happy golden days of yore

ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! I've actually reached the point in Christmas-gift-spending that makes me want to start giving everyone gifts "from the earth", accompanied by a lecture in consumerism. It's only because Jared & I both enjoy giving gifts way too much. & because I haven't made the time or used the brain power to make crafty presents. Where has December gone? & WHY ISN'T THERE SNOW YET.

So, I teased these ornaments on ye ol' Instagram, & am finally getting around to sharing them with you. (Pardon the finger smudges, btw.) These giant glass ornaments were on sale at Michael's during our first married December, & I may have bought like, mmm... 16. During the annual Bethune holiday beach trip, Jared's sisters & I collected some beach goodies over the course of  our several walks down the shoreline.

I would be lying if I said that I put the dried vine in the First Year Ornament as some romantic "Our First Christmas" gesture. But last year I pulled it out & was really happy that I had done that, so I saved some of the magnolia leaves that I had used on our wreath to commemorate our second Christmas. (Perhaps a little too eagerly, I noted earlier this month, as I scrunched my nose up at the silver spray paint smears on the inside of the glass.) This year, I'd cut some greenery from around my parents backyard for the little friendsgiving party we had at the end of November, & dried some of it for Christmas decorating this year. & THUS... The Third Year Ornament was born.

Now that this little tradition of bottling up annual Christmas keepsakes has (accidentally) begun, I'm pretty excited about it. Granted - We will someday need a tree just for these nostalgic baubles. But there are worse things in life than multiple Christmas trees under one roof & glass ornaments filled with Christmas memories. Plus, I figure we have until about 2030 before we need to worry about all that.

Happy one week till Christmas!


frosted window panes

Some bits & pieces of what Christmas looks like around our little apartment. Also, the first glimpses I've given of our new place. We really are quite settled in around here, but for someone like me who sweats the smell of candy canes & evergreen for the month of December (ew?), making Christmas in a new home is like the final touch. The deal sealer. The star on the tree. Maybe it's taking the same decorations out of their boxes that makes each room seem familiar. Maybe it's sweeping needles from our wreaths & garlands & tree out from corners that I didn't know we had, being greeted with a cheery "HULLO!" by foreign dust bunnies. But by gum, with a Christmas tree as our flag, we hereby declare this land HOME.


be merry!

A happy Christmas card from us to you! Now, let's all join in a glorious chorus of begging Jared to let me add a puppy to next year's card! Hark, the herald Jared see - Kelsey needs a puppy, pleeease...


october married march

Sometimes... & when I say sometimes, I mean frequently... There are moments around this Bethune household that would merit having hidden cameras around to capture. I imagine a sitcom titled something kinda cheesy like, "October Married March" that would capture the (what I consider to be) amazing ways in which Jared & I so often balance each other out. Not Lucy & Ricky style, because my dear, sweet husband is just as cray as I am, so don't you go believing that I'm the only silly one in this relationship. No, more like proof that being born 7 months apart was just the right chemistry. Just enough sanity to make sense of absurdity. We take turns. It's great.

Like tonight. When I was making stuffing for the holiday party at work tomorrow, after laying on the couch with a headache all afternoon. The kind of headache that makes you close the blinds & laugh at the idea of opening your eyes wide enough to put contacts in. Only you don't laugh, because that would hurt. Our new place has little, teeny counter tops, which means a doubled recipe's worth of vegetables & fruits & bread were getting tossed all over the kitchen as I tried to mix it all into what I thought was a large enough bowl on a much-too-small counter. Turns out, the largest bowl we own was not quite big enough, so the bowl's contents were just going... everywhere. Our oven is gas, & cranks the room's temperature up by about, mmm, 25 degrees, so I was getting cranky & sweaty as I attempted to "cook this daggone stuffing that I probably won't even like because there's celery in it & I'm not mature enough to like celery." Then I got even more annoyed by our upstairs neighbor's bad 90's techno blaring through the ceiling. It wasn't a pleasant evening in the Bethune kitchen. In summary: Sausage & apples flying through the air as a sweaty Kelsey ferociously chops onions to the smooth beat of Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)."

