Sunday, November 28, 2010

A 'Swankified' Thanksgiving

After watching about eleventybillion Martha Stewart Thanksgiving episodes this month, Ava and I simply had to make personalized place cards for our family Thanksgiving. We used fancy gold leaf, seed pearls, and calligraphy pens from Tiffanys brown, washable fingerpaint, stickers, and construction paper. The only extravagant thing about our place cards was the expensive resume paper we 'borrowed' to stamp our hand trees, don't tell HLS.

I painted Ava's hand brown, and she stamped it onto the resume paper.

Ava painted trunks onto the hand tree branches.

While the hand trees dried, we worked on a Thankful card.

It's a little hard to read, but here was her list: Bunny Pasta, house, kitchen (These were the first three things she listed, in order. Do you think it would be really classless if we asked people to skip toys for her birthday gifts and just send boxes of Annie's Pasta?) , BB (Beene Beene), Mimi, Coach, Jaryn, Dusty, Nate, Hannah, Mom, Dad, Baba, Pops, Sarah, Brandon, Nolan

She had many more things to write, but we ran out of space.

Once the trees were dry, Ava sorted our leaf stickers and placed them on each hand tree.

I cut out the trees, we used double-sided tape to stick them on construction paper, and Ava wrote names on each card.

Our complete forest

Mimi, Coach, and Jaryn arrived late Tuesday night. They are always eager to help out with projects around the house. Before I poured my first cup of coffee this is where I found Ava and Coach:

While Mimi plotted Christmas decorating strategies, Jaryn and I began cooking for Thanksgiving. My favorite Susan Branch cranberry sauce, yum.

Our crazy worker bees did stop long enough to watch the parade. We all stopped to watch Santa ride in, and officially begin the holiday season.

Keeping an eye on the sauce

Remember those 'ginormous' marshmallows from my last post? I used them to top the sweet potato casserole, renamed When Marshmallows Attack.

Josh was on-call for random kitchen emergencies.

Golden delicious

Ms. Priss in her cute new apron

I call these next three shots Evolution of a Pretty Good Picture

First try

Second attempt

Third time's a charm
(Also known as, The One Where Coach Danced Around the Kitchen Like a Madman)

This group is just impossible to mess up

Love this one, thanks Judy.

(Mom - you have a picture of me and Papa that is spookily similar to this one. I think he's wearing a red toboggan, and I'm about Ava's age in a pink coat. Can you scan it and send it to me?)

Thanksgiving table

The 3 Locketts

The spread:
Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, stuffed turkey tenderloin, *rolls, dressing, When Marshmallows Attack, pumpkin pie, and homemade whipped cream

*not pictured

Group shot 1

Group shot 2

Quick story

The other day Ava informed me, between bites of Chick Fil A, that, "It should be a 'u' not an 'a'."

I looked at her, confused, "What?"

"At the end of my name, it says 'uh' like 'u' not 'a'. Is it okay if we spell my name A-V-U from now on?" she sweetly replied.

I thought for a minute and let her know that she can spell her name with a 'u', but I'm going to keep spelling it with an 'a'.

Of course, after telling grandparents about their Granddaughter Formerly Known as Ava, Pops has been referencing her as 'Avu' in his texts. Glad to be raising a girl who isn't afraid to question the world around her, but really? Avu is not nearly as cute as Ava. What's a mom to do?


While the boys watched A&M beat TU (Whoop!), the girls decorated for Christmas. Thank goodness for those nifty 3M removable, no-mess, hooks. More pictures to come when everything is finished, but here is one glimpse. Out with the ornaments, in with the 'Avu'.

A million years ago we bought tickets to take Ava to see Wicked in Tulsa. Finally, the long-awaited Saturday arrived. Originally we planned for Ava to wear her Elphaba costume, but it was way too chilly for tutus. She did wear her sparkly, silver shoes - just like the ones Elphie is after in the play.

Elphaba, the doll, came along too.

Our friend, TC, won the Wicked Lottery and sat in the second row for 1/3 of the price of our ticket.

Notfairnotfairnotfair! We were very happy for her.

Waiting for the show to begin with Mommy,

and Daddy.

Our 'Swankified' crew, Mary and Susie. Also there was TC, but our camera couldn't quite capture her all the way up in the second row.

A little Wicked Sparkle

Ava was amazing during the show. She only sang quietly, and was completely engrossed in the show. Josh and I both saw some of the biggest grins we've ever seen on her sweet face. Her favorite scene was 'Popular', and she kissed us about 37 times during the play. It was a late night, long trip, and an early Sunday morning followed, but it was definitely one of the most fun things we've ever done as a family.

