New Holiday Traditions

cutting the tree

I am one of those people who is ready for Pumpkin Spice Lattes during the last week of August and plays Christmas music the last week of October. I get so excited for holiday traditions and am so ready for the next season by the time the current season is ending that I can’t seem to reel in my excitement. This year, I really told myself that I would wait until mid-November to turn on Christmas tunes. That’s when the radio stations start playing Christmas music, so it seems like a socially safe bet, right? As Halloween crept up, I talked myself into waiting until at least November 1. But, no, I started playing the very old Christmas classics – Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Chuck Berry, Ella, Cash, Perry Como – right after my birthday. I need to accept that every November 1 – or sooner!, I start the holiday celebrations. It’s a tradition.

I love traditions. Growing up, they created the great memories of my childhood, whether it was the Saturday nights listening to the “oldies” station while driving to my at my aunt and uncle’s cabin on the river, sitting outside by the river roasting s’mores at the bonfire, or driving around looking at Christmas light displays in the station wagon with my family (and so many more). One of my absolute favorite traditions was our family being assigned another family at church to “secret Santa”. We would bake and drop off cookies and treats at the family’s door, ring the bell, and run! Traditions are so great. They are reliable. Comfortable. Exciting. Unique and personal. They fill me up with a sense of joy and brightness, and most importantly, they create happy memories.

And I want my girls to have happy childhood memories.

 

I sent off an email to family earlier this month asking what the holidays plans were shaping up to be. I found myself telling everyone that Nathan and I would be hosting our “third annual” prime rib Christmas dinner, and I thought to myself, third annual?!  That’s officially a tradition, right?! The first year we started this, Maxine was about seven weeks old and my in-laws were visiting for the holidays. We didn’t want to go anywhere for any holiday that year and decided to invite everyone to our house for Christmas. It was so much fun that we decided to do it last year as well. We expect to continue to host Christmas dinner for any family or friend who wants a warm home to celebrate the holiday.

After giving traditions some thought, I listed all the fun activities we plan to participate in for the third year in a row.

  • Nathan, Maxine and I went for breakfast and then cut down our Christmas tree;
  • Maxine makes her third trip to visit Santa in downtown Seattle this weekend;
  • We will make a drive with hot cocoa to marvel at the neighborhood Christmas light displays; and,
  • Maxine gets an ornament for the tree that represents her year (this year, it’s a shark, which has been her big obsession), which she will be able to take with her when she starts her own Christmas traditions one day.

We have some new activities this year that I hope become traditions now that Maxine is two and old enough to participate: baking Christmas cookies; giving boxes of cookies to friends, neighbors and family; participating in Operation Christmas Child; making a new Christmas tree ornament; and, opening a daily advent calendar. I was planning on doing the Elf on the Shelf, but I prefer to make it about kindness, and that is something I feel we can work on year-long, not exclusively at Christmas.

Have you considered your favorite traditions as a child? What traditions do you have as an adult?

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Birthday 39

I turned 39 yesterday. I remember getting ready to turn 30, and my older/wiser friends told me that the 30s is really where it’s at. You know more. You do more. The sex is better. Seriously. They were like, You will love the 30s!

Turning 30 for me was a baptism of sorts. My 20s had been really difficult and challenging. There was a lot of bad dating. Bad jobs. Bad friends. Family drama. Some death (not related to the aforementioned issues). Interestingly–and thankfully, there was no heavy drinking or drugs, but lots of counseling. It took me almost the entire decade to get my shit together in general. So, by my 30th birthday, I was freshly graduated from college and hunting for that forever job, and that seemed like the perfect time to start new. My long-term relationship was ending, and while being unemployed and single at 30 sounds like a rough way to begin a new decade, I decided that it was going to be a new start. I really, really needed a new start.

It was a very optimistic time for me. I had a lot of hope that things would quickly look up and that I would start making better decisions for my life.

30th Birthday
On my 30th birthday with friends and family. L-R: Shawn, Munyaka, Scott, Me, Kari, and Nicole

And that’s how I entered my 30s. I found a job. And then an even better job not long after. I bought a new car. I moved into an amazing view apartment on the hill of a hip, busy neighborhood of Seattle, close to work and lived there for five years. I dated. I had so many fun adventures and enjoyed time with my friends. I really loved my life. And it only got better when I met my husband, got married, and had Maxine.

For me, one of the best parts of hitting these big milestones in the 30s is that I’ve had my fun. I’ve grown up. I know more. I have more life experiences. And those are things I take into marriage and being a mother. Besides that, I am WAY too tired to go drink with friends, or stay up late doing anything.

Sarah Morrow

Now that I am officially in my last year of the 30s, I feel qualified to say that, yes – it’s true: The 30s are so fun. I will walk away from this decade feeling refreshed and blessed. I am ready to see what the 40s have waiting for me next year!

 

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Fall-ing Back In

Here we are, well into Fall, and I haven’t made a single post since June. I have a somewhat good excuse though.

Baby Flora

Baby Girl Morrow #2 is cooking and preparing for a February arrival!

Maxine turns two in one week, so the timing is actually really great and what he hoped for – close in age without being too close. My first reactions, of course, were Yay! and Oh Crap! Maxine has been a very busy, active, and determined toddler with a very distinct idea of what she wants. Listening is probably not one of her stronger traits, and she sort of laughs in the face of discipline. So the thought of having another kid frightened me in a small way. We had basically decided to stop trying for a second baby, and then, BOOM.

I had planned for the summer to be full of hiking, fresh air, waterfalls, and snacks by rivers with Maxine. Instead, I was on the sofa for two months with crackers and ginger ale with fairly severe nausea and morning sickness while my toddler wreaked havoc on the living room. Thankfully, toward the end of August, we were able to hit a few public parks with wading pools and spray pads, but it was a fairly uneventful summer, otherwise.

Fall is, of course, my favorite season, so I’m happy to be feeling mostly better and complication-free. (And, honestly, as much as I love the Fall, I am so jazzed that we get to cut down a Christmas tree in less than a month – we’re mid-November tree-cutting people. This week is full with pumpkin carving, cookie baking, preparing the house to celebrate Maxine’s second birthday on Saturday, and Halloween. And it seems that with the conclusion on Halloween, so is it the conclusion of Fall as the holidays move in to take over.

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Maxie’s Mix

Maxie's Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

This is a great protein-rich toddler trail mix with bites small and soft enough for little mouths with new molars. The golden raisins give a touch of sweetness while the berries add color and fun. The nuts and coconut shavings used in this recipe are raw and unsalted/unseasoned, but you can choose to use roasted, salted nuts and simply omit the salt from the seasoning if you'd like. Make it work for you!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut shavings
  • handful of toasted macadamia nuts, chopped into quarters
  • handful of freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix the allspice and salt together. Set aside.

In a dry non-stick frying pan, toast the nuts separately (pine nuts, macadamia nuts) as the pine nuts will likely toast more quickly than the macadamia nuts. Watch the nuts carefully as they tend to toast rapidly! Once the nuts are finished toasting, toast the coconut, also watching for rapid toasting.

Add the first five ingredients to a medium bowl, mixing thoroughly. Add the seasoning mix and toss until everything is well coated.

Serve!

http://www.officialmorrows.com/maxies-mix/

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