December 27, 2018

December 25, 2018

A Blessed Christmas Beginning

For Your Sake, God Became Man (excerpt) -  by St. Augustine of Hippo
Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened 'to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

 We can never quite get a photo of everyone before we leave for Midnight Mass as we all leave at different times. You most likely cannot comprehend the logistics around here. I left at 9:30 with a 3 of the girls (choir and fixing some binders and set up for the post-Mass party). Some left at 10:15ish for altar boy practice, some left at 11:15ish to get there in time for the prelude of hymns. There was another vehicle that left sometime thereabouts. So... Kili will represent our family for now...

 The prelude began with a flute solo which was gorgeous! 1/2 dozen or so hymns with a couple more beautiful flute solos interspersed thereabouts.
 Our beautiful church with a lengthy string of altar boys and our priest!

 After Midnight Mass (1-1/2 hours or so) we had a great Christmas party, I don't know why I didn't take any pictures! Woops.  Then we went out to see that it was snowing!
 This is when I crawled in bed. *Yawn*
 Our Blessings

 pop gun

 One of the best wrapped gifts. A towel.
 The first gift opened (after stockings). Kili's sword, the size of him.

 Making fresh buns for the afternoon party. Turkey is also in the smoker.
 Gimli T-shirt
Copper duct tape wrapped gift

 There was a sea of gifts under our tree... just do the math 14 people. If everyone receives 5 gifts that is 70 gifts.  We did not receive 5 gifts each. We did not receive 10 gifts each... Unwrapping, no matter the speed takes a looooong time.
 There were many daggers and swords... of course!

 Eowyn gave me this beautiful Bethlehem wood engraving. Here is what it said:
My Mother
My mothers is a woman like no other. She gave me life, nurtured me, taught me, dressed me, fought for me, held me, shouted at me, kissed me, but most importantly she loved me unconditionally. There are not enough words to describe just how important my Mother is to me and what powerful influence she continues to be. Mother, I love you.
It is also a work of art! It's truly beautiful
 Worst wrapped gift ever? padding was recyclable water bottles and laundry. Seriously.  The layers went on to recycled mailers, etc...
 Another creatively wrapped gift. Mind you these gifts took about 10 minutes or more to unwrap.
 Someone was thoroughly enjoying the unwrapping.

 Finally, there was something useful inside.
 There were some very creative homemade gifts in the lot.
 This is the funniest gift. Kili made a gift for himself... taped legos on to a paper (he also gave one of these to Frodo and Bilbo. Legos are coveted items. So a very thoughtful gift.

 The true reason for the season.
 A beautiful chess set!
 Creatively adorable tube people made by Rosie.

 I received this beautiful painting from Belladonna. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the worlds of the Lord. Psalms 19:1"  It is so beautiful!

All were disappointed that it no longer shocks, only makes noise.

 Each one of the children received one of these gorgeous ornaments from Grandma and Auntie B. Each one contains an icon of  one of their patron saints.  Beautiful!

 I'm dreaming of a somewhat white Christmas
And now it is time for breakfast.
Yes, we used paper table cloth, paper plates. But we did use real silverware and cups (not pictured). 

We were really blessed by so many people with cards, letters, pictures, books, games, artwork, goodies, and all around good cheer. May God bless you all! Christmas day to be continued....

December 24, 2018

4th Week of Advent

The 4th Sunday of Advent is very short this year, however, Mass was seemingly very long. Kili was particularly antsy today.  He decided his feet were very hot and he needed to take off his socks. I finally whispered, think of how cold it was for Baby Jesus in the stable or how much he suffered on the Cross and offer it up. After a few seconds pause he whispered back, "Well, these socks would be very nice in a cold stable." 

 These are the last photos of my turkeys. They have been my friends for quite a while now, I raised them from babies. Their other 8 friends are long since eaten or in freezers. And today they are entertaining me for the last time.
 They love to show off.

 1 down, 1 to go.
 Bilbo was semi-riding this one over to the chopping block.
 Meanwhile, inside the rest of us are preparing the house and goodies for Christmas day.
 Kili seems to think he should give Baby Jesus a dusting.
 Kili has really had it in him. The other night he was playing the "I want a drink" game (which none of the others ever did) at bed time.  This particular time he was denied and decided he was going to run away. Aragorn asked when he was going to do this. Kili said in 100 years but you'll be dead then.  Then he decided he was going to first go to China but when he went through all the cars and boats he'd have to take, he opted to go to NY.  Aragorn asked him how he was going to get there and he promptly said he was going to take a taxi (mind you we are in Wisconsin).  Aragorn then asked how he was going to pay for this, he said he was going to get a job. So, if you see a 5 year old boy wandering the streets looking for a job, you know why. This is the short story, this all went on for quite some time.
 We are smoking a turkey breast and 2 legs for Christmas day to bring to Grandma's
 The candle pictured was from a friend of mine, it's a chrism candle! Perfect to add to the floral arrangement and place by Baby Jesus.

 Our enormous Bethlehem grew some more this year. This year we were gifted several new pieces.

 I bought these little wooden Christmas trees from one of our crafty Taekwondo families. They are too cute.

This huge city gate was given to us and is so awesome as it is the entry to Jerusalem where the Magi will be stopping soon....
 Soaking the turkey in brine to prep for smoking tomorrow!
 Frodo labeled the extra breast piece as "turkey chest" haha

 The kings are out on the porch, not quite ready to follow the star...
 Stockings were hung on the railing with care, in hopes that Advent Angels had already been there.

 Or the ... um... advent jack-in-the-box.

 Shags needed a hair cut... badly
 very badly....
.... not funny badly...

 He's seen better days.
 Last time he needed a haircut he went to the barber. He came back disappointed so back to mom he went.

 Let the cookie decorating begin. They had made the cut outs yesterday. Best recipe I received from a college friend!

 These are my cookies. The "P" was actually a disproportionate Candy Cane so on that one I did put crushed peppermints others, it is the tiny little sugar balls for me! Butter cream frosting, oh yum.

 I love gingerbread but knew we wouldn't make it before Christmas so I bought a couple kits for the kids.

 Overboard, completely overboard.

 Melt down.

 At this point I decided to take a short rest so I left my camera with the kids.

 I was awakened to someone driving on the back 40. CHECK THIS OUT!!!!

 Is this awesome or what? AND it glides!!
Built mostly by Samwise with help from Aragorn and Frodo.
BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! One of the children has my incredible frosting inability. I did laugh right out loud.
 Rosie on the other hand seems to be doing quite well with frosting. Doesn't come from me at all!
 Marigold wanted to show off her stocking.
 Where did all the cookies go?!

The Never-to-be-Famous Gliding Singers.... (recordings below, cracked me up)...

 I bought tinsel this year. It was the wrong kind as it was so thin, but it still gives the silvery glistening effect that is so nice.
 Ornaments with all our names is always fun as you can't always find places that make them. And thanks to my SIL who gave us the penguin one last year!

 This nativity peg set was painted by a local mom and her daughter. They also made a Bishop Morlino peg!
 Breaking boards
 I'm not sure if I ever posted pictures of the pottery we made. Here are 4 of the sets.
Now most of us are going to sit back and enjoy "It's a Wonderful Life" while we wait, wait, wait for Midnight Mass. Thus will end the 4th week of Advent (all of two whole days!) :D


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