Sunday, December 4, 2011

"We're going to state!"

When Chelsea finally returned home Friday night at 12:30 she had good news.  She and her partner had won the debate tournament they had been in and she concluded, "We won! We're going to state!" I had driven them over and had listened to them practicing, so I wasn't too surprised.  They work so well together and they came up with a lot of answers to possible rebuttals. 
They had practiced the night before at our house, too, and Dad argued against them to give them practice.  The subject for debate was "Income disparities in America are threatening democratic principles."  During several rounds they had to take either the pro or con side and defend it. They met a former nemesis who had not let Chelsea get a word in edgewise last time and Chelsea smilingly said, "I did that to him this time!" 
I know I'd hate to have to argue against her.  I'm so glad she enjoys this and has found her niche. Sorry there are no pictures.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Number 8 is great!

Our eighth child, third daughter, won first place in a UIL debate competition.  She didn't want me to attend on the first day as she felt she wouldn't do well. "We're  not prepared," she said,  "but this will be good experience".

She asked her Dad to pick her up at eight in the evening, but he had to wait there awhile because, as she reluctantly told him, she had made it into the semi-finals.  Even then, she asked him to wait outside, though spectators were allowed.  When she was finished she apologized for making him wait but that was all she told him. 

The next morning, Saturday,  when we were at her younger sister's volleyball team, she called and asked if Dad could take her back to the same high school.  He asked her why and she said it was because she had made it to the finals.  I tell it to you like this so you get an idea of what kind of person our daughter is like: low-key, unassuming, modest, thoughtful, smart and capable, and so much more. 

She went back to that competition Saturday and she won it.  She was very pleased, but downplayed her acheivement by saying how her opponents had used a different kind of logic and that the judges must have preferred either her and her partners way of explaining their point of view or that they were more appealing to the judges because they were girls.  That's how she rolls.

A couple of my darling D-I-L's have expressed a wish that I would characterise each of the nine from my point of view.  But, I can't! I don't understand them completely and to describe them from my point of view would be to limit them in some way.  I'm proud of all of them.  I'm astounded at times in fact.  It's fun sometimes to see bits of my self in them, but it's fascinating to see things in them to which I can't even relate.  They are their own persons and I love that!

One thing that has been really fun for me is seeing how each blossoms as they become the "oldest child"-meaning the oldest at home.  Michelle never talked to me while Hayley was still at home and yet opened up and shared so much once she was the oldest.  I used to beg Chelsea to talk to me, to no avail, until her older sisters were both away at college.  Now she talks to me all the time.  I feel so privileged when my children trust me enough to talk to me about how they feel about things and what is going on in their lives. 

One thing I've noticed about Chelsea is that she sees me as a person, not just her mom.  I think that she is the only one who has done that at such a young age (15).  (If I am remembering correctly, and that's questionable.)  That's not to say that my other children were unsympathetic or thoughtless.  It's a difficult thing to explain, at least for me. But, I can tell when someone is treating me as a "role" (wife, mother, etc) or as a 3-dimen-sional person with all the feelings, frailities and strengths of other people.

Chelsea has no idea how beautiful she is nor how smart she is.  Yet she doesn't follow others.  It's not like she has low self-esteem.  She hasn't realised her full "power" yet, but she thinks for herself and evaluates her decisions.  She likes to argue just for the "fun" of it, but she's not disrespectful when she does it.  She relies on logic and fact and smiles as she argues with you.  I don't like to argue, so I can't say that I enjoy this part of her, but I see how good she is at it and admire it.  In fact, we always have said she should be a lawyer.  It's probably why, without any training, she could win a debate tournamnet.

She's always been a beautiful, easy-going, happy, kind, individual.  She was never cuddly and though she submits to hugs from Dad and I everyday, she never really hugs back or relaxes in a hug.  She doesn't have the fire of Michelle, but rather a cold as steel determination which I think will help her accomplish all that she dares.

A thoughtfulness and consideration for others sets her apart from the crowd.  She doesn't betray her values or beliefs, but she doesn't want others to be uncomfortable so she will let them think what they will if that makes them happy. You can always tell when she's doing that because she has this certain smile on her face and a little laugh that she does.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Here we go again

I invited you along on my last weight loss journey and, well, here we go again.  No, I haven't gained it ALL back, but I've gained about half back.  Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous.  Unfortunately, I am an emotional eater and this past spring/summer was an emotional roller coaster for me. 

I had gained ten pounds in the spring, but was still pretty happy with where I was. Going to Europe was actually beneficial; because of all the walking I lost three pounds.  But, once we got back I gained 15 pounds very quickly. 

