Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White (day after) Christmas

This winter has been pretty warm.  We've wondered if we would ever get any snow at all this year.  Then, like clockwork, on the Friday when the kids got off the bus on the first official day of winter, we had big fat flurries come down for about 10 minutes.  The kids went crazy!  We had more on Christmas Eve which was perfect in setting the mood for the Christmas spirit, but it all melted by Christmas day and never amounted to anything substantial.  Today we woke up to find more snow falling and sticking!  As quickly as we could, we put on hats, gloves and boots and went out to have a snowball fight, and sled in our backyard that is perfect only for sledding, as long as you stop yourself before falling into the creek.  There was just enough snow and the boys had a blast.  Then the snow turned to sleet and rain and we retreated indoors for hot chocolate and a bath.  We are hoping for loads more before the break is through!

Merry Christmas 2012

Christmas this year was delightful.  On Christmas Eve, plans changed and my Mom and Jeff headed up to see Pop Pop in the hospital, he broke his back in a bad fall, but hopefully is on the mend now.  So instead of spending that evening with them, it was just our little family and we had homemade soups and bread, opened new PJ's and Cameron told the story of the nativity and also read us The Night Before Christmas.  Mason helped to put out the gingersnaps that Santa requested as well as the reindeer food Gavin made at school, some carrots for the deer and a glass of milk for the big man.  While the children were nestled all snug in their beds, Jeremy and I watched It's a Wonderful Life and then went to bed so Santa could come do his work.  The kids didn't get up until 7 am and we opened gifts for a whole hour, with everyone politely taking turns and enjoying every gift.  Our tradition is to get a box of "sugar cereal"  for Christmas and that is always our breakfast for the big day before we break into all of the candy and chocolate that filled our stockings.  Cameron was thrilled with his "big kid legos"- an erector set that will teach him quite a bit of patience.  He made a catapult but it took probably two hours to complete.  Gavin got a razor 360 bike that is really like a big wheel that spins around and sparks.  It was the biggest hit with both the kids and the adults.  Mason got a plasma car that moves by inertia when you wiggle the handle back and forth.  It works better inside on the hardwood flat floor than outside, but Mason was happy with it.  We had an early dinner of steak, shrimp, mashed potatoes, homemade mac and cheese, bread, and green beans, with sparking cider, of course.  We had lime pudding cakes for dessert and watched Men In Black with the kids in between all of the merriment with everyone's new toys.  It was a full day that as always goes by way too quickly but kept smiles on every face all day long.  For one day at least our home was full of peace and love.  We are looking forward to the rest of our break just spending time together.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Please enjoy this video reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ten Years Ago

I became a mom.  And this boy of mine changed my world from day one.  Cameron is the sweetest, most compassionate kid I know and he is growing into such a remarkable young man.  Today has been an all day celebration of a decade of his presence here.  We had eggs, pancakes and bacon for breakfast and then 6 buddies of his came over to build marshmallow guns and play capture the flag in the gusty, frigid weather we are having.  We then had nachos and played his new video game and built a lego helicopter together.  This evening we went to spend some of his gift cards and ate at 5 Guys, the best burger joint around.  Then we came home and Cameron skyped with Austin while we sang Happy Birthday and had the most delish chocolate peanut butter cake ever.  Man does he miss his buddy in New Zealand.  After a Christmas movie it was time for bed but the night isn't ever yet.  Per tradition, I'm waking him up at 11:00 pm, the time he was born.  He's still nine until then :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

The real meaning of Christmas

My mind has been a swirl of thoughts these last several days and although I am up to my eyeballs in Christmas and birthday preparations, I think I will go mad if I don't put down on paper these stirrings that keep me up at night.  Our family has been a whirlwind of sick this month.  First Cameron had a stomach bug after we came home from Great Wolf Lodge, and then a bit later, he and Gavin both got fevers that waxed and waned and soon enough little Mason joined the roller coaster.  Jeremy got a bad cold at the same time and I all the while remained stalwart and strong, caring for my troops.  I was sad that we could not do all of the planned activities we had this month, but at least I was well.  And then I wasn't.  I thought I was just getting the cold that Jeremy had been hanging on to, but then I got the fever and stomach bug as well.  For nearly a week I've been battling my own illness while my kids and husband are healthy as can be now and want to be out Christmasing about.  It has been dreadful and I have felt guilty for not being able to pack in all the Christmas Spirit that we usually do.  One night, when I was feeling terrible, we went out to get our annual  ornaments with the kids at Hallmark so at least I could cross that off my list.  The boys were unruly and they wouldn't make up their minds and I unravelled.  We left with two random ornaments two of the three boys just grabbed and one boy with no ornament at all.  I cried in the car because things were not working perfectly.  It was pathetic.

Last Friday hit me like a slap in the face.  I was on my way to work when I heard the report on the radio about the shootings in Connecticut.  All night we checked in for the latest news, horrified by the updates.  Six teachers.  Twenty children.  The next day, the list with the kids ages came out and I looked at all of the sixes and sevens next to their names.  It was overwhelming and in the back of my mind I thought, that could've been my Gavin in his first grade class.  What on earth would I do if it were his little bed down the hall that was empty?  Somehow I don't think he would care if we didn't end up getting ornaments at all this year.  He wouldn't mind if we didn't bake as many cookies as we normally do or make a gingerbread house.  I have snuggled these babies of mine so close these last few days and just been with them.  I was letting the stress of it all ruin the whole reason we do these activities together.  So some things may not get done this year, and I'm finally ok with that.  I just want to be with them, telling them how much I love them.  THAT is what Christmas is all about.  I know this Christmas will be more meaningful to me now that I have the right perspective.  Here is a particularly touching tribute to those that died that will bring tears for sure.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Seeing Santa

Last night we had our church Christmas Party.  With our bellies full of ham and potatoes, we drove over to Merrifield Garden Center and saw our friend Mr. Claus.  As in year's past, we were not disappointed as Santa talked with each child to see how they were doing at home and in school, explained the real meaning of Christmas, and then asked the kids what they'd like for Christmas.  Cameron was so worried because he didn't know what to ask for, but Santa just told him to send him an email when he made up his mind.  Then the boys got lollipops and a ribbon to tie on the tree that would be wrapped around a special gift from the big man in red.  I just adore this hidden gem of a Santa, I'm telling you, he's the real deal.  We will leave out chocolate chip cookies and eggnog per your request, Santa!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Goin' to the Lodge

I just realized that I never posted about our trip to Great Wolf Lodge after Thanksgiving.  This has become an anticipated family tradition that we all look forward to each year.  The kids never tire of the waterpark, and frankly neither do Jeremy and I.  Now that the kids are all old enough to do some things on their own, it really is a treat to just go and we all have a good time.  This year the highlight was the wave rider thing they have where you boogie board on the giant wave simulator.  Even Mason did it this year and with much success!  The lines were short or non existent so they did it again and again, getting better each time.  We are just waiting for Mason to be big enough to go on the tornado, the biggest slide in the park so we can all do that one together.  It's always such a great kick off to the Christmas season and we love to be together as a family making memories.