Friday, January 23, 2015

Thanks to my readers

Dear readers (most of whom--but not all!--I am related to),

Thanks for putting up with all my old (December) posts!  I like to get them recorded and online so that we can look back on them year after year.  :o)  I'll keep adding as I have time between schooling and taking care of the homestead.

In the meantime I'll try to post more current updates as well (like James' birthday post yesterday).

Thanks too for all the birthday wishes for James!  This is not a normal thing for us, to take a child on a trip just for his birthday.  :o)  James' birthday just happened to coincide with Marcus' business trip.  Marcus' group has lots of big-name corporate customers (he sells business-to-business HR software solutions), but he always makes time for Notre Dame!  He said the meeting with the Irish went well, so it was a successful trip all around.  It's nice to think that ND is paying us now, after so many years of taking our money in the form of tuition!  :o)

All your comments on my Mary Rose post (January 8th) were very much appreciated as well.  I hadn't seen the photos of that day in a long time, but I felt it was time for me to see them now.  I miss little gal and I dream of who she was to be…but it was not to be.  Thinking of her brings tears to my eyes so I try not to do it too much, or at least not dwell on it too much, but it was good for me to do in on her angelversary.  

Anyway--thanks for reading!!  Stay tuned for more posts about our crazy life….

Christmas eats

I have two goals for Christmas day: stay in my pj, and eat a lot!

This is a FEAST day, after all!

Marcus sliced off some of the prime rib roast
for us to eat for breakfast.  :o)
mini Mindy Buns from Decadent Creations (my fav)
--brioche roll with custard filling, dusted with sugar
We ate these all day.
And these.
Santa's leftovers
getting ready to sear the roast
(nice PJs, Marcus)
Visitors arrive!  Grammae and Papa and the R family.
 In past years we've gotten together at grammae and papa's house for a casual Christmas dinner, but with grandma and grandpa in town the last 2 years, we've stayed at home.  It's kinda nice to stay at home!  So this year we invited the party to come to us.  :o)

We had the four major Christmas Food Groups covered: prime rib, broccoli-rice casserole, cake, and alcohol.  Talk about a FEAST!

Meghan also brought a salad which was very
responsible of her.  ;o)
This was the best prime rib we ever had.  Marcus followed the Cooks Illustrated suggestions and seared it then roasted it at a low temp for a long time.  It was perfectly cooked!  And Marcus and I ate the leftovers for a week, yum!

The whole meal was just wonderful, a great mix of flavors.  LOVE LOVE LOVE grammae's broccoli-rice casserole, and the salad matched everything so well.  Add some nice wine and we were all set.
"This bib tastes good!"
Christmas Cake from Decadent Creations.

Christmas morning

"Enough pictures!  We want to see our presents!"
finding their piles

Seddy knew what to do with his new toys….

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday, James!

No doubt this is a very memorable birthday for James!

He is accompanying his dad on a business trip to Notre Dame, Indiana, for this whole week.  Bunny made this same trip one year ago.  Marcus booked first-class (!) plane tickets to Chicago for Monday, then he and James met up with grammae's sister Patty and her family for dinner.  A quick dip in the hotel pool before driving to South Bend on Tuesday to stay with family friends Bob and Linda.  I hear they already had one Polish feast, with more to come!  A tour of the campus is a MUST, of course, and they did that yesterday.  Best of all is the great daddy-son bonding that has occurred on this very special week.  :o)

Here are some pics that were sent to me this week via Marcus' iPhone:

homework on the plane (History reading)

Aunt Patty and family, with James

Chicago-style pizza, yum!!

Mommy's old dorm :o)
"First Down Moses"
daily Mass at the Basilica
warming up in the art museum

in front of the library (with the
"Touchdown Jesus" mosaic

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve dinner is pure crazy-ness!!!

Mrs. D held Celeste while I tended to the other
kids and took photos.  :o)
Dance Party!!!

