Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas cards {2015}

Between Black Friday sales and a $10 off card we got when we moved, we decided to use Shutterfly for our Christmas cards again this year!

We are so happy with how they turned out and we saved so much money that it was totally worth it. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Christmas card pic 2015

It was a battle to get this picture and there was a whole lot of Photoshop magic involved, but we did it!

It was everything I envisioned. Thanks for taking it, Dad! (And of course thanks to my Mom for sewing the logs!)

Monday, November 16, 2015

blind faith

With Christmas fast approaching and Elden at an age where he can comprehend the notion of Santa, Jon and I have been at somewhat of a crossroads deciding how to handle the aforementioned bearded wonder.

Growing up, Santa was a deeply magical thing for me. My school district had a cooperative where first graders would write letters to Santa and the creative writing classes at the high school would respond. One student was Santa and the other high schoolers would pick an elf to write on Santa's behalf. Pretty cool, right? Not for my mom. Most first graders got their response and were satisfied. I got my response and embarked on a 4-year journey of writing to Apollo Noel (my elf, if that wasn't clear) all. year. long. My mom had to do the heavy lifting and respond to every last letter. She even had to come up with a solution when I had the genius (not to toot my own horn but come on it was BRILLIANT) idea to send my little camera to Apollo Noel so that she could take pictures of the North Pole for me. (The solution was to tell me the North Pole was magical and wouldn't show up on film. Luckily my mom is an artist and was able to "draw a self portrait so you know what I [Apollo Noel] look like.") I had a blind faith that Santa and the whole gamut (Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.) were real. Kids would tell me otherwise and I would be outraged at their disbelief as I had the facts! Santa would track ash from the fireplace all over our first floor! I conversed with an elf regularly! There would be reindeer prints outside our house Christmas morning! (Yes, my mom went through GREAT LENGTHS to make Christmas magical). Even when they finally told me the truth (I believed in Santa until right before Christmas in 5th grade) I didn't understand. To tell me, my mom read me a book about St. Nicholas and at the end... he died. Looking back I can't help but laugh at the comedy of the situation. By then she was sobbing and asked if I understood and I said, "yes, when he died Santa replaced him!" Suffice to say, she was mostly inconsolable and my dad had to do the dirty work and straight up tell me it had all been a lie. And to be honest (please don't be upset, mom!) I felt betrayed. I felt SO STUPID for believing so blindly for so long. And all my peers who I had told off! I quietly asked if the other fictional characters were real ("no.") Along with that I questioned God ("He's real!"). It was hard.

Jon, on the other hand, grew up being told Santa was real but my understanding is that around first grade  he put two and two together and figured out on his own that it was a farce. Suffice to say, he doesn't have any real longing to tell our kids about Santa.

I am so torn. Adult me is okay with being deceived because that time really was so magical and wonderful and I know why my parents did it. The biggest part, though, was the innocence. I can't turn on the tv now without being bombarded with the depravity and ugliness of the world. I live in a near constant state of fear for the well being of my children. I try so hard not to entertain the bad thoughts, but how is that even possible when society has made it its mission to destroy itself? I long for the days when my biggest concern was when I would hear from Apollo Noel next. But man... the betrayal I felt when I found out the truth. That hurt. So where is the line? I don't want to straight up lie to my kid, but he is pretty smart and wants to know everything. 

For now we are treading the waters lightly. We have told him about Santa but I don't plan on going to the great lengths my parents did. My hope is he won't straight up ask if Santa is real for a few years because Jon and I have mostly decided we will answer that question truthfully.
 
For now, seeing the wonder in Elden's eyes when he saw mall Santa ("is he really breathing!?" - dodged a bullet on that one) was enough. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

happy birthday

Dear Jon,

Last night we stood in our kitchen eating peanut butter apples after the kids had gone to bed and reflected over our lives and how crazy it is that we are adulting.

You made me laugh in the same ways you did nine years ago when our story was just beginning.

I looked at you and the voice inside my head couldn't stop screaming how lucky I was. 
28 years ago you were born into a loving family. They helped you become the man you are. You work so hard to raise our babies and be an outstanding partner to me and I've gotta say--you are rocking it. 
I know I don't say it nearly enough: thank you. Thank you for continuing to say "yes" to loving us so well every day. Thank you for listening to Elden and asking him questions and for challenging him. Thank you for being an example for Edith of how a partner and father should be and for making her laugh the way you do.

We love you more than we could ever describe. Happy, happy birthday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

living room progress

We are so close to being done! We mostly just have to do the baseboards and trim around the garage and pantry doors. I'm hoping to knock the baseboards out sometime this weekend. We are also in the market for an area rug and some art for above the couch, then I have aspirations to make some end tables for the couch out of some reclaimed wood I got from a coworker. Jon and I are obsessed with this room. The big difference between this and what we did at the old house is we are taking our time to really plan out what we want/what our vision is, and we are spending a bit more on achieving that goal since we plan on being here for a long time. This room is definitely my new favorite in the house!