Friday, December 03, 2010

Holiday Spirit and a Giveaway!!

Holland and Eden helped me put up our Christmas tree tonight. Holland was especially interested and helpful this year. She is usually the kid who loses interest in a project pretty quickly, so I was pleasantly surprised that she stuck with me until the last ornament was unwrapped and on the tree. It was very sweet. I must admit however, that it was a bit of a trial for me. I am kinda what you might call...hmmm...a perfectionist?..about the tree. I like everything a certain way and I generally methodically put it up according to my own agenda. John gave up on helping me a long time ago because...I guess, maybe...I can be a little controlling when it comes to the tree. So it was tough for me to relinquish my control and just enjoy letting the girls help. But I did it! I let them help and I didn't freak out. I might move one or two (or several) ornaments (that ended up piled on two branches of the tree) while they are asleep, but I am pretty happy with myself for not getting all stressed and anxious about it! I still have a couple of finishing touches to put on the tree this weekend, but overall I am quite relieved to have it mostly done with. Now for the outside lights...

The girls were pretty healthy over the Thanksgiving holiday and we had a nice weekend spending time with both sides of the family. We both feel very lucky to have such lovely families who adore our kids so much and shower them with love. Holland and Eden enjoy nothing more than spending time with their cousins - they like their aunts and uncles too, but nothing compares to cousins! Last Friday we spent the day at my parents' house doing our annual tradition of stringing popcorn and cranberries for our Christmas trees.

I have had a little bit of trouble this year getting into the holiday spirit. I have that familiar feeling of being overwhelmed by life's usual demands, then pile on all of the extras like family parties, a dish to pass, putting up the tree, decorating the house, and SHOPPING (which I haven't even begun), and it can get to be a little much. But, now the tree is up and I am headed to Bronners on Sunday with my sisters for our annual trip, which will also include dinner at Zhender's and a couple of stops at the outlet mall on our way home. I am sure to be feeling the Holiday Spirit in full force any day now.

I did get an early Christmas gift that has me feeling all warm and fuzzy. I love, love, love my new daisy chain bracelet from Lisa Leonard! When I saw this bracelet on her blog I knew I had to have it. Daisies are my very favorite, and in a way I consider them my "signature" flower. As a bonus, the bracelet is personalized with Holland and Eden's names and I have been wearing it pretty much every day since I got it. Lisa makes such beautiful jewelry. I have a couple of necklaces that I also wear often and I continue to get compliments on them ALL the time. With the holidays coming up, it's the perfect time to get yourself (or pass along a hint to your special someone) a new piece of Lisa's jewelry. She has graciously offered to give my blog readers 15% off their entire order if they use the code preemie15. In addition to that one of my lucky blog readers can win a $50 gift certificate from Lisa Leonard! For details on how to enter your name in the drawing...read on.

I really love, and have always loved, holiday traditions...even when it takes me some time to get in the mood. For me, the holidays are even sweeter now that I have a couple of little munchkins to share them with. I can snap myself out of the funkiest of moods just by thinking about life from their perspective. They continually teach me about appreciating the small things in life and they help me to enjoy the magic and beauty of every season.

To enter your name in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs, please leave a comment on this post. To have your name entered twice, tell me about your favorite holiday tradition, or if you aren't quite feeling the holiday spirit, tell me what lessons the little people in your life teach you. Be sure to leave your name and an email address where you can be reached if you win! I will close the comments at the end of the day on Wednesday and all names will be entered into a hat (or maybe a bowl). I will let Holland and/or Eden draw one name and will announce the winner by next Friday, Dec 10th! That will give the winner time to place an order before xmas:-)

52 comments:

stacy said...

Am I the first? I would LOVE this! My favorite holiday tradition (Chanukah for us!) is going shopping with my brother on Black Friday and then watching Conner open his gifts every night for 8 nights. This is the first year that he is SUPER excited about it so it makes it much more fun for us. And he has taught me to be patient and to be tough and to never give up.
stacylarson@gmail.com

Anna said...

My favorite Christmas tradition has to be our barbecue. I'm from NC and every year at Christmas we eat barbecue that my grandparents make(if I win, i want to give a necklace to my grandma). It's perfect for us!

Our Misson said...

Our favorite tradition is going to the cabin and getting to open presents on Christmas morning with all the cousins (which the number is growing quickly), Grandma and Grandpa and all the siblings. It like getting to see how excited your kids are about their Santa gift but times 6!!! kellyhermann@sbcglobal.net

Mum2twopreciousgifts said...

Our Christmas tradition is breakfast watching the children open presents, followed by a seafood lunch, a swim and then an afternoon snooze. Got to love Christmas in the summertime! Keep up the great blogging :)
businfoau@yahoo.com.au

Brigid said...

