Tuesday, December 28, 2021

To read, space must be made on the bookshelf


The kids rooms have been hot messes for a while.  We tried to get them to clean them on their own. No luck.  We tried to threaten them with "No Toys for Christmas!"  But it turns out Mommy has a lot harder time with that one than the kids do.  They didn't get many toys for Christmas, some stuffies from Santa, and Jacob got some Legos.  Now, they didn't come from us, they came from Santa.  So that counts. 

Anyway, at the beginning of Christmas Break, I made a list.  I'm good at making Lists, usually, just not so good at crossing everything on them.  This list filled up a page very quickly.  It was freeing for my mind to write it all down, and within the first week of Break, we crossed off half the things.  But now we're getting to the big items, things no one wants to do.  There's still a bit of fun left, but not much. 

Today we took on Sam's bookshelf.  Books were spread all over his room, and overflowing off shelves all over the floor.  We worked on it today.  Now, while I was pulling books out from under his bed, I found clothes, a lot of clothes.  So we need to wash them, and put them away.  That part only got half done.  But what they really wanted to do today was spend their Gift Money. 

Opa gave them all Barnes and Noble Gift Cards for Christmas.

I think having a No Toys Christmas was hardest on Opa.  

Today, we took the kids all to Barnes and Noble.  

Since they'd all organized their bookshelves they knew exactly what they wanted. 

Jacob was looking for Dog Man Mothering Heights, but didn't find it, 
he found Cat Man and the 1st Dog Man book instead. 

Sam was finishing up a couple of his collections, like Wings of Fire and Divergent. 
He had quite the list after totally revamping his bookshelf.

Eric introduced Chris to the Sci Fi section. <3 
And Chris chose the first few books of the Wheel of Time series. 
I really think he's going to Love it. 

I looked at it, and it was familiar, my father in law lent them to me. 
I said, "Oh yeah, I know that one.  Isn't it the one with the guy and the gal?"
Chris interrupts, "No Spoilers!"  
Eric burst into hysterical, teary eyed laughter.  
The girl and the guy... that could describe any book. What's a spoiler about that?! 
We've long joked that Eric keeps me around for Comic Relief, and our outburst of laughing so hard we couldn't breathe is part of that.  My cheeks were sore I was laughing so hard. 
It's probably not as funny in print, but after a disgusting hard day of cleaning out children's rooms, nooks and crannies, it was awesome to laugh that hard. 

I went hoping I could find the We are Knitters pattern book, and also the complete works of Jane Austen. 

I've got some Great Ideas to get cooking with now for the next year.  
Call it Knitspiration! 
I'm making great progress on my Copper Tap Cardigan, but getting itchy as to what's next. 
On one hand, I want to get more yarn; on the other hand, I want to bust up some of my stash and finish some of my incomplete projects.  I think stashbusting is going to win first!

Meanwhile, Ahsoka really enjoys the throw rug Eric got me for Christmas. This blanket looks just like one I had while I was in College.  Unfortunately, it got eaten by Fina, and didn't survive the move to this house.  She's awfully cute. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Run Run Reindeer


I found Cole's Toy.  I was putting Christmas clutter away and I found this.  
I was surprised.  We'd asked the kids if they had seen it, they all scrambled to look for it, because they knew how upset he was.  Apparently, Jacob had snatched it, because he thought it was cool. 

So, my morning was spent driving to their house, an hour away, to deliver it, with said offender, in person.  Jacob did a good job of making it right, as his cousin was just too excited to have it back.  He'd been so worried.  And they love each other so much, that they just wanted to play.  It was a pretty decent punishment to not let them play together. Parenting stinks. 

Then we dropped off goodies for my sister's puppy that we'd forgotten yesterday. I got to briefly see Lisa and my Mom again.  But as Parenting still stinks when trying to teach a lesson to a small boy who was not once, but twice denied playing with cousins. 

If you ask me what I did today?  I drove. 

After another much needed nap, I took Chris out for a drive.  He got more confident after hitting the speed limit for the first time yesterday.  Then dashed back to earth when he took a corner a little too fast for my comfort.  So far, driving around our neighborhood has been good enough for him. 

Ahsoka barks at Pluto! 

After all the adventures around town driving, all I wanted to do was sit and watch tv.  Chris joined me.  To me, it's still Christmas, and since I didn't get to watch all my favorite family shows, I'm watching them on my own. Disney+ had Pluto and the Christmas Tree, with Chip and Dale, one of my all time favorites.  The dog was cracking me up.  She was barking at the TV every time Pluto barked.  Then, of course, since it was on our old VHS tape as a starter, we had to watch Mickey's Christmas Carol. It may just be one of my all time favorite Christmas cartoons ever, maybe tied with Charlie Brown, just a hair above the Grinch.  
Our family celebrates Christmas until January 6th.  

