Christmas 2013 – Bringing it Back

“Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas… around which the entire kid year revolved.” -A Christmas Story

Yes, so true. As a kid, Christmas was everything. It was packing up the station wagon and driving our family of six from Missouri to Connecticut to be with my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. And for some reason, my only memory of the trip is my cousin, Holly, getting a Rainbow Brite pony. I, did not.

It was getting the best Christmas present ever, my tiny Calico kitten, whose sweet patchy face popped out of a perfectly wrapped box revealing a holiday surprise I’ll never, ever forget. And it remained with us for the next 21 years.

It was dancing the night away to the golden oldies that filled our jukebox with our best family friends, the Andres’, down in our basement.

It was taking the trip downtown to St. Louis Center to see the Christmas Bear display then waiting in line to sit in Santa’s lap.

It was waiting in a line of neighborhood traffic to get a glimpse of the Minor’s house, a family in our parish who decorated their home in Griswold-like proportions.

Yep, it was pretty much everything.

But, as time went on, and I grew up, the magic of Christmas started to blur. I still enjoyed it , especially as the youngest of four, it meant that all of my older siblings would be back from college for a few weeks. This gave me a break from the suffering of an “only child.” And, when I was in college, or moved away for a couple of years in my 20’s, it was a nice reason to be home again. But, after a while, the thrill started to fade. It  became a routine.

But, suddenly, it’s back.

Marco’s only two, so he’s still on the verge of really getting it. But we’re close. Having kids means the spirit of Christmas has returned. As our first Christmas as a family of four, the memories are being made.

It’s the excitement of opening a mound of presents in your PJs, underneath that twinkling tree.

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It’s getting the chance to test out your cousin’s awesome gift. Sorry you didn’t get a Corvette, Marco. I know know how it feels.

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It’s taking the annual grandkid shot. Ty makes it ten.
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It’s breaking in Uncle Allen’s big gift – Karaoke for all.
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It’s bonding with the cousins we don’t get to see nearly enough.

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Having kids really does change things. And like so many other things in our lives, for the best. While I’m glad that the next Christmas is 11 months away, I look forward to knowing the excitement surrounding it is finally back.

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2013 Quick-Look

So, within about two days, it seems the app called Flipagram has become all the rage. This makes complete sense, as 2013 will come to an end on Wednesday. Of course everyone wants to take quick glance at all that has been done in the past 12 months. Our year was a little rough in the beginning, with the sudden loss of Tito. But, with the welcoming of Ty in May, we had. A lot to celebrate. And so much to be thankful for, as well.

Here’s a quick look at the year, starting with the moment we finally met our new baby boy.

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And, then, a look at the boys and Frankie. It really is awesome to see her connect with them. She’s so in love with Ty. More to come on that later.

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Christmas Lights, Baby!

When Marco was a baby, I decided to try out the Pinterest-worthy baby + Christmas light photo shoot. Granted, he was only about 11 weeks old, so it was a lot of hoping he didn’t tip, and just giving up and shooting him on the floor images.

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Regardless, he was still pretty cute.

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Since Ty is 7 months, and a seasoned sitter, things were a little bit easier. The biggest challenge this time around, was keeping the lights out of this mouth — we’ve all seen the cat scene in Christmas Vacation, right? Image

Yeah, let’s not go there.

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I think they turned out pretty well this time around. Nice work, Baby Ty!

Alright, off to go prepare for Santa’s visit (i.e. fill up my wine glass and start wrapping). Merry Christmas!

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Photos With Santa – Rewind

With Christmas just two days away, I thought there was no better time than the present to take a little glance at our Santa photos of year’s past.

First of course, would be this year’s. It’s Ty’s first Christmas, and we were pretty confident that he’d be flashing that gummy smile for the man in red. The question was, would our curious two-year old do the same? Shockingly, after nearly two hours in line to see the “best” Santa in town, he did. Love it.
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That makes us 3-for-3 with happy Santa photos. Here’s hoping the tradition continues!

Now, a look back. Christmas 2012  – Marco and Santa seemed to get along pretty well.Image

Christmas 2011 – Marco’s first Christmas. He was about 10 weeks old. I don’t think he quite knew what he was doing up there, but he seemed content, none the less.Image

And, the Santa photos don’t stop there. Everyone knows Marco wasn’t the first “baby” in the family. Nope his sister Frankie and their old buddy Tito had their chance to prove they’d been nice, too. One of my favorite pictures ever. I think it was 2008.Image

And finally, time to go way back. My guess is 1982. I’m the baby of the family, down in the bottom right. I have to give my mom credit for not dressing us in matching holiday gear. Though, Allen’s sailor shirt is definitely a classic.
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Happy Holidays!

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So Close, Frankie. So Close.

Most days, she can get away with sneaking a few bites out of the compost bin…except on those rare occasions we throw out an old bag of flour.

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First Real Winter Snow + My Model of the Moment

I feel like this winter got a lot colder a lot faster than years past. We hada little bit of snow last week, but it wasn’t too impressive, and it was pretty cold outside. So, we passed on making a big deal about it with the boys, and decided to wait for something better.

Well, this morning we got it!
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Marco is suddenly becoming much more difficult to get in a picture. Luckily, Ty is now sitting up, and always full of smiles. He’s officially my newest model. I think he’s doing quite well.
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It wouldn’t be a complete set of snow photos without Frankie. She was made for the stuff.

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Marco and Dad built a very tall snowman.

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Just For Tito

Posting about Tito the other day motivated me to finally order a memorial stone for his spot in the yard. I was so excited when I opened up the package, I got a little teary-eyed. Image

The stone is from a store on etsy. I had actually purchased a stone for Lucas’ pumpkin garden from the same store a few years ago. I was really happy with the quality, so I went back to see what they had for pets. The dog option featured a simple paw. It was nice, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask if there was any way they could replace the paw with Tito’s distinct silhouette. I sent them the link to the pictures I created for Marco’s room as an example. Tito’s was created with this image:

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The store owner replied right away, telling me the special silhouette would be no problem at all.

I’m so happy with the way it turned out. It’s the perfect piece for our guy who was known for his distinct silhouette and those big, beautiful ears.

A special dog deserves a special piece.

And that’s just what he got.

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