Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas!

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As the year comes quickly to a close, I wanted to thank you so much for following along in my little corner of blogland.  I am so very thankful for the friendships I've made this year and for all of my readers who have provided so much encouragement! 

Just to let you know that the blog is going to be on Christmas Vacation starting Monday.  This is an incredibly busy and sacred time and I want to soak up everything I possibly can with my little family.  

I will relaunch on Monday, January 5th and be going full steam ahead when on Tuesday, we start our Tuesday Talk Link Party!  You won't want to miss it!

See you in the New Year, friends!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy to be Home for the Holidays!

This post was a guest post for the East Valley Moms' Blog.  Be sure to check them out for all things relating to the East Valley of Phoenix-they're a fantastic blog!
One of the things I first learned when I moved to Arizona 12 years ago from Canada was that nearly every person I met was a transplant.  In fact, until just a few years ago, I knew of just two people who were born here and still lived here as adults.  That’s changed some now that I live in pretty established North Central Phoenix neighborhood, but I vividly remember my days of living in Tempe and Ahwatukee knowing only people from the Midwest! 

Every Christmas, there was a mass exodus out of Arizona as we all returned “home” to our respective families and we would all reconnect in January.  There was so much comfort in those trips…reuniting with family and friends back home.  

Now that I have a little family of my own, my husband and I have opted to limit our holiday travel. I have spent several years a little uneasy with this decision because while I love NOT traveling in the thick of holiday season, I have taken a long time to feel settled here.  Some days it truly depends on which way the wind is blowing! I miss those big family dinners, those snow days, the time together with my parents or my in-laws.  I miss the togetherness.

Simply put, I get homesick. I’ve struggled with this since I arrived 12 years ago. Since there are so many of us from “away”, I’m most certain I can’t be the only who feels this way.  I’ve got a few things to share with you that have helped ease that feeling.

One thing I’ve done is to constantly remind myself that we ARE in fact “home”.  My kids are native Arizonans and whether they live here forever or not, these early days are forming their story…their memories. 

I’ve worked really hard to weave ourselves into our local community to really make this OUR home. We are heavily invested in our jobs (we are teachers), our kids’ schools and our church community.  This has made an enormous difference. My community is pretty small….I see the same people at Target, the grocery store, the coffee shop.  We are able to connect with people in our immediate neighborhood simply by reaching out and getting to know those we pass every day on the walking trail.

We work hard to make our own traditions that work for our little family.  As we went to pick our Christmas tree out at our local Whitfill Nursery, our kids shouted out with joy as they knew that familiar parking lot.  While it’s a long cry from the hikes we would take with my parents in the woods to cut down our own tree out of our forested back yard, it’s our own little family’s tradition.  It’s building those experiences for our kids and I can already see those memories sticking….from where we buy our tree, to our annual trip to ZooLights and to our time up at the Polar Express in Williams.  

Our roots here are planted now and while I get those glimpses of homesickness this time of year, they are starting to fade the more we have invested in our community and family life here.  

I’m so thankful to call THIS place HOME. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

12 Days of Christmas: Places to go!

Happy 12th day of Christmas!  I can't believe this wraps up today!  It is so much fun giving stuff away!

Today's gift kind of piggy backs on yesterday's.  This is one of my favorites.  I LOVE to travel.  I feel like I've always had a good sense of adventure and it's one of the things I hope to instill in my children.  For me, giving them experiences over "stuff" is so so so important.

I've got another awesome little notebook, along with one of my favorite pens are up for grabs.  Also included is a sweet 24k gold arrow bracelet.  I hope you love it as much as I do.

To enter, simply be an Almond Place Follower over on Instagram and leave a comment...Come back tomorrow to find out who won.  I will also be posting the winner from day 11 because I was so late on that one.  Good luck!!