December 25, 2011

Christmas Day Photos - Part 2

Kathleen gets her requested t-shirt.
How apt.
Therese snuggles up in her new Christmas sleeping bag.
A new scooter, just for me!
(She was getting tired of sharing the boys' scooters.)
Anna Marie hopes to play her violin for weddings.
She already has quite a beautiful wedding repertoire.
We will all be able to track the NFL playoffs with this new magnetic playoff chart. 
Marguerite gets a kick out of Lucia's new top!

Christmas Day Photos - Part 1

The first mad rush to the gift pile. 
Marguerite with her chocolate.
This was the theme of the day.
This is one excited boy. Santa listened to his request for a Donald Driver jersey. 
Striking a Clay Matthews pose. 
Elizabeth and Lucia chill, amidst gifts and wrappers and Christmas trash...

Christmas Mass

We attended Mass on Christmas morning this year, rather than on Christmas Eve, as we have many previous years. We are finding this to be much easier for us at this stage in our family with all the little ones. 

We have our Christmas Eve festivities: 
  • Sprinkle the yard with Reindeer Dust
  • Write letters to Santa
  • Read Luke's account of Jesus' birth
  • Read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
  • Have a giant feast unlike anything else we eat all year
  • Put out cookies and milk for Santa
  • Track Santa on Norad radar
And since we do not do Mass on Christmas Eve now, we can go to bed. Well, some of us can. ;) 

On Christmas morning, we get everyone up and dressed in their Christmas finery, and we shoo the kids out the door to church without letting them peek into the family room where all the gifts are located and the stockings are stuffed. This is no easy feat, mind you, and I'm not about to reveal here the bribery and threats that it takes to get these polished little children into the van without so much as peeking at the surprises under the tree. 

After a beautiful Mass, we always take the children to the front of the church where they can view the Nativity Scene. 

Going to Mass first and stopping to see Baby Jesus in the manger puts the whole day in the proper perspective, I believe. 

Of course, once we arrive home, the kids can hardly be contained, but it's all good.

Below are some photos after Mass at Holy Redeemer.

Lucia and Marguerite (middle) with their friends, after Christmas morning Mass. 

The Munchkins 7, after Christmas morning Mass.
(Why did I not pull down Lucia's dress?)

December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

I did not manage to snap many photos on Christmas Eve, but here are a few.

Some happy campers, some Christmas caroling music-makers, and one wee Packer fan.

Andrew and Marguerite on Christmas Eve.
Christmas carols on the piano, concertina, and violin. 
Note that Joe is in his apron. A sign that very good things are happening in the kitchen.
Football baby celebrates Christmas Eve in style.

December 20, 2011

Seamstress Anna Marie

So one evening, a few days before Christmas, Anna Marie whips out the sewing machine, pulls out a skirt of Marguerite's, looks at it, traces around it, and starts whipping out a brand new tiered skirt in a festive corduroy pattern.

Just like that.

One minute there's no skirt, the next minute (well thirty minutes later), there is this adorable "Christmas skirt."

But, wait, there's more...

No sooner does Anna Marie finish Marguerite's skirt, than she sets off to make a matching jumper for Lucia.

In less than a total of two hours, we have beautiful matching Christmas outfits for our two littlest girls, courtesy of one seriously talented and crafty seamstress.

I (always needing a pattern, myself) am impressed to my very core. And these skirts are cute, cute, cute! (So are all three girls involved. :)

Anna Marie with her two youngest sisters, Marguerite and Lucia.
Check out those adorable brown corduroy outfits! 

December 17, 2011


When Marguerite and Lucia's birthmother made the decision to keep these two sisters together, she made an inspired choice. These two little girls bring such joy to one another. It's a blast watching the two of them interact.

Here they are, perched in a laundry basket, on a weekday morning, caught in an impromptu game of peek-a-boo. I came upon this scene and was compelled to start snapping photos.

Where's Marguerite, Lucia?
Marguerite entertains herself as much as Lucia.

December 16, 2011

Christmas Recital

The four oldest munchkins took part in their music studio's annual Christmas recital.

I snapped a couple nice photos of William in action, before I remembered that flash photos aren't allowed during the performance. Oops. For this reason, there are no photos of Kathleen or Andrew playing piano or Anna Marie performing her vocal solo.

