Thursday, November 29, 2012

thankful...a week late

Thanksgiving this year was different than it normally is. Richard and I spent the holiday away from family, as he had to work on both Thursday and Friday. Working then meant we could be home over the weekend for the Clemson-South Carolina game, but we sure missed our annual traditions and being with family! Thankfully our dear friends Amy and Jon invited us to join their families for Thanksgiving dinner in Bethesda. We have gotten to know both families well through their wedding festivities, so we were thrilled to join them for the holiday.

We started our festivities off by seeing the Signature Theatre's production of Dreamgirls. It was so good...but I kept hoping Beyonce or Jennifer Hudson would appear on stage!

on Signature's steps

Richard has spent past Thanksgiving mornings running in Spartanburg's Turkey Trot, so we signed up to participate in the Turkey Chase our local YMCA puts on. It was HUGE. Definitely a couple thousand runners participating in the 10K and the 2 miler. We opted for just the 2 miles, but I was proud of us for getting up and going though.

ready for the start

and we're off!

the turkey, who looked a lot the Virginia Tech Hokie

another turkey

Thanksgiving dinner with the Gray, Dickens and Sharp families was beautiful. Amy's sister Ashley hosted everyone, and her place settings and center pieces were just perfect. Amy got to use her fine china too, which is pictured below. The only thing I regret about the dinner is not going back for seconds! 
love Amy's salad plates and the handmade place cards by her niece Hadley

Jon's mom making her way around the buffet

delicious pies for dessert

my Derby pie, using an fabulous recipe borrowed from one Sweet Reba- I also made a caramel pecan pie from Southern Living that was rich but incredible, if I do say so myself

thankful for these dear friends

In addition to friends who look out for us and are always gracious and inclusive, I'm thankful for the health of my family, a job I enjoy, having my Army husband home and not treating wounded warriors overseas, all the men and women who are serving away from their families and loved ones, and a faithful God who has seen us through a year that's not been the easiest.

"Give thanks is all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, November 19, 2012

JLW Holiday Shops

After a weekend full of moving 40 merchants in to the Sphinx Club, a Sneak Peek preview party, a scholarship breakfast, a Libations for Literacy event with both a silent auction and live auction, a Pictures with Santa event, lots of happy shoppers and moving 40 merchants back out, the Junior League of Washington's Holiday Shops for this year is in the books. I loved serving on the committee this year with the League, and I was amazed by all the hard work it took to pull it off. So impressed with the ladies on the Steering Committee, our bagpipe-playing Santa and the amount of money raised for the improving literacy in the DC-metro area.

looking down on our great vendors

setting up for the silent auction

all dressed up for Libations for Literacy

our Santa and Mrs. Claus- so sweet and kind, with the most fabulous costumes I've seen

loved them

our Special Events subcommittee, a little worn out on Sunday afternoon

our Santa playing the bag-pipes for the crowd...great way to start the holiday season!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

election night 2012

As you may have heard, there was a Presidential election yesterday. And since this may be the only time Richard and I are in DC on a Presidential election night, we ventured out to the RNC's Election Night Party held at the Ronald Reagan building downtown. The National Republican Congressional Committee hosted the event, in conjunction with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Hill staffers for members' personal offices were invited to attend. 

It was a fun thing to experience- Rodney Atkins performed and there was plenty of food and drink- until everyone started to realize that almost all the swing states were being called for Obama. In the span of about 10 minutes, it became clear the Romney/Ryan ticket would not be victorious. I honestly have not been too involved on the campaign but have several friends who were, and I felt for them last night. I would have loved to see the GOP take back the White House, but I was thankful to see my boss win and for a continued Republican majority in the House. Nothing really changed, other than a few Dem House and Senate pick-ups, so the next four years will be likely be a continuation of the status quo. It certainly is an interesting time for our country, and an interesting time to be in Washington. 

view from the balcony

watching the results come in on Fox News

party crowd

hoping for great things for Paul Ryan in the future

And then there was this. I had to run over to Bethesda Row before the event and found it almost fully decorated for Christmas. Y'all, it's November 7th! I'd be lying if I said I'm not excited about listening to Christmas music and putting up our tree, but I was still a bit surprised to see Bethesda Row already decked out. I guess holiday ads will replace all those campaign ads!

