Christmas Morning

I love Christmas!  I think I get more excited than the kids.  I love the decorations, family time, and anticipation.    My sister-in-law, Kelly, adores Christmas also.  One of the kids will randomly say throught the months of November and December, "Do you think Aunt Kelly is listening to Christmas music at this moment?"  We always start  to laugh and agree that she is indeed listening to Christmas music.
   In my quest for a "Perfect Christmas," I try to have all the shopping done and all the gifts wrapped before the kids are out of school. This is a great goal and accomplishment but it leaves not much emphasis on the kids having the opportunity to select and buy gifts for each other.  The kids were most excited about the gifts they got each other.  I think next year, I will try to put more of an importance on them getting each other gifts and even taking them shopping the week before Christmas.

Favorite Memory this year (need to write it down because I will forget):   The first time I turned on the Christmas music for the season the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."  As Marky listened to the words, his eyes got bigger and bigger.  He walked straight to the speakers to really listen to the words.  I knew he was taking the words to the song quite seriously.  When the song was over, he looked at me and said, "I am nice Mommy, but Stevie and Chelsea fight so much they are naughty."

Favorite Gift this year: was the cd of Matt's musical performance (see this post).  I have listened to it EVERYDAY. It is so inspirational!!  I am going to play the kids's the song "The Project," everyday before they leave for school.

Christmas Morning:
As you can see, the teenager was not so excited about waking up.  Stevie was so excited for Christmas morning and then when he saw Matt still in bed, Stevie thought it was "cooler" to act like he was a  tired teenager. Look at his picture below of his "Coolness."

This picture of Steven was taken right after he was told very nicely (with the Christmas spirit) that he was not a teenager and his "teenage coolness" was not so cool.  He snapped out of it real quick.   

Everyone waiting upstairs anxiously to come down and see what Santa brought them. 

This is what they saw.  Santa was generous this year. 

Marky (with Buddy) was very excited to see that Santa brought his Cars 2 cars.

Cheslea and Stevie got IPODS. 

Stevie opening his stocking.  Lots of food items in his stocking.  The way to Stevie's heart is through his stomach. 

Santa (and the Easter Bunny) always brings our family sugar cereals since we do not usually have them during the year.

Steve helping Marky open his cars.

Matt excited to get socks in his stocking.

Stevie wanted me to open the first gift.  He had chosen a special gift for me and couldn't wait till I opened it. 

It was a donut maker.  He is hoping that we can make donuts like Stan's (see this post).

Chelsea LOVED this shirt from Justice. 
Matt did not ask for much.  He kept saying, "I don't need anything." Here he is unwrapping weights for Christmas. 
Stevie opening his two part gift.  A water balloon pumper. 

Love the boy's expressions as they realize what the second part of the gift is. 

Steve's best gift a framed picture of his grandparents who raised him.

Marky got Stevie a BIG Costco size bottle of Tabasco.  Stevie puts it on EVERYTHING.

Stevie got Marky the CARS 2 video game.   Side note on the video games- our XBOX broke right before Christmas.  The kids have not been able to play for three weeks (do have a smile on my face right now).
Marky got Matt some ANGRY BIRDS boxers.

Chelsea LOVED her new pajamas from Justice.
Matt helping Marky open his Star Wars toys.

In the afternoon, Marky and Steven resting in Stevie's bed listening to the same Star Wars song over and over.  
Playing Apples to Apples later that day.  Love this game because everyone can play (including Marky).  Big family favorite.

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Thanksgiving Eve Service 2011

This year both Matt and Stevie sang at the Thanksgiving Eve service.  It was really neat to see both boys up singing this year.  Grateful that Stevie and Matt are so committed and find passion in singing in church and being part of the youth group.

Matt and Jack Wilbur.  They like to sing real loud. 

Stevie getting directions from Carol.

Stevie and Jack are so cute sitting by each other.  They keep each other "entertained" during the service. 

Matt and Janis hugging.  We now call this the "Janis hug."  If Matt gives me a flimsy, "teenage" hug, I always say, "Give me a Janis Hug."  Janis went on tour with the Starfire group this Summer.  Matt got close with Janis and had lots of fun with her.

Matt and Alex Dunne.  Matt also had a reading during the service.  I think we videotaped the reading so I did not get any pictures of him talking. 

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Christmas Season Pt 2

  We had such a great time together this holiday season.  I  love this season and all the joy and hope it brings.  I love being able to remind the kids, "Santa Claus is watching," when they need a little reminder to act their best.  We loved listening to Christmas music everyday.  Love the traditions that we have as a family.  Mostly, I love the time the season gives me to spent with my family.   

The quote I put on our quote board the week before Christmas is:
"The celebration of Christmas helps us to keep our promise to always remember Christ."

  Just trying to capture additional Christmas activities.
 Chelsea and I are getting out all the decorations for our tree. 

Marky so carefully putting the ornaments he made on the tree. 

It is always exciting to get the ornaments out each year and see the children's excitement as they remember their own ornaments.  Fun to see all their "homemade" ornaments. 
Matt tall enough to put the Santa on the top of the tree.  

Visiting Santa at Christmas in the Park. 
 Some day, I am going to get all the pictures of the kids with Santa throughout the years and put them in ornaments to hang on the tree.  Some day..
So enjoyed having the kids home the week before Christmas.  The children's excitement was contagious.  We watched lots of Christmas shows and ate all of our favorite holiday treats. 

Santa's reindeer are in the barn behind the kids.  Very festive evening. 

Spending time with the Fratesi Family in San Francisco.

Stevie and Chelsea spent some time at Hope's Corner working with disadvantaged kids. 

 Marky even got to do the crafts, but was under strick guidelines to not eat ANY of the cookies. 

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Christmas in San Francisco Part 2

We started our day in San Francisco in Union Square.  It was fun to be part of all the hustle and bustle of the city life during Christmas season.  We got some fun photos of our day. 

The above shot is the photoshop version.  Below is the un-photoshop.  See if you can see why we needed to photoshop this picture.   The only reason I put this in, is that every picture that we take where Steve is holding Marky, something just doesn't look right.  We all got a huge laugh out of it.

Marky was really wound up this night.  We were all on duty watching (containing) him.  Matt and Claire did a tremendous job watching Marky the whole night.  They were amazing with him and let me have a night off.

 Marky and Khloe were running all around the park.  It was hard getting them to stop long enough to snap a photo. 

The Fairmont's life size gingerbread house is always a "wonder" to see.  Cute picture of Matt and Claire.

 Matt trying to "corrall" Marky.  He was wild that night. 

Chelsea and Laynie in the house. 

Picture of the entire group who went.  It was such a thrill and fun night. 
Look in the middle of the picture of Matt and Claire.  Love it!

Both Steves sharing broccoli. 

Matt and Claire on a dinner date with Marky in the middle.

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