Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nola Bound

I'm 4 days away from my 40th birthday and I'm so excited to be spending the weekend in New Orleans with some of my closest family and friends. Eugene and I have never been before and neither have most of our guests. It's going to be SO! MUCH! FUN!

But aside from the pending excitement, I've spent a lot of time this week evaluating myself and where I'm headed. Forty years is definitely a milestone and with it comes a new sense of adventure and hope for what's to come.

In the meantime,

laissez les bon temp roulez!

Our 2104 Christmas Recap

The whole month of December has been filled to the brim with jolly awesomeness.

We've had more delicious dinners than I care to count, more laughter fill our home than ever before and more friends and family gathered 'round to watch it all go down. 

Here's a picture walk through all of our Christmas celebrations:

Instead of a large kids xmas party this year, we scaled back a bit and told the kids they can invite over a couple friends each to have a fancy Christmas dinner & movie party. 

I really love throwing kids christmas parties.The energy, the excitement, the games, the magic. It's such a fun way to start out the season and to see my kids share their love for Christmas with other kids who feel the exact same way is so precious. 

 Check out Chance in the reflection below working his mojo on one of Bella's friend. I wanted so badly to lean in and say, "dude, simma down, you're wearing elf pajamas"

The kids dined on Orochetti Bolognese, some pretty great sugar cookies and toasted each other to friendship and Santa--adorable doesn't even begin to describe it. When Bella's friend Nicole asked for more juice in the most proper of English accents I laughed out loud and knew my job was done!

Sleeping bags, popcorn and Santa Claus the movie!

Chance and Mia woke up early on Christmas Eve and decided to decorate the house with posters leading us to the North Pole. Man, I love these kids. The picture below, aside from being my favorite xmas picxture this year, tells so much about Mia.

Groggy and grumpy, Eugene and I followed the signs.....

Chance was super proud of his poster making skills and described to us in detail that this is a... 

picture of Chance and Santa, duh. 

And just when I was ready to give up on the grueling journey from our bedroom to the North Pole, this cute little polar bear, nestled stovetop, wekumed me. And P.S. Mia, that polar bear's three dimensional thought bubble is pretty awesome. 

Our Christmas house elf Dobby was up to his usual hi-jinx on his last morning with us. 

Dressed up for church.

Bella wanted to go for a Taylor Swift Christmas look.....and I gotta say I think she came pretty close!

 Christmas Eve was spent at my Aunt's house, as it has been for the past 30 years but this year we set up a photo booth!

Sidenote-- in a weird yet totally not surprising coincidence 4 ladies in our family happened to buy the SAME sweater at different times from the same store. Our bargain hunting genes run deep man.

So of course, we filmed it. Below is the original 4 sweater owners 
(who frequent Ross WAY too much)

But then we got a little jealous so we donned the sweaters too. 

The amount of fun I've had with these ladies throughout my life is immeasurable. Luv ya girls!

More Christmas Eve fun!

For the second year now we make sure to take pictures right before we go to bed when everything's set up, even though we're dead tired and our feet and back ache like crazy--we capture the stillness and magic that only Christmas Eve can bring. I love this tradition. The pictures turn out so beautiful and peaceful and are such a great symbol of the month long fun we've had leading up to this night.

The annual note from Santa. This year's theme was reminding the kids that their love for each other and the people around them will make them loving adults in the future. Just a little life lesson before all the crazy abundance that will soon follow.

The countdown...

Rise and shine it's Christmas morning!

Cookies for breakfast, no complaints there.

Kelle Hampton, an amazing mother and blogger has a tradition from her childhood where they would follow strings all over the house leading to a present. I loved the idea and did this with Bella mainly because her gift was in another room and who wouldn't love searching for a present, right?!

In fact her gift was my most favorite this year. As you may know, she's mildly obsessed with Lego Friends and up until Christmas morning we stored all of her creations on top of our craft cabinets in the craft room. They were not easily accessible, they were shoved together, broken apart and sadly outta sight, outta mind if you know what I mean. I wanted so badly to give Bella a place of her own, a place where she can play and escape and lose herself in her little Lego world. The scary, old and smelly basement was out of the question because it would have been too difficult to prevent the other kids from going down there, so we came up with an alternative.

We gave up a shelf in our dining room storage closet to turn into a Heartlake City Lego Friends village. That's it folks, a shelf.

We hooked it up with battery operated LCD lights that run on a remote control for cool factor, added some green astroturf, rolling hills and some sunshine and you would have thought we gave her the world. She was SO happy. In fact, I'm choking up as I write this because the string, the surprise, the look of utter disbelief as she saw what was behind the door was so, so genuine. 

I wish all gifts could give out this much joy.

She LOVES her little shelf and proudly shows it off to anyone who hasn't seen it. We've since added a fold up bar chair and a real padlock and I swear to you this girl is in HEAVEN!

Every Christmas there's a gift or a moment that defines it for me, and this was it. I'll always look back on the "shelf christmas" with such magic and happiness. 

But believe me, the other kids had a memorable Christmas too. Santa brought Mia a pretty awesome fairy house (that was decorated in accordance to Mia's fancy schmancy schmulzy taste level!)

Chancey had himself a Transformer Christmas 

 and little Indy was thrilled with his Daniel Tiger treehouse!

Celebrating our Christmas love with our west coast family, the only way we could.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Magic of Christmas

Folks, here's my first attempt at a vlog. Enjoy:


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