Hey there! Long time no talk!
Christmas has long come and gone at this point and we have been busy as ever over here enjoying some much needed down time.
We swept up, vacuumed up as well as endlessly and carefully collecting all of the little needles from our Christmas greenery and then we quickly and haphazardly stuffed it all away in bins marked "Christmas".
You know you do it toooooo!
You know you do it toooooo!
And then, because we were so exhausted after doing THAT, I took another few weeks off from doing anything "extra" or anything more strenuous then doing up my pants.
I'm trying to get back into the swing of responsibility but my bed keeps calling me to hit snooze and those darn Ferrero Roche's keep begging me to dig them out from the depths of the freezer where I hid them from the ravenous-chocolate-loving-Mama of the house.
So, to counteract this post holidaze thing I have going on, I thought I would do something productive and share with you what we did with our subsequent-three-days-off-in-a-row/the-most-time-we-have-spent-together-since last-year/Christmas-vacation.
A little recap of our lives and the things I want to remember most of all.
Firstly, I got all enlightened after during the busiest months of my career. I decided to enroll my awesome hubby as my assistant and to try my hand at coloring my own locks.
Everyone wants to look good for Santa. ;)
My bald husband may have just landed himself a new job as "hair holder".
We started off the holiday season by visiting every toy store within an hour radius to ensure that we knew what Santa's stock of 2014 would be like.
Mama wanted a gift of her own....
And the whole famjam pitched in!
We cant wait to show you what we were up to! A little farmhouse feeling is coming to This Little Estate! Yahhh!
Other then teaching the kids the importance of hard work, I have also been trying, all year long, to teach our children the value of some values we hold dear to us.
#1 How to work together as a family. The kids nailed it in our above project.
#2 How to look on the bright side in all circumstances.
We had snow come down in heaps in mid November before we were prepared for it. After we had all gotten some whining out, we decided quickly to "Choose JOY!" instead of complaining.
"I choose joy" was written all over our home lately to remind us.
Please ignore the above booty shaking photobomb.
Our Christmas elf: Lloyd, came to visit us on the first day of December .
He brought with him his sister who we named "Lucy" and they had way too much fun causing mischief throughout the holiday season.
And yes, even though we love our dear little elves, we do think they have a creepy attribute about them. ;)
I really hope Santa doesnt read blogs.
During the month of December we showed you our CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR, but as always wanted to keep it real here too.
So here you go. This is what my days off looked like in the month of Decemeber! Catching up on six days worth of layers and laundry!
See? You and I live parallel lives..
We tried to teach our five year old daughter the concept of subtraction this year.
Somehow I can hear my husband laughing quietly to himself somewhere as he reads this. Truth be told, I am not amazing at math.
Every morning though, my little girl would hurry downstairs to our kitchen chalk board where she would subtract another day from the month of December. The count down to Christmas day was such fun this year.
I feel an annual tradition coming on!
Speaking of traditions, this right here is becoming more of a habit and one I hope sticks as a mother and son tradition.
I am always aiming to share the outdoors with my children and to establish a love in them for getting out and enjoying what this world has to offer us. This month we endured a blessing in disguise when one of our two vehicles broke down and we were left to really enjoy the mild month of November... with two feet and a heart beat.
We ran all over town in December and found ourselves enjoying corners of our city that were the absolute best.
It wouldn't be December without every store in town handing out candy canes. We didnt mind.
In fact, who knew that candy canes were in such high demand?
I think my favorite part about the weeks leading up to Christmas was the time, though fleeting, where we got to reflect on the reason for the season and to fill our hearts with gratitude for all of our many blessings.
(Candy canes included)
During the month of December we gorged on all kinds of sweets and treats and candy canes and worked it all off with long walks and daily walks to our near bye pond.
Some mornings were eerily foggy and mild.
And other mornings were crisp and cold.
We loved seeing how with every passing week the weather and landscape changed at our beloved spot.
Whatever magical weather the day time brought, the evenings tried to outdo it.
I remember climbing to the highest window in our house to snap this picture. I recall the kids laughing as I teeter tottered on the back of our couch trying to capture this beauty too. But when I look at this picture today I mostly remember how in awe I was (and still am!) at the breath taking colours that we get to experience when the sun says farewell in the evenings.
There were so many beautiful sunsets, that it made the early night times much more endurable.
For some reason, my creativity grows wild when darkness starts at 5pm every night. Maybe it is the length of the evening, maybe it is the time spent on Pinterest? I really couldn't tell you. All I know is, I finally got my lovely husband on board to go cut some boards so we could pursue some new projects in 2015 together.
The whole holiday season reminded me that our lives would be so much more boring without these three little adventure seekers by our sides.
(Don't even get me started on the COST of this blurry-fake-smile-filled-photo from our local mall)
Cause remember? I'm choosing joy over here and everything surrounding the taking of this blurry picture was anything but joyFULL.
Sometimes traditions have no dollar sign or sanity marker attached to them.
Thankyou to all the people in line who ignored the way I bribed my children with Halloween candy and promises of every gift they put on their Christmas list.
Santa was great and all, but we have been trying to relay to our children the importance of this holiday season and why.
