Monday, November 30, 2015

Thankful 2015

We started the Thanksgiving festivities with Olivia's Family Feast at school.  Mimi & Grandpa joined us again this year and, like last year, it was less sitting and eating and more running and crazy with Cate and Emma.

The girls with Miss Kathy (their fave teacher)

I asked Olivia to take a picture with Mimi & Grandpa.  She refused until Cate got in the picture.

Cate's mom and I texted this picture back and forth wondering when our 4 year olds turned into college sorority sisters?!

I tried to get us in the spirit all month by introducing a "Thankful Tree" and each night we would write down what we were thankful for and put another leaf on the tree.
It worked okay.  I think it will be a fun tradition to continue forward as she gets older.  Many of the things she was thankful for (e.g. her boots) were not exactly what I had in mind.  But my favorite story from the Thankful Tree (and maybe ever) is one night Matt pushed his leaf over to Olivia to hang up.  She read it and said "Daddy! You wrote my name?!  You're thankful for me?!  Aww......I want a new leaf.  How do you spell 'mommy'?"  Poor Matt.

Unfortunately for poor Matt, this is his company’s busiest time of the year, so he did not get much of a break. But, I was lucky enough to take off most of the week and we spent lots of good family bonding time. On Tuesday we spent the day in Humble with Mimi & Grandpa and then on Wednesday we saw The Good Dinosaur (not Olivia’s fave) and had lunch with the Williams’ girls.

Thursday morning, we woke up bright and early, so Olivia and I made chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, tater tots and we all snuggled in to watch the Macy’s Parade. Then we headed to the Woodlands to meet up with the Deans for brunch.  Uncle Drew and Aunt Jenny were in town from Nashville, so we all got in lots of good bonding time.  Miss O really loves her Aunt Jenny!

Afterwards, we went back to Matt’s parents house for some naps and a friendly super-competitive game of ping pong. We got a travel ping-pong set and brought it with us. While Matt was packing up the car that morning he said “This may be over-kill but I’m going to take an extra shirt in case Drew and I get really competitive.”  Nope, I just don't know where Olivia gets these competitive genes from….

Then we headed to Humble for dinner at the Kaltenbacher’s. We all stuffed ourselves on Aunty Minda's usual wonderful spread!

Mimi, Grandpa, Yazzie and Grant joined us (we missed Aunt Naz/Tyler who were out of town this year!)

And this year Robert joined us with his kids. Olivia has not seen Kyra and Colby since she was a newborn, so she enjoyed having them there. And Kyra was so sweet to play lots of princess games with her.

These two have certainly grown up!

On Friday, Uncle Drew and Aunt Jenny joined us to check out the Zoo.

After a quick dinner (thank you Telephone Thai) we came back to the Zoo for Zoo Lights. While we did enjoy the lights, it seemed like the kettle corn and cotton candy were the big hits of the night. And of course, the giant light-up sword!

On Saturday, Popo treated us all with a trip to iFly, an indoor skydiving experience here in Houston. Matt, Uncle Drew, Aunt Jenny and Tutu all did it, while Olivia, Popo and I cheered them on.

These two brothers look slightly nervous before-hand...

And on Sunday, Mimi, Olivia and I enjoyed the Teddy Bear Tea Party at the St. Regis hotel. I have been waiting for Olivia to get old enough to enjoy this event and I’m so glad we took her.  I surprised her with a new outfit (which thankfully she approved of!) and she was pretty excited to get all dressed up for a 'big girl' tea party.  (Earlier that week she was telling one of my friends about it and my friend commented "Oh wow.  Have you ever had tea before?"  Olivia looked and her and completely deadpan replied "It will just be apple juice!"

Everyone was asked to bring a teddy bear to donate to a local children's charity.

We were greeted by a princess who outfitted Olivia with her own tiara and wand

Then they led us to our table all set up with tea and cocoa.

Most of the kids sat at these adorable little tables in the center

After they ate, it was time for a Christmas puppet show of The Night Before Christmas

And then she got her arm painted (not sure why she refused the face..)

Decorated an ornament

Watched a magic show that ended with a real bunny rabbit

And decorated (and tasted) a gingerbread man

It was a great event and a fun tradition to start with Mimi!

We did get a little downtime - enough to put up some Christmas decorations

The big thrill this year is a train to go around the tree, courtesy of daddy's friends at work.  The good news is this is a super nice train that is very delicate.  The bad news is...clearly, this is a super nice train that is very delicate and we have a FOUR YEAR OLD.  But, she sure does love it.

And on Saturday night when we did family movie night (in matching Christmas pjs). I love these 2 little turkeys more than anything and am so thankful for them and the village we have cultivated - family and friends. (PS - why we have that big comfy couch just sitting back there but somehow all 3 of us ended up cuddling on the hard wood floor is beyond me!)