twinkling lights

Having our Christmas decorations up makes me so happy!

The star on top of our tree, from Aunt Julie, changes colors...

and it's so pretty!

The boys' favorite is when it's blue.

It's pretty magical!

It took me FOREVER (slight exaggeration) to string the lights up our staircase handrail, 
but it makes me so happy!

Isn't it beautiful?!?
Josh's sister Julie handmade almost thirty felt ornaments for us. 
The attention to detail on these ornaments is amazing, and I just had to share each one with you.
{the manger}

{frosty the snowman}
the boys love this one because of the tiny bell on his scarf.
they shake him repeatedly throughout the day to hear it.

{gingerbread house}
i love the "snow" (beads) on the roof of this one!

{snowman stocking}

{traditional ornament}

{sugar cookie}
I super love this one's sprinkles!

{nesting doll}
i love her cheeks!

{miniature christmas tree}


{holly star}

{candy cane}
Logan kept calling this one a licorice.

{stocking for logan}

{stocking for jack}

{stocking for wyatt}
the stockings are my *favorite*

{gingerbread girl}

{old man winter}

how cute is he?

{frosty & a christmas tree}

{jolly snowman}

{carousel horse}

{gingerbread boy}

{tiny mitten}

{sweet angel}

{holiday poinsettia}

{winter dove}

{i love you}

She also made me this "joy" banner, which I hung on the boys' playroom door. I love it!
It makes me want to make sugar cookies & decorate them!

And she made this amazing nativity as well.  
We love it!  Logan picked up the camel and said,
"This is a camel. It has things like boobs on its back that hold food and water.
It's pretty cool."
Yep. Camel boobs.
God, I love that kid.

Josh's holiday joy was complete when he saw these alphabet blocks she sent us.

He loves to try and write naughty/silly things instead of the hopeful messages I prefer!

Josh's mom and sister teamed up for this one. It's an advent calendar (handmade by Julie) that came with a box of prizes (picked out by Grandma).  The boys get one each day in December until Christmas.  They can't wait for Saturday so we can start!

And finally, I got sparkly JOY from Julie in this wooden decoration. I love the glitter, and that the "O" is an ornament. So cute!!!

Julie, thank you so much for the Christmas "joy" you sent.  Our house is festive because of you, your time, money & thoughtfulness. We love {and miss} you!!!


one day

I have been thinking, this holiday season that I will spend in the arctic, of all the things I miss about home.  I have thought about it so much, that I have made a list of what I would do with just one day at home in Vancouver.

It would start with an early morning walk on the waterfront. Chilly as it might be, I would enjoy walking alongside a river that is flowing.  Then I would hit up the downtown Vancouver Starbucks, meeting my bestie, Sis D, for some coffee and a blueberry muffin, as well as the latest gossip.

Post caffeine and sweets with Lisa, I would drive to Barnes and Noble and spend about an hour choosing books, journals, and stationary to send to myself.  There would be Christmas music overhead, and I would smell those fresh books and be in reading heaven.  I would check to see if Anita Shreve or Lisa Genova have written anything new, and I would spend ridiculous amounts of time reading the backs of books at the bargain table.

From there I would head to the mall, bringing the kids along, to sit on Santa's lap, window shop and just enjoy the joviality and beautiful decorations that live in the mall this time of year. I would probably stop in at Bath & Body Works to stock up on Vanilla Bean Noel scented lotion and bubble bath, as well as yummy smelling hand soaps.  I would buy the boys new shoes, because they love shoes, and I would take them on the train and carousel, delighting in Wyatt's reaction to these new experiences.

Then I would take the kids home for naps (the mall wore them out- perfect!) and Josh and I would curl up on the couch, watching Love Actually or The Holiday while eating Panda Express (Hello Orange Chicken! Oh, how I missed your sweet face!) and drinking Sierra Mist. 

*The village has been out of Sierra Mist all month. I miss it!

