Our Classical Christmas

Friday, January 5, 2018

The large yellow house with the wide white porch has candles lit in the windows and wreaths hung with red bows.  Beckoning you inside is a pathway illuminated with glowing lanterns and the smell of cider in the crock pot greets you before you step over the threshold.  Vintage Christmas books from my childhood are close at hand by couches where cozy throws invite you to snuggle up under the sprawling 15 foot Christmas tree adorned with huge silver balls and white twinkle lights.
Here the hearth fire is always burning and the coffee pot is never empty and the Christmas playlist in the background enhances the ambiance.  Mother has been at work for weeks prepping all our favorite holiday dishes and stashing away sweets in tins on the sideboard.
The door constantly revolves with suitcases and baby cribs and wrapped gifts being lugged in by uncles and aunts. The squeals of cousins reuniting and thundering footsteps amplify the constant noise as little ones pair off in twos and threes and scamper off to the trampoline or the game room.
Board games are pulled out.  Cookie trays are passed around.  Laughter ensues.
The Santa mugs, the sentinel nutcrackers, the greens gathered in every vase; the duchess of decor has left no corner bare or undressed.  Tables are set with Spode Christmas china and linens and festive centerpieces.
Snack baskets and “pillow presents” grace beds where each person will lay their head tonight.
This….this is what home-for-chrismtas looks like!!

We’ve spent more Christmases out of the country than at “home”, and we’ve made our own memories and created new traditions as our family grows and our life has led us down distant roads.  But, the nostalgia and sentiment of the season always leaves me a bit “homesick” at this time of year and this Christmas was beautifully memorable and fun to take our Eden home for the holidays for the first time!!

Grateful.  Just so grateful for family.  For siblings who are my favorite people.  For the beauty of 4 generations gathered.  For cousin-best-friends for my children.  But most of all for the reason we celebrate!!
Grateful for Emmanuel
…God with us.

Grandmoni and Grandenny

Eden and his buddy cousin Roman

Everyone loves Uncle Adam

Christmas Eve

Christmas nightgowns from Santa

Obligatory Christmas Morning photo

Aspiring artist and her artsy aunt Katherine

Our lil drummer boy LOVES his drum

Cousins and 97 year old great-grandpa!

Siblings and spouses


Columbia City Ballet and The Nutcracker

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

We wanted to share one of the annual highlights of our Christmas season…
The Nutcracker is a timeless tradition beautifully carried on through the Columbia City Ballet in which this company (artistically directed by the highly acclaimed William Starrett) just celebrated their 50th year anniversary performance of The Nutcracker.   A Broadway-like production of the Christmas classic!  This is Columbias Koger Center for the Arts longest running production and boasts a full professional cast, set, costumes and choreography!

We began our afternoon at a Nutcracker Tea, hosted in a grand ballroom at the Koger Center where attendees are treated to a lavish spread of cakes, cookies, spreads and cheeses.

Tiny tea cakes and cheese straws, cupcakes and gingerbread, fruit and finger sandwiches, and hot tea, punch and beverage options.  Tables are laid with assorted mis-matched porcelain tea cups lending to fun conversations and showing off chosen cups and varied vintages.

Young attendees learn to “take tea” like little ladies!  From the youngest tiny dancers, to the moms and grandmothers, this is a girls day out no one will soon forget!  You cant imagine the fun my sister Katherine and I had spending the afternoon with my 5 girls all glitzed and glammed up for high tea and a ballet!!

Chair covers, real linen table cloths, color themed tables and bedazzled centerpieces made for a classy celebration and set the tone for a spectacular afternoon.

Gigi was wide eyed as pageant girls in their stiletto heels and sparkly tiaras waited graciously on our tables and hosted us attentively.

And when principal dancers made appearances to sign autographs, the girls were in awe!!  Gigi and Evie made rounds getting signatures from the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Snow Queen and other Nutcracker starlets.  Company dancers patiently answered their inquisitive notions such as “do pointe shoes hurt?” and “are those your real curls?”  The Columbia City Ballet teas (of which there are more to come!) provide attendees with a “backstage pass” experience in which the veil is lifted and young girls get a peek into the beauty and dedication of meeting real-life-dancers!

As tea concluded, we made our way to the theatre to find our seats.  Ive seen the Columbia City Ballet Nutcracker performance many years and it never disappoints!!  But this year, their 50th anniversary celebration, was exceptional!  A real live unicorn stole the show and fresh creativity abounded with set, staging and choreography.  We feasted our eyes on the the sweet soiree as dancers retold the timeless story.  Spanish chocolate, Arabian coffee, Chinese tea, candy canes, gingersnaps,  Neapolitan ice cream, and of course the Sugar Plum Fairy performed by the talented and illustrious Regina Willoughby who takes the stage this year for her final performances before retirement as a legend!

The Columbia City Ballet thrives on the hard work and dedication not only of its talented dancers, cast and directors, but also from the unparalleled devotion of its volunteers.  Looking for a way to invest yourself in 2018?  Consider becoming a volunteer and supporting the arts through giving time to the Columbia City Ballet!!  The company boasts a full performance schedule for the 2018 calendar year.

Upcoming performances: 

Information about Midsummer’s Night Dream

Information about Bod & Movement Explored

Information about Cleopatra

Information about Off the Wall

Ticket Booking

***There is a similar FAIRY TEA coming up on January 27th at 1:30 pm in collaboration with A Midsummer Nights Dream ballet performance!!  Book your tickets now for another unforgettable mother-daughter girls-day-out!
Contact Katie Watson with questions: 803-397-1156
Or order tickets to the performance and request a setting at the tea HERE.***

Christmas Season Reflections

Friday, December 22, 2017

This special season of celebration started the weekend before Thanksgiving with the wedding of my brother Isaac.  We were overjoyed to be back stateside for this event and able to participate and join the festivities surrounding this couple that we love dearly!  Isaac has been a very special part of our lives and particularly an uncle who has invested significantly in Tristan and who has a soft spot in his heart for Gigi particularly….(we are holding him singularly responsible for spoiling her and her affinity to bubble gum!).

my guys clean up nice!

got a dance with my daddy!

Gigi was so honored to be asked to be a flower girl.   We’re so encouraged to see this new couple starting their life together.  Jamie is incredible with a huge heart for others and we look forward to getting to know her better now that we are closer!

Our tree went up before Thanksgiving because, well, I couldn’t wait.  This may have meant triple buckling kids in the back of the 7 seater Kia Sedona because mom thought it would be “fun” to take a whole Sunday and drive out into the middle of nowhere and get a tree all together!!  Safe to say, the memories (or at least the pictures) are more fun than the actual experience was!  Photo credits to Abi for documenting our little “flannel family”.

Absolutely loving having a real, pine-scented, needle-dropping, water-drinking tree in our home after 5 years of artificial in Thailand! This was Eden’s year to put the star on top!!

We’ve baked billions of buckeyes and frosted dozens of cookies.  Visits from my mom and sister over the holiday break have been fun impetus to mass produce baked goods and drink inordinate amounts of cider and hot chocolate.  Oh…and that fireplace!! Its been put to good use, whether its cold enough or not!!  Guests have graced our home in abundance and conversations have been deep and meaningful.  Abi and Britain have contributed Christmas music they’ve learned on the piano and the comfort of “home” has been felt keenly this year!

We are heading “over the river and through the woods” to Atlanta in the morning.  Christmas at my parents home and lots of traditions to be had!  Wishing each of you, near and far, a fresh realization of the wonders of his love!  A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices – all because of HIM!!
Merry Christmas dear friends from our Smith, party of 9!!