Sunday, December 31, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas season...

Here's our card... It's never too late to send us a card. We take them down mid-January and pray for people on the cards during morning prayers. 

This is how our Christmas is shaking out...

We got the tree up and lit on the 23rd... Lee wanted it decorated before we left for church on the 24th but that didn't exactly happen. 

Matching sure makes packing up a whole lot easier... Christmas church clothes, Christmas day clothes and Christmas pajamas - and I didn't even have to hunt down the Christmas pajamas because.... I remembered where I packed them!

Christmas was interesting this year since it was on a Sunday. We had liturgy that morning at 9 and then we shot over to my parents for lunch and then went to Lee's brother's for a few hours before vesperal divine liturgy. It worked out well. It was just a lot of church for a 2 yr old and a 6 month old. 

Then it was back to Grammy and Grandpa Joe's...

This year will go down as their biggest tree. It has gotten raving reviews

The early bird gets the Bumbo seat

And laughs with Grandpa Joe

The kids did not sleep in as much as we would have hoped but oh well. We didn't bother wrapping A's scooter so he had a big time riding it around the house. I think Uncle Kev might have even taken it for a spin. 

Obligatory kids pic... We actually held them off until after breakfast - which I should take a picture of. Two egg bakes and crumb cake - I'd be good with a day full of breakfast and mimosas and the occasional present. Fun times. Good food. Great family (Hi Nicole!).

I took a nod from Rosie and put something other than candy in the kids stockings (candy too) but there is SO MUCH candy so A was super content with yogurt raisins and I think those might make a comeback in Easter baskets. They are perfect for school snacks and lunches too.

All the presents were unwrapped and Grammy arranged some matchy-matchy. Then Uncle Kev and A and C and me went to visit my grandparents who recently relocated to the area. That was a short but nice visit. My grandfather strolled out to the front desk of the community and let everyone know that these were his great-grandchildren. Definitely made the visit worth it. 

Then after rests we regrouped for dinner and quick desserts (I wish we could stay longer to visit) we loaded up the Transitasaurs and headed home. 

The next day we headed over for Second Day of Christmas festivities with Lee's side of the fam-mee. 

Another day filled with fun, family and food. The cousins all went down to the park which was really neat. College aged down to mother's morning out aged - we've got some really great big kid cousins. There was lots of excitement and lots of paper and presents too. 

Another family pic!

As we continue to celebrate the Reason for the Season, it has been struggle for me personally with all the stuff. I feel like our house is bursting at the seams from the generosity of our family and friends. I need to take a step back from it all and remember what we are celebrating and why. It is my hope that our kids will also not forget the true meaning of Christmas amidst all the wrapping paper and stockings. One of them asked 'when are we going to do Christmas at our house?' and I could have screamed. What she meant was when are we going to open presents - LIKE YOU NEED MORE PRESENTS. I tried to calmly explain that Christmas is not something you do, it is something you celebrate. And opening a ton of presents has very little to do with the babe in the manger. Anyone else struggle making that connection with kids? Enlighten me... 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

On the Last Day of Advent

Advent has flown by but with as much action-packed 40 days we've had, I have had some moments of reflection in the midst of the crazy...

As I sit in the dark with the light of the freshly lit (but not decorated-yet) tree I want to remember this Advent for a few reasons. We were pretty diligent about our daily Jesse tree readings this year which makes me happy. Our Advent Activities of service and sacrifice were completed - but not nearly as spaced out or emphasized as I would have liked; maybe that's just because they are now knitted into the normal of our Advent that I don't need to make a big deal about them. We did just barely squeeze our praying at the graveyards yesterday but we did it. Thank goodness God loves those just the same who come at the 1st hour and the 11th : ) 

As for me, this Advent I really have been drawn to 2 things. 

