Scenes from our holiday…

I’ve been quiet over the last few weeks while we’ve been neck-deep in holiday-land. I kept meaning to post photos throughout the season, but I guess I was too busy listening to Christmas carols! Now that the post-Christmas hubbub is dying down, I thought I’d share some of what our family has been up to this holiday season:

Clara Christmas Lights

The tree went up a few weeks ago, kicking off the annual “do we use the LED lights or old-fashioned warm white lights on the tree” debate. The LED lights won because we were able to locate more of them  and though at first I was reluctant (tradition!), I have to admit I’ve come to appreciate their gentle bluish glow.

Meagan Clara
Clara and I dressed up all fancy-like and went to see The Nutcracker.


We went to my mother-in-law’s house to celebrate Christmas with my husband’s side of the family, where we played a lot, and I mean a LOT, of Settlers of Catan.

ice skating

I went ice skating with William and Owen’s classes and didn’t fall down once! (I hadn’t skated in over 20 years, so that was no small feat.)

While wrapping gifts, I found – and finally used – some ribbon that my mother bought at a Big Wheel for 99 cents in the late 70s or early 80s and that I’ve been carrying around all these years. It felt really strange, but good.


Our puppy Renly acted goofy a lot, but only chewed up two ornaments. I considered that a pretty good number.

Christmas Play

On Christmas Eve, William and Owen played Joseph and the donkey, respectively, in the church nativity play. It was about as adorable as you’d expect. (Clara was supposed to have the role of Mary, but declined in favor of playing a mouse.)

Later that night we opened our customary Christmas Eve gift (PJs for all!) and our family gift (the Settlers of Catan expansion pack) and then settled in for snacks and more family Catan-playing. (It’s becoming an obsession.)

After checking in with NORAD and finding that Santa was in South America, the kids scurried off to bed and Jon and I got down to important Santa-preparation business.


The dogs just watched.



In the morning, we unwrapped what seemed like an endless bounty of gifts. While there were only a handful of presents for each child, when you’ve got a family of seven that pile stacks up fast. We were able to get the kids some nice things and for that I feel extremely blessed.

One of the “Wow” gifts was this rather ridiculous three-story Disney Princess castle. I had assumed I’d go the crunchy mom route and get Clara a wooden dollhouse with sturdy furniture and neutral-faced dolls. But in the end, this pink and purple madness, with moving parts and eight million plastic pieces, won out (it was on sale! and it was so PINK!)

I think as I’ve come along as a mom, I’ve realized that sometimes there’s a lot of value in giving kids the gift they would really want, as opposed to the one I wish they would want. And that not every toy purchase has to say something about me or my mothering style or values. Sometimes a toy is just fun, and this one got a big reaction. (Even 15-year-old Jacob wanted to play with it.)

(Plus, I still remember going to bed dreaming about the Strawberry Shortcake Purple Pieman house every single night the year I turned four, and the Barbie Dream House I never got, so maybe there was a bit of latent “making up for lost childhood toys” going on, too. Which I also think is totally OK.)


I just wanted to share this picture of Isaac because he looks so handsome.

The kids weren’t the only ones who got great gifts. I got some nice stuff, including the Muk Lucks that were in our Holiday Gift Guide and a clay cooking pot called a tagine. (I went into more detail about my kitchen-oriented gifts over at The Kitchen Hour.)


Since Christmas Day, we’ve done a lot of hanging out, relaxing, eating, and yes, more Catan. CATAAAAAN! We can’t stop. I almost never win, but I will play five games in a row anyway. (We’re collecting those vintage Michigan tourism glasses in the picture, by the way, so if you have a hot lead on any more let me know!)

Today my family starts arriving for our annual New Year’s celebration, which lasts three or four days and involves a whirlwind of children (ten in addition to mine), food and drinks, singing and dancing, and this year, I’m guessing, more Catan. So now I’m off to make beds, do an inventory of our food situation, and start getting ready for guests. It’s a good time.

The blog will probably be quiet this week as we all enjoy our last week of break, but make sure to check back after January 1 as we’ll be getting right back to the business of being a happier mom in the New Year! Happy holidays, everyone, and I hope you’re enjoying rest, good food and lots of cheer.


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