8 Fun Ways To Celebrate The Holidays As A Family

By De and Kate

Whether you started decking your halls as the clock struck midnight on November 1st or you’re waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up your tree, the holiday season is officially upon us! Starbucks’ red cups have arrived, the Hallmark channel has begun its annual ‘Countdown to Christmas’ and we have visions of sugar plums, ahem, cookies dancing in our heads. 

That being said, between all the festive get-togethers, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and decor, November and December have a tendency to fly by and we’re fumbling through “Auld Lang Syne” before we know it. Today, we’re rounding up 8 family-friendly ways to ring in the holidays and make the most of the season! 

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See Its Magic

By Kate Kole

I love writing, baking, and yoga. So much so that in my early days of blogging, I had a site called Baking In Yoga Pants, combining my love for the three. I’ve dreamt of doing each full-time. Sitting down daily to write a novel, opening a bakery, running a studio. 

During my yoga teacher training, we did an exercise where we jotted down all the things we wanted for our future lives inside a circle, and all the things we no longer wanted outside its perimeter. Of course, writing, baking, and yoga found their way inside my bubble. As did my husband, kids, dogs, and a house with a fenced in yard. The whole vision combined to create my utopia. 

The family and the home are part of my reality now. And yet, all too often, I find myself taking for granted those things I once dreamt of having. I get caught up in the everyday shuffle that comprises this chapter of life and am so busy looking down at the high chair that needs to be wiped, the floors that need to be vacuumed, the dog food bowls that need to be filled, and the laundry that needs to be folded, that I forget to look around. At the family we’ve created, the walls we’ve filled with memories, the traditions we’ve established, and the house that has become our home. 

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Is This The Bully Generation?

By Catherine Miele

Growing up in the 90s, I experienced my fair share of schoolhouse and playground “politics.”

I was bookish and introverted – often asked by my more extroverted and raucous peers, “why don’t you talk?” (Spoiler: I did talk and still do, though I usually find comfort in being the quiet observer rather than the vocal center.)

I stood back, afraid to speak up, I suppose, when classmates tied a less-popular boy to a tree with a jump rope (no physical harm done, although I can’t speak on any emotional toll) for their own entertainment.

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Forward / Back

By De Elizabeth

“X months forward, X months back.”

It sounds like a math equation, but it was really a mind game my best friend and I used to play in high school in order to gauge the passing of time. The summer after graduation, we measured the weight of the weeks ahead, counting down until I moved into my college dorm room, away from our hometown, away from the memories that had filled every free second of that final year of childhood. “Two months forward until August,” we concluded. “But two months ago was April. Wow, that feels forever ago. We have so much time left.”

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The Thing About My Yoga Mat

By Kate Kole

Relax your jaw. Soften your shoulders away from your ears. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Exhale out through your mouth. Set your intention. Fix your gaze. Be here now, I tell myself.

Noise escapes through the baby monitor and I look to see my toddler pull himself to a standing position in his crib. Turning off the device, I glance at the clock on our kitchen stove.

7 minutes”, I whisper. Good enough for today.

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For Now, The Brownie is Just a Brownie

By De Elizabeth

CW: Eating disorder and body image talk.

A few days ago, I enlisted the help of my 2-year-old while making a batch of brownies. (Actually, they were cookie-brownies: the kind from Annie’s that is essentially a brownie with a cookie on top — you’re welcome.) I helped her stir the mix, let her lick the spatula, and asked her to scoop the cookie dough with a little spoon. While it was baking, we turned the oven light on and she stood in front of the door, alternating between patient self-reminders of “they’re cooking!” and impatient exclamations of “wanna eat!” Once they were cooled, she tasted her very first cookie-brownie, somehow even more delicious I think, because she helped bake them.

There’s a lot I love about watching my daughter discover things about the world, but arguably one of the cutest is seeing her get excited about her favorite foods. A few weeks ago, I purchased a pack of muffins from the bakery, eliciting a squeal of “Ooooh a muffin!” She’ll announce everything on her plate at lunch — “PBJ! Cheese! Crackers!” — and she’s become inexplicably fascinated with one of my cookbooks, asking questions about everything she sees.

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Bumper Stickers Can Wait

By Kate Kole

It’s usually bumper stickers that start it.

I’ll be walking my son in his stroller, watching him pull at his socks and kick his legs happily as he woofs back at dogs in the neighborhood. I’m usually listening to a podcast about motherhood, nodding my head as the women I’ve self-declared as friends talk about how they do mornings and meal times and meet other moms.

I’ll catch a glimpse of a bumper sticker as a minivan rolls by. Something about dance or soccer. My mind will start to wander. I’ll begin imagining recitals and open fields. I’ll think of our blonde little boy chasing a ball. I picture buns and tutus. Orange slices and Gatorade. Cheering on sidelines and carpool lines. 

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The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety

By Becky Houdesheldt

While I sat rocking my daughter in her nursery last night, trying yet another position to get her to go back to sleep, I closed my eyes and rested my lips on her head. I tried to remind myself to relish the time with her while she’s small. She turns 5 months tomorrow, and I lost my first two months with her to postpartum anxiety.

My anxiety robbed me of enjoying my first weeks with her. I honestly thought I was on top of my symptoms. I wasn’t. I finally admitted I needed more help after I acknowledged I was experiencing intrusive thoughts, and it took me 5 weeks before I could get in to a postpartum specialist.

I couldn’t call my daughter by her name. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of fears and anxieties that I knew weren’t rooted in reality, but I couldn’t pull myself out of them. I felt out of control, out of touch, and at a loss. I returned to a new job after 6 weeks at home, and I was a mess.

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Her Life Isn’t Perfect Either

By Kate Kole

Communal restrooms and a shared cubicle for a bedroom were hardly my favorite part of dorm living in college. I habitually whispered “I’m sorry” to my roommate as I whipped up my morning smoothie before 8 am class. No need for an alarm clock when you have a blender on full speed just feet away from your bunk. 

That being said, what I’ve come to retrospectively appreciate, was the inability to fully hide anything. 

My friends knew when I had a hard day, because I had to cry somewhere. And unless I chose a dirty bathroom stall, privacy wasn’t really an option. Homesickness, insecurities, and academic struggles were on full display. 

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A True Ghost Story

By De Elizabeth

For years growing up, I believed I could talk to ghosts.

I attribute some of that supernatural inclination to the fact that I was obsessed with ghost stories as a kid; after reading The Baby-Sitters Club book when Dawn found a secret passageway in her house, I spent more time than I’ll ever admit knocking on walls in my childhood home, listening for a hollow sound on the other side. I was always the first to suggest the ouija board at sleepovers, even if we didn’t use it so much to summon spirits, but rather to ask if our crushes liked us back.

But mostly, I thought I could talk to ghosts because my best friend in third grade convinced me that I could. Or, more accurately, she could; I just listened.

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