My heart is so full.
My loves, oh how I love to love you!
Are you ready for this or are you over it? Doesn’t really matter, actually. Let’s go!
This year, I finally did outside lights for the first time. Ever. You guys, this is a big deal. I was intimidated because I wasn’t sure how to plug them in since we don’t have an outdoor outlet (something I’d like to change eventually). I ended up snaking the extension cord underneath the gaping hole in our garage door flashing (something that I’d also like to change eventually). I even used a timer and felt very smug about it.
I copied a friend and wrapped lights around the posts and called it good enough.
I know, it doesn’t look like much. But when I’d sneak out for my morning run in the dark, they made me so happy. Lights are magical! Plus, I scored the lights on mega clearance last year so that’s secretly thrilling to me. I don’t love the silver ball wreath around the light but I couldn’t figure out where else to put it and it’s actually gorgeous at night when the light is on, so I left it.
I’ve been perusing clearance Christmas trees to fill out the front step – wish me good deal finding luck!
The boxwood wreath is from Trader Joes and it’s so fresh and pretty. I stuck a gold sparkly sprig in it and that was it.
I actually bought two more boxwood wreaths to hang on either side of the garage but the Command Hooks were out to get me so that didn’t happen. I felt defeated, I’m not going to lie. Come on inside, the Command Hooks got me in there too.
I like to decorate the hutch by mixing in a few holiday things among all of the white pieces:
Truthfully, I was going to clear out all of the toys for the picture but I thought maybe one day, I’ll want to remember what Christmas decorating with littles around is like. So, they stayed in all of their primary-colored messy glory.
The navy mercury tree was from last year when I lost my mind in the after Christmas sales. I scored it for cheap! I didn’t want it to happen but the Target Dollar Spot lured me once again this season. How cute are these ceramic houses and bottle brush trees!?
You can even put tea lights in the houses, which I hope to do next year. I think they would be so sweet all aglow at night.
The left side:
It’s a sparse, I should have crammed the bowl full of ornaments but I didn’t. Hey! Another sprig! I love that word, don’t you?
Moving over to the other side, Elf made her appearance again this year. She’s been with me for Christmas ever since I was a kid!
The couch finally -FINALLY- got new throw pillows.
I’ve been hesitating to buy them because sticky fingers makes me think twice about buying anything to make the house look nice, you know?
I wanted to add some extra holiday cheer and this cozy bear and plaid throw seemed to fit right in:
Christmas pictures. I have a matching frame for Cade’s first Christmas but no picture printed yet. I need to do that. I need to do a lot of things but instead, I drink coffee.
Moving to the kitchen. I strung our cards up here and added one of the rogue boxwoods that had no home. Two wreaths would have made this look much better. Maybe next year.
Of course, I plopped a few pretties in my tray on the kitchen table.
I had two helpers with the tree this year. For the first time, Amelie was really into it.
Last year, I did it by myself. Amelie was too crabby so I put her to bed and I did the rest one-handed, holding Cade who was naked from the waist down because of some bad diaper rash. A lot has changed in a year!
And, Ta Da!
One new thing I added this year, a step button to turn on the tree lights. Like, duh. It’s so amazing. I also added one strand of twinkling lights (clearance score from last year) and that was a fun change-up.
Originally, I planned to drape layered garlands along the window but my Command Hooks were not cooperating and I just gave up. I did manage to get the wreath up that MamaP bought me last season, so there is that.
The rest of the house got a sprinkling of cheer, starting with our downstairs bath:
And my vanity, that I intend to tell you about someday too:
(Hey, remember when this desk used to look like this?)
I know. Even the drawers are organized. More on that someday…
Anyway, a closeup of that adorable fuzzy owl:
I also added these glitter trees from Target Dollar Spot. That place! Is the best. Isn’t it?
The glitter trees are actually supposed to be paired with bigger trees but Amelie wanted those for her room. She even adorned them with ornaments herself:
She is very busy during her quiet time. She reads out loud. She changes clothes. She does puzzles, builds train tracks, turns lights on and off, shreds paper into bits. I can’t complain though because she stays up in her room the entire time. She is amazing!
