Go Ask Your Father: Mirrors, Teddy Bears, Brain Messages, and House Water

Sweet Baby Jesus… Thank God it’s Friday! Did anyone else feel like this week was longer the 2016 presidential election? I swear the Universe had some kind of  time malfunction. Her clock was running a bit behind. Time does move slower the faster you go so maybe we went farther. Anyway, here in Canadaland this is a long weekend. Monday is Family Day. What do you think would be a good family day family activity to do with the family? (Did I say family, enough times?)

1. What color are mirrors?

Mirror, mirror on the way, who is the fairest of them all? Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris, the Canadian gold medal winners for mixed couples curling, are pretty cute. I don’t have a talking mirror, though. So the only way I know who the “fairest of them all is” is when DW is standing in front of it. What color is a mirror, anyway? Any color that is put in front of it. I had to look up how mirrors are made to find this one. Turns out they’re silver. Technically, they start as a window, a clear piece of glass. Then they spray it with demineralized water to clean it. It’s sprayed with liquefied tin. Silver is spray atop the tin because silver won’t stick to glass. As the liquid silver sets it hardens and takes on the reflective properties needed for a perfect selfie. A layer of copper is sprayed on to protect the silver and it’s all baked at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The backside of it is painted and it’s all set for the fairest of them all.

2. Why are they called Teddy Bears?

The story I told Crash at bedtime when he asked went something like this. An American president a long time ago, named Theodore Roosevelt went by the nickname of Teddy. For a reason unbeknownst to me, created a stuffed animal that was a bear. People called it a Teddy bear. I was close. Right church, wrong pew. Theo did not create the stuffed animal. Instead its origins are from a bear hunt he attended. After 3 days he had not spotted a bear. So the hunt guides tracked down a bear, tied it to a tree and showed it to the President. Theo, seeing that it was wounded and tied to a tree couldn’t shoot it, deemed it inhumane. However, he did have killed to end its suffering. Political cartoonist, Clifford Berryman, drew a cartoon illustrating the President’s refusal to shoot the bear. That bear appeared in later cartoons by the cartoonist. Then Morris Michtom, a candy shop owner in Brooklyn, NY saw the cartoon and, with permission to call them Teddy’s Bears, put two stuffed bears his wife had made, in the front window of his shop. They became so popular he started mass producing them.

3. How does our brain send messages to the rest of our body?

Email? Text? Binary code? Shouting “HEY!” Really, I have no idea. Other than the brain using synapses and neurons and sending signals through our nervous system to the body part that needs to move (like my fingers across the keyboard). Your brain, spinal chord, and a tremendous length of nerves throughout your body all work together to give you that “human experience”. There are 2 kinds of nerves, sensory and motor. The sensory nerves send messages to the brain in regards to our senses, touch, temperature, pain, etc… Motor nerves send signals from the brain to our muscles either voluntarily or reflexively. If you’re wondering how it works on the molecular level, you’ll have to ask your friendly, neighborhood neurologist because I don’t understand neurons and synapses and stuff.

4. How does water get from the water tower into our house?

Magic. Just open the tap and out comes fresh, clean water we can drink (though we filter it anyway). We have several water towers around town.  Water is collected from the lake, cleaned, filtered and pumped though the water pipes that are networked through town by pumping stations. The pumping stations provide the pressure required to push the water through the pipes so that it comes out of the sink, the tub, the toilet, or the hose when want it to. There’s something for you to think about when you’re standing in front of your silver mirror, telling your brain to move your arm while holding your toothbrush while water flows from the faucet.

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all mirrors start as a window anyway…

 

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Questions I Asked My Kids: Ep63

Have you ever longed for bedtime? Not for yourself, but for your kids. PLEASE! Can it be bedtime now? I know they have only been home from school for 17 seconds, but can I send them to bed anyway? Getting in the truck to come home from school Crash hit Bang on the head with the truck door (accidentally) when he was trying to get in his brother’s side of the truck instead of his own. At home, I send them outside to play since it was sunny and warm. Crash took my GoPro with him to video himself skateboarding. Bang runs into him with his bike and breaks the frame that holds the camera. They come inside because apparently it’s no fun outside without a camera. So they try to play inside but all we hear is “Watch me.” “Watch this.” “Watch watch watch.” We watch some, but they certainly don’t need an audience for everything they do.

