Hello, and happy Thursday! Like Dorothy states in the Wizard of Oz, “my! How quickly people come and go so quickly here!”, only replace “people” with “holidays”. On our drive home yesterday from Matt’s mom, Diane and step-dad, Tim’s house, I couldn’t believe Christmas was already over. But writing this post is wonderful as I get to already relive it.
Tuesday // Christmas Eve
Matt and I started Christmas Eve with a delicious breakfast. Two warmed baby gf buttermilk biscuits, wilted greens, and seasoned sunny side up eggs. Plus I had some mango on the side.
Later in the morning, I donned my Goodwill sweater one last time and joined my work crew for a fun holiday party!
I enjoyed some of the food that was provided and went back for a few more bites of things. I had a wonderful time! Our manager surprised us with a White Elephant party, and I won a really pretty Vera Bradley cosmetic bag. We did our gift exchange as well, and then I went back home to start getting ready for our late lunch with Matt’s mom and step-dad.
One of the sweet gifts I received from our gift exchange was this frame for Mason. Lindsey knows how much he means to us, and she wanted to contribute to his memorial. I was so grateful! The message is absolutely how we feel.
<3 Our heart.
She also got me another cat decorative item that I’ll be putting at my other clinic, a beautiful ear warmer, and this EOS set.
Kaci and Axl came over for her to give her gifts to the babies. Axl is finally feeling better! But it was really upsetting to see him and hear about him feeling awful. Kaci was a sweetheart and got me TJ’s gingerbread candle and this exfoliating trio!
Once Matt and I were ready, we joined his mom and step-dad at Sunspot. They were very kind and agreed to take our family photo for us. <3
Our meals were fantastic! Table shot.
I had their Caesar side salad and their chili mac: Beyond Burger, black beans, green chile, plant based mac and cheese, and roasted tomato. It was outstanding!
After we left, Matt and I went to Market Square to soak up some of the holiday vibes one last time. The day was so mild that it was really pleasant to walk around in the sunshine.
The artist changed the mural to a wintery scene, and red cardinals make me think of my grandmother. <3
This is on the back side of the ice skating rink.
Matt nailed it and got “Knoxville” in the photo. 🙂
Knoxville’s gorgeous Christmas tree!
I love this shot!
As well as this one. He’s talented at being able to angle it and move us far enough away to get the star. I ride the ole struggle bus. Where would I be without him. 😉 <3
We walked to Old City Java and then Awaken, but understandably, they were both closed. I loved the walk and seeing the window art!
It turned out for the best anyway because I made a delicious beet cocoa latte at home with cinnamon, ginger, honey, and frothed almond milk. ‘Twas very enjoyable.
I enjoyed the rest of my pasta from lunch with a salad for dinner.
Sweet kitty snuggles for us both! Peep my cozy Christmas pj’s from Target a few years ago.
Then a banana with plenty o’ pb for a snack. We watched the Grand Tour and then got to bed so the big guy would come by the house!
Wednesday // Christmas Day
We slept really well and slowly got out of bed. It was so needed! This day marked four years since Matt, with Mason’s help (!), asked me to be his wife. It will always warm my heart to think back to that morning.
I made us each a gingerbread oat muffin topped with maple and yogurt + an apple with pb on the side. I used Ellie Krieger’s gingerbread oatmeal recipe as an inspiration. Tasted really festive and enjoyable!
Then it was time to open presents.
Matt spoiled me in a huge way! He surprised me with a Lil Bub sweater and coloring book, owl necklace that is absolutely adorable, Heidi Hull Barre3 necklace, and a gift from Mason. He got us a replacement blade for our single-serve blender tumbler, and since Mason was our smoothie-loving baby, it was from him.
Isn’t this so pretty? He said the sideways heart looks like a B for Barre3, and that’s how I look at it too.
He also surprised me by re-gifting this engraved photo album I gave him on our one year anniversary. It still has empty sleeves to be filled, and looking through it made me smile so big. It served as a beautiful reminder of just how far we’ve come and how much wonderful time we’ve been together.
