It's not such a bad little tree. Maybe it just needs a little love.

I always look forward to our visit to the Christmas Tree Lot each year. This time, we faced a bit of a dilemma: Instead of picking out our standard big and tall Douglas Fir, we had to improvise. Why, you ask? Because we have a mischevious little elf running amuck in our home...his name is Hudson. At 15 months old, our little sweetie is very curious, and in to everything. We could just see him pulling a giant tree over on top of him, ornaments flying. We contemplated putting up the hideous child safety "fence" around the tree (you know, like the Gosselins did when the sextuplets were little? Come on, don't pretend you dont watch (Jon &) Kate + Eight!) But I just couldn't stomach the thought of the ugly, grey plastic divider blocking our view of the wondrous Christmas tree. So after much thought, we decided to get a smaller tree, so that we could place it on a corner table, unobstructed, but high enough away from tiny, grabby hands.

At the Tree Lot, the friendly man who helps us each year listened to our requests and pulled out two fresh Douglas Firs, still bound up from the tree delivery truck. The first was about four feet tall. And I won't lie, it looked a bit like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Somewhat sparse, and droopy. Although the little tree tugged at our hearts, we couldn't help but choose the second tree he unwrapped. It was thick and full, although small in stature. It was the perfect tabletop tree.

When we got home and set it up, it looked lovely in the corner of our living room. Hudson definitely tried to get his hands on the low branches at first, but after a few firm "No-No's" he decided to retreat, and leave the tree alone. We kept telling him to look at the pretty tree, at which time he would point at it and smile his biggest smile, while saying "Wooooo." He thought it was pretty.

As we pulled out all the ornaments, he helped us to make a mess unpack the boxes. He got especially excited when we opened up the special ornaments that talk, sing, or make sounds. His favorite seemed to be Linus from Peanuts, performing his part of the Christmas play on stage. Will and I love that one, too, and I have even been known to cry the first time I hear it each season. It really is very sweet. Hudson's face lit up when he heard Linus begin..."Lights, please? And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them...."

So Day 1 of the Christmas Tree was a success. Now, let's hope that the little rascal doesn't find a way to climb the table and topple the tree.

{Pretty Christmas Trees}

{DaDa & Hudson chatting with the Tree Man}

{all bundled up}

{smiley in the tree lot}

{Brrrr! It's only 38 degrees!!}

{This cool boy is ready to decorate! Please ignore his hat hair. HA!}

{He found Santa & Mrs. Claus!}

{Listening to the Linus Ornament with MaMa}

{Christmas Tree Time...now & then}

I lost my dog.

We have two dogs. Both are mixed breeds, but they have extremely different personalities. Kota is part Lab, part Great Pyrenees. She's sort of shy, and very sweet. She hardly ever misbehaves. Lulu is part Lab, part Husky. She's wild and crazy. She misbehaves daily.

We've had these dogs for six years, and in that time, Lulu has escaped from our fenced back yard probably 836 times. That's just an estimate...but I'm sure it's been that many. Neighbors have recovered her, and strangers have returned her. Sometimes I think she gets out, and digs her way back in before we even notice she's missing. She's a Houdini of sorts; She can get out of a notch in the fence that is no larger than a rabbit hole. In all of the times that she has gallavanted around our neighborhood, doing who know's what, she has returned unharmed.

She escaped again today. We noticed that she was gone around lunchtime. Will was home from work, so he drove around the block looking for her, but she was no where to be found. When I was outside taking my 30 for 30 pictures a little bit later, I heard some commotion, and there was Lulu. On the other side of our fence in our neighbor's yard. I trudged back there to open our back gate to let her in, and it was locked. Of course. So I walked back through the sludgy rain soaked grass to retrieve the gate key, and by the time I got back outside she was gone again. Disappeared without a trace.

Here's hoping Lulu returns home again. Safe and as crazy as ever.

{The camera snapped just as I spotted Lulu.}


Scenes from Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving this year. After a delicious meal of ham and green beans and, well, too much good food to list, we had a fun filled night of Monopoly and laughs! Hudson had a great time sitting at the dinner table like a big boy, and running around the house the rest of the night.