William and his wonderful teacher, Hannah.
The Leones make up a healthy 4/9 of the performers.
Kathleen and the music teacher who has inspired her to pursue a degree in music someday.
Kathleen is already busy looking at music programs at various colleges. (Yes, college is more than five years away.)

December 15, 2011

William Turns 11!

Another December birthday, just ten days before Christmas: Mr. William turns 11 and claims that he loves the double-whammy of excitement that comes from having a birthday and Christmas just ten days apart.

This year, our football-loving boy received a new football, a football mouth guard, football receiver gloves, and a football tee. On top of that, Therese, sticking with the theme, made him a very cool pipe cleaner football! I can't say I've ever received a pipe cleaner football. But the new Rip Stick was the highlight of the evening.

Check out the smiles on this handsome eleven year old's face. We love you, Willy!

December 11, 2011

Marguerite Turns 2!

Oh, how I love our two-year-old girl. Marguerite is our pride and joy. She keeps us smiling and brings so much life to our family. I cannot imagine life without our treasure, Miss Marguerite Jane.

Now that's a gift!
Kathleen made and decorated the beautiful Pooh cake. Marguerite was so excited!

December 8, 2011

A Hunting We Will Go

Kathleen took Hunter Safety this year and was eligible, for the first time, to hunt with Joe. She had some great experiences in her several days of hunting this season, although she was disappointed not to bag a deer herself this year.

Having said that, we do have a freezer full of venison now, thanks to Joe and his buddies. (And as of today, we also have a freezer full of lamb meat, thanks to our farmer friends, the Wiedenbecks.) Next year, it will be Kathleen also bringing home the venison (and maybe Anna Marie too, as she hopes to take Hunter Safety in the spring).

Bring on the venison stew... the venison jerky... the grilled venison... the venison gyros... the venison shish kebobs...
Mmmm... I'm getting hungry.

December 6, 2011

St. Nicholas Day 2011

When you see this sight... know it's St. Nicholas Day in the Leone household.

A great little preview of Christmas excitement (okay, in this photo, they are trying to refrain from tearing into the little gifts, out of deference to their photo-snapping mom), and a reminder that the Santa Clause tradition comes down to us from  St. Nicholas.

In many places St. Nicholas is the main gift giver. His feast daySt. Nicholas Day, is December 6, which falls early in the Advent season. Some places he arrives in the middle of November and moves about the countryside, visiting schools and homes to find out if children have been good. Other places he comes in the night and finds carrots and hay for his horse or donkey along with children's wish lists. Small treats are left in shoes or stockings so the children will know he has come.

Where St. Nicholas is prominent, his day, not Christmas, is the primary gift giving day. Parties may be held on the eve, December 5th, and shoes or stockings left for St. Nicholas to fill during the night. Children will find treats of small gifts, fruit or nuts, and special Nicholas candies and cookies. St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for oneself.

Spelling Bee Excitement

Continuing in fine tradition, Kathleen secures another second-place finish in the Holy Family Homeschoolers spelling bee. Of course, she would have loved to have achieved first place, but she was a good sport and was so happy that her friend won.

Kathleen is now the alternate for the All-City Spelling Bee, so if the first place winner is unable to go for any reason, Kathleen will represent Holy Family Homeschoolers. (A few years ago, Anna Marie won first place in the HFH bee, but had to offer her spot to the alternate because she was ill with the flu!)

Kathleen, on the left.

December 5, 2011

Nativity Play

The kids have begun a tradition of putting together a little family Nativity play each year close to Christmas. I believe this is the fifth year running.

This year's play was excellent, as always, and—for the first time—we had a photographer (Miss Anna Marie) putting together some nice cast shots prior to the play. (Yes, Lucia—who appears not to have a cast photo—took the starring role as Baby Jesus.)

What a high-quality play the seven Leone kids performed for us this year, complete with program and great costumes—all found in closets and dress-up buckets.

William as Angel Gabriel
Therese, as the Blessed Virgin Mary
Therese and Andrew, as Mary and Joseph, headed to Bethlehem.

Shepherd Marguerite 
Marguerite adores Baby Jesus.
A shepherd and her many lambs (in interesting array).
Marguerite (double-cast) as the Star of Bethlehem.
That is one shiny, happy star.
Andrew as St. Joseph, letting the donkey rest.
William, as the Christmas angel.