Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ho, Ho, Holy Cow!

Wow. What a weekend. I don't think we could have fit anything else into this weekend if we tried. 

While the kids were at school on Friday I rushed around getting all the outdoor Christmas decorations set up. It was a warmer day (around 40 degrees) and I figured it may be the last chance I have to put up the decorations without freezing. It took me most of the morning and when I was done I realized that I wanted to add a bit more. Since I had to run to the grocery store anyway I decided to stop at a few nearby stores to add to our decoration collection. 

After I found what I was looking for I rushed back home to get Grace from school and then resumed the decorating. When Grace went down for her nap the decorating continued. When the boys came home from school Todd and I were hanging the lights on the roof. It was nonstop decorating all day long. As Todd finished off the highest part of the roof I went back inside and dragged the Christmas tree up from the basement. It was starting to get late so we stopped for dinner and then began decorating the Christmas trees. 

First the kids put up their trees in their rooms and decorated them with their ornaments. Then we all pitched in and decorated the two trees (one in the front hallway, one in the family room) together. Most of us were decorating the big tree in the hallway and Ben ended up decorating the family tree pretty much all by himself. I was amazed at the good job he did. I only snuck around briefly to rehang a few jumbled ornaments (holy cow, I am really getting good at letting go and not worrying about everything being perfect) but I was thoroughly impressed with Ben's work. 

Much to Todd's dismay, when we were finally done decorating the trees, I wanted to try and get a couple of Christmas card pics. It was past bedtime and the kids were tired but I managed to get a few cute shots.
 I think I may like the outtake shots even better. This one may be one of my favs.
I let the kids off the hook as quickly as possible and let them stay up for a few more minutes before bed. 

When the kids were finally fast asleep in their beds I still had to set off to work on some stockings. Everything had to be set for St. Nick's big arrival the next day.

Even though the kids went to bed late the night before they just couldn't stay in bed the next day. Everyone was up bright and early to see what kind of goodies St. Nick had left.
 Notebooks, cookies, pez dispensers, light up ornaments, and candies were soon being spread out across the floor. St. Nick even left a special little treat for Molly which Tommy happily gave her.
There was not much time to rest and enjoy the treats. We had another busy day ahead of us. Joey was in a basketball tournament and Ben had his very first Reconciliation. Our crew all got ready and went to watch Joey's game. We couldn't stay to watch the entire game because we had to run across the street for Ben's special sacrament.

Ben was so excited, and not at all nervous, to go to his first confession. He was so excited, in fact, that when the kids were given the go ahead to pick a priest and line up for confession Ben was the very first one in line. Benny gave his confession, came back in the pew to say his penance prayers, and then went up and lit his candle at the alter. He was just so excited he could hardly contain himself. He said he felt so good.
It was a great day for him and he didn't even know he was going to be getting any presents. He was shocked when we got home later that day and gave him his very first bible, a Jesus bookmark, and a little medallion. He was just so precious with how excited and thankful he was. He sat and read that Bible for over an hour and carries the medallion everywhere with him. Such a good and sweet boy.

So anyway, after Ben's reconciliation we quick went back to school to pick up Joey (they won their game) and take everyone back home for lunch. Instead of relaxing before his next game Joey went outside and played basketball with Tommy (while Ben read his bible and Grace took a nap). Todd and I put up more lights. Egad.

I had to run back to school early because I was working at the tournament. I ended up working a double shift since no one else had signed up and I was there for Joey's game at that point anyway.
It was so fun watching Joey play basketball again. The growth he has shown from last year to this year is outstanding. His confidence has grown tremendously. He was always a good defensive player but his improvement in dribbling and shooting is apparent. Joey hit a really nice shot out by the three point line that he would have never thought to attempt last year. I just love seeing him gain confidence and courage. Really fun to watch.

Once the tournament games were over we decided to go out to dinner. It was another late night and once we got home we were all pretty exhausted.

This morning we got up and got ready for church. After church it was a quick lunch, the boys played basketball again, and then we were off to Cabela's to get pictures taken with Santa. Now, it is kind of silly really, because we don't have a Cabela's near us. We actually had to drive over an hour to get there but the kids love that store and we can usually make a nice trip out of it. I was beginning to get nervous because we didn't know what time Santa would be at the store. It was just after two when we got there and instead of hitting the bathrooms right away like we normally do I told everyone that we were going to make a beeline to the back of the store to see Santa right away. THANK GOODNESS we did that. We were able to walk right up to Santa (no line!) and then I heard the woman behind the camera say, "Okay. But this is the last one."  I asked her if she said we were the last and she informed me that they were actually supposed to be done a while ago. I apologized and told her I had no idea what time they were here. She let us know that there was a line all the way from the back of the store to the front of the store and out the doors all day. They had to cut the line off an hour ago. How we were able to just walk up right at the end and still see Santa, I don't know. It was a Christmas miracle.
 Santa was so sweet and jolly we all thought he was definitely the real thing. The kids all made their pleas and said their "thank you"s for last year's toys and we quickly let Santa go on his merry way.
And we even got this free picture out of it! So nice!

The rest of the day was spent checking out the tents, the mountain of animals, the aquarium, looking at toys, playing the shoot out game, and going to the candy store. It was a lucky day.

The kids are now finally in bed and I am busy editing pictures, picking out Christmas cards, going over paperwork to be handed in to school, and updating my calendar.

This is such a wonderful time of year, and at the same time, it is always jam packed with far too much. Big school projects are due, Kris Kringles are in progress, school concerts are on the schedule, along with plays and talent shows, and work Christmas parties too. I actually had to back out of my Symphony Christmas concert because I just couldn't get to the practices with everything else going on. And to be honest, I haven't really started the Christmas shopping yet. I feel pretty far behind but I'm trying to relax and keep my focus. It is not easy to do and that makes me sad. I've already cut out everything I can, and there is still so much. Ah well. Such is life.

'Tis the season to be jolly... FA-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!


betty said...

Okay, I'm tired just reading about this :) I love the pictures of all six of you (seven if you count Santa). You did pack a lot into the weekend! It is a joyous time of year for sure; wouldn't it be nice if it could be extended over a couple month period of time instead of just December? But keep on enjoying!


Bijoux said...

My kids all had trees for their bedrooms as well. Your posts always make me a little sad, thinking back to when my kids were little and so excited for Christmas. You know what I really miss? The special Christmas books!

Elaine Alguire said...

This time of year is crazy but fun. I know it's hard to get it all in and keep up with everything! Glad the kids got to visit with Santa and congratulations to Ben, on his first reconciliation! Gavin had his a few weeks ago. It's so sweet...

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

Wow am I exhausted reading all of that! I can't believe you decorated all day!

And the tree pictures are hilarious.

Congrats to Ben on his first Reconciliation and Joey's game!

PS Did you say Grace's nap....lucky, lucky lady!

Riahli said...

Aww, cute Santa pictures! I love your dog Molly she's like a giant version of my little white poodles. :) She always seems so well behaved in all the pictures. Poodles are so my favorite dogs now, ha!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson