Sunday, December 29, 2013

There's No Place Like Home For the Holidays

Man, what a week is has been down here in the great state of Georgia!
Ryan and I took off from Boston a week ago yesterday and arrived in Kennesaw on Saturday night to spend the holidays with both of our families. When we walked in the door, we were greeted with this ADORABLE face! 

The whole week absolutely FLEW by. Sunday night, Ryan and I, along with my parents, grandma, brother, cousin Jason, and Ryan's parents went to dinner at a hibachi place in Roswell, which is always SUPER delicious!

Monday, we switched things up and celebrated my dad's birthday a day early (he was a Christmas Eve baby). The same group mentioned above (minus Jason) left from my parents house around 6 to head to downtown Atlanta to participate in a murder mystery dinner, "The Nutcroaker- Murder On Your Toes", at Agatha's Dinner Theatre. Neither Ryan nor I had ever attended one of these before so we had NO idea what to expect but it actually turned out to be a very fun evening!

When we arrived at the theatre, each person was given a slip of paper with their character and a description of their role throughout the show. The birthday boy was supposed to take on the role of "pushy parent" but he passed that off to my mom (a much better fit for the role- haha) and became a member of the singing group, "the Nuts" along with my brother. Brad and I were both members of the "Sweets" and Susan, Ryan, and my Grandma were all members of the "Dancers". My mom had the only speaking role and she KILLED it! Each of the three groups had to perform a song in one of the acts that went along with the show.

After the show- chilling with Creepy Santa. Can you spot him?

Tuesday, Christmas Eve, the Schoeff family recreated an old tradition for my dad. When my dad was growing up, his family would go out for an evening walk to look at the Christmas lights. When they would return the house, Santa would have just left, and everyone would open up their presents! Since Ryan and I were heading to the Smith's house around noon on Christmas, we decided to give this old tradition a try, and it turned out to be a very fun way to celebrate the whole day with my family.

We sat down for our traditional Christmas dinner of Honey Baked ham, pineapple casserole (my favorite), party pea casserole (Grandma Schoeff's recipe), and baked mac n' cheese. After we feasted, we headed out to check out some Christmas lights, opened our Christmas presents (a three and a half hour event), and rounded out the night with a dip in the hot tub. It was a PERFECT Christmas eve and a tradition I vote we continue!


Oscar's Christmas portrait
Wednesday, Christmas day, we spent the morning with my family before packing everything up and heading to the Smith's to begin some Smith family Christmas traditions. We got unpacked at the house and then drove over to Bob and Meredith's house to spend some time with family and open presents. Towards the end of the afternoon, Bob pulled out the keyboard and Grandma played Christmas carols while we sung along.

We headed back to the Smith household in the evening to greet Brandon, Rachel, and Papa, eat some dinner, and start our little family present exchange. This was our 2nd night in a row opening presents until midnight and boy, did we feel spoiled! With the help of my parents, Brad and Susan, Olivia, and Brandon and Rachel, Ryan finally completed his list of ski necessities. That boy is ready for the slopes this week with his new skis, poles, helmet, goggles, and a facemask!

The second half of the week flew by just a quickly as the first half, but in that time we were able to spend some quality time with Rick, Jane, and Beth (we missed you Becca and Derek)... dinner at my FAVORITE restaurant in Georgia, La Parilla...

...and have a mini-party at the Smith house Saturday night, where we got to hang out with Brandon and Rachel, Brad and Susan, my parents, Ryan's old tennis coach Stephan, Ben, and Juan and Jaclyn (who are coming up to the cabin with us for New Years!)

Although this week went by way to fast, as you can see, it was chocked FULL of awesome experiences and family time, and we had an absolute blast along the way. I'm definitely looking forward to our next visit home in April for Vida's wedding!!

Now we're on our way to ring in the New Year with great friends in West Virginia. Cheers to 2014, ya'll!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cards: 101 in 1001 #80

Happy Holidays!

If we weren't before, we are definitely in full Christmas mode now (which makes sense since there are only 2 days left!) Ryan and I finally made it back to Georgia on Saturday evening and have been enjoying these last few days with our families, finishing up Christmas shopping, playing Telestrations, and eating deliciously! Tonight, we are all headed to Atlanta to participate in a murder mystery dinner party to celebrate my dad's birthday! I just wanted to pop in really quickly and share our FIRST Christmas cards with everyone! They were simple to make and showed up in our mailbox just a few days later. We used two pictures from our adventures in New England this year! The picture to the right was taken during our Boston Harbor cruise with Stephanie and Ben and the picture to the left was taken on Ryan's birthday weekend in Maine while we were snowshoeing up Big Moose Mountain! The pictures were created and ordered from Walgreens at 50% off... talk about a steal! Enjoy!


PS- I've crossed off #80 now on my 101 in 1001 list. If you want to keep track of what I've been crossing off, you can always click on the "101 in 1001" tab at the top of the page. I will be updating that page every time I am able to cross something off!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Celebration

As most of you know, December 15 was our FIRST anniversary. Originally, we had planned on spending our day (weekend) in New York City since we thought we had to go for an event through Ryan's work. When those plans fell through, the whole weekend opened up and boy, did we fill it! We started our celebration on Friday night, spending the evening in Boston, eating dinner and checking out the holiday lights with our good friends Kristen and Stephen. We talked about going ice skating on Frog Pond, but the temperature was in the teens and none of us were feeling it when the time rolled around. Instead, we drove to Quincy Center to check out the biggest Christmas tree I've ever seen! Since it was so cold, we walked around for a bit before calling it a night a little early.


