shumway family christmas tree

A classmate of Sam's grew up on a Christmas tree farm in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. After Thanksgiving she invited a few families from class up to the farm to pick out and cut down a tree. Sam has been dreaming of doing this for as long as I can remember. Since we've never lived anywhere near a real tree farm I pushed it to the back of my mind and to Sam's dismay purchased a pre-lit gem on clearance one year. It was SO COLD, and even though I honestly think my eyes froze we had a great time. Our hosts were beyond gracious and not only let Landon drive the tractor pulling us and all our trees, they also fed us lunch, cookies, and hot cocoa! We are amazed at how blessed we have been here to meet and make such great friends.

When we got home that evening I realized I was outnumbered and gave up trying to have a beautiful tree. Sam and Landon took over the decorating- colored lights and all! Landon's favorite new activity is to turn off all the house lights, roll under the Christmas tree, and stare at the colorful lights.



A few of the young families around here got together this year to celebrate Thanksgiving since our extended families all live in other states. This was especially nice because we had a fantastic meal and none of us had to do ALL the cooking. I broke-in my new Kitchen Aid mixer (best bday gift ever!) and whipped up a couple batches of my mom's rolls, and a chocolate chip cheesecake. I was also in charge of the mashed potatoes. About 20 people were at the dinner so I was eternally grateful when Sam volunteered to peel all the potatoes. Since our hostess' oven quit working Thanksgiving morning I also had the turkey in my oven all day. Our house smelled like heaven with all that food cooking. We loaded up the car and headed to the Shepard's for the feast. I'm so thankful for the great friends we've made here, they certainly made our holiday more full. And what's Thanksgiving without Black Friday?!Don't worry mom, I braved Joann's at the break of dawn to load up on our year's supply of flannel.


the city

Last weekend we decided to spend the day in New York City. Sam had never been so we took advantage of his day off. We went a few days before Thanksgiving and the whole city was set up for the parade. We stayed near the south end of Central Park and were able to see so many cool things.

Central ParkWollman Ice RinkSerendipity

After downing our famous frozen hot chocolates we decided we needed a little sugar...

Dylan's Candy BarThe steps were filled with candy
Rockefeller Tree (being decorated) Times Square
Landon loved it, although he did ask Sam to carry him quite often. We came home and crashed, we were so tired. I tried to map everywhere we went and it totalled about 5 miles of walking. We can't wait to go back and see more of the sights.



We started giving Landon the toy catalogs that have been bombarding our mailbox . I gave him a pen and told him to circle what he wants for Christmas so we can tell Santa. He of course found the most expensive thing in the whole catalog, a Buzz Lightyear power wheels, and now refuses to look at any other catalogs-- OR any other pages of this catalog. In fact I catch him staring at the picture all the time. The other day I was sewing while making sure Landon got his daily dose of TV. When I finally decided to look up from my craft I saw this:
I know he has a naughty list, but how does Santa feel about nerds?


"happy" birthday

All I wanted was to feel cute on my birthday so I decided to spoil myself and get my hair done. I last had it done in April. I made an appointment at Ulta and was excited when the Salon Manager said she had a spot for me. I thought since I'm getting the BEST stylist at the place I was willing to pay the extra bucks that only the top stylist is allowed to charge. My heart sank when the 95yr old lady walked out and said she was my stylist. After being denied the hair I went in for and enduring the WORST weave of my life I exited the Salon well over $100 (don't tell Sam) poorer and looking like this:The cut makes me gag every time I look in the mirror. Good thing my hair was super long to start, she hacked about 4inches off the length and I'm almost sure she used a bread knife. At least she didn't burn her hands (thanks to the oven mitts she wore) while singeing my hair with the flat iron. I wrote a hateful note, and plan to call cooperate on Monday. Thank goodness for foodstamps and their ability to buy Ghiradelli chocolate turtle cheesecake, the only part of my day worth remembering!


"this is halloween, this is halloween..."

This year Landon discovered The Nightmare Before Christmas and watched it constantly all month. The songs are amazing yes, but impossible to get out of your head. After some debate this year Landon was Syndrome from The Incredibles.

I finished his shiny black unitard early in the month and decided to make myself a costume. The pattern size is NEVER right, so my Alice in Wonderland dress ended up 12 sizes too large. I tried to take it in but it ended up just looking like crap so I only wore it once. Sam's costume never came to fruition, maybe another year. We went to a couple costume parties, here is our ward Trunk-or-Treat. Landon played all the games and I got some inspiration for next year's costume for Sam...
Our friends, the Shelleys also had a costume party so I pulled out one of last years oldies and found myself dying yellow tights for the 2nd year in a row. The night before Landon's school party he insisted on being a robot. Soooooo a cereal box, a jug of milk and a little tin foil later we have this treasure... If he were any older and he would have been beaten up for sure. Sam took Landon trick-or-treating Sunday night in the frigid weather, and he came back with the best loot ever!