Sunday, November 30, 2014

Let the Festivities Begin!

While we had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving Day at home, it was time to get out of the house for a bit Friday morning.  We didn't take any pictures, but we went to Occoquan to wander the cute shops.  I think it's funny that the last time we were here was last year the day after Christmas!  Apparently, it's a good place to stretch our legs.  Now, I have an in at Mom's Apple Pie Bakery, so we visited Bobbi and got coffee :)  We went in some fun shops and checked out some interesting construction on the river as they were extending a pier!  We came home for lunch and naps.
 Bampa taught Jackson to play War.  Let's just say it was a hit!  
 In the evening, Jackson got a special treat to come out on a grown-up dinner date and see the lighting of the big tree at Stonebridge.  He was SO excited to be big enough to join us :)  It was chilly, but we had a really good time kicking off the holiday season.  The event was pretty well organized, complete with complimentary hot chocolate, cookies, and light-up-spinning Christmas tree toys!
 He really was more excited than he looks in this picture!
 MUCH better seating up on Daddy's shoulders!
 There was a short performance and a little music before the tree lit pretty promptly at it's suggested time.  Last year, there were horrible lighting difficulties, so we all held our breath, and it paid off--the tree looked beautiful!
 Posing with the P.F. Chang's horse.  We ate across the street at Firebirds.
 After dinner photo :)
 Yesterday morning, we ventured out early to get to the United States Botanic Garden for the opening of the holiday train exhibit!  We tried to do this last year, but totally underestimated the crowd.  This year we were prepared!
 Trains up above!
 It was quite a bit smaller than a similar exhibit at the Chicago Botanical Garden, but it was also free ;)  This one also featured the Thomas the Train trains.  It was really pretty and well done.  
 Here comes Thomas!
 Lighthouses were the theme!
 There was a fun tunnel at the end.
 Graham got to go through too :)
 There were miniature replicas of the monuments, including Jefferson!
The one thing we did see last year was the huge tree!  We made sure to do that again :)  We headed home for lunch and naps, and then we had our last dinner together at The Bungalow Alehouse.  We had SUCH a good time, and luckily, we don't have to wait too long to see each other again since we will head to Evanston for Christmas break!!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014!

 Just relaxing on Turkey Day :)
 Ready to get cooking!
 A break for a little wrestling...
Jackson put together all of these place card turkeys and wrote all of our names.
Using my grandma's china :)
Turkey, corn pudding, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, homemade biscuits, stuffing, peanut butter celery, green beans and cinnamon jell-o.  There was pumpkin pie and chocolate chip bourbon pecan pie for dessert.  Josh did most of the cooking, and he did an awesome job!
 We were SOOO happy to have Mimi and Bampa at our house to celebrate Thanksgiving!!!
 Mimi and the boys :)
 I am so thankful for my perfect, little family!
 Storytime before little guys' bedtime.  After the boys when to bed, we grown-ups had dessert and played a game before settling in on the couch with some football :) 
Mom agreed to go Black Friday shopping with me!  I went for the first time a couple years ago, and I had such a good time.  I was so glad she wanted to go too!  This picture is from the end of our time, but we had the most fun and luck at the big outlet mall near our house.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Over the River and Through the Woods, Mimi and Bampa Come!

Mimi and Bampa came to visit for Thanksgiving!!!  Mimi is such a good sport and plays Goin' Fishin' with Graham, so he was counting down the minutes until he got to fish with her :)
First order of business on the afternoon they arrived was to pick up Jackson at the bus stop! 
 Waiting for the bus...
We played at home after school and went out to dinner at Red Robin.  Tuesday, Graham, Mimi, Bampa and I went to Barnes and Noble in Fredericksburg to enjoy some coffee, the train table, some early Christmas shopping and an unexpected storytime.  We had such a good morning doing lots of our favorite things :)
 Lunch at Tropical Smoothie Cafe--such good buddies!
 Graham made this face every time he bit into his wrap.  Hilarious!
 After Jackson got home from school, we left to go to the NEW Springfield Town Center.  We checked out the play area while Bampa picked up Daddy at the Metro station.
 This play area is fruit and veggie themed.  The boys give it two thumbs up!  We all met back up to try a new restaurant for dinner: Chuys.  It was really good!
 Jackson had a half day of school yesterday.  We picked him up from the bust stop and went over to IHOP for some lunch.  He and Bampa did a little fishing once we got home.
Mom and I got started on some food during the quiet of this afternoon.  Mom made a family favorite: Cinnamon Jell-o.
 Getting the recipes all ready to go!
 Jackson helped me made the Chocolate Chip Bourbon Pecan Pie--YUM!
 Mimi, Bampa and the SuperMoose!
A little Bampa storytime :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014


If I had a penny for every time I promised myself I'd be more diligent about updating the blog...  I'm serious about it now!!!  Each day I look at Jackson and Graham and can't believe how big they are!  I know years from now, their "big-ness" now will seem small, and I want to make sure I can sit and be sappy with all of my old blog posts whenever I feel like it.  So, my early resolution is to carve out a small chunk of time most days to post something, even if it's just a picture or two.  
 Both boys LOVE this Snoopy at our neighborhood Walmart!  Graham loves when we have enough time for a little visit :)
 Getting outfitted for Owen's TMNT birthday party!  None of the costume stayed on for very long, but how cute is my little Michelangelo?!  Jolene went all out and made each child a personalized shell.  They each got to choose the color of their mask and a weapon of choice.  So cool!
 And Leonardo--Jackson came prepared with his own hoodie ;)
 Ready to bake!
 Brothers by the fire :)
 Silly faces (and the end of failed holiday-card-picture-taking-session-#1...)
 One of our Zencuch Girls Mornings!  We love when they hang out before school :)  
 This also happened to be Crazy Hair Day for Izzy and Jackson!
 Yummy cookies for Graham and Lucy for a morning snack while visiting a friend at work!
 Hallie joins the crowd :)
 They laid their friends down and read them stories.
 So cute!
Graham was already in bed, but these three were cute snuggle bugs!

That was a slightly cheaty way to catch up on some of the randomness of the last few weeks!