It’s 9:34pm. Guess where they finally are? You can probably tell from all the silence around here…

As always, feel free to ask your heathens these questions. Just be sure to tag me so I can read their answers.

1. What are you good at now?

Crash: Playing Beyblade, snuggling stuffies, and being annoying
Bang: Running

2. What will you be good at when you grow up?

Crash: Taking pictures like a photographer
Bang: Serving pizza, which means I’m being a chef

 

3. How old do you wish you could be?

Crash: 25
Bang: Nobody can live this long but I want to be a million

4. What 3 things would you take to a deserted island?

Crash: Video games, infinite food, and everything required to survive in the wild
Bang: Some food to eat, a ginormous jug of water, and some dessert – ice cream

5. The world just turned into Legos. What do you build first?

Crash: I don’t know, but I would build lots!
Bang: I would build a giant Lego person

6. Did you have a dream last night?

Crash: I had this one crazy dream that me, my friends had Pokemon and they weren’t just cards, they were real Pokemon. We battled for a long time and it boys vs. girls and one of the girl’s Pokemon scratched me and I used Sing and her Pokemon fell asleep. And this is craziest part… My teacher and brother show up to make another team! My team won, though.
Bang: Nope, I stayed awake all night. I just laid there with my eyes open like I do every single night.

7. What 2 animals would be funny to combine?

Crash: Dinosaur and a pig
Bang: A moose and an elephant and it’s called a mooselephant

8. What is your favorite word?

Crash: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Bang: I like to say dab

 

9. What is love?

Crash: It’s family and stuff, like girlfriends and boyfriends and husbands and wives
Bang: I love mom because I fell in love with her but I don’t know what it means to fall in love

10. What’s your favorite game to play in gym class?

Crash: Soccerbaseball
Bang: Hockey and soccer baseball (aka kickball)

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Becoming Dad

I always knew I was going to be a dad some day. I don’t know when exactly I determined that, though. It probably wasn’t until my university days that I entertained that thought. Before that I was just a free spirit. A happy wanderer. A lone wolf looking for a pack.

Because of the parents I had, I thought I knew what kind of dad I would be. I would be the dad who played, the dad who disciplined, the dad who got shit done. It probably wouldn’t get done in a timely manner, mind you, but it would get done.

I was going to parent like my parents did. I would allow my kids to think they were acting on their own when in reality I would be watching from a distance. I wasn’t going to be a helicopter or snow plow, or tiger mom dad. I wasn’t going to be free-range, mind you, but somewhere in the middle. I was going to be involved, too. I wanted to be there to watch them succeed, fail, or just plain try.

I was glad I was a teacher before I became a dad. I learned to discipline other people’s kids before I had to discipline my own. Not that it mattered because discipline comes in as many flavors as there are kids. There is much debate between which consequences work best. Seriously, there is no one size fits all. But that’s for another post, entirely.

Of all the things I was going to be as a dad, the one I nailed is being involved. Not in a helicopter way. I’m just there. When they’re getting ready for school in the morning or ready for bed in the evening I’m there prodding them along. When they’re playing a sport, I’m there to watch. When they have a school performance, I’m there to see them. When there are parent/teacher nights, I go. DW is with me all the way. Or I’m with her all way.

We’re in this gig called parenting together.

However, when I imagined myself being a dad before I was dad, back when I was a clueless twenty something, I didn’t imagine myself being quite as involved as I actually am today. My kids would love school because their parents are teachers. My kids would love helping out around the house because we would include them in such chores from an early age. My kids would be polite, respectful, hard working, smart, and a plethora of spectacular superlatives. Whenever I imagined what my kids would be like, I think God giggled a little bit.

I didn’t imagine I’d have a kid having ADD and needing constant supervision because he’d be a task avoider. He knows what he needs to do, he just doesn’t do it. I didn’t imagine my kid throwing a temper tantrum the size of a Philadelphia Superbowl riot. How dare I make a pancake without chocolate chips? We never imagine that stuff before we become parents. They don’t teach you that stuff in school. They don’t write about that stuff in books, or at least not in the books I read.

