merry christmas & happy new year my friends


good morning friends!

i pray each of you enjoyed a wonderful christmas & are now in that hazy -“what day is it” mode these days between christmas & new years!! for those of you who this time of year has been one of sadness, missing a loved one, job loss, illness…or honestly anything that has left your heart heavy burdened my thoughts are with you. it can be so easy to turn on the tv or open social media & feel as if “everyone else” is is living a glittered, carefree, luxurious life. and while that’s not truth, it can certainly feel that way.

early in the fall i vowed to myself that i’d be careful with the yes’s & gentle with no’s. i’m an extroverted home-body, trying to balance work & raising up young women and trying to create whitespace & margin as well. while i think i over-committed with the yes’s and perhaps the no’s were little to none at all, i’m not as exhausted as i feared i’d be by 12/29! so let’s call it a win!

the above image is from the one set of pictures i have of all my children together in 2017 ( photographed thanksgiving morning). my how things have changed! with savannah & trevor living in san francisco, two in college & one in high school, logistics have become quite the maneuver!  this was the first year in a long time, that i didn’t send out cards. i had planned on it but realized the week of thanksgiving something would need to give on the to-do list. i was probably equal parts sad & relieved. can i get a witness?

early december we had the most glorious surprise..SNOW!!  we sometimes see snow later in the winter but this was the first time i remember having a snow covered early december! i had a couple pre-scheduled sessions that i was able to shoot in the snow & they are most certainly some of my all time favorites! wish it had lasted a few more days!!

christmas morning as we passed out the gifts, emily said “wow mom, was your theme this year FUN?” ( haha!!) as i think back over the years i’ve created many different themes, if you will. when we were first married & for the first several years when the girls were little i owned a small gift shop. i carried whimsical & colorful items. ( primarily mary engelbreit)..i loved color & lots of it. after gregg passed away the girls & i bought a new home…i painted each downstairs room a different color. whoa. at one point we had a raspberry kitchen. if you ask my girls now they’ll probably tell you that was back when our house was “fun”!

about 10 years ago i began the clean it up, paint it white & declutter campaign. while i love & definitely prefer a neutral palate, especially with wall coloring, furniture & large pieces, i’ve loved pulling in fun pops of color in decor (kitchen plates especially) , art…& apparently Christmas decor as well. what about you? do you mix it up every few years? prefer tradition red & green?  so yes emily, i did indeed hope for a little whimsy this year!

i always receive so many questions about my bottle brush trees. y’all, i began collecting these about 20 years ago so i’ve found them at so many places along the way. i’d suggest google! some are from anthropologie, small independent gift shops, country living fair & many were purchased through magnolia. good luck in your search-they’re out there!!

this year was the first year we weren’t all together as a family on christmas day. savannah had mentioned months ago that they’d travel at christmas & she wanted to make sure i’d be okay with it. here’s the deal. i think there’s a part of my heart that wants all my little birds to stay young & in the nest forever. but obviously that’s not what we do. we raise them from the moment the umbilical cord is cut to be independent. so yes, i’m okay with life at this stage of parenting. (i’m going to write more about this soon!)

it makes me so very very happy to see them so happy and their dreams are realized! & so my happy way outweighs the sad that they’re so far away.  they are currently traveling vietnam & thailand and will certainly share more about their trip as well!

christmas eve we enjoyed a candlelight service at our church Passion City. caroline’s sweet friend darby joined us. how cute are they?

madison has been baking up a storm! she loves her people well! she made wonderful treats for her team at anthropologie. on christmas morning she made a wonderful surprise for dan! his mom and dad were swedish & norwegian. his mom made krumkake every year, so madison ordered a press, found a delicious recipe, spent hours pressing & rolling them… & surprised him! a favorite memory for sure!

madison has wanted a kitchen aid mixer for years & years. she cried when she opened this one!!  emily loves hope heals so their super soft sweatshirt was a treat for her! madi gifted caroline one of the ornaments from anthropologie. when she interned at their headquarters she was on the artist collaboration team. she’s gifted us several pieces from projects she was a part of! caroline asked for a vintage film camera–she & i will both be learning how to use film in 2018!

i cried more than once opening gifts this year. i think i’ve shared about love languages in the past, but gifts always touch my heart. when there is symbolism involved it always wrecks me! savannah gifted me a rendering she drew of their home in San Francisco!! gah!! i can’t wait to frame it!! she’s so talented! ( she also drew on my studio chalkboard for me…shown below) dan, caroline & i went to seaside for a few days prior to christmas-they each gave me some art from there ( another surprise-cried about those too!). madison gifted me beautiful stemless wine glasses & a future trip to a local vineyard! emily gave me some beautiful horn bracelets that i love! she’s  been home from UGA for a few weeks & we’ve loved getting to catch up & spend time with sweet em!

perhaps one of my most favorite memories of all time will be the following~

i always make a huge breakfast for us to enjoy on christmas morning. i’ve made the same dishes for the last several years & i think we all look forward to christmas morning sausage/egg casserole, cheese grits, brown sugar covered bacon, & biscuits. well, chirstmas evening madison asked us to all leave the kitchen…& she created the most amazing meal & set the most beautiful table complete with a lovely printed menu! y’all! i can’t even!!!

i wish each of you the happiest & best 2018!!!

December 29, 2017 - 1:21 pm

christina - merry christmas! your home is always so beautifully decorated for the holidays – this year is no different. i always look forward to the tree in your studio. glad you had a wonderful christmas with (most of) your babies! i love your beach gifts! – those iconic trees are my favorite and something i look forward to seeing when we are there. my hope is that your 2018 is filled with nothing but hope and peace and love and joy!

December 29, 2017 - 4:37 pm

Cathy Penton - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my friend. So grateful for our 10 plus years of friendship from a far. I am currently sitting watching the waves roll in on one of my favourite beaches. I so wish you could come and sit with me and we could talk for hours. Thank you for sharing your life with us all. It has been beautiful to watch you grow into becoming such an exquisite photographer and watch your beautiful ones grow up from afar xx love you xx

December 29, 2017 - 6:59 pm

Lisa Mothersead - pretty. pretty. pretty. merry christmas and happy new year, paige!

December 29, 2017 - 10:57 pm

Alecia - Merry Christmas Knudsen Family…what a lovely Christmas you had. What sweet & thoughtful young ladies you all have raised

December 30, 2017 - 12:00 am

Jane Carver - LOVED this post! Loved the pics of your sweet family, your words, and beautiful decor.(My dream style!) My adult kiddos were all home this year which I know won’t happen often… They all left today, so the house is TOO quiet. Wishing you a Happy New Year and Belated Merry Christmas!
xo Jane

December 30, 2017 - 9:30 am

Jalana Jennings - just beautiful! you & your family are precious! thanks for sharing. happy new year! <3

and what was that taco place you ate at in atl? : )