Birthday and Easter Celebrations

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We had a fabulous holiday weekend! On Saturday, my Birthday, we attended an Easter party at my Pop-Pop’s retirement community. There we met the Easter bunny and got free portraits taken with real live bunnies borrowed from an Amish farm. I had no idea we were going to get such professional photos taken and was blown away by the results. I love my little Wyatt with the bunny, I’m going to be a proud mama here, isn’t he the cutest???

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Later that day we celebrated my birthday at my parent’s house. Wyatt was very interested in the candles! It was a perfect low key celebration. 

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Sunday morning, the Easter bunny was a little late getting things going. (I hear he was also celebrating a birthday with cosmos like me the night before). But I was very happy to present Wyatt’s first Easter basket. We filled it with books, a Jellycat piggy, a fun ball, a rattle chick, and tons of plastic Easter eggs.

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Wyatt was extremely intrigued and couldn’t wait to dig in!

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Timbbbbber!!!

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He liked the Easter eggs the best. We spent the rest of the morning dumping out the eggs over and over again. 

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Next we headed over to my parent’s house where Wyatt was presented with another basket of Easter goodies! Our little guy isn’t spoiled one little bit!

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We then drove down to Philly for Easter with Ryan’s family. Wyatt made quite the entrance as he had an accident all over his fancy Easter outfit. So after a quick and very messy change, we enjoyed more Easter goodies, including this Mickey Doll that sings The Hot Dog song. Wyatt is in love. Mommy will soon lose her mind! 

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It was great to get all the MacDonald kiddos in one place to celebrate! 

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How did you celebrate Easter?

 

 

Baby’s First Christmas

Documenting Wyatt’s first Christmas in photos:

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We had such a fun holiday season with our little man.

I already shared my sentimental thoughts on this Christmas, but wanted a place to post some of my favorite moments from this December.

It was a treasure to share all of our favorite holiday traditions with the newest member of our family and enjoyed making new ones. We celebrated with a variety of family and friends, baked hundreds of cookies, played games, visited Santa, and took entirely too many photos. As my mom keeps saying, “He’s only young once!” 

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 High five to anyone who actually made it to the end. Please understand, we are Christmas fanatics around here! 

Our Christmas

You know how sometimes after you come home from a vacation in need of another vacation? That’s how I feel after these past 6 days of celebrating Christmas with our friends and family. 

It was a non stop whirlwind of eating, drinking, and singing. Full of laughs, traditions, old stories and endless hours playing Heads Up, Guestures, and Apples to Apples. If I am what I eat, I am currently Christmas Cookies, Cosmos, Tuaca, Dip, and Chex Mix. I love when my whole family is together (Mom, Dad, my brother Eric, sister-in-law Veronica, Ryan, Pop Pop and myself).

Boisterous, loud, all encompassing love was all around. 

I’m still “re plugging” back into the “real” world.  It was a nice little break. Until I’m back in full force here are some photos from our Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. 

I hope you had a lovely few days celebrating however you celebrate. 

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Think Positive Monday: Making Time for Christmas

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

The phrase, “Make Time For Christmas” sounds a little odd.

Why do I need to “make time” for Christmas when the Christmas season is banging on our door the minute after Halloween ends? I’ve been shopping, prepping, decorating, singing Christmas songs, and baking all season long. Christmas is everywhere. I don’t need to “make time” for it, I’m living it every second. 

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Yes Christmas is everywhere. And as much as I love this season I sometimes catch myself just going through the motions. Sometimes treating traditions like another thing to check of my ever-growing to do list. Before you know it, Christmas day is upon us and over in a blink of an eye. Pretty soon all the decorations are coming down and music goes back to our regular non festive favorites and we’re stuck with Winter blues. 

I think one of the most fun things about Christmas is the preparation.

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The decorating the tree, the baking, the making bows for packages,the buying of the gifts, the parties and all the treats and music. If you’re only thinking of the end game, you’ll be missing out on more than half the fun.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush and busyness and forget to actually enjoy the little things that makes this holiday so special. The little things ARE the big things and I think that can often get lost in this overwhelming time of year. 

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This week I’m promising myself to really make time for Christmas.To savor the waiting. To reflect on what this season really means to me.  To bask in the glow of the Christmas tree with a good book. To dance to Christmas music with Ryan while we’re making dinner. To spend extra time with family and friends. To allow the season to bring out the child in me. To admire beauty to act silly and sing my heart out. To take notice of every little detail and memory. I want to enjoy every little moment the best I can.

So I’ll be signing off the blog for the rest of the week to truly enjoy Christmas. You can always follow along on instagram.  

My brother and his wife arrive tomorrow and we have a full week of fun and love with my family and Ryan’s family and friends. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season, however which way you celebrate!  

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Think Positive Monday: Less Holiday Stress

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love this part of the year. I love the happiness, the warmth and coziness, the memories, the traditions and the way most people seems to soften a bit. I even like the holiday rush. But this time of year can also be extremely stressful. There are high expectations, budget constrictions, conflicts between family members, and sometimes it feels like there is no time to relax.

I aim to keep Christmas a happy time for myself and those around me. We try to limit meltdowns and over committing. To keep us as relaxed as possible from Dec 1 – January 2 I try to follow these two tips:

Two tips for lessening stress during this busy holiday season:

1. Set Your Priorities and Stick To Them

Early on in the season have a conversation with your partner, or yourself, discussing what your top priorities are in the Holiday Season.

Look at your calendar and decide what will work with the amount of free time, money, and sanity you have. Don’t overbook yourself. Decide what traditions or family events are mandatory and then add on what you know will make you the happiest. I scheduled a few parties with friends and mandatory family events and then made sure I still had time to do my own favorite Christmas activities like baking cookies, wrapping gifts, watching Christmas movies, reading, and lots of quality family time. You can’t do it all.

