Our Sentimental Christmas Tree

Christmas is going to be a little different for our family this year. Of course I knew this when our living room tree went up the second week of October while our young Marine was home on leave. He asked if we could decorate, so this Momma obliged without a second thought.

 

Over the last several years I have ventured into carefully thought out themed trees as the the kids grew into teens, took off for college, and even began to marry, and left the ornaments from their childhood packed away . Every once in a while I might dig through to find one or two that fit a theme, but largely they remained put away. When Bradley asked to decorate and I knew all my kiddos would be together for that weekend, I began to feel all sentimental and teary.

It was time for a trip to the Hallmark Store where we chose each of our children a new ornament, and to broke out all our favorites from the last 25 years!

Our Sentimental Christmas Tree

With four kids we’ve had so many memorable and entertaining Christmases over the years. Going through all the ornaments with them was so much fun!

Christmas began in October per this kiddo’s request

There was our official first ornament; one Audley and I purchased in Gatlinburg while on our honeymoon as well as the first Hallmark ornament we chose… “our first Christmas”.

We found milestone ornaments from the first five years of each kiddo, hobby ornaments, and sports ornaments.

I giggled as we hung the ornaments we bought while living in Iowa, remembering that was year we moved our tree and some how left all the decorations in storage in Alabama!! It was a sparsely decorated tree that year, but a white Christmas made it one of the best Christmases ever!

We have reminders of our favorite movies from “A Christmas Story” ( I saw it in the theater with my parents way back when I was 11) to Harry Potter (which I shared with my kids as they grew up).

I never knew sports ornaments would blend so well with Santa’s and Elves, but the Bulldogs and Gamecocks speciality balls add so much fun!

There are ornaments celebrating the latest engagement in our family (that story is coming soon… it’s Madeline!), ones that celebrate our two daughters who are already married, and ornaments honoring my handsome hubby’s years in the Navy and of course Bradley’s current life in the Marines.

Our ever growing family

This tree tells so many stories from the last 25 years and is definitely one of my most favorites, even if it does render me a blubbering mess at the most random times!

To pull all the ornaments together I used traditional white, red and green by incorporating Pom Pom garland, springy picks and over-sized pearl picks (all from Hobby Lobby), as well as Christopher Radko reproduction red and green shiny brite ornaments and a few favorite blown glass ornaments we collected through the years.

The elves? Well you just can’t Christmas without elves so they are incorporated into every tree in the house no matter what their theme!

I’m so excited to be joining in a Christmas tree blog hop hosted by Our Crafty Mom!!

 Welcome To The Third Annual Christmas Tree Decor Blog Hop!

Looking for Christmas Tree decorating ideas? We are sharing 40 absolutely beautiful Christmas Trees from some of your favorite home decor bloggers.
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It’s the third year of the Christmas Tree Decor Blog Hop hosted by Our Crafty Mom.
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You will find holiday inspiration for just about every Christmas tree style.

The fun starts on Friday, November 29th and continues through Saturday, November 30th.
We hope you will visit the talented bloggers linked below. This blog hop is something we look forward to every year and we hope you do too.
Grab your favorite beverage and settle in for some beautiful Christmas Tree decor inspiration!
Let’s Meet The Hosts!

Friday:

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christmas tree decor ideas

Saturday 

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 Have a fantastic weekend y’all and enjoy all of this inspiration!!

From Veteran’s Wife & Momma to Military Mom & Empty Nester

Bradley left for Parris Island last Sunday.

This is no picnic on a beach; my son is training with the best to become a United States Marine!

Y’all, Audley & I are so proud! I’ll admit, I am a wee bit nervous. I know how hot Southern summers are; the heat index is 103° today here outside Atlanta! Can you imagine the South Carolina coast? He’s a tough kid choosing to leave this time of year. Audley went to Oklahoma for Army boot camp and then when he changed branches went through boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois for the Navy (yes, my hubby served in both; thought the Navy had better schools & made the switch), so his weather experiences were a whole lot different!!

Serving & supporting our country is very important in our family.

Leaving Day … June 10 from the recruiting center in Athens

Bradley’s going to answer to a whole new level Of authority, a level that as strict as I was on my kids, he can’t fathom! He kept telling everyone I prepared him for the DI’s.. yeah he doesn’t have a clue!

The 12 weeks he has remaining ( it’s hard to believe one has already passed!) are going to be weeks of massive transformation; he’s going to learn to make a “rack”; an epic #momfail based on the condition of his room after he left!

