Due to the fact that I have about 20 minutes before the entire house is up and at 'em (it's currently 6:40 a.m.), I'm going to try to make this post on the short side.
Saturday, November 22nd: I am thankful for old friends. Our really good friends, Chris and Gissela (I knew Chris at the Academy, and then Chet and Chris served on the same ship), moved to Virginia (west of us) right around the same time we did. We hadn't seen each other since we all lived in Jacksonville, FL, and we LOVE that we live close again. Their little boy turned two on the 22nd, and we celebrated his birthday with him (they also have a little girl Sydney's age, and a baby due in January).
Sunday, November 23rd: I'm thankful for my stepdad, Papa Dave, whose birthday was the 23rd, and for NEW friends. People from our Sunday school class invited us to dinner Sunday evening, and there was another family there too. It was fun to get to know everyone, and there were plenty of kids to keep Sydney and Lorelei entertained.
Monday, November 24th: I am thankful for bloggers, especially hilarious ones who team up and record podcasts (check out The Big Boo Cast) and cause me to snort laugh while on the treadmill at the gym.
Tuesday, November 25th: Crock pots and instant mashed potatoes. Because who isn't thankful for a dinner that practically cooks itself?
Wednesday, November 26th: I'm so thankful that we live in an area with four seasons. It snowed the day before Thanksgiving, and although it didn't stick (there was a light dusting on the ground, but no accumulation), the girls (and I) LOVED loved watching it fall. It was too wet to play outside, not to mention cold, but the girls can't wait to "eat snow for breakfast" and make snow angels this winter.
Thursday, November 27th: I am thankful for Thanksgiving traditions, like cooking and eating sausage balls and monkey bread on Thanksgiving morning. I am also extremely thankful for our Navy family. Last year, when Chet was deployed, our friends Tom and Elizabeth had the girls and me, as well as many other families with deployed husbands, over for Thanksgiving. It was awesome. Well...Tom and Elizabeth moved to Maryland (just 30 minutes from us) this past summer! And they invited us and a couple of other people over for Thanksgiving again this year! Elizabeth is a great cook, and makes a mean apple cider (so mean that I drink at least four full cups every time she serves it). It struck me as amazing that this was my second time to celebrate Thanksgiving with Tom and Elizabeth, and our second time to celebrate with Laura (one of the other invitees, who we spent Thanksgiving with in 2012 at our friends' Steve and Julie's house). I mean, it's all sort of random, spending Thanksgiving with different people each year who aren't family members, but also completely normal since we are a military family. I love it.
Sydney and Lorelei before we left for Tom and Elizabeth's house. Yes, Sydney wore cat ears:
Ford enjoying some mashed potatoes. See Charlie the dog in the picture, waiting patiently for food to be dropped?
Let's just say that Ford and Charlie the dog were fast friends:
Seriously, Ford would pick up something from his tray, taste it, then pick up some more and hold it out for Charlie to eat out of his hand. Sydney and Lorelei, on the other hand, were scared of Charlie.
Friday, November 28th: We didn't do any Black Friday shopping this year (not even online), so we just holed up at home and got some stuff done around the house. Therefore, I am thankful for long holiday weekends that are good for getting stuff done.
This is one way we get stuff done with three kids underfoot: put Ford in a box and give him a remote control to chew on, and let Sydney and Lorelei decorate a giant Amazon box with markers (and play dress up, as you can see by the cowgirl costume that Lorelei is sporting).
Saturday, November 29th: I'm thankful for small businesses in America. Since it was Small Business Saturday, we took Sydney and Lorelei to a small store that sells a little bit of everything (toys, dance and gymnastics clothes, regular clothes), and had Sydney and Lorelei take turns picking out something for each other for Christmas (in order to keep it a surprise, Chet hung out in the Hallmark store next door with each of the girls when it wasn't their turn, while I helped guide the choosing of the Christmas gifts).
This is how Chet successfully entertains kids in a Hallmark store: let them chew on Yankee candle votives.
Today, Sunday, November 30th: I am thankful that we have the opportunity to get our family's picture made (I love saying "picture made," as if it's still 1985). We're doing a mini session at a Christmas tree farm quite a ways west of where we live, and we'll use the pictures to create our annual Christmas card. Poor Ford, this is his first time to get professionally photographed, and there is not a single picture of him displayed in this house (literally). Hopefully the session goes well -- I don't think I'm alone when I say that family pictures are quite the stressful event!
Here's a preview of picture day outfits (I insisted on a "dress rehearsal" because I didn't want ANY complaining about outfits on picture day). The color in the picture is a little weird, but we're all wearing some combination of red, green, and navy (mostly navy):
I hope you had a fantastic November -- on to December, and to celebrate the birth of Jesus!