A Lovely Christmas

A Lovely Christmas

div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-S72HKeZDdlw/TvvzauHFWeI/AAAAAAAAmxw/IbHuy95o3iQ/s1600/xmas1.jpg" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 0em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-S72HKeZDdlw/TvvzauHFWeI/AAAAAAAAmxw/IbHuy95o3iQ/s1600/xmas1.jpg" //a/divThis week off has been heavenly so far.  We have pretty much assembled everything that needed to be assembled, opened every toy that could be opened, played every game there was to play and only got out of our pajamas when we really needed to...like the day we ran out of milk.  Normally the period after the holidays can be a bit gloomy for me.  I usually get so excited about Christmas, put all this energy and effort into the big day and then when it's over I'm left with the post-holiday blues.  I'm sure it's coming - maybe it will arrive once New Year's has come and gone - or maybe I'm wrong and it won't come at all this year?br /I'm not sure what's different about this holiday season, but one thing that comes to mind is that I was so desperately in need of some down time.  For many reasons, things this year were even busier than they normally are.  My to-do lists were a mile long with no realistic hope of possibly tackling it all.  To be perfectly frank, there were a few days when I feared I might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown - for reals.  So getting this time with no pressing deadlines to meet i{well - there are but they'll have to wait/i}, no social obligations to attend, nothing that absolutely had to get done this very second, has been a godsend.  Because honestly - what is this season really about?br /For me, it's about family.  It's about spending quality time with my kids, with the electronic balls and chains I have around me most of the time turned off and playing a href="http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Flip-Win-Hangman/dp/B006HMQXJM" target="blank"bHangman/b/a, or putting together a href="http://www.sunandski.com/MarkySparkyCaliforniaChariotp/7712059951000.htm?click=282&cisrc=14110944&cisku=77120599510000400000" target="blank"ba new scooter/b/a.br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7Ypinc6cBXA/TvvzSv4Q1KI/AAAAAAAAmxk/k4zHppsoGdw/s1600/xmas2.jpg" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 0em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7Ypinc6cBXA/TvvzSv4Q1KI/AAAAAAAAmxk/k4zHppsoGdw/s1600/xmas2.jpg" //a/divSo - as you can probably imagine, I have no food posts for you at the moment.  I have done some cooking - because cooking does bring me joy too and there's nothing much better than puttering around the house in my new fleece strikehousecoat/strike robe and making something yummy to eat.br /However, in a possible act of unforeseen grace - I dropped my camera battery a few days prior to Christmas.  I used the camera again a few times after I dropped it so I didn't think much of it at the time.  But sadly, when I went to grab it first thing Christmas morning - it didn't work.  A major bummer to say the least, because is there really any better photo op than opening presents on Christmas morning?  Thankfully, I had my trusty iPhone camera at the ready.  Not the best pictures in the world when lined up next to photos from a href="http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Product/Digital-SLR-Cameras/25446/D90.html" target="blank"bmy Nikon/b/a - but better than nothing at all.  br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mCR2s-DFE/Tvyd-68mOoI/AAAAAAAAmyE/KRuHP1bc3c/s1600/xmas3.jpg" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 0em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mCR2s-DFE/Tvyd-68mOoI/AAAAAAAAmyE/KRuHP1bc3c/s1600/xmas3.jpg" //a/divdiv class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"/divAlong with some photos I took on Christmas day, I thought I'd also share with you some of the favorite gifts we gave or received this year.  It's interesting to me that the things I think will be the number one hit of the day sometimes aren't - while the sleeper gifts, the ones you think might go unnoticed are the ones the kids play with all day long.  Case in point - how many times have your kids had hours of fun with an big empty appliance or electronics box?br /Santa brought a href="http://us.aromahome.com/collections/hot-hugs" target="blank"bheating pad stuffed animals/b/a this year.  He must have known that my boys have a "secret" soft spot for all things cuddly.  Both my guys, but especially my little one, also love using my a href="http://www.silvermoonherbals.com/smhpillows1.html" target="blank"bmicrowavable flaxseed pillow/b/a whenever they're sick or get hurt so I guess it's not all that surprising.  I don't mind one bit that they still appreciate babyish things as they're growing up way too fast.br /a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MBHDYzmi3Rk/TvvzDtKHwdI/AAAAAAAAmxM/WcEe-RIPa0/s1600/xmas4.jpg" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 0em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MBHDYzmi3Rk/TvvzDtKHwdI/AAAAAAAAmxM/WcEe-RIPa0/s1600/xmas4.jpg" //aA fun gift that sounded absolutely disgusting to me in every way, yet was actually pretty authentic and not bad tasting at all i{in small doses/i} were a href="http://www.fredflare.com/APARTMENT-kitchen-and-bar/Giant-Gummy-Bear-On-A-Stick/" target="blank"bgigantic gummi bears/b/a {iin clear, pineapple flavor of course/i}.  