We hope everyone had a great week of Christmas fun and awesomeness! This was the first time Greg’s been off work for the entire week of Christmas since we got married, so we had a chance to take some time off and enjoy spending time with our family. Since we took some time off, we have some catching up to do in the post department (including the recipes from our “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” brunch and our monthly installment of His + Her Favorite Things). Be on the look out for a few extra posts in addition to our normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule over the next few days. We have a kitchen update to kick off the new year’s house-related posts later this week, but today, we thought we’d do a short post a little more on the “life” side of things with a rundown of our “Christmas break”.

Christmas Tree / Christmas 2012 / 7th House on the Left

FAMILY TOGETHERNESS // My mom and brother flew in from LA just in time for Christmas and got to stay for a little over a week. I talked more about our current crazy family living arrangement in this post. It was so, so nice to have them home, even for just a little while. To make things even better, my grandparents came up from Florida. Christmas wouldn’t have been the same without them, so, needless to say, we’re all so glad they were home for Christmas.

Packer & Bentley / Christmas 2012 / 7th House on the Left

Along with my mom and Abram (my brother), came Packer, Abram’s dog. He’s been living the good life in LA, too, and we’ve missed him so much – especially Bentley. Like usual, they played pretty much nonstop – I was lucky to be able to get this quick Instagram photo of the two of them! You can always tell when Packer is in town because Bentley sleeps like a rock pebble at night. They literally play together all day long. We love it.

FOOD & FUN // While I was in AC Moore a few weeks ago, I was waiting in the checkout line and realized I was standing next to a huge display of gingerbread house kits. I quickly looked away and said to myself, “No, Ash. You don’t need a gingerbread house kit.” About fifteen seconds later, my inner kid got the best of me and in my cart it went.

Gingerbread House / Christmas 2012 / 7th House on the Left

I bought some extra red and green gumdrops to go with the kit, and we happened to have some extra chocolate cookie icing (used for the “mulch” on the side of the house and the sidewalk) and candy canes (for the “trim” and the “planked front door”) from our brunch. My favorite “feature” is the Golden Graham shingles on the roof. I had way too much fun with this.

MY CRAZY AWESOME HUSBAND // I’m totally going to brag on Greg a bit, okay? So… with the blog, our ever-overflowing email inbox, finishing up graphic design projects, cooking, last minute shopping and so on, my week leading up to Christmas was rather busy and a bit stressful at times. Fast forward to Christmas Eve morning… I woke up to perfection.

Christmas Eve Perfection / Christmas 2012 / 7th House on the Left

He later said, “If I knew you were going to Instagram that, I would have used better handwriting.” haha! When I first woke up, I noticed the lights on the tree down the hallway were still on. I thought that was odd because they normally go off around 1 am. The more I woke up, the more things I noticed… like Christmas music coming from the living room and… the best smell ever… cleaning supplies. Little did I know that Greg had stayed up until 4:00am the night before and formulated my perfect, stress-free Christmas Eve. I woke up to a completely clean, spotless house, every piece of laundry washed, folded and put away, all of the dishes that were in the dishwasher the night before, washed and put away, Christmas lights and Christmas music on, presents for his family lined up by the back door for ready to head to their house later that night, the outfit I was planning on wearing that day laid out on the dresser, and the ingredients I needed to make the green bean casserole and corn casserole all laid out in the kitchen and ready to go – with the recipes! Oh, and he even had my toothbrush and tooth paste laying out next to the sink! Seriously, it was the most thoughtful, sweetest Christmas present anyone could have ever given me. Yes, he’s definitely up for husband of the year. Best. Christmas. Eve. Ever.

