Category Archives: christmas

Poetic Words and Advice on… Santa

I was browsing Pinterest this morning, yes I do have better things to do and no I don’t feel like doing them. I always check out my friends (by friends I mean the ones I follow) pins first and then will move onto “everything”. Most days my friends have pinned such brilliant things I never make it to “everything” because I get lost in their finds. Today I clicked on a pin and was immediately in tears. So I thought I’d share the wealth of tears… you’re welcome.

The author is Martha Brockenbrough and I praise her for her response to her daughter’s question “Are You Santa?” Her explanation will stay with me forever and like I mentioned made me cry. Because eventually we are all “busted” and the magic can creep away. She has found a way to keep it alive. Read her beautiful article here: The Truth About Santa.

Oh did you know that there are only 100 days till Christmas? Now I know that makes me cry!! Sigh.


Toy Catalogs

In the spirit of trying to fight the GRINCH… and since my kids are in the spirit I thought I would share this poem from one of our favorite Christmas books. It’s really fitting for my kids. You should see our stack of 15 or so catalogs and the two pages of lists they each have. Did I mention I’m teaching them this year that giving is better than receiving… yeah, ok. Just wanted to make sure. So anyway here’s the poem. I’m sure some moms can relate.

Toy Catalogs

(To the tune of “O Tannenbaum”)

From the book: Where Did They Hide My Presents?

by: Alan Katz and David Catrow


Toy catalogs

Toy catalogs

Each morning I inspect ’em

They’re volumes of

The stuff I love

That’s why I must collect ’em

These days they’re truly all I read

they’re crammed with stuff I truly need

I take care of

Toy catalogs

I guard and I protect them


I’m copying

My catalogs

So Santa will know better

I’ve circled everything I want

‘Cause I don’t need a sweater

A building set, a bass guitar

A jumbo jet, a racing car

Dear Santa Claus, I’m sorry it’s

A thirty-nine page letter


Toy catalogs

Toy catalogs

They make me so ecstatic

But thanks to these

Toy catalogs,

My life is problematic

If Santa brings each thing I ask,

To fit it all will be a task

My room is filled with catalogs,

So I’ll move to the attic!

Like I mentioned it’s a great book and it’s one of our favorites. You can see it here at Amazon. This isn’t a review I just was reminded of this poem as I was moving the stack of catalogs they have each accrued just so I could dust underneath them.

A “T” Christmas

Basically this is my husband’s families Christmas celebration.

I was really excited about having Christmas with my inlaws because I always love sitting around and chit chatting but also the gifts the kids were getting were at the top of their lists this year.

L received the American Girl doll Kirsten from Oba. Plus her accessories and an outfit for Kirsten. From her aunt, uncle and cousins she received the small Josefina American Girl doll and the crayon maker.

J received a huge Star Wars tank and some Star Wars characters from Oba and from his aunt, uncle and cousins he received the Batman robot vehicle and a Wolverine claw.

Opening cards from Oba.

J and his new figurines, he really likes this pose. The “cover my face with my new gift” pose.

L and Kirsten. She now owns all of the original American Girl Dolls… Kirsten, Molly and Samantha.

J and his tank and his wolverine claw, his big cousin (who is 17 – when did that happen, where was I) helped him open his presents. Oba’s in the background.

L with her Josefina doll and a great picture of Oba.

The last picture, a cute one of L and her cousin S, oh and Kirsten.

They had a fantastic Christmas. These kids got everything they wanted. Plus gift cards from their other uncle, aunt and cousin in Kentucky. So they could get more, like they needed more. 🙂

There you have it Christmas pictures are done and it’s only January 15th. Now, I’m off to take down my tree. Yes, it’s still up, don’t judge! 🙂

Two Christmases… and a third on the way

Picture heavy post, but aren’t most of them 🙂 I didn’t use my D70 a lot so most of these are from my Coolpix or taken by my dad and his camera.

