Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: A Year In Review

I didn't think that we could top 2013 since it was the year of the wedding after all, but I think that every year will be just as great - if not better - than the last! We are so blessed to have such great friends and family, great health, and awesome jobs.

Here's a look back at some of the highlights of the year for us...

We started the year off spending New Year's with our JMU baseball friends in Virginia Beach watching Jake and Karlyn get engaged! We celebrated my 24th birthday at Williamsburg Winery, and had LOTS of snow days!  We also finished the gallery wall in our new home. 

Our first wedding of the 2014 year was in February! We celebrated the love of Allena and Neil and the wedding was so much fun.  She made such a beautiful bride and we are so thankful to have them as such great friends in our lives.  I posted about the t-2weeks countdown till baseball season, and knocked off a few more states on the map

My spring training visit was a little interuppted by the snow storm that Norfolk got hit with the night before my flight was supposed to leave.  DJ made it out fine, but I ended up getting to Arizona on Monday instead of Saturday.  It's so great to be able to spend the first week of the season with D.J. as he gets adjusted to the baseball season.  After I got home, I was adjusting to life back home in the new house with Stryker.  It was hard, but so thankful that DJ found out he would be with the Carolina Mudcats!

The start of baseball season hit us like a fastball! I was so thankful that I would be able to see my husband so soon into the season and that I knew he would be close while on this team.  I took full advantage of seeing him as much as possible. I started selling Advocare, did a guest post on Believe in the Sparks blog, did some spring gardening to freshen up the curb appeal of the house, and was a proud dog mama when Strkyer won his first Dock Dog competition

May, June, July, August 
These months I spent a lot of time traveling to visit D.J. play baseball.  I took trips to Potomac, VA, Myrtle Beach, Carolina, and Winston Salem, NC.  During the summer, D.J. was able to make a few trips home to visit the family and while he was gone, I had Colleen and Ryan stay with me as roommates! I also spent some time making the "Home Is Where Baseball Sends Us" signs, visiting South Carolina for Stephanie's bachelorette party, went to two more friends wedding, and ran my first 4 mile run ever! 

FINALLY THE OFF SEASON! D.J. came home on Labor Day weekend and was home for a few short weeks before heading out to strenght camp in the middle of September.  During the time he was home, we kicked off the fall wedding season with Steph and Matt's wedding in Northern Virginia.  We took my little cousin, Liam to see the Blue Angles show and then celebrated 1 year of marriage with D!

D.J.'s family came in town for a weekend trip, my Nana did a guest blog post, and we went to Cape Charles, VA for our late anniversary celebration! 

We were crazy busy in November.  We went to Athens, GA for a football game, had two weddings, and then celebrated Thanksgiving with D.J.'s family.  

And we are wrapping December up now. So all in all, this year has been filled to the brim.  I am excited to see what will come up in 2015 and I am so excited to ring in the new year with our favorite JMU Baseball friends! 

Happy New Year Y'all! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Merryman - Brown Family Christmas

Since D.J. and I got married, we have been fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Christmas with both of our families.  We wake up at our own house, open the presents that Santa brought us and then head over to my parents house.  This year seemed to start earlier than last year since I woke up every hour during the night.  Clearly I was afraid I was going to miss Christmas or something. 
Still a kid at heart y’all.
We must have all been really good this year, because Santa was on his A-game this year.  D.J. and I both received lots of great gifts from one another and our family. D.J. got new golf irons, a practice putting green, a new North Face jacket, floor mats for his car, new clothes, and a lot of other presents! I got some great new booties, clothes, Bath and Body lotion and body wash, a new Kate Spade wallet, and most notably, my new obsession, the Canon SL1 with a zoom lens! 
When we open presents at my parents house, Nana always comes over to watch as we open and it’s so much fun seeing what everyone gets.  It’s tradition though that we open presents from the siblings on Christmas Eve.  My Uncle David and Anne came over around 9 a.m. when we were still opening presents and watched as we finished up.  For breakfast we always have cinnamon rolls.  We don’t normally do a big breakfast or anything, just whatever you want! 
Our big family dinner is after church on Christmas Eve at my Aunt Patty’s house.  It’s always so great because everyone is together and my little cousins Liam and Caroline always guarantee us a hilarious prayer.  This year’s prayer went a little like this…
“Dear God, Thank you so much for elves.  They are great because when my brother is being mean, I can tell him and he can work something out with him.”
Gotta love having little cousins.  I swear they make everything so much more magical!

