December 10, 2014

On My Mind This Holiday Season

Hello friends!  I thought I would start the week by taking a break from our Christmas home tour and take a minute to post a bit about the goings on around here.  I feel like I have been immersed in a whirlwind of decorating, picture taking and writing blog posts.  I don't enjoy getting caught up in the perfection of it all.  I have always enjoyed holiday decorating and love being able to share it, but it starts to feel a bit superficial.  And not at all what Christmas is really about.  The other evening, while I was photographing our living room tree at night, my youngest boy was practicing playing his saxophone in the room.  I was struggling to get that "perfect" glowing tree shot.  He kept standing in front of the trees, so I took one quick shot and got this.  I love it.  Sometimes, I put so much planning into getting the perfect picture.  But usually the best shots just seem to happen, don't they?  I need to remember that.

Our younger golden retriever, Keeper, just did not feel like being in any of our Christmas pictures this year.  She is not a poser or a people pleaser like our other golden, Forrest.  She found it exhausting and fell asleep (after pulling Forrest's scarf off of his neck) with the plaid scarf around her neck while loudly snoring.  I understood how she felt!  Christmas can be overwhelming :)  
Speaking of dogs, I have a great gift suggestion if you still need a gift for a dog lover on your Christmas list.  While shopping at Marshalls, I spotted this Paper Pups book on the shelf and thought it would be a great gift for Matthew, the biggest dog lover I know.  When I got home, I took it out of the bag, put it on the kitchen counter, and got a call from the school nurse that Matt wasn't feeling well.  So I rushed to go get him and when we got home his face lit up when he saw the book sitting right there waiting for him on the counter.  Oops! (actually, I used a different expletive in my head, but you get the point :)
I felt so stressed.  I had planned on photographing our entryway that afternoon.  As you can imagine, most of the pictures I take for this blog happen when my kids aren't home.   And now, the only gift I had purchased so far for Christmas was ruined.  So, instead of getting upset, I sat down with Matt at my desk and we started folding paper dogs.  It was incredibly therapeutic!  We folded and chatted until we both felt better.  I didn't get any pictures taken that day, but he got a bunch of pups to display in his room.  It was a good day.
Matthew is 9 and although he needed a bit of assistance, he really enjoyed making these.  I think I may have enjoyed it more than him!  So I think this book would make a great gift for any dog lover.  It is called "Paper Pups" and it is by Papermade.  You can find it on Amazon here.  

I also wanted to share a couple of my other favorite little finds this year.  I saw this car with a Christmas tree cookie jar pop up in my feed on Instagram, and I just had to have one for our hutch.
It is from World Market and it is under $10.  Continuing with the Christmas tree on a car theme, I picked up these ornaments at Target.  
 I will be back tomorrow with our Christmas master bath and bedroom.  

I hope you are having a wonderful week!

32 comments:

  1. Perfectly timed post! Thanks for the gentle reminder :)

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  2. Oh Courtney I needed to read this. I've been feeling this same way. We recently had the family room put on (which was about as long and horrible experience to get there in the world) You were so helpful to me with all my fireplace questions and really the only person during that project that was kind to me. It meant a lot. Anyway, so now that it's all done, and the kitchen is remodeled I have been spending night after night doing my normal house chores after work, and decorating, and perfecting, and snapping photos. I hear my husband playing with our 18 month old in our new room. A room I never get to relax with my family in because I'm too busy doing other things. Last night I got a big bowl of whipped cream and shared some with my son in our room. It made me feel much better and realize that all of the decorating and planning is fun and I do enjoy it, but I really need to stop and eat the whipped cream for a while too! ;) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family!

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    1. Hi Laura,

      I am so glad you liked this post because I almost didn’t post it! Sometimes, it is harder (for me) to put the more personal stuff out there. But I never want it to seem like a live in this photo ready neat house all the time…because I most certainly do not.

      I was so happy to be able to help you with your family room. Your kitchen is gorgeous too. And I also loved that you shared the finished pictures with me. It makes this all worthwhile. I so enjoyed the story about hanging out with your son eating whipped cream. I am always telling my kids, “everything will seem better in the morning after you have slept” and yet I don’t often take my own advice! A break does us all a world of good :)

      I hope you get to spend lots of time relaxing in your new family room. You deserve it!! Merry Christmas.
      Courtney

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  3. Those paper dogs are adorable and I bet you did say a naughty word or two to yourself when he spotted his early Christmas gift! lol But- I bet it made him feel a whole lot better.

