The Christmas Season

These pictures have nothing to do with what I am about to rant write about. They just stand as photographic evidence that I did actually do some holiday activities with the kids leading up to Christmas. 

Just to prepare you, I am about to go on a bit of a rant. Now don't get me wrong during this rant. If you are one of those Pinterest or advent calendar moms that loves (and has the time) to do activities with your kids every day, more power to you. I have friends that did some incredible things like this during this season and it looked super fun through instagram stories. But just as I don't judge them for doing things different than me, I don't want to be judged either. 

A couple weeks ago I was talking with a couple who have a Pinterest worthy daughter about my age. They were telling me all the amazing and over the top activities their daughter was doing with her children every day. Then, they asked what holiday activities I had been doing with my kids each day. Let's be honest, at this point, I can barely bend over and pick stuff up off the floor! And though I would love to blame my lack of doing an amazingly thought out activity with my children each day in December on my pregnancy, the fact is, it just isn't my personality. I am more of a go with the flow type person and rigid plans stress me out. But back to my conversation. As I explained that I had yet to do anything with my children (in my defense it was like the 8th of December or something) they looked at me in horror. Like actual literal horror. Then I was asked, "Do you even have a Christmas tree?!?" I do folks, don't you worry. It even went up the weekend of Thanksgiving. I love me some Christmas. I just don't love me a busy and stressful month. 

Now, here's the thing. Did we manage to squeeze in some holiday activities? Of course we did. We went to an angel breakfast that we have gone to the past several years. Ian took Isla to the Nutcracker. He offered to take the kids ice skating and they said no...hahahaha! We drove around looking at Christmas lights with hot chocolates in hand. Another night, we took a hay ride through a local farm's light display. And, on the morning of Christmas Eve, we squeezed in some cookie decorating. None of these activities were planned well in advance. Well, the angel breakfast was for like a week or two. Everything else just fit where there was time in our normal lives. 

And guess what? Even though we didn't do amazing activities every day, the kids still enjoyed themselves. We all did. None of us were out shopping in the chaotic stores days before Christmas...thanks to online shopping. When days already felt full because of school parties, work and other Christmas parties, friends birthday parties, even Callum's birthday, we didn't do things. It just felt nice not to cram things in and stress myself trying to fit it all in. Which, this again shows you a bit about my personality, I don't like being super busy. 

The moral of the story is, don't try to keep up with others if you don't have it in you. Celebrate their awesomeness in doing all the things. Then celebrate your awesomeness in cuddling up on the couch with your kids for the fourth night in a row. We are all hardwired differently. That's a good thing. A thing to be celebrated. Not a thing to tear each other down for us all not keeping up (or laying low) to each other's standards. 

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Christmas Decorations

Our Christmas decor has evolved and changed over the years. I think that's a natural thing because of styles, life changes, etc. I was probably at the top of my decor game when I worked at Pottery Barn. But I have since gotten rid of so much of that because it just isn't practical with kids to have breakable decorations e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. As children have made me more practical, things have simplified. But some things, like my love of color and my love of twinkle lights in the home have not changed. I mean, twinkle lights just make everything better. Especially during those dreary winter days. I put them up in the kids rooms for Christmas a few years ago and ended up leaving them up year round because I loved them so much, and so did they. 

I finally bit the bullet two years ago and bought us all matching stockings. Of course those stockings aren't available anymore, so I will now need to stalk eBay looking for one for baby because I just love those stockings so much. Not to mention I am totally cheap and they felt like a huge investment (they weren't that much money, but still!) and don't want to have to replace all of them. 

We have a lot of kids Christmas crafts around our house from various years as well. I particularly love the ones that have pictures of the kids on them because it lets me reminisce and that's just one of my favorite things to do. 

I should mention, my decor prekids included a lot of fake snow, again thanks to Pottery Barn. It was beautiful but OHMYGOSH the kids just couldn't seem to keep their hands off of it. Which the stuff is beautiful and fluffy and white, so I get it. But I couldn't handle having to clean up snow twenty times a day, so that went bye bye too. I actually let the kids play with it before I threw it away and let it get all over because I figured "why not?" but that was a few years ago now. 

Alright, enough talking. My Christmas decor...well, my living room at least, as I did decorate the banisters on the stairs this year and they include twinkle lights because, HELLO, I did say they are my favorite. 

I mostly posted this for myself because I think it's fun to look back and see ways I have decorated in the past. But given it's my blog and I can post what I want, for whomever I want, I figure whatevs. 

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30 weeks

Wow, things seem to be humming along quickly all of the sudden. Especially when I realized that my due date is four weeks after the kids Christmas break ends! I guess if I want to do a couple projects before baby comes, now would be the time!

This is what 30 weeks with a fourth child looks like.

I've always had pretty easy pregnancies, especially when I know some people who have truly struggled through their pregnancies. That being said, 10 more weeks of this (well, 9 tomorrow) has me not thinking I will enjoy those coming weeks so much. It's getting hard and uncomfortable to bend over. And, well, I have a strong willed running risk of a toddler to deal with all day, so yeah. I have always been a huge advocate of babies staying in until they are ready to come out. And while I certainly don't want to be induced, I am crossing my fingers and toes that this baby, if not early, at least arrives on time.