The first is that God is showing me that I am a hypocrite. I tell my kids to tie their shoes and won't let them leave the house until they are tied and then I turn around and wear my shoes untied ALL DAY LONG. Now when I look down at my shoes I have a much different perspective - am I modeling the words that are coming out of my mouth for my kids, or am I saying 'do as I say, not as I do'. Same thing with yelling and correcting the kids. I can sit here and raise my voice and use harsh words but when they turn around and do the same, I get upset. Oh the hypocrisy of it all. I have to believe God is showing me this to change my heart so I can change my ways so to be a better mama to all these kids He has given us. I'm working on it. 

The second thing that has really struck me this Advent came twice in the form of songs the kids were singing at their programs. In one "He is the Christ, God's baby boy, let the people rejoice and sing for joy." In M's program "Moo moo says the cow, bah bah says the sheep, how in the world did God's baby sleep?" Having a baby at Christmas time really hits home and I've sat with C thinking about Mary looking down at Jesus and thinking, God's baby boy. The liturgical years flies through Jesus' childhood because not much is known about it. But when you take the time to sit down and think about God's baby boy and how awesome that is, it is pretty incredible. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

7 Quick Takes - Snow, Swim, School

Linking up with Kelly and co... Going from newest to oldest because I could probably do 4 posts just to catch up


We survived the end of year / Christmas programs and party rush. 

E and R had their program but I went to the dress rehearsal (because I got 2nd row seats and didn't have to wait in the cold for 30 minutes) but also because A would not have survived the program at 7:30. So everyone enjoyed it. E was an angel and R was a sheep - along with just about everyone in the school. I heard for DAYS... I just don't wanna be a sheep - in the saddest voice ever. Anyhow she powered though and was an excellent sheep - my rendition of one of the song Shaggy, Smelly Kids had the girls giggling. M's program was great and we could hear her sing and say her Bible verse. 

E and R had parties that I didn't go to but all the remnants came home in their book bags and I am blown away by all the STUFF that R came home with. I (and she) totally appreciate the thought but I did not and cannot send in goodies for everyone in her class because then I'd have to do it times 4 kids and that would be 60 goodies. Even A came home with a pudding cup with reindeer antlers and a eyes and a nose (very cute I must say) but honestly I can BARELY get the teacher gifts out the door. I cannot fathom doing classmate gifts too. 

M wanted me to come to her party which entailed watching her eat : ) and stories, songs and Bible verses. It was cute and enjoyable but then she came home telling everyone there was no food at her party - which I promptly reminded her that was a lie and then we went over the consequences for lying... apple cider vinegar. 


This past week we were in town for church. Papa was on deacon duty here in the Mount and so I figured if I can handle 5 kids at Mass sola - I can handle 5 kids at Dunkin after mass sola... 

They did do quite well in church so they earned it. A made it in church up until he wanted to help the ushers take the gifts up and got called back - then he LOST it. He got it together and then was in and out for the rest of Mass - which isn't too bad for him. 

Donuts were enjoyed by all and C slept through the sugar rush : ) 


On Saturday I got down to baking because teacher/neighbor/friend/people who deserve pound cake gifts were in order. I made 6 batches in total - 3 Saturday and 3 Tuesday and I'm pretty sure I could use another batch or two

We have lots of people who help make our world go around so that means lots of pound cake

Then the kids unwrapped 8 bags of hugs for our sweet and salty M&M bites. I was impressed A helped and didn't even try and sneak one. Next year I need to use parchment paper with these and I could probably use another 2-3 bags of hugs!

Hopefully next year E can do the bulk of the M&M pressing and hug loading. 


R lost her first tooth!

It had been loose for a while and finally one day after school I wouldn't let her got play until it was out because I was convinced she was going to lose it or swallow it while she was playing. She nervously grabbed a Kleenx and popped it out herself. 

She was super proud of herself and E got put it her place because E was a nervous wreck everytime she loses a tooth. E noted that R didn't even cry. It was awesome. 

The tooth fairy remembered to come so all is well. 