I finally went to a Weight Watcher's meeting last week and found that I was 25 pounds over my goal.  All week I thought about it, but couldn't get my head into it.  Today when I weighed in at the meeting...I had gained another pound and a half.  Yep. So I decided I needed to bring in the big guns, ie. public humiliation.  Just kidding, but I do need more accountability than the lady who weighs me at Weight Watchers.  I don't care what she thinks.  I don't even like her. But, I do care what you few who read my blog think, so I'm using that as motivation. 

I know what I need to do and I just haven't had it in me to do it.  With your help I think I can.  I need to lose at least 26.5 pounds and 2-3 dress sizes.  What I'm working on this week is writing my food down in my tracker and drinking all the water I need to drink-10 glasses.  I'm not good about drinking at all, so that's always hard for me, and plus it means a lot of trips to the bathroom until my body gets used to it. 

I've let my exercising slip, too.  Where once I worked out six days a week, it's usually only about 3-4 times a week now that I exercise.  So I have to make sure I get at least 30 minutes in everyday.  Those are my goals for this week.  Next Wednesday I'll tell you if I accomplished them or not and what the scales said. Thanks for being my support group.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tofu anyone?

So, Chelsea has decided she is a vegetarian.  She watched a video on You Tube called "Slaughter" or something, and decided she couldn't in good conscience eat meat any longer.  She tried to get us to watch it too, but I was too squeamish and Bill said it would ruin his enjoyment when he ate a burger, to be thinking, "Poor Cow!" 
Anyway, you have to realize that there are only two children at home now.  This probably wouldn't have happened back when everyone was still home.  I wouldn't have felt like I had the time to endulge anyone.  My motto back then for meals was, "This is not a cafeteria. If you don't want to eat what I've made, you can make a peanut butter sandwich."
But, as I said, there are only two, so I looked up a lot of vegetarian recipes on and printed them out, put them in clear page protectors and put them in a notebook which I then labeled "Vegetarian" on the spine.  I also found a list called Twenty for Twenty, Vegetarian Edition. It's twenty items to stock up on at the grocery store that will enable you to make twenty different vegetarian meals.  I bought the things on the list and then gave the notebook to Chelsea and told her, "Ok, I've invested in this idea, now it's your turn."  She has made several meals, some we have made together, and they've all been delicious.  I still make meals with meat sometimes, but I make sure there are side dishes that she will be able to eat.  I figure we are all eating healthier this way.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

10 Myths About Introverts

Disclaimer:  I totally stole this from "I'm Clothed Much" blogger, Elaine. But, she stole it from someone else, so I can't feel bad about it. 
Anyway, I've always thought of myself as an introvert, someone who is introspective, needs quiet time, alone time to figure things out and is not really very outgoing.  I was trying to explain this to one of my girls the other day-how I'm shy, but I make an effort to be friendly because I want other people to feel comfortable, which makes me uncomfortable at first, so I usually avoid new groups of people, like other kids' mothers; but, because I make that effort, no one understands that I am shy or uncomfortable. 
 I could especially relate to #'s 2, 3,4, 5, 6 and 9. I often feel that I come across as rude.  When I have something to ask or relate to another person, I often forget the pleasantries such as "Hello".  And I've always found it exhausting to be around people other than my family, except for a few close friends I've had over the years.  After being around a lot of people and noise, I end up staying up late by myself just so I can wind down. Sometimes it takes a long time to get the "noise" out of my head.  Anyone else ever feel that way? In fact, when I'm in a group, I find that I usually block almost everyone out and only concentrate on two or three people at a time.  That is less overwhelming. It probably does come across as rude, because I can't get around to everyone.  Often I won't even make eye contact with the "others".  Maybe I am weird.  But, then, isn't everyone a little weird?

 It's a list compiled by Carl King that he created after reading The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. I plan to read that book.

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.

This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.

Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.

Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.

On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.

Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.

Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.

Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.

Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.

Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.

A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Random slices of life

Random images from our life lately:
He's growing so fast!

The cast

Breakfast every morning (and usually lunch as well)

The chef on Mother's Day

Yes, she does own the world

Isn't that the sweetest smile?

Senior Salute-It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back to the "9-to-5", or at least to the "10-to-2:30"

I'm working outside the home again.  I've been wondering if I can say I've gone "back to work" for a couple of reasons.  One reason is, "Can you say you've gone back to work, when the previous work experience (regular paycheck) was more than 30 years ago?"  Maybe it's expired and you just have to say, "I've started working". The other BIG reason is, did I ever stop working?  Isn't it traitorous and just plain incorrect to say,
"Oh, now I'm working, but for the last thirty plus years I've just been sitting around on my back side eating bon bons?" 
Yeah, so there's my dilemna. But, as soon as all my friends know about it the problem won't exist. And, I'm not losing sleep over it anyway. Just thought I'd ask.

