Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Same Spot Calendar

Way back in January last year I started a project called Same Spot Calendar on Instagram (#samespotcalendar). The idea was to take a photo in the same spot each and every month for the entire year. I loved the idea, particularly since we take so many walks, and I adore the shift of the seasons.

And I made it the entire year. We had such a mild late winter last year, that January was the only month with snow. I was worried that December we wouldn't even have snow (it was so mild in early December!) but finally it snowed on Christmas and I was able to have a snowy December scene.

Such a fun project. Seeing my kids change and grow, and seeing the changing of the seasons. Love it.

To follow me along next year (because I'm excited to do this project again) check #jjhandholdcalendar on IG. And play along too!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Day!

Christmas Day may be the most magical when you have kids that believe. Our kids went to bed so excited and woke up ready to peek into the living room. We told James not to peek, and to come right to our room, but the first thing we heard out of his mouth was "there is a HUGE pile of presents!"
We lit the fire, turned on the Christmas tree, and started Christmas music playing. And before I could even grab my camera the stockings were down and dumped out. Squeals of joy echoed around the dark living room as they dug through candy, suckers, bath fizzies, and fruit pouches. Juliet couldn't wait for her rainbow lollipop, and struck a pose when she saw the camera.

Soon it was onto gifts, and oh there were some fun ones. Juliet opened the big pink one first, and found a new dolly inside.
Meet Emmalia. She is an American Girl bitty twin, and anyone that knows me well knows that having an American Girl doll under the tree is something I've been looking forward to for far too long.
James asked Santa for two things "a beautiful rainbow cup" (which was a gay pride shot glass that we did not get him!) and "legos!"
And then the monster gift of all, a HUGE bin of Legos from my childhood that has been tucked away awaiting such a need. The kids were thrilled to find over 5,000 Lego pieces, to build whatever they wanted.
Lots of building right from the get-go (and that little house in the foreground Santa built and left for them!).
They both also received a huge magnet board ($11 drip pan from Walmart's auto section) with pipes that have attached magnets, with little balls to roll down. Such fun!
Such happiness!
Every single Christmas each kiddo gets a new book. This year James got "The Book with No Pictures". HUGE hit. It is hilarious! If you have any child between the age of 2-12, get this book, we've read it a dozen times since Christmas day and it's amazing.
And just like last year, after all presents were opened at our house we went to E's family's house for a PJ brunch! And guess what? It was snowing! Finally! Not just a dusting, but it was actually snowing and sticking! Everyone was so excited.
Here is heading to jammie brunch last year. Don't think I'll be able to hold both kids next year, this year was hard!
When we got up to E's family's house it really got snowing! We had to carry the kids in because the big fat flakes were coming down fast and they were only in their pjs. So picturesque!

Three little cousins in matching pjs, heaven! 
James trying to hold onto Emilia before she could escape.

The stockings at E's family's house are something to behold. They are AMAZING. Drinks and fruit and candy and presents. The list goes on and on. Stockings over there have always been one of the best parts of Christmas.
Kid one, digging for gold. Kid two, digging for candy.
There was lots and lots of checking on the snow fall.

Soon brunch was consumed and we moved to presents. Everyone, especially James, was so excited to finally be opening presents!
E's family got each of our kids sleeping bags because this is the summer we are finally going to take them camping. Both kids LOVED their presents and wanted to test them out pronto.
Presents presents all around.
My favorite photo from the entire day.
At the end of the pj party Juliet threw a huge fit that she wanted to "go camping RIGHT NOW" even though it was snowing and she was in her pjs. We assured her that she could have her sleeping bag at home, but boy was she mad. Finally, at home, in her new sleeping bag, she took a long nap. Getting a nap out of this girl is such a rare occurrence that it feels like I've hit jackpot once it happens.
After naps Tracie and my Dad came over for a visit and to give a few small presents to the kids. Our present was a trip (!!!) to Lava Hot Springs, that would happen a few days after the holiday.
They both kept going outside to play in the snow. First snowfalls are so magical, and although we had a few small ones already, they'd always been at night. This was our first full day storm, and having it land right on Christmas day was so exciting for everyone.
Christmas dress was a gift from Damma. She found it in perfect condition at an antique store!
Lots and lots of snow play. In all these photos she eating snow, hence the handfuls of snow in her undoubtably cold hands.
Such a goof!
Inside the party was growing larger. We had hot wassail with spiced rum for everyone that walked in the door.
My Grandma, Uncle Mike, cousin Taylor and Aunt Laura. Such fun!
The party was huge! Both my family and E's family attended (most with significant others) and the living room was packed with happy chatter and lots of laughter.

I don't think we could have hosted many more people, but more and more kept coming, and we always found space for them.
Uncle Chandler mostly wanted to play Legos with James.
Soon dinner was served! Smoked turkey, au gratin potatoes, rolls and cranberry sauce.
And all the while this little elf kept going out to stomp in the snow. Such a fun day! Enjoyed by everyone. Merry merry Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Eve

Since I've had tiny babies I thought the year were I had a five year old and a three year old at Christmas time would be magic. And that's where I am. A five and (almost) three year old and magic it was!
Christmas Eve, in many ways is better than Christmas day. Lots of anticipation of what's to come, lots of excitement, and my family's annual Christmas Eve party, which is a highlight for the entire year in my mind.
This year we doubled up the Christmas Eve parties, first starting at my brother Brandon's to exchange gifts with my Mom and step-dad Charles.
James was so pumped about presents that he didn't want to wait a moment longer, and dug right into the one with his name. After receiving numerous recommendations for Magna-Tiles we finally bit the bullet and bought some (thank you Mom!) and they are amazing! James has played with them a ton since. Highly recommended, especially if you have a kiddo that likes to build.
Juliet was so excited for her little gifts too. Such sweet things my mom picked out for each kiddo.
Lots of smiles and laughs, tons of wrapping paper, and everyone happy at the end of our mini pre-party.

Auntie Melissa is a preschool teacher and got right on the floor to help James build the biggest best towers
Next stop was my Aunt Laura's for her party. I was so super happy my Aunt and her family were in town this holiday. Last year they traveled to Peru for Christmas, and we missed them so much. Both cousins were in from the east coast too, which makes it feel extra special.
Lots of family to celebrate with!
My little girl, always hammin' it up for the camera. And my handsome man.
The theme for the night was "South of the Boarder Fiesta" which was so fun. Lots of amazing Mexican dishes and seriously awesome ginger margaritas. James took a swipe of the sugar rimmed glass and said to the entire party "that wasn't supposed to happen!" We were all laughing so much!
Giving Nana her annual photo book always brings her to tears.
After an amazing dessert of south of the boarder favorites the kids started to eye the desserts. These kids are berry monsters, and could not wait to dig into these.
But first we had to break the piƱata, it was a south of the boarder party after all! (And no coats because it was so mild! A big storm was on the way, so we got a nice mild evening!)
Love these smiles.
We pretty much let the kids go at it, and on the tenth swing or so, James broke off Olaf's head!
Candy for all!
Such a fantastic night. Everyone was happy and wild and so excited for the day to come. And before bed I set up my camera with a motion activated switch (really just a easy app called Kringl) and caught this in our living room! What fun! Christmas Day to come!

James's outfit details -
Sweater and herringbone slacks - Gymboree
Black boots - Next Direct

Juliet's outfit details-
Ribbon - Tabula Rasa
Sweater - Gap kids via eBay
Skirt - Gymboree
Tights - Old Navy
Boots - Nordstrom
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