Merry Christmas

My neck was aching and my arm had fallen asleep. Her sweaty little cheek was nestled into my armpit and her arm was slung around my neck  as if I needed its help supporting my own head. I didn’t dare move her because it took me two hours to finally get her to fall back asleep. Sometimes her dreams feel larger than life and her beautiful imagination that takes her on amazing adventures during the day, also takes her on dark journeys at night. Her breath was deep and heavy and I knew she was finally feeling safe. The physical discomfort of our cuddle was worth it for her to finally fall into a peaceful sleep. As I lay there holding my sweet three year old child I couldn’t help but wonder, how long this would last. How long will she keep showing up on my bedside with tales of bad dreams? When will she stop seeking my comfort and start comforting herself? Do I want her to?

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This Christmas my sweet children are 3 and 5. The magic of Santa and the joys of the birth of Jesus are bouncing off the walls of every room as my children whirl around me keeping me on my toes. Playing in the sacred and rare snow in our backyard and then coming in for hot chocolate are the very things that make up beautiful childhood dreams. Gone are the years of grown ups having quiet conversations after christmas dinner and caring home one gift bag full of christmas loot. Here are the days of loud squeals of delight as the paper goes flying and your arms aching as you carry the 3rd load of gifts to the car (and that is just from grandma!). These are the days I love. The Joy that children bring to holidays is worth all the chaos they bring to your life.

As I contemplate my children growing up and all that it entails. They will soon be able to get over bad dreams without the help of a parent’s cuddle. They will soon lose the magic of Santa and the mountain of gifts and excitement will both diminish. They will grow up. It happens to all of us if we are lucky. We grow and change and become independant. How quickly as a parent on those hard days, do I wish away their dependance on me. In the grand scheme of life, they will only need me 18 years. 11 of those years are supposed to be under complete supervision. 5 of those years are you almost guaranteed to be their whole world. It isn’t until they turn 6 and start going to school full time that they learn to be more and more independant. The same goes for you.

So this christmas I am going to soak in every moment as my sweet babes drive me crazy. I am going to build lego with them and play dress up. Grown up conversations are wonderful and needed, but Grown ups can wait. Childhood doesn’t pause for anyone. Besides, lets be honest, adults are boring.

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Merry Christmas My dear friends,

Lioness

How to buy presents without going bankrupt.

Sometimes we get caught up in the Christmas spirit,and think “YOLO” and buy everyone you can think of a gift. You go home thinking to yourself, “wow, I am such a nice person”. In actuality, you just fed your purchase dopamine . I know that when Christmas comes we automatically see our finances and for myself feel poopy because I want to spoil my kids and my family, and I feel like this is the real excuse to spend money. But I am here to help you (and myself) a way to survive the holidays with enough money for the mortgage come January 1st.

1.Here are some great ideas! I love the painted glassware idea.

2. have a gift exchange with everyone! (including the parentals) make it a smaller gift price (instead of 60-100 per person, maybe go to $30 and have it either handmade or local sourced), I purchased an Abby shirt from Montrose and George. a few items from Spruce Collective.

3. Do your kids really need presents from you? I know, I know we all love giving our kids gifts. They will be getting gifts from cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the list goes on. I also know, for us we decided to be super simple and I know the things my kids really want is time playing with them and baking cookies together.

4. Go sentimental for those who you can go for. We found some amazing pinterest ideas for grandparent gifts, and search your siblings instagram accounts for ideas and who they follow (I know sounds super creepy).

5. Create memories over things. Its so great to see your kids excited about Christmas lights, reindeer, Baby Jesus and all the fun things that happen with this season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

What kind of advice do you have for the holidays and staying on budget?!

  • Owl

Getting to know my daughter

My daughter is 14 months old. In the past few weeks she has really opened up and shown us who she is. Let me tell you–  she is sassy, opinionated, ridiculous, mischievous, hilarious, so cute and pretty much the best thing I could of hoped for in a daughter.

I was thinking about her today, and as I was watching her play, she looked up at me and just started babbling about something super interesting, and as I just listened and did the occasional “oh yeah”, she just smiled and went back to reading her book and playing.  I couldn’t stop feeling oodles of love for her!

I would just say, I love this stage. She can walk, feed herself, play by herself, climb, smile, sleep well, and I am IN LOVE with her. She also gives the best hugs.

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Just thought I would share.

What is your favorite stage in kids? What has been your favorite memory?

 

  • Owl

I love my siblings.

I remember spending hours and days playing with my 2 brothers and sister. We were home schooled and sometimes when we got into a large imaginative zone of hot wheels, barbies, k-nex and lego/duplo, our mom would let us go until we got bored. Sometimes it would last a few hours, and other times, it felt like it was days long.

When I started realizing the concept of time, I soon realized how privileged i was to not know what days school happened and how many hours they were. I never complained about Saturday homeschooling, or the hours it took to go over reading and writing. I was able to have a flexible schedule until I absolutely needed to start learning the “normal” way.

I have been so thankful for the years I experienced playing with my siblings, and I truly feel the reason I am connected to them on any level is because we have so many memories as children being together and playing outside, or learning and growing together. Now we are all in completely different avenues of life, we have grown into strong men and women of this world and I feel have truly thrived in wherever we have worked or lived. I always hear of how amazing my siblings are in the life they are in, and that they don’t give up or crush dreams. They drive forward and bring people with them on the journey to whatever success they are reaching to.