I can now feel the baby move from all over the place. For a while, even though I had a nice size belly, I couldn't feel it up high. Well, now I can. And speaking of up high, I think it likes to camp out close to my lungs from time to time, greatly diminishing my lung capacity, making things a bit uncomfortable. My belly button is now flush with my belly, which I think looks a little odd. But even more strange is when I move or laugh/cough and it pokes out quickly. Haha! Being pregnant can be so weird at times! I have been having some braxton hicks contractions. While they aren't painful at all, if I am leaning over when they happen, I definitely have to change positions because of my whole belly suddenly becoming hard.

I washed all the baby clothes I have and I ended up having way less than I remember. But, I figure I have a few choices here. I can do laundry all the time. I can dress the baby in all the clothes, no matter if it's a boy or girl. Or I can pick up some extras after it's born. But I'm set on white onesies. I don't know why, but I apparently have a ton of those. And buntings. The kid will be warm after it is born, that is for sure.

There are still a few things I want to get and do before baby arrives. But spending all the money on Christmas right now doesn't exactly leave me motivated to spend money on baby. I got a peg board to hang above the changing table and need to do that. It is really the only decoration I am doing, so I am sort of eager to get it done. Well, that and finish the mobile to hang above the crib. The baby will be in with Ian and I for the first while. So the changing table is actually in our closet and there is a mini crib on my side of the bed. I would also like to get a new stroller. Callum's seems to be making an awful noise for no apparent reason and the tires are bald. And, well, I looked into how much replacement tires are and realized I could get another stroller for not much more. But that stroller has served us well. It has been used a ton, going back and forth to school every day. Not to mention the vacations it has been on and everything else.

So there you have it, 30 weeks.

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Callum {3 years}

Likes: playing with his brother & sister's toys, jumping off anything, popsicles, cars & tractors, shooting people with nerf guns, hitting people with swords
Dislikes: getting his clothes changed, the dentist, being told no, having to sit in a shopping cart

talks in sentences
Can count up to 17
sings his abc's
knows his first and last name

This kid can be so sweet and adorable, I can eat him up. Yet, he can be oh-so ornery! I guess that is three. Talking up a storm, yet wanting to keep up with the big kids...though not having the same smarts as the big kids, so shooting people in the face with a nerf gun is seen as totally acceptable. 

Some of Callum's current favorites are hot wheels, Super Wings, and playing anything that involves throwing something or hitting someone with something. He loves reading, well being read to. Some of his favorite books are No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, The Wheels on the Bus and Little Blue Truck.

Callum is probably our most adventurous eater. He will eat pretty much anything. And the kid loves salad!!! He also has a sweet tooth and is constantly requesting candy...or helping himself to a popsicle in the freezer! Which, that reminded me why I put a lock on the freezer when the other kids were little. He loves yogurt and I just recently discovered he loves eggnog. He doesn't really like milk, so will choose water over milk at dinner every night. 

We took the side off his crib a couple months ago and he is doing great with that. In fact, it's pretty convenient because now if he wakes at night, he just comes in our room and climbs in bed. I keep meaning to set up a twin bed for him, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe this weekend. 

Callum doesn't like being contained in anything or by anyone. He doesn't want to ride in a shopping cart and will beg to be out. "I hold your hand!" Then when you let him out, he refuses to hold your hand! He is a bit of a running risk and being so pregnant, that is sometimes hard to deal with. He also thinks its funny to jump and kick you when walking while holding your hand. Yeah, I am sure I look just as much like a train wreck out in public with him and my big belly as you are imagining! 

Callum loves his mama so much and definitely is most attached to me. He says to me often, "I hold you", which means he wants to be held. He always wants to hold my hand, even when he is sleeping. If he is watching tv, he wants me to sit with him, which really means he pretty much wants to sit on top of me. It's all really sweet and I tend to eat it up. 

So there you have it, Callum in all his glory at three.

In case you want to look back, here are a couple of my favorite updates on Callum - one year...and eating his cake!, 7 months (he was just such a smiley baby!) and 1 week (because newborn baby goodness, of course).

And here was Connor and Isla at three. Connor and Callum are wearing the same shirt for their three year photos. 

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8 Years Later

There is an indoor winter gardens in Aberdeen, Scotland that we visited while there in July. We used to live just up the street from it and I would frequently walk around in it with Connor during those cold winter months. It was warm and gave me a place to get out of the house to. While there, I made Connor take a picture in a spot that I knew I had taken many pictures of him over our time living there. Of course, when we got home I couldn't find any of the pictures. So much for being good at organizing photos! 

The other day I got an itch to finish the kids baby books, since I was ordering updated family photos for our frames in our living room...nesting affects every aspect of life! While going through pictures, I stumbled across a random file that only had a few pictures in it. Well, it had pictures of Connor standing in the exact spot I took his picture this summer. Sure, no one but me can tell the pictures were taken at the same spot, given the angle, but it still made me happy to have a little comparison. And I got a chuckle out of the fact that, completely unplanned, he was wearing a red shirt in both photos. 

So there you have it, Connor standing in the same spot eight years later. A place that holds so many memories for me of that early time of motherhood. A place where Connor and I learned and grew together so much. A place where fellow women, who I hardly knew at the time, came along side of me and helped me so much in those early days. A place that will forever hold a special spot in my heart.

Wow, that got sappy fast!

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