A Southern Christmas

I have returned to America's northern limits [well, it's my northern limit at least]. Our trip down south was freaking fabulous. A gift from the good Lord himself, really, considering that Friday yielded temperatures in the 70s. THE SEVENTIES, PEOPLE.

It was actually hot outside and you better believe I soaked in every breath of fresh air. I went for not one but two outdoor runs. And there wasn't even death-trap-ice on the pavement. Sigh. I loved it so much. I should have brought my bikini for reals.

Okay, so it was a great trip. I even managed to snap a few pictures long the way.

We arrived in Jefferson City a day early because the forecast up here wasn't looking pretty. The plan was for me to work all day on Tuesday and we'd head down after. But instead, I got an extra day off at work [WHOO HOO!] and we were able to drive on Monday night after work. We arrived just before the next snow storm hit Milwaukee, again proving that there is a God. :)

We entered the house to find 2.5 Christmas trees. The 0.5 comes in if you consider the 'wedding tree' a Christmas tree. I do not suggest using this term around my mother. It's a lost cause, folks. In fact, I think the whole room has become a wedding room.

Here is the 'vintage silver' Christmas tree, which is new this year. I love how she decorates the trees in themes and this one is a blue theme, obvi.

And downstairs was the other 'traditional' tree full of red, and a few less ornaments than last year:)

Of course, Henry donned his Santa costume and Lucie looked on with disdain.
Sometimes I like to play around with the settings on my point-and-shoot, can you tell?

--------------------------------- MAJOR A.D.D ALERT-------------------------------------------
Okay, this is totally off the subject of Christmas but these long posts are so not me anymore! I need to warm back up to this blogging thing, huh? So for your entertainment, I present to you a real jewel:
In the hall closet at my parents' house I found my high school letter jacket [symbolically hung next to my wedding dress.....just a few of my many 'costumes' I've worn in my life].

You guys, I was a total jock in high school and was a volleyball and basketball star. The star on my sleeve says so. [Technically it means I was captain but whatev]. Also, you would like to view my patches, I'm sure:
You know, no biggie....just 'District Champs' and "First Team All District" types of patches.

Nate could not believe his eyes when he saw this beaut.

"You actually WORE a letter jacket?" [Why yes, dear. Does that make me a total loser?]

"Is it yours?" [no duh, Nate.]

"Only dorky hoosier girls wore letter jackets in my high school." [I'm sure the Wisconsin state rules do not apply to Missouri in this case, right?]

So yeah. Enjoy that, my friends. I admit, it's pretty hoosier:)

Where was I? Oh yes, Christmas. Memaw and Pepaw made the trip up to see us, and my little brother was back from college as well. Here is the whole crew [dogs included] before our Christmas Eve church service.
My handsome hubby and me in front of the tree at church. Note to self: get a new 'nice' sweater, you cheapster. This is the same one I wore last year....but at least I bought new black boots to add variety:)

Have I ever mentioned that I love Memaw? I won't tell you her age on this very public blog [she might kill me!] but I will say that she is the hipest, coolest grandma out there. She has a facebook account. Enough said.

So then came Christmas morning. After shoveling disgusting amounts of food into our bellies yet again, we opened gifts.

My brother and I are 6 years apart from each other and we are complete opposites in many aspects. For instance: I wrap my gifts like this.I obsess over fun little details like a name tag, and truly enjoy this part of Christmas.
My little brother? Here is his version of wrapping a gift [click to make bigger]:
A sharpie, written directly on the paper, with a random bow slapped to the bottom of the oddly shapen gift. Are we from the same parents??

Are you dying to know what I got this year? Of course you are. Mostly I received lots and lots of cold-weather running gear, including these pimped out gloves from the dude sitting next to me.

He also gave me a pair of tight running capris, a new ear-warmer headband, and my first pair of freakishly-tight long running pants! Oh so flattering and warm, too. Yay!Amongst other goodies, my parents got me my new automatic car starter [squeeeeeeeee!] and Nate is going to get it installed tomorrow while I'm at work. He is contributing to the cause......the 'help Julia acclimate to this crazy weather so she doesn't demand that we move south again" cause. First the warm weather clothes and now the car starter: I must admit he's doing a pretty good job.

I don't have the energy to list everything that I received but I'll just say that I am incredibly lucky to have such generous family members. And we won't even get started on how cute our dogs are:

And now for the two traditional pictures:

1. The kids with all of their loot.
2. The kids under all of the wrapping papers. Henry is totally losing his mind in this one.

Our biggest meal was lunch on Christmas Day. My mom went all out as usual. She fed us enough food to last us all winter and I could feasibly hibernate until March without consuming another morsel. But that is what moms do, right? They feed you until you have to moan and groan and roll yourself downstairs, then they do it all over again the next day. You will not hear me complain until I step on the scale and shed a tear....mark my words.

So after we emerged from our food comas, and said goodbye to Memaw and Pepaw, my mom and I somehow convinced the boys to see Marley and Me with us. All I will say is this: the book was better and full of more alluring details about Marley, but the movie still made me sob like a baby. It didn't make me as hysterical as the book but I did catch myself muffling an actual wimper in the theatre. As in, I was afraid I was going to howl from the bottom of my soul in front of a bunch of strangers [just like I did on the plane back from San Diego while finishing the stupid book]. Read the book first, then go see the movie....but don't say I didn't warn you.

Finally, the trip morphed into a 'Puzzles bring out the OCD in us all" kind of time. As you can see, Nate refuses to look up for one second or he will lose all concentration. Henry is determined to eat a puzzle piece in defiance.

We discovered the soggy half eaten puzzle piece eventually and were able to complete the entire 1000 piece puzzle in less than 24 hours. I call that psycho, don't you?

