Merry Christmas from my iPhone...

I love pony tails and piggies... and really, what  could be cuter than both at the same time? Doesn't she look just like a little Who?

If y'all haven't discovered Joe Fresh at JCPenney then you are missing out. In fact, if you haven't been in a JCP in a while, you are missing out. We are life long Penney People so trust me when I tell you to shop there. GREAT stuff at affordable prices. 


So we've been without a TV in our family room for about 7 months or so and survived. MaMaw came for a visit and didn't know how, so for Christmas she gave us the money to buy that "little" TV in the background. And the kids have spent HOURS.... playing with the box that it came in. 

(Side note - if any one is interested and able to extend that set of built ins all the way across the wall, feel free to come over. We pay in food and fun.)

They have also watched a few movies on it... the favorite is Rise of the Guardians. This was 9am and I had already given them popcorn and M&Ms of course. 

On Saturday, December 21, she decided we needed another tree. I decided... why not!? 

Turned out to be precious for a tree on a table!

Silent Night indeed! They LOVE sleeping next the Christmas tree... and I love waiting until they fall asleep to plug the tree back in and snap pics. 

Sunday night mass with the sweetest kids I know. Emmy and Landry are wearing their Christmas attire from last year and I am OBSESSED with that bubble on Landry. 

Alfie has been around and doing his thing... usually tied into the countdown activity for the day. He has written messages in M&Ms, hung from a wire, hidden in boxes and the Christmas tree... you know relatively low key. One day he helped prove a point by making a mess in the living room. Radley and Emmy thought it was HILARIOUS until they read the note that informed them they had to clean up the mess before they could play. 

He redeemed himself the next day when he brought a HANDwritten note back from Santa! (Thanks, Krista!) They talked and talked about this note and it's still on display in our house!

Christmas Day prepping included a reading by Pincess Emmy, birthday cake baking for baby Jesus and of course, the batch of Martino/Guercion gravy!

It also included "one more trip" for that final gift from Gigi. 

Then it was time to make meatballs. We only ate about half of them....that day.

Then off to Christmas Eve mass. My favorite mass of the year is Midnight Mass and I think next year I will finally be brave enough to go with the kids. I just love how the Priest walks in holding baby Jesus and lays him in the manger with Mary. I love the smells. And the music. And just everything about the celebration of His birth.

We bought some poinsettias in memory of Lola and Nana and know that they were having the best celebration with Him.

And then it was time for Santa to arrive... his loot included custom princess dresses, dolls, books, markers, blankets and an iPhone. 

We never got rid of my original iPhone... Best decision ever!!!

Landry really enjoyed all the clothes she got. They entertained her for a good 40 minutes.

We follow the Catholic tradition of keeping Jesus out of the manger until Christmas morning. We also move the wise men along their journey until epiphany when they finally arrived. I walked into Rad's room on Christmas morning and found this... how adorable is this? I guess he couldn't wait for Jesus to get his gifts! 

And that's Christmas in an instant!

Good tidings...

You know what's the absolute BEST about the holidays? Well, besides the celebration of the birth of Christ.  The best thing is all the people that you get to spend time with. No matter for how long, just seeing each other makes me so happy and seeing certain people make my kids OVERJOYED.

Like KK and Ryan... Emmy and Radley just light up when they are around. 

What a blessing we have been given in friends like them. No matter the distance or time spent apart, I am 100% sure that they would both do anything for us. KK drove to CS to take care of the kids after Fely passed away so Ryan and I could take care of things in Sherman. She is pure gold and I love watching her and Ryan grow as a married couple. 

And, soon, Baby G will be in the mix of all the crazy!

We also got to spend time with Miss Shanon!!! When she walked in our door on Friday night they were speechless...when she said she was staying for a slumber party, they were ECSTATIC, when she made them a pallet to sleep on the floor... I could hear the squeals all the way at dinner!

We have been surrounded by such amazing people in our lives and the holidays are a great reminder of that blessing. I am filled with gladness to know such wonderful people, but I am humbled beyond belief to know that those people, those friends, love my KIDS with so much selflessness. 
(Radley was clearly happy to take a picture)

They don't just share in our lives, they are part of our story - all of it. They are here for the fun and the hard and the silly. 

We have been given the kind of friends that will drive 70 miles for a semi-good lunch at a questionable stop on Hwy 6 for a 90 minute, kid-interupted conversation filled with potty breaks, messy faces, sticky hands and cold queso. The kind of friends that will happily carry an extra passenger on their trek back to Waco so a little boy can spend some time with Gigi and Pops. 

These are the friends that carols are made of... the Good Tidings friends, and I am so thankful for all the tidings they constantly bring to our lives!


Christmas Kings...

Twas finally Christmas morning when Santa did appear
Leaving lots of goodies and smiles from ear to ear

An iPhone and some dresses lined the fireplace with care
And the magic of the season filled the room like it was air

Miss Landry was in heaven with each package she unwrapped
Whether a box or in a bag she handled them all with a snap
Clothes were her favorite insisting she could try them all
And of course she got a baby, just her size which is small

Gigi and Pops were there to share in all the fun
And Gigi's face was priceless as if the lottery she won

And Miss Emersyn of course, the adorable one we say
Has the shirt now to prove it, will she wear it every day?
Some jewelry and some make up filled her heart with glee
Only gifts fit for a "pincess"- just like her can't you see?
With each passing second she was in a different dress
For on Christmas it's important to look your very best!

And then we have our BIG kid, Mr. William Radley King
Had the coolest Christmas ever, if you can imagine such a thing
A pocket knife, a sleeping bag, and some more grown up toys
Who once was our baby is definitely now our growing boy
But he still had time for kisses and of course hugs to share
For as big as he is getting, his heart grows so much care

Such joy on all their faces from the second the day did start...

And for this lucky Momma, such happy in my heart!

The best gifts are in giving, the secret of surprise
Just wait and see the grateful that flashes in their eyes

Our day was filled with fun, exploring all things new...

And sharing with those around us in everything we do.

We give thanks each Christmas for those we hold so dear

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus and a joy-filled NEW YEAR!


Much ado about nothing...

Christmas is crazy. You know it. I know it. We all know it. Even when we try our hardest NOT to get caught up in at all, we do. The parties, the gifts, the decorations, the matching pjs and dresses and bows (and that can't be just me) can really drive a person crazy. 

And the craziest part about it all - those "people" that we claim to be going crazy for - you know, our kids - really just love all the extra time they are spending with you doing absolutely nothing. 

Like playing with a box...

or being pushed on a swing..."leally leally high!".

Those long afternoons outside in the endless Texas sun,

and making a slide out of trash...

that goes on and on...

and on.

What's really special is the time we spend teaching them about our family traditions...

and letting them be PART of keeping them going.

The slowing down and taking it all in, the listening to hours and hours of Christmas music, the laughter and joy that come with it all...

That's my favorite part of Christmas. 

What about you?