Wednesday, April 30, 2014

december backlogs: every little bit

luna enjoying winter wonderland // getting my hair done // the finished product
dusty before finals // apple cider while watching the sound of music
vintage christmas market // the christmas tea // law wives at the christmas tea

I think December was one of my favorite months of the entire year.
There were so many wonderful moments, and as I was looking through all of our events and photos and get-togethers and festivities to put together some backlog posts, I just couldn't narrow them down.
I figured showing a reel of my Instagram account would accurately portray what this month was like for us.

Our house was fully decorated for Christmas, which is always so much fun. It makes the month merrier, for certain. The beginning of the month always means finals time for Dusty, so he was pretty busy studying and staying up super late with his study group to prepare.

On the day of the finals meal (the law wives put together a finals meal every semester, for law school students and families to come and eat for free to ease some of the stress of that week) I went a little crazy and got my hair done! Red tips/ombre. I absolutely loved it, once it mellowed out a little bit. It has been really really fun having a slightly daring hairstyle. At this point it's more of a strawberry blonde, and I kind of miss the brighter red! Maybe I'll do it again.

Emilie and Victoria and I all gathered at Emilie's house (which is one of the most beautiful apartments I've ever seen -- they rent the upstairs of the house to another law couple, and they've completely renovated the basement. It's like looking at a catalogue) to watch Carrie Underwood's The Sound of Music. I know the show got a lot of flack, but it was such a fun girl's night! I really liked it. Emilie had cookies and this amazing apple cider that she mulled herself because she's just legit like that, with whole cinnamon sticks as garnish and everything. I think I drank like 15 teacupfulls.

On the first Saturday of December, we had book club (we had read Brandon Sanderson's Legion), and afterward I headed down the street to the vintage Christmas market with one of my book club friends, Allison. The market is always really fun, I've actually managed to go every year! They usually have a spring and a Christmas one. It's a pretty huge event, full of local vendors and vintage shops.
But this time they held it in this really cool building downtown that's mostly glass. It was a really cold day, and they had complimentary coffee from White Hart right outside the door. We browsed a bit and shopped. It was so fun!
That same day we had the Christmas Tea for the law wives, which was always my favorite event!

lazy mornings with tea and muffins // reading and cuddling // our home
done with finals, time for sushi // seeing the hobbit // at the farmer's market
victoria and i // friends // friends party // making gingerbread houses
my masterpiece // dusty and colinoria // dusty's masterpiece // handmade cat necklace

On December 8th, it started to snow. I woke up early and made some chocolate chip muffins (I had to wing the recipe because we didn't have any eggs, but they turned out so delicious), brewed some strong tea, and woke Dusty up. We bundled up on the couch with the cats, and he worked on studying while I read The Book Thief. 
Just looking at those photos brings back such a lovely warm feeling. I absolutely loved that day. It was a beautiful and cozy winter day that made me start thinking about how much I was going to miss this home.

On December 11th, the boys were officially done with finals! So we went out with Colinoria to celebrate with half-off sushi at Wasabi. We spent that week and weekend having so much fun with our friends. We went and saw the midnight showing of The Hobbit, hung out at the farmer's market, and had our third annual friends party. It was the absolute best, because Allison and Greg had temporarily moved back (so she was able to host it, like the past 2 years), and our other friends from DC came down for the weekend, too! It was a mini reunion of our original group from 1L year. It was really cool.

The next day we had a crazy awesome gingerbread house decorating extravaganza. Dusty's gingerbread house even had a pool. We ate so much frosting.
I think the four of us were there for hours, building our houses and laughing as they all fell down at least once (or in Colin's case, like, five times). Dusty and I had gone to Target and bought everything to make them, and had basically sent them a text saying, we have the goods! You're coming over! 
One of the many reasons why we love Colinoria.

To top it all off, my friend Stephanie sent me this absolutely amazing handmade necklace of our two cats, Luna and Eva. (Check out her Etsy shop). I totally burst into tears when I opened up the package. It was the best early Christmas present ever!

Mid-December meant it was time for Christmas celebrations to commence!
Dusty and I always have our own little Christmas celebration (1st year2nd year), so we went ahead and had one right before Dusty's family came into town! We opened presents and went to ihop, because for some glorious reason, that's our little tradition. There's something delightful about crappy ihop coffee for the holidays. Mmmm.

We also had the best time going to see Frozen with Colinoria. They had Christmas crackers, which we had never heard of, but Colin has some British heritage and they've always been a fun tradition for them. Basically you each pull on the end (kind of like a thanksgiving wishbone -- the one with the bigger end gets the prize!), they shoot out confetti like a typical New Year's confetti popper, and inside there's some sort of gift! I got cuff links, and Dusty got a bookmark. They're pretty spectacular.
But the best part is that inside each one there's a shiny gold crown. So we put on our crowns and waltzed in to watch Frozen.

our "christmas" // favorite gifts // traditional christmas ihop
christmas crackers and frozen // the view of DC // the capitol
good stuff eatery // funny girls // sister bloopers // dusty and wyatt
the tidal basin // me and FDR // desserts from steak and shake // breakfast downtown

The rest of the month was family-tastic. Dusty's family flew into DC, so we went down there to spend the first few days of their visit in the nation's capital! We had a blast. We toured around and just enjoyed each other's company. There's so much to see in DC! Dusty and I had been there several times before, so mostly we just sat back and let his family take the lead.

