Self-Portrait by Rudy Mae

Caleab, Rudy Mae, and I made a very short-lived trip up north (the boys are with their other family) for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was hectic and filled with illness, so much to my dismay, I barely took any photographs at all. When looking through the tiny few I did have, it brought a huge smile to my face to see a photograph that Rudy Mae had taken of her feet and legs. And so in lieu of any photographs of my own, today I present you with the wrap-up of our trip up north with a self-portrait by Rudy.

Self-Portrait

Early Christmas

The boys go with their father’s family for Christmas every other year, so on those years we have to do our Christmas with the boys early, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it until January. This year our Christmas fell on Sunday, December 16. All around it was incredibly delightful. The boys loved their presents and for the first time, I really felt like Rudy understood what was going on when it came to opening gifts.

What made this year a little extra special for us parents is that for the first time since 2008, Caleab and I bought each other gifts. We didn’t have a huge spending limit, but it was the thought and love put into each present that gave them each tremendous value (wow, am I corny). The five gifts that Caleab gave me proved to me all over again just how well he knows me. I absolutely loved them all, which included a handful of books (I count a boxed set of 5 books as one present plus one stand alone book), a record, a bag that I’ve had my eye on for some time and, for your viewing pleasure, the cutest little Bilbo Baggins I ever did see.

Shall we be best friends forever and ever, Bilbo? Good, I think we should, too.

Shall we be best friends forever and ever, Bilbo? Good, I think we should, too.

To Sir, With Love

A present.

I get so much incredible joy out of giving gifts. I love putting thought and love into each and every gift I give. I love to see the receiver’s reaction, especially, of course, when I’ve hit the nail on the head. It is most certainly my absolute favorite part about the holidays. (I really adore getting gifts, too, don’t get me wrong!)

To me, part of gift giving is the presentation. I really try to put some pride into my wrapping jobs. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or over the top. In fact, I feel like the more simple and classic, the better.

This year is the first year since 2008 that Caleab and I are getting gifts for each other. I am so excited about exchanging with him. This is one of my presents to him. (I addressed the gift tag with our middle names on this gift, in case there was some confusion as to the “James” and “Nichole” instead of “Caleab” and “Erica”.)

Christmas!

To you, from me.

Stockings

Please excuse my lack of posting, most of the family, but most especially poor Rudy Mae, has been very sick the last week and a half. I’m just now finally getting a chance to make a fresh post and I must say that I am excited about it. We decorated for the holidays the Monday after Thanksgiving (I believe that was the topic of my blog two posts ago) but I hadn’t gotten the stockings up yet because we were trying to decide on the best place for them still. Yesterday as I was cleaning the heck out of our home, I decided to just throw them up myself and I am thrilled with them. I absolutely adore how they look and, yes, it made me even more excited about Christmas. (And you thought that wasn’t possible!)

I cannot wait to fill these beauties with goodies and see the faces of our children as they open them. Sometimes stockings can be more fun than presents!

A Decorating Tradition

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, the first available evening that all five of us can be together we reserve as “Decorating Day”. It takes a good chunk of the night, so it takes commitment, and some years the kids are more gung-ho than others. This year it fell on Monday the 26th. The success was mediocre, with Rudy Mae and Calum both falling ill right before we started, but our home still looks lovely and festive and has helped push me further into the holiday mood than ever.

Complete side note: I did a post a bit back about some vintage nativity pieces I found at a thrift store. One thing that I can say is really, really me is most things vintage-y, treasure-y, olden-days-y, etc. I don’t love things/possessions (okay, I might have a slight love-affair with my books, but I digress) but I really do feel like all of our holiday decorations, and home decorations in general, really reflect who we are. I am extremely happy with our collection of decorations and I hope my photographs have done them some justice.

My favorite decorations are those of the homemade persuasion. A tiny version of Calum.

Pasta ornament!

Ziven’s version.

Vintage Holidays

Ever since I can remember, my style has been of a very vintage quality. I credit that to my mother who has always had a wonderful sense of style, shopping mostly at thrift stores, slightly because that’s what we could afford, and mostly because one can find super awesome vintage things there. When I refer to “my style”, I am speaking of my personal style, my clothing, etc, but also my home decorating. One of these days, I will have to¬† document through photography some of my favorite vintage home decorations to give you a feel of what my personal taste is; I’m not tooting my own horn, but golly do I have some incredibly amazing house decorations.

As a person who loves to add personal touches through decoration in my home, I am very much in love with decorating it for the holidays. My holiday collection always feels to me like it is complete, until that day when I walk into a thrift store and see some vintage Christmas decorations screaming my name, which is exactly what happened last night. There were six figures and they were .99 cents a piece, which totaled $5.94. I had an internal debate for quite some time, that was a little hard for me to pay, but the more I looked at these guys, the harder I fell in love, and the more I knew that my house was the home they belonged in.