December 2014 archive

And a Happy New Year

By Natalie

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Forgive me, we’ve been on Christmas vacation..

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I wish I could describe to you the emotions I felt during our stay in Fredericksburg. But there were so many different feelings with so many different people that I’m still trying to wrap my own head around it. I would hope that maybe this Christmas you experienced the same sort of thing as you begin to witness your families growing larger and larger over time.

There were so many conversations I cherished, so many smiles I’ll miss. So many moments that will be hard to forget from the Poe family’s quick wit, to my sister and brother in law tearing up while opening presents for their still growing baby girl.

Christmas was as expected, Christmas. Full of family, presents, and a whole lot of calories. It came and it went just before my eyes.. Sending all of us in different directions to carry on with our lives, and it left me sitting here on my own hundreds of miles away from the family I laughed so much with. How that happened so quickly I hardly know. I keep thinking back wondering if I thanked that person enough for that thoughtful gift. If I should have just gone ahead and eaten that extra cookie that’s only around this time of year. If I told everyone I cared about them enough, and that it was wonderful to see them. Just in case, I’m saying it now.

As the new year quickly approaches I’m happy to say that I’ll still be finding myself, which I’d like to believe  never really ends. I promise myself to continue my writing because it’s the one thing that has comforted me in hurt, helped me to see the good in the bad, and most importantly to view life through the window of the small things. Those sweet little moments that remind you of why you’re here, and what a good life this is to live. Moments like noticing my sister in a frenzy before Christmas dinner, and needing to stop her, hug her, and tell her we’re not going to starve. That it’s ok to slow down. Because the small things aren’t found in a blur. That’s the beauty of them. You have to slow down to notice them. Even more precious moments like hearing my nephew call out “Aunt Natalie” while I hide behind a curtain playing hide and seek. Let’s not talk about Bingley sniffing around for me pulling back the curtain to reveal my spot. That dog.

If you haven’t started already I’d strongly encourage you to slow down in 2015 in order to be on the lookout. Find those moments, and when you do, snag them up and hold them as closely as possible so not to lose sight of their meaning. I’ll be here doing the same. Filling this blog up with all the ones I find.

That is what makes up a happy new year. Spread the word.

Don’t forget to get your nap in before midnight.

Cheers.

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Christmas in the City

By Natalie

imageBrandon and I began our day in the 7th street public market in hopes that two equisitely made lattes would scare away our sleepy eyes. Much to my excitement we found that the streets of Uptown Charlotte had been hit by the Christmas bug.

This weather is not convincing me that Christmas is around the corner. The mornings are just a bit chilly, covering car windshields with the slightest layer of frost. But by the time the sun really wakes up the frost melts, and it hits the upper 50s by lunchtime… Thankfully it’s at least starting to look and sound like Christmas around these parts, even though the weather insists on being warm.

There’s nerd nutcrackers, gingerbread houses to model Charlotte shops, toy soldiers, giant presents in the park. And on top of all that you can find musicians every few blocks. I had a bundle of ones in my wallet so I decided to share it with an elderly man who was puffing beautiful Christmas music into his trumpet. I dropped the money in his jar, and with his lips still pressed to the mouthpiece he smiled at me, and gave me a thumbs up. His sound carried for blocks, putting everyone in the best sort of spirit, to be reminded that Christmas is just around the corner.

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imageWe had some time to kill Sunday afternoon so Brandon and I were pushed onto the city streets. It was the best kind of afternoon. The kind that provides perfect sweater weather, and emits love into the air. Sometimes I forget just how nice it is to walk with my husband hand in hand. It’s the sweetest thing on earth.

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As much as I am in love with the skyscrapers I have to say they are no match for the city’s Christmas tree.

Don’t you just love these extra tall Christmas trees that stop the people in the streets to gaze in wonder? It’s no Rockefeller center, but it’s in our neck of the woods, and it’s perfect.

imageAnd big giant ornaments littered along the way to match. How grand is that?

