christmas morn

Hey hey it's New Year's Eve! Hope everyone will have themselves quite the little fun time tonight! Or just going to bed at normal time, you know, whatever floats your boat. Which is where we are, on a boat. What a way to spend the final day of 2019! A new decade coming our way! How exciting!

I must go back to last week thought when after only four hours of sleep Letty decided to wake up and shut the doors. Then shut more doors. All in a vain effort to wake up her brothers. She only succeeded in waking her dad and I up. So anyways we let the boys sleep in till 7:30 and then let her wake them (quite rudely I mean) for them to immediately hurry up and come downstairs for gifts! They just sat there kind of stunned for a few minutes blinking at the tree... the poor boys! I love sleep too!

They did eventually tear into their gifts with gusto and I think Santa pretty much nailed it. Each kid got what they asked for, a camera for Letty, an Echo Dot for David and a scooter for Dom. They each got some things to use for the new pool which is super exciting and what I am living for these days (after the cruise, of course). Lots of Legos later and it was done! 

our christmas eve

As per tradition my parents always host a party on Christmas Eve. They let each of us kids invite people that are near and dear to us which is just so great! Friends and family all together on Christmas Eve?! The best! There is tons of good food and lots of good drinks and it's just a merry good time! This year after a little convincing my parents hired babysitters to hang out in the basement with the kids and you know, keep the peace? It was soooo great to not have to worry! And all the parents were able to hang out on the main floor! Matt was especially excited about this new addition!

Of course a great many of these photos are my sister-in-law's.

annual cookie baking day!

Happy happy Christmas Eve!!! We are just so excited to celebrate tonight with friends and family! Tonight is like... The. Big. Show. Can you name that movie? Anyways as part of prep for tonight we always have to bake a whole bunch of cookies!

And as we tend to do my sister and mother and Lena and Letty get together to be sure that we are fully stocked in the Christmas Cookie department for their party! We went straight from school to Nonna's and got right down to it! Matt took the boys downstairs to just take the crazy down a notch. We made so many types and I lost count as to how many dozen but we did it! We got it all done in an afternoon! Which is no small feat!

And okay so I let the boys decorate one cookie each. They just aren't all about aesthetics. 

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope it is lovely!

a week of school christmas parties

We are officially on break and just living that dream.... but last week was the week of all the festive things at school. Each day had a different theme and there was parties on parties! Dominic's was  up first! They came in to the room in all their festive wear and sang a whole bunch of songs complete with hand motions, a lot for a kid to remember! I had Harrison with us too which was fun, such a good kid naturally. They had snacks and then Dom got to take home his little ornament! His teachers rock!

tiny town at christmas

Is just the very best kind of Tiny Town. This little indoor village is just adorable at Christmas. We try and take the little kids every December just because it is so festive! It is fun for the kids any time of year of course I just personally like it most around Christmas. Normally they have tons of greens and bows and lights but this year they changed it to a Gingerbread Village. Candy and cupcakes and all things sweet! Every building got a facelift and I had so much fun walking around and checking it all out! This is probably my final year going actually... since next year all my children will be in school all the week long and well that just made me feel all sorts of forlorn. So do not dwell Laurie!

This day was a little busier than normal due to a kindergarten field trip... which meant that we had to interfere a little more than I would prefer... some of those kindergarten boys were just down right rude! It's a dog eat dog world out there I guess! The staff did tell us that next time we should alert a staff member and they would take care of it for us which is good to know! But that aside the kids ran around and pretended and played for two whole hours before us moms were shot. Cousins are just built in friends for life! 

dominic's fifth birthday party

I just love how for the kid's birthdays people ask if we are having a party and I say, "no, we are just having family over for dinner and cake" yet it ends up being something like almost twenty people and well my friends, that sure is a party! 