2. Remember You Have No Control Over Other People’s Behaviors

It’s always hard being around people that you simply don’t agree with or get along with. But when I’m trying to enjoy my favorite time of year, being around negative or toxic people is even harder. I try to remember that I can’t change those people, they are who they are. The only thing I can control is my own behavior. I use these opportunities to treat others the best way I know how. Be responsible for your actions and don’t worry about others.

How do you make it through the holidays without stressing?

 

Sentiments on Marriage and Christmas Trees

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Ah, The Christmas Tree.

I can’t express how much I love our family’s Christmas tree. The tradition. The memories. The emotions the memories bring.  The ornaments that each hold a little story. Ornaments from my childhood and ornaments from way before I was born from my Pop-Pop’s family. The adventure of going to the farm to pick it out. The way it lights up the living room. Filling us with those warm and fuzzy feelings. 

But damn, it can be a bitch to pick out and set up. Raise your hand if any work regarding your annual Christmas tree has started a minor argument or eye rolls or looks of resentment between you and your partner? 

We trekked out to a farm to pick out our Christmas tree on Black Friday. Or I should say, farms. We went to three different farms before we found “the one”. We lamented over size and price. That one was too bushy at the bottom, that one has a huge bare spot at the top, this one is outrageously overpriced, and that one isn’t full enough. 

Once we get home we struggle to get it perfectly in the stand. I hold the tree by the trunk while Ryan lies on his stomach trying to screw the base into place. It’s always crooked on the first try. Teach me your skills if you can perfectly set you tree in the stand on the first try. So then we try again and one of the washers gets dropped into the bottom of the base. Out comes the whole tree and we start over from scratch Then we get it “pretty good” but then argue over an inch or two to the left or to the back. Then we have to twist it so the prettiest angle is facing out front. By that point it’s crooked all over again. 

Then comes the lights. We work swiftly as a team only to realize that we started with the light cord “plug in” at the top rather than the bottom and have to start over again. I try to drape the lights perfectly over the branches rather than rush it. We’re eye rolling at each other’s “methods” and are both ready to scream, “Just let me do it!”

But then it is done. The tree is perfectly straight. The lights are draped evenly. We plug it in and step back to look at our masterpiece. Standing arm and arm we take a sigh as we let the beauty of the tree wrap us in farm and fuzzy feelings. That night we enjoy our usual TV consumption while under the glow and scent of the Christmas tree. It’s heavenly. 

We snuggle up in bed, happy with ourselves and our holiday spirit. Then comes 6:30 a.m. and I’m woken by a loud crash. Thinking Ryan broke a breakfast plate I yell downstairs asking if he’s okay. When I get no reply, I realize he has already left the house. Panicked, I rush down the stairs and find our perfect Christmas tree lying on the ground. Countless irreplaceable and antique ornaments shattered and water everywhere.

I cry. And then start picking up the mess. I call Ryan and he turns around and comes back home and helps me. We’re both agitated, frustrated, and sad. In total it takes two hours to clean up the mess, to un-decorate the rest of the tree, and find a way to make it stand upright again. 

I’m heartbroken over the ornaments lost. They are memories of my childhood, of traditions, and family members. They are only things. But they still hurt. My Christmas spirit was low for a bit. I went out and purchased a new stand. We spent another night assembling the tree in the new stand but left it undecorated for a few days. I simply didn’t have the heart. The tree was a monster, glaring at me from the corner. Taunting me and I just didn’t want to deal with it. 

Then on Sunday, we turned up the Christmas tunes and redecorated the tree. And all is well, Christmas spirit is restored. And it got me thinking and reflecting  (like this season is meant to do): the Christmas Tree is a lot like a marriage. 

These holiday traditions, the ups and downs, are what brings us together. We put up with each other’s quirks and work as a team to make something that will never be “perfect” as good as we can for us. Our marriage, like a live tree, will never be perfect. It is wild, untamed, in need of trimming, and pruning. In need of love and care and affection. Through the yeas we accumulate memories and traditions and adorn our marriage with them. Sometimes we fall and sometimes we break and sometimes we have a little trouble standing upright. Our hearts become shattered. But we overcome and we move forward. Through tears we pick ourselves up and keep pushing. Together.

Although the tree felt like an annoyance this year, we knew that it was in our best interest to set aside our hurt and make it into something special again. In that way, the Christmas tree is like our marriage, a symbol of something for the two of us to gather around and appreciate and respect. A ceremonious element of our lives to look forward to. To gaze at together and to bring us the warm feelings only the two of us comprehend.. It represents our imperfect love, that Christmas tree. And most importantly it brings us hope, much like marriage vows. 

And also, as this sentimental metaphor proves, full of a lot of SAP! 

But when else at Christmas time is it appropriate to be overly sentimental?

 

 

 

How To Remove Christmas Tree Sap From Your Hands

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I’m going to keep this short and sweet today. One, it’s Friday and Two, it’s been one hell of a week. 

So yes, the Christmas tree. The centerpiece of everyone’s holiday decor. So festive, so traditional, so full of SAP!

Anyone that has gotten hands on with a Christmas tree knows that sap is horrible to remove. First is the initial sap attach you get while lugging the tree into your house. Followed by more sap while stringing the lights and even more sap when you to decorate the tree. The Christmas tree sap can’t be avoided. 

It’s all over you palms, in between your fingers, under your nails, and up your arms.

Think of this scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

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Soap and hot water will not cut it. 

Know what works like a charm every time? BUTTER.

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Yep, the kind you cook with. Cut a sliver off a stick of butter and rub it all over your hands and arms and then wash with warm water and soap. You will be sap free after an application or two.  

The more you know!