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Articles tagged with: Christmas

Three Christmases- Our Christmas 2014.

on Monday, 05 January 2015.

I know, I know it's January and people are sick of Christmas by now.  The tree has been taken down, the new toys have all their found new places in the home, and people are thinking about Easter, at least they are if the Easter egg adverts that are already on television will have you believe.  But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our Christmas 2014.  

We ended up having three Christmases this year- one with my Mum and that side of the family, one with Mr E's side and one with my Dad and his side.  We aren't a large family by any means- although different members of the family popped in to say hello, but I am lucky enough to have all four of my Grandparents still around.  This, coupled with the fact that my parents are divorced, means that we end up having a lot of different celebrations which of course is most welcome.  The girls don't actually receive a lot of gifts from any one person, but inevitably with three sets of Grandparents, an Aunt, an Uncle, two step Aunties, two sets of Great Grandparents and some very close family friends, it does end up that they receive some truly lovely gifts.

As we have Mads birthday on Christmas Eve, it does end up that the girls are pretty hyper and tired on Christmas Day, but all in all we had a lovely time with my Mum's side of the family.  We started off the celebrations with a Christmas Eve party at my Mum and Stepdad's house, where our close family friends came over.  This has become a annual tradition and is pretty much my favourite part due to the anticipation. We stayed at my Mum's house for the night, before heading to my Grandparents house after a lazy Christmas morning in our PJ's.  This year we came home to our house to sleep and had a quiet evening just myself and Mr E, which was actually quite welcome after the madness of tired, hyper children all day.  Then we headed off to Manchester early on Boxing Day morning.  We had a great, relaxing time up there, having another 'Christmas' on Boxing Day itself and a quiet lunch out on the 27th, before it was back home on the 28th for our third and final Christmas at my Dads.

We have really enjoyed some quality family time, after all that is exactly what it's all about for me, and we have all thoroughly switched off which was exactly what was needed.  No one checked their emails, phones or social media for a good few days (apart from the odd instagram photo- you can't just abandon instagram!) and Mr E didn't go back to work until the 5th which was just lovely.  We relaxed and enjoyed each other's company and I actually prefer the period between Christmas and New Year the most- the pace of life just slows down a little yet you are still in the throes of the holiday season.

Here is our Christmas in photos and a little video...

 

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Hooray he has been.  We put their main presents they have asked for from Father Christmas in their stocking, plus a couple of little bits too, which I know is a little different to others, it's just the way my Mum always used to do it.  It does mean Father Christmas gets all the glory though- this year he bought Mads a big Buzz which she was after for absolutely ages.

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Emptying their stockings.  LL didn't really know what was going on and was most interested in the Peppa Pig bubbles that came in hers.

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Matching Christmas PJ's with my sister and a cringey staged photo.  Awkward.  Sorry for putting this on the internet Anna.

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I loved the girls beautiful Poppy England dresses they were wearing- here they are having a little dance while we were waiting for everyone to come outside to go to my Grandmas.

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Such a pretty light- we were so lucky with the weather over Christmas as the sun shined the whole time even though it was freezing.

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Still dancing.

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Curly, mop heads.  Their hair is so frustrating to brush as it gets so tangled but I couldn't bear to cut it.

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When I was younger, even as young as about 12, I was always allowed one Babycham only on Christmas Day.  I wouldn't allow my girls to drink alcohol at that age but it was different then.  My Grandpa got me some babycham to relive the good old days- I love it still!

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I love a good brussel sprout and it's the rules that even though Mr E doesn't like them he has to have two- my Grandma checks to make sure he has them on his plate. ;) 

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Most of us don't like Christmas pudding so my Mum always gets this amazing Malteaser cheesecake from a local deli- it's absolutely delicious.

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Christmas tree lights.

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Boxing Day was spent at Mr E's Mum's with his side of the family.  I love this photo of LL and her Baa as she really does take him everywhere with her.

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All of a sudden she is just looking so grown up.

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Our third and final Christmas was back in Cambridgeshire with my Dad.  

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I love this photo of my terrible twosome.

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We always take (and treasure) some photos with my Grandparents- my Grandpa is 92 and my Nana is 89.

 

Here is a little video of our 'three Christmases'...

 

A Christmassy 4th Birthday...

on Tuesday, 30 December 2014.

As I sit writing this if I glance to my right the Christmas tree is still there but it looks slightly depressed- no presents, a little uncared for now the big day is over, and in that limbo period where we all kind of want to pack it away but are also trying to cling on to the festive spirit for just that little bit longer.  

We are actually still in the throes of the holiday season.  Mr E is fortunate that he doesn't go back to work until the 5th January so we are enjoying a lovely long break together.  Christmas came and went in a flash (I have one more post on that to come before it's time to say goodbye for another year) and we had a great time.  In fact until yesterday nap time I hadn't even touched my laptop or really checked social media, bar the occasional instagram photo.  It feels good to have switched off, relaxed and really enjoyed time together as a family. We plan on doing lots more of that too.

