Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tis the Season

This year will be the first year that we are staying home and not traveling anywhere for Christmas. The kids have never spent a Christmas at home and have been asking the past few years if we can do that, so they are very excited to be staying home this year. Paul and I have been married for almost 12 years and this will only be our second year staying here for Christmas (the first being when I was pregnant with Ben and couldn't travel)! So we decided this would be the year that we could finally get a real Christmas tree and the kids have been talking about this idea all year. So the day after Thanksgiving we headed down to a Christmas Tree Farm, called Abbey Farms (great name) and met up with the Acuff's there!  Look how excited they are running towards the trees!

After some looking around, we settled on this one!

Then Paul got down to saw down the tree, which Ben was very excited to help with!

Juliette was happy just to watch.

Then all the kids helped Paul carry the tree to the car.

While we waited for them to shake the tree, put it in a net and secure it to the top of the car, we took some cousin pictures!

Once it was securely tied to the top of the car, we took a silly family picture...there were just enough spots!

After a yummy lunch with the Acuff's, we headed home to set up and decorate our tree!

Pretty girl next to a pretty tree!

Decorating the tree is always fun!

Ta Da!

That weekend also kicked off the holiday season at the local park.  Our Pastor was asked to bless the Nativity Scene at the park and the school chorus (that Ben is a part of) was asked to sing at the blessing.  So we went and watched Ben sing and he did great!  Then we looked around at all the decorations at the park.

Some of you may be surprised that a Nativity was allowed at a public park (sad times that it would be surprising to have that), but it was set up in a fenced off and specified "Freedom of Religion" space, which sadly also included a large Atheist sign that was rather obnoxious.  Luckily, the chorus had enough singers to stand right in front of the sign and completely cover it for the blessing :)

I love the Christmas season!
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Hard to believe, but it was time for Thanksgiving! We hosted the Acuff's this year and as usual, it was a great time! Ben was super helpful in preparing our feast. The kids had the day before Thanksgiving off of school, so we spent the day preparing. He actually made the cranberry sauce (all by himself following the recipe), chopped all the celery, parsley and bread for the stuffing and peeled and cut about half of the potatoes. He said he wanted me to remember this Thanksgiving as the one that he prepared because I was pregnant! What a sweet kid! Actually, it was a huge help and what a great thing to see how proud he was of himself. The only reason he stopped was because he cut himself peeling the potatoes! As a side note, the night before Thanksgiving we awoke to a sound downstairs in the kitchen. Upon investigation, Paul discovered that Belle had gotten up to the counter and eaten about half of our bread supply for the stuffing (one tray full)! He was awesome and immediately (around 2 am remember) got out the rest of our bread supply (luckily we had some) and cut it up. He put it in the oven on warm setting and by morning it was stale enough to make the stuffing with. Thank you sweets! I was rather upset, but he took care of it! BAD DOG!!!

After getting the stuff chopped and ready, we moved onto the Thanksgiving crafts I had planned.  It was so nice to spend the day relaxing with the kids and doing a craft.  They love doing crafts and we haven't done one in so long because things have been so busy!  

We made toilet paper roll turkeys and they turned out really cute!  I had saved one toilet paper roll per kid, but they were enjoying it so much that they decided it wasn't enough.  They went around the house looking in the trash cans of the bathrooms to find more empty rolls...luckily we use a lot of tp in this house!  I was fine with this, until I discovered Ben unwrapping toilet paper upstairs to get another roll!  That wasn't ok, but we ended up with a lot of turkeys!  

 Up close shot!

What a fun day!  The next morning we got up and relaxed for a bit after a good breakfast.  We watched the Macy's Day Parade on TV for a while before getting the dinner in the oven.

Then the Acuff's came over and what fun it was so see the college cousins again!  Juliette was especially excited to spend time with Cousin Andrew (our favorite freshman at ND!!).

What a delicious feast!

YAY Cousin Time!

These two are so silly!

Then it was time to relax!

Luckily Aunt Domi was happy to give Belle some love (I wasn't giving Belle any love after the bread incident).

What a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We have so many things to be thankful for this year, including living close enough to the Acuff's to be able to spend holidays with them!  We missed all of our family from afar and thanked God for our many blessings.  Happy Thanksgiving! 
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Caroline turns 8!

On November 23, Cousin Caroline turned 8 and celebrated with a roller skating party! I wasn't exactly sure how this would go for my kids, but 2 out of the 3 absolutely loved it!  Juliette really loved it and wanted to go around with Aunt Domi.  She couldn't handle the skates on her own, but as long as someone was helping her, she didn't want to get off the rink.  I wouldn't say that Juliette is a dare devil by any means, but she is just so laid back that she is willing to try most things pretty easily.  She especially loved going around with Aunt Domi.

Ben really enjoyed it as well and although he started off holding hands for support, he quickly moved past that and was off on his own!  Abbey, on the other hand, wanted no part of it and spent the entire 3 hours on the side watching.  She did come out with me to help Ben, but was then told she needed to be off the rink.

Off on his own!

Loving going with Daddy too!


Instead of participating, Abbey decided to make it her mission to collect glow sticks...

Happy Birthday Caroline!

Yummy treats!

Finally, at the end of the party, they asked everyone to return the skates and come out on to the floor in their socks for a dance party.  Now that Abbey enjoyed!  And what a great way to entice kids to get their skates off too - well played by the rink!  After the party we headed back to Caroline's house to open presents and hang out.  Then they all got into their new matching Christmas PJ's that Aunt Domi bought them! 

Silly shot!

Love these cuties!

What a great day!  Ben enjoyed skating so much that he immediately added roller skates to his Christmas wish list...was he a good boy this year?  Stay tuned...
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Jubilation...aka Church Prom

While Madgie and Patch were up they got to spend an evening with the kids spoiling their grandkids without us watching...or rather, they babysat for us so we could go to the annual Jubilation fundraiser ("Church Prom") that benefits our Church and School! This event is a ton of fun and we were so happy to have Madgie and Patch up so we could go again this year!  Here we are all ready to go!

At the event there is a full dinner and open bar.  Once the bar has been open for a while, they start the silent and live auction.  I think something about free flowing alcohol makes the bid prices increase :)  Paul with our guy friends and Fr. Gilbert.

Paul got into the live auction and had fun.  Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) we did not win anything from the live auction as the prices got a bit too high for us and Paul was able to quit bidding before then (think $3k for a reserved parking space for 10am mass every weekend).

Cute couple!  Putting the bump on display too :)

Love these ladies!

Guys with Fr. Matt...

Some day I will look back and be happy that I had a good picture of the baby bump, so that is why I am documenting it now.

Very good friend of mine.

Book club buddies.  This picture just cracks me up because the bump is on full display.  Like I said, some day I will be happy to have these pictures, even if it pains me now to look at them!

It was a super fun night, as always.  I didn't think we would stay that late, but Paul finally convinced me to dance and we stayed until the very end...1am!  VERY LATE for this lady, but well worth it for the fun we had.  Already looking forward to next year!

The next day Madgie and Patch caught a flight home and we were sad to see them go.  But we had a lot of fun with them up for a long weekend and look forward to seeing them again soon (which at this point will be very soon)!!!
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