Yeah, I could probably create a decent top list of Favorite Christmas Cartoons .... not the movies though, that's another list.
Our Favorite Christmas Cartoons
1. Charlie Brown's Christmas
1. Mickey's Christmas Carol
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
4. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
5. Frosty the Snowman
6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
7.Pluto and the Christmas Tree
8. The Year without a Santa Claus
9. Twas the Night Before Christmas (the one with the mice)
10. Prep and Landing 

Honorable Mention - Emmet Otter's Jug Band, and John Denver and the Muppets,
We also watched Muppet Christmas Carol the other day, also a classic.  
There's just something wonderful and purely Christmas about the Muppets.  

Funny thing about that, I spent the day in my new T-shirt from Eric that says Emotional Support Animal and has the Muppet Animal on it. It's super soft.  

Christmas, Part Deux


They call it Boxing Day.  We call it Unboxing day. 

We often use this day to clean  up from the generosity of our loved ones. 

And today, for the most part, wasn't much different. We needed to put stuff away. Of course putting stuff away led to issues on where to put things, which inevitably leads to some sort of Organization project around here.  Today it was Jacob's room, putting dressers away and sorting socks. 

Yes, have some. 
It started with Coffee. As it should be. 
Eric got me this fabulous Ghostbusters themed mug for Christmas yesterday. 
I loved it and specifically requested to drink from it first today. 

Ahsoka killed Darth Vader. 
He had a squeaker, and she would have none of it. 

Darth Vader being taken out by Ahsoka seems perfect.

As I worked on Christmas Cards, the strong boyz in this house moved dressers. Jacob's baby dresser is now in the basement, and he has two new (to him) dressers in his room, and things are being moved around and cleaned up in that room. Eric spent 3 hours sorting socks and matching and stuffing drawers today.  I did Christmas cards and took a nap, supporting from afar. 
Then we went to my Mom's for Christmas. 
She and Lisa made an "Annie's Mexican casserole" which is layered corn tortillas and toppings.  I asked Lisa for a side salad, but she never does anything halfway, so we ended up with a build your own salad bar, which was delicious, and just what I needed. 

My Grandpa used to take photos of every meal. 
I remember it driving me nutsy. I remember being annoyed at having to wait to eat while Grandpa took pictures, now I look at these pictures and remember everyone smiling, happy to eat together, and it's not so annoying.  So I continue the habit. I flubbed saying Grace tonight, I wish I'd had more mindpower to say something more than "God is Great, God is Good..."  though it's true, I wish I'd lent more of my heart in Thankfulness to our family prayer time.  I didn't want to lead. I regret that now. 
I was really Thankful for this time.  Two weeks ago, my family was hit with Covid. Mom stayed safe, but Lisa, James, and Charlie all got it.  Luckily, they didn't get hit too hard.  Still it was scary to not be nearby, and I was extra Thankful that we could get together to celebrate our slightly belated Christmas today.  Chris enjoys sitting at the big table now... it's not the boring room to him anymore.  

We still have the little kids table though... though they really aren't that little anymore. 
We ate in shifts, and the boys actually did a good job eating. 

Last week, on Mom's birthday, I dropped sushi off on their doorstep.  I peeked in the window, like some kind of stalker, and saw them decorating this tree.  It made me so happy to see, that they were all feeling well enough to do so, they were on the tail end of their covid adventures, but we weren't quite ready to get together with them, let alone eat.  So we waited, and did our celebrating today. 
Technically, we saw Lisa and them yesterday, but today was our Christmas.  

All the Cousins together. 
I know the Grandparents love to get pics of the kids together. 
I do too. <3

This was my gift to my Mom, a sushi scarf.  If you roll the scarf up it looks like a sushi roll.  I had to make up the pattern, and it was neat when it was all wound up, but I forgot to get a picture of it. Doh. Meanwhile, this sushi scarf came with a gift card to Ocean World, one of Mommy's favorite sushi places.  She was excited.  It's not making up for the fact that her Birthday Party got bumped, but it was something good.  And I'm pretty happy with how the sushi scarf turned out. 

While I was watching Mom, the kids opened their gifts from Lisa, 3 sets of bluetooth headphones.  All three of them can hook up their tunes to their screens and play quietly... theoretically. 
They were pretty happy about that. 

I got my sister good. #Goals
I completely surprised her with a T-shirt of Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby in the Sisters outfits.  

