an olsen thanksgiving

Last weekend was our Olsen Thanksgiving. Just like year's past, my in-laws and the four of us celebrate our Thanksgivings before the actual day. It suits us just fine. The fare is never traditional. The day itself is not traditional. But in my opinion you can have too much turkey so. This works out just fine, as I've said. We were only missing Matt's youngest brother, who lives out in the Pacific Northwest gallivanting around learning and doing other fun young and free things.

The three Olsen kids watched The Polar Express while the adults caught up on the goings on in each other's lives.  Matt's Aunt Sue and Uncle Glenn came bearing good eats and gifts for the kids, just like a Thanksgiving Santa. Letty refers to them as The Beach House Peoples which I suppose isn't such an awful way to be remembered (but she does know their names she just likes to annoy me). Matt went slightly more traditional with the meal this year as opposed to past years, with a ham and corn and potatoes. Aunt Sue brought a recipe of olde, keeping past generations of Olsen women in our minds today. Well. One Olsen woman. There aren't many lady Olsens oddly enough. Uncle Glenn and David had their normal kindred spirit moments, sharing a bond so clearly demonstrated across their similarly shaped faces... and coloring... and sense of humor... pretty much everything. Baby Sydney tolerated us all from the comfort of a swing. And it was a good dinner.

The above photo? Yeah that was the first attempt. And the only. When in the history of family photos has that ever happened?

I just love how we do holidays with my in-laws. There's no stress. No two meals in one day thing. No switching between families year to year. Yup. Suits me just fine.


a preschool thanksgiving feast

Five fat turkeys were sitting on a fence. The first one said I'm soooo immense. The second one said I can gobble at you. The third one said I can gobble too... And so on and so forth. 

Last Friday was Letteria's first exposure into the great big wide scary world of public speaking, otherwise known her preschool's Thanksgiving Feast. She didn't know if she would be dressing up. She didn't know if she would be singing. She didn't know if she would be saying the above "Five Turkey" thing. She knew nothing, so she said. Come Friday we dropped her off at school to prepare and then drove David to my sister's before heading right back to the school, all full of nerves (Me. I was.). I brought my big girl camera and secured a seat in the second row. All ready and waiting.

Matt and I guessed there was probably close to 100 people in that audience. Quite the first time eh? The children quietly (!) filed out onto the stage in their Pilgrim hats or their Indian hats. They stood calmly on the risers looking from face to face until they saw the one or two faces that made it all okay. They each gave a tentative wave or a smile. The teachers mentioned something about bringing a crying student directly to their parents and Matt and I just knew it would be Letty. But it wasn't. Not a single little boy or girl cried. Can't say the same for the parents though. How can you not when they are up there in all their cuteness and shyness?

They sang a few songs, did a few hand motions, listened to a Thanksgiving story and then said a Thanksgiving prayer. One little boy kept asking loudly if he could run away. Another little girl was always the first to start the clapping. Letty didn't smile. She didn't respond in kind to my thumbs up. She participated which made my heart about burst even as it was breaking seeing her clear case of nerves. Such a strange thing, this parenting gig. The littlest things can set you off. I was so proud of her and yet wanting to protect her at the same time and it was just such a small little thing, this program. After the prayer they quietly (!) filed back out to get their backpacks and jackets. All the while staring at the many smiling faces from the audience. My face literally hurt from the smiling. I didn't want her to look at me and not see my joker smile, lest she not be reassured. It's all okay. Little one.
Note the little boy in the blue and white horizontal-striped shirt? Well I suppose you could say he is technically related to Letty, as he is Lena's cousin on her father's side. Growing up in Manheim I was always amazed at how everyone is related to everyone else. It truly wasn't an odd occurrence to hear oh that's my cousin! And that's my cousin too! Now Letty can kind of say the same thing... Roots. They are growing.

As the kids were gathering their belongings the parents headed to another building for the actual "feast". I had stopped listening to instructions (great example, I am), but thankfully Matt was there to direct me to the proper place mat color. She had made herself a place mat and two hand-print leaf magnets. The parents were all seated and waiting for the little Pilgrims and Indians to join us which they did quietly (!). While the feast wasn't my personal favorite, nor Letty's, it was quite a nice spread for a morning. And she was just the proudest. Mommy these are my friends! Mommy this is Mrs. Shearn! Mommy look! I made this! It was a good adorable event.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are surrounded by people who love you and that you eat far too much turkey and other such things. 

For nostalgic feelings, which I always have around the holidays here is last year's Thanksgiving as well as Thanksgivings past.


bumpgate. week 36.

I realize I already posted today, and I realize it has only been two weeks since I last updated the world on my growing belly, but I'm coming near the end of the road here. And I want to remember it so... indulge.

Look! I've swallowed a basketball!

Last week I was a lucky mama and got a special (to my practice) late-term ultrasound. They were mainly checking out his cord for knots but basically were just trying to calm me down. Two babies. Two cord issues. A third time I fear. I didn't hold out much hope to see his little face, I feel pretty stuffed myself so I'm not sure how there is much room in there for him to pose. I did see hair on his head and pudgy little fingers and toes. Plus - no knots. I'm told that he weighs 6 pounds 7 ounces and that everything in there looks as it should. The cord is around his neck which isn't a sign of concern for them but it is for me. I have a plan though. Mainly begging them to induce me so my entire labor can happen under their careful watch. This also benefits me in that I'll be home in time for a preschool Christmas program and more importantly, Christmas festivities. Priorities.