{Y’all it was BAD!!}

While he is transforming into a Marine, Audley & I will make the transition into empty nesters. We have never never experienced “just us”. I became a full-time Momma the day we said “I Do” and for 23 years my identity has been Audley’s wife and eventually the mom of four amazing kids! It’s kind of exciting to discover the adventures hubby and I will enjoy together without having to plan every detail around lacrosse, wrestling, band, color guard, soccer, baseball, and youth group.

Unlike so many couples who fall apart at this stage of life because they cant adjust I am sure we are going to be just fine and dive into adventures we never experienced as newlyweds! We have worked hard over the last 23 years to keep us and our marriage first so that we aren’t two strangers living together. It’s kind of exciting.

Out in a canoe at Watson Mill Bridge State Park over the weekend

Now that graduation and the busyness of the spring has passed I’m planning to do a much better job of blogging! So for those who have stuck around, thank you!! I hope my summer content inspires you to dive into adventures and enjoy where you are in life both at home and out and about!

Graduation 2K18 & the Future

For the third time in three years and fourth time overall we have celebrated another graduation in our little family.  Last weekend was so special as siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends all celebrated this youngest child of ours.

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Audley and I couldn’t be more proud of the four children we’ve raised and the young adults they have and are becoming.

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If you follow me on social media (you really ought too!), you know our Bradley has enlisted in the Maine Corps and leaves in just 6 days for boot camp at Parris Island, SC.

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This was not a decision made lightly, but one Bradley has carefully weighed and considered.  Bradley’s decision was made in part because honestly, the military is in his blood.  Audley was a Navy submariner, his grandfather in the Army national guard, his great-grandfather & that whole generation of great-great uncles on both sides of the family were in the Navy, Air Force and Army serving in WWII and the Korean Conflict, and his great-great grandfather served in WWI, with other direct descendants fighting in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War.  Service for what one believes in and in this country is in Bradley’s genes; it just comes natural.

Bradley’s decision was also made because he absolutely despises school and he realized that there was no reason to borrow or pay money to be somewhere he didn’t want to be. He isn’t interested in trade school right now either as he isn’t bent that way.  Bradley is a natural born leader, a protector, and a servant.  He desires to take care of others and a college classroom is most certainly NOT going to satisfy that need!

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I applaud his decision.  Not everyone is cut out for college, yet society (or the student loan companies) seem determined everyone needs to go!  As parents we should not make our kids into what and who we think they should be in their careers, but lead and guide them in the direction their personality and desire takes them.  Bradley has chosen service to his country; a country he is actually very proud to live in.  As a matter of fact, about 20 of his classmates have made that same decision!  They are joining the guard, the Navy, Army and a total of five will be Marines with my son; one just left for boot camp just three days after graduation!

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Some of Bradley’s friends have chosen trades.  Kudos to them!  You do NOT have to have a four-year degree to be a success in life!  Ask my husband who works with welders, steelworkers, and the like everyday and are making 6-figure salaries.

Now before you start passing judgement, I am not anti-college.  First, I have a bachelors degree (although I’ve never used it) in Public Relations and Mass Communications.  After serving six years in the Navy,  Audley, first studying to be an EMT & Paramedic (these are both license programs), now has his Master’s degree and a list of letters from professional certifications behind his name that have benefitted him greatly in his career of construction safety.  Our oldest, Samantha, has an associates in general ed which allowed her to sit for certification programs, giving her a career in the medical field that she absolutely LOVES!  MacKenzie will graduate with her bachelors next year in Exercise Science (a field which she is passionate about) and plans to sit for a couple of certifications, one allowing her to train athletes.  Madeline is also working on her 4-year degree although I’m pretty sure she’s majoring only in Lacrosse right now, but having a lot of fun on that scholarship!   Each of our children chose their own paths into adulthood, including two who married at 20 years old!  We’ve encouraged them to follow their dreams , supported them and offered guidance when we saw they needed it.

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Samantha & Justin; December 2012

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MacKenzie & Michael; June 2017

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Madeline looking fierce in white!

When I graduated college the keynote speaker made the statement that “if you don’t love the field in which you are working, get out of it and find a new path”.  Unhappiness in a career affects you not only at work, but in your personal life as well.

So here’s to you Class of 2018!  Don’t let societal peer pressure dictate which path to take.  Follow your passions and your heart into a career path you love.  Be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher.  Become a personal trainer, a welder, a photojournalist.

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Bradley with his recruiter

And if your heart says be a Marine, by all means, BE A MARINE!

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