Monday, December 24, 2012

Bits + Pieces

1. One of the restaurants in our town hosted Santa Clause on Friday, so after a day of errands we headed there.
2. He sat with us and chatted to Cody and I for like 15 mins. It was awesome! (Plus he excitedly agreed to attend our north pole party next year!)
3. A peaceful evening.
4. New pj's from a girlfriend
5. Mackynzie took a selfie.
6. Such a cuddly puppy lately! I don't mind at all :)
7. Playing in the snow!
11. I am loving candy cane hot chocolates this Christmas season! (My butt will definitely be back to clean eating/a good workout routine after Christmas...)
12. Christmas jammies ready and waiting for tonight!
13. Sometimes, grapes in a dog bed is just what you need.

 I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, filled with joy and laughter and love.


Best wishes from the Miller family

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Zoo Lights

Last night we packed our warm clothes, picked up Cody from work, and went to gaze at the beautiful lights the zoo puts up every year. Non of us have ever been (well, I went when I was something like 10 years old.) so it was the perfect opportunity to cross it off our list.

The weather was perfect (we thought it was going to be quite cold, but it turned out to be a nice -6C!) and paired with candy cane hot chocolates, it was a fantastic night.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Cookie Party

We had a cookie decorating play date yesterday. It was super fun! It was short notice, so only a couple of her friends could make it, but it was just perfect. Mackynzie was excitedly chatting with me about how her friends were coming to decorate cookies with her, and all the fun things she wanted to do. She helped set up, picked up her toy area, and eagerly waited at the window.

They had a blast with decorating, and had fun playing together afterwards. Success :) And of course, they enjoyed eating their master pieces!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cuddles and Cookies? You bet!

 It's getting closer! I can't believe this is the last week left until Christmas  Yesterday was my day at home, aka do everything I can that needs to be done before things get busy, so it was filled with the last of the baking, cleaning, visiting with my girlfriend, feeling overwhelmed around 1:30 as per usual, reading stories, giving kisses, and helping a little girl who was having a trying day.

 Today we are having a couple of Mackynzie's friends over to decorate cookies, drink non dairy hot chocolate and play. I hope they have lots of fun together, and I will be sure to share photos of messy hands and faces. Then we will probably snuggle up and watch one of my favorite Christmas movies.

 With this time of year being so busy, I am trying really hard to have lots of connecting moments with Mackynzie. Tune out the world and make sure she knows that she is safe, loved, and that she can relax. Yesterday told me that we have strayed too far from our normal diet for her to handle, and that mama has been too busy buzzing around. So I am making sure that we have some down time every day leading up to Christmas  while still having a fun outing every day.

 I just want to make sure I am as in touch with her as possible, especially right now. I want to see the wonder in her eyes as we look at twinkling lights and brightly colored bows. I want to feel her excitement and share it with her. I want to tell her stories of Santa clause and his reindeer, and see her listen with joy as I explain his trip around the world. I want to soak up every bit of this season and be still in it.

This sweet little girl brings us so much joy and happiness. And she has a fantastic sense of humor.

Here's to sweet cuddles, quiet moments, and happiness this holiday season. Cheers!

Old ST.Nick

Every family has their own take on Santa Clause. Whether or not they have him in their home, if they tell their kids he's real, if they don't, if they incorporate him to suit their religious beliefs, there are many different ways a family approaches the big red guy.

 For us, it was a tough decision for a while. Funny, I never thought Chris Cringle would make it to topics to seriously be discussed between Cody and I. We had an answer before she was born, when she was a baby, and now that she is a walking, talking, smart little person. 

The very sum of our decision, is no, we will not be telling her Santa is real. However, as you can see in this post, Santa is definitely part of our family's Christmas. We decided that we weren't personally comfortable with telling her that Santa is real. It just didn't sit right with our parenting philosophies, but lucky for us, there are lots of fun ways to still enjoy the jolly old soul!

