Monday, December 27, 2010

Hello from the GA coast

Graciously, my boss gives us the week off between Christmas and New Years. This year Jamie decided he wanted to take a trip to the Georgia coast. Having not moved to Atlanta til his senior year of high school, he's only been here once (last summer's trip to St. Simons with my sisters, etc). I grew up vacationing at Sea Island, class trips to Jekyll, and various visits to St. Simons. But he planned the whole trip and it's already been so fun seeing more of a historical (yes, we're dorks) and scenic view than ever before. Plus, it's a much sleepier place in the wintertime. And I am loving walks on the beach all bundled up with a cup of coffee in hand. The ocean view might just be even more beautiful this time of year (I'd post pictures if I could figure out how to do that easily our iPad...pathetic).

Yesterday, we drove into the King and Prince on St. Simons. Tomorrow, after spending some time on Sea Island with some friends, we head to Savannah for a few days there. Lots of fun things planned...and more yummy eats! I think this is our first trip just the two of us since our honeymoon. We love our friends, but this time together has been so refreshing. I'm lovin' it!

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas as much as we did. Lots of fun pictures to come!

Monday, December 20, 2010

the thrill of hope...

What? No more Christmas party posts (I'm sure you're asking yourself)? Don't worry, there's more coming...
Christmas parties 8 - a super fun girly favorite-thing-under-$10 White Elephant gift exchange,
9 - a Christmas wine tasting (drinking wine out of paper bags...funny!),
10 - a fabulous Christmas brunch hosted by Lindsay (who tells me she's starting a recipe blog...I'm anxiously awaiting, cause this girl is GOOD),
11 - co-worker Jenn's (+ husband Jason) annual Christmas party, and finally...
12 - friend, E's annual Christmas party
[Pictures to come, but I left my camera in Suwanee (at the wine-tasting partay). Oops.]

Guess it's good timing, tho, because after yesterday, it all seems so trivial. Amidst all the commercialized Christmas and holiday craziness, it's so easy to get caught up. Shopping, celebrating, decorating, cooking, etc. We've had a fun two weeks, but there's so much more to the story. Our pastor, Andy, delivered the most simple message yesterday. Starting with this...

And ending with this...Luke's account of the story of Jesus. Not based on faith, but based on actual events that happened in our midsts.

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught...

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her...

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Thank you, Jesus. This Christmas, we can celebrate JOY. Because a baby came and everything changed. The thrill of hope, as our weary world rejoices. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

blessed: Christmas party 7

The final Unboundary Christmas event.....Christmas Morning at the Unboundary Homestead. No abbreviations, and no shortening the name. :) We do a large, potluck breakfast (I'm telling you, potluck is the way to go!), wear our jammies, have a secret santa gift exchange, and even Santa makes an appearance!

This year, I drew Dawn's name. Dawn is one of the craftiest people I about pressure! I knew I had to get her the perfect gift. Finally, I came up with something, and planned and prepared for that...but was never super excited about it. Then, the day before the gift exchange, I came up with something better. Knowing we had a Christmas party that night, I ran around during my lunch break for supplies, and stayed up til 2:30am finishing the project (so grateful I could go into work in my pajamas!).

A little background information: Dawn is the traffic manager at Unboundary, so pretty much all work goes through her. She's also just happens to be the one who everyone flocks to when they have anything else they need...advice, an ear to listen, ideas for a party, etc. So, the stool in her office is often occupied, with someone talking about work or life. We've often joked that she should get paid for each visit on her stool. So...I made her this....

And then I figured the stool should get some dressing up (which fits Dawn's personality so much better than a plain, wooden stool)...

Finally, here I am, sittin' at the spot where it all happens. :)

Co-worker, Steve, drew my name. I've been on a kick of requesting consumable gifts (things that can be consumed), and he knew that. So, he graciously gifted me a fabulous looking bottle of a red blend, yummy French cheese, and a box of cranberry hazelnut crackers. Sounds like a date night!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

blessed: Christmas parties 3, 4, 5, 6

It's been a busy week, with lots and lots of celebrating!

# 3: Unboundary Cookie Swap (1st of our THREE traditions). I did the same cookies as last year...a great Augusta recipe. We call 'em "Iced Molly's", but the recipe is Mother's Butter Cookies with Easy Dip Icing. As whenever it was served to me at the Nalley's annual Christmas party down the street, I formed the cookies into a tree, looking similar to the photo on the right.

# 4: Unboundary Christmas Outing. In the past, we have made A Christmas Carol at the Alliance our outing. But, this year Cirque was in town, so our boss graciously took us. Dinner at 5 Seasons (yum!), and then to the show!

Under the Grand Chapiteau

#5: Hargather/Gettman/Swartz/Joyner Snazzy Christmas Dinner. These guys are Jamie's best friends from college (only missing the Wests' who are on the west coast!). Over the years, the wives have all become great friends as well. We decided to get together for a nice meal and dress up. It was such a fun night, and the food was amazing.

