hard candy mini christmas

I’m having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. Usually I take two weeks off at Christmas so I have time before the holiday to really get into it and time after to relax, but this year I had to use half of my vacation to you know, HAVE A BABY so I can only take a week off. I chose the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and I’m really really really looking forward to getting a little time off then, but I haven’t really been able to get as into Christmas as I normally do. Taylor has been off this week and has been a big help but working + looking after my own kids has left me exhausted and with no time to shower, let alone spread holiday frickin’ cheer.

Sym is spending Christmas with her dad this year so last weekend we had a little Mini Christmas celebration. On Friday night we opened our matching family Christmas pajamas and all the new holiday Lego sets. This year’s sets included a train and a couple small Santa-themed items, which we built that night. Saturday we had brunch and then that afternoon headed over to Enchant, the Christmas light maze. I’d bought the tickerts weeks in advance and was worried it would be raining, which it thankfully wasn’t, but unfortunately it was F R E E Z I N G instead, and Gwen was not dressed warmly enough which made her a little miserable. I ended up bailing out of the maze a little early so I could take Gwen and Nicky to the baby changing tent to hog the heater (and change the baby) while Taylor and Sym finished the maze. We all met back up for mini donuts and soft pretzels, which cheered Gwen up immensely, but when we got home she was still so chilled I ended up tucking her in on the couch with two blankets (faux fur AND wool) and a heating pad for her frozen little feet. I wasn’t planning on buying her a pair of winter snow boots this year (I figured her brown boots from the Gap and her Hunters would be enough) but after that experience I broke down and ordered her a pair after all.

Anyway. Today is my last day of work this year, THANK GOODNESS, so hopefully I can get myself out of this rut of grumpiness soon. Here are a few pics from our Mini Christmas night…

I couldn’t get a pic of all five of use together so you get a variety of groupings instead. This years pajamas are from Hanna Andersson, and while in the past I’ve said they are TOO UBIQUITOUS across the blogosphere I’m actually super impressed with them, and here’s why: I realized a few days AFTER these pictures were taken that Nicky’s sleeper has a huge printing flaw in the design. The fabric must have been folded or something during printing because there is a white wedge-shaped gap in the pattern about 15 inches long. It was obviously too late to replace them (even if they weren’t sold out, which they are), so I emailed asking if I could get a partial refund on the sleeper due to the flaw and they immediately responded, offering a FULL refund. Excellent customer service, so thank you Hanna Andersson! Oh also I know Taylor looks super not thrilled/long suffering in these pics but ACTUALLY he was the most adamant that we ALL had to match.

shark bait hoo ha ha

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01-bw-cat

02-nicky

03-new-ornaments
I swear I bought a new ornament this year that isn’t a deer.

04-bare-lighted-christmas-tree
A few years ago I bought a large wicker basket to use in lieu of a tree skirt. I really liked it; tree skirts are a pita imo; always getting mussed up by pets and kids and sucked into the vacuum cleaner. However, the basket somehow vanished from my storage room after just one Christmas so I had to go buy a new one this week because fuck a tree skirt, honestly. I needed something at least 21″ in diameter to accommodate the tree stand and all I could find was one that was one miserable inch too small, and this fricking enormous one, oops.

05-gwen

06-shelf-with-small-toys

08-gwen-picking-her-nose-at-the-door
Tried to get a nice picture of her with our Christmas wreath…

07-wreath-bird

09-serums
All I care about right now is my skincare regimen. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

10-shark-nicky
This is just beyond. I mean come on.

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Shark-shaped baby sleeping bag from AliExpress.

12-pomegranates

the storm before the calm

nicky-in-grey

Right before Nicky falls asleep is when he tends to have his biggest fusses. You can’t do anything about it; he’s not wet, or hungry, or in need of cuddles. He’s a really good sleeper so he’s not even overtired. It doesn’t happen every time, but usually once a day he’ll cry and yell before passing out, hard, for a good long while.

• • •

Now that we’ve all mostly gotten back into our regular sleep/work/life routine after the drama of last week, I can focus on the holiday season! I had planned to make a spreadsheet to plan & organize the kids’ gifts but I have somehow managed to accidentally buy most of them already? With the combination of all my recent stress and being stuck in the house due to illness I’ve been doing quite a bit of online shopping, and as it turns out have gotten quite a few things for the kids. WHO KNEW. We still have to pick up a couple of things but it’s all pretty much planned out, so now I only need to decide what to get Taylor.

