St. Lucia Day

photo 5Last Thursday, my little Sprouts Class celebrated St. Lucia Day.  We learned about Saint Lucia, made buns, read a Swedish Christmas story and dressed up for a procession.  We turned down all the lights and the oldest Sprout carried our plate of treats, while the younger children carried flashlight “candles”.  They marched in to see their mamas and brothers and presented their mother’s with the Christmas gifts they made for them.  It was soooo sweet and my first celebration of St. Lucia Day.

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This has been a busy month for the Sprouts class, as they have been busy making gifts for everyone in their families.  They made picture frames for their brothers, note cards and ornaments for their fathers and mugs for their moms.  It has been so much fun crafting, baking and learning about the winter holidays with these sweet kids.  Next week we are presenting at a Christmas Around the World Fair, will make reindeer food and will learn about Hanukkah.  It is fun to be a Sprout!

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Advent Magic

photo 3This season of Advent has been great so far and filled with Advent Magic.  We have tried to slow down life a bit and have been conscience to pick out only a few extra activities.  Our home time has been spent making gifts (oh the gifts!!), reading our Jesse Tree Devotional, watching Christmas movies, reading Christmas books, listening to our Sparkle Stories Advent calendar and playing board games by the fire.

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The other night we had our 2nd Advent Spiral.  It has quickly become my favorite part of the season.  My mother once again played the part of the angel of light and my dad played instrumental Christmas music on his guitar.  Each child took turns walking the spiral path towards my mother where she lit their apple candle.  She told them to take the light with them through the dark nights of winter.  They then walked back out the spiral and placed their apple candle on a star along the way.  When all the candles had been placed and everyone was seated quietly, the lights were turned out and we sat among the candle light, listening to the music, for a few beautiful moments.  There were tears in my eyes as I took in this beautiful site and thought about the blessing that my co-op friends are to me.  I was so glad that my parents agreed to be a part of this magical night once again.

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My goal for this season has been to go more slowly and be more present.  It is hard at times for me but I have cut back my to-do list, have created white space in our calendar and am trying to let things go. I am trying to spend my time snuggling on the couch with my kids rather than worrying about the mound of laundry behind me.  It is hard but I am trying.  This is the gift I am trying to give myself….the gift of being present for these days that are fleeting and will be gone before I know it.  These moments of stillness and togetherness are what create Advent Magic.

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A Proud Mama

photo 5On Friday, Lil’C and I donated our hair to Locks of Love.  It was a whirl wind experience that started with my friend Lisa agreeing on Wednesday to TRIM our hair Friday.  On Thursday I mentioned this to my friend Kitty and she asked if we were going to donate.  I didn’t think I was eligible with my color treated hair but I was wrong!

That afternoon I chatted with the woman who owns our local health food store as she had donated two weeks ago.  She explained how to go about it and told me how easy it was to donate.  I then asked Lil’C what she thought.  This child has been brought to tears for the past 2 years, every time I mentioned getting a hair cut.  When I suggested donating and explained where the hair would go she said, “OK”.  I was SHOCKED and waited for her to back out and she never did!

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I think my friend Lisa was the most nervous.  Cutting about 12 inches of my thick curly hair, pulled up in a ponytail, was a scary thing for her to do.  She has never cut my hair before so I think that added to her anxiety.  Lil’C was a bit anxious but jumped right into the chair and Lisa set to work.  She did so WELL and I am so proud of her.

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Lisa cut off 12 inches of her hair as well.  And she looks super cute with her new short hair.

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My hair is a bit shorter than I am use to (not sure it has ever been this short) but it is a nice change.  I love that we were able to do this together and that our curly hair is now going to help a child.  It was a great thing to do during this season of giving.

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Catching Up

IMG_5102Where does the time go??  I had meant to do a Thanksgiving Weekend Recap post on Monday but somehow it is now Wednesday night and there has been no post.  I know many of us right now have moved on to the Holiday Season and don’t really want to recap Thanksgiving, but I hope you will humor me.  This evening I will share some photos and small details of our weekend of gratitude.  I am so filled with gratitude after the weekend we had and some special people deserve a shout out!

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Thanksgiving Morning, Scott played golf in this!

Let me start with my mom, my hero.  I was amazed with how well she handled the last-minute changes that had to happen to her Thanksgiving dinner.  With no power, she could not host and had to leave her beautifully decorated table behind and move everything to my house at the last-minute.  I know she was disappointed but she rolled with it and because of her we had an amazing dinner.  I am so grateful to she, my dad and my second parents (Joan and Hal) for joining us for Thanksgiving.  It was wonderful to have them here and share a meal together.

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Fun with Auntie Amber

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Brother/Sister Team

The next heroes of the weekend were my father in-law Jeff and sister in-law Amber.  They gave up their Friday plans to help fix our house!  They worked all day in the cold to replace the rotted beams and button up our house (no more hole!!).  I am so grateful to them, if it weren’t for their help it would have been at least a 3 day job.

