Life Lately

Usually after Thanksgiving I'm ready to dive into Christmas - bring on the decking of the halls, music that fa-la-las, and all things peppermint, please! This year, though, I'm content to have a buffer week. Though I will admit to feeling a twinge of jealousy over everyone's festive photos this past weekend. One drawback to traveling over Thanksgiving is that it doesn't feel like we're around to begin the Christmas festivities. Driving down our street late Sunday afternoon to find each house on the block adorned with bright lights and garlands as we arrived home gave me a false sense of failure as we pulled into our own dark driveway.

We'll decorate as we typically do:  this coming weekend, the first of December. I'm thankful that Thanksgiving came "early" this year, so there is plenty of time to put it to rest before moving on to all things green and red. I don't feel quite so rushed as I do when we arrive home to December already on the calendar.


Unrelated but related: a neighboring house has lights that change color each day. Red and green the first night, bright white and blue the next, tonight their house is lit up in alternating red and blue bulbs. It's amazing but also it's 2017 so OF COURSE this is a thing. And I'm totes jealous.


Before Thanksgiving break, Caden and Brooklyn had watch week for their dance class. After class I asked them what they liked best. Brooklyn said, "All of it." Caden's response on the other hand? "Waving hi to you guys."

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He must have waved to us fifteen times during class, finding us across the room and sporting a proud yet shy grin as he shook his hand back and forth until we waved back. I can already see him at their spring recital, frantically scanning the audience and waving from the stage.


Nolan's new thing is "poopy!" He points to himself and says, "poopy!"

"Are you poopy?"

"Noooo," he replies, with that little nose-scrunching grin. But he continues.

"Poopy!" he cries, pointing to me. 

"I'm not poopy!" I say.

"Poopy!" he cries again, pointing to Caden, then Brooklyn, and everyone else in the room. He thinks it's hilarious. And it's pretty adorable. Figures that he's already picked up potty-talk at a year and a half. 


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We leveled up in parenting as our travel to and from Iowa saw our most successful car trips EVER. One potty stop on the way, with kids who either napped or were entirely engaged with snacks, toys from the dollar section, and, yes, their tablets. On the way home we had - wait for it - NO STOPS WHATSOEVER. We made a straight trip in four hours and fifteen minutes with three kids under the age of four. I really think that might be some sort of record.

Their teachers asked about our trip when we arrived at preschool today. Apparently visiting Grandma and Grandpa's house was something that had been much publicized in their class the week before we left. But when I asked what exactly they said to their teachers, Brooklyn's response was, "I told my teacher that we are going to ride in the car for a long time and eat food and play on our tablets." Accurate.

Snacks and tablets aside, the real draw was cousin Quinn. She was overwhelmed with a bit TOO much love (ranging from bringing her a blanket every 4.2 seconds to hugs and kisses to helping her do things she's already been able to do for months, i.e. eat food) and is probably glad to be recovering at home with the peace that comes from being the only baby in the house.

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We also had another family photo session while we were in Iowa. Our matching game was on point, and I can only hope the photos will be as well given the CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP attitude of these kids and can you just say cheese and STAND FREAKING STILL FOR ALL OF TWO SECONDS?!?

(We looked good, too. And even knew how to stand still. #adulting)

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So...who's excited about another royal wedding? Because I DEFINITELY am and am totes over the comments on every single engagement article that are to the effect of "Who cares?" I CARE, DAMMIT.


But probably the most significant event of the past couple of weeks was:

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Our first ER visit. (I'll tell you what I told my mom when I called her: EVERYTHING IS OKAY. He split his chin open going down the slide backward and it was pretty disgusting, but nothing that some super glue (seriously) and technology couldn't handle.) 

I KNEW that our first ER visit would be with Nolan. I just knew it. I had always predicted it would be daredevil Caden, but then Nolan came along with his GO GO GO attitude I knew by the time he was six months old his fearlessness was at another level.

