A mostly-good Thanksgiving weekend here. Hope you had a fine weekend as well.

Our actual holiday went off quite well. We were not hosting this year, so only had to provide a couple dishes. I was doing the mashed potatoes and used a different recipe than I’ve used in the past. It became a little problematic as it took longer to get completed than I anticipated. But we were driving exactly two blocks, so we didn’t delay the family meal or anything. Excellent food all around. And the big highlight of the day was it being the first big, family gathering where all three of the new boys in our family were there. The girls loved being around their new cousins.

Friday was our annual tree puttin’-up day. I think I’ve been saying “this could be the last kid Christmas we have” for three years. But based on the enthusiasm level, I think I was finally right last year. Pre-teen #1 is clearly not into anything that has to do with the holidays and spending time with the rest of her family. Pre-teen #2 still seems into things, but I just get this undercurrent to her mood that she’s torn between acting like a single-digit kid and a double-digit kid. And #3, who is the pleaser of the group, is laying it on extra thick to prove to us that she’s still all-in; she’s the only one who seems excited to find Elfie in the morning or watch Christmas shows with me. I’ll admit my excitement for the season has been a little slow to ignite this year because our girls are clearly in a different place than they were a year ago. Maybe their moods will shift the closer we get to Christmas.

Quick question: is there a better day than Christmas card picture taking day?
Answer: Yes, there are approximately 360 days better than Christmas card picture taking day. We’ve struggled with this day ever since we became a two-kid family in 2006, I think. When they’re little, it’s just impossible to get everyone situated properly and cooperating for the time it takes to snap off a few frames. As they get bigger, there’s always one kid who is in a bad mood, which pisses the parents off, which in turn affects the other kids. Yesterday was no exception. One kid was moody. Another kid was hyper. And the other kid kept closing her eyes during pictures.

We’ve farmed out the actual picture taking to others in the past. But this was the first time since M was a baby that I was manning the camera. I shot about 250 or so frames in about at hour at two local parks. You all know I’m not a very religious person. The fact we actually got a couple keepers out of those 250 shots makes me think that miracles are possible. We were pretty happy with the final result, which should be arriving in your mail boxes in a few weeks.

Despite the drama at the parks, the girls were given the chance to pick something fun to do afterward. They selected going to a movie. So we closed out the weekend seeing Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. The girls are all way into the Harry Potter universe, S has been watching the movies, and I’m four books into the series myself. The girls liked the new movie a lot. I thought it was pretty solid. I liked how it blends some of the elements of classic comic book-based movies with the Potter/fantasy world. I’m interested to see where the series goes.

There was a lot of lying around and watching TV, reading, and brief visits from friends and family sprinkled into the break as well. Despite the usual stresses and annoyances, it was a pretty good holiday weekend.