Lately

Life is still flying by at break-neck speed. Mostly because we got back from Europe just in time for photography busy season. I have to say, though, I have done a pretty stellar job  with self care this holiday season compared to last year. I have been much better about not overbooking myself (even if it meant that I had to refer clients to other photographers) and much better about not letting go of the things that I know are good for me. I still start every morning with quiet time, yoga, and then an hour at the gym. Last year I skipped the gym a lot during this time of year and it definitely left me feeling sluggish. So I told myself this year that I’d do a better job. And I have!

at-cab-taking-pics

Christopher snapped this shot of me over Thanksgiving week taking photos of my sister & brother-in-law. Their daughter is helping encourage them to smile. I’m pretty sure I need to hire her full time. 😉

decorating the tree.jpg

We actually put up all of our Christmas decorations in early November, but I waited to share this picture until now out of respect for my friends who prefer not to be inundated with all things Christmas before Thanksgiving. 😉 For the record, we love Thanksgiving even though we decorate for Christmas so early. We really just love the whole holiday season – the day after Halloween until January 1st. We love gathering with friends and family, attending parties, listening to festive music, eating delicious food, sharing what we’re thankful for, gift shopping, and exchanging gifts. We do all of those things (including giving gifts) at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years every year. So this whole season is just wonderful and magical to both of us. We just happen to not like Thanksgiving decor near as much as we love Christmas decor. So we celebrate Thanksgiving with our Christmas tree twinkling brightly. 🙂

oreo-and-toph

In general we eat at either our dining room table or the bar in our kitchen. But if we’re home on a Friday night then we are eating homemade pizza while sitting on the couch. It’s one of our favorite traditions. Most pizza nights, Oreo sits on the floor and looks at us with big puppy eyes or occasionally he just lays in his bed and sighs a lot. Anything to let us know that he’s desperately starving. This past Friday, though, he took things to new heights. He jumped up on the couch and literally laid on Christopher. I’m pretty sure he was thinking, “maybe they can’t see me on the floor. Surely he’ll feed me now!” That dog is a mess!

we-escaped

To celebrate Brodie’s birthday we did our first escape room this past week! We just barely escaped with 2 minutes and 38 seconds left, but we had fun!

international-night-of-worship

And on Saturday night we attended an International Night of Worship. We found out about it through World Relief which is a refugee resettlement organization that we volunteer with. It was incredible! There were people from all parts of Asia, Africa, and South America. There were even a handful of people from Italy, Canada, and Australia. As well as people born & raised in the States. Songs were sung in different languages, scriptures were read in different languages, and prayers were said in different languages. It was truly incredible to come together with people from all corners of the Earth and worship God together.

Lots more to look forward to in the weeks ahead! I just love this time of year! 🙂
Love Rach

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40 responses to “Lately

  1. I want to do an escape room! I think I’d be horrible at it though! I love Christmas! I love thanksgiving too, but I want two solid months of Christmas music!!

    • Oh girl, I think you’d do great at an escape room! It helps to go with a group of people you know who you can work well with! I bet you and Alan with some friends from church would rock this!

      And YES to all the Christmas music! 🙂

  2. I love your homemade pizza on a Friday tradition! We haven’t made a lot of homemade pizza in the past, but Chris recently made one with some brisket on it, and I pretty much could have it every day! Haha.

  3. If we didn’t put up a real tree, it would totally be up before Thanksgiving! 🙂 I am especially appreciating the coziness of lights making my house glow this year. It’s only the 5th, and I’m already sad at the thought of having to put the lights away. They just make me so happy!
    And good for you, making time for self-care and the gym. I have been trying to do better at making me time… And although I know it will be hard when we have two kiddo’s, I really want to dedicate myself to a gym membership over the summer, so that I can really get fit and healthy again. 🙂

    • It’s amazing to me how much of a difference time at the gym can make! You have done such a good job with being active this year and eating well so I have no doubt that you will rock your gym time next summer!

