Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I sit here in the calm after the storm.

The kids are in bed, the wrapping paper in the recycle bin, the garbage is awaiting pick-up by the curb, the leftovers put away and dishes washed. I sit here with a glass of wine able to finally reflect on the day.

I love Christmas, I just hate the work that comes with it. It is a whirl-wind event beginning on Christmas eve that doesn't end until right about now!

We usually "go Catholic" on Christmas Eve and this year was no different. We did, however, manage to go to the early 4:00 family service to get a jump on things. It took quite a bit of coercion to get Megan dressed and out the door, but we did it. We then went to dinner at local Italian restaurant. Dinner was great and despite one spilled lemonade, the girls (baby Emma included) were well behaved. We got home with plenty of time for bath and for the big girls to wrap the presents they had bought each other. We allow them the opportunity to open one gift on Christmas Eve and they decided to open their gifts to one another. I read them the story of Jesus' birth and then Twas the Night Before Christmas, we set out cookies, carrots and milk and they were off to bed!

We waited a bit and then the mad dash to get all presents wrapped and under the tree began. I was paranoid this year that we would get caught, but we were able to get it all done and in bed before 10pm!

Sarah couldn't sleep well and ended up in our bed sometime around 1:30am. The dog wanted to eat around 6:30 so we were up. Megan continued to sleep and didn't join us in bed until after 7am. I went down first with the video camera to capture the moment. We spent the morning opening presents and having breakfast. As soon as I got Emma down for her morning nap, my preparations for dinner began. It was a meal I had made before, so it really didn't require a lot of work, so I went about things fairly relaxed.

My family arrived around 5 and it was so nice to spend time with them. I do feel like I spent way too much of the evening in the kitchen, but what can I do, dinner required my attention. We ate, then opened gifts during dessert. The kids had a great time, and I think the adults did too!

Despite the chaos, I think this was our best Christmas! The kids were well behaved and no one was disappointed with gifts. All were received with great joy and lots of thanks! I loved being able to spend a little time with my brother before he heads back to Dallas tomorrow. He is a great guy and my kids love him. My secret (not so secret anymore) wish for him is that he finds love again and can be happy (anyone know any super terrific, down to earth girls in the Dallas area, let me know)

Well, my wine is almost done and I have been left alone to watch the Christmas lights. It is time to drag my weary self to bed.

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas cookies

Megan is decorating the Pillsbury sugar cookies out of a tube I bought since I had no time to bake this year. I watch her when she thinks no one is looking. She is looking up at the ceiling and talking in hushed tones. "Santa, I hope you like these cookies, I made them with my own hands. It was very hard work."

So adorable!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just what I need

I was standing in my kitchen after work the other night having an actual conversation with my husband. He had taken the day off to recuperate from the Steelers' win on Sunday and had spent the morning on a search for our middle child's Christmas present (more on that later). Something caught my eye on the floor by the refrigerator. I looked closer and realized that it was a puddle. A small puddle, only 3 inches in diameter, right under the inside hinge of the freezer door. I quickly grabbed a towel and got to work. I opened the freezer door and more water was sitting at the bottom of the freezer. Nothing seemed defrosted so we began the search for cause of the leak. We pulled the whole unit out from the wall, and nothing. So we jacked up the dial to make things colder and got to work cleaning up the water and the dust and debris from under the fridge.

The hardwood floor in the kitchen was starting to warp already (the warping got even worse by the next morning...I love the look of hardwood, but so impractical for a kitchen). God knows how long this slow thaw had been happening. I sent Pat down to the unfinished basement to see if the water damage had seeped all the way through the floor. Luckily, it had not.

We knew that the fridge was on it's last legs and had already planned on using our tax refund in the spring to cover the cost of a new one. Now, I need to shop for one before Christmas...totally not what I want to be doing right now. I am so far behind in preparation for Christmas, that this is going to totally derail me!! We cannot put it off any longer; the last thing I need is for it to completely go while we are out of town visiting the in-laws.

So, I will be taking the day off tomorrow to finish my Christmas shopping so that on Saturday I can go buy a refrigerator. Merry Christmas to me!!