{3 month old Hudson last Thanksgiving...he sat in his bumbo at the end of the table. So little!}

{Thanksgiving 2009}

{Thanksgiving 2010}

We have so much for which to be thankful. This year, I said the blessing before we ate our meal, and I would love to share it with you...I think it's lovely.

Dear God,
You have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you, and you have promised through your well beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in His name, you will be in the midst of them. Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us, granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting.

I hope you all had a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving.

No, I didn't knit this scarf.

Whenever I wear this scarf, random people stop me and ask me if I knitted it myself. I didn't. I bought it from Urban Outfitters.

As I was browsing in a little shop in Nashville, a lady wearing similar neckwear stopped me by grabbing the little tassels that dangle from the end of my scarf, causing a tightening effect around my neck. "Did you knit this scarf?", she barked. I was a bit afraid to answer."No Ma'am", I meekly replied. "I bought it." I was afraid that if this was the wrong answer, she would rope me in closer for a thorough inspection, but luckily, she let me loose with a casual "Harumph". I continued on my way....in my store bought knit scarf.

But, someday, I shall knit. I'll make scarves, and hats, and gloves, and little knit animals that I'll give as gifts. One day.

Do you knit?


Seventeen & Seven Secrets


I was tagged by my new friend Linley at Dwelling & Telling to share Seven Secrets about myself. So in honor of outfit number SEVENteen in my 30 for 30 Remix, here are SEVEN random secrets about me:

1. My best friends call me Grace.
That's not any part of my given name, but they have a pretty good reason for nicknaming me Grace. You see, I'm probably the least "graceful" person on earth. In fact, I've been known to trip and fall over absolutely nothing. The moniker came about when me, Will, and our best friends visited NYC in 2008....I fell on the sidewalks of the New York about eight hundred times.

{Grace in the City, 2008}

2. I know every word to Home Alone.
It's always been my favorite holiday movie, ever since my visit to the theater to watch little Kevin McCallister wreak holiday havoc. I regularly quote and recite this flick....whether it's Christmas time or not!

{"This house is so full of people it makes me sick. When I grow up and get married, I'm living alone!"}

3. I took the LSAT.
In 2004, just after I graduated from college with a BS degree in Political Science, I continued on with what I thought would be my future career....I wanted to practice International Law. In October, I went early on a Saturday morning, and spent half the day answering difficult questions on the Law School Admissions Test. Two days after the LSAT, Will proposed. Needless to say, I chose to stay and get married and put my law school dreams on hold...it was a good decision, because now I have a beautiful family and I wouldn't change a thing!

{LSAT is fun! Not really.}

4. I was a baton twirling Rose from Titanic.
Not only was Titanic one of my favorite movies that debuted when I was in High School, I also had the honor of portraying Rose in an elaborate halftime production during my Senior football season. My fourth year of being a majorette, our band director hand picked me to play the Titanic heroine during the show, where I sailed high above the crowds in an intricate model of the Titanic, wearing a handmade jeweled replica of Rose's burgundy gown. It was really fun.

{little majorette me!}

5. My son Hudson shares a name with my maternal great great great great great Grandmother.
I picked Hudson's name, simply because I love it. Will and I agreed on it almost immediately. He thought it was a very strong name, and I especially liked it because it reminds me of my favorite place in the world: NYC, home of the Hudson River! About a month ago, we discovered a brand new reason to love his name...it's the surname of my ancestor who lived in the early 1700's! I think that's a sign that we picked a great name for our little boy!
{our little Hudson}

6. I love to eat oysters on the halfshell.
I'm a pretty picky eater. But surprisingly, one of my favorite foods is oysters....always raw. I love them slathered with hot sauce on a cracker. I could eat them every day, but my favorite place to have them is during our annual visit to the beach!

{enjoying oysters in Gulf Shores}

7. I love to watch boxing.
Will doesn't exactly share my affection for the sport, but I love to watch boxing. I'm a pretty girly-girl, but I always get really into the action packed fights. I even have a favorite boxer, The Magic Man Paulie Malignaggi.

So now, I have to challenge seven bloggers to share their seven secrets! I chose some of my favorite remixers! I tag:

And if you want to know anything else random about me, just click here to ask me a question anonymously!


Iron & Lace.

