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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 16 ~ December 21, 2008
~ Merry Christmas to All!

Annie as SantaHo Ho Ho everyone! It's here . . . well . . . it's almost here! I am writing this on a very snowy, Sunday afternoon in Rhode Island. We got hit with a whopper of a storm this past Friday, and it hasn't stopped snowing since. They even cancelled school for Friday, before the snow even started! That tells you how much snow we get here in the Ocean State! In any case, my kids are just beside themselves with excitement! Thanks to about 8 inches of snow (not as much as many of you get on a regular basis) and the official countdown to Christmas-our house is loaded with electricity! Now, the secret, of course, is for me to catch some of that!

The last-minute jobs are looking back up at me from my "To Do list", and knowing myself the way I do-I will be going non-stop from here until about 5 pm on Christmas Eve, at which time a brief lull will enter the schedule when we load up the car and take the kids out for our annual Christmas Eve drive around town to look at all the beautiful Christmas lights and displays. Next, we'll return home and my mother "Nana" will join us where we'll have a buffet of Chinese Food and finger foods. After that . . . the living room will be jumping as we hand out the traditional "Christmas Eve Gift" for each of them to open, along with a second gift, "Christmas PJs". My mother always spends the night at our house on Christmas Eve, and she, too, will receive a set of "Christmas PJs", and this year, hers light up!!!.

Oh Christmas Tree 2008Next up we'll be putting out the plate of Christmas cookies (home baked, of course!), a glass of chilled milk and 8 crisp, orange carrots for the reindeer. Our oldest four no longer believe in Santa, the youngest four all do. It's just as exciting for the older ones, though, because they enjoy watching how excited the little ones get. Annie and Brady can barely sit still they are so excited at this point. What a gift for parents to sit back and take that all in. I remind myself all the time how quickly this time will go by, and to enjoy every second!

Christmas morning works almost like clockwork in our home. Everyone will be wide-eyed and bushy tailed (except for Brian and I!) at about 5:30 AM! We will hold them at bay while I pop into the kitchen and heat up the cinnamon buns and make homemade hot chocolate. We will let them open a few gifts from their stockings, then enjoy the cinnamon buns until it's time to get dressed for church. We always attend 8 AM Mass, each and every weekend, so Christmas will be no different. Those poor kids of ours will have to march single, file right past the tree, all the gifts and then load up in the car to head to Mass! (Cruel, aren't we?)! When we return from Mass, they will finally be able to indulge in a Christmas Morning celebration where the gifts will be torn open and I will be running around with a big garbage bag so that paper gets thrown away immediately, and not someone's gifts by mistake! (Oh yes . . . we've done this before!)

After the gifts are open, we'll sit down to a yummy breakfast of Belgian waffles, bacon, hash browns and egg & cheese sandwiches. While this is being eaten, I will be checking the turkey and the ham. We never go anywhere on Christmas Day! Ever! Taking 8 kids away from their new toys would not go over well! Ha ha And Brian and I enjoy being in our very own home for this special day. We have an open invitation extended to our family and friends that they can pop over for Mimosas, dinner, treats, anything they like, as long as we don't have to go anyplace. Works for us!

Our Monster Snowman!Once all the kids are tucked in bed, Brian and I will exchange our gifts. We've done it this way ever since we got married. Kind of nice to have a little something special to look forward to at the end of a very long day!

This year, I made him a scrapbook on-line, using all our photos from our trip to Disney world this summer. I used a company called Heritage Makers . . . voted by Oprah as one of her favorite things! Was it ever easy, and it is just beautiful. I know he'll be so surprised-beats a new tie, ey?

So, now that the snow continues to fall on this peaceful (did I say peaceful?) well, this semi-restful Sunday afternoon, I think we will finish up making our annual Gingerbread House and then it will be time to get backpacks ready for tomorrow, as we have two more days of school before the holiday break begins.

I wish all of you a very, very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year! One of the best things to happen to me in 2008 was beginning these journal entries with StorkNet! What a wonderful website it is and so full of helpful and interesting information!

Merry Christmas and I hope you find what you want waiting for you under the tree this year!

Take care,
   ~ Cheryl

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