Thursday, December 6, 2018

SANTA...I Know Him!

We made our annual trip to Bass Pro Shop last night to see the Santa Claus.  The kids have been talking about it for days.  I love this tradition.  I went with my brother and his kids when they were little and now I get to go with my own kids.  Last year we had a bit of a wait but we must have timed it just right this year because we walked right in line and waited maybe 10 minutes.
No tears this year.  I was shocked.  Last year was the first year Barrett didn't cry and AveryAnn didn't cry this year.  She was a little unsure when I sat her up there but Santa started talking to her and she was fine.

Barrett told him he wanted a "toy pet dinosaur".  All he's talked about is an RC car.  So when we asked him why he didn't ask for that he said, "I already told him that at school, I didn't want to tell him the same thing." ha ha!  He looks so old in these pictures.  

AveryAnn wants a Barbie and a pink house.  She saw the dollhouses at Hobby Lobby last week and I didn't think we were going to get to leave without one.  I told her she had to tell Santa so she's been saying all week, "I tell Santa I want pink house!".  It's been so sweet!

These two have been really good this year so hopefully Santa delivers all they're wishing for!

Monday, December 3, 2018

It's Chrismtas Time...

It's December!  I can hardly believe we're less than 30 days from the end of 2018.  I've been looking forward to the holidays this year because Barrett is all in on the magic.  I know that this time is fleeting and I want to soak in every second of it.  AveryAnn doesn't really get it all yet, but she knows it's something exciting because of how excited Barrett is.  It really so such a special time of the year.
Friday morning started with Barrett waking up screaming that his ear hurt.  So we made a trip to the pediatrician Friday morning.  I'd just taken AveryAnn on Wednesday because she's had a runny nose and cough for about 3 weeks but otherwise acted like she felt fine.  She had an ear infection and I felt like a jerk for not taking her sooner.  So I was very thankful that Barrett could tell me his ear hurt.
Friday night I took some toys to a local toy swap.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to go back and "shop" the next morning, so I donated my tickets back so someone else could shop.  I didn't consult my kids before I took things and to my surprise they haven't even noticed the toys missing.  I took big toys too.  (Normally, I include them in this process but I was last minute and needed to get it done quickly.)  Then I made cider and we watched the Christmas Chronicles on Netflix.  It was good.  It was a little mature for my kids but Barrett liked it. There were a couple of bad words but overall it was a cute movie.  

We've been slowly decorating for the last two weeks.  I still haven't gotten my downstairs tree up, hopefully I will this week.
Love our tree.  It's nothing fancy, but it's full of memories.  My mom gave us all of my childhood ornaments when we got married.  I've added the kids ornaments each year plus our ornaments from vacations and the ornaments made at school.  I could just look at it all day.  I caught AveryAnn walking around it with her baby showing her all the "toys".  (She calls the ornaments toys).  It was really sweet.  Barrett wanted to know the origin of every. single. ornament. while we were putting them all up.  It was exhausting and really sweet.

I've already shown our advent wreath but here it is again.  I love it.

I've had this advent calendar for a few years now but this is the first year that Barrett is really excited about it.  I use it to hold the cards for our "Advent Activity Calendar".  I just write the activity for each day and slip in the proper slot.  I hung it in a different location this year.  It's right outside all of our bedroom doors.  

Our Santa pictures on the entry table.

This little ledge is going down the stairs to the den.  I made these yarn trees several years ago and I think they're so fun and festive.  I wasn't going to put them out this year but I couldn't resist.  We hang the dogs stockings here.  We're down to one and it looks a little lonely but we're not getting another dog.

My ladder bookshelf got a little cheer.  The top is one of our pictures with Santa and that elf with Barrett's picture might be my favorite decoration.  My sister brought us the little Christmas house incense burner from one of her trips (I can't remember exactly where now, Sorry Sis.)  The nativity is one of my favorites too. My aunt got us this as a wedding gift and I love it.  It's so simple and so beautiful.  (Also a really good, different wedding gift.)  We also have the fisher price nativity on our coffee table for the kids to play with so they don't mess with this one.

