Saturday, March 28, 2015

christmas 2014

We had another wonderful Christmas Day.
This year nobody woke up super early or accidentally went out to see the presents too early.   
And best of all no one was sick.
We started the morning by gathering in Mom and Dad's bed and putting baby Jesus in the manger that the kids had been collecting hay in for all their good deeds.  Then we sang "Happy Birthday" to him to help everyone remember the real importance of the day.  Then it was time to run out and see what Santa had brought.
The boys were excited to find these two rather large boxes of Future Planet Playmobil...
They got building as soon as possible...
Nora promptly found the stroller and Cabbage Patch Doll that Santa had left for her...
Then she ran around the house pushing it like a maniac...
Once she finally stopped that she noticed that Santa had brought her some other things, too...
Her tiny tea set was a big hit.  She loved giving spoonfuls or tea to her new baby.
Aunt Nat got to be there for all the early morning fun.
We were sad that Aunt Angie couldn't be with us this year, but she got to be there not only in spirit, but on her phone as well...
Santa brought lots of fun pirate gear for the boys, but everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Our house was full of bandits and robbers...
Well, okay, Baabee actually brought the big bag of money for the boys. 
He also brought some Aunts and Uncles with him as well.
Since Aunt Erin couldn't enjoy the Bloody Mary's, Nora gladly made her some fancy tea.
The kids loved showing off all their new loot to everyone...
We also Skyped in Nano and Nana so they could watch the boys open the shields and swords that they smuggled secretly from Disneyland...
Gus also got a full knight costume which he immediately wanted to wear...
Mom and Dad gave Nora a cradle for her babies which she immediately put to use..
Jimmy got a wooden baseball pinball game that was a big hit with all the boys... especially Uncle Danny who was just a bit jealous...
We also had a delicious breakfast of strata, cinnamon crisps, and other treats...
Then the boys wanted to get back to building their toys while everyone else took some time to relax...
Then the kids had a surprise visit from our dear friends the Kerstings who were in town visiting.
Gus was pretty excited to see his best best buddy Kolbe.  Blaise was big enough now to be in on all their sword fights.  I think that is all they did the whole time they were over.
What is better than getting to see your best friends on Christmas?
That night we headed over to the Burch house for more food and fun.
I didn't bring my camera, but sometimes that is best.  Then I just don't even have to think about taking pictures anymore and this blog post ends up being slightly shorter.
It was a great day for us all and we feel very blessed.

Monday, March 23, 2015

christmas eve 2014

We were so blessed to have Aunt Natalie staying with us for Christmas.  
On Christmas Eve, we all went to mass at our church.  
Nora practiced her prayer hands ahead of time.
The kids all look forward to their post-church visit to Baby Jesus.
After we got home, Gus and Nora did an adorable dance performance on our coffee table...
The boys let Nora put Baby Jesus in the manager of our felt Advent Calendar.
The boys finally got to set up their train.
Apparently Nora thought it was crazy...
The kids all got to open a present from Mom and Dad.
This year it was books.  They each got one Christmas book and one other that we thought would be special for them:
King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table for Gus, Treasure Island for Jimmy, and Noisy Nora for Nora.
We did our best to get the kids in bed before it got too late, but before that they had to write a note to Santa to leave by the milk and cookies.

Monday, March 16, 2015

our advent season 2014

I love December. Even though I can't help but cram as many activities and events into one month, I still love it.  Is it exhausting?  Yes, sometimes.  Is it worth it?  Well, I am still doing it to myself year after year, but I suppose only time will tell.  I would currently say, "Yes.  It is worth it."  Me in five years might disagree.
I try my best to keep in the true spirit of the season and not let Santa overshadow Jesus, but we still love Santa in our house.  I am a firm believer that it can all live happily together.  My kids know that Santa only brings them presents for Jesus' birthday.  They know Jesus is the reason for the season.  Now here is a taste of our Advent and hopefully, you will understand why I am just posting about it all in March.
Just one of our many advent calendars to start the season...
What better way to start the season then by getting on your old Halloween costumes to watch Charlie Brown Christmas...
St. Nicholas brought a few small gifts in honor of his feast day.  
He also reminded my kids that they better be on their best behavior until Christmas.
The boys love helping Dad get the lights up...
We always write our letters to Santa early so that there are no last minute gift requests...
Once it is in the mail, Mom says there is no changing your mind.
We attempted real family photos this year.
The kids might have wanted to leave after taking two pictures.
There might have been some fighting between two grown-ups who will go unnamed.
I might not be particularly happy with any of the pictures despite the fact that I forced my family to take more than any of them wanted.
Or maybe none of that is true and it all went perfectly.
I guess it is up for you to decide.
Okay, I shouldn't complain.
My family is pretty cute no matter what.
These ones below are better examples of how most of them turned out. 
Always someone ruining it with closed eyes right? 
These will probably be sent to my dad to photoshop into being half way decent.
We did get a pretty good one of my dad and all his grandkids...
We were battling against a setting sun, but the bridge at least added a cool background...
We did have fun being with our cousins.
Afterwards, we had bribed them with pizza and a visit to "The Santa House" near the Burch's.
We are usually pretty late to get our tree.  As much as I would love to have it up the whole month, it just never lasts that long.  We go a weekend or two before Christmas and then try to keep it up until at least New Year's or possibly Epiphany if it isn't too much of a fire hazard by then.
The night we decorate the tree is probably one of my very favorites...
I usually try to get one crafty thing done with my kids during Advent.
This year the boys decided on Pinecone Christmas Trees.
Nora insisted on being one of the big kids so I let her paint with the green water.
Our traditional Christmas cookie is Shortbread which is not only delicious, but a whole lot of messy fun...
I should have taken pictures of what the floor looked like after all this.   
I think Nora thought getting flour on the floor was part of the whole process.
We went with our friends, the Pauls, and Baabee to the Light Parade,.
I am sort of over taking pictures of that so here is a cute one of some of us and our friends with their front yard manger...
Gus and I got to have a special date with some friends to see The Nutcracker at Symphony Hall.
Mimi took us to Fashion Square Mall to visit Santa.
It was quite an elaborate set-up this year sponsored by HGTV.  Among the many crazy activities while you stood in line, was a "Naughty or Nice Machine."  We had to hold our breath, but my kids all made it on the Nice List.  (Jimmy did like to point out that his meter was the highest and Gus' was the lowest.)
The biggest surprise was that we also got to meet Mrs.Claus!  She was so sweet and motherly, that Nora went to her with open arms and happily posed for pictures.  I may have been the happiest of all since it was all free and I didn't pay for the overpriced photos this time.  They didn't even try to stop me from taking pictures on my phone.  Awesome!
As usual we joined Baabee on his hunt for a gigantic tree...
It is made even more fun by the fact that all our family comes to town in time for it.
This year we had Uncle Danny, Aunt Nat, and Aunt Erin and Uncle Gene.
Anyone else think Baabee is channeling Santa these days?...