Friday, December 28, 2007

The day After!!

My mother and father traditionally take the morning after Christmas for a brunch with my brothers and their families as well as all of us. We are all usually exhausted, but thrilled because mom and dad get CFA to cater a yummy breakfast. We all enjoyed a fabulous breakfast then exchanged gifts with one another. Mom and Dad emjoyed seeing all the kids and their fun gifts. Notice J is not in the family picture this year :(

Christmas Night

Christmas night we always invite anyone on both sides of the families to come and join us for a traditional Christmas meal. We started this several years ago once we had enlarged our family by such a large number. It was too exhausting to haul the kids from house to house, day to day all through Christmas, so now everyone just comes to our house. We had a fun night and most of the family even engaged in several games of Family Feud on DVD on our new TV!! Fun times.

Poor J, never budged, I tried at one point to stir him, nothing. He said he never even knew what happened.

Thanks to everyone for bringing all the food, all the help, and traveling here. Thanks to Nana and Jen for ALL the help, I couldn't have hosted 40 people without you!!

Christmas morning!!!

Yeah!!! It was finally here, Christmas morning. All the shopping, all the preparing, all the anticipation was finally here and it was great!!! The kids loved all their presents and Santa even brought a new TV for the family. But most importantly, the kids really were excited about giving their Secret Santa gifts this year. The kids draw names with one another, it rarely remains a secret with 5 kids under 8, the secret just doesn't stick. But what I was so proud of, was they got the GIVING, that's the real message in Christmas.

Poor J, rolled himself out of bed just to see what Santa brought, open gifts, then crawled back into bed where he remained for the next 28 hours or so. It was really sad, I was particularly sad because I felt he wasn't even home for Christmas. I really missed him!!! I felt so sorry for him too. But as they say in show business, the show must go on, and so it did. That night we hosted 40 people for dinner, my precious in laws saved the day and came over early to help prepare the rest of the meal. Thank goodness I had prepared the table and most of the food in advance.

The rest of the morning was spent lazily opening gifts and enjoying all of our presents. The kids stayed in the PJs til noon, and we just snacked until dinner. I loved it!!!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve in our family is traditionally celebrated by an appetizer party at my mother-in-law's house. We have been doing this since J and I started dating 16 years ago. It is always fun for us to get dressed up in our fancy velvet and each fun horsie-derves, as the kids call them. We start by attending our candlelight service at church. We were all cozy on our two entire pews we took up as a family. There is something special in sharing that service with relatives that are usually so far away. The service was a sell out and unfortunately J was on ushering duty and I saw him even wiping his brow several times during the service as he worked his best to pass out candles to late-comers with metal fold out chairs in tow. (Little did he know his body was currently fighting off a virus that would strike him out for the remainder of Christmas!!!)
After church we headed to Nana and Papa's for our fun party. The kids always get to open one gift that night at her house, traditionally, PJS. The kids always act surprised, run upstairs and change into them, and shout, let's go home and get in BED!!! Enjoy the pictures above, this was a fun night.

Christmas Memories

Our long Christmas weekend started with lunch at my mom's for festivities with her side of the family. My MIMI, my maternal grandmother, is proud she has lived to meet 17 great grand children. She proudly passes out her gifts to each of them herself and makes them all wait so she can watch them open them. My MIMI and I have a tradition every year, we meet and I help her shop for all 17 gifts for the great grands, as she calls them. ( of course 11 are mine) We were thrilled with ourselves this year when we finished in less than an hour at Toys R Us. So of course we treated ourselves to lunch at CFA!!! Fun times!!!
Mimi is almost 84 and will be seeing an endrocrinologist in January due to a tumor that has grown on her pituitary gland!! Pray for healing and no surgery. We are hoping this can all be treated with medicine and no surgery will be needed. Help us pray for our sweet MIMI!!
This was her special day to give her gifts out to everyone in the family. She has always been so generous to all of us. Thanks MIMI!! We had a great time and enjoyed being with everyone. Thanks mom for hosting everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Busy days ahead!!!/ 50th post

Good morning. As I awoke late today, I hurried to get up S, rush a breakfast bar and OJ in her hand to eat on the way to school, told the gang good luck on finals, and quickly started the coffee. I am looking ahead to a day packed with errands, laundry, a Sam's trip, mounds of gifts to wrap, and Christmas cards to mail. I opened up my email and found another forward from a friend and please read below. This was literally a huge wake up call (really a wake up, because I haven't had coffee yet) for me as I start my day this busy, this close to Christmas.