What we have told (and will tell) Mackynzie that Santa is the spirit of Christmas. Right now, due to age appropriate information for her developmental stage, she just knows that Santa is like a fun game. He is pretend, like a character in her story books. As she gets older, we will explain to her that Santa exists in all of us, because he represents the warm, fuzzy feelings of the season. All the joys and excitements and games and songs. We use Santa as the face of the bubbly excitement and fun. We are only giving her bits of information at a time (I'm sure next year will be easier), because we really want her to understand what we mean. That way, Santa will always be 'real' for her, (we won't have to deal with the awkward moments of her telling friends he's not real haha) just like he is 'real' for me. :)

We are counting down the days and will be tracking santa's progress to our house this Christmas eve. I just can not wait to see her sweet little face light up!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bits + Pieces

1. When the tree is the only light in the room.
2. Grocery store cookie munching
3. Getting my holiday treat making on!
4.After Cody and I were done with them, they look like they are made with lots of love. ;)
5. Papa hasn't decorated a ginger bread house in years. He was very happy to be able to build her first house with her.
8. Because every chihuahua needs a Harley hat.

Christmas Traditions

 Christmas really is a magical time. I wrap myself up in the warmth and happiness and I squeeze it tight. Something that I always love asking friends and family, is what traditions they grew up with. What made Christmas special to them? What will always stand out to them from their childhood? And what will/did they pass down to their own children? I really love to hear what they tell me. Partly because I am always open to incorporating new traditions into our family, and partly because I love to see their faces light up with the memories. To hear the silly things that they cherish most, despite them not really knowing why they hold it so dear.

 We have taken some traditions from our childhood, and also started new ones (and I can guarantee we will add more as Mackynzie gets older.). These are some of the things we do at Christmas time:

1. Christmas Eve PJ's

 Every year, we open one gift on Christmas eve. Eventually, like Cody and I, Mackynzie will know exactly what the gift will be, but it's still so exciting to get to open just one. It's always new jammies to wear to bed (and most of Christmas day!) and sometimes a pair of slippers or fuzzy socks to go along with them. Cody had never done this before, but it's something he really looks forward to every Christmas eve.

2. To Jamma's house we go!

Cody's family has made their own tradition, that came from busy and odd work schedules when Cody and his sister were kids. Every Christmas eve (evening), the whole family gathers at Jamma's house (Cody's grandma) and we have what's usually a non traditional dinner (last year was homemade Chinese food.) and then open gifts after. We open ALL the gifts to and from family members, but then gifts to and from Cody, Mackynzie and myself, are saved for Christmas morning. not one gets opened. Then on Christmas morning each family does their own thing, and we meet back up for a traditional turkey dinner in the afternoon.
 At first, it was really odd for me and definitely something to get used to! But I really enjoy it now. It divides up the stimulation of Christmas and makes the day much more calm.

3. Santa's cookies and a movie.

We watch the polar express every Christmas eve. I don't know why, but it always gets me really excited and super stoked for Christmas morning.
 We also have lots of fun baking Santa fresh Cookies.

4. Christmas Lights

It doesn't happen on the same day every year, but we always go  look at Christmas lights together. Right now, we go somewhere we can get out and walk around since Mackynzie can't really see out the windows from her carseat. This usually includes hot chocolates and fuzzy mittens.

5. Christmas Brunch

 Last year, we started hosting Christmas brunch. It was nice to have the family over for a bit in the late morning, and then break off again until dinner. We keep it simple, with cinnamon buns or something along those lines, and fruit and bacon and orange juice. I am really looking forward to it again this year!

 Traditions we are starting this year:

1. Reindeer Food

 we are making reindeer food this year! I have seen tons of cute variations, and I think Mackynzie will have so much fun doing this.

2. Visiting Santa

 Mackynzie was too young to understand anything about Santa Clause in previous years, but this year she has requested that we pay a visit to the man in red. If all goes well, we will see him every year.

