Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emma!

5 years ago my little girl came into the world. I knew life would be different with a girl, and each day I feel so blessed to watch you grow and learn. My Emma, the little mommy, always willing to help me - searching, organizing, outfit selection, cooking and especially shopping. You are never out of questions or conversation, and I can always ask for your help in remembering something because you are so good at it. I have loved this year of schooling with you, and am so impressed that you are already reading! You have learned Patrick's lessons just by listening and answer Math questions quicker than him sometimes. There is always a song on your lips, a stuffed animal or doll at your fingertips and a dance in your feet. I think you would be your happiest with a paintbrush/crayon/marker in one hand and a Barbie in the other. You bring such joy to our home and our family, and I am so happy that God has given you to us. Keep your joy forever, sweet little girl! I love you so much!

There must be a mouse in the house

I made Emma's cake the night before, left it to cool, and this is what I came to this morning.

One doesn't look quite as bad as the other. This child wasn't very hungry for breakfast. I'll give you a hint: it WASN'T the birthday girl!

If I put enough icing between them, do you think anyone will notice?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas highlights

After Christmas Eve Mass, we decided to let the kids open one present. Baby Jesus is put in the manger, and the kids were so excited to open their gift! My mom and dad came and spent the night at our house after going to the midnight Mass. It was really special to share Christmas morning with my parents, and to enjoy the time with them.

Christmas morning arrived! Happy Birthday, Jesus! Baby Jesus was put in the other manger, and we were ready!

Look at my cuties. I love this picture, though I was hoping for a dressed-up version with all of us, but this one is just precious.
William just LOVES Elmo (and he says it really well too), and this gift was a hit!
Wii have now joined the current century.

It has been a whirlwind weekend visiting both families, and Patrick has been detirmined to have a "Wii party" at the house. He has invited all the relatives over to play the new games, and we finally had some cousins over last night at about 8:30. I think they had a really good time, but the most fun was watching the kids play the games.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Before the Marvel of This Night

Before the marvel of this night
adoring fold your wings and bow,
then tear the sky apart with light
and with your news the world endow,
proclaim the birth of Christ and peace,
that fear and death and sorrow cease.
Sing peace, sing peace, sing gift of peace,
sing peace, sing gift of peace.

Awake the sleeping world with song,
this is the day the Lord has made,
assemble here, celestial throng,
in royal splendor come arrayed.
Give earth a glimpse of heavenly bliss,
a teasing taste of what they miss.
Sing bliss, sing bliss, sing endless bliss,
sing bliss, sing endless bliss.

The love that we have always known,
our constant joy and endless light,
now to the love-less world be shown,
now break upon its deathly night.
Into one song compress the love
that rules our universe above.
Sing love, sing love, sing God is love,
sing love, sing God is love.

Christmas carol by Carl Schalk

Monday, December 21, 2009

"It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter.."

"..when the snow comes to cover the ground" in a record snowfall in December! I think we had about 20 inches. The snow fell for over 24 hours, and it was just amazing how much snow we had and still have everywhere.

There's Emma stuck in the snow, where the sidewalk used to be in her new snow duds. I am hoping they fit next year!
Somehow, I only manage to bring my camera outside when it is dark, but to be honest, I like how the camera catches the snowflakes in the pictures. It was so lovely!

William LOVED watching the snow fall and kept pointing and telling us all about it each time he went into the sunroom windows.

Tommy took the snow from his shoveling and made a fort in the front year. It is enormous, and I could barely see Patrick over the pile. The kids loved it.

Here are the kids playing in the fort with a neighbor friend. He came outside just because we were out, and I think it's so nice to enjoy the snow together.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Until I can get my thoughts together....

...I will let Danielle Bean say it for me. This is exactly how I feel, and how I would like Christmas to be with my kids.

Friday, December 18, 2009

This and That....

