December 30, 2007

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

We spent Christmas Eve 2007 here at home with Grandma Leone and Joe's brothers, John and Lou. With good food, good drink, and a beautiful Christmas Vigil Mass, it was just perfect. We kept the food simple, but fun.

We enjoyed an assortment of finger foods, all meatless in keeping with Italian tradition. Joe whipped up his delicious curried shrimp dish, and we had smoked salmon, egg rolls, brie pastries, crab cakes, cheese balls, and a mountain of Christmas cookies and petit fours. The kids loved having sparkling grape juice in wine glasses.

We managed to have the little ones in bed, dreaming of Santa, by a reasonable time.

The following assortment of photos provides a peek into the Christmas Eve merriment. The first photo depicts Joe doing his annual reading of "The Night Before Christmas." The next photo is Anna Marie with Uncle John. The rest are fairly self-explanatory.

The Pack is Back!

Three of the Leone kids before today's most excellent Packers game!

(The Packers hats were donned not two minutes in the door from Mass.)

Christmas Cookies!

Going back in time a week or so, you would have found us feverishly baking our nine different types of Christmas cookies and sweets. It was a two-and-a-half-day (and evening) baking extravaganza. My old back was tired from standing by the end of the cookie-baking marathon, but the kids and I had a ball.

On the 23rd, Joe joined us in delivering cookies -- despite the winter travel advisory.

These photos provide a little peek at our annual cookie-baking fest.

For those of you who received cookie platters, I hope you don't cringe at the covered-with-chocolate-kids who obviously had their fingers (washed, of course) all over the goodies. ;)

December 28, 2007

William's 7th Birthday

I can't believe our little man is seven! This is the boy who was given a fifteen percent chance to live during his infancy. He not only beat those odds, but he came out of the ordeal strong and healthy, obliterating the predictions. We are so blessed to have Sweet William in our lives. (Speaking of "Sweet William," I have a little spot in my garden where I planted the Sweet William perennial the spring after his medical ordeal. It's still doing great, and I think William relishes the fact that it's there as a tribute to him.)

Without further ado, here are some birthday photos. The castle is William's big and highly-cherished birthday gift. As for the cake, can you tell what William's favorite sport (not to mention favorite team) is? Moira and Jen, you should have been here for the green and gold celebration!

December 27, 2007

The Mutterings of Children

Joe and I are busy reading in the family room while the kids are upstairs playing "ghost tag" with flashlights. Suddenly a scream pierces the household. Twenty-two month old Therese has bitten eleven-year-old Anna Marie.

In calm, reporter-like fashion, seven-year-old William is heard to mutter, "Oh dear, oh dear. Now we have a travesty going on."

December 12, 2007

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

We headed over to our local Christmas tree farm (just up the road from us) late this afternoon. Trudging through extremely deep snow, we managed to find the "perfect" tree.

Although the photos look peaceful and idyllic, don't be fooled. Miss 22-month-old was none too happy on her extended sled ride through the fluffy white stuff that kept ending up in her face and in her boots. Her wails pierced the silent solitude of the snow-laden farm.

Even so, we found a great big tree for the family room, plus a sweet little "Charlie Brown tree" for the dining room. We'll decorate the trees on William's birthday this Saturday, as has become our annual tradition.

Another year, another snowy trek for the perfect tree...

P.S. The child in red is Therese who looks a bit like a boy in the hand-me-down snowsuit...

December 8, 2007

Crafty Girls

Anna Marie and Kathleen seem to be spending their spare time (what little there is, amidst play rehearsals and productions) crafting.

Here is a sampling of some of their recent projects:

December 6, 2007

Frazzles Dusted with Snow

Well, I've been just a wee bit frazzled lately, trying to juggle all the demands of life with five kids, homeschooling, and preparing for Christmas. Oh, in case I forgot to mention: There is also the fact that we're in the midst of community theatre productions -- a mere seven plays over two weekends, all coming right on the heels of three months of nightly rehearsals. All this chauffeur wants for Christmas is a great big nap!

When I come up for air, I'll catch up on the blog posting. For now, here are some lovely winter photos of our backyard and some additional shots of two very happy boys.