Sometimes I catch myself almost boasting in one paragraph of all three of my siblings and what they are doing, and how I feel that I will never be as cool as any of them. I am so thankful for my siblings. We are so different, but yet the same. We are strong, motivated, idea makers, idea completer,empathetic, good listeners, relate able, social, funny,driven, somewhat extroverted and I would say we can all carry conversations well. We are also very sensitive ( especially when you say ” don’t be so sensitive”), sarcastic, honest, distant at times, keep to ourselves, only share what is needed to be shared, and I would say pretty competitive.

Though we have lots in common, we each have so many things that make us unique. I would make a list of each person but that would take forever.

I pray every day that my kids will love each other the way I love my sister and brothers. I would literally do anything for them!

-Owl

what kind of relationship do you have with your siblings? love? distant? admire? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Quality over Quantity

This year I challenged myself to make sure I bought Quality over Quantity. Sometimes we  get so caught up in buying because of sales, or that my kids NEED to have so many extra pairs of clothes so I should make sure I am equipped. This year, for the kids I decided to make sure my “extra clothing” were hand me downs for daycare and preschool, and that I only purchased the a few extras for those other times where I might want to support local, or have them wear a little special item that matches my style.

P doesn’t like haircuts, so hats and toques or sometimes a pony tail happens for him.
She wears this dress every Sunday haha.
I can’t believe she turned one in October, all items were hand me down besides the “1” shirt.
This is P’s Once upon a child outfit.
Again, mostly hand me downs and Buy-Sell- Swap 
Hunter boots, Once upon a child and hand me downs
This toque is from Old Navy, sweater is from Montrose and George purchased last February, plaid shirt was a present and grey pants were Once upon a child
Jacket- TNA purchased 4 years ago and comes with a down insert ( I wear this jacket 50% of the time), Shirt- Montrose and George . Jeans- MCC (below the belt brand) and Blundstone shoes that were a gift last christmas (and I wear on the daily)

R’s outfit is all once upon a child HandM Brands. and you can’t see but Minimoc moccs purchased at there storefront after selling her last pair for $30 on buy sell swap. ( PHOTOCREDIT #kimnorcrossphotography)

 

R’s Padraigs purchased after selling her last pair for 70% of what I orginally paid. P is wearing Jax and Lennon pants, and puddle jumper sweater. Black Vans that were purchased for $20 at outlet store.
My daughter literally wears that dress on the daily. If I can these are the outfits I would choose them to wear as much as possible.


If you know me well, you would know I have about 20 articles of clothing and 3 pairs of shoes. Yes, I have Blundstones, and Tessa Hughes pants, a TNA winter Jacket (that I have owned for 4 years now), American Apparel Sweatshirt and a pair of Second Yoga Jeans that I found At MCC for 5$.

I often feel like people are judging me because my kids don’t wear no name brands, or I don’t shop at Wal-Mart or Superstore for the cheap items. I know I will get in trouble for this, but I am feeling like this is something that is needed to be said. I am buying Quality over Quantity. My oldest has Hunter boots which are gender neutral so that my younger Daughter can wear them and they will most likely get passed to nieces or nephews that would like to use. I paid $40 for Hunter boots for my kids (GASP), but I have had such bad experiences buying $6 carters rubber boots only to have them break in the same season as buying them. my children both have maybe 2-3 pairs of shoes, we rotate and sell them after on facebook for sometimes just as much as i paid for them.

 

Where I shop:

I try my best to save up for local business items, because I really value Supporting Local and showing that my town can thrive on small shops. So for myself, I live in Abbotsford. So Spruce collective, Borealis Manufactory, Once upon  a child, MCC , Hidden Treasures thrift, Value Village, Spruce Market, Montrose and George, and all those lovely shops downtown abbotsford. I also love ladyfern at highstreet. I love online shops that you can find at pop up shops or markets. I really find Jax and Lennon as one of my favorite kids clothing companies, Locomotive Clothing Co., Whistle and Flute, numpher, and a few more that I can share with you if you ever want to know my favorite shops.

How often do I shop:

I probably attend 50% of the markets that happen, and with being a youth pastor, I tend to look around downtown shops 2-3 times a month. but I am very intentional on purchases. I allow myself to look but make sure that I really think, Do I need this? how often would I wear this? Is this something I can justify buying at this price?

When I purchase something I literally wear it ALL THE TIME, because a. I only have a few articles of clothing, b. I do not keep items if i don’t wear them c. I only look for items that I replace from my original wardrobe (ex. 1 plaid shirt replaces another plaid shirt).

With all of this said. yes, I don’t have huge incoming expenses to pay for large wardrobes and fancy items. So I figure if i am intentionally buying for longevity, diverse easy pieces to pair with others, and something i could potentially resell or reuse for multiple people, than that is why I purchase an Item.

So I purchased in November a 2 pairs of pants for 12$ (because i found pristine condition pants from MCC that are high quality and I had no jeans) and a ABBY shirt from Montrose and George.

This Christmas, I really want to sway you in thinking quality over quantity. We are actually not doing Christmas presents as a family because i know relatives will give to our kids and we are doing a few gift exchanges. Instead we will be getting a few books as a family from Hemingways to read and share some of our older books with friends who want them.

So i guess the answer is yes, I have expensive taste, but i don’t have excessive spending habits so it actually is saving me money vs going over budgets for clothing.

 

  • OWL

LET ME KNOW IF THIS WAS HELPFUL! I would love to hear some feedback, I know this isn’t for everyone, this is just my opinion and how I approach shopping.