Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

It happened far too quickly for my liking.  It's almost now a blur.  Yet our Christmas morning was slow.  Intentional.  We had nowhere to rush to.  Just a day planned at home with our little family.  Enjoying that uninterrupted time together.

It all began on Christmas Eve.  The anticipation was palpable.  I could feel like the excitement inside of Liam.  And Finn could feel it too.  His understanding of it all may be less, but his feelings of joy are genuine.  He was most excited about the baby Jesus in the nativity during Mass.  Literally screaming "baby! baby!" throughout much of the service.  For the first time ever, we arrived early enough to snag a seat, with even a little extra room to spare.  Once Finn's "baby" shouts were just far too loud to contain, we made our escape after communion.  A seafood feast at home followed.  Then a Christmas movie and sugar cookie selection for Santa.  Milk was left out, along with carrots for all nine reindeer.  Both boys practically asked to go to bed, so bedtime was a breeze which was a Christmas gift in itself.

I filled all my boys' stockings with such glee, still completely in awe that I (me!) get to do this each year.  We brought out the play kitchen that was put together in record timing (1 hour, 45 minutes!).  The couch was moved to make room for all the opening & playing that would fill our morning.  After preparing the house, Conor & I sat on the floor (as to not disrupt the newly filled stockings), as we nibbled our treat of cookies & milk.  We reflected on the day.  On the season.  On our sweet boys, whom we love fiercely but who challenge us daily.  And then we too tucked ourselves into bed, expecting an early morning.

When the boys first came down the stairs, Liam was in far more awe of the empty cookie plate and note from Santa, that he completely didn't even notice the massive play kitchen waiting for him!  But eventually his eyes wandered over to it, and the boys ran towards it.  The perfect gift for them to spend the early morning with, as Conor as I put together breakfast.  Sticky, rich cinnamon rolls & blueberry maple sausage.  What all Christmas mornings should be made of.  Liam & Finn quickly started whipping up all sorts of delicious goodies.  Reorganizing the pots & pans until they found just the perfect spot.  The pot rack became a cook book holder, and their imaginations took off.  Finn was mouthing every food item he handled.  Unfortunately, Finn was working on his two year molars over the Christmas holiday.  Lots of hands in the mouth & drool, but still a sweet smile on his face.



The favorite gift for both boys was their Legos.  Finn is always trying to swipe Liam's Lego creations, so we finally bought him some Duplos.  He had a little extra swagger in his step as he realized he now too can build cars, trucks, trains, airplanes just like big brother.  And Liam was gifted with two new Lego sets of his own.  With more pieces than ever.  He will build & rebuild for days, and Finn will still try to get his hands on all the little pieces.  The Duplos are perfect for him, but he still knows that are not quite the real deal!



We spent most of our morning opening presents and watching the snow fall, hoping it would let up at some point so we could get out and shovel before nap time.  It snowed all night Christmas Eve and well into Christmas Day, so we had 8 inches of freshly fallen snow.  One of the most beautiful white Christmases I have ever had.  It always adds an extra layer of magic to the morning.  And it's the perfect motivation to get outside.  It was Finn's first time experiencing the snow blower, and he was quite skeptical.  First he stared, then he started calling for Conor to be "done! done!"  Everything comes in twos right now.  Liam wanted to shovel right next to the snow blower, so he took a fair about of snow to the face.









Naps were had all around, and then I found myself scrambling to help Conor finish preparing our Christmas feast.  Our neighbors arrived while I was still in pajamas!  I did manage a wardrobe change during appetizers.  Occasionally throughout the day, I missed our extended families.  Missed a bit of the bustling around.  But staying home all day for the first time ever was something pretty special too.  And finishing off the night with our "Utah family" (neighbors) was such a lovely way to end the holiday.  Finn went to bed early, so Conor & I had time with just Liam to play a new game and hear all his thoughts on his 4th Christmas.  The best Christmas!

