Tuesday, November 30, 2010

O Christmas Tree...

I've been working on decking the halls around here for the last few nights....  And as of last night, the biggest thing - the tree! - is done.  I live in a small but precious little apartment, but I've never had to compromise and have a small, artificial tree because the first Christmas I was here, Dad was determined to figure out a live tree for this place.  And he did!

So I cram one in the corner of my dining room. :)  And here it is!  (You don't get to see the top because I can't back up far enough to get the whole thing in a shot.)

I love that a Christmas tree can tell stories with its ornaments. 
As I was hanging to many of mine last night,
I loved thinking of where they have come from over the years.  Here are some favorites!

Front and center, every year.  As it should be.

My ornament that always hung on Nanny & GanGan's tree growing up.  All 7 of us had one, made by my aunt.  We used to always decorate their big tree as a family and order in pizza for dinner. 
Nanny even had these ornaments on a little tree in her room at Arbor Acres for Christmas. 
We all got to take ours home this year from Thanksgiving. 
I will always always put this on my tree and think of my grandparents and Christmas at their house.

Oh, my very favorite Hotel del Coronado in San Diego...  I stinkin' love it.  I've been there lots of times, but this ornament is from a family trip in November 2007.  It's where I would want to end up if I could close my eyes and click my heels and instantly be somewhere.

My Abraham Lincoln china ornament from my cousin Brian and his fiance Christina who live in DC. 
They so appreciate my love of good ole Abe.

My sweet little yellow "dough star" that I made in preschool 25 years ago. :)

Man, did I love high school... I might be the only person on earth other than Martha Land with one of these on the tree.  Wes gave it to me a few years ago because he knew I'd flip over it.  And I did.  Bless his heart.

No, this is not the Old Well at Carolina.  PLEASE.  AS IF.  It's from the Greenbrier in West Virginia. 
My grandparents took us there several times growing up, as a whole family.  We were so fortunate to get to make so many memories there together over the years.

Rainbow Row in Charleston, from a trip there to celebrate Amy's 21st birthday in 2003.

 From my very first Festival of Trees tree 5 years ago.  It had fallen off without me knowing it and I found it after I got home from delivering my tree.  I decided I needed to keep it and hang it on my own tree. 
I love getting it out every year and remembering that darling tree.  And it really was cute, if I do say so... :)

My very favorite ornaments and the first ones that go on the tree every year are my photo sculpture ornaments.  They are hard plastic cutouts that the preschools here do every year.  I counted last night - I have 15 of them. :)  They are of all of my precious Winston kids, and their moms always remember me when they order their ornaments. (You can see lots of them in the full tree picture up top.) 
This was the very first one I got, of Spencer and Sam in 2006.

And now, for the good stuff:  Baby's First Christmas. 

"There's nothing like a baby boy to bring a world of special joy to Christmas."


But wait, I'm just getting started.  Here's the other one.  Now, I don't mean to split hairs, but not only is this one ANOTHER boy ornament, but excuse me, that baby is BLACK.

Best part?

It was given to me by my aunt.

 However, because they are hilarious, they have always been put on the tree for some comic relief. 
Every single year.

Merry Merry to you and yours!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kisses for Piper

As my aunt would say, I am just crazy for this picture. 
Piper's baby doll face, her red sucker, their big white bows, Poppy's eyelashes, the light, the color.... 
I love it all. 

And just for fun - here they are last Fall. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Three Reasons

I am the firmest of believers that everything happens for a reason.  The time that I have probably seen and experienced this more than ever for myself was when I started college.  I initially went to University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and 2 weeks after classes started I totally wrecked my right knee with a rare, freak injury that no one knew how to fix.  After lots of doctors appointments it was decided that I needed some major surgery, so the call was made that I would withdraw from school and come home to take care of the knee, then would reassess what to do about school.

Once that time came, I didn't feel like going back to UT was the right thing for me.  I hadn't had the best time there (understandably) so I went back to the drawing board on what college would look like for me.  It was - I will admit - REALLY scary.  Because I was going to be a mid-year entrance, options were limited, as only certain places would allow it.  My friend Kelly encouraged me to consider NC State.  I had never so much as thought about going to school there, but once we learned that they would allow me to start in January if I got in, it definitely became an option.  And it ended up happening.

Let me tell you something - I loved every. single. second. that I was at that school.    I was scared to death to start there the way that I did, but it ended up being the very best thing that ever could have happened after a total whirlwind of slow, painful, frustrating months.

So yes, everything happens for a reason.  Or several reasons.  And I spent my weekend this weekend with three of the reasons that I KNOW I ended up at State.

