Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Card Mishap

Way back in October when my sil got married, the one thing I wanted more than anything was to get a family picture that I could put on this year's Christmas card!  Thirty + attempts after the wedding ceremony yielded 2 contenders...and I was so happy!

Fast forward to mid-November.  My friend, Laura, told me about a great Group-on deal for Christmas cards from Staples.  So I got it.  Four days later I had my Christmas cards in hand.

Fast forward again to yesterday.  I mailed out about 40 of our 50 cards and handed a few more out to my book club friends.  In fact, I ran short and had to order 20 more from CVS.

Well, my sil, Jackie, noticed something I didn't....Jon had gotten cut out of the Christmas card!!!(He should be right next to Luke.....)

I have no idea how it happened!  I was sure I double checked about the picture when I originally ordered it because I was afraid it wouldn't fit because we have a lot of peeps in the pic!  I went back looking for my original order, but I had tossed all the paperwork and couldn't find my order number to check whether it was my mistake or Staples!  Either way, it didn't really matter since I had already mailed/given out almost all of them!

Jon (thankfully) thought that the whole thing was hysterical!  Anyone that knows Jon understands that teasing and joking are stamped into his personality.  The need to tease falls just under his need to eat, drink, and breathe!

As soon as he got Jackie's text that he was MIA...."What happened, Jon, didn't make the cut for the family Christmas card?lol"....he couldn't stop laughing and planning his next move!(Guilt us into an extra gift....get a special photo shoot for next year's card...etc.)

His siblings thought it was hysterical!

Jon decided that he would create his own card to give out to some of our family and close friends.  It was made, of course, in a way that was meant to tease!(shocking, huh!)  He laughed the entire time he was creating much so we had a hard time getting a pic to use!

So here it is.........Jon with his "friend" and wearing his 'ugly Christmas sweater'!

Here's what he had printed at the bottom:
"Since I was left out of the family Christmas card, I decided to give you all what you really wanted this Christmas season:  a picture of me.
As you can see from the photo, I still haven't gotten over being left out of the family Christmas card.
Merry Christmas everyone."

This is a story that, I'm sure, will live forever!  One day, Jon will be telling his grandchildren or great-nieces and nephews about the time his mom accidentally cropped him out of the Christmas card!  

Ironically, the cards from CVS had everyone in the shot!  

When Jon saw the new ones.....he was actually a little disappointed!  He always loves extra attention!

So, if you're feeling a little blue and discouraged about your own recent parenting mishap....I hope this makes you feel better!  At least you didn't leave your kid off the Christmas card!;)

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Consistently Inconsistent

I don't know about you, but the days seem to be rushing right on by!  There seems to be so much packed into each week, with lots more to plan in the next few weeks!  My lack of posts certainly shows my inability to balance all the 'extras' of this Advent Season! 

Here's what's been keeping me busy...besides laundry, dishes, and cooking!

Momnipotent Wrap-Up
The 8 week Momnipotent study that I ran though our school had it's last meeting this week.  I really enjoyed the video segments of the study!  We switched up the small groups every week, so it was great to get to know everyone.  All of the moms that participated are amazing ladies.  Everyone brought unique perspectives to the group.  

I'm going to miss this weekly gown-up time!

A Visit From The Bishop
We have a new Bishop in our diocese that arrived in September.(I think)  Bishop Da Cunha celebrated Mass on Wednesday at our Parish on our Patron Saint Day, St. Francis Xavier.  Msgr. had most of the alter boys present to serve Mass.

While I am all done with all of my Christmas shopping, my Mom and I had gotten a bunch of 'Loft bucks' on Black Friday.  Not wanting them to go to waste(!), I asked my friend, Laura, to go shopping this past Friday morning.  It was so much fun, we got some great deals, and it reminded me how much I love shopping with friends!

Tis' the Season
Our weekend was filled with lots of seasonal activities!  Sarah and I were invited to attend a tea that my mil's garden club puts on.  The sandwiches and pastries were yummy and we sat with some very personable women.  

Saturday night, Jay and I got to go on a double date with our friends!  It was so much fun to get together with grown-ups!  We went out for an early supper so that we could all get our toddlers to bed.....#eatingwiththeelderly.  Then, we went back to their house to visit for a bit until I got the text from Andrew and Sarah that Kate was nearing meltdown mode.  It was pouring all afternoon/evening, and when we went to leave our van was stuck in their grass!  Ugh!  Despite our husbands' valiant efforts and help from their neighbor's 3 teenage sons, we could not budge the van!  AAA was called and all was saved.

....except their grass!  Sorry Phil and Colleen!  We will help you re-seed in the spring!

Sunday was my work's Christmas brunch....then family time and football.  Thankfully, the Pat's pulled off an ugly win!

