olive june: December 2015
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christmas eve memories + traditions + wrapping station

when i was a little girl, christmas eve was the most magical day of the year. the anticipation lasted the entire month of december; as so much love and joy filled our home. thanks to my parents {also my two biggest blog fans/readers- thank you.} i can remember my mom putting on kenny and dolly 'once upon a christmas' on the record playing {i am listening right now} as we would sing along and decorate the tree. followed by unwrapping the nativity scene together {i can still smell the old newspapers that each piece was wrapped in} the goal was to be the one who found and unwrapped baby Jesus. nostalgia at its finest. i can also remember sitting on a stool in the kitchen and watching my mom and aunts bake cookies. i loved growing up near my extended family- all of my cousins and i are so close now as a result. our job was to put icing/sprinkles/red hots on the sugar cookies; sneaking in licks from the spoon as much as possible. we would talk and laugh so much ... and when i look back at these memories, nothing is greater than this. 
i picked up this fresh wreath for $4 yesterday! 

i was super productive this week and feel so much better about baby boy arriving... as i trucked around charlotte to prepare for christmas. it was difficult at times {i developed a sore throat/cold last weekend} and often thought, 'i should have shopped in october and wrapped in november', but there is something about the spirit of the city in december, the hustle and bustle, that i do enjoy. plus, so many strangers were so kind to me - allowing me to cut in line and saying encouraging things to me about our blessing. it was humbling. one thing this pregnancy has taught me is to be more empathetic to pregnant women - because it can be hard at times. a lot of my friends have been so supportive, helpful, and totally understand my lack of outings over the past few months. however, it was so heart-warming to see strangers, like the two older gentleman at rite aid {when i felt hot, congested, exhausted, and almost faint but didn't say anything} who both let me go in front of them to check out. i feel like if you can be anything in life- i would choose kindness- and people showed nothing short of that over the past few days. 
last night and this morning, i was finally able to enjoy doing the simple things that i love about the holidays.  nowadays, i find myself doing the very same things that my mom did during this time of year. she always had a wrapping station set up and spent quality time wrapping each gift- she's a beautiful wrapper. singing along to music and making sugary messes in the kitchen. usually dancing with my dad and sharing kisses- which we used to think was just disgusting. now i love this about my parents; still so in love after over forty years. i have been wrapping, baking, and cuddled up with mr. monaco to watch love actually {so good!!} last night. my heart feels very full. 
i loved christmas time as a child and now, but i think i will love it even more as a mom. 
+ christmas eve memories 
i loved getting dressed up {usually in a matching dress with my little sister- think paten leather shoes, ruffled, lace socks, and lots of velvet}, having a traditional dinner with all of my grandparents {my mom is a rockstar cook!}, peppermint christmas tree ice cream treats for dessert, followed by driving around to look at the pretty lights/going to see baby Jesus in the manger in our little downtown square, we would put out the cookies/milk/carrots before going, and there was usually snow covering the ground... my paternal grandpa almost always drove us. we would arrive home to the carrots being 'picked' at on the front porch and the tree directly in the room we walked into... full of presents from santa!!  the record player playing- with the classic old school video camera and tripod set-up. then my sister and i would open our gifts with all of our grandparents {i love looking at all the home videos and seeing all of their personalities- all so sweet/funny/serious/unique in their own way- but so loving} the room was always full of so much excitement as they each helped us open gifts. how lucky am i- memories treasured forever. there is something about nighttime that i still love to this day... i think a part of this comes from my christmas eve love

my paternal grandma, leona- the most gentle and loving person i have ever met {and i was only five when she passed} but i remember her sweet demeanor and genuineness so much. when i turned sixteen, i received a letter from my godmother {a cousin on that side of the family} about how i reminded her of my grandma- i treasure this so much. i love watching her calmness in the videos; her sweet voice and loveliness as she helps us open the presents. 

my paternal grandpa, charlie- a stern german farmer who grew more and more gentle with each passing year. i saw him as a more serious person as a young child - to a loving, soft-hearted, tender man by the time he passed away in 2009. he was 70 years old in the photo below {on the day i was born} and lived to be 95. i am honored to have been able to spend every single year with him on christmas eve. he was a man of faith and the patriarch of our family and i remember these times with him so fondly. 
my maternal grandma, yolanda- again, just the sweetest soul. there isn't a mean bone in her body. she played such a vital role in our upbringing - so active and hands-on- always watching us, playing games, allowing us to freely explore her farm {a child's paradise}. she's now 86 and i have only missed one christmas with her {in 2013} and now this year. she is always in my heart and is one of my very greatest earthly blessings. i just adore this woman. 
when there were five of us- six more grandchildren would be added! 

