Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Nashvegas Style

After dinner, the whole family went to the Opryland Hotel to enjoy the world famous Christmas lights. We had a super great time, and took advantage of a lot of photo ops.

To view the complete Opryland Christmas album, with commentary, click here.
To view the extended photo album, click here.

A Mehaffey Christmas

The whole family came to Nashville for Christmas this year. Even Jeremy's girlfriend, Madison, was able to join us. It was so great to wake up on (Mehaffey) Christmas morning in our very own apartment and exchange gifts as a family. Brad's mom, Elaine, knows that I have a knack for shaking all of the gifts each Christmas, and she tried to catch me in the act, this year. She had a "No Peeking" gift bag that sounded an alarm when you got too near it. A police call went off, announcing a PIP Code - Peak in Progress. That didn't stop me... Too bad she was even more prepared than I anticipated, and had the gift inside wrapped in paper as well. I had been duped again!

We all received wonderful gifts from each other and from our parents. Heather even got her own stocking this year! Some present highlights include Officer Mehaffey's first Krispy Kreme Doughnut gift card, Brad's 5 lb backpacking tent and survival kit, my "Charlie Brown Christmas" DVD, the first 5 Harry Potter DVD's and JK Rowling's "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," Jeremy's tools, Heather's parallel Bible, Matthew's Police Bible, Don's iPod, and Elaine's huggy-robe-blanket thing, to name just a few. All of us girls exchanged some sort of Bath and Body Works products. All but one of us got the same flavor. I guess great minds think alike!

The girls spent hours playing Matthew and Heather's new board game, Uno Flash. Now, this ain't your momma's Uno game! You have to lay your card within six seconds and then the next player is selected at random by the game. You have to constantly be on your toes, and you don't have any time to organize the cards in your hand! We had a whole lot of fun with it. After that, the whole family watched "Dan in Real Life" and then fell asleep sprawled out all over the living room.

We even had a real Christmas dinner that evening. It was the most prestigious meal our dining room has ever hosted. The meal was fully equipped with Honeybaked Ham, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, crescent rolls, and a relish tray, all cooked to perfection. And the table was filled with Christmas cheer by the tree centerpiece and a Santa salt & pepper set as well as my snowman salt & pepper set. Not to mention, Brad's famous Southern sweet tea. Overall, it was a pretty terrific Mehaffey Christmas.

To view the complete Mehaffey Christmas album, with commentary, click here.
To view the extended photo album, click here.

Christmas Adam

(Heather and I have decided that the day AFTER Christmas will henceforth be known as Christmas Adam.)

On Christmas Adam, Matthew, Heather, Brad and I needed to kill some time until the rest of the Mehaffey family made it to Nashville. We woke up and enjoyed some cinnamon rolls, as is the Mehaffey tradition. (Although these were Pillsbury, which is NOT the Mehaffey tradition. We had Don's real home-made ones the next day on the Mehaffey Christmas Morning.)

After we were filled from the sugary goodness, we went ice skating. Everybody managed to fall, except for yours truly. Heather gracefully caught herself before she actually hit the ice, but Matthew managed to wipe out trying to show off his new twirling skills. Brad, however, had the funniest mishap when he successfully soared across the ice on his stomach. I wasn't able to actually witness the incident, but the soaking wetness covering the entire front of his body was enough to solidify the humor of his pain in my book.

This picture turned out really blurry, but we didn't want to ask the stranger to take another (better) picture. So we kept it.

Chester's Christmas

Chester fell asleep in his daddy's hat, waiting for Santa to come.
So happy that it's finally Christmas!
He's helping open the gifts.
Puppy Love under the Mistletoe!

Tender Tennessee Christmas

This year, for the first year, Brad and I stayed home for Christmas. We were both anxious to celebrate our very own Christmas together, and it was the perfect opportunity to jump start some holiday traditions. On Christmas Eve, we baked special cookies for Santa. Brad even surprised me with a set of metal Christmas cookie cutters that he let me dig out of my stocking a day early. We left them out on the side table for Santa all night, but he must have already been full by the time he got to our house, because he didn't eat many. We didn't mind. We gladly finished them off for him.

We each opened one gift on Christmas Eve - our Christmas PJ's. Once we were snug as a bug, we stoked the fire in the fireplace, brewed some delicious hot chocolate (added some extra marshmallows) and enjoyed the great classic "A Christmas Carol." Once it was sufficiently late enough, we snuggled together on the floor of the living room near the fire and slept under the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree, awaiting the magic that the next day would bring.

