Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Carolina Christmas

One of my New Year's resolutions is to have shorter, more concise blog posts. But since we're still in 2010 and it's been a while since I posted, I thought I'd share our Carolina Christmas in one big post.

We got off to a bit of a rough start. I locked my keys in my car right before we left, and while we were taking Richard's Jeep, we figured we probably should retrieve them from the ignition before taking off. As we drove south, we hit snow as soon as we got to Virginia. We stopped in Hillsborough, NC to visit the Vietri outlet, which was sadly closed. We were hoping to get a few more of our Santa Claus plates! We settled for the Wooden Nickel instead, where Richard enjoyed a fried pork barbecue bacon sandwich.

pork, bacon, bbq goodness

snowy Hillsborough

We made it to Spartanburg safely and were happy to welcome our Ohio family on the Sunday before Christmas for a visit. It was great to see them, and we just wished Will had been there too!

at the Olive Garden with Suzanne and Alyx

my 90 y.o. grandfather, my aunt, and mom at the Jason's Deli- we love some chains in Spartanburg

No visit to Spartanburg is complete without a trip to the Angel Nails. Dan, Will and crew take good care of all of us, and Alyx and I had great bonding time over manicures!

We had Christmas with the family a few days early- Richard and I gave my grandfather Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Extraordinary Book of Facts upon recommendation of my aunt, and he loved it! Was quoting facts the whole trip home...apparently it's the little things. Jeff got an incredible piece of art from my aunt, which is what the blanket is covering in the picture below. With the tree, presents, couch, bookshelf, dog, etc., there wasn't much room left for the four of us!
Jeff, my cousin Alyx, me and Richard (and Hunter dog)

Two days before Christmas, we hosted the annual Webb Christmas drop-in. This served as an engagement party for Richard and I last year, so it was scaled down a bit this year. We still loved getting to see old friends and family. And I made the Santa picture for the first time this year.

Richard's mother requests a picture of Suzanne and Richard with Santa Claus every Christmas. Every year. Still. Even though they are 29 and 26. All 30 pictures, from the time Richard was 7 mos old, are displayed on the sun porch.

a portion of the pictures

And now, by virtue of marriage, I have made it into the picture. The big question looming is if the first grandchild will be permitted to take our place with Santa. Surely he or she will be a quality replacement!

Richard, Suzanne and ME with Santa

We gave sweet Darcy a life-size Tiger that had once lived in my Clemson apartment. Please don't hate us, Amanda! Hope it's found a nice nook in your home.

with the aforementioned Tiger- and how precious is Darcy's outfit, handmade by her mama?!

Richard with Andy and the Fortune brothers

love these girls- two of my oldest friends, April and Meghanne

After having Christmas dinner a few days early with our Ohio family and cooking for the party and buying a car Christmas Eve morning (goodbye Grand Cherokee, hello Acura MDX!), we decided to make Christmas Eve dinner an Outback night. I was skeptical, but we ran into everyone and their brother and had a great meal.
the Davis family (Will made it home!) and the Webb family (minus Suzanne, who had to work)

capping off Christmas Eve with dessert at Miss Ruby's

We went over to Richard's Aunt Debbie's Christmas morning for a fabulous breakfast and gift exchange.

Josh, who's marrying Molly, Richard's cousin in April, Richard and Cousin Al

the whole group minus the bride-to-be, who refused to be photographed in PJs- can you blame her?

We went back to my parents' house, opened presents, and ate again. We visited a few of Richard's cousins, played in the snow (yay White Christmas!) and finished the evening with a movie. All in all, a wonderful first married Christmas.
the boys in their new beanies and gloves
same spot- this time with Will
opening presents at the Webbs
first White Christmas in Spartanburg since 1963!

my mother's St. Francis of Assisi bird feeder, which she loves

Merry Christmas from the Davises and Webbs!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Card 2010

Hopefully by now, most of these have reached their intended destinations! I LOVE receiving Christmas cards from friends and family and had so much fun picking these out and sending them!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

great week and some big news

After two weeks of training in Texas, Richard finally came home on Monday! I missed him more than I ever thought I would...while he was gone, I got sick with a pretty bad cold, which made him being gone even harder. Thank goodness for a really sweet pharmacist at the Rite Aid up the street!

I was thrilled to pick him up and excited to have him help finish our little artificial, pre-lit tree. We just didn't think we'd have enough time in our house to enjoy a real tree this year.

my own Clark Griswold, wearing his VV Christmas lounge pants

As we were finishing up some DVR catching up, we looked outside to see SNOW on the ground! So we headed outside at 1 am for a mini-photo shoot. Please keep in mind this is sans make-up...eek!