Our Christmas Eve started at 2:00 in a rainy fashion. The kids were all dressed up and their coats were on, we opened the door and it was POURING outside. That makes everything more difficult. We were all dressed up and loading presents and kids in the car while dodging puddles and such. We weren’t feeling very Christmasy. We made it out to my Dad’s and the Christmasy spirit was back. We opened presents with my Dad and his wife and then we headed to my Uncle and Aunt’s house to see the extended family on my Dad’s side, that’s also where my brother joined us.

The kids by my dad’s tree

My family

My dad, his wife and the kids

All dressed and ready to go to the next stop

Setting cookies, milk and carrots out for Santa

Christmas morning started at 7:30. My mom was coming over that morning at 8:00 and neither of the kids were awake so JT and I got up a little early to get ready for the mayhem and to start the breakfast casserole. When mom arrived she woke up both kids to psych them up for Christmas.

The tree and packages untouched while the kids slept

My mom bringing the kids into the family room to see their presents (always a favorite part)

Jack noticed Santa’s footprints right away, the glitter was EVERYWHERE!!

The kids noticed their stockings first this year, which is unusual because every other year we do them last. I usually have to remind them.

Then we do Santa presents…


and then the Mommy/Daddy presents…


then GeGe presents… then presents from the kids to us, the ones they buy at school. I don’t have any pics of us opening 🙂

and then Unca Na and C presents. I was so happy, she really liked the album I made for her with all their engagement pictures.

then finally presents from Unca Na and C….


and possibly the best picture ever taken of my hubby… gifts from Na and C.

Whew!!! That’s all the presents here at our house. We then get cleaned up and head over to my mom’s house and open the presents from her. This year L received a My Twinn doll which is really cool, she was very excited about that and she received the Playmobil wedding set. J received his two large transformers (which he hadn’t stopped talking about wanting from August to Christmas) and the Playmobil jail set.

J with his new transformers (the kind we don’t have to “transform”)

L and I with her new My Twinn doll

My mom is well-known for her beautiful wrapping on presents


C, Na, JT and I got the best gift of all…. new bedding, a mattress and a box spring. The way I sleep has completely changed. I’ll have to post about my new bed someday.

Oh, did I ever mention my brother is a dork? No!!! Well this might be the proof you need…

After a wonderful Christmas at my mom’s we headed to my Aunt and Uncle’s house where everyone was required to bring a $10 gift. Then we had a white elephant exchange. This is where I pulled out my D70. I still didn’t take that many.

L with her doll waiting for present time to start

JT in another bad Christmas sweater. This time he decided to wear it in a way reminiscent of Mushmouth from Fat Albert

Random family shots… cousin O and her family, cousin A and her hubby and my uncle and grandmother.

Present time was fun, my Aunt wrapped up this ridiculously ugly sunglasses as her white elephant gift… guess who got them?! ME!!! I laughed so hard I was crying. Everyone said my reaction was priceless…

We had a fantastic time. We just laughed the entire time. One of my favorite parts of the evening… the drinks my cousin was serving me. A glass of vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice. YUM!!!

So that was our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Here was my house after all that….

We still had one Christmas to go, post coming.

Christmas Pictures

Last year I showed you the beautiful pictures of my kiddos in their Christmas Eve clothes. My mom makes L a beautiful dress every Christmas Eve and we have her pictures taken in said dress because you just can’t resist. Without further ado… (oh these are really bad quality because I scanned them and my scanner needs to be cleaned, sorry)

L in her dress

With the left over material my mom was able to make a dress for L’s American Girl doll Molly so we had to get a picture of that

Mr. J in his handsome clothes, remarkably they match, love it when they match

One of them together and L making her signature heart that she does for everyone she loves

Then last but not least… our photo we used for Christmas cards this year. Thank you to my friend SK for taking it… I used my old “hotomom” watermark instead of my photography one because I couldn’t find the copy with my friends watermark. She’s really talented, you should check her out.

I think that about covers all the pictures we had taken for Christmas.

More Christmas blogs coming

This week has been great. JT has been home all week on vacation and it’s been really nice. Today we’re staying home so I figure I will catch up on my blog and then clean and then make sure all presents are wrapped and ready to go. Our Christmas starts tomorrow at 2:00 and I could not be more excited if I were 4 and 5 years old. Are anyone else’s kids bouncing off the walls? No, okay just mine then. Lucky me.

