Christmas 2016 (Or The Last Half of December)

Jeff, Andrew and I headed out to a fundraiser for our church to a workout place called 9Round.  It is a 30 minute boxing type of workout-all I could do is watch because I have this super annoying painful hip issue (hip impingement I think it is called? driving me crazy but getting a little better with help of PT) but they had so much fun.  Jeff won a free 3 month membership which our priest announced as he was doing the final station which happened to be planks and he said "NO THANK YOU I'LL PASS!", but Abbey and Isaac have joined him and they are all loving it. 

Andrew meets friends at a new local indoor soccer place near us (we call it the bubble) and Patrick and I checked it out one day when we were waiting for him to finish.  I love that Andrew and his friends organize playing time all on their own.

"Does this look right?"  This is life with boys/men.

Patrick's treat for his class.

A fun work event at the zoo. I thought it was so cute that Janey kept telling Isaac secrets that I had to take a pic.

We stopped in to see the "fishes" on the way to the car, only because it was below zero that night!

Janey saw Santa (but only if Abbey went also.)

Patrick and Santa.

Food spreadsheet-2016.

And Patrick's party! (If you are looking for a recipe it is probably in my Parties folder in Pinterest, but ask if you can't find one!)

My helper.

More helpers.

The night of his real birthday-he wanted DQ ice cream cake and pizza.

One of this favorite gifts was new basketball cards. He was so desperate for more he started making his own which I just loved.

His family party.

Dancing with cousins before the Pinata.

My king is in the green cape.

Our tradition is to go to Mass on Christmas Eve in the school gym (the church is too full) and then have a big meal afterwards. We had a huge turkey that Jeff's work gave him so I went with that (other years we have done all appetizers or favorite foods.)  Andrew served Mass and found out right before that he was going to be the one to ring the bells and carry the cross and my heart went out to him because he was so nervous. We had a few giggles in church watching him right before the bells had to be rung because I thought he was going to faint-it ends up he was just bending over to read the cues, thank the Lord. He did great and was thrilled that it went off without a hitch. At the end of Mass Janey started waving to him and the priest and Andrew both saw her and laughed. 

And then all the kids exchange presents-some have been far planned ahead and others have been bought HOURS before, grrr. :)  But it always ends up warming my heart and there are lots of laughs and everyone is surprisingly thoughtful. 

Janey was so excited about giving Abbey this little stuffed penguin she had picked out? :).

Giving out her gifts.
I received candles and chocolate, the best gifts ever.

Christmas Eve.  

7 or was it 7:30 am?

Sometime later that morning when the sun was coming up.

The cousins at Grandma's later that day.  

And the three little girls.  

On to New Years's, my favorite!
I ROCKED my New Year's Resolutions last year, and I can only say that because before this year I experienced decades of resolution failure.  47 was a no nonsense year for me and it was because I was sort of rock bottom when it came to feeling good and healthy, mentally and physically and emotionally.  By the time Christmas Eve hit last year I knew I had to change. I was feeling anxious about so many stupid things, I was tired all the time, I felt emotionally drained worrying about this, that and the other, and I was just plain worn out.  And so out of shape and eating terribly and joint pain and blah blah blah. 

So I wrote down six or seven essential specific things, which might seem so stupid to others-just basic self-care things from diet (Whole30) and exercise to yearly drs. exams which I had been neglecting for years and years)-and I had a plan in my head and I did them all!  I failed on two-one was read a certain amount of books, and it was way too high I didn't even come close, and I don't even care, and the other was to really get to the know my Catholic faith-reading and seeking out some knowledge that way-and that's on my list again this year.
I have a stack of about a dozen books I have found that I want to read after doing some research.  I  signed up for this daily email (Catechism In a Year).  I have little reminders of my resolutions where I will notice them during the day as that really helped me last year.  

Today everyone but Janey and I are off skiing and we are hunkering down, cleaning up this disaster of a house, doing 20 loads of laundry and getting organized for the new year.
Happy 2017!!!


And Suddenly He's Nine

I haven't written a birthday post for anyone in so long, but I will give the excuse that birthdays are always busy times for moms and living in the moment is more important than recording memories (I think?).

