Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas, the orderly disorder

There are many things I love about my husband. One of them is how serious he is about Christmas. If you were to tell me Santa is for real and you've seen him, I would argue that he lives at my house, and I am married to him. Anyway, I am perfectly content to sit back and let him run the show before and after Christmas because as my grandmother used to say when she was trying to get you to do something for her "you are just so GOOD at it!". But, he really is. Look at these happy faces!

So what I greatly admire about him, is he makes a valiant effort to establish order throughout the Christmas present opening frenzy. I even contributed by making sure the kids presents were color coded, one pattern for each kid. As OCD as this sounds, strangely, I loved the idea. These types of thing give me comfort when there is utter chaos everywhere else. Like when my entire house looks like a tornado hit, but my toenails are painted, somehow all seems right with the world. Ok, I digress. Anyway, we arranged each kids piles in separate corners of the room. My husband, the master of ceremonies, began the process.


This is before we put all the gifts in the room, but see how preeeetty? Ok, well, the kids are in another room while we took this picture, and really, what's Christmas without the chaos of children? Enter kiddos.
We had them take turns opening gifts. Really, everyone pretty much followed the plan.....
Nothing but robotic pets around here. The latest to The Queen's collection. Poor child, she will probably be a vet when she grows up. 
After a while though, The Little Guy couldn't stand the wait, and started tearing into it.
Angel Boy gets into it too, and starts tearing into it like his brother. He's a pretty fast learner.
The Little Guy tells on his baby brother, like any good big brother would.
This is my favorite pic of the day. "sup, mama!"
Angel Boy is now using his present to reach some of those ornaments on the tree he's been eying all week.
The Little Guy somehow got it into his head that if he would pose for a picture he could open another present, so he kept coming up to me and saying "CHEEEESE!!" whether I had a camera or not.
Sweet pic after The Eldest gave his sister his present to her.
Princess got a babydoll and Angel Boy got babydoll envy, at first he was subtle about it...

Now he's getting a little more aggressive...
He's not messin' around at this point, he WANTS that baby.
Lucky for him he's got a sweet sister who loves to make him happy.
Angel Boy Coup
Dragon in the box
a present from his big sister. Don't be fooled by that smile folks. He doesn't get knicknamed "el destructo" for nothin'. He is pretty cute though.
and finally, a tribute to "some assembly required", for the last 3 days this has been daddy's lot. I have a new found respect for his ability to understand instructions, follow them, and execute. I tried one time and got totally stumped on step 2.

Well, that's all folks! Hope your Christmas is as wonderfully chaotic as ours. I may not be able to get through my living room, but I wouldn't trade my life for anything. 








Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas night, a special gift

So I plan to share a little of our crazy present time with pictures soon, but I had to write about this first. A beautiful Christmas day with my family ended with a night at my mom and dad's, great food, better company, and a little, ok alot more chaos than my parents are used to, but they are pretty good about it. Angel Boy is a particularly busy baby right now and into everything. As we were leaving, he was pulling out some books of grandmommmy's and a card flew out and landed on the floor out of nowhere. My dad picked it up and began to read it. His expression became somewhat thoughtful and he said "hmm, history of Grandma Neff, in the middle of the kitchen floor.." Grandma Neff was on my mom's side. My mom said incredulously, "What?!" and she took it. "I have never seen this before,...this is in grandaddy's handwriting," (her father, deceased). As it turns out, Grandma Neff was whom I was named after. I took the card and read it....

It said "She was a woman of small stature, no more than 5'2". She and her husband John had 4 children which they raised in the Catholic Faith. Grandma and Grandpa Neff were devout catholics who for many years walked seven blocks in all kinds of weather to attend daily mass. She was a good cook-expert pie maker, and a fine homekeeper. She was French Canandian. Her mother used to talk to her grandchildren in French and insist they respond in French...."

Nothing profound, to anyone else it's a simple description about a simple lady who lived a long time ago. So why did it make me cry the whole way home?

Life has been a little more difficult than usual for me this past year, I have had a physical ailment that has been hard to cope with and this past week was particularly rough. It was like this note fell out of heaven, like a little Christmas card from my namesake saying "Hey! We, your family, are all up here routing for you! We've been where you are and we are with you all the way. It may be tough some times, but it's all worth it in the end. We will be here when you get to the other side, ready to welcome you!"

 It was the best Christmas gift of the day.

...and up there is a very savvy french lady I can't wait to meet.

Hope everyone had a very blessed day, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Preparations for the soul

So, as I may have said before, Advent is a time of preparation. The most important part of this preparation is of the heart. As Catholics we are supposed to do good works of some kind. While I have always hoped and intended to, most times I become distracted by the more superficial preparations and the most we do is put together some bags of toys to give away. This year a mom in our homeschool group arranged for a group to take Christmas cards to a nursing home and we were able to participate. This was a first for my kids.

It began with mass production of cards...


  Here are some of my favorites.

Translation: Santa on the left, girl sleeping on the right smiling, the card reads: Merry Christmas, shhhh.
Ironically, we don't do "Santa" at our house. What I mean is, we tell the true story of St. Nicholas and we have gone to see "St. Nicholas" but try to ultimately focus on the birth of Christ.


Santa flying over houses, ho ho ho.
 
So after the first 10 cards or so had reindeer and elves on them, I asked casually if they remembered what Christmas was really about. After that I got this...


The Eldest starts making "Find this..." cards. A little mental exercise for the elderly. Hope they are up for it. This says "find the sheep (you know, Shepherds, sheep? ok we are getting closer...) bonus points for finding the wolf that is stealing the sheep." Well, ok, getting warmer.

So on Sunday afternoon, we bundled up and ventured out into the FREEZING cold all the while I am saying to myself  "for the eldery and for Jesus, f..f..ff..for the elderly, and f..f..ffor J..J...J..esus" It's f..f..ffreezing.

So, it was all worth it though. The elderly loved it. We passed out cards....


sang Christmas carols...

 concentrating a little too hard on "Jingle Bells", in retrospect. That's the anal-retentive musician for you.

We saw some old friends too.



I just thought this next picture was hilarious. What I was thinking about is how nice it was for this dad to come all the way out here on a Sunday, dress up in this suit and make some little kids really happy, really. What it looks like is how I feel about Santa in general. 

The Queen, on the side felt the same way. She kept huddling up to me saying, "I am NOT going over there to talk to Santa!" Anyway, a lot of other little kids were made to be very happy.


And I am so grateful for the experience, it was priceless. something that is hard to find around Christmas time.

God bless the rest of your Advent season. May it be full of joyful anticipation for the coming of Christ.


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