Once we all got to Lynchburg, they settled into the house they were renting for the week, and we started showing them our city little bit by little bit! One of the first items on the docket was to show them downtown. We ate at Market at Main for breakfast, one of our favorites!

lavender lattes // at white hart // i object! at the law school // kissing over lynchburg
christmas eve service // christmas cat cards // sibling love // sibling bloopers
merry christmas morning to you // walking around rivermont

It was so fun having them in town. His parents had visited us before, but never around Christmas, and his siblings had never been here. They got to see our crazy Winter Wonderland apartment, too!

We showed them downtown Lynchburg, had them all experience White Hart and the famous lavender latte, gave them a tour of the law school (where we all got to sit and goof around in the courtroom -- shhh! don't tell!) and the rest of campus, including Snowflex, which overlooks the city of Lynchburg.

Because they rented a house for the week, we were all able to fit in one place! It was a blast. There were enough beds for all of us. We all went to church together for the Christmas Eve service, and then were able to celebrate a pajama-clad Christmas morning.
We continued sightseeing the next few days, as well, going around the Rivermont area and showing them some of the super cute shops and historic houses of the area.

We took them over to Hollins Mill Waterfall, which ended up being a really fun spot for our day of sightseeing! The waterfall is gorgeous, and it was such a cool crisp day that there were icicles all along the wall by the water. We all took photos and shivered in the cold!

hollins mill // waterfall // monticello // snow cones
jimmy's on the james // fried oreos & donuts // christmas photoshoot
downtown taco truck // tacos from taco shark
farmer's market puppy // d-day memorial // market at main

The next stop was Monticello, which is one of those must-sees of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson's home is so full of history and interest.
We've been there I think four times now, having been with all our family on each of their trips!
We also took everyone to Caribbean Snow for snow cones, because it's another must.

Dusty's brother and sister-in-law had to leave a little bit earlier that week, so our last big dinner out was just the six of us couples and little Wyatt! We took them to Jimmy's on the James for some yummy food and dessert.

While the whole family was still together we did a family photoshoot, and the pictures turned out so great. We all wore green and navy and grey, and some of the pictures of Dusty and I are some of my absolute favorites.

On their last full day in town we went downtown to show the fam the farmer's market, and we had lunch at the Taco Shark truck. Seriously some of the most delicious tacos I've ever had! One of mine was a winter butternut squash taco that pretty much changed my life. Taco Shark has been closed ever since then, trying to upgrade and redo their kitchen and whatnot, so this is the one and only time we've ever had them!

We finished our day at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, which is absolutely stunning. The surrounding mountain vistas are beautiful. They have a really great tour there, and I'm so glad we got to go!

We ate at Market at Main one last time before they left, and it was really hard to say goodbye, especially to Wyatt. They left from downtown to go back to DC, to spend a little more time in the city before hopping on their flight back to Arizona.

The tail end of the month was really exciting at work (as exciting as interlibrary loan can be!)
We were finally moving into the new building. We were going to have windows! This was a big event. It was oddly sad saying goodbye to the old closet room of an office, seeing my empty desk and bidding it forever adieu. It had been a good little corner of my world for a while. I remember first walking in there, and hoping they would pick me to work there!
The first few days at the new building there was no electricity in our office, but I still had to work. Don't ask me how, because nothing worked and I couldn't do any work, but I still had to be there. So, I sat on my desk, daydreamed, stared at the window, read books. It wasn't all that bad. No one else was there, since they all still had vacation time saved up.

On New Year's Eve, we headed back out to Salem to see Greg and Allison and celebrate the New Year and both of our anniversaries! They were married on New Year's Eve, and we were married on New Year's Day! So we hung the banner, clinked our glasses and hung out all night together.
We had fondue for dinner and dessert. Yum yum yum. Bread and cheese is always a great idea. For dessert Allison had prepared an amazing platter of things that go well dipped in chocolate, sweet and salty alike. I'm definitely thinking that fondue should be a NYE tradition. We need to get a fondue pot!
We set off confetti poppers (Dusty and Greg had a confetti popper war, really), we toasted, we laughed.
I had to work the next day, so we weren't able to spend the night, like we did over Thanksgiving. And since we didn't want to be driving past midnight, we decided to put on a NYE episode of Friends and do the big countdown with them! It was really fun.
This was our last big event with Greg and Allison before they told us they'd be headed back to Illinois. It really bookended the year and our extra bonus time with them!

empty old office // brand new office // sitting on my new desk
driving to salem // happy anniversary // new year's eve // allison and i
goofing off // nye fondue // cheers to the new year!

All this to say...December was a month for the books. It was such a great month, and going through my packed Instagram and trying to "summarize" it all was nearly impossible. I loved it. It was the perfect way to end a great year.

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