Home for the Holidays

We've loved spending time with our families and friends in Florida, so much that we extended our trip for a few more days of sunshine.

I'm writing this post from a massaging pedicure chair - so I can actually say without a doubt it doesn't get much better than this!

It amazes me how much James has grown and developed in this short time home. He's standing all the time now which doesn't seem real and has a one syllable conversation all day long. I never imagined 'ba' could be said so many different ways. He has loved spending time with his grand parents as they have with him. I'm obviously not complaining as Josh and I were able to go out for the first time in months and I'm getting my first pedicure since we were here in August!

Our night out was to celebrate one of my best friends birthdays. We had so much fun in lovely downtown St. Pete.

Josh and I headed south with the top half down on his dads Mini Cooper convertible - which was a lot of fun. I has to protect my hair from the cool Florida breezes from the top all the way down ;)

We kicked of the night with champaign cocktails at the Vinoy, then dinner at Z Grille, which offered a wide variety of cocktails from my fume blanc to mickys bottle in a brown bag.

Somehow after dinner we discovered a jazz band playing very exciting music that we had to dance in the streets to.

A great group of friends to celebrate with.

We capped off the evening back at the Vinoy (where everyone except us was staying).

More presents for the birthday girl.

Our little alcove.

Lacey wanting to take the turquoise tray with her.

Fantastic friends - forgot my glitter sweater at home, so I messed up our bedazzled trifecta. There's always my birthday in a few weeks I guess :)

The whole night I felt a little nervous as everyone was just so much more put together than me. I kept thinking how different living in Florida was going to be than our little spot outside of DC.

Josh reminded me we would be on the family circuit not go out and party one. Which made me feel a little more at ease - and every mommy (and daddy) needs a night out on the town from time to time.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Babies First Christmas

What a true joy to celebrate Christmas with our baby. It was so much fun to see all the excitement, happiness and love through his little eyes.

My mom took great notes on babies first Christmas, I don't have them, but will try to remember as best as possible.

He wore a Rudolph long all with a white onsie, it was too warm for him to stay in his fleece Christmas pjs in Florida.

He ate, a banana, cheese grits, toast, hummus, broccoli and mum mums throughout the day.

He had the most fun playing with boxes and got more toys than we could open in a four hour time period, which is ridiculous.

He loved the handbells at the Christmas Eve service and sang the hallelujah chorus in the choir loft.

We had so much fun celebrating with mommy, daddy, uncle Murphey, Molly, Nannie, poppa Morgan, grandma and grandpa.



Salad Worth Sharing

I have to share this recipe that has truly become a staple at our house.  I was introduced to Warm Quinoa Salad by my friend Jenny when she hosted our playgroup.  She has amazing taste and is a truly gifted chef.  I envy her culinary abilities, collection of Gourmet magazines and story telling voices.

Things I love about this dish:
It's delicious
Filling but not heavy
Great for entertaining.  I'm always looking for things I can make ahead and serve at room temp - I had friends over a few weeks ago and while they actually had to help me make it (thanks Lisa) they all loved it and wanted the recipe - that's when you know you have a keeper!
Awesome make ahead meal for an quick and easy lunch all week - which is how I'm having it now.
Also the variations are limitless, just thinking of all the veggie and dressing options make me giddy.

Warm Quinoa Salad

Quinoa: Cook 1 cup of quinoa half white, half black (or red), with a bit of salt.

2 T Lemon Juice
1.5 t Dijon
4 T Olive Oil
2 chopped garlic cloves
Garlic Powder
Dried Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
Now I typically add all these ingredients to my mini Cuisinart and give it a whirl, but have also thrown it in a mason jar and just shake everything up.  Either works, Cuisinart version is usually creamier.

Mix quinoa with some dressing (to taste).  Top with crumbled feta, tomatoes (pearl quartered, grape halved), sauteed or roasted broccoli, cubed avacado.  Drizzel extra dressing over salad as desired.  Topped with chopped roasted almonds (nice extra touch, but I leave out with my sensitive teeth).

James also approves

I've applied this concept to brown rice and mixed in steamed green beans and tomatoes - it was great.  We use brown rice, mix in spinach, apples and TJ's Yellow Curry - amazing.  Any store bought dressing could be used  and the options are endless and delicious.


Looking forward to sunny times ahead

It's Facebook official...

We're moving home! So proud of my husband for his new position and grateful that God provides for us.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone



God has been blessing our family so much lately that I haven't found too much time to write about our lives.  Last month I shared Christmas Cards were already ordered, much due the fact I didn't try every picture I liked with different editing effects in every card template I thought was cute.  Letting my "make it perfect" attitude go is hard (FYI-it's never perfect even after all the extra effort).  So I'm trying to go with the get it done attitude and "good" is good enough.  To be honest it's probably the same result. 

