We had another wonderful Thanksgiving this year! And every year we become more and more thankful for God's blessings of health & happiness!
We woke up Thanksgiving morning to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! I love cuddling up with Nolan and oohing and awing at all the cool balloons! And he was excited to see Santa as well! Then we Skyped with Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Mal, and Uncle T. in Chicago! Even though it is sad not to be with them on holidays, we are SO thankful for Skype so at least we can see each other!
After baking a corn casserole (my Mom's delicious recipe) we headed out to Mark's parents house for family photos, kid naps, snacks, & football before the feast!
Heath getting in on the cooking action in the kitchen!
As soon as we got there Nolan found his place card and wanted to sit down for dinner immediately. He asked all day if it was time for the "Thanksgiving Dinner"! When it came time to eat, Nolan LOVED sitting at the big table! And he REALLY loved drinking water from this fancy glass!
This first grade teacher was so proud of her little first grade niece! She read the Thanksgiving Story to the whole group before dinner! She read fluently and with great voice! Love that girl!
After all of his excitement to sit down for the feast, I'm not sure how much of the "Thanksgiving Dinner" Nolan actually ate- I do know he had 4 servings of cranberries and about 3 of applesauce! He ate a roll and a half too! But he sat nicely and asked to be excused and thanked Oma for a good meal!
This munchkin on the other hand ate everything I offered him and apparently was affected by the tryptophan in the turkey!
Aunt Sue eating the annual brussel sprout!
After dinner: Getting body slams from Uncle Brad in the basement on Oma & Opa's famous orange bean bag!
Nolan asked to be put into the crawl space! He thought it was so cool and even asked Uncle Brad to close the door! Then everyone else had to join in on the action! (On a side note: I love this picture of Payton and Nolan...they are the best of friends! They are both creative, imaginative, smart, sensitive, and sweet, which makes for a perfect pairing! And it also helps that Nolan, unlike her brother Brady, listens to everything Payton says! Which of couse she likes!)
Uncle Brad playing the trombone in the crawl space! Doesn't every family do that on Thanksgiving?
Cohen practicing his sitting in the bean bag! Isn't he all of a sudden getting so big?!
And finally, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Aunt Sue's exciting Turkey Trot game! The kids had fun playing their own round this year!
"Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King, his love endures forever!"
For the past three years The Southlands Tree Lighting ceremony and Christmas parade has been one of our favorite holiday traditions! It gets better every year for Nolan as he enjoys the costumes, professional ice skaters, marching bands, and Christmas cheer more and more! And luckily this year it was a bit warmer than in the past! We still had to get bundled up, but the temperature was actually bearable!
Heath was so bundled up he could barely move!
Waiting for the parade to start. How come Nolan looks SO TALL in this picture?
Nolan absolutely adores his Daddy!
This guy was pretty amazing! He juggled and rolled on this ball for the entire length of the parade!
You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!
Nolan waited the whole parade for the firetrucks! The horn was INCREDIBLY loud! It scared Heath, and made me jump- Nolan wasn't phased by it!
And then came Santa! Nolan asked to sit on his lap! We had to tell him, "not tonight". So when it comes time to really do it, let's hope this year goes better than in years past! He has already been telling me what he will ask Santa for AND what Heath should ask for as well! He's got Heath's list all planned out!
Out of the stroller for the tree lighting ceremony!
There it is...a gorgeous, real, Colorado tree!
And can you believe that exactly one year ago, the morning after the tree lighting ceremony I gave birth to this adorable bundle of love?!
Mark has trimmed his hair here and there before. But his hair is just SO different from Nolan's. Nolan's is coarse and sticks straight up! Heath's is fine and has some waves to it. But it was just getting so long in some places and we were afraid to buzz it like we normally do with Nolan's, so we took him to Cool Cuts for Kids for his first "official" hair cut! We've taken Nolan there twice before and they've always done a good job.
Until this time. Maybe it was the curls, or maybe there was a little too much chatting going on, or maybe their wasn't enough focus.
Heath did a great job, sat still, & didn't cry! And this sweet lady did her best, but we came home with a "not so cool" cut! We just aren't so into the racing stripes and blunt snips thing!
So the next day our at home barber did a little buzzing and tried to fix it up a bit. Heath is so handsome and can rock any look with that gleam in his eye and infectious smile! But we probably won't be setting foot into that establishment again. And Heath will probably end up with the long, curly, surfer dude style because I won't want a scissors to touch his head for a LONG time!
Can it be that I am already thinking about Christmas? Yes! I have already bought a few gifts and some stocking stuffers for the boys! I have NEVER begun shopping this early. There is just something about busy stores, running around last minute, and all of the hustle and bustle of December that I usually love! But this year with 2 boys, and 2 birthdays in the midst of Christmas busyness...for my own sanity I needed to start early! And this year, being back on D Track at school I will teach 3 weeks in December! I was spoiled teaching on A Track for the past few years and having off from Thanksgiving Break through the New Year! And add to that traveling to Chicago for Christmas...I'm just a TAD busy for the next 2 months! But LOVING every second of it!
