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A Holiday with Heart

I’m so excited to be a part of Jennifer’s “A Holiday with Heart” blog hop today!  If you are visiting from Bliss at Home hello and welcome!  When I heard the idea behind this blog hop – to share holiday traditions, stories or decor that is special and has meaning – I had a hard time deciding what to share.  There are so many things throughout our home this time of year that hold a special meaning for me.  I recently shared pictures of our family room decked for the holidays.  This is the room our family spends the most time in and everywhere I look are items that for one reason or another are near and dear to my heart.

I always incorporate past Christmas pictures of my kids into our decor in December.  This is something my mom has always done.  Every year during December she hangs past Christmas pictures of our family all over her kitchen cupboards.  I was just at her house for Thanksgiving and loved walking in and instantly being flooded with the best holiday memories.  The year my sister and I got matching Strawberry Shortcake bikes for Christmas or the years we made fudge with my grandma.  I want my kids to have those same feelings stirred inside of them each December.  Pictures help us remember family times and love felt during the holiday.  They take us right back to that moment in time!  I have always loved taking and displaying pictures for that very reason.
I also display a few holiday pictures from my childhood like this one of me and my sister crying on Santa’s lap when we were toddlers.  I never get tired of this picture.  Every year when I pull it out I smile.  It brings back so many memories of Decembers with my family growing up.  And now as a mom it makes me appreciate my mom even more. :)
Styles change and it’s fun to mix up Christmas decor, but regardless of how I decorate, our red and green stockings will always be included in some way.  They hold so much meaning for me.  When I was pregnant with my last baby (our little boy who is now 5) I was decorating for Christmas and my oldest daughter Ellie (who was 6 at the time) kept putting up on the mantel a “sock for the new baby.”  We had four of these red and green socks and she had found a not so cute yellow and blue Charger stocking of my husband’s that was lying around.  As you can imagine, it didn’t quite go with the look I was going for so later that day I took it down.  The next morning she put it back up.  That night I took it down.  (I have to say that I’ve mellowed so much since then.  The new me would at least leave it up for a full day.. ) ;)  We did this for several days (her putting the ugly sock up and me taking it down.. almost as a game) until one day Ellie woke up and yelled “Mom! There’s a real sock for the baby!”  I walked in our living room and saw a matching red and green little sock in the middle with the name Kole on it.
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{mantel in our previous house – 2009}

A few weeks before this, my husband and I had been debating names for the baby and couldn’t agree on anything.  One morning I had said “what about Cole?  I like that name.  But maybe we spell it with a K since your name starts with a K?  Just to mix it up?”  He said “hmm… I like that.”  I remember being surprised because it was the first name we had agreed on and both liked.

When I saw the sock with Kole on it I said to my husband “you ordered that?  But what if we don’t name the baby Kole.. we haven’t decided yet..”  He smiled and said “then we’ll order another sock next year.”

I was so touched my husband had done that – ordered a sock for the baby to please my daughter and made it a matching sock to please me.  I was feeling emotional already because it was such a sweet gesture and then I looked up and saw all five socks hanging there on our mantel.  Before I knew it I had tears running down my cheeks.  It just hit me.  There was our family.  All five of us.  I always knew there would be five.  It felt so complete.  I decided that second that we would name our new little boy Kole.  With a K to mix it up. :)

marble-fireplacecI think about that day every year when I get our Christmas stockings out.  Sometimes I tear up again thinking about it.  Even though now I can’t blame my tears on a pregnancy. :)  Decorations like my stockings with such a special meaning behind them are what Christmas is all about.

This year I also added my mom’s childhood sled to our mantel decor.  She got it for Christmas when she was 5 and told me that her dad (my grandpa) would run up and down the street pulling her on it because she was too little to run and jump on it herself.  My grandpa was the neatest man.  He died when I was 9 but I still have the best memories of our times together.  I love hearing stories like that about him. Having things in my home like this sled make me feel close to my mom and and grandpa.  Like they are with me – even when they aren’t.
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Around the corner from our family room is our stairs and I started a new tradition last year of hanging my kids’ past Santa pictures on the door.
Every year I take them to see Santa and get a picture.  A fun tradition and I love seeing the pictures displayed in order.  I look at them and see my kids growing up right in front of my eyes.  Since I’m in no rush to end this tradition (even though my oldest will be 12 in January!) I’m going to have to find another door. ;)
I shared pictures and details on our Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago and I love the way it turned out, but my favorite tree is this little one sitting on our stair landing…
My three kids decorated it with a few of their special homemade ornaments.
Handprints and preschool pictures.  These melt me every year!
I can’t write a post about holidays with heart without including this note my oldest wrote to her sister last year for Christmas.  (Even though I know I’ve shared it before!)
And their hug Christmas morning when she opened it.  So glad I snapped this picture quickly even though I could hardly see with the tears filling my eyes at the time.  A moment I’ll never forget.

{Christmas Eve day – first Christmas in our new house.  The elf had left a poem and my kids hopped up on the counter to read it.}

It’s the special moments like these and the special items that hold precious memories that mean the most to me during the holidays.

A holiday with heart.  It’s what Christmas is all about.


Be sure to visit sweet Jen at With Heart who is hosting this tour.  I met her this past summer at a blog conference and adored her instantly!  She truly is all heart just like her blog.  Warm, kind and an amazing mother.  (We all took turns holding her new baby all weekend!)  The two of us became fast friends and I’m so honored she included me to join in such a meaningful series.

