Dec 142015

Hi friends! How is everyone doing today? I had a really nice weekend, but man did it go quickly! I guess that’s what happens when you’re having fun, right? Anyway, here’s a recap!


On Friday night, Fabio and I joined a few of our neighbors/friends for a holiday happy hour that our apartment building hosted at Union Social, a new bar down the street from us. All residents from our building were treated to one free holiday-themed drink. Fun!


After our free drink, our group headed over to Old Engine 12, the firehouse restaurant in Bloomingdale, for dinner. It opened up right around the time we moved to the area, but Fabio and I had never had the chance to go. It was very festive with Christmas decorations, and I loved that they kept a lot of the old firehouse details like the fireman’s pole! I started off with a Moscow mule, my current favorite drink. 🙂


My for entree I chose the “eat your greens” pizza, which came with broccoli rabe, spinach, kale, and a few other greens. It was delicious but it could have used some protein – I was only able to eat about half at the time, but wound up being hungry later in the evening.


After dinner we headed to our favorite local watering hole – Boundary Stone – for one last drink, and then we called it a night. We were in bed by 10:00 which my idea of a great Friday night. 🙂


On Saturday morning we were up bright and early to meet my dad and stepsister for a fun volunteer event: Wreaths Across America!


In case you’ve never heard of it, Wreaths Across America is an organization that donates holiday wreaths to veteran cemeteries to carry out their mission: remember, honor, teach. The biggest cemetery they donate wreaths to is Arlington National Cemetery – which is where we went – but apparently they donate wreaths to veteran cemeteries all over the country. What a great initiative!

Fabio and I have wanted to volunteer for Wreaths Across America for the last couple of years, but there’s only one Saturday in December to volunteer, and for whatever reason we’ve always had other plans that day. This year we were thrilled to see that we’d be in town for the volunteer date, so we recruited my family to join us. 🙂

Fabio and I opted to take the metro instead of driving, which was a good idea since my dad said traffic getting up to the cemetery was miserable. The metro wasn’t much better – it was running on a slow weekend schedule and it was PACKED!


Even with all the crowds, we made it over to the cemetery by around 8:15 am without any problems. Once we arrived, we waited for all the trucks carrying the wreaths to arrive. It was a bit of a production; check out all the people waiting on top of that balcony!


Soon enough, we could see the police escorts coming down Arlington Memorial Bridge with the trucks behind them.


There they are! We counted twelve huge trucks like this – sheesh! That’s a lot of wreaths (apparently there were about 150,000 donated). All of the drivers were super friendly and would wave to the crowd and/or honk their horns. 🙂


Then some bagpipe players led the way to the trucks, where we would each pick up our wreaths.


After waiting in line for a while, we got our wreaths!



Our little group then walked around and decided where to lay our wreaths. While obviously every single grave was deserving of a wreath, we wanted to find people who had passed away recently so we could send photos to their families of the wreaths on their tombstones.

We found some people who had passed on recently, but when we looked closer, we realized they were more than 90 years old and had served in WWII. Wow!



Eventually we found some tombstones that we thought would work, and we laid our wreaths down.




Overall it was such a nice morning, and I’m so thankful that my dad, little sister, Fabio and I were able to get out and volunteer our time to this amazing cause. I felt privileged to be able to honor all these soldiers who gave their lives for us, and I definitely got a little teary eyed when I saw families sitting around a particular tomb stone for someone they obviously loved very much. It’s opportunities like these that make me remember how lucky I am to have the wonderful, free life that I do.


By the way, my dad was able to research and contact all of the families of the veterans who we laid a wreath for, and I’m hopeful someone will respond! To find out how you can help Wreaths Across America, click here.

The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning up the apartment, and then, since the weather was absolutely gorgeous, Jack and I went for a run to the dog park.


The weather was so warm – about 70 degrees – this weekend! It didn’t feel much like Christmas, but it was beautiful nonetheless.


Later in the evening, Fabio and I enjoyed some homemade pizza and festive Christmas drinks.




After dinner we sat down to write out our Christmas cards! Obviously we listened to Christmas songs while we worked. 🙂


It was a very relaxing (and festive!) Saturday evening, and I was once again happy to be in bed by 10:00. 🙂


On Sunday morning I drove over to my mom’s house for more holiday fun! We started the day off with my mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast – YUM!


We snacked on cinnamon rolls while we decorated the Christmas tree!


My mom’s tree is smaller than usual this year, but we decided we actually like it better that way because you can see all of our favorite ornaments better.


I think it turned out really nice!


Once we were done decorating the tree, we drove over to the Olney Theater to meet my stepsister, Maggie, for a showing of the Nutcracker!


It’s become a tradition for us ladies to see the Nutcracker together every holiday season, and this year’s show did not disappoint!


We had a great time and absolutely loved watching all the talented ballerinas tell the familiar story of the Nutcracker. What a fun afternoon!

The rest of the evening was spent meal planning and grocery shopping for the week.

Phew! What a fun but busy weekend!

Question of the day: What’s one of your holiday traditions?

 Posted by on December 14, 2015