Saturday, January 9, 2010


Every year we celebrate Epiphany Sunday (the second Sunday after Christmas.) The readings at Mass tell of the wise men that made the journey bearing gifts to honor the new born King. Before our first child was born, Paul and I decided we would set apart this day each year to give our gifts to our children and make this day special just for us. It gives us a chance to celebrate throughout the 12 days of Christmas. We have visited with extended family. We have welcomed a new year.

This year Epiphany was January 3rd. Right away in the morning I put a pork loin and carrots in the slow cooker, set the table and listened to a chorus of "Mom, when are we going to open gifts?" You would think they would remember from year to year that we do not open gifts until we get home from Mass; but, every year they forget (yeah... forget? Oh, I'm sure not! They just hope I will forget and let them open them sooner. Nice try kids!)

After Mass, we walked in the door to the wonderful smell of dinner cooking. After putting the potatoes on to cook, I took pity on the children and we gathered in the living room to open gifts. Before opening the our presents, we sing "We Three Kings" and add our wise men to the nativity set. This year we add something new. I found gold, frankincense, and myrrh in decorative boxes. As we sang "We Three Kings, the kids took turns placing the gifts near the manger. Then we all gave our gifts to Jesus for the up coming year. These gifts can be anything that you feel God wants you to work on in the year ahead. We write our gifts on a slip of paper and place them in a small box that sits on our family altar throughout the year. Then the kids were finally able to open their gifts.

After gifts we had a wonderful dinner together. Apparently, I can still cook! The kids loved it! We decided we wanted to spend the rest of the evening playing games, but what do you do when 6 people all want to play something different?? I had everyone write a game on a slip of paper and put them in a bag. We drew out one slip and played that game for awhile and moved on to another Apples to Apples was the first draw and mom came out victorious!! Then we played movies charades. Lawrence put in NERF war. That was the third and final draw. We split up and played three on three (little did I know we had 6 nerf guns in the house) and each team defended one end of the house. Which ever team commandeered the most nerf bullets by the set time would win! Myriah, Magdalene and I took on James, Madison, and Lawrence. After almost an hour of running, chasing, dodging, and laughing we all dropped. By unanimous decision, games were over and it was time to add songs to the new mp3 players and watch a movie. We had fun!!! It was a very good day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hello again!

Yes, I know! It has been a looonnngggg time since I last posted on my blog; too long. I am not even sure why. I guess I wasn't much up for blogging in December. The holidays were still a little difficult for me this year. In some ways even more difficult than last year. Talking with a few widow friends of mine I soon discovered that it is normal for the second year to be some what harder than the first. We are not in the same "fog" we were in last year, but, the reality of his absence is just that much more pronounced.

We did have a very nice holiday with family however. Due to the pending winter storm that was due to hit Christmas Eve and continue through the weekend, we packed in a rush and headed to my mother's Wednesday, a full 2 days earlier than planned.

Christmas Eve day was spent just relaxing and visiting with my mom. This is our 1st Christmas since Grandma died (my mom's mom) and I am glad we were there to spend the day. Later that evening we headed into Mass. The church was beautiful and the homily was great.

I usually do not give my children gifts until Epiphany Sunday (the 2nd Sunday after Christmas) but I did allow them to open one gift Christmas Eve. It really wasn't from me though, so I could justify it. Thanks to some VERY generous friends my kids were THRILLED with their Christmas Eve gift.
Yes, I made sure the anticipation had time to build. "Humor your mother and sit for a picture OR we don't open the present tonight " :) I need to use all the leverage I can at times.
Hmmm... do you think they liked it? I'm just not sure! What was so thrilling, you ask. Why, a Wii, of course. Now I have even more leverage for getting that schoolwork and chores finished!!

Thankfully we chose to head out of town when we did as the storm hit as predicted and I would have chosen to stay home.
It was, without a doubt, a white Christmas. Very beautiful, I might add. Of course, we had already safely arrived at our destination. If I had been forced to drive in it, or been stranded someplace I had not expected to be, I might have thought differently. But, like I said, we had already arrived, so Christmas morning the kids and I cranked up the CD with the song "Let It Snow" and we sang along!

That afternoon my older sister and her son and my younger sister, her husband and their 4 girls joined us for dinner and fun. After gifts we played Apples to Apples (bible edition) and Phase Ten. A few of the younger ones spent some time enjoying all the snow.

After our fun at Nana's, Saturday we headed out in the snow and drove to Grandma's house (Paul's mom) for another round of fun. Saturday we went to Mass with Grandma and back to her house for a wonderful dinner. Paul's brother, Tim, his wife, Jen, and their daughter Ava joined us and we had a nice evening visiting while the kids played. Sunday afternoon was spent at Julie (Paul's sister)and Richard's with the MN siblings and families, and Mom, of course.
Monday we finally left for home. We had originally thought we would leave Christmas day (Friday) and head home Sunday evening. Well, after leaving 2 days early and coming home one day later than planned, we were all glad to finally be home again. It is always fun to get away for awhile and we really enjoyed our time with family; but, there is something about coming home again!!