James' present to Fr. Juan

Marcus made Sedric open his "boring" gifts before moving
on to the exciting ones….
Trains!!  After this, Sedric was "all done" and wanted to
go home to try out his new trains on his tracks.  :o)
Marcus and I took 2 cars so that I could leave a little earlier with the 3 youngest ones.  They were almost in bed by the time Marcus brought the 3 older ones home.  It worked out well.  :o)

Then, sweet dreams until Christmas morning….

Christmas Eve 2014

With all the holiday baking done and the kitchen cleaned, we were ready for a nice Christmas Eve.  My Christmas angel (Mrs. N!) came on that Wednesday morning like always, and it was great to have her there with the littles while I did various holiday prep.

Sedric is becoming more manageable, so Mrs. N spends
some time holding Celeste for me each day.
 In the afternoon I sent the kids for nap and then got ready for the annual Christmas play:

Fr. Juan came straight from the airport to
concelebrate Mass
 The Christmas play went well!  I didn't take many photos, since I was the "director" of the play.  I sat up front, on the floor in front of the pews, to help signal to the kids if they forgot their lines or missed their entrances/exits.  It was a fun job to do, and I thought it was just perfect for me--after all, I order kids around all day at home, so I had lots of practice in that.  :o)  All the kids did great, so I was able to snap a few shots:

James was Joseph :o)
Bunny was a shepherd and Mariposa and Gemma were sheep.
One of my favorite parts of directing was hangin' out with little Brylee, the smallest angel in the photo above.  She was nervous about leaving her mom and staying with the other angels, but she was very comfortable being around me.  So, I had her sit with me on the floor, and I sent her up on "stage" when it was her turn.  Then she scuttled back to me to wait 'til the end of the play.  I had little Princess stickers for her if she did a good job (thanks for sharing, Gemma!).  It was so cute!
Gemma was up to her usual antics…luckily I didn't notice at
the time since I was concentrating on the speaking parts.
In all, I really enjoyed being a part of the Christmas play in this new role as director.  It was a challenge to piece together entrances and exits (they weren't specified in the script) but once that came together, they whole play went smoothly.  I'm looking forward to helping again next year!

After Mass we went to Grammae and Papa's house, as is tradition:

I've decided that it's impossible to get a
picture where everyone looks good….
spending time with Uncle Rick
sibs :o)

Holiday Baking Championship

Our favorite TV show this past November and December was the Holiday Baking Championship on the Food Network!!!  We started watching it after Celeste was born and recorded every episode so we could watch it as a family.

 When it came time to make Christmas cookies in mid-December, I suspected it would be a difficult project for me.  I needed to choose the cookies, and how many to bake, and then actually bake them with an infant and 5 other kids around.  Then, just before Christmas, I had an idea:  what if we had our own "Holiday Baking Championship!"

So I had each child choose a cookie to bake:

Sedric didn't really choose his cookie--
that was all me.  I LOVE Russian teacakes!
James was the first to get started (after I made a double-batch of the Russian Teacakes, that is).  We worked together to get the peanut butter dough ready, then he rolled them into balls:

Sedric helped with unwrapping, and surprisingly he did not
eat any chocolate until I offered it!!
 Later in the evening, the girls got baking too:

Bunny is chopping walnuts for baklava, and Posa is
mixing the gingerbread dough.
Bunny, James, and Mariposa needed very little help from me.  They know where all the baking tools and ingredients are located, and they know most of the techniques.  I did make sure to double --triple!-- check all their ingredients as they were adding them.  None of us wanted to go through all this work only to find we mistook the tablespoon for the teaspoon!

Gemma was ready to go--I had made her dough myself to
save some time and to let Gemma get straight to the fun part!

At this point, it was bedtime and I was "done."  But through the grace of God I kept my patient, positive attitude for a little longer.  We set a timer for the decorating (which easily could've taken hours) to make it just like our TV show.  When the 10 minutes was up, I had the kids throw their hands up in the air, just like the contestants had to do!  :o)  Then, straight to bed for the littles so I could clean the kitchen to have it ready for Christmas Eve.

Bunny still had to pour the honey mixture
on her beautiful cooked baklava.
All in all, this little project was a HUGE success and will most definitely be a new tradition in our house!  We had cookies to munch on all week and even had plenty to give away and take to parties.  YUM!!!