I am thankful for so much this year. Jeff and I often ask ourselves how we got so lucky with these amazing kids. I’m thankful for the expressive way Max talks, getting so excited about the story he’s sharing that he has to start over a few times. I’m thankful for the way Anna hooks her arm around my neck when she really needs a Mama snuggle. I’m thankful for the beautiful relationship Jeff has with them.

We traveled to Greg and Leah’s for Thanksgiving this year. Another thing I am thankful for is in-laws that I really like and enjoy spending time with. We had such a nice visit and the time went way too quickly. Max and Anna loved playing with their cousins, and Lizzy and Emma were so good with them. They patiently read the same book five times in a row to Max and followed his orders on what to play. They were great at including Anna in their games and stories and it was such fun to see them all together. Poor Max cried when we had to leave today, he kept saying, “But I don’t want to go yet!” I have very fond memories of time spent with my cousins growing up and am glad that he and Anna will have that also.

Some pictures from our trip:

The park near Greg and Leah’s house had a slide that was just perfect for Anna. Not too high or fast, so she could do the whole circuit by herself. She loved it.

This one is blurry but so cute I have to share. Max was fascinated with Leah’s knitting needles and she let him play with a pair. Later he wanted to use them again so he asked where her “sewing sticks” were.

Time Out

Like any three year-old, Max has done his share of time-outs for various offenses. We always sit him in the same spot, set the timer, and then come back when it goes off. We ask him why he’s in time out, have him apologize and demonstrate the desired behavior. On Tuesday night my mom called me after the kids were in bed to relay a story she hadn’t wanted to share in front of Max. It seems Max had pushed Anna down. She was unfazed and he insisted “It was an accident!” but Mom had witnessed the infraction and knew it was intentional. She walked Max over to the designated spot and sat him down. Before she went to set the timer she asked him, “Why are you in time out?” Max looked at her for a minute and then patiently explained, “Grandma, you are supposed to ask me that at the end of the time out.” At this point Mom is just trying her best not to burst out laughing as she sets the timer and goes to get Anna. Too late for that, as Anna has put on Max’s firefighter hat and is standing right in front of him doing a funny dance. Pretty soon they are both laughing, she puts the hat on his head, and Max is asking, “Why is Anna doing that, I’m in time out?!” That one may have been a wash as far as a consequence goes, but that’s okay, the story is worth it.

Maxwell and Anna certainly have their times of conflict, but overall they are so good with each other. Max is patient with Anna and explains things to her (usually getting right up by her face when he wants to tell her something important). Anna loves to do whatever he is doing and manages to keep up very well. Yesterday we were driving home from Target and I glanced in the rearview mirror to see the two of them holding hands from their car seats. Moments like that make up for those times of conflict!

A couple weeks ago we had our friends Angel, Eric, Emmeline and Penelope over. We decided to attempt a picture of all four kids together. We bribed the eldest ones with the promise of cookies, and I snapped away while the other three adults replaced squirming toddlers and generally made a fool of themselves in an attempt to get everyone looking in the same direction while smiling–quite a feat!

A few outtakes. This one cracks me up because Max and Emmeline are making the same face:

Those crazy three year-olds:

Now the little ones are having a side conversation:


And a few from last weekend. Anna has been really into her sunglasses lately, wanting to put them on and take them off, put them on and take them off, etc…it’s really cute.

The very talented Oma made her a really cute hat. I took a couple pictures on our way out the door.

Halloween 2012

Halloween was so much fun this year! I managed to sell Max on coordinated costumes: A firefighter and a dalmatian. My wonderful mother-in-law volunteered to make the dog costume, and I found a firefighter raincoat, boots and umbrella at Costco. Max definitely understood the concept of trick-or-treating this year and was excited to go. As soon as we got started he was saying, “Let’s go to that house over there! Which house should we go to next? I love trick-or-treating!” It was pretty cute. Anna had a great time too, she wanted to walk most of the time and was so cute toddling along the sidewalk. We heard lots of oohs and ahhs over how cute they were together. At one house they gave Max a red foil-wrapped peanut butter cup. He was so excited, telling the lady, “Red is my favorite color!” He wanted to hold that one the rest of the time we were out. When Maxwell woke up the next morning one of the first things he said was, “I want to go trick-or-treating again!”

I didn’t get too many pictures on Halloween since the kids were eager to get out there, but I managed to get some:

They both loved answering the door with Grandma:

Enjoying the haul:

A couple weeks ago, a friend of a friend did costume mini-sessions, so I took the kids to get some photos of them in costume (thanks Oma, for getting the dalmatian done early!). Photo credit to Taylor Anderson Photography.