More Holiday Fun in St. Louis!

The other day, the Artist and I exchanged gifts.  We always do this before the actual Christmas holiday because we are so busy visiting family, we like to have some private time to do our own celebrations- just the two of us.  The Artist knows me so well, and is so thoughtful ❤

He got me some knew slippers.  Sounds generic right?  Well my slippers are several years old and full of holes- I had to wear socks in them too.  So they were not only practical, they were so thoughtful.  He knew how much I loved cozy, soft things in general, and knew how much I would love the pattern on them and the tassels!

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And this hat- which I love.  The craziness of it, the pattern, the fluffy fur- he gets me.

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And some yarn for knitting.  He knew that my all-time favourite stuff to knit with is soft, thick yarn.  I don’t mind thinner yarn, but the thick stuff is my favourite.

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And he got me a stocking full of treats!

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Ring pops- because I had been wanting them lately, and couldn’t find any cherry.  Some dark chocolate including a bar from Trader Joe’s, because I had been eyeing them up recently.  A pack of bandages, because I am always scraping my knees, getting blisters on my feet and cutting my fingers.  This was intended as a joke, but I ended up scraping my finger the next morning!  And my very first nail polish!  Because I recently broke a life long habit of chewing my nails, and they are finally a reasonable length to paint.  I had this clear stuff that I got in high school and it is all gluey, and I had been wanting a coloured one.

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Before painting them.

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After painting them- notice the bandages lol!

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I got my Artist a coffee grinder and some Starbucks whole coffee beans, some Bailey’s, a decanter to hold brandy or whisky, some new juggling balls, and some odds and ends in his stocking like chocolate-coconut macaroons 🙂  Here is a photo of his coffee supplies and juggling with the new balls!

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Under the leg!

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He loves his coffee, and I knew he would love freshly ground beans every morning 🙂

He is so thoughtful.  He really gets me.  He really listens to me, and specifics about my tastes and preferences.  I feel so lucky to have a husband who is so in tune with me ❤

I also did some holiday baking, and of course made the Artist’s favourite- shortbread cookies.  I also made gingerbread cookies, some rice krispie squares, and some black bean brownies.  The brownies were mainly for me, as they are “healthified” and super gooey and chewy- a type of brownie the Artist isn’t partial to.  But my other treats were a hit 😉

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I am a little sad that Christmas in St. Louis is passing so quickly, but I am also excited to see family!  It is a bittersweet feeling.  Time seems to fly fast and faster which each coming month, and sometimes I just want things to slow down a little, to stop and smell the roses.  But time doesn’t slow down, only we can.  Which is why I try and savour the little pleasures together- like watching Home Alone in front of our lit up tree, enjoying mimosa’s and cheers-ing to celebrate so many things.

Cheers to a new year that is just as happy and fun as the last.

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Juggling.

So the Artist has learned how to juggle.

His current jugging items?  Rolled up socks, rolled in a fashion that they are in a ball shape.

His favourite time to practice?  As soon as I have brushed my teeth and crawled under the covers and close my eyes.  Just when I think he is about to crawl in with me I hear, “watch this!” or “look!”.

Sometimes he drops them, and they hit me in the head.

Now that he has mastered general juggling, and can do it with various items for a long period, throwing both high and low, he has moved on to learning tricks.

His current trick that he is trying?  Throwing under the leg.  This is when I get hit in the head the most.

He also likes to have me throw him on of the sock balls mid-juggle…usually at the time I am getting ready for bed.

Sounds like a bit of a nightmare, eh?

