Tuesday, May 31, 2016


December was a busy month!  The kids were excited about Christmas and all the fun that goes along with the holiday season.  One evening I took them to see Santa Claus and got this gem:
In early December Jim had a conference in Chicago.  The kids and I met him up there for the weekend.  We lucked out with good (not bitterly cold) weather and everyone had fun!  Here is a picture of Maggie waiting for our train, wearing the cute Christmas skirt Nana made her last year (and still fit this year!).
We are ready to ride the train downtown.
Jack and Patrick enjoyed riding on the second floor!
We met my cousin's husband for lunch.

After lunch, we walked around downtown and then went to Adler Planetarium.  
Patrick is studying the stars.
Maggie is showing Daddy how to work this exhibit.  

By the evening, some members of our group were a little tired and not so interested in smiling for Mommy's camera.

After some deep dish Chicago pizza for dinner, we stopped at a hotel to see their 6 foot tall gingerbread hotel.  It took over 250 hours to make!
Once we were back home, Maggie, Charlie, and I met Nana and Rory to see Santa one morning.  Maggie enjoyed the story, puppet show, and cookie from Mrs. Claus, but wanted nothing to do with Santa Claus.  I didn't even try to get her to sit on his lap this time.

Charlie was more than happy to see Santa!
Rory's first visit with Mr. Claus:

Cousin love:
Then, we went to see Santa AGAIN! Our friends invited us over for breakfast one morning and Santa surprised the kids by showing up just after they finished their pancakes!

Once again, Maggie was not a fan!

This happened in December:
It is a tradition for our family to go to Our Lady of the Snows in December.  We see the lights, eat dinner at the restaurant, and take part in some of their holiday activities.  We all look forward to it.
Three out of four are good at sitting still for a picture.
This ramp provided lots of fun for my little runners!
Everyone loved the Lego room!

On Christmas Eve, we went to Mass at my parents' church and then had a nice family dinner at their house.

On Christmas morning, we looked in our stockings first.
Maggie is holding up tape and Play-Doh, two items everyone found in their stocking.
Patrick is showing his pear; everyone also got a piece of fruit.
All the children received a book (or two).
Maggie's present-opening skills are much better this year than last.
A Harry Potter chess set for Jack!

This Darth Vader was a big hit!
A few days after Christmas, we spent the day with one of our favorite families.  It is not often that they are all in town, so we were lucky to get to spend so much time with them!
Per tradition, my friend Kathleen hosted a "Countdown to Noon" party on New Year's Eve.
It is so cute and the kids have a blast!

All the kids:

The high school friends: