You know how it has been two weeks since I posted? I have had this post almost done for about a week now, but things kept happening that I wanted to add to it. So, today you get two weeks of material, right here in one big blog post. Be excited, be very excited.
The end of Thanksgiving Day marks the end of the fall season for me. Thanksgiving is still crinkled, colorful leaves and sweaters, but as soon as it is over I feel ready for snow and winter coats. So, with this post I will bid farewell to a beautiful, lingering Fall, and usher in Winter and all of the happiness that comes with this season.
Walking home from church a few weeks ago I thought the yellow leaves looked so pretty littering the park path. I fought off the urge to go straight inside and put Pea down for her nap, and instead ran in the house to grab the camera, and then brought the kids back to snap a few pictures. Neither child was very cooperative (they both clearly would have rather just gone straight home), but I wanted some Fall photos, so we powered through. Nothing fancy, but they are definitely Fall-ish, so it was worth it, I guess.
(Aside: anyone else hopelessly in love with their children wearing coordinating colors and outfits to church? I seriously LOVE when I have the time (and the clothes) to put them in things that sort of match for church. It doesn't happen super often, but I wish it did :).)
He was pretending that the leaves were "spoooooky," but he couldn't stop smiling.
Look at all those pretty leaves!
She was freezing, poor baby.
Sweet little smilers.
If you live in Utah you know about the gigantic blizzard that was forecast to kill and maim all who crossed her path. I kind of think things like that are exciting-- I like the idea of having to hunker down in our cozy house and watch the snow swirl outside the windows. The blizzard came, and was somewhat blizzardy, but mostly pretty underwhelming-- I was wanting a legit blizzard since we had already changed our Thanksgiving plans so that they did not include a 5 hour long drive on (supposed) icy roads. Both mine and John's families went south for Thanksgiving, and we had planned to go too, and spend time with both sides. But when word of the storm got out (and J got scary warning emails from BYU about closing campus due to the worst blizzard conditions in decades) we made the decision to just stay home (there were some other deciding factors that contributed to this decision, but the blizzard pushed us over the edge). We were bummed about not being with family, but we also got excited about making the entire Thanksgiving feast ourselves. We sat down and planned the menu and grocery list and went shopping. If you've never done the whole Thanksgiving thing yourself before, you should. John and I had so much fun being in the kitchen together for hours and hours. My brothers stayed behind as well, and we needed more ovens, so we decided to cook and eat at my parents' house. It was such a production (as Thanksgiving always is, but I had never been in charge of EVERYTHING before), but everything turned out and we had so much fun.
I know that there is probably not a single person reading this that cares to see pictures of the food we made, but I want to remember it all-- it was our first Thanksgiving by ourselves, and I want these details recorded. I also want to remember the 2 on 2 basketball that we played (John and me vs. Adam and Ben) to work up our appetites and the fact that John and I totally won. (Nevermind the fact that we played three games and only won one, we won, okay?! Also nevermind that my brothers probably could've blocked every shot I took if they had really tried.)
Our day, in pictures:
Adam and John stuffing the turkey. John took complete charge over the cooking of the turkey, and I was happy to let him. It turned out perfectly.
Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without Cheese Whiz on celery to snack on while you cook, right Grandma and Grandpa?
My boys taking a break to watch a Christmas movie, eating the celery, of course.
Since John and I were pretty much in charge of all of the food (except for that one time when Adam chopped some onions. Thanks, Adam!), I put my brothers in charge of setting the table. Most of the Thanksgiving tablescapes I saw this year were all decked out with beautiful centerpieces, festive place cards, fancy dishes, place mats, and cloth napkins. Here we have ours. We were just lucky to get silverware and cups out, but take note of the special attention paid to having TWO plates for each person instead of just one. Dead giveaway that boys set this table.
John carving the turkey. Garth got to enjoy the remnants of the turkey later and took no more than 6 seconds to have them completely gone.
Green bean casserole (my first time making it), and savory yams (oh yum).
Sweet yams (not my thing, but the boys claimed they were awesome), and cornbread (it is possible that I ate this whole pan by myself over the next couple of days).
Ham (John insisted-- I thought we were good with just turkey), and stuffing.
A sampling of our homemade pies (apple and pumpkin, respectively). I LOVE the pie crust shapes that I happened to find in my mom's cupboard. We also made a plethora of cream pies. We had more pies in total than adults present at our feast. And we were very proud of that fact.
A look at my plate. See, I didn't take close-up pictures of ALL the food! Notice the raw cranberry salad (you want that recipe, I promise), mashed potatoes & gravy, and rolls, all not pictured above. Be proud of my restraint.
The whole (small) Thanksgiving feast partakers. Except me.
I hate ("We don't say that word!" is what George would be saying right now if he was reading this) this picture of Adam, but he told me I had to post it. He was offering his approval of the feast in a gross, boyish way.
My girl, on her first Thanksgiving, and my boy, on his fourth (how is that even possible?!).
This was a true Thanksgiving Day miracle. The boys (all 3) did ALL of the dishes while I fed Pearl and entertained George.
I had to get this picture of my brothers doing the dishes together because it likely will not happen again for a very long time. And then my kids, ready for some rest after the meal.
And just like that, goodbye Fall!
Hi (anti-climactic) blizzard! (This technically happened the day before Thanksgiving, but for my purposes I am taking some liberties with time here :)).
The view of my boys building a little snowman from my living room. I love how John is throwing a snowball in that first picture because that is just so him. Guaranteed he was testing out his aiming skills and trying to hit some sign off in the distance.
G threatening me with a snowball of his own.
Putting the facial features on their baby snowman.
Happy little snow boy.
I am so grateful that George has a daddy to do these kinds of things with.
And then Sunday (this was two weeks ago, now) came and a less-talked-about but more potent storm came our way. John gets to come home in between his meetings and church starting to help me get out the door with the kids, and was able to get a little jumpstart on the shoveling (all this snow and it was only 8:45 AM). George HAD to help shovel, of course, so I got a few pictures of my handsome dressed up boys shoveling snow.
The boys and the girls, all ready for church.
When we woke up on that Sunday I looked out the window and saw all of the snow and was excited that I could dress Pearl in her pretty wintery dress that I have had for her since before I was even pregnant with her. It was one of those things that you (or, in my case, my mom and me) love so much that you buy it when it is on sale because you just know one day it will work for one of your children. I have been looking at this dress for a couple of years now, just waiting. It was fun to dress Pea in it, and it truly is stunning, but I didn't get any good pictures of it. Just take my word for it :).
After the snow stopped falling and settled in on our lawn the next day, John and George got to work building an igloo. I came home from running errands with Pearl to the boys outside proudly working on this gigantic snow fort.
Their igloo was fully equipped with stairs going up the side and a snow slide going down the front. A little boys dream, I tell you.
I love this one of George swimming through the fresh snow in the back yard.
G was proud of how high he could be, and loved being taller than John.
What good is snow if you can't eat it, right?
Peeking out of the igloo from the back. Oh, I love this boy.
And finally, in our last bit of winter news for now, we got our house all decorated and ready for Christmas on this past Sunday. Don't mind that my children are still all dressed in church clothes and I am in sweats. I needed to get out of my tights.
Ha, I love my curious little Pea in this one. She was watching me decorate and then heard John come in and was like, "Wait! A noise! I must turn around and see what it is!" She is SO different than George was at her age, and it is so much fun to see what it is like to have a busy baby. I loved and adored (and still do) George's mellow, calm, go-with-the-flow, personality. He was just always so content to lay on my shoulder and just kind of observe. Pearl is so the opposite. She only cuddles when she is nursing, and even then, I cannot nurse when people are around anymore because she cannot not look if she hears any noise. She lunges out of my arms to try to get things she is interested in, and holy cow, the things she has found to put in her mouth when I am not looking for a split second would scare you. I can't get over how much joy there is in having children and getting to know the differences in their personalities that are uniquely theirs. The happiness in our home because of these babies is tangible, and I am so grateful for it, and recognize that there are those out there waiting and praying for their babies to come to their homes and bring with them this joy. I am mindful of these dear friends of mine, and am praying that their hearts will be full this Christmas season with the promised blessing that all of their heartache and waiting will be more than made up for in joy and abundance when their babies come. That was a tangent, but something that I feel every time I write about the happiness that my children bring me, and I wanted those who are having to work hard for their children to know that I think of them often, and am so mindful of their hurting hearts. Anyway, here is the photo that prompted that soliloquy.
I told George to put his cheek by Pearl's for a picture and this is what he did. She was not happy about it, and George was like, "What?! You told me to grab her cheeks!"
See those specks of glitter on her face?
Yes well, George noticed them too.
Thanks, George, for taking care of that for me so I could get some pictures of Pea without the glitter :). (Just so we're clear, I did NOT ask G to get the glitter off. That was all his own idea.)
Love this one. She is such a little squish, I could eat her.
Once we had established that putting his cheek by her cheek did not entail squishing her face, and once the glitter had been safely removed, we were able to get a couple of pictures of them together.
George wanted to get wrapped up in some garland and have us rescue him. Pea just wanted to eat it.
And, since the picture was taken on this day, I had to include this one of her crawling to document this new stage. She is getting better and better every day, and she refuses to army crawl. She has to be up on her hands and knees. Again, this is so different than George was. G never really crawled. He was seriously just so content to sit in one place, and if he ever really needed to get somewhere, it was good enough to just slowly scoot there on his bum. He pretty much just went straight to walking at about 12 months. Pea, on the other hand, wants so desperately to be able to move and get around. She crawls around on all fours, stopping to inspect whatever she finds on the ground and immediately put it in her mouth. Holy cow, I love her.
So many more things to post, but I'll save them for another day :).