Monday we went to the Botanical Gardens with my mom and grandmother. It’s a tradition and gosh do we love it, we do the “scavenger hunt” with the kids and we were so happy that JT was with us this year. We even ran into our neighbors with their grandson, so I offered to take their picture for them and in return they took ours. SO nice. We’re hardly ever in the same picture.



Okay all those pictures were from Monday. It was a lot of fun. Tuesday I took L to see The Princess and the Frog. I loved the movie and L really like it too. It was a little scary. The evil Dr. Facilier has evil shadows that come to life and turn into monsters and take away the frog in some parts of the movie and a beloved character is squashed, which is REALLY sad. But after all that is said it’s a good movie. Probably better for the little older girls. 5 year olds may have nightmares. We made it through last night without a nightmare so that’s good. Here’s a picture of L and her friend from school. They were so cute.

Today we are laying low. I have a house to clean, presents to finish wrapping, blogs to write… 🙂 The kids are spending the night at my mom’s tonight so I have no idea what JT and I are going to do, something together before all the craziness starts because tomorrow at 2:00 our christmas goes into full swing. Can’t wait.

Christmas Ballet Recital

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned on here that my daughter LOVES ballet. It sometimes feels like it’s something she was born to do. She moves gracefully and learns the routines with no problem. On Halloween she had an open house where she could bring a friend, all of her friends sadly had school so we took J. J loved ballet. So now he is also taking ballet. It’s so stinkin cute I can barely stand it. Friday night we went to Brentwood High School for the ballet recital. I had to take the kids backstage to sit with the other dancers (I was worried the whole time), they were armed with their bags full of entertainment. We sat through an hour of the show before our kids FINALLY came on. Good lord, that’s a lot of waiting. Not only for us but for a 4 and 5 year old it was a lifetime.

They danced to Silent Night and their costumes were their jammies. They did fantastic. Here are some pictures I was able to take. It took a while because I had to crop out some dude’s huge head.

Here they are searching for us in the crowd

Hey, I don't have any room

Round yon virgin... mother and child

Sleep in heavenly peace....

Not sure what part of the song this is...

And finally a bow to end the performance

They both did so well that I actually teared up while watching the performance.

School Christmas Concert

Sunday we had the kids school Christmas concert. They were all dressed up in their Christmas Eve finest and ready to sing on stage. We were joined by my mom, my brother and his fiancee C.

 J being the youngest went first (out of my two kids) and did such a great job. I was so proud of him. He did really well and handled being on stage like a pro.

… singing his heart out

…. and waving to his loved ones in the audience

Then it was Ms. L’s turn. She was in her beautiful dress my mom made and her hair was curled perfectly. She did marvelous as well.

…. sleeping in heavenly peace

…. and singing her sweet little heart out

It was a great day. We had lunch out afterwards, mom’s treat, at Steak N Shake. It’s the kids favorite place to eat.

I Believe

Or at least I want to, more than anything. Having kids that still believe is one of the best things about the season. Last year the kids received letters from Santa and they were a HUGE hit, where we order them from is all in this post. Once again the letters did not disappoint. They were so excited and couldn’t wait to read them, this year I gave my mom the honor of reading them to the kids.

Each year you can add three achievements. L’s this year were, learning to read, using her manners and eating so well. J’s were, doing well in preschool, trying everything on his plate and keeping his room clean. This year Santa added some P.S.’s. L’s basically told her to work on keeping her room clean and J’s told him to be nicer to his family. Thank you Santa. The letters also come with checklists you need to put on their doors when they go to bed which the kids like checking off but the BEST part is the boot kit I purchased this year. It’s a boot stencil and white snow you can put on your floor. This way it will look like he walked across our floor to the kids’ rooms.

So excited for Christmas festivities to start. My kids are going to love their presents this year and I can’t wait to see them open them.