Dom decided he wanted a Lego theme... which as we know is just paper products really. My cake lady went and had a baby (newborn cuddles, rude) so instead of finding a new cake lady I decided to finally try and make my own birthday cake for the kid. The baking part is fine but the decorating part is.... meh. In case you are wondering what's wrong with his cake.

gingerbread house night

For many a year, most likely something around eight years now, we have done gingerbread houses with our old neighbors. Usually Steph hosts because she is the fun parent and also a teacher and just knows all the cool things. Last year we just couldn't seem to find a time in our busy schedules to make it work but this year we were back together in full force! Except, I hosted and just used purchased gingerbread house kits... I know, I know, not nearly as fun as Aunt Steph but, baby steps! And I neglected to put down a tablecloth so you can imagine the state my kitchen table was in by the end of the evening. And and and! Coincidentally, this exact night five years prior we were doing the very same thing with the very same people! I just had a Dom on in the inside instead of the outside!

It's chaotic and loud, Dom threw fits, and there was just a ton of icing licked off of fingers. Hanging out like this reminds me of all the good memories we made over on Hillcrest and I miss them so! 

the nutcracker!

Look at me all posting on a rainy and bleak Tuesday evening... but alas! I'm just getting to a real computer and catching up on the goings on around here! And it's like, the busy season. So there is a lot to catch up on.

Last weekend a few of the Girl Scouts from our new troop got tickets to see The Nutcracker at a local high school.... I've never seen it before and really wasn't sure what to expect... seeing as the movie version that Letty watches all the time is well, a movie. You know, with words. This was not like that. This was all dance. Music and dance. No words. Letty ate up all the beautiful costumes and raved over the ages of the little girls dancing. She loved it. As I knew she would. Beforehand the girls and their mamas all went out to lunch, making it quite the fun little Saturday afternoon for us all!

kid’s ornament painting day and pop’s birthday

We always do ornaments each and every year and have since the dawn of my memory... This year the adults bowed out though and it was all on the kids. They need separate ornaments and our assistance anyways so... made sense!

Nonna picked up these ornaments that the kids could just paint however which way they saw fit, numerous paint changes and brush washes encouraged! The need to control their choices runs strong with me but I chose to look away and focus on said brush washing. They took days and days to dry and my most favorite and warmest of winter coats almost died because of them but! Worth it!

who dominic is at 5 years

I’m at a point in my life where I find it increasingly hard to believe that the baby of my family is turning five (this Sunday). He will head to kindergarten next fall... I mean what is that!? We no longer have a diaper bag or are required in the bathroom (mostly). Our children are far more self sufficient than we give them credit for. So while I mourn the loss of babyhood I do love the perks. The silver linings. My kids can get themselves dressed and fed and help out around the house? What is this???

a sunday full of festive fun!

So I am historically very busy the month of December. Like you want to get together with us I will probably tell you how about January? So that's why I have the advent calendar thing! To be sure we don't miss any of the little Christmas activities that somehow in my mind I deem worthy. But then enter this year and every day when the kids look at the calendar and want to know today's activity Matt or I just say.... no time!! None! Between tutoring, basketball, Cub Scouts, church, Girl Scouts and then the three birthdays that fall this month well.... things can't happen as to the advent calendar plan. However.... this past Sunday we had a free afternoon so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to play a bit of catch up on said advent calendar activities! 

Starting with making a paper garland...Which of course our playroom just needed. And an orange garland that I just needed. Then the kids wrote letters to Santa (I find it the most adorable what they deem fit to add to their cards). I had on my festive get lit shirt. The kids read The Christmas Story and made Reindeer Food....And then we started in on a few cookies... We made a list of what we wanted to make this holiday season and got two of them done, the candy cane cookies and the buckeye balls. A day at a time people, a day at a time!

we went to the big city and saw the big tree!

After the show we went to get ourselves some dinner. Or, the early bird special. This may surprise many of you but I didn't even think about getting a reservation until like, two days before the trip. And that turned out to be sort of hard to do with a party of seven. My sister and I found a few good options but nothing really hit all the marks. So we decided to go to 5 Napkin Burger in Hell's Kitchen. Because I love me a good burger and there was a kid's menu and good reviews and reasonably priced. But we had to get there by 3:30. So we sort of high tailed it out of the show and over there. I was not disappointed I mean that burger was banging. 

we went to the big city and we saw the rockettes!

