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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Whirlwind December

So Busy!

I hate that old default answer to "How have you been?"  I agree with all the articles that you've probably read, or at the very least least skimmed the headlines of on social media.  Busy is not the goal, I don't think busy does anyone any good, and I don't want that to be our family's way of life.  I don't want to be constantly looking to what's next and getting through the days.

But man.  That is what this December has been.  It's been jam-packed with fun, no question, but I think in my current state all the fun has started to just feel like busy, and it's really wearing on me, physically and emotionally.  I'm hoping things will slow down a little over the next week, as most of the Christmas season errands are relatively wrapped up, and I'm looking forward to just being with family.  Opening those presents we've all been running all over the city to buy and staying up late to wrap, stuffing our faces with those cookies that I was up until 11:00 PM three nights last week baking, being home to revel in how pretty and calm those twinkly lights on the tree make our living room feel in the evenings.  I want to enjoy the peace, rather than the hustle and bustle that is this season.

I think this tends to happen by about this time every year.  I get tired of the anticipation and the raised expectations and just want to be. Maybe even sleep a little.

Annual tree-lighting in our town                 



A fun night with Abby seeing the Lake Phalen lights in the park

Top: picnic dinner and Rudolph/Frosty viewing night,  Bottom: Hardware store adventures, including the purchase of tacky holiday lawn decorations.


 

It doesn't help that I am just so pregnant, and really starting to feel it.  Lots of pain and pressure and broken sleep and I still have more than 9 weeks left.  (I actually cried last night after being up every 45 minutes to pee all night long and enduring some kid antics that happened in the 4:00 hour that had me up until 5:00, when I finally crawled back in bed at what was essentially morning-time, I just broke down in sobs.)  My body is clearly telling me to take it easier after a weekend full of malls and shopping and a lot of plans with friends and family.  Such a good weekend, but by last night at 7:00 after the usual craziness of dinner and bedtime with two tired boys, my body was truly screaming at me to sit the eff down while I stubbornly crawled around the living room picking up toys and replacing ornaments that had fallen off the tree (we average about five a day), then putting away preschool art projects and sorting through bills on the dining room table.

30 Weeks = HEAVY belly, it's getting really exhausting, lugging that thing around

What a weekend we had.  Friday was non-stop and such a fun trip of a day.  Gus had preschool in the morning and Louie and I picked him up at 11:45 and headed straight out across town towards Woodbury for my nephew's school program.  The boys and I stopped at Culvers for lunch and they were so funny and silly and truly great meal companions.  It was perfect.  We did, however, have to have a talk about how rude it is to point when the two of them went absolutely nuts over a guy with a white beard that surely was Santa eating just a few tables away from us.

Then we made the thirty minute trek east, stopping of course at a gas station to all pee and buy gum.  The good thing about being pregnant while potty training your two-year old is that you don't really resent these random stops that come out of nowhere.  I pretty much always have to go too.  In fact, at 30 weeks pregnant I actually have a lot of things in common with my two year old, but we won't go into all that.

The play was sweet and funny and weird (hundreds of 3rd and 4th graders dressed as dogs... singing song after song about being dogs!) and then we went to John and Dannell's for a lovely night of kids rough housing in the basement and being so happy to be together and arguing over chairs at dinnertime.  No nap for Louie which can be dicey, but it's something we're doing quite a bit lately because... BUSY!

But the best part?  Lisa went into labor during all of this fun and was texting with me and giving me updates all the while I was texting with the rest of the girls, setting up a Plan B for the evening cookie exchange/baking party with my girlfriends, which was supposed to be at Kate's house but Kate was to be Lisa's labor and delivery nurse and this thing was, according to Kate, "seeming legit".

So very exciting to be a part of all of that.

Dan and I left around 6:30 or so, him headed home to get the beasts to bed and me heading to Mandy's for the cookie party.  Lots of fun to be had there, and the evening ended shortly after the excitement of Lisa's baby news came, a little after 10:00.  (It's a boy! A sweet baby boy, born fast and furious, just an hour after his parents arrived at the hospital!)