We woke up on Christmas morning and first opened our stockings. Brad got "The Bourne Identity" and "The Bourne Supemacy" as well as some of his favorite gum, a couple of his favorite pens, and a Santa hat. I got a much needed car charger for my cell phone, some adorable Christmas earrings, a package of beef jerky, and the cutest set of snowman (and snowwoman) salt & pepper shakers. After that, we took turns opening our gifts. Brad got me an awesome new camera with all of the accessories and a pair of much anticipated Clark Wallabies. I got him a hiking backpack along with a few miscellaneous backpacking items to satiate his appetite for nature and adventure.

Later, we watched THE Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life," and Matthew and Heather came over to share breakfast with us. Together, we watched "A Christmas Story," which turns out to be much funnier as a full-length feature than as tiny snippets here and there from the annual 24-hour TBS marathon, which is the only way I had ever previously enjoyed it. Finally, as the evening approached us, Brad and I put our Christmas PJ's aside, and our group of four went to the movie theater - along with every other person in Nashville - to watch "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." (Apparently, we watch a lot of movies!)

All in all, I believe it was the very best Christmas I've ever had. It was everything I hoped it would be - sweet, relaxing, memorable, romantic, warm, fun, and full of Christmas magic. I am very truly blessed.

To view the complete photo album with commentary, click here.
To view the extended album, click here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Deck the Halls

I super love decorating for Christmas. Let me give you a tour of our festive apartment.

Here is our wonderful tree. After last year's real tree fiasco, we decided to sell out and purchase a fake, pre-lit one. We bought this on sale after Christmas last year, along with the majority of the ornaments. I absolutely do not regret that decision.

Look at all these presents! I cannot wait to open them!

Here is our adorable table runner and candy dish, filled with Hershey's Kisses, of course.

Here is our incredible Mantle setup. Even Chester has a personalized stocking. We have some hand painted porcelain Santas that Brad's Grandma gave him as a gift when he was younger. And, this year we've been having lots of fires in our fireplace, too. How cozy!

This is our Santa table setting with my special sparkly centerpiece.

We have some lighted garland surrounding the window from the dining room to the kitchen. We're also featuring our home-made gingerbread house!

You can't forget the Mistletoe. Muah!

This is my happy village. The second building from the right is a replica of the chapel where Brad and I were married. It was the very first piece to my village. Thanks, Mom. :)

There are many more minor decorations throughout the house. If you'd like to view them, as well, feel free to visit the entire Deck the Halls Photo Album.

Passing the Torch

When Brad and I were engaged, I had a sweatshirt that said "Soon to be Mrs. Mehaffey" on the back. I wore it practically every day of our 18 month engagement. So much so, that Brad swore to burn it if he ever saw it again after our wedding. It was such a presence throughout our engagement that we not only featured it in some of our engagement photos, but we also displayed it on an easel at our reception with the "Soon to be" (finally) marked through with black tape. Once we were married, to keep Brad from destroying it, my beloved sweatshirt was stored away in the closet along with all the other wedding keepsakes.

I never originally intended to give it away. All I knew was that I would treasure this token of that era of my life forever, presumably in my closet. But when Matthew proposed to Heather, it seemed only natural to pass it along to the next "Soon to be Mrs. Mehaffey." (Thank goodness, it was still in surprisingly great condition after a little bleach!) Maybe she'll eventually hand it even further down to Jeremy's future fiance. And, who knows? It may become a family heirloom. Depending on which of us has the first son to get engaged, maybe even our children's fiances will enjoy the billboard proclaiming the proposal just as we all will have. We'll just have to see how long the fabric can hold out. But for now, I'm gladly passing the torch.

Friday, December 19, 2008

They're Going to Get MARRIED!

Matthew finally popped the question! Yahoo! Heather's officially going to be part of our family soon! He performed an incredible proposal that included as many tea light candles as days they had been together. But that's all I'm going to say, so as not to steal her story from her. (I know how every bride-to-be loves to relive the experience and brag on her fiance!) They haven't officially set a date, yet. But, right now they are talking about a May wedding. As far as we're all concerned, it can't come soon enough. Welcome to the family, Soon-to-be Mrs. Mehaffey!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher. He never had a family or owned a home. He never set foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never wrote a book, or held an office. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. While He was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends deserted Him. He was turned over to His enemies, and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had - His coat. When He was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave. Two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this "One Solitary Life."
-"One Solitary Life," Radio City Christmas Spectacular, 2008 Edition
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