Well, here is the thing…..I often find myself slowing sitting up in bed.  Maybe propping a few pillows behind my head.  Smiling, and even laughing.  Because the thing of it is- it is just really cool and exciting to watch.  Try and master a few rounds of juggling socks without dropping them in 1 quick session….it is impossible.  Let alone being able to have sock balls tossed to you, being able to juggle and walk, or just keep going for a long period, making it look effortless.  You see, the Artist is unique.  He can learn things really quickly, especially things that are visual, and trial and error style.  Like, altering something a tiny bit, almost not at all, to therefore produce results.  For example, he can balance just about anything, on top of just about anything.  He can set up a crazy cause-and-effect chain where one thing hits another causing another thing to move and then another to do something else, and so on.  And it all has to be precise to the exact millimetre, or other smaller measurement.  The same goes for juggling.  He has to alter the height, speed, etc. by minuscule amounts to get a rhythm going.  And of course, he makes it look SO easy.  And SO fun.  Rachel, you know what I am talking about 😉  And then you try it because it looks so easy and fun and exciting, but it is not.  It is hard.  And you quickly get flustered because you can’t figure it out.

It is mesmerizing to watch.

It is so amazing how he can learn something, and his way of learning is so strange, and unconventional.  One day, he bought a guitar and fiddled with it and can now play it.  He did the same with a harmonica.

This quality, this gift he has, encourages and motivates me to try new things.  To simply play- something we don’t do enough as adults.  And I realize adult life is jammed packed with work, family, logistics like cooking and paying bills, but I find taking 30 minutes to watch the Artist juggle, laugh our faces off, and spend the time together, is more rejuvenating then anything else.  Who says we have to spend hundreds of dollars at the spa to reenergize?  Even spending 10 minutes giggling as we try to squirt water into our mouths holding a straw above our face and aiming it- clearly making a mess….takes our minds off of the stress of day to day things.  Another time we were making silly faces, and having the other person try and copy it, making the faces harder and harder to do- the Artist has crazy control of his facial muscles- I am talking Jim Carrey style.  So it is can be challenging.

I find it is a common expression to say something like, “remember the old days?” or something like that, how children spend their free time playing and such instead of household work or waiting on hold to get someone out to fix your internet connection.

Ever wonder why kids are so happy and energized 24/7?  Try playing, being silly, giggling, or anything of the like, and you will see why.

For some reason, right before bed is a popular time for us to do silly things, or late at night in general.  And spending 10 minutes doing this is enough to get really into it, and not want to go to bed, not caring how early you have to wake up, or what errands you have to do on your lunch break.

Sound familiar?  I remember when I was a kid I used to play and goof around while I was supposed to be brushing my teeth, in some sort of weird imagination game, and my mom would tell me how early I had to get u for school so I had to get to sleep.  Or that I needed my sleep, because of a big test in the morning or skating practice.  But in that moment, all I cared about, all I wanted to do, was continue my little game, and not care about the early morning, the test, or the practice.

Getting lost in the act of playing, isn’t easy at first.  But you will find it.  And it will be the best de-stressing tool in your self-care toolkit.

It is true what they say, laughter is the best medicine.

Here is my Artist jugging ❤

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Look at this adorable face <3

Look at this adorable face ❤

Holidays in St. Louis!

So the Artist had a nice 3 days off school and work, followed by the weekend.  We started off by using a gift card we had to an Italian bakery near by and enjoyed these treats!  The chocolate drizzled coconut macaroons were probably the best I have ever had.

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Then, my mom calls me and asks if I have check the mail lately.  I say no, and run out to the mailbox, which is just outside our door, look.  There was a parcel notice in there!  I had to wait until Monday, but was waking Steve up first thing that morning so we could go and get it- I was so excited to receive yet another parcel from home.  It was full of Christmas supplies and festive items- my favourite!!!  Very similar to Halloween box of goodies sent earlier.  There were Christmas socks (as I imitate my best Mr. Bean impression, and yes, I still love Mr. Bean), cherry candy canes (because I don’t like peppermint ones), Christmas cards, oven mitts, coasters, tree decorations, fridge magnets, the works!

