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Monday, January 2, 2012

Merry New Year!

Happy New Year, Y’all!  Did your 2012 get off to a good start?  I hope so.

Judd and I had a great time ringing in the new year with our friends.  In fact, we have had lots of time for visiting with friends and family this holiday season. We hosted Christmas for the first time ever at our house.  In six years of marriage, Judd and I had never had a Christmas morning where we woke up in our own home.  We usually travel to his parents’ home, my parents’ home, or my grandmother’s house.  We were so glad to have both sides of our families together this holiday.  We understand what a blessing it is to have in-laws who are willing to spend the holidays together and that they actually enjoy each other’s company.  It was also so special to have my big brother, Bryan, home this year.  He spent a few holidays away from us due to military deployments.

Front row (L to R): Judd, Abby, Carole (Abby’s Mom), Mary Evelyn (Abby’s Grandmother), Laura (SIL), Dot (Judd’s Mom), Brenna (SIL)

Back row (L to R): Del (Abby’s Dad), Bryan, Terry (Judd’s Dad), and Colby (Judd’s younger brother)IMG_0242

Cole was thrilled to have all of his favorite people under one roof.  It’s hard to tell, but trust me, this is his excited face.  I know it doesn’t seem that much different from his happy face, sad face, or tired face. 


Judd and I had a lot of fun preparing our home for our special guests.  We lucked out when purchasing some pine garland for our front door from a local Christmas tree lot.  I asked the workers what they did with the leftover branches from where they trimmed the bottom of the trees when making our purchase.  They told me that they threw them away and that I was welcome to take as much as I wanted.  And, that I did.  Luckily, we were in Judd’s truck so I was able to take home a good bit.  I spent the next two weeks making live wreaths and garlands. I’ll do a post on how to make them soon.

Outside, we added the purchased pine garland and some white lights around our entry.  A live fir wreath hung on our door with a large deco mesh bow.  Our porch and porch swing were decorated with fir, magnolia, nandina, and holly.



I wrapped our usual blue RH outdoor pillows in burlap and tied them like presents.  I wanted a no sew project that would help our pillows fit in with the Christmas décor.  I cut two squares of burlap and folded them over the pillows like an envelope.  The ribbon helped to keep the burlap in place.  I also picked up the little pieces of tree trunk that the Christmas tree lot was cutting off of the trees.  I used them along with some greenery to decorate our front porch table.  Judd added a red bell that was his late grandmother’s.


I mentioned in my last post that I got a camera for Christmas.  It is basically the same camera my sister-in-law Brenna already had.  She and I enjoyed taking pictures together.  I was glad to get a few pointers from her.






Our mailbox was draped with a fir garland and a bow made from two different sizes of deco mesh, one solid and one striped. 


Our living room held our tree and a live garland over the mantel made of fir.  The garland had red and white nandina berries and holly tucked in throughout.  A double sided live fir wreath was hung over our mirror.



Our tree was decorated with burlap ribbon, brown, cream, tan, and mercury glass ornaments and balls, and pinecones.  We also incorporated some ornaments that are special to us.  Our tree skirt was a long piece of burlap folded in half and gathered around the trunk.  It was another quick no sew project.



Our dining room was adorned with live garlands over the china cabinet and above our corner cabinet.  The table was set with our Opal Innocence by Lenox China with our Lisomore Tall Waterford Crystal.  My mother loaned us her King Richard by Towle silver flatware to use during the holiday meals.  We used this table setting three times.  Judd and I hosted a Christmas Eve seafood feast on Saturday night.  On Christmas Day we had brunch and Christmas dinner. 

Eating seafood on Christmas Eve is a tradition with Judd’s family.  They live in a small town in south Alabama that is near the gulf coast.  His parents drove to Mobile , AL the day before coming to our house in order to fetch the freshest catch from our friends, the Atkins family.  The Atkins’ are third generation owners of Southern Fish and Oyster in Mobile.   Our buddy, Tripp Atkins, even packed a surprise in the cooler for me to use when decorating—beautiful oyster shells.  We added them to our centerpiece which consisted of clementines, apples, fir, nandina, holly, and assorted nuts.  The arrangement sat on a half barrel with some burlap underneath it.







I found a clever way to display Christmas cards from Brenna’s blog.  I think she got the idea from Pinterest.  It was so simple.  I just cut ribbon the appropriate length and gently taped it to the top and bottoms of the backside of each cabinet door.  Clothes pins held each card in place.  It was so fun to view the cards and pictures from the folks we love the most everyday in our kitchen.  Our back door which is located in our kitchen held a live fir wreath with another deco mesh bow.



Judd’s mom, Brenna, and I had a lot of fun rolling and cutting out sugar cookies.



Cole decided that watching us bake was too much work for him.  He went outside to take a nap in the sun.


I can’t seem to find the appropriate words to tell you all how much we enjoyed having our family together.  We had a lot of great quality time together.  We visited with my grandmother, played photo shoot with the new camera, worked a puzzle, ate 3 delicious meals, drank warm beverages by the fire, attended our church's Christmas Eve service as a family, and opened gifts together.  We couldn’t have asked for a better time as a family.


We had fun passing the new camera around.  I especially enjoyed it when viewing the photos for the first time.  It was fun to see the holiday from the perspective of others.  Bryan is a military broadcast journalist.  He took the next two photos.


Dot, Brenna, and I made gift tag place cards to put on each person’s glass.  I wrote a different question on the back of each tag that was to be answered at dinner.  The questions consisted of things like “what is your favorite Christmas memory or tradition, or movie, or song, etc.?”  I think it gave us all something “Christmassy” to talk about while dining.





The guys were outside most of Christmas Eve frying our delicious seafood feast.  Our friend Hunter came over that night to eat with us as well.  The meal consisted of gumbo, fried popcorn shrimp, fried jumbo shrimp, coleslaw, and seafood gumbo.  YUMMY!

From L – R: Bryan, Hunter, Terry, and Colby




Opening presents was a lot of fun.  Cole especially enjoyed his gift from his Aunt Brenna and Uncle Colby.





Mommy and daddy had a gift for Cole too.  He had a good doggy Christmas.




Judd and I both planned special gifts for our mothers.  My mother finished her doctorate in 2007 and never had her dissertation bound.  I surprised her with a hardback copy of her work.  She had no idea.  I’m pretty sure those were happy tears. 






Judd watercolored some Christmas cards of a Cardinal, his mother’s favorite bird, for her to use next year.


That pretty much sums up our Christmas 2011. Goodbye until next time.



  1. Abby, what a beautifully decorated Christmas filled to the brim with love! I'm so glad everything went so very well. If you ever get tired of higher education you could certainly hire out to decorate houses for Christmas!

  2. Abby and Judd,

    I sure have enjoyed seeing a special Christmas at your home. Everything is beautifully decorated! Your table was spectacular with all of your china, crystal and silver! I also loved seeing the "special" gifts that you gave to your parents.

    Happy New Year! All the best to you and Judd in 2012!

  3. love it! your decorations are beautiful!

  4. Your home is beautiful. What a blessed Christmas to have everyone together like that.