I am, admittedly, a guys' girl.  I watch Sportscenter and talk football and take care of 'the boys' and love doing it.  And when I was at State I met three of the best guys there are.  And one of them got married this past weekend, so we all packed up and headed to Nashville for the celebration.

Matt can make me laugh harder than anyone I know, and from the moment I met him we had so much in common that it was scary.  Leister (Ryan, really, but two are Ryans, so they have always gone by last names instead) is quiet and so sweet and gives the best big bear hugs on the planet.  McDowell (Ryan, again), the groom, is always good for a kiss on the cheek and used to come sing us to sleep in our apartment in school.  He was the one that I felt like I needed to take care of in school.  I almost gave a toast about this at the rehearsal dinner but decided not to, as I didn't want to sound like a mom.  But then at 1:30 am that night, my cell phone rang.  McDowell needed Advil.  So off I went, in pjs, through the hotel to his room, to the rescue.  Just like old times. :)

But the truth is, these boys took care of me in school and have ever since.  I could call any of them out of nowhere for anything in the world and they would drop anything and come running.  They did so so very many times.  They have always made me feel so safe, and I have always known that they would do anything I would ever need them to do.  And they knew that I would be there for them just the same.

I cried this morning in the Nashville airport.  The weekend was so much fun and went by far too quickly.  I wanted more time with everyone.  But I also know that it doesn't matter how far apart we are or how long we go between seeing each other.  Because it's always just like old times when we're all in one place.  And I will love that forever.

I am so glad that everything happens for a reason.  Or 3. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Friends & Babies & Interstates

I have great friends.  I mean GREAT friends.  And I don't ever think twice about hitting the road and burning the miles and wearing myself out to play with any of them when given the chance.  This past weekend was a BIG weekend for doing just that!

Nowadays, a lot of these fabulous friends have gorgeous children.  That means this girl wants to spend time with everyone even more.  I can't get enough of them....  The friends that my parents have always had are such a big part of my life.  They have been there all along the way for me and for my sister.  It's important for me to get to know all of the little ones of my dearest friends so that they will grow up knowing that "Aunt Becca" will always be around for them.  I don't ever want them to wonder who I am when I walk through the door...

So, this past Friday, a whirlwind of hugging friends and kissing babies began!  I took a break from Christmas Card photo taking  (and lemme tell you.....WHEW.  That is wearing a girl OUT.  BUT, these pictures are breaking my heart they are so cute.  Can't wait to share lots of them after the holidays when I won't be ruining any surprises!) and played played played with so many favorites.

First, off to Charlotte as my little Emmy turned ONE.  I know.  I can't believe it either.

Ellen and Terry had some folks over to celebrate with cupcakes and to watch the birthday girl do her thing with a candle and some icing.  She loved it.  Then the 'big kids' took over a giant booth at dinner and had a fabulous time!

"Aunt Becca.  Really. You should put down that camera and have a cupcake.  They are GOOD."

Up the next morning to head back to Winston to the Wake Forest football game (or whatever it is they are playing out there.  It's certainly not football.) with Jamey and Gretchen and their two, Mary and James, who were in town from Bristol for the weekend.  Except James was sick so he was a little pitiful and didn't make it into the photos.  But of course Mary posed with her favorite Uncle Wes for me.

My sweet friend Blair came to town that night to have dinner and spend the night and we took no pictures. :(  But I was so glad to have her here!!!

Sunday morning I hopped back in the car bright and early to head to Asheville to see my friend Katie, who I worked with for 2 summers in college at a Young Life camp just outside of San Diego.  Katie and her family live in Michigan now and she was in Asheville for the weekend for a wedding. 

I hadn't seen Katie in SIX YEARS.  She had her 8-month-old, Gus, in tow, and I had THE BEST TIME catching up with her and playing with him.  It's like no time had passed at all, and I love that.

Since I was all the way to Asheville already, why not keep going? :)  Amy (one of my best friends/college roommates) and her husband Pat live in Hendersonville with their 4-month-old, James, so I had to stop by.  Look at this face - wouldn't you have driven a little further, too???

When I got home that night every bone in my body hurt and I went to bed earlier than most 5-year-olds that I know, but it was SO worth it.  Talk about a weekend full of love.

And stay tuned - Friday I hit the road (or air!) for Nashville when I'll get THESE 3 precious boys all in one place for the first time in over 3 years.

That cute blond thing next to me is getting married and we plan to have a b-i-g time.  I'm so excited I may explode between now and then...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010


Go ahead.  Eat your heart out...