      My sister is allergic to pine so I didn’t grow up with a real tree so I don’t know what I’m missing with those. 😉 Christopher grew up with artificial trees as well so it honestly never occurred to us to get a real tree until the last couple of years when all our friends started getting life trees. We still have stuck with our artificial ones so far (like you said, a real tree isn’t going to make it from early November to mid January, haha!), but I could definitely see us doing the live tree thing someday when we have kids. I like visiting our friends’ homes who have live trees because they smell so great! 🙂

  4. You guys actually escaped from the room! That’s pretty good! I’ve heard those are tough. I think that Christmas decor really IS prettier than Thanksgiving decor–I’d choose lights and sparkles any day over leaves and corn in shades of brown…but that’s my personality…

  5. I love the holiday season and love that you decorate right after Halloween!

    Oreo is too funny!

  6. I feel like the holiday season always goes by so fast! Whenever you can slow down and enjoy the simple things (like eating homemade pizza on the couch!), that’s always a win! Even though I’m not working this year, I’m still feeling the crunch to get my Christmas shopping done on time!

    • Yes! The holiday season DOES fly by every year! And then it’s January and suddenly time comes to a halt, haha! And the frozen months last fooooorever. And of course this is me talking who lives in Memphis. I’d never survive the north! 😉

  7. I keep hearing great things about escape rooms. Sounds fun 🙂

  8. dancingwithashley

    I love a Friday night pizza on the couch tradition! So glad photography is going well…I agree-I always feel so much better when I make it to the gym.

    dancingwithashleyblog.com

  9. Finally decorated this weekend! Glad to hear you aren’t overloading yourself and are practicing self-care!!

  10. Good for you for taking care of yourself- especially during the holiday season (and flu season, for that matter). I’m envious of your yoga + gym time each morning- I wish I could get up and get moving in the a.m. so I could check those things off my list!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

    • Well, it definitely helps that I work for myself so I can make my own schedule. I wake up around 6am every morning (give or take 30 minutes depending) and have quiet time and do yoga first thing in the morning. Then it’s off to the gym for an hour. So by the time I get home and showered up, my day actually starts at closer to 9:30 or 10am. Which is super late for most people who have to be at work by 8am. So I know I’m lucky in that. I have a handful of friends who get up at 4:30am just to get in their exercise before going to work at 8am and that’s true dedication to me, haha!

  11. I’ve never heard of an escape room. It sounds like something that would make me feel anxious and claustrophobic!

    Yay for yoga and quiet and gym time. Keep up with the self care! That’s so important for all of us. Why is it usually not prioritized the way it should be??

    We need to decorate soon. Oh and I think you should extend the holiday season celebrations to past January 4th so that my birthday is included. That’s my holiday season at least!!

    • The escape room wasn’t quite as intense as it sounds, haha! You are “locked” in a room (like 12 foot by 12 foot room), but you can actually leave and come back as needed (for a bathroom break or just whatever reason). No one in our room left during our hour time frame, but it’s definitely allowed. It’s really a big logic puzzle. You walk in the room and start gathering clues to try and figure out how to break the code to leave the room. It was fun! 🙂

      I’m not sure why it’s so hard to prioritize self care. It’s clearly important in the long run, but I think when life gets busy it’s easy to push aside the “optional” things. Even though taking care of yourself shouldn’t be considered optional. But yeah, I agree with you!

      Oh girl, your birthday is DEFINITELY included in the Christmas celebrating! 🙂

  12. i have never done one of those escape room things, i think i would freak out lol. good job on staying on top of self care – that’s awesome girl and so important! i skipped the gym today and too many times last week and you’ve inspired me to make an effort. thank you!

    • Girl, your dedication to the gym earlier this year was encouraging to me when I was making myself go every day as well so I’m glad to return the favor! 🙂

      And I think you’d do great in an escape room! It’s just a bunch of little puzzles and logic things to figure out. And they totally give you hints along the way if you get hung up on something. 😉 We definitely wouldn’t have escaped without those hints!