Once we arrived in New York we got ourselves above ground of course... We headed through Times Square on our way to The Show... even catching a glimpse of the ball for New Year's Eve! We wanted to get a quick bite to eat before the show so we just popped in to Chick-fil-a.... and then we went right to Radio City Music Hall. Our tickets were checked, our bags were checked, the bathrooms were visited (such fun retro bathrooms right? Although they need more of them, desperately) and then we got settled in in our mezzanine seats. There were six seats directly by the balcony railing so we got them and then my mom was right behind us. We thought this would be best so the girls would have an unobstructed view. Which of course, they did. I got some wine and some popcorn and we were ready! 

we went to the big city and we took a train!

This past Saturday myself and Letty, along with the women in our family (minus Audrey, because: too young) all headed to New York City to see, among other things, The Rockette's Christmas Spectacular! My parents treated us all to this day and we have all been looking forward to it for months and months! And it finally came! Thankfully the weather was good and everyone was healthy! One just never knows during flu season am I right? He splurged and got us all train tickets so all we had to do was drive 20 minutes to the train station and then just sit and put our feet up for the next three hours, only to disembark in Penn Station! 

our thanskgiving day

We travel quite far on our Thanksgiving day.... just shy of four miles to our north, to my parent's house. Each and every year since the beginning of time. The kids play fight and hang with their cousins, Matt and my mom cook, and the rest of us just sort of wait around for all the eating to begin, which it does as soon as my uncle and his family arrive in from New York... bearing all the meats and  the cheeses. The foods. My dad's sister and her family came down this year as well so we had quite the group going! Twenty-seven of us I think if my counting serves me right? My uncle goes right to work on the cold cut bread too which is what I am here for. All the antipasto is my thing. The rest of the meal I can just leave but the goods from Long Island? Nope. 

As per the usual a lot of these photos are my sister-in-law's.

our thanksgiving break

I typically like to just book up our time off of school with all of the things in all of the land. Make the most out of it you know? This break was sort of an exception for me. There was a lot of days at home with nothing to do and the kids just playing... not a ton of big evening plans out or anything... Who am I?! But what we did do was eat. A ton of that! Which makes sense because ya know, Thanksgiving break.

Break started with a half day and typically we go out to lunch but this year I had scheduled all the kid's conferences for that afternoon. My mom watched the boys and they played in the leaves and had just the very best time while Letty went with us to school. She had to lead her own conference which was interesting but good. Then she had tutoring... so I treated her to Panera on our way there.

'twas the night before thanksgiving

And all through Lancaster County, all the kids in all the land went to Lancaster Cupcake for their story time and cupcake decorating.

Well, maybe not all, but definitely a lot. I took Dom to one of these last year and thought it was so cute and so when my sister found one that all the kids could go to I thought, why not?! But everyone was off of school and so it was quite chaotic. I'm glad we got there early and staked out a few chairs. The story was the Night Before Thanksgiving and then the cupcakes were turkeys. They sort of look like Hei Hei from Moana. In my opinion. We listed and then we decorated and then we went on our merry way. 

And see also our old neighbors showed up too! Twice in one week! What are the chances!

frozen ii

Letty was the prime age when the first Frozen came out. She was instantly obsessed. As soon as was possible she watched it daily. She couldn't wait to meet Anna and Elsa (which she has, quite a few times, thanks to her Poppop). She has had a Frozen birthday party. She has seen Frozen on Ice. She has all the dresses to play dress up. She. Loved. It. 

So you can imagine how excited we were to see the sequel! Six years later! We went with my mom, sister and sister-in-law and nieces. And of course we had to have them in matching shirts because have we met? My mom treated the girls to their little snacks and we settled in to be entertained! I'm sure you've all heard that the movie is wonderful albeit a little dark at times. But that Olaf is just the best comedic relief ever! 

And surprise surprise! Our old neighbors were there too! Just like the first time! And even in the same row! What a world!