There are not enough hours...

We bought our tree ten days ago, and it's still not fully decorated. I don't have time. I don't have time for anything, really, other than what physically has to be done. Last week I started working full-time, and wow is it ever difficult. I always knew it would be a hard adjustment... but I think it's even harder than I expected. I leave the house just after 7am, and get home just before 5. Then, from 5 until 7 I do absolutely nothing other than play with Soren and Poppy. No emails, no laundry, no other distractions. Since I only get a couple hours with them a day I need to make it count. Poppy goes to bed around 7, followed by Soren shortly after around 8. At which point I come downstairs, clean out their lunch kits, backpacks, and 'stuff', and prepare for the next day. I try to clean up from dinner or tidy up a few things, and then perhaps check my email and read the news. By 9:30 I might feel like I'm 'done', and then I have about half an hour before I feel like I should be going to bed. 6am is an early start, especially if Poppy wakes up during the night.

Work is busy, which is good as it makes the time go by quickly. I am learning a lot of new things, and my brain feels like it's gotten a good work-out by the end of the day. That's probably the only work-out I'm going to get for awhile, I can't possibly imagine finding time (or energy) to exercise.

While everything is going fairly well right now, I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that this is going to be our new normal for the rest of our lives!!! I feel like I can power through it and make it work for another week, until Christmas break, but after that I'm not sure. I think a big factor is that I am at a new job. At my old job, I knew everyone and had time to 'relax' a little at work. I could skim the news online, check some blogs, make a phone call if I needed to. I also knew that if I needed to leave an hour early to pick up Soren, it was no big deal. Learning what I can, and can't, do at my new job is a little overwhelming. It's a big company with a lot of policies and procedures, and there is a lot to know.

And now it's time to go pick out my outfit for tomorrow, something I have NEVER done in my whole life. But I've realized that I just don't have an extra five minutes to waste in the mornings. Every minute is carefully planned, from my nine-minute 'snooze' button to calculating how long Poppy will nurse for. We are adjusting, and looking forward to a week of extra long snoozes as a family over the christmas holidays.


Breakfast with Santa

On saturday morning we had breakfast with Santa! One babe wasn't too impressed. She loved the breakfast portion - complete with apple crepes, eggs benedict, pancakes, sausages, fruit, and mini croissants. The candy bar was obviously a success, and both kids had fun decorating gingerbread cookies. But when it came down to sitting on santa's lap, Poppy was not having any of it. Poor girl. All we could do was laugh... and snap a few photos before relieving her from her misery. She didn't want the toy santa offered, and afterwards she couldn't even be in sight of him without crying and clinging to me.

Soren wasn't sure why Poppy was so upset. 'Why is she afraid of santa, daddy?' he asked nervously, when we tried to get him to sit on the big man's lap. He sat on grandma's lap instead, and accepted his personalized present. Later, after opening his new toy, he went back to say thank you and was able to tell him what he wants for christmas.

The christmas decorations were beautiful, and it was fun to see all of the kids dressed up in gorgeous outfits. Last week, before the event, my mother-in-law and I went shopping. We had so much fun searching through the little dresses and bowties... sometimes I wish kids could be dressed up every day! But then Poppy wears her little harem sweatpants and looks like she could be coming out of hip-hop class, and that's pretty cute, too:) A big part of christmas are the traditions that we do year after year, and it's great to be able to start new traditions with our little family.


Advent Calendar DIY

A couple of years ago I decided to make Soren an advent calendar, and we are now in our third year of enjoying it. It's also no longer just for Soren... he has to share the daily treat with his little sister (which he obviously does happily...). I've gotten some questions about it on good ol' instagram, so I thought I would repost the tutorial. I've since changed the little paper bags to small fabric sacs, which are much easier for re-using. Crafting is not exactly my thing, but I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out, and the fact that it's now a part of our family christmas traditions:)

Step One - Find a piece of wood. I happened to find the perfect piece in my basement. It must be one of the original door mouldings, and it was exactly what I had in mind. I cleaned it off, but didn't bother re-painting because I liked the distressed look. I painted 24 clothespins white, then let them dry overnight.
Step Two - I painted the clothespins using red and white paint, trying to achieve a Christmasy look. Let dry overnight.
Step Three - Glue the clothespins to the wood using wood glue. I measured the board and divided by 24, so the pins would be evenly spaced.

Step Four - Assemble the presents for the Advent Calendar. I originally wanted to use reusable jute bags, but they were a bit over my budget at Michaels, so I just used tiny brown paper bags. I used a stencil to paint on the numbers 1 through 24. Using twine, I tied them in loops to attach to the clothespins.

Step Five - Hang it on the wall!

Step Six - Watch Soren's face FILL with delight when he came downstairs and saw it on December first. (When these pictures were taken I hadn't quite filled up all the bags with treats. I'll make sure to have them filled in in time for the opening day! So far the treats have included raisins, teddy grahams, and mini ornaments.)


Christmas Cookies

I love baking at any time of the year, but there is something extra special about holiday baking. I turn up the christmas carols, light some scented candles, and pour myself a cup of hot coffee. While there are some staples that I make year after year, I always like to try out a few new recipes. Last year I made gluten free chocolate cookies which were amazing, and a perfect treat for my sister who doesn't eat gluten.

Ginger snaps (or molasses spice cookies) are my husbands favourite, so I always make a batch or two. We made the pretty chocolate cupcakes for my brother-in-laws wedding this summer, and I think they would look great on a holiday desert table.

One of my all-time favourite cookies are the chocolate dipped skor cookies (last image). They are the cookies that are always snatched off the dessert table before dessert! I can't believe I've never posted a recipe before... Hopefully I will get it up on the blog this year. Next week I have an annual girls cookie exchange (slash drink a lot of wine night), so baking is definitely on my weekend to-do list.

p.s. - we got a new computer today after months of our old one being on the fritz. The new one is so, so much bigger, and I can't wait to actually start taking photos again. We'd been using a 7-year old laptop as our backup, and it just wasn't capable of handling any more photos. So hopefully lots of new photos (and blog posts) to follow! 


Changes all around

So, things are about to change around the Linden house! Very shortly, I will be returning to work after fourteen months at home with my babies. The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, but things are settling into place and I am excited about this next phase of our lives. While I love being at home with my family, I always knew that I would have to return to work. And it's been pretty fun shopping for new work clothes - especially with all of the great black friday sales!

In the past I have talked about childcare and how stressful it can be... but thankfully I am really happy about the places we have lined up for Soren and Poppy. Poor Tyler is going to feel a lot of changes too, as he will be the one driving the kids to and from their respective daycares. Mornings are going to be early and stressful, but hopefully we can settle into a rhythm and enjoy lots of quality time in the evenings.

After dinner today, I pulled out a little lunchbag that I had bought for Poppy in the summer. At the time, I thought I would be returning to work in october. It has been such a blessing to have been able to stay home with her for an extra couple of months. Tomorrow she's spending the morning at her new daycare, and I'm excited for her. While it's true we've hardly spent any time apart, I know she's going to love hanging out with a few other littles every day.