What a cute bracelet! In our family, we have cake and ice cream for breakfast on Christmas morning and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. The kids love it!
brigidbarrett7@ gmail.com

Amanda said...

I love the singing picture :)
My favorite tradition is Christmas Eve fondu dinner at my father's. The entire meal - cheese, broth and, of course, chocolate is followed by a family games night. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

I am like you with the Christmas tree and with the Christmas decorations. John lets me put up the decorations by myself because he knows that I will change it anyway if he tries to help. My favorite holiday tradition would be making cookies for everyone to enjoy!
Patti
pwgoofy@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

My favorite tradition is opening all the various advent calendars we've amassed over the years. My boys still love the Lego advent calendars the best.

lizgiff at aol dot com

spaceranger said...

My favorite holiday tradition is making (and eating) my mom's homemade crescent rolls. Nothing says "holidays" to me more than the yeasty smell of that particular dough and bread.

tarainstjohn@yahoo.com

Minnesota Momma said...

A favorite tradition of mine and one that I'm looking forward to my girls getting into more and more is Lefse making with my mom, aunt and grandma! We gather at my grandma's house and get the party started, rolling and frying. We have such fun! My grandma is a great teacher and the lefse has to be rolled THIN! When the girls get older, they can receive their own "lefse making" certificate, like all of us have. This tradition of making lefse has been passed along for many generations. Great memories...

Kristine said...

Love the photos!

My favorite Christmas tradition would be opening one present on Christmas Eve while shoveling down a huge meal. My mom is from Finland and they do most of the holiday celebrating on the Eve.

Alicia said...

I am so glad to see that the girls are doing so well! I guess my favorite tradition is new. My 23 year old sone became very ill November 29, 2008. He ended up losing his left leg and most of the use of his right. He is now living at home with us. Christmas used to be the "normal" stuff we all do, but now we (partner, daughter, son and myself) all talk about the one thing that we are grateful more than anything. Actually, the one emotional and one material thing. This year, my son says he is going to talk about how thankful he is that after this last surgery - he has six- he has been ale to get a great prosthetic leg and is doing better than since before the illness.

I love LL designs and look forward to being able to justify the money to get one someday!

field.alicia@gmail.com

Anna said...

Hello!

My favorite tradition is cutting down our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve with my family. We always go to the same old ex-Christmas tree farm, but since we get a tree every year and the farmer no longer plants them the selection has gotten pretty bad. It's fun though, like the Island of the Misfit Christmas Trees.

annapbcohen@gmail.com

Meghan said...

Hello! My favorite tradition is putting on all the ornaments while watching national lampoons Christmas vacation on tv!

AZ Chapman said...

my favorite tradition is eating my dad's Christmas morning pancakes and playing new video games

Meghan said...

I just LOVE holiday traditions. My favorite is every christmas eve just before bedtime my whole family gathers on the couch and we read the book "The Polar Express". This started when my brother was born, and he is now 26, but we still do it.

Your bracelet is beautiful and something similar would make a great gift for my mom for christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Meghan
broadwaybabie57@gmail.com

Meghan said...

I just LOVE holiday traditions. My favorite is every christmas eve just before bedtime my whole family gathers on the couch and we read the book "The Polar Express". This started when my brother was born, and he is now 26, but we still do it.

Your bracelet is beautiful and something similar would make a great gift for my mom for christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Meghan
broadwaybabie57@gmail.com

Kathryn said...

One thing that the little kids in my life have recently taught me is love. I started working with the special ed class in my High School and I went in from the medical perspective wanting to know disorders and label people but I was told that you can't do that. You meet everyone as people first, then if you are lucky you get to look into their lives and see disorders (but by then it doesn't matter anymore. I was accepted by the children and I have never been loved so unconditionally in my life. They have taught me (and still are) that love is patient and kind and forgiving and love does not ask for a single thing in return.
It is the most important lesson I have ever learned.

Kathryn

Anonymous said...

Our family tradition is watching "It's A Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve while wrapping presents, and listening to John Denver and the Muppets sing Christmas tunes Christmas morning while unwrapping presents. I used to like stringing popcorn and cranberries with Billie's family as well :). Love you guys!! Jess

Twins-Plus-1 said...

Hi there...I love reading about your family.

My favorite tradition is spreading out all the gifts I buy and making sure no one in the family has the same wrapping paper. The wrapping is my favorite part.

Happy Holidays!!

ashleyjnc said...

I have entered several giveaways by various bloggers because I love Lisa Leonard but haven't won one yet ;)

Our favorite thing is making candy, but we always open presents on Christmas Eve and have all the "finger foods" like pigs in the blanket, chex mix, etc.

Mary said...