Our mantle pretty much looks the same each year.  I did just add neutral and blush colored ornaments to my jars.  I put the stockings on one side instead of each end.  The bucket on the hearth holds all our Christmas books and the frame has our Christmas card each year.  
This is the card tree and this particular tree might be the death of me.  The lights went out last year so I added lights and it just looks terrible.  But it will soon be filled with cards from people that are special to us.
Saturday morning, Mr. Elf returned.  He left us paper to write our letters to Santa so he could take them back with him that night.  Barrett was so excited!  

He couldn't wait to fill out his letter.  I wish I could bottle this age forever!
Patrick had to work Saturday so the kids and I hung around the house all day.  We watched football and cartoons until it was time for the SEC Championship.  We headed to Matt & Jennifer's house to watch the game with our crew.  It was a crazy good game.  We've beaten every opponent by 20+ points this season so to be behind until 1:00 left in the game was stressful.  But we won, and it was a great game and great comeback story.  It was one for the record books.  I took zero pictures.
Sunday we broke out the Christmas dresses for the first week of Advent.  She loved this dress because it has a ballerina on it.  Barrett didn't get any Christmas shirts this year.  I'm really sad that he's outgrown smocked outfits.  I still throw in the polos with the small smocking plate but I couldn't find any that I loved this year so all his "Christmas clothes" are just his regular clothes that coordinate with her Christmas dresses.  He's so handsome though.  We spent the rest of our Sunday shopping for suits for Barrett and Patrick.  We've got a wedding coming up this weekend and I feel like Barrett needs to wear a suit. Well, they don't make a matching suit his size that you can buy in a store.  We found a couple blazers but I didn't love them.  So we ended up ordering him one from Amazon.  It'll be here tomorrow, I'll  keep you posted.  Patrick also needs a new suit but he got pushed to the back burner while we were looking for Barrett.  He'll have to go this week and get something. We've got some fun things planned for this week.  We're trying to soak in all of the season.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Wondering Years Book Party

The week before Thanksgiving, my sister bought ticket to Knox McCoy's book release party for his new book.  We both love the Popcast podcast so it was so much fun getting to meet him (we'd met Jamie last year at another local event). 
We were both a little nervous because we didn't really know what to expect.  But we always have fun together so we knew it'd be fine.

It was decorated so cute.  These cookies were delicious.

A fun drink.  "The Canine Evangelist". 

Fun freebies!

The chapter he read aloud was about being either a Pat or an Alex.  As in Pat Sajak or Alex Trebek.  He goes on to talk about how Pat is basically just there for a good time and Alex promotes deep thinking.  He challenges you to question everything.  This picture is when I told him I'm definitely a Pat Sajak.  He looks a little shocked that someone would want to admit that.  But we can't all be questioners, sometimes we need someone who is just there to bring the fun.  

Knox is as delightful in person as he is on the Popcast.

We each got a signed copy of the book.  I started reading it immediately when I got home and it was so good!  
Afterwards we headed to Big Spoon to get a piece of bourbon pecan pie.  It was a delicious way to end the night.  I love stepping out of my comfort zone and getting to do fun stuff with my sister.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Thanksgiving Week

We had a wonderful break the week of Thanksgiving.  We kicked off the fun the Friday before Thanksgiving, Barrett finally got to go on his field trip to the zoo.  We had to reschedule twice due to weather and the weather nearly got us again.  There was ice on some bridges that morning and traffic was a nightmare but we all finally made it.  We hadn't been to the zoo in a while just which is sad since we have a membership.  So, we were excited to go.  The weather warmed up quickly and it ended up being a beautiful day.

You can't really see it but the anteater was out.  I've never seen it in all my days of going to the zoo.  Jessica and I might have been the most excited about this.

He looked so big waiting his turn to ride the slide. 

Meanwhile this girl was staying with her Granddaddy and she insisted on taking her baby and stroller.  I can't handle how cute she looks.

Saturday,  Patrick had to work so we called Aunt Elizabeth to see if she wanted to go on a hike with us at a localish nature preserve.  (I wanted to check the park out to see if it would be a good place for a play date with our friends during the break.)  We had such a fun morning.  The kids whined a little bit but overall they had a great time.  It's a beautiful spot, we can't wait to go back with Patrick.

AveryAnn did really good and walked most of it.  There were a few spots she had to be helped and she rode on my back the first little bit because she was a little unsure but overall I was surprised by how much she walked.

