Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas 2009…

… was perfect. A little wild, a tad crazy, possibly quirky at times… but it was us. And it was perfect.

Once again, because it never gets old, Merry Christmas!

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It’s here

It lies in the simplistic, the peaceful

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In the careful grasps by little hands, on something much larger

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In red cheeks, snowman and polar bear pajamas, and curious glances

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It lies in the endless amounts of energy, fed off of parents excitement and children’s wonder

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It lies in the waiting, the patience of toddlers

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The learning, and acknowledgment that you might never fully understand

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The careful preparation

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and finger licking execution of gifts for a jolly old man

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It lies in all of us, always. It’s Christmas. It’s the birth of a baby. It’s Santa and magic. Hope, joy and peace. Keep it with you.

Merry Christmas!
~Corinne, Lucas, Fynn & Paige

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Homesick

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Beneath the surface of snow covered trees, counters lined with freshly baked cookies, and Christmas lights twinkling in the background, something always seems amiss this time of year for me. It’s sense of longing for something that makes me stop in my tracks now and then with a few tears for unexplained reasons, it’s a moment here or there of sadness in the midst of beauty and peace.

Earlier this week Big Little Wolf posted about home. Feeling at home, feeling a sense of belonging, home. She’s grown to be one of my favorite daily reads, because her posts stay with me long after I shut the laptop down. Her post on home especially has stayed in my mind. I left a comment saying that I feel most at home where I know I am loved, so an abundance of places. An abundance of places hold pieces of my heart, whether I’m currently there or not.

Today we did our weekly drive up to my inlaws house. A place that I thankfully feel very much at home. We are loved beyond belief, and we feel it as soon as we can see their house through snowy trees. It’s an hour and a half from us, and a gorgeous drive. We listened to Christmas music, particularly the Alan Jackson song Let it be Christmas that I think I mentioned in a previous post. You can listen to it here. Let me rephrase that, you should listen to it. It’s country, and it’s a tad cheesy with the graphics, but it’s good. Really good. The line From the sandy white beaches where blue water rolls is sung directly to my tear ducts.

With Big Little Wolf’s post in my mind, and Alan Jackson in the CD player, I realized. I’m terribly homesick.

I’m homesick for two inhabitants of a little house on the East Coast of Florida. Thousands of miles away. Where they enjoy Christmas on the beach with picnic lunches packed with sandwiches and gingerbread cookies {I’m guessing, I haven’t been there for that experience yet…}.

I’m homesick for my dad. The way he’ll polish off a plate of cookies after Christmas dinner, pat his belly, and say with a huge grin “I don’t like those cookies one bit!” The way he rests one arm across his chest, tucking his hand into the opposite arm pit, gesturing with the other arm as he talks {and believe me, he has a few good stories}. The way his eyes dance when he sings. His voice, and his big bear hugs, and his love.

And man alive am I homesick for my mom. Her warmth and kindness can be felt miles away. I’m homesick for days spent baking cookies together, rushing to ice them before the frosting hardens. I’m homesick for her soft hair and laughter. The way she lights up a room with her stories {and yes, she has a few as well!}. I’m homesick for her voice, her big mama bear hugs, and her love.

I’ve written posts about my parents, and how much I miss them, and how much the distance between us stinks. But we deal. This time of year it’s especially hard. And this year in particular. Maybe it’s because it’s been two months since my last mom fill, or that the kids are getting bigger and really all I want for Christmas is for everyone to be together. It’s been three years since we’ve all been together on Christmas. I know it’s just a date on the calendar, but it means something. To me. And it’ll happen, one of these years. Until then, we make do. We send a few extra packages and cards during the month of December. We still love, just from farther away. And we’re ok. Just at times, a bit homesick for a few people who hold parts me in them.

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the songs that we sing and the gifts that we bring
Christmas everywhere
In what this day means and what we believe
From the sandy white beaches where blue water rolls
Snow covered mountains and valleys below

~Let it be Christmas, Alan Jackson

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{our} Home for the Holidays

Today I’m linking up to The Nester’s Christmas Tour of Homes. Her site always leaves me a little breathless with the possibilities for home decorating. If you haven’t visited her {and now at her new address!} take a few minutes to explore her posts. She’s a font of information when it comes to sprucing up your home with simple ideas.

