Monday, December 3, 2018

Thanksgiving Weekend

This Thanksgiving weekend was a busy one! The minis had five days off, while I had four. It was a great weekend, but not very relaxing. Here's what our long weekend looked like:

Wednesday: Daycare day/time with friends, so much cooking, 1 year old birthday party/time with family
Thursday: 2 Thanksgivings, playing with neighborhood friends while mom and dad roasted veggies for second Thanksgiving, Black Friday (or would it be Black Thursday?) shopping, looking at Christmas lights
Friday: decorating the house, gingerbread decorating, Christmas movies
Saturday: Des Moines Children's Museum and an extra long dress rehearsal
Sunday: Festival of Trees and Elizabeth's Christmas recital

As I said, so busy, but so much fun!

Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe was a hit! Such a simple game that kept the kids busy (and taking turns).

Wednesday was a short day with few kids. So while I was busy, it was also a day the minis got to play with some of their best friends. I surprised them with the first round of Christmas gifts for daycare, a Thanksgiving version of Tic Tac Toe, flag football, and a full lunch feast. I spent the rest of the time cooking and baking for the next day's Thanksgivings.

In keeping with tradition, daycare received it's first new toys of the Christmas season (I do Christmas gifts a bit different around here. Read how gift giving works at this daycare of mine). The new gifts included a flag football set and magnetic animals. While the magnetic animals were instantly played with, and will be played with daily, I have a feeling the flag football set will provide some good times next summer!

For the fourth year in a row, I made a full Thanksgiving meal for lunch: turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, rolls, and pie. I thought it was really cute because two of the big boys were so excited about our Thanksgiving lunch that they made place settings for each child. I love these kids and how they care about these little things I do.

After lunch the kids kind of scattered. Some kids played with the mashed potato play dough I made with our leftovers from lunch (find the recipe here), some kids went outside to play, and others watched a movie. It was an early closing day for daycare as we had to get to our niece's 1st Birthday Party to attend! They live several hours away from us, so we were thrilled they chose to come into town to celebrate with family in Des Moines.

Elizabeth is slightly obsessed with her cousin Nora.

The minis fell into bed that night, after spending a couple of hours running around outdoors. I had to bake yet another pie and clean up from the day, plus do some writing since I was taking the rest of the weekend off. I celebrated a job well done that day (hey, it's completely acceptable to congratulate oneself. You should always be your own biggest fan) with champagne in one of my favorite coffee mugs. It really is the ridiculous little things.

Thanksgiving Day was a whirlwind of blessings. We leisurely woke up, watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and went to my parent's house for lunch. The minis got to decorate Christmas trees and play. They're spoiled being the only grand kids on that side of the family.

Feast Mode cuties

Every Thanksgiving the minis get new Christmas pajamas from my mom. She outdid herself this year and got them each two new pairs of Christmas jammies! Plus, they got an early gift from their aunt (my sister) as well: tickets to go see Aladdin when it rolls through town! 

I love being able to celebrate the holiday with family!

I've always been one to love the outtakes more than the actual picture. In this case, I like seeing one right before I see the other one. Harrison was upset because he tried to sit on my other leg, but was blocking people. I tried moving him and he got upset. My sister's dog wouldn't look at the camera, Max wouldn't sit up because he "wanted to lean," and I'm giving my mom glare. My grandma managed to grab him and make him smile for a quick picture. The story behind each photo makes me smile.

My sister, Aunt Cindi, and me. 

Homemade pumpkin pie and coffee. By Thursday of that week, I hadn't had one cup of coffee! That's crazy for me. It was a combination of running on adrenaline and not having enough time to drink a cup of coffee. Let's just say this one cup did me in and I was jittery the rest of the day.

We had a bit of a break in between feasts. The minis played with neighborhood friends (in between their own Thanksgiving meals) while I made another fruit salad and more roasted veggies to take to dinner at Sheaffer Thanksgiving. The cat seemed to be the only one who had a completely relaxing day in a quiet house!

Once again, Elizabeth was near Nora all night, while the boy cousins ran around outside. The only "issue" was when the middle mini ran inside crying because his "eye got poked hard." When I asked him what happened, he replied, "I ran into a bush and it hurt me." It took everything I had not to bust out laughing.

Elizabeth played Connect 4 with Hubs. She didn't want him to win, so she quickly stuck her finger in so the piece couldn't go in. Completely cheating, but I couldn't stop laughing at her.

Typically at the end of Thanksgiving night, we head down our favorite street known for their Christmas lights to officially kick off our Christmas season. We've been doing this for years, but this year we did it a little differently. Thanksgiving Eve the minis asked "can we please go to Black Friday?" This cracked me up because they were talking about Black Friday as if it were a place and not a thing.

I initially told them "no." No way in hell I felt like making my way through crowds of people on my favorite day of the year (the day after Thanksgiving). I told them we'd go next year when they're older. Then, as Thanksgiving Day wore on, and there were several more comments about going to Black Friday next year, I thought "why not?" This was something so simple that I could give them, plus I could use some laundry pods. 

