In My House

Six Festive Advent Calendars

I love advent calendars. When I was little my great-grandmother would give my brother and me the cardboard ones filled with delicious chocolate pieces, always with a festive scene on the front. Now, there are so many candy and non-candy options out there when it comes to advent calendars. These are a great way to celebrate the holiday season every day of the month while also keeping in mind the true meaning of the entire Advent season.

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1. The Rifle Paper Company artwork on this little tree makes it truly special. (Anthropologie) 2. This wooden box features piece of a Nativity scene, perfect for remembering the true meaning of the season. (Meri Meri) 3. I love anything to do with The Nutcracker Suite, including this handsome soldier. (Pier 1) 4. My daughters absolutely loved this Playmobil Advent calendar last year. You can reload the pieces to use again year after year. (Target) 5. This calendar is a miniature mountain with a tiny colorful tree for each day of Advent. (Anthropologie) 6. Why should the humans have all the fun? This Advent calendar has 24 tasty treats for dogs. (Williams-Sonoma)

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Adventures

Disneyland

It has been almost a month since we boarded a plane for a few fun-filled days at Disneyland with my husband’s family. I was excited, and determined to have fun despite the inevitable monkey wrenches that traveling with two small kids can throw at a person. It was a success!

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This was my first time at Disneyland and I absolutely loved seeing my daughters’ reactions to all of the magic.

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Halloween is a great time to visit the park. My five-year-old braved the Haunted Mansion with her dad while I hung out with our two-year-old.

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We met Woody, Bo Peep, Mickey, Minnie, Moana, Milan, Cinderella, Elsa, Anna, Captain Hook, Goofy, Snow White, and Ariel.

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We spent time two days at Disneyland and one day at Disney California Adventure Park. We stayed at Disneyland’s Paradise Pier and loved it there.

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We kept our expectations fairly light, started each day early, and left the park by mid-afternoon to return to the resort for naps or pool time.

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I probably got just as excited as my daughters did to meet some of the characters. I have no shame.

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My two-year-old could’ve spent hours on the park carousel.

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Overall, it was an awesome trip. My legs were tired from the walking, but overall, I felt rested and rejuvenated after some amazing time with family.

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Until next time, Disneyland. We love you.

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Adventures

The Roller Coaster: When Everyone Else Chickens Out

Our sixth wedding anniversary fell during our Disneyland vacation. That meant we spent the big day at Disney California Adventure Park with my husband’s family. I awoke that morning excited for the anniversary dinner he and I would get to have that evening while my mother-in-law babysat the girls. I was looking forward to a leisurely meal, a bottle of wine, candlelight, and no cutting up food for anyone but myself.

What I was not expecting was to ride a huge roller coaster for the first time in my life. This is not me. I don’t like heights. I don’t usually choose to partake in something that is making others expel blood-curdling screams.

We could see the roller coaster from our hotel room window, and my husband was excited about it from the moment he saw it. His plan was to convince our nine-year-old nephew to go along. As we stood in front of the roller coaster that morning, every other family member tall enough to ride it backed out of going along.

But guess what? Marriage is all about being there for the other person. It is about maybe surprising them now and then, just when they think they have you pegged.

“I’ll go with you,” I said to my husband, almost in an out-of-body-experience sort of way. Did some adventurous, spontaneous gal just climb into my body and say that? Once I saw the surprise and delight in his eyes I knew there was no way I could stay on safe ground.

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We got in line and because it was early, didn’t have to wait long. I was sweating as I put my sunglasses in the little pouch in front of my seat and tugged on my harness at least a dozen times. Then we were off on a wild ride. I screamed and giggled so hard that I cried. I had a death grip on my harness like I was sure it was going to come loose. Even if it did, my grip wasn’t going to control gravity as I fell to my death.

But I didn’t fall to my death. I actually had a really good time and so did my husband, which made it all worth while. Riding roller coasters isn’t necessarily going to be my new thing, but this ride was a memorable way to kick off our next year of marriage. Later, we celebrated with the aforementioned romantic dinner.

There will be many times throughout our marriage that we face exciting or frightening times. There will continue to be times in which one of us must venture outside our comfort zone for the love of the other. On that particular day, the roller coaster served as a good reminder of that because, in the end, roller coasters and marriage are both about being there when everyone else chickens out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In My House

Some Fall Favorites

Fall is in full swing so I thought I would share a few items for this wonderful time of year. We had snow here over night, but I’m holding out hope we’ll continue to see some beautiful fall days ahead. So light a candle, put something yummy in the slow-cooker, load up on Halloween candy, and go ahead and order yourself a pumpkin spice latte.

