Papa Elf and Buddy have a birthday

The jury is still out, but its possible Shea likes her birthday more than me.
She had a joint birthday with Victoria (because they have the same birthday!) and Victoria was Buddy the Elf and Shea was Buddy's adopted elf Dad (Papa Elf).
It was awesome.
I set it up like Gimbels whenever Buddy decorates once he hears that Santa is coming (even though Papa Elf is never at the mall.  It was stressful for me to go this route since its not completely accurate, but it was the easiest and cutest option).
I bought everything the day of (except the sign and the disco ball.  And those are clutch.  The sign is A Little Lovely Company on Etsy, and the disco ball was amazon) on clearance, and we set it up in a couple of hours thanks to all my elves.
Rachel and my kids and niece made the snowflakes and paper chains and helped me hang everything and Allison made all the food.  My mom brought Chick fil a and like 600 nuggets were consumed at the party (not kidding).
And of course we had buttons.
The usual suspects came and we were hanging out and it was so much fun.  Unlike usual, however, Shea would not let Victoria hold her even though she is like her favorite human ever and I didnt really know why.  We ignored it and just kept on with the party and I almost forgot to sing.  Thankfully I did not because it was Shea's absolute favorite part and she made us sing over and over to "ME!" and not Victoria.
Turns out, Shea did not want to share the spotlight.  She didnt want it to be Victorias bday too!  At the very end, she finally conceded and we got to sing to both of them- over and over and over...
(saying 'ME!' when we got to who's birthday it is...)
And I mean, it goes without saying, that Vic is a gem.  Who else do you know would dress up in a Buddy the Elf costume that she bought when we first had the idea of the party?! Even before shea had hers.  She is truly as beautiful inside as she is outside and we could not be more thankful to celebrate her too!
It was priceless and hysterical and just the best.  Love that little birthday hoarder and her Buddy, and so thankful that we got to celebrate them.


Well, we didnt cut our tree down

Since we got our tree two days before Christmas last year, my kids were not risking even letting me think we could try and cut it down this year.  They know that I am the worst procrastinator ever and that we could end up without a tree for most of the holiday season so they made me go to a lot.  A LOT.  UGH.  I mean, nothing against a Christmas tree lot, I just want to keep the only tradition that we have had for (most) of our family life and I have already blown it two years in a row.  And Jeff was wearing shorts when we got it because it was so hot that day.  Its fine.
(Enough of my pity party.  The tree is up and thats what matters...)
This is Shea's new posing stance.  I think she is trying to copy when the big kids spread out their hands and it just cracks me up.
And our scale is a little off.
In the tree farms that we have been to before, the trees are really small because they haven't actually grown for that long.  In the lot, we thought we got a fairly small tree, but turns out, it was HUGE in our house.  This is after we trimmed it down (not because it was so big but because it kept falling and we couldn't figure out until two days later that it was actually our stand...).  We can barely see around it or get light in through our window but it def lights up the neighborhood through our window.
And then we starred it and called it done.  It was fun actually seeing all the homemade ornaments again and see how neat it really is to be able to see them every year and remember that year we made them.  So maybe the memories will live on if we dont cut down our tree with our bare hands.
I also added the buffalo plaid runner that I got from Becca's sale to the table and IM NEVER TAKING IT OFF.  Buffalo plaid is now Barstad Plaid thanks to Katy and its a year round staple.
IMG_8873 (1)
The youngest three and I did some sight seeing downtown after lunch after church the other day and did some holiday picture taking along the way.
That side smile, tho.
And we went to holiday in the park with the Yorks (where Ben got lost a little at the end, but we found him, whew!) and it was so much fun.  Loved every minute of reliving my childhood going every year with my cousins.  Cant wait to make that a, you guessed it, tradition!
And we got these two gorgeous babes together and then took a cute pic of all my kids.
Win, win, win.

A day in the life of (an almost two year old) Shea

Somedays she likes to put on her make up before she goes out of the house.
She learned everything she knows from me.  She is almost ready for her youtube channel.
And almost every day we take her babies for a walk.  It's her absolute favorite thing to do and she can never get enough walks with her baby.
And then we swing on our neighbors swing.
He has the best swing.  He is 93? (I forget.  I need to ask Jeff.)  He works in his yard everyday and always is happy to let us take over his yard.
Gracie goes on walks with us too, but for some reason I dont have any photos of her today.
I hope I never forget these days.
They just go by so incredibly fast and I know I will miss them with that ache deep in my heart once they are gone and I am reading this blog post in a few years.
Sometimes there are random leaves that fall in the winter and we play in the leaves,
And sometimes we go to the grocery store,
Some days we go take the big kids lunch at "schooooooool".  She loves love going to school and usually cries when we leave.
Today she also tried on everything in Avery's bottom drawer.
That drawer happened to contain anything from pajamas to swimsuits to underwear to shorts.  We are very organized, clearly.
Shea talks all the time.
She can say or communicate almost everything she needs to to me or jeff.  It is so awesome.  Her voice is like magic and it is absolutely melting to hear her say her version of words. She can communicate so so well and it is just so much fun getting to know her more everyday.  I am so thankful for her and it has gotten to be so much more normal to be entertaining her in some way for almost the entirety of the day.  That took some adjusting on my part at the beginning of her life, and I had kind of a difficult time with how all consuming she can be. I know that these days go faster than I think in theory, but there are days that I let all of this get monotonous or I think that I have other things that I need to get done.
I hate that I even have to remind myself that all that I want to do is be here with her in the day, and then all of the kids once they get home.  This, even though the moment by moment can seem ordinary, it is the most rewarding thing I could ever do. Sometimes it takes looking back on the photos of the day to remember just how incredible every moment really was.
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