This year the Christmas season seemed to come so fast. Normally I am SO ready for Christmas- the music, decor, holiday goodies, etc but this year... I don't know... it just felt a little different, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the coziness of my home...
Oh- and he also got me this AMAZING coffee table book that I adore! It's about Rachel Ashwell's Prairie B&B in Texas and not only did I fall in love with this place, but I am determined to visit it in person someday! If you like shabby-chic and antiques, you will freak over this place.
Kitchen island centerpiece, courtesy of the arrangement at my office. BOOM.
In typical Shelly fashion, I planned an over the top meal for our party of 8. I literally cooked/baked for almost 11 hours straight in preparation for our dinner feast. Yes, my feet were killing me and I was totally exhausted, but it was worth it to sit around my candlelit dining room with loved ones, enjoying their company and delicious food. WIN. WIN. WIN.
The Christmas menu included the following, many of which I had not attempted before:
Appetizers: assorted cheese plate, mini quiches, and pear pomegranate crostinis (Oh and gooey Rotel cheese dip brought by my MIL!)
Main course: herb roasted turkey, cranberry apple crumble, boursin mac & cheese, crispy loaded potato rounds, corn casserole, brown butter bacon green beans, and fresh strawberry salad.
The week after Christmas was full of lots of quality time with Allie - shopping, going to restaurants, and just... general hang out time. On Monday while I was working in the office, Zach and Allie had a daddy-daughter day which included a trip to one of Zach's favorite lunch spots - Ria's Blue Bird.
We also went to see the final installment of the Hobbit - in IMAX 3D (which apparently almost requires a home equity loan just to cover the ticket prices... Good Lord! So thankful we had two free passes.)
One of our New Years traditions is having a little time of reflection as a family. I put together a short list of questions for each of us, a few looking back over 2014 and a few looking ahead to 2015. We put on some music and each have about 20 minutes to answer the questions. Then we share our answers as a family and pray for our year ahead. It's a time I really treasure with Allie, especially watching her answers and insights change through the years as she matures.
Another tradition we have is doing the survey for Allie's Adventure book. Every year I make Al a yearbook and it always begins with a list of Allie stuff - her favorite activities, favorite foods, favorite memories, things she's learned, etc etc. I always do this questionnaire with her right at the end of the year as I prepare to make the book. I love this time with her reflecting on the year and seeing what sticks out in her mind as significant and noteworthy. This year, it truly made my heart explode to hear her say that one of her favorite things to do/favorite memories from 2014 was all the conversations we've had with her just sitting around the house. (I mean seriously?! Of all the places we've gone, things we've done, and people we've met, your favorite thing is talking with us?! Be still my heart.) I am so grateful God has used this time so well and just... answered so many prayers in 2014. We are so thankful and so excited for what lies ahead for our family and especially our Allie girl.
With 2015 already well underway I can't help but realize how fleeting time is and how important every moment is - with our family, but also... just in general. Time is really the greatest non-renewable resource and it's so important to use what time God has given us well and to live with purpose. I hope at the end of 2015 I can look back and be content with how I used my time/life to love others well and share the truth of Jesus. For now, I am just gonna take it a day and a week at a time, setting small goals and praying for God to open doors.
Stay tuned for more from the Kales in 2015! My job has kept me really busy lately plus all the time working on Allie's book, but I am really gonna try to blog more regularly. 2014 was a dismal blogging year for me, but hey... like I said in the beginning... I might not blog on time, but at least I get it done. Victory!