It was a pretty awesome shirt. 
And the girls were also pretty happy with their Squishmallows and Sushi cards. 
It was a very sushi and White Christmas.  Lisa got a shirt and mug of Sisters. 

Eric got some nifty Hawaiian shirts that with Purple. He loves to wear Hawaiian shirts when he's on vacation, and we seem to be traveling with the Band a lot, and purple is our color now. 

Nana surprised them all with money. 
Visions of Nintendo things dance in their heads. 

Eric offered the boys 10 cents a stick to pick up in the yard the other day, and before he knew it, he owes Sam $100 and Chris and Jacob roughly $50 each.  However, he got all the yard work done in one day, so that was pretty good. We have lots of Holiday Break goals, and that knocked out a couple with having the boys help.  It's really neat now that they have enough strength to really be helpful. It couldn't come at a better time, I'm getting old, and a lot more useless, it's handy that they are helpful, I appreciate them so much.  

Meanwhile, I wore my new White Christmas Tshirt today too.  As soon as Lisa opened her present, I took off my flannel and showed her I had it. She laughed so hard.  It was Perfect. She loved the theme, and she enjoyed her presents.  I'm so glad.   She even let me take cheesy photos of us together in our matching shirts. We'll see if we ever plan to match again.  Who knows?

Next year, I think I'm going to need giant feather fans. ;) 

We're silly. 
Sisters. Sisters. 
There were never such devoted sisters. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas! 

Beauty under the Blue Tree.
This year Eric set up all the Boys' trains upstairs in the loft.  
It's a little tight up there, but in the dawn light this morning, it was Beautiful. 

The kids woke up at a reasonable hour, 7:30. 
We woke to the sounds of the phone ringing, it was crank caller, twice they called back to back, someone foreign kept saying Hallo Hallo.  Finally, I took the phone off the hook, but the two younger boys and I gave up.  We were up to stay.  
In addition, there was some sort of critter making skittering noises above my bed.  At first I thought it was coming from behind me, birds like to build nests above our posts, and they like  try to get up under the soffits, or into the attic.  It wasn't a case of the soffits.  The boys came to me with this crazy idea,  the bird was in the wall by the linen closet. It sounded wacky. But nope. They were right. There's a Bird in the freaking wall. He's been fluttering around all day. And that was enough to wake us fully.  
Some people may have been up late. 

Santa brought lots of Goodies to the boys. 
But we got a hold of some dressers for Jacob.  He really only needed one, an adult size one, but these pair came for the right price... Free. 

The Living Room on Christmas morning. 
I'm proud the boys waited for Chris to get up before attacking. Though with the bird, the dog, the phone, he didn't get to sleep in much. 

By 8, they were Ready to open presents. 

Jacob got a pineapple squishmallow. 
It was going to be a no toy year from us, but we can't fight Santa. 
And Santa brought squishmallows. 

Sam loved his sloth squishmallow. 

Chris never would have asked for a stuffie for Christmas, I mean, come on, he's 16.  
But these little guys are precious and so soft. 
Even this teen was happy. 

Oh yes, Sam was so excited to get a new (to him) phone! 

Jacob gets a new (to him) ipad... even with his old yellow ipad cover!

Chris was happy to see a new phone under the tree. 
It's the only thing he asked for. 

Once they opened their screens, they didn't want to do much else... for the day.  
I think this is almost my favorite picture, it sums up our morning pretty well. ;) 

Eric was surprised by this double waffle bowl maker.  
  He'd bookmarked it, but I don't think he ever expected to see that one.  I loved being able to totally surprise him. He did a wonderful job of surprising me for Christmas. I knew a phone was coming... because the kids now have ours. We didn't need new phones, but they did.  My computer mouse on the other hand was dying. I didn't realize how badly until I was working on our Christmas letter with Eric, and he sat down to make some corrections and lost his mind.  I mentioned how I wouldn't mind having a new computer, and moving this carnage back into the loft, because the kids have been using the computer in my craft room, and trashing my space. I wished they could have their own space to trash. 
Eric brushed me off, with the completely logical argument of how it would be too expensive to get pieces, especially since we'd just taken a major trip.  But he Surprised the snot out of me. He got me a  new monitor and the beginning guts of a new computer, and while I napped this afternoon, (with earplugs) he moved it around, and set the kids back up in the loft. Facebook got very angry at me for getting a new computer and a new phone on the same day and has completely locked me out. 
But I find I don't mind.... maybe I'll finally get to catch up on Blogging. Ha. 

Meanwhile, it's a Very Butler Holiday.  
Santa brought tickets to a Butler Basketball Game for this coming week! 

