Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Wrap Up & Video

This post is mostly one huge photo dump...I will recap our holiday a little bit just for my own record keeping. Our holiday video is at the very end of the post if you want to view it- I had a lot of fun making it and after forcing my family to view videos from the past two years I just think it is a neat tradition that I hope to continue in the future. I think Christmas is a special time and yes, it is extra work but I think it is worth it. I try and remember I get the special job of giving my children special memories that they will hopefully remember the rest of their lives. I also know these days are fleeting and I want to make the most of them no matter how sleep deprived I am feeling! 

We spent Christmas Eve and Day with my dad and sister. We went to the 3pm service at the Hub (satellite location for Lutheran Church of Hope) to avoid the rigamarole of going to the West Des Moines campus and we were successful. It was a nice, laid back service and it was just perfect. We sat in the back so the babies wouldn't be a distraction...they were perfect and slept the entire time and bonus that we sat right next to the coffee and cookie station! 

After church we went to the cemetery to visit Trace's grave site. I will hopefully talk more about how we honor Trace at the holidays in a later post but we like to visit and leave luminaries for the night. This year the theme of the Christmas Eve service was "Light the Night" and it talked about how Jesus's life brought light to the I thought it was fitting we also brought a little light to Trace at the cemetery as well. It was nice because there was just a little snow and it was pretty warm so we could spend some time outside. We don't really have a Christmas tradition other than the luminaries but we heard a family singing Christmas carols at another part of the cemetery so we thought we'd do the same. Michael sang "Go Tell it on the Mountain" and we all sang "Silent Night". I felt terrible for cracking up laughing during our solemn moment but our singing did not sound very good! It was a special moment and we'll have to practice at home before we go out again next year. 

When we got home we had a dinner of snacks (meatballs, bacon wrapped little smokies, veggie pizza, veggie tray, chex mix, cheese and sausage) and then we finished our advent reading and all read the Night Before Christmas together before sending Michael off to bed. I was really surprised at how quickly it got late, even though I thought we'd have plenty of time at home in the evening since we went to church so early. After Michael went down, Scott and I watched a bit of Christmas Vacation until Michael was for sure asleep and then I got busy getting everything out and stockings stuffed. I didn't get to bed until midnight (especially after feeding the babies) and I was so tired! It was a busy day for me but I was also feeling the excitement and running on the adrenaline the holiday brings. 

Christmas morning came and I was the first one up (to feed the babies, of course) and I was up for almost two hours before Michael and the rest of the family joined me! It was nice to enjoy baby snuggles, a cup of coffee, the sunrise and take some photos while waiting. It was special to have some time just to reflect on how lucky I am this Christmas to have my family and especially my baby girls with me. 

Michael was so excited about Santa visiting and he was so cute running up the stairs and checking under the tree to see if he really came. He said, "he really came! He REALLY did! Santa really came!!". I know that the season is about so much more than just Santa but it has been so fun this year to watch Michael soak in all the magic...I think the season is magical no matter if Santa is involved or not.

We all opened presents and then enjoyed a big brunch of baked french toast, egg casserole, fruit, yogurt, coffee and juice. After breakfast was cleared we spent time opening new toys and enjoying each other's company. My grandma stopped out for a bit as well as my brother, his wife and new baby Noelle. We had a nice dinner of prime rib roast, green beans and a big salad followed by pie afterwards. It was really nice and fairly low key. 

The next day my mom came to town with my other brother and his wife. I'm glad they stopped by for a visit although I know they were really on their way to go visit our newest member of the family (Noelle). We ended up having them back for dinner of prime rib sandwiches which worked out well. Michael said he loved having "everyone eat at his table" and I agree- it is special to share a meal with people in your home. 

My mom stayed for a few days and it was nice to have extra help while I took down all my decorations. I usually never take them down this early but I was ready for the holiday to be over and just get back to normal. I think it just felt like too much especially with all the baby stuff already in my house. I am happy to have my house back and have been trying to get everything wrapped up for the new year- I have already archived my family christmas newsletters in my scrapbook, updated my address book and made notes for what I want to change for next Christmas. I'm getting nervous about returning to work next week and have been doing little bits here and there to get ready. I'll head up to school after New Year's to work and hopefully that will help me feel more prepared. 

So with all that being is our holiday in photos! 

"Anna, look!" 

I bought these holiday diapers on clearance last year at Target...not expecting to have a baby at the holidays but they were so cheap I thought I could always gift them if I needed to. So cute!

Scott got me six new fiestaware dinner plates and two serving bowls in red-something I have wanted to start for a long time! I hope adding to my collection is a tradition that continues for many years! 

And here is our Christmas Movie 2014!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Home Tour

Welcome to my holiday home tour!