Thank you Lord today and now that you gave your Son and first showed us what real love is.


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Takin' em Down!!!

I feel I so often blog about my little children that I forget to include details about my teenagers, much less R. He is the only "older" boy in a home full of girls and women. He and J usually hang out and stay away. R has taken an interest in the sport of wrestling and this is only the 2nd year our school has had a team. So far R has had 6 pins!!! We are thrilled he seems to have found a sport he can succeed in and feel good about himself. He is even wrestling high schoolers, as an 8th grader this is a huge accomplishment. I included some "safe" pictures because as many of you know wrestling is not a pretty sport. (one of my girls said, "he has to wear that outfit?" "it is not cute") I just laughed. Check out his huge arms in the pictures. I told him it was from wrestling with J all the time. When they get together they start wrestling like two little boys playing!! It's the best!!

Way to go R and keep those pins coming!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Funny forward I had to Share

I received this email from a friend (DI), thanks for the good laugh today. I repeat, I did not write this, I don't want any credit ( as not to be in trouble for plagarising )All moms and even those who aren't or have been, read below for a good laugh!!!

Dear Santa,
> I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and
> cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's
> office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases
> of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree
> on the school playground. I was hoping you could
> spread my list out over several Christmases, since I
> had to write this letter with my son's red crayon,
> on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between
> cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free
> time in the next 18 years.
> Here are my Christmas wishes:
> I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any
> color, except purple, which I already have) and arms
> that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are
> strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the
> candy aisle in the grocery store.
> I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere
> in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.
> If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd
> like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that
> only plays adult music, a television that doesn't
> broadcast any programs containing talking animals,
> and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind
> the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.
> On the practical side, I could use a talking doll
> that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental
> confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and
> three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up
> without the use of power tools.
> I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks
> chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take
> your hands off your brother," because my voice seems
> to be just out of my children's hearing range and
> can only be heard by the dog.
> If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd
> settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my
> hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating
> food warmer than room temperature without it being
> served in a Styrofoam container.
> If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas
> miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be
> too much troub le to declare ketchup a vegetable? It
> will clear my conscience immensely. It would be
> helpful if you could coerce my children to help
> around the house without demanding payment as if
> they were the bosses of an organized crime family.
> Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and
> my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I
> think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and
> remember to leave your wet boots by the door and
> c ome in and dry off so you don't catch cold.
> Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat
> too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.
> Yours Always,
> MOM...
> P.S. One more can cancel all my requests
> if you can keep my children young enough to believe
> in Santa.
> *Santa has asked that this gets passed on to all the
> mommies you know

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pictures for Christmas Card

After much deliberation and indecisiveness we finally selected our choices for our Christmas card. If you haven't seen our slide show yet, it is listed below in the previous post. This is just a preview of a few of the AWESOME pictures taken by Katie and Chris Torres of 6 of four Creations. They are incredible and really captured all of my kids in their true personalities. Thank you Katie and Chris for giving us this special gift to treasure forever!!!

We have been so busy, Christmas is really crimping my blogging style and I am already getting behind on lots of activities we have had. I will catch up soon as this is also my way to document (journal, if you will) what has been going on in our lives.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Photo Session

Well, it's that time of year, the Christmas card photo!!! I love, love, love our choices this year and I wanted to share the slideshow these incredible photographers put together. Many thanks to Katie and Chris of 6 of Four Creations!!! I hope it leads you all to the link:

Click here to see the slideshow.

(For those of you that actually have time to view the slideshow please listen carefully to the words of the song, it is Awesome stuff!!)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I'm HOME!!!