Luckily, they attend a lovely school and they were involved in a tear inducing performance that had Jesus's birth at the center of it all.
I mean, we cant really help what their grandparents do.
I had another chance on Christmas eve to teach the children that this time of year should be about giving, not necessarily receiving.
We followed The porch project ideal and left some gifts on some unsuspecting door steps.
Goodness knows we were blessed back with so much giving on our own front porch this year. Thank you friends!!
At this rate, neighbors around here are going to soon think that we are robbing Purolator trucks.
On Christmas Eve I put all reason behind me and took the children to our churches Xmas eve performance..alone.
We survived on a string of good luck (ie: I found more Halloween candy at the bottom of my purse to bribe them with) and everyone sitting around us was gracious enough to turn a blind eye to my three very excited wiggly hooligans.)
Every Christmas eve we go to my in laws for a feast. One we look forward to all year long. They are Polish, and I swear that "Polish" translates into "the best darn cooks on planet earth".
Cause guys, seriously, they are.
Which in turn means we always go to bed super late on Christmas eve, completely stuffed to boot!
The kids hit the sack at 11pm, too excited after opening all their gifts at the grandparents, and the hubs and I stay up till 2am
eating Santa's cookies bringing up the wrapped gifts from the hiding spots all over the house.
I love soaking in those early hour mornings when it is just my main man and I. Those are probably some of my favorite memories through the year. Just us and our tired excitement as we put out gits and discuss Christmases past.
This year the brother and sister combo of Lloyd and Lucy stayed an extra few days after Christmas to return to the North Pole/
mommy and daddy suck and forgot to make them go home to Santa.
The kids thought is was great that the elves got to hang out for the whole Christmas day!
Because we stay up so late the night before, the kids generally sleep in till 9:30 -10am.
Yes, that is heavenly!!!
They know that on Christmas morning they are allowed to open their stockings but have to wait till after a leisurely brunch to open the rest.
It is like a pajama day all day, and that is another favorite part about our traditions.
We recreate this picture every year and it is my favorite of the slew of pics I have on every photo taking device we own.
Once they are done playing with their new toys
and wondering aloud about the toothbrushes and oranges they got in their stockings (we call this "parent-filler-gifts". They are lucky they didnt get paper towel and cleaning supplies again. Stuffing stockings at 2am is daunting work people.) after finally dressing ourselves we pack up the gifts for my side of the famjam and head to my parents house.
My mom always has every square inch of her home decorated for any given holiday.
It is lovely and exciting and so worth the time to look around and see what you can discover on my parents beautiful tree.
(If you want to follow along on a day to day basis you can check out my IG HERE . I've written all about my mama's tree in a past past.)
On boxing day we decided to embrace the fabulous, unusually mild Canadian temperatures and so we embarked on an adventure.
Me, the three kids, my sister her husband and their family dog.
It was absolutely lovely.
We even experienced a rare moment where a chickadee ate seeds right off of my sons hat!!
I feel like the kids are finally understanding that by embracing nature they are actually embracing
peace and joy and a plethora of other amazing emotions.
Nature DOES that.
Beauty and peace is everywhere if you look close enough....
While the kids had a few more days off from school we attempted to embark on some Boxing Day sales.
See? Even Target can give you feelings of peace if you let it.
We planned a new years party for this year that involved our adult friends but also involved their children. That meant, that this year, if everyone invited did indeed bring their sweet babies we would be experiencing 20 kids in our humble abode.
We got this fantastic idea to meet at our local (AMAZING) park to enjoy the light show they had going on. The only issue was, the day of new years was the coldest day of the year --yet!
We braved the temps though everyone else decided to stay warm (I DONT BLAME THEM)
We saw alllll the lights and experiened the crazy happiness of having every child in our city crammed into one park. We then scat-tattled out of there and came right home to our lovely new year guests.
New years eve is also the day of my sweet friend's 3oth birthday, which means we celebrate both!
A pretty bar cart all decked out in twinkling lights and new years banners is just what we needed to add some pretty to our party.
I love that for the last three years I have gotten the chance to ring in the new year with this beauty in my life. Happy thirtieth birthday once again sweet friend!
Somehow on the last day of the year I get very sentimental.
I love mentally looking back at the
past year and remembering all that I am grateful for.
past year and remembering all that I am grateful for.
All that I am grateful for begins with our little family, with this guy and God's grace.
There was nothing better then ringing in the new year with a bunch of excited kiddies and our friends and family who we are undoubtedly grateful for.
Some of my favorite ladies shared the evening with us.
We celebrated "Kids New Year" at 9:30 pm with sound makers (which the parents soon stole and hid out of sight.)
Then we celebrated with copious amounts of food, sips of spirits, good conversation and big hugs after the strike of midnight.
And just a few days after the new year we got heaps of snow that made it finally "feel" like Christmas.
All the children rejoiced.
The last few months of 2014 were a crazy blur of working lots of over time, getting ready for down time spent with family and friends and planning projects for this coming year.
I cant wait to share another year of projects and adventures with you guys.
Here is to hoping your new year is off to a fabulously beautiful and heath filled start and that you are back into the swing of life, wearing pants again and tackling adult hood responsibilities without an afternoon nap. ;)