I love December. The music, the tree, the wrapping, the giving, the caroling, the celebrations, the advent calendars, the food, the parties, the decorations - I love the anticipation and prepartion. I can't help but feel a sense of camaraderie as I pass house after house proudly displaying their festive pines. And yes, this Tennessee girl is still adapting to the midwest's chilling 5 degree winter weather. And yes, I have quite the bruise on my left hip from my cowgirl-boots-meets-ice lesson-learned-the-hard-way... But the snow really does make this time of year more beautiful. I've been told that this round of snow is too fluffy for snowman building, but I'm sure we'll see our own Frosty before the winter is gone.

I can already tell that my winter morale is a bit higher this go-around all thanks to our wonderful fireplace (and to my stud-ly lumber jack husband for chopping all the wood!). We're only a month into the season and our winter wood pile is almost gone.

We got our first real tree this Christmas and despite its Charlie Brown-esque appearance, we are so proud. I'm feeling a bit bittersweet as we pack up for travel adventures and have to leave our pine behind. First stop, New York City.

Ben and I visited the Big Apple for the first time back in the spring with some of my family (you can read more about that trip HERE). We both had such a great time and have been hoping to go back ever since we returned. I can't wait to see NYC all lit up for Christmas! I won't bore you with the details of our plans, but I will say that ice skating, improv, jazz and Woody Allen will all be included (not necessarily all at once). Our good friends Adam and Christine are accompanying us and we are fully prepared to capture every fabulous moment with our 8mm cameras.

I hope your days are warm and filled with hot cocoa and good times with family old and new.