I know I’ve already said it in so many words, but this has probably been the most stressful Christmas season yet. (Hence the reason why I’m up at 5:45…don’t ask me why I’m doing my blog instead of a million other things that need to be done, but, hey, this is my journal.) And it seems like it’s the same busy-ness for every mom I talk to. What’s the deal? Just trying to fit in so much in December is crazy, especially when I’m not organized about it. The photography thing that I do on the side is so fulfilling and I love it but I worry so much that it takes away from my kids. It just gets so busy. Next year I’ll try to somehow re-work it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions lately and how amazing they are at tying love strings around your family. Even with all the craziness, we have been able to fit in a little Christmas spirit here and there, mostly because of the traditions that draw us to do things amidst the chaos. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them and my kids are old enough to push to make sure we do them. It’s interesting to me to watch as they grow up how each year they latch firmer and tighter on to the few traditions we have so far and treasure them up, hold them so high. To me, one of our best traditions is reading a Christmas story under the Christmas tree each night (well, the nights when we’re home). I LOVE it and so do the kids. A couple years ago Dave’s brother’s family gave us and awesome gift of a basket stuffed full of beautiful Christmas books which has really added to our tradition. My kids think I’m nuts every once in a while when I can barely get through the ending of a book and they look up to find tears streaming down my cheeks. My favorites are “The Three Trees,” “The Gift of the Maji,” and very top is “On Christmas Day in the Morning.” Amazing books I would highly recommend. Right now we’re reading this chapter book called, “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” and we love it too. Anyway, there’s nothing like nestling in there under the tree with the kids taking turns doing my hair in all sorts of crazy new hair-dos (they love to do this while they listen, and I’m definitely not complaining).

One of the kids’ most prized traditions of Christmas is getting together with the cousins to make gingerbread houses. They crack me up with how much they look forward to this. So on Sunday we got together and whipped up some serious candy-laden cottages. We sure love these cousins. Click on this picture if you actually want to see what they look like…there are a bunch of them! (Yes, that is Lilly the hamster on Max’s shoulder.)Then there are the temple lights. On Monday we went to check them out and watch one of our cousins perform there. Claire decided the best place to soak up the sining would be from this position:

(she was also extremely excited to break in her new coat I bought on clearance last year)
My girls have been begging to make Christmas stockings for some crazy reason. They want to fill them with candy and give them to their friends. So we pulled out the sewing machine for FHE a couple weeks ago and whipped some up. They were delighted…even Max caught the vision. New tradition???

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  1. I just LOVE your photographs! You are so talented. I’m am trying to fine tune my photography and was wondering if you would share what camera you use and editing program. My hubby wants to get me this for Christmas and I have been hunting around. I haven’t updated my blog in a LOOOONNNGG time so come back after the new year and hopefully I can share some stuff with you! Thanks Shawni!!

  2. It’s soooo fun to see all of the cousins growing up. Ok, didn’t even know you had your own business…I thought it was ONLY a hobby. Well now I know who to call and there is this certain finish I would love on a family picture. Don’t worry, I’ll pay up, I don’t take advantage of family :).

  3. The Eyre’s are some of those who inspire me to do more traditions, so I guess you learned from the best. I hope you get all you need to done. Have a great Christmas if I don’t see you before!

  4. Hey. Every time I read your blog, it makes me want to be one of your kids even more. Maybe I will be reincarnated as one of your kids someday if I am really good.
    Here’s an idea for your photography… just tell your clients that you don’t photograph after, say, Dec. 1st. If they want photos done, it has to be before then or after the new year. That gives you time to work on getting them developed before Christmas is upon you, and you won’t feel bad saying no to procrastinators. I did that with my painting, and its worked out really well so far, and nobody’s complained (so far). But, you probably already do that, so nevermind.
    I really like your “Reading a Christmas story” tradition and the stocking making party, so I might copy you next year. Our Christmas books are weak right now, but maybe I’ll stock up on your favorite titles post-holiday. We already have a Gingerbread making tradition, so watch out because I’ll be posting pictures of the bad boys we do this year.
    Thanks for your blog. Always a treat! You are incredible!

  5. Lisa, my camera is a Nikon D200 and I am completely in love with it. I had the D100 right when they first came out and last Christmas Dave got me upgraded and I just love love love it. For editing I use Photoshop a little bit, but mostly I use Adobe Lightroom. It is amazing, and is really great for photoshoots because you can sync groups of pictures as you like them. Anyway, good luck!

    Aja, I did try the December 1st thing but couldn’t help lapping into December because I didn’t anticipate rain rescheduling and people needing help with their actual card layouts. So next year I’m really going to hold firm because I think that’s the only way to do it. I’m so mad we didn’t get you our original Christmas gift choice of a bunch of Christmas books. We were too late on the draw by the time we thought of it. Darn it. Oh well, if you don’t like what we got you you can turn it in and get some books. We’ll see you guys soon!

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