Then there was a 45 minute drive home, followed by lots of excited texting into the night about brand new babies and hot dates and proper gingerbread cookie storage, and talking my husband's ear off for a good 30 minutes.  I finally went to sleep after midnight and... that is just the kind of day I've been having EVERY DAY for the last many many many days.  There haven't been babies born every day, but you get the idea.

Saturday I got to meet that perfect baby and revel over his gorgeousness and the excitement of his birth with his high-on-life parents, and then that evening my parents took the kids to see the Holiday Train in Buffalo (epic muddy mess traffic jam of a fail!) while Dan and I went to his work party at Gasthofs.  The spouse's holiday party!  My favorite event of the year! And no booze even! (Or... errr...)


Sunday we dropped the boys right away in the morning with Dan's parents and shopped all day long, and it was nice to spend time together and we were incredibly productive and it was all so much easier to accomplish with no kids.  But then upon pickup it was meltdown city by two tired boys (another no-nap day for Louie, 3rd in a row!) and then the pain started to set in.  My legs and well... everything... screaming at me to sit down and stop.  So after the kids' bedtime I did sit down, for four hours, and wrapped a billion presents, and OMG just so tired and so sore...

Then yesterday during preschool Louie and I officially finished off the last on our Christmas shopping list, hitting up the toy store and ANOTHER mall, and we actually had such a lovely little morning together.  Louie by himself is a sweet little shopping partner, especially when given a big pretzel and a lemonade.  Things only got dicey when we were on our way out and had a Santa sighting, and Louie chose THAT time to finally decide that he DID want to see Santa (after saying "no" for the last few weeks) and he needed to see Santa NOW and he didn't care that we were going to be late to pick up his brother. 

Still, I wasn't detoured, high on life we picked up Gus and as previously promised, I then brought them to the Plymouth Fieldhouse preschool open play, something that Gus has been begging to do for many many weeks that Louie got to do at daycare last week with all their friends while Gus was at school.  Poor guy totally got the shaft and he's been emotional about it for the last week, so I said depending on how the morning went we would go there for an hour after school. 

It was a blast, totally dead, and the boys ran and jumped and played their little hearts out for an hour and a half, taking a break only to quick eat a sandwich I had picked up at the mall.  They made friends with a couple other little guys and I sat in the middle of the dome where I could see them and just played with my phone and vowed to not care if the few other moms there were judging me as part of some "hands-free" parenting movement.  #overit



On the way out, after both behaving PERFECTLY the entire time we were there, they started talking about Santa.  They wanted to go see him at the mall, they were insistent on it, insistent that they would talk to him and tell him what they wanted for Christmas (a transformer and animals, of course) and it being the first time they had both had interest in doing the Santa thing all season, combined with their earnestness and the just general loveliness of the day, I gave in.  We drove back to the mall.  At 2:00.  Naptime.  After being out all morning.

What is wrong with me?  I do this stuff to myself.

Santa was kind of a fail, no picture, Gus lost his nerve and would only wave at him from behind a little post and Louie sat on my lap next to him, avoiding eye contact and muttering answers to the big man's questions under his breath for a whole 23 seconds.  But whatever.  Not the kind of thing I'm going to get worked up over.

All of this to say, it was another epic day of running around and my poor pregnant body just really was starting to shut down by early evening, and I'm paying for it today.  Today has just been... uncomfortable.  I could barely get out of bed at 6:30 and managed to somehow get the kids to daycare, but I felt like I was going to fall asleep on the way into work.  And then every time I got up from my desk all day I felt so much pressure, I could barely make it to the bathroom.  Sitting at my desk feels terrible but walking is even worse.     

