About a week or so before Christmas my parents came to town -it was the perfect way to really get into the holiday spirit. We had quality family time, played in the "snow", saw the Dana Point tree lighting, did a little gingerbread house decorating, and dressed up for a fancy gala and had a stocking exchange. Harper also had a little performance at school that my mom was able to attend with me.
The day my parents flew in we killed time in the morning at Fashion Island while we waited for them. Taking photos in front of the big tree is a must every year, although someone always seems to end up crying, I don't get it.
Toddler photography at it's finest...
We did some light shopping, a baseball cap and shoes for Decks and treated the girls to some ice cream.
Sawyer told me that I am her "BFF until infinity" - I think she likes me.
And no mall/shopping trip is complete without touching everything we walk by, and in this case, try on. Harps is killing me.
We all get very excited when any of our family comes to town. My parents were staying at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott so we met them over there and rolled around in the grass for a few before heading to the Dana Point tree lighting.
The tree lighting event definitely had a small town feel to it - I kind of felt like I was walking around a movie set. It was both janky (is that not a real word?) and magical and a very fun night.
I really love when I get the chance to have outings with my two oldest. I super love Decker too, but the girls are old enough for a lot of activities that Decks isn't quite ready for and I enjoy my big kid time with Sawyer and Harper. On this particular day we were meeting my mom, sister and niece at a local candy shop to decorate gingerbread houses. We had done it the year before as well and it was a fun time.
Pretty sure my mom got more into than the kids.
Later that evening my parents brought Mazie over to our house and the girls got ready (and fancy) together to go to our fashion show gala stocking exchange event. I cannot remember the official name for it but it was pretty special, especially for the three little girls.
I had the boys kind of matching. Pretty sure that is severely uncool.
And as fancy as the girls looked on top, they looked equally as relaxed on the bottom. I had ordered them shoes and they didn't come in time, so they resorted to Uggs and Rainbows…the shoe staples in our house.
I tend to be really good at getting pictures of the cousins when they are together but I seem to forget getting photos of the adults. Bubba, Tutu, Decker and Grady…classy crew right there. (And no, Marc hadn't intended on matching his nephew as well as his son, it just kind of worked out that way)
The stocking exchange was so much fun and not surprisingly, the Willhites served a killer dinner.
Organizing and looking over their loot...
Before ending the night was celebrate both Tutu and Uncle Gabe's birthdays with some candles and cake.
On Monday my mom went to gymnastics with me. I loved having her company. The littles loved having here there too.
I don't know what it is, but whenever my mom is in town I feel like we end up at my house with all the kids (or even just my kids) and totally exhausted. Maybe it is just me, I am a lightweight and cannot handle all the fun that we are having. These photos made me laugh out loud because I look straight up worn out. Which in actuality can be explained by my brief pregnancy, but at the time, I just thought I was turning into a real party pooper.
Harper sometimes likes to dress herself. I recently went through her closet and got rid of things that might possibly be too small so we don't end up with her in another midriff shirt.
It is kind of a known fact that our kids have large heads. Decker's helmet nicely accentuates his brains and I love it.
Marc keeps trying to talk me into getting rid of their Escalade. The kids have so much fun even when we take the battery out of it that I cannot justify trashing it. It is extra awesome when they get the radio in it working and rock out to some random spanish station.
The girls were ready to head off to school - Harper had her Christmas performance and Sawyer had holiday centers in her class (and I got to visit with her in class, always a treat)
Harps seemed a little nervous before getting up on stage, but once she was up there, she did a spectacular job jingling her bells and singing Jingle Bells with her class :)
Can I forever have a preschooler? They are just so cute.
Harps really nailed my Christmas gift this year. Possibly the best ornament on our tree.
Seeing Sawyer in her classroom is really fun - I just can't believe how much my baby has grown from the start of the school year. Not only in size but in maturity and knowledge. It is an amazing thing to witness.
Sometimes she seems so old, then I peek in on her at night and see her snuggled up with Mousie and I know she is still my little one for at least a little while longer.
It always blows when it is time to say goodbye to my parents.
At the girls' dance studio they did a little in class showcase so that parents could see their kids "perform". Sawyer decided she was too tired to participate (and this is why she is no longer enrolled) and Harps was perfection. She barely danced, spent most of her time smiling at me, and I couldn't have loved it more.
After dance we did a quick meet up with some friends at the park...
And then after school while Decker napped, I made spritz cookies with the girls. Clearly they got a little carried away with the sprinkles…
And then later that evening we surprised Dad with a special present under the Christmas tree…
…baby clothes for Baby #4! Marc was really surprised. I was too. We weren't sure whether to laugh or cry. The kids were thrilled. Unfortunately this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage about a week later which also came as a surprise. We were sad and we have chosen to remember it and move on, but I don't want to fully forget it either, that baby is now a part of our story too.
Somewhere in there we got a rainy day and Decker and I spent it at the mall with Canes and Kels and grabbed a quick bite to eat.
We spent our last weekend before Christmas with some of our favorite friends checking out Chill at the Queen Mary - elaborate ice sculptures telling the story of the Nutcracker.
I didn't happen to catch it on camera, but Decker and his lady friend Kate shared quite the tender kiss. The both leaned in, closed their eyes, and kissed baby style. It really was way too cute and I hope I never forget it.
Every girl likes a guy with a little churro stuck to his lip.
Harper and Lauren had so much fun together. I really admire how much fun Harper has in general, she just knows how to have a good time.
I had never been on the Queen Mary…so this was a first for me.
And how do you think we prepped for Christmas on the morning of Christmas Eve? By making more cookies for Santa, of course.
And a quick trip to Fashion Island for a last minute bonus gift for Dad.