What To Expect When You Don’t Expect Your Kid To Be Different From What You Expect.

I learned to be a dad from my Dad. I learned to be a parent from my parents. They set a pretty good example, too. They had awesome kids though, so they had it “easy”. I wish I had it as easy as my parents did. Perhaps I do because I really don’t know their struggles as parents back then because I was just a kid. You can’t imagine #ParentingStruggles when you are a Terrible Two or a Threenager or even a Teenager, for that matter.

The Fresh Prince knew what he was saying when he said “Parents just don’t understand”. Well, neither do kids.

So, to my parents, I want to say thank you for teaching me to parent by example. To my kids, thank you for testing my parenting ability. One day, you two will understand why your mother and I do what we do.

Kids

Lucy At Home

Questions I Asked My Kids: Ep61

January was a slow month. It only had 9 posts. February will be different. I’ll kick it into high gear. Or at least a couple gears higher. Preferably not reverse or neutral. But I’ll save those stats for Monday’s State of Blog Address.

As for tonight, I’m going to enjoy the silence that is as sweet as the birthday cake flavored ice cream I’m eating. The kids are finally in bed. Putting them to bed is akin to wrestling gators. The gators don’t like it and by the time you’re done you’re both lucky to have survived.

But for now, here are a few laughs…

1. How old is the Earth?

1200px-nasa_blue_marbleCrash: Over a million years old, that’s for sure. Probably over 10 million years old.
Bang: 6 million 10 hundred years old

 

2. What’s the worst thing about being sick?

Crash: That I have to have a box of tissues by my side as a friend
Bang: Barfing a lot and it doesn’t feel good on your throat

3. What’s the best thing about being sick?

Crash: That Dad lets you go on his computer for 3 or 4 hours.
Bang: You get to stay home and not go to school

4. What should we do this weekend?

Crash: Go to Belize like a girl in my class
Bang: Get pieces of metal and wood and dig in the basement to make a Beyblade Burst arena

5. What two animals would you like to combine together?

Crash: An elephant and a pig
Bang: A cat and a sheep

6. What was your favorite part of the book “Wonder”?

Crash: When he was going to dress up as Boba Fett or when went on the field trip.
Bang: When Amos knocked over Eddie because Eddie was being mean to Auggie

7. What would you do with a million dollars?

Crash: Take a trip on a Disney Cruise
Bang: I’d buy a lot of puppies and a lot of cats

8. How many M&M’s can you fit in your mouth at one time?

Crash: Lots.
Bang: Probably 2 million 3 hundred but I wouldn’t because I want them to last

9. How do you know you’ve met the one you want to marry?

Crash: When the he likes the she and the she likes the he
Bang: Because they’re pretty and she thinks you’re pretty and your boyfriend and girlfriend

 

10.What does it mean to be married?

Crash: To start a family
Bang: When you kiss and stay together forever

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Or you find a Coke that says so…

Even When It’s Not Easy

I read in a book that when given the choice between right and being kind we should always choose to be kind. Both boys understood that concept. Wouldn’t it be great if we could teach it to the whole world?

I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here. You, my reader, are kind. You probably show kindness wherever you can, whenever you can, to everyone you can. I don’t need to tell you not to judge others because they wear mismatched socks, or yell at their kids, or cut you off on the highway, or took the last bag of storm chips. I don’t need to tell you to use words of encouragement, to lift others’ spirits, or how a smile can change someone’s day. I think my readership already understands the power of kindness.

You do, don’t you?

However, the words”you can” from that last paragraph leaves us a bit of a loophole, doesn’t it? If you can, you do. If you can’t, you don’t. It is really tough to show kindness that arsehole who just told you you’re a bad parent. It’s really tough to show kindness to the jerk who just flipped you the bird. It’s really tough to show kindness to the idiot who just drove a front loader through your house. But if you can, be kind.

I see it as paying it forward. I’m kind to someone and in return they’re kind to someone else. Eventually, that chain of kindness will return to me. Or you. Or all of us. I think that’s how karma works.

I can honestly say, as much as the boys can drive us absolutely mental sometimes, one thing they fully understand is kindness toward others. Crash looks out for his classmates with special needs. He makes sure they get outside safely when the fire alarm scares them. He sees that they have all their belongings while they’re on field trips. Bang knows how people people laugh. He has adopted all the ladies of the church choir as friends. Sure, they can be total jerks to each other. They’re brothers. However, when it comes to others, I’m proud of them.