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1. I have been burning this Golden Chestnut candle as the days have started turning colder and it smells amazing. (Yankee Candle) 2. I love the colors of this $20 felt wreath. (Target) 3. I like sending Halloween cards and the artwork on this is too precious. (Rifle Paper Company) 4. This is a spoiler alert on the hubby’s Buzz Lightyear Halloween costume for this year. He’s such a good dad. (Target) 5. I bought these booties a couple of months ago and am excited to pair them with tights and dresses this fall. (Report, available on Zappos) 6. A cozy plaid scarf is a go-to item all fall and winter. (Gap)

Adventures

This Probably Won’t Inspire You

I haven’t blogged much lately. Sure, life can be busy. Mine is. Yours is, too. The reason I haven’t blogged lately, though, isn’t because of work demands or the craziness of parenting two small children. It is because every time I sit down to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) I feel like what I have to say isn’t enough. It might not be moving enough. It might not inspire those reading it.

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Then I realized I need to stop expecting so much and just share what I’m thinking. I blog because I love it. I love reading other blogs, I love sharing my thoughts, and I love connecting with other people through writing. Sometimes it’s about something deep like the loss of a loved one. Sometimes it’s about something mundane like a cute pair of floral pants from Loft. Either way, it’s a connection and it matters.

So I’m back on the blog in a regular way. Sometimes I might have something poignant to say. Sometimes I might just want to share my latest favorite Yankee Candle fragrance. (Spoiler alert: It’s Golden Chestnut.)

Either way, I’m thankful you’re reading, commenting, and sharing as we continue on this journey called life. Thanks for being here. Thanks for letting me be me whether I inspire you or not.

In My House

Little Moments of Gratitude

On most mornings I go to work before my husband and daughters leave the house. I back out of the driveway as the sun is starting to come up and can still see them through the dining room window, rounding out their morning routine. In this moment I am enveloped by the warm feeling of being so grateful for the three of them. They don’t know that in those precious seconds each day, my mind is completely on my love for them.

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Photo by Tayhart Photography

It doesn’t matter what I have on my plate at work that day. It doesn’t matter how difficult my two-year-old might have been at bedtime the night before. It doesn’t matter that my dog yaps at the deer or the neighbor dog every single morning. I take that moment to feel thankful for what I have. A job to go to, a cozy house to return to at night, and a husband, daughters, and schnauzer who make it all worthwhile.

Moments later I’ll be knee deep in budgets, emails, and meeting agendas. Life is busy and it is easy to be feel bogged down. Remember when I copped an attitude with my husband over a lost sock? The more stress creeps into our lives, the more challenging it is to really feel gratitude.

It seems like there is a lot of talk about being present and living mindfully, but I’m still trying to figure out what that all means. I think one way of doing that is to find more moments to let the gratitude wash over me. They’re so good for the soul.

Books

Books: Three Women

I wasn’t far into Three Women by journalist Lisa Taddeo when I knew I was reading something very important in the world of women’s studies and feminist literature. I felt it immediately belonged on my shelf next to The Feminine Mystique and Fear of Flying. The book was published this summer and I grabbed a copy as soon as it hit shelves.

Three Women tells the stories of three real women in various stages of life, navigating relationships in three different parts of the country. There is Maggie, a 20-something recovering from the trauma of having an affair with her teacher while she was in high school. Then there is Lina, a housewife whose husband refuses to kiss her. Finally there is Sloane, a successful restaurant owner whose husband suggests they bring other people into their bedroom.

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Taddeo followed these women and interviewed them extensively over several years. This immersion into their lives made the narrative very relatable and descriptive. I found myself really rooting for these three women, even with their flaws. After all, it is our flaws that make us real.

There is a great deal of sexual content in the book as told through the three women’s points of view, so be forewarned if you’re offended by that kind of thing. I found it critical to understanding the point Taddeo makes in the book when it comes to sexism in the world of male and female desire. Although all three of these women’s stories seem a bit extreme, there are pieces I believe any of us can relate to as human beings. We want to be loved. We want to be important to someone.