Friday, July 14, 2017

christmas day 2017


 After a few early wake ups and a few that needed prodding we gathered in Mom and Dad's bed to put Jesus in the manger and sing him "Happy Birthday."
Our baby woke up like a little rejoicing angel...
Then it was time to run out and see what Santa brought.  Among the favorites were two Star Wars Legos and Cardinals gear for the boys and Nora's requested Playmobil princess set.   Francie got a new baby swing for outside and My Little Ponies along with Nora.
We were so happy to have Aunt Nat there to share in the joy!
After all the Santa gifts were fully explored it was time to open a few things from under the tree.  Gus got a bow and arrow from mom and dad, which might have been the favorite is it wasn't for the amazing cardinals gear he was ready to pose in at any moment. I think it was a toss up.
Nora got some Wizard of Oz figures from Mom and Dad...
Jimmy got a Talk Boy from Mom and Dad, but I didn't get any pictures of it.
His Legos were certainly his favorite thing and he was anxious to get at them...
The boys gave both of their sisters some Strawberry Shortcakes and we all gave Dad a statue of St. Joseph...
I was there, too..
Nora spent a lot of time reading to Francie from her Nativity Board book...
We had a delicious breakfast of strata...
And we headed out to the beautiful Phoenix weather to play with the new soccer goals that Aunt Nat and Aunt Angie gave the kids...
Santa Baabee soon joined us...
We started a very serious game of Labyrinth but Zach and Nat realized they were too serious so they lightened things up a bit...
I am not really sure what else happened for awhile, but I think watched most of A Muppet Christmas Carol and tried to rest.  Francie was our cozy little elf all day but she decided to out of her jammies for the evening party at the Burch's house.
Gus' godparent's Aunt Emmy and Uncle Pete gave him this giant Nerf Gun which Gus lovingly refers to as his "sniper."
While the grown-ups played some games outside the kids got cozy to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol again because it really just is the best...
Who knows how late it was by the time we got home, but we all passed out quickly after a great Christmas!  

Monday, July 10, 2017

advent 2016

After Mass on the first Sunday of Advent, I let the kids start getting out decorations.  
Usually we start with our nativity sets.
We try to get our lights up the first weekend, too, but this year we were later than usual.
(Getting them down is a whole other feat)
Dot and Nora made their own little game and then performance where Nora played Mary and Dot was the angel Gabriel.  
Martha was another angel who was loudly singing songs of praise.
Aunt Angie couldn't come from Christmas this year so we got an early visit from her instead.
We decided to visit "The Santa House" to see some good lights.  Unfortunately, a few minutes after being there, Gus fell into on of the small fish ponds and completely soaked one whole half of his body (like as in he fell in sideways).  I was right next to him and tried to grab him but didn't fast enough.  I pulled him up and tried (also unsuccessfully) to get him to not cry.  Zach carried him back to the car sobbing and tried to dry him off.  We didn't have any extra clothes so Zach stripped him down to his underpants and wrapped him in a blanket and pushed him back in the umbrella stroller--Disaster mostly averted.  Good thing we live in Phoenix.
It was one of those things that is super sad at the time, but will always be a funny store to tell.   We were reminded after the fact that his cousin, Finn, also fell in that pond once.  We also went to the Zoo with Angie and we had lots of laughs constantly telling Gus not to fall in any bodies of water.   Having Angie here was a good start to the season.
On the Feast of St. Nicholas all the shoes were filled with goodies and Mini-figures...
Letters were written and mailed to Santa.
Francie continued to be cute and hilarious...
and very cozy...
Sometimes husbands love only taking pictures of you when you look like a mess, and that makes you super grateful when a friend snaps a picture of you that you actually like despite it being from the profile and having messy, very gray hair.... But hey that is just me these days.
I tried to do a little photoshoot with the kids as a present for Zach...
But then when he got home from work and we were still in the middle of it, I made him hop in for a family photo...
We got our Christmas tree which is always a favorite night for everyone...
Nora isn't the youngest anymore, but until Francie is bigger she gets to put up the star.
As you can see she wasn't so excited about it at first.  Once Zach got it actually stuck on, she gladly posed for a picture...
We made our shortbread cookies...
Nora did it with a ring of flour around her eye the whole time. 
Her brothers said she looked like a little puppy dog.
Gus had his Kindergarten Christmas Pageant.
He was the letter Q for the "Quiet Stable in Bethlehem Town."
He was an adorable angel...
Since Mimi and Johnny were going to New York for Christmas, we had a week early Christmas celebration with them at the Burch's house.
Martha was loving on Francie...
We went to see a live nativity play with some friends at a Church by our house..
I am always happy to get my babies into this funny bear suit..
We did our grand tour of Christmas lights around town...
Jake and Aunt Nat helped us make some of our shortbread into fun shapes to decorate.
We made a whole cookie nativity scene...
We got in a little Catan and we made use of Baabee's wristers...
The Kerstings arrived and we made a crazy Gingerbread house...
Some Smeck ladies came by to finally meet Francie...
On Christmas Eve-Eve the kids got a fun letter from Santa delivered by our kind postal worker.
Then we went to help Baabee pick out his giant tree.
Then that night Baabee had us over to his house for Christmas Eve-Eve...
He let the kids throw snow confetti on the tree... and everywhere.
Christmas Eve we had lot to do to get ready for the big day and then get ready for Christmas Eve Mass...
The Kerstings were at mass and we all managed to gather for a picture afterwords.
Back at home the kids got to open their Christmas Eve presents.
They usually only get one, but this year they each got an ornament and books which are our normal tradition.
After eating tamales for dinner we got the kids into jammies as quickly as possible and read The Night Before Christmas.
Then it was off to bed, to try to sleep.
Until the next morning...