Tuesday, December 30

Advent Activities

In keeping with the idea of being an innkeeper, we opened our home many times this Advent to host families and activities that reminded us of the birth of Jesus.  One thing we've been wanting to own for several years now is a firepit, and all of these planned festive activities seemed like a great reason to go buy one!  

We had Caeli's godparents and our dear friends over for minestrone one night that wasn't too cold.  It was the first time we used the firepit and a fun night of friends and s'mores!

The following week we had other dear friends over along with our new priest and his family.  This was a bit of a bigger gathering, with 12 children overall, and unfortunately the wet ground and the drizzling weather kept us all inside!  Once the drizzle slowed down, we ran outside for more s'mores!

That same weekend, my brother, his girlfriend, and my sister came to town as a quick stop before their big drive to North Carolina.  We exchanged gifts with them before they left!

They left early on a Sunday morning, and after mass that afternoon we welcomed in Ryan's brother, sister-in-law, and their two sweet, sweet boys!  Cousins we reunited after nearly 6 months!

Caeli warmed up to Uncle Josh within a few days!

Poor Finley had to spend a lot of time outside or in his crate when we had so many people over!

One morning the three older boys were particularly quiet, then they came downstairs to annouce they were ready for us to come upstairs.  They had seats ready for us, told us where to sit, and started a rock concert!  They built guitars out of trio blocks, jumped up and down and lip-synched, and had a Matt Maher CD blasting as loud as it could go as their "music."  It was so cute- and they did it all on their own! And Ryan joined in on the electric keyboard at the end!

I will save Christmas pictures for another post. :-)

Monday, December 29

Friday, December 26

Our Christmas Day

As the last day of Advent came to an end, we were just preparing ourselves for midnight mass.  This was the first time our family had ever attended a midnight mass (which actually began at 11!) but Ryan and I really wanted to share it with our family at our new parish.  This is truly what Christmas is about, and we wanted to give God the first part of our day to celebrate His birth!

We got to church early enough to get a seat in the front row, which isn't uncommon for us but I was nervous about it because it was SO LATE and the boys were so tired.  They both fell asleep on the way to church and it was difficult for them to wake up and go inside!

Once we got settled, Luke was asked to carry baby Jesus up with the procession.  He was so very proud



Christmas morning came very early the next morning, since we didn't get into bed until 2:30 am!  They were still up bright early at 7 am, ready to see the presents under the tree!  They opened their stockings and had some breakfast before tearing into more gifts.  It wasn't chaotic- we took our time, opening a gift, eating some cereal, opening another gift, eating some homemade cinnamon rolls, then a few more gifts.  They had a chance to play and enjoy their things while the adults had a chance to get some coffee!

The boys got matching fireman jackets and hats from Grandma and Grandpa, along with some walkie-talkies!  They also received a lot of new knights and an amazing castle for their collection.     Beth received some knitting needles and yarn, a kit to make felted animals, some matching clothes for her and her doll, and some other crafty-type items.  Caeli received some clothes, two baby dolls, and some fancy silver shoes from MawMaw and PawPaw.  Ryan got some tools and I received some nice black boots, some books, and a stand mixer from Ryan!  

We had had dinner around 2:30 and then Beth and I went to visit my grandmother for a little bit.  We all went to bed a little early that night. :-)

Thursday, December 18

Christmas Card Outtakes

This year we rolled our own Advent candles using the beeswax candles from Illuminated Ink.  It seemed like such a lovely idea at the time... But do you notice those hands planted firmly on each of the candles?  Those have been "their" candles for all of Advent, and the arguing over whose is bigger was really just ridiculous.  Our priest mentioned (I think during the second week of Lent) that the candles actually have an order in which to be lit- the one across from the rose candle first, then move counter-clockwise around the wreath.  I had no idea!  He said this reminds us of the fact that we are mortal and will one day die; seems morbid during Advent but to me it's always a good reminder that this life isn't forever!  So I forgive the kids for fighting over the candles... Sigh...

At some point I we never had family photos taken this fall, and panicked that I wouldn't be able to send out nice Christmas cards!   I decided to take some pictures of the kids in the backyard one afternoon and God decided to have mercy on my poor tired mama soul because I took the best picture ever of my four babies:

My friend touched it up and voila!  We have a Christmas card photo!  As always, I bought my cards from my dear friend Bernadette.  If you like to shop on etsy, you should check her out!

I wasn't sure what I'd need for the card so I tried to take individual photos of the kids too.  I didn't need any for the card, so here are the "outtakes!"


Then I gave the camera to Beth and went inside for a few minutes. Here are a few she took:

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