The boys are so used to me taking constant pictures of them that I don't really think they notice it any more. I shoot and they go about their business. On this particular day, they were still working on their Christmas list for Santa.
The winner of the Children's Place gift card is...
I didn't have anything specific in mind for them to wear. My only thought was that the outfits had to be dressier than play-clothes but not as dressy as a suit. Watch as the ideas come together in this video.
Layering your clothes is one of the best ways to stay warm. This tip is useful even for us South Floridians. Want to know why? Watch!
Even though all opinions in this post are my own, I am to tell you that The Children's Place provided me with a gift card for my purchases. But wait, you can have a gift card too! The Children's Place also gave me a $25.00 gift card to give away to one of you wonderful readers! All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me what you are most thankful for this year. Yep, that's it! You have until 10:00 AM Christmas Eve to enter. Good luck!
I will share our Christmas card and the boys with their outfits next week. ;)
I've always wanted a wall covered in book pages. I just love how it instantly makes room look cozy and eclectic. But when I say instantly, I mean weeks. That's how long it took me to cover most of the wall. I do like the end result and will keep it there for a while. Or at least until I tire of it.
Here's a closer look at the wall.
Believe is a word we hear a lot this time of year around our house. It is usually referred to the belief of the magic of Santa. But this year the word Believe has a deeper meaning. It's more about the belief that we will live in a world without massacres. The belief that we can do kindness amidst the chaos. The belief that, even if it's just through prayer, we can help families going through inconceivable pain this time of year.
As if reading my mind, a sweet friend gave me this red Believe pillow.
I like having the boys close to me more than ever. Since I hang out in this space a lot, I wanted to keep a space where the kids could have a little corner to draw, write or craft and still be with the family.
I love the the shimmery lights at different spots in the room. I think I want to have twinkly lights year round.
We have two nativity scenes. A small one the boys like to play with and another one that belonged to my mom. The latter goes under the tree.
In case you're wondering, we leave baby Jesus out until his birth day. The only problem was that one year I hid the baby for the boys' nativity and I can't remember where that was. :0(
I almost forgot the tree! There are two very special ornaments in the tree this year. One is the antique key. It use to belong to Sun Kissed Husband's grandmother. The other is the rosary that was very dear to my mom.
I am feeling a stronger need to have His presence close by. Seeing the cross on the tree is a physical reminder that He always is.
Every morning, when I awake, I pray. I thank God for another day and I pray for the well-being of my kids. This might be the routine for a lot of parents. Perhaps parents from Newtown, Connecticut. Perhaps parents that sent their little ones off to Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. But I can bet a million bucks that when they prayed, never in their wildest dreams did they think that the "well-being" included being safe from a deranged gunman coming into their school for a shooting spree.
I spent all day volunteering at the boys' school. I was in and out of classrooms all day. When I left, I finally had a few moments to catch up on where I unfortunately get most of my current events, Facebook. Feed after feed was about how disheartened my friends were about what had happened in Connecticut. Sun Kissed Husband called at that moment and filled me in on the details. My heart sank.
I immediately turned on the news. While I was listening to how the horrific story unfolded, I didn't notice that little ears were around. Sun Kissed Boy #2 said, "I'm glad I didn't go to that school". Sun Kissed Boy #3 said, "I can't believe somebody shoot a bunch of little kids!" I think they both expressed my thoughts.
Tonight my husband talked to the boys about what to do if a gunman came to their school. ...what to do if a gunman came to the school. Did I just write that? Did we just have to do that? Apparently so.
This Monday there will be an empty classroom full of empty desks. But it's nothing like the emptiness in the heart of the families of the victims. Their pain is unimaginable.
I realize that I am all over the place with this post. My thoughts are rambled. I can't wrap my head around our world at times. This isn't a post to solve anything or try to explain. It's to urge us all to pray to whatever or whoever you believe in. Pray for the victim's families. Pray for their strength, healing, sanity. And while you're at it, pray for a better world.
It's the time of year where the boys start making their lists to have the man with the bag check it twice. This year, in a very unplanned sort-of-way, they all chose very different ways to relate their message to Mr. Claus.
Sun Kissed Boy #3 didn't write a letter. He whispered his Christmas list to Christopher the Elf. After all, he tells Santa everything, right? It was a sweet and magical moment to watch. I was thankful to have my camera handy.
Sun Kissed Boy #2 preferred to go a little more high tech to get his wish list to Kris Kringle. The funny part was that he actually wrote everything out before he e-mailed it. That's his disposition, very methodical.