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Lil’C’s year to put the star on the tree

The rest of the weekend was spent in playing the snow, spreading holiday cheer, completing household chores and celebrating with friends and family.  I am so grateful for the laughs I shared this weekend with some wonderful people.  Sunday afternoon we decorated my mom’s tree and I got to spend some quality time with my favorite twins.  I most enjoyed an animated conversation with my sweet little Emma.

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First time all 6 have been in a picture together

It was a busy but nice weekend and I am so grateful to Scott for all of his hard work and effort to fix our house.  He works so hard all week long and then spends his weekend hours playing contractor, he is AMAZING and we are so blessed.

I am now looking forward to a slowing down this month and using Advent as a time to create, reflect, connect and anticipate all that is to come.

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They spent HOURS in the snow

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The halls are decked

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Answer: Buy New Underwear

photo-2Question:  What does one do when they have no laundry in their house (notice the hole in my house) and a sick child at home (can’t go anywhere to do laundry)?

Yes, this is what I need to do.  I am fine for today but before the snow comes tomorrow I need to get me to Target for some new undies.  Who’d of thunk?  I did the kids laundry on Friday, so they are all set and I have a new package of undies for Scott that were planning on giving him for Christmas (Christmas is coming early this year honey!!).  But this mama (like most mama’s) is usually last in the laundry line and thus I have two buckets of dirty laundry waiting to be done.

Despite this laundry issue there is so much to be thankful for this holiday.  I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  I am looking forward to mine (there is laundry at my mom’s house!!!), just have to get Lil’C healthy!!

And if you see Santa while you are shopping over the weekend, can you tell him I would like a back wall for my bathroom for Christmas?  Thank you!!!!

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Operation Christmas Child

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The kids and I have really enjoyed participating in Operation Christmas Child for the second year in a row.  For those of you who don’t know about this mission, I recommend you visit the Samaritan’s Purse website and learn all about it.  The kids have watched so many of the videos (I get teary with all of them). They love to watch the children’s faces when they receive their boxes.  Their favorite is this video (click here) and now want to watch Duck Dynasty.

Operation Christmas Child has delivered over 100,000,000 shoe boxes to children all over the world.  For many this is the only gift that they will ever receive.  Shoe boxes include small toys, hygiene products, candy, art supplies and lots of love. There are some items you can not include (chocolate, toys related to war, liquids etc.).

Last year I helped to create two boxes with my MOPS group.  This year our family helped to make 4 boxes.  The kids in our co-op made 7 boxes, my sister and mom did another box and our small MOPS group did 12 boxes.  The church where our MOPS group meets is a collection site for Operation Christmas child and this week is the week for collection.  They are expecting over 1,000 boxes at their site and it is just one collection site of 4,000 across the country.

It is not too late to pack a shoe box and change the life of a child.  You have until Monday to pack it and drop it off at a collection site (click here to find one) or you can pack a virtual box online.

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3 Generation Road Trip

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This weekend Z and I went with my dad down to NJ/NY to visit with family.  We only see them about once a year and so it was nice to get down there to be with all of them.  It was a jam packed weekend and Z was a trooper as we spent a TON of time in the car.

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About an hour in to the journey….

Early Saturday morning, my dad, Z and I all got in the car and headed south.  Our first stop on the family road trip was to see my aunt in NY.  My cousin’s fiance Sandy was there as well and we enjoyed a nice lunch with both of them.  It was great to catch up with my Aunt Lucia and get to know Sandy better.  The food was great and my aunt bent over backwards to accommodate all of our food needs.  It was a great way to start our trip (Thanks Aunt Lucia!!).

Our second stop was my great aunt’s house on the NYC/NJ border.  We had visited she and my cousin Mary Lou on our road trip over the summer and it was nice to see them again so soon.  Two of my dad’s siblings and two of my cousins rounded out the gathering.  I hadn’t seen my cousin Chris in about 10 years and it was great to see him.

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We visited for a bit and then headed out for an early dinner.  My great aunt is 93 years young and so spry and fun to chat with.  She wasn’t going to join us at the restaurant because she wasn’t feeling well but after visiting for a bit, “jumped” up and said, “I’m going and I am going to have a beer!”.   I am glad she rallied because it was fun to hear the family stories around the table at dinner.

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A picture of my great Aunt, taken by Z

After that visit, we headed to the hotel.  Z was MOST excited about this and couldn’t wait to see the room and check out the pool.  We got to relax for a bit and Z took a quick swim before we headed to our next destination.

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Lake Friends!!

Good friends from the lake live only 25 minutes from where we were staying and so we couldn’t pass up the chance to see them.  We enjoyed a short but fun visit with them.  Z was getting punchy by this time and really just wanted to go back to the hotel to relax.  You can’t really blame him, it was 8pm and he had had a long day of driving and listening to adults chat.

