Thursday, December 30, 2010

Max and his new bed.

For Christmas we gave Max a new bed. You see, his old bed was his very favorite thing on planet earth...until it was destroyed and was no more. As a temporary fix, we gave him a few blankets that he could curl up on and burrow under. But it really was no replacement for his bed...his one true love.

So, when we unveiled this gift of his (a few days early, I might add...we really couldn't wait to give it to him!)...he was excited, to say the least.

And he spent plenty of time snuggled up and bonding with his new gift.


"Okay, really, Mom?"
"Enough pictures already!"

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Tennessee White Christmas

We couldn't believe it when we woke up on Christmas day and there was snow outside! I've seen snow in Tennessee before...but I've never experienced a white Christmas here! 

Who knows when this will happen again, so of course we had to go out and play in it (and take some pictures!)

With love,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Christmas Day Celebration

On Christmas morning we woke up at 7am and were so pleased to see that God had blessed us with a WHITE CHRISTMAS! I never thought that I would ever witness this in Tennessee...but we did. It made my heart happy. :)

When we got up, I still felt like a little kid...all giddy on the inside. I couldn't wait to give Jonathan his gifts! I quickly made some coffee and we were ready to start our Christmas celebrations for the day!

Here are some highlights from our morning...

Santa spud enjoyed his Christmas morning coffee along with us!

Each year we buy a new ornament for our tree that represents that year. This Christmas we chose a camera ornament, because this was my first full year in business. I think the little camera is so cute! :) You can see the ornaments from years past in this post.

All of our Christmas gifts just begging to be opened! Wrapping gifts is probably one of my favorite things about Christmas. We try to be creative with it.
If you've been following my tweets from the past couple weeks, you probably know that Max has been going CRAZY over his stocking for a while now. He has just sat and stared at it for long periods of times. We couldn't let him suffer any longer, so we went ahead and gave him his stocking full of goodies. He was pretty excited!

Husband and I exchanged stockings and then gifts. We try to stretch out the experience as long as possible by watching each other open our gifts one by one. It makes it special. :) Here's a peek at some of the amazing gifts he got me:

Do you see that tape dispenser there? Yeah, I was pretty excited about that! I had spotted it at the store a few weeks ago and commented on how cool it was. And husband remembered! When I opened it and squealed with delight he said, "Only you would get excited about a tape dispenser." haha.

This little guy was in my stocking. bahaha...

I gave Jonathan a Kindle 3 with a nifty carrying case that looks like a book. He was SO surprised and excited about it. :) 
After we opened our gifts, it was time for our traditional Christmas breakfast! Cinnamon rolls and Christmas Cokes. (don't judge...we normally don't drink soda for breakfast, but this was a special occasion :) Yummy!
Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, each Christmas Eve we give each other pajamas...and here they are! Gotta do the traditional pose-by-the-Christmas-tree photo!
We spent the rest of the morning relaxing and playing with our "toys". :) 

For Christmas dinner, we kept things simple since it was just the two of us...I made a honeyed ham with creamy mashed potatoes and garlic green beans as sides. Mmmm...
The rest of the day was spent playing in the snow (which I'll share tomorrow), going to the movies, playing games at home, and just relaxing and enjoying the day together. It was perfect.

Oh yeah, and we ate Strawberry pie.

What did you do to celebrate on Christmas day? 

With love,

Take a look at our Christmas Eve celebration here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Christmas Eve

I hope all of you had an amazing Christmas with all of your loved ones! We sure did! Jonathan and I spent the weekend at home and celebrated with just the two of us (and Max!) We celebrate with our families each year, but we always try and reserve Christmas day for just us so we can establish our own traditions as a family. We love it!

On Christmas Eve I spent the morning doing some baking and we did some preparations around the house. That night we had our candlelight Christmas Eve service at Full Life (our church.) It was a beautiful service where we remembered the true gift of this season. I loved it.

Then, when we got home, we finished out the evening with some of our Christmas Eve traditions.

