Monday, November 26, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like...

This is my absolute most favorite time of the year! And for so many reasons!

First of all, this is the time we stop to really consider what Christ did for us. God sent his son to Earth to be born as a baby, live here as a man, and to die on the cross for our sins. The greatest gift of all. A gift that we should be celebrating all year long, not just one day in December.

Sadly, for many, this isn't even a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, but instead is just for spending way too much on gifts, decorations, and winning the "Best Decorated Yard" contest. The world gets so caught up in the "hustle and bustle" that Christ's birth is pushed to the back burner. In fact, where I work, we can not even say Merry Christmas to customers! We have to say "Happy Holidays." It breaks my heart to even think about it.

Don't get me wrong, I love giving gifts to my family and friends. Decorating the tree is the highlight of my year. And driving around to look at Christmas lights on houses makes me feel like a kid again. I love it! But these things are meaningless. Fortunately, Matt and I were both brought up in homes that taught us the true meaning of Christmas. Looking back, my fondest memory of Christmas morning is my dad reading about Christ's birth from Matthew 1. Before we opened any gifts, we would sit and listen to him read, then he would ask us questions about it, and we would pray. Of course at the time, I just wanted him to hurry up and get finished. But now, as an adult, and with a baby on the way, I am so thankful for that time.
Second to giving thanks to God for sending his Son, is decorating the tree. I actually hated decorated the tree when I was a teenager at home, but I think having my own home and family has made it more special.

However, I must say that I'm quite a stickler about my tree. Growing up we always had a tree with "kid" ornaments on it. My parents always gave us cute little Hallmark ornaments each year. So the tree was covered in them. No color coordinating, no matching, no uniformity of the placement on the tree. Of course as I child I loved the tree with all my ornaments on it. But NOW...I am very particular about the tree. And Matt is exactly the same way. It's quite funny! All of our ornaments are from a set...they are the same style and color coordinate. Each ornament is strategically placed on the tree to make sure that there is flow and uniformity. I know..its sick. The only ornaments on our tree that are not from the "set" are a couple of "Our First Christmas" ornaments...and I put those towards the back. When our children are old enough to have ornaments and care about decorating the tree, I don't know what we're going to do! They might have to have their own kid tree or something.

I know there are others of you out there that are the same as us...other OCD tree decorators. What do you do for your children? Do you sacrifice your own selfish desires and let your family Christmas tree be filled with sports figures and Barbie, randomly placed all over the tree, with gaping holes in some areas and clusters of too many in others? I realize that when Brody is born and is a little older, and has young siblings, our outlook on all of this may completely change. But right now, we love our OCD tree. And did I mention that the star HAS to be placed on last?

Here are a couple of pictures of Matt stringing the lights and the final product. (We didnt get any pics during the actual decorating process. It was too serious a job to be interrupted by taking pictures. :) )

Here is the final product. However, you can't really tell what colors our ornaments are from these pics. For some reason some of them look gold in the pictures. They are all various shades of blues, white, and silver. The colors of the tree skirt.

I love traditions (probably why I'm an Aggie) and I hope that Matt and I are able to start some with our own growing family. I forgot to mention that while we decorate the tree, we have to have hot chocolate. Ideally, I would like to have Christmas carols playing in the background, but this year there were some football games on so we nixed the carols. But the hot chocolate is a MUST, even if its 80 degrees outside. I learned of another tradition this past weekend that Kirby's family does that I loved! Does anyone else know about the hiding the elf game? It's going to be a must in the Palermo household during the holidays.

What are some of your family traditions at Christmas time?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Britney, A Belly, & A House

I never thought I would be a once a month original intention was to update at least once a week. However, as you've all seen, that has not happened. So this might be quite a long post since I haven't updated since Oct 28. Not a lot has happened in the last month, but I have pictures!
For Halloween we struggled on what to dress up as. We wanted to incorporate baby Brody in our costume. What we came up with..well..quite ridiculous haha.

Yes, we were Britney and K-Fed.

Belly Shot

(28 Weeks)

House Update

I've been promising pictures of our new house for the last 3 months. We finally finished construction on our 3rd bedroom/study and have ALMOST the whole house organized. We still have a few pictures to hang, etc but for the most part..its done.

Here is the conversion of our garage to a bedroom. Thank you to Lance and Blake (matt's cousins) for their awesome work! If you need a carpenter, let us know! We will give you his contact info!



And we can't forget the faithful family and friends who helped with the painting and tiling. Larra's parents (Larry & Tina), Matt's parents (Allen & Dena), Larra's sis Shelley, Leigh Ann, and Charlie. I hope I'm not forgetting anyone!!

(Matt and Charlie inspect the progress so far)

(Allen diligently lays the thin-set)

(Shelley, dad, and Matt grouting..the final stages!)

And here are the pics of the rest of the house. We would love to have you awesome people over anytime! well, I take that back..we would love to have you over anytime...after Dec 14. That's when Matt graduates and we're trying to get past that before we make any plans. Things are hectic for him these last couple of weeks. So let's plan something for next year :) Enjoy the house pics..they've been a long time coming!

(3 different angles of the living room)

(dining area)

(guest bathroom)

(our bedroom)

(our bathroom)

(Brody's pretty much empty room)

And that's our house! Seriously..the longest post ever!