Guys, I'm a bit under the weather. Nothing major. . . probably just too little sleep over the last few days. But fear not, I'm posting a little essay I wrote last Christmas season on my personal blog (which I promised I would keep up after I started Nest & Launch, and therein proved that I'm a big, fat liar). This is the moment where I decided to poll the kids for their top Christmas activities. Also, here's where I show you that sometimes I'm materialistic, and sometimes I like to punish myself psychologically. And sometimes I just put it all down and take a nap. Enjoy! (P.S. I'm 87% finished with my Christmas shopping. What about you?)

wool felt balls.jpg

During our Thanksgiving trip we did some shopping near downtown Austin. There are a couple of places we like within walking distance to each other: Book People, Anthropologie, Paper Source, West Elm, and then Whole Foods for treats. The West Elm store is the BEST EVER. It's huge. It has more stuff than our West Elm...and it's merchandised in just such a way that screams in my ear. Want to know what it says?


And I really, really want to live my best life, so I listen so, so carefully. I plan little vignettes of West Elm-y stuff in my head. I exhort myself (forcefully) to CLEAR OUT and SIMPLIFY, so that every room is serene, and clutter-free, and studded with just the right amount of mercury glass and natural fibers. On that particular trip I got it in my head that I NEEDED a faux deer head mounted above my fireplace JUST FOR CHRISTMAS. Because then, under the benevolence of those faux horns, it would be the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER.

I'm going to come right out and tell you that the deer head was $99. The price wasn't necessarily a deal breaker -- seeing as how I somehow spent $74.23 just the other night at HEB on the stuff for homemade pizza, some chocolate covered pretzels, and shampoo and conditioner for the girls. But still, those $99 deer heads add up and pretty soon the serene and the clutter-free is completely covered up with faux animal parts and my bank account is suffering.

And so I find myself endlessly see-sawing between simplicity and excess, between practicality and frivolity, between meaningful Christmas and magical splendor. I talk myself in and out of each end of the spectrum several times a day...and it's plumb tiring.

Just last night I wanted the whole family to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Come on people, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas carols, some sage words of advice about remembering Christ this season...all with popcorn. Now THAT'S Christmas, right? And it was okay. Except I yelled at one kid for texting and had to continually shush Parker and Sterling who were threatening to break into fits of rough housing. In the end I was grouchy. Hmmmm. Maybe the deer head would have helped after all.

After some thought this morning, here's my grand plan. I'm going to sit the kids down and we are going to orchestrate our BEST CHRISTMAS EVER. Meaning everyone gets to pick one or two favorite activities and then Sterling and I will do our darnedest to make them happen. Also, I settled for the (pictured above) wool-ball garlands in lieu of the deer head. Simplicity folks. That's what will make my best life ever, and I'm going after it with the vigor of Santa's elves the night before Christmas.

Except with a bit of mercury glass and natural fibers.

P.S. Here's a fun Christmas wall paper for your computer. I downloaded it and it's making me feel a bit festive.