WHAT SANTA BROUGHT //  “Santa” brought Bentley a stocking filled with toys and treats. Although, one of the toys in particular didn’t last the day…

Snowman Down / Christmas 2012 / 7th House on the Left

Yeah, he’s lacking a carrot nose and hat. We also got Bentley a “stuffless” raccoon (from Target) that we call Rocky. It’s now one of his new favorite toys. Bentley bought Packer a matching bunny and he looooooves it. Even now that he’s back in LA, he babies it constantly and carries it with him from room to room. Here’s a picture Abram sent me last night…

Packer the Cockapoo / Christmas 2012 / 7th House on the Left

As if cleaning the entire house and making my Christmas Eve absolutely perfect wasn’t enough, Greg also hit a home run in the gift department. He gave me an awesome Tory Burch key pouch (which is perfect for keeping my cards, license and keys all in one place) and the Kate Spade ear buds that I mentioned in this Favorite Things post a while back.

Tory Burch / Christmas 2012 / 7th House on the Left

He also filled my stocking with a bunch of my favorite goodies like Essie nail polish, Smashbox lipgloss, Lindt truffles (my favorite), and a gold Marc Jacobs pouch from the Neiman Marcus Target line (which is 50% off right now!). That boy was a really awesome shopper this year! I would have loved to see Greg in Ulta when he bought the lip gloss… priceless.

I gave Greg a Dremel (something that’s been on his wish list for a while now!) and a new sound card for his computer. Oh, and I totally shocked him by giving him a Companion Cube for his office. I’ve never really been into video games (aside from Mario Kart Wii and my very brief stint in World of Warcraft – yes, it’s true) and I’m pretty sure he thinks I totally zone him out when he talks about them. So, this gift totally took him by surprise.

I filled his stocking with a bunch of fun geeky stuff including astronaut ice cream, recycled vinyl record guitar picks, and Pac Man candy, cable clips… oh, and a Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver toothbrush (I had to!).

Eldridge Light / 7th House on the Left

My parents totally floored us by surprising us with the dining room light fixture we’ve had our eye on for the dining room. I talk through all of our decorating ideas with my mom (she’s the best sounding board ever) so she was well aware of our love for this light fixture. We have some other changes we want to make to the dining room and we need to change the placement of the current light before we can hang it, but we’re so totally excited to tackle the dining room – finally!

5TH ANNIVERSARY // A few days after Christmas, on the 29th, Greg and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. FIVE years. I think I’ve said it about a million times in the last 48 hours, but time has flown by. Seriously, I can’t get over it. We celebrated with a trip to the “outdoor invisible church” where our ceremony was (officially known as Pole Green Historical Church) then downtown to the James Center (where we had our reception) to take in the lights and dinner.

Historical Pole Green Church / 7th House on the Left

Since our wedding, they’ve added lights and, this year, even decorated it for Christmas (which is how it is in the Instagram photo above).  A few of you asked on Facebook and Instagram if we could post more wedding photos. The short answer: Maybe. There’s a long story in there but here’s the condensed version: We hired a photographer that had a very awesome portfolio, and we met with him in his really nice home studio. He seemed like a great fit. Fast forward after our wedding and about a year later, we finally got the proofs only to discover that the photos looked like they were taken by a 10-year-old using a disposable camera. Seriously, the only remotely “good” photo of Greg and me was one taken at the reception… and my eyes were closed. We were, and still are, completely heartsick. Another year later, he finally gave us an envelope of negatives. My plan is to have the negatives transferred into digital photos, but I have yet to go through them. I think I keep on putting it off because deep down, I just don’t want to get upset about it all over again. When I do get around to it though (something that is on my grand to-do list for 2013), I’m going to try to edit some myself and see what we come up with. Hopefully at that point, we’ll have a few to share here on the blog.

For our anniversary, “Greg bought me” a cool chunky charm bracelet from Anthropologie– AKA I picked it out, bought it and told him it was his anniversary gift to me, haha. It hasn’t come in yet, but I’ll Instagram a photo when it does. We decided not to do anything “big” for our anniversary this year because we’ll actually be flying to LA at the end of the month for two weeks of relaxation, fun and sun. This will be our first non-Disney World vacation since we’ve been married (is that weird?!). That said, we are going to be at Disneyland for two days, so we’ll still get some Disney magic this trip too.

I guess that about wraps up our Christmas vacation recap. We’ll be back soon with the recipes from our Christmas party and another installment of His + Her Favorite Things!

PS All of these photos are from our Instagram feed. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, look us up at 7thHouseBlog.