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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of 2014

I can't believe 2014 is coming to a close. It's been quite a year! I was making our 2014 photo book the other day and it was so fun reliving all we did over the past 12 months. 2014 was one of the busiest years of my life but the best one yet. I am lucky to be surrounded by such great people who I call family and friends. Started the year as a Williams and  now ending the year on my 7th month of being a Robinson. 2014 brought me a husband, an amazing honeymoon, many wedding celebrations of friends, even more engagements of my friends, the news I'll be an aunt, tennis city championship, tommy getting a new job, several trips to the beach and lake, football games, friends showers, and quality time spent with family and friends. I am so blessed. It's been a great year! Looking forward to all 2015 has in store for us! Baby nephew, 8 weddings, first anniversary, finishing up my leadership endorsement, and I'm sure many more wonderful surprises.

Happy New Year's Eve!! May 2015 bring you many blessings! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

As I sit here waiting for the doctor at the minute clinic (naturally Id be sick when I'm on break) I'm reflecting on the past two wonderful days spent with family. Christmas Eve was different for me this year as I didn't get to spend the evening with my family and South African clan because it was time for me to spend it with my in-laws. We started out the day at Peachtree Presbyterian with my sister and brother-in-law for the noon summit service.

It was perfect and really started the two days on the right foot. I love Christmas hymns and celebrating the birth of Jesus. We then ran home and picked up Cooper and the food I was making for Christmas Eve (along with our masses of presents bc we both have big families). We spent about an hour at my parents because I just couldn't imagine not seeing my parents on Christmas Eve. We dropped all our presents for my family there and then headed to Tommy's parents house. The whole family left from there to head to Mt. Bethel Methodist Church for the 5:00 service. It was a beautiful service ending in candlelight singing silent night. It was nice to experience what tommy grew up cherishing as his Christmas Eve. Tommy's family, me, his aunt and cousin all headed back to Tommy's parents to prepare dinner. 
(Tommy's sister, Beth, and her boyfriend, Danny) 

I made garlic mushrooms and we had twice baked potatoes, beef tenderloin, turkey, and bread followed by strawberry trifle for dessert. 

The egg nog was flowing (not for me) and Christmas cheer was around. It was a delicious dinner filled with family time. Tommy's family always opens all their presents Christmas Eve night so we spent the next hour or so watching everyone open their presents. We all came away very spoiled! Everyone was given th same pajamas so we all changed for a group shot. It was hysterical! Before we knew it and we were closing in on midnight. I was fading big time so we headed home so we could enjoy waking up at our house to celebrate our first Christmas morning as a married couple at our own house.

We got up early to open stockings and exchange our presents with each other. It was so nice getting to start the day just the three of us (can't forget about Cooper!). I heated up the breakfast casseroles and we scooped up Bonnie, Brett and their dog Henley on our way to my parents house. We looked like the Griswolds as we had 4 people, 2 dogs, 3 suitcases, a dog bed, dog bowls and dog food container because Henley was staying at my parents for the next few days while Bonnie and Brett go up to Ohio to visit Brett's family. Luckily it's just a 20 minute drive to my parents. We unloaded and started my favorite part of Christmas with my family! We opened our stockings before having breakfast. After breakfast we opened all of our presents. Again, we came away very spoiled by everyone! It was wonderful getting a few hours with my entire family in the same place before Bonnie and Brett needed to head to the airport to fly to Ohio. 

We left to spend a few hours with Tommy's family on Christmas Day too. We opened our stockings and had homemade tamales for lunch. Tommy had given his dad a droid for Christmas and on its second flight tommy flew it into the top of a tree. The next hour included tommy changing into random clothes and climbing a tree. He used some golfing pole to reach the copter and finally got it. Nothing like climbing a tree on Christmas! It was time to head back to my parents house. 

On Christmas each year my cousins, aunt and uncle come over for dinner. We also had another couple that are dear friends of my parents join us as well. My mom set a beautiful table for all 13 of us to sit around and we enjoyed a delicious dinner (pork tenderloin, rosemary potatoes, butternut squash and red pepper, cornbread dressing, and salad followed by lemon meringue pie and lemon/cranberry cake) and even better company. We opened our gifts from my cousins and enjoyed a great evening. There's nothing I love more than family on Christmas. We missed having Bonnie, Brett, my cousin Christopher and his wife Thali there for dinner. We skyped with Christopher and Thali in Brazil before everyone arrived that day. They looked nice and sun tanned!! I hadn't seen my uncle Clive or the Loebers since our wedding so it was great to catch up with them all. 

Christmas is a time for family and we had a wonderful two days. There's so much build up before Christmas and I'm sad it's over. This is my favorite time of the year by far. I love buying the gifts for my family each year and getting to see them open then. I love the Christmas services with the beautiful music and message. We are blessed that God sent his son for us. I am so grateful for the life I have and the loved ones I'm surrounded with. Sending love and joy from mine to yours. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Time for a break

Every year the month of December brings many different feelings. At work: exhaustion and need for a break. The month of December at school is always hectic and reminds me we are halfway through the year which totally stresses me out!  At home: excitement for time with family and friends celebrating the joy of the season. Everyday I left work exhausted from another day but excited for what I was doing that night. This week was a crazy week like the rest of the month!