Anyway, I am having so much FUN!  I know that's not a word usually associated with work or school, but when I was able to go back to school a year or two ago, I had a blast! And now, this is even more fun because it's more gratifying knowing that I'm helping, and, hey, I'm even getting paid to have fun. Whoa! 

I think the thing they have in common is that I'm learning something new and that is always exciting.  I like to challenge myself and once I learn something I like to see how fast I can do it.  I once worked in a college postal station and I had to put the letters into small boxes that were in a large grid on the wall. Each box was for a different department or office in the college and were open in the front.  At first of course I placed each letter carefully in the correct box after checking the name on the box, but by the time I left the post office I could just look at the stack of letters in my hand and throw them unerringly into the boxes without even glancing up.  That's what I mean by challenging myself.  I get a lot of pleasure out of that.

I love having a defined purpose as well.  Housework is so open and infinite that you never feel done. I mean maybe you organize a closet or thoroughly clean a room and that's gratifying, but we all know long that lasts with kids (and husbands) in the house. When I finish something at work, I number it and place it in a box or give it to a tech and it is no longer my responsibility. Being able to stay home and raise my children was a privilege that I appreciated more and more as I got older and saw how quickly they grew up. Still, now, I'm not needed as much.  There's only three at home and one of those is leaving in four weeks.  I have so much time now that I was beginning to get bored.
Serving others: patients, or co-workers, or the business itself (which I associate with my husband), is also a pleasure.  The hours at work fly by.  So far, I'm only part-time.  But, when Emma and Chels are older (maybe when Chelsea can drive) I'll work full-time.  As it is, I can hardly make myself leave at the end of my shift.

I'm so lucky to have a husband with a clinic where I can work flexible hours.  I can take Emma to school and be there to pick her up. It's ideal.  I'm determined that I won't take advantage of the fact that I'm the bosses' wife.  I clock in and clock out and get to work when I'm supposed to be there. I'm working on getting some of the employees to call me by my first name.  I tell them everyday and today I said, "I know if someone else started working here that was my age you would still call them by their first name. Please call my by mine." I've always introduced myself that way to them, but some of the newer, younger employees feel intimidated I guess. I hope to show them that I'm a team player and don't expect favors or special treatment. Meanwhile, I'm having the time of my life:)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The last braces, and isn't she beautiful?

Our youngest, Emma, just got braces on her teeth.  She is the last and everything is counted with her, as in "That's the last time I'll have a child in diapers; that's the last time we will have a child in nursery, in primary, in elementary school; that's the last time we will have a baptism, ; and, now, that's the last time we will have a child in braces.  The inherent pleasure, pain, or anxiety is not diminished by its being the ninth time, but it is tempered by experience. Pretty much everything is easier, less stressful or worrisome with Emma.  After all, I know how it turns out.  They will grow up no matter what you do and they will grow out of most things that worry you.

She was a little scared today, but I told her, "Just think of your big sisters and how pretty their smiles are.  It will all be worth it.  Of course, her big brother, Mike, had to try and scare her.  He texted her to run away.  I told her, never mind.  Mike had to stay in braces twice as long as anyone else because he was the least compliant, which led to a vocabulary lesson.

There's a bittersweetness to it; I've loved taking care of and cuddling with all of my babies and hate to see my last one grow up.  There's nothing like your own little child snuggling into your neck as you hold them.  Ahhhh!  I even think of holding a baby when I'm stressed and it relaxes me.  But, would I want to be a full-time caretaker of an infant or toddler now? No.  Just call me for baby-sitting.  It's so much fun and so wonderful, and then I can rest. Whew!

But take a look at my baby now.  Oh, she's growing up so fast.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We're going to state!

This past weekend, which was postponed from last weekend because of the freezing weather, was spent in Lubbock, Texas, home of the Region 1, Regional Championship Swim Meets for the past ? years.

Michelle and I arrived Thursday, she on a charter bus with her school team mates and Franklin H.S.'s team, and I on a plane. Friday was prelims and Michelle finaled in the 50 free, 200 free relay and 400 free relay.  She was in the consolation finals for her 100 free.
She was disappointed with her swimming on Friday, but she wasn't the only sluggish one from El Paso.  They didn't have much water time due to the below freezing weather, rolling brown-out days, and emergency water shortages which combined to close all the area pools for about a week.

