Goodbye November

November –

beginning of indoor soccer season for the girls;

pumpkins rotting on the back deck and squirrels eating through them in search of seeds;

falling leaves in a range of colors;

a girl’s first sleepover;

voting and re-election for a president;

extra blankets placed on beds;

the cat curled up sleepily on the radiators;

darker evenings;

thermal pajamas;

evaluations at work;

gathering with friends and family for thanksgiving;

avoidance of all christmas shopping;

the beginning of christmas music and decorations;

mid-term parent teacher conferences;

school field trips to the nature center; and

planning for the holidays.

November was good to us.  Not too busy, not boring, just right.  An ease into colder, darker days and an ease into the holidays.  Christmas will come soon enough.

 

Blackburn’s Field trip

Blackburn took his first “real” field trip with his preschool class today.  I say “real” because this one was not in walking distance to the campus.  They took a bus to Whole Foods Market where they did a fruit study.  Each child was in charge of finding a specific fruit.  Blackburn was tasked with finding raspberries.  Ben met the class there and stayed for most of the tour.  Of course, most of the employees are familiar with Blackburn since Ben works there. We do most of our grocery shopping here.  With Ben’s employee discount and the girls’ celiac disease it makes sense for us.  His discount makes the prices comparable to other stores. Besides the produce department, the kids also went to the seafood department and were shown the back room.  Ben took a couple of pictures with his phone while the class was there.

Taste testing juices.

Checking out the fish.

Looking down the mouth.

Blackburn had a lot of fun and I survived his first bus ride.

Sharing…

Just sharing some random photos today:

This picture was taken Saturday before I got my hair trimmed and some wispy bangs added.

Blackburn was proud of his building and wanted me to take a picture. He said this is the building that I work in.

After the blocks, he showed me where he put the musical ornament he picked from the christmas box for his room.

Isabella requested a picture of the outfit she wore to school today. Boots and skirt are from Justice, leggings are from Old Navy and the tank top, sparkly headband and knitted sweater are from Target.

Remember the pumpkin cake I mentioned? This was the last piece…

Last Thanksgiving Celebration

Yesterday Ben’s parents visited for a late Thanksgiving celebration and to see the girls’ soccer game.  We had ham, corn, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, cornbread, vegetarian harvest roast , yams, and cranberry jelly.  For dessert Ben’s mom baked a gluten-free pumpkin cake topped off with whip cream.

The gluten-free corn bread was a favorite.

After dinner we went to the soccer game and we were unfortunately hammered by the other team, 12-1.  Are girls are good, especially during the outdoor season, we haven’t quite got the hang of indoor soccer yet, but the other team – they were good, real good.  I think all of their goals were scored by one girl.  Despite the loss, the girls had fun and were all smiles.

There was a bit of a size difference between Vita and her opponent.

 

O Tannenbaum

One of our holiday traditions is to cut down a christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  We go to the Big Tree Plantation in Morrow, Ohio.  It’s about 40 minutes north from our home.  We started going there when Ben coached for Moeller High School’s wrestling team and have continued for about ten years now.  The farm is owned by a Moeller family and all tips go to the Moeller lacrosse team (the boys help trim, wrap and load the trees onto your cars.) We go to the “cut your own” section and look for a large tree.  Our ceilings are ten feet tall and Ben usually gets one that grazes the ceiling.  This year we got a smaller, eight foot tree.  We spent the evening decorating while snacking on chocolate chip cookies that Vita Rose baked and listening to christmas carols. There was only one ornament casualty.  There is something special about sitting in the dark surrounded by christmas lights.  For one small moment in time the three of them were all hushed in awe of the beauty, then the chaos resumed.  Now all we need is snow.  Cities to the north of us received a light dusting but we are still wishing for our turn.

On the hunt for the perfect tree.

The weather was in the 40’s, sunny and super windy out.

Vita’s excellent gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

The lights go on first.

Ben usually handles the lights

Next is the ornaments. We don’t really have a theme or a color combination. Ben’s aunt Mickey has bought me these old fashion glass ornaments every year for the past 12 years. We have a great collection going.

Some branches ended up with more than one ornament.

I was in charge of the branches up high.

Not too shabby

We hung up our stockings and decorated the mantel.

Every home needs a hockey playing Santa.

When do you get your Christmas tree?  Do you get a live one or artificial one? I love the smell of pine and have always had a live one. I wouldn’t mind getting brightly colored,table-top artificial trees for each of the kids’ rooms.  Maybe I will pick some up after christmas when they all go on sale.  It’s beginning to feel like the holidays more and more.

Giving thanks

This year Thanksgiving was very low-key at our house.  Just the five of us. We didn’t leave the house at all.  We slept in, prepared the meal, and relaxed afterwards.  It was perfect.  Here are some snapshots of our day.

The turkey was buttered, surrounded by carrots and red potatoes and then slid into the oven.

We just get a turkey breast because we like white meat. Benjamin is a vegetarian so it’s just us eating the bird.

Ben made some gluten-free stuffing. Isabella was a big fan.

There was also mashed potatoes, corn, vegetarian harvest roast and gravy. Plus this awesome store-bought, gluten-free apple pie. This was really good.

The days leading up to Thanksgiving showed long lines at the local food pantry.  We would pass by on the way to my work and see the lines wrapped around the buildings.  The elderly, the young, mothers with kids, fathers with kids, all races…the kids were shocked about the number of people waiting for food.  Sometimes it is easy to forget how fortunate we are.   I am thankful for so much. Family, friends, healthy children, food, jobs, a home. Wishing everyone the best for the upcoming holiday season.

This weekend

This weekend Isabella went to her first sleepover and had a blast.  It was set for last Sunday but was cancelled at the last-minute because her friend was ill. Friday night was the rescheduled event…in Isabella’s words it was AMAZING!!!  The girls watched the movie Cats & Dogs, roasted marshmallows, fed ducks, danced, stayed up late and got up really early.  While Bella was with her friends, the rest of us went to Yogurt Vi and then home to watch Brave.  We did not have a soccer game on Saturday so Ben and I worked around the house while our kids and the neighbor kids played.  Sunday was a nice, relaxing day where we all just lounged around.

Yogurt Vi in Uptown Clifton.

The girls had a field trip to the symphony on Friday and wore fancy dresses. Both are from Target.

Ben got a bunch of fake mustaches from a quarter machine. I love the fact that Blackburn takes his poses so seriously.