As previously mentioned, Al's 14th birthday was November 15th. Although Zach sent her flowers on the big day, we didn't get a chance to celebrate in person until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Our friends Justin and Jenny who live about an hour away came to spend the night and celebrate Allie with us. Birthday festivities began at Sweet Tomatoes, Allie's choice of dinner destinations. At first glance, one might think this is a healthy restaurant, but it is really a carb coma disguised as a salad bar. Haha!
Thursday morning I got to work preparing our Thanksgiving feast. On the alternating years we don't have Allie for Thanksgiving, Zach and I go to Florida to spend the holiday with my extended family. On the years we do have her, we stay home (so she doesn't have to travel twice) and have a small, quiet gathering around our own family table. I actually kinda like the rotation - one year I cook everything and the next I'm pretty much a freeloader at my parent's house. It all balances out I guess. :)
This year's table was very simple and natural - just flowers, candles, and a brown woven tablecloth.
Since I spent all Thanksgiving morning in the kitchen, we spent all Thanksgiving afternoon/evening lounging around the house, watching movies and enjoying each other's company. So much to be thankful for!
On Friday it was time to get in the Christmas spirit and finally address the fresh cut tree sitting in my living room. Like always, dad dropped off our tree the weekend before Thanksgiving after his annual Christmas tree trek to NC. Our tree was perfect- the perfect size, the perfect rich green color, and the prefect Christmasy SCENT! I love love love having a Christmas tree in my house!
Allie rockin' her birthday duster, jeweled headband, and feather earrings. Such a little hipster. :) (In comparison, it cracks me up to remember how I looked in 8th grade - baggy t shirt, Umbro shorts, classic Adidas shoes... juuust slightly tomboyish. Haha! Allie definitely has the edge on me. :))
Besides a lot of just chill time at home, Allie and I enjoyed an afternoon of shopping on Saturday. Our little town of Duluth has some really quaint shops that we love to peruse. This time, everything had been decorated for Christmas and carried an enchanted, holiday glimmer.
Some of our favorite finds...
I also couldn't help but let Allie pick out some holiday sweets to enjoy between now and when we are together again after Christmas. She picked chocolate covered espresso beans (no surprise there)
Even though our time with Allie always seems to be so quick and never long enough, I am consistently amazed to see how God exponentially increases what we do have, it's like our own version of the loaves and fish bible story. He takes what seems like an impossible task and not only "makes it work", but blesses us beyond our wildest dreams. We are so grateful for so many things, especially the promise that God loves our dear Allie, has such an intentional plan for her life, and has generously blessed us with the opportunity to be her parents and walk with her through life.