Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Traditions

The holidays are the best time of year for me. Ok so I pretty much love every holiday the most! Halloween, 4th of July. Easter. Valentine's Day. I love holidays.

What are some of everyone's favorite holiday traditions?!

Thanksgiving: We love to see a movie. This year we're seeing the new Katniss movie. My dad is babysitting and I am thrilled! We also watch Home Alone. It is clearly the best movie to get us into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas: We love to open presents on Christmas Day. I make some polar express hot chocolate and we hang out in jammies and all spend time together. Nothing too formal but just low key and happy. This year we're incorporating more yoga and reflective time. It is really helpful for me because I get worked up easily and I need something to decompress. Sammy does too and Preschooler Downward Dog is pretty adorable!

Fighting Consumerism During the Holidays

I am pretty adamant that I don't want to raise spoiled kiddos. I think getting 20+ presents during the holidays is pretty insane. What better way to kill an imagination than to have everything possible in front of their eyes- no pretend play involved. We limit gift giving to make sure that giving is the reason for the season not getting.

Here are some tips that we use if you are so inclined.

1. Jesus got three presents. Maybe you don't need 10. Generally we give three. Something to play with, something necessary, and then something to learn from. I do allow for one Santa present. The focus is on presents that will last- generally wooden toys that inspire creative play.

2. Don't buy toys every time you visit the grocery/general goods store. There are a bunch of times each year that Sammy is given presents. His birthday, grandparents coming to town, Easter, Valentine's Day... Ect. It seems like gifts are given a lot more for our kids than they were when we were growing up. If your child gets a toy each time they leave the house the excitement of wanting something and then receiving it is gone. Also it teaches delayed gratification. Sometimes wanting something is more fun than actually having that item.

3. Stick a couple of things away for later in the year. If the relatives give a nice toy but it is getting lost in the crowd- put it away and bring it out on a rainy day or when you hear the I'm bored whine. That present gets the limelight that day and it helps them use what they've been given.

4. Pump your kiddos up about giving. Involve them in the process of selecting presents for their parent, their sibling, grandparents, ect... Give them an opportunity to see how great it feels to have someone unwrap something you've gifted them. This year we've adopted a child to bless and shopping for that child will be great.

5. Have an activity at Christmas that does not involve playing with toys. Baking and decorating sugar cookies, a gingerbread house, or an arts and craft activity that they can delve into to give their mind a break from the "Oh my goodness TOYSSSS'' chaos that always comes with opening presents. Show them that Christmas is not about things but people and spending time together.

6. Finally set a good example. Say Thank You. Work on Thank you notes together. Take a walk. Sammy and I are going to do some really nice Yoga Gratitude Sessions together where we talk about how it feels to be with family during special times.

7. Scale back on the amount of relatives you exchange gifts with. Nothing is worse than an hour plus of everyone opening things. I don't exchange with my sister. I think she is wonderful but it is easier to just buy for the kiddos and not worry about wrapping another thing.
Hope this helps! I like to scale it back during Christmas because spending thousands can be really stressful. No one should go into debt to celebrate!

Monday, November 17, 2014


Today my little one turned four. I have always wanted to be a mother, and pictured my family in my head a million times before I was married. I always wondered if the reality would be as magical as my imaginings. Would I have a boy and a girl? Would they be kind and sweet or spunky and wild? Or all of that? My greatest wish was for a sweet and affectionate child. Just someone who was good and saw the wonder in the world. My wish was granted the moment Samuel came into this world.

He came into this world talking. He has always been making noise and checking things out. Looking for the root of things- finding out what makes things work and enjoying every second of learning and interacting. He also is deeply kind. The other night I asked him what he was most thankful for after a long day of fun and his birthday party- he simply said..."You". He told me his wish to Santa was to have Grandpa come back from Heaven. And I know that isn't what he truly wants but what he wants for me. I feel like we've done something right to have such a deeply empathetic human on our hands. He is such a sweet and happy child.

