I always feel like reminiscing at the end of the year. We've been cleaning out old computers to donate to the church and I found photos of our House Blessing a year after we moved to Baltimore. We celebrate our fourth year Stone Hill'aversary this week. Have you ever been to a house blessing? It's a wonderful tradition where the priest comes to shoo away any bad spirits from the old house and Christen it with new life and purpose. It was wonderful having a house blessing at Stone Hill and we of course invited our priest Stuart from Christ Church Georgetown to take on the 160 year old ghosts. It was also a great opportunity to throw a party three years ago this week.
Each room is blessed separately. The prayers are wonderful. Sometimes it's nice to have a prayerbook lead you when you can't find your own words.
I'm so happy we have these photos but what was I thinking with auburn hair and eating my way through Baltimore that first year of marriage?! You can really tell that I've lost 18 pounds after looking at these photos. Vanity aside, Stuart started with a prayer in the kitchen and brought holy water to bless each room. You can find the Celebration of a Home in the Book of Occasional Services on page 146. It's a supplement to the Book of Common Prayer as well as another good one, Lesser Fasts and Feasts for the Episcopal church. Reminds me of something that would have been in Harry Potter's required reading section for some reason.
Brunch is my all time favorite meal. I love a party and all the items it takes to make it special. I recall this being a very, very easy party to plan. Susan brought the best fruit salad and Eric's mother Jean made a few quiche. We served smoked salmon with bagels, the no-longer-New System Bakery cinnamon glazed donuts, cheese grit casserole and ham with Sister Schubert dinner rolls.
Friends and family are of course the most important key to any party, but I'd like to do give a shout out to the buffet plate. The buffet plate is the most wonderful invention and a necessity at any good buffet brunch. I started my buffet plate collection after a friend's Derby Party in Louisville, Kentucky in college. Let's be honest, it was a hang over brunch for the 60 kids that hailed from liberal arts schools throughout the Mid-West. Amy's mother was so tickled at how excited I was about the plates she had set out for the brunch that she gave me my very first plate from her collection to start my own. The plate she gave me was the same plate that started her collection. It's a maize and blue (GO BLUE) hand painted ceramic star plate. The key is to collect them. Tell people you collect them and everyone enjoys the fun in finding 11 1/4 inch buffet plates for you. Most of mind were given to me, many were found at Pier One and Williams-Sonoma on sale. My favorite is my Chesapeake Chicken plate that McCall and I found coming back from Dewey one fortuitous morning. I like using china, glass, silver and cloth napkins when possible. Very green.
Grandmother Tayloe would have approved I think.
The party was pre-Epiphany. I chopped up our Christmas tree and decorated the whole house with it's branches. It was the most wonderful smelling party to date and we needed the room from the tree. If anyone is having a New Year's party and needs the space, start cutting up greens from your tree. Truly makes wonderful centerpieces.
It's wonderful going back and looking at how the house first looked when we moved in. We donated the sofa's to our youth group's room at Memorial and had so many wonderful neighbors visit.
Guy and Pam live next door who we simply love!
My mother-in-law still dreams about these donuts.
It was really our first party to bring out all of our wedding presents and share the joy of our little house.
The kitchen was the hub and of course where everyone gathered. See the greens on top of the hutch?
When I moved to DC originally in 1994 my mother told me I had to connect with Peggy Malone (West). She lives three miles away from us in Baltimore and we finally met back in 2008. Her parents set my GRANDPARENTS up on their first blind date. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Battle and Alice Malone. We have loved getting to know Butch and Peggy and their fabulous sons and their families.
Our DC pals even made the trip for this event.
George and Susan weren't even engaged in this photo. I love that we attended their wedding and just celebrated Jemma's first birthday. A lot can happen in three years!
I've always loved this photo of Charles. I've changed the bookshelves seven thousand times since this was taken.
It's fun to walk down memory lane and see how much we've grown, and shrunk and how much we've accomplished on the house. We are close to finishing our new office and Eric has found an old bowling alley remnant to make a custom board table for future endeavors. He's so handy and nice to have around. Thank you for the wonderful four years at Stone Hill Charlie. Happy Home Anniversary!