At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to participate, but then I realized I had to. Partly to get over my insecurities of showing off our tiny little place… but mostly because I just love holiday decorating so much that I couldn’t pass up an offer to show off a few of my favorite decorations!

So without further delay, here is our festive home!

I love how clusters or decorations look in various places through the apartment, high up out of reach from little hands

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Handmade by moi, years ago…

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Simplistic beauty

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There’s no right place for decorations in our house

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Cookie cutters make for fun adornments to cabinets

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A reminder of Fynn’s first encounter with Santa ~ at 13 months

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And this might be one of my favorite ornaments… from Lucas’s first Christmas. It makes me smile every year, especially now because both of the kids love trains so much, it’s perfect.

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Please run over to The Nester and check out the other participants. Last I checked there were over two hundred links… so there is plenty of Christmas cheer to spread around and keep you going through the week! Enjoy!

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Christmas Prelude

Every year the wonderful people of Kennebunkport Maine open their hearts to visitors to celebrate Christmas Prelude. I believe it’s a week long celebration, including tree lightings, caroling, parades, art festivals, craft fairs, cookie decorating… the list could go on and on. We ventured up this year with the kids and Lucas’s parents {who attend every year} to see what sort of festivities we could partake in. While we didn’t last long enough to make it to caroling at the Monastery {an amazing experience that we have yet to do with the kids…} we had an incredibly fun filled day taking in the snow filled Maine air.

We started at the Seashore Trolley Museum, where we were able to hitch a ride on a refurbished trolley from the early 20th century

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Then we headed into Kennebunkport and spent the rest of the afternoon, early evening, wondering around town, seeing the sights, feeling incredibly festive atmosphere, enjoying each others company. It struck me so many times during the celebration, the people were so nice. Everywhere. Each restaurant we were at, in the streets, at the museum. Everyone was in a good mood, even with the chilly temperatures and the snow falling. But then again, how could you not be in a good mood when it feels like Christmas? The flickering lights against a backdrop of snow could not have been more perfect.

There is no better place to celebrate in December than the coast of Maine.

I’m left a little speechless from it all. I caught myself a few times with tears in my eyes, because it was simply wonderful {not to sound too cheesy….}. So overcome with emotions, having my children experience these precious moments, traditions, that will live on with them through the years.

The kids were asleep before 7 tonight, which shows how exhausted they were from the weekend. On our way home we picked up a tree, and decorated it this evening. We are sleepy, a little weary that tomorrow is Monday already, but are filled with the joys of the season. Here’s to the rest of December being filled with songs and words celebrating the birth of Christ, cookie baking to bring smiles to our faces, and magic to fill our eyes with wonder.

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Relatives…. AVERT YOUR EYES!!!

If you are a relative of me or my children please close this post…

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Unless you want a gift from your grandchildren/niece/nephew/cousin to not be a surprise

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in turn breaking Paige & Fynn’s little hearts

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mmm kay? Close it. Yup. Close it

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Alright, for the rest of you… I wanted to share a little project that the kids and I did Sunday before all of our noses started running. Snowmen ornaments made w/ hand prints. {Warning: they are far from perfect, but cute!}

I love giving Christmas tree ornaments for gifts. Our ornament collection is one of my most prized possessions, and I could tell you where we got, or who we received each ornament from. But the ones I treasure the most are the handmade ones, whether by myself, my mom, or anyone else. My mother (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before) is super craft woman. She’d give Martha Stewart a run for her money, except she loathes her, so she wouldn’t even compete with the woman. But I digress…

In any case, these were relatively fun and easy ornaments to make. Last year we held a playdate with our mommy group and a bunch of kids and their mom’s came over to make these. They didn’t turn out quite as well as they did this year (and this year was a bit messy, so you can only imagine!!) Here’s what you need:

as many plain glass or plastic ball ornaments as you want to create (we used clear this year, but last year used red & green balls and were just as cute!)

white craft paint

whatever kind of colored paint (or markers) you want to use to embellish

raffia or ribbon for the ties

a wonderful sense of humor

children’s hands

Now, take a look at the finished product and then I’ll fill you in:

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What you’ll need to do is somehow cover your kids hand with paint. I put a bunch of paint on a paper plate and then dunked each kids hand in. Then, somehow get your kid to hold onto the ornament, imprinting their hand print.

