All that to say: a whole lot of living happened the last few weeks, while I was transitioning from December's sparkle and bustle to January's possibilities and paralysis analysis.
Last month, we managed to buy our Christmas tree, decorate it, put the holiday lights on the house and arrange the front porch pots full of winter greenery exactly two day before the first snow storm of the season. (And exactly one day before Corey left for North Korea. More on that later.)
In a flurry of caffeine and sugar induced hyperactivity, the kids and I mixed, scooped, baked and decorated all our Christmas cookies - all 20 dozen of them - in one day.
Sadly, all that baking didn't preemptively burn off all the cookie calories. (And I still have some chocolate mint brownies, if you want one. I'm done.)
Christmas was more relaxed than it has the right to be. Our kids don't wake up at the crack of dawn anymore, and since we don't have tons of family in the area, the day was more about playing with the new toys, taking naps and walking together through the snow-covered neighborhood than craziness.
There was also a lot of laughter. I love that kind of Christmas.
And then we got even more relaxed. Corey enjoyed some vacation after his Korea trip. We got the backyard ice rink ready for business. We tortured ourselves with a 1000-piece puzzle. We slept in and saw "Frozen" twice and we went sledding and we had an epic snowball fight on an above-freezing day.
The cold never bothered me anyway.
And then we rang in 2014 with our annual cheese and chocolate fondue extravaganza. Because what we really need after a month of rich foods and extra treats is - cheese and chocolate!
Not pictured in any of the collages above: the whiny moments, the exhausted meltdowns, the cries of "I'm bored" coming from the middle of a mountain of new toys and the five or ten extra pounds left by the holidays. They were there, woven into the fabric of reality. But that's not what I remember when I look back. I mostly remember a Christmas break almost magical in quality. Corey was home for three weeks in a row, which hasn't happened since July 2012. We were just ... together. It was glorious.
The photo collages above were all created with the help of my favorite monkey on the Internet, PicMonkey. Ever since the demise of Picnik two years ago, PicMonkey has become my go-to for basic, easy and painless online photo editing. It's the perfect solution for people like me who want to touch up photos, maybe make a collage or add some text but who don't want to go to the trouble, time or expense of mastering Photoshop. The basic service is free, or you can pay a small monthly fee to upgrade to more editing options. Maybe my favorite part is PicMonkey's sense of humor and general cheekiness. Any website that has a monkey winking at me is alright by me, you know?
A few weeks ago, PicMonkey contacted me to see if I would share my love here on the blog - which I agreed to immediately, since I rave about PicMonkey in real life and I'm a little abashed I haven't told you about it before - in exchange for giving away a one-month subscription to their upgraded services. So there you go! I've told you of my monkey love. Now you get the gift.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway will close on Sunday, January 26.