Favorite moments of the week: 
Tuesday- round robin with our tennis team. Was so great to get out and hit around with our mixed team. 

Thursday: my work holiday party at Taco Mac. We had a great time and so thankful for my wonderful coworker friends!
(My good friend Sarah who teaches 5th with me) 

Friday: winter celebration day at school. This was the most seamless day before a break I've had in my short career thus far. We did all kinds of fun activities and I think my students really enjoyed themselves! We read to a kindergarten class, had a pancake party while practicing our fractional measurements, made gingerbread houses for a class competition, bingo, and dancing to just dance on the Wii in the gym. It was a fun-filled day!! 

( a gift from the newest member on my team, Mrs. Powell. This was such a generous gift of my favorite pens. Only my teacher friends will understand how excited I was when I opened this!) 

Friday night Tommy and I went to "There" for dinner to celebrate him getting a new job YAY!!! We then came home, scooped up Cooper, and went driving around looking at Christmas lights. Was a wonderful end to the busy work week. 

Saturday: met four of my best friends for mimosas and brunch at Kaleidoscope. This is the first saturday I didn't feel the need to do household chores because I have two weeks to do it. Enjoyed my four hour lunch catching up with friends. It was perfect. 

Saturday night we joined my family at "Thirteen Pies" to celebrate my younger brother and sister's 20th birthday. I can't believe they are twenty. James and Claire are two of the best people I know. I'm so lucky to call them family. We had a wonderful dinner and went to see the blow up house on Peachtree Dunwoody after. My mom was absolutely amazed! There's nothing I love more than spending quality time with my wonderful family. It is so special when we can get everyone together. (Not easy to do when there are nine of you and two of which are in college) 

All in all its been a wonderful week and it's only gonna get better from today on. I can't wait to see friends that are in town for the holidays and spending time celebrating the birth of Jesus with both our families. 

(Some pictures from the birthday dinner) 

Enjoy this week celebrating the reason for the season. God bless and Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Making Memories

This has been a week of making memories and enjoying the loved ones in my life. (While also trying to survive the next 5 days of school before Winter break). 
Monday night was the most calm night of my week with just enjoying cooking a nice dinner (spaghetti squash primavera...yummm) and spending time with my husband. 

Tuesday after school I headed over to my parents house to help my mom put the ornaments on their tree. This day is always so hard for my mother because it's the anniversary of my aunt Penny's passing. I can't believe it's been ten years since she left us on this earth. I was only 15 when she passed away and thinking back I really didn't quite understand the implications. The older I get, the more I realize what Penny has missed and the affect it must have on my mom. I am so close with my sisters, and I can't imagine how hard it must be for my mom that her sister didn't get to see us get married, see the twins grow into the wonderful people they are today (they were only 9 when she passed), see my sister going through her pregnancy now, and so many other major life events. Penny was a special person and a devout christian. This gives me such comfort as she was at peace with her illness at the time and seemed content with what was happening to her. I think what hurts the most is seeing the sadness on my mom and nana's faces when she comes up. Within the past couple months, my parents got all their home videos transferred to DVD and it's been so weird seeing my Aunt, and two deceased grandfathers. The holidays always make you appreciate the ones in your life and miss the ones who aren't here anymore. Last year my mom gave us all this ornament from Penny's hospice and it really hit me hard when I put that ornament on my tree and my parents tree this year. 
I know she is looking down and is so proud of the life my parents built for our family. 

Wednesday night I went to Tin Lizzy's with my current and former (now stay-at-home momma) work friends. It was SO wonderful getting to catch up with Catherine and Lindsey who I miss getting to see every day. We could sit at the table and talk for hours as though no time has passed. I have learned so much over the years from the two of them and am so thankful for their friendships. I have been lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends at school and I cherish the friendships that have started from within the walls of Lake Forest. 

Thursday night I had a gift exchange and dinner with a few of my college friends (the only ones still in Atlanta). My friends, Carly, hosted us and boy did she treat us like queens. She served us a three course delicious meal and wine. She even had menus made for our dinner. Just perfect! 
I am so grateful for these friendships that started in Athens and will forever be in my life. I am so happy that my friends from college are doing great things all across the world but I sure do miss them. The six of us get to see each other often (Elizabeth Sullivan, Carly Krei, Colleen Storey, Kiersten Williford, and Lauren Gorman) which is such a blessing. We had a great night catching up, drinking wine, eating great food, and opening some presents. I of course took pictures of each course because they were that great! We decided we are going to make this a yearly thing and always have Carly host because she's that good! 
 (Tomato basil soup with grilled cheese croutons)
 (sauteed zucchini, gouda mac and cheese, and stuffed pork wrapped in prosciutto)
(german chocolate pie)

We had a great time and I think Carly liked her present! (she ended up having me too!)

I sure love the month of December and getting to spend time with the people who mean the most to me. Loving all the christmas cards that are making their way into our home as well. As my dad always says, "thank you god for all the blessings of this life." 