Wow, this is a cool giveaway! We have a large number of traditions in my house at Christmas - my dad's from England and they do things a little differently there, so when he moved to America, he brought the traditions with him. The one that people really seem to get a kick out of is the Christmas cake and the Christmas pudding. The key to making both is that you have to start at least 4 months ahead of Christmas - as in, both pudding and cake are steamed/baked and ready to go in August-September. Then, they sit in the back of the fridge and you feed them brandy every couple of days for the next few months. A week or so before Christmas, you coat the cake in marzipan and then frost it with icing made from egg whites and sugar - it goes completely rock solid. Then, you force yourself to eat it - but don't worry, it can keep for years! (Not a joke. We once kept our cake until the year after and it was fine). The pudding gets steamed for hours, then doused with yet more brandy, then (and here's the key part) GETS SET ON FIRE. Seeing the blue flames coming from my dessert is definitely one of my favorite Christmas traditions :-)

Jamie said...

I'd love to be entered :). My favorite holiday tradition is cooking tamalies and eggs with my dad for breakfast. It's the only time of the year he cooks, and it's always special!

Stacy said...

My favorite Christmas tradition is all about the Christmas music. I love the music so much. I loaded songs on my IPOD this year - and it is wonderful. Our favorite album is John Denver & the Muppets - but my kids have also picked up I want a hippopotamus for Christmas this year and are enjoying more of the religious songs, too. I love having sining partners!

CS said...

We have a lot of family traditions I adore, including my mom's family kris kringle gift exchange -- it's a large extended family, and every Christmas we all draw a name of a person to give little gifts to through December, and then a big gift at the family gathering on Christmas Eve. It's a great way to both keep costs of gift giving down, and have fun and mystery through the season.

But my favorite tradition is going to select and cut down our Christmas tree. When I lived in San Diego, I used to make my husband drive for hours to do it. Luckily there are closer options for us now! I just love blasting Christmas music in the car, and examining trees until we find the perfect one. And my girls (4 1/2 and 2 1/2) love riding the Christmas train and seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus and Frosty. And the lovely smell through the house! Such a great way to kick off the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas to you, your husband, and your beautiful girls!

cshannon@loquacious.org

Lucia Martin said...

Hi. I love Lisa Leonard's necklaces...I too have ordered them before and everyone, makes a comment about how beautiful they are!

Lucia Martin said...

My favorite holiday tradition is...taking out the ornaments with my two girls (7 and 5) they inspect every ornament and we talk about how it got to our house!

daniel kuntschik said...

My favourite Christmas tradition is making Plum Puddings with my daughters. As a child all the female cousins, aunts and my grandmother used to get together to make the puddings. I now live far away from the rest of the family but have started to make Plum Puddings with my two daughters while telling them all about their extended family.

daniel kuntschik said...

My favourite Christmas tradition is making Plum Puddings with my daughters. As a child all the female cousins, aunts and my grandmother used to get together to make the puddings. I now live far away from the rest of the family but have started to make Plum Puddings with my two daughters while telling them all about their extended family.

Katie said...

What a beautiful bracelet! I think my favorite Christmas tradition in my family is that we open our presents on Christmas Eve, but we generally go one at a time to see what everyone got. Then Christmas morning comes and Santa has left his presents (unwrapped) under the tree.

Keri said...

We celebrate Solstice in our family. Our favorite tradition is getting the biggest tree possible so that we can make a wreath from the branches and and a garland for the front of our house. Since my mother celebrates Christmas, we enjoy going to her house (only 10 minutes away) for brunch (can we say mimosas?!) and gifts. =)

earlybirdies said...

I really love your blog and your girls. They have come such a long way. I discovered your blog this summer when our twins were still in the NICU. One is developing just fine and the other has PVL. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and being such a great resource for parents.

Signed,
former lurker, Jennifer
p.s. i hope you don't mind if i add your blog to our recently created one!

Bethany said...

My favorite holiday tradition is setting up a nativity scene that is made up of pieces from several different sets, all old and all well worn. This was my job at Christmas time starting when I was three or four and has continues to be my job every year - this was saved for me to do when I came home from college, or from Virginia where I worked as a teacher. It is not Christmas until our menagere of bits and pieces, of memories and yesterdays, come together to tell the Christmas story.

Kate said...

My favorite Christmas tradition is drinking cocoa while we drive around looking at Christmas lights in our neighborhood a few days before Christmas. The kids are all in their jammies & wrapped in blankets in the van. It's something my kids with autism love, as well as my other kids, which makes it a favorite of mine. :)

Anonymous said...

Love seeing Holland and Eden decorating your tree! My favorite holiday tradition is Christmas morning omelets and torturing the little ones by having one more cup of coffee before opening presents.
r.stutzman@zoomtown.com

Anonymous said...

love your blog & would love to win

for christmas at our house we stretch it out and open gifts for 3 nights & have a special treat after (dessert)....

suzifailing@att.net

An said...

