Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sibling Gifts 2016

As you know, my very favorite tradition in our family is the annual making of sibling gifts.  This practice started out very simply and has grown over the course of years.  The making has gotten more involved, this year power tools were used, and a lot of thought is put into the right gift.

There is a whole lot that I feel I could do better or differently at Christmas time, but this tradition is one that I'm so proud of the children for.  I always thought that there would come a time, and it still might, that they would ask to stop making gifts and perhaps buy something.  However, every year they start planning, plotting and working and I believe it's instilled pride of workmanship and a love of giving.

Harris made a wooden speaker for Grace's phone.  It's unbelievable how great it amplifies the sound! She loves it and I think it's beautiful in its simplicity.

Anyone who knows Harris knows that he has approximately one million cards.  He plays them, he throws them, he magics them and he tricks them.  We find them in literally the oddest places- inside and out.  Grace thought he could do with some organization and so she made him a box to put his full decks in.  I love the simplicity and the usefulness.

She also gave Harris a copy of the Harry Potter fan fiction she wrote.  She hasn't wanted to share it with us so this was really special and he loved it (it's really good).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas (a little too late)

Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope that your Christmas was everything that you hoped and more!

We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but I"m exhausted.  This year, Christmas felt like a lot of work; being in a new house that isn't "put together," my Mom having knee surgery a couple of days before Christmas, Bryce getting sick, and lots of kerfuffles with shipping and gifts.  I actually feel guilty typing that because according to any social media I follow, Christmas should only be magical, quality time with those you love.  And you know what?  In the end, it was such a nice day with family and the children and I am so thankful and appreciative for that.  But now all I want to do is curl up on the sofa and watch all the episodes of The Crown (I LOVE it, you?).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Scenes of Christmas

The children have been off for the week (so nice) and have been busy working on their homemade gifts.  While I haven't made the time for a full blog post, I thought it would be nice to share a few shots of our Christmas around here (plus a few out and about in NYC).

Grace made this little cutie for us!

Ralph's coffee, in the Ralph Lauren store, is the most charming place to stop and refresh with hot chocolate or coffee while window gazing/shopping on 5th avenue!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Before and After of the TV Room

The previous owner of our home had made one of the bedrooms into a closet/dressing room.  She had lined three of the walls with cedar closets.  We knew right away that we wouldn't keep the room like that as it wasn't our taste and it was incredibly awkward in that you had to walk from the master bedroom down a hall and then down steps to get to the closet.

In the renovation, we took down all of the closets, moved the entry door to the new hallway, took down the giant mirrors and relocated the tiny fireplace doors (the chimney is behind the wall).

Taking down the closets made the room look so much bigger!  We decided not to put a closet back in the room because we thought the nook made a perfect place for a TV.  If we ever sell (never!) we can put the closet back in easily enough.

The TV fits perfectly in the nook and we love the piece of furniture we got on Etsy!

Bryce and I debated and debated about what sort of sofa to get in the TV room.  In the end, we got a sectional that is also a sleeper sofa.  We felt like that gave us the most options with this room.  Fun fact: the delivery guys had to take the sofa apart in order for it to fit in this room!  Fortunately, the frame was screwed together so they did not have to saw through the frame!  So far, we couldn't be happier with it.

My favorite thing in the room is the giant canvas of the children jumping off of Muir Rock in King's Canyon.  Canvas HQ did a great job and was super affordable.

We got a bookcase from IKEA that just fits in between the wall and the sofa.  This is where we are housing a lot of crafting materials and books.

We fit a lot into this space and it's very hard working, but also such a comfy place to spend an evening watching a movie together!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Ornament 2016

This year, for the first time ever, the children received the same Christmas ornament.  When I thought about the biggest part of their past year, the trip was an obvious choice.  After a fair amount of searching, I found an artist on Etsy who made these adorable pewter ornaments.  I had them inscribed with "See America 2016" since that was our unofficial theme.  They turned out really darling!

Our tree looks beautiful and cozy this year all nestled in the corner.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Revolutionary Reenactment

Over the weekend, we attended a reenactment from the Revolutionary War.  I've never before attended anything like this and was completely fascinated, not only by the stories the men and women told, but by how accurate everything was, down to the tiniest of details.

We stood there watching as our toes slowly began to feel frostbitten and wondered how these men had the strength of will and physical stamina to fight so hard and so courageously, in the worst of conditions, for our freedoms that we hold dear today.

It's easy in today's world to forget the lives that were lost and the unbearable sacrifices that were made for those freedoms (and continue to be made).  I hope and pray that my children stored away some little nugget of understanding; though one can't be sure since they might have only been focused on the loss of feeling in their extremities!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Harris' Desk

At some point, Harris decided that he wanted to design and build himself a desk.  If I'm totally honest, I never thought it would happen, but sure as the world turns, he did indeed design and, with Al's help, build himself a desk for exactly the spot he envisioned it.

He measured and made plans for exactly what he wanted.

Fortunately, Al was here to help hone in on the plans, make a materials list and help bring Harris' vision to life.

His finished desk has room for his folders, papers and a drawer for odds and ends.  There's also a secret compartment, but even I don't know where it is (and I've looked!).  But really, what boy doesn't want a secret compartment?  It's pretty awesome all the way around.

Blogging tips