Our Christmas tree has been up for two weeks. Yep, we are one of those families. Once all the golden leaves have fallen outside and it gets cold and gray, we want our living room to feel cozy and warm, and nothing gives it amazing coziness like our Christmas tree.
However, I did save this blog post until after Thanksgiving, because I do adore the end of November and don't want to rush Christmas along too much.
The day we got the Christmas tree out we also got the kids' new Christmas pjs. Because there is something so special wearing new pjs to decorate the tree and every night from here until Christmas arrives! We want to get a lot of use out of them, and they've been wearing them non-stop since.
Both E and I sat back and let the kids have at it. They each picked their favorite "instruments" (as James calls ornaments) and found a perfect brach to place them.
Juliet found one brach she was particularly found of.
I love how little kids decorate. This branch held six or eight ornaments all at once.
They both loved climbing on the side table to get a little higher on the tree.
Christmas music played, the fire was light, snow gently fell outside, and we really started Christmas season on the right foot.
Once James found the Santa hat in the Christmas box earlier in the day, there was no taking it off. So, since we had fresh snow, and happy kids, I decided to try for some header photos.
Happy holidays! May your Christmas season begin with pure joy and some fresh snowflakes.
We celebrated our first Thanksgiving of the weekend last night in Midway (we celebrate with my family on Sunday!).
Chelsea and Joe hosted for the second time, and driving up to Midway is such a lovely way to spend the holiday. Something about the long drive, the warm car, and Christmas music softly playing makes the snow topped mountains and forgotten barns feel so wonderful. Lots of time to think about what we are thankful for.
I asked the kids what they are thankful for, telling them that it is a good thing to think about often, not just on Thanksgiving.
They gave me the sweetest answers that I've ever heard. Neither of them were prompted at all.
James said "I am thankful for giving you hugs and kisses." Juliet, hearing what James had said, said "I am thankful for snuggling you." Wonderful things, as I agree, the best things to be thankful for are not things we can buy.
We stopped in downtown Heber on the way to Miday for some photos in front of the historic Town Hall. Juliet's amazing dress and sweater where gifted to me from Feltman Brothers. Both are so darling and oh so classic.
Some of the men.
Some of the women.
All of the cousins.
Thanksgiving kids tables crack me up. They sat there eating quite well for some time.
Dinner. E's on his phone (busted!), the newlyweds are hugging and kissing (which was the entire dinner) and Grandma is looking towards the hosts.
Chelsea and Joe put on a spectacular feast.
We played and ate and laughed and ate some more. By the end of the evening everyone was wiped out. Best way to spend Thanksgiving for sure.
Dressing both kids for the holidays are one of my favorite things. James is wearing a Gymboree sweater and Gymboree herringbone pants (both from last year). Juliet is wearing the Feltman pintuck dress and this cardigan with pearl embroidery. Tights from Gymboree and shoes from Target.
Wolfy has been a wonderful reminder at how fast kids grow. When James was new, he and Wolfy were the same size. Time has gone by in one happy flash.
Today you are FIVE! Happy birthday kiddo!
Five is officially kid status. You are not a toddler, or even a little kid; you're just a kid. And you are awesome. You have done so much growing up over the last year. Your Daddy and I comment on it often, how mature you've become, how smart and funny you are.
The other night I re-read all the blog posts from five years ago. I remember those last few days of my pregnancy so well, yet being without you seems like something I've never experienced. I almost don't remember life before you.
Life as your Mommy has been everything I hoped for and more. I love you with every fiber of my being, and at five, you still think I'm pretty much the best ever.
I still can sing you songs, give you hugs, wipe your tears after you fall, and kiss your owies away. These things I will not always be able to do, because in one blink you'll be a teen, and then a man.
So while you are more mature about many things, I am happy you still need me to do those things. I will always kiss you and hug you and scratch your back at bedtime, as long as you'll let me.
I love you forever. Forever and ever. I am your Mommy, and that's a Mommy job.
Last year when he turned four we did nothing. Not a party, not a thing. And to make it worse? He had the stomach flu on his birthday. What is worse that barfing and feeling so yucky you don't even want to open presents? It was so sad.
So this year I wanted something special. I wanted him to choose every last detail. (Juliet's posing kills me!!)
About two months ago he decided he wanted a party at Cottonwood Heights Recreation in the indoor pool. There is a perfect little party room and a huge toddler pool with a slide, water features, and everything a water boy could want.
James wanted an Octonauts themed party (which was perfect for a pool party!), he wanted cupcakes and mint ice cream ("the kind with the crumbs inside"), he wanted his sister, his cousin, his grandparents, and his best buddy Owen. After asking him a few times to invite some more friends (he has SO MANY cute friends!) he finally agreed to expand the guest list a tiny bit, and invite another friend he's had since he was a baby, Calin.
Ocean themed cupcakes with the Octonauts figures as a surprise!
The party room was perfect for pizza and drinks and wild kids.
The pool itself was of course the biggest draw.
I think James was most excited to swim with Emilia. They are the best of friends.
Indoor pool parties have the wonkiest lighting, fyi. Hard for good photos!
Late November is a tricky time to have a birthday, especially if you are hoping for a bike. For bike riding you need dry roads and temperatures that don't freeze you the moment you start to ride. So, because we wanted James to enjoy his present a bit before cold strong winter set in, we spoiled him with a present a week earlier than his actual birth date.
Sunday morning started with a very happy kiddo excited to try out his first petal bike. James became a master of his balance bike earlier this summer and we knew he was ready for a petal bike when he just wanted to go faster than the balance bike allows.
I was worried he wouldn't get it right away. I was worried he'd crash and cry and give up trying before he understood how to really petal. I wanted him to graduate to training wheels in hopes that he would get good at pedaling first.
E was intent on just trying without training wheels, since he already understood balancing.
Much to my happy surprise, fifteen minutes into his lesson we had this:
Getting started has been the trickiest part for James, but even that he's mastered since Sunday. He hasn't fallen a single time, and adores his new bike. I couldn't be more impressed.
Keep in mind, this is the first day he's ever ridden a petal bike! Pro!
This little love has also gained some skills in biking. Within the last two weeks she's started to understand how to glide, balance and ride her balance bike. This is huge, since before then she never cared for the bike at all. (Side none: the mild November weather we were having is GONE. It is freezing cold with daytime highs only in the 20s!)
Side side note: She's still not napping. Oh it is fun.