Just in time for the Holidays

Just in time for the Holidays

Looking at my Elvis and Priscilla on Halloween made the "cruel time" terminology sink really deep. It's a feeling that's impossible to describe - the excitement of what the future holds with a mixed heart-wrenching realization that, much sooner than it seemed, these wonderful growing people that I get to call mine, will fly out of the nest. I cherish every image of them that I take, sometimes looking through them for an hour at night before falling asleep, desperately wishing for my memory to always remember every detail of every day with them for years to come. I said it before, and I will say it again - the only regret I have is the one that I didn't record more memories in our earlier years.

Being a mix of two cultures, we never considered ourselves a "traditional" family. Over the years though we grew to love some things more than others that smoothly transitioned themselves into our own, but very real, traditions.

The holiday season kicks right off the day after Halloween - the holiday tradition that started while we lived in NY in a small apartment with our 3 little ones. Since then every year on November 1 we gather a few books that we want to read at night as a family during the holiday season. We used to read just one book by candlelight with some treats in hand, but the kids loved it so much, that they kept asking for a repeat over and over again, and eventually one night became an entire holiday season and one book turned into a shelf-full of them. There just is something so magical about cozy-ing up together in a dark room on cold November and December nights and reading together.

The stories vary from year to year - usually there is one that is a "must,” but everything else changes per the kids’ requests. This year's new Harry Potter book release spiked a lot of buzz around our headquarters, and it didn't surprise me at all that 60% of the books selected are the Harry Potter ones. The excitement of the Potter books make me smile inside - rewinding back to almost 14 years ago, Justin and I would meet at the end of the working day and walk home together, stopping often for breaks because my little, but heavy pregnant belly was a challenge to walk with at times. We would find a bench or somewhere to sit on and read aloud (but quietly) the newest Harry Potter book everyone buzzed about. This memory only becomes more and more dear to me as the years go by.

Even though it is way too early for Christmas, I couldn't pass on a Hallmark Harry Potter Keepsake Ornament to go along with our Christmas tradition of getting a new ornament every year. We have the Eiffel Tower, a London telephone booth, a newborn baby, ballet shoes, a US passport joined in last year and this year the Ollivander's wand shop will be the first to go up on the Christmas tree. It seemed fitting to unbox it right as we put the "book shelf" together - a HUGE hit , because there is a little "peek-a-boo" window on the back that has a very realistic 3D image of Ollivander and Harry picking out the wand (All I can say, is I am thrilled that this is not a glass ornament, and it holds up beautifully to all the love it is receiving).
I can't wait for the tree to go up, even though I am sitting outside as I am typing this on a beautiful 68 degree November day. I can already imagine the stories that will be created this year while we decorate the tree and my heart skips a beat.

This is life, friends. The best kind. The most wonderful. Besides all it's challenges, beautiful Life that is worth living.

Nikola and Yeva : all-time favorites never get old!


Harry Potter will probably always be most loved and most magical story for this crew!

little gentleman in the making! look at E go!

this excited face is GLUED!

and so is this one - there is a "magical" window inside of this ornament!

a designated spot until it goes up on the tree ( soon!) Can't wait for Thanksgiving!

listening to Justin read aloud will always be my favorite passtime. i hope kids take this tradition on with them too when grown up.

*Share your imperfect memories using the hashtag #KeepsakeIt Together and find the perfect ornament to remember your story at KeepsakeIt.com!

** paid for by Refinery29 and Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

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