We have had some swimming to report... 

I finally got R and M in for lessons and then I didn't think they'd happen before Christmas but fortunately they found someone to do them. The girls are having a blast and beg to go to lessons so I hope they can be free swimmers before the end of winter - it might be a stretch though

E had a swim meet a few weekends ago. She did a 50 and 100 of LEGAL breaststroke - which is awesome considering a few months ago it was still very much not legal. She almost got a time in 200 IM but those last few strokes of fly DQed her or rather she got herself DQed : ( 


The weekend of E's swim meet there was a touch of winter weather... 

So after surviving returning to Target because we were double charged for a birthday gift

And surviving the party with 4 kids - Y pool party complete with me in a bathing suit and showering kids in Y locker room because that's way easier than at home

Everyone got a small taste of snow

And then we went to a Christmas party - see the snow?



These magic clear markers from Crayola are amazing especially for A. Last minute gift ideas for the 2-4 crowd. 

have you finished shopping? I think we are done. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

St. Nicholas Day 2017

Coming home from late night Vespers and setting up for St. Nicholas without Papa's help is not fun but it's totally worth it.

There were some tough decision made in regards to what to give St. Nicholas (our kids have to go through their toys and give St. Nicholas a pile to take). Even Lee commented about some of their selections but WE CANNOT KEEP EVERYTHING! Lee went through his closet and gave St. Nicholas a huge bag to take! 

This is one of my favorite scenes... the darkness, the candles, the peace, the excitement

We were at church late the night before and it was an early morning. I think I should just plan on taking the kids to school late every St. Nicholas Day. 

We have everyone go in together so there is no peeking. 

A was excited and confused

St. Nicholas brought Papa and I a Charlie Brown nativity set - we needed a new one and this is super cute! 

Everyone else got cereal, a book, toothpaste, soap, and socks. E had written a note to St. Nicholas so I wrote her back (for him of course) in cursive : ) 

Then we feasted on cinnamon rolls and caught up on Jesse tree

C did not get any rolls

A was a sticky mess

M perked up 

R wanted another

E might have actually gotten another

Next year I'd like to be a bit more up on my St. Nicholas game and get the girls icons of the saints they dressed up as for All Saints Day - I think this really help them remember but I struggled this year to find a Our Lady of the Snows Icons. I think I might get peg dolls for Pascha baskets. I had thought about signing them up for a monthly Lego delivery but I thought better of it since we have had medical expenses out the wazoo this year. 

St. Nicholas, pray for us!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Week in My Life - Thursday

Oh today was good...

A was up bright and early for some good snuggles which I'm glad to have some time for

The it was off to the races with breakfast and getting dressed and praying and stuff and stuff

The Catholic school girls were running late. Literally. 

They weren't moving at quite the speed I needed - like you are late. You need to run to the van, not walk. 

So I drove up the first hill and hid in the side street and my neighbor called to make sure we were okay. Just teaching the girls a lesson, you know. So I think some lesson was learned. There was tears and discussion of what they would have done if I had really left them - like going to ask our neighbors to use the phone to call Papa and he would have been REALLY MAD. 


I was happy to note that E would not leave R. E lugged some of R's stuff up the hill because she couldn't carry it (because she hadn't put it in her book bag). She's a great big sister. 

After the drop offs I went to get my glasses fixed because about a month after I got them fixed earlier this year (right before C was born) A got a hold of them and they are mangled. That was a pointless trip since the glasses people weren't there ; ( 

Then off to drop the microbus off for an oil change - hi Uncle Kevin, evidence I did it. 

C and I hung out at work - which is slow now that people aren't really using their pools 

Before I got the girls from school I had time to work on M's stocking - yes I'm that far behind : (

And there's A's stocking waiting in the wings

We met up at Jibbe's for dinner because that's what we do

We stopped for gas on the way home and yes Lee pumps my gas whenever he's around.