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And there was an advent calendar, and not just any, but this one contained chocolates from Laura Secord.  It is my first time trying that kind, and boy are they awesome.  Very high quality chocolate, and really creamy and delicious.  I have such a great family, and a huge shout out to my mom for going through the trouble and mailing this parcel ❤

After a day at home full of cleaning and organizing and relaxing, I heard a strange noise coming from the other room.  I go and check.  It is the Artist carving a wood sculpture with old knives.  You would think I would be shocked, but I am not.  Me finding the Artist doing strange things like this is our norm.  I came home the other day and there was a stool type thing in the bathroom, that is normally in our living room.  I couldn’t figure out what it was there for….the Artist later informs me it was to prop up the mirror so he could see the back of his head to cut his hair.  Ha!  What a guy.  I love his shenanigans.  They never get old and always surprise me.  That is one thing I love about our relationship, and something that I think really keeps us going strong and in love every single day- constantly surprising each other.  It is not as easy as it sounds, try and think about the last time your significant other surprised you, or you surprised them.  Not easy, eh?  Making an effort for little surprises are a big deal. For example, the Artist knows how much I like a tidy bedroom and the bed made because I feel more relaxed without stuff strewn across the room.  Tidiness around me helps me feel calm.  So he surprises me by making the bed, or staging a teddy bear in a funny way that he will know I will see when I get home.  Or sometimes when I leave early in the morning, and he is still sound asleep, I leave a little love note where I know he will see it- like by his glasses, coffee pot, or toothbrush.  Surprising each other, acknowledging these efforts, and expressing gratitude, in my opinion, is extremely important in a marriage.  Communication is key.  The Artist often surprises me with his skills and creativity.  He had no wood carving tools, but he somehow still made it work.

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Then we cleared off our older bookshelf and neatened it up, I love the raw, unfinished look of it.

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The Artist had recently made another bookshelf from mostly scrap pieces of wood, and so we filled it up with all the books that were stacked on our floor.

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And now we could actually sit in this chair because it is no longer full of books!  We still need some small tables to replace the milk crates holding our records, and to set our record player on.  I am sure we will have more scraps in no time.

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Then of course, as per my previous post, we went to the Thanksgiving Day parade downtown St. Louis.  There, we were given a Visa gift card.  We decided to pair that with our coupons and have a feast at Red Lobster.  We got an appetizer, two salads, a soup, the Artist got a large draft beer and for his entree he got a platter of lobster, scallops, shrimp, rice, and broccoli, I got a chicken pasta that had at least 2 full chicken breasts on it, and we got a dessert.  And unlimited cheddar bay biscuits.  Not to mention the two extra sides of lobster tail.  The bill would have been $95 plus tax and tip.  With coupons and a gift card, we paid only $26.  Go ahead, applaud me 😉  How awesome is that?!  I know, I know, we are on a tight budget, but how could we not get such delicious food for so cheap?  We decided to treat ourselves.  Let just, I was uncomfortably full before my entree even came, that is how full I was.  We took a lot of leftovers home, at least 3 meals just out of my pasta dish alone.  We did a little Black Friday looking around, but clearly, I can get an awesome deal any time of the year.  We both hate the crowds and crammed shopping spaces, so we didn’t last long, and didn’t find anything worth the hassle.

We also did some home cooking, and went to a studio visit of local artist, and bought our Christmas tree and decorating the apartment.  In addition to these photos, I have towels and soaps and socks and pyjamas that are festive as well 🙂

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Dancing? Christmas tunes were playing and I was loving it 🙂 I may look silly here, but I had a wonderful time decorating the tree.

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Today, I decide to put some candy canes on the tree.  Cherry of course 😉

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The only thing missing is trekking out in the snow and cold weather with my mom and aunt to do Christmas shopping, being in the hustle and bustle of things, and going out to lunch- especially to East Side Marios.  Or the food court in the mall, and we all get different things.  Then getting home at all hours of the night with our goods and unloading and wrapping chit chatting.

Soon enough!  I can’t wait to see everyone during the holidays.

Family is so important to me.

Happiness is contagious.