Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2014

Christmas Eve we celebrate with Bill's side of the family.  We try to get a picture before we head out to Bill's aunt and uncle's house. Vader always makes his way in, never wanting to be left out.

Mary and Ann with cousins Marie and Rose

Bill with nephew Andrew

Nieces Grace and Maggie

Bill's brothers Joe and Tim with wives Beth and Ali

Niece Marie with sisters in law Kate and Jenny

Mom and Dad with Aunt Ella (middle)

Marie with her Dad Steve and Aunt Ella

Jenny with niece Ellie

These pictures show just a fraction of the 60+ relatives that were there that night.  It's a blast and well worth the late arrival back to our house--midnight---get to bed quick because Santa's on his way!

Christmas morning.  Happy Birthday Jesus!!

After all the gift opening hoopla, we headed to the 10:30 mass.  Bill was a lector and Billy and Tommy were altar servers.  They were short on servers so Mary Kate came out of retirement and filled in. 
In the homily the priest talked about the song The Little Drummer Boy.  In particular the lyric, "I played my best for him" noting that we should give God our best, not our left-overs.

Later in the day my side of the family came here and (hopefully) had a great time.  I know I did.

My Dad and siblings

Siblings with spouses

Nieces Maddie, Eileen, Bridget, Julia, and Kathleen

Nephews Jimmy and Michael with Grandpop

My sister Mary Grace, Sister in law Kathy, and niece Moira

Brothers Jim and Bob

Bro in law Mike and brother John

Uncle Art with Mary Grace and John

Love my sister!


Billy and Michael

The eldest and youngest cousins....Moira and Matthew

With my brother Jim on the guitar we sang some Christmas songs and then I requested he and my brother John do their rendition of Al Stewart's The Year of the Cat. 

This week Bill and the kids are off so we will spend lots of time in our pajamas mixed with fun activities. 

Happy New Year to all.  See you in 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Tree Hunting 2014

This past Saturday we headed to Lehighton, PA to find our Christmas tree.  Crystal Spring Tree Farm has provided us with a lovely tree for a few years now.  In fact, this year they also provided the White House their Christmas tree (again...for the fourth time!)

Tommy and Mary ran off ahead as the rest of us trudged up the big hill.  They found it before we even reached the top, which took a little of the fun out of the hunt, except for Billy who just wanted to get it done so he could get home and watch the Eagles game.

 We couldn't deny that it was a great tree, so we decided on that one.

Now, we can sit back and enjoy preparing for the big day!

Friday, December 12, 2014

And The Winner Is.....

Today is Friday and it's time to reveal the winner of the book giveaway!

Tommy was my helper.  He dressed for the occasion and we used high-tech means to pick the winner. 

The winner is Billie Jo!!!

Congratulations!  I'm so happy for you.  I'll be sending the book to you soon.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  I had borrowed my copy from the library, so if you'd still like to check it out, go check it out. 
Get it?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NOT An Affiliate Link

I don't know what an affiliate link is.  I think it has something to do with getting compensation for advertising through your blog.

Well, my "fan base" is much too small for me to get any compensation, but I do have an unpaid advertisement for you.

Back in the summer I got a great deal on bath towels from Horchow.  I had never heard of that site, and it sure is beautiful over there, but came to find out that my pocketbook wouldn't be buying anything.  Except for these towels!  Back then I got them, monogrammed and all, for only $8.  Today I saw they are having a Friends and Family event until December 12th and you can get the same towels for only $11.17.

Let me tell you, I love these.  You can say I'm a bit picky when it comes to towels.  I like them absorbent, but not heavy.  Gosh, I hate a towel so heavy that drying off feels like I just pumped iron for an hour; or when I wrap my hair up I feel like I'm going to give myself a cervical spine fracture.  Know what I'm saying?  These are fluffy, super soft, absorbent, and lightweight.

I gathered the kids in front of the computer and let them choose their towel color, monogram font, and font color.  They had so much fun. I also bought an over the door, 5 hook towel holder and they each manage to put them back in the right spot when they are done with them.  All because they are so enamored by these towels.

Now I no longer have to shout, "Who left their towel on the floor?" because if they do, I know exactly who it was.  *smile*

In need of new towels for your crew?  You can click here to find the site that brings you right to the Greenwich Towel from Ralph Lauren.  Might make a good Christmas present, too.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review And A Giveaway

I remember as a young girl my Mom always telling me that when you are married your goal is to get your spouse to Heaven.  Hearing that, I had dreamy-eyed visions of how I would accomplish that goal. I imagined my husband and me headed to mass each Sunday with our children, praying together as a family, and endless conversations about how he could be a better person....with me being his shining example of a true Christian, of course.

Fast forward 20 years and here I find myself actually doing a very good job with getting Bill to heaven.  The problem is, it's not at all how I imagined. My "shining example" wasn't shall I say?.... Shiny.

I am a work in progress for sure, but Bill is definitely making big strides towards heaven having to deal with the likes of me. Not exactly how I pictured it, but at least I've got him heading in the right direction.

I just finished reading a book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  I have heard of her before and even remember tuning into her radio program a few times.  Her callers were typically women asking for marriage or family advice. (in other words, they were complaining about their husbands) They would often be taken back by Dr. Laura's blunt, and often times brutal, advice forcing them to end the call with their "tails between their legs" so to speak.

The book I read is called "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands."  I highly recommend it.  Dr. Laura speaks for the husbands in this one.  Often times we can get caught up in what our husband is "lacking" that we forget that he is designed in a certain protect and provide for his family.  He's not designed to be an "extra girlfriend" for us, a point which really caught my attention.  I can't tell you how many times I felt that Bill was emotionally unavailable for me.  Well, I came to realize it's not in his physcal make-up to sit with me for hours over coffee and talk things through.

Another eye-opener for me that Dr. Laura points out is that taking care of our children, cooking dinner, and doing the laundry, while all worthy and important tasks for the family, this is not taking care of my husband.  All of those things I would do for my family regardless.  She points out that he has needs of his own.  I know what thought just popped into your heads.....and yes, that of course is a high priority, but also going out of my way to do little things....looking nice when he walks in the door (dare I say goodbye to my sweat pants and ball cap?), a meaningful hug and kiss when he comes in from work (not a quick peck as I continue to cook dinner and barely make eye contact), or even rub his feet without being asked as we sit on the couch and watch TV (stinky feet and all). 

Let's not forget about the power of praise.  I've taken to verbalizing my appreciation for Bill.  He works really hard but never lets work get in the way of his obligations to his family.  So, I thank him and tell him he's doing a great job at work and at home.
The book is full of Dr. Laura's conversations with callers and her answers and suggestions to have a happier marriage. It's quite entertaining to say the least.  Dr. Laura pulls no punches and really gets to the heart of the matter. The bottom line is the book really speaks to having a mutual respect for each other. Often times we women can inadvertently adhere to a double standard when it comes to our husbands. This book reinforces the fact that husbands and wives are inherently different and should be treated in a way that embraces our chemical make-up.  We are not created "equal."

Since I'm sure I am not doing the book justice,  you can read more about it here. 

 Let us all work towards that goal of getting our spouse to heaven!  And hopefully ourselves as well.

To quote St. Francis:  "It is in giving that we receive."  

Want to win a free copy?  Just leave me a comment below and I will pick a name out of a hat on Friday. (emails to me will also be placed in the hat for those non-commenters)