Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up, Holiday Bowl, and a New Treat for Me

Sweet Finny Finn Finn (Blake's name for him - name that movie) donned Batman's old Santa hat and beard for Christmas Eve night.


Kiddos created gingerbread house cookies from our party favors the day before for Santa. 

Thanks, Julie!

Love these punks.


In front of the church before mass.


Da fam.


Our perfect Catholic children praying for just the few itty bitty sins they committed.

Our Christmas Eves are filled with traditions.

Of course, we read The Night Before Christmas.  This year, we chose the Cajun version.

Treats for Santa and reindeer.  Yes, reindeer eat green onions.  Don't worry about it.

We walk outside to find Santa.  Without fail, there is always a red blinking light in the sky.  Upon seeing it, Jack proclaimed, "Off to bed."  Very business like.  He was not messing around.


I went to tuck kids in and for the first time, Carter helped Blake with one of our favorite parts of the night.  While tucking in the kids and saying our prayers, Jack and Lainey heard the reindeer land on the roof.  Bells ringing, too!

(Carter and Blake go outside while I'm tucking kids in and throw rocks on the roof......trickling down......they sound like reindeer hoofs landing........bells ringing signify Santa's arrival.)

Total magic.  It's amazing to see just how quickly little ones can shut their eyes and fall asleep when they hear those sounds.  It worked on me as a child.....it's an old Clemens tradition......works on the Starnes kids, too!

Once we're sure Jack and Lainey were asleep, the big boys set up Santa's gifts.  Our kids request one gift from Santa.  Everything else comes from mom/dad or relatives/friends.

Carter loved being part of this......it was a big rite of passage in my family as a kid.....fun to see our oldest now enjoying it, too.

Jack got a major Geo Trax set.


Lainey got a Tiana Animator doll.

And, it thrills me beyond belief to say that Carter requested the Spiderwick Chronicles book collection.  I love our nerdy pre-teen.

The next morning was chaotic and fun.

The 800 square feet we live in didn't quite fit Christmas.  But, we made it work.


My favorite gift of all........and I will treasure it forever........my Aunt Mary framed a photo of my grandmother and included her business card.  She owned a toy store for over 50 years.  I have countless memories of working in her store, cleaning, organizing, making up pretend commercials with Caroline, etc, etc.  I was in tears opening this.  Nonnie died in 1991.  She never met my husband or kids.  Makes me sad.


Regardless of the brief sadness thinking about Nonnie and missing her, Christmas was wonderful this year.  It was the first since the separation from my parents that I didn't totally break down.  The holidays are always difficult for me........it's a time for love and family and forgiveness and acceptance......and my parents and a couple of siblings not being in our lives always weighs heavily on me this time of year.  I usually have a few meltdowns, but it didn't happen once this year.  Maybe 4 years is a turning point for me?  I still miss them very much.......but have made peace with the situation and for the first time was not a complete mess. 

Progress!

In other news, Blake and Carter went to the Holiday Bowl last night to see Texas play Cal whatever (I can't keep track of all of the colleges here!).



Football food. 

My big boys.  They had so much fun!  Arrived early to tailgate and were treated to brats from neighboring families plus some football in the parking lot.


In other, other news.........I'm saying goodbye to this baby tomorrow.  She's been good to me.  But, I've driven her into the ground.  And, my hard drive is full to capacity.  And, I'm missing lots of keys.  And, the space bar can no longer be rigged onto the keyboard like every other key that has been popped off by kids in this house.  And, it's loaded with God knows only how much spyware and crap due to years of use.

A moment of silence, please.

Notice that I'm now using a random keyboard because of the space bar.  It's a good looking set up, yes?

I think it has 'professional' written all over it.

Off to celebrate 37 years of life on earth with Blake.  Well, I've only been present for 1/3 of that......at least on a daily basis......but I've known him since we were 11.  He's a good egg.

Happy Birthday, babe!




17 comments:

Kim said...

This post made my heart smile. I love your Christmas Eve Traditions! You have such a fun family and I am so happy our paths crossed in blogland.

PS- Can't believe how tall Lainey is getting!

aunt caroline said...

There's nothing sweeter than that pic of Blake and the kids looking for Santa.