my maternal grandpa, greg- the funny guy. always making jokes and playing around with us... from horsey rides on his knee, to candy hidden in his farm overalls, to snapping the box close on christmas eve so we couldn't open the box- we loved his fun-loving personality and the christmas eve videos show this so much. he passed when i was ten years old but again, my memories are so vivid- and for that, i am thankful. 
my maternal grandparents on their farm

later in the evening, our neighbors/second family, the ternaskys, would usually come over to play with our gifts- as our parents enjoyed cocktails and we stayed up super late. santa always came to their house the next morning. the next morning, christmas day, we often woke up to a big/special gift left behind by santa and would set up/play with our toys before going to my mom's childhood farmhouse for a fun/chaotic {we still like it that way} christmas day was always spent with my mom's family. every year was the same and so magical in its own way.  

in honor of today and its special memories, i have decided to share these moments instead of a 37 week pregnancy update; however, i am full term as of today- yay! and baby is healthy and a very big boy {measuring around 8.9 pounds- however, they usually over-estimate on the ultrasound} he has adorable chubby cheeks and we just loved seeing him on the ultrasound monday. personally, i saw my baby brother, alex {whom i adore}. i was in second grade when he was born and he was my live baby doll. we will see when he comes out but i am so in love with him already. 
our greatest gift of all!

...i will update you all next week... 
baking this morning! 
pumpkin and sugar cookies {with green icing and tiny gingerbread men}

+ my wrapping station 
a few pics of my wrapping station
+ wrapped gifts: 
for the first time, i decided to wrap with red velvet and gingham 
i almost always use brown paper, white, silver, or gold paper 
the red is festive and i am loving it. 
esp. with the black and white gingham! 
{& i usually use way more glitter - i think my friends/family will be thankful for this year's change!}
i decided to put pieces of our tree on the gifts this year 
                                           what are your favorite christmas eve memories?

                                                  enjoy your christmas! thoughts to you all
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our christmas cards // twenty-fifteen

wishing your family a very merry christmas 
and a joyous and healthy new year 
i LOVE minted and decided to use them this year 
and couldn't have been happier
they offered free addressing on the envelopes 
about two hours of typing in addresses was totally worth 
when they arrived, we stuffed and they were off to the post office!
{lots of cute designs for the envelopes- but i went with the matching design}
+ a note on the back to our loved ones:
merry christmas to you! 
thank you for your love and support on here this year
i adore you all.
xo
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a holiday home tour

 hi! hope you had a great weekend! happy christmas week to you- wishing you a fun, safe, and festive week with loved ones. and if you are lucky enough, some snow! it's supposed to be 75 on christmas day in charlotte and i desperately miss my many, many childhood white christmases {where we experienced snow almost every year!} so magical. instead, mr. monaco and i have our second annual flocked real tree and some shabby chic decor surrounding us. on another note, this afternoon, we are going to get to see baby boy on an ultrasound, which is the best christmas gift we could ask for {well, besides snuggling him in our arms.} praying he's healthy and everything looks good at this point. also, sending lots of prayers and thoughts over to astleigh and pete of hill collection as they welcome baby girl hill today- can't wait to see her and hope everything goes well! 

hope you enjoy our holiday home tour for 2015- we had fun decorating together {sans wine this year for me} but with lots of great jams. my friend, renee, introduced me to 'hipter holidays' on pandora and i.am.so.in.love. just my style of music and perfect for decking the halls! 
we put the tree in our study this year, which faces the front of the house 
we picked out our tree at the end of november and love it- def. my favorite one yet. 
we always go to the kings street farmers market 
{for produce, flowers, pumpkins, and our tree!} 
when i first moved to charlotte in 2007, my house was right next to it
the people are so friendly and there is a city view with market lights strung above- we love it. 
it's a real tree that has been sprayed with fake snow ♥
a gift from my sister-in-law- our wedding invitation ornament
i have done this since for friends since~
 it's super easy and people love when i attach it to their wedding gift!
1. cut the invitation into strips
2. wrap each strip around a pencil to make it curl
3. place the pieces into a clear glass/plastic ornament bulb 
gold tipped feather garland 
lace stocking for her and poms for him 
this little green mixer is from world market 
i took this shot on instagram on saturday, december 19
exactly one year since we moved into our home! 
enjoying some early morning coffee + home alone love 
i had a book club ornament exchange last week 
i almost always venture over to crate and barrel for ornaments
{they usually have super cute ones}
this deer stole my heart - and all of their ornaments were 30% off! 
 our kitchen before a holiday gathering 
 my mom and i picked this up while shopping at boutiques in small-town, ohio over thanksgiving 
this santa was 60% off at micheals and fits in so well in our home
mr. monaco loves him, too! 
 some more coffee bar + study shots  
these were the ornaments i received in the exchange
they stole my heart- wood + glitter- yes. 
a willow tree nativity scene 
these little trees are from target - they make me happy. 
i put some chalkboard cards throughout our tree 
a eucalyptus wreath + glitter peace 
what are you looking forward to most about christmas?
...
also, if you posted about your home decor this holiday season, please put your link in the comments section, i would love to see!  ♥
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