Category Archives: holiday

Christmas Magic

The moment of Christmas Magic officially hit me this year. It came at about 10:30 PM on Christmas Eve as I flopped myself down on the couch after the last gift was assembled…completely exhausted. I pictured the look on Rylee’s face when she saw the pile of gifts under {and around} the tree. How she might react when she realized Santa had come. How excited she would be when she opened her “big gift” from Santa. I imagined how much Reese would enjoy playing with her gifts.

I thought back to all my years of childhood and how much I loved Christmas growing up. Right then is when it hit me.

My parents created this magic for me every year. And not just for me, but for my 3 siblings as well. I never once thought about it before that moment. But right then, I could picture my parents staying up late on Christmas Eve…filling our stockings, pulling gifts from hiding places, finishing last minute wrapping.

Now here I am, getting to create the Magic of Christmas for my kids.

Parenthood is truly a trip. And you better believe the very next day I made sure to thank my parents for all of their hard work over the years keeping that Christmas Magic alive.


We scaled back our typical Christmas decorations this year because of a certain mischievous almost one and a half year old. I put up the Advent calendar for the second year in a row, though Rylee didn’t seem particularly interested in too many of the activities. I didn’t push it. We didn’t have our annual “Sisters Baking Night”. When it came to opening gifts, Reese wanted nothing to do with any of it. I think it was sensory overload for her.

Rylee, on the other hand is right at the perfect age for the Magic of Christmas. This is the first year she truly got it. She colored Santa a picture and rolled it up in her stocking for him to find. She left Rudolf and the other reindeer celery {we were out of carrots} and was thrilled to see that they were gone when she woke up Christmas morning. When she visited Santa earlier in November, she told Santa she wanted an iPod touch. At first, I thought there was no way in hell Santa would bring her one of those…then somewhere along the way, Santa had a change of heart and ended up reformatting my old iPhone; loading it with {free} games and some of her favorite music. Santa even left a little note typed out to read when she turned it on. We hardly took any photos, and we didn’t take any video but her reaction to all that is something I will remember forever.

Christmas this year was exactly what I was expecting, yet nothing like what I was expecting all at the same time.

Overall? The magic was there, and it was perfect.


Our Nativity had a couple extras this year…apparently there was no room at the Inn for Mickey or Minnie either.

Our tree after Santa came…one of 4 total photos I took the entire day with my “good camera”.


Reese checking out her car…pretty much the only thing she wanted to play with…and ironically enough, the only gift that didn’t involve unwrapping something.

Rylee showing her sister her new iPod!




Let’s Talk Christmas {Cards} – A Review

When it comes to all things Christmas in my house, I have the following rules:

  1. No Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

Simple rule, right? Now that it’s officially after Thanksgiving I can let you in on a teeny, tiny secret…I broke my own rule. I started looking at Christmas card designs last week. I couldn’t help myself. And to be honest, I’m only a little bit ashamed because when contacts you and asks if you’d be interested in reviewing their site, you say yes. YES! Right then and there. Then you start browsing all of their awesome holiday cards.

If you’re not familiar with Minted, they are an online stationery store powered by a global community of designers. I’ve been lusting over various cards on their website for quite some time and their 2013 Holiday Card Collection does not disappoint.

When it comes to Christmas Cards I have 2 rules {I know I have so many rules}:

  1. Must say Merry Christmas. {what can I say, I’m a traditionalist}
  2. Must contain at least one photo. {I’m apparently also a narcissist}

Here’s what I love about what has to offer:

  • So many to choose from!– I’m not going to tell you how long I looked at all of card designs…1. because I lost track of time and 2. because I may or may not have been at work. At one point I had over 15 tabs open as possible keepers. I’ve since narrowed it down to three, but I never even looked at all of the options. They also have a ton of non-photo holiday cards to choose from…you know, if you’re not the narcissistic type.
  • Truly customizable– From the accent colors and scalloped edges to the paper weight and message options, you can do just about anything you want with each card design. Want to match the accent colors to the clothes you’re wearing in your photo? Totally doable. Want to make it a folded card to include your annual holiday letter inside? Done. You can even move elements around within the design.
  • Easy to use– You can upload multiple photos at once, you can edit them, you can customize every step of the way, previewing every change you make. It’s very straight forward. You can even upload the addresses of your recipients and they will address them for you!

And because I know you’re all nosey like me curious…here’s the three I’ve narrowed it down to…

 Screen shot 2013-11-29 at 4.30.11 PM  Screen shot 2013-11-29 at 4.29.59 PM  Screen shot 2013-11-29 at 4.55.13 PM

So which one did I decide to go with? Well wouldn’t you like to know. I guess you’ll just have to wait until you get yours in the mail to find out!

If you’re still in the market for some holiday cards…go check out the selection!


Disclosure: provided me a credit in exchange for my honest review of their website and holiday cards. All opinions are 100% my own.

Yup. Thankful.

Holy crap just realized I almost missed posting today! I guess I got too caught up in sleeping in until 8 am, not showering until 11 am, cooking a perfectly timed and quite delicious thanksgiving spread ready at 5:30 PM sharp, then eating dessert and playing board games for the next two hours.

Today was unlike any other thanksgiving we have ever had we went exactly zero places and didn’t even have anyone over until after 5:00.

I think every year since I’ve been out of the house I’ve remarked how “that didn’t even feel like thanksgiving”. I don’t think anything will ever feel like thanksgivings from my childhood…maybe because I’m the one doing the cooking, maybe because of family dynamics, or maybe because it seems like we have a different plan every year. There’s no real tradition yet. Now that the day is done I can say that’s exactly how I felt again this year. But..There were people I love. Lots of good food. And plenty of laughter. That’s definitely something to be thankful for.

Short Work Weeks

I swear every time there is a short work week due to a holiday is the slowest, yet busiest week ever. Like, I’ve packed so much work crap into these last three days I feel like it should be Friday.

I’m literally the last person left in the office. And I’m the one quitting in a month.


Not to mention I didn’t even get everything done that I needed to so I’ll be working on a few projects from home on Friday. Stupid deadlines and stupid work ethic.

So much for my long weekend. Womp.

Any other working women out there feel the same way about short work weeks?

I however, am fully planning on enjoying my day tomorrow. We’re not going anywhere. We aren’t even eating until 5:30 at night. It should be a pretty quiet, leisurely day home with my little family and I cannot wait.

I’ll be back tomorrow because NaBloPoMo and dammit I’ve made it this far, I’m not about to quit now!

Teaching them the tough stuff

I hate the term “teachable moments” but I’ll be the first to admit that I almost never let one of those opportunities go by…particularly when it comes to “tough stuff”…but you never quite know when it sinks in or not. Take our visit to Pearl Harbor, for example. We took that as an opportunity to talk about the men & women that serve, or have served, our country and about those that have fallen in battle for the sake of our freedom. Rylee seemed reverent and respectful for the most part, but did get restless toward the end. After the visit, we’d ask her about it and she’d mostly talk about touring the submarine. When prompted, she’d remember/talk about the memorial. See what I mean about things “sinking in”?
Pearl Harbor1

About a month later Rylee was out with my sister when another “teachable moment” arose…
Screen shot 2013-11-11 at 12.25.39 PM

We’re trying to raise our girls to have thankful hearts and to think of others. This is a total brag moment from a few months ago, but I like to think it means we’re on the right track…and I figured, particularly because today is Veteran’s Day, I should follow suit…if you’re reading this and you’re a veteran, thank you…from the bottom of my heart…thank you for the sacrifices you and your family made in order to serve our country.