Spirit of the season

I remember, as a kid, time felt like it moved as slow as molasses.  But something happens to time as we get older & it seems to move at the speed of a thousand wings (as my mom always says).  

Add an excited three year-old to it all & I'm wondering how Christmas is suddenly just days away.  There are so many things I wanted her to experience this year....  Ice-skate outside at the quaint neighborhood rink!  Decorate her very own gingerbread house!  Trim a mini tree for her room!  Watch the parade of lights, front row!  Wear her very own tacky, festive sweater!  Christmas craaaaafts!

But this year more than ever, I'm mindful to slow it down & appreciate the spirit of this season.  The spirit of goodwill, good vibes, gratitude, joy....I try not to take these feelings for granted because I know that for those who have been dealt a difficult hand in life, this season might not bring about those emotions.  When Quinn gets asked by well-meaning folks "What do you want Santa to bring you?", I'll be honest here.....I cringe a bit.  We're fortunate to have a warm, peaceful home, food in our bellies, & good health.  It's more than enough.  More than some could ever even hope for.

My wish is for her to love & give & be joyful, not just around the holidays but throughout the year.  And also for her to look back on her childhood & remember how magical it was (yes, including presents).  I know, I know....she's young, let her be a kid, there's time, God willing, but my head swirls with these thoughts often.

Motherhood, man....making me feel all the feels.

Are you still here? ;-) I don't have a beautiful blogger holiday home tour for you, full of wonderfully styled rooms right down to Hunter boots stuffed with pinecones (was that me trying to cram some into my well-worn boots or did I dream that).  Other than a new roll of giftwrap, I worked with what was on hand.  

Snapshots of how we do festive around here!
A snip of backyard evergreen, a glittery pinecone, ribbon, plus a Command hook for the front door.
My thoughts on this here ;-)
Giftwrapping is all fun & games until I've done a few....then I'm all "Let's just stuff the rest in gift bags."
Quinn helped me dot the snow on the middle tag.
She also tangled all the baker's twine.
I iced (poorly), Quinn decorated.  She went to town & is so proud.  As am I.
I'd live in this gingerbread house.  Yep, definitely.
I forgot to snap a photo of the tree.  We had it set up back in October for the Home Depot Holiday Style Challenge (thank you to those who checked it out & left such kind comments!). We took it down to accommodate Quinn's birthday bash....and only just put it back up a couple days ago.  Quinn got free rein to decorate it with our old mishmash collection of sentimental ornaments as we sat back & watched.  It's kooky & glorious, I must say.

Happy Holidays to you & yours!  Wishing you joy & peace.
It's a mad, mad world out there--our nation, the world at large.
Peace is at the forefront of my mind, as it undoubtedly is for many people.

Faux floral monogram (& feeling feathery)

Sorry you had to stare at the picture of me kicking up my heels for weeks on end.  You haven't noticed my absence?  Well, I never.

A few months ago I crafted a little something for Quinn's room & since I'm what they call 'prompt', here it is now.  Months later.  Thanks for sticking around!  Have I told you how devastatingly beautiful you all are?  And smart and cool and pretty and and and.....

I was inspired by the floral monogram crafts I kept seeing all over the interwebs so I created my own version. I wish I knew who to credit the original inspiration to but there are so many out there.  (Our camera's been in the shop for ages so some of these pics are courtesy of a camera phone.  Gah, I feel so naked.)

Q for Quinn
 I looked everywhere & finally found the hollow, papier mache letters at Hobby Lobby.
I skipped the floral foam simply because I didn't want the mess, 
but I think it would have made the flower placement a bit easier. 
The gold feather decals were from Target.
I think they've sold out of them in-store/online.
The trials & tribulations of a threenager.

This is how Quinn's room looked when we brought her home three years ago (!!!).  We don't use the changing table/dresser any more (her closet is huge & has a closet system) & so we moved it out so she has more room to play.  We'd love to turn this corner into something fun for her.  My first thought was to get one of those chair-and-a-half chaises because we love to snuggle up and read these days....but the days of a big girl bed are fast approaching so I'm pretty sure we'll do our snuggle-reading in her bed before too long.  Veering more towards say, a reading nook with a canopy, pillows, twinkle lights.  Or a tiny dress-up wardrobe with a mirror & storage for her pint-sized novelties, similar to Chloe's darling one.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week!  
Well, I better wish you a wonderful rest of your month, 
given my erratic posting schedule ;-)

Home Depot Holiday Style Challenge!

Updated by request:
snit top (cream color, super relaxed fit so size down) / jean legging / boots (Michael Kors 2011) / beanie & mittens (old, Target)
black giftwrap (Hobby Lobby) / wide black striped cotton ribbon / skinny navy grosgrain ribbon

I kicked up my heels & decked the halls a bit early this year.  The Home Depot invited me to participate in their glorious Holiday Style Challenge & I was beyond thrilled for the chance to get creative & festive!  Today I'm sharing the details over on the Home Depot Apron Blog.

Back in October, as we were setting up the amazing tree they sent us (amongst other cool holiday items), the weather outside was in the 70s.  I'm sure some neighbors did double takes as they walked past our atrium window where we placed the tree (or am I the only one who peers into people's windows).  I wouldn't have noticed as I was in my element.....nestled in sparkly ornaments & the lemony-minty scent of evergreens......wading thru glitter & empty boxes wrapped as gifts.  
Quinn was confused.  Was Santa coming for Halloween?!  As she was helping (or not helping) me hang ornaments, I was awed to see that she was getting caught up in the magic of it all.  Even if it wasn't quite the real thing yet.  That holiday spirit.....it's exhilarating.
It was such a fun, inspiring, exciting experience.  I still can't believe I had the honor of being a part of it.  Thanks a million to The Home Depot for having me!  Many thanks to you for taking the time to check it out (I'm in great company; the other bloggers participating are incredible)!

Hot cocoas all around :-)

Fall Family Photos 2014

For the third year in a row, our dear friend Ben photographed our family of three.  For the third year in a row, I sweated all the details, but Quinn had her own agenda.  We were just along for the ride.  Shouldn't I know better by now?!  Oh this threenager girl. #mamaneedsadrank  ;-)

And for the third year in a row, instead of running away screaming, Ben captured such great glimpses into our family's personalities.  His wife/photog assistant, Sara, has the magic when it comes to getting Quinn to smile for the camera.  Ben and Sara, we love you. Like lots.

Here are a few (a lot) from that early evening shoot.  I understand if photos of people you've never met bore you to tears.  Be comforted by the thought that I'll totally, maybe have another blog post up in.....a month? Probably ;-)  

{all images courtesy of Ben Klaus Photography}

My sarcasm tends to take over when I write but I mean this with all my heart.  This little girl shines with the brightest light from above and within.  We are so grateful for her.

Do family photos make you sweat as much as they make me?
I'm always stoked we did them but seriously, bring the antiperspirant.
As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by!