I think what’s always made the holidays -or more accurately- Christmas so special to me is the magic that we’ve always kept alive for our kids. My parents made each Christmas special in that way, and it was really more about the warm feeling we all got than the gifts. We never asked them if Santa was real, we just enjoyed all of the festiveness and togetherness we shared. To me, Santa is the Christmas magic! It’s special that you don’t see him, or get to know all of the secrets of Christmas. We always knew the real meaning and reason for Christmas, of course, and we’ve made sure that Laila and Carson understand that as well.

Laila is 9 this year, and she takes after my Logical Lacey side so much! I know that she has been wondering if Santa is real. Last year, one of my girlfriends told her 9 year old the deal, and she made it so special! She took her to Disney and wrote this amazing letter, and I just thought, wow! That’s the way to go. Talking about how Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I gave it a ton of thought and even thought, this is the year! She is way too logical to keep falling for the Elf on the Shelf or Santa anymore.

But then…Laila caught me. She’s one of those sneaky cats who will go through my closet to try and find evidence, or who gets out of bed 1000 times to catch us in the act. At first it totally irritated me, but I know that she is just trying to work out what she thinks is happening with what is really happening. I’m an investigator by nature and a total over-thinker, so I can’t be too mad. However, I was totally crushed by her reaction. She saw me staging candy wrappers for Sebastian (that damn elf’s name that we gave him 5 years ago) and then came out of her room again to find that he moved to his new spot before she even went to sleep. Or before he had time to go back to the North Pole to snitch on her to Santa.

Y’all…she was so upset. She literally yelled at us, “Just tell me the truth”! We sent her back to bed for being extra, and honestly her reaction just really upset me. I’ve worked so hard to make Christmas special each year. From the freaking elf that is a pain in the ass to move each night, in the perfect spot that the cat, dog or 5 year old can’t mess with him. To carefully selecting the perfect thing each day for their advent calendar. Taking them to go look at all of the amazing Christmas lights every year, planning the best Santa gifts and arranging everything on Christmas Eve. And I finally had my out, I could just tell her!

But….I can’t. I’m not ready to take the magic away. As much as it takes up my time and energy every December, I don’t do it for myself. I do it for them! To have them experience that wonder and magic and amazement is everything to me. I feel like if I take that away, Christmas will be just a little bit less special. It may sound weird. But they won’t be little forever, and the best part of being little is BELIEVING. So I’m going to concoct the most creative damn way for Sebastian to come back from the North Pole, and I’m going to keep doing advent and making Christmas as magical as I possibly can. Because ya gotta believe!

UPDATE: my sister and I devised the perfect plan! Michael and I took the kids to dinner and to see some Christmas lights, and she came over to my house and set this up! She is a genius, I loved the letter that she wrote them! The kids freaked out, and let’s just say that the magic is alive and well.

When you buy a new house, the list of things to do seems endless.

At least to me. One of the things that sold me on the house was the cool double-sided fireplace that is showcased in both living rooms! I’ve never heard of this feature before and I think it’s so fun. My friends and family all joke with me about my love for fireplaces. “You live in Florida, you goose!” I’m not saying that I want a roaring fire going in July, but the chance to decorate two mantles was too good to pass up. However, I am NOT a fan of the outdated brass features. No thank you.

I have some ideas on new mantles and tile/brick on the outside to replace the current white tile, but for now I just wanted to get that brass metal covered up. So a quick one day project was born, just in time to decorate for Christmas! Here is the finished product:

The process was easier than I thought! I bought some black HIGH HEAT paint. That is the most important detail, you can’t just slap any paint on a fireplace or you’ll end up with a mess and hazard on your hands. I found the paint at Lowes or Home Depot, I can’t remember. Just ask the clerk, they’ll help you find it! I bought an actual paint brush, but then lost it in a sea of boxes, so I used a wide craft brush that I found in my craft bin. It worked great! The last thing you’ll need is tape, so that you can get both sides of the hardware on the glass doors.

To start, I took the doors off and taped BOTH sides. You can’t just paint the front, because you’ll see the brass on the other side and it will look unfinished. Tip: you’ll want to wait a couple of hours between coats. This paint dries very slowly, and if you do one coat after the other, it will just slide the paint all over the place and take longer to get the desired effect. It also dries to a very sticky consistency before it’s fully cured. I ended up doing three coats, but if you wait a good amount of time between coats, you may be good with just two.

After one coat of paint

Done and ready for Christmas decor!

 Sorry for the bad pictures. I still can’t find my camera (I’m sure it’s in one of the 1000 boxes in my closet) so I took these on my iPhone. BUT – I love how it turned out! The fireplaces look way more modern and clean. I can’t wait to share more holiday decor posts once I’m all set up! I cannot believe that December is two days away. 2018 is going to be here before we know it!

Have you ever had really unrealistic expectations of what you can accomplish in a given period of time? *raises hand, hangs head

We finally closed on the sale of our first house and on the purchase of our new house last week. It was a chaotic week for sure, but nothing compares to the chaos of packing, moving, and unpacking an entire houseful of crap! We moved because quite frankly, we outgrew our sweet little house! It was a bittersweet experience, but I’m excited about the possibilities with the new house. I had all these grandiose ideas about redoing the kitchen, all three bathrooms, redoing the fireplace built-ins, and on and on. Reality check number one: money and time dwindles quicker than you know it! Have you seen the price for 60″ fans these days?! Or new handles and deadbolts? Good grief, Home Depot and Lowes could support their businesses just off the Hill Family.

But I thought it would be fun to share some before pictures and our plans to update our home. The house was built in 1990, and the previous owner took AMAZING care of the house. Everything is original, and although I automatically think of 1990 as being 10 years ago (anyone else? just me then?) the reality is that 27 year old appliances and fixtures just don’t do it for me. Our last house was built in 1968 and renovated in 2005, so this is a similar thing that we’re trying to accomplish. One of the best parts about the house is that Michael and I went from a tiny master bedroom with a tiny adjoined bathroom and closets…to a gigantic master bedroom with a huge walk in closet (MINE) and nice big master bathroom. Not loving the vanity, hardware, and friggin’ CARPET in this space, but I have lots of ideas on updating.

My original plans were to remove the sliding glass door in the master bedroom, all new built ins on either side of the fire place, continuing the new bamboo floors in the kitchen and tiled spaces, new shaker style kitchen cabinets, new counter tops and back splash, all new hardware and fixtures, and new bathroom vanities and fixtures in all three bathrooms. We’re going to have to take our time in renovating, but it’s been such a fun process so far. I’ve picked out everything for my home office and will share pictures when it’s complete. I painted the room yesterday, the first pink paint that I’ve ever used in my life, and it’s the most perfect muted Blush color. It’s going to be our guest room as well, and I found a really plush futon bed since all of the sofa beds that I found were too big for the small space. I can’t wait to transform this house into our home over the next few months! Have you ever tackled a full house renovation? Any tips to help Michael and I not crazy-murder each other during the process?