Our Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend is easily one of my favorite weekends of the whole year.  Celebrating with family, baking up yummy treats, picking out and decorating our family Christmas tree! Add in a little crazy black Friday shopping and a whole lot of dressing and it just doesn't get much better.
This year we started the tradition of Elf on the Shelf for the kids.  And by we I totally mean just me, Chad has his reservations about these mischievous mess makers.  Thanksgiving morning I had a special breakfast for the kids introducing the elves and Olivia named them, Ruby and Rudolph. 
 
 
After way too many powered doughnuts Olivia and I started whipping up some goodies in the kitchen.  We made a homemade caramel pound cake with caramel frosting for dinner at Nana's and our traditional cinnamon butter to give to friends and family.  It is the easiest thing to make and so delicious on toast and especially warm crescent rolls..yum!
 
Cinnamon Butter
4 stick unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup honey
5 tsp ground cinnamon
 
add all ingredients to bowl (or stand mixer) and mix until it has a light, fluffy whipped texture
 


 
We had the most delicious turkey dinner at my mom's and celebrated with my sister's family as well.  After we came out of our food comas we headed outside to let the kiddos play since the weather was so nice.
I am so very thankful for my little family.  They make me so unbelievably happy and I cannot believe they are mine!
 

 
I picked out matching dresses for the little lady and I and Olivia was so excited to match me.  She insisted we get a solo picture to document the cuteness ;)
 
 
Friday morning my sister Ashley and I went black Friday shopping.  It was every bit as crazy and it sounds.  We spent 3 solid hours in target alone.  We got some pretty good deals and it always puts me in the Christmas spirit to get out in the madness, just a little bit.
 
When I got home Chad and I loaded up the kids and headed to the Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree.  Pictures do not so justice to how beautiful the sunset was. 
 
 
We walked for what seemed like forever but we finally found the perfect one.  It was getting late when we got home so we had thanksgiving leftovers for dinner and got the kids to bed before bringing the tree in.  I decided to go ahead and put the lights on the tree so the kids could get straight to decorating the next morning.  I even got a special ornament and wrote a note from the elves giving them all of the credit (nice, huh)
 
 
 
Olivia was so particular about where she put each ornament.  I even left some of them clustered together just how she put them, because she totally knows where she put each one.  Jack picks an ornament off of the tree every time he walks by and runs for it, as expected.  Good thing we went with non breakable ornaments this year.  Target for the win!!
 
We even did a little exterior illumination although that went pretty much like, string one strand, rescue Jack from running into the road and repeat so we will have to finish later during one of his many nap times.
 
 
The weekend ended with full hearts and even fuller bellies.  I am so excited the holiday season is finally here and we plan to make the most of it. Matching jammies and all!
 
 
When your sister steals your lovie and tries to make you think it was your idea to give it to her ;)
 
I hope you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving!  Happy Monday friends!
 


Disney

Magic.
Pretty much sums up our trip.  Two kids in the car for over 10 hours there and back with no tears. Skipped naps, stroller naps, staying up way past all of our bedtimes with smiles on our faces.  The magic of Disney is real y'all!
I have to admit I was a little skeptical that this trip might be mass chaos, it being our first time and taking a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I am happy to report that everything went pretty smooth.  We decided on driving since we were staying off Disney property and would have had to rent a car and car seats plus all of Olivia's princess gear that needed its own suitcase.  The kids really did so great in the car and it took us about 10 hours each way, including multiple potty breaks and lunch pit stops. Olivia must have asked if we were there yet 100 times and where are all the princesses???

We had reservations for Chef Mickey's Monday for a late breakfast.  I would definitely recommend this if you have kids who love Mickey.  All of the characters were there and they came around to each table to sign autographs and take pictures.  The food was buffet and delicious!



We hopped a monorail to the Magic Kingdom after we got our bellies full.  I totally teared up when I saw the castle for the first time. I scooped Olivia up out of the stroller and held her up so she could see and just seeing the excitement through her eyes made me so very happy. 


We spent most of the day trying to get a feel for the layout of the park and fumbling with the Disney app on our phones (which I recommend getting if you are going).  The kid's favorite rides were Dumbo, the tea cups and Winnie the Pooh.  Chad took Jack back to the condo for dinner and bed and Olivia and I met up with Ashley, her girls, and nana for dinner with Cinderella!  The only time we could get was 8:30 and that was just too late for little man.  Olivia wanted to dress up as Elena (shocker, right?) and the wicked step sisters were her faves.  The way they all stay in character is so fun to watch.



