The last part of the year from September until the end of December is my favorite part of the year! With college football, NFL, and the Fall and Winter holidays comes a lot of fun and planning! We plan our Saturdays and Sundays around our games, and always have a great time watching together as a family. Sara even recognizes football now, and when it's on, she will shout, "Football!" We're also teaching her to shout "Touchdown!" when our teams score! All of our teams did pretty well this year, too. Both Georgia Southern and Boise State finished with a 10-3 record, and the Seahawks did much better than expected, and even made it to the first round of playoffs!
|Enjoying the first GSU game of the season!
|Hey Sara, what do you think of the other team?
|Time to cheer on the Broncos!
|Isn't this Seahawks game exciting!?
Fall is also one of the most beautiful times in the Pacific Northwest! We have beautiful foliage, and perfect weather! It's cool enough to wear your cozy sweaters, scarves, and boots, but not freezing. We live out in the country, on a bluff just above several farms down in the Snohomish Valley. This year, I did a Mommy-Daughter day at the Farm at Swan's Trail for their first day of apple picking. This was our second time going, and this year, Sara was much more into it, and even enjoyed eating some of the apples!
|View from our back yard
|I love decorating for each season!
|Enjoying the activities at our farm outing
We also did a Halloween party at an equestrian center, and a family corn maze day at Stocker Farms! The first time we let Sara walk it with us! We visited some pumpkin patches, as Sara became quite fond of pumpkins this year, and yelled out "Pumpies!" every time she saw one! This gave me the idea to do a craft night of painting sugar pumpkins, which we all enjoyed, and now we'll do it each year!
|Sara's first pony ride!
|Figuring out the corn maze
|Painting pumpkins fun!
The month of October concluded with Halloween, a holiday we take very seriously at our house! We always go big on the decorations, and include 3D projectors. We had two already from last year, and this year, we added a third. Sara got a big kick out of watching the variety of digital decor, especially the Pumpkin Jamboree! She still asks for it, even now, months later! We got tons of compliments from our neighbors about how great the decor was and how spooky the projections were! This year, Mark stayed home to hand out candy while I took Sara trick or treating. She went last year, too, but this year, she was much more into it. After the first few houses, she got it, and enjoyed running up to doors with other kids to get her candy. Whenever I asked her if she was ready to head home, she would say, "No, more house!" so I obliged. Our subdivision is huge, and we covered a big chunk of it before we called it a night. I think we were one of the last ones out!
|Our place looked great at night!
|Little Miss Peppa Pig!
|So much candy-we almost ran out!
|Sara's bike was trick or treat ready!
And every year, it seems like the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving gets shorter and shorter! This year, we decided to have our Thanksgiving dinner together at our house, and then travel over to my parents' house over the weekend. It was nice cooking in my own kitchen, and Sara took a nice long nap in the afternoon before dinner. We enjoyed our meal, and then watched some of our Holiday favorites, like Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, afterward. And because we stayed home this year, that gave Sara and I the opportunity to go Black Friday shopping!
|My Harvest pie!
|Let's shop till we drop!
|Playing and enjoying Thanksgiving 2 at Grandma's
I always consider Black Friday a big part of the Holiday weekend, and this year I took Sara to Bellevue to shop at the mega mall, the Bellevue Collection. It was super crowded, took a super long time to find parking-we got soaked in a rainstorm too, because the spot I ultimately found was uncovered-but was so much fun! Sara did great, and never got antsy or bored. She even took a short nap in her stroller. As a reward for her good behavior, I took her to dinner at Sugar Factory Bellevue, and got one of the virgin goblets for her and I to share! Although, she was more interested in just eating the candy that came with it, and not really trying the drink, which lead to a last minute, unplanned jaunt through Neiman Marcus looking for the bathroom, because I had just downed a 60 oz drink all on my lonesome, and there was no way I would make the drive home after that one!
|Treats at Sugar Factory
|Yummy Unicorn Pop!
|One of our Black Friday Finds!
After our big Turkey Day Weekend, the race was on to get our house Christmas ready! We had to juggle decorating and work and stocking up on gifts. This is usually the most overwhelming part of the Holiday season for me. By the time we returned from my parents' place on Sunday evening, many of our neighbors' houses were already decked out with lights while ours was still dark. Since we go so big with Halloween, I feel like everyone expects us to go just as big for Christmas, and I don't want to disappoint! So I just started by taking it one day at a time. I did what I could do during the week after work, putting up the trees and indoor decorations. Once the weekend came back around, I got many of the outdoor lights up. Mark followed this up by hanging lights on the upper floors of our house, which is his job each year. I get stressed by all of the decorating, baking, and meal planning, but I really do enjoy it. A lot! Once we had all of our lights up, and all three of our trees up, our place was so cozy and Christmasy! I even did a gingerbread house with Sara a few days before Christmas, and she loved it! It was just hard keeping her from eating the candy, and breaking the pieces, which I managed to do myself! We also introduced Sara to her Elf on the Shelf this year, and she loved finding it every morning! It was really fun for me too, looking for funny poses for it! I'm really glad we started this tradition!
|Welcome Breakfast from Elfie
|Good friends already!
|The reason I wanted an open staircase!
|Bonus Room Tree
|Going down the "slide!"
|Family Room Tree
|Formal Living Room Tree-the real one!
|All decked out!
|Seeing Santa at Bellevue!
|Our first gingerbread house turned out well!
|Bye Elfie! See ya next year!
Christmas Day was really relaxing and fun! Sara slept really late, and I think I actually had to wake her up around 10 am to open presents. It took us a really long time to get through them all, like about two hours! Sara loved each of her gifts, and shouted "Wow!" when opening each one! She then insisted on playing with each one at a time, and it was hard to get her to move on to the next! It was fun watching her rip into them, though!
|What Santa brought Mark
|What Santa brought me!
We took it easy the rest of the week, and I enjoyed going to Stroller Strides with Sara, and enjoying the post Christmas sales out at the stores. We went back over to the Peninsula to my parents' house for a long New Years Weekend. Mark and I considered going out to the Casino there for the NYE party like we did last year, but ultimately decided to stay in and watch the Space Needle fireworks on TV while we drank blue champagne.
|She's sad the year is over...
|But a new one is coming!
|Having fun with Papa!
And just like that, it was over! Back to work and a new year! The last few months just seemed to run all together at once! It was like one day, I'm excited to see how my school will do on the field this year, and the next day, we're celebrating the new year, and facing the quietness of the rest of the winter. It was fun watching Sara get more into everything this year, from trick or treating, to hunting for her elf! As the years go on, I think this part of the year will pass by quicker and quicker, but will get more and more fun, especially as Sara gets older, and we plan to add another child to the mix one of these days!