He was bleeding pretty good and screaming about it until we got in the car and I gave him his tablet. Then he calmed down and followed all directions with his eyes glued to the screen, following each nurse along from one room to another to another like a little duckling. The doctor warned us that the cleaning and gluing of his wound would probably sting, but he didn't bat an eye. Then we took the tablet away and he screamed bloody murder the entire way out of the ER. "Tab-bet! TABBBB-BETTTTT!!!!!!111!!" We may have been the only people who ever brought a screaming child OUT of the ER instead of INTO it. We assured the few bystanders and the charge nurse that he really was fine, we had only taken his technology away, but honestly I'm surprised they let us go home with him. ("TAB-BETTTT!!!")

Also, this all happened within an hour of our arrival home after being gone for nearly a week. We arrived at the ER with a kid splattered in yogurt from a GoGo Squeez enjoyed on the drive from Iowa, a diaper that should have been changed two hours ago, and covered in crumbs (why change when bedtime is in less than two hours?), which meant we looked exactly like the type of people who have no business parenting in the first place, because that's how life works.

He also apparently has no memory of the incident, or at least didn't seem to have learned any lessons from it, because the pictures above are from the VERY NEXT DAY, where he tackled the wound-inflicting slide like a boss as well as about 14 other gravity-defying stunts.

Post (Thanksgiving) Weekend

Thanksgiving.  It doesn't seem to fly by exactly, but as soon as it's over it's on to the next thing - Christmas!  And I don't mind it that way.  The transition from the most beautiful fall harvest holiday, filled in my mind with all things burlap, delicious, and cozy, to the Christmas season, filled instead with bright colors, lights, and sparkle, is a fun one.  I love both holidays, but my mind has been so preoccupied with all things Christmas since arriving back home from celebrating in Iowa, that these photos seem like they were taken much longer than mere days ago.

(Packing helper.  Really.  I man, he didn't even TRY to take the clothes out of the suitcase.  It's a Thanksgiving packing miracle!)

(He did, however, pack himself into the suitcase.  Fair enough.)

One thing looked more like Christmas than Thanksgiving the morning before we left, though...

(As we are deep in the throes of all things Frozen right now, (I guess there's no escaping that one with toddlers), his name, of course, is Olaf.)

(Our halfway treat: smoothies and french fries for all.  They clearly do not enjoy it.  And now when we drive past any golden arches Caden calls it "the french fry place".)

(Early morning storytime with Grandpa.)

(Naptime with Daddy.  Before even getting to any of that turkey.)

(Naps done.  Ready for turkey.)

(Hurry it up, dad.)

(There it is.)

(His eyes are so big I think he's stuck with a deer-in-the-headlights look no matter what.)

(Approved of the pumpkin pie.  Ate more than his fair share.)

(Who me?)

First time, that the twins can remember, anyway, in "grown-up church".  Brooklyn got into the music with some hand-clapping.

This guy, on the other hand.  Don't let that angelic singing face fool you.  If you follow me in Instagram, you already know that he was belting out a rousing rendition of "Old MacDonald" from the hymnal, before declaring, "I don't like church" during the morning's announcements.  

(Worn out from the long weekend.)

(Though they did wake up to play with some new goodies.  And another stop at "the french fry place".)

Now back home.  More normal schedules and routines, our own toys and technology ("let's watch Super Why!" is a common refrain around here), errands and playdates.

And most importantly, most excitingly...

...adding some bits of Christmas.

Thanksgiving Tree

Thanksgiving.  It's this week.  It's one of my favorite holidays.  Which for me this year means gearing up for a road trip to Iowa and packing clothes, potty chairs, diapers, and, most importantly, loads snacks and distractions for the car.  (Though exactly when and how this packing will get done with three kids around remains to be seen.)

But for the past week or so, we've taken a little time out at dinner each night to talk about things we are thankful for.  I can't take credit for the idea as I've seen it floating around the internet in different forms over the years, but now I have kids old enough to participate in what I hope will become a family tradition.  It's also about as simple and as cheap as far as projects go (BONUS): branches from the yard, sparkly cardstock I already had, cut into leaf shapes.  String I also already had, hole punched, looped through, and tied in a knot.

Each night at dinner we go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for.  (I mean, except for Nolan.  Though I can pretty much guess that if he could talk his answers would amount to "milk", "pretty much any and all food", and "the two middle fingers on my right hand that almost never leave my mouth".)  Our one rule: no repeats.  Brooklyn got stuck after "the color blue", "the color pink", and "daddy".  Only three days in, huh?  We've helped her out a bit since then.

