shark bait hoo ha ha

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

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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.

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Tried to get a nice picture of her with our Christmas wreath…

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

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This is just beyond. I mean come on.

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Shark-shaped baby sleeping bag from AliExpress.

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the storm before the calm

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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.

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halloweeeeeeen

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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.

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

christmas eve

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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!

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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

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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.

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more december

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I just shipped the very last order that was placed before my holiday cutoff so hopefully things will be a little less frantic around here. I still have open orders but I don’t feel as desperate to get them out like YESTERDAY OMG so I can focus a little bit more on Christmas presents for my family.

I put our Christmas tree up a few weeks ago, just bare with lights so Gwen could get a little used to it before we add the decorations (which we’re doing tonight). My old cat Claire used to love lying under the tree and so when I saw Mark Fluffalo doing it I felt all warm and fuzzy… until I noticed today that a whole section of lights were out! Taylor told me the cat had been under the tree last night (he was working from home) goofing around before running off, and when we took it apart we found a wire that had been chewed nearly clean through. Why oh why are cats such dodos? Hopefully it was not a pleasant experience and he doesn’t do it again, but Taylor (with small help from me) was able to splice the wire back together.

Last Saturday was Taylor’s office holiday party and also the ninth anniversary of our first date. NINE WHOLE YEARS. He surprised me by hiring a limo to drive us around the city before the party while we drank champagne #hearteyesemoji The Saturday before that we went to Ikea and I bought a credenza for the dining room and filled it with all our board- and card games.

This afternoon I got Gwen to take her nap in her bed for the first time since May, which meant I was able to clean the house while she slept. It was a short nap, but I feel triumphant.