Hi friends! I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! It was an exciting day yesterday as we had our first blizzard here in central Iowa. In fact, I can still hear Jon scraping the driveway outside this morning. Actually, he decided it was time to get a snowblower and I certainly can’t blame him!

I was kind of hoping that the snow would hold off until the new year (wishful thinking, huh?), but the freshly fallen snow made a beautiful landscape for our train ride through the scenic valley yesterday. We joined Jon’s sister, brother-in-law, and our three nephews on the tour. Our 3-year-old nephew Tyson sat next to me during the trip and wasn’t so sure at the beginning. He leaned over to whisper, “Aunt Taylor, I want get off.” But after cookies and hot chocolate he was happily singing carols with the rest of us! This is a picture through the window of our train car as we passed over a narrow bridge above the valley over 150 feet below. I don’t have an aversion to heights, but this wouldn’t have been a fun ride if I did!

As the holidays approach each year, it’s memories like these that I want to make. I’m reminded of things I want to do (like decorate sugar cookies), parties I want to host (like holiday cocktails; a cookie exchange), and traditions I want to make a part of our family gatherings (like dipping pretzels and trimming the tree). Instead, I often find myself rushing through traffic, stressing over gifts, and feeling guilty for not celebrating the true reason for the season. And so I’m making an effort to slow down this holiday season, spend more time with family, and pursue those traditions that will hopefully become a part of family gatherings for many years!

As I’m sure you can imagine, slowing down requires carving out time in my schedule. And so the Sketch Crew and I will be taking a break from the TESC sketches. I can’t tell you exactly when we’ll return, but I’m sure you haven’t seen the last of us! I want to say a HUGE thank you to the talented group of gals: Sherrie, Lisa, Jami, Melissa, Alice, Rachel, Lori, and Monika who have shared their fabulous creations week after week! While we’re away, you can still get inspired by previous TESC sketches by downloading our free sketch books:

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You also may have noticed that I’ve been taking some small breaks from posting here on my blog. This is in part because we’re preparing for a HUGE January release, but also so that I can fully enjoy this holiday season with my family. I hope you’ll all take time to do the same!