Saturday, December 31, 2011

#731 2011.

Once again I'm away from home on the last day of the year. Today finds me sitting in the sunshine on the front porch of a cabin in Oxford with a breeze that feels like April. I find it unbelievable that I've written this blog every single day for 2 years now. If you've been reading all along, I hope it's been something positive for you. On January 1, 2010 my intention was to focus on only good things for 1 year, but it turned out to be life changing for me and now I can't imagine going without writing about it all. It's so hard to pinpoint the best days of my life out of 365, but it gives me closure to the year to try and list them. It's wonderful to look back on another year of our life together all summed up in a little list. Isn't it crazy how we can classify a life? These are the things that I will remember most about 2011:

Life after Christmas: #368 Normal Things
Toy Story 3 made me tenderhearted: #369 Bear, Chicken & Choco.
Annalee started working with me: #375 Co-Workers.
Life with Ben: #397 Best Friends.
A break from winter at the beach: #414 If It's the Beaches, #415 Lovely Day.
Parental advice for the future: #424 Good Babies.
Our friends and family had big news: #432 Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage.
A little trip for Mallorie's birthday: #437 Pirate's Cove & Sand Mountain.
Mammaw's front porch: #451 Car Saturday/Porch Saturday.
The biggest family dinner of the year: #452 Mammaw's 88th Birthday.
A revelation while on my walk: #467 Exactly Like Myself.
Jesse's college visit trip: #473 JCJC, #474 State, #475 Ole Miss.
Lucky Luxe got some great press: #489 Mississippi Magazine.
My best friend's wedding: #541 Mr. and Mrs. Staples.
Lake Junaluska, of course: #546 Lake Junaluska.
Working on Lucky: #555 Volkswagen Acrobatics.
New England daydreams: #558 Decemberists & Sufjan Stevens.
A very big project for Laurel Main Street: #572 Visit us.
Spending a day in 1960s with mama: #577 Waukaway.
Guest speaker at Ole Miss: #580 Letterpress class.
Did artwork for the Goo Goo Dolls, then went to their show: #589 The Goo Goo Dolls.
A very special birthday: #607 Birthday girl.
Fall at mama and daddy's: #623 Fall on the back porch.
I finally played a show: #625 Erin & Christy at the Loft.
Ben built us a beautiful dinner table: #631 Farm table. Finished.
Mitter's 28th birthday surprise: #632 Surprise!
We bought a house! #621 The house.#639 Buying the Farm.
Guest blogging for Dawn on marriage: #629 Keep Love Alive.
Martha Stewart wrote about Anne & Josh: # 642 Martha Stewart Weddings.
Jim's birthday weekend: #645 Cruisin' the Coast.
Pumpkin season: #658 The Great Pumpkin.
Our niece was born: #660 Harper Faith Napier.
Our first trick-or-treating experience as homeowners: #670 Halloween on the porch.
We got Chevy, the sweetest Great Pyrenees on earth: #679 The Ad.#680 Chevy.#686 Fall dog.#709 Doghouse. Done.
First dinner party in our new house: #691 Party at the new house.
3 years as Mrs. Napier: #692 3 Years.
A birthday party for Michael: #710 Happy Birthday, Michael!
The perfect Saturday: #717 Saturday in Gardiner Park.
My first ever Christmas Eve Eve: #723 Christmas Eve Eve.
A new business venture: #728 Luther Luxe.

I hope you've all had a wonderful year. I know I feel blessed because you readers were a part of it, sharing my days. Cheers to 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

#730 Overflow.

New Year's weekend is here again which means we're off on another annual youth retreat. This year it's to Oxford for Overflow which is much easier than last year's trek to North Carolina.

After breakfast at Cracker Barrel, we headed north for Oxford. It feels like coming home. We went to the square and played football and frisbee in the Grove.

Then the ball got stuck in a tree which created a great game in trying to get it out. We nearly lost a boot in the fiasco.

At camp tonight after worship there was a dance and they seriously played only the good dayncin songs. As in Cotton Eyed Joe and Hey Ya. The guys were showing out way more than the girls. Shocking, I know, right?

Any time we bring a group to Oxford we have to give them the coolest late night tour of spooky and/or Ole Miss places. After showing them the doorknob to the universe, we snuck into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for midnight frisbee.
On the field.

Then it was on to William Faulkner's grave in the city cemetery. The kids didn't really know who he was (heartbreaking) but they were up for seeing a graveyard in the middle of the night for someone who won the Nobel Prize, so I guess we should still be proud.

It's a freshman tradition to leave a drink for Faulkner on his grave. We didn't bring the whiskey‚ so don't you worry mamas and daddies!

Last but certainly not least, we couldn't leave town without a chicken on a stick at 1 am, could we? Of course not.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#729 Notary Public.

Thank goodness for notaries.

Now 2 more kids can go on the youth trip this weekend and who knows what they'll learn or experience that could maybe, possibly be life changing?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#728 Luther Luxe.

Remember when I alluded to some manliness in my work future waaaay back in 2010? And then again in March of this year?

Well, guess what?