I just can't seem to fit in the blogging in any consistent way this month!  With some exciting changes happening this week and the ramp up for holiday happenings starting as well, I think I'm looking at much of the same for the next several weeks!

Thanks for bearing with me!:)  

Here's to hoping that we all take advantage of the joys of the Advent Season! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Long Weekend Wrap Up

Happy Monday!

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  It was so sad to see it come to an end!

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my Aunt's Dad's youngest sister.  This was the first Thanksgiving without my grandmother.  Last year, my grandmother had been close to the end of her battle with cancer, but had a grace-filled "rally" on Thanksgiving Day.  She had a seat in the middle of everyone and was able to eat all of her favorite foods and desserts!  It was such a blessing for her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have that wonderful memory.  Because everyone knew she was dying, everyone except for one grandson (who lives in NC) was there last year.

This year, it was a much smaller gathering, but still nice to see two of my aunts and uncles and one of my cousins.  (Since we are a family of 10 everything becomes a large party whenever we are invited anywhere!)  It felt strange without my Grandma being there.

Later on in the weekend I took out the basket with all our Christmas cards from last year.  I looked through them on their way to be recycled, and found one my Grandma sent last year.  It was special because she passed away right before Christmas.

....That card didn't get recycled; it's still in the basket!

After Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt's house, we visited Jay's parents and his sister, niece and nephew.  Luke and Kate had fun playing and the rest of us sat around visiting.  Eventually we made our way home for a bit where I cooked a lasagna I had made for Andrew the day before.  (He doesn't like turkey, so he was "thankful" for lasagna!)  Then, we went over to my parent's house for a while to visit with them and my sister and her friend.

It was a full day!

On Friday, I went Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister.  We don't go crazy early like many people....we didn't leave the house until 7:30am.  We also didn't come back until 7 pm.  It was a lot of fun, we got a lot of great deals, and I am now completely done with all my Christmas shopping!

Jay had his own craziness on Black Friday!  He took the senior youth group shopping for 2 needy families from 5-8am.  Then he headed to work.  He buzzed through his day and was able to get home a little after 2.  Then, his mom, sisters, nephew and niece came over for the annual pierogi fest!  They spent several hours making cabbage and potato and cheese pierogi's from Jay's grandmother's recipe.  Because they got such a late start, they didn't make as many as they usually made....only 7 dozen.  They were delicious and we still have plenty in the freezer!  Good family memories but no pictures bc Jay forgot to take any!

On Saturday, we just hung out and worked on little things around the house.  Jay had bigger plans but cut his thumb on a broken bowl when he was finishing the pierogi fest clean-up in the early am.  His cut probably could have used some glue...but I have a very stubborn husband!

We picked out our tree on Saturday afternoon but saved the decorating for Sunday after lunch.  It went well!  Then, we went to my parent's house for dinner and helped them put up their tree and wrap presents.

I have some pics from our tree picking/decorating that I will share later in the week!

It was really hard to leave "long weekend mode" and get back to regular life!  I felt really sad when Mike and Andrew left to go back to school last night.  They only have about 3 weeks until they will be home for winter break, but I wish we could just all be together.  Sometimes I just miss my kids!

 I hope your long weekend was filled with lots of great food and family time!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Make-Up Monday! this entire month seems to be getting away from me!  It's my second week of missing 'quick take Friday'!

Since I can't seem to get my act together, I guess I'll just make up my own rules and do a 'Quick Take Monday'!  I'm not sure if there will be 7 items or not since I'm winging it, but I'm making it all up as I go along!

#1:  Too Much List, Not Enough Friday 
On Friday, I took my mom to get an injection in her knee.  I forget what it's called, but she's trying to hold off having to get her 2nd knee replaced for a little longer.  After the doctor's visit, we did a little Christmas shopping.  (which is always fun!)  Then, I had to pick up Kate from my sil's, get home to meet Peter's bus...and Ellie's and Sarah's bus..., then I took Ellie and Kate grocery shopping, picked up pizza for supper, and arrived home at 5:30!  

So that's why I didn't have time to blog on Friday!

#2:  Saturday:  The List Continued
Saturday was a full day, too.  We did some cleaning in the morning.  Then I took Ellie to her CYO game in the early afternoon.(They was a tough game!  But all the girls played hard!).  Then, Ellie and I picked up a few things from the grocery store, exchanged a winter coat at Dick's, and hit Toys R' Us to do some Christmas shopping for Kate and Luke.  I also stopped by our local homemade ice cream store to pick up the 1.5 gallon ice cream containers that I had ordered a couple of weeks ago to surprise the fam.  Originally I ordered 3...Coconut(Jay's favorite), Pumpkin Patch(Sarah's favorite), and Coffee Oreo(Mike and Jon's favorite).  After a week, I felt guilty that I didn't get chocolate for I called and ordered that, too!  

