Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas at the House of Chaos

Hello! I hope you are all enjoying a restful week, and gearing up to ring in the new year!

We had a wonderful Christmas with our family. We attended Christmas Eve Mass, and set a new record arriving 2 hours before Mass started to ensure that we'd have seats. If you're Catholic, you know what I mean. Lots of Chreasters were in attendance, and rather than being annoyed at not having seats, we try to be grateful that they are there to celebrate with us :)

It was such a special service, and I was filled with the joy, hope and spirit of Christ. At least until I made into the parking lot and was nearly mowed over. I'm not judging, but if you're there every week, you know there is a traffic flow system in place that ensures everyone filters out in a friendly and orderly fashion. Okay. I'm totally judging. See why I have to go to Mass every Sunday?? Forgive me.

 After Christmas Eve Mass, I hosted a casual dinner. Here's a shot of the table.

Call the blog police. I used paper napkins. Oh the horror!!

Here's the "kids' table." Although, only one kid sat there. The rest of them hijacked the adult table, so my father, husband and I rounded out the foursome.

I served Barefoot Contessa's Lasagna. I LOVE this recipe! It's delicious, and I could make it ahead of time. I popped it in the oven before we left for church, and it was good to go when we got home.

My kids narrowly escaped the "naughty" list, and were excited to see that Santa had indeed come and delivered presents for Christmas morning. He also left a nutcracker for each of them.

My mother hosted Christmas dinner with a much more elaborate menu, a prettier tablescape and cloth napkins. I forgot to take pictures until dinner and several glasses of wine had been consumed. Don't worry... I won't make you look at blurry photos of dirty plates.

Now don't hate me for this bit of advice. However, if you choose to write an annual Christmas letter and send it to a family of sarcastic smart a**es, be forewarned that your letter may be read aloud (in an unintended manner) as after-dinner entertainment. (I'm checking the Confession times as I type this.)

I showed you most of my Christmas decor herehere, and here. You're probably so over Christmas decorations, but I'm going to show you a couple anyway, because I'm annoying thoughtful like that. There were a couple of areas that needed a little Christmas right that very minute. And, these literally took a minute to throw together.

Apothecary jar, Epsom salt, greenery, ornaments, ribbon. Done.

Bowl, ornaments, greenery. Could it be any simpler? I think not.

And that, my friends, concludes Christmas 2011 at the House of Chaos. I'll be back soon to recap my first year of blogging and let you in on my New Year's resolutions.

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

The Lord Is Come

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

(Images via Pinterest)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Christmas Tree

It isn't easy to blog with the kids home. In fact, I am simultaneously writing this post and spinning the wheel in a very exciting game of Twister. It's hard to (Right Foot Green) put a sentence together (Left Hand Yellow) while calling out instructions (Right Hand Blue), so please bear with me.

We have been busy little bees around here. We had 4 holiday performances, 2 which involved my two-year-old sucking his thumb, yawning and staring into space. That would be perfectly fine, except that he was in the show. I'm not sure he realized that. I don't think he's destined for Broadway, but he sure gave us a lot to laugh about.

We went to see Santa at the mall today. I believe this is the first picture that we have with him where there isn't one child screaming in terror. Although I'm relieved that no one was terrorized and everyone was smiling, there's a part of me that's a little sad. They're growing up.

Last year...

This year...

I shared my Colonial-style Christmas tree with you a few weeks ago, but the tree that I really consider our Christmas tree is this one.

Yes, the star is crooked and most of the ornaments are dangling precariously on the bottom branches. It's not a tree that will be featured on other blogs or saved in anyone's design inspiration files. But, to me it is more beautiful than any tree I've seen in the glossy pages of a magazine.

Every year we strap a Frazier fir to the roof of the minivan to bring home and create our family Christmas tree. Nothing beats the smell of a live tree. Although we barely have enough ornaments to fill half the tree, we always choose a large one. I could run to the store and buy ornaments to fill the empty spots, but that will never happen. This is a tree that will grow over time. It is filled with our family memories. It cannot be rushed or styled.

Each ornament means something to us. It started with a marriage

and a Hawaiian honeymoon

It grew with the birth of 4 children.

Those children blessed us with the greatest gifts in life.

Their precious hands made ornaments more special than anything sold in a store.

The tree serves as a place to store memories. We always bring home an ornament from our travels. They remind us of summer vacations to Hilton Head.

Traveling around Europe before kids. (This is a lace ornament from Bruges, Belgium.)

Having fun with Mickey and friends in Orlando.

The few months we spent on Bainbridge Island, WA, taking the ferry back and forth to Seattle.

A Canadian adventure.

A trip to beautiful Santa Fe, right before my husband and I became outnumbered with the birth of child #3.

It's fun to unwrap the ornaments every year and reminisce about places we've visited and things we experienced. Even the not-so-memorable trips provide a source of laughter. We bought an ornament several years ago on a vacation to San Diego. Luckily, we got it on the very first day we were there. By the second day, smoke and ash from wildfires covered the entire city when the Santa Ana winds shifted direction. We escaped on the first flight we could get. Ahhhh... memories!

I hope this Christmas is filled with wonderful memories for all of you :) Thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Home Tour

Believe it or not, my kids get out of school for Christmas break tomorrow. Yes. I'm serious. I'm not sure who the genius was that made up the calendar. Obviously, it was someone without children. Ten days before Christmas?? Do they not understand that parents need that time to get everything ready for Santa? Sheesh!

I'd better take you on a little tour of our home in its Christmas finery before the kids are home and the place becomes a total mess. I've already shown you the foyer, but here are some other scenes from around our home...

Come on inside...

Hope you enjoyed the tour. I'm still not completely done with the decorating. You may have noticed a certain tree still lacking ornaments. I figure the kids and I will have 10 days to get that done :)

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful day!

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