Well, today was the big day...the day the majority of Alabamians, and even some folks outside the state, wait patiently for all season. The Iron Bowl. And if you aren't sure what that is, it's the big rivalry game between Auburn University and The University of Alabama. As you can tell from the pictures, we pull for Bama.

Although Alabama lost the big game this year, by one measly point, it was still fun to watch! We snuggled inside and gathered around the tv for a few hours, staying toasty warm. The temps outside have finally dropped to adequate November weather temps, so to stay cozy Hudson wore his sweet, snuggly slippers along with his comfiest team attire. I wore the same lace shirt I wore for outfit #15...as I rifled through the clothes that I have in my 30 for 30 selection, I almost panicked when I didn't spot any crimson in the mix. But, I improvised, mixing grey, cream, and a tiny stripe of red on the undershirt to make a sufficiently Bama colored ensemble.

Did any of you watch the Iron Bowl today?


So I made it halfway through Kendi's 30 for 30 Challenge, guys! Yippee! Here's a few things that I've learned so far:

- having less in your closet to choose from actually makes getting dressed a whole lot easier

-accessories really make the outfit. necklaces & scarves & socks & tights...they can easily change a look from casual to dressy, or vice versa.

-I should really think twice before purchasing new items...there are things hanging in my closet that I haven't worn in awhile, and thanks to my new thinking as a product of this challenge, I can't wait to mix them up after the remix is over!

-hair & makeup, like accessories, can really change your whole look!

-style blogging is very very hard. especially if you have to take your own pictures...kudos to all those amazing bloggers out there who do this every day!

-I love that I've made tons of new little bloggy friends....we really are a strong community of young ladies and I love finding that I share things in common with all kinds of different women out there; whether they be on the other side of the country, or in my same state, I have loved meeting this great group of stylish girls! And I look forward to following along with their life and adventures for long after the challenge ends!

-I love fashion. Oh wait...I may have already known that before the challenge. ;)

With all that said, I would love to know:
 Which of my first fifteen looks is your personal favorite???

I think my favorite is #8.


Halfway There at Turkey Time!

I made it! This outfit is fabulous number 15 in Kendi's 30 for 30 challenge. This little shirt made it's first appearance today...and unfortunately I think it's the last of the 'never before worn' items in my 30 for 30 selection. I've been pretty busy today getting things together for the tiny bit of traveling we have to do later this weekend, and mentally preparing myself for a big meal tomorrow.

I hope all of my little bloggy friends have a fabulously fun Turkey Day. I may be too busy stuffing my face to make any posts tomorrow, unless I happen to fall across the keyboard in a tryptophanic haze. So if you see something that looks like al;sdkn;aj'lfdkknsm knamldmmmmmm gravy... you'll know what's up.

If I'm feeling ambitious I may have my Halfway Point Observation Post up later tonight! If not, I'll be back Friday!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

{Happy Thanksgiving from Ashley, Will, Hudson & our crazy dog Lulu}


A Bottle of Red, Oooooh, A Bottle of White

Do you ever have days when a song gets stuck in your head and stays there for the next, oh, twenty seven hours? That happens to me a lot. In fact, it's happening to me right now. What's the stuck song you ask? Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. By Billy Joel.

As I've been buzzing around town today, little bits of lyrics come spilling from my brain and exiting out of my mouth.

When I was hurrying into the supermarket with Hudson in the cart, the fast paced portions of the tune escaped: "Doyourememberthosedayshangingoutatthevillagegreen-engineerboots,leatherjackets&tight bluejeans" 
 And either Hudson liked the song or my out-of-tune singing simply made him laugh.

When I was standing over the stove making dinner, I couldn't help but sing the slow, drawn out verses:
"Bottle of reds, ooo a bottle of white-whatever kind of mood you're in tonight"
I was really doing some crooning.

Well, at least the song that's stuck in my head is really like 3 songs rolled into one. Because that's just the way Billy Joel rolls. Maybe I won't tire of it too easily.

What song always gets stuck in your head?

p.s. Will took these fun outfit pics for me today after Hudson & I surprised him at work. Here's a picture of 3 Generations of the family at the family business....Hudson's Grandfather Greg - company president, Hudson's Dad Will - company vice president, and Sweet Baby Hudson - future company president :-) Cute, huh?