*Kindness is one of the greatest attributes one’s character can possess.

*An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

*When you lift others up, you also lift yourself.

Please share your favorite quote on kindness in the comment section. It can even be one you made up…

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All That Jazz

It’s over.

The tree is down. The inside lights are mostly down. I left the winter scene atop the bookshelf because it’s one of my favorites. The outside light are still up because it’s colder than Hell out there.

In Hell, Norway it’s currently 0C. It’s -9C with a windchill of -15 here.

See? Colder than Hell.

My last posting was The Daily Elf on December 21st. You see, my parents arrived on the 22nd and the blog got put on hold. It really doesn’t seem like a week has passed since we were opening gifts. For their arrival, we got a giant refigerator box, wrapped it in wrapping paper, and stuck a bow on it. Shortly before my parents got here we sent the boys to DW’s mom’s house. When my parents got here, we had the box in the living room by the tree and in it my parents went. Then the boys came home and unwrapped them.

Seriously, if you are in need of a smile, go watch the short video. The boys had no idea what they were were unwrapping.

Bang was stuck to my mother all week long. Every chance he got he was snuggling her.

We got to do some stuff while they were here, though certainly not all that we wanted. They got to go ice skating with the boys. Or at least my dad did. My mom has a tendency to break her ankles, so we kept her off the ice. She got to watch them, though. They got to see Bang sing with his church choir friends at Christmas Eve mass. They got to open presents with two three very excited boys. DW’s mom and stepdad joined us and we had a big unwrapping fest. We enjoyed a big Christmas turkey that my parents brought with them. They made their traditional trip to Baddeck. They never come to Cape Breton without going to Baddeck. We also took them candlepin bowling. Bowling in Canada is a little different than it’s American cousin. The pins are tall and skinny and the balls are the size of softballs and you get three rolls. The 6 year old won both games.

My brother-in-law and his family arrived Boxing Day (that’s the day after Christmas). The boys love playing with their cousins. There were 12 people in our house! I would call it a happy chaos.

The night before Nana and Pop Pop (my parents) left for their 1100 mile drive home, Crash and Bang said good bye to them. Bang quickly gave them hugs and tried to hurry to the basement. When I stopped him I could see his eyes get watery and his lip quiver and suddenly he couldn’t hold it in any more. He sat hugging his grandmother with tears flowing and heaving sobs. He managed to bring tears to a few eyes that evening. His only consolation was that he could call them via Facetime. And he has done so every day. Even to read them a story at bedtime.

When the kids woke last Friday morning, my parents had already left. DW’s brother and his family left around noon. Bang suited up and was ready to leave with them because they were stopping at McDonalds for lunch. Suddenly we had gone from a 12 person house to 4. It was strangely quiet. I wanted the noise back. The noise meant the holidays weren’t over. The noise meant family. Like Seuss said, “It’s not what’s under the tree that matters, it’s who’s around it.”

Our family may have left, but the New Year is here, now. Hello 2018. Time to get back to our version of normal. The tree is down. The inside lights are are down. The decorations are down. The elves, Woody and Elfis, are back at the North Pole thinking of new ways to cause mischief. Christmas is packed away for another year.

However, I still have Christmas spirit, joy, and all that jazz in my heart.

Questions I Asked My Kids: Ep 58

I think I can let the cat out of the bag now. My parents are joining us for Christmas this year! They are serious about their traveling. Hence they left at 2:30 in the morning so they could drive for about 14 hours in one day. They have stopped for the night and will be here around lunch time tomorrow. To say that I’m excited would be an understatement. The boys know nothing about them coming. It has been so hard keeping the secret, but the secret is safe. Just before they get here we’ll send the boys to DW’s mom’s (three house up the street). We got a refrigerator box to wrap with Christmas paper to hide them in to surprise the boys. I can’t wait to see their reaction. You will get to read all about to tomorrow. There will be video, too. Now to get these questions done and get a bit more cleaning done!

Whoo Hooo!!

