We left around noon on Black Friday for a family wedding in Iowa City. The small wedding started at 2 and the hors d'oeuvres reception and dance didn't start until 7, which meant the kids and their cousins had about four hours to run up and down the halls of the hotel, jump on every bed in our block of rooms, and explore every square foot of the place before they made their way on the dance floor and danced until they crashed. Their energy was impressive! Cruz loved getting lots of time to hang with all the boys on Beau's side, and Mila did her best to keep up with Miss Adi and Livi! It was Mila's first wedding dance and she was exactly how we pictured her to be - completely in her element! In her little black flowered salsa dress and suede star boots, she twirled and jumped and played hard-to-get with her daddy all night long. She did, however, snag her brother's attention for a few dances and the two of them made this mama's heart melt. Gosh, I could have watched them out there forever.
Between bustin a move with his cousin, Eli, learning lots of wrestling positions from the Strother boys, and getting to stay overnight in a hotel room, Cruz was completely on cloud nine.
Nothing like a family wedding to make me stare at this for awhile and feel all kinds of things! My dream come true, dancing hand in hand. And the way she looks at him?! (Swoon!)
After spending the night sleeping in a hotel room and sharing pancakes and bacon at the IHop the next morning, we made our way back to Cedar Falls early Saturday for a lazy day around the Christmas tree. Since this is our first Christmas in our new house, it's been a little overwhelming knowing how to decorate it. I usually do it all in one shot, with garbage bags labeled with exactly the right place to go, just the right amount of lights for every shelf, mantle, and garland, and a Christmas tree that fit just right in front of our picture window. But this year was different. Little by little, I adorned these new spaces with fresh evergreen, new knitted farmhouse stockings, and new and old treasures that are favorites of mine. I simplified a little, except for the two big trees that are a little taller than our old one, and am in love with how it all came together. I pick up pine needles every morning, but the smell is totally worth it.
Cruz and Mila made a cardboard gingerbread house while Beau fluffed the tree.
This was the first year Cruz really got into the whole tree trimming thing. He loved opening up the boxes, unwrapping the contents, and exploring the ornaments that have become such treasured memories throughout the years. Beau and I both grew up in ornament families - I would receive one handmade ornament from Grandma Gail every Christmas and Beau's mom loved building Beau's collection of Hallmark ornaments that fit his interests or told a particular story of that year. It's a tradition we've loved continuing on with our kids, and love that it always unlocks so many stories around the Christmas tree. We told Cruz about Beau taking me to Shrek on our first date, and the abundance of Shrek ornaments we were gifted that following December. We showed him his Baby's First Christmas ornament, the little silver frame with our wedding picture, and the needlepoint stockings Grandma Gail made for Cruz and Mila, the last ones to hang on our tree. Cruz loved helping to hang them, while Mila loved removing their hooks! We took our time, were surprised that we had enough ornaments to fill both trees, and settled in the rest of the afternoon for popcorn, hot cocoa, and a little Arthur Christmas.
Mila liked dancing to all the musical ornaments. :)
...and she LOVED her pretty Elsa ornament from last year!