The fambam all dressed up for Christmas Eve Mass

 Clearly you can tell Amelia was thrilled to be taking this photo.

After we opened up the presents at my parents, we drove out to see the little kids at their house to see what Santa brought them.  We packed up the car before we left so then we were ready to hit the road to Fredericksburg when we were done.  
We got on the road to D.J.’s house around 3, grabbed some hibachi express, and were up at the Brown house for Christmas by 6 p.m! Christmas at the Brown’s was a little more hectic this year than last.  With a 3-½ year old, 18 month old, and 4 month old, we had to open presents around nap times, feedings, tantrums and more! I love being able to see the smiles and expressions on their little faces when they open the presents we got them though, such a great feeling!  We spent the rest of Christmas day enjoying the company of family and snuggling up on baby Bryce.
Friday after Christmas, D.J. and I went to town to try and snag a few deals.  I knew that I wanted to get a few things for the kitchen and a nice set of bath towels, so we hit up Kohl’s.  I managed to find some awesome towels half off, use a coupon, and use up some leftover wedding gift cards! We swung by Hobby Lobby to get next years wrapping paper and a few other Christmas items that were 66% off! D.J. got his haircut and then we drove back to the house so D.J. and Dennis could go golfing.  I spent the afternoon watching TV with Sandra and doing some online shopping! We topped the night of with dinner at the Clubhouse and we went to see Wild. 
Saturday was a big day at the Brown House.  For Christmas, all the kids went in on a family photo session and we decided to do it while we were all there for Christmas.  However, we were also hosting the annual Brown Christmas party at their house that day, so everyone was a little stressed.  Taking pictures with three kids, three dogs, and 8 grown adults can get a little crazy, but I think they are going to turn out great!
The party started around 2 and we had people over all afternoon till around 8pm! It is great to see D.J.’s dad’s side of the family.  We had delicious food, lots of laughs, some baby spit up, and scratched off some lottery tickets in honor of his grandma.

Sunday was spent lounging around, playing some family basketball, and watching the Redskins lose.  Typical. 
It was a great Christmas with all our loved ones! I hope you all had as fabulous as a time as The Brown’s did!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas! I am so thankful for everyone I call a friend, family, and loved one! I hope you all have a fabulous holiday and enjoy this time with the ones you love.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Twas the weekend before Christmas...

I cannot believe that it is already three days till Christmas! The holiday season sure has gone by quickly this year.  This weekend we were so excited to host the second annual Brown Holiday Party at our house with all of our friends.  Friday night we went to the store and got some food and our tacky outfits.  Hannah came over for some wine and we relaxed and watched TV all night.  Saturday was a crazy packed day.  I was helping with the middle school cheerleading so I had to go to their game from 8:30-11 a.m. Afterwards, I ran by the bank, grocery store, dropped off a few things at my parents house and my aunts, then we went to lunch with my Nana at Sandfiddler. 
Before the party I needed to do a bunch of chores around the house and DJ helped a lot.  I did my laundry, dusted, cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms while DJ vacuumed and cleaned the dog doodoo in the backyard! He left for a basketball game around 2, and I finished setting up for the party by putting up a few more lights, turning on the Christmas music, and decking myself out in the most awesome shirt and gold pants I could find!
Having all our friends over on Saturday night was so awesome.  I love being able to have friends from all different paths of life at one party in our house.  We had friends from high school, college, baseball, and new friends that we met that night.  I am so thankful for all of our great friends that we have known for years.  We enjoyed the night with jello shots, beer, wine, punch, food, fires, and friends! 