It's been exceptionally hectic yet pretty chilled if that makes sense, and although I wasn't going to blog until the New Year I thought I would write about Mads birthday before it's too far past the date.  On Christmas Eve my beautiful little lady turned four and we had a great time celebrating.  Her birthday's have become a little bit of a tradition- we head out to the garden centre to see Father Christmas with friends and have the obligatory cake, before going for some lunch and then heading back home for a while.  In the evening we head over to my Mums where we have a little Christmas party with some of our closest family friends.  

This year was no exception and we had a great time, although it is quite hectic and full on having your birthday the day before Christmas and it means that Mads is utterly wired and exhausted before the big day even even begins.  This year my Mum spent the whole day with us and took us out for lunch so that was really lovely.  I didn't take many photos as the light was so bad but here are the few I took and a little video of my biggest girl's special day.

I can't believe she is four!

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I got Mads a cute little top with the number four on for her birthday which she thought was the coolest thing ever.  We went to the garden centre with three of her little chums and we ate cake for breakfast.

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Meeting the big man himself.  The grotto was so good this year as you only went in with the people you were with.  Father Christmas and his elves sang Happy Birthday to Mads which made me get a tear in my eye.

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Mads loved Father Christmas but LL wasn't quite so sure.  She didn't mind him when he was at a distance but when she sat on his knee she wasn't convinced.  Still she didn't cry at least.  

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My super talented friend made these Toy Story cupcakes for the birthday girl as she is Toy Story mad.  She absolutely loved them and they tasted delicious.

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Too good to eat.

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They were so excited to put a mince pie out for Father Christmas.  Mads insisted that he just wanted milk although Mr E tried to explain to her that he would probably prefer wine!

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This little lady was super excited even though she didn't really grasp what was going on.

 

A little video of my birthday girl...

 

It still feels surreal to think that our biggest daughter is now four.  I can't quite believe it.  Hopefully the time will slow down a bit so we can fully enjoy her last few months before she starts school in September.  I say it every year but for some reason four is actually making me feel a little emotional, it is the first year I have thought that she is growing up far too quickly.

 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #48 '5 Years'

on Sunday, 21 December 2014.

On the 20th December 2009 I awoke to bright blue skies but a blanket of snow on the ground, and with butterflies dancing around in my tummy.  Later that morning, I walked down the aisle in a pretty little boutique hotel ten minutes away from where we lived, and married my best friend in a perfect, happy winter wedding.  A mortgage, a lot of holidays and adventures, and two small children later, we are where we are today.

Yesterday we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  We aren't big celebrators of our anniversary, the fact it is five days before Christmas means it inevitably it gets brushed aside for the excitement of other festivities, but as it was a mini milestone year of five years we decided this year to have a fun family day to celebrate. 

Five years has really flown by.  Without making this turn into a soppy post, my husband really is my best friend.  We were best friends before we even got together and since I met him almost ten years ago all he has ever done is support me.  He drives me insane and we can bicker and argue like cat and dog but I genuinely feel so lucky to have found someone who will love me unconditionally through all my bad traits and habits too.  He is a kind, generous and truly special person and he has given me the greatest and most precious gifts in the form of Mads and LL.  I love and adore him for giving me the family I always dreamed of.

But soppiness aside, we had a fantastic family day yesterday.  We went ice skating in the morning and were thrilled to find that we had the whole ice rink to ourselves after thinking it would be ridiculously busy.  I was worried that it potentially could have turned into a disaster and that the girls may not have enjoyed it, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  LL absolutely loved whizzing round on the plastic sleigh and Mads was our little star ice skater and didn't want it to end.  We had a lovely time together and laughed non stop.  

After a brief cake stop and a walk around the garden centre and the farm shop to get some yummy steak for our anniversary meal, we headed to the hotel where we got married.  It's only ten minutes away from where we live but we rarely visit anymore as it's quite expensive and not particularly child friendly, although they are always good when you do go in with little ones.  We stopped and had a drink and Mads and LL were on their best behaviour.  It was lovely to walk around and remember our special day.

Then it was home for a carpet picnic, but not just any old carpet picnic- it was a festive version, with little snowflake chocolate brownies and christmas tree crumpets and sandwiches.  Then LL and Mads had a long sleep while Mr E and I relaxed, (and I wrote this post and did this video in record speedy time!) before we got up and went on our annual tradition to drive and go and find the best Christmas lights.  Mr E then cooked us a lovely dinner of delicious steak and sweet potatoes before we snuggled with a glass of bubbly and watched some films in front of the sparkling Christmas tree lights .  

It was a lovely day to celebrate a special mini milestone anniversary.  I say it a lot but I really am thankful to be living our ordinary yet happy life.

 Here's to ten years!

 

Here's some photos from my iPhone and my big camera, and a little video as well...

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Getting their skates on.

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My little skaters.

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I actually love this photo that one of the staff took of us all- I can't believe we were the only ones on the ice!

