Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Since this is my last day at work for 11 days before holiday break (I LOVE my boss!), I just wanted to do a quick post to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a blessed start to 2008! Brad and I will be enjoying a quiet Christmas together. We're really looking forward to attending midnight Mass at the church we were married in. I'm going to make a bunch of yummy food and hopefully we can start some of our own traditions this year.

See y'all next year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Have I mentioned how much I love my new camera that my awesome hubby got me for the wedding? While Brad was at his men's group at church last night, I got nerdy and took some macro pictures. I think they turned out pretty good :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gifts, Merriment, and a Guard Penguin

I am so blessed to have so many shiny packages under our beautiful tree this year! I just can't put my camera down!

a little hot chocolate with marshmellow's for those chilly nights!

Noni sent Brad and I this cute little penguin, since we discovered a mutual love/hate relationship with penguins during our Thanksgiving visit. He now guards our tree and drives our downstairs neighbor crazy as we make him zoom all over the floors!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Two things...

Two quick things:

1. I've posted a smattering of professional wedding pictures on my flickr account. I took out all the duplicates, picked out some of the best shots, and recropped some so-so shots to make them great (see below). Just click here!

2. Please keep the people of Tulsa, Oklahoma and all the Midwest in your prayers. There was a really bad ice storm there earlier this week. Over 200,000 in the Tulsa metro area alone are without power and it is expected to be "weeks" before power is totally restored. We have been working way over time (till 9pm last night) trying to help people who call in, not that there is much we can do to get people's power turned on. Below is a pictrue of a co-workers house, which luckily didn't suffer structrual damage.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Our First Tree

Brad and I got our first Christmas tree this weekend! Since we're going to be in town this year for Christmas, we decided to get a real, live tree. It is Brad's first ever live tree and I am so glad to be back to having a live tree - the college years of fake ones just weren't the same. The smell when you walk into our apartment is fantastic; I wish I could bottle it up to have in there all year long!

After a less than successful shopping trip to Home Depot Saturday to look for a tree, we happened to stop by our local Catholic high school on a whim because they had a small sign indicating they were selling trees. I'm so glad we did! We got a beautiful tree for a good price, and the people were so nice! They helped us get it in the car and soon enough we were on our way.

When we got home, we carried the tree up the three flights of stairs to our apartment (I only wish we had pictures of that!). I brought the tree stand into the hallway and managed to get the tree in with little difficulty and not too many needles covering the carpet. Brad brought it into the apartment and it fit perfectly in the spot we picked out!

We let it settle over night and Sunday afternoon we decorated it. I was worried we wouldn't have enough ornaments, but we even had some to spare. We got all our favorites on, which was important to both of us.

I'm so thankful to have a beautiful tree to celebrate our first Christmas as husband and wife together!

dissatisfaction at Home Depot (sorry Home Depot - we normally love you!)
finally got it up the stairs and into the apartment!

all set up, in the stand and only leaning a little bit

time for decorations

all finished decorating!

Brad's favorite childhood ornament

Tony Stewart #20 NASCAR snowman pit crew

Christina's favorite childhood ornament

replica of the ship we went on for our honeymoon
Mr. and Mrs.

(still to come: the ornament we bought in Pisa, Italy that is currently MIA :) )


As some of you know, it is a Tuff family tradition (at least in my immediate family) to make homemade chocolate at Christmas time. This past Sunday, I carried on the tradition! It was a bit more difficult this year, since our apartment has little counter space, but I think the treats turned out pretty good!

from left to right: white chocolate covered Oreos, milk chocolate covered marshmellows and cashews, milk chocolate covered raisins, milk chocolate covered Oreos with white chocolate drizzle, milk chocolate covered pretzel rods with peppermint, milk chocolate pretzel rods with white chocolate drizzle, milk chocolate pretzel rods with crushed cashews (not show: a rocky road type chocolate bar called nutmallow!)

Christmas at the White House

This past weekend Bradley and I ventured to the White House Ellipse to check out the National Christmas Tree and the Pagent of Peace. Despite the crowds and the cold, we still had a great time. They have a small tree for each state and U.S. territory, decorated with ornaments from that state. Unfortunately, they're encased in plastic balls, so they were hard to see because the balls were all fogged up. Never the less, it was beautiful!

Brad in front of the Ohio tree

south front of the White House
the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
the north front of the White House, all decked out for Christmas

Thursday, December 6, 2007

first snow!!

We had our first snow fall here in our nation's capital. Nothing big - maybe 2" max. But it was still really pretty to see. Or I should say it was pretty until I had to go scrape my car this morning in 23 degree weather!! My car door was frozen shut! Luckily, the passenger side opened with a little tugging and I was able to force the door open from the inside. Ahhh... the joys of living up north (even though I never considered Virginia "up north"!!)

This was the view from our living room this morning:

Monday, December 3, 2007


I've decided to the 365 photo challenge! Basically you take one photo a day, for a whole year. At the end of the year, you're not only a better photographer, but you have documentation of all the quirky things that happened throughout the year, which you normally wouldn't remember. I started last Saturday, December 1st. I'll periodically post here, but you can also follow my progress on my flickr page.

12.01.07 - first Christmas decoration!

12.02.07 - Brad organized the closet!
12.03.07 - energy, energy, energy!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wedding Pictures Are Up!!!

There are over 1000 of them, so grab a cup of hot chocolate and get ready to view!!

1. Go to
2. Search by either mine or Brad's last name
3. Register your name and a password of your choosing
4. Enjoy!

Also, if you have pictures you took at the wedding, please email them to me. There are some shots my photographer missed that I'm hoping others got.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving... lots more than giving thanks!

Brad and I had a great time in Minneapolis celebrating Thanksgiving with family! On Thursday we did the usual Thanksgiving festivities - watching the parade and football, taking a long nap, a fantastic meal prepared by Noni, and an after dinner walk followed up by several pieces of pie :)

On Friday, Brad, Dad, Aunt Barb and I ventured to the craziness of Black Friday shopping at the Mall of America. We broke up into pairs and it is sad to say that the boys actually out shopped my aunt and I! We all got some great deals though and finished much of our shopping. Friday evening we went downtown to the Hollidazzle parade. It was quite chilly, but still fun to see.

Saturday Brad, Dad and I headed back to the Mall of America so Dad could shop and Brad and I could ride some rides (really the only thing Brad wanted to do the whole trip!). We rode the log flume, the rollar coaster, the ferris wheel and Brad rode the scary upsidedown ride. Saturday night, Aunt Barb and Unlce Paul hosted us at their house for a great dinner and some fun with the cousins.

It was a great trip and reminded me of all I have to be thankful for this year - my wonderful family and especially my new husband!!

Brad and Papa all bundled up enjoying their mini-doughnuts before the parade

Hollidazzle dancing Christmas bulbs!

Hollidazzle train
in front of the Mall of America ferris wheel

Brad, Christina, Hermie and some penguins
the only semi-scary ride: the ferris wheel!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

God's beauty and my hatred of flying

There are few things in this world that give me greater anxiety than flying. Usually I just sit there through the whole flight, clutching the arms rests and trying not to overanalyze every little bump and noise. So you can imagine how I felt on our recent honeymoon flight - eight hours, the majority which was spent over the Atlantic ocean. Into about the fourth hour coming home, when I really starting to go nuts, I looked out the window and was rewarded with the most amazing sunset I've ever seen. It made me stop worrying for a minute and thank God for the beauty he has given us here on Earth.

An equally amazing site was the Alps, peaking out through the clouds on our flight from Munich to Barcelona. The pictures just don't do it justice!