Did I lose you in the mess? I hope not. I decided to cut to the end even though I had a few more things to show you – holiday sheets for our bed (that is rumpled and unmade) and the gold tree for the playroom that I never managed to get decorated. Oh well, right? I can see that you’re tired. Me too, my friend.
It’s a lot of work to put up but there sure is a magic to it all, isn’t there?
I’m keeping the tree up for a little longer. I can’t say goodbye just yet.
Picture perfect, am I right?
Amelie figured out which presents were hers pretty fast. “A-M-E-L-I-E spells Ah-mo-me!!!”
“Elsa” had a very good Christmas and yes, we are full on in Frozen mode over here.
Cade loved his books, garbage truck and tunnel from Grandma. He exclaimed “Oh my goodness!” as he opened presents. It was so adorable, I almost fainted.
We set out our stockings for Santa. Oh and I plan to do a Christmas decor post but you know how well I get things done around here.
Santa “filled” their stockings (he was stingy because they don’t know any better) but also brought them a new-to-them train table!
Man, that thing is huge and hard to vacuum around. The kids love it!
Christmas 2016 was magical and sweet but also, as always, real life things crept in like a flat tire, crabby kids, a PMSing Mom, and overeating bloat. I tried to savor the magic and ignore the other stuff but I didn’t do a very good job. Ugh, huh?
I hope you had a love-filled holiday and that the bloat didn’t get you like it did me!
If you are feeling nostalgic like me, a look back on Christmas 2015.
I have hardly done any Christmas baking or crafting this year (or any year since having babies?) but I did manage to whip up some cranberry salsa to hand out as gifts. Ok let’s be honest. I started making the salsa but was running short on time getting myself together so Zack had to finish it for me. I am one of those thoughtful but inept types. Didn’t they turn out cute though?
I’ve been hoarding these little jars leftover from my MIL’s jam for a long while now; they’ve been sitting quietly in this cabinet ready to go. This salsa is a really nice alternative to homemade sweets but still feels “seasonal” with the cranberries and oranges. It goes great topped on chicken and probably pork too!
Eat and be cran-merry!
(Ugh, that was the worst).
Well, he turned two over two weeks ago. It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged, hasn’t it? How do we start back up again? Reintroduce ourselves? Just pretend we weren’t away?
We hosted Cade’s party on his actual birthday, December 3rd, which was especially sweet. If it were up to Cade, it would have been Thomas The Train themed. But since Mama is driving this front engine, I chose a Colorado theme. I like that much better. He’ll probably hold it against me into adulthood, as he should. I’m the worst!
Zack and I created cute invitations but when we went to print them, the colors I spent carefully selecting turned out totally wonky. Apparently my taste is much too nuanced for the cheap printer at the library. I’ll take that as a compliment because I’m low on those anyhow.
Come on in, it’s party time.
Sidenote, we finally ordered a new front door. It should be installed sometime soon, can you believe it!? What color should I paint it? Navy? Ok I will. I think that’s a great idea!
Anyway, back to the party? A closer look at the invites.
Let me pause and mention that the craft closet organization I did this summer made all of the little party crafting so easy to pull together. If only the rest of my life felt that way…
For food, we had white bean chicken chili simmering in the crockpot, cornbread muffins, chips and salsa, veggies and hummus, and mac and cheese for the kids. I wish they’d eat something besides that but oh well.
Here is an up close of the paper plates because I was overly thrilled to find these at Target – on clearance no less! I thought they looked liked mountains and matched my original color scheme perfectly (until the library printer shenanigans, of course).
Anyway, probably nobody noticed but I took delight in them. Here is the rest of the party setup. The empty bowl awaits the much anticipated mac and cheese!
I had the cupcakes made at the local bakery and they turned out mostly cute.
I made the mistake of keeping the glittery red washi tape on the example for the bakery and their fondant printer turned it into a weird army green color. It was kinda gross looking but what can you do? This is the only time washi tape has failed me, by the way. Washi tape is the best!
