Here are the cousins waiting patiently before devouring him.
Nicholas' preschool had their annual "Feast". Last year Nicholas was so shy and overwhelmed that he wouldn't sing and barely looked up. This year he was a lot more comfortable. Next year Samantha will probably run the show and Nicholas will be learning the ropes at his new school as he starts Kindergarten.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, we did our annual family photo shoot with my ridiculously talented sister, Monica. She always takes amazing pictures and she and her hubby Andy were nice enough to drive all the way up from San Diego just to do the shoot! We did entice them with a dim sum lunch with the rest of the family. That meal could actually count as a 3rd Thanksgiving feast! Thank you Auntie Monica, we love you!
We began our countdown to Christmas with our Advent calendar train. Oma made this for us a few years ago and the kids look forward every day to opening up the next little package of chocolates or sweets each day in December. There are so many special things that Oma made that will always be sweet reminders of her visits during Christmas time. It was not the same this year without her.
We had an extra special Christmas gift this year. Chris was able to take over 2 weeks off of work during Christmas, so we have been enjoying spending a lot of time together.
We attempted to go ice skating after church last weekend. Samantha was on the ice for about 2 minutes and Nicholas lasted about 5. At least I got this really cute picture to capture the experience, even though he said afterward that he didn't like it at all!
We took advantage of our time with Chris and went for a few days up at Lake Arrowhead. Thanks Pops and Grammy! Since it was during the week long rainstorm that Southern CA was getting, we just hung out inside, watched movies, played games, and built these cute little gingerbread houses.
Santa gave Nicholas a archery set (I took the hint when he kept using a plastic hanger and a stick and pretending to shoot it). He loves it and was able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.
We started a new family tradition this year. Texas barbecue! Chris woke up at 6 am (way earlier than either Nicholas or Samantha) and starting smoking a 10 lb brisket, 2 racks of ribs, and 2 chickens in our new smoker.
10 hours later we had a feast! I made Papa's homemade barbecue sauce, mac n cheese from scratch, coleslaw, and baked beans. The 4 of us barely made a dent in the food we had, so the next day we invited 3 other families over to help us eat the left overs and we still had a lot left! Somehow I think I must have been Southern in another life, because good barbecue really does it for me!