Boy/girl, girl/boy| The ultrasound tech was able to confirm that yes, he is still a boy. You've all heard those stories right? Where parents were told it was definitely one gender only surprise! no it really wasn't. I don't like surprises. Still Dominic. Speaking of Dominic the Christmas Baby, we decided that his middle name should definitely be a Matthew. Officially.

The icks| Same old. If I don't eat I feel gross so I always need to snack, which I mean, killer right?

The LB's| As of yesterday's appointment I am clocking in at a cool 19 pounds. Which is only alarming in that the belly is just so large. I officially can find no maternity top nor regular large top in my possession that shall cover it. The bottom peeks out under basically everything. 

The eats| I'm looking forward to the addition of wine in my diet and the addition of meals. Like sit down and have a helping of everything served kind of meal. Matt is beside himself trying to come up with things I'll eat and he refuses to listen when I say don't worry about me. My sister is the same way. Kind people, they are, but stubborn.

The movings around happening on the inside| Moving. Oh why you little boy you most certainly are. My belly button has fled the interior space and is reaching outward at an alarming rate. Normally his bottom is at the top right of my stomach with his head firmly placed on my left hip bone. Where he hangs out, rubbing with every step. Sometimes (often) he stretches wide and pushes out with all his might and I feel like I might burst. Such a joy it has been. Growing my third. I may appear to want to rush it simply because of my whole "induce me yesterday" thing but no. I could stand (and love) many more weeks of this.

On the nesting front| I feel like I have things under control at Christmas Central, although I'm sure more will arise, as it always does. Having Christmas as a distraction has greatly alleviated the need to clean every corner of the house. And seeing as that was just done from top to bottom in the Spring, I figure we are good there anyways. The bags are packed. The laundry up to date. The kid's prepped. We are ready to go.


it's a holiday special: the kid's trees

Our house has eight trees. Three of which are in the kid's rooms. Kids currently born and one still on the inside. I always had a tree as a kid, normally ornamented with hand-me-down's or an occasional ornament purchased by my Grammy. But not my kids. Oh no. Only the themed trees for them! There is Letty's pink and princessey tree. David's pirate and ocean tree. And Dominic's car (Fast & Furious) tree.

And then there are our basement trees. All child friendly of course. The only tree in the whole house they are allowed to touch, the felt tree. We got a new tree this year for the basement that has all shatter-proof ornaments as well as other homemade gems from year's past. It may not be the prettiest of decor choices, but it will certainly be the sweetest. As the years go by seeing all their art skills blossom. Oh yes.

And I think I'm done. No more decor to share this year anyways. And just in time for Thanksgiving.

Sweet Turtle Soup


stocking stuffer ideas for kids

Our first married Christmas I informed Matt that having stockings hung with care stuffed with assorted gifts was a tradition from my childhood that should be continued at all costs. I explained to him the types of items normally expected within a stocking and where the stocking would be hung (on the dining room chairs of course because my mother never did the mantle thing and our apartment was fireplace-less). Christmas morn came and I was so devastated by the contents of my stocking that they have been empty every year since. Shame on Matteo for that one. Ahem.

That is until my children came along. When of course the stockings came back. But only if you are of the child variety. I am in charge of Christmas purchases and budgeting for it and wrapping it all up. It is my gig. I take it seriously. This year I had approximately $25 left in the budget allotted towards the stuffings of the stocking. I just hit up the Dollar Spot at Target because that place is my favorite and as a new Red Card user I feel it is my civic duty to shop at Target (pronounced Tar-gay by Letty) at all costs. Here are the types of things I kept my eye out for...

Linking up with April, Elise, Katie, Zelle for the second annual My Favorite Things festivities. Thanks for hosting ladies!


it's a holiday special: the dining room

The dining room. Or as it is slowly being referred to now, The Wine Room. We like our wine. We like our Christmas. If we can mix the two together that is absolute perfection. We even have a wine Santa. And a wine tree. I was happy that my mom found a nice spot for the old staircase garland in this room; I would have hated to see that go to waste. This room still proudly boasts as it's home the nativity set made by Matt way back in his Kindergarten days. Our table and chairs here are new to us this year. They were my grandparent's and now we will show them much love and host (God willing) as many delicious meals as they once did in the possession of my grandma and grandpa.


Sweet Turtle Soup


it's a holiday special: the living room and kitchen

I could pretty much say that every room is THE favorite room of the house... but this may really be the favorite. It has the biggest tree in the house, covered in ornaments from the past 31 years of my life and every vacation destination I've ever been to. It has five (!) stockings hung by the chimney with care. It has all our old Christmas family photos from when we had a dog to just one baby. It's red and green and pretty all over.


I saved all my Christmas cards from last year and have them displayed on the cabinets kind of like a Christmas present. I had the best time seeing what's changed in a year as I was looking through all the photos.... a friend newly engaged... all these new babies, so many people moving to different places!


Let me express my thoughts and feelings on this addition. It is not present in the aforementioned photos simply because it was a late addition and well... Call me lazy but I wasn't about to retake all the photos. Regardless. I had a vision. I found the wreath here. Weighing in at a hefty two pounds I thought surely a Command Strip meant for three pounds would do the trick. Sadly no. Three failed attempts and a broken Noel stocking holder later I gave in and simply nailed the ribbon to the drywall directly above the mirror. But for a few days the struggle was real. It was real. And. Boo on you Command Strips.

 This falls in neither the kitchen nor the living room category but I like my little chalkboard platter in the bathroom. The end.

Sweet Turtle Soup