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Thanksgiving was a marathon of one-fun-thing-followed-by-another this year! There was no shortage of cocktails nor turkey as we celebrated with both friends and family. Our weekend kicked off Thursday with a morning happy hour hosted by friends from church complete with breakfast fare, mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar.  From there we headed south to my parents house for Thanksgiving supper with family. My Dad, recently retired and with more time to spend in the kitchen, made a fabulous meal with all the usual menu items. We contributed pumpkin pie and grandkids. 

On Friday we headed north to Rockford for a second Thanksgiving meal with the Kladder family. We were completely spoiled with back to back turkey dinners and had the leftovers to prove it! During this years devotions Jeff's Dad read aloud a letter from a dear family friend about his Grandfather Peter. In the letter the family friend shared cherished, personal memories about Peter which prompted a few tears, the good kind, amongst the family. It was certainly a favorite part of our weekend. 

Saturday morning we packed up the kids for our second annual Christmas-tree-hunt tradition. This year we tried out Hart Tree Farm in Rockford and loved it. They've got choose-and-cut trees, pre cut trees/garland/wreaths, small farm animals for the kids (goat, sheep, mini horses) and even horse rides for $5. Pro tip, they accept cash or check only! The tree is up, decorated and just waiting to for those wrapped gifts to fill the skirt below. 

Later that same day we celebrated Thanksgiving one last time with our friends and all of our kids for our annual Friendsgiving tradition. I'm not certain, but 2017 might be the year that us adults were out numbered (or at the very least matched) by our kids. We never took a head count but the race had to have been close. The tradition includes soup and salad for dinner and (my favorite part) sharing our 'thankfuls' around in a circle together. This year Jeff expressed his gratitude over our family's 'health' and I talked about 'balance.' We, and our group of friends, have much to be thankful for. 

 Friendsgiving kids photo. This isn't even the half of them! 

Friendsgiving kids photo. This isn't even the half of them! 

The weekend before Thanksgiving we celebrated Jeff's 32nd birthday. His actual birthday was on Thanksgiving Day, however, he's not a fan of celebrating himself so I tried my best to play it cool and opted for date night out just the two of us before the big day. We spent some quality time at the casino followed by some birthday shopping and dinner at Six.One.Six at the JW Marriott downtown. Casino was a bust, shopping was a success and dinner was wonderful. In this season of giving thanks, I'm very-very thankful for Jeff. He makes me better and I celebrate him each and every day. 

Earlier this month we checked out the Art Van Santa Parade downtown. Natalie got a huge kick out of the floats and the marching bands but we froze our booties off and had to leave the parade early to beat the rain that rolled in just as we got back to our car. We missed Santa - I'm not sure there was anyone left to actually see him! But we'll catch him at Fredrick Meijer Gardens here in a few weeks. 

 Natalie at the Art Van Santa Parade in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Natalie at the Art Van Santa Parade in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Thomas turned the big 8-months-old this week and he's still growing like a weed. Family has been asking for his clothing size (for Christmas gifting I assume) and I'm predicting he'll be out of his 12-month onesies before the end of December. He's got 8 teeth, gets upset when you eat real food in front of him (he wants his own!) and still has yet to figure out crawling. The ladies at nursery on Sunday at church has kindly nicknamed him 'Big-T.' Apparently Thomas the Tank was already taken. 

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Natalie recently discovered Sandy the horse at Meijer and I must say, well done, Meijer... a whole minute of joy for just one cent! That's some serious good ol' fashion family service. Natalie's vocabulary and ever increasing sentence structure has been hilarious to witness... thank you daycare!  Lately she's very into princess dresses (anything with a skirt fits into this category), has been requesting hot dogs for pretty much every meal (including breakfast) and has been spending a lot of time in our recently half finished basement; we moved the outdoor toys (slide, swing, rocking horse) down there and it's been a great escape now that we're stuck inside more. 

 Sandy the horse at our local Meijer store. Natalie is in love! 

Sandy the horse at our local Meijer store. Natalie is in love! 

And with the cooler weather this fall we're settling into our dialed back winter routine. We've spent a good amount of time at home hosting friends for dinner and cocktails around the fireplace and November has been perfect for coffee and conversations with friends and meeting with our neighborhood House Church. We've even been able to make time for donuts with the kids - which is very, very important! 

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And so, the tree and lights are up, the Christmas cards are out and the calendar is booked! In this season of celebration and copious amounts of sugar... may you find peace and joy! Christmas here we come. 

 Merry Christmas! From the Kladder house.

Merry Christmas! From the Kladder house.

POSTSCRIPT - Stuff we're into lately... 

  • Yoga at Roots Brew Shop - Our Rosewood neighbor Kari is a yoga instructor and occasionally teaches drop in classes at Roots on the Westside. Coffee's included with the $8 price tag! It's a fabulous way to start the day. 
  • Peace & Toil - P&T is a new home botanical shop in Grand Rapids and they're hosting a pop up shop on Saturday, December 9th. We're big fans of house plants (the ones I can keep alive) and we hope to see you there! 
  • Watermark Women's League - You a lady who likes to golf? Come join us! You're invited to come mingle and see what we're all about on Wednesday December 20th (email me directly for info) for cocktails, apps and holiday cheer! I recently joined the board and we're always looks for new, fun membership! 
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