Oh yes, and we got the kids some new fun T-shirts. 
Jacob had asked for a new Hamilton shirt because he'd outgrown his. 

All the boys are growing, and this was a get new T-shirts sort of Christmas. 

Chris got a couple Hamilton shirts too. 

Sam's is more Science based. 

You know how we said it was going to be a No Toy year. 
Yeah well, Santa didn't do so well at that.  We found a Green Lantern Lego Buildable Figure which they don't make anymore. So Jacob got Lego toys. But he's 8.  
He was pretty happy about that.  We may waffle around on how it's been a hard year and a good year, but I'm a sucker for one of his smiles.  Legos make him smile.  
Doesn't this look like Green Lantern lighting the top of the Christmas Tree! 
I thought so too. 

Eric made Pumpkin Rolls and Christmas Bacon. 
Christmas Bacon is a Willman recipe from Aunt Betty, and it's Amazing. It usually takes forever, but he made it yesterday, so he just needed to heat it back up a smidge. 
The rolls came from the new Aldi in town. Sam doesn't usually get to eat such things, because a lot of pumpkin stuff gets stuffed with Red 40. When we found these rolls with No Red 40, we snapped them up.  They tasted very pumpkiny, like real pumpkin pie.  Delicious!  
We had this sugary breakfast, and a cheese snack for lunch, so we'd be hungry for dinner. 
Oma puts on a beautiful spread, so we wanted to save room. 

Ahsoka got some toys for Christmas too! 
She got a new Kong bone. She pranced around the house with her new goodies. I hope they last more than a couple days. 

She got a Christmas colored rope bone, and though she isn't as familiar with playing Tug, she's learning. ;)

Ahsoka got a stuffed Darth Vader toy. 
I don't care if she destroys it tomorrow, it cracked me up! 

Trains by Daylight. 
They still look Awesome. 
We never got around to turning them on today, we'll try tomorrow. 

For boys who "don't need stuffies" , these three were having quite the adventures with their new ones this afternoon.  They didn't really put them down. They are heckuva cute! 

We got to Opa's for Christmas, and all my Boyz curled up on the couch together. 

Everyone was getting along so well. 
Annie and Charlie were getting along so sweetly that I just wanted to record it for my sister  Lisa to show her later. 

The Spread. 
I've waited almost two years for the full MB Christmas dinner! 
We missed it so much last year. By the time we were done eating tonight, we were perfectly content with a delicious meal and good company. 

Grandma Pat's tree. 
We could feel Grandma Pat today.  She loved it when we were all together, all the laughter and noise. 
I miss her.  She was the kind of Grandma everyone wants and should have.  
I passed by this tree on my way outside to take pics of the kids. 
It was 60 degrees out this evening, and that's a rare Christmas gift. 
I suppose some (Sam, Eric, and I) would've been happier with a White Christmas, but it was nice.

Sweetboys by the Tree. 

It was so nice, the kids got their energy up, so we sent them outside to play. 
I made them pose for a sweet pic first. 

But this is how they normally roll. 
But wait... there's More! 
I'd have been content with going on home after an amazing dinner, and spending time with my family. 
Lisa, James, and Charlie got Covid a couple weeks ago, and it just felt so good that they were healthy, that we are all healthy and able to get together. 
Such Blessings! 

Panorama of Christmas Prep.  
My Dad and Stepmom are so generous. 

Annie and Sam get crazy with the Colts hats! 

Sam models 3 hats all at the same time. 

My sister open this, and both she and Annie at the same time, said 
it was so funny. 

Jacob stacked up his hats all on top of each other too. :D 

And then it was done. 
Frantic for a half an hour, we all watch the kids open their things. 
Then we got to sit back and watch MB open her stuff.  

Lisa and James put this beautiful picture collage together for Dad and MB. 
They were surprised.  There were some really great pics that made us laugh here from the last year. 

I told James I wouldn't put this on the internet. 
I fibbed. 
Honestly though, I don't even think anyone reads this blog anymore.  Let me know if you do. 
But this one was Awesome.  
James received this beautiful leather case from Dad and MB, because not only was this  Christmas, but James just finished school.  You're looking at a man who is going to be a Teacher! 
He just finished his last finals. 
Ah so... 
Now the Student becomes the Teacher. 

So he gifted us all with a fashion show with it, visions of what it will look like when he goes to work in 2022!

What a Beautiful note to end on. 
My new phone gets artsy with photography, it took a tree photo I took and created a black and white. 
Kind of nice, and good to document and freeze this moment. 
It was wonderful to be back having an almost regular Christmas. 
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas too.