baked the breads in individual pans purchased from Michaels. I then wrapped them in brown paper and bakers twine.

I thoroughly enjoy having a reason to make fun treats! I already have a ideas for next year brewing.

I hope every one is having a wonderful Christmas season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Barroom Is Filled With The Joy of Making Old Friends...

So I went to Ireland and guess what? My face looked NOTHING like the terrain- severely disappointed, total bummer. Other than that, things were perfectly lovely and I'm quite sad to be back home (sorry America). I spent a good bit of time on my own, getting lost in the rain and tripping on cobblestone streets and doing proper nerdy things like visiting libraries, but I also met some really excellent new friends and drank a bunch of beer and fell in love with the city of Dublin. I learned the historical origin of the term "shit-faced", heard all about the decomposition of mice & rats, was repeatedly told how badly I need to visit Spain, tried amazing smelling deodorant (spray kind of course) from a girl in a bathroom who loved my "accent", discovered that people from Norway like to visit Ireland and drink massive amounts of Heineken, had wonderful conversations about music and literature and racism (awkward) but most importantly, confirmed that I really really really love traveling alone. I left feeling so much more confident about the time I want to spend in Europe next summer. Special thanks to my new BFF Eamon aka Ned aka Neddie who was so welcoming and generous with his time while I was there and is my favorite Irishman for promising to root against Notre Dame when they play in Dublin next fall. Also, many thanks to the sweetest couple in all of Ireland, Noel & Rose, who have invited me for a visit to their hometown of Galway upon my return, which I will absolutely take them up on.
Didn't take as many photos as I thought I would, I was too busy just enjoying myself (and shopping), but here are enough to bore you to death. Enjoy!

Making KC proud

Reading Room in the National Library

Adorable Trash Can

Wise Ole Oscar

Alley where I didn't get raped or murdered

My Hotel- there was tacky Irish Dancing every night

Rotunda in the Natioal Museum

St. Stephen's Green

Busy, busy Grafton Street

Not sure but I liked it!

Ha'Penny Bridge

Original Dublin City Wall & Gate, or something, I dunno

Christ Church Cathedral

Lit a Candle for my Dad

Festive Crypt

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Super Adorable Chairs

Token St. Pat's Photo

"Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order."

O'Connell Street

Dublin Custom House

Glow Tree

Can't be sure, but I think it says "We love you Mindy"... or just "Dublin"

Trinity College


Again, can't be sure, but I think it's some expression of love for me.

Stairwell in City Hall

City Hall Rotunda

Anticlimactic Dublin Castle

Curse you uneven walking surfaces!


Proudly avoided all touristy pubs like this, but it does make for a great photo!


Pop Quiz: Which of these fools is about to fall off this monument? (HINT: it's me)

Thanks for everything, Dublin. Can't wait to see you again in March :)