The one with all the Christmas photos

It was an idyllic Christmas in the Stuart home, complete with a winter wonderland outside.  We enjoyed a long, relaxing weekend and are now all refreshed, rejuvinated and…well, the kids are already tired of each other as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been sent to different rooms and it’s only 7:45.

Whatcha gonna do?

By order of the decree of Mom Bloggers United, I am contractually obligated to share a few Christmas photos with you.  If I don’t, I could be voted off the island.  We wouldn’t want that to happen now, would we?  And so, without further ado, I give you Christmas 2010.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

When did this child turn into a little girl?!

When did this child turn into a little girl?!

A rare moment

A rare moment



Santa came and left behind a new bike for Sloan (which he declared was tubular!), a CD player for Tia and a Jessie doll for Landon to complete his set of Toy Story toys.  Santa ate most of the cookies (they left him a plate-full for cryin’ out loud) and he apparently tripped over the fireplace grate.  But all in all, Santa did a magnificent job this year.

Landon's baseball helmut, which has hardly left his head since Christmas morning. He looks like the Jack in the Box kid running around here.

Landon's baseball helmet, which has hardly left his head since Christmas morning. He looks like the Jack in the Box kid running around here.


If any of you have school age boys and you don’t have Snap Circuits, I highly recommend them.  They’re great!  It teaches the kids about energy and electricity while letting them build and create.  If the circuits are snapped together correctly they can make a fan blow, a whistle ring or a song play.  It’s seriously hours of fun.  I’m so glad we invested in these. (Hint: You can get them at Hobby Lobby.  Print off their 40% off coupon online and you get them for much cheaper.)


Tia received her first American Girl doll, which is apparently a rite of passage for little girls these days.  I’m just old enough to have missed the American Girl phase.  When I was a kid it was Cabbage Patch dolls.  I gotta say…these dolls are cooler.  Tia got Kit and she came with purple glasses and a set of matching pajamas.

I wasn’t sure how my tomboy of a daughter would react.  Would she like it?  Would she cast it aside? 

She loves this doll.  It has brought out the girly girl inside her.  I kind of love it.

All in all, it was a wonderful day for everyone.  We didn’t go overboard on gifts, which means the kids only got things they really wanted.  My parents bought us a rockin’ new video camera, which I’m thrilled about because we’ve had our old camera for ten years, which means in video camera years it was, like, 429.  It wasn’t even worth it for me to drag it out most of the time.

But the piece de resistance, the creme de la creme, came about mid morning when my parents gave us the most creative gift I believe we’ve ever received.

Do you hear the angels singing?

Do you hear the angels singing?

When we were in Italy, Lee and I passed several Gelateria’s with these huge cans of Nutella in the window.  We commented more than once how we wished we could bring one of those home.  We never mentioned that to my mom, but somehow she managed to track down a shop in New Jersey that sold these 12 pound jars of heaven.

60,000 calories.

My New Years resolution to lose 10 pounds is going to be a little bit tricky…

While Christmas was easy and happy for us, our sister-in-law, Becke’, and her family had a traumatic and terrifying Christmas.  Her younger brother, on his way to her parents house for Christmas morning, hit a patch of ice on a bridge and rolled several times.  He ended up with a shattered femur, a broken wrist and some serious head injuries.

They almost lost him.

Thankfully, he will ultimately be okay, but he is in for some grueling months of rehab.  This accident came as they near the third anniversary of Becke’s younger sister Kiley’s death.  Needless to say, Christmas was not as idyllic for that precious family.  Would you join me in praying for them?  Particularly her brother Kirby.

Follow Becke’s blog for updates and specific prayer requests.  And to be blessed.  Becke has a heart for the Lord and a gift with words.  You will be blessed by her blog.

There.  I have officially fulfilled my Mom Bloggers United obligation.  I can keep my member card for one more year.  Phew.  Merry after Christmas everyone!

Celebrating Christmas

For three or four years now I’ve determined that I would throw a Christmas party for the kids.  I usually come up with the idea around December 24.  Because I’m that awesome.

This year, I determined somewhere around August 25 that I would actually, indeed, for real, throw a Christmas party for the kids.  I planned ahead…in my mind.  In reality, I sent invitations out somewhere around December 12, a whole thirteen days before Christmas. 

I am growing as an organizer.  Try not to be jealous…

If I’m being honest (and I am) I would have to tell you that most of the invitations were sent via email.  The rest were hand delivered.  No stamps.  I don’t believe in them.

So with all of my awesome forethought and planning, I wasn’t entirely sure we would have a large turnout.  But, to my surprise, we did!  And despite the fact that I’ve had a severe bronchial infection (most likely pneumonia – you know…no biggie) I managed to put together a decent enough gathering of children.

Read: M & M’s in a crystal bowl and cake.  I mean nothing was handmade or anything.  Let’s not get crazy, right?

I did print out the story of the Candy Cane and made a cake.  With Betty Crocker’s help.  It was the kids that made this party a delight.  They played, they laughed, they ran and then?  They sat and listened.  And this is where the simplicity of the party was key.  The totally planned simplicity…


They sat and listened as Papa Lee read of Christ’s birth from the book of Matthew.  They raised their hands and answered questions about the manger, the Magi and the wise men.  They discussed why we celebrate Christmas and how we can honor Jesus on His birthday.


Lee did a great job.  He kept it short and sweet but packed in a beautiful lesson.  I was proud of him, and of the kids who managed to sit still and quiet and intent the entire time.


Another reason I was proud?  The kids went above and beyond in giving.  We asked everyone to bring an unwrapped toy to be donated to charity and these families took that seriously.  They purchased wonderful toys, which we will deliver this week.  And as we talked of what Jesus did while He was living on this earth, we stressed to the kids how Jesus gave to others who were in need and how we can do the same.

The sweet hearted children that sat in my living room embraced giving and it brings tears to my eyes to think of their tender, moldable little hearts.  What they gave will be used to bless others.  And it took minimal effort on my part. 

An email and a slice of cake.  Who says we can’t change the world?