We are lucky enough to live in a really great neighborhood with neighbors who not only are we friends with, but our kids are too.

Over the years we have started many traditions that we do together with two other families.

One of them is going to cut down a Christmas tree.

This year, for a number of reasons, it is not going to work out. So, my dear friend Andrea was determined to come up with a new tradition to launch the Holiday season off right.

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Ice skating at Bear Mountain (a great park here in NY).

I really had no expectations.

It was a slow start, everyone getting used to it.

It was one of those time where things just fell into place, not too crowded, perfect temperature, no wind, everyone in good spirits.

Here I am with my daughter trying to pose for pictures without falling over.

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I am really not sure when it started, but this is the picture we always end up with. A little more challenging on skates.

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It got us all in the Holiday spirit.

But even more, it made me so aware of how quickly they are growing.

On the ice, it was so tangible. They started out, holding on the ledge, going so slow.

It didn’t take long till they were speeding along without holding on, going to the center to try and do “tricks”.

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Oh what a metaphor for what is really happening in our lives.

And it also made me step back, forget about my “to-do list” and take a moment to realize how incredibly blessed I am to have these three people to call “My Family”.

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I can’t think of a better way to start off the Holidays and I think a new tradition has begun.

And, one for the records, as of today, November 21st my Christmas mantle is done.

I use the term “done” loosely because I am sure I will tweak a little more.

But with all of the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, my goal was to get ahead of the game a little, get the decorating well on its way, so I can take more time later to relax.

Here is a little sneak peek at the mantel…

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Off to get some more decorating done!

Have a great day!

November 21, 2011 — Laura Putnam