The daisy bracelet is beautiful :). Lisa' jewelry is beautiful, I like the whimsical extra's like the pearls added to the necklaces.

A funniest Christmas tradition? We always have dinner at my parents' on Christmas eve. There is this annual joke that my moms always gives my dad a wallet - she always recycles the one she gave the year before as my dad never uses the new one because he thinks the old one is ok...

My favourite tradition is lightning candles. I have them all over the house (in a safe place!) and I really like the smell of burning candles. It's never the same with summer candles :).

Well done to Holland and Eden decorating the tree! (and to you letting them :))

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness I only read a couple of blogs and they are yours and lisa leonards. I ordered the daisy bracelet for my friend and have it at home and cant wait to give it to her. I wanted to order one for myself! One of our traditions is putting up our tree on thanksgiving night and talking about each ornament and where it came form when we hang it. Tranae
tranaeb@hotmail.com

Clare said...

We have so many little things I love to do around Christmas I cant pick a favorite, I love taking out on a christmas outing either on a train or to see Santas animals, I give them each one present on Christmas eve, I love going to Church on christmas eve, I try to make Christmas as special as possible for them I want them to look back & smile. This year wont be so hectic as baby number three is due in Feb. x x x

Andrea said...

Im so with you on the perfectionism of the tree, its hard to let go.It will be funny the year one of your girls starts exhibiting the same perfectionism with the tree decorating.

Andrea said...

Favorite Tradition making hot chocolate and spiced Tea.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite traditions is Fish Stew for Christmas Eve. Growing up, that was the only time we ever had it and we would fight over who got the leftovers on Christmas - we had a big breakfast Christmas morning, after stockings but before we could open presents, then it was fend for yourself for the rest of the day. Sometimes that meant my brother and I ate way too much Christmas cookies/candy/junk, but it was one laid back day of fun.
ksbonar at earthlink dot net

Bethany said...

I don't know how to celebrate Christmas without going to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. As a kid, my dad was the pastor and Mom the pianist, so I have fond memories of being allowed to blow out the candles at the end of the night (and then making wax fingertips with my brother). Even now, the scent of freshly blown out candles takes me straight to Christmas like nothing else.

Anonymous said...

I too would love to win this $50.00 gift certificate!! Our best Chanukkah tradition is the celebrating we do with another family and their grandparents, along with my immediate family and my in laws. We have such a wonderful time.

lisa at lainer dot net

Alice said...

Well, with UK upbringing, current home in Australia, German in-laws, Swedish sister-in-law - we have a lot of traditions to choose from and I love the mix! If littlies teach you anything its that you've got to be flexible!

Malinda said...

My tradition is going and taking my 7 year old neice out on black friday we have been doing it for 4 years now and she really enjoys it. wcnormjv120@aim.com

Amanda said...

our christmas tradition since I was a child is we all go to my parents and my dad makes us a special breakfast christmas morning. We still continue this with our kids!
aechalifour@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

My favorite Christmas tradition is baking Christmas cookies. I so look forward to doing it, especially with my two favorite helpers - Kate and Colin.

Merry Christmas, Billie!

Shannon Smith

Sarahd said...

My favorite tradition at this point is sitting down with the boys while they make their Santa lists. Then (of course) we address some envelopes to the North Pole and run out to the mailbox in the cold and my youngest sends the letters off to Santa. And we're doing it tonight! Can't wait!

My info: Sarah Dunlap; sarahd@crimson.ua.edu

Anonymous said...

My favorite Christmas tradition is making lots of cookies and candy with my mom and delivering them to neighbors and friends! I love your blog, my son who is 2 is also a micropreemie with PVL and recently diagnosed with spastic diplegia CP...it helps reading about other moms and their journey. Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

jacobsentina@hotmail.com

Amy said...

My absolute favorite Christmas tradition for me is curling up on the couch on Christmas Eve in my new pajamas!

Amy @ Micropreemie Mommy

Bethany said...

My favorite holiday tradition growing up was when my dad would get some of those little sugar blocks (like you put in tea) and a piece of plywood and a hot glue gun, and together he & I would make a little "stable" out of sugar blocks for my little plastic nativity set somebody gave me. We'd change the design every year! Second to that is our tradition of having a special meal (my parents, sisters & me) on Christmas Eve, followed by reading the Christmas story and opening one (or two, or three) presents. Christmas morning we'd get up (we weren't allowed to be up till 8:00!) and open all our presents and then mom would cook a special breakfast. Christmas night we'd all go to my grandmother's for dinner and presents.

As an aside, there are a lot of Bethanys commenting on this!

bethany.horner [[at]] hotmail.com