Christmas in STL

I know, I know... it's been more than a month since Christmas but wanted to share our Christmas in St. Louis at my parents before it really did become too late.  For those of you who do not know me well, my parents moved to St. Louis, MO in June of 2006 leaving me behind to fend for myself in the 'burbs of Pittsburgh.  Don't worry, I have since forgiven them.

Last year, Chris and I since decided to spend our first Christmas together in Pittsburgh.  I am very fortunate to have married into such a wonderful family who has welcomed me with open arms from the very beginning.  I am not sure about the rest of you but I look forward to seeing others' Christmas traditions and sharing it with them.  As such, I was very excited to spend Christmas for the first time (in the 5 years we have been together) together in our new home starting our own traditions.  And I loved every minute of it.

Since my parents do not live in the Pittsburgh, we decided from the beginning we would switch off each year between our two families.  Thanksgiving with my parents in STL and Christmas in Pgh then Thanksgiving in Pgh and Christmas in STL.  This year I was just as excited to show Chris what the Brantley Christmas traditions are as I was to see what his family's traditions were the previous year.  I asked him one day "Are you excited for Christmas in STL with my family?"  He responded "Yeah.  What, we'll probably just play cards and drink right?"  And that is what we did, starting our afternoons with Mimosas or Bloody Marys and enjoying dinner with wine all while playing Phase10, Rummy 500 and Mexican Train.

As much as I loved spending Christmas last year with the Cornmans there really is nothing more comforting than being with your parents, your family, and your traditions on Christmas.

My dad, the one hiding behind those wide size 8s, got me my frist DSLR for Christmas in 2009.  I have since upgraded but am forever grateful to him for seeing something in my passion for photography and surprising me with such a great gift.  As you can tell, he does not like to be photographed.  

I have been kinda obsessed with Bokeh Photography.  Okay, okay... not kinda.  I was so excited (yes, excited) to photograph my parents Christmas Tree in Bokeh!  Would have been a lot cooler if the lights on the tree were color.  Oh well.  

Yes, this is me.  Circa 1993/1994.  I know exactly where this photo was taken, ice skating at the Mall of Memphis.  Don't you love my big bow and bangs?  And look at those teeth.  They're still just as big but I think/hope I have grown into them.  I love ornaments with pictures.  Always good for a laugh :)

Melissa picking her nose for the camer

This was taken inside the City Museum.  One of the coolest museums I have ever been to!  If you are ever in the St. Louis area I highly recommend going.  Chris who doesn't like museums fell in the love with this place.  Inside and outside are mazes/tunnel like things to climb through for both adults and children.  Seriously, the coolest place ever!  

Watching the neighborhood
Hi eyes say, "Will you just leave me alone already.  I'm trying to rest here." 

Christmas this year had it's bittersweet moments.  Here is Rudy, my family's Golden Retriever for 12 years.  He hadn't been himself for sometime but appeared to be declining quickly while we were there. When I left I knew it would be the last time I would see him.  He passed away on New Year's Eve.  Even though I expected "the phone" call any moment it didn't make it any easier when it actually came.  As silly as it seems, you just kinda start to think/believe when someone/something has been around for as long as they had been they would be around forever.  I am just so grateful I was able to spend some of his last days with him and was able to capture those photos.  

And this is what Christmas at the Brantleys does to Chris (and apparently Melissa).  


And before I forget, here is this week's Photo Dump:

Have a great weekend!

The End. 

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