While often those post holiday blues hit the day after Christmas, it was not the case this year!  Once again, the morning was filled with all the new toys.  Again, we had nowhere to rush to.  We had talked about skiing but knew that the mountain would just be packed.  Instead, we opted to take the boys sledding.  Apparently everyone else had decided to sled too, because I have never seen the hill quite so crowded.  Still, the sun was shining, our cheeks & noses were bright pink, and we were soaking in all that fresh air & snow.  It nearly felt like Christmas Part 2.  And I know the boys just love having Conor home for so many days in a row!  Lucky for them, Christmas is not even close to over, nor is this time with Daddy.  He's taking a week long vacation, and we are heading up to Washington to visit my family and celebrate with them.  More delicious food, more thoughtful gifts.  But best of all, more family time!






This time if so fleeting.  The belief, the magic... it won't be here forever.  But hopefully the traditions stay.  Hopefully the family time will always be a priority.  Hopefully we wake to each Christmas morning with the same excitement & anticipation.  I'm treasuring these years with wee ones.  Holding onto them.  Not wanting them to end.  Yet also eager to watch our family grow.  To head into the next stage of life where we don't plan around nap times & bedtimes.  But this time right now, it is something real special too.

Happy Holidays Everyone!  I hope your day was filled with same amount of wonder & love as ours! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fitting It All In

This week has been a bustling one for sure!  The teacher gifts have been handed out, & Liam is now officially on Christmas Break!  I'm excited to have him home for two weeks, as we fill our time with family, friends, & good food.  We're still managing to fit in all. the. activities. while also finishing up the wrapping, putting together a gazillion part play kitchen, & making a handful of grocery lists.  Conor & I always meal plan as if we are feasting with a large group.  But in reality, we are having a nice little family Christmas at home.



We took our annual trip to zoo lights, where Liam exclaimed "This is amazing!"  Lights everywhere while Christmas carols played softly as we strolled.  It was mighty chilly, even though we chose the warmest night of the week.  And Liam has informed me that the only way he can ever warm up is with hot cocoa.  Well played little boy!




And happy Winter Solstice everyone!  We woke up to a surprise snowfall, which just had to shoveled immediately even though we had morning plans and were in quite the hurry.  I love celebrating this day with the boys in some small way; how exciting that our days will begin to get longer again!  We are not fans of having to head inside by 5pm each night.



In the spirit of giving, we passed out our neighbor gifts tonight.  I love this Utah tradition of always sharing Christmas cards and homemade goods with your neighbors.  I realize many people make goodies for their friends & family, but neighbor gifts are for your actual neighbors here!  We walked the neighborhood as a family, Finn carrying a speaker blaring Christmas music (and trying to run into every single house) while Liam had Christmas card duties.  He only fowled up the names & envelopes once!  Again this year, we shared our home-brew ginger beer with everyone!  And because I'm not a fan of change,  I made tags nearly identical to last year.




I'm going to try and make fudge before bed tonight (because it's not the holidays without grandma's fudge), and then tomorrow we will ride the train to downtown Salt Lake City for a special dinner and to see all the lights!  So much fun to still be had!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Weekend Recap (More Christmasy Goodness)

Memories are being made every single day of this season.  There is so much excitement in our house right now.  Christmas carols going non-stop, made only sweeter by the tiny voices belting them out.  We're now less than a week away from Christmas, so our days more intentionally planned, trying to fit as much wonder in as we possibly can.  Here is a near "weekend in the life" for us.  Photography is becoming how I document our family; daily snippets of our days.  I love being able to capture these moments for my boys, hoping that will look back on them with much appreciation.



After seeing quite possibly the best elf idea ever from a friend, on Friday night I painted the boys' noses red while they were sleeping.  I did it as soon as they both fell asleep, hoping they would be in a deep slumber and not wake up.  Yes I was worried about red paint being smeared everywhere; but, it was a success!  We had our elf sitting on the kitchen table paint brush in hand when they woke up.    They were both utterly amazed.  When Finn saw Liam's nose, he immediately grabbed his own.  I love how strongly they truly believe.  Our elf wasn't the only one up to no good...  Finn has recently left the ornaments on our tree alone, but he now climbs on top of our presents any chance he gets!  I'm hoping he hasn't broken anything yet, because Finn is not a small guy!  He's our first present shaker (Liam has informed us that there are Legos under the tree).  Finny also likes to carry around one particular present that Liam told him has his name on it.  He has yet to open any, so we're winning there!