I need to slow my roll.  I know I do.  So that is my goal for this week.  The shopping is done.  The baking is done.  The wrapping is done.  And now we just... be.  The fun doesn't have to stop but there will have to be breaks, because this pace is going to set me over the edge.  Half the battle is realizing it and admitting it to myself.  Commence the lazy, relaxing week before Christmas. (Fingers crossed.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a very eventful and fun (and really busy) long Thanksgiving weekend.  Thankfully I was feeling much better by the time turkey day came around and neither Louie nor Dan did end up coming down with the plague.  File that under "Things I'm Thankful for This Year".  Halleluiah! 

First, the actual Holiday...
Thanksgiving Day
I could be wrong, but I believe Thanksgiving Day is the only holiday that we still truck around our little crew to both Dan's extended family's and my extended family's celebrations.  We do this primarily because it IS possible.  Dan's parents host every year, serving the meal about noon.  And my grandparents host every year, serving the meal about 5:30 PM.  There is probably at most 2 miles between the two respective gatherings, so it is all set up perfectly to work out just dandy,  Of course we have young children, and things are known to get dicey whenever there are skipped naps/quiet times involved, not to mention multiple transitions for a couple of dudes prone to sensory overload in a loud house packed with people.  So yes, it's doable.  Probably not ideal, but I can't imagine hanging around our home all morning knowing Dan's whole family is at his parents' house having a grand old time. And I can't imagine hanging out all evening at Dan's parent's house, or even heading home early evening, knowing my whole family is all together at my grandma's. 

Oh and two chances in one day to eat all the stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy that my poor squished stomach can possibly manage?  Well that part gets two thumbs up. 



Of course there was grape salad at our first meal, Kirsten couldn't help herself after the supreme uproar throughout the great state of Minnesota for a week leading up to Thanksgiving, in response to that now infamous NYT article ( #grapegate ).

And actually, most people at our gathering said it was quite good, though I couldn't bring myself to try it.  Out of principle, yes, but I'm also, as a rule, generally just not a fan of any sort of fruit soaked in sour cream or mayo.  She did not HEAT it though, (blech).  That aspect of the NYT recipe is certainly the most vulgar. 


The boys had a blast playing with their cousins, and in general holidays and parties are pretty "easy" (it's all relative) with Dan's family these days. The children all essentially disappear for large portions of the day, a big gang of cousins they are, just happy to be together and playing with the absurd amount of toys grandma has managed to hold on to over the years.  They are like a little pack of wolves, we only really see them when they're hungry, or when we suddenly hear them growling at each other or creating some sort of destructive-sounding racket that prompts one of us parents to venture into their lair to investigate.  Only intervene when necessary.  That is my motto.

I think we're all enjoying this time while we can because the dynamic will certainly be shaken up a little with the arrival of three new baby cousins in the next few months. 


Dannell is due early February, I am due late February, and Heidi in April.  I can't wait to have little babies in the family again, especially my own, of course.  But three at once?  What a trip.  So much to be excited about. 

At about 3:00 we started giving 10-minute and 5-minute warnings and preparing the boys to leave.  This of course coincided with a pretty epic Gus meltdown.  He was exhausted and didn't want to leave and I think somewhat peopled out (though he would never admit to anyone that he needs a break from his cousins).  He had to go compose himself in grandma's room for a little bit, and when I went in to talk to him he looked like he was ready to fall asleep, laying there in the sun on the bed.

Oy.

So I used the most important parenting tool at my disposal... bribery.  I promised a movie as soon as we got to Grandma Sylvia's, and with that I HAD those fools, hook, line, and sinker. ;)  (Kidding of course, I would never call my children fools.)

(Errrr...)


Really, they were going to need some quiet time anyway upon transitioning between the two parties, so it wasn't a bad plan.  When we arrived at my grandparents' we set up a little nest of blankets and pillows on the floor for them in the office, prepared a little snack bowl of crackers and cut up veggies, and they were happy campers for the next hour while Dan and I were able to ease in ourselves into another social gathering.   


