Advent...Although Advent is a season of its own, I haven't blogged about it. We try and light the Advent wreath every night during Advent and sing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". It is truly beautiful to listen to my boys sing this song. At 14, Squirt is hardly excited about this sort of thing, but he did sing loud and clear for me while I was recording them.
Goose is so like me and not always in the good ways. Once when we were singing, he pointed out that he didn't hear everyone. I was just praying he wouldn't call out Squirt whose voice couldn't be heard at all.
On another night, one of Squirt's friends was having dinner with us. I think he almost crapped his pants when we told his friend we were going to sing. I know he was thinking, "why me? You guys suck." Thankfully, his friend sang along with us, and Squirt was saved from total embarrassment. (BTW, we told the parents that we would be lighting the wreath and singing before asking their child to join in with us. And some people may wonder why we talked to the parents first on something like this. Easy, I don't ever want people teaching my children any type of religion without my permission....this is why I DON'T support prayer in school. I promise you, if you teach your kids to pray, they will pray without the school giving them permission. But, I digress, as usual.)
Crafts and Baking...Kobra joined in the fun this year. We made our usual Christmas plate. Squirt is now a fingerprint on the plate like me and Lance. The boys did tons of crafts that adorn our house. I can't believe I have a wall dedicated to crafts in my home. (So not like me, but I love it.) Goose made the following poinsettia with my mom. I left them instructions, and my mom looked at me like I was crazy, but it turned out great. It also tied in nicely with one of our Tomie de Paola books.
The boys really enjoy helping me bake. Lance and I just like the end result. We made eight different kinds of sweets this year. Thankfully, everything but Squirt's cookies are gone.
Celebrating Hanukkah with our sweet neighbor...I've talked about our neighbor before now. She is like a member of the family, the daughter I don't have and a big sister to the boys. We love her to pieces. And she is Jewish. What better way to teach the children about Hanukkah than with one of their favorite people. Baby Hulk even found a Tomie book about Hanukkah. So on the third night of Hanukkah, we took a gift, our book and watched the candles. I also got my X-mas gift! A beautiful charm.
Snow Day at school...For all my complaining about school, it does have some cool stuff. The best part, no fundraisers! Snow Day would qualify as a close second. The PTO brings in snow, a petting zoo, a train and Santa. The kids had a blast throwing snowballs at each other. Hulk and Kobra got to join the fun too since I forgot to get a babysitter. Afterwards, the kids had movie day at school. Goose was so excited because he was able to bring Big Snoopy to school for the first time ever!
The Christmas Tree...The boys 3 and up are allowed to go with Lance to pick out the Christmas tree. I am not allowed to interfere with process. This year Baby Hulk joined in the "fun". Although the tree was pretty tiny compared to others in the past and most of our ornaments didn't fit on the tree this year, I loved it anyway. I really like that the boys get this special time that is just for them with their father.
Lance always puts the first ornament on the tree, our wedding ornament. I put on the ornament from the night we got engaged. The boys each put on their own special ornaments and then each year someone new puts on the star. This year was Goose's turn.
Family Time in Houston...My dad is the oldest of ten kids. All but three live in Austin, so we miss a lot of the festivities. When I got married, my aunt and I decided to start having our own get together for our families in Houston. The kids get to see their cousins and there is tons of food and fun to be had. Since we missed our annual Santa party in Austin due to illness this year, this evening was a welcome one for all of us.
Christmas Eve with 1560...This party rocks. Every year at Klein's Jewelry, rain or shine, you will find Lance and John. It is unbelievable how many listeners show up here. How can they not? It's pure fun and a chance to hang with the guys they listen to each morning. There are eating contests, football drills and tailgate food. I got here super late this year because I had to bring the kids. Thankfully, they saved a plate of food for me. And yes, that entire tray was just for me. I also had a few guys tell me how much they enjoyed the blog, which I LOVE! Most of my friends don't read my blog, so it's nice to know that someone out there is reading it! :)
Dinner at Trulucks...We eat dinner at Trulucks every Christmas Eve. And the kids are so good while we are there! I'm glad to know we can dress them up and make them behave through the meal. I admit that we eat pretty fast. There is no savoring the meal with four kids around. I'm more concerned that nobody spills their drink or my wine! Squirt really looks forward to this meal and even orders his meal off the menu, some trout dish they removed from the menu. This year, the little ones got fancy and ordered Shirley Temples. Goose decided it was a little spicy, code for "I don't like it", and drank water instead.
Christmas Eve pictures at home...I can't say this is a fun tradition for anyone in this house. But I need my pictures.
New Pjs, tracking Santa and cookies for Santa...
Baby Jesus...The first thing we do on Christmas morning is place Baby Jesus in the many nativity scenes throughout the house.
Church before presents...This probably makes me the meanest mom on the planet, although I am not alone in this decision. We go to Mass before the children open any gifts. The kids are just too young for Midnight Mass, and personally, I can't stand the crowds of people at church at any of the masses on Christmas Eve. Going Christmas morning allows us to reflect on the meaning of Christmas while not having to be at church an hour early just to find a seat. Seriously, we got there ten minutes early and had our pick at the9:30 mass.
Drake has served every year at Christmas Mass since he was 9 except last year. When we were downtown, he always served for the Bishop. He doesn't have that honor now that we have moved, but we are so proud of him. So proud that we wanted a picture of him.
The man who makes everything happen with me. You are the best, my love. You put up with me and love me and get me beautiful gifts! I love you! Thanks for taking so many freaking pictures with me!