Friday, December 2, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

We had a little bit of an unconventional Thanksgiving, but it worked out great.

As we all know, Olivia is a holiday lover.  This year, since she works with a calendar daily, she wants to make sure no holiday is forgotten.  So as soon as Halloween ended she started talking about Thanksgiving (as opposed to other years where she would just skip right on to Christmas).  She wanted to make sure it was decorated for, and celebrated.  She immediately started planning a feast.

So I decided to just go with it and let her be as involved as she wanted.  The first thing I had her do was to make a placemat for each person.

Olivia was suppose to help me with this feast, but it ended up being Logan who was the helper.

 Olivia was too busy talking on the phone to grandma and drawing/writing books.

Logan loves being a helper, and is always asking.  He was so happy to be able to help without having to take turns with his sister. :)

As soon as we were done with our night before prep, I covered the table with our fun tablecloth.  I got it from Target.  It was a paper type material that you could color.  I knew it would be perfect for our kid friendly feast.

As soon as Olivia realized she could color on the table, she was all in.  Our family sat and colored together for a while.

We set the table and sent the littles to bed.

It's nearly impossible to get Logan to take a staged picture.  So this is the best we could do.

We don't usually put all of the food on the table.  I guess it comes from our tiny condo days, but I always just fill our plates and them serve them at the table.  But Olivia insisted that our table be full for the "great feast", so that's what we did! 

I'm thankful for these 3!

Soon after our lunch they hit the road.  Michael's cousin (and his family) and aunt and uncle now live in a suburb of Austin.  We got a last minute invite for Thanksgiving.  Obviously I had to work, but I sent the rest of them along to have fun and enjoy family time.  It was a 3 hour drive, and they got there in plenty of time for dinner.

Michael with his Aunt, Uncle, cousin Timmy and 3 out of 4 of his kids.  Somehow his wife and daughter missed the picture.

I guess Logan took right to their youngest son Ian.

They all had a blast.  They jumped on the trampoline, played with dogs, played hide and seek, took golf cart rides, got to eat ice cream and popcorn in the same night...

Meanwhile, I was dealing with the craziness that is Black Friday.

I went in on Thursday at 5:30, and worked until about 12:30.  Then, since no one was at home waiting for me, I walked around and shopped for a bit.  I'll be honest, though.  When you combine my desire for a simpler life with having less, while watching people completely lose their mind over material possessions and "the it toy"... I didn't buy much.

I was able to sleep in Friday morning.  Then I spent most of the day drinking coffee and binge watching the new Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  I also wrapped some Christmas gifts.  It was a nice, quiet, relaxing day.  Which is just what I needed. Then it was back to Target for more Black Friday craziness.

Overall we had a great holiday.  It was simple.  And simple is good.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Photo Dump

We hadn't had a Costco membership for a while, but we needed new tires and figured we'd go that route.  So of course we had to walk the aisles and see what was up.  And the kiddos found the giant bear.

What we do when we are waiting for a hair cut. :)

We voted!  Texas had early voting that went on for a while.  We hit up the library and had no wait!

Quite frankly, I'm shocked this hasn't happened sooner!  He didn't get fully out, since I caught him.  My other saving grace is that he's afraid to drop.  So he just climbs back in.

Michael took this one night while I was at work.

If your mom is a teacher... you might do file folders on a Saturday morning for fun.  Ha ha! 

Olivia is really into cooking, and she's constantly making us these "meals" with her play food.  So I decided to show her a kids bake off show on Netflix.  She was totally into it.  She set up her work area with all of her tools and her princess coloring book, and was giving us tutorials and telling us she had made this recipe "literally hundreds of times".

The very next opportunity she had to climb the wall, she made it to the TOP and rang the bell!  I had no doubt she would.  She climbed it multiple times, actually.

And then she gave wall 2 a go.  I'm sure there are plenty of 5 year olds that can climb these walls, but what makes it impressive is if you know MY 5 year old--and her coordination and athletic ability!

I had to work on Veteran's Day, but Michael took the kids out for his free meal and they hit up a few stores.

Making butter for cow week, and trying it on a cracker. Mmmm!  (We had to switch to a mason jar.  That little tupperware started leaking!)

Our MOPS craft this month was win!

