On November 14 we got to babysit Patrick's niece, Molly, while Molly's mom and grandma attended an afternoon tea at the Arboretum. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it can be to feed a baby. This Thanksgiving was Charlotte's first since she began eating and we are very thankful for this. Her favorite dishes this year? Pumpkin pie and cranberries.
The incredibly mild November weather has allowed us more time outside this fall than we had expected. Last weekend it was even warm enough that Charlotte rode her trike down our street. Patrick commented that this past spring her feet barely reached he pedals and now she rides with ease.
She has taught (trained) us that when she rings her bell it means we need to run. Whether she wants to chase us, thinks we're too slow, or just enjoys having some power we're not sure.
And now to the present - Thanksgiving Weekend! If you picked up the Star Tribune for the Black Friday ads (as I did) you may have noticed the cover story, Family Homecoming for Twins after 98 Days in 'Preemie Land'. Much of the article resonated with us, in particular the dad's statement, "People who don't have preemies probably never think about prematurity...and people who do never STOP." Even now that Charlotte is a happy, healthy 3-year old and the trips to the doctor are much fewer it is still something we think about frequently. Differently now though, as we are so grateful to have a 4-day weekend home with our active, happy toddler who breathes, eats, and poops on her own.
This year we spent Thanksgiving with my family. Charlotte played hard all day, here she is dancing with some of her cousins (second, third?) to a dance video game. You may notice that the other three kids are following along to the game movements while Charlotte is rocking out in her own style. She fell asleep in the car on our way home at 5:15 p.m. and slept straight through until 8:20 a.m. Whew! What an exhausting day! Luckily we followed it by a relaxing morning at home before heading out to Aunt Kelly's house for a late lunch. It was great to see so much family this weekend.
Friday night we decided to brave the burst of cold weather by taking in the Holidazzle Parade with Grandma and Grandpa Russell. Grandpa Russell surprised Charlotte with a special Holidazzle wand, and it turned out to be quite helpful in keeping Charlotte entertained while we waited for the parade to start. Below are a couple of pre-parade family photo ops.
And with that, the Christmas holiday season has begun. Saturday we picked out our tree and went with a slightly shorter tree than last year. Last year we learned that trees look smaller on the tree lot than they do in our house. Our tree this year is still larger than what we were anticipating at 7.5 feet, but this time around we had no concerns about whether or not the star would fit on top.
Here is what happens when I tell Charlotte I want to take a picture of her with her Santa hat - she quickly pulls it off to hold it up to the camera for me. I was so, so close to getting a picture with it on her head.
And what a great evening decorating the tree. Charlotte put on one ornament before it was time for her to head to bed and Patrick made a special trip to Menards after I broke our tree topper. Charlotte has needed a couple reminders today that we can look at the ornaments but that they need to stay on the tree. Thank goodness we have many stuffed musical creatures from Grandma Russell that she can play with. Happy Holidays!