Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started with a last minute trip to the pediatric ENT’s office. Sean has an ear infection and had to have his ear drained. The office is about 45 minutes away. No fun – but we were thrilled that they worked us in and gave us drops so we could avoid a trip to the pharmacy!
The Irishman and Caitlin stated home and made some preparations for the Christmas dinner. Caitlin loves to cook!

That evening we got dressed in our finest and headed to my grandparents’ house for a pre-Mass visit.


GGB’s house is one of Caitlin’s favorite places to go – and having my cousins there makes it even better!


They humored us and took some family pictures by my grandparents’ tree. Daddy was off catching Caitlin so I got one with my little guy. He waved and then pointed to the camera.


We bought this suit for Sean last spring and had misplaced it. I found it about an hour before we were getting dressed. The Irishman bought his suit on Black Friday. We had a laugh about just how well they matched! Both looked sharp!


Mass was an experience. The nun told us on Sunday that St. Nicholas would be coming to the 7pm Mass. We’d planned to go earlier, but going at 7 also meant we could stop at GGB’s house so we adjusted our plans.

When we pulled up to the church I honestly thought we had the time wrong. There were very few cars – less than a usual Sunday. I was in a panic trying to decide what our back up plan was going to be. The Irishman stayed calm and we walked in on time – and to an almost empty church. The nun was thrilled to see us there.

On the plus side it was quiet. There were only about 30 people in the whole church. On the downside it was quiet and all thirty people could see that our kids were up past their bedtime. We spent more time than we would have liked to chasing a fussing kid or two walking up and down the aisles.


When we got home the kids stayed awake just long enough to put out a plate of cookies and milk. We’d hoped to read The Night Before Christmas and such but they fell asleep before that happened. It was a long day!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jump and Play Class–The Show One

I'd planned to post about Christmas today, but there was no naptime yesterday. This is the only post I had ready to do, so enjoy!


Caitlin started gymnastics classes in November. She loves to “jump and play” at the indoor playgrounds, so before her first class I told her she was going to “jump and play class.” The name stuck! She knows it is called gymnastics, but at three years old, “jump and play” might be a more accurate name! Our main reasoning for signing her up is to give her a different outlet to socialize and make friends.

The gym was putting on a winter show in December and we signed her up. The did three rotations showing off the skills they work on in class. Caitlin called it “Jump and Play Class – The Show One.”


I hadn’t taken any pictures during classes, so I made up for it during the show!



I love this one – she is smelling the bar. The boys always smell pizza, but Caitlin said it smelled like the beach. She’s a Florida girl!


At the end each student got called up to get a trophy and a certificate.They even got to stand on the podium!


This is Caitlin with Coach Stephanie. She LOVES her coach!


It is just 45 minutes once a week, but Caitlin looks forward to it! Two months in and I am enjoying watching her figure things out. She takes each new move as a challenge and gets so excited when she figures out how to do it herself. They have two weeks off for Christmas, and she can't wait to go back wearing the new "jump and play clothes" Aunt Julie got her!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bass Pro Santa

Last year I heard about the Santa Village at Bass Pro Shops. On a whim we called our friend Lyndsay. She and her boys took the train with us down to meet the man in red. We decided to go again this year – though after out last adventures on the train we opted to drive instead!


We got our fast passes and cued up for Santa. Caitlin ditched us and waited in line with Lyndsay and her family. I had to convince her to come over to us for the picture with Santa!


There was lots to do – trains, cars, animals, crafts, and the like.


Neither kid was too keen on sitting with Santa unless we stayed as well. I LOVE that they give a free 4x6 AND let you use your own camera.


Afterwards we took advantage of the free kid’s meal with a Santa photo. The Irishman and I enjoyed the Christmas dinners, while Lyndsay and Dave enjoyed seafood. It was all yummy!


It is not easy to get a picture of four kids at once – this was the best we could do!


No trip is complete without a picture in the shark. Caitlin was all talk about it!