Good thing we got that big new fridge!;)

#3:  A True Day of Rest
Sunday was a  For the first time in a while we didn't have things to do and we got to just hang out as a family, rest, nap a little(ok, that was me!), watch football, and play with the little kids.  It was one of those days that you just don't want to end!

#4:  Knit one, pearl two
Actually, I don't knit....but I have tried my hand at crocheting a time or two.  We enjoy watching Shark Tank in our house, and last season they had a company called Grace and Lace.  The woman knit boot cuffs....which I thought looked really cool!  What wasn't cool was the price...most were upwards of $30!  Yikes!  In the back of my head, I wanted to try and make them.  

Well, fast forward to last week and Sarah mentioned the boot cuffs.  Again, not wanting to shell out $30+ for such a small Christmas gift, I decided to try and make them myself.  After a Google search, a couple of youtube videos, a trip to Michael's.....and this is what I accomplished this weekend.

Two and a half pairs of boot cuffs.  The first pair I did was the larger one.  I like the way it came out, but once I was halfway through I realized that they would be too big for Sarah.  So I tried another pattern (with the scalloped edge) that were for someone with a smaller leg.  I liked the way they came out so I started on a gray pair.  Jon asked what I was making and Jay blurted out that it was a present for Sarah, (while Sarah was in the much for a surprise!), but she really seemed to like them.  

I really enjoy crocheting.  It makes me think of my grandmother, who passed away last December.  She would always knit and crochet for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Maybe I inherited at least a tiny bit of her talent!  

Every chilly night I put one of the blankets my grandmother made on Kate when I put her to bed and say a prayer for all of our grandparents that are no longer with us.  I figure I might have a few grandchildren of my own one day(!), so maybe crocheting baby blankets will be in my future!  

#5:  A Short Week
With Thanksgiving on Thursday, (how the heck did that happen!!!), this is a short school week for everyone!  I.cannot.wait to have all my kids in one place come Tuesday night!  Andrew should pull in around 3, Jon will be home at 5:30, and Mike should get here about 7.  Even though it's only been a couple of weeks since I've seen them, I found myself missing them a lot the past few days!  (Of course, by the end of the weekend when everyone's fighting and sick of each other I might be ready to miss them again for a couple of weeks!)

#6:  A Quick Look Ahead!
There's a lot of special family time to look forward later on this week.  We have Thanksgiving with my Dad's extended family, second dessert with Jay's parents, Black Friday shopping for me with my mom and sister, perogi-fest for Jay, the kids, my mil, and sil and her kids on Friday afternoon, getting our Christmas tree, decorating our Christmas tree, and helping my mom decorate her tree!  That's a lot of memories to cram into one long weekend!  #allgoodthings.

#7:  Gotta Pace The Cheesecakes
Since I'm not responsible for the meal on Thanksgiving, I get to concentrate on what I like best:  desserts!  I'm planning on making an apple pie, a gfcf apple crisp, a chocolate chip cheesecake, and, per Jon's request, I'm attempting a Snicker's cheesecake.  Sarah will be making her famous lemon meringue pie!  

I have to keep reminding myself that there is a lot of dessert eating come late November and through to go slow and pace myself!  

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's All About The Memories

I'm attempting to get a post in before Tuesday gets away from me!  We had a full, but fun, weekend, that included, but was not limited to:  a little cleaning, birthday party for Jay's mom, Ellie's first basketball game, our Parish Variety Show, Mass, a walk in the woods, Jay taking the youth group to a nursing home, and watching the Patriot's game!  Phew!

The weekend certainly flew by.  So did Monday!  Now Tuesday is 3/4 over!  Anyone know a way to slow time down?  No?  Well, if you figure it out please email me!!!

Here's a few picture highlights from our weekend:)

Ellie and her classmates from the team:  They won:)

Luke and Daddy

Kate caught up!

Luke has to climb on every rock he sees!

Me and the littles

Loving the 'walking together' shots!

Daddy showing Luke and Kate different things about the pond.
He told them stories about fishing with his cousin Jeff when they were kids.

Daddy with his youngest son and daughter!

It wasn't a long walk because it was brisk here on Sunday.  But, the little kids had fun and the four of us got some fresh air..and some together time!

After's all about the memories!;)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Enjoying and Planning!

It's Friday!!!!

I'm looking forward to the weekend!  Things are revving up around here as we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving!  Here's a little snapshot of things in our little corner of the world.

#1:  Getting Ready For Winter
Last weekend, we finally had time and good weather to get some yard work done!  There were soooo many leaves in the backyard!  The awning still needed to come down and patio furniture needed to go away.  We still need to do some toy pick up but we did get a lot accomplished..with a little help!
You can't see them in this pic, but Kate was wearing her princess shoes!