Following that mantra, we didn't do our top ten list this year.  Obviously James is pretty much 1-10, there are a few other highlights and #2 of our highlights of the years is something we are anxiously anticipating to happen in 2013 - Josh won't let me publicize just yet... That took the fun out of the of the Thompson Top Ten this year.

So if I had to write a top ten it would be:

10.  Watching James crawl, stand, clap, play... develop and learn right before my eyes
9.  Neat things with my volunteer activities:  The Junior League Committee I chair was honored as the Community Placement of the year and I was honored as the Phi Mu Outstanding Chapter Advisory Council Member at convention this summer.
8. The first smile
7.  Making fantastic mommy friends, they along with calling my mom and life long best friends just to cry, vent, laugh or calm down helped me survive the first year of motherhood.
6.  Seeing people I love, love my baby - it takes friends and family to a whole new level
5. The first laugh
4.  Giving our parents the gift of being grandparents
3.  My son singing with me for the first time - Silent Night - my favorite song as a child, too.
2.  Coming soon!
1.  Welcoming our son into our hearts and lives.

This is such a special and holy time of year to be focused on all we have been given from the birth of our Savior.  My Christmas wish is that everyone's hearts could be filled with the joy and happiness that mine is.  During this advent season, more than any before I feel the joyous anticipation of the good that is to come.  Without a doubt this is the merriest Christmas!  Hope your hearts are filled with the joy this magical time of year brings.


White House Christmas Tour

Our holiday season has been full of lots of amazing events and activities this year.  Celebrating Christmas with my own child this year, puts it into a whole new perspective, it truly is a joyous and magical time of the year. 
One of the things I've always wanted to do is decorate the white house for Christmas, while this is not something I was able to do this year, I did enjoy a tour with the Junior League of Washington this morning.  It was amazing and while my decorating dreams are merely to help hand flowers, bows or tinsels to the artist who decorate America's House - today's tour made me realize that if I ever plan to get on the decorating team - I've got a lot of work to do.  A few steps above decorating Constitution Hall for the Daughters of the American Revolution Open House across the street, at least I'm warming up.

I didn't bring my nice camera and wish I did, but knew it would prohibit pictures ever being shared with anyone in a timely manner - so my iphone will have to do for my recap.

This is going to be a picture heavy treat of what I got to experience this morning!  I know my mom and mother in law will love it at least.

“This year’s theme is ‘Joy to All.’ It celebrates the many joys of the holiday seasons: the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessings with one another; and, of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our homes over these next several weeks.” The first lady describing the theme of the decorations this year.

We entered through the east wing, I loved the magnolia branches in the greenery and the red balls spilling over the side

 Love the square wreaths!
 Snowflake greenery - I can't imagine how long it takes to make these.
 Upon entering the East Wing the scent of pine, balsam and fir fill the air - it's what you want your house to smell like at Christmas.  Each column was covered in this geometric design of pomegranate seeds, gold pine cone pieces and folded green leaves - it was beautiful.

 Nancy Reagan in her famous red dress
"The East Landing pays tribute to our Armed Forces and their families. Wreaths crafted with red, white, and blue yarn adorn the walls, and a Christmas tree decorated with festive ornaments completes the space.  Every day, we are grateful for the courageous service of our troops, veterans, and their families, and in the spirit of the season, we take time to honor their countless contributions to our Nation."

 Wreaths and stained glass on one side of the breezeway.
 While photo collages of White House Christmas moments flank the opposite wall.
The East Garden Room is a children’s wonderland! The room is filled with vibrant colors and wreaths made of gingerbread. 

These ornaments glow with color and are so beautiful
 A life-size replica of Bo, the First Family’s Portuguese water dog, is the centerpiece of the room, and handmade “Boflakes” hang from the trees.
A sample of holiday cards from the white house - how fun to be on their mailing list!

 Why yes, I would love to walk down this hall.

 Humm could someone put a tutorial for this on pinterest please?
 The Library is decorated in classic red and green tones. On display are replicas of holiday cards and notes from past Administrations. Sending warm tidings in the form of holiday cards is a long-standing American  tradition - one our past Presidents and First Families have carried forward with their own distinct touches.  Today, the Library is home to 2,700 books, but prior to a renovation in 1935, the room served as a laundry  room and a gentlemen’s waiting room.

