Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time to celebrate!

Last week we were really starting to celebrate Christmas and enjoy all the wonderful blessings of the season. I am one of those people that gets overly excited about their birthday. I think even when I’m super old, I will still get excited about it. However for the past few years, I have had to over look my birthday because other things have been more important. Since we will be traveling again this year on my birthday, I decided that instead of overlooking my birthday I was just going to move my birthday to December 10th so that I could still celebrate it. A bit early, but I didn’t care. Phil planned an awesome birthday evening for me and before we left he surprised me with a gorgeous new dress. It was the perfect size and everything!
Isn’t is gorgeous!?
Friday night was Phil’s company Christmas party. I love the Christmas parties that his company throws; they are so much fun. I love getting all dressed up and going dancing with Phil. This year I was super excited to get dressed up in my new dress that Phil gave me for my birthday. Before the party we hosted a smaller, almost “pre-party” at our house for all the people that directly work for Phil. We had a wonderful time.
The ballroom at the Westin

On Saturday we had a smaller dinner party with some friends that we went to college with. We had them over for dinner (I got to use my new stockpot yippee!) and then took them to the Christmas pageant at our church. Aside from the almost-camel-disaster, the performance was awesome; superb musical talent! I loved the way they told the Christmas story. After the performance we came home for coffee and spicey cinnamon cake.

At church, before the pageant started.

All of the choirs.

When the Magi entered

Spicey cinnamon cake- with sugar on top;-)

Phil and I always have a mini Christmas with ourselves before going home for the holidays. It’s nice to celebrate it together, plus it’s less weight in our suitcases if we leave our gifts for each other in Houston. So Sunday we had our mini Christmas and swapped gifts; we made a complete mess of the wrapping paper under the Christmas tree. It was so much fun!

This picture illustrates how well we dove into the gifts :-)
In early November Phil and I got our photographs taken (thank you Hills!) and I have had the hardest time keeping it a secret. But since our Christmas cards are out now, I posted a couple of our favorites from our awesome photo shoot to the right side.

Well that’s about it for the Hawleys for a while. We are flying back to the coast to visit with family and friends. Over this break we will celebrate my real birthday, Christmas, our anniversary, and Phil’s birthday; we’ve got a lot of celebrating to do! So I’m signing off for a few weeks as we travel home, see you soon! Have a safe and blessed holiday!
xoxo Darby

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's a snowy season, even in Houston!

The weekend started off wonderful! The meteorologist had been saying all week that we were going to get snow for the weekend; being in Houston of course I didn’t believe him! But as I was getting ready for work on Friday, I was proven wrong! There were large fluffy flakes falling from the sky. The ground was too warm for it to stick but it was still pretty. It snowed from like 6 am until about 5pm, none of it stuck on the roads, but everyone got a half day at work and school was canceled anyway! The snow totally set the mood for the cookie exchange that I hosted on Friday night. As the day went, I kept checking the snow outside and taking pictures. I worked a half day and then came home to start cooking and put the finishing touches on my Christmas decorations. This was the first year that I made my own Christmas wreaths. Normally I don’t because I find them either too difficult to make or way too gaudy for me. But I saw a simple wreath in the background of one of the pictures in my Martha magazine and I thought, “Hey I can do that!” Here are my wreaths and the set-up for the cookie exchange.
This is wear it all we did the swapping
Mini quiches, 7-layer chip dip, Tzatziki sauce
with veges, Jarlsberg dip, smoked salmon &
crab dip, cheese platter, and assorted nuts.
I didn't realize until everyone had left that
I totally forgot to get a picture of all
of the delicious cookies, so I had to
take a picture of the cookies that I got.
Saturday night was the Christmas party for our Sunday school class. There was tons of food and a white elephant gift exchange. Apparently in Houston for a white elephant gift exchange you’re supposed to bring something tacky or unwanted to exchange. Where I’m from this is called a Polyanna gift exchange. Since where I am from a white elephant gift exchange is where you swap a gift for under $10 we made and brought a City Dwellers S’mores kit (skewers, tea lights, mallo, graham, and Hershey’s). So I’m not sure the gift we brought fit well with others (i.e. a gallon can of expired red beans, an unworkable hairdryer, a clock in the shape of a cat, a dog snuggie…). Phil let me pick the gifts for us. My first gift pick was a remote control helicopter which quickly got stolen, so I got some picture frames which were later stolen from me so I stole the helicopter back. Phil had a lot of fun playing with that once we got home!
All the yummy food! Swapping giftsThe helicopter looked more like a flying saucer
We knew that the party was in the same gated community and on the same street as George Bush Senior so when we were leaving, I was on the look-out for them. Right before we were getting into our car to leave, guess who drove right by us?! That’s right George and Barbara! Sorry no pictures for that one, apparently my camera skills are too slow when I’m “star struck”.

Last week was busy with presentations, writing papers, grading papers, and of course getting ready for the festivities; but we loved every minute of it. This week is going to be another fun week (and a lot less busy since our classes are done, thanks goodness). We don’t have any deadlines this week but are looking forward to the always fun Christmas party that Phil’s company hosts, my birthday celebration and the Christmas pageant at church on Saturday. Have a great week!
xoxo Darby
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