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Archive for December, 2008

7 months – Are You Serious?

7 Month Bump

We have officially reached the 7 month mark with the baby and can hardly believe it.  Seriously, I have stepped into the phase of “Wait…you mean we’re actually going to have a baby?????   What were we thinking????”  I mean, it’s great in theory but as the time gets closer it’s definitely becoming more real that our lives are headed for major change.  Are we ready?  Can we do this?

It’s all very surreal at this point – completely fabulous but surreal all the same.  Courage, Kolette.  Courage.

Disneyland
The Coleman Girls at Disneyland –  I’m about 6 1/2 months here

I feel like the baby bump has taken a leap over the last month.  We had another ultrasound and they got a great shot of his face front-on and we saw chubby cheeks and a round little face.  He is over a half a pound larger than “normal” and I said, “Of course he is – it’s all in his cheeks!”   I should know – like mother like son.

I had another shower – I have to say that this one was such a treat because it was a luncheon for a few close friends from over the years – about a dozen of us.  I know that big parties are super-fun but there was something special about sitting around the dining room table at my friend Bonnie’s house and being able to laugh and share and simply love being together with people who have had a great impact on my life.  There is great value in smaller parties.

The table was beautiful – it’s amazing how easy it is to make something lovely.

shower setting

Bonnie used a diaper cake as the center piece for the table and set it on a cozy blue chenille blanket that I know will become a favorite for sure.  I loved the bottle as the top of the cake and discovering all the pieces and parts embellishing the cake was fun for both Jason and I – again, it all feels amazing to us.  There are many how-tos for diaper cakes on the internet.  Click here for one set of instructions.

diaper cake

However, I know that Bonnie got the instructions for our cake from our favorite new resource – a cookbook (but oh, so much more) that just came out by our friend Michelle Huxtable, another guest at the shower.  She is amazing when it comes to entertaining, decorating and just creating a gorgeous experience while gathering together.

Here is another idea from her book that we used for a bridal shower that my sister hosted at her home last week – strawberry topiaries.  And yes, they are edible!  In fact you just pull a strawberry off of the toothpick that is holding each one on and dip it into the sour cream/brown sugar dip located in the “planter.”  Talk about a hit!  Michelle is brilliant.

strawberry topiary

The strawberry topiary instructions are also in her cookbook and guide for entertaining called “The Gathering of Friends” and you can find out more about Michelle as well as order her book here.  They make great holiday gifts – to yourself as well as those you love.  By the way, these photos were taken with my new “Camera Bag” app on my iPhone – cool effects with just a click – look for it on iTunes.

gathering of friends

I am constantly amazed by the generosity and sense of celebration that accompanies this little guy into the world.   We are so grateful for the whole experience and for the anticipation surrounding this particular miracle.  We are blessed with strong support and love from all sides and thank you for being a part of that.

It almost makes me confident in the whole thing…almost.

Enjoy your weekend!

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I woke up to gray skies and snow starting to come down this morning.  After all, it is December 8 and it’s time for real winter to set in here in Utah – home of the Greatest Snow on Earth.

Jason and I find ourselves measuring each experience that we have these days against the knowledge that next year, we will have a new little munchkin to share our lives with.  Putting up the tree – next year the ornaments will have to be higher up and we’ll look into getting a gate to protect the crawler from pulling over the tree.  Stockings – I got an extra stocking hook so that there is a place ready for one more on the mantle.  Poinsettias – I love to use them at Christmas time but I hear they are poisonous so those will be out of the rotation for the next few years.

And of course, as the snow falls I imagine myself bundling our bambino up before we venture out.  He’ll still be too little to understand Christmas next year much more than playing with ribbon and boxes but it is truly a miracle that for the first time in our 16 years together that we will have the opportunity to spend Christmas differently than we always have.  It’s true that our lives will change in just a couple of months – but our hearts burst with wonder at the idea of this particular change. We can’t wait to experience all the good, the bad, the frustration and the joy that comes from having a new person to love.

please click on image to download pdf

please click on image to download pdf

So, as I stay bundled up inside today thinking of life with the baby, working on Cuttlebug, with the fire going and hot chocolate on the stove, here is a Download Day fit for snowy conditions.  I think you’ll like the bonus reindeer tracks on the full page file, too.   Enjoy!

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The party was a hit last night and we had a great turnout – this is what I came up with to get the house ready for everyone – and ourselves…..

fireplace

Here is the wreath that our neighbor hung for us – it is 3 wreaths in one (regular pine, ferny green then cranberries), all layered together and tied with a black ribbon.   Next year we’ll add one more stocking!

stockings

nativity

I was planning on garlands for the stair banister but couldn’t find something that I loved.  Then the comment from my friend Jen (aka “Aunt Spicy”) that suggested green ribbon for a wreath got me thinking.  I love the smell of pine and so decided to use real wreaths on the banister since we have an artificial tree.  The lime green ribbon was perfect to add the contemporary and simple touch that I was going for as well as tie it to the railing.

pine wreath

So, I was inspired while at Tai Pan Trading (I know that you all wish you had this store near you) and decided to go for it and decorate the tree.  Part of that inspiration burst came from the fact that my fabulous neighbors came over to help me hang my wreath and while here, set up the tree for me!  They are so awesome and their help made it possible for me to have the time and energy to dive into decorating it instead of just leaving on the lights.  Thank you, Jones’!

christmas tree

I used green berry garlands and loaded down the branches because I loved the color.  I added large silver and red balls (they are glittery styrofoam so no breaking – love them).  I found some bird-shaped mirrors that reflect the lights and other decorations and  for a modern but whimsical addition, I added polka-dot yarn ball ornaments.

