Josh and I arrived in Colorado on Thursday and pulled into his aunt and uncle's driveway minutes before the Thanksgiving meal was ready. It was a fantastic feast: turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and pie and all of what you'd expect at Thanksgiving. I also got to try my first green bean casserole and it rocked my socks. Yum! We played tag and kickball outside, and it was sunny and about 75 degrees, which obviously felt amazing. There is not much that's better than running around in a t-shirt, chasing goofballs in a serious game of tag.
Speaking of: Josh has a large and wonderful extended family, but two characters you should meet right away are his now-four-year-old niece and five-year-old nephew, who we will call La La and Loco, respectively. These are two of many family nicknames for these critters. We love them both dearly and I rarely laugh as hard as I do when I'm spending time with them.
Here I am with the two of them. I'm kicking off my Colorado report with this photo because it's representative of our time with the kids. These two are rarely still.
I handed a time-honored tradition in my family over to Loco, and he took to the challenge well: tackling the Thanksgiving "Oh, You Turkey!" Star Tribune coloring contest. By the time he was finished, he concluded that his effort was probably better than my sister's back in Minnesota.
At this point, Reader, I should admit to a bit of revisionist history, so to speak. I wrote on Friday that I would not be partaking in too much Black Friday madness because I was in a town without much Black Friday shenanigans. Well, this was totally false. I found myself at Walmart at 10 p.m. on Thursday, wading through hundreds of shoppers clutching two kinds of coffeemakers and frantically trying to find a telescope with Josh on behalf of Josh's sister-in-law, Dawn. We ended up being pretty successful, and the group effort was completely necessary. It was utter, complete madness. In between stalking deals, Josh and I picked up a few groceries for our temporary home's fridge. The people in front of us in the checkout line was like, "You braved this for that?" I couldn't blame them.
The next day, preparation began for the big event of the weekend: La La's fourth birthday party. For this occasion, she had requested her first manicure. On Friday morning, her mom and I headed over to the salon (Josh: "When are you going to the shop for nails?" La La: "It's not a shop, it's a salon") and met another cousin, who works there and was in charge of La La's nails. (And mine, too. La La tried to stick me with a weird mauve-y color and I asked her if she was okay with a dark pink instead, and she agreed that it was fine.)
Anyway, she sat still long enough to (mostly) get a successful manicure. (Ashley did a great job with her.) I asked her to show me her nails afterward. Isn't this kind of how we all feel after a good manicure?
And don't we all feel like doing a little dance afterward, too?
By Saturday, it was party time. I was left alone for approximately 20 minutes and apparently stumbled on how much I love making paper snowflakes. This theme will probably resurface in the next week or two. I have plans. But just skip over the fact that this snowflake has eight points instead of the traditional six.
We all met at a local community center to set up and decorate the space for the lady's princess-themed party. I was in charge of crepe paper (and loved every minute of it). La La eventually wore what I had hung in the window. Who am I kidding? By the end of the party, I was wearing it, too.
Lots and lots of extended family and friends came, and La La had a blast. We ate pizza and cake and ice cream. The kids played Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Josh held up a pinata because the ceiling didn't have any appropriate hooks for it, and the kids went crazy for it. Presents were opened.
Meanwhile, Loco was helpful, especially regarding supervising the balloon supply.
La La was very proud of her "high-heeled dancing shoes," which she wore on Thanksgiving and again for her birthday party. I'd be proud of these guys if they were mine, too.
I love her zest for life. Shouldn't we all spend our birthdays dancing around with a balloon?
That covers the basic, basic basics of the weekend's key events. Much more to come later, including the best newspaper feature I've ever seen. It's good to be home, but we miss everyone already. It was a great weekend.