Thanksgiving came and went, and Christmas time is here. I know this is cliche, but how is 2015 nearly over already? I can hardly believe tomorrow begins December.

My mom indulged my kids and all their little cousins with a pretty fun surprise on Thanksgiving night as we celebrated at my grandparents’ house.

Untitled Untitled

My normally energetic boy got pretty shy when it was his turn to talk to Santa.


But Norah talked his ear off as expected. Like most siblings, my two are opposite in so many ways.


We drove home in the dark seeing a few houses already lit up, and they talked a mile a minute – about Christmas and Santa and a million other things. I thought for sure they’d be asleep by the time we got home, but they weren’t. The holidays bring so much wonder and excitement for kids. It brings it all back in the best way.

They spent the next couple of days with their dad, and I got to use the time to wrap up some grading piles and get out the decor. When they arrived home on Sunday morning, we got started on the tree. It’s little and covered with kid-crafted things and nothing is symmetrical, but it’s ours. Our little tree and our little house. And a house never feels as cozy as when it’s twinkling inside with Christmas lights.

Untitled   Untitled

We finished the afternoon with hot chocolate and a movie, and they were content and happy.


Tonight I’m filling the Advent calendar with our little activities for the month of December, gems we can enjoy everyday for the next few weeks…. make cards for your teachers, eat pancakes for dinner, wrap a present, go driving in pj’s and look at Christmas lights…. The smallest things can make them so happy. And me, too.

I see the value of tradition during the holidays more than ever. These are the moments they will remember as they grow, and that idea of creating memories for your kids is both the heaviest and the most beautiful part of motherhood to me. I’m creating the soundtrack and images that will replay for them in moments of nostalgia decades from now. And truthfully I don’t even know what will stick, what will survive the years and emerge as the things they love the most.

It’s the smallest things that they seem to remember so far – never the gifts under the tree. It’s the moments shared among the three of us that are creating a home and a life for them.

I hope I can calm myself for a few sacred minutes everyday in this last stretch of 2015 to remember that. I look around and see so much comfort and abundance. This is it. Not a year into the future and certainly not my past. This is life as it’s really happening and not a stepping stone to something else. I’m grateful for all of it  – for the two little people I get to share these traditions with and for all the magic that December holds.


It’s hard to believe it’s Advent already. Last page of the calendar, countdown to Christmas. I scored a wooden Advent calendar on Zulily a few weeks ago, so we are making our way through the month with a few fun activities. Most are pretty simple, but it doesn’t take much to impress a three-year-old boy. Everything is so exciting for him this time of year.

Advent Calendar Day 1

The first day’s activity was to make a Christmas decoration, so of course, Jude settled on Mickey with some festive puffballs glued in no particular fashion. It’s that special combination of heinously ugly and beautifully endearing that only a toddler can accomplish.  He keeps pointing to it on the tree, bringing me in the room by the hand and gasping, “Look mama!” like it’s a big surprise for me.

Last night’s Advent activity was “breakfast for dinner” which meant omelets, pancakes, and bacon. It’s such a simple change, but somehow it really does feel fun.  He thought eating pancakes when it was dark outside felt special, and celebrating the whole month of December with little daily gifts like this feels special to me as well.

Happy Holidays, friends.  There’s a lot of fun left to be had this year.