Enter Jared, that guy I live that I hadn't really seen for the last two days, who is catching me up on his past 48 hours. As he talks, the onions begin to seriously affect my unprotected eyes, as I'm wearing my glasses, not my contacts. Jared, seeing my eyes beginning to water, offers to take over. We try to keep our normal conversation going, but the onions (there were 6) were apparently especially potent, & are hitting us so horribly that we both have tears streaming down our faces. (Remember: sweaty/sausage flying/techno bumpin'). Eventually, Jared just starts saying everything as if he were having an emotional breakdown, & I began responding as if it was all the most distressing news in the world.

"Then I got out of *sniff sniff* class early & got extra creee-heee-diiiit."
"Reaaa-llyyyy? That's so saaaad!!!"

& so our conversation continued for the next 5 minutes, as we tried to out-dramatize each other with the most mundane facts presented in the most sorrowful manner. The onions finally faded once we got them on the stove (YAY, MORE HEAT) & we drowned out the totally radical! beat from upstairs with some NSYNC Christmas (SO THERE). The floor got cleaned & I realized that hey! Maybe taking my boots off would cool me down! & it did.

Maybe other couples stand in their kitchen purposefully sobbing over onions. Maybe we're not as ridiculous as I sometimes feel as I rinse mascara off my face/neck/forearms. & maybe you think I'm ridiculous for thinking this was worth sharing... But just you wait till we have kids. I'm gonna think they're HILARIOUS.


introducing BANGS

As my hair gradually lightens back to it's natural blonde state, I've once again given in to the bangs bug that seems to bite every other year.  I committed to growing them out for an entire year & LO! Got so sick of my forehead. But I love them. & the shape that they take overnight that gives me a little laugh every morning when I look in the mirror.

Other than bangs, December in Virginia is in full swing. & I mean that in a 72-degrees-&-sunny sort of way. Which means that I've had a mother of a headache since 7 a.m., since my brain hates pressure changes. I feel awfully silly about these pictures, even though my baby sistah did a wonderful job taking them. But I'm going to skip the HOLY THIGHS rant & bid you goodnight. Tonight, it's me, Netflix, our bed & a box of Excedrin to cuddle with. Ohhhh, baby.


the earth stood still

A teenage girl and her soon-to-be.
A simple trip far as they could see.
The sky was clear and the hour serene.
But did they know what the night would bring.

Lonely hearts strung across the land
They've been waiting long for a healing hand.
My heart was there and I felt the chill
Love came down and the earth stood still
Love came down and the earth stood still

Shepherds stirred under starry skies
Tasting grace that would change their lives
The angels trembled and the demons did too
For they knew very well what Pure Grace would do.

The hope of the world and a baby boy.
I remember Him well like I was there that night.
My heart was there and I felt the chill.
Love came down and the earth stood still
Love came down and the earth stood still

I've heard it a hundred times, but this song is just making my heart flip flop tonight.


christmas card - runners up!

It should not surprise me that I opened my computer to pull up the address list that I've been breaking my back to compile this past week so that I could FINALLY finish addressing our Christmas cards, & instead ended up blogging. I figured the least I could do is post about our Christmas cards if I'm not actually going to work on them. A FOR EFFORT.

Big, fat, giant thanks to Amelia for taking 6,987 of us, even though I make it really hard by tossing leaves in to the air & TALKING SO MUCH the entire time. Seriously, I don't realize how much I talk until I go through pictures from a weekend & see my mouth gaping open in a perpetual, "& then SHE SAAAAAID..." shape in 90% of them. Womp. God bless the Jared Bethune that lives with me. He is a good man, people.

Okay, I'd love to chat more, but the Kelsey in the super secret photo that is gracing the front of our final card is glaring at me from the box. xo!


my mother's daughter

My mom started us young with craft shows. She was sneaky, too. Her favorite craft show during my childhood took place in a rec center, & there was a BARBIE DOLL DRESS MAKER who was always located on the 4th floor of the whole dang place. Me & my sister would dutifully march behind her through the endless maze of craft vendors, knowing that at the end of this dark tunnel filled with twinkling lights & wreaths was the Mecca of Barbie outfits. (Then we’d get home & realize that there was a reason Mattel was making Barbie’s outfits. Year after year, Barbie was swallowed in her new crushed velvet & faux fur "ballgown", which were maybe the world's first miniature snuggies?) It was during this phase of my life that I started becoming my mother’s daughter. I see this in small ways, like when I get twitchy because I haven’t rearranged furniture in the last month. Or when I get really excited about slippers being on sale at Target.

