Friday, December 19, 2008

What Christmas means to me

It's funny how things change as we get older. I would have never thought this would apply to Christmas, but this year it's become very apparent that it has. I remember as a child Christmas was my favorite time of year. I couldn't wait for family to gather and presents to get opened and treats to get eaten. When I grew up, my favorite things about Christmas were decorating the house, shopping for presents and baking my heart out. When I had my son, I thought all these things would become even more special.

So it's a bit ironic that, at this point in my life, these things no longer define Christmas for me. Maybe it's time, or lack there of, but the shopping and the decorating seem more like chores than pleasures. Try as I may, even baking isn't filling me with the holiday spirit like it used to.

This year I find myself yearning to establish meaningful traditions with my family, something we can all carry in to the future. We've said no to many holiday gatherings in exchange for quiet evenings at home. Instead of becoming wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season, I'm reflecting on the year past and the new one ahead. I'm also trying to find ways to give to those in need rather than spending it all on those who have. Most important, I'm focusing on what I teach my child Christmas is about.

I wish you all a peaceful and merry Christmas, and hope that the days ahead are filled with what means the most to you this holiday season.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reality Check

Wow, what a beautiful day! The beach is gorgeous right now; warm sun, sand and surf. People are walking along the shore, greeting me with friendly smiles as I relax in my lounge chair. Oh, and someone just brought me the most delightful tropical drink. Could this day get any better? Now I even hear birds nice.

Wait a minute. I think those birds are my alarm going off (yes, my alarm is birds chirping). Seven a.m. Monday morning? I must have been dreaming. Good grief. Well, better get up and see what's really waiting to greet me. This day can't be too bad.

I'll just get my robe and grab some coffee first. Watch out for that huge load of laundry in my closet. Hello laundry. What's that? You need to get done today? I'm off to the kitchen for that coffee first. Hello dirty dishes. Don't look at me like that. You'll get done in due time. I just want to sit at the table and enjoy this one cup of joe. Oh, hello dust. Wow, I can almost write my name on this table! Guess I've been neglecting my house while I've been putting up decorations, shopping, wrapping, shipping gifts, mailing cards, etc. OK, I'll look out the window instead. Hello dog slobber on the window. Are you back again? Maybe I'll try staring at the floor. Dirty floor, is that coffee or chocolate milk I see on you? Take a number, I'll get to you later.

I'm going to move in to the office and take a looksey at my email while trying to enjoy this coffee. Hi ginormous stack of mail. Do you need someone to sort through your messy self? Of course you do. I'll head out to the front porch and finish my coffee first. Yikes, it's FREEZING outside! Forget that! Now my coffee is cold. I'll pour another cup. Excuse me, list of things to do on the fridge, I need my peppermint mocha creamer. Wow, list. Did you get bigger overnight?

I think I'll go back to bed and try to find that dream again. I should have a few minutes before...
"Mommy, can you fix me breakfast now?"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Handmade Christmas

I love to to put a handmade touch on my holidays. Whether it's creating decorations or gifts, I'm happy just to be making something (now I know why my Grandmother always said busy hands make happy hearts). Here are just some of the things resulting from our handmade Christmas:

A simple swag wreath for our front door (made from the branches we cut off the bottom of our Christmas tree)
NOEL -cut letters from a sheet of foam, covered them with moss, berries and tiny pine conesNot really handmade, just a good idea. Plant paperwhite bulbs indoors, cover the soil with tiny glass ballsMake a simple pine cone tree by covering a tall foam cone with moss and mini pine cones
My child's favorite: a twig star to top our tree
Lots of handmade gifts this year!
A knit hat and scarf and a baby blanket that I'm still feverishly working on
Matching embellished Mom and Baby tees
I hope you can find time to put a little handmade touch on your holidays. Sometimes it's the simplest things that bring the greatest joy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Small Town Holidays

I grew up in a fairly large beach city in Southern California, and believe me, I am the last person who would have said one day I would love living in a small town. Well, almost ten years ago I moved to a small town. Moving here was a huge leap of faith for me, but one I have never regretted for a second.

There are many reminders of how different life is in a small town all year long, but especially so during the holidays. Sometimes it's as if I am on a different planet. The wonderfully decorated stores aren't crowded, there's almost no traffic, and people are even more friendly during this often hectic time of year. Every year at Christmas, our town goes all out to celebrate the season. Main Street shuts down to traffic and the town comes alive with holiday cheer. You feel safe, despite the crowds, and that is something I treasure.

Some people say living in a small town puts you out of touch, but I feel the exact opposite. Life in a small town has put me in touch with meaningful things like quality of life, a strong sense of community, finding beauty in my surroundings, and making wonderful family memories. It doesn't get much better than that.

Where ever you live, I hope this holiday season brings you peace, love, and joy and that you take time to savor all the things that make this time of year so special.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Beach Style on a budget

We spent Thanksgiving at the beach condo and managed to squeeze in a little work with our play. We finished "updating" both bedrooms with paint, new floors, blinds, bedding and a few things on the walls. Here's what the guest bedroom looks like, still a bit more decorating to do but I think we're off to a good start.

In lieu of headboards (and because Great White Hunter has me on a pretty tight budget), I picked up some bamboo fencing and stapled it to the wall. The old surfboard we found at a local surf shop for a steal. Originally, we put a queen bed in this room, but added a twin at the last minute to accommodate more people (I'm still not in love with striped bedding, maybe it will grow on me). I do love the bright colors in this room.We went for a more peaceful color palate in the master bedroom.
Happiness found in a little condo by the sea...