I am so sorry that I tend to take 3 month-long hiatuses now. Ever since the twins have been easier to take places, we have been on the move! I sat down to write a blog post about the twins, now that they have had their 18 month check up (at 19 months,) and realized that I need to play serious catch up! So, here is a synopsis of our fall/winter holidays– Halloween through New Year’s!
Noah had been asking to paint and carve pumpkins since the first of October. We had purchased some big pumpkins for carving, MaMarsh sent the kids pumpkins AND the twins got pumpkins from their baby school pumpkin patch, so we had plenty to carve and decorate! Emry Jane did not want to paint her pumpkin or touch any pumpkin goop, (though she was OK with eating it off the scoop.) Eli loved all parts of it, especially when he got to dig in the pumpkin guts pile. Noah carved a witch into his pumpkin and painted a minion one! I carved a haunted house, per Noah’s request, and painted a scared mini pumpkin to go in the mouth of Tommy’s mean pumpkin.
October 31st fell on a Saturday this year, which made it a whole weekend affair. On Friday night, we went to Freaky Friday Fright Night at a local park where various vendors had booths set up to distribute candy to families along the walking trail. Thankfully, we brought the wagon along to contain the twins for most of it– the park was VERY crowded. Once the crowd died down, we let the twins carry their buckets from booth to booth and they were SO adorable! I took several pictures and videos of them. Noah was also a very helpful big brother by making sure that they got candy at each stop. 🙂 Noah wanted to be Darth Vader for Halloween, so when I stumbled across coordinating Halloween costumes for the twins, I was ALL over it. Eli was Chewbacca and Emry Jane was Princess Leia. We also attended the family Halloween party of one of Tommy’s co-workers that night.
On Saturday, we went trick-or-treating with some good friends. The boys had a blast running from house to house. The twins spent about 50% of the time in the wagon. They preferred to walk or be held by Mom and Dad. The wagon quickly became the catchall for masks and swords and candy buckets. Also, now we know that, when we are walking through a very hilly, spread-out neighborhood, we need to bring WATER for the kids to drink. They probably would have trick-or-treated until midnight (hey, no school tomorrow!) if it weren’t for the fact that we had dehydrated them. On second thought, perhaps we’ll just “accidentally” forget the water again next year.
Tommy was supposed to work the days before and after Thanksgiving, so we decided to spend the holiday in Murfreesboro with his family vs. traveling to Vegas sans-Daddy for Thanksgiving with my family. (The thought of taking three children on an airplane by myself gives me all sorts of anxiety.) The kids and I drove separately so that we could spend a couple extra days there. Tommy found out on Wednesday after work that he would have Black Friday off too, so it ended up working out great. A little 48-hour vacation to Murfreesboro with Daddy, plus an extra day for the rest of us to spend with his grandparents, aunt and cousins from South Dakota (that had never met the twins prior to Turkey Day) that had come down to visit. We hadn’t seen them in TN since our wedding and really enjoyed spending time with them.
Eli & Emry Jane weren’t sure about all the new people on Thanksgiving Day. Although, Tommy’s Grandpa Scholten tried to win them over with Krispy Kreme doughnuts (he even hid the box of doughnuts so that WE couldn’t stop him from sneaking bites of doughnut to the babies!) We all enjoyed how beautiful and warm it was for the end of November! Noah orchestrated several games of football with Daddy, Granddaddy Jer, his uncles and cousins. The twins enjoyed swinging and playing on MaMarsh’s playground with Mommy and Auntie Amy. The food was awesome too. Marcia even included some of MY favorite Thanksgiving dishes (green bean and sweet potato casseroles!)
We left Murfreesboro on Friday evening, so that we could make it back home in time for Noah to bring a friend with him to the UT v. Vanderbilt game. They had a BLAST!
One downside to living in Knoxville is that we are always traveling for major holidays to spend time with family that live a minimum of 2.5 hours away. We want to create memories for our children of these holidays spent with our extended family, so we make the drives over and over again. It is VERY important to me because of all the memories I have spending holidays, especially Christmas, with my crazy family. This year’s traveling was a bit different because my Meema, who usually hosts Christmas for my mom’s side of the family at her home in AL, was in FL and my parents and other relatives were traveling down at separate times to spend Christmas with her. Tommy also had to work every day, including Christmas night, so the “Tour de Southeast” was spread out over two weeks so that the kids and I could visit everyone. Tommy joined in for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in Murfreesboro.