We managed to have a really nice evening, and I would even say it even had moments of relaxation, which isn't usually the case at these things.  Gus and Louie are the only kids on that side of the family, besides my nephew Graham, but he's still pretty young and in the case of Thanksgiving this year Ben and Michelle were in Milwaukee, so there are no playmates and no toys, and the TV is reserved for football, so really not much to do at these things for the kids unless we bring it for them...

Which is fine, of course.  The world does not revolve around my kids.  But it definitely makes our jobs as parents a little more challenging.

Of course on this particular night, the little basket of toys and projects and supplies we brought to keep them entertained barely got touched, in lieu of more exciting activities like rolling around and screeching underneath the big table during dinner, engaged in a tickle fight with my mom's cousin's teenage son.  :)

We knew we had overstayed our welcome and it was time for a clean break around 7:30 when Gus had another sobbing meltdown, this time about his ice cream being "naughty".  (There were bits of pumpkin pie on it.  Horrors!)  Poor little buddy.  He was done. 

Room Sharing Adventures


Being that we had such a nice long weekend at our disposal, we decided to tackle the much anticipated crib to bunk bed transition/shared room situation.  It seemed appropriate to go for it the night of Thanksgiving since both kids were so beyond exhausted we expected them to go to sleep pretty quickly and soundly.  

And that they did.  They wanted to sleep in the full bed on the bottom together.  Could they be any sweeter?  

More holiday indulgences on Black Friday

No peep was heard from either child until the next morning, so Night 1 was deemed a success.  Night 2 involved lots of middle-of-the-night arguing over space issues and other nonsense, and ended with the two of them sauntering into our bedroom like little ninjas at 5:15 in the morning, all ready for the day and "READY TO GO CHOP DOWN OUR CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!"  Night 3 was more of the same middle-of-the-night antics, mostly Louie being a pill and waking Gus up.  It's all pretty foggy, and there was one night this weekend of supreme sleeplessness and parental desperation during which at 3:45 AM one would have been able to find the entire family sleeping/not sleeping/trying to sleep in that damn bunk bed.  (Gus and Dan were up top, me and Louie on the bottom.)

Hmm... I wonder what the weight-limit is on that thing?

Eh, well.  These last few nights have gone much better, we decided the boys CANNOT sleep in the bottom bunk together, at least not yet, they are not ready for that privilege.  And since we made that decision, they've been sleeping all night in their respective beds. Mornings have definitely been earlier than normal, and when one of them is up for the day, so is the other, but that is to be expected at this point in the game.

Black Friday

Somehow I managed to get Dan to agree to watch the kids all day while I did some Black Friday shopping with my mom.  Definitely not my usual scene, but my mom was planning on going and I was feeling good and energized after having felt so sick and cooped up and crappy for the last week.

We spent most of our time at Macy's, and then a little time in the mall (Ridgedale) and I picked up a number of things for baby girl of course.  So damn much fun to shop for her.  I got a handful of people crossed off my list for Christmas, picked up the boys some mittens and underwear and Christmas jammies (you know, the basics) and it was actually just totally fun.  I haven't gone shopping, like... in a store as opposed to online... for fun (no kids)... not in a hurry, for a really really really long time.  

I got home waaaaaay later than I had planned, and walked into a house that was just spic and span.  He had also folded like 10 billion loads of laundry and was waiting on me to get home so he could go out and shovel.  So suffice it to say he was a little salty and I did feel some tinges of guilt about being gone alld ay... but then we had a relaxing evening... dinner, bath, kids in bed, stupid Hallmark movie.  Perfectly lovely day. 

Christmas Tree Farm

If you'll remember, Saturday started very early, 5:15 ish to be exact.  And the kids were both somewhat behind on sleep from keeping each other up at various points throughout the night, and a late night on Thanksgiving, so our morning was not the calmest or happiest.  We finally got the heck out of the house at about 11:00, to head up to the Kringlund's tree farm in Zimmerman to cut down our tree, like we do every year.  My mom's whole extended family meets up there, and then we head back to someone's house for chili afterwards.  Great, wonderful, lovely tradition.  Tricky though with the whole no-nap thing, again, and the children short on sleep thing, again.  

