Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Happy Anniversary to my Hubsley--eight years tomorrow, December 30, to match the eight years between our marriage and the day we first met on our Caribbean cruise--it was Mark's 18th bday (oh, how the Fates were smiling on him). I like to remind him that I'm the best bday present he ever got (any snide commentary here will not be posted--I warn you)! :0) Still the love of my life!

Our ship, the Norway (which has since exploded--wish I was joking).
For our anniversary, we enjoyed a romantic getaway to Chateau Avalon!  Thanks for babysitting, Grammy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Magic of Christmas Day

Christmas at home was magical!
 The stockings are stuffed and the fire is roaring.
 Santa's been here with his bag of loot.
 He only left crumbs on his new plate.
 Look who just woke up! On your mark, get set...
 They can't wait to go!
 Tearing into presents from Santa--Lorelei's opening her pet dog, and Gryffy's getting his Toy Story 3 friends: Woody, Buzz, and Alien.  He's been carrying them around all morning.
 Race cars with launchers.
 Lorelei's pet kitty. She loves it!
 Gryffy opening his moving dinosaur from Grandma & Grandpa Connelly.

 And Lorelei's favorite gift--her hot pink violin from Grandma/Grandpa Connelly, Kayla & Tyler, to match her hot pink nails.
 Gryffy's favorite present.

 Lorelei's helping Daddy unwrap his gift from Mommy...
 Keurig coffee maker!
Daddy's present to Mommy was the custom-cut Christmas lights she's always wanted!  (A few were out, but they fixed them the next day).
Lorelei asked for a colorful star, and Santa delivered.  I love those ornaments of the kids' tiny baby feet--we made them out of latex molds and Plaster of Paris their first Christmases.
 Can you spot the spotted bunny?
 Hoppin' around and munching on wrappings--we had to clean up the paper fast!
 Mmm... wrapping paper.  Nibble nibble.
 Checking out the robotic dinosaur--Gryffy was frightened everytime it roared!
 Oh yes--hot coffee!
 Candlelit breakfast with coffee and casseroles.
 The kids love their Danimals yogurt.
 Marble machine... this is all we built in the span of hours.  Currently on page 36 out of 84.  Mark's not happy (I didn't notice it had 480 pieces when I bought it--oops)!
 Grammy stopped by after stockings were opened to spend some time with the kids (and bestow a few more gifts).
 And Lorelei and Gryffy picked out special presents for each other and Daddy from the $ store.  But the best gift of all?  Skip to the loo--Gryffy POTTY-TRAINED over Christmas!  And here we are, acting a bit "Goofy" after the Disney Christmas Day Parade.
We've begun a new tradition this year to top off our Christmas festivities--decorating cupcakes and placing Baby Jesus in the manger to the tune of Happy Birthday!  Because Christmas is not about presents or even warm fuzzies of home--it's about the day that God came down to Earth to rescue us with His love. 
(Guess who was in charge of candles... but in her defense, Jesus is over 2,000 years old.)
 That's a lot of candles--thank goodness there were some strong wintry gales!
 And so from our home, to yours, we wish you a Merry CHRISTmas!  Cheers!

Christmas Eve

We spent the eve of Christmas Eve at Heartland Church for its candlelight service. Lorelei always wants to join us for the candlelight singing of Silent Night at the end of the service, so Mark snuck her out of Baby Jesus' birthday party.  Gryffy might join us next year--not sure about that boy and fire!
Here's the light box inside our church (but from another snowy day--it didn't stick on Christmas Eve).  The kids rush to this after their classes let out--they always look for the "My Little Ponies" and "Sponge Bobs" and various plastic toys that hide out inside it and move around each week.  Gryffy ran for it--arms back, chest out, legs scrambling--directly after Jesus' birthday party.
 Christmas Eve morning was spent as a family, snuggling in our pj's with a bunny rabbit, watching family videos on our movie screen (heart-melting!), enjoying lunch in pj's with fine china, and watching Christmas concerts on PBS as the kids doze off on the couch.  We even got some fluffy snow, but it didn't stick.

 Mid-morning, some sneaky little elves rang the bell and left Christmas pj's and letters from Santa Claus on the door step.
 Lorelei loved her Minnie Mouse pj's, and Gryffy was wild about his Toy Story 3 pj's. 
 Lorelei's spelling and reading some words already, but got a bit of help from Mommy on her Christmas letter this year.  She embellished with hearts, of course, and dictated the note!
 (back side)
 Lorelei's letter was returned with Santa's reply to both kids.
 Getting goofy.
 One last book was left in our Christmas story basket.
 We joined Grammy, Bpop, and Meg for presents and turkey dinner with the fixins.  I think they got more presents there than from their stockings, Santa, and Mom and Dad combined!

 And before bed, we baked our family's favorite No-Bake Cookies (a.k.a. Reindeer Poo) and left some for Santa (with carrots for the reindeer).
No-Bake Recipe (made famous by the kids' Great-Great Grandma, Aletha Luksa):
1 stick butter
2 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
(combine above ingredients and boil, then add...)
1 c peanut butter
2 1/4 c oatmeal (or until goopy consistency)
Spoon onto wax paper and allow to cool slightly--enjoy!
And Mommy made tomorrow's breakfast the night before.  Our Christmas Strata is a tradition, and this year we've added another--Peanut Butter French Toast Casserole.
 We listen to the Classical Kids' Christmas CD (our favorite--it tells a story with music of the mysteries and traditions of Christmas) and nod off, dreaming of sugar plums and Santa...
Tossing and turning in our sleep, waiting for the sound of sleigh bells ringing in Baby Jesus' Birthday.