|[ Christmas Eve service in Tampa. ]|
Have you fully recovered from Christmas? I'm not sure I have! These last few days were just a flurry of activity. Much more than I had expected, especially since I had initially thought we'd be spending our first married Christmas alone, as just us two. Instead, we were surrounded by people.
On Christmas Eve, the hubs and I went to an afternoon service at Grace Family Church in Tampa before heading over to Jen (of Letters & Pearls) and Matthew's house for dinner. I made an heirloom tomato bruschetta to share (we finally made use of one of the wood appetizer platters we received as a wedding gift!), G baked up a batch of cinnamon-y snickerdoodle cookies, and the Fricks put together a delicious meal of herb stuffed pork, green beans, and red velvet cake. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the incredible bacon-wrapped dates we noshed on before. I'm not even a big bacon lover, but those little morsels were so good. Jen's tablescape was lovely, too.
|[ Christmas Eve dinner. ]|
But of course, even more wonderful was the company. While I had not yet met Matthew, and G didn't know the Fricks at all, we had an awesome time chatting about life, love, work, the military. It was a night of great conversation and lots of laughs. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend Christmas Eve.
|[ Christmas Eve at the Fricks. ]|
Christmas Day was even busier. Not long after waking, I got to work making blueberry muffins (using this easy recipe) and slicing kiwi. When breakfast was ready, we settled in on the couch with glasses of bubbly (Amour de L'Orange from Wiens, our favorite Temecula winery) and opened gifts. First, our gifts to each other (the biggies: G got me a Kindle Fire and I got him a white Eric Weddle Chargers jersey), then the gifts from the hubs' parents, who we called to thank later. I FaceTime'd my bestie in California so we could open our gifts to each other together, and it was so nice to be able to see her face-to-face! Technology is amazing, isn't it? I wanted to Skype with my family but, alas, they don't have a webcam. So we settled for opening gifts while talking on the phone. Not as easy as it sounds but it was still nice to be able to hear their reactions as they opened their gifts. Because that's the best part about gift giving, right? Experiencing the receivers joy and surprise.
|[ Christmas breakfast. ]|
After all the gifts were open, the wrapping paper mess thrown away, I was back in the kitchen cooking rice pudding with raspberry sauce, the traditional Danish dessert I grew up eating every Christmas (stay tuned for the recipe!). For my first time making the dish, it turned out great, just like my mom's. We took it over in individual ramekins to Laura and Jeremy's house, who like Jen and Matthew had graciously invited us over for dinner. Again, it was such a treat to be able to spend the holiday with friends. We ate good food, had great conversation, and I even learned a new card game.
|[ Christmas Day selfie, taken at Laura & Jeremy's house. ]|
Friday we decided to give the pups some dedicated attention and play time. We took them with us to lunch at Cassis in downtown St. Pete, where they got much love and affection from strangers passing by, and then we spent some time walking around the waterfront parks.
|[ The dogs exploring downtown St. Pete. In typical dog fashion, Cali chased a squirrel. ]|
Sunday was, of course, dedicated to football, but we don't want to talk about that. (Long story short: the Chargers lost and kissed their playoff chances goodbye.) We did take Cali and Jasper with us again though, and they were mostly good as we hung out at World of Beer and then next door, at the Avenue. We looked like quite the Chargers family—G in his new jersey, me in my girly Chargers shirt, and the dogs in their Bolts bandanas (handmade by G's mom for Christmas). If only all our paraphernalia had brought the team a little luck. Hopefully we'll be better next season... In 2015!
|[ G scored tons of Chargers gear for Christmas, in time for what would be the last game of the season. ]|
I hope you had a wonderful, joy-full holiday as well! Can you believe the new year is almost here? Just a few days of 2014 left... let's make the most of it!