We stopped at McDonald's in Elk River and Louie managed to down an entire hamburger happy meal before desperately demanding ANOTHER hamburger.  That kid.  Our little Napoleon.  We obliged, mostly because it made us laugh and also because another hamburger was a whole 89 cents, and then we all sat there in amusement/horror watching him somehow ingest a second entire hamburger, face and sleeve covered in ketchup, happily bopping his head.  


We arrived at Kringlunds and immediately set out.  According to Mr. Kringlund there were about 3 years of drought during which very few of the 600 trees they plant every year survived.  So the last few years we have been suffering the effects of those bad years, with a very small selection of grown trees.  Last year and this year they were only open this one weekend out of the year, and they will likely have to do the same next year... but hopefully after that the place will be on the upswing again.

All that to say, our bar was low, and we literally found the first tree that seemed "okay" and cut it down.  It's pretty small and somewhat sparse, but from experience we know that they all sort of look the same once up and decorated in our living room, so there's no use in stressing and arguing and being picky and wandering the lot for an hour. 


It is always more magical when there's snow on the ground for this tradition.  Seems like that's an every-other-year thing... this year we were lucky.  A little bit of snow AND 36 degree weather.  Perfection.




Who gave that kid a saw?  ;)


My parents spent over an hour looking before we got there, and at that point had just decided they were just going to pick one up at Costco... and then they found a keeper just after we found ours.  The boys helped my dad cut it down.   



Snowball fights are their favorite.



Louie has turned into a total non-cooperator with photos all of a sudden.  Totally an almost THREE YEAR OLD.



We were about to get ready to leave when my mom found out they had chickens, and she of course had no qualms about asking Mr. Kringlund if we could go see them, knowing how much Louie would love it.  So we took a trip out back to the chicken coop and the boys got to pet this hen and fetch eggs from the coop and feed the chickens snow.  Louie was in heaven while Gus remained close to the door, a good distance between him and the unpredictable animals. ;) 


Louie fell asleep on the way back into the cities (thank goodness) and at my aunt Jeanne's house they camped out in her living room watching movies and playing with their iPad and Leap Pad for a few hours before we headed home for an early bedtime.  Because that's what the holidays are all about... packing the day full of activities and parties and then the subsequent collapse in exhaustion and reliance on electronic babysitters to keep the peace.

Decking the Halls

Sunday was another early morning, the boys woke up at 6:00 on the dot, SO EXCITED to get all the decorations out and get the tree up.  Dan and I resolved to not be crabby about the earliness this time.  We were intentional about having a good attitude, and were going to roll with it, stay in our pajamas all day, blast the Christmas music, let the kids play with breakable ornaments and climb ladders and put out the decorations wherever they wanted to because WHATEVER.  We had no where to be, no plans to follow through with, and no family members to appease.  Family. Day.  This is how it's done.

It was the perfect day, the perfect end to a long, exhausting, really fun but somewhat screwed up (routine-wise) holiday weekend.



It always looks worse before it gets better...  Lots of furniture that needed to be moved and toys that needed to be relocated.  Kind of loving the de-cluttering that was necessary to make room for all the Christmas. 


Last year after the holidays we packed away all the Christmas-related toys and books we have, so it's of course a huge thrill for the boys to pull all of that stuff out again.  They LOVE the two Playmobil sets we have and have been playing with them non-stop all week (tiny little pieces everywhere!).    



The boys got very antsy while Dan was getting the lights on the tree, so I let them take out the few decor items we have and do with them what they wanted.  Pretty much they put everything on the mantle, and then I slowly relocated and re-arranged it all throughout the morning. 


Marveling over their ornaments.  Gus especially was so excited and so helpful and so pumped to help decorate.  This Christmas with kids thing just keeps getting better and better.   