I had Zack print a few extra copies of our invite stripped down to “Cade turns 2″ that I used as decorations. These also doubled as Thank You cards for later. Aren’t I so super smart?
In the past, we’ve always offered beer for the grownups. Nobody drinks them. What sleep deprived parents of busy toddlers really need instead is a stocked coffee station. Coffee is life!
I borrowed the mugs and tray from a friend and added my new creamer and sugar set. Why did it take me so long to buy these, I have no idea. I also added fresh flowers from Trader Joes. Believe it or not, I bought the flowers a week BEFORE the party and they are still going strong even as I blog and in spite of much neglect. Go get yourself some!
Funny story about the treat bags:
I made them in JULY. I’m not exaggerating. I was inspired after organizing the craft closet and they took me an evening to make. I felt a little foolish doing this six months in advance but soon after cross country season arrived and I was an exhausted lunatic until mid November when the season finally wrapped up. I’m really glad that all I had to do is pull these out of the closet come party day.
I had the best intensions to blanket stitch the iron-on appliques more securely, as well as add the kid’s name with iron-on letters. I figured I had plenty of time but of course that did not get done, now did it?
Inside the treat bags, I included three Colorado-themed coloring pages I found on Pinterest, ROCKy mountain CANDY (Get it? I think I’m SO clever sometimes but then when I unplug the garage door opener to check my outdoor Christmas lights and proceed to stomp around fuming wondering WHY IN THE HELL WON’T THE GARAGE DOOR CLOSE OR OPEN OR DO ANY EFFIN THING?!! until after much wasted time and cussing, I remember to plug it back in and realize that I am, in fact, not clever whatsoever), plus a toy car from the Target Dollar spot that doesn’t go with the theme and yes, that really bothered me. Still does. So does this entire run-on paragraph so why not end it with an incomplete sentence?
I was originally going to have the kids make their own rock candy or put together some sort of take home kit…but then I decided it was easier to order some off of Amazon instead. Yay for two day shipping!
You can barely see them below, but I whipped up a few poofs and hung them over the food station. They are easy and fool-proof to make and always add a little pizzaz. Yeah, you know, pizzaz.
Here is the birthday boy, blowing out his candle!
Actually, he mostly sputtered in its general direction.
He is wearing Amelie’s hand-me-down Colorado shirt by All Things Bean that I used as inspiration for the tote bags. Basically, I copied.
BUT LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS? Seriously.
Cade is not much for parties, to be honest. He doesn’t like the commotion and he cried during the Happy Birthday song – second year in a row. Poor guy. (Amelie, on the other hand, loved it all.) Maybe next year, we’ll let Cade play trains in his “spot” and eat cupcakes for lunch in peace and quiet. That’s more his style!
Cade, we love you so much. Two years with you has been two very blessed years for us. Sniff, sniff. All of the heart eyed emojis in the world for you, my sweet guy!
Happy birthday, Cadey-Cade!
ROAR! Can you spot two adorably fierce dinosaurs in the “wild”?
Their tails wagged when they walked. The cuteness made my eyes cross!
In full disclosure, I thought I was being such a fun Mom when I surprised the kids with their costumes one day in the car. I had bought the dinosaur costume for Cade and I picked out a wolf ears/tail set for Amelie. But Amelie really wanted the dinosaur one instead so I let her “trade” with Cade. Cade lost his sh*t! So much crying! Rightfully so because he just got his costume stolen right out from underneath him.
I learned two lessons: Cade is not a baby anymore, he has opinions!! And secondly, everything needs to be the same. I thought that was a “twin thing” but it’s a general kid rule. I’m still learning this Mom stuff…
Before we headed out to trick or treat, I set out our candy for the neighborhood kids.
It looked so cute all aglow after dusk! Let’s all be amazed by my geraniums that I planted months ago that are still going strong!
About to head out to trick or treat with friends. I love this wagon. I have put miles on this thing.
Amelie brought her bucket from McDonalds instead of the cute Halloween bag I bought her but you win some, you lose some…
The kids loved trick or treating. I wish I would have taken pictures of the entire group all dressed up. Next year! Once the sun set, all of the pictures I took turned out blurry and dark. But trust me, it was so sweet watching them. These are the moments I want to remember forever. <3
A look back:
I can’t resist, you know?