Saturday, with a better night's sleep, Michelle was in better form.  She came in fourth in the 50 free, first in her consolation heat and 2nd in the 200 free relay.  That was a heartbreaker as their team was ahead for 175 yards and in the last 25 yards the fourth swimmer on the San Angelo team caught up and just barely out-touched our fourth swimmer.  There was 3 tenths of a second difference in their time.  It was a killer.

Finally they swam the 400 free relay.  It is the last event of the meet and we were running late.  I was a little worried about making my flight home, but determined not to miss this race.  Each swimmer on the relay swims 100 yards.  Michelle was the lead-off swimmer as she has the best flat start of the four.  She came in first but just barely.  The second swimmers were also incredibly close.  Our third swimmer managed to pull out ahead and the fourth swimmer gave us a even bigger lead and the girls swam a best time of 1:39:48.

The El Paso Coronado girls' team even won Regionals!  That's quite an accomplishment with such heavy duty competition.
Here's a slide show of the meet at the Pete Ragus Aquatic Center in Lubbock: (Michelle is the swimmer in the black and hot pink Fastskin (swimsuit). There's a couple of her on the block or getting out of the water and one parading into the event. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Purple shoes

I'm not a fashion blogger, but I just have to show you (especially Hayley) my new shoes.  I follow a fashion blog called "I'm Clothed Much".  I love her style.  Of course, she's a young 20 something and darling.  I can't dress like her, but it does give me ideas of how to put things together, and I like that she's fashionable and modest and does it on an extremely limited budget. Under her pictures of her outfits she always puts the cost of each item.  I'm always amazed at how good she looks and spends so little.  She also has links to items that are the same or similar as she wears and I frequently will click on those links and I have found several new favorite online stores.

Recently Elaine (yes, she has the same name, so you know she's a great person) put a link to these purple pumps because she has a similar pair.  I think the link stated that they were no longer available but I clicked anyway.  The shoes were adorable and on sale for..get this...$7.35! No, really! I checked and there were only two pairs left-a size 7 and a size 9.  I wear size 9!  I clicked buy and it said they were sold out. No!! I don't know why, but I clicked buy again and it went through.  I filled out the form and paid for it, but all the time I was thinking, "I'm going to get an email that these really are sold out."  Instead, in a few days I received the package in the mail and now these are my new favorite shoes!
 And here they are with two different outfits.  Am I styling, or what?

Hayley, notice I'm wearing "our" bracelet? It still looks better on you.

Counting down the weeks til I'm through with swimming

I can't remember when I started officiating swim meets. I remember how we got involved in swimming. My dear friend, Toni Z., signed my kids up for the Coronado Country Club summer league swim team when we were out of town. She had tried to get us to sign up the year before, but I never got around to it. Spaces filled up fast and we wouldn't have made it in that year either, but for Toni. Drew was 11 and extremely shy. He almost quit after that first day, but bravely kept at it and became a very fast swimmer that the coaches counted on. Hayley was 8 and Michelle 6. Their coach was Jeff, who is still a swim coach on their club team today. We love him!
So 11 years ago last summer we entered the swimming world. Eventually we started swimming year-round with a club team (Aqua Posse) and then when the kids entered high school they swam for their school team. By then, each had progressed to a level where they were very good and a great addition to their teams. Mike even joined them when he was a senior and turned out to be a naturally talented swimmer who could have been amazing if he'd started sooner and really cared. :)
I became a swimming official about seven or eight years ago for USA swimming and because I enjoyed it and was good at it, worked up to becoming a referee, the highest official. For the last three years I've been in charge of all the officials for UIL high school swimming for the three school districts in our town. Not all of it has been enjoyable, but I'm glad I did it. I'm also glad that it's almost over. Michelle is a senior and swim season is one month from being over. District championships were held for three days this past week and I spent long hours at the pool, but, it's over now and I'll never see that pool again (although life holds no guarantees). In two weeks we'll travel to Lubbock for Regionals. Michelle qualified in all four of her events. If things go well, we should be going to state (in Austin) two weeks later. The two relays Michelle swam on made new meet record times. And, Michelle was sick all week and on antibiotics. They should do even better in Lubbock. Here are a few pictures from the meet.
The crowd at Tigua
Michelle and her team on the winners' block
Michelle's high school girls' team won District Champs.
These are the seniors holding the trophy.
My favorite picture! Between the morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday I got my own personal foot massage from one of the other referees, Jim.  What a guy! Of course later he called me a princess, but if the glass slipper fits, well...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oh, look, another picture collage!

