11 posts in a month’s time is something I haven’t accomplished since 2015! I credit doing a holiday bucket list for my motivation to write regularly again and I plan to do this every December going forward, because I’m actually writing! I love this blog. I really do. The blogging community has changed so much over these past 7+ years and I think that’s to be expected. Many of my favorite LGBTQ family bloggers have come and gone and while I miss following their lives, I get it. Sometimes you’re just done and it’s time to move on to something else. I honestly thought I would retire More Than Words last year when I wrote a whopping 18 posts all year long. Interestingly enough though, it wasn’t until I stopped blogging that I realized how much I need this space. I need to document our lives. I need to have something to do with the tons of pictures I take of my family. I need to read stories of other families who look like mine and I love being able to go back and re-read about our experiences – the good and the bad. I’ve made amazing friends here, in this space. I’ve survived infertility, in large part thanks to the support of the people found here. I’ve been inspired and laughed and cried, reading all your stories. So, as I get ready to begin my 8th year of blogging, I’m here to tell you – I’m going to make every effort to be present here this year and I’m sure I’ll be here the year after that. I’ve rediscovered my love of writing the past couple of months and I’m so happy about that, so I just thought I would share my feels. Now, moving on to our Holiday Bucket List Wrap-up…
Make Christmas Cookies | 4th Annual Cousins and Cookies Exchange
There are a few of our holiday traditions that I treasure the most and making cookies with our little loves is at the top of my list of favorites! Georgia and I started the tradition, along with my mom way back in 2007, just a year after G and I started dating. We wanted to do something fun with our 3 nephews during the holidays and because they weren’t into going to the Nutcracker or watching the local Christmas ballet, or really anything of that nature – we started a tradition that incorporated food. Because who doesn’t LOVE food, especially Christmas cookies!
We normally have our nephews, our niece and Gracie make cookies with us each December, but this year things were too crazy for that! My mom and stepdad just finished building their dream home complete with home gym, a music studio and 4-car garage (like, the house is crazy amazing), so they were moving-in these past 3 weeks. At the same time, my big bro and sister-in-law closed on the sale of their house and moved into my mom’s old house days following her move out with plans to stay there while they shop for their forever home. The entire family was busy packing boxes, packing u-hauls and moving furniture, so baking cookies was pretty low on the list of priorities. We decided that it would be most helpful to take my niece for the day and have her join us to bake while also freeing up their time to really get stuff done. It’s amazing what all you can accomplish shipping your 6-year-old off for the day!
The girls always have an absolute blast baking cookies together and with this being the first year that they could read the directions and do the measuring, it was like a whole new experience! They made cookies for Santa, cookies for their parents and decorated a gingerbread house! They also opened their annual matching Christmas jammies and this year, Will joined the pajama crew! They’re so stinkin’ cute!
Decorate a Gingerbread House | I have a secret to share…
Maybe it’s just been my experience, but making and decorating gingerbread houses with little ones is such a HUGE pain in the ass. It just is. First off, sugar frosting makes for crappy cement and never does the job of keeping the walls of your gingerbread house together. Unless you plan to let the frosting dry overnight before decorating (which, who seriously has the time or energy for that)?! What you end up with are walls that keep caving in on each other and kiddos having meltdowns, right and left. After last year’s gingerbread disaster, I decided I would only buy pre-built gingerbread houses from now on and guess what – it’s the best damn idea I’ve ever had.
The thing is, kids don’t want to build the damn house! They want to decorate it and then they want to eat it! It’s a bit pricier to go the pre-built route, but so worth the additional 2-3 dollars! I purchased one for the girls to decorate and they each decorated their own half of the house and had a blast! I divided the candy, gave each of them frosting to work with and let them have at it. There were no arguments. No meltdowns. No sudden loss of interest leaving me with a pile of graham cracker/frosting hot mess-ness. It was great and I 100% recommend doing this, to all you parents out there. You can thank me later!
Look how pretty!
Make a Christmas Wish List | The 1st Gracie’s Written Herself!
Grace’s been blowing our minds with her development these days! Well, we actually started seeing crazy changes in her development around 6 months ago, when she started kindergarten. Watching your kid learn to read and read to YOU, is the most amazing thing. Watching them read big words that you had no idea they could read, is incredible. Hearing them count to 140 when you didn't know they could count that far, is incredible. Hearing them talk about science and how things like clouds are formed, is just so rad! Basically, it’s all amazing and it leaves G and I bursting with pride, on the daily. We’ve decided to push our gal even more than before, because she’s showing us every day that she is dying to learn all the things! G just bought the Bean her first set of chapter books, “The World of Beverly Cleary Collection”, which has all those great stories about Ramona and Beezus! She’s already working her way through book one and is loving it! These days, she’s obsessed with writing letters to all our relatives and so we mail them out for her. She’s always painting or coloring or making things, which you know pulls at my crafty mama heartstrings! I just love every bit of what I’m seeing.
For the first Christmas ever, our big girl wrote her very own Christmas list! She did it in like 5 minutes, while driving in the car and only needed a little help with spelling (she spelled Play-Doh by sounding it out, which in itself was pretty darn impressive, and the fact that two of her numbers were written backwards just added to the cuteness! For Christmas this year, she asked for: 1. Orbees Spa 2. An Elena Guitar 3. Sleeping Beauty stuff and 4. Play-Doh! She helped write out all the gift tags for us throughout the month and she did great! I’m so looking forward to what the 2nd half of the school year brings. :)
* Host a Family Cookie Exchange – Check!
* Make Christmas cookies – Check!
* Make a Christmas wish list – Check!
* Decorate a Gingerbread House – Check!
I can’t believe that it’s officially 2018! For New Year’s Eve, we had a sitter so the wife and I took her new Lightsaber Chop Sticks out for sushi and then went to watch the new Star Wars movie (which was amazing btw). We basically had the geekiest NYE ever, but that’s ok. I knew what I was getting into when I married a nerd and happy wife = happy life!
* Happy New Year, Friends *
22 of 23 things checked off our Holiday Bucket List. Not bad for the first year!
* * *
2017 // Holiday Bucket List
to meet Santa for the 1st time!
Old Town Holiday Shop & Stroll
Christmas wish list
Sister Bear in her school’s Holiday Concert
Go to the
movies (preferably a Christmas movie)
baby Christmas tree for little bro
holiday date night
Fill a sack
of toys to donate to kiddos in need
Take a drive
to see Christmas lights
perfect Baby’s 1st Christmas Ornament
Go to a
family cookie exchange
Gracie’s bedroom Christmas tree
* Visit the Botanical Garden River of Lights
Twinkle Toes home for Christmas (our Elf on the Shelf)
Try a fun
new Christmas cocktail
the Red-nosed Reindeer