These are pretty giant nutshells, I know.
November seemed even busier than October, but mostly the good kind of busy.
Let's start with the weather -- always a safe topic.
We quickly went from this:
I'm always sad to say goodbye to fall, but I have to admit that watching the snow fall while curled up with my kindle, sipping Pero -- not too shabby.
Since Di and I were trapped on the East Coast for Halloween, we forced our babies and husbands to celebrate a week later -- costumes, chili, candy, sugar cookies and all.
We met up with the Maudsley girls for a magical afternoon at Ikea.
Lola and Lyla kill me -- they absolutely adore each other.
Also, my son is a crazy photobomber.
It wouldn't really be November without our annual friend Thanksgiving feast.
We are four years into this tradition, and I think one of the things that makes me the most sad about moving is that we will have a much more difficult time carrying it on once we're in Seattle.
What will we do without the Maudsleys and the Wheatleys?
It took us a year and a half to finally attend a BYU football game as grad students.
Of course, we waited until the very last home game and of course, it was like 12 degrees.
We stayed through the first half, paying our school spirit dues, and then took off running for a hot pizookie at The Chocolate.
Fun (freezing) night with the Ellisses.
We stocked our gratitude tree with leaves.
Lola's list was to die for.
(I love lamp)
I loved that she included Lyla on her preschool turkey.
We met up with the other Ivins at City Creek for Santa's arrival and the Christmas window reveal.
Nothing like crowds, candy and consumerism to put you in the holiday spirit.
The babies started out completely jazzed, but quickly gave way to exhaustion.
Sometimes I feel like we use our kids as an excuse to go out and do things only kids should do...
For our monthly "date," Di and I browsed all things handmade at Bijou Market in Provo, downed a pizza each at Pizzeria 712 and tried to stay awake during Lincoln (awesome movie, but not the best one to see at 11 p.m.)
We spent an evening at the Wisemans doing princess makeovers and watching Brave.
If only the babies had stayed put under that tent for more than five minutes at a time...
Love these little princesses.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving with family.
My Grandma and Grandpa flew in from Oregon to spend the holiday with us, and my children fell instantly in love.
My kids are so incredibly lucky to know nearly all their great-grandparents.
Kim, Rob and the boys were in town as well, and we loved spending a bit of time with them.
This year, I was reminded in a very heavy and powerful way how profoundly blessed I am to have this family of mine, and how grateful I am to know they're mine forever.
Kelly and I braved the cold and the crowds for my first legit Black Friday experience.
Thank heaven for DDP, cheap Christmas CDs, crazy sissies and a husband who let me sleep in after I shopped until 4:30 a.m.
Reece and I took the kids to Riverwoods to write their letters to Santa and see the big guy himself.
Poor James had no say in the matter and was forced to sit on Santa's lap -- something he may hold against us for the rest of his life.
Lola stood ten feet away, strategically placed me between her and the bearded wonder and yelled, "Please bring me a dollhouse, OK?!"
Since no tears or deep emotional scarring were involved, we're calling it a success.
Baby steps, people.
Also, please note Lola's list...
I swear, every word of it was her own.
Lola's preschool teacher happens to be famous in our neighborhood for her Christmas decorations, and the day they put them up in the yard, Lola wandered around in amazement before whispering, "Mom, I think this must be Santa's house."
We celebrated our discovery of the North Pole by picking up donuts (of course), and the kids spent the rest of the afternoon using each other as pillows.
A lovely day I'd like to remember.
We bundled up one chilly night at took the kids to see the lights at Thanksgiving Point.
We grabbed dinner before the show, and I'm certain I horrified more than one parent when I allowed my kids to take turns taking hits of my DDP.
Addicts breed addicts, I suppose.
My mom and I were able to sneak away for an evening at the temple.
Peace to my soul, every time.
Last, but certainly not least, one of my favorite MBA wives organized a perfect mom sleepover in SLC at the Hyatt Regency.
We shopped, we ate, we laughed and we stayed up wayyyy too late.
We also were just crazy enough to hit up Utah's first Trader Joe's on opening day -- certifiable, but totally worth it since I got my chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds.
Please note the world's best photobomber below...
A lovely group of ladies, to say the least, and the perfect way to close out a very good month.
Also, sometimes I want to eat my kid.