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The fake snow was magical- LL and Mads loved it.  A failed attempt at a family selfie.

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The hotel where we got married- it was just so sentimental visiting with the girls- it's the first time we have been inside with them.

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Who would have thought we would have two small people five years later?  We went on our honeymoon to Mexico and Miami and discussed starting a family while sat sipping cocktails on the beach on Christmas Eve 2009.  Exactly a year later Mads was born.

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It's such a beautiful place and it holds so many special memories for me.

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Love this photo of my cheeky girl- I walked down these stairs with my Dad on my way to the room where we got married- I was so nervous!

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Hat hair.

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This is the orangery we got married in- obviously the tables were moved but the light was gorgeous with it's whitewashed brickwork and real trees.  We had a harpist sat in the corner who played Fields of Gold as I walked down the aisle.

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Looking far too grown up- so nearly four!

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We posed for photos with our family and friends outside these doors- how times have changed!

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A family selfie- I love this one!

 

A little video too...

 

 

*****

It's the last 'Ordinary Moments' of 2014 as I am off to enjoy the festive break with my little family.  I think I will more than likely take a bit of a break from this blog other than to maybe put up my usual letter to Mads on her birthday on Christmas Eve.  I have loved seeing everyone's posts over the last year and love that people join in with this little project of mine- I definitely have captured and recorded so much more of those little moments I would have perhaps forgotten than I would have done without it.

I definitely will continue with it in 2015, so if you want to join in next year, whether that's every week or just every once in a while then we would love you too!  

See you on January 4th for the first one of 2015 and Merry Christmas everyone...

xxx

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #46 'Melted Snowman Cookies and while Daddy is Away.'

on Sunday, 07 December 2014.

This weekend Mr E has been away- on Friday he went up to Manchester for a long overdue 'boy's weekend' with his old school friends.  He doesn't go away very often, so part of me was actually looking forward to a bit of time to myself in the evenings to relax, eat copious amounts of chocolate and watch what I want to on the television, while also having some quality time just myself and my little ladies.

For all the occasional hard days, for the most part they are pretty laid back and well behaved, especially as they thrive on a quiet pace of life and a weekend with not many plans.  On Friday we had a play date with our besties, before snuggling down for the evening watching Christmas films.  They both received a letter from Father Christmas and the look of excitement on Mads face when she listened to what he had written was just so sweet.  When I went to bed and went into Mads room to kiss her good night, she just looked so peaceful and cute, that I picked her up still asleep and put her down in our bed.  She never normally goes in our bed, in fact I can count on one hand the amount of times she has and it is normally because she is poorly, but I just couldn't resist.  It was lovely to have some company and to enjoy a night of one on one cuddles with my biggest girl, we snuggled all night long and at one point she whispered that 'we are best friends forever' which really made me emotional.

This year we have done nearly all of our Christmas shopping online with Paypal and it means that we have time to be able to do things like have lazy weekends baking, plus letting Mr E get a break for away for the weekend.  I hate Christmas shopping, I am not good with crowds and I get stressed, so it's great to be able to buy all our bits online with just the click of a button.  On Saturday night I spent a lovely night snuggled up on the sofa and I did most of our present buying which was easy.

Then on Saturday we had a lazy morning which again was most welcome.  We have a tradition in our house around Christmas time where we 'make' melted snowman biscuits.  These little guys are so easy to make, even for me, both the girls love them, and especially love to decorate them.  We decided to do this in the morning and we all had a great time together.  I love how random things end up becoming little family traditions and both Mads and LL were so pleased making their snowmen.  If you want to make them yourself it is incredibly easy- you just need some biscuits (or make your own if you are fancy), icing sugar and water to make the icing, white marshmallows, something for the buttons and edible decorative writing icing.  Just put icing on the biscuit, stick your marshmallow on the top, wait for it to set and then decorate to your hearts content.  Such a simple and easy idea for little ones and guaranteed to raise a Christmas smile.

Then in the afternoon we went over to Mads first ever nursery party, a joint one for two friends of hers which she was so excited about.  She loved running around with her little chums and I loved watching her chatting away to people I hadn't seen before.  She also made sure she included her sister in everything and two people even commented to me on how sweet they were together as while they were playing Pass the Parcel they sat their with their arms round each other.  They make me so proud of how they are together, although they are also fighting and having little arguments more each week!

Then today, Sunday, we are meeting our friends for a morning of soft play (at the weekend- we must be mad!) and a long overdue catch up before hopefully Mr E will be home in the afternoon sometime.  While we would of course rather he was at home with us we have also enjoyed having some time just the three of us, and have hoped that Daddy has enjoyed some well deserved time off- he works so hard, working all day and then coming home and working most evenings, plus looking after us so well that he most definitely needs a break.

It wasn't an entirely ordinary weekend in that one member of our team was missing, but it was ordinary, quiet and very much needed.  And as I often say, it's the ordinary moments that are sometimes the sweetest and make you realise just how lucky you are.

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melted snowman cookies

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