Savoring Christmas

The house is so very quiet today.

There is no rushing around finding or wrapping the last gifts, planning menus, baking sweet treats or preparing for guests.

Audley has returned to work, Samantha has returned to Tennessee, Michael and MacKenzie have returned to South Carolina, Madeline is delivering pizzas and Bradley is engulfed in any number of college bowl games down in the den.

 

It’s really quiet.  And as I sit here on the sofa, twinkle lights on the tree, listening to a little Dave Koz I’m at peace thinking what a wonderful Christmas holiday it was.

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Almost all of our kiddos plus the grand-dogs

We’ve always traveled for Christmas, but the last couple of years has found us at home for a quiet celebration with just part of our family.  This year we were blessed to have all four of our children and one son-in-law (the other is a police officer who sacrificed his holiday to serve), as well as my parents in for Christmas Day!  It was all so exciting for me.

The dynamic of holidays change as the kiddos get older, head off to college and get married.  It’s not bad, but it is a huge change from being woken up at 6 AM to check out what Santa brought, to sleeping in and casually opening presents around noon.  Instead of toys littering the living room floor it’s tools, clothes and hammocks, and fitness gear.

While some would cry over the changes, it’s still all so beautiful to this mom who savored every moment.

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”

~Burton Hills~

Watching my son open Peach Bowl tickets that he had no clue he was getting was pretty sweet, too.

Y’all he had tears in his eyes.

(The video flips correctly when you hit play; turn it up for his reaction!)

We’ve started a few of our own Christmas traditions in the last couple of years which include our fully set Christmas table in the dining room.

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Here we lovingly serve up homemade pizzas that everyone has assembled and cooked before.

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We also all take in a movie together.

Go see the Greatest Showman.

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Really.

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Go.

I loved watching my kids (hubby included) play games together.

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“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”

~Peg Bracken~

I loved cooking with my girls.

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And I loved watching my kiddos spend time together.

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Despite time swiftly passing and our babies becoming adults, some things never change, and I truly treasured every moment of our holiday.

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The kids still leave cookies for Santa out…. Apparently he has quite and appetite! 

And I’m also savoring the quiet!

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I hope your holiday was blessed and memorable as well!

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Family Birthday Celebration

It wasn’t until my kids started going to college and getting married that I understood how much it means to my own parents to have all of their kids in at once.  You really don’t think about those times when you’re living the everyday chaos of raising four kids, until one day you wake up and the house is just a little quieter and your schedule is just a little emptier.

It happens so fast!

Audley turned 46 while Madeline and I were in Cuba last month, so I wanted to make it up to him with a fun dinner celebrating him!  I found a weekend all the kiddos were actually free at the same time (really difficult when we’re spilt between three states), and planned a dinner party for us to all enjoy!

Early-Fall-Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

Since we were celebrating Audley, I didn’t want him to have to man the grill and cook his own birthday dinner, so I put together a simple and lovely menu consisting of his home cooked favorites:

Pork-Roast | Fiddle Dee Dee

Pork Roast cooked in cast iron (Click here for the recipe with picutres or print Comfort Food – our Favorite Pork Roast here)

Potatoes & Carrots

Corn on the Cob

Crisp salad filled with farmers market fresh veggies

Sister Schubert’s Dinner Rolls

And of course a yummy birthday cake from Kroger bakery (picked out by the 20 year old child)

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I wanted to set a pretty table, but how do you do that for a man without being too frilly?  It took just a little thought, but was totally doable!

I layered my table linens, using a white tablecloth for the base, then topped it with a denim table runner.

After scouting the floral section at Publix, I found several bouquets with day lilies, sunflowers and really fluffy greenery (I have no idea whats it’s called) that looked pretty, yet not overly feminine.

I cut the flowers down and used stemless wine glasses for vases.

Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

When doing centerpieces, while the large ones are beautiful, it is important to remember that you need a line of vision for your guests to promote easy conversation.

These short arrangements really worked well for creating a line of vision while still looking pretty.

Masculine-Birthday-Table | Fiddle Dee Dee

I also used small galvanized pots of succulents, wooden platters, and a rustic lantern to round out the table decor.

Fall-Birthday-Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

The yellows, greens and denim all looked so lovely together.

Tablesetting | Fiddle Dee Dee

To finish off the look I set the table with our simple white wedding china and antique glassware that belonged to Audley’s grandparents.

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While Bradley generally doesn’t pay attention to the little things, my girls loved the set table.  They all live such hectic and busy lives with school and work, it was so nice just to sit down and enjoy the food, conversation and uninterrupted family time.

Family-Dinner | Fiddle Dee Dee

Audley’s parents were able to drive down from Tennessee to celebrate with us as well!

I have always tried to set special tables for the family as our kiddos were growing up for holidays and birthdays and any other special day I could conjour up. It’s nice to know that it was appreciated and something they now look forward to when they come home!