20ish years later, there is a now a craft show hosted down by the beach every year on Black Friday. & when I say craft show, I mean CRAFT EXPO. Because what better way to work off the gravy-covered carbs from the day before than to power walk your way through row after row of homespun goodies? It’s become a bit of a tradition around the Essmann home, & even Papa E. has begun to look forward to it. (We've gotten good at using BBQ dives as a means of positive reinforcement with the menfolk.) We are absolutely addicted to this vat of hot glue, glitter & hand dipped candles.

& it’s wonderful. There is absolutely not one thing in this place that we need. But it’s all so fantastic, & the atmosphere is buzzing with ladies wearing Christmas sweaters FOR REAL who are not kidding when they thumb through tie-dyed scarves, bedazzled belts or the 19th pillow in a 20 ft. radius with “God Bless This Mess” cross stitched into it. It's infectious! A giant wire turtle for my garden? Why, yes. I do want that. I don’t even have a garden, but if I did, I’D WANT THAT IN IT.

We find ourselves drawn into each & every booth, & after awhile, you start picking up the least offensive piece in the shop & declaring it SO CUTE. It’s not. But the scent of potpourri & dried rosehips gets to you, & before you know it, you’re leaving with a figurine of two snowflakes kissing. (To be fair – They’re very darling snowflakes.) Suddenly, you’re walking around, blessing everyone’s hearts & wishing you had more time to scrapbook. It’s like a spell. A dangerous, wonderful spell. ("GLITTERMENTI!")

But there are a select few vendors that I’d pay big money for, wherever I happened upon them. Our favorite is a wood craftsmen’s booth that I don’t think even has a name. We have a “partridge in a pear tree” trivet (pictured above) that I’m sure you’re supposed to use in the kitchen, but I end up hanging it somewhere every year, going all sorts of MacGyver with some ribbon/our peephole this year. He’s provided our nativity scene, the cutest Christmas tree you ever did see (also pictures above) & many a Christmas gift over the years. Then there’s the wool vendor – OHHH, THE WOOL VENDOR. They have these bears that legitimately make you wish you were 4 so you could walk around snuggling with it. There’s real maple syrup, & some guys that make pretty mediocre salsa, but they put on such a show that you buy it anyway. There’s beautiful jewelry that’s way too expensive & more spoon rings than any girl could ever need... But definitely wants.

This year, as we passed by a bookshelf full of mugs featuring different names for grandparents, complete with definitions, (Memaw – A piece of heaven, created for snuggles, cookies & angel kisses), the fire alarm started going off in the building. The vendor in front of us muttered something about “Just like last year…” & there was nary a break in concentration on the faces of the attendees walking down the aisle. When the voice came over the loudspeaker, asking everyone to please proceed to the nearest exit, it was like Christmas was cancelled. Or the power went out during the Superbowl. Or Taylor Swift was playing on both Christmas radio stations. One unanimous groan that sounded an awful lot like, “I WAITED ALL YEAR FOR THIS.” We shuffled outside & watched the fire department arrive – In no hurry, reassuring everyone that there was, in fact, NOT going to be incinerated Elvis Presley Nutcrackers. Not today. NOT ON OUR WATCH.

People started getting a little grumpy, especially after a staffer came out to tell everyone that they still had to have the building checked out before allowing everyone back in. As an event planner, I wanted to run forward & hug her, over-zealously reassuring her that I understand & it’s not her fault & we’ll be fine. But it was immediately after her announcement, when the crowd started grumbling, that my mom turned to us & said, “WELL! The best way to spread Christmas cheer is…

“SINGING LOUD FOR ALL TO HEAR!!!” I shouted, probably a little too loudly. I maybe jumped around a little, too.

& so we sang. You better not pout, you better not cry… Nobody joined us. A couple of people turned around with their eyebrows raised before resuming their disgruntled stance. The 6 year old on his ipad didn’t even look up. But we sang it. The whole thing. & I was reminded once again that I am so totally my mother’s daughter.

Bless her heart.


this little blog of mine

Alright, so here’s the thing.

(Pardon the ME! ME! ME! nature of this post.)

