Posts Tagged ‘parties’

More than that, actually. My mom’s birthday is today, my sister’s is next week, and nearly every day I get a birthday notification or two on Facebook. But on Friday night, we gathered to celebrate these four ladies:

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Gerilyn, Abigail, Katie and Kelsey (from left to right above) all have birthdays this month. When we discovered this fact at our New Year’s party, we decided to have one big birthday bash. And it was a hit, if I do say so myself. (Birthday crowns courtesy of Abi’s class of preschoolers.)

There were two kinds of enchiladas, spicy tortilla soup, pulled pork, a big bowl of guacamole, three different birthday desserts, a pot of mulled cider, and plenty of tea. There were hilariously awful first-date stories and flickering candles (birthday and otherwise). Later, there was a truly incredible game of charades. And all night long, there was so much laughter.

Since moving up here two and a half years ago, J and I have often felt isolated, lonely and far from home. We miss our families, and the community of friends we built in West Texas. (We are ever more thankful that Abi and her husband Nate, old and dear friends, ended up here with us.) We are working to build new friendships, but it is often a slow process. Forging community takes time and effort, and it’s difficult in a city where many people don’t stay long.

But on Friday night, our apartment rang with voices and footsteps and shouted guesses during our charades game. We hugged and snapped photos and sang “Happy Birthday” and told stories and laughed and laughed some more. And when we fell into bed after midnight, exhausted but happy, J and I agreed: it’s wonderful to have friends in our home. It’s wonderful to have community here. Our circle is small, but precious. And we are grateful.

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(My new red coat, beloved gold flats and some Christmas gifts. So merry!)

I’ve always loved decorating for Christmas, but have really gotten into it since moving out and having my own place. When Bethany and I lived together in college, we always bought a real tree (she’s from the Piney Woods, so real trees are a must) and hung stockings on our little mantel. (Our living-room walls were a deep crimson, so, as she said, “just add green” and we were ready for Christmas.)

When I lived in my little flat on Avenue F, three years ago, I decorated the living room and kitchen – you can see photos here. That little place was about 400 square feet, but bursting with Christmas spirit.

My housemates and I, when we lived in Cowley (east Oxford) together in ’07-’08, bought a tiny tree and some icicle lights and threw a party for my beloved ACU-Oxford crew. We all scattered for Christmas, obviously, but we had a wonderfully festive season.

Nowthat J and I have our own house, decking our halls together is a favorite ritual. My mom bought us a tree last year (fake, because J is allergic to real ones), and a gift card for a bunch of ornaments and stuff. We got it all out two weeks ago, spent most of the evening on Dec. 4 decorating, and here is the finished result:

Isn’t it lovely? I am loving sitting in the living room in the evenings, with just the tree, a candle and maybe a lamp providing light. And I’ve broken out the Christmas music – James Taylor, Sarah McLachlan, Vince Guaraldi, Jars of Clay, Elvis, some big-band music and even Jim Brickman.

We hosted two Christmas parties this week – one for our “crew,” which includes Bethany and what we call “the Evans-Lollar clan.” (Abi and Kelsey are sisters; Nate and Jake are brothers; Abi is married to Nate; and Jake is engaged to Sarah, whose family is part of our small group.) Taken together, they are “the clan” and they are some of our favorite people to hang out with.

Here they are: Nate, Abi, Bethany, Sarah, Jake, Kelsey and my own Jeremiah. (I took the photo.)

We ate a TON of snacks, played Taboo, shrieked with laughter and goofed around under the mistletoe. So fun.

Here’s a shot of the girls. Abi, Bethany and I have known one another since we were freshmen, but we’ve never been as close as we are now. I’m so thankful we’re a part of one another’s daily lives. This time is precious.

The next night, I had the coffee ladies over. We did what we always do – talked and laughed, drank tea and hot cocoa, snacked and told stories and laughed some more. Fabulous.

I’ll leave you with a shot of my sweet husband and me, under the mistletoe:

More December views to come soon – and I may follow Jana’s example and blog about my treasured Christmas ornaments. Happy Love Thursday!

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