Christmas 2013

drew and me

The last few weeks of 2013 were quite busy for us!  So much so that I am just now getting around to blogging a recap of the holidays.  As usual, Drew and I traveled to Kentucky to spend time with both sides of the family.  Even though we both still had to check in with work every so often, it was extremely refreshing to have almost 2 weeks physically out of the office.  Spending time with family is definitely one of our top priorities, and while Atlanta is still a 6 hour drive from both of our families, we definitely were able to do so this Christmas.

canton xmas

Before heading to Kentucky, we celebrated Christmas, as well as several birthdays, with the Georgia relatives.  Then we headed to Louisville to spend the weekend with Nanny and Granddaddy.  Nanny and Granddaddy’s house is always so cozy during the holidays, and I felt honored to help them decorate this year and hear about their past family traditions.  We were also able to organize a cousins’ breakfast one morning, which was so much fun and will hopefully be a new annual holiday tradition.  The family is constantly growing, with new babies and upcoming weddings, so it was wonderful to have everyone be in the same place at once.

louisville xmas

cousins breakfast

Next up, an afternoon in Shepherdsville with my Mom’s family.  Just when we thought we’d eaten all we could at Nanny and Granddaddy’s house, more great food to enjoy! My Mom was born on Christmas Day, so we celebrated her birthday as well.  That evening we headed to Fort Mitchell, where we would spend the next few days with my parents.  Over Thanksgiving, I had mentioned briefly to Mom and Dad how much I loved baking, decorating–and then eating–gingerbread men.  To me, recreating memories is just as fun as establishing new ones.

shep xmas 2

4 on couch

gingerbread mom and me

There was a light dusting of snow on Christmas Eve…I’d been hoping for a White Christmas but I wasn’t going to complain about some flurries a day early! It hasn’t snowed in Atlanta since we’ve lived there, but I can always count on Kentucky to give me my fill 🙂

snow

Our final leg of traveling was a stop in Owensboro to visit Drew’s parents.  We spent most of the weekend trying to keep warm, staying in to watch movies and (surprise!) eat more delicious food.  The following Sunday we headed back home to Atlanta, feeling relaxed and refreshed.  Visits with family are always so special; they give me renewed energy and perspective.  Drew and I always feel so lucky to have the amazing, loving family that we do, but we always are reminded of just how blessed we are during the holidays.  While it was hard to say goodbye to everyone, as well as closing the chapter on another year, we know that 2014 will be a great year!

oboro xmas

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

Drew and I have so much to be thankful for this year.  We both have jobs that not only pay the bills, but we truly enjoy them (99% of the time!)  We have a large network of family and friends that loves and supports us, our dream home, and overall health and happiness.  I often find Thanksgiving as a time of reflection, as I’m sure most of us do.  While this year has not been without its difficult times and emotional roller coasters, our blessings far outweigh the bad.

fireplace pic

Last Tuesday, we headed to Kentucky to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents and extended family.  While traffic wasn’t bad, it rained pretty much the entire way.  Theo had fun playing in the snow and even though I’d much prefer it closer to Christmas, I can’t argue that it looks beautiful.  Drew and I made the famous chocolate ganache praline cake, which is no doubt a labor of love.  We actually had to make the ganache twice since the chocolate hardened too quickly the first time.  It takes about three hours from start to finish, but one bite and it all becomes worth it.

us by the cake

It’s hard to pick a favorite Thanksgiving dish; everything is delicious and holds its own unique memories.  My Dad’s deep-fried turkey is always a hit, and my grandmother’s macaroni and cheese recipe hasn’t been tampered with for generations.  We have our twists on traditional favorites (oyster stuffing anyone?!) but definitely serve the usual suspects – sweet potato casserole, rolls and pecan pie.

the bird

After dinner, we always gather in the family room to watch football and let our stomachs settle before it’s time for dessert.  At least 3 or 4 people end up falling asleep, whether on the couch or sprawled out on the floor.  While I don’t brave the crowds and venture out on Black Friday, it’s fun to still pick through the ads.  But what’s even more fun? Sleeping in the next day and then eating a slice of cake for breakfast.

cousins

With this being the last year that my parents will be living in Northern Kentucky, the week was a little bittersweet.  We may very well be eating turkey on the beach next year, or Drew and I may even offer to host.  That being said, I made extra sure to take in all the traditions and memories: making Uncle Doug’s fruit salad, eating lasagna the night before, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade over breakfast, looking for the turkey coloring contest in the paper, pre-Turkey day spinning class with Mom, grabbing “just one more” slice of cake at 8 p.m.  Wherever we celebrate Thanksgiving next year, no doubt we will once again be counting our blessings.