He also knows his own mind. He isn't afraid to tell you what he's thinking or ask for what he really wants. He can share and take turns - and is so amazing to watch while he is playing with other children. I love that he is always gentle. If another child is crying he will try to help. He always does his best in every situation. 

Sammy loves his family so much. He always wants to facetime his Aunt Ashwee. He wants to go see Papa and Grandma. The dogs are like his siblings and he tirelessly advocates for their extra food and extra time outside. He knows what makes them happy and if he can get it for them- that is his mission.

In a few weeks we send Sammy off to his first academic experience. He will attend a Montessori school hopefully until it is time for middle school. We are so excited to see how he blossoms in his new environment. He is thrilled to pack his lunch.

Samuel Tiberius. You are such a wonderful addition to our lives and such a blessing from God. We could not have imagined a more special and loved son. It is our mission as parents to see you have whatever you need from us to do your life's work- whatever you decide that it should be. We could not be more proud of the person you are and that you are becoming. I'll eat you up I love you so!

Walking Around...

Walking Around...
Here are the choices we've made this year for Winter boots. First are the Gap Duck Boots. I am in love with these (maybe because I have a similar pair and we can be twinsies!) I love the durability and the classic look. I know these will hold their value well and I can spice them up with some red laces. They also are very warm and perfect for building a snowman. These are our choice for actual play outside.
If we just need to run an errand or hop towards school- the Hunter boots are our pick. Sammy has these in yellow and they are amazing. Worth every penny. I recently purchased the cobalt blue mustache liner for the boots so they transition into Winter well. He can put these on himself, they towel dry if you need them to go on top of a cubby- and a generally no muss no fuss. Excellent for anything where we might be trekking through the snow for under fifteen minutes. 
Last year we got the bogs and while I love them... They're $50. I got the Gap boots for $22 ($44 with 50% off coupon) and the Hunter Boots were $35 on sale. I just can't justify paying more money for something that has a bit of a younger look to it. They were warm and lovely just expensive. 
Happy First Snow!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Spending Sunday Together

Sunday has become our day. My husband works third shift these days. He is a Mechanical Engineer and they need support from his team overnight so right now he needs to sleep during the day on Sunday. Any other day we make it work easily- but Sunday became an issue.

Sammy seems to wake my husband on Sundays when we were hanging in the house. He would get the dogs all crazy and sleep became impossible. I decided we would get out of the house and do an activity every Sunday to let him sleep.

So far we've done a train ride, the zoo, children's museum, and a hike. Now that the weather has started to turn we are pretty limited in the activities we can do outside. We also have a membership to the Y so we can swim or play games there. Could be much worse!

It's kind of nice to have a day where I can schedule things with friends and not miss time with my husband. I can also spend time with my sister and brother in law and know Sammy is deepening his family ties. It's nice to have a day where I basically have to not be home.

I also don't have Sunday to clean... I feel like my cleaning woes are just never-ending. I have to get smarter about things but I assigned the hubs some more chores and have decided that we're working on decluttering our home and getting rid of the things we don't use any more. That should help me keep things cleaned up. Sunday mornings I have to make sure the laundry is done so we can have clothes for the week, the groceries need to be purchased and all bills/mail need to be prepared so Monday can come with some grace.

As I become better at this dance I will report back some tips and tricks for making this work for us. We try to be really socially active in our community and I am finding we just don't have enough time in the day. That's true for everyone I think!

Monday, November 3, 2014



I am just in love with these amazing Zara quilted trousers. They are pretty adorable! Paired them with a flannel from Gap. This one is really color saturated and I liked that against the muted pants. I think a really traditional plaid would be great too. I have some boots with this look from Carters. I like the hipster vibe this morning I guess! I also have some chucks and some Livie and Luca shoes that would be good too. At first I thought these pants would be hard to get to look right on Sammy- but after playing with them I think they are pretty easy to rock!