Saturday, December 17, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016!

Happy Holidays! I hope you're enjoying some crisp weather, some parties with people you love, and the joy of giving. We have had an eventful few weeks over here, so I thought I'd pop in to share some of our adventures!

Marshall has been really into pajamas this year, probably because my mom bought him these adorable ones:

Our little clan headed out to meet Santa on a lovely Friday at the beginning of December. We chose Santa Monica Place this year, and it was WAY better than our past experiences at The Grove! It's the same price, but you get more photos, your reservation actually means something (last year we had a reservation at The Grove and still waited for over an hour), and the crowds are way less intense! Plus, they still have a huge Christmas tree and lots of decorations for the kids to enjoy, so we were happy. Not to mention it's close to Marshall's day care and closer to our house!

Declan contentedly sat with Santa for the photo, but Marshall needed a little convincing. We tried not to push it and gave him a few minutes to get comfortable (another bonus of having no one else in line behind us!), and eventually he was willing to sit with the big guy.

He did not really understand the concept of asking Santa for what he wants this year. I had explained, though, that we give Santa cookies, so when I asked him what he's going to ask Santa for for Christmas, Marshall said, "Cookies!" Ha. Then later he decided he wanted a snowman (?), so I guess Santa is bringing him a snowman.

After our visit with Santa we hit up True Food Kitchen and called it a night. Outings like this one are pretty tiring nowadays,but our boys held up great and seemed to have fun!

Our Friendsgiving took place a little earlier than usual this year but late enough that we could dive into Christmas, too, so we decked out the kiddos in these adorable UCLA items from Heidi and Ed. Toddlers in sweatshirts are too cute! (Terry mentioned that our group--us, Katie and Corey, and Heidi and Ed--has DOUBLED since we started hanging out. WHAT?! Crazy how much has happened, but I'm so glad we're all still friends and celebrating life events and holidays together!)

Then it was time to pick out our own tree! Marshall loved all the options, but we settled for a small-ish tree. Perfect for our small-ish house.

And this guy got to put the star on top!

Another fun activity this year: making a "gingerbread man house," as Marshall calls it. Terry and I had to help make the frosting ("glue") and assemble the walls of the house, but after that Marshall took over and decorated entirely on his own. For about 45 minutes. It was a beautiful time where I just closed my eyes to the (honestly not-that-bad) mess and watched him play while I took care of some kitchen chores and Terry hung out with Declan. Thank you, Trader Joe's!

Terry has made a few fires for us, and no one appreciates them more than Scout. He parks himself in front and doesn't move until the last ember burns out.

All decorated!
(He wears his "light loader shirt" about three times a week.)

 Last night we threw the kids in the car after an early dinner and drove around our neighborhood to see Christmas lights...which was kind of a bust. I'd say one out of every ten houses had lights, and there were only a few "wow!" houses. This one was gorgeous, mostly because every inch of that huge tree was decorated. (We do live close to a neighborhood with HUGE mansions, and Terry and I had fun oohing and aahing over these crazy homes, so it wasn't a complete loss.)

After the kids were all nestled in their beds, we wrapped up our Christmas cards (and Declan's birth announcements, which are tucked inside, thanks to my brilliant friend Katie who pointed out that I did not, in fact, need to address all these twice!).
(Yep, that's our favorite hot chocolate!)

In other events, some photos from my phone to share from recent happenings:

Marshall's school invited some parents to join for the kids' usual walk to the park, and I tagged along. It was SO fun to see him at school and to see how he interacts with his friends and teachers, to watch him get all hooked up to the "walking rope," and to hear his giggles while playing. The dry day gave me this gem:

Declan and I have enjoyed some walks (though not as many as I'd like...some days it's just hard to get out of the house!) and I love stumbling upon parts of our neighborhood that have such beautiful fall scenes!

But it's definitely still California. :-)

This guy is just the best. He makes me smile every second he's awake with his wide, curious eyes and absolutely precious smile. He's taking on tummy time like a champ lately, and you can see by this photo that I'm much more interested in playing with him than in doing the laundry, so he's happy, too.

Marshall is still great with him. I think we're sort of expecting some jealousy or poor behavior, but so far, we've been pleased to see that Marshall either hangs out on his own or happily chills with his baby brother. Both are awesome.

Declan is an amazing sleeper and practices it at least 18 hours a day. He generally doesn't stay awake longer than an hour, sometimes far less. He is also getting really good at falling asleep on his own, even during the day. (He's always been great at falling asleep at night--I feed him, Terry changes his diaper and puts him back down, and the kid is out in a minute or two without any assistance.) I know it'll all change at the four month mark, but we're enjoying his sweet sleep for now!

Terry and I checked another item off our LA bucket list yesterday--the Getty Villa! We brought Declan (M was in day care), walked around for an hour, and then headed home for some Christmas to-do items, but it was such a fun outing!

Other than that, our days have been filled with the usual--reading as a family

and swim lessons

and lots of fun together! We're excited about the next week--time with friends and family and our road trip to see my parents, brother, and sister-in-law--but mostly we're just happy to get time together. 

I wish you a very happy holiday season in case I don't make it back here before the new year!


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