The night before Christmas we often make grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. This is a tradition borrowed from my mom's side of the family. When my mom was a little girl, my grandpa (we call him Bampa) would always make dinner for my mom and her sisters while my Nana finished wrapping gifts. Grilled cheese and Campbell's tomato soup are one of the few things that he knows how to that's what he always made. :)

We've continued this tradition, but have added our own little twist. I make homemade tomato soup (this year using this recipe from Pioneer Woman), and Jonathan always makes the grilled cheese (using yummy cheeses such as colby jack or swiss...and adding a sprinkle of oregano...and sometimes slices of tomato.) It's comfort food at it's finest!

Hehe, I think Jonathan liked it...

After dinner, we opened one gift from each other...pajamas! That's a tradition from my childhood that we chose to keep. I always love getting new PJs every year. :)

We ended the night snuggling up and falling asleep while watching a Christmas movie.

Such a perfect night. I absolutely love making family traditions together.

Tell me, what are your favorite Christmas Eve traditions?

With love,

(Tomorrow I'm going to share a glimpse at our Christmas Day celebration!)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Zajas'!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

This time of year always reminds me of the things in life that are most important. I hope that you and your family can spend some time together, away from the hustle and bustle, to take the time to remember what Christmas is all about. 

Merry Christmas! :)


Jonathan and Tiffany (+ Max!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

my 25th birthday scavenger-hunt-celebration-extravaganza!

Yesterday I turned a quarter-of-a-century old! It's really crazy to think of when I look at it like that. Being 25 feels great so far! I'm so excited about this upcoming year!

Celebrating birthdays is no small matter in this household (examples: one, two, and three). Jonathan and I have so much fun getting to celebrate each other's existence. So, I really shouldn't have been surprised when he had something amazing up his sleeve for yesterday.

We started the day like any other weekday by getting up early to get ready for work. Instead, he let me lay in bed a few minutes later while he put on the coffee. We then sat together and chatted over coffee and he gave me my first gift: a nifty case for my phone. I love it.

When he left for the office, I took my time reading my Bible and snuggling with Max. Jonathan kept texting me asking if I had showered and gotten ready yet, and I was confused as to the rush...afterall, I had plenty of time. Finally, at around 9:10am I got ready to get in the shower...and I found this:

I immediately got excited! It was time for a birthday scavenger hunt! Jonathan is quite the pro at putting on wonderful scavenger hunts. It's one of the elements that made his proposal so amazing. :) But that's another story for another time.

I then got ready in record time and ran down to the garage to get in my car (oh, to clarify...Richard is what we named my car, because it used to be owned by Richard Petty...I'm not joking. His signature is on the car manual...haha)

On my steering wheel, I found a package that contained these amazing lenses for my phone camera (a fisheye lens and a combination macro/wide-angle lens.) They are the coolest EVER!

I also found an envelope containing the next clue: "TARGET. Hermitage. Check-in. Tips. You'll want this." (the lenses).

Okay, you might be let me explain. The "Check-in" and "Tips" portions of the clue are referring to Foursquare. Jonathan and I love to check-in on Foursquare and earn badges and points and see who can beat who out of mayorships. It's a fun game we like to play together. (Still confused? Here's an explanation.)
When I drove to Target and checked into Foursquare, I found this clue hidden in the Foursquare tips:

I was excited to begin my scavenger hunt!

(and no, I wasn't sitting in the passenger seat of my car...I was using my front-facing lens on my phone, so it's all backwards.) :)

So, I rushed inside and completed of all my tasks (using my amazing new lenses the entire time.)

Let's take a moment to pause and reflect on the awesomeness of that fisheye lens. cool that that image came from my phone's camera!

When my mission was complete and I returned to Richard (my car), I checked under my passenger seat and found this:

It read, "VINTAGE. It's cool. So is Southern Thrift and a photo of something vintage." I was off to our favorite thrift store!

When I arrived, I made sure to check-in and found this clue:

So, I went inside and browsed through all the fun vintage items and snapped a photo of something I found interesting.

