Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Christmas Tree Farm 2017

After Thanksgiving is over (you can read all about our week HERE), we all start really craving the Christmas season!  We used to go get our tree the first Saturday in December, but a few years ago we moved it up and started going the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We all really like that better and it (typically) gives us another week with our tree up.

This year, the weather was absolutely beautiful for the Saturday that we went.  Some years, it's pretty warm (which isn't fun), but this year it was perfect.  It was cool enough to wear winter clothes, but we weren't hot or cold while we were walking around.

We got there right as they opened, and we spent a good bit of time walking around to find the perfect tree.  This is the first year in several years where the kids were more into finding the perfect tree than they were into just running around the farm while Matt and I looked.  They both put a lot of input and opinions into which one we got (even if they both did try to talk us into getting them small, live trees for their room - haha).

One of my favorite pictures each year.  I wonder how many more years until they are the same height??

We found the perfect one!  We all decided we wanted a shorter, skinnier tree this year.  Usually, we get the tallest, fattest tree we can fit in our house.  Now that this one is up, we are loving the skinnier tree!

We didn't bring anyone else with us, and there weren't many people walking around near us before we cut it down, so we didn't get a family picture.  No worries - we just split up Mommy and Daddy and got individual pictures!

We both absolutely love the tradition of going to the tree farm!

 Both kids took turns helping Daddy saw the tree down.  LL was so proud of herself because she "pushed the tree over" while Daddy was sawing.  ;)

Heading back to the truck!

This was the sweetest little moment.  While we were walking back, Cooper grabbed the top of the tree to help Daddy all on his own.  He said he was a big boy and needed to help carry the tree!  #allthehearteyes #soprecious

Typically, LL drives with Matt up to the shaker/netter and Cooper and I ride in the back.  This year, LL wanted to ride in the back with us!

Sitting on a tailgate while driving through a bumpy field and trying to take a picture?  Not so easy!  Haha.

This day was literally perfect.  Both kids were so into decorating this year.  We blasted Christmas music and just had an amazing time together.  It was a day I will treasure forever!

Our Christmas tree expeditions throughout the years!

I know it's so cliche, but goodness they just grow too fast!

You can see our past visits to the Christmas Tree Farm here:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving Break 2017

We had a fun-filled week off of school for Thanksgiving - and it was just what all of us needed.  We had so much family time with each other and extended family.  We had some days where we were super busy, and some chill days at home - it was a great balance!  Here's what we were up to:

Even though break hadn't started yet, I'm still beginning our recap with the last day of school.  Cooper had his "Thanksgiving Feast", and I rearranged some things at school so that I could be there.  I'm trying to go to as much as I can this year since it is our last time ever having a child in preschool!  Cooper was a little Indian, and he was so stinkin' excited.  He had several songs to sing, and he practiced them over and over at home!

They had a little program where all the classes came out and sang their songs.  Afterwords, they had a little snack "feast" set up for the kids and some goodies for the parents.  This was Cooper's cute little placemat with his Indian name - Tall Snake!

Friday night, LL spent the night with Gigi and Poppy.  Cooper woke up super early Saturday morning (like 5 am), and I got up with him because Matt had a terrible headache.  Early mornings aren't so bad when I get to snuggle my best boy!

A few hours after I got up, I started to feel absolutely awful.  Like, had a 102 temperature and was really sure that I had the flu awful.  I took a nap to see if I would feel better, but woke up and still felt awful and had a fever.  I decided to go ahead and go to the doctor.  We had so many things planned, and I knew if it was the flu, I needed meds ASAP.  I got tested for both the flu and strep, and they both surprisingly came back negative.  Even the doctor was surprised.  After talking over options with the doctor, we decided to try OTC meds and lots of rest and fluids for the next few days to see if I could manage it that way.  

I spent the rest of the day in bed, but Matt took Cooper out for a little while to fly his kite.  It was a beautiful, perfect day to do it!

LL spent the night with Gigi on Friday, but then we decided to keep her there on Saturday night, too.  Just in case I had something that was contagious, we wanted to keep everyone else in the family as well as possible.  Since she was completely across town, we knew she had a much better chance of staying healthy if she stayed there.  Trust me, she was not disappointed at all!  Especially when she got donuts for breakfast.  ;)

This sickness/bug/cold was the weirdest thing ever because I woke up on Sunday feeling tired, but otherwise completely normal.  I stayed on meds for a few days just to make sure, but I never had any other fever or symptoms after Saturday!  Matt and I went over to Gigi's on Sunday around lunch time.  Mom and I needed to do all of the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving, and we also needed to pick up LL.  While Mom and I were at the grocery store, Matt took the kids out back to play in the fig tree.  The kids love this thing!

Here's the deal with Thanksgiving for our family: we pretty much do something different every year.  We have three sets of parents in town, and we kind of alternate who we see each year.  This is not one of those holidays (like Christmas) where I feel like I need to be at my house to celebrate.  My one condition is that, wherever we are for Thanksgiving, I want to cook.  This is absolutely one of my favorite meals to make, and I literally look forward to it all year long.

One thing that I wanted to do this year is make homemade yeast rolls.  I have never made any sort of homemade bread before, so we figured it would be pretty smart to try it out before the actual day of Thanksgiving just to make sure I could do it - haha.  After mom and I got done grocery shopping, I decided to give my first batch a go!  

