.christmas eve date night.

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It’s our first year acting as Santa’s liaison, so we’re trying to establish some new traditions.  This will be the first time in thirty years that I won’t sleep over at my Mother and Daddy’s house on Christmas Eve.  It’s a little jarring, but we wanted Annabeth to be able to open her presents at home before we join in with the rest of the family.  This year we’re doing a bit of a hybrid by spending Christmas Eve with my parents until close to bedtime and then heading back over there after Santa has officially been enjoyed.

One way we thought we’d make Christmas Eve special is to turn acting as Santa’s helpers into a bit of an at-home date night.  The recipe for an at-home date night is simple:

  • good snacks
  • something sparkly to drink
  • a good flick to watch
  • something cute, but cozy to wear

I’m a planner, so I already have our snack menu planned out.  We’re going to do a miniature charcuterie board with something salty, something creamy, something nutty, and something sweet.  I like pairing salami (salty) with a nice, smoky Gouda (creamy), and some toasted pecans (nutty…toast them with a little butter and rosemary!), and these chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s (sweet).  We eat Christmas Eve supper at my Mother and Daddy’s home, so we’ll really just need something light to snack on.

Something sparkly is kind of up to you.  We’re religious about drinking La Croix in our home (we love the lemon, lime, and coconut flavors).  We also love sparkling pear juice from Ikea.  Champagne is another great option, if you’re so inclined.  Whatever you pick, it should be something out of the ordinary that feels special.  It’s a great time to break out pretty wedding flutes that are just collecting dust in the china cabinet.

As far as Christmas movies go, there is only one choice as far as our Christmas Eve Date Night is concerned.  This is, of course, Christmas Vacation.  Is there anything more quintessentially wonderful that Clark W. Griswold having a meltdown over eggnog-filled Marty Moose punch glasses?  The answer is no.  We’ve watched Christmas Vacation more times than I’d care to count this year and we’re not showing any signs of slowing down.

Something cute to wear is a bit strange considering that a date night at home should be about feeling comfortable.  On a typical evening, I wear my afternoon uniform of running clothes with a topknot and dishpan hands, but Christmas Eve is not the time for a pair of Lulu’s and a ratty intramural t-shirt.  My Mother, Queen of Coordination, ordered us all matching Christmas pajamas (and my Daddy is in for a real surprise when he realizes that we’re all matching…from him all the way down to Annabeth), so cute and cozy fit the bill.

I know it seems kind of silly to have an at-home date night on Christmas Eve.  Realistically, you could just help Santa out as necessary, tidy up, and go to sleep, but where’s the fun in that?  We’re doing our very best to keep ourselves centered on each other first so we can give Annabeth a great representation of marriage.  Knowing that Mommy and Daddy have something special planned after bed is just another way to demonstrate how we can love each other well by being intentional with our time.

Do you have any special Christmas Eve traditions?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Love, Actually is another fantastic Christmas movie that’s more “adult” than your average holiday flick.

PSS:  This might be the greatest Christmas shirt of all time.

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.annabeth shealy: a birth story.

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On July 1, 2016, we discovered that we were expecting a baby, due on March 10, 2017.  On October 15, 2016, we discovered that our little baby was not just any baby, but Annabeth Shealy Callicutt (the best little gal in the whole wide world).  On February 11, just a day shy of a month before her intended due date, Annabeth Shealy decided she couldn’t wait another moment to join our family.

Around 9:15 p.m. on February 11, 2017, my water broke.  I immediately knew two things:

  1.  I was thankful that I’d washed my hair and shaved my legs that night.
  2.  Josh was going to have a heart attack.

“Josh…my water just broke.  We should probably get ready to head to the hospital,” I said, trying to keep my tone light and my voice quiet.

“What, so we’ve got like a week or so?” Josh calmly replied.

“Hmmm…nope.  We are going to have a baby tonight or tomorrow,” I explained, still trying to keep my voice calm.

Needless to say, one of us ran around the house like a madman while the other played with the dog.  (It was Josh.  Josh was the madman).  I immediately called my mom while Josh tried to install our car seat.  He finally just tossed the car seat and base in the backseat.  We made it to the hospital quickly and were immediately checked into the largest suite on the floor (all the praise hands, indeed).