Sym is at her dad’s for actual Christmas this year so we’re doing Mini-Christmas with her in mid-December. My and Taylor’s Christmas pajamas haven’t arrived yet but the kids’ have (see below for a sneak peek…), so we’ll open those, and build all our holiday Lego sets (including maybe a NEW set…). We usually watch Elf on Mini Christmas but we have tickets to the Enchant Christmas light maze so we might not have time. The Christmas Elf may also stop by to leave candy in our shoes if everyone’s room is clean.

I’ll probably start setting up the Christmas tree this weekend; I like to stagger the set up and decoration over a few weeks (just tree; tree+lights; tree+lights+ornaments) to try to get the kids used to it so they are less likely to pull everything off of it. This technique has worked with every child I’ve had in my house EXCEPT for Gwen, but hopefully this year she will be a little less destructive? She’s been a little sassy lately with climbing the furniture, taking things she shouldn’t and making huge messes. Last year we couldn’t put any presents under the tree because she kept unwrapping them all, and just two weeks ago she did the same with her birthday presents so I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.

gnome-hat-gnicky

halloweeeeeeen

halloween-2016-nicky-gwen

We are doing nothing for Halloween this year. Having a new baby made me too lazy to decorate, Gwen didn’t want to dress up, and to top it all off most of us are sick (Taylor and I have colds, and Gwen has been blessed with a visit from the hand, foot and mouth disease fairy) so we’re just staying home and taking it easy. Since we won’t be trick-or-treating, Taylor made an Easter basket-style Halloween basket for Gwen and got some extra candy for the rest of us to share.

halloween-2016-nicky

halloween-2016-gwen

Nicky’s ghost outfit is from Baby Gap circa 2001, Gwen’s cat jumpsuit is H&M.

christmas eve

01 eve tree

05 eve gwen

04 eve gwen

03 eve tree

06 eve gwen

I’ve been off work all week and working hard to finish as many orders as possible before the holiday. I actually got everything I wanted done and shipped off the last batch yesterday; all the open orders I have now we placed this week and I don’t need to worry about them until after Christmas.

Of course focussing on orders totally screwed me up; I’d originally wanted to make a bunch of gifts this year but I just didn’t have the time. The biggest thing I was planning on making was a roadway playmat for Gwen, and I bought all the supplies for it but never even started it! Oopsssss, especially since I’d coordinated with Sym and she painted a set of wooden trees, mountains and cabins SPECIFICALLY to go with my gift.

Luckily the missing gift doesn’t matter since this year we went crazy bananas on gifts. For the past few years Taylor and I have followed a three-gift rule: something to wear, something to read and something to play with. But this year we couldn’t decide what toy to get for Gwen (Duplo? A Play-Doh Fun Factory? The aforementioned hand-painted playmat that I never actually made?) and in the end we just got everything we wanted for both girls.

Symphony is with us for Christmas this year, so last night she went to her dad’s to celebrate Mini Christmas with him. After she left Taylor and I took Gwen up Grouse Mountain for the Peak of Christmas (this sounds mean to not include Sym but she didn’t want to go. TEENS). We didn’t go last year because there was literally zero snow up on the mountain (you can see it from downtown and last December 23rd I looked at it and was like… NOPE, NOT PAYING TO GO STAND AROUND IN THE MUD). This year there has been a bunch of snow and it was actually bonkers snowing while we were up there!

Because we went so late it was quite dark, even with all the lights in the trees. Combined with the tons of snow blowing around we didn’t take many pictures, which is a little disappointing. Taylor was originally going to bring his big camera, then downgraded to bringing his smaller camera (the one I usually use) and in the end it never made it out of our bag and we just used our phones.

ANYWAY. We still had a good time and I really like being able to get out of the city and up into the mountains to the snow so quickly… and I LOVE being able to get back out of the snow just as fast! Tonight we’ll open our Christmas pajamas, decorate cookies and watch Elf, so now I have a busy day ahead of me of cleaning, last minute gift wrapping (because somehow I’m not done? how), grocery shopping and baking. Happy holidays everyone!