Also keep your expectations LOW.  At least for the very little ones.  I'm pretty sure that someone wound up in time-out after we were one answer in the first night.  And while I'd love some shots of them hanging their answers up on the branches (possibly their favorite part, besides picking out which leaf to use each night), it's usually pretty dramatic with a lot of "no don't stand ON the bookshelf" and "give me your leaf right NOW"-type comments happening.  Maybe they'll be able to hang them by themselves with a little less stress in a few years.  Like when they're 16?

Shown above: Caden's answer from the very first night.  Can't say I blame him.

I meant to start this awhile ago so we had it up for the whole month of November, but that just didn't happen.  Oh well.  Do what you can when you can.  We started last Monday and will continue until we leave on Wednesday.  Or maybe I'll bring some leaves along for Thanksgiving Day, as well.  It's something you can do for a few days this week, or as a big group with whoever you celebrate Thanksgiving with, or even in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

And we've had some impressive answers.  My designer heart couldn't help but be glad when Brooklyn named colors  s the top things she was thankful for (blue the first night, pink the second), but was also surprised that while Caden's first night was bread, his answer the second night was church.

(Other answers include "cheese", "pizza", and "bunny crackers".  Guess the kids have a thing for food.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Post Thanksgiving Week

This time of year is kind of strange...filtering through photos from Thanksgiving last week when all around me is evidence of the next holiday: the tree, the lights, the presents on order, and now even the snow.  It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving was only--less than--a week ago.  It feels so much further away.

It's hard for me to find much to say.  I love Thanksgiving, and yet my mind is mostly a red and green jumble of what's coming up.  I don't even have that many pictures, though that's more a hazard of having a couple of toddlers around who love all things technology (or, ahem, mostly Caden), and avoiding the resulting meltdown over a phone or camera is just so much easier than having to deal with them.  Still, I'll leave it up to some photos {and a few blurbs} to sum it up.

{Indoor playtime adventures while Grandma and Grandpa were at work.}


(Good thing Uncle Travis was there.  Mommy's belly would have a hard time fitting through kid-sized inflatables...}


{Pre-turkey father-son snooze.}



{Okay, let's go back to last week, just so I can eat this plate of food again.}

{Breaking out the snowsuits for the first time.}

{Mostly thankful for the pie.}

{Scratch that.  Mostly thankful for Aunt Richelle's whipped cream on top of the pie.  Me: "Brooklyn, do you want some pie?"  Brooklyn: "Bie?  Uh-huh."  Me: *serves pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream*  Brooklyn: *carefully consumes all whipped cream from top of pie* "More?"}

Post (Thanksgiving) Weekend

These two turkeys enjoyed their first Thanksgiving, even if they had no idea what it was all about.

(Best outtake ever.)

Food.  It was about the food.  Still is about the food for them.  Brooklyn can put down turkey like nobody's business.  She's probably about eaten her weight in turkey in the past five days.

Oh that turkey?

Kay, here's a smile, now...turkey?

Please?  This is lame.

*garbled chewing sounds*

Stuff their face?  Who, me?

It was also about that black box in our living room suddenly coming to life and showing moving pictures.  Parades! People singing!  People cheering!  People in funny outfits chasing after a ball and colliding with each other!  That was pretty interesting.

But mostly it was about the food.

Tyson took pride in carving the turkey this year.  Mostly because he didn't forget the talking-to he got the last time we hosted Thanksgiving.  When I asked him to carve the turkey he looked up from where he had been parked afternoon on the floor, watching football, looked at me incredulously, and said, "What?  I don't know how to carve a turkey."

Y'know.  Because I roast twelve-pound birds every day.

Lucky for him this year, he did a good job.

Okay, so actually Thanksgiving was mostly about the family.


This is Caden pre-gaming for Thanksgiving last week.

He fell asleep so hard that Tyson and I were able to remove his tray and bib, unstrap him from his high chair, and maneuver him onto the floor (onto a towel, since he was covered in rice/miscellaneous food bits/was basically an ever-loving mess).