I’ve been dutifully writing to a diary since I was 10. It started with being told by my mother to keep a travel journal during our summer vacation in 1999. This included trips to everywhere from Florida, to Europe, to Missouri. Somewhere along the way, chronicling my experiences stopped being an assignment & became… duty. A personal duty that I obligated myself to. At 10, I worried that somewhere between Pensacola & Hamburg, I wouldn’t write down a moment & it would be lost forever. I’d never remember to tell my grandchildren about the doll in the window that I fell in love with in a Belgium town square. I would forget about the time that we visited the Arch & it was so windy, I thought it would blow over. & so I wrote. Maybe out of self-induced guilt. But the diary from that summer is a great read, nonetheless.

For awhile in high school, I was able to maintain an actual written diary that lived under my mattress while I also kept up with the trend that was sweeping the halls at school – Xanga. The actual diary held all of my secrets – Abundant boy troubles, drama with friends (& “friends) & frustration with parents or teachers. A typical teenage girl’s end-of-the-world problems. It also held my poetry, love notes to a future husband, verses & sketches. My soul. Xanga started fading amongst friends, but I kept writing under my anonymous pen names, eventually moving to LiveJournal as I started college.

When college began, I tried to make an effort to write in my real diary once a month. It didn’t last long. Between homework assignments, new friends & a new long distance boyfriend with whom I spent all of my free time talking to on the phone, LiveJournal became my outlet. I vented, I waxed poetic. Stream of conscience entries written to an invisible, online audience was the therapy that got me through college.

I’ve forged a long cyber path of my thoughts over the last 10 years. When I began discovering blogs & blog communities, I was obsessed. I think DesignSponge & Oh Joy! were my first doses of what a blog could really be. As such, I moved into the design focused realm of the blogging internet, which helped shape (& justify) my then-recent shift to an event planning major. I started a pathetic attempt at a wedding blog, because OnceWed took over my life as I looked forward to getting engaged & started coordinating weddings on the side. It’s really embarrassing. In fact, I think I deleted all of it ;)

Sitting in Our Tree started budding in my mind the summer before we got married. The guilt of not writing in a diary kept me up some nights, especially as we planned our wedding. But the stress of a new job on top of planning a wedding had kept me from doing much of ANYTHING. I, like everybody else, discovered Cup of Joe, Rockstar Diaries & The Daybook blogs (along with many more than I care to admit to) & dove headfirst into the PERSONAL blog realm. How lovely – Somewhere to document our life as a married couple! & so Sitting in Our Tree was born. An effort to document our lives, for us to look back on & remember some of those little memories. Bottling up conversations & adventures & sealing them tight.

It’s been weird writing here, though. It’s difficult to find a voice that’s approachable, easy-to-read & non-controversial. I’ve ended up censoring myself because of a fear of personal circles conflicting with a public blog. It’s easier to present the nice & shiny - To throw up some pictures, write four sentences & call it a day.

But the truth is – I’m an awkward, sarcastic, wordy person. I talk a lot & write even more. (As demonstrated by my 800+ words on this post alone.) & that’s just the way I've always been. (My older sister’s travel journal from Summer ’99 involved sentences like, “We took a carriage ride through the misty English countryside, drawn by a beautiful, dappled horse named Dill.” My experience was more like, “We were STARVING & it seemed like sitting in a box pulled by a horse was only making me hungrier for another apricot pastry like we’d had on the train.”) I've only just realized that THIS is my corner to write, rather than post my broody, dramatic pictures, or 140 characters worth of absolute Kelsey nonsense.

So, THE POINT IS that I’m going to start writing more often on this little blog. WHAT A NOVEL IDEA, I know. Sometimes, it may just be some pictures & 4 sentences. But I think this is a step in the right direction for me right now. The FORWARD direction. & I am all about some onward & upward, friends.

This post was more for me than it was for you, I suppose. It's just time for reflection & changes, you know?


ohhhh, christmas tree!

Apparently, I just can't get enough of making videos right now! We finally got our tree up last night & it feels (& smells) like Christmas has arrived. (I say "finally" as though 4 days after Thanksgiving is late. Honestly, it's hard for me to even wait until Saturday after Thanksgiving.) It's pretty funny watching yourself decorate a tree in 1:09. IT'S LIKE WE'RE REAL CHRISTMAS ELVES!!!

