My sister Doree visited us for Christmas and we had such a great time with her, although I was sick most of the time. Andrew had planned to take the week off before Christmas so we could do some festiv family things together since this was our first Christmas that we celebrated with just our little family. Sadly, the only things we managed to do were see a Christmas display in Mannasas, decorate gingerbread houses, and do some baking and delivering cookies (I stayed in the car). The rest of the time, I was in bed sick while Andrew got some quality time with the kids and some empathy for my daily job:) Not quite what we had in mind, but it was a blessing to have him home. On Christmas Eve, we had clam chowder,french bread, homemade mac and cheese for the kids (and Doree!), and leftover cookies from our baking spree.Clam chowder is a tradition on Andrew's side. We then sent the kids on a scavenger hunt to look for new pajamas and ornaments(Doree made it up and used Christmas songs for the clues), which they found in the dryer. This is a tradition from my family, and most years Mom did hide them in the dryer, but it was always fun! After we gave the kids a bath and put them in their new jammies, we came down to a cozy fire in our own fire place that Andrew secretly made! That was my favorite part of the evening because it felt so festy and was so fun to be able to celebrate our first Christmas Eve in our house with a fire going. After we enjoyed the fire a bit, we reinacted the nativity, wrote our letter to Santa, and put the kids to bed. Doree, Andrew and I then stayed up, watched old Christmas movies and played Santa. It was super fun to be sneaky and fill up the stockings, put together the train track, trampoline, and baby doll set. It is almost more fun being Santa than receiving presents from him. For any kids reading, we were really just Santa's helpers:) The next morning the kids were really excited to see all the presents under the tree and played with their Santa gifts for awhile. Andrew said he wanted to open presents before the kids did! We had homemade cinnamon rolls and orange rolls which we munched on all morning. The kids got games, clothes, and toys galore, but the highlight was the joint gift from Santa- an indoor trampolie, which they still play with almost everyday and is great for getting out their wiggles. They were quite adorable squealing with delight as they jumped and jumped. I got a new camera from Santa, which I love b/c the old one got left at a fall festival and was never recovered:( Andrew got some new power tools, and Doree got a lot of gift cards. We were spoiled! We were also spoiled by the light snowfall that we got on Christmas day. Growing up in Colorado, it was very rare that it would snow on Christmas day, so that was a treat.That evening, Nate had his Thomas the train and Buzz Lightyear join us for dinner and we were still in our pajamas as we ate ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and pumpkin pie. We had a wonderful holiday. Christmas is the greatest and we were so blessed to have Doree with us, she made it that much more fun. But we did miss all of our other loved ones. Thanks for being so generous everyone, we love you!
2 days later, Andrew and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary and he took me to a French bistro in Lake Ridge that was quite yummy and impressive. Thanks Doree for babysitting:)The next weekend, my parents came out to babysit while Andrew and I went to Williamsburg for a weekend away. We had planned to go to Busch Gardens for their Christmas celebration, but I was too sick, so we went out to eat and watched movies in the hotel. It was nice to get away, if just for a few days.
For Thanksgiving, we hosted my whole family which included my brother, SIL, niece, nephew, Mom, Dad, and my 2 sisters. It was fun to be able to fit everyone in our house and it gave us an incentive to finally paint the basement. The day before turkey day my sisters and I went to get supplies to make all of us aprons, well we ironed on names and added some bling! That got us in the mood for our all day cooking event the next day. Before we started, we did a family Zumba class, my 5 year old niece Riley was pretty awesome! Then we got to work. Everyone had a task. Jake, was in charge of the turkey, which he took very seriously, checking the temperature religiously and us girls did everything else, which included mashed potatoes, funeral potatoes, green beans, rolls, homemade stuffing, cranberry jello, sweet potatoes, apple crisp, and pumpkin pie.Andrew was sick the whole day so he was "MIA." The kids get along really well and kept each other busy. Dash and Kaitlyn are only a few months apart and Riley and Nate are best friends. Grandpa and Grandma also kept them entertained by putting together a Thanksgiving skit for us all to enjoy after the meal. The babies were the wild indians, Grandpa was the chief, Nate and Riley were the pilgrims, and Mom narrated. At the end, Riley put up a sign that said "End The." They were quite adorable! The food was delicious, and the dessert was divine. I bought a Costco pumpkin cheesecake and some chocolate/vanilla cream puffs, but the homemade desserts were better. We are so grateful to have such a fun, loving family!