 The timeless elegance and grace of our Nation’s past First Ladies can be felt in the Vermeil Room, where  we pause to celebrate the joy of giving. Lovely presents large and small, wrapped with care, remind us of the  fulfillment we experience when we give of ourselves to others around us. Given to the White House by philanthropist Margaret Thompson Biddle in 1958, the 1,575-piece vermeil silver collection represents the spirit of generosity.

 In the China Room, the Truman China is set to illustrate the joy of families sitting down to enjoy a holiday dinner. This set was selected by First Lady Bess Truman in 1951 and is the first state china service to feature the Presidential Coat of Arms as redesigned by President Harry Truman in 1945.
 Decorations evoking our country’s proud artistic heritage festoon the East Room, where we take time to marvel at the joy of American folk art. Over the course of our history, folk artisans have delighted Americans young and old with the scenes and stories depicted in their work. This year, creative traditions central to our cultural identity are represented in every corner of this historic space-from the handcrafted wooden ornaments on each of the trees to antique paintings and needlework on display.

 It was such an honor to be in these majestic halls - truly an amazing experience!
 Once we were upstairs, beautiful Christmas music filled the air from the band playing in one of the reception rooms.
 Well this certainly puts my nativity scene to shame.

 In the Green Room, wintertime’s serene splendor surrounds us as we reflect on the joy of the winter garden. Miniature terrariums dangle from the trees and remind us of the beauty of the outdoors. President Theodore Roosevelt—one of our Nation’s most ardent and effective conservationists—would not allow trees to be cut down for use in the White House during the holidays. Not to be deterred, his vivacious children snuck a small tree into the house, which they secretly decorated with twinkling white lights with the help of a staff  electrician. Imagine President Roosevelt’s surprise on Christmas morning when the tree was finally revealed!

Look there's Bo the dog!
 Small scenes - ice skating here.

 The cardinal, the "state" bird of Virgina. Everyone calls us a commonwealth, not a state - so perhaps the commonwealth bird of Virginia?
 What a view!
 The history of our Nation has been shaped by the brave men and women who have devoted themselves to protecting our country. The troops, veterans, and military families who serve our country with pride represent what is best about America, and this holiday season, the Blue Room pays tribute to their courageous service.

By contributing ornaments they decorated themselves, military children living on U.S. Military Bases all over the world helped trim the official White House Christmas tree-an enchanting 18-foot-6- inch Fraser Fir from Jefferson, North Carolina. These one-of-a-kind ornaments honor their parents’ commitment to service.
 In the early 19th century, First Lady Dolley Madison used this room to receive visitors during her famous Wednesday-evening receptions. At that time, the fabrics throughout the room were a bright sunflower yellow; in fact, the famous red color scheme was not adopted until 1845.  In honor of its current red hue, the room is customarily decorated with cranberries—and the tradition continues this year with a cranberry, pepperberry, and billy ball flower-covered vase holding a festive floral arrangement. As a tribute to Mrs. Dolley Madison and its former golden shade, lemon topiaries are on display to provide cheerful pops of yellow throughout the room. Christmas trees frame the space and a colorful garland of crimson cranberries and sunny lemons adorns the mantel.

My first time in the state dining room!
 The State Dining Room—a site for official dinners and diplomatic receptions—is filled with vibrant holiday tones. The 300-pound gingerbread house on display is a favorite for children and parents alike and has been a popular holiday ritual at the White House since the 1960s. Brightly colored stained glass covers the bay windows, and seasonal garland frames George P. A. Healy’s famous portrait of President Abraham Lincoln.

 The North Entrance and Cross Hall create a warm atmosphere for White House visitors. Garland cascades down the Grand Staircase, greenery wraps the columns, and festive wreaths cover the windows overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. Four trees are decorated with a collection of iconic ornaments that best represent the holiday legacies of former First Ladies.

 This space is designed to celebrate and pay tribute to past White House holidays and the rich heritage of celebrations, traditions, and styles that have evolved over the years. The custom of selecting an official holiday theme began in the 1960s, when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy created a Nutcracker-themed Christmas for her daughter, Caroline. The tradition has been honored for over 50 years with such themes as Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson’s “Early Americana,” Mrs. Patricia Nixon’s “Season of Gold,” Mrs. Betty Ford’s “Homespun Christmas,” Mrs. Rosalynn Carter’s “Classic American Christmas,” Mrs. Nancy Reagan’s “Old Fashioned Christmas,” Mrs. Barbara Bush’s “Christmas in Storyland,” Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s “Winter Wonderland,” and Mrs. Laura Bush’s “Red, White, and Blue Christmas.”

 A menorah for Josh in front of the mirror.

 This was such a special treat I was able to enjoy with friends in the Junior League, I'm so glad they were able to put this tour together for us and that Josh watched James for me this morning so I could go!