1. How can you tell if two people are married?

Crash: If the girl has a ring or you catch them kissing. Actually, no, they may not be married.
Bang: I hear a big kiss happen… it’s really loud

2. What do mom and dad have in common?

Crash: You both fart, have glasses and Fitbits
Bang: You both have really hairy legs and you both wear jeans a lot

3. When is okay to kiss someone?

Crash: Either at a marriage or anytime after that or shortly before that
Bang: When you’re getting married or under a mistletoe

4. How do you make a marriage work?

Crash: Don’t make your gf/bf angry before you’re married because then it’ll be cancelled
Bang: Just like them and want to live with them forever

5. How many elves does Santa have working for him?

Crash: 1,347
Bang: 7 billion

6. What is Santa’s favorite food?

Crash: Most likely cookies
Bang: meat pie with tomato soup and garlic bread

7. Why did Dad marry Mom?

Crash: Because you love her and she’s a good helper and looked like she would get her kids to do stuff.
Bang: Because you were both pretty

8. Why did Mom marry Dad?

Crash: Because she loved you and you were funny and cool
Bang: Because she thinks you’re handome

9. What’s the funniest thing that you have ever done?

Crash: At school yesterday there was a sing-a-long with Christmas songs with a teacher who could play guitar and we made a remix and it was funny
Bang: I drank mom’s really thick, gross coffee milk (35% heavy whipping cream)

10. What is something we should do over Christmas break?

Crash: Go sledding and use my skis for my scooter
Bang: Build an igloo if there is snow

Go Ask Your Father: Purples, Depths, A Weight, and TVs

You don’t need a calendar to know that Christmas is approaching. There are Christmas decorations and Christmas baking. There are Christmas concerts, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas songs, Christmas sweaters and Christmas socks. There are also kids (and dads) around the world bouncing off the walls, quite literally, with excitement. There are also Christmas questions…

1. Why is everything purple?

Once upon a time purple was Bang favorite color. He had purple shorts and purple shoes. He loved to color with the purple crayon. We could have named him Harold (bonus points if you know Harold and his purple crayon). The answer to everything being purple isn’t because of a crayon, though. Thank God. Purple is color of everything churchy these days. It is the color of advent (and lent). In the Catholic church purple is the sign of penance, sacrifice and preparation. Purple is also the color of royalty and wealth as it was once very expensive to produce. In the story of Jesus a purple cloak was draped over his bleeding shoulders to mock him as a king.

2. How do ships know how deep the water is?

Did you hear about the paddle sale at the boat store? I heard it was quite an oar deal! Boats know the depth using sound waves (a lot like ocean waves except smaller, invisible and made of sound). Since we know the speed of sound through water (roughly the same speed Christmas morning will be over), we can determine how far it travelled before being bounced back. There’s a lot of science involved, but all you need to know is the material’s density, compressibility and temperature. We know all this about the ocean, so a ship’s sonar bounces sound waves off the bottom of the ocean and measures how long it took the echo to return and presto bango, you know the depth.

3. How much does the Earth weigh?

Nevermind the Earth for a minute. A butcher is 6 feet tall with blue eyes. What does he weigh? Meat. He weighs meat! Now imagine if you had a scale big enough to set the Earth on, how much would the Earth weigh? Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch. It’s weightless in the near vacuum of space. However, using math, science, the laws of gravity, fancy formulas and figuring the densities of the various materials we know the Earth weighs 1.31668×1025 lbs. For those of you who aren’t quite sure what that means, its 13,166,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds. Say it with me: 13 septillion 166 sextillion 800 quintillion pounds. It also happens to be the same weight of all the junk food I plan on eating over the next two weeks…

4. You had TV when you were a kid?

First, the backstory. The boys are into this cartoon called “Teen Titans, Go!”. Apparently it’s based on a 2003 show that is based on an ’80’s comic book. In this show, Robin, Raven, Starfire, Beastboy, and Cyborg battle numerous “bad guys”. In one of the episodes they revisited the old ’80’s Robin cartoon and children we’re witness to watch TV animation used to be. This question arose when I informed the boys that that was what my cartoons looked like when I was their age. Yes, heathen, I had TV in the 80’s. TV was actually available in crude, experimental form in the late 1920. It became widely popular after improved black and white broadcasting became available after WWII and during the 1950’s. The first televised sitcom (according to Wikipedia) was Mary Kay and Johnny in 1948. The first televised football game occurred 9 years prior in 1939 by NBC. It was a college game Waynesburg vs. Fordham and it’s estimated that it reach about a thousand television sets (scientifically that’s 1×10^3). That’s how many M&M’s I can fit in my belly. In case you were wondering, the Fordham Rams won 34-7.