Enjoy your holiday friends!  I hope it overflows with special moments and memories for you and your loved ones.  xo

xoxo, Erin
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37 thoughts on “A Holiday with Heart

  1. Oh Erin, you got me! You really got me with your sweet stories and lovely photos. Thank you so much for sharing such meaningful memories and stories. The stocking story just captures the heart. I’m also happy you shared a bit more about that wonderful sled on the mantel. Your home exudes the beauty and joy of the season. Thank you. While I was happy for the Broncos football game against the Chargers yesterday, I couldn’t help but think your husband wasn’t quite as thrilled. And finally, I wanted to share my thanks to you for the Applesauce cookie recipe you’ve shared on your blog. I finally made them over Thanksgiving and they were a bit hit. Two of my brothers visited for the holiday and pretty much plowed through half the batch between them. That’s a good cookie! :) Thanks for all that you inspire and share. Hugs!

    1. Ha! Yea.. my husband has had a rough go with the Chargers lately. :) Thanks so much Jeanne! I’m thrilled the cookies were a hit! That makes me so happy. I try not to make them too often because I can’t stop eating them myself! Thanks for your thoughtful and sincere comments sweet friend. You are truly too kind and your uplifting words mean so much! xo

      1. I think of ya’ll and Kenny every time I see the Chargers on the screen! we’re Carolina Panthers Fans here, you know, the undefeated Carolina Panthers ;-P lol

  2. Your home looks so beautiful!!! I love the picture of Kole at the Christmas tree. And I love the story of the stocking for Kole! Great move by Kenny! Can’t wait to see you soon :)

  3. Oh, you are such a sentimental Sweetheart, Erin, and so am I! I have 46+ years of Christmas treasures since my hubby and I got married, and many bring tears to my eyes each year when they are unpacked. As we get older, I think we are supposed to let go of some of “those” things and have a “less is more” kind of attitude……at 66, I’m not seeing that happening! Oh well, maybe when I’m 67….hmmm?

    Hope you have a wonderful week, Erin, and keep holding onto those treasured memories and creating more each day! You are a wonderful photographer, and I adore some of the pics you capture of your little ones — so very precious!

    Warm hugs,

    1. Thank you sweet Carol! You made me laugh. I don’t see me letting go of much over the years either! :) Your kind comments always make my day! So sincere and they mean the world to me. Hugs right back. xo

  4. I love all of your traditions! I especially love your mom’s sled and the ribbon of photos on the door. Pictures are priceless, and I am glad you aren’t one of those people that just keep pictures stored on your phone and never printed.

  5. Erin,
    Thank you for sharing so much about your kids. I love the pics of your family, especially the crying Santa one. We all have that one that we remember capturing on film…. That story about your husband ordering the stocking is amazing. Very special story for your family to always have as a memory.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  6. Erin, I love this so much! Your home is always a show stopper and I love all of your sweet, sentimental touches. The photos are adorable and the one of you guys crying is priceless! The sled is so special– what a neat touch. So wish we lived closer! I hope we can get together soon! xx

    1. Oh you are the sweetest Jen! Thank you! I so enjoyed being a part of this blog hop. Posts like these are always my favorite. That’s why I love your blog (and you!) so much. Enjoy your holiday cutie! A baby’s first Christmas is always a special one. xo

  7. Oh Erin!!! I’m trying not to let tears well up in my eyes at work!!! I absolutely love the story you shared about Kole’s sock!!! I love that’s how you both came to his name and I love that Kenny did that…as I’m reading I’m like wait, what, how did it get there? haha can you tell I’ve already been getting into the Christmas movies haha I always love when you share with us Erin and I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas season!!! since reading your blogs for years now, when it’s too cold here in NC I always say… this would be better in San Diego (like for the Christmas parade and tree lighting that I froze in the name of all things holiday for) lol I’m perfectly fine with a sunnysideup Christmas lol anyway can you tell it’s almost time for the workday to be over? Have a great week!

    1. Oh Aria! You are the absolute sweetest! Thank you so much for your fun comment! You made me laugh.. several times! I’m so grateful you’ve been reading for so long. That means a lot to me. You need to come and visit me one year for Christmas! We can have hot chocolate by the pool.. sunnysideup style. ;) Enjoy the holiday cutie and thanks again! xo

  8. This post was precious!! I LOVE the sled! And Kenny’s thoughtful gift was the best! I just love your positive attitude every day! You truly are the sunny side :)

    1. Oh you are too kind Lisa! Thank you so much. I’m so glad you liked that post. Such a sweet thing to say and it means a lot to me. Happy Holidays cutie! xo

  9. Love love this!!! All of it! So much heart and meaning…they really do grow so fast!

    Such a fun series and I can’t wait to share later this week!!


  10. Erin, this had me tearing up. Your girls remind me so much of mine at that age, as you well know. I love that so many of the things you use to decorate hold such special meaning. I am the same way. I may add a few new things each year, but it is the oldies that bring back the best memories.
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you so much sweet Lauren! I know. The two of us have a lot in common with our girls! I hope you get to have them home for the holidays this year! Wishing you a wonderful one. :) xo

  11. Gosh, I have been so behind on blogs….so I haven’t seen your living room finished! Once again, you are PERFECTION! It came together PERFECTLY and the Christmas decor! BIG- FAT- HEART- EYE- EMOJIS! (btw, I DID get wood floors like yours over the summer…LOVE them, but I do see what you mean about maintaining them! So worth it though! AND I still LOVE my door stop I copied from you!) xoxo Merry Christmas!

    1. Oh you crack me up! Ha! Thank you so much cutie! Love that you love it so much. And that door stop.. life changing! So happy you get it. Ha ha.. :) Merry Christmas to you and your family! xo

  12. Hi. Your blog is amazing. I was wondering where you got the name plates for your mud room lockers and the amazing mirror above the mantel. You have impeccable taste…!

    1. Thank you so much Amy! Those name plates were from Pottery Barn – I’m not sure if they still have them? The mirror above my mantel is also from Pottery Barn and I just saw it back in stock! :) Happy holidays cutie! xo

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