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I’ve been working on this post for awhile now. I want to make sure I nail it. I want to get the wording right, but – even more than that – I want to be sure the emotion is just-so. I want all of my readers to know exactly how I feel … all ten of you.

Which is actually my point. That sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest differences.

This means something to me, this time of year, and it seems I am almost always in a state of reflection. Maybe it’s the constant baking or decorating, the fun yet tedious tasks of the holidays that allow our minds to wander. Whatever it is, I’m glad for it because it helps me to look around at all we have, to reflect on how far we’ve come and to truly be thankful that we’re here in the now. And I want to be here in this now, soaking it all in.

Even though it feels like we’ve only just blinked and suddenly wound up with two four year olds and a very vocal and bossy 20-month-old, the truth is we’ve covered a lot of ground getting here. Some winding roads, a couple detours perhaps, but all of them pointing straight to this moment, this setting … of thanksgiving.

Sometimes it’s the small things that can bring us the most joy … A photo album filled with memories, a roar of laughter spilling out of the living room, the smell of pumpkin bread filtering throughout the house or our small family-owned store chugging along in these uncertain times. And what’s truly special about those things is the fact that they are all fueled in large part by you, our customers and our friends.

Handwritten place settings are about as crafty as I get ...

.... but - even if Jack's expression doesn't show it - the boys loved being a part of the preparations.

And that’s worth being thankful for. All of those little things, the small ways in which we are supported by our customers and our community, equal one big and very happy family. When you shop at our store – or any small business – you are doing more than supporting a locally owned operation, you are supporting a family. You are allowing us to raise our children here, in a community that we have always longed to be a part of. The business the town of St. Maries provides us allows me to stay at home with my children, something I’ve always hoped to be able to do.

Thank you for your continued business and your support. We hope to serve you through the Christmas season and into the new year. We hope that you stay with us as our children grow, and perhaps we can watch as another limb to The Paperhouse family tree sprouts.

Yes, it is most certainly the simplest things that bring us the most joy, which is fitting, considering the simple message I am hoping to convey: Thank you.

And as we’re all reflecting tonight on the things that make us happy, here are a few of my favorites …

The way that a string of Christmas lights and a row of stockings can transform a room and create that tingle of electric magic throughout our home for an entire season …

Recording hilarious moments like these (Jack has no idea what’s about to hit him…)

And this. Catching Joey in a place she most certainly should not be … but seeing her there, sitting in the office chair with that perfect posture, hands resting attentively on the keyboard, flashed me forward 15 years. I realized that this, this moment, does not always need to be scolded. Because pretty soon I’ll wish that she was still looking this way, wide eyes peering at me over her ever-present binkie, and I’ll wish that I had preserved this memory more vividly. So I let her tap at the keys a bit longer while I clicked away with the camera. Except I think my plan might have backfired because now she wants an iPad for Christmas …

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