a favorite tradition: Christmas Tree Hunting

Every year since we have been married, right after Thanksgiving we trek up into the mountains to find that {nearly} perfect Christmas Tree. It truly is one of my favorite traditions of the holiday season.

 I love packing up into the car with my parents and brother {sometimes a sister has joined} and heading into the unknown, hoping to find that perfect tree. I {sort of love} love prepping everyone in the car once we arrive- gloves, boots, jacks, baby carriers, etc. I also love that it costs $10 for a Christmas tree!
But mostly, I love that every year is different & every year we spend the whole trip talking about the previous trips we have taken. The one year, Blitz ran off & Manny finally caught him by playing dead in the middle of road. The one year, we went to a new spot and there was NO snow & NO trees. The one year, it was so cold we only walked about 50 feet from the car. The one year we saw wild turkeys. And this year: we saw deer, it snowed, the snow was deep and the trees were beautiful.

Each year, we added more children and the boys are just growing and walking and enjoying it more and more! I truly look forward to this day every year! I can't wait to see how Joshua, Asher & Kennedy truly feel about the this tradition. It's the best way to get in the holiday spirit if you ask me!

Merry Christmas Tree!

{no family picture this year - oops!}

Kennedy Maren: 8 months

My Beautiful Girl, 
In all honesty, I am doing this update 1.5 months late. But I don't want to forget & I want to write down all the wonderful things that happened in your eighth month of life. You continued to eat more and more solids. Still not a fan of sweet {bananas, apples, pears, etc} and love sweet potato & avocado + anything I will feed you straight from the table. You've also enjoyed Cheerios and the occasional Pirates Booty :) 
This month we traveled to Gunnison to watch Johnny play football & then over to Montrose to see Gram. Gram gave you your very first cookie and you were not upset about it all. What a gift we have in Gram! 

We also celebrated Halloween- you were the cutest little OWL I ever did see!

And lastly, you worked on you crawling, kept rolling around, and starting getting into more and more trouble!

Your brothers are your #1 fans! They love to cheer you on & always make you laugh!!!

We love you Miss Kennedy Maren! 
You are a pure gift! 
love you more and more everyday, 
your momma  

Joshua Manuel: 4 years

Joshua Manuel,
You are four years old. That seems very old. We have been parents for four years... and are still very much figuring it all out! It's been crazy and fun and hard and awesome and scary and wonderful. All, I know is that we love you TOO much and are so very thankful you are our son.

November 1st landed on a Sunday this year, so we had the breakfast of your choice- donuts, eggs & sausage and then went to church. After church we went out to lunch, your choice- tacos at Chipotle. Grandma Mary joined us for lunch. That night we all just stayed home, had noodles for dinner, and then watched Cars 2 & ate popcorn. You were celebrated the following Wednesday at school and brought clementines & pirates booty for snack with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plates and napkins. Then on Friday, we went bowling with a few of your friends! It was so much fun to just have fun & celebrate YOU! Your Daddy got you SKIS for your birthday and you can't wait to go skiing down the mountain with Daddy.

Joshua, it it such a joy to be your mom. You are kind to those around you. You are considerate and aware of others feelings. You love to run & jump & do karate. You also love shows and pirates booty. You go to preschool on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. School is a great blessing for all of us and you are really enjoying it. Our neighbor, Caleb is in your class. You don't usually tell me about what happens in your day, but then randomly you will start singing a song you learned in school like "Days of the Week" set to the Adam's Family tune or "Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, swish your bushy tail." You love to make your sister laugh and often try to hold her. You and Asher are great brothers. You play hard, fight hard, and love hard. Your favorite "pretend play" is "mom & son" or "dog & owner." The two of you also make lots of messes together and get in big trouble together. You are just starting to like football and watching it with Daddy. We are working hard on learning the consequences of disobedience and how to serve with a joyful heart and what to do when you don't get your way. It's hard for you to not know the plan or when things don't go your way. You love your friends and spending time with family. 

At four years old: 
Favorite Food- noodles, peppers, pizza, apples.
Favorite Show- any NEW show- you don't really care about watching one show over and over, you just always want to watch a NEW show. but you like Rescue Bots & Paw Patrol.
Favorite Toy- all your cars.
Favorite Book- Ferdinand.
Best Friend- Asher, Jackson & Lily.
Favorite Activity- playing outside in the dirt or water.

Happy Birthday, my boy! I am so looking forward to seeing what this year brings. To see what you learn and what you like. To see how you grow, physically and emotionally and even spiritually. To see how your relationships with your brother and sister grow. To see the world through your four year old eyes and hold your hand as we adventure. 

we love you more and more everyday!
love, you momma