We hosted our church small group for dinner, and I spent most of Tuesday making some Pioneer Woman toffee. The kitchen was a disaster after I finished and mine didn't look quite like Ree's, but man, is it tasty! I need to package it up to get it out of my house ASAP! We also served pork tenderloin, baked brie, and this fabulous bacon-cheese dip. So yummy...wish I had taken pictures of the table. But this is what our house looked like...we didn't put out everything, as a good bit of our Christmas decor is still in SC.

sofa table with Annalee snow couple and Target green trees

Clemson Christmas tree that Richard gave me 7 years ago- I still love it!

decorated tree and gifts

ornaments in jars, small nativity scene and cinnamon broom

pretty Beth Wiseman pillow

We had wonderful news to report to our small group- I GOT A JOB! It's a HUGE answer to prayer. I've been working at the Lilly Pulitzer store nearby and have absolutely loved it, but I needed something a little higher-paying. I am going to be working on Capitol Hill for a newly-elected South Carolina Congressman, and I could not be more excited. We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

history lesson

A few weeks ago, after a fun weekend with the O'Sullivans, Richard and I headed towards West Virginia to visit Harpers Ferry, located only about an hour away from us, and see the fall leaves before they fell. Harpers Ferry is the site of John Brown's raid and was an instrumental stronghold during the Civil War. I vaguely remembered John Brown from AP US History in high school, but Richard made sure we saw and learned as much as possible. Just one of the many things I love about my husband...

(For those, who like me, need a refresher- John Brown was an abolitionist who, with a group of armed men, captured the armory in Harpers Ferry in 1859, with the hope of providing arms to slaves and instigating an uprising. John Brown fought U.S. Marines-led by Robert E. Lee- in the firehouse below, who eventually captured and hanged him. John Brown predicted a Civil War was imminent, and the town of Harpers Ferry, which was strategically important because of its location and armory, changed hands eight times during the War between Union and Confederate forces.)

John Brown's fort

Prior to the Civil War though, Harpers Ferry was a bustling river and railroad town that hosted many leaders of the young country. Thomas Jefferson visited Harpers Ferry, and the rock that overlooks the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. When Jefferson saw the view, he is quoted as saying the view alone "was worth the voyage across the Atlantic." We agreed that it was beautiful, and I would definitely recommend a day visit for anyone who lives close by!

RCW found a fuzzy caterpillar on the walk up to Jefferson Rock

gorgeous view taken beside Jefferson Rock

P.S. The yellow coat I'm wearing has become one of my favorites, and it was purchased at Old Navy for only $35. Quite a steal, huh?! We had to search several Old Navy stores to find my size, but it was definitely worth our sleuthing!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

'tis the season for holiday markets!

So if there is one thing us southern girls know how to do, it's throwing a fantastic party! I loved being involved with the Junior League of Columbia during my time there, and I have been to the Preview Party before the JLC's annual Holiday Market for five straight years now. Richard has escorted me to Preview Party in the past, and when we found out about the cocktail party that was part of Junior League of Washington's "A Capital Collection," we quickly shelled out a pretty penny for tickets, thinking it would be similar to one of our favorite South Carolina events.

Sadly, it just didn't quite compare. The menu was not very extensive, there was a DJ instead of a band, and the atmosphere wasn't nearly as festive. The best part of the evening was free pimento cheese from a South Carolinian at the Augusta's Creations booth and getting to hang out with our new friends Davis and Blaire. They are from Nashville and were equally disappointed- but the dinner we had to get post-party gave us time to really talk in-depth, so there was a silver lining to the evening! In JLW's defense, space is at a premium in DC, and everything here is twice as expensive as it is in SC. And every friend I've met through the JLW has been smart and wonderful and super involved in the community. I just think party planning in a big metropolitan area can present some tough challenges!

Blaire and me in front of the Pink Palm Lilly tree

Thankfully, I did get to extend my Thanksgiving stay in the Palmetto State and attend the JLC's Holiday Market Preview Party. The pretty ladies below were extremely instrumental in the success of the event. Ashley is co-chair of the entire Holiday Market Committee, and Mary Douglass is in charge of decorations. And incredible decorations they were!

It was such a fabulous evening of seeing old friends and new family and getting to visit with all kinds of Columbia's finest. Even Jill came down from Winston-Salem, which was a huge treat in itself. I really am starting to adjust to the DC area and appreciate my new home more and more, but it was good for my soul to see so many people who are dear to me. I'd love to make it an annual reunion!

Bec, me, Hannah and Suzanne- all roommates at one point in various combinations

Racquettes reunite!

Love, love these Clemson girls- Kelly, Katie, and Baylis- friends for ten years now

prom pose with Alexis and Kelly under the balls- these girls are hilarious

Rachel, Alexis, Kelly, Jill, Rebecca and me, splitting the silent auction rope

we added Elizabeth and Ashley and Hannah

huge, gorgeous tree