Hello Hello friends! Happy New Year! It's been quite a few days since I last blogged and I'm very excited to be back. As always seems to be the case, the holidays seemed to take forever to arrive, and then they were here and gone in a flash. We were so very busy filling orders in the weeks leading up to the big day...and then Christmas hit and a whole new brand of busy filled our days. I'd certainly call it a good kind of busy. I love seeing family and friends. I love giving and receiving gifts. And I just love how the spirit of the season crescendos in a loving and fun filled handful of days. The period that begins on Christmas Eve and ends on New Years Day is my favorite span of days all year long. A normal week for me and Aaron barely ever involves contact with other humans (except for the folks at the post office). So when the holidays come it thrills us to have our social calendar open to whoever and whatever. For us, the holiday week is about saying YES. We don't hem and haw over what our possible plans might be...we simply say "Yes, we'll be there...and we'll bring some snacks!"
Today, New Years day, was about getting back to real life. We had been working on orders every day between Christmas and New Years, but today was the first real deal uninterrupted day. I'd love to briefly fill you guys in on how we spent this magical week!...here goes...
Our Christmas Eve tradition is to go out to dinner with Aaron's parents. It's always a great night for everyone, but I feel like it's especially great for me and Aaron. We work so so hard on getting our last minute orders out...our hands are usually sore and callused from all the cutting, sanding, and gluing...our entire home is in disarray from putting the orders together, and packing and shipping materials cover every available surface...we're tired, our heads are spinning...and then we get to drop everything, give each other a corny but well earned high five, and then go out to a restaurant with two of our favorite people. It is SO RELAXING. We had a great time and some tasty food. The food was definitely a big change from our usual health conscious stuff...we had only one requirement for our Christmas Eve meal...it had to be Tasty...and that's exactly what it was.
After dinner we went back to Aaron's parent's house. And if you've been keeping track of this blog for more than a year, then you'll know about how Aaron's parent's house annually becomes a Christmas Wonderland. Their blue Victorian Farmhouse is a perfect fit for their brimming holiday spirit. The place comes to life with the red and white lights, and overall the decorations look so perfect...perfect enough for you to wish that they could stay up all year round.
As soon as we arrived back at Aaron's parent's house on Christmas Eve, I just had to get some pics of the place. I actually shot a short video of some of my favorite views...so make sure press play above.
Yes, you'll notice at the end that it was quite a cold and windy night! (a huge change from the preceding 71 degree weekend!)
Anyway...isn't their home so fun?!
So, after our night out with Aar's parents, we then came home for quiet evening on the couch. My brother Walt was at his girl Val's house, so it was just me, Aar, the pups, and the tree. I snapped a little Christmas Eve selfie. I call that my 'reindeer in the headlights' look. And, as he's apt to do, Aaron is smiling kinda creepy. ha!
Then came Christmas morning! Aaron and I, in keeping with tradition, sat around on the floor near the tree, and exchanged our gifts for each other.
Aaron is a big boot fan. I've never known him to not have a row of nice boots lined up at the base of his closet. Good boots are his one splurge, and he likes to have multiple pairs to fit whatever occasion. And since getting the right boot is important, these couldn't exactly be a surprise gift. I had him help me select them, but for fun he feigned surprise when opening the box.
And little Jack had to give his approval on all gifts. No joke...he stayed just like this for the opening of every single gift. Right here Aaron is asking him what he thinks about his new book.
This is one of my favorite Christmas gifts! A quite serious looking handmade paper mache Circus Bunny by Hearts and Needles. And yes...that name may ring a bell...I had previously shared another piece by Hearts and Needles, which we now proudly own. We first hung our little paper mache art doll on our Christmas tree, and now she will hang on a wall somewhere in our home. We're thinking that the living room will be her place of permanent residence.
Ok...of course you all know that Giving feels way better than receiving. But Giving to your amazingly adorable one and a half year old niece is one of the greatest experiences in the world. Above, press play to see Uncle Aaron assembling our gift for our niece Olivia. Yes...an entire kitchen built specifically for teeny tiny pink loving tots! One day I saw it over on Zulily, and pretty much couldn't stop thinking about it. Then I showed it to Walt & Val, and within minutes we had decided that the four of us would chip in...two seconds later I had ordered it! It arrived on our doorstep within a week. Oh my gosh...the quality is incredible! It has like a real deal little counter top! Play kitchens have come a very long way since I had one as a tot. Over the years Aaron has assembled many pieces of actual adult furniture, and he says this itty bitty play kitchen is constructed better than most of those.
How amazing is this thing?! So yeah...Aaron made sure to fully assemble it in the days before we were going to visit Olivia. That way we could walk right in and Aaron and Walt could just set it down on the floor and Olivia could have at it. It's kind of a large item and not too easy to transport, but luckily we were able to skillfully squeeze it into Val's trunk. And we couldn't possibly give the little gal a kitchen without fully stocking her fridge and cupboards. So on our one big shopping day we went to Toys R Us and picked up two huge fake food sets. Some of those little fake foods look so perfect...the faux bacon is especially hilarious to look at.