Visiting with Santa

We used to visit the mall when Santa came to town. We would head to Frontenac Plaza, I always favored their setting and the Santa there. Last year we did something different, we went to Sears where they brought in a Santa and the kids were able to sit and talk to him and interact with him a little more. They loved it. When I found out that they hired the same Santa to come back this year I knew we were going to the event again. L was extremely silent, barely saying a word. J was very talkative and answered all of his questions. He’s a great Santa and is really good with the kids. Here’s the picture:

I love the smile on my little man’s face. I rarely get to capture that smile, his true smile. Not forced at all. I’ve wanted to post this article I found in Readers Digest since I read it recently.

Thirteen Things Your Mall Santa Won’t Tell You…. – Readers Digest December 2009/January 2010 Issue

  1. Never force your screaming child onto my lap. Just bring them close and give me a few minutes. I’ve got plenty of tricks up my sleeve.
  2. Some of us get bonuses for making our daily photo quota. So please forgive me if I try to move things along.
  3. I make around $10,000 a season doing this, but cut me some slack. Between October and December, most of us work about forty 10-hour days and listen to 30,000 children.
  4. Wondering why both of my white-gloved hands are always where you can see them? Ask my lawyer.
  5. I’m sorry Grandma is in heaven or that Mom and Dad have split up. But even Santa can only do so much, so let’s just stick with what you’d like to unwrap on the big day.
  6. Want to have more than just a few seconds with me? Skip the mall. Let’s meet at your kid’s preschool or a photo studio that invites Santa in for special portraits.
  7. As a matter of fact, i did go to school for this. Topics of study: how to hold children, manage sticky conversations, and care for my hair and beard.
  8. I don’t have total recall. Don’t come back after a few minutes and ask what your kid requested. Stand close enough to listen.
  9. Those of us with real beards think we’re superior. But the best of the rest of us pay as much as $3,000 to wig makers to make us authentic-looking whiskers.
  10. I see you vigorously nodding your head, but even so, I will never, ever promise anything to a child.
  11. Boys tend to give it to you straight: “I want a Game Boy and a remote control car.” Little girls want to explain everything.
  12. Is Santa real? “Well,” I reply, pinching myself and grimacing, “I feel real.”
  13. I’ve been kicked in the shins, hit in the groin, scratched, bitten and peed on. But there’s a reason I keep doing this year after year: This is the best work I’ve ever found.

From Santas in California, Illinois, Iowa and Rhode Island, including “Santa Tim” Connaghan, a traveling Santa instructor. Interviews conducted by Michelle Crouch.

Also, found on their website: 12 More Things Your Mall Santa Won’t Tell You

  1. I’m not an orthodontist, either. Don’t ask me  to your child why she needs to stop sucking her thumb.
  2. Nobody’s facial hair curls like this naturally. That’s why they invented curling irons and got2b Glued Styling Spiking Glue
  3. I’ve noticed a lot of you have started telling your kids the truth about me a lot younger than you used to. Sometimes you spoil things before your child even asks the question, just because you’re worried he’ll hear it from someone else. Please stop. You’re ruining the fun.
  4. Shhhhh, don’t tell but a few us are Jewish.
  5. Santa’s family almost never gets to spend the holiday with him on Dec 25th. Most of us schedule a delayed celebration for early January.
  6. Being Santa can be… complicated. When my daughter was in grade school, the teacher requested a conference to discuss some issues: “She’s under the firm belief that you’re Santa Claus.”
  7. I’m not a puppy, so please don’t pet me like one.
  8. Very few of us do this full time. We’re truck drivers and salesman, engineers and schoolteachers. Lots of us are retired.
  9. It’s hard not to sweat in our heavy wool suits. To make sure we smell nice, some of us sprinkle baby powder in our beards; others use evergreen scented colognes and sprays. And we’re always sucking on breath mints.
  10. Think your child’s request is over-the-top? I’ve been asked for giraffes, pigs and elephants, for visits from Hannah Montana and Elmo, even a cookbook for Mom because she’s not a good cook.
  11. Speaking of good hygiene, please take your barely potty-trained two year old  to the restroom before you get in line. Soil my suit, and it’s coal for you buster.
  12. I love the kids, but my favorites are the little old ladies in nursing homes. When they sit on my lap (which they love to do), they turn into kids themselves, and their favorite Christmas memories come pouring out.

There you have it, thank you Reader’s Digest. I found this article a lot of fun to read.

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