A set of a href="http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Toys-771W-Ready-Stilts/dp/B004LL0VMQ" target="blank"bstilts for kids/b/a were nerve wracking for me but have been getting quite a bit of mileage.   br /My favorite gifts to receive are the handmade variety.  Sometimes just doing something for someone or making them something is all that's really needed to show you care.  This year, I received lots of little tchotchkes from my little one - all adorned with different "I love my Mommy" sentiments.  My older boy gave me a hand woven bowl made from yarn, beads and straw.  He made it in art class at school and I'm seriously impressed.  Hubbie put up a glass plant shelf with a href="http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=973338&catId=HOME-HARDWARE-BRACKETS&pushId=HOME-HARDWARE-BRACKETS&popId=HOME-HARDWARE&navCount=30&color=012&isProduct=true&fromCategoryPage=true&templateType=B1" target="blank"bpretty brackets/b/a in a sunny dining room window.  I've been wanting it up for a really long time and I love it.  br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QA0MUXG89L8/Tvvy62DCXPI/AAAAAAAAmxA/yHTZIjOBM44/s1600/xmas5.jpg" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 0em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QA0MUXG89L8/Tvvy62DCXPI/AAAAAAAAmxA/yHTZIjOBM44/s1600/xmas5.jpg" //a/divAnother gift I love, which isn't pictured here, was a a href="http://www.fredflare.com/APARTMENT/Kate-Spade-2012-Desk-Calendar/" target="blank"b2012 Kate Spade desk calendar/b/a.  The paper is super nice {iI'm a paper snob/i} and the images inside are very cool.  While on the subject of super nice paper, I bought the hubbie a a href="http://pinholepress.com/#/all-products/magnetic-products/magnetic-notepad-555-1-05" target="blank"bmonogrammed magnetic notepad/b/a from Pinhole Press. I was very impressed with the quality and I love that the magnet covers the entire back of the pad.br /This was our first Christmas with our new kitty {imore on her soon}/i and she really loved all the wrapping paper, along with attacking my beloved ornaments and drinking the Christmas tree water.  And - that "a href="http://www.kohls.com/kohlsStore/sleepwear/robes/PRD%7E867849/Croft+and+Barrow+Plush+Duster+Robe.jsp" target="blank"brobe/b/a" I mentioned earlier?br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-25MLDaDRZI/Tvvy0g5JWjI/AAAAAAAAmw0/UrO26Idfr4g/s1600/xmas6.jpg" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 0em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-25MLDaDRZI/Tvvy0g5JWjI/AAAAAAAAmw0/UrO26Idfr4g/s1600/xmas6.jpg" //a/divI'm wearing it i{along with a new a href="http://www.downeastbasics.com/shootingstarscarf.aspx" target="_blank"bstarry scarf/b/a!/i} in the photo above...during a cuddly moment with my kitty while we watched the kids open their presents.  I'm embarrassed to admit I'm at the age where I'd even consider wearing such a thing.  I hope I don't offend anyone by saying this, but it's similar to something I remember my grandmother wearing.  She used to call it her "housecoat".br /It was a gift I bought myself and I love it!  Not the most flattering item of clothing I own, but boy is it comfortable.  I love that it zips up versus the tie waist real robes have - which makes staying in it all day long real easy to do.  A little too easy I must say.  br /div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ys210Kq98sM/TvvysFlHBVI/AAAAAAAAmwo/nnI1CfMQKUo/s1600/xmas7.jpg" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 0em; margin-right: 1em;"img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Ys210Kq98sM/TvvysFlHBVI/AAAAAAAAmwo/nnI1CfMQKUo/s1600/xmas7.jpg" //a/divThe all day pajama days are coming to an end and it's back to the grind soon.  I will have had my fill of relaxing and having the boys home with me very soon too.  Along with the lovely moments, there's been the fair share of driving me crazy as well.  There's only so much, "Mom, he's touching me", "Mom, he's not giving me a turn" - Mom, Mom, Mom... that I can handle.  br /It's almost time to take the tree and decorations down and pack them away for the year.  I'm not sure if I'll take them down this weekend or wait until Epiphany.  Once the tree is gone it's time to find homes for everything underneath it, which is why I'm not rushing to the task.  January is organization month.  Next on deck is getting a new camera battery so I can shoot again as soon as possible.  I can't wait to share some of the recipes I used this holiday...Christmas dinner came out so good!br /biSo - Did you all have a nice Christmas?  What was your favorite gift to give or receive this year?  Do you let Christmas linger around your house until New Years or are you quick to get it all packed away?/i/b

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