3. Holiday Party

Okay, so this one isn't really starting this year. I am doing a minuscule version this year because of time crunch (I didn't really know about it before!), but I am going to start doing a north pole party for Mackynzie and her friends. If you haven't heard of them, seriously look it up. SO cute! This year we are only doing a small cookie decorating 'party', but it will still be really fun!

4. Tracking Santa

Mackynzie is old enough to understand the whole tracking Santa thing now. I am extremely excited about this one! How magical to know where he is!

What are your family's traditions? Are there some you always look back on from your childhood?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stories, Treats and Sweet Dreams

I shared a little slice of reality yesterday, aka, my messy living room. I haven't gotten on top of my cleaning enough yet, so a regular morning and a busy toddler have been making a bit more destruction than usual. Funny note, the little bump you see in the yoga mat is a collection of mackynzie's play phones. Seems like a good spot to keep them. 

We had a fun day yesterday. We got to see good friends for a little play date and it was sweet to see the girls reconnect again. We haven't really sat down with them for a play in a while, so we are looking forward to things settling down again in the new year, so we can see them more often. I think its melt-your-heart adorable, but every time we go to their house, they pick books and perch on each of her knees for as many stories as they can squeeze in. They took turns running to get new books.

It's a fantastically beautiful thing, and I feel so blessed for the great people in our life. Watching Mackynzie be so comfortable and content around them really warms my heart. She doesn't warm to people easily, and takes her sweet time observing before she is comfortable (something I am NOT complaining about!), so it just feels really great to know she has so many people who care for her.

 After our play date, we went out for a festive snack (peppermint hot cocoa and ginger-molasses cookies anyone?) with my girlfriend. we have been friends for 10 years, and Mackynzie loves her just as much as I do I think! She was standing at the window, waving at the people going through the drive through. My little people-watcher.

Bedtime is in an odd adjustment period, and I am not too sure what direction its going in yet. She asked us to lay with her (one on each side) and play Christmas music. Cody and I drifted off with her for a couple minutes. It's always so pleasant and cozy feeling when that happens.

 Sometimes, I wish they made beds for adults that were as big as a big bed is to a toddler. and pillows and cozy duvets to match. Probably a little impractical for fitting into a house, but a girl can dream!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The 12 'Days' of Christmas

***PG rated post... I am advising our family to keep scrolling lol ***

 I am not one to post many things regarding this topic, but I think this is hilarious. I decided to do a fun just-for-us Christmas gift for Cody this year. I saw the idea on pinterest (I swear I come up with my own ideas...sometimes.) and just had to do it because it was so silly. I give you...

 Cody laughed his butt off, and you know what? I think things like this are extremely important for a marriage. Why not have some fun, right? 

 I hope I didn't make you spit out your morning cup o joe. Happy holidays everyone. Hope you're having fun  ;) 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hey, Monday

 1.I am petting fynn on my lap... I know it looks super weird since you can't see him...
 2.excuse the 'smelled a fart' freeze frame if it's still there.
 3. Don't mind the exchange between Cody and I at the end haha.


So where'd we go?

This past month we have been so busy and focused on what's been happening, I have hardly had any time to fill any of you in on what the heck is up with us moving. Again. So soon.

 Well, I am going to sum this up, because really, it's very simple. Bottom line, we moved back home. Whoa. Now this is where I want to do the 'filling in', because I really hate when people assume things, so if I tell you here, there will be no need to think anything other than what it is. Are you following, or am I confusing you haha..

 This decision happened extremely quickly. We considered it, talked about it, and moved forward with it in three days. Cody's dad has been wanting us to live with them since we moved into our very first house together, so we could save money. We needed the experience and independence though (and I am really glad we made the choice we did back then.) and said 'thank you, but no thank you.'. Since then, the offer has never left the table.