I know. I'm getting carried away with the whole picture collage thing. I just had to do it one more time. There were so many cute pictures I wanted to show you from our extended family home evening at the bowling alley last Monday. Mir and Isaac and Sarah left this past weekend to go to Utah so before they left we wanted to get together with everyone. We're none of us any good, but it was still a lot of fun. The grandkids especially enjoyed it.
Mike insisted that we bring in food from outside, against the rules, so we had to sneak that in in big Sam's bags. Just kidding. I asked Dad to pick up Sonic for us and then we found out it was against the rules, so yeah, we snuck it in. I think it was a little obvious. There were 13 of us. Finally someone came over to tell us that it was against the rules, but by that time we had pretty much finished. When I paid afterwards for 11 people to bowl and rent shoes, I didn't feel one bit guilty for bringing in our own food. Ouch!
By the way, if you double-click on the collage it opens up in a new, larger page so that you can see the pictures better.

I'm so proud of you... really.

Yesterday, (it was "yesterday when I started writing this, but it took me over two weeks to make the picture collage) I spoke with our oldest daughter, Hayley.  She's away at school for the second semester of her freshman year at college.  It's been an adjustment for all of us to have her so far away.  I'm always glad to see my children progress in life and even move away from home, though that's hard, because that is as it should be.  Having Hayley home for the holidays was wonderful, but when she left it felt as if she were taking another piece of my heart with her. It seemed as if maybe it were a bit difficult for her, too.  Yesterday, when she called she said, "You would be so proud of me."  Then she proceeded to tell me of all that she had accomplished.  It was a great list.  I could see she had found her "sea legs" again and was moving forward with her life.

I'm not sure, but I think you have to have children of your own before you realize how proud your parents are of you ...for nothing.  You don't have to do anything to earn their pride. Oh, sure, they feel extra proud of you when you accomplish something or overcome something because of that extra effort you're making.  But, you don't have to earn their love or pride.  It's just because they love you so much and think you're so wonderful just being you.  And it's not to say that they don't worry about you sometimes, the choices you make, or people or paths you choose, but all in all, parents love you at all times and in all circumstances.  At least that's what I've felt and I know now that my parents felt the same. 

So, kids, you never have to wonder: I am so proud of you... really.
How could I not be proud?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

More on Christmas Day...and more and more...

Paper Jamz Guitar-the current craze
Thankfully, Christmas Day doesn't start too early at our house anymore. I remember when Bill and I would stay up late, really late, getting everyone's "Santa" gifts put together and in place, stuffing 9 stockings and finally, before falling in bed exhausted, setting all of the clocks back an hour or more so that we could get more sleep. We had a rule that you couldn't wake Mom and Dad before the set hour (whatever that was) and you couldn't peak into the living room where everything was laid out. We always put a sheet over the doorway(s) leading into la sala and when it was time to go in the kids lined up from youngest to oldest, Dad got ready with the camera (in later years a video camera) and filmed everyone coming in and the smiles of delight on their faces. One year we had bought the girls those pop-up tubes and tents and we made everyone crawl through the tunnel into the living room. Those were the days!
This year no one got "Santa" presents and I only hurriedly stuffed the girls stockings that morning as Bill and I had gone to bed sick. We still had them come in youngest to oldest (minus Matt and Mir and their kids). Also, we didn't get started until close to nine (that I like!) But there are so many of us now that it took close to two hours to open all the presents. We could have gone a lot faster, but after all that shopping I insist they open one at a time so that I can see everyone's reactions. This year I did most of my shopping online and I loved it. The only thing we didn't receive was one of Jen's presents, but she was a sport about it, said she'd have an extended Christmas:). Now, here are some pictures of the festivities. Add your own music, noise, rustling of paper, occasional crying babies, etc, and you'll get the general feel of it.

Michelle's obligitory frog-I wonder how many she has now?

She loves to read-now of whom does that remind you?

Yea! an iPod!

Her new purse!
I bought soft swords and shield for the three grandkids and super hero costumes. They loved them and so did Uncle Drew!

Mike in his onesies-they spent the night with us

Mom, remember the musical bear family you gave us years ago? It still works and the grandkids love it.
A few more pictures:

Cool Cole!

Drew showing off his new skinny jeans and tie-what a fashionisto!

Showing Grandma her new puzzle

Hayley in her new beret, but "I don't have make-up on!"

I can't resist adding a couple more:
WEllll, maybe just a couple more:
And, finally our Christmas day feast and the little angel who graced us with her presence:
There were many more, but you get the idea, and the idea in case you didn't get it is: You need to join us next year for Christmas!
Love you, Mom!

And, Happy New Year to everyone!