Luke actually worked really hard!

Kate, well, not so much!

Everyone needs a break for fun!

#2:  Just Living In The Moment
I feel like we have been so busy for the last few weeks that some extra family time, by way of a professional day and Veterans Day, was a much needed break.  Here's one of those moments....super sis reading to her siblings.:)

Snuggles on the couch

A goofy Peter...he isn't sick.
He just refuses to wear a shirt and stays huddled under a blanket to stay warm!

#3:  School Anyone?
In the last few weeks, Luke has had a huge cognitive leap.  He is always asking us to read things to him, is writing letters just for fun, asking us to spell words so he can write them, and drawing lots and lots of pictures!  He has also started playing school with Kate....which is incredibly cute!

Even raising her hand!  Love it!

 #4:  A Little Santa Stress
As a parent, I totally use the "you better be good or Santa won't bring you a toy" fear with my kiddos.  Moms only have so much leverage and if I can get a little more this time a year then count me in!  Luke was being an over-exuberant boy(again) the other day, and I began the 'be good spiel'.  Big eyes and a thoughtful face...and a gazillion questions....let me know Luke "got it".  Maybe a little too well....

Last night, I had gone to my mom's to do some book keeping for their business.  When I came back, Luke was in tears.  Turns out that Jon had bought poster board for the act he is organizing for our parish's variety show on Saturday and left it out on the family room counter.  Luke has been obsessed with drawing lately(see #3), you can guess where this is going.  Jon wasn't super angry with Luke because he realized it was his mistake to leave the poster board within eyesight and reach of his little siblings.  (Jon actually felt bad that Luke was so upset about it!)  

But, Luke was still bordering on hysterical.  So I hugged him and he spurt out, "Does this mean I won't get toys for Christmas?!?"  Picture giant tears and the saddest puppy eyes you have ever seen!

I assured him that it was just a misunderstanding and Santa still had him on the nice list! Oh boy!

#5:  Say Cheese
Thanks to my Dad taking a family pic at Julie's wedding 3 weeks ago, I was all ready to have Christmas cards made this year.  Thanks to my friend, Laura, I got an awesome deal on Groupon for Christmas cards from Staples.($10 for 50 or $19 for 100!)  I picked them up today and am very happy with them....especially for the price!  There's 10 hours left if you want to get in on it....but only the deal for the 50 cards is available.  The deal for 100 cards is sold out!

#6:  Shopping!
I try to get all of my Christmas shopping done before the start of Advent.(which is coming up quick!)  It's something I've been doing for several years.  I feel like it gives me more peace and a little more time to focus on the spiritual side of well as family traditions and lots of baking.  I want to try even more this year to enjoy being in all the moments this special season offers and not  just look at things as being checked off a to-do list!  That's the goal anyway!

I have done some online shopping, went to a vendor fair, ordered gift cards through a program our school runs every November, and I am happy to say that I am 70% done with my list!  Mostly it's just our kids that are left and my godchildren....but I like to do some shopping in stores, too, so I have to save some things for black Friday shopping!

I have lots of ideas for Sarah, Jon, Luke and Kate.  Mike, Ellie, and especially Andrew, (when he was 4 he asked for brown socks for Christmas!), are much more challenging to try and come up with something least on our budget!  I am praying and looking for well as having Sarah and Jon listening for any helpful hints the three toughie's might drop.  I have to say that making the lists and trying to come up with surprises are fun for me!  I love trying to make my kids feel special!  I especially love when I'm successful at it!

#7:  Gearing Up To Bake!
I am almost ready to start looking through my cookbooks and recipe box to come up with this year's menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts as well as the list of different cookies to bake for friends and family that we give away as gifts.  I love doing this!  I love making special treats and I love having a reason to make lots of desserts!  I'll let you know in the coming weeks what I come up with....multiple cheesecakes will definitely be on the menu!

I hope that thoughts of holiday plans have you getting excited...and not running for a paper bag to hyperventilate into!

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throw Back Thursday

I have been M.I.A. from blogland this week!  Life just seems to be happening a little faster than I can keep up with!  We've had lots of playing and cleaning going on around here...and there's lots more cleaning to be done to get ready for winter!

With the holiday season fast approaching, I've been spending some time with my Christmas list and some online shopping.  I know it's still a little while before Christmas, but I try to have all my shopping done before Advent starts so I can spend a little more time (attempting) to focus on the spiritual side of Christmas.....(and lots of baking)!

I grabbed a photo from the good ole' bin o' pictures for TBT!  This is a pic of Mike and oldest and youngest (at least at the time it was taken in the spring of 2004).  Ellie was 1 and Mike was 11....(the same age Ellie is now!)  Time sure does fly!  sniff, sniff