Today my Christmas baby turns nine!  He was due on Christmas Eve, but born on December 20th, just in time for me to be home.  (I might have drank a few tsps of castor oil to help him along.)  He was the best Christmas present ever I believe.  I remember he was born within an hour of arriving at the hospital, my midwife almost missed it, the dr. on call was super grouchy and I didn't like him at all, and that it wasn't a peaceful birth like Janey's because everyone was rushed.  But he was a peaceful baby!  The nurses were bored, there were only a few moms and babies on the floor, and they begged me to take him for a little bit to allow me to rest (which never happens for me, just the opposite if the baby isn't in the room with me!), and I said yes, something I usually don't do.  I have a Polaroid picture of him laying on a nurse's lap looking so peaceful, while they sat and chatted at the nurse's station. He had a fussy time that night and I thought, "Oh, no, I'm in for it, I have another colicky baby!" but while he wasn't super easy (very gassy and lots of bouncing) he was so easy to smile and so squishy and so laid back.

And he is still the same of course.  If there is one word to describe Patrick it would be agreeable, maybe sweet if I could slip that in there.  We have all agreed here that he is the nicest child in our family (even siblings say this!) and I was told this summer that he was "voted" the nicest cousin in the whole family by a certain group of girls:).  He never wants to upset anyone, it upsets him more than anything.  He is so so easy to please.  Just this morning he wanted pancakes for his birthday and we were out of the mix, so he said, "I'll just have a waffle." and I said, "Sorry Patrick I can't make that either" and I said, "How about french toast?" OK! Do you want syrup or powdered sugar? Doesn't matter-whatever you choose. That is how he is ALL the time. He goes with the flow.  He is easy to please.

He is such a nice brother. He loves playing with anybody, and is so excited for his older siblings to be around. He has been so tolerant with Janey, and truly loves her, and she worships the ground he walks around.

His teachers tell me he is so sweet and kind to others.

His dream is to play college basketball. Ever since he was so little his favorite thing is to shoot hoops, or throw a football, or anything and everything sports..any one will do.  His other love is nature-he loves any and all books about nature, dogs (sparked by his favorite book Where The Red Fern Grows), hunting, and fishing.

 We are lucky to call this little boy son, and he truly was a special Christmas gift to our family. 

Happy Birthday Sweet Patrick!  We love you!


Ordinary Days

November is gone and December is halfway through.  I finished all my shopping at noon the Saturday before Advent. It was such a good feeling and I think it's the first time it ever really happened in as long as I remember.  It felt peaceful-for a moment-because there is so much to do with day to day life on top of the season anyways.  I feel like other things just filled into the margins I created by gift buying goal!  Maybe it was meant to be.

I think I should title a monthly post "Texts I've Received" and have a snapshot of life with older kids. I started saving some of them just for the memories. 

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A few weeks ago Isaac was playing basketball with his younger brothers (in the living room on our plastic hoop) and after a dunk attempt caught himself on a window that promptly broke and gashed his wrist. Blood pouring out everywhere, Andrew yelling for me (I must admit I was in the basement eating banana "ice cream" and watching Poldark with Janey-first time I sat down all day.) When I heard the window break-I didn't even flinch, and then when Andrew yelled "Mom Isaac is hurt" I pressed pause and in the next millisecond heard, 'There is blood everywhere, call 911!"  Darn, there goes a moment of relaxation, I was upstairs in a flash.

I grabbed the phone away from Andrew who was in fact dialing 911 before he could reach them, then checked out the scene (blood all over the window seat), threw Isaac a clean dish towel and ordered him to the car, barked orders to everyone else, grabbed my purse and drove to the hospital. Both of us didn't think to bring our phones but I was able to give Andrew a quick update on the hospital phone before we saw the ER doctor, letting him know quickly that everything was OK.

Jeff was in a very unimportant meeting. Andrew tried him once, just once. And then they all turned on the TV's (yay Mom's not home TV time!).  Abbey relayed to me later that she just happened to Facetime us, and Andrew picked up my phone.  Boys (at least MY boys) are so so bad at phone communication. Abbey had to ask 100 questions to understand what happened.  She said what made it funnier is that she happened to have a skin mask on her face and they were more concerned with that than with properly conveying the moment of blood and gore.  We later laughed so hard about it Andrew-I think he was slightly traumatized as he saw the worst of it and his coping mechanism was vague communication. "Yeah he'll live."  "Hopefully."   He used phrases like "skin graft" and "no major injuries" and I have no idea where he got those ideas, not from me, for sure.

