Friday, December 31, 2010

The New Year's Eve Hype

If you're a rainbows and butterflies kinda person, you're gonna want to skip this first part...

Let me tell you a very true and very sad story; I have never had a New Year's Eve that didn't disappoint me.

That's right, I said it... New Year's never seems to live up the hype. It's supposed to be a carefree, sparkly, adventurous night that is all about letting go, looking stunning and all the mystery and hope that a new year brings. In the past twenty-two years, I've never once looked back and said, "Yeah, THAT was an awesome New Year's Eve." There's been babysitting, breakups, being broke, distance, or just plain nights gone wrong to blame for that... on different occasions of course. I've never had a real New Year's kiss for heaven's sake! Blah blah blah... complain complain.

Bottom line: I'm aching for a New Year's Eve that doesn't let me down. I want to have the New Year's Eve where you eat and drink and laugh (and look great too, if it's not too much to ask). I want the one where you kiss someone at midnight (and it's not your best friend because you're both pathetic). I want to breath it all in and welcome a brand spanking new year with joy. I haven't given up hope. I'm in pursuit of the perfect New Year's Eve.

This year looks like it might break the streak. For starters, I've finally got someone to kiss. I feel the need to pause here and give NYE a little bit of credit. Tonight, as I did my shower thinking I realized that exactly three years ago on New Year's Eve (while I was having yet another disastrous night) a Jake that I didn't know yet was at a party in San Jose with a mutual friend named Ann. I'm going to skip over the part where Jake was hitting on Ann to tell you that she, being moved by the Lord in a simply miraculous way, said something along the lines of "Jake, I know the perfect girl for you." And she did. She spent her New Year's Eve telling Jake all about me, and a couple weeks later, she brought him down to SoCal to meet me. We've been inseparable ever since. Even though I didn't know it then, I guess that New Year's Eve was the best one of my life.

But back to this one...
I'm playing a little game this year. We're at Jake's parent's house for the holiday and some family and friends are coming over to celebrate. They have been planning steak and crab and card games. So, I decided to take on the task of decorating! I've seen so many chic ideas on the blog circuit these past few days that I really couldn't resist. To make the challenge a little bit more fun... I had less than 24 hours and I made myself a budget of about $30.

Now, the house looks nice and festive and I'm hoping for the best New Year's Eve yet.

Table #1

Table #2

Inspiration struck for some wine glass arrangements. Love them!

I have to say, I'm sad to see 2010 go. It was a big year for us, but I know that 2011 will be awesome too. So cheers to a great year this year and an even better one next year. Happy New Year's Eve... may it live up to the hype!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Twelfth Day of Christmas: Family Traditions

Family Traditions

Christmas pajamas, little brother and sister banging on my door, mom wrapping last minute presents, locking the door for a few more precious minutes of sleep... these are the traditions that make up Christmas morning in the Richards' house. Then one person is appointed Santa (Jake got to do it this year) and the opening begins. Stockings first, then the small and thoughtful presents are passed around one person at a time so that everyone can see. Each of us gets all smiley and proud as someone else opens a gift we carefully picked for them.

My mom always saves one huge present per kid for last. Usually she pulls them out from behind the tree or gets them from her room, but this year she handed the four of us one small box, wrapped in a bow. Inside was a poem; a clue initiating a scavenger hunt for our final presents. The clue sent us to the medicine cabinet and another package. It led us to neighbor family up the street. The third clue took us all the way across town (in our pajamas) to some family friends, whose clues led us to yet another house. Finally, our last clue led us back to the house, where our presents were waiting under the same tree where the hunt had begun. It had to be the most fun (and work) any of us had ever had on Christmas morning.

After all the excitement, we started looking for the Christmas pickle. Finding the small pickle ornament hidden in the tree is an old German tradition. The person who finds the pickle gets an extra present. This year, I found the pickle!

Now, it's my favorite time of the day... when we all settle down on couches or floors to figure out new gadgets. The house is quiet and peaceful. A quick facetime with the Curtises to watch them open their presents. Later we will go to the cousins' house for dinner. Tomorrow the whole extended family will get together for a small gift exchange. It's a blessed life.

We couldn't be more thankful for our families, for the traditions that we enjoy every year, for a peaceful Christmas morning. Most of all, we are thankful for our Savior, the purpose of Christmas, and the gift that He already gave.

Merry Christmas to all! May His love surround you all day everyday.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas: Holiday Treats

Holiday Treats

There is nothing more comforting than coming home for the holidays to a house full of seasonal treats. This is what we are currently surrounded by...

My mom's homemade Christmas bark. Boysenberry, Peppermint, Lemon, Key Lime, Tart Cherry, and Tangerine!

And THIS is what we did for about six hours this evening...

Now that's the way to spend a Christmas Eve. Last thing before I call it a night... check out this fantastic advent calendar made by my aunt. So adorable!

And now, it's time for us to slip into our Christmas PJs and under the covers. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!