Happy New Year, everyone! On New Years Eve, we rolled back into Virginia from Florida – just in time to get showers and ring in the New Year in our pajamas watching reruns of Perry Mason. After a long day of driving through five states, we weren’t up for much. That makes us sound old, doesn’t it? We obviously took a bit of a blog break over the holidays, and we’ll be catching back up with our regular post frequency next week. For now, we thought we’d do a quick post a little more on the “life” side of things with a rundown of our Christmas break.
FAMILY TOGETHERNESS // As I mentioned earlier, we drove down to Florida (right outside of Tampa) and stayed at my Grandparents’ house. There’s nothing like your grandma and grandpa’s house for Christmas. They had every single nook and cranny all decked out for Christmas – and it was amazing.
My mom and brother flew in from LA (more on that here), and we were able to spend a lot of time with my aunts, uncles and cousins that live in the area (that’s me and my brother in the photo above). It was great getting the chance to hang out, be together and have some much needed down time – especially after my great grandmother passed away a few weeks ago.
Packer (my brother’s dog, named after the Green Bay Packers) flew in from LA along with my mom and Abram. Needless to say, Bentley was more than thrilled to have his BFF around. We love it when Bentley and Packer hang out because Bentley sleeps especially well at night after playing all day. It’s pure bliss. On the other side of that coin, Bentley went from being cooped up for 9 weeks after his surgery to having over 20 people in one house at the same time. So his social skills lacked a little finesse (he was very quick to bark and growl at people – which isn’t at all how he is at home with us). This is definitely something we’ll be working with him on before our next big family get-together.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING CONTEST // On Christmas night, as I mentioned in this post, we had our family gingerbread house decorating competition. Even though my house clearly wasn’t in the running due to an “earthquake”, it was a ton of fun, and we’ll definitely be doing it again. I’m already trying to come up with ideas in order to redeem myself next year.
With the help of you guys casting your vote, the winner was “Mountain Cottage”, which was built by my Aunt Dee Dee. My mom’s “Pebbles’ Christmas Cottage” came in second (which won our family voting round). Needless to say, my Aunt Dee Dee will enjoy holding onto the bragging rights until the next time. When the next competition rolls around, it’ll be on. Like Donkey Kong.
WHAT SANTA BROUGHT // Since we knew we were traveling to Florida this year for Christmas, Greg and I exchanged gifts a few weeks before the festivities. Greg surprised me with a trip to Ikea to buy a few pieces of furniture I’d been wanting for my office (more on that later!). I gave him a few guitar pedals he’d been wanting for a while. He would just go on and on about them, and I’d just act like I didn’t really understand exactly what it was. In reality, I had all of the specs in my head – right down to the model number. That being the case, he was pretty shocked when he opened it.
Since, in my head anyway, guitar pedals aren’t “fun” gifts to give, I also gave him a few small gifts that I wrapped and brought with us to Florida without him realizing. (Like this geeky pajama t-shirt, the new Garth Brooks box set, and a Dalek Mr. Potato Head.)
Week before last, my parents surprised Greg and my brother with an early Christmas present of 6th row tickets to the John Mayer concert here in Richmond. Needless to say, they were two extremely happy campers. They’re both still talking about it! My mom, whom I constantly use as a sounding board for all of my decorating ideas, got me a bunch of accessories I’d been eyeing for the house (like this capiz hurricane, a lacquer office tray, a collection of Penguin Classics and a few other things). My mom and dad also gave me a copy of the original Mary Poppins script along with Dick Van Dyke’s autograph, which I admittedly got a little teary eyed over.
My grandparents gave Greg and I a Keurig Vue – something we’ve been wanting for a while, but never got around to buying. We’ve been home fore about 24 hours and have already used it twice. Love. It. Our lives have officially changed!
In our book, giving gifts is even more fun than getting them. One of my favorite gifts we gave this year was to my cousin, Brooke. She’s a total Disney fanatic (like pretty much everyone else in our family) and loves Alice In Wonderland. After doing an extensive amount of Googling, I finally stumbled on an artisan on Etsy who makes custom doorknobs identical to those in the movie. I died. And then I ordered one.
OUR 6TH ANNIVERSARY // Since we were already in Florida, it wasn’t a hard decision to spend our favorite day at our favorite place, Disney World. The crowds, parking and humidity were killer, but we made the best of it and had a chance to take in the amazing Christmas decorations.
To commemorate our anniversary trip, we bought this Beauty and the Beast throw for our “Get Cozy” basket in the living room (I sing “Tale as old as time…” every time I pull it out, haha). We didn’t have anything “big” planned for our anniversary this year because our family reunion was scheduled to be at Disney World next month. However, since my great grandmother passed away and everyone took off work to make last minute flights for the funeral, we decided to postpone it to next year. No worries though, that will just give Disney World another year to prep for the craziness that is the Porter clan.
I guess that about wraps up our Christmas vacation recap. We’ll be back later this week with our 2014 inaugural installment of His + Her Favorite Things.
PS Most of these photos are from our Instagram feed. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, look us up at 7thHouseBlog.