We did tell the girls that we were going to tell Santa to scrap the individual presents this year and just get the family a new refrigerator. She was such a trooper and faked like it was ok but I could see the disappointment on her face. When I told her I was kidding, she was extremely relieved!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Broken Memories

Last Christmas I was pregnant with our third child. It was hard to get the motivation to do much, but my then 3 and half year old was finally excited about Christmas and I was determined to enjoy it with her (and her 6 and a half year old sister). We went out as a family and selected a wonderful Douglas fir that met with everyone’s approval. That alone is a major accomplishment! My husband brought the tree in and it stood in the corner of the family room. After a great deal of twisting and turning, we finally agreed on which side of the tree looked best. Out came the ornaments and lights and we began the process of trimming the tree. The majority of the ornaments on this tree are either from my own childhood, special purchases for family milestones or vacations, gifts to the girls, or treasures handmade by them. I carefully took out each ornament one at a time and explained to the girls the significance of each one, its history and meaning. After about 15 minutes, they were done with the activity and I was left to finish the decorating myself. I enjoy it and love to reminisce when I come across the “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments or the one from the year we got engaged at my parents Christmas party.

Finally, the tree was done and I could sit back and enjoy my handiwork. We sat around the family room that night and ooh-ed and ah-ed over the beautiful tree.

At some point in the middle of the night, I awoke to a noise. I was pregnant at the time and wasn’t sleeping well, so I was not sure if it was the dog I heard, or if I was imagining things. My husband did not move a muscle, so I assumed I was imagining things.

I woke in the morning and began my routine to get ready for work. I fed the dog, started the coffee and began making lunches. It wasn’t until I went to turn on the morning news that my heart sank into the pit of my stomach. My husband heard my sharp inhale of surprise and came downstairs. We were both so shocked; it took a minute to process the sight before us. The tree had fallen over in the night. There were ornaments all over the floor. My dear husband picked up the tree and secured it back into place. I managed to find the missing Pointe shoe covered foot of the ballerina ornament from when Sarah and I went with her grandmother to see The Nutcracker when she was four. That one was repairable, but there were many others that were not. I struggled to fight back the tears as I picked up Sarah’s ceramic “Baby’s first Christmas” ornament that was in pieces.

We managed to get it all cleaned up before the kids woke up, thankfully. We haven’t decorated our tree yet this year, but I know I will get all choked up when there are a few less ornaments to hang this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I was digging through a drawer the other day and stumbled across a birthday card my 7 year-old made for me when she was 2 and a half. The daycare provider had written on in for Sarah and it said, "My ov you Mommy". That was how Sarah said I love you. It was so cute at the time and I loved that the daycare lady included it on the card. It got me thinking of all the other cute things and mispronounced words my girls have said over the years:

My ov you..............................I love you (Sarah)
Pet the meow........................Pet the kitty (Sarah)
Ears appeared.......................Ears pierced (Sarah)
Wiper towels.........................Paper towels (Megan)
Panacake...............................Pancake (Megan)
Lello.......................................Yellow (Megan)
RaRa......................................Sarah (Megan)
With cream...........................Whipped cream (Megan)
Cocks.....................................Socks (Sarah)

I am sure that there are more, but that is what comes to mind. Sarah (at age 7) still asks to have her ears appeared! Megan still says some of hers, and I hope it doesn't stop!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Card Outtakes

One of my coworkers is really good at taking pictures. She volunteered to snap some shots of the girls for use in our Christmas card this year. Of course, I waited too long and the only time she could do it was Friday night at 6pm. Not the best time for the kids so that might account for the fact that there is about 3 good shots out of the 92 that she took!

Here are a few outtakes from a photo session Friday night. Once I pick the "good" ones, I'll come back and post the ones we chose for the card!

Emma was on the verge of crying and I kept trying to tickle her to get her to smile.

Sarah had been playing with Emma and she got a swift kick in the eye so her individual shots now look as if she's been crying or punched in the face.

Megan was a grump al night and rarely smiled for any pictures, typical!

Here are the girls together.