Finally, Sun Kissed Boy #1 chose to write a letter. An actual pencil to paper letter! Even though he thoroughly enjoys the comforts of technology, a big part of him loves nostalgia. He's a romantic and his choice of communication to St. Nick shows it.
It amazed me how each method of communication matched their personalities. I marveled at their uniqueness and imagination. It reminded me how kids can make the most ordinary things seem remarkable.
Hello, lovely readers!! Are you still out there or have you given up on me? I'll tell you who hasn't given up on my blog. My Sun Kissed Boy #1. He asks me everyday if I have posted. Today he reminded me that it's going to be almost a month since my last post. It touches my heart that he's so dedicated to reading it. Speaking of SKB #1, he's sporting an accessory I'm sure he rather do without. It's a football injury and the cast should be coming off shortly after Christmas.
Here's what else has been going on around our house.
Thanksgiving came and went and the only picture I took of the delicious feast was of the turkey. The rest were mostly of chubby little fingers and toes.
We started a new tradition. The Elf on the Shelf is visiting our house. Our elf is named Christopher and he's a lot of fun... and a glutton.
The biggest event in our family was a surprise wedding. After almost 18 years of dating, my sister-in-law and her now husband tied the knot! It happened right here in my house. What I thought was a simple family dinner ended in a simple exchange of vows. It was sweet, intimate, perfect.
Life around this time of year is always busy but it is certainly never dull.
Growing up, I did not have very many toys. I was born in a country where parents were allowed to purchase toys for their children only once a year. It was called "Toy Day". Parents would be given a random number and that would be their place in line. On "Toy Day", little ones, along with their moms and dads, would excitedly stand in line (outside a store that normally did not have toys in their inventory) to choose up to three toys.
Because of this, I am guilty of over compensating with my own kids. Showering them with an abundance of toys. However, sometimes they prefer playing with "things".
The rocks gathered here make up a bed.
The pieces of scrap wood is a house.
Of course, that doesn't mean they don't utilize their toys.
I needlessly worry that if they don't have many toys, they'll feel like they are missing out as I felt when I was little. However, I probably over stress about that. After all, I survived without without needing any therapy! This is something I need to keep in mind this holiday season.
I immediately started wrecking my brain to think what momentous occasion I had forgotten. It wasn't a birthday or a wedding anniversary. I had checked my calendar earlier in the day and didn't see anything scheduled that I was late for. Then I remembered.
It seems like a lifetime ago but only 19 years have passed.The memory replays in my mind like a movie. It was an unusually breezy and crisp cool day. The kind that we don't get very often in October in South Florida.
We lived in a small apartment on a golf course. A golf course where we often took after-dinner walks. Walks where we talked about our days and schedules. On this particular day, we talked about our future a lot. Sun Kissed Husband seemed nervous. More reflective but he also spoke of times to come. Our time to come. Together. Grow old together. That's when he said what had been really on his mind. A question. A simple, four-word question. Its answer changed the path of our lives forever. "Will you marry me?"
I remembered that it was 19 years ago when I said "YES"!
It's taken us a while this year to get on track of our yearly pumpkin carving. So much so that - dare I tell you? - I bought our pumpkins at the grocery store. Eek! Ok, there's really nothing wrong with that. The pumpkin picking in our house is a big production though. We go to the pumpkin patch and pick the pumpkins. There's fun activities for the boys to do and we make a day of it. So going to the grocery store (by myself, not even with the kids!) makes me feel a little guilty.
Finally, Sunday was carving day. Even though the littlest Sun Kissed Boy was feeling under the weather, he was sure not to miss daddy carving his pumpkin.
It's not just a jack-o-lantern face to be carved. Sun Kissed Boy #1 used my iPhone to pull up an image of exactly what he wanted in case daddy could not make out his drawing.
Getting the mush out is squishy fun!
I wanted to be in the pictures too but Sun Kissed Husband's hands were gooey & goopy. It's tricky to shoot a picture of yourself on manual mode with your arms stretched out. I could only get a little bit of me in. That's ok, at least I captured my good side. :)
The R, for Robin, was the invention of Sun Kissed Boy #3. Sun Kissed Boy #2 designed a nose-less jack-o-lantern face. Sun Kissed Boy #1 wanted a Batman logo. It's a little extra jagged at the bottom but he didn't seem to mind.
After looking through these pictures, I realized how silly it was of me to stress about the store-bought pumpkins. My boys would have enjoyed the pumpkin patch but the family time that we spent together carving is what stays in their heart. No matter where the pumpkins come from.