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Monday, November 5, 2012

sheltering refugees

Since Hoboken, NJ was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy, we ended up having two grown-up trick-or-treaters seeking power and internet. Will and Caitlin arrived Wednesday night, and after two days of being worried sick over them trapped in his apartment due to flood waters, I was SO glad to see them! And they were very happy to be able to check their email. 

work computers out and fired up

While they caught up on work and opened the door to our many Halloween visitors, we hung out with a precious little Abby Cadabby and her mom and dad. 

Gia as Abby

little Gia walked in and handed us candy

After Will and Caitlin got in two good workdays, we loved spending the weekend with them, especially since they requested a return trip to Founding Farmers, one of our favorite restaurants.

Clemson played a rare night game against Duke, and we met some of Will's friends at Town Hall in Glover Park to watch the game. There is nothing like being in a bar full of 20-somethings to make you feel old! The food was delicious and the atmosphere fun, but we will probably return to our cozy couch for the next game we watch on tv. 

proudly sporting Clemson orange and purple

Will and his old roommate Chris- so annoyed at me for taking multiple pictures

big smiles for a big Tiger win over the Blue Devils

I obviously would have rather seen Will and Caitlin without the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but I loved having them in town nonetheless. I miss my brothers and can't wait to celebrate the holidays with the whole family together very soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

pumpkin carving party

Happy belated Halloween! We handed out candy last night, but we really celebrated this past weekend before the storm came. My husband is kind of like Clark Griswald when it comes to holidays, in the sense that he LOVES them. He creates playlists for every one, makes sure to pull out our multiple tupperware containers of various decorations and usually wants to host friends for celebratory parties. I like to entertain, but I sometimes get frustrated with all the time and prep that goes into it.

We decided to throw our second annual Pumpkin Carving Party this year and expanded our invitation list somewhat. Not as many friends were able to come as we had hoped thanks to the impending storm and other commitments, but it turned out to be such a fun party! And the weather was just perfect- a little overcast and almost 70 degrees. Much better than the snow we had last year. 

our front porch decorated and ready for action

back yard before the sun went down

Gowdy office friends Mary Anna and Patrick- loved having them stop by

We served appetizers outside, three different kinds of chili inside and yummy desserts- a Smith Island cake, one of the best I've ever hard, and Halloween cupcakes from our friend Alex. Unfortunately, the molasses ginger pumpkin ice cream cookies were left in the freezer!

Our littlest guests enjoyed looking for prizes in birdseed, everyone stayed warm by the fire pit and roasted marshmallows for s'mores, and our friends carved some very impressive pumpkins. 

Halloween bubbles in birdseed

USC Law girls Caroline and Laura

Richard and I were exited to order an attachment to go on the end of the drill which was supposed to scoop the inside of the pumpkin in record time. It didn't quite work as fabulously as advertised, but they may have been due to the fact our drill wasn't properly charged.

showing off his new toy

boys hard at work

Jill and Ryan

the Capaldi's

newlyweds Laura and Shawn

Min and Alex, who is expecting Baby Strawn in January

so proud of his finished product

some of the carved masterpieces

sweet girls Gia and baby Elsye

At about 9 pm, little Gia decided she was tired of our Halloween playlist and wanted to hear her Disney playlist. Which resulted in a Disney dance party. Hilarious. Oh how times have changed, and we don't even have kids of our own.

Anderson, Gia and Julia getting down

All the pumpkins turned out great! I'm hoping we can make this party an annual Webb tradition.

only missing one or two

a little brighter

ending the night around the fire pit