First, let’s talk about how completely TERRIFIED the twins were of Santa. I have a nearly identical picture of Noah screaming on Santa’s lap from his second Christmas. I think it’s a rite of passage for a toddler… but look at how uneasy Santa looks in this picture! These pictures were taken at Bass Pro Shop and the ladies printed all the hysterical takes for me, so I have at least 4 copies of this greatness. Santa asked for a picture with “just Noah” after the traumatic one. It’s pretty cute too. 🙂
Prior to Christmas Break, we bought our first real Christmas tree. Once it was decorated, we kept a baby gate in front of it so that the babies couldn’t knock it down–that did not keep them from removing multiple ornaments that they could reach. Thankfully, we were smart enough to put the plastic ones down low! We made two big batches of Christmas cookies (I’m certain the first batch was toxic, so we threw those out and tried again!) for the kids’ teachers, the mailman, the bus driver, school crossing guards and our neighbors. We took the kids to Dollywood to see all the Christmas lights. Those were INCREDIBLE. Noah’s favorite part was riding all the rollercoasters at night because they don’t light them. It’s almost completely dark so you don’t know when you are going to drop– definitely not my cup of tea. Daddy is in charge of all the rollercoasters. The twins rode their first ride together without Noah, Mommy or Daddy and did very well! Tommy and I also got all fancy for his work Christmas party. I really enjoy my one-night a year where I get to dress up!
Christmas Break: Stop 1- Murfreesboro
The kids and I went to Murfreesboro a couple days before Christmas Eve so that we could spend more time with Tommy’s family (since he could only make a 24-hour trip due to work.) We made more cookies with MaMarsh and a plate for Santa with the help of Auntie Amy and Uncle Britt. Tommy made it to town by lunch time on Christmas Eve. We went to Christmas Eve service at Amy & Britt’s church with them and Tommy’s parents, then went back to MaMarsh’s to open presents before the family Christmas party at Grandma & Grandpa Christianson’s house with Tommy’s aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a very late night. Santa still came bright and early Christmas morning! Noah took his present to Uncle Britt (a mug that he had picked out at the holiday store at school and was VERY excited about!) on Christmas Day and we got to watch the firemen play BeanBoozled. That game is hilarious. Buy it for your enemies, haha. Afterwards, we had to pack all the presents into the cars and hurry home to open our gifts to each other before Tommy had to go to work.
Christmas Break: Stop 2- Home
We got home about 5pm on Christmas Day so that we had time to open gifts before Tommy went to work. We spent the next couple of days assembling toys and trying to decide where we were going to put all the new toys, especially since there was still ROUNDS 3 and 4 to go! We made lots of Easy Bake Oven desserts in those days because I am “the best mom ever,” according to Noah. Matching Christmas pajamas are one of my favorite things, so expect to see my children’s coordinating Christmas pajamas well into their college years. Also, I request a moment of silence for the fact that we now have four (yes, FOUR!) toy drums, two of which WILL.NOT.STOP. playing music until you turn the switch on the bottom. We had one drum. The twins got THREE for Christmas. Two things learned from having said drums.. 1) Drum sticks are used as weapons. 2) Even if they are IDENTICAL drums, the twins will still fight over the ONE that they want to play with.
Christmas Break/New Year’s Eve: Stop 3- Destin, FL
My parents spend 2 weeks of their break down in FL visiting my grandparents and other family that had come down to spend Christmas with them. My brother Dalton travelled down with my parents and my brother Christopher came down later because he had to work. Both of them had to get back to NC before the kids and I could get down to FL, so they were sweet and stopped in Knoxville to have lunch with us on their way home.
The kids and I drove 8 hours through-the-night that same night for Round 3 of Christmas with Meema, PawPaw, Nana, Papa and Savannah in FL. It was rainy most of our time in Destin, but we tried to take advantage of any sunny or cloudy moments. On our first day, Noah, Savannah and Nana went swimming during the one stretch of sunshine we had while the twins napped. Then, we got to open MORE presents. The red tide was really bad down by the water (it felt like you couldn’t take a full breath and everyone was sneezing and coughing,) so we spent very little time on the beach. Just enough time for Eli and I to put our toes in the freezing ocean 🙂 We did all go swimming in the outdoor heated pool. The second day was stormy so we spent the day playing card games and Mexican Train inside. The storms stopped in time for us to see dolphins before dinner and get some family photos in Harbor Walk Village. Noah insisted on buying a Life is Good shirt for Tommy while we were there because he couldn’t be with us. I just love that sweet boy’s heart. On New Year’s Eve, we ran errands to prep for our mini-football/New Year’s Eve party. We watched Alabama beat Michigan State (ROLL TIDE!) and drank champagne/sparkling cider at 11pm with the New York ball drop. Happy New Year!
Christmas Break: Stop 4- Athens, AL
We left FL early on New Year’s Day so that we could visit my Granny, Granddaddy Paul and other family in AL. It was a very short trip and I really, really wish I had pictures from it. Even though it was only a couple of hours, I am so glad that we stopped because it was the last time that I saw my Granny before she passed away on January 11th. She barely opened her eyes during our visit but at least she knew that we were there and I got to tell her that I love her. The picture below is from last Christmas.
After leaving AL, Tommy met us in Murfreesboro so that he could spend more time with his family. We spent the weekend with them and discovered that Eli had hand, foot and mouth disease. (Miraculously, Emry Jane did not get the rash.) I love LOVE our families but after so many days in the car and sleeping in various beds that were not mine, I was VERY happy to finally be home on Monday, January 4th. My sick baby boy kept us homebound for much of the next week, but it was okay with all of us because we needed the time to recover from all our vacationing.