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Such a fun day!

Sunday morning brought an adventure just for Z!  After breakfast we headed to Legoland Discovery Center in NY.  We had been there before a year and a half ago but that didn’t hinder Z’s excitement.  He was bouncing off the walls and soooo excited to share this adventure with Chi Chi.

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NYC in LEGOs

We had a great time at Legoland and hit everything.  On the way home we hit my favorite deli, Reins.  I got a bucket o pickles and we had lunch.  It was a great way to end our weekend.

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LEGO race track, Z won

We had a really great weekend.  It was fun to spend time with my dad and see so many people.  It was our first 3 generation road trip and I hope it was the first of many more to come!

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Oh What a Night….

This episode of Friends, season 7 was top of mind for me last night.  I was alone, as Scott is traveling and I was exhausted when I tumbled into bed at 10:30PM.  Here is how the night went down…..

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10:30PM–Go to bed and fall asleep about 30 minutes later.

1:30AM–I am awoken abruptly but unsure why.  Get up to look around and find nothing.

2:30AM–I am awoken abruptly again, this time I hear a beep.  I groggily remember the last time this happened it was the CO meter needing a new battery.  I work to disengage it (such a noisy process and Z wakes up) and take the battery out.  I head back to bed.

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3:30AM–Just as I am falling asleep the horrid beep is heard AGAIN!?!?!  This time I realize it was not the CO meter but the smoke alarm.  I head downstairs to search for batteries and find nothing.  I then take the battery out and I am greeted with a series of beeps (this wakes up Z again).  I run downstairs and grab the battery from the CO meter and place it in the smoke alarm.  All is quiet……

4:30AM–I toss and turn while waiting for that piercing beep to go off again.  Snow is falling outside my window, why is snow falling in November?!?!  I then fall asleep, realizing that I have ended it for now.

5:30AM–“Mommy I’m scared!”  It is not the horrid beep but a wee child who says she is scared of the dark.  I tell her it is night and she runs back to bed.  On her way she turns on EVERY light in her path.  I am forced to get up and shut off some lights and shut doors so that Z and I are not disturbed.

7:11 AM–Z and C run in to wake me up and let me know there is snow on the ground.  I roll over EXHAUSTED and let them know that we need to go and get batteries today.  From now on, I am following the Change Your Batteries in your Smoke/CO Alarms Day on Day Light Savings Day.

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A Great Weekend

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The weekend was a busy one but full of adventure for all.  It started off with Lil’C and I babysitting the twins for the first time while Scott and Z went out to breakfast, worked on the bathroom and did yard work.

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Lii’C and I were excellent babysitters and we kept those sweet babies quiet and happy (for the most part).  They were awake for most of the time and we enjoyed snuggling, singing and playing with them.

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Saturday night Z went to the UNH hockey game with ChiChi, his cousin G and Uncle Marc.  They went out to dinner, played pool and had a GREAT time at the game.

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Lil’C had a sleepover with her cousin Jiggy and Scott and I headed off to Maine for a 40th birthday party for my dear friend Sarah.  On the way to the party, we stopped off at a little Mexican restaurant for a quick date night of appetizers and drinks.  Scott and I haven’t had a date since the summer, so it was nice to get away for a bit.

The party was great and it was so nice to celebrate this special birthday with Sarah.  I couldn’t believe how perfectly the stars aligned so that were were able to make the two hour trip up and back to see her.

Sunday morning Scott and I headed to church alone as the kids were still with my parents.  We were blessed with another date and went out to breakfast and picked out tile for the downstairs.  It was nice to have so much one on one time with Scott over the weekend.

Sunday afternoon, Scott headed down to work and the kids and I snuggled in front of the fire and watched a few episodes of the Brady Bunch.  We were all sooooo exhausted from our late nights and crazy weekend that a little downtime was just what we needed.  I hope you had a good weekend!

A few more pictures….

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Lil’C’s thankful turkey with “accessories”.  She added a crown and gown.  We add a feather each night.

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We are studying the Vikings

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We made Viking ships and hats

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A Flurry of Activity

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The Halloween Crew!

I wish there was more time in my life for blogging right now.  The season I am in right now has me whirling around from place to place and project to project and thus there is little time left for this space.  I am hoping come winter, time will slow down a bit and there will be more time to share all of the fun and wonderful things going on in our lives.  For now, I will use pictures  to share a few things happening in our neck of the woods.  Happy November to all!

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Mommy and son penguins!

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The Princess Coach on Halloween Night! Ariel and Elsa

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Good-bye closet in our Bathroom!!

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C found Mikey

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Z doing his Narragansett Indian Presentation

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Can you guess what we are studying now??

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Yes, Vikings! We just finished Food Chains and have moved on to the Vikings :)

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Working hard on his 4th newspaper

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We LOVE Fall!!

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