DON'T MISS OUT!

Happy Birthday Patrick!

Patrick is FIVE today.
When I started this blog the first photo I ever posted was this one:

He was just as little as Janey is now.

And now he's so big.

I can't believe he is five already.  I know I am always lamenting how quick time flies, but as I get older it seems like it flies faster and faster.  And five is just one of those big milestones.  

Patrick, my Christmas-time baby, has such a sweet soul.  He is so sensitive, and always a really good little boy.  He adores Janey and is always "petting" her and snuggling up to her.  He will be such a good daddy one day.  He loves sports-whatever is in season is his favorite.  He can't stand wearing long sleeves and long pants-his school clothes now.  He must be ready to be an athlete at all times, so he wears his t-shirts and shorts indoors-sometimes (if mom lets him-not too school!) he even wears them under his normal clothes-that he quickly sheds as soon as he walks in the door.  He loves puzzles and Star Wars Lego guys and likes to practice his flashcards.  His favorite friend is his neighbor Anderson.  When he sees him at the door a big shout usually goes out and he runs to open it.  

We love you Patrick.  You are such a joy.  Happy Birthday my Paddy.

Our Favorite Christmas Books


Here's an updated list of our favorite, most-played with, delivered-to-your-doorstep, Mom-approved toys.

And here are our favorite games.
Here are some great teen gift ideas.


My favorite are the classic ones from my childhood, and the Nativity books with beautiful pictures.
I think the books we grow up with are so impressionable-they form the images in our mind of what Santa looks like, and Jesus in the manger, and elves, and the wisemen.  Does it seem overly-thoughtful that I want to "choose" these images for my children?  I think it might, but I still choose carefully.
The Night Before Christmas -The one illustrated by Leaonard Weisgard on the right is my favorite.
Frosty the Snowman- I am working on getting my hands on the vintage Golden Book version of this story, but this one with vintagey-illustrations will do.



I have a Golden Book collection and a few more (like the Frosty one) on my wishlist.

My mom bought this years ago (she is the best book picker-outer) for my kids and they love this story.  Beautiful illustrated and just the right amount of words in this version of the classic fairy tale.


I love this book because it is tells the traditional story, with beautiful illustrations.  

Another beautifully illustrated book.  Mothers will love this book because Mary tells the story.

We love I Spy books.  They hurt my eyes but they are also so addicting.  Once I start a page I have to finish all the searching.

And of course, my all time favorite:
(It is out of print, so if you want one for yourself, you'll have to search a little.)

A Weekly Recap



Patrick thought it was hilarious to set baby Jesus (from our Advent calendar) on baby Janey.  I think she got the joke.

Christmas books.

Please don't think less of me, but this is a joke I played on Abbey, and I must say it was a good one.  It all just came together so perfect and I couldn't resist-she is creeped out by Elfie and I thought I would rub it in a little.  We are both scaredy cats when it comes to horror movies-like we have never even watched one little part of one not even commercials for them.  She didn't see this horrible scene till it was dark and she went to change into her PJ's which make it even better.  We laughed until we cried.  Or she might have been actually really crying a little. :)  I am busy thinking of my next move.  Or she might get me back?  (No little children witnessed my immaturity just so you know, with the exception of Janey.)

St. Nicks Eve.  Missing Isaac.

Card helper.  Thanks to Andrew I had half of them finished in one evening.

Loveliness


This last weekend everyone begged me to get out the decorations and I succumbed to the pressure-I had thought about waiting just one more week.  Last year when I took the decorations down, I was sick as a dog with pregnancy and it was apparent in the way I literally threw things into the bins and I had to laugh at the tangles and scrappiness and a few broken ornaments here and there.  

This year I scaled back my decorating-just because.  I've decided that from now on  I am going to go with a few fresh garlands ro replace any fakes that I bought before.  Not only does it look really fresh and simple, there is no storage needed.  I love having to store only a few Christmas bins in the attic. (Remind me of this reasoning when I am vacuuming up pine needles in 2 weeks)

As we were decorating the tree Abbey and I had a chuckle because I mentioned those commercials that show a family peacefully decorating the tree in matching sweaters and scarves, while sipping hot chocolate and hanging ornaments one by one, music playing in the background.  I was listening and comparing in my head with what was really going on here and it was pretty funny.  Jeff was holding Janey in the other room, while she slept (because that is the only way she will stay asleep in the late afternoon) and while he watched a game on TV.  He had just brought the tree home and set it up in the stand, which always tests his patience level to the max. Isaac is gone at college, hopefully studying for exams.  Matthew, Andrew and Patrick were putting on the ornaments in typical boy fashion.  I heard one of them say, 'I am going to group all these animal ornaments together on one branch.'  And then Abbey saying, "No, that's so stupid!  That will look awful, you can't do that, that's not how you decorate a tree!"  Andrew said, "This tree hates us!  Everytime I put an ornament on, it falls off! Stupid tree."  One boy almost fell off the ladder into the tree, and blamed another boy for it. They all lost interest after awhile and Abbey and I finished it up.

It looks (imperfectly!) beautiful, filled with spoon ornaments and laminated hand print ornaments and a bunch of other funny stuff.  I love it.  I find as the years go by I lower my expectations little by little.  Isn't it funny how that works?

My Patrick Elf


I asked Patrick, while driving home after preschool last week,  if he would be my helper-elf when we arrived home and take all the packages from the front door (where they had been dropped off by the friendly UPS woman) to my closet.  I told him it was a big deal to be a helper elf, and the really hard part was that he couldn't open any of the packages and look in them because they were all surprises.

I could see a little look of resignation in his eyes when I told him about the no-opening part-it's so hard at 4 to wait, isn't it?

But then he took a big sigh and said, "Sure I'll help you Mom.  They're all probably filled with makeup and clothes anyways."  Make up and clothes-the worst of the worst I guess and what he needed to guard himself against curiosity getting the best of him.

*By the way, he wears that outfit in the photo above every single day at home.  The minute we leave to go out he changes into normal clothes and the minute he gets home, he changes right back into his favorite basketball outfit.