Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Table

I've been restraining myself when it comes to holiday tables. Besides my mom, any lavish decorations seem to be bothersome to the guys in my family. Well, mainly my brothers. I've kept things bare year after year because, well I lack table decorating enthusiasts. 

Then, the kids came along. They say kids change everything, and when it comes to festive decorations it is true. Bless their hearts, the kids will often play "decorating" as they prepare for their pretend parties. They get the idea of dressing up our house for special occasions. Now we're all about the decorations, and everyone is on board for sake of the kids. Now, I'm happy to have the kids as an excuse to put together a table. 

The kids are especially fond of seating arrangements. When I saw the teepees, I fell in love and knew the kids would love them. Like I said, "it's all for the kids." I put my own spin on it and added it to my free-ish flowers and a few votive candles. 

The kids picked where everyone is seated, making sure they both get to sit by uncles. 

And I'm excited to be back in the festive table decorating game. For the kids, of course.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Flowers

Yesterday I stopped into our favorite buy-by-the-stem florist for $10 worth of flowers for our Thanksgiving table. The store was wiped out and getting ready to close, so I picked a few stems and went on my way. While we were outside playing, the girl came out and said, "Want the rest of the flowers? I hate to throw them out." Well, of course I do! I left with about $40 worth of remnants. 

Fern and I worked on them at home. Instead of making two little arrangements, we made three, full vases full of flowers. Fern took it upon herself to be in charge of tucking in the leaves, which she did so diligently. 

This reminded of the time in high school when I bought a pretzel in the mall at closing. They charged me for one, but gave me a bag of leftovers instead of throwing them away. 

Twice in my life I've left with a bounty of remnants.
From flowers to pretzels, who I am to turn down such a lavish gift?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Baby Brother

For over a year, Burl and Fern have been asking "for another Burl and Fern." When the rubber hit the road and we told them that we're going to have a third baby (who my sister friend pointed out hasn't received much attention on my blog), they each had opinions. Burl wanted a brother to wrestle and fight, while Fern went back and forth usually landing on sister. Whatever they wanted, they each told us that they would love their new baby no matter what. 

John and I found out together at the doctor's office, but the kids had to wait for John to get home from work to hear the news. They were given a bakery box with two gingerbread people in it-gingerbread boys for a brother or girls for a sister. Burl caught on to the concept, but we're not sure what was going through Fern's head. 

They opened their box to find two gingerbread boys because they're having a baby brother! Burl understood right away saying, "that's what I wanted!" When we asked Fern what it meant, she just yelled, "It's Corduroy!" 

As much as they were excited to hear about the news of their new brother, they were just as excited about their treats. Below is one of my favorite pictures of them. Post nap hair, serious focus and both of them cross-eyed. Even though they got big news, Burl and Fern were excited to focus on the real important items of the day: sugar.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fern's 3rd Birthday Celebrations

We had a big time celebrating Fern's birthday last Thursday. We had two days of non-stop small activities for our quiet, shy, introvert. While Burl wants to invite every person he knows and shut down our street for a neighborhood food fight birthday party, Fern doesn't do well with all the attention. I'm an expert in over-the-top celebrations, so I've had to change my ways when it comes to accurately celebrating Fern. (Truth be told, I love that as well. The extrovert in me loves slowing down and getting to know the introvert-that's why falling in love with John was an adventure.) However, this isn't about me. It's about Fern. 

I always love setting up streamers and balloons for that birthday morning. I wished that I could have gotten pictures of her walking in and seeing a Hello Kitty balloon and a doughnut with candles, but I had to leave the camera off because until I know she's ready. While we usually go for one big present, we went a different direction this year. She loves little treasures, so we got what I like to call "a bunch of little crap" that she loved as well as a few gymnastic classes. Watching her warm up to gymnastics and participate was close to a spiritual experience to me. I might have cried a little when she first decided to participate on her own. 

On day 2, we had her parties. We had a little girl party for lunch and family for dinner. She named three little girls and their brothers and said, "that's all I want to come to my party."

The boys were rowdy in Burl's room while the girls played quietly in Fern's room. We did two little crafts then had lunch. The theme was Pink & Purple, which Fern picked out herself. They were so sweet and so quiet and so girly. Bless it, because I loved it all!

That night at dinner, she again needed her big brothers help to blow out the candles and open her presents. Once she saw the gifts, she warmed up and participated. 

By the end of the night, she was her loud self. She is a quiet little girl, but she has a loud, wild side to her that comes out when she feels safe. The planets have to align for her to show this part of herself-comfort, playfulness, and little direction attention. Before the night was over, I grabbed a rowdy family picture of us. This year, we celebrated her in a way that suited her and it was wonderful to see her see energy. It was good to know that at all the celebrations, at the end of family night, she let it out with a big laugh and a big scream. That's our Fern.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Time Our Family Climbed A Mountain

That meltdown that I had on the camping trip where I told John that I wanted to climb a mountain? Well we did that. Over the weekend we hiked Lookout Mountain with the kids. Fern road in the carrier most of the way, but little Burl hiked the whole way. I'm still recovering. 

We went into the hike fully aware that we might not make it. I was actually quite nervous about it, but John was everyone's cheerleader and encouraged us the whole way. 

Little Burl had about three minutes of complaining (something about his legs hurting???) but other than that he did incredible. I was really blown away. At the last little leg he was running, asking me if I was tired and telling me that he was not. 

The overlook at the top of the mountain is Sunset Rock and is my favorite in our city. Here's what Burl said when he got to the top (in order):
"Oh wow! This is beautiful! I see some red trees down there!"
"Daddy, can I play angry birds on your phone?"
"Mama, when we get home, can you make us a really big lunch?"

On the way back down the mountain, Burl was delirious. He kept tripping and falling down and laughing like a drunk man. He wasn't crying, so we were ok with the constant giggles.

The hike was absolutely beautiful. The trees were at their peak, so we had amazing colors surrounding us the entire time. Because we're crazy and had so much fun, we are already planning when we can try it again. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

Low-lights: Cold, windy weather. Running out of candy (even though I started stocking up in September and bought more than I ever have.)

Highlights: matching costumes. Uncle Joseph came again (tradition). Loads of candy. Fern faced her fear of talking aloud and was friendly to all the houses (I required her to say trick or treat and thank you, but she added Happy Halloween Day to each house. Plus, she worked her cuteness and asked for more candy at several houses-which I allowed because she was so brave that night!). Letting them eat as much as they wanted but they could only handle 5-6 pieces.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Camping Trip Where I Cried

Let's cut to the chase: not all camping trips are kumbaya. We went away for a one-night, middle of the week camping trip. This was my first time as a pregnant, not-as-energetic version of myself, camper. I couldn't keep up with the normal pace that I usually have. After breakfast, I had myself a little meltdown. The kids were playing in the woods and John just listened and reminded me that this isn't forever. I told him I wanted to climb a mountain (and we did a week later). But, for this camping trip, I just went on a little hike with my family and called it a trip. While everything was basically the same as it usually is, my attitude was not up to par. Again, not all camping trips are kumbaya.