Since we had a meager pile of about 24 ornaments saved from over the years, my strategy was to create a foundation on the tree with the garland, balls and birds and then add our own memories throughout.  I like the idea of building up our stash of ornaments from places we go or experiences we have and adding them to the tree as time goes on.  Our Mickey and Minnie ornaments from Disneyland last week are the latest additions!

No great thing is created suddenly.  – Epictetus

Since Jason’s car accident we have spent many Christmases in the hospital or in spaces too tight for many decorations.  But now that we have our own home again and a year of no hospital stays, I have learned something.  A tree, a fireplace, a banister, a countertop….they are all creative canvases.

Creativity is a gift we give ourselves as we exercise our imaginations, make our plans and gather the pieces and parts to create a beautiful whole.  An opportunity to create can be found anywhere – it’s our choice to take the time to embrace it.

What are you creating these days?

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Christmas is coming but I’m going to let you peek at this gift to yourself!  Here is a look at January’s project for our Big Picture Scrapbooking workshop “A Life Well Crafted” that is open for registration.  Click here to join us either by taking the “full-year” 20% off offer or registering month to month.  Either way you’ll love it.

By the way – those of you who took Giving Well – this first project in January makes a totally fabulous gift.  Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

attribute book

attribute book 2

And here is a peek at my Life Tunes “layout of the month” for January using the fabulous Maya Road “Sheer Office Notes” as the journaling spot and Bo Bunny “My Word Arrow Book” as the page background.

Life Tunes

For those of you who just want the “message” each month along with quotes, etc. then just take the “Audio-Only” version and bypass all the craftiness.

Jason and I do the messages and chats together – to learn more about him just click here to visit his blog.  It’s funny, inspirational and I guarantee it’s one you’ll want to pass on to others.

See you in class!

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We’ve been at Disneyland with my family for Thanksgiving and during the holidays I think that it is even more magical than normal.  Everything was decorated for Christmas and so it has gotten me into the yuletide spirit!  Our download today will help you with your Christmas crafting.

It comes in 3 versions – a large and small as well this gift tag so you can do all kinds of crazy Christmas things as you countdown to the big day.

please click on image to download pdf

please click on image to download pdf

We are hosting a neighborhood Christmas party on Wednesday.  I’m excited to “break in” our new home with a big event.  I don’t have to do the food or the planning of the actual event but you know how it goes when something is held at your house – I have plenty to do to get ready.

But I have recognized something in myself this year.  We have had a lot of years of “temporary” living while Jason rehabilitated from his car accident.  During that time we lived in tiny apartments or borrowed spaces and I haven’t done a lot of entertaining.  In fact, when we built our home I wanted a fresh start and so I have given away or sold off many of the things we used to own in favor of a chance to start over again.

This process has not only been necessary to keep things simple when we moved around and tried to fit in small spaces but it has also been an emotional and mental cleansing process where I have learned that I can let go of almost everything while I gather in only what I really love or really need.

So, I sit here with no Christmas decorations in storage except for a nativity, our stockings, a few ornaments and my collection of Christmas books, wondering what else I want to add to my holiday totes and bins.  There is something very restful about starting from scratch and not putting pressure on myself to “do it all” this year but instead, to simply start the gathering process with a little this year, a little next year, etc.

The question becomes…what do I want to do this year, in time for the party, that will bring the holiday spirit?  There is a catch, though.  I have learned the value of limiting what I take on so that the things I do create only the amount of work for myself that will hover below the “overload” line and remain in the “this is fun” area on my personal stress meter.

I have involved other people to help me – that keeps my stress low.  Christmas lights are done by professionals at our house.  I can’t mentally risk someone else’s life on my roof when they are not properly insured!  Done.

I have a couple of wreaths layered together that I think will go above the fireplace.  I’ll keep the wreath I have on the door because it’s full of red and greenery and will look fabulous in an untraditional way.  I think I’ll hang the stockings – this year there is still just two but next year we’ll make room for one more.   It’s hard to believe that this is our last Christmas with just the two of us.

I’ll fill the candy jars with Christmas candy and the Bath & Body Works Wallflowers will all be replaced with holiday scents.  I’ve broken out the Christmas music and of course, the nativity and Christmas books will find a home outside of storage as well.

I think we have settled on a place for the Christmas tree – which will be artificial.  Doing it all on my own, I need something simple to manage and I’ve found a great option that looks very real and is tall and skinny to fit in the space and still allow lots of room for Jason to maneuver.  Maybe I’ll go do that today at our Tai Pan Trading.  I think I’m just going to keep the lights on it for the party and not worry about decorating it before Wednesday.  It will be pretty just like that and the thought of decorating it from scratch in the next day puts me too close to the stress mark.  Who knows, I may leave it like that till Christmas even.  I’m ok with figuring out the ornament part next year.

I found some cool garlands that weren’t traditional greenery and I’ve been thinking about them for a couple of weeks.  I might pick those up for the stair banister.  We’ll see if I still like them when I go back to the store.

I’ll show you photos of what I end up doing – but this post is not so much about giving ideas of more “stuff” to do for the holidays.  You have enough stuff.  Today’s post is all about giving you permission to take a step back, think about starting fresh, let go, only do what is necessary or what you love.  It seemed like the only way to truly teach that principle is to show you how I am doing it for myself.

Whatever level of “Christmas-er” you are, whether you go all out or keep it simple, take the time to evaluate your stress and see if there are ways to manage it a little better this year.  It’s your life, your choice, your time.  As I was reminded while at Disneyland last week, the holidays are meant to be magical – here’s permission to enjoy them.

Happy December 1st!

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