So, let's play a little catch-up, shall we?
This year we had a pretty fun Halloween. Nolan was Emmet from The Lego Movie, Griffin was Steve from Minecraft, and Nora was Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
I bought Nolan's hoodie from Kohl's and his pants from Gymboree. The mask was a printable from PartyCityPrints on Etsy. We bought Griffin's cardboard Steve head from Target, and the clothes were things he already hand on hand. He also carried the cardboard Minecraft Pixaxe that we made awhile back. We borrowed Nora's costume from a friend, and her red wig was purchased at Party City.
I initially thought this Halloween would be horrible for Nolan with his dietary restrictions, but we found several candies that are "Nolan-safe," and he was just fine.
We trick-or-treated in our neighborhood and then went to a friend's house for a neighborhood Halloween party. It was a really fun night.
This was a really fun Thanksgiving for us. This was the first time my sister and her family have come home since moving to Florida, and both of Jared's brothers were able to come home at the same time (which rarely happens). I did all of my anxious planning and fretting ahead of time so I could relax and enjoy family once the time came.
We cleared out a bedroom in our basement and made it into a guest room for my sister and her husband. My kids of course wanted their cousins to stay in their rooms. We got to have my sister's family spend two nights at our house.
The week of Thanksgiving was jam-packed for us, but we resisted our natural selves and enjoyed every minute of it! :) We had a family gathering Tuesday evening to celebrate the birthdays of two of our nieces and Jared's grandma. There was a family game night at Jared's dad's on Wednesday evening. Jared and the kids went to that while I stayed home and worked on food prep. Thursday we had Thanksgiving with Jared's side at a local church (because the gathering is so large) for lunch and the afternoon. I snuck away to my father-in-law's house at the end of the afternoon so I could finish cooking my food for my side. My side of the family gathered at my brother's house for dinner and the evening.
You know we got our cameras out and forced the kids to gather together at each family gathering. Here are my kids and their cousins on Jared's side:
|I cracked myself up giving this picture a vintage finish since we took the pictures in the church's 1970's style sanctuary.|
And here are my kids with their cousins on my side:
Thanksgiving was an interesting time to have a child with special dietary restrictions. I felt awful for Nolan when I had to repeatedly tell him he couldn't eat things he wanted. It's hard enough trying to go through a food line and get five plates of food between me and Jared, and it was much more complicated trying to scan the options and assess the ingredients. Overall, I'd say the food part went pretty well.
We certainly enjoyed all of the family time on Thanksgiving, and the day after Thanksgiving provided another opportunity for family time as we had Griffin's birthday party.
Griffin's birthday is December 1, but we usually have his birthday party on the weekend after Thanksgiving before all of the Christmas craziness sets in. This year we had it on the day after Thanksgiving so we could do it while all of our siblings were still in town.
This was my favorite birthday party yet. I had done all of my planning and preparing ahead of time, so I was relaxed when the party time came around. The best part was that we had more family than we've ever had gathered together before (other than at a wedding).
In addition to our usual party guests (our parents and local siblings), we had our out-of-state siblings, Jared's grandma (who comes when she can but is also in declining health), Jared's sister who rarely comes to family gatherings, and Jared's stepdad (who is in poor health waiting for a kidney transplant). Since my kids had all of their cousins on both sides there, we took a big picture of all the kids. You can imagine how that went!
Jared's sister Caitlin got in there to try to get her daughter Addison to cooperate. The maneuver was unsuccessful.
I'll write a separate post (sometime...) with pictures from Griffin's birthday party to show all the Minecraftness.
More family pictures:
|Me and my siblings|
|Jared and his siblings|
|Griffin with Great Grandma Parsons|
|Griffin with Papa Marty (Jared's stepdad)|
I have been very busy the last month or so shopping for Christmas. I really wanted to be completely done shopping by December 1, but that didn't happen. I'm about 85% done, which is the best I've ever done, so I'll take it. I'm down to a few tough people for whom I just don't know what to get. Now I have A LOT of wrapping to do!
We already got our Christmas tree with my sister's family (so thankful we could keep up that tradition this year!). We set it up after Griffin's party and decorated it.
|Riding the tractor out to find a tree|
|Sweet talking Daddy into carrying her|
We have ALWAYS cut down our own tree, but this year the selection was worse than ever. So, for the first time, we ended up buying a pre-cut tree.
When it came time to decorate the tree, our clothing choices were quite comical (and typical). Jared and I wore pajamas. Nolan wore normal clothes. Griffin wore an old t-shirt of mine. Nora wore a frilly ballet leotard.
|Jared and the kids by our decorated tree|
|Me and my babies|
We also decorated our gingerbread houses, which is a favorite tradition in our home. This year we let each person choose their own kit. Jared chose a traditional gingerbread house, Nolan chose the Willy Wonka house because all the candy was Nolan-safe, Griffin chose a gingerbread train, Nora chose a Hello Kitty house, and I chose a gingerbread sleigh and reindeer.
|I wasn't wearing makeup, so I went ahead and cropped myself out of my picture :)|