So, after our second Thanksgiving celebration was over, we hopped in the car to look at Christmas lights and made a detour "to Black Friday" (aka- Target). 

The minis went from being thrilled to being slightly disappointed. Apparently, they had watched the news about the insanity Black Friday can bring and they were fully expecting to see people fighting over sale items. While the store was crowded, it wasn't any different than a regular Saturday. We grabbed Starbucks, people watched, bought our laundry pods and left. The experience was underwhelming yet they'd like to give Black Friday a try next year too.

We were disappointed in the lack of Christmas lights this year, but those that were up and on were great!

Then there was Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. My favorite day of the year. It's the day the minis and I drag out our Christmas decorations, decorate the house, bake gingerbread cookies, decorate them, watch Christmas movies, nap, and hang out in our jammies. In the past, this day has looked nearly the same (give or take a few different activities we've done, such as Disney On Ice) for the last 10 years. It is by far my favorite day of the year during my favorite weekend of the year.

The cats were really excited to see the comfy Christmas blankets make their comeback. 

Even the daycare room got a Christmas makeover!

New this year: the addition of Ugly Sweater cookie decorating kit (thanks Trader Joe's) and a gingerbread man that was actually decorated nicely with care! Big milestone year for the gingerbread man.

I forgot, numerous times, that I hung a gingerbread man door hanger up. Whenever I'd pass by the door and see a dark shadow I'd jump, then laugh at myself.

Friday night Christmas movies included Christmas Vacation and Home Alone with veggie rice and popcorn and M & M's. It was an overall great day and night!

Saturday morning found the minis and myself volunteering at the Children's Museum (after our weekly coffee date of course). We were there until mid-afternoon when we all scattered: the boys went to play with cousins, Elizabeth had her three hour dance rehearsal, I had emails that wouldn't stop and needed attention, and Hubs had house projects he was trying to finish up. It was an exhausting, whirlwind day that ended with another new pair of Christmas jammies and a short Christmas movie before we all fell into bed.

Max: "look mom, I'm almost as tall as you!" He's getting close even without these on his feet!

Since I've taken over programming at the Museum, I've gotten to do a lot of fun things! One of the not so fun things: tearing out foam stickers.

I was a complete dance mom and stayed the first hour of her rehearsal to see how she did. I love watching her studio's productions.

I wasn't sure what to do for Elizabeth for her dance performance. I didn't feel she required a bouquet of flowers, but I wanted her to know how proud of her I was. So, she got a new outfit. I laid it out on the couch for her to find when she got home from rehearsal. Instead I had to put it up because the cat kept trying to cover himself up with her chenille sweater. Only in this house would it be an issue!

How cute are these pajamas??!!? My mom find the cutest jammies for the kids!

Sunday was THE big day we've been waiting for: Elizabeth's dance performance at Festival of Trees. Not only is this one of my favorite yearly holiday events in Des Moines each Thanksgiving weekend, it was combined with watching Elizabeth dance!

Elizabeth had to arrive an hour before stage time. This gave the four of us plenty of time to walk around to see all of the trees, vote on our favorite ones, and do the scavenger hunt. We waited to do the activities until after Elizabeth's performance.

The PBS tree is always one of my favorites each year.

I've never seen a tree decorated like this! I thought it was very unique and one of my favorites.

The Greatest Showman and one of the many Harry Potter themed tree displays.

The Rudolph display was my favorite this year and received my vote!

As you may or may not know, I conceded to my daughter's pleas to take a dance class over a year ago. I thought, 'eh sure, she'll probably hate it and quit after a year.' I even prepped myself to be strong when she surely begged to quit halfway through the season. To my surprise, way more than much, she LOVED dance. She loved dancing each week, learning new moves, and more than anything, she loved performing on stage at the end of the year.

She loved the stage make up, the lights, the crazy amount of hairspray in her hair, the curls, the practices. I was shocked. When she excitedly brought home the sheet of paper for the Christmas show, I said sure. It was extra money to spend (right before the holidays) and I was so, so sure she'd hate it. Again, she LOVED the Christmas program. She didn't mind the extra rehearsals, missing out on weekend activities, and long dress rehearsals the evening before the big performances.

I'm just going to stop assuming she won't like dance because that's not working well for me!

I know I sound like a typical bragging parent, but she was awesome! She did so great and was the second youngest (by 4 days) in the entire performance. Watching her perform just made one my favorite events that much better.

After her performance, the minis enjoyed sock "ice" skating and a few games before we headed home.

A visit with the big guy. Max refused to go over. I'm happy we got that one family Santa picture a few weeks ago because I think that's all I'm going to get from him this year!

The Snow White display was impressive!

I highly recommend ending a weekend with veggie nachos for dinner and a hot chocolate bar for dessert!

Forever and always my favorite everything on these four day Thanksgiving weekends.