When Jeff walked in the door hours later, he was shown the scene of the crime (in the hospital I was thinking I wish I could call them again and tell them to PLEASE not try to get the blood out, I pictured them setting it in forever, but alas, of course, silly me, no one even attempted it.)  Jeff is NOT good with trauma injuries, in spite of what he thinks.  It is laughable, honestly. He does not remain calm at all.  Even if I am not calm inside, I always want my kids to think "No big deal, we'll fix this all up, really it's nothing."  I am good at fake pretending when it comes to injuries. He has no filter.  "There is so much blood, blood everywhere, you are dying, this is so awful, what are we going to do with you...." -that sort of no-filter thing, out loud, in your face. Spoken with a tremendously stressed and worried and horror filled face.  I have enough experiences to back this all up. He is NOT good with this stuff.

So when he was shown the crime scene and Andrew told him, "Don't worry Mom called from the hospital and said he was OK" what does he say?  He tells them in a panic that there is no way Isaac can possibly be ok with that much blood loss, that Mom was probably just telling them that to make them feel better, that this is bad, really bad, and rushed out of that house with that pained and panicked face, leaving them quite unsettled, one of them in tears.

And this is why we call him Phil Dumphey.

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He showed up right when we were leaving, twenty two stitches later. It was gross I admit, I watched the whole thing and it was pretty gross.  But all is healed and everyone has recovered.  (Including the cushion believe it or not!)

I am backed up here till November:
One of the last warm fall days.

Andrew after Thanksgiving dinner at my parents.  Like an old man!

At Grandma's-
Isaac is teaching himself guitar.  Abbey decided she was going to get as good as the boys at Rubik's cube and even took it back to her dorm with her. I told her she is just finding a means for paper writing and exam studying procrastination, and she had to agree.

Mailing a package to Abbey, one of Janey's favorite things to do. Hopefully she will receive it just in time for St. Nick's Day.

Dark cold nights-I don't like them already.  Janey is jumping on the couch and I am watching all the boys play poker (or some card game, I didn't pay that much attention.)

Magna blocks and vintage Fisher Price-no better combo.

Lunch date for Janey and I with two favorite working men on their lunch breaks.

I had to make fun of them for all matching accidentally.  (I wish I could pick out cute little outfits and make them match like when they were little!)

Patrick and his BF begged me to take them fishing one freezing cold windy day and I said as long as I could stay in the warm car.  These two could fish (or frog) all day.

Matt braided her hair-didn't even know he could that.

 Around the house:
Our extra wide Christmas tree-I love it.  We went to a new place this year after we heard about a stand where a hole is drilled into the bottom of the tree and all you have to do is set the tree on top-a big bucket surrounds a stake that holds the tree up. It is heaven!  No more straightening or tipping over or constantly filling the bucket. Peace and harmony!

And our Nativity scene-we worked hard on it this year and did some extras-the beautiful star (from Target clearance last year) and some new "grass" and a little fence (from Hobby Lobby in the fairy garden department).  We bought a pink angel for our new addition this year.

Our past Christmas cards. (I did this years ago much cuter but all of mine were ruined in the attic from the heat, so I did it simpler this time with just card stock photo cards.)

Saved this all year for December 1.

I re-fashioned our Advent wreath also, to make it prettier. My mom gifted me with the china figurines because we had the same Nativity scene growing up.

Books on CD-I love the way she looks when she "reads" her books. 

My Marine brother gave a speech at a special event, looking pretty snazzy.

Grocery store tradition.

Shopping with Mom-it looked the same on me, we had a good laugh about it.

St. Nicks' Day

St. Nicks Day and a Bad Hair Day rolled into one.

Abbey going to a formal at school.  The last time she was home we bought this dress for no reason just because we both loved it-perfect timing.

Janey is petrified of Santa, Patrick loved every minute of it.

We had a coupon plus dress sale-only $5, we gave each other a high five.

Janey and I were so excited to surprise Abbey with her new room when she got home for break. We had all the trim painted (a long time coming) and beautiful old-fashioned wallpaper put up. I repainted all the furniture and bought some new bedding and picture frames and it looks so pretty!  She was surprised and loved it and was so so happy to be home.

And then I dragged her with me to the furniture store to buy a new sofa for our den (which was also repainted) and I found her almost asleep after testing out some new mattresses. (Granted it was the day after exam week.)

It snowed!!!  Janey can't get enough of sledding.

And last, a huge grocery shop because everyone is home and I will never leave the kitchen for the next two or three or four weeks. :)

It feels like Christmas!