Our Christmas Told in Photographs

Baby’s first Christmas was more than we could have asked for. It was filled with joy, laughter & beauty.

And I thought that now, more than ever, would be the perfect time to practice my photography skills.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to begin truly diving into photography; to find an outlet for my creativity & and to find something that helps me see and appreciate the beautify in the everyday.

Here is our first Christmas told in photographs:

Christmas is no Christmas without chilly winter weather. Joshua, much like his mother, loves a snuggly rainy day.

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Don’t you just love the way his precious little hands are pressed up against the glass?

Christmas Eve was filled with food, family, laughter & love. And certainly, no Christmas eve is complete in our family without a dramatic game of white elephant.

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This year, my incredible SIL decorated, not just any tree, but a FROZEN-themed tree. It was filled with glimmers of silver, blue and purple. For those of you who know me, you know there is no other theme I’d prefer for a tree. Just look at this beauty:

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Here’s our sweet angel in front of the tree

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He loved his first Christmas, as it was filled with family, laughter, love, presents & baby’s first steps. Here’s Joshua enjoying an incredible gift from his Aunty.

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And then of course enjoying our little doggy friend 🙂

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Fireplace…

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And last, but certainly not least, here is our little family together on Christmas day, our first Christmas together. Thank you, Lord, for such a sweet and precious gift.

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Christmas Time for the First Time

This year, the Christmas season feels just a little extra special 🙂 For the FIRST time (& quite possibly, one of the only times), we have been celebrating as a family of 3.

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It has been an absolute joy having my sweet baby, Joshua, around during this time of year. I cannot believe how infinitely more exciting and heart-warming this holiday has become with a little angel in my arms. There is so much to be thankful for that I truly don’t have adequate words to describe my overwhelming sense of gratitude. Thank you, Lord for the best year of my life 🙂

Everything has become a little more fun, such as picture-taking… how can you resist throwing a santa hat on this guy? And having your own personal photo shoot with him? Done and done.

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Other traditional christmas events are also more bright with Joshua. His little soul gets so incredibly excited over every new experience and I can’t help but smile when I watch him see something for the first time, such as going to the annual Christmas Tree lighting in our hometown.

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And naturally with a little one, we have plenty of new questions that are arising. For the first time, we get to create Christmas for our own little family… but there are many aspects of “Christmas” and “family tradition” that need to be sorted out amidst our little home…

Here are the three questions that have arisen for us this holiday season:

1. What new traditions would we like to start?
FINALLY… it’s my opportunity to create fun, exciting traditions in our household. Growing up in  a Persian home, we never really got to create fun christmas traditions, such as building a gingerbread house or making eggnog… I’ve never seen White Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life or any of those other traditional Christmas movies. My husband had a similar experience since we’re both “first generation kids”, if you will. I cannot WAIT to start those traditions I’ve always wanted. What will they consist of? I don’t know yet. Definitely a lot of sweets. Oh, and Love Actually.

2. How do we help Joshua appreciate the true meaning of Christmas?
I’ll be the first to admit how hopelessly in love I am with all the frills of Christmas; I’m a total sucker for the decorations, the music, the trees, the chilly weather, the happy films (ahem, love actually), & everything in between. But amidst all the frills, the true meaning of Christmas gets lost. Many children I know (even the Christian ones), have no idea that Christmas is actually the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Nick and I have talked about how crucial it is for Joshua to know that although we love the all the fun things to eat, drink, see & hear, Christmas is more about Jesus than about Santa. The celebration of Jesus coming into this world is infinitely better than Santa & reindeer… But how do instill this truth in him? How can we make this truth about Christmas bigger & more exciting (because it is) than presents and Rudolph? Hmmm… we’re not quite sure what types of traditions to instill with this regard… We have several ideas, but are welcome to hearing more 🙂

3. How can we give back?
Nick and I always talk about ways to give back on Christmas. Whether it’s making a huge donation to a cause we know and love or serving at a soup kitchen downtown, we love the idea of giving back… because that’s where the heart of Christmas really lies. To be perfectly honest, I must sheepishly admit that I’m not sure we’ve ever done these things during this time of year together. With all the distractions of being home and with all the costs of gifts for family & friends, we have the horrible habit of forgetting… forgetting that there are people who are truly needy right here and right now.. and this time of year, the feelings of neediness really seem to amplify. There are no excuses for NOT giving back. And we really want to make this habit. Especially with Joshua. Perhaps this may be another way he learns what the true meaning of Christmas is.

Touches of Holiday Magic

Finally… Christmas season is here 🙂 There is so much I can say about how much I truly adore this time of year. I love everything about it: the chilly winter weather, the joyful christmas carols, watching old holiday movies, snuggling up near the fireplace with a warm cup of eggnog, starbucks red cups and peppermint everything.

Nick and I are finally home with family: celebrating, relaxing and completely done with school and work.

This morning, I realized how much I love the little things that make this season just a little extra special. Here are 3 simple touches of magic that made my morning a bit more christmas-happy:

1. A warm cup of coffee with Bailey’s in my Christmas mug
I mean come on you guys… who doesn’t love Bailey’s irish cream in their coffee. I never really use bailey’s in my coffee during the year because I’m often rushing off to school or I don’t have it in stock… but my dad does. And during this time of year, I have an entire month off… why not indulge in delicious warm coffee in my beautiful BIG christmas mug?

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and although you can’t see it, there’s steam coming out of my cup…

2. Rainy weather through a beautiful bay window
I don’t have one of these back in LA of course… nor do I have this heavenly winter weather. So you can imagine just how thrilled I was to wake up to this at my dad’s place.

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3. Christmas Manicure
I’m a total girly girl… And even though I rarely get my nails done, I love any excuse for a good pampering. I initially wanted to do the traditional sparkly red, as most do this time of year… but I figured a fun, unique-ish change of pace would be good 🙂 Here are my olaf-inspired, white snowflake nails.

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4. Santa Baby
Oh yeah… and this kid 🙂

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Easy Fall Chili

Nothing says fall/winter like coming home for dinner to a nice steamy bowl of hearty chili 🙂

I always used to steer clear from making chili (even though I love it) because, as I often witnessed, it generally takes forever to make and requires a ton of ingredients.

Good news: I found the easiest & simplest chili recipe that turned out amazing. It took 20 minutes and only 5 required ingredients (I added a few of my own I had on hand). It turned out beautifully. My husband and I both loved it and we had leftovers for days.

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Easy Fall Chili

servings: 6
prep + cook time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 3 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans beans, drained (black beans, kidney beans, a combo, or whatever you like)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • (optional: 1 C frozen corn)
  • (optional toppings: shredded cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, cilantro, etc.)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a large stockpot, cook ground turkey over medium-high heat until browned, stirring frequently.  Drain the excess grease. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the onion is cooked and softened.
  2. Serve warm with additional toppings if desired.

recipe slightly adapted from: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/5-ingredient-easy-chili-recipe/