My mom snapped these. Check out the cool portable CD player. 😉 I had super long hair when we met, and Matt kept his longer due to not wanting to cut it as often. He’s cut his own hair since middle or high school. We’ve both gone shorter over the years. Haha
I’ve never looked cuter.
I’ve probably shared this before, but I just love it. Our first Christmas together in 2005.
Christmas dinner at his mom’s then apartment. His brother Chris and Shannon (they married but decided it was best to go their separate ways), and Brian and Anne (Brian’s now ex-wife).
We went to Zuma Fun Center one day and played arcade games and Putt Putt golf. His shaggy hair. He looks so cute! The bottom photo was our anniversary when I gave him this album.
I *hated* my hair and complexion. The hair stylist royally botched my haircut, and my acne flared up off and on for a few years. I’m glad I didn’t choose to avoid the camera. It doesn’t bother me to look at now. So if you feel like your body isn’t good enough or worthy of photos, just know your relatives will love to have photos of you to cherish.
Okay thank you for going down memory lane with me. Back to Christmas! The babies have toys galore now, but what did they want? Boxes and wrapping paper, of course!
Rachel was determined to fit!
Playing with her new catnip carrot from us.
More presents. But Jackson just wanted more noms.
Speaking of which, lunch was a Sweet Earth frozen vegan pasta over greens. It was just what I needed.
All ready and most definitely wore my owl necklace!
We picked up Matt’s dad and headed up to Diane and Tim’s. I called my dad and Karin and got to chat with them. I miss them so much and hope we can have Christmas together next year!
Diane had quite the lovely appetizer spread! Artichoke hearts, beets, olives, vegetables, hummus, crackers, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, cheese, and later stuffed mushrooms.
Let the photos begin! Matt wore one of the flannels I found for him on Amazon. The brand is actually Amazon Essentials, and they’re both really soft and nice! He looked so handsome.
We were under the mistletoe, after all. 😉
Group shot with Chris and his girlfriend, Kayla.
Diane with two of her three boys. She looked so festive! I loved her blinking necklace.
Also, she had a really pretty table setting.
Love Christmas dishes!
Dinner was wonderful! They made a juicy ham with pineapple, turkey breast, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and we brought salad and roasted green beans/butternut squash/onion/Brussels sprouts. I roasted the green beans from fresh and bought a frozen bag of the other vegetables by Pictsweet. They’re frozen but are meant to be roasted. The salad was a kit in a bag and included kale and other greens, pepitas, dried cranberries, and poppy seed dressing. All of it was perfect. I went back for seconds of some things and felt pleasantly full.
We opened presents before dinner, and Diane made me this teal scarf! It paired with my red sweater is reminiscent of our wedding colors. She spoiled us big time!
I loved looking at her ornaments. I know white lights are the trend, but I love colorful lights on a tree. It’s what we did when I was a child.
We think this poinsettia was just spray painted, but I love it!
I made TJ’s boxed gf fudge chocolate quinoa loaf cake.
It was rich but so good. We had fresh pineapple and whipped cream with it plus tea.
Once we took Larry home, we got in and fed our sweeties, and then unloaded our gifts. So grateful! She knows me really well. Go Macro bars, Nuttzo nut butter packet, chocolate covered ginger, blueberry nut clusters, tahini bars, his and hers mugs (heart eyes); Pioneer Woman tea bag tray, stickers labels, and pinch bowls; magnetic bookmarks, etc.
How cute is this? She saw my Instagram story of me rolling our coins to use for my “Mahalo fund”, so she gave me a roll of quarters for said fund. So perfect! Chris also gave me a gift card. I have already paid them a visit today.
And this pink Himalayan sea salt lamp is so pretty! It changes to eight different colors and will be the best kitchen nightlight.
She never forgets about the babies either, so they got a fun toy too!
I was in denial that I had to go to work today, but it’s been a good one. I threw together this outfit and had to wear my necklace and scarf.
I truly hope you all had a wonderful holiday! But if you didn’t, please know my heart if with you. Christmas doesn’t feel the same without my mom, grandparents, and Mason, but I know they’re watching over and celebrating with us. I’m thankful Matt’s family is one I call my own, and I’ve celebrated 15 Christmases with Matt. Here’s to many more!