Josie had a luncheon at her school the week before Thanksgiving, which went sooo much better than last year's. She was still getting used to her new school last year and her language skills weren't as good, so leaving her (sobbing) after the luncheon so she could attempt to take a nap in a room full of other (sobbing) kids was heart-breaking. But this time we were able to explain to her that we would be coming for lunch, leaving afterward to go back to work, and then would be back after nap time like usual. Being able to prepare her seemed to work really well, since she squealed and ran up to hug us both when we got there, saved us seats next to her (so cute!), did well eating, showed us some of the stuff around her classroom, wanted to be held just for a little while, and then happily pushed us out the door when it was all done.
For Thanksgiving proper, we hosted for both sides of our local families again, and everything went off without a hitch (with no side dishes discovered after everyone had left like last year!). I'm not sure if I can entirely blame this on the fancy new meat thermometer Ryan splurged on, but it possibly made a huge difference that we knew immediately when the turkey got up to temperature so we could pull it out and just keep it under low heat until everyone got there (it ended up done almost 2 hours earlier than usual too - maybe from not opening the oven a bunch of times to check the temperature?), since it was remarkably moist and delicious, even in leftovers. Josie had fun playing with her cousins, with Taylor braiding her hair into an "Elsa braid", and coloring and drawing with Christian. She got to sit up with her cousins at the "big kids" peninsula (for the first time without any parental hovering!), and claimed she was thankful for Mommy, Daddy, and Audra :)
She also had her first official play date, which she kind of pushed me into organizing for her after she and her friend had decided on their own that N. was going to come home with us after school, which led to some shenanigans several days in a row as I tried to get out the door with only my kid in tow. I figured if they were going to put that much effort into having N. come over, I could at least try to actually make it happen :) So we set up a play date for the next weekend, and Josie was so excited for N. to come over after their naps that Josie barely slept and then she came out of her room on her own afterward (still a rare occasion). They were both a little shy at first, until a switch suddenly flipped and they both started running back and forth, from where we were in the sun room to the living room to bounce off the couch there, screaming with glee the whole time. They did very well playing together, and once Audra got back from her walking nap with Ryan, they included Audra to some degree as well - N. was enthralled with her, and Josie suddenly started laying more claim to "her baby" than she normally does ;)
Speaking of sweets, Halloween just about drove us crazy. Josie is normally a very good eater, but we couldn't quite find a satisfactory way to deal with the candy she got for Halloween. She was fine with only having one piece a day, but no matter if she had it before, after, during, or nowhere near a meal, she devolved into basically taking a "no thank you" bite of each thing on her plate for her actual meals and then calling it good. I took several passes through her candy to thin it out (gradually leaving her with one of each thing and bringing the rest to work), and it still took over a month to get through all of it... and with her annoying eating, it seemed to take all the longer. But then she would also decide whatever I was eating was infinitely more appealing than the (usually comparable) food on her plate, and tried to convince me through flattery to give her my food ("I like your carrots, Mommy, they're so beautiful").
We also had our very first parent-teacher conference last month, which Ryan went to (and recorded for me) while I stayed home with the kids. Her teacher confirmed that Josie is doing very well, and does a good job advocating for herself. She's doing particularly well with her letters, and can now write "Josie", "Mommy", and sometimes our last name on her own ("Audra" is taking a bit more time!), and a favorite pastime lately has been for her to announce different words for us to spell so that she can write them.
[Hanging out in the bathtub, naturally]
[Lots of Thanksgiving goofy faces]
[When Josie realized a chili pepper was not a little carrot :( ]