Giving Thanks

Every year since our little guy was born, we’ve tried to take a vacation during the Thanksgiving holidays.  The past two years have been a little different in that we decided to have Thanksgiving at the coast, instead of trying to go the day after.  It helps with vacation time, but it also make the holidays a little more stress-free and is a good break for the kids and us as a family.

Last year, we did an Airbnb rental and loved it.  The kids talked ALL year about going back to ‘The Beach House.’  So, we did it again this year – except tried a different rental.  This one was someone’s home away from home, so it was a little weird to see personal effects in the house, but was still pretty cool.  (A word to Airbnb hosts – try to make it less like your clothes are in all the closets and such.  It’s a little weird for guests to feel like they are intruding in your space – especially when you have nosy kiddos who want to open every. single. door.)

Every year, we do our ‘footprint’ in the sand and this year, I decided to write their names in the sand too.  It’s always a lot of fun because we can see how our feet grow. (And how flat Daddy’s feet are!)  We didn’t do paw prints this year though, even though we brought Sophie and Abbie because they just make a mess – and quite honestly, they kept trying to kill each other.  (They get really cranky when they are tired.)

Speaking of cranky – we got some GREAT pictures this year, but it took SO MANY times to beg the kids to stop killing each other long enough to get smiles.  It’s funny, because you know if you’re a parent, you’ve had to have these conversations on the other end of the camera and beg (and bribe) your children to smile for the couple of good photo ops!

But, hey, when you get some good ones – like these, it’s worth it.  Check out this little guy and how he’s grown!

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Even Elysha’s picture – that was pretty candid, turned out very well and looked amazing!

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The ones of them together where they actually smiled and pretended to love each other warmed my heart. Silas has a super sensitive side and Elysha can be a bit of a brat, but she sure does love her older brother.  It will be when they are older though that I’m sure they begin to appreciate these moments.

Even the dogs got some great photos – despite them being total twerps!

Every year, we go to Moody Gardens with the kids and do the Festival of Lights and head over to Iceland, too.  It’s a lot like the Gaylord’s ice exhibit – just at the ocean.  There’s some pretty cool history there on how they do it.  If you haven’t been to one, I recommend it.  Even to listen to how they build it is fascinating.  This year was an animal theme – and somewhere I think we have a photo of the humpback whale that made me take a breath at how awesome it was.  But, the kids favorite part?  The ice slide of course…

My favorite part?  Well, it’s pretty much family.  I know, mush mush.  But seriously, I do enjoy the time.  This time, I cut off my e-mail and my calendar.  Any reminders that I had of work and just took time with my kids.  I’ve needed it – and quite honestly,  I’ve NEVER done it.  I’ve taken time away from work, yes.  A day or two here and there, but I’ve NEVER shut off.

Spending time with this guy and these kids (by the way, what face is Ely making?!) helped to reset some expectations for me and to remind me why I do what I do.  The sacrifices I make – what’s important – and how to prioritize my life.  I give 110% in everything I do – and it’s important that sometimes, I just shut down and give these guys my 110% too.

Anyway, here’s to hoping your holidays were amazing.  There are so many out there with less than us and it’s often a good reminder to think about how privileged we are to do things like this with our families.

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