Both of them took every chance they could get to be on the little step ladder.




Looking guilty.  This is about the time when certain ornaments started ending up broken. 


We took a break for lunch...


... and then decided to let them watch The Polar Express while we finished things off.  All in the name of just getting it done, and avoiding more broken ornaments.  ;)

Louie did not nap. 


Jeez, I'm really pregnant. 


The sun is going down outside, still in pajamas!


The house started turning into crazy town about 4:00, which is to be expected when naps are forgone.  I was trying to get them to do a Christmas craft, or color in the Christmas coloring books we had pulled out with all the other stuff.  Nothing lasted longer than 3 minutes.  My suggestion to write letters to Santa was just flat out shot down.  They were like little pin balls of energy bouncing all over the living room, whining about being bored and fighting like it was their job.

So we all bundled up and went outside in the freezing cold (seriously it was like 8 degrees) for a little change of scenery and to run off some of that energy.  Dan hung the wreath on the door and I arranged some garland I had bought from our friend's Boy Scouting son in the window boxes.  



Dan busted out some impressive chalk skills.  I mean seriously, look at that?  He wins at life.


And finally, a dumb little video of the boys dancing to the ear-worm of a song that plays when you press a button on this little Spider-man ornament they got last year from my aunt.  This song has been haunting my dreams, I have heard it so many times over the last few days.  You have to turn the volume way up to even hear it, I am posting this really just so I can remember the ridiculousness. 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Day Before Thanksgiving

These past few weeks have not been super awesome.  It all started when Gus got some sort of strange flu virus or something a few Saturdays ago.  That morning we had driven up to Dan's grandparents' home north of Brainerd to spend the day and have a Thanksgiving meal.  It wasn't until we got there that he started complaining of body aches, stomach pain, and then he proceeded to spend the entire day loafing on the couch, taking naps, acting sad, eating nothing, and generally being very much not himself.  Poor guy.  We never took his temperature but he seemed a little warm so I'm guessing he had a slight fever.  The next day he seemed a lot better so we went on with our day as planned, we had a family member's Confirmation at church to go to, and then lunch at Dan's brother's afterwards.  Gus would have been devastated to miss out on going to his "best friend Lucas's house", so we were really glad he seemed better.  That day he ate next to nothing and was still not 100%, though a little more himself, but then Monday morning he woke up barely able to function again, and then had a random puking spell after gagging on Tylenol.  (Are my kids the only ones that truly refuse to allow me to get that stuff down their throats without it coming back up?)  So of course I kept him home from preschool which meant Louie would have to miss ECFE and then the next day we kept them both home from daycare after Gus had a strange bout of "tummy issues" in the middle of the night.  

Blech. 

So a super screwed up weekend and beginning of the week for sure, and then about a week later, this past Sunday, I ended up with whatever he had.  I thought it was more of my pregnancy drama at first, but yup.  The next morning it took every single ounce of energy and willpower I could muster to get us out of the house and get Gus to preschool, on the way to which I called Dan tearfully begging him to come home if he was at all able because I didn't know how I was going to survive the day.  Four days later and I'm still suffering from whatever this is.  And it just... sucks.  I feel nauseous and light-headed when I don't eat, and sick to my stomach when I do.  It feels vaguely like I'm in the first trimester again, with a few other fun symptoms thrown in there.  Yaaaaay!

I made it all day at work yesterday, definitely rallied somehow, but today was just not good.  I called it after an hour and a half in the office and came home to rest while I could with the boys still at daycare.  Thank goodness for daycare, truly the bright spot in a sick working parent's life. 



All this to say that I am tooootally in a "woe is me" frame of mind and I can't quite remember what it feels like to feel normal and on top of it all I'm also just feeling so dang pregnant all I can think about is that day in the future when I no longer have to be pregnant again.  But you guys, that is sooooo far away!  February 20th?  Are you kidding me?  I am ready now.  Yesterday.  I moped around the house a few nights ago nagging Dan, "Never again!  I am never letting you do this to me again, I am DONE being pregnant."  