    Your home looks so lovely and I love that car with the tree on it. Your touches are ALL lovely. xo Diana

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    1. Hi Diana,
      Those paper dogs did make him feel so much better, and were probably much more appreciated than they would have been on Christmas Day when there is a lot more stuff to look at. I know I enjoyed taking a much needed break. And I hope it is the little afternoons like that which I will remember someday.
      Have a great day,
      Courtney

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  4. Courtney, I love the picture of your son with sax at the tree also! And the one of your dog, and the gift ideas are super - thank you for sharing. I can't even imagine trying to blog when my kids were your kids' ages - keep it real - it needs to be that way. Merry Christmas.
    Rita C at Panoply

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    1. Merry Christmas to you too, Rita. Thank you for the encouragement to keep it real. I think we can all relate to that.

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  5. Courtney,
    Always love your decor and love love love the picture of your son in front of the tree. How special is that picture. I think we have all felt like Keeper and a good nap during this hussle and bussle days should be on everyone's list!
    Kris

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    1. Kris,
      This is Matthew’s first year playing the sax so I love that I will always have this picture. And naps are important and necessary during the stressful time of year. Taking a break can make a world of difference!
      Have a great day,
      Courtney

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  6. A great post. It' easier for me to slow down the holidays. When you have kids and work, you really have little time. I love the picture of your son in front of the tree. The unplanned pictures are always the best one. Keeper is funny. Does she always sleep like that. She is so modest, hah.
    I love the sign and the cookie jar. I have had my eyes on that before. Where did the camper and car come from. I like that too. Here in our village, I wait on that first car with the tree on top of it to start my holiday. We are close to Christmas tree farms and everyone likes to come and get there tree then stop in the village to eat.
    Happy Holidays.

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    1. Hi Debby,
      Yes! Keeper always sleeps that way. We always laugh at her lack of modesty. Not a modest bone in her body, haha. The camper and car are both Christmas ornaments from Target. How wonderful it must be to live close to a tree farm. You should definitely get yourself one of those cookie jars. They are so cute at such a great price.
      Happy Holidays,
      Courtney

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  7. What a fabulous post Courtney. I know looking at everyone's beautiful blogs and seeing everyone's decorations I was feeling very defeated that my own home is totally upside and my decorations are not in place. I always say that when the holidays get here I'm going to have all my shopping done and be ready to enjoy it but, it never really happens. I thank you so much for this post because it made me feel so better that I am not alone with trying to make everything perfect when it isn't. I love coming to your blog for inspiration and seeing how beautiful everything looks and all the little details. Of course I love seeing Forrest and Keeper too!

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed this post, Jeanette. I, like you, always think "this will be the year" that I have it all under control...and I never do, no matter how early I start. I so appreciate that you come here for inspiration and leave your sweet comments.

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  8. I love this post, Courtney! I too have been feeling a bit rushed this season. I even turned down an offer to do a Christmas home tour in blogland because I just didn't want the pressure of "having" to do a post, regardless of what else was going on. Sometimes it's nice to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. :) That sounds like a great book for a dog lover! Don't you love your cookie jar from World Market? I love having mine in the kitchen during this season. So cute and such a great price!

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    1. Hi Lisa! I totally understand why you turned down an offer for a Christmas tour. For me, as soon as I make a commitment like that, it takes some of the joy away and adds so much pressure. I love Christmas too much for that! Yes, I am loving the World Market cookie jar. So cute. I just filled mine with some chocolate cookies today.

      Have a great day,
      Courtney

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  9. Courtney, what a sweet post and oh, so true. We sure can get caught up in the hustle and bustle and let the things that really matter go by the wayside. Hang on to your special moments, they slip by so quickly..Happy Wednesday.Judy

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    1. Judy, I am so glad you enjoyed this post. I try to hang on to those special moments and will continue to do so. Have a great Wednesday.

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  10. You found some cute things, Courtney! I have not been to Target in a while and may have to make a trip there to see what they've got. I know boxwood wreaths were one thing I'd like to get.