After the show I changed Ava into her fuzzy, pink, footed pajamas, and we ordered a little Happy Donalds midnight snack. Have you ever seen a happier 3-year-old?

Excuse our Wicked puffy, sleepy faces. On Sunday morning we headed to church to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent.

Lighting the Advent Candle of Preparation

We kept Ava in the service with us until after the Children's Sermon. At one point Ava said, "So this is the Mommy and Daddy nursery?" She enjoyed singing some of the Christmas songs with us. Such a special morning.

I've heard many people comment on feeling the 'holiday blues' already. Money is tight, families are busy and far away, random ugly words sting, doubt creeps in, loneliness hovers. I feel it too. But, I've got a 100% surefire way to beat the gloom. Find a tiny somebody, someone who still sees Christmas as magical, someone who is doing the teetee dance of anticipation for Santa, someone who has carried the Toys R Us catalog around until its pages are falling out, someone who sings to the Baby Jesus in your manger scene, someone who ranks hot chocolate as the highlight of their day. Bury your nose in that tiny someone's hair and breathe it in. Hold them tight and squeeze until they squirm away. Catch their Christmas spirit. It's oh so contagious.

And if you don't have a tiny someone, you can definitely borrow mine. She's got Christmas to share.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

In Mommy School we have been learning more about the first Thanksgiving. We are thankful for this darling Mayflower to help explain the difference between pilgrims and pirates.

Ignore Ava's kooky face in this picture. To celebrate my 28th birthday Josh created an evening of my favorite things. (Feel free to hum the Sound of Music soundtrack as you read through these next few items.)

You can all keep your birthday cake, I'll have my candles in fried pickles - thank you very much.

A cozy fire and Carino's wedge salad

A rearranged living room for maximum viewing pleasure

White Christmas

a Christmas puzzle, and a sweet friend to wrangle Ava and snap pictures.

The. Perfect. Birthday.

Thanks love.

The combination of time change and late nights without HLS have left me slightly gloomy, especially after all the birthday spoiling. Keep the Bave and I in your thoughts as we ramble around on these cold, dark nights, lonely and missing Josh. Oh, I guess you could keep him in your thoughts too as he runs the finals gauntlet.

I found this darling polar bear cookie, and decided to do a little of my own spoiling.

On Thursday a sweet friend, Katy, invited us to pack some shoe boxes for the Samaritan's Purse Christmas mission.

Ava decided to pack a box for a little girl her age. She worked diligently on the informational letter to our recipient.

Beautiful babies, shiny paper, and charity? Definitely time well spent.

I found 'ginormous' (as Ava affectionately called them) marshmallows at the grocery store this weekend. Visions of World's Most Fabulous Sweet Potato Souffle popped into my head, so of course I had to buy them.

On Saturday night we hosted a dinner for some dear law school friends, the Bunsons, and two international law students. It was a fun, informative, and delightful evening. We did our best to answer their questions about the US, while Marie told us about Austria and Jennifer told us about Switzerland. The Bunsons, like us, are very interested in traveling and working abroad. How fortunate to have two experts at the law school this semester.

When I mentioned the 'ginormous' marshmallows both ladies gave us confused looks. They had never eaten a marshmallow, much less a smore. It took all of four seconds for us to remove the stove grates and find the roasting skewers.

Jennifer was a quick learner.

A little lesson in The Smore Smoosh

Marie discovered the only downside of smores - the sticky.

The Bunsons also happen to be the parents to one of Ava's best friends. We hadn't seen much of the girls until the scent of sugary marshmallow wafted upstairs.

Later, Ava and G entertained our guests with the story of Thanksgiving. Our little ones were amazed to know the story better than some 'grown ups'. Turns out folks in Austria and Switzerland aren't as familiar with Squanto and his 'pirate' friends.

My favorite hostess gift ever - real Swiss chocolate!

On Sunday evening we headed to OWC to help decorate for Christmas.

The greenery fluffing crew

Braving the prickles

Is Missy not the cutest WOP ever?
(Wife of Pastor, not to be confused with a POW. Though I guess there are some similarities.)

Merry and bright

Of course the Locketts were all decked out in Christmas.

Untangling lights

Don't you wish you had this crew to help with your tree?

We headed outside to put up the Advent sign.

Sure, my guns were in high demand.

Okay, okay - Josh had to help a little. See that tongue out? No doubt where Ava gets that concentration trait.

Finally, all the kiddos helped finish decorating the big tree in the atrium. We are ready for Christmas at church.

We Three Locketts have the privilege of lighting the first candle of Advent next Sunday. When I was growing up in church, I always loved that part of the Christmas service. I can't believe I'm old enough to have a little family to light the Advent candle.
What a magical, mysterious thing this life.