Lyndsay had posted some pictures from the day on Facebook and one of the teachers from school said something along the lines of, “What is a nice Irish lass like yourself doing in Bass Pro Shops?” It made me chuckle, but it was a great day out!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The BIG Tree

Last week we went to see the 100-foot Christmas Tree. This was actually our second attempt. The first time we had two sleeping kids in the back of the car on a school night.

It was a chilly night so we put Sean in his warmest PJs and Caitlin in her heaviest holiday gear.


You can spot the tree from down the street. We parked the car and strolled around.

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This was a failed attempt at a family photo, lol.

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Caitlin loved saying hi to the baby Jesus…and the sheep!

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Inside the tree are some holiday displays.


Little kids – big chair!

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Caitlin was as impressed with the carousel as the tree. We got away only riding twice!


On the way out we stopped at the mini playground area. Thankfully Caitlin was scared off by the big kids playing there so we could head home!

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The view from the parking garage. Pretty neat!

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We drove by and waved at the tree and horsies on the way home from the beach on St. Stephen’s day. Listening to Caitlin you’d think they were close family friends!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

St. Stephen’s Day

While not as well known to American’s as the English Boxing Day, today the Irish celebrate St. Stephen’s Day. When we’ve been in Ireland this means a quiet day at home with the family – and soccer football on TV. Liverpool played this afternoon so I took the kids to the library so the Irishman could watch in peace. Caitlin put got dressed in her new shoes and headband from Grammy. I tried to get a picture but she was being a ham!


This year marks our eighth Christmas since married, but it is only our third Christmas in Florida. One of the traditions we’ve started on this side of the pond is a trip to the beach on St. Stephen’s Day. The Irishman misses home, but he loves being able to go to the beach in December!


The shirt was a new find this year. He joked about wearing it to the beach today and then chickened out. I talked him into it. It is SO him! He even added our names to the "Nice List" sticking out of the pocket.


The sun was setting while we sat and played


and of course took pictures.


I had a Santa shirt planned for Sean but he needed a bath after his lunch so we went with Elmo instead.



As usual we spotted someone to take a family picture for us using the usual criteria – someone who looks like they would know how to use a camera but would not outrun us if they tried to steal it! ; )

Happy times!
As a teacher two weeks off at Christmas is the norm. I really dislike when we do not get the week before Christmas off. Having the first week in January is nice, but it isn’t the same as family time in the build up to Christmas.

This December was hard. Between the cruise, then being in Orlando for almost a week at trainings, and then getting sick I missed a LOT of work. Part of it was work related, but being a classroom teacher time out of the classroom is time out of the classroom.

I have started a teaching blog and my own store on Teachers Pay Teachers. In past years I’ve tutored after school to make a little extra money. I am hoping to spend my time creating quality products for my own classroom that I can sell on TpT. It should be a win-win. I’ve posted several items, but so far I haven’t made much from it. I know what I need to do to make it all work, I just haven’t found the time to do it yet.

The house is a disaster. It has been getting the best of us for a while now. This last week I have been torn between pouring myself into it  for a day or so to get caught up and forgetting it all to relax and spend time together as a family. I’ve come up with a mix of the two that isn’t really working for me. Sigh.

I actually won an award at school last week and my first thoughts were a) when am I going to find the time to complete the application packet and b) how the heck are we going to find a babysitter to go to the award banquet.

We are amazingly blessed. I have a good life and I do appreciate all that we have. I just want to find time to clean the floors, too. Two parents working full time with two kids is a lot of juggling. We both work long days. The Irishman and I are working as hard as we can, but it is still a juggling act.  I have decided that for next year I am going to worry less about blogging daily. I enjoy the blog, but I just can’t keep up right now. It might be daily, it might be once a week. We’ll see how it goes. My goal is to try to stress less if I don't get to it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Year of Training…

Sean has been in training all year….

As far back as June, he was trying on the red hat.



He managed to try out the suit in November…


And then test out the “official” hat…


And today, he got to try out the sleigh…


I think he is going to be a natural…


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

So we all went to visit Santa at my workplace last week. I thought that it would be an idea to take out the annual Santa photo to see how we have all grown over the last few years.












And here are a few more ….