My first ever batch of rolls!

They were so good!  I was so proud of myself!

That night, I found a surprise when I went to get in bed.  I love having a boy.

Monday was a day where our day was pretty chill, but then we had a pretty busy afternoon.  That morning, we had Tess come over to spend the day with us.  If you don't know, my best friend Emily (Tess's mom) has been matched with her family to a birth mother.  The birth mother is in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, so Emily has been driving a few hours away several times a week to go to doctor's appointments with her.  Since I was out of school all week, we volunteered to help her with childcare in any way we could - which ended up with Tess coming to spend the day with us on Monday.  My kids were so excited.  They literally talked about it for days leading up to it.  They both are over the moon for Tess, and we had the best day having her over!

It was pretty cold on Monday, but the kids wanted to go outside and play for just a little bit before lunch.  I stayed inside (but kept an eye on them), and saw LL and Tess ordering lunch from Cooper.  ;)

Such a fun day with Tess! (and can you tell LL dressed herself - haha)

That afternoon, Zach came to get Tess, and then we headed to Kayla and Andrew's house for their gender reveal party!  Matt and I are over the moon for them and this baby, and we've never been to a gender reveal, so we were all suuuuper excited!

...Aaaaand it's a girl!!!

After the gender reveal, we headed over to Gigi's house because Aunt Laura and Ben came for the week and we wanted to see them ASAP!  While we were there, I took the other half of the bread dough from the night before and tried my hand at cinnamon rolls - and they didn't disappoint either!

So.  Good.

Tuesday was another pretty chill day.  We were going to head over to Gigi's before lunch, but we were struggling with some attitude issues, so we decided to stay home until after naps.  I think it worked better for everyone in the long run.

During Cooper's nap, Matt took LL to go practice shooting and then to go hunting.  LL has been saying for a while that she wanted to shoot Daddy's "real gun".  She has a BB gun, but she said she was ready for the real thing.  I was surprised, but she did it!  Matt said she started crying when the kickback hit her arm, but then....

She realized she hit the target!!  He said her tears dried up instantly then!

I know this picture isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the reality is that our children are being raised in a home that has guns (yes - we have a gun safe that stays locked).  Yes, that can be very dangerous.  But, it's also a really good learning opportunity.  Our children are learning the proper way to handle guns, and how to handle them safely.  For instance, in this picture, the gun is not loaded and LL's hands aren't anywhere close to the trigger.  I'm proud of my girl for doing something that scared her and for learning to do it safely.

After target practice, it was time for some actual hunting!  (They didn't see anything)

After Cooper woke up from his nap, we went to Gigi's house to spend time with Gigi, Poppy, Aunt Laura, and Ben.

Snuggled with my sister on a cold, rainy evening with a salted caramel hot chocolate - it doesn't get much better!

These boys took a bath in Gigi's huge bathtub and had a blast!

When I got home that night, it was time for some upgrades to our elf!

Wednesday morning we got up and moving because we had a fun day ahead - we were going to Oma and Opa's house to help them decorate for Christmas!

Doing whatever it takes to get those ornaments higher up on the tree!  And the sad reality is, at 50 lbs, I'm not going to be able to do this with him for much longer!

After dinner, Matt took the kids back home for the night, and I went to spend the night at Gigi's.  I have to get up so early to put the turkey in the oven, it made more sense for me to just stay the night there.  Plus, it gave me more time with my sister!  It also gave me time to make my cheesecake bites for the next day (also another first for me to make!).

I know the videos of these charcoal masks circulated quite some time ago, but my sister brought a tube with her, so we had to give it a go.  It was hilarious.  It did hurt a good bit in some places, but man our skin felt amazing afterwords!

We survived!

I was up bright and early Thursday morning to get the bird in the oven.  Matt and the kids showed up a few hours later - and with treats!  Hot chocolate for Mommy!

These three seriously had so much fun spending time together this week.  I absolutely loved seeing them play together so much!

My sister bought this hat for Matt knowing that he would love it.  And she was right.  ;)

To be sappy for a minute, these guys really are what I am most thankful for.  They are, without a doubt, my richest blessing.

The turkey came out absolutely beautiful this year!  

I was in charge of cooking, and Laura was in charge of decorating.  The table was absolutely beautiful!

Gigi caught us sneaking in some kisses during Thanksgiving lunch.  :)

Look at these turkeys!  3 years ago and now.

Friday was a super chill day and we literally only took one picture - haha.  We spent the day at Gigi's again, and it was a nice lazy day.

Saturday was one of my favorite days of the year - going to get our Christmas tree!!  (post to come)

A Christmas miracle - LL asking Cooper to snuggle with her.

After the kids went to bed, someone showed up for the season!

Sunday we spent the day at Grammy and Pop's house helping them decorate for Christmas.  We also spent a good bit of time outside playing because of gorgeous weather.  Look at this flower that LL found growing in their yard!

This week was honestly so great and what we all needed.  Lots of relaxing and lots of family time.  It doesn't get much better than that!

You can see our past Thanksgivings here:
2016 - at Grammy and Pop's
2015 - at Oma and Opa's
2014 - in Atlanta
2013 - at Oma and Opa's
2012 - at Grammy and Pop's