Family | Fiddle Dee Dee

Our kids have grown up, and our family size grows as well!

And while they enjoy being treated special, I’ll savor the few weekends we can manage to have them all together at once!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Seasons of Change

On January 04, 2006 I hit publish on my first ever blog post.  My husband, Audley, and I had just returned from watching Georgia play in the Sugar Bowl and I wanted to share the experience with my family.

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After living in five states with our four children and in the process of moving again blogging was a fabulous and easy way for the grandparents and aunts to “Keep Up with the Jones'”.   I could share picture and thoughts on the little things in our lives from sports to holiday celebrations from a distance.

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The first picture of my kiddos ever posted… we had been camping.

One day a friend asked me to share a recipe through the new social media platform of Facebook.  It wasn’t a difficult recipe, but sometimes pictures are useful, so I opted to share it from my blog.  A short time later, Audley and I restored an old dresser from the 1880’s.  Since my mom wanted to see pictures, I also shared it from the blog. This was the beginning of dabbling in the blogging world.  Soon I was reading other blogs on the web, discovered they were reading my musings as well.  Rhoda from Southern Hospitality was one of my first connections and I still adore her!

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I knew Rhoda through her blog, but met her the first time in February 2010

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First time I ever experienced a group blogging event… This night in Atlanta was so much fun!

Over the last eleven years I may have changed formats, just a little, but dabbling in blogging continued as did my life with an extremely active family of four!

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We’ve had band and a drum major, competition color guard, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, swim team, wrestling, track and lacrosse.

We’ve enjoyed youth group, mission trips, traveling and experienced four more moves with Audley’s always changing job.

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Jamaica mission trip with two of my girls

There have been three graduate from high school, two become brides and one signed to play college lacrosse.

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Samantha & Justin’s wedding day

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MacKenzie and Michael’s wedding day

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The most recent picture of my four together; back in May

Personally I went back to college and finished my bachelors degree, battled obesity, and spent the last four years (prior to our February move) working outside the home.

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College graduate with a degree in Public Relation

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Fighting for my life!

This leaves just our son at home to begin his senior year of high school followed by Marine boot camp as he has already cleared MEPS.

In just under a year, Audley and I will be EMPTY NESTERS!

So what now?

To be honest, I’m not sure. Over the years I’ve written about family, food, decorating, travel, faith, marriage health, and life.  I’ve never monotized and don’t know if people found anything I’ve written to be useful, but it’s been a great way to occasionally express what’s on my mind and help my family keep up with us. For now I think I will definitely continue to write.  Maybe Fiddle Dee Dee will become more than just a place for me to occasionally muse.  decisions of which direction to take are often challenging, especially when you are at a crossroads. What I do know is it’s a true season of change and I hope that you’ll stick around for the journey!

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There is Love

“Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one

As it was in the beginning is now and til the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again
And there is Love
There is Love”

{Via Peter, Paul & Mary}

Brides-Bouquet | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Our girl is now a wife.  I blinked and MacKenzie grew up.

Here-Comes-the-Bride | oh-fiddle-dee-dee

Just like that.

Nervous-Bride | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

We experienced a lot of her nerves in the days ahead, but she was surprisingly calm the day of.

It was a lovely day filled with beautiful moments, joyous celebrations with those we hold dear to our hearts, sentimental memories, and happy tears.

Something-Old | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Something old; a hat pin tucked into the brides bouquet that belonged to MacKenzie’s great-great-great Grandmother!

 We truly love Michael, cherish his adoration for MacKenzie, and look forward to including him in our crazy little family.

They-Said-I-Do | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

While we do not have the formal pictures of the big day, I do have these wonderful candid shots taken by my sister, brother-in-law, 10 year old niece, and myself!

{I’m sparing you the ones that reveal just how nutty we are!}

Wedding-Alter| ohfiddledeedee.com

Simple alter decor

Enjoy these little glimpses of our celebration.

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I had to sneak a few pictures during the formal shots, especially when my children were involved.

My-Girls | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Big-Sister | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

I Love this big sister/little sister moment

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Sweet corsages for our young greeters

 I can’t wait to share more with you, including how we pulled it together out-of-state and without a coordinator!

Reception | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Our reception table was a Southern version of an Antipasto Platter…

Cutting-the-Cake | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

MacKenzie asked me to make the cake… So I did.

Totally-Candid | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Cinderella having her slippers removed

I also have a little list of resources just in case you are planning your own DIY wedding on a budget.

Bubble-Send-Off | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

A fun bubble send-off for the new bride & groom!

Honeymoon-Bound | Oh-Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Off to the mountains before returning to Greenville to make their home.

 Until I pull it altogether and as life returns to normal from the exhorbant amount of celebrating we have enjoyed the last several weeks, I hope that you enjoy the little teaser!

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