Happy New 2013 Year! 

It's a week after the event itself, but I nonetheless want to wish you all the happiest of all the years yet. According to Chinese calendar, 2013 is the year of a Water Snake. May it bring for all more beauty to life, wisdom, health, wealth, happiness, luck and success in everything. If tears, may those be tears of happiness and laughter. If some difficulty or hardship - may there always be around you those to help, time of a trial - short, and the reward 100 times sweeter.

 May the deepest of your heart desires come true this year. 

May the "13" be the lucky number for all!

We've honored both Orthodox calendars this year ( some orthodox traditions are on Gregorian while others - Russian is one of them - still use Julian. While Easter is always the same, Christmas differs by 2 weeks) , commemorating one on Dec 25th and the Russian tradition on the 7th. I wondered if it would be confusing to kids, but to my surprise (and happiness) , they understood and loved it. 
 Taking into account that in we are also big on New Year's celebration, we decided to stay very simple with the presents, because, really - a Santa, Ded Moroz, Christmas gift exchange, and then throw in some birthdays that we've got in December, and it's just ... too much.

We still made sure that Santa took care of the stockings, and Ded Moroz knocked on the door at midnight on New Years, but with simple things. And one per person. But more then any other year, we focused on creating something that would bring warm and sweet memories to our children that they would maybe even want to pass on to their kids, just like I want them to share mine. We made a lot of messes baking, cutting napkin snowflakes,  making ornaments, watching some of the holiday stories and cartoons from my childhood and reading lots and lots of books under the blanket with a cup of hot cocoa.

It's been ridiculously cold  (-8 F is no joke, when it never gets below 20s here) with overwhelming amount of snow for my liking, but we bundled up, strapped "unwalkables" on in a baby carrier and went venturing into gorgeous Mother Nature, a true Winter Wonderland. We came home many times frozen, but that cup of hot cocoa under a warm blanket took care of our way-too-cold hands, but let me tell you - I have not seen my kids happier then this Christmas vacation.  And while lots of times I have no idea what this parenting thing is all about, seeing them all this happy made me feel that , maybe, this time I have achieved something good.

I hope your Holidays were wonderful!

And here are a few IPhone captures of some of our moments.

 Trying to catch a snowflake : 

How were your holidays? Do you love traditions?

Baby, it's cold outside!

The Insta - life, as IPhone sees it