 A lot of it was a pride thing (mostly on my end.) and has been since. I always felt that if I leaned on anyone it meant I couldn't do it on my own. Thankfully, I have gotten over that one for the most part. So, while in the shower (You know, the place where brilliant ideas, made up songs and epiphanies hit you.) I said to myself, 'self, you know this may be a good idea. Maybe you should suck that pride up and have an open mind about this.' and as easy as that, I considered the offer seriously for the first time, and really saw why it was such a good idea.

Anyway (surprise! I'm rambling.) we thought it over and discovered this; If we stop renting (the housing we need/standards we have for a home had us renting extremely close to our budget peek.) and moved into Cody's parents partial basement suit, we could be buying our home next year. No more renting, no more moving every couple of years. Not bad.

 We realized it was the perfect time to do it as well. Mackynzie is still young and we still co-sleep  so one large bedroom is totally fine. She hasn't accumulated an incredible amount of stuff at this age (all the baby gear is gone and she hasn't been old enough to build a stock pile of stuff yet haha.) and probably the second most important reason we are doing this- She gets to develop an incredible bond with her Mimi and Papa. We all do. I feel like I am going to learn so much and grow tons from this experience. I am really, really, looking forward to creating a really strong relationship with my mother in law, and I don't know if that could happen (without taking a few years) without us doing this.

Overall, this was just a really fantastic opportunity for our family. Literally, the minute we moved in here we were totally at peace. There has been no adjustment period, and for the first time in a long time, all my little stresses that build up (I have anxiety i'm working on.) are completely gone! It's amazing.

 We are extremely blessed to have an opportunity like this. We would be waiting years and years to buy a home other wise. To be able to leave after this and have a stronger family bond will be so wonderful. Cody's parents are really fantastic now too. We don't have worries about toe-stepping or boundary crossing, because after two years, they have realized that even if they don't agree with everything we do, we have a beautiful, healthy, very smart girl who has blown them away. They let us do our thing, and respect the way we raise her deeply. (I can't stress how thankful I am for that.) Also as I have mentioned before, Cody and his dad work together so they are gone for the same amount of time, and his mom works full time too. Mackynzie is asleep before any of them come home, so it really has not been weird at all.

 Mostly, I just feel so incredibly blessed. For this opportunity and all that it holds, for these wonderful people I have been so fortunate to accumulate through marrying Cody, and that his parents just happen to be incredibly gracious, loving and selfless. I am honored to be a part of this family, and they will always have my deepest thanks for sharing this with our daughter.

 Not many people get to do things like this (and it not be weird.. let's be honest haha) and I am just so excited about this new adventure. So that's what has been going on. Forgive me for keeping quiet about it for so long, I really wanted to share the full story with you. Now that renovations are done, Cody can stop going from work to house fixing (the basement wasn't fully finished yet, but they did everything but the ceiling in 4 weeks!), and boxes are unpacked, I am super excited to get back into my regular blog schedule and share our new little home with you guys!

Now to go and hang the rest of my pictures. We somehow managed to wind up with a giant naked wall again haha!

Bits + Pieces

1. We still babywear. Especially on days where the world seems a little too big for her.
2. I went to twilight with my girlfriend. This is our 'its twilight time' face...
3. the results of a red crayon making its way through washing AND drying... (I got it ALL out though!)
4. All moved, very tired.
5. Relaxing at the new house!
6.Escaping the craziness to go to music class.
7. Puppies cuddling.
8. Meeting Santa!
9. First cake pop. It was weird.
10. We watch Santa feed his reindeer every day. So fun!
11. I have very cuddly puppies who require mom time (toddler free) every night.
12. A festive breakfast.
13. checking out the Christmas lights our town puts on.
14. Oh hey, odd plastic girl. She had to touch every single one.
15.These two are the best of friends!

 I was going to post a couple more so this would be to date (from the weekend.), but my blog informed me I have used up my photo storage and wants me to buy more. I don't really want to pay for my blog, so we will see what happens. I will see what Cody can do with his computer skills tonight!