Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving is such a special holiday for me... I think because it is the start of the holiday season, and thus, the start of some fun family traditions.  We started a few new things with Andrew this year, and I am getting super excited for Christmas!

We got up this morning and drove to my grandma's.  My mom and Jim were there, along with my aunt, uncles and cousins.  The second we walked in the door Kolton had Andrew acting silly!  Andrew imitated everything the kids did!

Andrew just loves his cousins, and they had so much fun together.

Andrew with Kolton, Kelsie and Kendra

It has always been a tradition that my grandma give an ornament to each grandchild every Thanksgiving.  We always look forward to seeing what our ornament for the year will be!
Here they are under the tree!
Andrew loved his special Thomas ornament.  It had James and Percy, too!  His 3 favorite engines.

We had a delicious feast!  My aunt made a yummy turkey and all the trimmings.  She also makes the best pies- there were 5 of them in all!
Craig gets the honor of carving the turkey!
Andrew and I enjoying ice cream oreo pie!  (There was also pumpkin and apple!)  We got out each pie one by one, and left some time in between so we could sample all three!  We were so stuffed!

Another tradition we started this year with the kids is doing a Christmas craft.  My mom and I brought along the items to make a Santa face.  The kids had so much fun being creative, and my grandma enjoyed sitting at the table with us.  She loves crafting and had a huge basket of extra supplies for us to go through!
Andrew enjoyed the craft too.  His teacher at school says that art time is his favorite thing.  They rotate through stations and he always wants to do the art station twice!

My aunt and uncle bought a game for the kids to open and Andrew wanted in on it!  He mostly just wanted to mess it up!  Ha!
Look at that face!  You can just tell he's thinking about being naughty!

After a wonderful day with our family, we loaded up and headed back home (luckily we only live 40 minutes away!)  Our little family had some special new traditions to start this year.
I finished putting up the last of my Christmas decorations, and was so excited to get out our family's advent calendar.  I love it because each square has a pocket.  This year I am planning to write out something fun for us to do each day together and put them in the pockets.  So every day we'll see what's inside and we'll do the activity.  I plan to write things around and look at Christmas lights, bake Christmas cookies, drink hot chocolate, read a Christmas book or watch a Christmas movie or do a craft.  I am so excited for someday when Andrew can help me make up the activities to do!
My family has always had the tradition of going to a Christmas movie on Thanksgiving, or the day after.  We decided to continue this with Andrew by watching one at home.  We cuddled up in our jammies and watched The Polar Express together.  It was the first time Andrew had ever seen it, and he watched the whole thing all the way through without blinking!  Ha!  He loved it!

We talked about Santa bringing the bell and the first gift of Christmas, so after the movie I told Andrew to check under the tree because Santa might have stopped by.  His face was priceless.  He looked so excited and he ran straight to the tree...

  Andrew's first gift of Christmas!

The Polar Express always makes me cry at the end, and as this new tradition unfolded before my eyes I couldn't help but get emotional.  Andrew opened the gift with such joy on his face.  He just makes everything so much more fun.  I just love being a family and doing special things together.

If you don't know about the Elf on the Shelf, you are in for a treat.  It is the neatest tradition and I couldn't wait to start it with Andrew.  He is at a perfect age to understand more about Santa.
The story tells of Santa's little elf who comes into our home to report to Santa.  He watches if Andrew is "naughty or nice" (Ha!) and also listens to what he wants for Christmas.  Then he reports back to Santa.  The fun part is, every morning when Andrew wakes up, the elf is hiding in a different spot in the room!  So we get to search and look for the elf.  We are going to make it a tradition that Santa's elf comes every year on Thanksgiving night, so when Andrew wakes up in the morning he'll get to find him for the first time of the season!
 The story that comes with it is great because it explains why the elf doesn't "talk" and it says that if you touch the elf the "magic" might go away.  It does a really good job of explaining it to kids so they understand how it all works.  Andrew listened intently to the whole story and kept looking up and smiling at daddy reading it.

We put him up on the TV armoire before Andrew went to bed and he waved night night!
When he wakes up in the morning, Santa's elf will be here...
Right beside Andrew's stocking.
This is going to be so much fun!  (I think I'm almost having as much fun as Andrew!)

We hope your family had a blessed Thanksgiving!


Summer said...

Your family is lovely! I love all of your traditions! The elf on the shelf idea sounds like lots of fun!
Summer :0)

Amy said...

Your little monkey is so cute. I wish that they had Elf on a Shelf when my kids were little. What a GREAT idea. Although I think it would be way more fun for me than the kids. I just get into all that stuff!!

Loved your blog.


Courtney said...

It was so much fun reading about your Christmas tradtions. You little one is adorable!

SmallWorld at Home said...

Sooo sweet. I love reading about young families who are starting such rich traditions with their little ones! Mine are 16, 12, and 8 now, and those traditions continue to be so important! Also, I love the grandparents giving an ornament tradition. I'm going to have to tuck that in my brain for sometime down the road!

Mommyto3andahusky said...

what a beautiful family you have!

Jessica said...

Love the traditions of the season. Your elf on the shelf is so cute I had never heard of it! Andrew is such a handsome lil guy. I love the Polar Express and it the movie my kids and I watch on Christmas Eve. I may have to watch it soon though as I got the itch to see it!! Thank you for sharing your traditions!! I hope to start a few new ones in our home this year too! Heart Hugs, Love, and Blessings, Jessica

Stefenie said...

Super cute update Jen! I love that you are starting all of these wonderful traditions with Andrew!

I have loved the Elf on the Shelf since I saw it on Coleman's page last year. What a neat idea. I hung up the advent calendar for the boys here too and I've been debating on what to stick in each pocket! Loved your idea!

Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan

Cara said...

You've got some great traditions! I love the Christmas ornament and the craft, and your advent calendar with pockets is beautiful! I've had my eye on Elf On A Shelf, but haven't purchased it yet. That will be a great one to add to my tradition of 25 days of Christmas books! :)

Erin Burton said...

Elf on a shelf is sooo much fun! We do that also. I am glad you had a great holiday!

Greg said...

You're going to have to tell us more about the Elf on a shelf book. I think Landon would love it when he gets a little older. I was also glad to read about your "craft"!!!

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