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Last Minute Gifts

2017 December 16
by Becky

last minute gifts

There’s only a week left till Christmas!! How did this happen? I’ve been taking my sweet old time picking out gifts and shipping stuff out like we’ve got a month to go. Maybe it’s because our lives have been consumed with our current lack of refrigeration (more on that later this week), but whatever the case, here are a few things people you love will love:

  1. Bought these super comfy slippers in the fall, knowing I’d desperately need them to navigate our old wood floors. They have a flexible sole and just enough fur to be cute without being too warm. Even Stu can’t help but steal them sometimes.
  2. This incredible faux fur throw is something I’ve been wanting since the temps started dropping. I saw it go on sale at West Elm and had to get it—good thing I had a gift card burning a hole in my wallet! It is So soft and snuggly, like a pet you don’t have to walk. Stu and the boys are so obsessed with it we had order another one!
  3. I can’t stop wearing this lusciously soft cardigan from Anthropologie. Having this store within walking distance has proven to be a bit of a problem…one I’m not at all sad about. I may wear this sweater every day until Spring. Watch for sales! There’s one every other day. I got it in black, which isn’t listed on the website, so check stores!
  4. How many half-full bottles of flat club soda have you poured down the drain? Those days are over for us, because I picked up a Soda Stream. I actually bought a slightly used one from a neighbor, because I was very unsure this would actually work. It’s just the most simple version, nothing fancy, but OMG is this thing amazing! There’s no waste! Just keep refilling the bottle with regular old tap water and make it as bubbly as you want. Even the CO2 tanks are exchangeable. Save the environment and get one.
  5. Need the perfect housewarming gift (that isn’t wine)? Trader Joe’s has my favorite Christmas flowers—amaryllis—now easier to grow than ever!! No more rehydrating dirt or arranging rocks in vases, just stick these wax covered bulbs anywhere and forget about it till there’s a giant red flower springing from the top! You don’t even have to water them. I have at least five of them in all stages of growth throughout the house, they are so beautiful. Head to the store to stock up.

What’s your go-to gift this year? Anything you know every person will love and need? 

holiday hope

2017 December 9
by Becky

I’ve been silent out here for a while, only posting quick and harmless little bits here and there for the last six moths or so. We’ve been busy with getting settled in our new city and house and writing here has felt like a burden that didn’t really matter much. It felt like I’d be dishonest if I posted pictures of me painting or cooking or exploring because those seem so perfect and easy when in reality this move has taken more adjustment time than I’d ever anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, we love our new setup, but we miss the old one too. We miss our friends and hangouts and the familiar feel of St. Louis. Getting settled, really feeling at home, takes time. But we’re getting there.

Then, on November 17th, Stu’s dad, Greg, passed away very unexpectedly. Just a few days shy of his 60th birthday. We had no idea how weak his body had become after years of treating vasculitis, an inflammatory disease we never considered would result in his death. And since then, or really since the emergency open heart surgery he had just ten days before his death, stories about our life and house and adventures seem so unimportant. So disconnected from what we’re really feeling. As if there’s no way they can matter when something so tragic has hit our family.

Greg&EthanHuskers

When people ask how we’re doing, I usually say “We are ok. It comes in waves.” For me, those waves crest when it’s quiet in the house, such as nap time. Or at night after Stu heads to bed. The times I typically use to get a hundred things done without Finn on my heels. But if I’m not quick to turn on some up-beat music or if I sit down a little two long to eat lunch, the emotions overflow. I’m overcome by the loss of a wonderful father-in-law, loving spouse, and caring father. It still seems impossible  to believe he’s gone.

After the funeral in Nebraska, we arrived home to a neighborhood in the midst of celebration. The annual Scottish Walk parade ended just hours before we landed, the houses were being decorated, the boat parade about to begin, and throngs of people were walking the streets of Old Town to soak up it’s historic holiday cuteness. We tried to join in, walking to the Torpedo Factory to peek at Santa, not braving the looooooong line of strollers containing tiny people waiting for their turn with him. We woke up Sunday morning, walked to Misha’s for coffee and bagels, then braved losing our parking spot for a trip to our storage unit to retrieve our holiday decorations. Back at the house we worked diligently for hours, Stu on the outside lights, me and the kids on the tree and garlands inside…like it was our mission to get into the spirit of the season. Our decoration collection, designed to perfectly fit our St. Louis house, is trickier in this space, but we’re making it work, it’s looking good. I also realized, in an unwarranted panic, that we had no plans to see Santa, had barely talked about the guy. Our three year old is being slightly neglected in true second-child style. But we’ll fix it. This weekend. Finn can’t wait to ask St. Nick for a Power Rangers sword and costume.

Luckily, Thanksgiving was saved by our friends the Cooks. Six months ago, when we initially floated the possibility of moving back to DC, the Cooks said they were coming for Thanksgiving. It was a prize we’d had in our eyes since their declaration. Turns out, they not only made our holiday wonderful, their presence was just the support we needed while coping with our family’s loss. We had five days to show off the sights of the city, talk over delicious food, and watch our kids play together again. There was also a little girly shopping and spa time of course. It was busy and relaxing and exactly how we wanted to spend the holiday.

CooksVoborilsDC

So I’m on a mission to seek out all the things that make me smile…cheesy holiday music, the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, my friend Kristin telling an incredible story about her daughter meeting Leslie Odom Jr., the giant Christmas tree in front of the Capitol Building, baking five kinds of cookies, hearing my friend Kate share the details of her new job, extra morning snuggles with the boys. And maybe a little more writing out here will help too. I miss it. This tiny corner of the over-saturated internet is still a place I can call mine.

Thank you for all the texts, cards, and calls of sympathy, your words are very much appreciated. And thank you for the holiday cards! They are one of my favorite things about this time of year, each day the mail brings more of our favorite smiling faces. We were somehow ahead of the game this year and got card together early. I had my heart set on a picture in the Lee Street Tunnel, one of our favorite neighborhood spots. Nailed it.

HolidayCardPhoto2017

Our holiday spirit is catching up. Rudolph has been watched. The Christmas books are in heavy bedtime rotation. My parents and brother arrive in less than two weeks. Even sooner the kids will be out of school. No one in this house will be sad to see 2017 end, nonetheless, we have a lot to be thankful for. And while I can’t promise Christmas perfection, I can promise our holiday will be joyful.