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It Was The Best Christmas Ever...MOM

Those were the words that Liam whispered to his Mom when she asked him how his Christmas was.  Those words, from a seven year old, are a gift in itself.  It tells me that he, and possibly Jaxson, will really hold this Christmas in their hearts all their life...of course Tucker played a big part.  You never forget a gift like him...all that soft fluffiness, full of endless energy,  and loving the boys right from the start..and here is how the rest of the morning went...


Jaxson and Uncle Chris...Christmas Eve..


They finally get up and move cautiously into the living room.  Jaxson staying close to his brother.  This is Jaxsons first year of really "getting it"...

Ok. now he gets it...what is that?  Santa brought Jaxson a geiger counter.  He loves rocks and now he can go to the beach and find rocks and money..he really liked this gift from Santa.

Oh my sneakers.  Jaxson is pretty excited about these...He put them right on. I think he's got a bit of his flashy Nana in go Jaxson...your rocking it here.

Well after Tucker I would say this was Liam's second best gift.  It's all he talked about before Christmas and he was pretty happy to unwrap that how excited they both were..

It was Lego city by the time the day was over.  Jaxson got this battle you think he liked it...

that face...

Before the real puppy appeared, there was this puppy that Liam loved.  

Getting help from Dad to put the spaceship together. 

Taking a break from opening gifts to have a little run with Tucker.  

Rest time for Tucker.  His first day in his new home, his first Christmas.  It's a big job for a little guy. Uncle Chris to the rescue...


Although it seemed to be all about Tucker today, it's really Riley who shines in this family and he deserves the spotlight.  For 10 years he has been a loyal companion to Jenna and the boys..and now he gets to rest more and enjoy all the pats and treats a dog of his age deserves.  I think before to long him and Tucker will be best friends as Riley takes Tucker under his wing.  Merry Christmas Riley..

So it was a whirlwind day that is right up there at the top of the Memory pile. For Papa and I it was a much appreciated gift to go through this season with the boys, both of them believing in the magic of Christmas and Santa Clause.  We also welcomed Elf on the shelf to our house when the boys discovered we didn't have one...They named ours Brownie and each day that little elf would move around and the boys would always run in the door to see what kind of trouble Brownie was in now.  At their house they had Buddy...he was really bad.  I am happy to say that Brownie is now back at the North Pole.  

So many gifts this year...our son and daughter both live close by..we spend lots of time together during the season..and the boys bring it all to light from being a King and a Shepard in the church play to being full of wonder at the gifts that Santa brings...we are a small family but boy we make a lot of noise, filling each house with laughter, running and bright many kisses and hugs and I love you to the Moon and back...and even for me, a snuggle in bed with Jaxson before he opens his eyes to discover this new day...let me just tell you, there is no better gift on Christmas or any other day, than the sweet smell and soft smile of a little one as they are just waking up...and those kisses, those butterfly kisses, you guessed gift of all...

I hope you all found many moments of quiet joy and perhaps even a bit of loud joy over your Christmas day...wishing you all a very Happy New Year.  May it be filled with hope love and possiblities in the new year...

My word for next year....Possibilities...


An Early Morning Visit...A Christmas Story

Christmas eve morning...early, I wake and think of you.  I lay in bed remembering our Christmas mornings together.  In all the days of the the year, this is the day I miss you most.  We would quietly creep down the stairs and I would put the coffee pot on for you and Jim and make tea for myself.  I remember you still, sitting at the kitchen table in your red bathrobe, hair a bit funky, whose isn't when they first wake up, legs crossed, your pink pajama's peeking out as if to say hello, a look of excitement on your face.  The feeling in the kitchen was one of great expecting, even in the silence that we were experiencing at that moment. The sun has not risen yet and so we wait.You lived not five minutes away from us for the last 15 years of your life, yet each Christmas eve you would sleep over.  It was something we started when Chris was a baby and he didn't even know who Santa Claus was, but you came, and you stayed each year except for your last Christmas..I look back now and wonder who was more excited, you or the kids.  Growing up we didn't have much.  No gifts or toys during the year, no new clothes except at the beginning of the school year...we just didn't have the money but somehow, each Christmas a miracle came to be, and Santa always came to us.  I don't know how you did it, but you were a big believer in the Christmas miracle and you always  made it happen.  So it was not surprising to me to see you excited when I had my own kids and Christmas once again became your joy. Not so much because of the gifts, but because of the excitement and laughter of the kids.  You gift was my kids and when those little ones finally got up, you would move from the kitchen into the living room, always sitting in the red chair, with a dog tucked in beside you and just watch.  It was like you turned into a kid again yourself.  You had presents to open each Christmas also but you never opened them until later in the day when the entire family came...Christmas morning at my house was reserved for just being, in the Santa moment, with the kids.  Finally when all the gifts for them were open and they had come to you to show you a special toy and you make plans with how you both would spend time with that gift, then after a million kisses and hugs, they would talk you into opening your stocking.  I have never, even until this day, seen anyone take so long to open a stocking.  They stood by your side as you reached in and pulled each little item out.  You would study it and tell them how much you loved it and when you were going to use, read or smell it.  Chocolate at the bottom was your favorite gift in that big old stocking and then as neatly as you unpacked it, you repacked it to take home with you.  The kids loved that you were there.  You made Christmas morning special.

