Can hardly believe Christmas is right around the corner! Gifts for the home are always at the top of my list. I know that every time I use our beautiful salad bowl (very similar to the one linked above), I think of my dear friend Joanna who gifted it to me. I like to think that all gifts can carry sentiments towards the giver. That’s why gifting for someone’s home can be so fun. Plus, you don’t have to worry about sizes, hehe.
These are a few of the items I am eyeing for Christmas gifts this year. And a few I’ve already picked up for some lucky friends. Michael Buble’s “The More You Give (The More You Have)” had shopping in mind right?
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is baking cookies while listening to Christmas music. It’s a tradition that happens in most households, perhaps yours included. But it’s one of those things that feels deeply personal to me. It makes me slow down and truly embrace this season that goes by all too quickly. I know so many people feel the stress of the holidays, but it must be my slow paced upbringing, but I go even slower in these winter months. Someone once told me, “life is a gift, not an emergency.” I love that. Especially during this special season of joy.
This year Julian has been helping me in the kitchen more than ever, and baking cookies is one of his specialties. What child doesn’t love to sprinkle a cookie?! I am using my go-to sugar cookie recipe, one that you may remember from last year. It may take me longer than ever to bake 1 batch with this two Christmas cuties of mine, but this recipe is still being put to good use in our household.
I’m also working on showing you guys a little more of my Christmas decor at home. Lots of you have shown interest in our home styling, so I’m hoping to have that up in the next few days. Until then, here’s our home from last year!
With a standing mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until light in color. On low speed beat in egg and egg yolk just until combined. Add vanilla, lemon rind and salt. Add the flour until blended, do not over beat batter. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough and stamp with desired cookie cutters. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for approx 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before decorating. Store in an airtight container if you don’t eat them all! Enjoy!
Seeing the joy of the holidays through a child’s eyes is pure magic. Teaching Julian about Christmas and the winter season has brought so much excitement for me about the upcoming holiday. We are in full holiday swing at our place, and a huge part of that has been pulling out all of our holiday books for the kiddos.
All of these books are ones that are sure to warm the hearts of adults and children alike. Julian is partial to Little Blue Truck’s Christmas right now, because he loves how the Christmas tree lights up on the last page! And I love that it teaches him to count along throughout the pages. Dream Snow is another beautiful choice that is great for counting and learning about animals. Plus, it’s a lift the flap!
One of the prettiest tales, The Message of the Birds, also has the most powerful message. It is a message of peace and how children can help to spread that message and bring us peace on earth. But of course, no list is complete without the classic poem of The Night Before Christmas. I bought this copy one Christmas to read to my future children before I had even become a mother. I know that sounds crazy, I know! It is just one of those books that has that power to become an instant family tradition and hold endless holiday memories. And I couldn’t wait to create those moments with my own family someday.
I hope that these books bring the joy of the season into your homes and into your children’s eyes. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
Like a lot of moms, I struggle with asking for and receiving help. In fact, my biggest postpartum regret with my son was that I didn’t ask for enough help. My husband left for work in another state, for a month, when our son was just 2 weeks old. I was in such a fog, I didn’t even know how to ask for help. But during my second pregnancy I vowed to do things differently postpartum.
I vowed to focus on allowing my body to fully recovering, bonding with my sweet baby girl and embracing our new family of four. Those seem so simple when I type them out, but those are huge tasks for a new mom. Ones that often get overlooked in the day to day of the motherhood grind. I wanted to share a few ways that I was able to embrace this new role as a mama of two babies under two years old.
First and foremost, I was incredibly fortunate to have my husband stay home with us for a month after our daughter was born. It pains me that I just wrote “incredibly fortunate” because I believe that’s what all families deserve. But that is not the world we live in. I can’t even tell you how many other moms told me how “lucky” I was to have my husband help out and stay home for that long. Lucky?! I thought that should be a given! I had a c-section delivery and was under doctor’s orders to not lift anything heavier than my baby for 6 weeks. Well my 2 year old toddler is close to 40 lb. So if my husband wasn’t staying home to help, who exactly was going to be lifting our son all day long? I am grateful for my husband for caring for me during that time. I wish that every mom had that same opportunity.
One of the best things I did postpartum was learn to listen when people offered help. More often than not, I would simply nod and say thank you, without really hearing their offer. Perhaps I was too prideful to accept, or maybe I was delusional and thought I didn’t need any. I started to hear that my friends, family and neighbors were sincere in their offers. They wanted me to take them up on it. Before I knew it, my friends were bringing hot meals, wine, and presents for my kiddos. My neighbors have walked my dog, done my grocery shopping, brought me flowers and fruit from their gardens. They have taken my toddler to the park, and dropped off my overdue library books. My parents and in-laws have taken my toddler so I can relax and bond with baby. Even having one of those simple tasks checked off my list made my life feel worlds easier.
I am so grateful for my husband and all of our friends, family and neighbors for allowing me this time to just slow down and get comfy in this new role. Moms making themselves a priority isn’t always simple. It requires lots of helping hands to pick up the slack so mama can shower, or meet with a lactation consultant, or simply rest. I encourage you all to find those helping hands. So, grab your robes, get cozy, and make yourselves a priority.
November marks a month of gratitude. I used to be diligent about writing in my gratitude journal every morning, but with the newborn stage, it has been hard to keep up with. Instead, I like to think of one thing I am grateful for everyday. It’s nothing profound, and is often the same thing day in and day out. I am grateful for my health, my home, my favorite coffee mug that has been dropped and never seems to break. But, above all else, I am grateful for my little family of four. Well, five with Mr. Jet Pup!
You know how people always reminiscence on the good o’le days? Well, I never loved college. I didn’t like to party, I loathed dating. I truly feel like these are the good o’le days for me. Cuddling my babies, staying in jammies and baking cookies, singing, reading and playing!
This month, I am reminded to focus on all the I have. And how, amazingly, all the things I have are things I have always wanted. A marriage built on love, friendship and respect. A bright and healthy son. A thriving, beautiful baby girl. A sweet rescue pup. A warm home. Those are the things I used to dream about; and now they are here. I vow to give thanks for all that I have been blessed with, and I hope you will join me in practicing gratitude.
Had to pop into the blog to wish you all a safe and Happy Halloween! This year I waited until approximately 2 days before Halloween to purchase our costumes: mom fail! This was the only one left that fit Inez! It’s funny because last year I went all out and had everything coordinated weeks in advance. It’s a whole new world with two!
Excuse the slightly blurry iPhone pics! Taking a selfie with a toddler and a baby is no joke. Mostly because of that crazy toddler.
I also picked Julian up an Elmo costume, because he is obsessed with Elmo and I just had to! He wore his costume to trick-or-treat at the library last week and I about died from the cuteness.
But, to tell you the truth, I really wanted to dress Julian up as Richard Simmons! If I wasn’t in such a sleep deprived brain fog, maybe I could have pulled it together. I mean those curls would have been perfect under a sweatband! Amiright?