Saturday, November 26, 2011

Aaannnddd, It's Begun

It's begun. Christms that is.

Our Black Friday did not involve tents outside of Best Buy or shopping from midnight till 6:00 am. It did, however, involve a wonderful breakfast and decorating for Christmas.

My dad lugged up the Christmas boxes from the basement so that my boys and my nephew, Landon, could decorate the tree. And decorate they did! Sort of. 
They took turns stepping on boxes and booster seats to reach as high as their little arms could reach.
And when arms got tired, they settled on their knees and made sure that the bottom two feet of the tree were as heavily decorated as possible.
Annalyse sure wasn't going to stand by and watch so she quickly stepped in to help, too. 
Do you see the beautiful arrangement of ornaments? The lower half of the tree is heavily armored, I mean, nicely decorated.
And that, friends, is how a Christmas tree looks when four sets of helping hands, all under four feet tall are in charge.
Because obviously, the more ornaments on a single bough, the better.
While Grandma had the boys busy at the table decorating a new ornament, she worked in the background to, ahem, rearrange a few ornaments.
Landon's cute snowman ornament... he was very intentional about "having a Santa Clause hat because that means I'll get lots of presents from him."
Annalyse sat in her high chair and actually scribbled a few marks on her ornament before chomping down on a red crayon.
Micah wanted "a rainbow snowman because rainbows make me happy."
And Grady Lee wanted a blue snowman "because he is very cold and his skin is turning blue."
After the hard work of decorating a tree and coloring ornaments, Grandma handed out candy canes and sent the boys outside to play. Once again, in not typical Michigan November weather, the sky was blue and the temps were mild.
Have I mentioned that Grady and I have a bet going about how many days we'll see the sun while we're here? He has guessed three out of the 14 we're here and I've guessed five out of the 14. The winner will be announced shortly, but count on me being it.
While the boys played outside, Annalyse got acquainted with Mr. Jingles and continued emptying boxes of decorations...
... and when the boxes of decorations were empty, she found cupboards to empty. Everyone knows that plastic bowls and lids are the funnest toys around, especially when Grandma doesn't care if they're spread on the floor, chewed on, and sat on. I know Annalyse was quietly thinking, "Grandma is so totally more fun than Mom."
[Insert a break from the camera during lunch and a trip to the library.]

In the afternoon we joined the VanLoon side of the family at athe Meijer Botanical Gardens for a couple hours of looking at Christmas trees from around the world, watching trains weave in and out of plants and flowers, and running and climbing in the tree house in the children's gardens.
The three boys had prime seats while looking at the Christmas trees, and Annalyse had whatever she wanted whenever she wanted it from her doting Aunt Sharon.
And, a  big thank you to Aunt Sharon for providing tickets for everyone to the Gardens. Talk about a special treat!
Have you see a happier dad or daughter? Probably not. Being home and having time with my Dad is one of the best gifts of all.
Do you see it? It's blue. It's big. It's bright. It's... it's... it's the Michigan sky in November! I know, it seems too good to be true. The weather was perfect and we made the most of it!
Remember that bet Grady and I have going? I'm taking suggestions of what the prize for winning the bet should be because I'm sure I will win.
Horse? What horse? All we see is a hill to climb and roll down! Yes, all three little boys took off running right by the horse and went up and down the hill. If you look closely, the red and blue dots on the grass are the boys, and the two tiny people behind the horse leg are Grady and I.
After the second time rolling down the hill, Grady Lee held his tummy and said, "I'm very, very dizzy. I don't think I want to have that kind of fun anymore."
Have you seen three more handsome little men? I'm a tad biased, but still. I love 'em all to pieces.
Flowers? What flowers? All we see and really care about are the trains whizzing everywhere! Over heads, around the plants, through tunnels, and over water... a little boys' world for sure.
Aunt Sharon gave detailed explanations about several kinds of plants, and the boys really enjoyed learning about the carnivorous plants that "open their mouths and catch flies and bugs and then snap their mouth closed and eat them!" Micah wanted all of us to know, though, "that a T-Rex has much stronger teeth than those plants with teeth." But of course.
Whew! After a couple hours of walking and exploring, Grady Lee and Landon finally took a minute to stop and sit down. After looking through the map and concluding that we'd seen most everything, they agreed it was okay to leave.
All of the VanLoon's carpooled from the gardens to an evening of dinner and games. And egg collecting from the chicken coop. You better believe that was a highlight for my boys!
So that was our Black Friday, but without the shopping crowds and lines and the pursuit of amazing deals. The only crowds we had were crowds of kids around the Christmas tree and crowds of family enjoying each other. 

But, just because Black Friday can't come and go without some sort of shopping, I did offer a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the chance to buy online. My Christmas shopping? Almost done and I haven't left the house to do it.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to spend Black Friday & such a fun way to usher in the Christmas season! Looks like a beautiful place and, as always, you got such cute pics of your kids!