Elizabeth was showing them a grasshopper on the tree and then it flew off and she screamed like a girl.  The kids thought it was great.
The natives were getting restless so we bribed them with snacks.  Barrett was whining and wanted to go back to the car.  We decided a snack was needed so we asked Barrett where we should stop to have our snack and he quickly replied "the car".  We both died laughing.  It was the perfect witty comment.

Isn't this so pretty!  I wish we'd gone before the leaves started to fall because I the colors that were left were beautiful.

Sunday we went to Mass and lunch.  My old youth leader moved to Texas years ago but she was at Mass Sunday.  I didn't know she was coming so it was a wonderful surprise.  She and her husband were so good to us and some of my favorite memories are from that time in my life.   
Monday, was our first official day of Thanksgiving break.  We had to go to the office and get some things done.  Then I promised the kids we'd get our tree out.  I do not have the patience to decorate a tree with young kids.  Barrett was so sweet and wanted to know the story behind every single ornament.  But I was tired of answering questions.  I tried really hard to not lose it.  Hopefully he remembers the fun and not me yelling.
He was so proud!

They also love this little people nativity. 

Tuesday, we went down to my sister's house to do some baking.  She has way more patience than I do when it come to cooking with kids.  Well actually she has more patience cooking period.
We made real hot chocolate and the kids weren't all that impressed.  Ha! But they had a great time doing it.  

Wednesday, we'd planned a fun play date/hike at Turkey Creek with our friends.  The boys are in different schools this year so we're trying to be intentional about making sure they still get to spend time together.  Now that they're a little older we can do more adventurous stuff.
13 or 14 kids.  Jonah was there too but he didn't make it out of the carrier.

We all three climbed up the big rock.

After we made it off the trail.  AveryAnn was on my back.  I think the kids had fun!  We didn't hike too far but I think it was the perfect little loop to keep them entertained but not be too long.

He climbed up there and was just laying there looking at the sky.  It was my favorite thing of the day.   
It's just so pretty!

We laughed because there were a couple of pictures posted that same day from the same place on Instagram.  They looked so calm and serene, which was definitely not the scene while we were around.  It's pretty much chaos anytime we're all together.

I think Brittany was having some FOMO so she convinced us all we needed to go have Mexican together before the holiday.  It was a great decision.  We realized while we were leaving we did the same thing last year on the same day.  It was much needed.  We laughed so much!

I promise I'm almost done.  I didn't take many pictures the rest of the week.
Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we woke up and watched the parade. 

Then we went to my grandmother's house for lunch.  It was a good day.  I didn't take too many pictures.
I got this cute one of the girls with my grandmother.

Playing in the pond.

AveryAnn only wants to wear pink dresses these days.

Madelyn trying to ride the tricycle.

We didn't do professional pictures this fall so I wanted to try to get one for our card.  It was a disaster.  We did finally get one but it wasn't easy.  I had to beg Patrick to try one more location that I really felt would be perfect and it was.  I'm saving it since it's on our Christmas card. But these are my favorite outtakes.

For dinner we went to the Horton's house and Melissa prepared a spread as usual.  It was all delicious.  We came home a crashed hard.  We needed to rest up for our annual Black Friday Kick-ball game. I didn't take any pictures but we had a blast as usual.  I'm still sore.

I wanted an Advent wreath so I bought a frame and one sprig of greenery, my mom turned it into this masterpiece.  I was so excited.  It turned out beautiful!

Friday night Madelyn was spending the night with my parents so they invited Barrett and AveryAnn to come too.  They built a fire and were so proud.
Saturday, I was going to go to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl but I decided to stay home and take advantage of everyone being gone and clean out the pantry.  It was desperately needed.
Before & After.
Much better.
I went to get the kids and get home before the game came on.
The happy Horton's during the game.

We went ahead and gave the kids their Christmas pjs.  They were so excited.  Barrett has wanted to sleep in them every night.
Sunday, we went to Mass and then to lunch at mom and dad's.  Mom was putting up her tree so the kids "helped" her.  
She tried to hang every ornament on this one branch.  It was great.

That wraps up our Thanksgiving week! If you made it this far, Thank you!