 So glad my mom, sister, and dad stopped by to enjoy the festivities!

After the party, we moved to Ghent and had a few drinks and appetizers at the Public House before we Uber’ed home for the first time!
On Sunday morning, DJ and Conner went to play golf while Carleigh and I took it easy and got lunch at Taste Unlimited.  They left around 2:30 and I went to babysit for a little bit.
Such a great last weekend before Christmas and we cannot wait to ring in the new year with friends in just a few short weeks!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Decor: Home Tour

I know I am a little behind the curve, but today I am happy to say we are back up and running on the blog.  My mama is back, the camera is now in my possession and posts are flowing! I am so excited to be sharing a little house tour today with you.  We used a lot of the same decorations that we got last year and I am excited to do some after Christmas shopping for a few more things I want for next years Christmas. 

I love the Happy Holidays garland I purchased from Target this year.  It looks perfect behind our tree.  We got our tree last Friday and decorated it right away! I am happy to say that I am all done wrapping presents and just need to get a few stocking stuffers and will be completely finished for the shopping!

Christmas Tree  - Blog With The Browns

I found this year that I am a terrible wrapper.  I apologize in advance to our family members that got presents wrapped by me.  Thankfully, my hubby has pretty good wrapping skills and even curls the ribbon he puts on them! 

Present Details - Blog With The Browns

...But sometimes he need an extra finger to help tie the knots!

Presents  - Blog With The Browns

My plan for the piano is to get picture frames for all our cards to be displayed in years to come.

Piano - Blog With The Browns

We got this Santa from my parents house.  I think everyone in the family has one - my mom, aunt, cousin and now me!

Santa  - Blog With The Browns

Christmas Photos - Blog With The Browns

China Cabinet  - Blog With The Browns

 I couldn't get a good photos of the lights on the outside, but D.J. did a great job making our house look like a gingerbread house! Lots of colorful lights with some garland around the railings on the porch! I love the way it looks.  We have candles in all the windows on the front and all the lights are on timers so we don't have to worry about turning it on and off!

Last year I filled these planters with a baby Christmas tree.  This year I had some leftover pansies that I needed to plant so I figured I would leave these up for a while with the pretty flowers in them.  They are a little floppy in this picture, but I promise you they have perked up since then! It's amazing what a little water will do to plants ;). 

I love decorating for Christmas and I cannot wait for the years to come as we collect more and more holiday decorations. 

What is the holiday "thing" that you collect throughout the years?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cheerleaders Christmas Present

Another thing that has been occupying my time this winter has been the Varsity Cheerleading team that I have been suckered into coaching.  At first I was a little hesitant to coach, but as the season has progressed and I have seen them improve, I am so glad I decided to coach.  It has been so rewarding and so awesome to see the growth already! 

When we were decorating our Christmas tree this year, I pulled out the ornament that my JV coach gave me when I was in 8th grade.  I had been thinking about what I was going to give the team for a holiday present, and these were the perfect gift! 

Cheering Gifts @ Blog With The Browns

Cheering Gifts @ Blog With The Browns

If you are in need of a quick, easy, cute gift, these ornaments are the best.  I got the plastic ornaments at Michaels and stuffed them with wired tinsel with stars on them to match our school colors.  After you put the tinsel in, just place the cap back on and call it a day! Or you can use a paint pen and personalize each ornament for each person.  I decided to write the cheerleaders names on one side and "NCS Cheer" on the other! 

Cheering Gifts @ Blog With The Browns
Cheering Gifts @ Blog With The Browns

I cannot wait to give these gifts to the team and I hope that years from now, they are putting these ornaments on their families Christmas tree!