Happy Holidays

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Oh, the holidays…all the traveling, planning, shopping, eating, wrapping, baking, eating, decorating, eating…yes, mainly lots of eating. Its that wonderful time of year when all the joys and mishaps in the film “Christmas Vacation” become your reality, as my husband and I experienced while we were setting up our christmas tree; sap was everywhere and stuck to everything, I bought the wrong tree lights, and the star wouldn’t stay on top of the tree.

We traveled to New York to spend Christmas with Tyson’s family. Our nieces told us practically every ten minutes that Santa Claus was coming and explained in detail the kinds of toys they were expecting. On Christmas morning they devoured their presents in a matter of minutes which really felt like seconds. And I remember thinking that when I was a child time seemed to stand still Christmas morning; the joy of opening gift after gift felt endless. Or perhaps thats because my younger brother would slowly open his presents and then insist on playing with each one before moving on to the next. Maddening.

Tyson and I then spent a day visiting his childhood friends and eating at his favorite spots around town. We loaded up on candy (swedish fish and pretzel M&M’s) and took a drive around the country roads. We talked about whether we would be able to live someday out in the country and what kind of house we would want to live in.

We didn’t take the holidays too seriously this year, and I’m glad for it. Decorations were minimal and baking was pretty much non existent. Presents were bought of course, but only in front of a computer screen instead of packed stores. We are filling our nights with fires in the fire place and warm cups of tea and an occasional World War II film or nature documentary about wolves. It suits us.

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A Fond Farewell

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This week has been particularly challenging for me. One of my very dearest friends is moving and I feel such heartbreak at the reality of not seeing her every week. We lived here in Pittsburgh together as roommates for 5 years until May, when I got married. Jen has seen me through some of the most challenging and most joyful times in my life. When I got my third round of kidney stones a month before my wedding, Jen was faithfully by my side the whole time. She took me to the hospital in the middle of the night, held my hand as the pain escalated, talked to doctors for me, held a few buckets for me while I got sick, walked my weak and pathetic body around the hospital to get exercise, slept in the uncomfortable chair so that I wouldn’t be alone, bought me magazines to keep my mind occupied, skipped class to stay home and help me handle the pain, and even sang me hymns when the pain meds just wouldn’t work. She then stood by my side and celebrated with me as I married the love of my life. Her friendship is a treasure I don’t deserve. It makes me think about how wonderful it is to love others, how its such a gift to feel sorrow over a friends moving because it means that God has given me something so wonderful and worth treasuring, even to the point of tears.

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Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…

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On Saturday we gathered up some close friends, scraped the ice off our cars, wrapped ourselves in layers and hiked out to Carnegie to hunt down some Christmas trees. It felt like we were little kids again, running up the hills through the trees, racing each other to find the best ones. Tyson and I took our sweet time to find our little tree, debating if we should go over the top and get an unusually large tree or if we should stay practical and get a quaint little one. One by one we found our perfect trees and congratulated each other on our success. It was such a wonderful day, unusually sunny for Pittsburgh, and the fresh snow on the ground made everything feel even more special. I’m so grateful for such amazing friends and extremely excited for the last couple pictured here, Jason and Gaby, who are expecting a baby this summer! Its times like these that make me hope and pray that these friends will be lifelong, that we will be able to do things like run around in the snow and take silly pictures years and years from now (with kids in tow!).

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A Trip To The Carnegie

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Recently my husband and I spent a night walking the halls of the Carnegie Museum of Art. When I studied art in college, both art history and studio art, I focused on and developed an appreciation for modern and post modern art. I really didn’t care much for the renaissance or romantic periods, feeling that while their major works had obvious skill they lacked imagination or innovation. So what if you could paint an apple so realistic that it made your mouth water? Where’s the creativity in that? But walking through the gallery halls with Tyson changed my perspective a bit. He was completely in awe over these incredibly realistic portraits and couldn’t get over how detailed and accurate they were. And the more he stood there and admired their craftsmanship the more I began to as well.

Thats one of my favorite things about marriage, you help each other to see things differently. Before being married I had certain things I liked and disliked, certain ways of doing things or thinking about things. And now there is this other person, who has a different way of seeing things and different likes and dislikes than me. For example, I have my husband to thank for my newfound appreciate for hot sauce, red meat, and coffee. And although I’m not generally a morning person I can’t help but enjoy the mornings when Tyson spontaneously starts singing a Madonna song.

Life is just more fun this way.

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