(my homemade card holder made from a sign from Hobby Lobby and glued some ribbon to hang down. I spray painted some clothes pins and boom there ya go)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tis the season

As I'm sitting here staring at my Christmas tree with wrapped presents I can't help but count the many blessings I have in my life. The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love picking out gifts for my family. Tommy thinks I'm crazy because I start buying Christmas gifts in October, but I always try to get the perfect gift for my family members. Today was the first Saturday in a very long time that I didn't have any plans and I am happy to say I did NOTHING today. We've been out of town the past few Saturdays and so on this rainy Saturday I enjoyed some Christmas movies, Christmas wrapping and quiet time with Cooper and Tommy. One of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating the tree and the rest of the house. I love opening our box of ornaments and reminiscing on different places we've been or special ornaments from people.

For the past four years my best friend Ansley and I have had a cookie exchange party. We had it last night at Ansley's house and we had a great time. Lots of wonderful cookies! 
Everyone makes a dozen cookies and takes home an assortment of them. We had hors devours and lots of wine (I've also been feeling the wine today). So excited about the various Christmas parties and gift exchanges to come in the next few weeks. Did I mention how much I love this time of year?! 

Wishing everyone a wonderful month of December sharing it with family and friends. 

Tis the season to be jolly! A few pictures of our decorations around the house. 

When you don't have a mantle on your fireplace you have to get creative! 

Newest addition to our tree (bought it at the Christmas shop at the Hammock Shops on Pawleys Island) 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Supper Club

Over the past few years, I've heard my sister talk about how much she enjoys her monthly supper club. I decided I really wanted to get some friends together to try it out myself. Last night I hosted our first official supper club! There are seven of us doing it together. The person hosting makes the dinner and everyone brings what they want to drink. I made tomato crostini to start, spinach salad, spinach and ricotta stuffed peppers with turkey meat sauce (skinny taste recipe), and salted caramel for dessert. Both the starter and dessert came from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook called "foolproof." It was a great night catching up on recent engagements, wedding planning, new puppies and thanksgiving holidays. Looking forward to the ones to come! Here are a few pictures of my table settings and the food!

Blessed to have wonderful friends in my life to share great conversation over a meal! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving this year was wonderful! Finally after the first few days of rain, the sun came out ready for us to enjoy!! Thanksgiving morning we all got up and put our tshirts on that Carolyn had designed and headed to the beach for our 5k. My dad always goes ahead and maps it out for us so we just look for the line in the sand at the halfway point. Of course the morning gives us a time for photo ops! 
Me and my siblings recreating a photo from four years ago. (James, Claire, me, Bonnie and baby) 
My whole family from left to right is Dad, tommy, me, Bonnie, Brett, Claire, mom and James. We aren't short people and we come as a pack. 

After the 5k , we headed back to our house for pumpkin pancakes and bacon. This is quickly becoming tradition. My dad runs ahead so he can get the cooking started for everyone to eat when they get home. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and finishing up the cooking for the Thanksgiving feast. We headed over to the Balfour/Abernathu house with our roasted potatoes, broccoli, chocolate cake, caramel pecan cake, and bacon wrapped sausages. This was then met by all the other wonderful foods brought by the other families. We are not a small crowd at thanksgiving. I believe we had 27 this year. The group keeps growing. We had two newcomers to this years dinner and next year we add a baby to the mix. Here is all the food laid out. There were not many leftovers if you can believe it! 

It is always a good time with this crew and we always have a good laugh. After dinner we play the dollar game which is hilarious. Whitney won the pot this year. She deserves it! She's working on her PhD at Boston College. After dinner we all headed to see the new Hunger Games movie. Loved it!  

Friday morning it was time for Black Friday shopping so Bonnie, nana and I headed to the mall bright and early. We came away in two hours successful and were able to enjoy the rest of the day at the beach and watching football (hoping for an Arkansas win that didn't happen). That night we went to our favorite place for dinner, Perrones. It didn't disappoint! I got the Lobster risotto which was delicious. We had a wonderful family dinner as the week was coming to a close. 

Saturday was a day FULL of disappointing football games, beach time, cards against humanity, and more football. 

I love getting to spend time with people who mean so much to me. I only get to see some of them this week each year so I cherish every minute spent with them. It was so sad to come home on Sunday and have to get ready for the work week. Litchfield beach is one of my favorite places to go. It brings so much calmness, tranquility, relaxation, family, and memories. I've been going to this beach most of my life and will for the rest of my life. I can't wait to share this special place with my own family one day. It holds a special place in my heart! 

(A few more pictures from the trip)

My cousin, Alastair 
My dad, Alastair and Tommy surfing (they were crazy!) 
Tommy and Michael Stribos with the Stribos' dog, Oreo. 
Carolyn morgan, Emily brown (soon-to-be Abernathy) and me
My cousin Lucy, Bonnie, Whitney Abernathy, and Claire 
My brother-in-law Brett, Zac Morgan and my brother James. 
Tommy, mom, James, Dad and my Nana. 

Looking forward to next year already!