Then Nate decided to do this in the name of a good picture.......and shortly thereafter the bottom half of the puzzle eroded into a chaotic pile of crap. At least we got the picture, right?

So that was it. We left J-town and drove to St. Louis on Saturday for a little friend reunion, including a holiday bridal shower, a disgusting amount of red wine, and too many hugs to count.

Pictures to come.

About the hugs....did I mention that Kim is leaving for a year long trip to Korea on Friday? She is leaving us until Spring of 2010! I'm so excited for her but obviously I'm sad to see her go. More on this later since I cannot wrap my head around it all just yet.

Now I must rest my weary eyes after this mega post. I'm such a wussy.


  1. Wow, is that a silver tinsel tree? I had no idea there was such a thing. Where did you even find one, Whoville? It's magnifique!
    I still say Henry is way too cute to be a real dog.
    I'd like some real.hard evidence that's an actual living, breathing pooch, otherwise, I'm sticking to my logical conclusion that he is, in fact, a muppet.
    As far as the letter jacket is concerned MR. NATE, you are sorely mistaken that only 'dorks' wore them. I had one, so clearly, they were worn by only the coolest of cool. Jealous much? :)
    How cute is your Grandma? I'm totally looking her up on facebook.
    Lol, here's what a loser I am......I wrapped everyone's gifts all fab, then, on Chritmas Eve, when I didn't think I could stomach anymore friggin' wrapping, I pretty much wrapped the hubby's gifts exactly like your brother's handiwork, sharpie labels and all. There's always next year, I suppose.
    I'm either extremely tired, or the 'buried under wrapping paper' shot is hysterical. Either way, it made for great comic relief.
    Anywho, welcome back. It sounds like you had a super time. Catch up on some much needed rest, then get to posting. I've been having withdrawals, 'Miss A.W.O.L.' for over a week!

  2. Holy long post, but I'm glad you think we're worth it. :)

    Lol at the wedding tree being .05

    I find it very intersting the dynamics of a letter jacket. Towns within 20 minutes of each other can differ as to whether they are cool or not. C-town, definitely cool. :)

    I'm glad you didn't falter to the food coma.

  3. letter jackets were not so cool in my school either...although I went to an all girls school, so maybe that had something to do with it. We DID however, still get our letters and numbers even though we didn't wear the jackets. whatev.

    I'm obsessed with that silver tree. It has been my mission to find a small one for 75% off.

    your presents are wrapped beautifully too!!! love the flower. top notch, Julia.

  4. Looks like a simply wonderful holiday, but... while your wrapping job is gorgeous (where did you find that flower, and did everyone get one??) why is the label on upside down?!?!?! Tell me that you just turned it around for the photo, bc you couldn't have possibly put it on opposite of the wrapping paper writing!!!

  5. Hey Julia!

    I loved reading your super long post haha. It looks like you had a fabulous Christmas! I was in St. Louis as well and it was soooo nice (weather-wise!). Good job on the puzzle... I wonder if I have the patience to do one that big. Maybe you inspired me to try? Anyways, happy holidays!


  6. First of all, why didn't I fully comprehend that you were from Jeff City until this post!?! What is wrong with me?! I hated Jeff City High when I was in high school. They always stole the cheerleading competition from us. My senior year, they beat us by 1 point! Seriously!?
    OK..I am over it now, I swear. Nice letter jacket :)

    Second, I LOVE your bangs? Have you been wearing them down like that lately? Maybe I haven't noticed or you haven't been posting pics of them but they really are adorable! Next time you come in town we (you) really should plan another brunch :) Glad you had a great X-Mas!

  7. Looks like you had a fabulous Christmas in the tropics! I'm quite jealous.

    The tree and wrapping paper were beautiful!!

    Glad you got to see your fam :)

  8. N~I swear the lettering was facing the right way, but I just adjusted it for the pic. No worries! But I love that you noticed this :)

    LC~many a people hated my high school because our football team used to be a powerhouse, back in the day [not so much anymore]. Literally every guy from Kansas City Rockhurst would give me all kinds of crap if I wore a JCHS shirt in college. As if I played football or something!!

    And I forgot that our cheerleaders were really good, too. I'm sorry they stole the title from you:( But I'm glad you are over it now and we can still be friends.

    My bangs are relatively new, thanks for noticing! I think I like them when they cooperate at least:)

  9. What a wonderful Christmas you had!

    (I always forget all the things I want to comment on after getting through such a long post!)

    Your grandma has a Facebook page? That is seriously so cool. My Gram will not go near a computer, no matter how much we urge her to try it out!

    Your black boots are very sexy!

    Sweet letter jacket.

    I read Marley and Me over the weekend and then we headed straight to the movie. You're right, the book was a million times better, but I cried and cried at both!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. :)

  10. I love the blue tree!!

    And :hanging head in shame: I had a letter jacket. Even worse...among other things, it had letters for Cheerleading on it.

    Also, I definitely LOL'd at your brother's wrapping job. :)

  11. I love puzzles! I am impressed that you finished one so quickly.

    It's funny you said you need a new sweater because before I read that, I thought, "that's a really cute sweater." Maybe you can just sew a reindeer or Santa on it for next year?

    Good for you for keeping up on the running. I've been really lazy the last few weeks. I need to get back into my routine for sure.

  12. Awesome post. Love the new bangs, the family pics, and the letter jacket!

  13. I love all the pictures, and your ADD tendencies keep me interested!

  14. Where do you find such great puzzles?! We went through a puzzle phase last year -- but it's so hard to find non-ugly ones ;o)

  15. Great post!

    I'm glad you were able to spend the holiday with your family. I know it means a lot to you.

    And, dude. I wore a letter jacket in high school in Wisconsin. You can tell Nate he is WRONG and cool girls DO wear letter jackets. Duh!


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