Monday, December 30, 2013

Ring in the new year

Whether you plan to party it up until three am like this 1950s couple or have a quiet night in, we hope you have a wonderful night with family, friends, and maybe a little bubbly! 

We wanted to share just a few of our own New Year's resolutions this year.

Elizabeth says:

1. Organize, print, and put in albums our photos. 

2. Streamline the music situation in our house, we have iphones/ipods and use spotify so need to tie them all together.

3. Get hiking – both kids have big enough legs that we want to get out and take advantage of all the coast, country and castles that Northumberland has.

Sona says:

1. Get back to cloth diapers. With our first child we cloth diapered 80 percent of the time. With our second, it dropped to more like 50 percent. With this baby, we've maybe done 20 percent cloth. This year I'd like to get back up there to the 80 percent mark. I mean, we have all this cloth... might as well use it!

2. Take my vitamins. I'm so good about making sure my kids take their vitamins, but I take mine about once a week or bi-weekly. 

3. I was supposed to have more??  Elizabeth's list has made me feel like a slacker. I better re-evaluate my list! The photo organizing one is good... and the music organizing... and the hiking... 

What are your New Year's resolutions this year? Do you have the same resolutions every year or do switch it up? 

And hey, if your New Year's resolution is to have your holiday cards out earlier, you still have time to order up a fun New Year's card like this one or customize any of our photo cards to make that perfect New Year's card to ring in 2014.

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

For some it's Black Friday. Others, the first snowfall. For us, it doesn't feel like Christmas until we have seen Santa.

We start seriously early in our house. It's completely normal to watch a Christmas movie, or listen to Christmas songs from November 1st. The tree was up and the house decorated by Dec 1st. But for some reason, it's just not Christmas until we've seen the man in red.

We have done a few different trips. My favorite is going to Centre Parcs at the end of November and having the weekend away in a lodge. You can hire bikes, go swimming, and all sorts of sporting activities. Rebecca took a pony ride to the Elves workshop where she got to meet Santa. Although that is really early, I figure since we don't have the time off over Thanksgiving to relax with family, that seems a nice way to kick off the holiday season.

This year, we went to Wallington Hall. We found Santa's sleigh and Reindeer statues on the lawn!

Test driving Santa's Sleigh

Rudolph outside the clock tower

There were a lot of positives with this.

1)  It's local and we go there a lot so the kids are comfortable there.

2)  It looked gorgeous all decorated as only an old stately home could.

3)  We have been to other special events there like the Queens Jubilee so it's nice to be there at Christmas.

4)  It was cheap (only 8 pounds to see Santa).

5)  They had a lot of activities on like cookie decorating and carol singers.

Cookie decorating in the old fashioned kitchen

But most importantly, we saw the real Santa! I walked out of our visit and told the lady on the door in my most embarrassing American voice, "that was totally the real Santa!" I don't know who was more excited, us or the kids!?

The kids talking to Santa

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Yes these events can be gimmicky, and yes, they can be expensive, but when the magic of the day is fading and the kids are asleep in the car, I do think these are love and life moments to cherish as they won't be little for long. We'd love to hear your traditions! Do you do a Polar Express? Annual trip to the mall to get your photo with Santa? Please share your stories and photos with us!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Say cheese

I am always so impressed with those who have already ordered, received, and even sent out their holiday card by December 1st. I planned to at least have my card designed and off to the printer by the time we headed west for Thanksgiving this year. But now on failed photo attempt number three, still no card. Shame on me right? Of all people, I should be ahead of the game on this. Two years ago, I blogged with "tips for taking the family photo." You can see more on that here. This year, try as I might to get a photo of my three kids, I am just not having a lot of success. 

Photo shoot number 1 went something like this:

That's OK, we'll get one in the snow when we are home for Thanksgiving. And voila, I give you photo shoot number 2:

Why does is seem like someone is always crying? Oh right, because they are. At least we managed to have some sledding fun!

And lastly, photo shoot number 3. This one has me going back to look at some of the shots from photo shoot number 1 thinking maybe these are good enough.

Do you have any tips for getting all of your children to look at the camera and smile? If yes, could you please share them with the rest of us? And if you are like me and still struggling to get that perfect or even halfway decent shot, this is to let you know that you. are. not. alone. 

It was so cold on that last day that as we were getting back to the car, my five-year old said to me, "Mom, I wish it was summer." And that has me thinking she might just be on to something that possibly all of you organized people already know. Take the shot in the summer. Or better yet, hire a professional... in August! :)