We totally flaked out on the whole hacking-your-own-tree-down once again this year. I will be OHHH, so happy when we're finally able to trot our way out to a farm & hereby-declare-this-tree-BETHUNED, but $24.95 from a parking lot sounded right up our alley this year. That may or may not have something to do with the Great iPhone Massacre of 2012 that took place on Sunday.

Really, truly, I think making Christmas in an apartment is half of making an apartment home for me. It's just cozy, & familiar, & ours. & I like ours. Ours means it's full of love.


on the cusp

So, here we are! On the cusp of Christmas. It's my last day of Thanksgiving Break from work, & I don't really know how to make the most of it. I made a pretty big dent in my to-do list this weekend, so staring at a wall or playing a video game with the neighbor's cat sounds about right for today's activities. I also made a pretty big dent (crack?) in my phone yesterday, & I feel like a trip to the local apple store has wandered its way onto that very same to-do list that I thought was so to-done.

I don't know. I get all jittery this time of year, worrying that I'm forgetting a tradition we've tried to start over the years or not being tradition-y enough. That's the curse of this Internetland that we dwell in. & you wonder why I don't get on Pinterest. HA! I get hives! Every time!

Today is probably a good day to think, make lists & take a deep breath(s) before the blur of December begins. But also to decorate the naked tree in our family room & hang some stockings on our fake mantle.

Santa Claus is coming to town, ya'll.


thanksgiving & giving thanks

This past year, we've been especially thankful for:
A new job for him
A new home for us
Friends all around
A new record player
Our time together before puppies & babies (MOSTLY thankful for. Sometimes not ;))
Nieces & nephews
The shop on the corner, with local milk & plenty of chocolate
Big plans & bigger dreams for the next year
Laughing ourselves to sleep
The Dan in Real Life soundtrack
Hardwood floors
Cranberry pie & whipped cream

It seems so silly to try to make a brief, little list containing fraction of all we have to be thankful for. Really, every day that I wake up - Breathing & in love & saved by grace - there is nothing else but gratitude.

We hope you had a WONDERFUL thanksgiving, everyone.


andrew potter vs. lord jared

It starts with taking christmas card photos, then you're asked to hold your wife's glasses "for a second," during which you find a stick, & suddenly, it's like BOOM. You're battling a Dark Lord. Just ask Andrew. Avada Kedavra, SON.


sunday best

shirt - j. crew | cardigan - h&m | tie - gap | jeans - cotton on | boots - thrifted

dress - francesca's | cardigan - f21 | tights - tj maxx | loafers - old navy 

One reason I know we're not anywhere near ready to be homeowners is the fact that I still can't understand why you'd prioritize keeping your lawn alive over just letting it be covered in beautiful, fall leaf glory. Because, really, what's more practical than standing in your lawn, throwing leaves into the air, giggling? 

Can you believe it's Thanksgiving week? We hosted a little friendsgiving event last night that involved A LOT of pie, & I've had to practice some serious self-control today to not over-indulge on pie too soon. But one of the pies I made MAY have had the words triple, chocolate & pumpkin in it... So YOU try staying out of the fridge with that taunting you. Jared's all like, anti-sweets these days, so he doesn't identify with my struggle. I'm alone in this fight. That also means MORE PIE FOR MEEEE. Heaven help me. ;)


iphone does: november beach escape

I guess I haven't done that many "iphone does" posts since I started using ridiculous apps that help me cheat my way out of a limited square frame, because I was about to throw my laptop off the bed  screaming, "BLOGGER'S SPACING IS ALL OFF AGAIN." ... Mmmm, nope. It's just me & my square-frame-claustrophobia.

To be honest, I've not even pulled photos off our camera yet from our fantastic week in Pine Knoll Shores. We've been being social, which is ah! SO MUCH FUN! I'm inching my way ever nearer to the last event of the season at work, after which, I become a normal Monday-Friday-er for the next four glorious months. HUH-RAYYYY! It's the perfect cycle, because that's about when I start getting twitchy inside the office, craving a good event to get the adrenaline pumping.

Long story long, you get Instagram pictures because I've been being a normal 20-something. I am so bad at this blogging thing ;)

But isn't my niece just thah CUTEST?
Thanksgiving, come quick!
I need a baby fix!