Christmas Decorating

by Jessica on November 28, 2016

in Family,Home Decor,Photography

Over the Thanksgiving break, our family spent much needed time together.  We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in Virginia.  Matt planned out our meal and worked for hours in the kitchen.  I assisted by doing all of the shopping and cleaning and on Thanksgiving night, we hosted a dessert and game night gathering with friends and neighbors.  We also rested, cleaned the house and storage closets, made large donations to thrift stores, and did a bit of Christmas shopping (and we shopped locally to support our community).

Finally, on Sunday, we were ready to take out the Christmas decorations and start getting ready for the holiday.  We hung wreathes and placed our stockings on the mantel.  We took out the pictures with Santa Claus from years past, and we brought home a Christmas tree to decorate.  This year it was Annabelle’s turn to place the start on top of the tree.  She and Levi did a great job working together to hang all of the ornaments.   So yesterday evening and later today, I walked around the house and took a few photos of everything.  There’s a bit more I’d like to do . . . would love to have some outdoor lights but it’s never been a talent of mine.  Matt’s always been better at hanging the outside lights.
















Once we head outside to decorate, I’ll be sure to photograph that.  I’d like to get some tree cuttings made into garland for the front door and light pole. I think that would also look great on our stairwells.

I hope you and your family are enjoying a great holiday month and that you had a restful and restorative Thanksgiving.



In November I did my best to carry a camera with me wherever we went.  Hockey, ice skating, Girl Scouts, school . . . walking the dog.  Of course, I always carry my camera for work . . . those photos are on my work Facebook page though, ;-)

It was American Education week and both kids had activities.

In Annabelle’s class, her teacher and classmates demonstrated how their class uses technology in the classroom to supplement their studies.  Parents were able to help the kids play a computer trivia game that engaged the entire class.

Their school hosted a school wide book sale and both kids did some of their Christmas shopping.  And I couldn’t help myself from buying books . . . it’s definitely a weakness.

After going to the book sale, the kids walked me around the school to show me their artwork on display.  Annabelle’s is in the center below; at age nine almost ten she says she wants to be a an actor when she grows up.



Levi’s class studied the Presidential elections and Veteran’s Day.  For his class presentation, the students worked with their parents to assemble time capsules to include a sample of artwork, school work, a length of string the height of the student, and a packet of information about today’s cost of living and history.  Levi and I had so much fun!



And on my daily walks with Phinn I’ve been trying to remember to bring a camera so I can photograph my day to day.








Oh, and Phinn and I took our sweaters out of storage.



In December we have many holiday celebrations and preparations to take care of.  I am really hoping we can make it to a holiday parade and get out to volunteer.  Aside from that, I am looking forward to curling up beside the fireplace with a good book and Christmas movies.   I am ready for winter and for life to slow down a bit.  This fall was soooo busy.



Congratulations to Levi and his hockey team the Yellow Jackets for getting to play at the Verizon Center after the first period of the Washington Capitals vs. the Jets game yesterday.  What an awesome game and awesome experience for our kids!  So proud of our kids and how well they did!


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Last night we went to the Caps versus the Jets game at the Verizon Center. Levi’s hockey team, the Yellow Jackets, were selected to participate in the Mites on Ice.  Before the game, we headed down to the ice and watched the players pre-gam practice.  It was AWESOME!!!!!!

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We stayed at a great little hotel in Rome that was in walking distance of everything.  Most mornings we would get dressed, walk downstairs and grab a quick bite to go and then start walking. One of my favorite walks was to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican because it was a shaded pathway in the 90 degree weather.








Along the way we saw some fun street artists . . .



And the kids convinced us to buy them some sunglasses.



And then we got in a line and made our way inside the Sistine Chapel.






Some of the museums did not have air conditioning throughout, so when we found a spot with good air-conditioning, we’d take a little break and relish in the cool air.  That’s what Levi is doing below.


As you might imagine, the paintings and sculptures were everywhere and even though I couldn’t tell you which Pope acquired which piece of art, I photographed those pieces that I thought were pretty cool.












We did get to see Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.  But of course, no photos allowed.

Then we got lunch.








After lunch we got in another line to go up to the Dome at San Pietro Basilica.

















And we saw the Swiss Guards.









At the top of the dome, Annabelle and I were both feeling a little hesitant about looking down.  Did I mention it is the tallest dome in the world?


Those little ants at the bottom are people.










Then we headed down to the plaza where there are beautiful fountains.








We headed back to our hotel for a little nap before we’d go out on another adventure that evening.  Cool motorcycles and vespas were on every corner . . . as was gelato and cafes.  



We all miss Italy a lot.  It was a great time to spend together as a family.  With limited access to our smart phones and other devices, we spent our time talking, laughing, and even joyfully grumbling with each other over the long lines and overwhelming heat inside the city.  At home, we are back to our busy days packed with school, work, hockey, skating, and all the various committees I sign myself up to volunteer on.

I’m already sketching out our next family vacation.  These two are growing up so fast and I feel like it is on vacation that I really get to see them, hang out and get to know them again  (during the year, they’re off and doing what healthy kids are supposed to do which is wanting to spend their free time with their friends, going to school and playing sports . . . it just leaves us parents missing them).   So now the question is . . . where to next?



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