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The boys participated in the literary parade today at their school. They dressed up as book characters and brought in that character’s book for everyone to enjoy reading.

Hamilton didn’t seem up for much dressing up, so he choose his God’s Wisdom for Little Boys book, which has lots of pictures and scenarios of little boys. One of the pictures shows a little boy in jeans with a backwards cap* on, so that’s what he decided he wanted to do. I convinced Collier to be Peter Pan, since we already had that costume and the accompanying book. So cute.

As the boys marched in their parade, they sang some of their school songs and played instruments. Such a fun idea, and the rain held off long enough to get in two laps before they marched back in to start their school day.

*The cap Hamilton was so excited to wear is Mr. Morgan’s that Papa Joe gave him from Memphis Stone & Gravel. Somehow remembering from long ago that it was Papa Joe’s, Hamilton made up a little song in the car on the way to school about Papa Joe and working on roads, building roads, etc. That boy sure loves to sing.

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"Cold as a buckle"

- The weather according to Hamilton as we headed out the front door to school this morning
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Nothing’s more fun on Christmas Eve than running in the cold morning air in pajamas, bare feet, and super-hero capes.

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After Thanksgiving we put up our tree, and the kids loved helping me hang ornaments. Consequently, I re-hung lots of ornaments after they went to bed, since the boys especially love to hang ornaments in the same place—on the same branch or stretch of Christmas lights. 

After years of enduring Christmas lights that I hated, I bought new ones this year. And the kids were excited to use the old ones to decorate the outside of our house like many houses on our street. So with lights on our bushes and an oversized, wild wreath (that we’d made at the farm over Thanksgiving) on our front door, our house looked festive and ready for Christmas.

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Our first Christmas event was decorating a gingerbread house. The boys loved this activity, made easy and little-kid-friendly because it was already assembled. The icing was also already made, and the candy decorations were included! None of the work and all of the fun, though I had to make sure the boys didn’t eat any.

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Over Thanksgiving Mimi’s piano room transformed into a playroom for boys—both old and young. Mr. Morgan and Pops both joined in the fun of crafting vehicles using a mishmash of old Legos from when Travis and I were kids. Hamilton and Collier love any toy that will tow another one—trucks, trains, trailers, etc.

Everyone also enjoyed putting together Pops’s old train set, letting the little boys and Uncle Travis chug the train cars back and forth.

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Obviously my blogging has been less than timely. These pictures are from Mimi’s birthday celebration at Thanksgiving. I figured I couldn’t post pictures about Christmas when I hadn’t even covered the last holiday appropriately.

Thankfully this year we were all able to gather at the farm for Mimi’s birthday celebration one night and Thanksgiving dinner the next. The boys do love a birthday celebration because presents and cake are involved. They were so excited about Mimi’s handcrafted cards and single-cup coffee maker. There’s nothing like wrapping paper and the element of surprise to make even non-toy gifts seem exciting.

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Since the weather’s been super cold this week of Thanksgiving, I’ve been excited to turn my attention Christmas and winter, though the boys and I did sneak in a little Christmas-song listening last week.

Before I post about the holidays, here’s a look back at some of our fall activities in pictures that I haven’t blogged yet.

VISITS
Grandma Judy came to visit us in October. She took us to the Pumpkin Patch in Mount Pleasant, and we had such fun playing on everything!

A giant pillow/trampoline? Yes, it was awesome.

While we waited for our turn to ride the tractor-pulled wagon, we watched the goats. The wagon ride was the boys’ favorite part!

A giant spider web was just the thing to tempt the boys to climb.

The giant slides captivated them for many quick trips down the slide and long journeys back up the steps.

Lots of old tractors begged for climbers and pictures.

Grandma Judy played many games of Memory with Hamilton.

And the boys loved doing exercises with Grandma Judy!

We loved Grandma Judy’s visit, but we sure did miss Papa Joe!

TRAINS
In November we spent a weekend at the farm, and Pops and Mr. Morgan took the boys to ride a real train. The first glimpse always excites!

But, let’s be honest: The snacks are the best part of any trip especially since Pops always has a fresh supply of “Newnens”!

Pops was as excited as the boys to take the train ride.

The open-air car didn’t deter their enthusiasm, despite the chilly weather.

Thanks for the fun train ride, Pops!

FACES
While in Mountville we also enjoyed the fall festival that offered lots of kids’ games, familiar faces, fun, and face-painting.

Though unwilling and timid at first, Hamilton decided it would be OK for him to have his face painted, too, once he saw Collier getting his done.

There was super-cute decor at this fall festival that also was a benefit for a woman in the community who’s suffering with leukemia. They raised over $10,000!

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Claire’s fall piano recital was Thursday evening. The boys and I picked up Claire from school and hung out in Mt. Pleasant, running some errands and grabbing dinner. Before dinner out, we picked up Claire’s friend Caylee whom Hamilton loves. Well, he loves most girls, and any friend of Sissy’s he usually deems fantastic.

Since Mr. Morgan was scheduled for class during the recital, he surprised the kids and came to meet us for a quick dinner. With his absence at the recital, I was charged with recording Claire’s performance AND keeping two boys quiet and still. Thankfully the recital is laid back with lots of little kids in attendance, and it’s less than a half-hour long. 

Claire was the last performer, and she did so well this recital! I’d managed to keep the boys better than “church-quiet,” so by the time I stood up to record Claire, I was focusing on her performance. Just a bit into my otherwise not-shaky video recording, I turned my head to address Collier’s whispering at me—only to discover BOTH boys had taken a notion to STAND on their chairs to watch Sissy’s performance.

As a mother of toddlers, I was not surprised by these actions, but I did feel powerless to adequately address the situation. The camera shot goes a little awry during my steely stares and mouthed directives aimed at the boys. They did finally sit back down, and my recording goes back to normal. My little boys’ antics always serve as a public reminder of the unpredictability of parenting,

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Finally I’m posting some Halloween shots of my little pirate and Peter Pan! After finding the cute Peter Pan costume for Collier, I decided Hamilton could be a pirate (though he ruled out Captain Hook, saying he didn’t want to wear a hook). The boys did end up having swords later in the night that we borrowed from a friend, but for the few pictures I was able to snap in all the fun chaos of kids, dogs, neighbors, and food, the swords weren’t available yet.

The boys and their friend West loved our front-yard gathering on Halloween. We had candy and treats galore, plus some adult-friendly beverages and snacks as well. We enjoyed partying with our community-group friends and friends—both new and old—from around our neighborhood. I love Halloween because it’s a great excuse to be out in my neighborhood meeting neighbors. And who doesn’t love cute little kids in costume?!?

I’m pretty sure Hamilton spent the whole night eating candy nonstop because he had a pretty awful night of sleeping as he complained of his belly’s hurting. So it was easy the next day to convince him to “trade in” his candy for a trip to the toy store. I snagged that great idea from several Paleo lifestyle blogs I read.

Now we’re looking forward to the next holiday and hoping to incorporate some more time with our neighbors as we celebrate Thanksgiving!