    That picture of your son is great. It makes me think of when my son was in school and played the saxophone. My daughter played the violin and they would give us a spur of the moment Christmas "concert" at home. Good memories!

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    1. What wonderful memories you must have of your children playing their instruments! I think that is what clicked in my head as I clicked this picture. I was struggling to get a good picture of my tree, which let’s face it, won’t have much meaning when I look back at this Christmas in a few years. But that picture of my son will be a treasure.

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  11. Courtney....my favorite post this week (thank you!). I also love the picture of your son playing his sax in front of the tree...my son also plays the Sax .....I got him practicing next to the tree. One of my favorite pics this year! Keeper sure is cute!

    Thanks for reminding us to enjoy!

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    1. Thank you for "getting" this post, Andrea! My oldest boy plays the sax too :)

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  12. I LOVE this post, Courtney! I so appreciate your honesty. And while I know it's a lot of work for you, I will tell you that your Christmas decor is always my absolute FAVORITE!!! Your pictures and posts are the ones I bookmark and save to enjoy year-to-year. Your home is so warm and welcoming and makes me feel "right at home". I love your special touches and all the thought that you put into them. I'd understand if you didn't keep blogging about your Christmas decor, but I'd sure miss these posts! The unplanned pics of your son and of Keeper just might be the season's best! So if you chose to cut back, maybe you'd consider still posting a few of those types of pics--I don't need to see "perfect", but I LOVE "real"!. My dad always had his camera out to capture those unexpected moments and used to say that it was because he never knew when real-life was going to happen...and he didn't want to miss it! THOSE are the photos of his that I treasure most now. Thanks for sharing your holiday home again this year!

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    1. Thank you so much for such a positive and encouraging comment, Denise! No worries, I will continue to post my Christmas decor. I love Christmas and couldn't imagine not doing it. But I do appreciate you saying that you actually enjoy the non-perfect pictures more. I think 2015 is going to be about getting more real on this blog. I know that I started reading blogs because they were more about getting a glimpse at someone's actual life, rather than what you see in a magazine.

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  13. And I have to ask...HOW did you get that cookie jar for under $10?!? I bought it last week and even with a coupon it wasn't that cheap! LOL! (And now I'll be off to Target tomorrow to look for those ornaments! Thanks for enabling me! )

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    1. Last week, the cookie jar was $12.99 and I had a 25% off coupon from World Market (if you sign up for their discount e-mails they will send you coupons). But, I think the cookie jar is also on sale this week anyway. I hope you find the ornaments at your Target. They are so cute!! Sorry for enabling-lol-but at least it is all affordable stuff :)

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  14. That's a great picture of your son!

    I've definitely been caught up in the decorating and some of the other "stuff" that goes along with Christmas time. It's easy as a mom trying to do it all to forget sometimes about these simple moments that really do matter the most.

    Thank you for taking the time to post this because we all need that reminder every once in a while to slow down and just take it all in.

    Also, I did have to make a Target run for the cute truck and camper ornaments. :) I found a bunch more while I was there to bring home for our tree in the loft. I wanted a little bit of that rustic woodland theme and they had the cutest selection. Now I just need to get to a World Market soon for the cookie jar.;) Too bad it's a little over an hour away.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this post, Tracey. I think it is so easy for us all too feel overwhelmed this time of year. Taking a break is usually the best way to gain new perspective. I am so glad to hear you found the ornaments at Target! They are my favorites this year. World Market is about 40 minutes away for me too, but I really do think this cookie jar was worth the ride. I kept mentioning the cookie jar to Billy, but I kept saying it was too far to drive just for a cookie jar. So he took it on himself to call the store to make sure they still had some in stock and told me to get in the car because we were going to World Market. LOL I think he just didn't want to hear about it anymore ;)

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  15. Oh My Goodness!!! That is precious that he did all that to make sure you got your cookie jar. So sweet!!!

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  16. I just found your blog while searching for a "have yourself a merry little Christmas" sign and yours is perfect. I have just spent the last hour looking back through all your great decorating ideas, ikea hacks, tablecloth curtains...I'm hooked! Would you mind sharing where you got your sign?

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    1. Hi Caroline! Thanks so much for taking the time to peek around my blog. The Christmas sign was from HomeGoods a couple of years back.

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