Saturday, December 24, 2016

1 Family x 12 (December)

Merry Christmas from this crazy family to yours!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Tree Cutting

There is no reason that I've waited this long to post these pictures, other than the fact that I just sort of forgot!  I figured I better get them posted before Christmas has come and gone!

We've been cutting a tree with Dan and Ellyn ever since I started dating Ryan.  Well, to be fair, he's been cutting trees for Christmas his entire life and I just sort of became part of the tradition - and what a fun tradition it is!!

A few years back the tree farm they'd been cutting at for years closed up shop and we ended up finding a new farm up in Woodstock.  As we moved from the townhouse in Aurora, to our first home in Hampshire, and then here, to Marengo, we've been moving closer and closer to our tree farm.  It's worked out great for us!  We're less than 20 minutes away from it now!

We like this place, Oney's in Woodstock, because we've always been able to find good trees and because they have some really cute things for the kids.  Mrs. Claus is there for the girls to talk to (scratch that "must do" off the holiday activity list) and there is a cute little barn with ornaments, wreaths, hot chocolate, warm pretzels and popcorn.

This year we even had Auntie Erin out cutting with us (we are SO HAPPY to have her back in Chicago!).  While Ryan was hauling our tree back to the truck Dan cut this tree for Erin and she and I carried it most of the way back ourselves.  Hazel helped...sort of :)  

Abby was a pretty good trooper.  Since I had Hazel and Ryan was on tree cutting/moving duty she ended up walking for a good bit of the day.  She wasn't super happy about it and wanted to ride on Ryan or Dan's shoulders the entire time, but with a little reminder that Santa was always watching...and a bribe of hot chocolate and popcorn when we were done, she managed to make it through (eye roll!).

So - three trees for three different houses.  Ours was up and decorated by the end of the weekend.  We put it in the basement again this year.  Mostly because we spend a ton of time downstairs and also because we're hosting Christmas day, as we have in the past, so having the tree in the space where we spend most of our time lounging, eating and drinking is perfect.

Funny story.  When we sat down to eat our snacks Abby insisted that we needed to pray first.  I think it's mostly because she led the prayer on Thanksgiving, just a few days before, and she loved being the center of attention.  But, try telling a 1.5 year old that she can NOT in fact eat the cookie on the plate in front of her until every sits down and Abby prays.  Yeah, right....!!!  Everyone else waited :)

One of my favorite parts of tree cutting is ticking this little tradition off the list at the same time.  Finding a Santa to visit and waiting around in line to see him can take forever (as most parents know) being able to see Mrs. Claus right here on tree cutting day is a win/win for me!  Abby did so much better this year, she knew what she wanted to ask for (a Hatchimal) and she wasn't too shy.   She wrote her name on Santa's Good List and even Hazel gave us a smile for pictures.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas prep 2016

For quite a few years now, my parents have hosted Thanksgiving at their house.  We're so lucky that Dan/Ellyn and even Erin are willing to make the drive to Freeport so we can all be together in one place on Thanksgiving.

The day after, we've started full on holiday prep - starting with the girls making ginger bread houses. But, before I get to that project, let me brag about this pjs for a minute.  My mom used to make us pjs when we were younger.  I don't know that I remember getting them every year but I do remember going to help pick out the fabric, helping to cut out the patterns etc.  I remember one pair in particular that were for summer and had a beach scene on them.  I am pretty sure I wore them the morning Mom found the turtle nest while we were at Pawleys Island).  Anyways, this year, I asked Mom if she would be able to make Abby a nightgown and Hazel some pj pants to match.  Not only did she get a set down for my girls, but she got a set done for Kayden/Lincoln too.  So cute...right?

I think this latest adventure in sewing finally pushed Mom over the top to get herself a new machine - she got hers when they got married and she said it was 20 years old at that point!  I'm impressed it made it this far - but it's time to retire that baby and upgrade!

Come on, aren't these just the cutest pj's?  I'm jealous I didn't get a snuggly pair in my size!

Onto gingerbread houses. We've gotten smarter over the years and when I stumbled on these pre-assembled kits (including candy and frosting) for under $10 at Target, I snatched them up and knew we'd be set for Thanksgiving weekend.

Asking 4 year-olds to stop focusing on the candy and take a quick picture is just NOT going to happen.  I don't even know why I try ;)

Next year Hazel should be old enough to get in on the fun.  The cute house is now displayed on our dining room table along with the plate and milk bottle for Santa's cookies.  Slowly but surely, we're getting ready for Christmas over here!