What a wonderful trip we had "in our nation's capital". Really though, have you ever been there? To see such rich history, treasures, art, life, culture all in one place is quite the journey and adventure. My mom and I took Big T to her conference and then enjoyed the city life. Including a trek on the city's Metro into the heart of DC to view the National Gallery of Art. I love, love, love Monet, Cassat, Renior, and all the impressionists from that era. That was a highlight viewing those original paintings. (and not the posters that hung in my college dorm rooms through the years)

The main objective on this trip was Christmas shopping and making a huge dent in the long list I have every year. We give each of our children THREE gifts to open because this is to honor the amount of gifts Jesus received when we was born. That is automatically 33 gifts!! Not to mention every Christmas Eve we have a tradition that all the kids receive matching PJs to open and wear home from their Nana's house, then politely hop into bed to await Christmas morning. That's another 11 gifts. ( a total of 44 to wrap so far) All that have being said, that's a lot of shopping, not to mention what I might need to pick up to help Santa out!!! Whew.

Needless to say, we shopped a little each day til we dropped. God gave us a little present by presenting the 5th largest shopping mall in America across from our hotel. Now, I did not choose this hotel, it chose me, you see, it was the closet hotel to Big T where I could receive 5 free nights from reward points. The mall just happened to be right THERE across the street. It boasted 4 flagship stores, including 3 levels of 200 other stores, restaurants, movie theatre, and even a spa. What else does a girl need on a week off? We had a blast and luckily there was a shipping store right across from the mall, so everything should return to me this week. ( all to the tune of $75 in shipping costs) I figured up with all the things I usually order online, I am saving in the long run if not spending the same.

We also spent the day with some friends from our town whose son happened to be attending the same conference as Big T. We enjoyed a trek down to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home. I will post about it another day. I still have too many emotions about all I saw there.

J is very protective of our newly purchased $800 camera, so I am sad to say I have no photos to show you of my adventures, rather just use your imagination and imagine my mom and I standing on the mall looking up at the Washington Monument. I will never forget this special trip. ( and of course the one man that made it possible here at home!!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Headed to DC

I wanted to let everyone in blogland know I won't be posting for a few days. I am headed to DC with Big T for a National Youth Forum on Law. She is such a smarty pants and already has the desire to be an attorney. (nothing wrong with a little motivation from a teenager these days) I am so proud of her. My mom is headed on the trip with us, so we are looking forward to a great time together.

Pray for J who remains at home with all the kiddos.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Day is a Happy Day, and we Say thank you God!

Okay, I must explain the title, when I was a little girl, my mom would sing this tune, "Thanksgiving Day is a happy day and we say thank you God". This is such a vivid memory, among others when she would sing to us. So I felt I must start this post with that song.

As you can see, our day was full of lots of family time and time well spent at the dinner table enjoying a wonderful feast. As I was looking at all of the pictures I posted, I thought of all the families all over America that had a large table, a kid table, TV trays, bar stools, or whatever they could find to sit on to gather with families to stop and say thanks. The tradition of Thanksgiving as we all know started hundreds of years ago when the pilgrims literally went without for so long, then after a wonderful harvest felt the need to stop and say thanks to God for all of their bountiful blessings. Words cannot describe the awesomeness when we stop and think of the power of this day and all it means in rich tradition to our country and its starting foundation.

We ourselves enjoyed a huge meal with lots of yummy food, good stories, and a show by little J which included lots of laughter. We have also loved the many leftovers this weekend including little turkey sandwiches at every meal since!!! After years of only cooking a 15 lb turkey, and never having leftovers, I decided to splurge and cooked a 25 lb bird and one 7 lb fresh turkey breast. Needless to say, we have had lots of leftovers and I got what I wanted, lots and lots of turkey. My theory is, if I am going to cook a bird that big I want to enjoy it for days to come.

We have had a great weekend and enjoyed relaxing, being together, lots of fires, including one outside with smores!!! Thank goodness it is finally getting cold so we could enjoy a bonfire and "smoes" as little J calls them.