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!!!


  1. Happy New Year to you and your family! Reading your blog is always a highlight! I love how real you are, it warms my heart, because your joy at being a mom and a wife shines through everything you write. Thanks for continuing to blog, for sharing all the parenting tips and wisdoms you have learned, and for the peaceful voice in which you write. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017 from a longtime reader in NC.

  2. Love reading your blog! I started listening to Catholic Answers program on my local Catholic radio station and I have learned a lot about my Catholic faith. Hope it helps!

  3. Those photos of your tree and mantle on Christmas Eve are stunning.

  4. I love everything in this post - I especially love seeing your hand printed menus!!! I started within the last few weeks to prioritize exercise (baby steps - nothing crazy) and making better food choices and what a difference it makes in general well being and energy. I plan to continue and improve in 2017 through small things so they become part of life...including regular appointments - we moms put ourselves last in that department don't we?? I wouldn't dream of missing a yearly physical for my kids, yet I hadn't been in years!! May 2017 bring much happiness and good health to you and your family.

  5. Our Catholic faith is a beautiful thing! So glad you are learning more about it. I recommend anything by Scott Hahn or Fr. John Riccardo (http://frjohnriccardo.libsyn.com/category/Homily).

  6. Thank you for continuing to share your blog with us! It is a regular highlight for me to read and catch up on your family as if we are old friends even though we've never met! I so love your handwritten menu/party list and am glad to know someone else out there still plans like me (handwritten on notebook paper versus technology!) ha! May your family have much happiness and good health in 2017!

  7. what container is that holding all those cupcakes? I can never find anything that big!! you inspire me, I have changed so much in the way I do things in my home and with my kids over the years I have been following you!! I did a simple Christmas this year for 7 kids that was not easy!!! Thank you

    1. Hi Amanda-It is something I picked up at the grocery store-just a sheet cake tupperware type container that has a lid that clips on with a handle. It is AWESOME for the kids to be able to carry their treats with them to school when they have to. There is no brand name on mine but I looked for it on Amazon and the closest thing I could find was this:

  8. I love seeing your family Christmas! Thank you for taking the time to share, I know it is an endeavor to record it all with a full house! Merry Christmas! And it does continue to inspire me and give me ideas for keeping on the right track with my family.

    I have a request, Sarah. A new year and resolution time brings this to my mind. As it seems you have made some changes in the last year to your life for YOU, I would love you to write a post looking back on what things would have helped you/what wouldn't have, as a woman in caring for your health, fitness, diet, and mental state in the midst of raising kids for so many years? What would you tell us younger ones to care about or throw to the wind in this world which has many conflicting messages on how to look after ourselves? In the midst of caring for big families, I'm sure what is achievable is different from what media tells us! I do want to be in good health in all areas for this vocation. What advice do you have? :)

    1. That's a good one Sarah, I would really have to think about it because it definitely has changed as I have aged and my kids have aged too. What I needed when I had little ones is so different from what I need now-and those needs have to work with those ages too. (Like for instance, adapt to having a nursing baby, or little ones that I can't leave etc.) I will think hard on it-but remind me if I don't get to it because this is very interesting to me to reflect on.

  9. Happy New Year to you, Sarah...
    Your Christmas looked beautiful.
    Family and faith centered, just like ours.
    So much fun having the littles to keep the magic alive, isn't it?
    Enjoy your day with your helper.
    Doing much the same here. : )

  10. awe your family is a breath of fresh air.
    like a good feel-good movie.
    you are so lucky, thanks for sharing all that goodness. you guys are my heroes. all of you. happy new year.

  11. Just signed up for Catechism in a Year - Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year!

  12. Thank you so much for your "Catechism in a year" recommendation! Just signed up. I also signed up for Bishop Robert Barron's Daily Gospel Reflections. Are you familiar with him? His reflections are short and poignant. Just what a busy mom who wants to increase in faith needs.

    Also, I should take the opportunity to thank you for your blog. It's been such a blessing to me for so many years. I started reading when I was pregnant with my first, who just turned 5. I'm still a newbie to the mom game and your insights and wisdom always reach me in such a real way. In fact, at family holiday gatherings this year while I would stand around talking to relatives while bouncing a baby or letting a baby sleep on me, I kind of had your voice in the back of my head telling me "it's ok" when well meaning relatives would make well meaning but hurtful comments about how my infants are always glued to me and don't really like to be passed around. I'm sure I speak for many readers who would say your like the "virtual wise aunt" we all wish we had!

  13. Sarah, every now and then I stop by to see what my favorite blogger and her family are up to. I LOVE seeing your kids and how they've grown, and I really love your family even though I don't know you! I love the photo of all the kids at the top of the stairs, that photo speaks of family, of excitement and anticipation, and of a love and a security that many in this world do not know, but how much better off would we be if more of our families had that togetherness. You and your family have something very, very special that is beautiful to see. Happy New Year to you all, from Michigan. Joni

  14. Sarah, I also meant to tell you in my earlier comment how absolutely lovely the photo of Janey handing out her gifts was. It speaks volumes about her joy, I just wanted to tell you that was a touching photo for me. It is what Christmas is all about.

    1. Thank you so much Joni! It is nice to hear from you again!

  15. Hi Sarah! I love reading your blog, and remembered that I loved your stockings from last year! Now that we've added our 5th and final :( baby to our family this year, I'd like to order quality stockings. Do you mind sharing where you purchased yours? Also, when you do your "favorite" posts, would you consider doing a favorite Christmas decorations? You have the best style, so simple and so so beautiful!

    1. Hi Kayla-The first couple were from a local dept store that closed but I bought the rest online at Lands End-I try to match up the stocking to the child-like Andrew LOVED trains etc-they have a bunch of cute choices. Thank you-I do try to keep things simple and NOT go to any craft stores to be tempted by junk-there is SO much stuff out there and way too many ideas. I'd rather use what is free in nature or things I find at the grocery store (plants or oranges or nuts, a candle, etc)-things I can toss at the end of the season and not store. Honestly I just try to "not look" at all the ideas and just concentrate on what I already have and my own home.