Merry Christmas, everyone!

As Laryssa and I are relaxing at home tonight, covered in our new weighted blanket as we watch Elf, we can’t help but feel thankful as we looked around us at our beautiful home. Like we mentioned in yesterday’s post, decorating our house this year has been especially sweet as it was something we didn’t get to do last year. Let us tell you more.

It all began in September 2018. We had just moved back to the area, and we were so excited when our real estate agent showed us our future house, just a few days after it had been listed. We were so excited that we immediately made an offer, and after a few counter offers back and forth, the seller agreed. Our original closing date was November 1 – the day after Halloween – but we were wide-eyed and optimist that everything would move along flawlessly and we’d be able to move in before Halloween – or have “second-chance Halloween” if we didn’t close until the 1st. So young, so naive, so clueless.

The next few months pretty much looked like the same thing; a constant stop and go with closing on the house, and it seemed like every time we got two steps forward, we took one (or several) steps back. Long story short, it was one hoop to jump through after another – would our bank approve our FHA loan? Would the sellers agree to the required repairs? When could the required exterior painting be completed? Most of the time, we just felt confused, frustrated, and unsure if we’d ever end up moving in. It seemed like every time we found a solution to one problem, another came up, and each time, we got more and more frustrated, concerned, and just ready to be done with it.

Sometime in early-December, we found out that our new closing date would be December 20; five days before Christmas. We were ecstatic; our vision of getting a Christmas tree last minute and decorating it just in time for Christmas was about to come true. We even found the perfect “our new home” ornament while we were window shopping one day. Even if it was the only ornament on our tree last year, we knew it would be perfect.

And then, as luck would have it, the State of Michigan went into a government shutdown, backing up the Michigan State Housing Development office (who was a part of processing our loan), for a solid three weeks. Our dream of decorating our house for Christmas fell through. And as grateful as we were to be able to stay with Laryssa’s mom and dad during this entire process, but we both just so heartbroken that we wouldn’t have a house to call our own for Christmas.

After a long and tedious process, we finally closed on our house on January 15, 2019. It was such an exciting day for us. We both had goosebumps as we walked into this house – our house – for the first time. And although we didn’t get to decorate for Christmas last year, we were able to dive right in with painting our kitchen, dining room, and family room, thanks to five consecutive snow days in late January. Since then, we planned a wedding and a honeymoon, had our siding and exterior trim painted, spent endless hours out in the workshop, and completed (and partially completed) other projects around the house – all while making this beautiful house our home.

So as Laryssa and I sit on our couch tonight, watching one of our favorite Christmas movies, we can’t help but feel grateful, excited, fortunate, and blessed. Merry Christmas, everyone, from our home to yours!




Twas the night before Christmas…just kidding, we don’t have enough time to figure out a clever rhyme to start this post with. Anyway, it’s almost here! Merry Christmas Eve!

This year, it’s been especially fun to decorate for the holidays, as this is our first year here at the Beck Street House. We did a little bit of everything – buy new things, make our own decorations, and use things we already had. We didn’t use our holiday decorations last year as we didn’t get in our house in time, so it was especially exciting to go through the bins again as we had forgotten about some of the decorations we had from our time at the apartment.

We’ll start in our family room, where we spent the majority of our effort this holiday season. Since we moved in we always envisioned a massive Christmas tree tucked in the corner next to the wood stove. We went with a “homemade'” theme for this tree, and we decorated it with popcorn and cranberry garland, dried fruit ornaments, and homemade cinnamon salt dough ornaments.

We made all of the dried fruit ornaments and garland ourselves, which included drying them in a 200 degrees oven for hours on end. We used oranges, grapefruit, apples, lemons, and limes, and our kitchen smelled amazing as we were doing so. Drying all of this fruit in our oven eventually lead to the heating element in oven giving out on us, which we didn’t realize at first. So long story short, we’re requesting a non-denominational prayer that our electric bill won’t lead us to refinancing our house when we get it in a few weeks. Anyway…

We also needed a place to hang our stockings, so over the past few days, we used an extra piece of wood, our Cricut, and a few hooks we had on hand to create this piece for behind our tree. We also used the same materials to create another l sign from a great Christmas movie.

Our kitchen also got a good dose of holiday decorations as well. Our kitchen has a few old and beautiful wood beams, so for the holiday season, we decided to continue with our cranberry and fruit garland theme to decorate those as well. And again we used our cricut to make more holiday signs to complete the space.

And for the first time since this summer, we updated our chalkboard! And when we say “we”, we mean Laryssa. 100% Laryssa. We completed the look with a string of battery-operated colored Christmas lights (and we decorated the peace lily too.)

And onto our living room…

Yep. We went with two real Christmas trees this year. We knew we wanted one in the living room, and in the family room, and if we put a tree in one room but not the other, one room would feel incomplete. But one thing we are still just a tad bit sad about is not being able to put out tree right in the middle of our big living room window. We tried. Damn it, we tried. At one point, we had our couch blocking off the entrance to our foyer; we were THAT committed to making it work. But it just wasn’t meant to be.

The counter where our TV lives was the perfect spot for our nativity scene. It’s a decent size, and when we had it out in our apartment in 2017, we had no choice but to cram it on an end table next to our couch. Gotta let baby Jesus breath.

And of course we completed the space with more greenery and beautiful dried fruit and cranberry garland. Our house is going to look so boring and empty without it!

Oh, and we put up a third (technically a fourth) tree this year with all of our special ornaments on it. This is just a 4-foot tree we had from our college days. Alan put it up before Thanksgiving with the intention of taking it to school and moving the ornaments to the real tree once we got them up, but we never quite got there, and it looks perfect in our living room.

And here are a few of our favorite ornaments from this tree. Everyone needs a Canadian yule log and Elvis ornament, right? Thanks Em for the ornament to commemorate our first Canadian Yule log. Such a cultural moment for us.

And finally our outdoor decorations!

Our first item of business was pretty simple – we swapped out the light bulbs on our string lights for Christmas colored bulbs. We also bought six $3 wreathes from Walmart, weaved lights through them, and hung them in our living room and bedroom windows, which looks beautiful at night. These two projects turned out great, but our Christmas lights over our porch and garage? Yikes. If you drove by during Week 1, they were beautiful. If you drove by recently, not so much. We had bought them last year on clearance, hung them up, and a week later, two of the stands burnt out. A+ for effort right?

Merry Christmas Eve!

Alan + Laryssa