Our Bookworm Christmas Tree

This is our first Christmas together as a married couple, as our own family unit.

For the last few years of celebrating Christmas together, we’ve each been joining in the other’s family traditions. Whether it’s cookie baking, the way we do gift exchanges, or just where and when we gather with everyone to spend time together.

The his and hers of it all has become ours.

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Still, it’s also nice to have a tradition or a special experience that is uniquely our own.  Something special that starts with us, that we might be able to pass on to our own children someday.

Things like this, however, can’t be forced or over-planned. The best family traditions are the ones that come from the heart and that the heart keeps going year after year.

Well, our first new tradition came to us the other night. Sometimes we (and our friends) joke around about all of our books. We know of libraries and other people have used books to build a Christmas tree, so why not us?

We certainly had enough books on hand to give it a go.

Putting the tree together was more of a project, at first, than anything else. It was more of a “let’s see how this works” kind of thing.

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But when it was finished, we both loved it.

We both knew, in our hearts, that this was something we want to do together every year. Every year the tree will probably look a little different; we will most likely use different books to make it, build it in different locations, decorate it differently.

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So really, it’s that feeling in our hearts, the one we both felt when we stepped back together to look at the completed tree, that feeling is what will be the same. And it will be our own special tradition.

~Melissa

 

We’re Going to Turn Into Pumpkins!

It’s fall…and that means it’s pumpkin season!

If I wasn’t already aware of that fact, just a few minutes in the supermarket would be notification enough. Pumpkin spice has taken over! FullSizeRender-1

It’s just so exciting to try all of the pumpkin and pumpkin spice versions of our favorite foods. (I didn’t buy the pumpkin pasta sauce this time, but there’s always next week. Last year, I mixed it with an Alfredo sauce, and it was delicious!)

I’m trying some new pumpkin-flavored foods this year including the pumpkin spice oatmeal, yogurt, and almonds. They are all surprisingly delicious! (They even have pumpkin spice Jell-O…I was a bit undecided on that one. If I can think of a good recipe that calls for it between now and next week,FullSizeRender I might try it then.)

I’m trying my best to pace myself with all these pumpkin foods, but it’s hard to do when we know these goodies won’t be around for long. Each time I go to the store, I find something new that is pumpkin-flavored to try. It’s almost as much fun as going picking for real pumpkins!

~Melissa

Hot Summer Days and Silver Linings

It’s been hot this summer, like really hot, like immediately-melt-the-ice-in-your-drink hot. We’re talking humid, stifling, 90-degree temperatures for the last few days.

And our air conditioner is not working. (We’re in the process of fixing it. It seems like it is only in need of a small repair, not actually “broken.” At least, we hope.) So, over the last few days the coolest place in our home has been, well, outside.

It’s easy to “lose your cool” in uncomfortable situations like these, so it is really important to remember that they are temporary, fixable, and only uncomfortable, nothing more.

It isn’t always easy to do.

I was delighted (and distracted) when, while we were sitting outside trying to keep cool, Jonathan and I saw these stormy clouds roll in:

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The air had already cooled down a bit by then (outside, not inside the house!) and sitting outside, talking to each other and reading books (and writing a little for me), we were relaxed and enjoying our evening. I LOVE rain — and especially love rain in the summer, so the idea of a rainstorm helped me completely forget all about our air conditioner trouble.

But it didn’t rain.

Instead, this happened:

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And this:

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We looked at one another, and we knew that had our air conditioner been working properly, we would have been sealed up inside our house, missing all of this beautiful evening sky. We kept watching.

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The shapes of the clouds shifted. The colors became more intense, muted, they brightened and darkened, and danced across the sky.

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And if you look really closely, you can even see the silver linings.

~Melissa

Some men bring home flowers…

Some men bring home flowers; my husband brings home books.

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The very first flowers that Jonathan bought for me when we started dating. 🙂

Please don’t get me wrong. I really do like flowers and the way they look and smell, warming up the house, but my husband knows that I like books even more. He knows how much I love to read and how much I love to be surrounded by books.

I am a lucky girl.

To me, there is no more thoughtful or meaningful bouquet* that he could give than when he comes home with a new book, one that he picked up off of a shelf or ordered online just because he thought I would enjoy reading it.

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Some recent additions to our growing collection.

Before we met, we each had our own collection of books. Now that we are married, so is our book collection.

Each time he brings me a new book, or we find one together, the book represents something we are building together, something that started as two separate entities and is now one.

Whether hardcover or paperback, a brand-new bestseller or a used bookstore-find, each of those bouquets are all beautiful to me, and they brighten up our home more than any bunch of flowers could.

~Melissa

*When we really think about the definition and the origin of the word — how it comes form Old French meaning a “clump of trees” and how it represents something that is to be ceremonial or presented as a gift — isn’t a bouquet, after all, really the perfect way, literally and figuratively, to describe a book?