Monday, December 29, 2014

A Singleton Christmas

It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Christmas rules:
1. Laugh and be merry with family and friends.
2. Give.
3. Eat a lot.

Asha and I are fortunate to have both sets of families within the same city which makes it much easier to spread the love during the holidays. One of the best advantages to this is being able to double dip on Christmas dinners!

First up: The Littles

As we all gathered to get our grub on, it was clear to see Keegan's battery life was definitely at 100%. The nephew was "turnt all the way up" as he ran at LEAST 50 laps throughout the house. The best part of the night was finally hearing him call me "Uncle Jeremy". That was pretty awesome.

After breaking a sweat watching him run around, we eventually sat around the table and enjoyed a delicious meal. And of course, during that meal, Keegan took a few more laps. (Kid's gotta get his cardio in.)

Next it was time to open presents and luckily, we had an energetic 2 year old there to help us rip off any and all wrapping paper. As always, great gifts were exchanged. Ranging from humorous to sentimental,  and each gift was perfect.

Day two: The Singletons

Now it was time to travel over to the Singleton's neck of the woods. We began with another round of great gift giving followed by a delicious dinner. For this family gathering, we did a little more work in the kitchen preparing the entire meal ourselves. Can't lie either, we did good. Not to toot our own horns but… *toot toot*

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Despite the usual critics who enjoy telling us how commercialized the holiday has become, it's still heartwarming to see the joy and happiness on the faces of those who give and receive gifts. Even if we must purchase some extra things, bake a few more cookies, and spend a little more time with family, it's good to focus on some truly important things (whether it's forced or not). This year we had so much fun with family, gave (and received) very special gifts, and absolutely gained a few pounds. We followed the Christmas rules and enjoyed a wonderful holiday. Hope you all followed the rules and had a very merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It's the time of season where your house becomes a littler merrier as you decorate it with cheer, the sweet smell of cookies baking in the oven fills the air and the excitement of receiving snail mail from loved ones is shown on your face with a smile. We've started our own family traditions over the past few years, always excited for the Christmas season to begin.

O Christmas Tree.
A few of our family traditions are, of course, picking out a Christmas tree the weekend we get back from Thanksgiving. We found a cute little tree lot that had a great selection of sweet smelling Christmas trees. We quickly narrowed it down to a tall, full tree that we packed up and took home while sipping on the hot cider the owners of the lot had to offer. We strung some lights and placed our old (and new) ornaments from this years past adventures. We've made it a tradition to start collecting ornaments from towns and vacation spots we visit; a great idea from a friend. This year's new ornaments include The Cooper River Bridge from my very first 10K (the Cooper River Bridge Run), Jamaica (ya mon!), Colonial Williamsburg, The Olde Pink House of Savannah and lastly, Snoopy for my new job at MetLife!

Apollo the red nosed mastiff!

White Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies.
It's that time to break out my recipe for white chocolate gingerbread cookies. I don't know what it is about these little things but people have said that they taste like Christmas. I have to say, I agree. Maybe it's something about the cinnamon, sugar and ginger...all topped off with white chocolate goodness. They are the best.

Snail Mail.
I admit. I have an obsession with Christmas cards. I could have mailed those babies off the first week of December but I stopped myself and told myself to wait at least another week. I can't tell you how much I enjoy receiving our friends and family's Christmas cards in the mail. It warms my heart. I love them all.

Christmas will be here before you know it! We hope it's filled with joy and love. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Kentucky Living

The four days of Thanksgiving vacation always seem to go by in a blur. Jeremy, my mom and I are usually the first to arrive to our Thanksgiving house that becomes home to three generations of family. We always strive to rent a large home for the weekend; one that accommodates enough room for everyone but somehow the house we choose always seems to shrink as each family begins to arrive. Big house or small, I am beyond grateful that we are able to come together as our family from Illinois, Missouri, Nashville and North Carolina call Kentucky home for the last weekend of November.

This year our home was in Jamestown, a city in Kentucky that can't make up it's mind if it's on Central Time or Eastern Time. Even sitting side by side, our phones would read differently. I'm not sure we ever really knew what time it was. It was because of this time change (and 2 hour drive) that we missed our annual tradition of our 5K Turkey Trot in Williamsburg at Cumberland College. We also missed our chance at taking home their awesome pies that winners get to claim. Even with this mishap, we decided to run our own 5K. Okay, okay, maybe it was a mile run....but we ran and it was great. We even bought ourselves some pie in our efforts to keep the tradition going. Yep. Only my family. I love it!

This sums up how I feel about Thanksgiving

While we were running, the cooks were in the kitchen hard at work. I joined shortly after to help deliver an amazing feast that seems to get better each year. We decided to fry the turkey this year and I doubt we'll ever go back to baking it in the oven. It was SO good. So, so good.

The next afternoon, we got some fresh air as we hiked along Lake Cumberland at the Kentucky State Park. We saw gorgeous views as we passed by local hikers and wondered how we would get back to our car. We eventually made it to the road while we made a detour that wasn't really a part of the hiking trail. We made it home safe and sound, ready to eat. Again.

Cousins. We tried recreating the photo above but failed at the year!

And just like that, Thanksgiving was over. Our suitcases were packed and we raided the fridge of any food that was left over. We said our goodbyes with 2015 on our minds, excited to get back to the state that unites us next year!