Needless to say...She flipped for it! Her favorite thing was the phone on the side of the fridge...and she loved loading and unloading, and then re-loading the fridge. ha! My parent's weren't able to come down for the holidays, but my sister had just visited them last week, and they sent their gifts for Olivia back here to Jersey with her. So being that me and my mom were in cahoots, Olivia also got a shopping basket filled with more fake food. This little gal was immediately cooking up a storm. Above you can see that Uncle Walt was assisting. All throughout the night I was sending my parents videos of Olivia playing and dancing. And because I was mainly shooting videos I honestly have no still photos besides this one with her and Uncle Walt! I love that she is missing a shoe in this pic. The girl was wild that night, and it is no surprise to see that she lost a shoe somewhere in the process of cooking. ha!
Seriously, seeing her with her kitchen was by far THE best part of the holiday.
By the time New Year's Eve came around me and Aar were looking to do something low key. And I don't think you could possibly get more low key than this. Yup...New Year's Eve was spent working on a bunch of orders. We have lots and lots of signs to make and paint. Lucky for us...we love making signs! And man...we got so so many orders for signs and die cuts! Overall this season has been so great for us! And we cannot thank everyone enough for making us so incredibly busy. Lots of return collectors and brand new ones!
This was our first New Year's Eve home alone in a very very long time. We normally get together with my family. Last year we went to my brother's place and my parents were down from upstate. And the year before that was our EPIC Times Square adventure.
In all honesty, we weren't bummed at all to be working on New Year's Eve this year. It was the kind of night that we needed. Though we did squeeze in a little party...a Pizza Party that is! And by the way...ordering a pizza (and some specialty slices...including a "Grandma" slice!) really is a party for us. We are cheap dates. Ask anyone.
Notice the little photobomber. Jack always knows exactly where to be.
So yeah, to unwind at the end of the night we watched movies, ate snacks, and talked about everything we did this year and all the things that we have coming up.
If you follow me on Facebook, or Instagram you already may know this...but if you don't...
We have a scrapbooking collection coming out! We have been keeping it a secret for months! And oh my gosh it feels so great to finally be able to tell you all! And working with Melissa Frances is so exciting! A lovely experience and a match made in heaven.
It's so awesome that we will be at CHA! We are Mega excited for that! We'll be right there in the Melissa Frances booth for the duration of the show. There are so many scrapbooking industry peeps that we will get to finally meet in person! And here's the really awesome part...Aside from promoting our scrapbooking collection we'll also have an entire space dedicated to our book. Our collection is so us and truly compliments our book. So it's a perfect fit. Shop owners will be able to order our book and our collection together to carry in their shops! Win win!
We leave for Anaheim, CA next week, and to say that this holiday season has been a whirlwind, is a major understatement. We're thinking that maybe we'll get to catch our breath in the final days of January.
So...being that we'll be leaving for California next week we had to tie up some loose ends here at home. We normally keep our tree up a bit longer, but it just seemed like today would be our only chance to do it before we leave.
Every year it's always so sad to say goodbye to the tree. And this year's tree was more special than ever. It's still so amazing to us that we started from scratch this year! We got the tree in November and all of the ornaments came into our possession this year. And the majority of them were gifts from some very amazing people. I could cry in a split second when I think of how special this tree is and what it means to us. I can't wait to pull everything out again next year. It's a thrill to think about all the progress that we'll make on the house between now and then.
I tucked this sweet pink haired angel in for a long nap.
We always marvel at how small the tree box is. We started to take the tree down, looked over at the box and said "no way is this gonna fit in there." But Aaron did some meticulous folding, and before we knew it, the tree was neatly tucked away in it's box.
As I sit typing this I miss the warm glow that the tree had brought to the living room. But if I may, let me get a little sentimental...Emotionally, I'm still basking in the glow of the tree. My heart warms at the thought of all those who made the tree possible. Also, I tear up when I think of all the amazing people who placed orders with us this holiday season (there were a lot!) I'm so happy to think about our artwork going into all of those homes all around the world. I'm so happy to think about all of you guys who read the blog week after week, month after month, year after year. Me and Aaron can't believe how many "friends" we have. And even though I put "friends" in quotes...I truly mean Friends, in the realest sense of the word. Some of you we even got to meet in person. And at CHA we hope to meet more. Oh gosh, it's been an amazing year. A lot of real deal things transpired...our book, our debut scrapbooking collection...tons of stuff. And of course there were some crazy challenges...some very tough stuff. But every bit was worth it and I know that 2014 is going to be our best year yet. Honestly.
Thanks so so much again for reading and for being a part of our lives. We couldn't do it without you all. Love you guys!
Here's to a perfect New Year...
xo, Jenny & Aaron