At Mitter Ben's insistence, the Luther Luxe website is finished! Up and running! We aren't quite ready to take orders just yet, but in a week or so we should be all set. I'm so glad he started nudging me again to get on the ball in the last few weeks because we've got some really great plans for this little business. Our fingers are crossed that it all works like we're hoping, and Ben has promised to help me a lot with things since spring is the busiest for the wedding business.

The Lucky Luxe brand is about to add more options soon too, but I'll save that blog for another day. Yay for new business ventures!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#727 College friends.

Hope and I left the guys at home tonight for what we thought would be an all-girls get-together at Amanda's house. She has this party every year for all our friends from college between Christmas and New Year's. It was so great to spend some time with these girls talking. We don't do it nearly enough!
 Don't take our picture! Uuuuuuggggghh!

My new coat came in this morning! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

#726 Saturmonday.

What a perfect, slow, quiet day. After the bustle of Christmas, we were happy to get a respite. The unending rain made for a very late morning. We slept until... well I won't say. It's embarrassing. I cleaned house for a while then we got dressed and went with Jim and Mallorie to do a little post-Christmas sale shopping. We came home with a hankering for soup and sandwiches, so Ben got out our griddle and made grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches, pizza sandwiches, and just plain grilled cheeses for us all. There was a little vegetable beef soup on the side for him, and salad for me.

We played with Chevy for the longest time since we brought home a new toy for him. He was so happy to do something fun since he's been cooped up staying dry in his dog house all day:

This is the most lovable dog on earth. Maybe all great pyrenees are this way, but he does this endearing thing when we stick our hands in the hay and shake it around. He slaps your arm with his front paw then buries his nose in the hay and nuzzles your hand like it's his favorite thing in the world. So cute.

Dang. I guess I'm a dog person now.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

#725 3 Christmases.

For 2 people with no divorced parents, we've sure had a whole lot of Christmases today! We started off with Christmas #1 gift opening at Ben's parents. Our niece and nephew, Jared and Ellie, played Santa and passed out the gifts:

We gave Ben's parents a weekend getaway in Laurel with gift certificates to our favorite restaurants since they've never really visited us for more than an hour or two. I hope they'll cash it in as soon as the new house is ready!

They gave me a beautiful handmade platter. It nearly matches the one I made for us in my college pottery class. It's just perfect!

Mit got an air compressor! And stretchy blue work gloves!

The Rev got a fruitcake!

Jedge got a model car!

And the Esquire Handbook of Style (cause Ben's a huge fan, he's making it his mission to give it to every young man he knows):

Then we made the trip back home to Laurel so Ben and I could exchange our gifts for Christmas #2 of the day.

An iPod since his other one died!

He gave me a flannel nightgown from J.Crew, a pair of wool tights, books about the history of Wakulla Springs and Henry Flagler, and a brand new pair of red wellies! And then... I opened my most favorite gift of all.

He gave me Stockbridge!

Since our roadtrip across Massachusetts back in November, we've both been dreaming of Stockbridge, our favorite town of all where we stayed at the Red Lion Inn. We fell completely in love with the little town that was famous for being Norman Rockwell's hometown in his golden years. It took him 10 years to complete this beautiful painting of the tiny town and now it will hang in our house.

But even better is that I opened the next box and it was a Christmas village of Stockbridge—exactly replicating Rockwell's painting. How sweet is that?!

I saved Ben's big gift for last. He was clueless.

The card I wrote him read "Hi love! Happy Christmas! You know how the saying goes, "you ain't no kind of man if you ain't got land?" Well as a now home-owning man, I figure you need this. Clint would be proud, Mr. Ben. I love you!"

"What IS this, Bit?"

"I have no idea what this is."

"Oh... Oh... What... How did you GET this?!"

We hurried and got ready so we could head out to the county for Christmas #3 where he, Daddy, Jim and Clark could shoot their guns. Cause it's Christmas! Our crazy pup has been staying there for 2 nights and he's given up the sheltered life of a city dog to stay out in the rain and roll in mud. We could NOT get him to get out of the rain. Suits him, it suits me!

But then, they started firing their guns.

Chevy's never heard a gun before. He wasn't a fan. This is as close as he would get to us.

Gotta believe to receive.

Then they let Mal and I give it a go!

Turns out I'm not a bad shot. I hit the target (a coke can 30 yards away) a few times!

And check out Mal's new ride! Best Christmas present ever since she's been wanting one REALLY bad for a long while now:

Then we came inside to try and be useful. But just nibbled and waited on the boys instead.

Mammaw's Whitman's chocolates. Ben and I give them to her for every special occasion. My grandfather always did, and I couldn't stand the thought of her losing that special treat when he passed away in 2001. She acts surprised every. Single. Time.

Good food, good meat, good God let's eat!

Me and Bub:

Family portrait take 1:

The money shot:

We just finished watching Midnight in Paris and now I am really dying to go there. It's such an amazing movie—especially if you've studied any about the expatriates who moved to Paris in the 1920s and/or like Owen Wilson. Perfect way to end Christmas night.

Sleep tight, sweet readers!
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