This has felt like the least decorating I have done in a while, and I am not entirely sure why. Of all years, I have had the most time at home to get stuff out and enjoy it this year. But it also seems like this year with the addition of two sweet babies, it all feels like a bit too much. My house already feels slightly cluttered with baby gear and the Christmas stuff just adds to the feeling for me. Plus being home all day, it seems like things are more likely out of place than staying picture picture (ha!). However, I am trying to embrace this season of life with the realization that someday I will be able to deck all the halls of my house when my children are all grown and I am home alone by my lonesome. :o( 

Nah, really I think decorating adds to the magic for children so I hope to keep it up every year. Just before I put this post together I was reviewing last year's post and I saw lots of ideas that I did then and forgot to do this year- like lights and garland on my bannister, hanging my paper stars garland, lights on my outdoor wreath, and more things. I need to think of a better way to plan for the future.... so at the very least these posts may seem silly but it is fun to look back and remember what I did year to year since my memory has all but failed me due to all my sleepless nights. 


We used our artificial tree again this year. I swear I would never use a fake tree year after year and so far it has turned out that way. This year the thought of trying to lug a real tree home was just too much but maybe next year will be easier. I would actually like to get a second artificial tree in the future so I could have more than one tree in the house--maybe a smaller one in the living room or dining room. 

Entry way "display"...popular with Michael because of his TWO advent calendars that he checks every morning for chocolates and then lets me know how many days are left until Christmas. We also have displayed our Christmas crafts here- pom pom penguin flock and foam nativity. 

I put these stars out this year because they were very easy to hang since I left the ribbons on from the last time I used them. They were a after Christmas purchase from Pier 1 and are right up my alley...natural, sparkly and star shaped. 

I've been making a conscious effort to display the little crafts Michael brings home from preschool. They are so sweet and I hope it helps him feel like he helped contribute to the decorating! 

Living Room. 

I added these pillows that I bought last year on clearance after Christmas for a great price. I love how they add some Christmas color to the furniture but usually they are just strewn all about by a certain little boy! I also dug out our Christmas quilt which usually is in our blanket pile in the basement- I would also like to add some more seasonal throws that could come out in the winter since we spend lots of time cuddling under blankets. 

Here is a real version of what my living room looks like- baby stuff everywhere!! 

I ordered these Lands Ends stockings last year after Christmas when they were on sale (catching a theme here?) because Scott's mom always hangs hers for the whole family and I think they are so lovely. They are beautiful and heirloom quality so I hope I can have these forever. It was so funny as I was thinking about decorating and the thought popped into my head that I needed to order two more stockings for Anna and Brynn- how wild that at this time last year we had no inkling that we would be adding two more additions to our family! I love these stockings and just seeing all the names in my family together...every day I marvel that yes, that is my family and wow, it is big! 

My Christmas books and cards from years past. I spent some time looking through them this year and it is so fun! 

Again, with the keeping it real...Star Wars legos are also a big part of my decorating this year! 

I love this little area with my card garland, little people nativity, and Christmas books in their basket. I just pull our book basket out at Christmas and then store it away again, keeping everything in the basket. Most of the books are cheapies from the book order but I like to have lots of options since we only read Christmas books during the month of December! I like the addition of the pillows here and think it adds some warmth and texture. 

My tree! 

I tried to add a bunch of ribbon this year to make it seem more full. It is hard to tell from the photo but there is a TON of ribbon in there. I tried to do a better job of stuffing it into the tree branches so it just didn't look like it was sitting on top (a problem I've have with trees in the past). I also learned a tip from watching some youtube videos is that you actually do not want your ribbon to be in a pattern as most "designer" trees just have the ribbon going every which way. I also tried to add lots of plain bulbs to the inside of the tree to cover up patchy spots that are a problem with my artificial tree, then I added my sentimental ornaments on top of it all as some little sprinkles. 

My mom was here the day I set it up so I got the tree up, lights on, and everything decorated in one day. It was a big help! 

I let Michael put on his special ornaments and it resulted in them all being clumped together in one little spot. It makes me smile...never in a million years did I think I would allow Star Wars ornaments on my tree! 

I love ornaments that feature babies. I know they are special because of Baby Jesus but also because we like to spent extra moments remembering our little angel baby at Christmas. 

I've been hanging a real wreath on my door for the past few years and I really like it. I usually stop at Earl May to buy a wreath for Trace at the cemetery and it just feels right to buy one for myself while I am there. I buy a small one for him and then a larger one for just makes it seem like there is a little bit of our home at the cemetery. 

And finally...the two best presents under the tree. :o) 

Thanks for stopping by my home tour today! Have a great holiday!


Past Tours: 

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