In the mid afternoon, we would meet up with Julie and her boys, as well as my sister and her boys, to go to zoo lights.  We would ooh and ahh at the twinkling lights, enjoying the animals in the dark, and braving the cold train for the thrill of seeing the lights from above.  

We would follow our zoo light trip with a visit to Ice Cream Renaissance, ridiculous as it sounds after freezing our buns off, and we would delight in how adorable our eight (eight!?!) boys are, eating ice cream with whip cream and sprinkles and toppings delight!  I would have honey vanilla, bittersweet chocolate love affair and milk chocolate. Yes, that's right, three scoops. Plus warm fudge. Ooh, yummy!

 Then I would ask Josh, nicely of course, to take me on a date, just the two of us, pawning our adorable children off on my mother, who is dying to kiss their necks, ask them questions and see the three of them squeezed in her bath tub together, fighting over Matchbox cars.  He would comply, as would my mom, and we would go to Red Lobster.  We would sit, in the dimly lit dining room, ordering yummy drinks, like a cream & kahlua for me, and enjoying the calm atmosphere.
I would eat until I could hardly move- stuffing myself with Cesar salad, shrimp scampi, mashed potatoes, butter rolls and a Shirley Temple, because that's what I always have- and we would talk about how wonderful our children are, how lucky it is that we're still in love, and fight over who got control of the radio on the drive home. I will win, because he can't say no to me, even if he is sick of Christmas music.
He will get lucky, though, and his favorite Christmas song, Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Carol of the Bells, will be on, and we will both be happy.

Then we would pick the kids up, sleepy and in their jammies (thanks, mom) and take them up to Prune Hill in Camas to see the best Christmas lights in the land.  Because it just isn't Christmas until you've driven into a ritzy neighborhood to ogle their Christmas displays!
Peter, a fellow teacher out here, told me that a friend of his shared these brilliantly true words:
"Happiness is just a matter of deprivation followed by the restoration of what was missing."


the boys' room

Back in August when I was sad about coming back here, about missing my family once again, the one thing that made me was excited was creating a room for the boys that they would love.

 It started with this sunshine picture.  Logan and Jack received it as a gift from their preschool, the Sunshine class, when we visited them this summer.  It is so happy & colorful. 

 Then my mom finished the twins' quilts.
They make the boys' room look and feel so cozy.
The twins love them!

We had picked out the fabric for the quilts together, and then she took it one step further and made coordinating pillow cases.

I was totally shocked when she showed me the ones with their names on them. How cute are they?!?

In addition to the sunshine picture and their fabulous bedding, I was gifted these photo boards by my sister-in-law Julie. She made one for each of the boys.

Choosing where to hang them was, I think, the hardest part of decorating the boys' room.

The top of the board is covered with blackboard paint, so I used chalk to write their names, and can change it whenever I feel the urge.

 In addition to bedding and artwork, I wanted a rocking chair so that nursing Wyatt could be as comfortable as possible.  Before it came, I was using one of our dining room chairs to nurse!  I was so happy when the rocking chair arrived, thanks to Josh's brother and parents. 

Even though I am done nursing, I still use the rocking chair everyday to sing and rock Wyatt to sleep.  I love that chair so much!

 The bottom of the photo boards is covered in magnetic metal, so I used magnets to attach pictures of our summer spent surrounded by loved ones.  The boys love those pictures and even helped me choose which ones they wanted on their individual boards.

The twins like to talk about the memories we made, and Wyatt likes to point and have me name who is who for him, usually when he has woken up from a nap and is still sleepy.

And the final (perfect) touch is this banner my sister sent for my birthday. She worked with my mom, using scrap fabric from both the boys' beds and bibs my mom made for Wyatt, to make this oh-so-joyful banner that I hung on the one empty wall I had.  

The finished project makes us very happy.  I am so grateful for all the help I had in creating a cheery bedroom for our three boys.

"Where we love is home- home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."
-Oliver Wendell Homes