The decorations went up, we had our first fire, and we watched Polar Express. Love!

We had ants!  I put Michael in charge of this homeschool project.  I think he enjoyed watching them just as much as the kids did!

We watched Monsters Inc.  So of course we had to have some art to go along with that. ;)

Did I mention it might be time to move to the toddler bed?! ;)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Safari Run

Our area has gotten a few new play places in the last couple of months.  One of those places is Safari Run.  Our church mom's group met there one Monday morning for a play date.
We had never been, but we loved it!

It was big, clean, fun, and nicely priced for what you get.

It was something both of my kids could enjoy, and there were also places for the mom's to hang out and talk.

I don't know how I got such dramatic children?! ;)

There was a smaller side for littler kids, as well.  The place wasn't very busy at all, so our kids played over there for a bit too.

On your marks... get set... GO!

We had a great morning, and we will for sure be back!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Operation Christmas Child

Each year our Life Group tries to choose a service project for the holidays.  Last year we adopted a local family with 3 preteen/teen boys.  This year, as our kids got a little older and could participate more, we chose to do Operation Christmas Child.  I love OCC, and did it each year I taught school.  I was excited to be able to do it with the kids.

I had picked up a few things at Target when our dollar spot stuff changed and went on clearance, but I really wanted to take the kids to shop.  I explained to them exactly what we were doing and why we were doing it.

We hit up Walmart first.  (Why buy crayons for a dollar, when you can get them for 47 cents?)  We found a lot of things that would work for Olivia's box, but not as many for Logan's.

So then we headed to Dollar Tree.

The kids had the best time picking out the items.

Olivia wanted to buy her girl a TV.  Unfortunately, that doesn't fit in a shoe box, so we had to compromise. ;)

Then on Sunday afternoon we packed up our boxes!  I called them in to do it and Logan said, "To pack a box for the boy who doesn't get a Christmas gift?"  He totally remembered, even though we had shopped days earlier, and he got it!  That melted my heart, and I'm pretty sure we are adding OCC to our yearly traditions!

Logan picked dumb dumbs as his hard candy.  He was filling his Dory cup with them.

Olivia chose ring pops for her hard candy, but they didn't fit in her cup.  So she filled her cup with socks, toothpaste, and hair clips and added the candy to the box later.

Olivia wanted to give so much. She just kept saying, "I bet she would want ______." And then she started talking about the mom and how she might not get anything either and we should send her something.  I love her heart!

I had planned on getting pictures of the finished boxes at Life Group, but it never happened.  But both of the kids were so proud of their boxes. And we prayed that each box would reach just the right little girl and just the right little boy.

Not once did the kids ask for the items.  They knew and understood that we were buying for someone else.  But we did overbuy slightly.  So Logan got to keep a dinosaur and a ball, and Olivia got to keep a paint set.  It was a win/win for everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Graham's Birthday

We had another Life Group birthday party this past weekend!  We have been going to the same group for nearly a year and a half, and these families have become good friends of ours, so it's fun to celebrate with them.

Graham turned 3 and had a Paw Patrol party!
I didn't take a ton of pictures, but Leah had it all set up super cute.  Artie (Graham's dad) does video editing, and actually makes TV commercials, for his job.  So he took clips of Paw Patrol and put them together to make "missions" for the kids.  So they'd start out in "The Look Out" (from the show, for those of you who don't watch), and then they'd go help one of the pups.  They helped Marshal find his badge (pin the tail), they put out fires with water balloons, and dug for bones with Rubble.  In between each mission they'd go back to The Look Out to get directions from Ryder.  Super cute!

One mission was to adopt a pup.  They each got to draw on a fabric dog, and there were tags to write names and give the dogs a collar.

Our two were totally into it, and were crawling around on all 4's barking. :)  But it was good, because it helped some of the shy kids want to participate.

The last mission was to wish the birthday boy happy birthday (sing!) and eat cake!


Then we headed outside, where there was a brand new bounce house that Graham got from his grandparents.

The kids had so much fun going down the slide, chasing their friends, and bouncing around!

As we were leaving, Olivia turned to Leah and said, "Thank you so much for inviting us! This was the best birthday party ever.  You did a good job!"  Truthfully, you just never know what is going to come out of that girl's mouth.... but sometimes, she just makes me proud! :)