Back in the car, I discovered the next clue in the glovebox:

Home Sweet Home! When I got there, I checked in to "Tiffany Zajas Photography" and found this tip:

(One year I gave Jonathan a vintage lunchbox for Christmas with some other goodies inside, as a treasure box of sorts.) Inside the lunch box I found a certificate to buy a camera app for my phone that I've been wanting. Happy Birthday to meeeeee! :)

THEN...Jonathan came home early from work to spend the rest of the day with me! Best gift ever! He pulled out the next clue card...then flipped through the photos I took at Target and found the corresponding image to fill in the blank:

Let's pause and reflect on how creative this photo scavenger hunt idea was. Kudos to husband!

Lunch at Merridee's Breadbasket in downtown Franklin, TN! I'd been wanting to try that place out for a while now.

I got the Reuben and Jonathan ordered the BLT. We were both very pleased with our choices. Mmmmm mmmm good! We will definitely return to that place.

Next stop:

Nope, not fishing. haha...ANTIQUE-ing! Vintage shopping is one of my favorite things to do. So, we walked through downtown Franklin and visited the Franklin Antique Mall.

We found some pretty fun things, so I couldn't help but take lots of photos while we were there...

Walking back to our car, I couldn't help but admire how beautiful downtown Franklin is. It reminds me of the quaint towns you see in old-timey movies. Makes my heart happy!

This guy also makes my heart happy...

Next clue:

Okay, if you remember correctly...while at Target, I was supposed to take a picture of something "Wonderful." Well, I looked and looked for a DVD of "It's a Wonderful Life", but couldn't find it anywhere. So, I ended up photographing some twinkle lights, because I think twinkle lights are pretty wonderful.

It turns out that our next stop was to go and see "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Belcourt Theater here in Nashville! I was beyond excited! "It's a Wonderful Life" is one of my favorite Christmas movies...and to actually get to see it in a theater made me so very happy.

We bought a large Coke, settled into our seats, and watched as Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed lit up the screen.

You can't help but walk away from that movie with a tear in your eye and reflecting on the things that are most important in life. Ah, I love it!

If you ever have a chance to go and see a movie at the Belcourt Theater, please do! They show a variety of old and independent films. And it's full of so much history. Definitely a local business worth supporting!

Next stop:

Or so we thought. It turns out that Mafiaoza's was running some kind of special in their bar last night, so it was PACKED. I'm not a huge fan of crowds or the smell of we opted to go to Mellow Mushroom -- another favorite pizza place! :)

We ordered the Muffeletta bread for an appetizer (delicious cheesy bread with olives...YUM!) and it was soooo good! It's not on the menu, so if you ever go make sure and ask if they have it. And then we got the Philosopher's Pie (My fave! Olive Oil and Garlic base pizza with  grilled Steak, Portobello Mushrooms, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Provolone, Feta, and Mozzarella Cheese. good!) for our main course. You can tell that Jonathan really loves me because he really despises olives (and I love them!)...and both the appetizer and pizza has lots of olives on them. He's so good to me.

Next clue:

There's a coffee shop here in Nashville called the Frothy Monkey, and Jonathan has been telling me about how amazing it is. So, we went and he introduced me to it. :)

I got the Monkey Mocha and it was delicious! It was a mocha with a banana in it! It might sound strange, but it was soooo good. Seriously. Delish!

Okay, piece of randomness for the day. While we were at the antique store earlier in the day, we found a really creepy santa figurine...and I took a picture of it. Then, when we were at Frothy Monkey we saw Christmas cards that were featuring the very same creepy Santa!

How weird is that?

After contemplating on the weirdness of the creepy Santa. Husband and I sat and sipped on our coffee while chatting about life, the future, Christmas, and how thankful we were for each other. It was perfect.

Husband had a couple other small things planned, but by the time we were finished with our coffee it was 9pm and I was tired (guess it comes with being a-quarter-of-a-century-old! ;) we went home and snuggled with Max and reflected on the wonderful day we had together.

It really was the most perfect day ever. I am so thankful for such a wonderful husband who makes me feel so special and who loves me unconditionally. There's no one on earth who I'd rather adventure through life with. :)

Also, I can't end this post without thanking everyone who made me feel so loved yesterday...thank you for the gifts, cards, voicemails, texts, Tweets, Facebook comments, and emails wishing me a happy birthday yesterday. I love and appreciate each and every one of you!