  13. That is great that you have been better this year about self care. It is such an important thing, but one of the hardest things to prioritize. I absolutely love that picture of Christopher and Oreo. The poor dog looks totally deprived. 😉

    • He DOES look deprived, doesn’t he?! He would certainly have you think we starve him, haha! He’s such a food motivated dog. 🙂

      And yes! I’m so with you on how hard it can be to prioritize self care. But after last year I knew I had to be better this holiday season!

  14. I love that you are taking such good care of yourself during this season, Rach! It’s an inspiration to me :). Oreo laying on Christopher is hilarious! Lola would totally do the same thing if Jimmy let her, haha.

    Congrats on making it through the escape room! I have known a few people that have done those but never heard of anyone actually escaping!

  15. I think there is definitely something magical about Christmas lights… they’re just so sparkly and twinkly… I love them! I haven’t done an Escape yet, but I think it sounds so interesting!! And that Night of Worship sounds remarkable. I’ve gone on a few missions trips, and I always love how even though we don’t always speak the same language, the Word of God and praising and worshiping him in song and prayer has no language barriers. ❤

    • Yes! I’m with you on the magic of Christmas lights! 🙂 And on how awesome worshiping with other believers is even if you don’t speak the same language.

      And hey, I bet you’d enjoy an escape room! Go with a group of friends! It makes for great bonding time. 🙂

  16. whimsicalseptember

    I’m SO with you about the magic of November 1st-January 1st. It’s such a weird couple of months in the very, very best way. I also love your note about self-care. Such a good reminder to everyone reading this post; there are always things that we could each do to quietly give ourselves a little TLC so that we’re the best versions of ourselves that we can be. ❤

    • It’s such a magical time of the year, isn’t it?! Love the holiday season! 🙂

      Yes! Self care is so important. After losing sight of that last holiday season, I knew for sure that I needed to take care of myself better this year. I’m so glad that I have! 🙂

  17. I love that photo of you shooting – and the photo of Christopher with the lights!

    Jesse and I nearly did an escape room thing in New Zealand last year but ended up doing something different but I really want to find one in Sydney!

  18. You guys inspire me soooo much! How do you find out about all these organizations? The night of worship sounds amazing! I love connecting with strangers over Christ. 🙂 What kinds of things do you do as volunteers?

    Yay for the escape room!!! I’d love to hear more about that! My Mom is OBSESSED with them! They have a board game version that you can play at home. We bought it and tried it out a week or so ago. We made it out with time to spare, but it was tricky!

    Poor Oreo. You really should get him a pizza plate! 😉

    I’m 100% with you on extending Christmas! We take ours through Epiphany. 🙂 We celebrate with a special breakfast, opening the gifts from my parents, and feasting on grape leaves with all the fixings. I plan to carry this on with my own family someday.

    Way to go with keeping the balance going!!! Do you do your own thing at the gym?

    • Most volunteer opportunities usually just kind of fall in our lap, haha! Working with World Relief is something we sought out, though. When we became aware of just how bad the refugee crisis is worldwide, we wanted to do SOMETHING to help. Since we can’t go be aid workers at a refugee camp right now, this seemed like a small way to help. My sister works full time for a refugee resettlement agency and she told me about World Relief here in Memphis and how they do similar things to what she is doing in Nashville. This past summer and fall we had a family from Syria that we volunteered with. We helped them get acclimated to Memphis and spent our Monday nights at their apartment teaching them English. It was awesome! Right now we’re taking a break over the holidays and then we’ll decide if we want to take on another family in January. 🙂

      I had no idea that they had a board game version of escape rooms! I am definitely going to look into that!

      I love that you are with me on continuing the Christmas spirit through January! I remember you mentioning Epiphany last year and thinking that was really neat!

      Yup, I definitely do my own thing at the gym. I’m not really a class type. If I had a group of friends to go with then I might do a class, but otherwise I am definitely a lone wolf at the gym. 🙂

  19. I’ve already decided next year the tree is going up right after Halloween! At least the tree and lights. I love the lights too much to only have them a short time. We used to put the tree up the Friday after Thanksgiving. Then I moved it up to the weekend before. Now I’m going for Nov 1st!

  20. Homemade pizza and self care is the best! My mom always says that we have to take care of our bodies so they’ll take care of us 🙂

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