My nurses checked my vitals, ran two bags of fluid, and we watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother on the iPad.  My Mama, Daddy, brother, and sister-in-law arrived bearing gifts of Girl Scout Cookies (which I couldn’t have), fuzzy socks, and hair ties.  Though my water had broken, I wasn’t uncomfortable.  An anesthesiologist came by and started my epidural.  I waited for the warm rush that all my friends had told me about and never experienced it.  At the time, I shrugged it off.  Then…things got uncomfortable.

Apparently, my spine is a little funky.  Not funky enough to fail my sixth-grade scoliosis exam, but funky enough to cause an epidural not to work.  Internally, I found myself wondering why my friends all praised their epidurals.  Long story short:  my epidural pooled in my left leg causing numbness in my left leg only.  Everyone assured me that I was only feeling pressure when in reality, I was feeling every single contraction.

This went on for eight hours.  During those eight hours, my sweet nurse tried multiple drug combinations to quell my pain.  Some made me nauseated, some made me feel drunk, but none touched the pain.  At one point, Josh said I grabbed her arm and told her that if the pain didn’t stop, I wouldn’t be able to have the baby.  It was hard for me and scary for everyone else, especially Josh.  When shift change occurred, the nurse stayed late to make sure the on-call anesthesiologist checked my drug intake (she was fabulous).  The new guy walked in, took one look at my back, and immediately stripped everything out and redid the tubing.  He moved the port up one vertebrate and suddenly, I was pain free.

I was finally able to sleep and did so for two hours.  My new nurse woke me up to check on my progress, looked at me with wide eyes, and said, “It’s brown!”

“What’s brown?!?” I replied, very concerned (and to be honest, a little embarrassed).

“Your baby’s hair!  Don’t push!” she all but squealed.

Everyone fully expected that I would have a planned c-section.  I’m tiny and Annabeth was on track to be at least eight pounds by her intended due date.  When that nurse told me not to push, it was the most surreal moment of my life.  I was about to do this thing that nobody believed I could do.  Six pushes later, Annabeth made her grand debut at 10:51 a.m. The NICU team whisked her off to pump the fluid from her stomach, check her vitals, and complete her APGAR assessments.  Weighing in at 5.15, she was definitely a healthy size despite being born a month early.  We felt so many things:  elation, exhaustion, joy, and fear.

Nine months later, our tiny girl is truly our sweet angel.  She’s a bundle of bright, vivacious energy with a sassy personality that is an utter delight.  We’re considered to be “older” first time parents in our community and I’m so thankful that we are and that we’ve really been able to enjoy parenthood.  We owe that to our baby’s sweet disposition, but we’re also going to give a lot of credit to Babywise (judge away, folks, but my baby sleeps twelve hours a night in her own crib).

I’ll be sure to share more about our journey through parenthood, especially with the exciting Christmas season that is now officially upon us!

XOXO,

Court

This is are biggest parenting must-have. Absolute necessity.

This is my favorite resource for sweet clothing for our Annabeth.

How we chose Annabeth’s name…no, seriously.

 

 

.four.

We’ve been married four years.  Four.  We didn’t date all that long before we got engaged, so four years seems like a lifetime.

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Four years is long enough to know how he takes his coffee {black on weekdays, two creams & one sugar on Saturdays}.

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Four years is long enough to know that he’d prefer to binge on a Ken Burns documentary but will stoically agree to Sense & Sensibility {again}.

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Four years is long enough to know that when he makes me a cup of tea, he’ll deliver it in our largest soup mug instead of one of my dainty tea cups {because, caffeine!}.

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It’s also long enough to know that he’ll be silly when I need it and solemn when it comes to the important stuff.

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To my darling man, thank you.

XOXO,

Court

P.S.  Even though we normally stick with the traditional anniversary gifts, we didn’t want or need anything in satin or linen.  Josh ordered me this bikini and a 2015 Lilly planner in my favorite print and I’ve yet to get him anything {because he cannot make up his mind!}.