  • We are expecting snow. LOTS of snow. I am not sure I am fully prepared. I think I need to make a grocery store run, but I think my bags would come home filled with chocolate, cookies, chips, and maybe some toilet paper. To be honest, that's all I'm concerned with right now!
  • We had to go shopping to be sure we had proper snow clothing, since the snow may stick around a while. We managed to find some for the one who really needed them (Emma, who grows like a weed) at TJMaxx, but discovered a run on snowsuits at Target. Not one to be found.
  • Did I mention how excited I am that Tommy's Christmas vacation starts TONIGHT!?!?! He has off until after the new year. *dancing a jig* "He's home! He's home! He's home with Bonnie Jean!" (name that movie, siblings!) Part of this will be for catching up on Honey Dew list, but that is part of my Christmas present.
  • Maybe I should add popcorn to my list from the store? And some movies?
  • Speaking of movies, we finally saw UP! the other night. I was very glad I had a box of tissues nearby. Tommy didn't get to see the whole thing, but I think that will be one that we just might own. There are some other Disney ones that we have, but I'd rather not. Ya know?
  • Oh, and paper towels.
  • William is talking so much lately, and his favorite thing is to have a ball in his hands. Of any kind. I gave him a meatball the other night for dinner, and told him "William, it's a meatball." His eyes lit up and he said "Put-ball!" (football) His favorite word. Ever.
  • For the last 2 Christmases, I have been making a photo calendar for the Reynolds Family on Snapfish and it has been a hit. I really enjoy doing it, and I love that Tommy's family seems to enjoy it as well. I know my kids love it, and it reminds them to pray for their family, especially on their birthdays and whatnot. Well, I discovered that in all the years that I have known Tommy, I have been spelling his Sister-in-law's name WRONG! Ack. I am a kind of (oh, in things like this?? I SO AM) a perfectionist, and that is just making me so frustrated. All these years?!!?? Seriously!?!? Tommy says he's not a proof reader, so it's no big deal, but boy, it is to me. That's her name, y'all. So, needless to say, I had to fix it. I had to fix it and send her one that has it correct. It's wrong on everyone else's though, since I purchased them with a coupon. Sigh.
  • Can you tell me why my kids get up at the crack of dawn? We can start with that question, but I want to expand on it. They get up at the crack of dawn, play and play and play and fight and play some more. But as soon as they see me, they want breakfast. Now, these kids have been getting their own breakfasts for at least a year and half, or at least since I had William. Do I look like a piece of toast or a scrambled egg? They still do it themselves, but only when I show my disheveled self on the stairs.
  • We were at the Knight's Hall the other night for a Scout meeting, and Tommy was holding William. All of the sudden he says "Papa!" He was looking at the pictures of the Grand Knight's above the door, and there is a picture of my dad!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas tree! Thy lights are so unblinking

I love Christmas lights. LOVE them. I think a tree needs to be COVERED in lights to make it just right. I am a bit of a nut when it comes to lights on our tree, and I'll tell you how. We have a pre-lit tree. I add more lights to the tree. I told you. I'm a nut.

We finally put the tree up, but it was a few days to get everything on it (since I go overboard). The kids are so excited to put ornaments on the tree that one morning I was awakened to chimes - the same chimes on one of our ornaments. My little elves wanted to get started nice and early.

Emma was the biggest helper, as was William who climbed on the step ladder every time I got up.

My favorite part of the tree is a strand of candle lights that I add just to the front (I think you can see it if you click on the picture). It has such a happy glow, doesn't it? I don't know. I think I could have put more lights on there. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

St. Nicholas Cookies

Christmas season has officially started when the St. Nicholas cookies are baked. The Christmas music is playing (mostly the Bing Crosby White Christmas, j-j-j-j-jingle bells!), snow falling, dough being rolled, cookies cut out, flour flying in the air and the smell of cookies is in the air. I LOVE this tradition!
Patrick doesn't enjoy quite as much as Emma, but he is happy to help, or at least pose for a picture. (oh my, pay no attention to the kitchen in the background)
This is William's excited face. It cracks me up!

The red cutters are the same as my mom has: baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherd, king and angel. Emma kept trying to do a Halloween cookie cutter, since it was mixed in with the others. I had to explain that we will use that another time, and we need to stick to Christmas themed. She is such a good helper.