For more follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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I get to hold the remote. DW says what show to put on.

Questions I Asked My Kids: Ep 56

These questions were lifted from episode 7 of last December. That was the year of selfie toaster. This is the year of the sweetheart sweatshirt.

1. What is your favorite thing to do during winter?

Crash: Have a snowball fight and make our big igloo
Bang: Build snowmen

2. What do you want to get your brother for Christmas?

Crash: A Lego mini figure, tape and a huge coloring books with the giant pages
Bang: Bey Blades

3. What has been your favorite thing that Woody and Elfis has done so far?

Crash: I liked when Elfis trapped Woody under a glass and wrote HAHA on it
Bang: Give us calendars with chocolate in the them

4. What 2 things do you want for Christmas?

Crash: Super Mario Oddessy and a Google Play gift card
Bang: Bey Blade Burst and a Hatchimal

5. What do you think Mom wants for Christmas?

Crash: Jewlery maybe? Peace and quiet, too
Bang: Jewlery and lipstick

6. What do you think Dad wants for Christmas?

Crash: Probably books and headphones for editing videos
Bang: Toy to play with me like a board game or something

7. How old is Santa Claus?

Crash: 73, but he’s probably way older than that…
Bang: 150

8. Why do we celebrate Christmas?

Crash: Because it’s Jesus’s birthday and that’s when our saviour was born
Bang: It’s Jesus’s birthday

9. If we made a snowman and he came to life, what would you want to do with him?

Crash: Have a snowball fight because having a snowball fight with a snowman isn’t something you see every day
Bang: Ride him like a sled

10. If Baby Jesus came to our house, what would you want to tell him?

Crash: If it was Christmas I would tell him Happy Birthday and thank you
Bang: I love you

Now hop your jolly old self over to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and follow me there, too…

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Do It the Way You Do It

I thought of writing about the true meaning of Christmas, but you already know that it is far better to give than it is to receive.

I thought of writing about how to make your kids understand that meaning, but I’m struggling to get my own kids to comprehend it.

I thought of writing about the traditions we have, but our traditions are changing. Plus, I’m as sure as the snow on the ground that you have your own traditions. For my south-of-the-equator friends, I’m as sure as the sand on the beach that your traditions are different than ours.

I thought of writing about how much I despise the commercialism of Christmas. Advertising starts at Halloween. We don’t need more and more and more and more…. But I’m sure you are tired of it all, too.

I thought of writing about Christmases past, but we all have our pasts. Good. Bad. Or otherwise. So really, I thought of writing about staying in the present (pun intended), but we’re all mindful of how present we need to be. With all that still needs to be done, it is difficult to do.

I though of writing about how tired we are with so much more do. Piled high atop of everything Christmas, there are still lunches to pack. There is laundry to wash, fold, and hopefully put away. We still need to eat breakfast and go to work. We still need to cook supper and clean up both meals and bathe the brats and read with them and get them into bed and start all over in the morning.

There are Christmas parties and Christmas concerts to attend.

I’m not writing about any of it because it’s all been written about before. It’s been written much more eloquently than I ever could, even with a thesaurus. Instead, I just want to gently remind you (and myself) to close your eyes, take a deep breath, then go do Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever it is you celebrate (or don’t celebrate) this time of the year. Whether you binge watch all the new Christmas movies or the classics, real tree or fake or no tree at all, with lots of family or just a little, at 5 in morning or 5 in the evening, with kids or a spouse or a partner or parents or all by yourself…

Do it the way you do it. It’ll be here and gone faster than we think. If we spend too much time dwelling on the way we want the world to be we will lose sight of those things I was going write about in the first place.

Anyway you do it, hop on over Twitter and Instagram and follow me. I don’t know where we’re going, but we’re having fun getting there!


Lucy At Home