There's just something about Christmas with your own kids that makes it that much more magical! I love all of the traditions: cutting down the tree, decorating it, our Elf on the Shelf: Eckabee, baking cookies and decorating them, shopping for the perfect present, wrapping gifts, being with my family, the Pickle Ornament, and CHRISTMAS CARDS! I love the creativity that goes into designing them and I L-O-V-E cards and REAL mail!
I recently heard about this great offer from Shutterfly where bloggers can receive 50 FREE Christmas Cards just for blogging about their favorite designs that Shutterfly has to offer this Holiday Season! What a fun promotion...something FREE during this time of year...I'll take it!
So here are a few of my favorites...one may or may not be the one we choose...we might just want to add a little surprise to your mailbox! (My blog is cutting them off a bit, so be sure to click on the links to see them in all their jolly glory!)
Last year since I had JUST had Heath, I did not want a current photo of my self in all my post birth, flabby, breast feeding glory. So 3 separate pictures of Mark & I, Nolan, and tiny Heath just worked. So, this year I think we are going to do just 1 family photo. I like this card because it is classic, simple, and you can choose your own text and font! I love a good font...so that appeals to me! I also like how the photo is framed!
This one is a top choice for some of the same reasons- clean, and traditional. And if you have 1 great photo this Snowflake Design Christmas card will be perfect! And the little snowflakes on top of the picture are so stinkin' cute!
I am really gravitating towards cards this year that have large photo options. I also like that the text will layer on top of the photo, just like the snowflakes above. I think that this card would look great with a black & white photo as well! I did black & white last year, so I am leaning towards color this year, and who wouldn't want to see my boys bright blue eyes anyways. But for a black & white option- this one is FAB!
So can you tell my style? I think so...they all look similiar, yet so different at the same time! I still don't have a photo at this point. So I will need to tackle that first. But then on to the joy of creating the perfect card! Shutterfly has so many designs, creative, modern, and beautiful! And they are FAST! I love that! I love opening up the orange envelope with excitement and never being disappointed by the luster, clarity, and color of my photos!
And with that...maybe I've inspired you to get into the Christmas spirit early, or maybe you just think I'm crazy for spreading Holiday joy before Thanksgiving! Either way, I bet you will be excited to see our Christmas Card in your mailbox in just a few short weeks!
This past weekend we took off for a romantic weekend away in Cleveland! Well, I don't know quite how romantic Cleveland is, but it sure was nice to get away! We traveled with Ernie, Kim, and D.J. to Cleveland for our dear friends James & Lindsay's wedding!
James and Mark have grown up together. They went to Denver Christian, played baseball and football together, and they both went to Calvin too, playing baseball there as well. Since we have been married we have hung out with James and their whole high school group back here in Denver. James has led us in a Bible study and we have watched his relationship with God and Lindsay grow. He is now a pastor and a husband! These guys have done life together. And it was our honor to be able to celebrate his wedding with him!
And it was a good excuse to catch up with old friends...
Still lookin' young and handsome after all these years...a few of the boys at an Irish pub on Friday night. A fun dinner with friends before the wedding the next day! We had good beer & wine, AWESOME fish & chips, AND...
Car Bombs of course!
Mr. and Mrs. James Cottier!!!
The wedding was Saturday morning and Lindsay was stunning!
They got married in a beautiful old stone chapel.
Every little detail of the wedding and brunch reception was just perfect- beautiful, classy, and fall!
Life long friends- they had a blast being together all weekend, laughing, joking, drinking, chatting about old times, and causing a little mischief...
and the result of their fun was for all to see on the get-away car!
Our whole Denver Christian/Calvin crew! Mark and I, Kim and Ernie, James and Lindsay, Nate, Mandy and Rick, and D.J.! All of us girls who have been lucky enough to marry into this group of guys could not be happier to be surrounded by men who value friendship, love God, and are so F-U-N!
I love this rare picture of just Mark and I! It was so nice to get away together for the weekend!
After the wedding we all went out for a famous overstuffed "Cleveland Sandwich" at Panini's. Pastrami, provolone cheese, coleslaw, french fries, tomatoes, & mayo on french bread- Yum!
It rained and snowed the whole weekend! We haven't had so much as a flake here in Denver yet this year, so it was pretty, but not ideal weather for a wedding!
So we were happy to return to our mild weather at home...and happy to return to these two cute boys!
We were all exhausted from busy weekends away so we cuddled up on the couch to watch a movie and snuggle under a blanket together!
Weekends away are a wonderful way to reconnect with your spouse but they also help you have a fresh outlook on your children! It was so great to see Heath's huge smile as I walked through the door and to have Nolan nuzzle in for a hug when I woke him up from his nap! Things I take for granted from day to day.
So thank you Oma & Opa and Cara & Wes for helping out with the kids for the weekend! They loved being with you!
And congratulations to James & Lindsay...we could not be happier for you! We love you both and look forward to celebrating your new married life together when you are back from Cabo!