Monday, November 30, 2020

First Week of Advent

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday.  As a kid, it was for the presents.  Now, it's for the family bonding, traditions, and Jesus.  I have loved carrying on some family traditions and building our own together.  Jimmy's family grew up doing stocking stuffers each Sunday and the kids were already excited about starting it.
The kids' gifts were more necessity this week.  Socks and underwear along with a sweet treat.  Esme decided to help Jimmy with his gift as well, a candle and some Crunch bells.
Jimmy got me a Vikings tabletop bean bag toss game, which Esme promptly helped me open and play with.
Church dropped of an advent activity bag that we started that evening as well.  First week is joy and we made ornaments.  We also set up our candles and did our first devotion.
My parents gifted us with a candy advent calendar that we will do each day with the kids along with our Jesse Tree.  Each Friday also has a gift card for each of the kids.  We had to take the candy out and will add it back each day.  They were not going to leave it alone otherwise.
Happy Advent!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Journey to 100 Parks #15 - Fred Sims Park - New Hope, MN

We got another mild day perfect for a park visit.  I chose this one at random and we got an extra surprise after playing for a while
Key Features
I've seen pictures of Global Motion and was excited to see it at this park.  Not surprising was that this was Parker's first stop.
They had a great climbing tower as well.  We saw a similar one a few weeks ago at a non-official park.  Esme started climbing up about 100 times and even got all the way to the top, but didn't want to get up.
This was our first roller slide as well.  Esme had to settle for this since climbing the ropes was the only way to get to the big slides.
The fun surprise was seeing a classmate of Parker's.  She is one year older and has been in his class off and on since he was in pre-school.  I recognized her and asked the adult she was with if it was her.  I had a great little chat with her grandma about distance learning and all the other crazy covid times.
The early sunset gave us a few pretty pictures before heading out.
Another solid 7 swings.  It was small, but offered a few things we haven't seen before on our official list.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Journey to 100 Parks #14 - Sanborn Park - Robbinsdale, MN

We headed out earlier this morning for another park visit.  It was chilly and still frosty, but there wasn't any wind, so we stayed pretty warm.  I chose this one because we've only been to one other park in Robbinsdale so far.
Key Features
This was an older play structure, but had some great features.  Parker immediately found the dual steering wheels and the bridge was one of the steepest that I have seen.
I was glad I had the camera rolling the first couple times she went down the slide since the frost made it extra fast (see the video).  She thought it was awesome, but it didn't take long for the frost to wear off and become a run-of-the-mill slide again.
On a warmer day, this park would probably get a 6, but the extra fun slide bumps it up to a 7.

Trek for a Tree and Thanksgiving 2020

I was able to return to work Monday and Tuesday this week with just Parker home.  Jimmy was off on Wednesday, so he started Thanksgiving prep.  We had originally planned to space out gatherings with just Jimmy's parent's and mine.  We had to cancel with Jimmy's parents once we were quarantining and decided to make the full meal still since we had all the supplies.  Jimmy made pumpkin pie and pecan pie bars with Esme's help.  The bars were incredible and I can see only making those in the future instead of pie.  Esme had her first taste of pumpkin pie and loved it.
I normally wait until after Parker's birthday to decorate for Christmas, but am starting early since we won't be having a party with friends and family.  It was a nice night for our annual "trek for a tree" with moderate temps and no snow on the ground.  This was the first year we didn't take the stroller and the kids were great riders and walkers.  It was quite the load to pull on the way there.
We put it up in the stand when we got home and started decorating Thanksgiving morning.  Parker was very excited about the star and Esme loved helping to dig out the ornaments and hang them on the tree.
I have had our fireplace decorated for about a week already.
I was a bit behind on some of the stocking patches, but was able to catch up on my week home.  Jimmy got a Pixar lamp for last year.  Esme got a Paw Patrol pup tag and minion for the last two years.  Parker got a washing machine for last year.  I got a purple football and Nebraska "N" for the last two years and we all got masks for this year's COVID Christmas.
This was my first time preparing Thanksgiving dinner on my own.  I used an herb butter on the turkey and froze half the sides for Christmas.
Some creamy mashed potatoes and scratch gravy completed our meal.  We also grabbed a bottle of sparkling cider which Esme liked, but Parker hated.
Hope you had and safe and healthy Thanksgiving.