Happy Holidays! :)

I had some trouble logging into my Blog over the holidays so I apologize for the delayed Christmas wishes! I hope you all had a fantastic time with your friends, family and loved ones.
This year was a new experience for me as it was my first Christmas away from home and away from my usual Christmas day routine and family. I must admit that while waiting to see if my parole visa would come in time to make the trip home to the UK, I was very emotional and teary eyed at the thought of not spending Christmas the way I have done for the past 24 years. Saying bye to my twin sister Kelly was not easy but after 10 months away from Nanna and Grandad, I wanted her to be home for the holidays, even without me, as I knew she was way over due hugs and cuddles from our family there. Chris (my husband) and I were set to fly out on Saturday 21st if the timing of my parole card would permit, but after eagerly awaiting mail on Friday afternoon, it was not meant to be. A few sad and emotional voxers later, Chris and I hit the road for VA!! Now don't get me wrong, I was happy at the thought of spending Christmas with my family in Virginia but the idea just took a little getting used too. I think I had spent so much time focusing on what I was going to be missing in Stockport that I had briefly forgotten about all the things and people I had around me here. I was scared that Christmas wouldn't feel like Christmas.
Needless to say when I walked through the doors of Chris's family home in Virginia and was greeted by my Mom and Dad in law and a living room that looked like it could have been Santa's Grotto, I suddenly felt a complete calm and sense of relief. Yes, it was going to be a different Christmas and yes, I was going to miss my family 4000 miles away but I sure was the luckiest girl in the world to be able to spend the holidays with my family here and to be part of a home filled with so much love and laughter. Plus, with the wonders of technology I was also going to be able to Skype with my family in England too! To quote my Favourite TV show, Chuck, "Don't freak out!" :p
So here are some of my favourite Christmas memories from my first Christmas at Casa De Osterfeld! :)

Growing up we never did stockings but it's a tradition in Chris's family. I was very excited when I got my own stocking with my name on it that hung over the fire place! :) Chris and I also did stockings in our apartment before going to VA and it was so much fun! I prefer the little things and love how thoughtful a simple stocking can be when filled with ones favourite things! :)

I like how holiday nails can make you feel that little bit more festive, so I enjoyed spending one morning with my Niece Saranda having a pampering session at the nail salon. I went with a light pink with Gold glitter while Saranda had red with candy canes and snowflakes! :)

Christmas baking with Mom! :) I love to bake and think it's wonderful when at this time of year people like to spread cheer through cookies and treats and baked gifts! Mom found this recipe on Pinterest and we had a blast making it. All you need is a box of white cake mix, food colouring and a tub of white frosting. Follow the directions on the packet to make the cake batter and then split into three bowls. Add red food colouring to one and green to another, then pour into cake pan without mixing together! Very simple and so pretty! :)

Is it just me or can you not help but smile when you see pretty colours and sparkly lights as far as the eye can see?! :) We had a little family outing to see the lights around Mechanicsville and Mom knew where some of the most extravagant houses were. This one was stunning and what made it more wonderful was the owner dressing up as Santa Clause and taking donations for the Make a Wish foundation! What a lovely idea!

I mentioned in one of my previous blogs how excited I was about mine and Kelly's present for our Nanna and Grandad this year, well, the reason being is that we spent the past couple of months putting together our family recipe book. We wrote stories to go along with each recipe, included pictures of all the food, our own attempts at their dishes, dinners at their house, baby pictures from around the table and more. I was blessed, again due to the wonders of technology, thank you Skype, to see their faces when they opened it and when they began to read the letter that starts the book. A letter to thank them for being so incredibly wonderful and inspiring us in so many ways. My heart melted when they began to cry and I was overwhelmed with love. It made me so very happy to see them smile and for Grandad to understand what it was. One of my favourite Christmas moments EVER!! :)

Spending time with my husband was the best gift of all! Christmas day I awoke at 5:30 to Skype with my family back home. I watched them open presents and gifts that Chris and I had sent them and I got to talk to them and be a part of their morning before jumping back into bed and getting a little more shut eye before our Christmas morning would begin. Waking up next to Chris made me smile so big that even though I still missed everyone, I felt so blessed to have him by my side that I couldn't complain at all! :) Christmas at Casa De Osterfeld was relaxing and fun and everything Christmas should be. A day spent hanging out with family, thinking about one another, putting each other first, being thankful for all the memories and years that have past together and a day to show how forever grateful you are to have them in your life! So I guess it wasn't that different of a Christmas after all! :)
I do hope you all had an amazing day full of cheer and love and that Santa brought you a small treat or two! :)
Also thank you Mom and Dad Osterfeld for a lovely Christmas! Miss you already and love always.
And another big thank you to my sisters for turning on Skype whenever I asked and for not letting me miss anything at home! :) Love you!
Love Lulu.

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