(on a side note, I love baking on my Stoneware, because I can't burn the cookies if I forget them!) We have tons of cookies, and if you stop by, we are happy to share! ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Potty Humor

When my sister had the first grandchild, I watched him grow up, learning these little phrases for things and enjoyed all of it, hoping that my kids would do some cute things like that. One of the things he did was call his toots "burps" and I just thought that was so cute. Well, I have tried to teach my kids that word instead of some others, but Tommy has again changed the rules. I had a regular burp after a large sip of coke, said "excuse me" and commented that I seemed to have a few of those after drinking so fast. Emma chimed in, "Yeah, well, I had 2 barking spiders in the bathroom!"

Works for me!

About 10 years of doing tree lights, and I finally figured out how to keep my hands safe. I saw it on a show called Design Inc. (which me and my kids love). Gardening gloves. Just brilliant. My hands are so dry this time of year, and doing lights or just messing with my artficial tree branches leaves my hands just sore and scratched to bits. I am not a gardener, so I had to go out and purchase a cheap pair at the store, but I am going to put them in my Christmas box to have them handy next year. My hands are so happy today!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Big Snowfall!

SNOW! We were so excited to have snow the night we made our St. Nicholas cookies. The kids decided to head out with Lauren, Mr. Mike and Daddy. It was kind of late, and the mish-mash of snow outfits was quite comical. Emma's pants came to mid-calf, and barely covered her arms. I think a trip to the store is in order before the next outing.
William's boots were too big, and he would fall over, and only get to this position on his way up. It was soo funny.
Off they go in the sled!

William was pretty excited about the snow, and loved looking out the window. I could hear his excitement over the phone when I called from work.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Christmas Gift

One Christmas, many years ago, I had a wish. That wish was for a certain doll. Just that doll, it was all that I asked for. I was so excited on Christmas to receive THAT doll from my family, and called her by the name that everyone told me she was: Strawberry Shortcake. She was a rag doll, with long legs, cuddly, purple and sweet. I LOVED this doll, and was so happy to be able to have it.

Did any of you catch that? She was a shade of purple. Lilac, to be exact. I don't think I ever suspected anything until I was an adult. Only then did they confess to me that she was not, in fact, Strawberry Shortcake. Their story is that they searched everywhere but to no avail. So, they concocted a scheme for the one they did find. Isn't that sneaky? I was young enough not to know, or care. But my sister confessed to me that she still feels bad about it. You know what? I'm not upset about it, but to be honest I would love to find the "real" one, since I remember how much I loved that doll, even though it wasn't THE doll.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Advent

"Purple=Preparation" my kids learned in the Atrium class. We are preparing for Jesus' birthday with our wreath and our empty manger in the center to remind us of his coming. Each night we light a candle and add another as the weeks continue towards Christmas. These are the prayers that we say (same ones we said at my table growing up!) from the Catholic Culture Website (great resource). On a side note, don't you just love my table runner??? Fits in perfectly with the season!

I am so excited to show you my new manger! My brother-in-law made this for me, and though it still needs to be sanded and painted, I am putting it out anyways. (He actually made a pattern and made it to match the one we have at my Mom's house.) Growing up, we would have an empty manger set up at the beginning of Advent. Our goal was to fill it with straw: those being our little penances, prayers, or good deeds. As a child I remember wanting to fill that bed for Jesus and make it extra soft for Him, and to give Him those "presents" for His birthday. This is the first year that I am trying this with my kids, and I hope that it makes a big impression on them. I hope it helps them to think about others, especially Jesus, instead of what they want for Christmas.

We have some great feast days this month, but my favorite is St. Nicholas on Sunday. Our family always made the speculaas cookies from the Cooking for Christ cookbook. It's always a fun family time which involves rolling, cutting, baking and Christmas music.

If you are looking for some other ideas for St. Nicholas day, visit my sister's blog, as well as the recipe (she is my go-to source for many of my liturgical year questions, so I'll keep linking as long as she keeps writing! :).