Christmas Pictures Make Me Smile

I hope and trust that all of you had a wonderful Christmas Day. It was a busy one over here that’s for sure! A 4 1/2 year-old and an almost 17-month-old makes for one fun, hectic, exciting Christmas morning.

But it all started the night before.

We put out cookies and milk for Santa.

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Sprinkled the reindeer food on the lawn so Rudolph could find our house.

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Santa visited all the houses in Midway via fire truck to make sure all the kids were ready for bed.

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Andrew and I assembled a play kitchen that came in a bazillion pieces.

And we almost had a near disaster on our hands when Linc came upstairs while we were working on the kitchen. Thankfully the kitchen was a gift from Nanny and Poppy, and Santa had not been to our house yet so we put him back to bed and he stayed there until morning – phew!

Linc was sad Christmas Eve because he didn’t want Kipper his elev to leave but he was fine in the morning.

I didn’t take very many pictures as I was too busy enjoying the moment and joining in on the fun, but here are a few from throughout the day – both kids have been getting hours of entertainment out of the kitchen already.

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Santa was good to me too. Goodbye iPhone 3GS – hello iPhone 5s.

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Only a few more days left in 2013!

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I don’t post to the blog every day, but I do post my workouts, family fun, occasional eats, and more on Instagram daily {simmondsfam}.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

xo

The Simmonds Family

BC Simmonds Family

Lessons from my four-year-old

This morning Lincoln woke up to find that Kipper (our Elf on the Shelf) had taken his advent calendar (an individually wrapped Christmas book for each day counting down until Christmas) back to the North Pole with him and left it there.

I had reservations about following through on this *threat* of sorts that I made yesterday fearing it would scar him or make him too upset, but now that it’s done I’m glad we did it. I know there are parents (and non-parents) out there who disagree with using the Elf for ensuring their kids are good leading up to Christmas but we fall into the *agree* category.

You see, for the past week Teagan (17-months) has come to realize that it’s fun to open presents and doesn’t want to just sit on the sidelines and watch her brother open the book each morning. This has led to Lincoln getting upset because the *presents are HIS* and he fights with his sister, who has already learned to fight back making the situation even worse. So in an attempt to stop the fighting (on his end because she really doesn’t understand why she can’t participate) I told him Kipper would be taking the rest of the books back to the North Pole until he could be nice to his sister.

And I think it worked.

Better than I expected, because when Lincoln woke up this morning and his books were gone he understood why.

There were no tears, no whining, just an acceptance on his part. Sure he asked if Kipper was going to bring them back (I would want to know the same thing if I was his age) and we told him if he was a good boy today then Kipper would let Santa know and bring them back tomorrow.

And so far so good.

Truth be told his fixation on *stuff* leading up to Christmas had  started to worry me that I was creating a monster with my book-a-day advent calendar. That he was missing the other part of the holidays and was only interested in getting, getting, getting. That I wasn’t doing my job as a parent to teach him that the holidays are more than just getting stuff but are about family, friends, and the overall spirit of the holidays.

Until he taught me otherwise.

And I added another item to my Lessons from my four-year-old list.

We baked and decorated gingerbread men this morning. When they were all done I asked him to pick out two for Santa and we would put them in the freezer until Christmas Eve. Once those cookies were chosen and placed carefully in the freezer he turned to me and asked who the other cookies were for.

So I asked him “who do you want to give  them to?”

And he proceeded to list off a bunch of people in our neighbourhood. We packaged them up and he personally delivered them this morning.

It made me realize that I need to give him more credit as a human being. He may be four, and he may not show it all the time, but he gets what it means to think of others.

So for that, I am grateful for today’s Elf on the Shelf experience.

Not just for him but for me too.

What lessons have you been taught by a child?

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I don’t post to the blog every day, but I do post my workouts, family fun, occasional eats, and more on Instagram daily {simmondsfam}.

You can also find me here:

Twitter: simmondsfam

Facebook: simplybemeblog

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Instagram: simmondsfam

 

Half-marathon Training for 2014

I had been lacking any sort of motivation to run for the past week or so and couldn’t quite figure out how to kick my own butt into gear.

And then I realized that my first half-marathon of 2014 is just 11 weeks away.

And that’s when half-marathon training for 2014 officially began.

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I had to skip week one of the 12-week plan to fit my timeline but I’m confident starting my long runs at 6 miles.

