Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Winter offically arrived on 12/21 and since then we have had three days of snow. Nothing major like some parts of the country have already had but enough to get the boys excited and asking "Can we go out and play in the snow!?!?".

Sunday was one of those they suited up and headed out in the snow to play with Daddy. I went out long enough to snap a few pictures and then headed to the grocery store for my weekly trip. Unfortunately, the snow was powder and not good snowman making snow so all that could be done was a few poorly packed snowballs and a game of "Hide N Seek".

Please excuse the big green booger in Mason's nose, he's had a cold!

At least they had fun while it lasted! That's what counts right?


Monday, December 28, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas - Indeed!

Once again, we had a wonderful Christmas at our house. Having two children who are of the age that Christmas is truly a magical time of the year, just makes it that much more special. The anticipation, the excitement, the brings it all back home for me.

Wednesday night, while the sky was filled with mist and rain here in St. Louis, Tim, the boys and I loaded into my car and headed to Santa's Magical Kingdom to see the BAZILLION Christmas Lights that hang from the trees and everywhere. To hear Mason whisper "AWWWWESOME!" to himself as he saw what lay in front of the car was something that I will not soon forget.

Thursday morning, Tim and I awoke to thundering feet and the screeches of "We got another note from Santa!" as the boys ran into our room. You see, along with our special Scout Elf, Oliver, this year, I have been using candy cane bordered note cards that I found on the shelf in our home office as stationery from Santa. At least once a week since Oliver's arrival, he has returned in the morning with a special note to Jack & Mason from Santa. This one said: "Jack & Mason, The reindeer are hitched and my sleigh is loaded up. I'll be by tonight after you are asleep. Thanks for taking such good care of Oliver for Mrs Claus and I. ~Santa"

The rest of the day was spent gearing up for Christmas. We made our special cookies for Santa, tracked the big guys travels through NORAD and then headed out to spend the evening with Hank, Tricia & Sophie for a little family time. The children played and we sang Christmas songs with them that gave us all flash backs of Christmas 2008 when Sophie sat nodding her head as we sang "Jingle Bells" like she understood everything we were singing when in fact she coudn't understand a single word. My how things have changed in such a short 12 month period of time!

The evening was wrapped up by leaving out our cookies and milk for Santa and the carrots for the reindeer and then Daddy reading "The Night Before Christmas" to the boys like he has every year since Jack was born. After realizing that Santa was not too far from our house, the boys jumped into bed and were quickly asleep allowing Tim and I to go to work and help Santa deliver his goodies!

We also bid a fond farwell to Oliver as we boxed him up and returned him to the confines of the basement for another year. {Oh how I wish I could some how keep him up all year long!}

Christmas morning, along with having the extra special touch of a Christmas snowfall, was a flurry of wrapping paper and presents flying as the boys very excitedly raced through their presents. Nintendo DS Games, a basketball, TAG reader, Legos, ornaments and LOTS of games were just some of the many presnts that Santa brought to the boys. Me? I got to enjoy watching my children marvel at their loot and know that they were one of the many who were on Santa's "Nice List" this year. Yes, by the end of the day I was ready for a xanax and to climb into my bed and call it a day, but it's that what being a parent is all about? I wouldn't want it any other way.

The rest of the weekend was spent in what I like to call "recovery mode". Cleaning up, rearranging toys and finding new homes for the games and what not that are now part of our lives and just trying to relax a bit and enjoy some down time.

Saturday night we had a great get together with some of my friends from High School and their families. The Carl's (Northern Chaos) were in town from Alaska for the holidays and along with The Miller's and another dear friend, we spent the evening catching up and laughing while our 6 children very contentedly played Wii in the basement for what seemed to be HOURS AND HOURS! Thanks Bets, for allowing us to invade your home and thanks Kerry for squeezing us in, and Linda, thanks for making it! I can't remember the last time we were able to sit and chat like that!. It is always fun to see everyone and catch up. It's so nice to have such wonderful friends in our life that we enjoy spending time with.

FOUR Days at home! We were home for FOUR DAYS - and somehow it just flew by! The holiday is over but the decorations still are up. Those will come down this weekend as we say good bye to 2009 and welcome in a new decade. One that I have a feeling shows great promise for us......................


Monday, December 21, 2009

MY List For Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been a good Mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my own doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out – over several Christmases perhaps.

Since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles; and who knows when I'll find any more free time in the next 18 years, so now - -

*** Here are my Christmas wishes ***

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (-in any color, except purple, which I already have), arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big-ticket items this year, I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking robot that says, 'Yes, Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, 'Don't eat in the Family Room' and 'Take our hands off your brother,' because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by a dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing, and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his red crayon back.

Have a safe trip Santa, and remember to leave your wet boots by the door, and come in and dry off, so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet please.

Yours always with love and appreciation,

Libby Riley


Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Weekend Of Baking

Snowballs, peanut butter balls, rocky road fudge, white chocolate with gumdrops, and good old tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. ~ Yummy!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Jingle Belz" & A Visit From Santa

An annual event for my brother, Hank and his wife, their "Jingle Belz" party was held this past Saturday. Initially held as an out of control party of drinking and festivities for friends and anyone else who got wind of the party, it has turned into more of a "Family Friendly" celebration with friends and their children and also a way to mark the anniversay of Sophie joining her forever family last year.

The highlight of the night was a personal visit from Santa himself! Who knew that we had such connections? Wow! A truly magical moment for all of us to see the Magic Of Christms through our children's eyes!

Thanks Hank, Tricia & Sophie for a great "Jingle Belz" and a very special thanks to Mr. Art Raske for stopping by and making our night!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Monday, December 14, 2009