Tuesday we went to SeaWorld and immediately wished we had planned two days there.  It is the neatest place.  They had the best kiddie park complete with a little roller coaster and a 5 story jungle gym and tons of other little rides.  The big roller coasters were awesome.  I would definitely put them on the six flags level.  The best part was the park was empty.  We walked straight on every ride we wanted and the kids got great views to all of the marine life!  The whole park is so laid back and so much fun.






The coolest thing was the penguin encounter.  It was freeeeezing in there and they were so close you could touch them, but I was told repeatedly not too.  They are the coolest little birds!






Wednesday we headed back to Magic Kingdom and stayed all the way for the fireworks at 10pm.  Both of the kids were so good.  I may have been more mesmerized than they were by the display, but we all had a good time.  Elsa freezes the castle at night and they do a whole little show out of it blowing snow on the audience and lighting the castle in a million Christmas lights.  It was so beautiful.  Pictures can't even do it justice.


Thursday we were all ready for a little break so we hung out at the pool.  Olivia and her cousins went back and forth from the hot tub and pool 100 times squealing with joy and receiving dirty looks from all of the old people trying to read their romance novels.


Friday we planned the day so Olivia could meet all of the princesses at Magic Kingdom. She was so cute walking up to them and holding out her autograph book.  After every single one she would say, I have to go tell my Daddy I just met - insert princess name.  Chad took Jack to ride a few rides while I did the princess thing with Olivia. When she got to meet Elena she was in absolute awe.  She was starstruck.  She couldn't talk to her, she just stared and smiled the biggest smile.  It was the sweetest thing.


Chad took Olivia to ride The Barnstormer roller coaster and I took Jack to ride Winne the Pooh since he isn't tall enough.  I loved getting some sweet one on one time with him.



Saturday was our last day and we went back to Magic Kingdom to ride the tea cups a dozen more times and of course the Barnstormer. The day started out with tears.  I got Jack out of the stroller because the lines to get in the park were crazy long.  They were both pretty much tired and worn out form the whole trip by then.  It was soooo crowded, all of the thanksgiving traffic had started to pour in.  We played until we ran out of fast passes and headed back to the condo to get ready to drive home the next day.







I have to add a big huge thank you to my parents who made this trip possible for not only my family, but my sister and 3 step sisters too!  They sure do love their grandbabies!


We had such a great time, but being totally honest I think we will wait a couple of years before planning the next trip. I want the kids to be old enough to both ride most everything at both of the parks.  I am so glad we got to go with our whole fam though and the kids had a blast. 
Also, I didn't pull out my real camera one time so sorry for the grainy picture quality from all of the cell phone pictures.  I did like just snapping a quick picture though and really being present for the whole experience! I will cherish these memories forever.
Disney, you were so good to us and we will see ya real soon!




Thankful

This morning over breakfast Olivia and I were talking about Thanksgiving.  I was telling her a little of the back story and that it is a day we give thanks and celebrate all that we have been blessed with.  I then asked her what she was thankful for.  The first thing she said was "Hadley" one of little besties.  Then she named "Emma, Ava, Mommy, Daddy and brother of course".  I kept asking what else are you thankful for and she just kept naming more people that she loved.  Not once did she name a single object or thing which really surprised me and made me think.  It is so easy to get caught up in this material world and think about how others have more than you might, but none of that even matters.  Sometimes the things that matter the most are not things at all.  We just had family pictures taken and as I look at them I am overcome with thankfulness.  Thankful for my precious husband.  He works so hard for his family and always puts our needs and wants above his own.  He has a true servants heart and he makes me want to be a better person.  Thankful that I get to be a mother to two amazing little people.  Something my heart longed for ever since I could remember.  I could have never done enough to deserve these three and yet here they are.  Most of all I am so thankful for my heavenly Father who is so very good.  Even when things don't go my way I know that his ways are good and his plans for me outreach any thing I could hope for myself.  I write this with tears in my eyes and a heart so full of love it could burst.  Sometimes you just have to let yourself feel all the feels and truly appreciate all that you have been blessed with. 
Tis the season to be thankful, right?
 












 
These are some of my very favorite photos from our session with the amazingly talented Heather Kemp Photography.  If you are in the Birmingham area you should definitely look her up!
I am so excited to send out our Christmas cards this year and how about a big high five for being early at something for once in my life ;)
I am also thankful for all of you, your kind words and encouragement on this crazy journey through motherhood and life.  So thanks for reading and letting me spill my heart to you today.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and go hug someone you love!