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imageMerry Christmas everybody. Here’s some happy reindeer to put all of you Scrooges in the mood. They’re happy, I can just tell.

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DIY:Fabric Scrap Light Garland

By Natalie

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Christmas Light StrandI used a white strand
  • Rotary Cutter or Fabric Scissors
  • Fabric Scraps

This is probably one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever done. I had an extra strand of christmas lights sitting around so I decided to put together a garland on a whim. Sift through your scrap fabrics, or grab a few squares of fabric from the craft store. I’ve been experimenting with mixing textiles so I chose to go with  flannel, cotton, and lace fabrics.

Slice up the fabric of your choosing into about 1in strips. Some of mine came out skinnier than that, some wider. That’s the beauty of this project, it still turns out great! My strips were different widths, and lengths.

A rotary cuttter is the easiest way to cut your fabric for this project. I used this Fiscars set.

imageAfter you’ve cut as many strips you think you’ll need start tying your fabric around the light strand in a single knot. I did three strips in between each light, which seemed to flll the space well. This is the time consuming part.

imageYou’ll end up with this heap of cozy lit fabric. Place on a mantle, stair well, entryway, or wherever needs to be decorated! I placed ours in the kitchen which mirrors our tree in the living room.

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image Happy Crafting!

It is Good

By Natalie

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Today seemed as good a day as any to talk about Thanksgiving because I’ve been pretty thankful these past few months. I sat in the car on the way back from the park with the kiddos this morning, and when I looked in the rear view mirror I saw a happy napping kid. Result of a good day, and a good life.

Charlotte is good. Charlotte is home, but it’s still alot of fun to visit the town we grew up in. Reminicsing on places that hold so many memories.

Our Thanksgiving was full of yummy Puerto Rican food goodness, and I savored every bite.

It’s not often that I get the pleasure of enjoying my aunt’s spectacular Flan. image So I had 2 pieces. Ok 3. OK 4 by the end of the day if you’re keeping track! But this stuff is good. Worth the calories, and caramelized sugar coma good. Worth the 6 hour drive good.

Let’s talk about cousins here for a second shall we? They’re the bomb diggity. A pal to run around and play with throughout your childhood, and out of your hair in the evening time so you don’t want to rip each other’s hair out. When I was like 3 or 4 my cousin Emmanuel would yell for me in the back yard. We used to be neighbors, and thus you’d find the two of us chasing eachother through our twice as wide backyard. I would be eating dinner at the table no big deal, and then I’d hear him through the kitchen window.. “Natalie!!!” And I’d immediately look at my mom, “Can I go outside?” There’s video proof. It’s adorable.

He’s the greatest. Ladies, he’s available. And pretty dang photogenic right? That’s a good quality in a man. Just saying.

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imageIt is crazy to me that out of nowhere we have this next generation of kids. Running through the legs of the adults preparing the big meal, and screaming laughing their little hearts out. They’re precious, and I’m super thankful for them because not only are they blessings to our family, but they’ve promoted Emmanuel and I to the adult table. If I could high five him now I would because we’ve been at that table into our 20s. It was time.

When we’re nicely dressed and around family, I have it in my mind that Brandon and I will get a nice photo taken. Boy am I always dead wrong. The struggle began with the nicely dressed. Brandon was ready to go in his nerd tshirt which reads Analytics.js is my favorite wrapper. Don’t ask me, it’s a development thing.

I persuaded him to wear one of his favorite flannels for the occassion, so we could get a nice picture. But Brandon doesn’t like posed pictures. He had different ideas. image

imageSo here’s our Thanksgiving photo. 2014 is to be remembered as when we were young and head over heels for eachother.

And to take us out, a shot with baby Lawrence. My beautiful sister is carrying this sweet little bundle of joy, and you can see the happiness all over her face. It makes me giddy. I’m gonna be an aunt x5 pretty soon here guys. It is good.image