Let the handprints dry.

Then, using whatever paint/markers you want, draw a snowman on each finger print. I used those tubes of puff paint that we used back in the day to make t-shirts and other crazy craft projects…

And voila! you’re done. And hopefully you’ve been a little more successful than I was w/ the cuteness factor when it came to the snowmen’s hats and scarves 🙂

But you get the idea. Grandparents eat this stuff up!

And the kids end up being pretty proud as well…

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Now, I will say that with Paige’s handprints I had to get a little creative in finding the snowmen…

But as long as you have a sense of humor, and even a trace of a creative eye, I think you’ll be fine!

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**you might notice the photos are a bit bigger… with the help of Laura I’m now using Flickr for uploading photos, which is a bit of a change, but I think it’ll be a good one! Thanks Laura!

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Is it enough?

With the smell of turkey still lingering, my busy mind went to work on the next big thing. Christmas. I pulled out my supplies and went to work on a special present for my little girl, a tutu. Handmade with love by Santa’s number one elf {her mama}. As my hands went to work, my mind went over the lists in my head of what each child will be receiving this year, as well as other relatives. And of course, I had the “is it enough” thought.

I always get that thought.

I firmly believe that handmade gifts are the best. And although I’m not terribly crafty, in years past I’ve done my best to include handmade gifts whenever possible. But I always supplement because for whatever reason, I never think it’s enough to give something without a price tag.

Last December I read an article in Wonder Time magazine {now out of print, I believe…} about a family who made the decision to only give thoughtful gifts made with their hands and hearts. Coupon books, hand written letters to one another, small crafts, you get the idea. It struck me so deeply that all year we’ve been giving hand made gifts for birthday presents. And I had the best intentions for Christmas. I have made quilts, and those no sew fleece blankets in the past. But because of lack of energy, I settled, though I am very proud to say that most of the gifts we’ve chosen to give have been handmade, just not by me. They’re bought from small businesses that I believe in, or the proceeds of gifts go to help someone in need. We do have several projects lined up for myself and the kids, which should be fun and bring a few smiles to those opening them.

But I feel like this is just the beginning. From here on out, I am not going to ask myself if we’re giving enough to people who do not need anything. That sounds a little harsh, but it’s not meant to be. I love gifts as much as the next person, but I would much rather receive a gift from the heart that doesn’t cost a cent, than an expensive gift when I do not need anything.

The Christmas season is one of my most favorite times of the year. The spirit of it. The decorations, carols, cookies, wonder, and joy that comes with the month of December make it irresistible. I’m watching Fynn’s amazement as he notices the holiday decorations as we drive through town, and realizing that his wonder right now has nothing to do with presents. And we can foster that wonder and hopefully steer away from the commercialism that has taken over so much of the season. Back to giving, and giving to those who are actually in need.

We are a family, not unlike many others, that is not wealthy in the monetary sense. We live on a tight budget, count the days until the next paycheck at times, but we always have food on the table. We want for very little. We do not need anything, as we have so much compared to so many others. When we have a few extra dollars it goes towards those who need it more. And recently, that’s been often. Five dollars here and there can help. Or a dinner. I like to cook dinners to give to friends who need a break – in many different circumstances.

This year, I have hope that we can turn around and change for the better when it comes to the holiday season. It’s been on my mind quite a bit, and what gives me extra hope is knowing others think about it, and act, as well. Some of my favorite bloggers have come together and are working on giving to the needy, in the spirit of what Christmas is actually about. Check them out over at Christmas Change, and be inspired. I have. I’ve been moved to tears by posts, and humbled beyond  anything I could imagine.

From now on I’ll be asking myself if we’re giving enough to those in need. And if the gifts we give our family are thoughtful, meaningful, and somehow made by {our own when possible} two hands and given with our hearts. Don’t get me wrong, there will be a few store bought gifts under our tree. I can’t whip up a tricycle or the like without a little help. But you’d better believe they’ll be eco friendly options when available, if not recycled and refurbished if possible. But that’s another post altogether… about moderation, teaching gratitude, about loving what you have.

But for now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a tutu to fluff with love.

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