Most of the weekend was dedicated to sugar cooking making (waiting for that dough to chill is painful for a wee one, so we make it the night before!) and staying in our pajamas all day!  The recipe we used was initially my grandmother's.  It's my favorite, and I will never ever veer from it.  Liam is the best little baker, always eager to help and do things by himself.  I often have to remind him to slow down, but he is rather meticulous about his work, just like me.  Flour was everywhere, Finn only wanted to eat the dough, yet I was considering baking a double batch.  As we moved into decorating, Finn was strictly still consumed with eating, while Liam dumped on the sprinkles as he licked the frosting spoon.  Don't worry, these cookies are strictly for our own consumption (and Santa of course!).



The rest of weekend was filled with running & screaming all over the house, which seems to the preferred late afternoon activity.  The boys are obsessed with jumping on our bed.  Hiding in our bed.  Taking all the sheets and pillows off our bed.  So lots of wrestling & tickling & laughing happens here.  Again, no need to take off those adorable Christmas jams!  I swear, I do wash them!  Both boys needed that solid two days with Conor home, and we are more than looking forward to a week and a half long vacation coming up!




Temperatures are finally starting to briefly warm up here, so we are back to our afternoon walks.  We never make it as far as I'd like, because there are animal tracks to follow & mail trucks to watch.  Liam has learned the excitement that is checking the mailbox this time of year.  He rips into those Christmas cards faster than I even can!  And I'm sure he's secretly eying all the packages that have been slowly arriving over the past month!





 Currently, the forecast is calling for snow on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day; 
I absolutely cannot wait!  Hope you all are enjoying this time of year as much as our family!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fri-Yay

This week was a long one.  Conor traveled for most of the week, which always makes the days tick by slower.  Thankfully, I'm in a real nice groove with the boys right now.  18 months (for the younger one) seems to be the age where they really start to play together as opposed to just along side one another.  They have a blast together, which has left me with more time for laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.  Also, just sip my coffee slowly while it's still hot time!  Anyways... here's the usual friday randomness:
-ONE-
Liam had his Christmas program this week, and it was amazing!  It's something I seriously look forward to as a parent.  I know that there will come a day when I loathe attending these things, but for now they make me so happy!  He was more than thrilled to wear his pajamas to school, he knew all the words, and his teachers said he always sang the loudest in practice.  He was a tad nervous (embarrassed?) through the first song, but then he was loving it!  Such a cute morning we had together followed by cookies & milk at school!  Did I tear up..?  You betcha!
-TWO-
I have book club tomorrow night, which will be much needed after all the solo parenting!  It's going to a fun Christmas themed one.  Pajamas & ornament exchange to go along with the book discussion.  We read Heft, which I just loved!  Totally recommend!


-THREE-
So the ornament exchange... I still need to go pick one up while Liam is in school tomorrow.  I did a little browsing online, and I'm loving this nutcracker & these glitter pinecones.



-FOUR-
Have you seen the new line released by Childhoods?!  It's so good!  I want that trees print in everything for the boys!  However, I did manage to use some restraint and only buy one crew.  Thank goodness I don't have girls, because I want all the dresses & the bloomers!

-FIVE-
Because I feel the need to buy all. the. Christmas. books, we added yet another to our collection; thank you scholastic book orders through school.  But Over the River and Through the Wood is such a fun read.  I love the illustrations and the diverse family.  And it will especially be a hit with any transportation loving kid!


-SIX-
We haven't watched it (yet!), but I hear Amazon Prime Video has If You Give A Mouse A Christmas Cookie.  And apparently it is adorable.  So I see a movie night in our future this weekend.  Liam is such a fan of this series, so no doubt this will be a delight!


Last weekend before Christmas!  
Hurry up and finish that shopping & wrapping!
TGIF friends!

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