#6: Underwood Hills Roving Christmas Party. Last night, a group of about 10 young couples who live in our neighborhood took part in a progressive dinner of sorts. There were four host homes, including ours, and each had a theme (to avoid eating the same finger foods at each spot).

Our home was Christmas in Augusta (I've been looking for a good excuse to pull out all my Masters/Augusta National glasses, tumblers, plastic cups, etc. - thank you Aunt Wendy, for supplying most of them!!). I made pimento cheese & egg salad sandwiches, had cheese and olives out for snacking, and our friends the Nalley's made some delicious deviled eggs. We served Azaleas as our signature drink, and I "loosely" decorated with golf balls, and Masters paraphernalia.

forgot to take a "before", so here's MB and Lee after

After visiting Mexico, Augusta, Italy, and the North Pole, we considered the night quite a success. So grateful for such great people to call neighbors!

6 down, at least 5 more to go! What a blessed and busy season!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas decor

I know I've only mentioned 1000 times that I love holidays and love decorating for them as well. So, here's a brief snapshot of our home right now.

the front (w/ lots of lights...picture of it lit coming soon!)

My sister, Jennifer, introduced me to live garland this year (I'd never really thought of it). I bought a garland of cypress and white pine and have mixed it in with some of my fake. Also bought a real frazier fur wreath this year, wrapped w/ some of the white pine left over. It smells amazing, is affordable (depending on where you shop...ours is from Home Depot) and it's such a nice look!

the welcome wreath (burlap bow made with ribbon from
ballards - i'm not too much of a bright red fan, so i love this)

stockings (hung on the foyer desk with care chimney or mantle for us!)

living room

table w/ Christmas china, new silver
chargers (great deal from Target, if you are
in need!), and lots of candles

This manger scene is one of my favorite Christmas things to put's beautiful, and a symbol of the only real reason that we celebrate Christmas. The arrangement to the left is something i threw together with things leftover! Ended up loving the lights that i stuck down in the bottom of the hurricane.

And finally....

The [big fat honking 8 foot wonder of a] TREE!
(not fully finished, but good enough)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

blessed: Christmas party #2

As I mentioned before, we've got several Christmas shindigs over the next few weeks. This past Monday night, my girls' small group (one of my favorite new additions to this year) met for a pot luck dinner at our house. Have I mentioned that I LOVE pot lucks?! The image you probably get from the word "pot luck" is an array of casseroles made by a group of older ladies spread out on a table at your church (or at least I do). But this food was delish! And it was fun for all of us to get together with no agenda, except to eat and enjoy the company.

tyler, lindsay, jess, laura, and mary brantley

the coffee drinkers, with our "friends"-sized
coffee mugs (from a Christmas set that my sister,
jennifer, gave me years's some of
my favorite Christmas decor!)

Many more pictures to come, from many more Christmas celebrations to come. One, starting in 3 1/2 hours - our annual office cookie swap! Right now I am smelling the sugary goodness coming from the, oh, 900 cookies sitting on the table!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Outside of what we do as a business, Unboundary has a few other things that it does really well. One of those things is celebrating [anything!]. Today, we celebrated the 50th birthday of David Cannon (who also happens to be my only other Auburn bud in the office!).

DC loves to camp and loves McDonalds french fries. So this was easy for us. Check out the pictures below.

Welcome to Unboundary National Forest


fresh off the "campfire" hotdogs,
McD's burgers + fries (smores too!)

how great that we happened to have a
Christmas tree at the campsite!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

blessed: Christmas dinner party #1

Tis the season! Holiday music, white lights, greenery, hot cocoa, and....Christmas dinner parties!

Last night was our first Christmas celebration, with our college freshman small group. I know I've mentioned before, but I can't say it enough...J + I are so blessed by each one of these 18 & 19 year-olds.

the whole good-looking bunch
(minus sweet Kelsey!)

it's amazing how easy it is for Jamie
and I to act 10 years younger :)

After a yummy dinner (that husband saved the day in prepping - the one night I had to work late!), we decided to play a friendly game of spoons. It was hilarious! Here we are with our game faces on.

There are lots of videos that were taken as well...I just need to sort through them and pull some out, then I'll post. Although we lose Kevin (to Mercer) and Kelsey (to Hillsong College in Australia!), we are so looking forward to continuing this group next semester.

1 party down, several more to go!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

something wrong with this picture

Headlines taken from this morning...

I won't go off on a tangent (and yes, I love animals, people), but this just doesn't seem right.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Atlanta people: Plans tonight?!

If you didn't before, you do now! LUO is hosting another COLLIDE event, this time at Cantina in Buckhead. Free tapas and margaritas. Free parking. Live music. Great friends. Plenty of opportunities to support the children at Ithemba in South Africa. What more could you ask for? All by just showing up! See the invite above, or check out the invite on FB. Would love to see you there!