Saturday was all about Christmas in the Smith household. In the morning, Ryan and I celebrated our first "Christmas" together. We decided to open our gifts to each other early because we're driving home on Friday afternoon and already have so much stuff to bring home. Plus, we thought it would be fun to celebrate our portion of the holiday just the two of us. We spent the morning opening presents, eating a DELICIOUS bacon, spinach, egg casserole, and attempting to take a decent picture in front of our first tree by placing my camera on the back of the couch (A tri-pod purchase might be in my near future...). Saturday afternoon, we attended a Christmas party of a friend's from church and at night, we cooked our first Christmas ham and watched... wait for it... Christmas movies! (Who guessed that?!)


Sunday, on our actual anniversary, we had big plans to drive down to Newport, RI and tour a couple mansions while they're all decorated for the holidays with our friends Rachel and Chris. Unfortunately, the weather got in the way (it was super icy outside from a winter storm the night before). While we were trapped at home, we continued our movie marathon, wrapped the remaining Christmas presents we're taking home, and opened our anniversary gifts to each other. The traditional 1-year anniversary gift is "paper" which we technically used, but put our own spin on it. I gifted Ryan with a big ole bottle of Scotch that came in a cardboard (paper) container and Ryan gave me a beautiful Alex and Ani bracelet that her purchased from "The Paper Store." Well played, Ryan. Well played. Also, as a side note, because it's too funny to NOT share... Ryan and I both got each other the SAME Anniversary card! Do we know each other's senses of humor or what?!?


For dinner Sunday night, we went to one of our favorite types of places, a Japanese Steak House. The dinner was fabulous and the company was perfect (of course). We came home and attempted to eat the top layer of our wedding cake, but it was AWFUL so we chucked it and opened up an AMAZING chocolate cake sent to us by Uncle Rick and Aunt Jane (Thanks, again!), eating that alongside a couple glasses of champagne. Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better first anniversary weekend. Even though we were trapped in our apartment on our anniversary, I wouldn't have wanted to be "stuck" inside with anyone else! I love you, Ryan. Here's to many more anniversary celebrations!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

365 Days

ONE year ago, Ryan and I officially became husband and wife. In those 365 days, we have been blessed with a plethora of adventures and opportunities to grow together, reminding me just how lucky I am to have what we have. Without getting to mushy (You know how I feel about you, Ry), I just wanted to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce on all we've done over the course of a year.

This time a year ago, Ryan and I were celebrating our new life together as newlyweds with most of our family and friends, dancing, drinking, and having one of the most memorable nights of our lives.

The next day, we were off to Montego Bay, Jamaica for an amazing one-week honeymoon getaway where we ate too much, drank too much, and soaked up the entire experience as much as possible!

We had our first Christmas together as husband and wife, starting new Schoeff/Smith traditions.

After Christmas, we packed up and went back "home" to New Jersey to celebrate the New Year with our friends and neighbors before moving to Boston.

Around the end of January, we packed up everything we owned and drove 5 hours to our new home in Weymouth, Massachusetts. 

We survived our first blizzard the weekend after we moved with just each other and a frisbee. Ryan and I definitely learned the importance of a snow shovel last winter. 

Yup- That's my car under there. 
 For Ryan's birthday, we made our first trip up to Greenville, Maine where we went skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing all within a day and a half time period.

We made some great new friends and hosted some old friends and our families in our new home. The new friends have become family away from family and the old friends helped us remember how special home is.

Around Easter, we found an amazing new church that has changed our lives forever. We've made some great friends and grown our faith over the past few months together and are so grateful to have walked into those doors so many months ago.

We thoroughly explored our new New England home, visiting Fenway Park, Cape Cod, The TD Garden, The Museum of Modern Art, Maine, Vermont, and many other small adventures within Boston.

We went on family vacations to Lawrenceberg, Indiana and St. Kitts. We also visited family in Rochester, NY and celebrated the graduation of both Aunt Tricia and Ashley!

 We celebrated the marriage of one of my closest friends Lisa to her new husband, Andy.

 Finally (Finally is a loose term here.. we did SO much more but for the sake of the length of this overly-long blog post, I'm going to start wrapping things up), we bought a new car and learned the trials and tribulations that go along with that, we bought and decorated our first Christmas tree, and we, slowly over the course of the year, turned our new apartment into a home.

While this is just a glimpse into our lives over the past year, the little day-to-day happenings are the things that helped grow and shape us during our first year of marriage. These big adventures are always amazing but more importantly these last 365 days, we have supported and stood by each other every step of the way. Our marriage isn't perfect, but it's real and it's everything I could ask for. One year down, a lifetime to go!

I'll be back later to talk about our amazing anniversary weekend, but for now I'm going to go spend this special evening with my not-so-new husband.