Everyone except for Ali, Doree, and the kids left the next day. We went to the inner harbor the next day and looked at the light display, rode the indoor train, and enjoyed the fake warm snowfall. It was a fun way to kick off the Christmas season.
(My fall post I wrote in October)
I love Fall! Everything about it, the cooler weather, the fact that I can sleep better at night, the leaves changing colors, raking and jumping in the leaves, the long sleeved shirt weather, the cider, the fall festivals, Halloween, Thanksgiving, chili, pumpkin desserts! (bread, pie, cookies, you name it:) So here it is what we've been up to this Fall...
We visited several fall festivals, including Cox Farms, Leesburg Farm, and the Old Mine Ranch. The slides, food, animals, pumpkins, hay rides, and scarecrows really made it feel like fall. The weather however, felt like we were still in summer with, so we enjoyed ice cream instead of hot cider! At Leesburg, we lost our camera :( so the really cute video of KK talking to the ducks is gone forever. Well for the record, it was really cute b/c they would quack and she would make high- pitched noises back to them.
Nate also had a birthday this October and turned 3! I can't believe my little boy is 3 years old. He talks more and more and is super independent. We had a friend party for him as well as a family party with my parents. He wanted a shark cake and a spider pinata. Andrew and I found a picture of a shark cake on a blog and tried to replicate it. It didn't turn out as well, but we were pretty proud of ourselves. The camera ran out of batteries before we could take a picture of us cutting into the cake. We made it red velvet, so the inside would look like blood. The boys thought it was pretty cool. We did a pirate theme, and when the kids came into the house they got an eye patch, a gold medallion, and the option of getting their faces painted. Marshall was the only one brave enough to do it. We then played games in the basement. The highlights were pin the treasure hunt on the map and the cannon ball game where each team could throw cannon balls at the other ship, not the other pirates. We then went on a treasure hunt with our compasses and found the treasure hidden under some balloons in the bathtub. Each of the kids received a pirate booty bag and then we were off to hit the pinata. Several of the kids got some good whacks out of it and they were very good about only taking enough candy to fit in their cups. It was then time for cake and ice cream and presents. Each kid wanted Nate to open their present, and Nate wanted to open the packaging of each one to play with it on the spot, so it was kind of a struggle. Andrew and I were exhausted by the end of the party, but the kids seemed to have a good time and our birthday boy enjoyed having all of his new friends over to play. Thanks for making the day special for him everyone:)
My parents came into town thenext week and we went out to "On the border." Nate loved the chips and free brownie and ice cream dessert with a candle. It is always a treat to have Mom and Dad for birthdays and it makes the day extra memorable. They also got him his own airport, which he loves. Even to this day, anytime I ask him what he would like to do for the day, he says "go to the airport, go on a plane, and go to grandma and grampa's house." For his actual birthday, which was a Sunday, we made him pancakes with a candle it it. Happy Birthday little Nate, we love you!
A week after Nate's birthday was Halloween. I found some cheap costumes at Old Navy, a ladybug and a shark. Perfect because Nate loves sharks! They looked adorable going to several Halloween parties, including the trunk or treat at the church. Andrew and I dressed up as Adelaide and Nathan Detroit, and we had fun, inspite of the fact that most adults didn't dress up. Boo! On Halloween night, we took the kiddos down one side of our street and back up the other, after which, Nate sat down on the curb and exclaimed, "I ti-red." So ok then, that was all the trick or treating for us. We then let the kids eat some of their loot, had chili, and headed over to a friend's house for late night games. Halloween is fun when you have a great neighborhood to trick or treat in.