Holidays. That’s a Wrap.

Is it possible to put Thanksgiving through Christmas festivities in one blog post? Let’s find out!

We had a low-key Turkey Day this year, with two friends coming over to share a meal, which was perfect. Leading up to the event, both girls learned “Thankful” songs on the piano, with homework assigned to play them for their grandmother. Since my mom has met the teacher, I’m pretty sure there’s some collusion going on there. Regardless, enjoy the performances!

(CLICK FOR VIDEO)

(CLICK FOR VIDEO)

Right after Thanksgiving, two annual traditions happened: We got a Christmas tree, and The Elf on a Shelf appeared for her 7th year with us (read the origin story here), right on cue… We also watched one of the Elf on a Shelf movies (yes, they have movies), where Ella learned that the elf could take wishes back to Santa. After which, without any prompting or assistance, she wrote this:

SPOILER ALERT: It worked. We now have that insanely large doll house in our home. But let’s get to that story the long way.

We also attended a light show called Enchanted Forest of Lights with a group of awesome friends at our favorite nature spot, Descanso Gardens. With light bouncing off all the trees and water features and music playing throughout the grounds, it’s a lovely experience for kids of all ages.

But the best thing that happened in November? The girls both got their first Covid vaccinations! And on December 17 (two shots + two weeks), I took the first deep breath I’ve taken since the pandemic started, though that day was also the last day of school before a 3-week break. Ironic? Maybe.

In early December, we attended a concert to see our friend Adam perform in the Angel City Chorale‘s holiday show. If you haven’t seen or heard of them, you should at least check out their version of Africa, which they performed on AGT in 2018. Awesome. This year they played at UCLA’s Royce Hall, a gorgeous venue in West LA, where we took the opportunity to do a photo shoot with the girls (OK, so we just took some pictures on campus, including the one up top):

Another fun holiday moment was the virtual Holiday Party I hosted for the leadership community I run at work. We booked Chopped winner, chef Airis Johnson, to teach us how to make Holiday Skillet Pot Pie (ping me if you want the recipe!). It was only AFTER we booked the event that I realized that a) I was going to have to cook, and b) I was going to have to figure out how to do that and lead an event on Zoom. I’m proud to say, I did both, and the pot pie was delicious!

In mid-December, I enjoyed a mommy getaway with some girlfriends in Temecula, and we went up in a hot air balloon. It was my 2nd time up (last time with Bart in Sedona pre-kids), but both times were equally fabulous. If you haven’t done it yet, I highly recommend it!

With vaccinations complete, we traveled to Austin, Texas for Christmas with Bart’s family, and the holiday eating continued. Oh, and yes, I put our children on a plane like this.

We spent lots of time cooking, eating, picking up food, eating, heating leftovers, eating, digging candy out of stockings, and eating. I am still full, but it was great to hang out with family for Christmas. Prior to the trip, we all took two PCR tests (both negative), and the morning after arrival we took a rapid home test, in hopes that we would not be bringing the gift of Covid. It’s a new world, no?

Though we mostly stayed around the house, the girls had a blast playing together, and we all got a chance to reconnect, oh, and did I mention the eating? Here’s what happens when you put out sprinkles and frosting and allow small children to decorate cardamom cookies:

While we were there, both girls practiced walking a dog (they and their father still desperately want one), though neither child was excited about picking up the poop. However, after hearing (from me) “if you ever want to have a dog, you’re going to have to pick up poop“, they both reluctantly agreed.

Zoe also got to try out a hoverboard, which she really enjoyed but will not be owning on my watch. I pretty much had to leave the area to allow it, even though she did a great job of riding safely.

(CLICK FOR VIDEO)

Plus, who can say NO to this cute face (with a helmet on)?

Oh, and believe it or not, Santa found us at ALL our places! There were a few small gifts and some stocking stuffers at our Airbnb, a stocking full of goodness at Bart’s sister’s house, and a hearth full of gifts at our home. He also took all the cookies and carrots we left to fuel up for his trip around the world. What CAN’T Santa do?! And to top it all off, the night before we left Austin, Ella lost a tooth and put it under her pillow. The Tooth Fairy found her there, too. Such excitement!

HO-HO-HOPE your Thanksgiving and Christmas were equally exciting (in a good way)! I’ve got a fun Happy New Year post coming, so I’ll leave this one at Happy Holidays!

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