Happy New Year! With the long weekend and a sick baby, I've had a lot of time at home lately. This gave me the chance to look through photos and catch up on life. The holidays can bring many emotions of stress. Our household experienced a fair amount of sadness and loss this year. Putting these photos together was a nice exercise for me in self-care. I had a good time looking at the positive moments of the month and focusing on the happy in a life that is always chaotic and unpredictable. Loss is inevitable but it seems that if you create it - so is extreme happiness.
We celebrated two full years of living in Dallas on Christmas Eve. I think there is something about the two-year mark in any new city that makes everything feel more solid and comforting. Our community feels stronger and I am more confident managing the lifestyle changes (like driving- sort of;). We are also taking full advantage of the reasons we moved here. We wanted to explore and have more family time together. So that's what we set out to do in December.
One evening as the leaves were turning, Adam took a few pictures of our girls. It was spontaneous and I'm starting to think that might be the only way to get a photo of both girls happy and looking at the camera. We used the above shot from that evening as our holiday card. I've never taken the time or money to create a card in years past. Vera was interested in the cards we added to our fridge from other families, so I felt that it was nice for her to see a photo of our own family and to know that we were sending it to friends. She loved the idea and "yucking" the envelopes (also known ask 'licking' in non-preschoolers speech).
A friend recommended Walls Family Farm and it was SO much fun! It's located about an hour outside of Dallas and was worth the drive. We rode on a tractor, cut our own tree and ate gingerbread cookies. We will definitely try to keep up this tradition each year.
We also took a little road trip to Austin for some "reset" family time. Life at home was getting busy and we needed fewer distractions. We rented a cute house in Hyde Park and just enjoyed the time together. Adam and I were able to take a date night at Bullfight (so good!) and the rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and enjoying the neighborhood. The screened-in porch with rocking chairs was everyone's favorite spot in the house. We spent many hours rocking, talking and reading. Stella was excited about her first (ever) sink bath and Adam couldn't resist making a fire in the fireplace. Overall, best decision we have made in a long time - get out of town if that's the only way to find quality time.
We took a little walk to the grocery store and I believe the universe was on my side because we stumbled upon a book store in a bus!
The greatest part of the store (besides being a moving one) were the blind date books. The owner wraps books and writes messages on the cover. The buyer can take clues but will be completely surprised with what's inside. Simply one of the most endearing ideas I've heard of in a long time. Wouldn't it be fun for students in the classroom? They could choose a book for a friend, wrap it, write little messages or clues on the cover and have a book exchange party. I'm thinking third graders would love a book exchange party.
Little Free Libraries are all over Texas. We found this one on a walk in someone's front yard, while peeking into all of the cute, cozy homes.
We finished out the month by going to a sing-along party with new friends. I had my speculations about singing in public but let me tell you, it was a blast! If you haven't sung out loud with others around - it's time to give it a try. It's sure to put a smile on anyone's face. We sang carols, ate chili and let the kids watch Rudolph after drinking their weight in lemonade.
I hope that you too had fun and restful moments in December. If you actually read all the way to the end of the post, I would love to hear about your December.