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Monday, December 10, 2012

A few celebrations...

Look at my sweet little turkey
First, Thanksgiving.  It was our year to see my family on Thanksgiving - we usually trade out - and we went to my aunt and uncle's farm in Childersburg.  It was such a gorgeous day and so nice to see family and let the kids run and play.
Uncle Jim took the boys on a long golf cart ride all over the farm
Then they came back and went fishing
The "big kid" cousins 
Posing with his GiGi
And loving on their favorite Pop Pop
We even made it for a quick dinner in Andalusia
The day after Thanksgiving we were able to get a real tree for the first time in our marriage!  We finally have a space and a car big enough.  Heath was hesitant at first, but we have loved it!  We got it from some local Boy Scouts (Briarwood of course:)), and we were able to get a good one before they were all picked over.  Well, I mean it was still November!!  We decorated the day after Thanksgiving and the day of the Iron Bowl, and it has been so nice to enjoy the decorations for weeks and weeks.  However, I don't know that we will ever be this ahead of the game again so I am trying to enjoy it!

We let the boys decorate our artificial tree upstairs, and they have loved playing with the ornaments and such.  Such a balance with the Santa, tree, stockings and tying it in to the real meaning.  But their school is helping.  Today Turner begged to go to Jesus' birthday, and we had to go to our chocolate Advent calendar to count down the days, so maybe he is getting it?!  Doubtful but still so fun in this season!
My Pinterest projects - the Christmas card board is already full now.  I love getting Christmas cards!!
We started a new family tradition/Christmas celebration the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  We went to the North Pole Express. So fun!!
It is a train ride in Calera, AL
The kids dressed in their Christmas pajamas - look at the BFFs here laughing with each other
And Turner wouldn't give me a normal smile all night, but I just couldn't get enough of them in their cute pajamas, monogrammed by aunt Stacy

Waiting in line with our buddies Brooks and Read - they were SO excited, even though we weren't on the same train with them

Can you spot Collins?  She is oddly comfortable like that

Our train conductor was so so nice!  It was about an hour round trip and he called Collins "Trouble" when she walked on - please notice Turner's awesome smiles, ugh!

He liked her, but kept promising she would fall asleep because the train ride was at 6:30.  Of course she did not sleep a wink.  There was way too much excitement as we approached the North Pole!  We saw the North Pole in lights, and then stopped there while Santa and Mrs. Claus visited all of the cars.  Luckily we brought snacks and there was a man singing Christmas carols, which John Burke is ALL over by the way!  We were the last car, but finally we got to see Santa!!

This ride is done very well.  So many kind volunteers helping along the way - our favorite (besides Santa of course) were the elves that passed out cookies and chocolate milk and a magical key and an ornament.  The boys were SO excited!!

Collins just stared and giggled
I thought it was wonderful and every single day since John Burke has asked to go back and see Santa at his house.  I am not kidding, every day.  When we were leaving Heath mentioned maybe we could do this every other year, but I don't think the boys are going to let him forget!  And since we bought the tickets in early August, I might have to just mark my calendar again.  So worth it, we highly recommend!

Our final celebration was that Turner and York turned 4!!  Well, Turner already had his birthday, and York's is next week, but close enough!  This was one of the only pictures I had of them in all of the chaos.
Evan and I decided to have a small party for the boys this year.  With everything else going on and sibling birthdays around the same time, we decided to try and downplay their party as much as possible.  York had one good buddy from school and Turner had 2 and then cousin Blake was a mutual friend, since he used to go to school with York.  (You know, all the way back in 2K??!)  Anyway, when you add the cousins and such we had about 12 kids.  We decided to do a camp out in the backyard.

It was definitely geared for 3 and 4 year old boys.  Notice the guns!
We roasted marshmallows and made s'mores and had pizza (we were going to grill out, but I didn't want anything to take Heath's attention away from the madness!)  We rode riding toys and even had a "hunt" for animals.  The party favors were the red bandannas on a stick.  Inside there were guns with "bullets", a headlamp and some army necessities like a knife, walky talky, binoculars, etc. I love giving a party with Evan (or doing anything, really) because she is so creative and fun!

She made that board of animals to show the kids what to look for and Wes had hidden them around the backyard

The weather was definitely mild and in our favor...not sure what we would have done otherwise!  These kids needed the outside!

Action shot of the "hunting' with guns and headlamps

Even the girls had fun - and the dads (notice the beverages :) - is that redneck?  Oh well, fun nonetheless)

The pizza picnic in and around the tent in camo

Joyriding in one of the Jeeps

And the jumpy was set up too, though it didn't exactly fit in the camping theme.  Who cares?  Entertainment!!

Collins helped herself to an entire piece of pizza - and aunt Stacy tried to introduce her to a bow

"No you crazy aunts, I am BALD!"

A few army-themed cupcakes (beautifully created by Evan and myself) - look who Uncle Derek caught while others were hunting outside.  No shame.

Happy Birthday York and Captain Photogenic!  I can't believe y'all are four!!  We love you!