I love how Carter wears his robe and jammie pants.

And I love you. You are such a strong person. You've helped me become the person I am today. Don't ever forget that, Casey. Love you so much and am so thankful we are so close.

aunt caroline said...

There's nothing sweeter than that pic of Blake and the kids looking for Santa.

I love how Carter wears his robe and jammie pants.

And I love you. You are such a strong person. You've helped me become the person I am today. Don't ever forget that, Casey. Love you so much and am so thankful we are so close.

~KS said...

Love so much about this... Jack's sweater in the first few pics is fantastic by the way. What a handsome little dude.
And the rocks on the roof- fantastic. Perhaps I will make Carl do that for baby Q!
So cool that Carter wanted books- and super happy anniversary to you and Blake.
Also... Caroline's comments are the sweetest. Love that you two have each other.

carolyn a robinson said...

Casey I am the mother of one of your friends (Carrie) and I know Blake. When I saw the post about missing family at holidays I had to post something. Since there is a problem in my family I know how hard it can be missing people you love and care about. Always know they love you too and maybe at a later time the problems wil go away. Enjoy the family you have and try not to dwell on the ones you are missing. It does get easier but never in your heart goes away!!! I love all your post but makes me tired just reading all the things you do.

Melissa said...

Casey,

Family is supposed to love you... unconditionally. It doesn't mean you have to agree on everything but you should always be there for one another. I can't imagine, as a mother, ever letting something get to the point of ignoring my own child. I know it sometimes happens in families but personally... I can't see it. I know you, you could never do that to your children either. I think that being a mother to a child of any age means that you can't always come first. Your parents and your siblings are missing out on being a part of the life an amazing woman and her amazing family. I feel sorry for them. I do not feel sorry for you though. You are strong and you've learned something that usually us military wives corner the market on. Family is who you make them. You and I are family... your bloggies are your family. You have tons of friends who love you and are blessed to be in your life. And, for those who choose not to be a part of your life... well... as far as I'm concerned... they can take a flying leap off of a gravel drive way! Love you!

Cassie said...

jack's tiny sweater LOL

Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

The picture with the cat is hysterical. I love seeing all of the traditions that your family has. And the picture with the business card is priceless.

Happy New Year!

Signed your flakey blog commenting friend in Orange County.

BrownEyedGirlsMom said...

Casey you are amazing and deserve the best! You have an amazing family and are a phenomenal mom! So glad you had a great holiday!

Sara said...

First of all - I'm glad this year was easier. Sad that your entire family can't be together, but happy that you've got a fabulous family of your own and are making memories and traditions that are all yours!

Throwing rocks on the roof and bells ringing?? Love that!! Definitely need to try that next year.

The punks look like they had a great Christmas! Happy New Year to you, sweet friend!

Dee Stephens said...

Catching up! Great post! Love that you do the bells too! My older brother actually did that for me! It was great and I believed in Santa until I was 11 because of that type of stuff!
Love that picture of your grandmother too! What a special gift.
Tailgating with your son. You guys are such great parents. Making such great memories!!!

Merry Mack said...

Your little family is so cute! You have great traditions. Way to go, Mama!

My heart aches for you and that missing piece. That big what if...

I know how you feel. I have an on again off again relationship with parts of my family and the mixed bag of emotions it brings, I can do without.

Your blog friends are so right, they don't know what they are missing. You are so fabulous and teach your children what unconditional love is.

Mama Deb said...

Aww, your Grandma lived in Magnolia, AR! Is your family from Arkansas? Both my parents were born and raised there. Mostly Little Rock and Sherwood (North Little Rock), but my Mom also lived in some teensy tiny Arkansas towns. I have great memories of visiting my elderly relatives there a couple times each year. What a sweet gift to receive!

Mama Deb said...

Aww, your Grandma lived in Magnolia, AR! Is your family from Arkansas? Both my parents were born and raised there. Mostly Little Rock and Sherwood (North Little Rock), but my Mom also lived in some teensy tiny Arkansas towns. I have great memories of visiting my elderly relatives there a couple times each year. What a sweet gift to receive!

The Lenzers said...

loving cmas at the starnes house!

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