Talk about dramatic.  

I think I can, I think I can.

Last night I had very vivid dreams of being in labor, being at the hospital, and it was so real and entirely unnerving because I woke up nervous, thinking maybe I really am in labor, and this is way too soon obviously, so I sat in bed waiting to see if the contractions came back.  I walked around a little bit, went to the bathroom.  No.  Just a dream.  It felt SO REAL though.  

Hilariously, in my dream, everyone and their mother was at the hospital with me while I was laboring and getting ready to push. Both my parents and both of my in-laws, friends, random acquaintances, just... like everyone.  All there for the big show, it seemed.  Ha... no thank you.  

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and then this weekend we're cutting down our tree and decorating the house and doing all that fun stuff, so I'm really hoping Dan and Louie don't go down per the schedule that this bug has seemed to have.  It feels a bit like a ticking time-bomb but I really am thankful that Dan and I haven't both been sick at the same time because there is no worse hell than both parents being down for the count.  

Other exciting things have been happening though, most notably... we potty trained Louie!  Well, sort of.  The number 2 thing is still not happening where it should be happening and that has made for some fun times, but really, he has just done so well and it didn't take him very long to catch on, and he was telling us he had to go and running to the potty on like day 3-4.  Kind of amazing.  He's stayed dry all day at daycare the past few weeks and the only accidents have, like I said, been of the other variety.  (So gross.)  It will come in time.  Oh, and for the record, potty training is just as fun as I remembered!  ;)

This past Friday we had my parents and my brother and his family over for dinner (realllly hoping I didn't infect them all before I knew I was sick...) and we watched Return of the Jedi with the boys.  We watched the original Start Wars (Episode IV) a few months back when Nathan was in town and it's pretty evident Gus is on track to grow up to be a big Star Wars/comic book nerd like both of my brothers.  That stuff is sooooo not in Dan's wheel-house, certainly more in mine, and it has been just a joy experiencing it all with him for the first time, and kind of fun and nostalgic for my brothers to be a part of it too.  Louie, of course, is definitely too young for this stuff, but he picks up on things very quickly and wants to do everything his big brother does.  It is hilarious to hear him talking non-stop about his love for Chewbacca.  

We spent the day at home on Saturday, and in the afternoon, before we were off to a movie with a big group of our friends (and a sleepover for the kids at my parents!), my friend Lisa came over to take photos of us for our Christmas cards.  Magically, Satruday was like a bright spot of a warm day in what has been just frigidly cold weather for the past few weeks, so we were able to take a few outside.  They turned out really great, it was a very casual thing, a "no pressure, all we need is ONE picture!" kind of deal, but she took some gems and the boys were pretty cooperative (i.e. bribed with skittles).   Here are some of my favorites:













Could these children get any cuter? (Louie doesn't usually wear gloves, he very much does not seem to know what to do with his hands in these photos, and it is making me giggle.)





Happy Thanksgiving!  I am thankful for these boys of mine and this baby girl I am so fortunate to be carrying.  I don't often acknowledge how truly grateful I am for this gift, because it's been hard, and if I'm really honest, not super fun to be pregnant.  But worth it?  For sure.  And do I know how lucky I am to get to be a mom all over again for another little one?  For sure.  I am thankful for the most incredibly patient and loving and giving partner to do this with, he has been so kind and caring with me over the last few days (months) when I've certainly not been a peach to be around, and he's taken over all of the heavy lifting of parenting and cooking and just in general has been willing to play the role of the level-headed parent that we all needed in this household while I've been on a bit of a crazy train.

And gosh darn it I am so thankful for Thanksgiving dinner, which I want so badly to enjoy tomorrow, so cross your fingers that this day of rest is all I really need to kick this thing and be able to enjoy stuffing my face tomorrow with the most delicious of foods.