One of my main running goals for 2014 is to get faster, and that’s why I chose the Intermediate training plan. Right now the thought of speed work slightly scares me but I know it needs to be done in order to reach my goal. Training in the winter will mean most of those speed sessions will be done indoors on my treadmill because the road and trail conditions can change daily, which I know can alter my pace.

The first few weeks I plan to do the majority of my mid-week runs during my lunch break, but as the mileage increases as the weeks go on I may have to move them indoors as well. I only have an hour for lunch and it might not be enough time to get the miles in.

The temperature this week was ideal to get my motivation going again but I still had to break out the yak trax so I could stay upright.

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I didn’t have to wear a hat or gloves and am happy we are no longer experiencing freezing cold temperatures like we were a couple of weeks ago (for now at least).

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I’m still adding races to my 2014 race schedule (another post for another time) but my first race of the year will be the Snake River Canyon Half-marathon. This is a small race capped ay 700 (and already sold out) that my friends and I did in 2013 as well. It will also be the first girls-only trip of the year.

Have you started training for any 2014 races? How is it going?

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I don’t post to the blog every day, but I do post my workouts, family fun, occasional eats, and more on Instagram daily {simmondsfam}.

You can also find me here:

Twitter: simmondsfam

Facebook: simplybemeblog

Pinterest: simmondsfam

Instagram: simmondsfam

 

Elf on the Shelf Week 2

Quick little rundown of what Kipper the Elf has been up to in our Elf on the Shelf Week 2 recap. In the world of elf fun he is a bit on the boring side but we like it that way.

And by we I mean me.

Monday he made a snow angel out of some sugar.

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Lincoln decided to test his boundaries by eating some of the sugar.

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He was careful not to touch Kipper but definitely got a kick out of the tiny amount of creativity I mustered for Monday :)

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Tuesday was spent in the window next to the frost.

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Wednesday he left a message on the chalkboard for Lincoln and Teagan.

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Thursday he climbed the spice shelves.

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Friday he tried to eat some of the gingerbread house. Good thing it’s rock hard so nothing was eaten.

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Saturday he climbed into the milk jug we leave out for Santa.

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And Sunday he hung out on the ski wall hanging that is currently being used as ornament storage.

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And just because it’s cute to see her try to keep up with her big brother, here is Teagan helping Lincoln hang the number on the countdown tree.

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Are you ready for Christmas?!

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I don’t post to the blog every day, but I do post my workouts, family fun, occasional eats, and more on Instagram daily {simmondsfam}.

You can also find me here:

Twitter: simmondsfam

Facebook: simplybemeblog

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Instagram: simmondsfam

Midway Community Club Kids Christmas Party

Wow! That basically sums up what a fantastic morning we had here in our little community. The Midway Community Club Kids Christmas Party was today and they went above and beyond transforming the Community Hall into Whoville.

It was definitely a magical day enjoyed by kids of all ages. There was a special appearance by the big guy in red (I didn’t get any pictures but the ones taken of the kids on Santa’s knee will be available soon) and some local high school students put on a fabulous Grinch skit.

Here are some (OK, a lot ) of pictures from the party. A giant, huge, enormous thank-you to all the volunteers for making this day happen! It’s amazing what can happen in a small community when we all come together!

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Teagan was particularly fond of the fake snow and enjoyed throwing it at me.

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Linc wore his Grinch shirt for the occasion.

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The skit was so wonderful! The students did such a great job.

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Linc even got to meet the Grinch after the skit was over.

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Teagan preferred the polar bear.

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Does your community put on anything special during the holidays? Any special memories from when you were a kid?

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I don’t post to the blog every day, but I do post my workouts, family fun, occasional eats, and more on Instagram daily {simmondsfam}.

You can also find me here:

Twitter: simmondsfam

Facebook: simplybemeblog

Pinterest: simmondsfam

Instagram: simmondsfam

Winter is my favourite running season (sometimes)

Last week, following a fantastic 5-mile run in the fresh snow, I boldly proclaimed on Instagram that Winter is my favourite running season.

Andrew questioned this statement but I stood by my claim because I really do love winter running.

Winter running can make you feel both peaceful and like a total bad ass at the same time.

Sure you have to wear more layers, and a pair of yak traks on the bottom of your shoes is a good idea, but truthfully I would rather run in layers (that I can shed if need be) than be way too hot wearing a tank and capris during the heat of the summer.

Fresh snow, first tracks (not just for skiers!), and the quietness that comes with winter all help get me out the door.

