January 6, 2014

2013 Holiday Recap

I spent the holiday season trying really hard to enjoy the moments and to soak up as much as I could without worrying about taking photos every second. It is easy for me to get caught up in the "I-must-document-everything" rush and I end up feeling like I wasn't actually there. Since this holiday season was the first one with our tiny man, I wanted to make sure I was creating some wonderful memories in my head, not just on the camera :) With that said, there's not a ton of photographic evidence of the fantastic holidays that we had in our house but, believe me, they were wonderful.

We alternate families for the holidays so this year we were with the Wieses for Thanksgiving and with the Palmers and Rowes for Christmas. Nick's parents came to Athens for Thanksgiving (like last year) and we had a great week! We did some shopping, a lot of cooking, went on a day trip to Helen, and had a little "Christmas in November".

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner while on a dairy/soy free diet wasn't as difficult as we had expected. We probably could have gone a little farther and tried some more intense dishes but after planning a huge meal, shopping for it, having your kitchen covered in pots and pans and chopped up food all day- some simple things sounded great :) We ended up with a dairy-free cornbread dressing (Nick's traditional recipe with dairy substitutes), roasted rosemary and thyme fingerling potatoes, dairy-free squash casserole (Wiese family recipe with coconut oil instead of butter), turkey (of course), green beans almandine, gravy, rolls, and dairy-free apple crumb pie for dessert. It was delicious!

the only evidence of our yummy meal :) 

There is a little town in Northeast Georgia called Helen whose downtown is like a little Bavaria. There are shops, restaurants and lots of little places to visit. Nick and I went in 2010 to celebrate his birthday but hadn't been back since then. Nick's mom has wanted to go for a couple of years now but last year when they were here for Christmas, I was very pregnant and didn't think a day full of walking sounded enjoyable :) So we finally made the trip this time and, even though it was raining all day and only got up to about 40 degrees, I'm so glad we went! We had a great time looking in all of the little shops, had a good lunch at a Bavarian pub, and found some treats to come home with.

cold & rainy won't keep us away :) 

 Since it was Alden's first Christmas, Grandma and Far Far Wiese asked if we could do Christmas with them while they were visiting so they could see Alden open his gifts. We took advantage of the opportunity to make the Friday after Thanksgiving our little "Christmas in November". We went and picked out a tree, got the lights on it, watched a Christmas movie and had a blast opening presents with Alden :)
picking out our Christmas tree!

opening his first present

let me at 'em! :)

per usual, he had more fun with the boxes than anything else...

helping us decorate the tree

I've never had Christmas decorations up so soon after Thanksgiving but I really liked it :) It was really fun to take the whole day after Thanksgiving (which is usually a lazy day anyway) and welcome the Christmas cheer into the house. Nick and I think our tree this year was our best yet. It has such a perfect shape and is just the right height for our house. We normally have a lot more ornaments on the tree but we opted for an unbreakable tree this year just in case Alden decided to pull decorations off and/or pull the tree over :) I actually ended up really loving the look of the tree- simple but still festive and pretty. I think it's my favorite tree so far.

Just a few short weeks later, we were ready to celebrate Christmas with the Palmers and Rowes in Alabama! We went to my parents house for the week and had a great time seeing family, cooking lots of yummy food, and hanging out with Alden.

My parents hosted a Christmas Eve brunch at their house on Tuesday and had Christmas dinner at their house on Wednesday after gifts. That kept us pretty busy in the kitchen but we still managed to find time to go out to eat a couple times, hang out with my grandparents at their house, and enjoy our time visiting with my brother, his girlfriend Sarah, and our extended family. Since this was the first Christmas in my parents new house and with Alden, we decided to start some new traditions as well :) Instead of waiting until Christmas morning to open all of our presents with our extended family, we did our immediate family Christmas at my parents house on Christmas Eve. It was so fun to open presents and talk and laugh with just the adults for a little while. My brother Austin, Nick, Sarah and I opened up a bottle of bubbly and everyone enjoyed watching each other open gifts and tell stories :)

Christmas morning, we all opened stockings and Alden got his Santa gifts and opened the rest of his wrapped presents. Then, we all got dressed and headed up to my grandparents house for gifts and breakfast with the extended family. It was a wonderful holiday!

not sure about this whole stocking thing

checking out his gifts from Santa 

"okay, Mama, this is pretty cool" :) 

my favorite series of photos...the opening of the play cell phone :)




"Oh, there you are. Wanna go get some pizza?" :)  

the whole family in our Christmas PJ's

Alden with Mimi and PopPop

Alden, Uncle Austin and his girlfriend Sarah

figured out how to tear into the presents quickly...

just so he could eat the paper :) 

my beautiful baby boy

Christmas at Nana and Papa's

in his Christmas best :)

this is why I have barely any photos of him...he insists on taking my phone and making a monster face every time I try :)

The whole Palmer clan (with a couple Wieses and a Wilt thrown in ;) 

I hope you all had as wonderful of a holiday as we did! I'll be back soon with more updates- Alden's 10 month post, our New Year goals, and some other little updates.

much love, L&N


  1. Laura, I so enjoy your updates of your family life <3 . Alden is the cutest! Certainly he is the greatest gift!

    The handprints made each Christmas, along with Santa pics will be displayed until he's at least thirty!! A wonderful tradition for your beautiful family life will be treasured.

    Mimi & PopPop moved to Albertville area? My sis & family still live in Guntersville.

    I found Helen to be a quaint and different town to visit. That area is so lovely with the waters skipping over the stones/rocks in the creeks.

    Have the Happiest New Year!!

    ps Your pics are so good! What camera do you use?

    bj harris

    1. Thank you for such sweet words, BJ! We are having so much fun watching this little one grow and, you're right, those Santa pictures will be around forever! My parents moved up to the Guntersville area last summer and are really enjoying being closer to family. Have a wonderful New Year to you, too!!

      <3, Laura
      (Oh, and most of our photos are shot with our Nikon D80 SLR…it's getting a little old now but it still gives us some great photos!)