I promise this will be the last post specifically about our holidays until the end of the year when it comes around again, however there was so much that happened and I would love to share the stories and photos (we forgot our camera so unfortunately these are all iPhone photos)…

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We had an amazing weekend in Alexandria, VA over Christmas visiting Brian’s family. His sister lives in a beautiful old colonial house and in a great neighborhood near many little shops. When we were in California, Brian enjoyed playing around with acrobatics¬†so for Christmas he got a unicycle and some juggling balls to get him started. Luckily the weather was amazing and we had many opportunities to hang out and play. Everyone was super generous with gifts which was unnecessary but a great way to spend Christmas morning followed by a lot of delicious food.

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Brian’s sister was due to have a baby Christmas day but the days passed and no baby, so we spent a lot of time just walking around, reading and, at the end, making gingerbread cookies. Instead of going with the traditional cookies we played around with zombie cookies ūüôā

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And then the little beautiful Lillian Marie was born on December 27th… and we headed home for a day to repack and then off again for New Years celebrations!

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I surprised Brian by flying us into Charleston, SC and spending a few days fattening ourselves up on good food and southern hospitality. We spent two days in downtown Charleston where we had a beautiful New Years dinner at McCradys, some time relaxing and some time shopping, followed by more and more food.

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One afternoon we decided to take a short drive to the Charleston Tea Plantation. Big fun fact, this is the only major tea farm in all of North America, the next closest one is Guatemala. The whole place is not very big, there is only 4 workers in the whole plantation and a few in the store but the place pumps out lots of tea on a daily basis. Another fun fact, tea plants, Camillia sinensis, naturally produce chemicals that keep bugs and weeds away which means this whole plantation is maintained without herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.¬†We had a fun time taking a tour around the shop and then through the whole plantation. Brian was especially interested in the custom made machine that was designed so one person can drive and collect the tea leaves all in one go. I was very happy to bring home lots of yummy tea and spend a wonderful warm afternoon with Brian ūüôā

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We then headed off to the Middleton Plantation. We have visited the plantation before and I really loved the gardens and found out they have an inn just a short trail walk from the plantation gardens.

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I am so happy that we decided to stay here! There are not enough words to explain just how beautiful and relaxing our weekend away ended up being. Our room was rustic with a big fireplace, which was Brian’s favorite part because he got to play with fire each evening, and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Ashley River. Each morning we would wake up and had the opportunity to walk through the whole plantation before it was even open to the public. We also had time to play¬†with all the farm animals ranging from horses¬†and¬†pigs to chickens and goats. ¬†We both agreed that the best part was walking around the property and under the old oak trees covered in spanish moss (the blue speck on the last photo is me under a 300 year old oak tree).

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The biggest news by far &¬†for our trip… Brian and I are thrilled to announce that we are¬†ENGAGED! Brian surprised me by asking me to marry him on¬†New Years eve. We were able to celebrate the New Year and a new Engagement. It was a magical and giddy¬†evening and weekend. We are already going crazy with wedding planning, my love for lists has finally paid off… but mainly we have been enthralled with calling each other Fiance and talking about all our future plans together.

(I don’t want this blog to become filled with wedding posts so I think instead I will just do a monthly update for those interested… but I am very open to ideas. What do you think?)

How were your holidays? Any stories to share?