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In the winter, as with the rest of the year, I prefer to run on trails or back roads instead of pavement. It’s quieter, I don’t have to worry about traffic, and there is a lot less ice and slush on the trails.

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I would rather be high up on the rail trails there down there on the messy highway (not that I would run on the highway, but you get my point).

My runches (lunchtime run) don’t stop in the winter either, I just have to factor in *fixing hat-head hair time* into the equation and I am good to go.

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And my love of winter running was going great until the middle of last week when the temperature dropped well below freezing.

Like -20C to -25C below freezing.

I like running in snow (on the ground and falling from the sky) but I don’t exactly look forward to running outside when my eyelashes freeze instantly because it’s so cold. I still do it but don’t enjoy it quite as much as when the winter temps are warmer.

So I’m here to rephrase my earlier proclamation to read this instead:

Winter is my favourite running season (sometimes)

What’s the weather like where you are? Favourite running season?

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I don’t post to the blog every day, but I do post my workouts, family fun, occasional eats, and more on Instagram daily {simmondsfam}.

You can also find me here:

Twitter: simmondsfam

Facebook: simplybemeblog

Pinterest: simmondsfam

Instagram: simmondsfam

 

Elf on the Shelf Week 1

Blogging is about finding out what works for you and that is why I have decided to do weekly recaps of our Elf on the Shelf shenanigans instead of daily posts. Of course if waiting until Sunday to see what Kipper has been up to is too long to wait for you then you can also follow me on Instagram (@simmondsfam) because I post there every day.

But you’re here now so (drum roll please) I give you our Elf on the Shelf Week 1 recap.

Tuesday he climbed the tree.

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Wednesday he climbed into Lincoln’s stocking.

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Thursday he went skiing with Santa.

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Friday he tested out his repelling skills with some rope and the ceiling fan.

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Saturday he found Lincoln’s race medal (I wonder what Kipper’s 1-mile PR is?)

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Sunday he got all tangled up in the lights on the lamp.

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The kids are really enjoying their Elf. I know in the world of Elf on the Shelf fun you either love it or hate it and we have nothing but love in this house. Our book-a-day countdown is in full swing too, but because it is the first thing Lincoln’s wants to do when he wakes up, which is much too early and before the sun comes up, I haven’t been taking pictures because a) I’m still half a sleep and b) the lighting is terrible.

Do you love or hate the Elf on the Shelf phenomena?

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I don’t post to the blog every day, but I do post my workouts, family fun, occasional eats, and more on Instagram daily {simmondsfam}.

You can also find me here:

Twitter: simmondsfam

Facebook: simplybemeblog

Pinterest: simmondsfam

Instagram: simmondsfam

Christmas Countdown 2013 & Elf on the Shelf fun

Now that Christmas Countdown 2013 has started in our house you can expect to see all of the fun documented here on the blog (I know this will make our families very happy because it means more pictures of the kids – yea!).

This year we decided to do a Christmas Book A Day Countdown that still incorporates our felt Christmas Countdown Tree.

There are 24 books under the tree. Each book has a numbered felt ornament attached to it that goes on the tree before the book is unwrapped. Once the tree has all of its ornaments than Santa comes that night – fun!

Day 1 – Mooseltoe

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A cute story about a Daddy Moose who forgets to get the tree amongst all of the other holiday fun.

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Day 2 – Santa Duck

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Santa has a new helper (Nicholas Duck) and all of his animal friends are eager to tell him what they would like for Christmas.

The tornado tries to get in on the action too but the majority of the countdown duties are reserved for Linc.

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Don’t worry, we don’t use the wood stove.

We also decided to invite an Elf on the Shelf into our home this year in an effort to minimize the whining and fighting. Linc named him Kipper or Kip for short.

Day 1 he hung out with the snowmen on the mantle.

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Today, on Day 2, he hid on the curtain rod. He knows he has to hide in high spots so the tornado doesn’t touch him because he might lose his magic, and she can’t be trusted.

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hmmmmmm, maybe he can clean those cobwebs on the ceiling while he’s up there…

What kind of countdown do you do for Christmas? Any Elf on the Shelf ideas for me??

Songs to keep me moving

I have many songs that keep me moving when the weather is below freezing, like it is now, and Stutter by Mariana’s Trench is my current go-to song to get my feet moving.

I’ll be listening to this at lunch while I brave the cold for a quick runch.

At least I won’t have to wear a headlamp like I do when I go for a run after work.

Tell me, what song gets you moving?

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