A look back to last year and one of my favorite pictures of all time:
I love them so much!
I’m back. Do not be alarmed!
It’s been quite a month, you guys. My kids have been sick, my husband has been sick, my cross country kids have been sick and I’ve been sick. A deep throat infection plus intolerable ear pain? Check. The stomach flu? Check. A bee sting and reaction? Check. A sinus infection? Check. “Just” a cold? Check. It’s been rough.
Until now, I’ve been limping through my most favorite season of all, Fall! Let’s skip and clap instead!
Admittedly, it still feels like summer around here but I pulled out the fall decor anyway. First up, my tray filled with fall; with my go-to gold-stemmed pumpkins, a gold candle (a Christmas gift) and a new ceramic squirrel from Target. Isn’t’ she cute?
The hutch adorned with a few clearance pumpkins from last year:
and with my favorite picture of the kids ever:
And lastly, Cadey-Cade and I picked out pumpkins and spruced up the front step while Amelie was at preschool.
I couldn’t bare to take out my summer flowers just yet; the geraniums and jungle grass are still so happy! We added a few real pumpkins to our fake ones, along with mums and pansies. On our To Do list. A new front door. Before the snow flies!
I have more Halloween decorations to put up now that it’s officially October. I plan to post about those too but then again, you know me better than that. Right?
I was so inspired mid-book to get to tidying, even though the author stresses NOT to do that. But I couldn’t help myself; the train got moving and who am I to try and stop it? I decided to tackle my craft bin instead of starting with clothes (like she suggests) mostly because I was working with an undetermined amount of time (nap time) so I figured my craft bin was the smallest and most manageable category to take on first. I didn’t like breaking all of her rules but I had momentum and I didn’t want to get in my own way!
This bin. It stressed me out. Also, a sneak peek of the current state of our office: horrendous. Be careful, it might eat you!
See, the lid won’t even fit on the bin anymore. Something had to be done. Like, yesterday.
I pulled it all out and got to sorting.
I also made a point to gather up my other craft items stored all over the house such as gift bags, tissue paper, cards/stationary, craft paints, etc and address it all at once.
Holy hell, it took a long time.
I thought this would be a breeze to sort it all but it was time consuming. I really tried hard to think about my current needs and not let my old hobbies or future possibilities persuade me. I wanted to focus on The Now. A long time ago? I used to make my own cards. I kept every scrap of paper with plans to use them up in their entirety. But in this phase of my life I buy the adorable cards/gift tags from the Target Dollar Spot and if I’m feeling really crafty, I slap on a piece of washi tape to fancy it up. I hope eventually Amelie/Cade and I will make a bazillion crafts together but currently our crafts are simple and uninvolved. Crayons. Random paper. Attention span of 13 seconds. I figured pairing down craft supplies is just what I need right now. I can always buy bits and bobs as projects with the kids come up. Typical of most purging experiences, I discovered a few forgotten gems that I’m excited to play with and discarded supplies that felt like items on my To Do list instead of enjoyable crafting adventures!
Initially, the bin seemed like the right choice to store everything together but I was finding that it was too big to haul out and too cumbersome to dig through. Currently they are all living in Cade’s closet (which still needs doors, by the way):
Marie Kondo emphasizes discarding before organizing and that makes perfect sense to me. It’s difficult to put any systems in place if you haven’t fully addressed what needs to stay or be discarded. For now, my crafts supplies are contained to the office at least.
Eventually, I’d like to move all of my craft supplies to the downstairs linen closet but for now, Cade doesn’t need this entire closet and things are put away in a kind of orderly fashion.
Onto clothes! Oh dear.
We had a sweet day starting with a big breakfast, then hiking, swimming, grilling out and finishing with smores!
Amelie is so excited to see her first fireworks tonight! I’m excited to hear what she reports back. She already told me her favorite one is the “blue one” before she even headed out to see them with Dad and Grandma. I’m so thankful for our freedom and my little cuties!
Happy 4th of July!