02 eve tree

geometric tree

Oops I did it again? I have a lot of work to do this week so OFC a good use of my time is making things to give away for free, right? Right. Today I have another holiday gift wrap/card set, with a bonus print.

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This set includes the card, the print and one sheet of wrapping paper in a green geometric tree print. They are all US Letter size (8.5″ x 11″) and are meant to be printed borderless at 100%. Obviously this gift wrap is only suitable for small gifts BUT if you have access to a large-format printer (I don’t, wahh) you could print it larger.

The card is designed for use with 5.25″ x 7.25″-size envelopes, which you can find at office supply or craft stores (I get mine at Michael’s, with a 50% off coupon they are about $7 for 50), or you can find free templates to make envelopes that size online if you’re so inclined. You could also print the card at a smaller size to use with smaller envelopes. Once the card is printed simply trim the edges at the line and fold in half.

The print is 8×10″ so you just need to trim of the white borders and it is ready for framing.

Download the full set here. Free for personal use only.

grey & gold

G&Ggw1

Every year I participate in Goody Goody Gift Swap, an online gift swap for ~creatives. I like to make as many of the things included in each year’s package as I can myself, right down to the gift wrap. This year I designed some grey & gold watercolour wrapping paper and matching greeting card and I liked how they turned out so much I decided to share them with you all as a free download.

This set includes the card as well as two sheets of wrapping paper in light and dark grey. They are all US Letter size (8.5″ x 11″) and are meant to be printed borderless at 100%. Obviously this gift wrap is only suitable for small gifts BUT if you have access to a large-format printer (I don’t, wahh) you could print it larger.

The card is designed for use with 5.25″ x 7.25″-size envelopes, which you can find at office supply or craft stores (I get mine at Michael’s, with a 50% off coupon they are about $7 for 50), or you can find free templates to make envelopes that size online if you’re so inclined. You could also print the card at a smaller size to use with smaller envelopes. Once the card is printed simply trim the edges at the line and fold in half.

G&Ggw2

Download the full set here. Free for personal use only.

o gwennenbaum

ornaments

bw tree

advent house

business baby

macaroni

lighted birds

Gwen has a new obsession with lip balm, only she pronounces it like “baum.” Last week I gave her a zerbert and she christened it a bart(fart)-kiss and now she gives us bart-kisses all the time. Only she doesn’t know how to do it so they are just loud smacky kisses.

We put all the decorations on our tree and so far it hasn’t been a disaster. Last year Gwen spent the month of December undecorating the tree & breaking ornaments; this year she has mostly ignored it. Except for the lights! Turning them on every day is her job exclusively. She has been kind of reckless with our holiday Legos, but they are new this year and also toys so what else did we expect?

Since I’ve been taking a semi-blogging hiatus I obviously haven’t been posting my meal plans, but I’ve been keeping up with them… sort of. Maybe I don’t plan the whole week at once but I have been making some good meals. The other week I made some ameezing sweet & sour pork with using fresh meat (instead of frozen pre-battered bits) (just never mind that I used sauce from a jar, haha).

I’ve instituted a new rule that on Wednesdays Symphony cooks dinner, which is kind of perilous and also tedious. The point is that her cooking means less work for me, but she makes such a fuss it’s kind of the same amount of work IF NOT MORE. Last night I taught/helped her to make macaroni & cheese from scratch and she nailed it, the sauce was literal perfection. She also got to experience some very real frustration when Gwen, who loves cheese and loves macaroni and loves macaroni & cheese just straight up REFUSED to eat it, for no reason. I would say Sym now has a deeper appreciation for some of what I do around here but like… teens.

I think I am mostly finished with my holiday gift shopping, although I am VERY behind on my gift-making, oops. I am pretty caught up on etsy orders but I thought it would be a good idea to do some last-minute gift & ornament exchanges which was not my brightest move ever. Today I am going to get started on painting some things, partly because painting is easier on my wrists and my carpal tunnel has been pretty terrible lately. I got new wrist braces and I am being more diligent about wearing them, especially during the day, but ughhhh it’s sooooooooo annoyinggggggggggggggggg. First though, I made a new set of stickers! As in, I’m making them right now: I designed & printed the first sheet but haven’t cut them out yet. You can get them here.

watercolour crystal stickers small watermark