So as the sun was rising, we were talking, about all the things that Mom's and daughter's share on a quiet early Christmas morning...what the day will bring, who will come, comparing one year to the next.  How fast the kids are growing...then all of a sudden the silence is broken...little feet, sweet baby voices, calling from upstairs...Nana did Santa come yet.  You yelled back, yes "yes he did and you better get down here quick"...and they would come running, the smiles were priceless the excitement un-containable as they greeted us with wow's and "this is just what I wanted" all this confusion Jim would work his way down the stairs, but you didn't notice as you just joined in the fun.

As I look back, those were priceless years, how fortunate Chris and Jenna were to have you celebrate each Christmas morning with them.  To sleep over with them, in their beds and tell them the stories of Santa and how one year you told Chris that Santa and the reindeer were up on the roof and he believed you.  I laugh about it now but if you said it, it must be true and who knows, maybe it did happen that way.  Chris believed and that made it magical.

So, now I go to Jenna's each Christmas morning.  No, I don't sleep over but I do get there before the boys wake up.  It's an early morning call but no worries, I'm awake and ready.  We drive over in the dark, again only five mintues, it just occurs to me the similarity of the distances between our houses, first my Mom's to mine and now mine to Jenna's.  Jenna and I sit and talk like my Mom and I did, we work around the kitchen, sharing the same excitement as we wait for the boys to get up.  Last year we had to wake Jaxson but this year he should be up much earlier.  Then after hugs and kisses and a few photo's, I will take my place on the brown couch and watch the boys, as my Mom watched mine and the joy goes generation to the next.

I find it pretty amazing how sometimes these thoughts come into my head so early in the morning.  I find I do my best writing when I am in bed either falling asleep or just waking up.  I think my mind is working when I'm resting but I also think that in those quiet, pre-conscience moments, is really when our love ones visit.  Yes, I do believe that's true and what better time for my Mom to come clearly into my mind and heart than on Christmas eve morning...reminding me that she is close as we once again witness the Magic and Miracle of Christmas in the eyes and the hearts of the "little ones".


The Peace of Christmas

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.

At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.

We listen carefully as it gathers strength.

We hear a sweetness. The word is Peace.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.

It is what we have hungered for.

Not just the absence of war. But true Peace.

A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.

Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We welcome the Peace of Christmas.  

Maya Angelou


A huge thank you to all of you who stopped by this year to comment and visit, to cheer me up and on, who help me find my way on days when I let doubt in.  I have the best cheerleaders here.  You are all so appreciated and loved in this space...the space that we share back and forth...Merry Christmas to all of you and yours...and a very healthy, happy and loving New Year full of great adventures...Peace my all that you choose to do.  


The Crane's Estate At Castle Hill

Christmas on the Cape Ann coast of Massachusetts is beautiful and timeless, at least that's how it feels when we recently visited the Crane's Estate, all decked out in it's holiday finest.  The sun was shinning, the ocean was at the bottom of the hill, the sound of music and the scent of gingerbread filled the air. It was a grand day to get your Christmas mojo on.  Nothing was left undone and it was just magical...from the moment you stepped through the front door..


“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”  Charles Dickens


The Crane's Estate is a property of the Trustee's of the Reservation.  I would really like to encourage you to visit any of their properties if you are fortunate to have a few in your area.  They are always beautiful kept and the grounds provide wonderful outdoor activities...even if it's only a walk along a coastal path...



My Buddy and Me

It's a rare day when I get to spend any time alone with Jaxson.  I was looking back at my blog post over the years as I continue to make hard copies of them, and now books for the boys this Christmas, shhh, don't tell them, what I discovered and should have known, was that there is defiantly a second child syndrome. It doesn't happen because you love one more than the other because it would be impossible for me to love Jaxson anymore than I do, it happens because of circumstances.  The time and space now needs to be shared with two and the second child simple doesn't get as much personal attention or alone time with family members. It's just the way life is.

After seeing that reflected in my blog post, going forward, I will be much more aware of time spent with Jaxson but also, with time posted in the blog space.  There have been times when we have shared precious time together and because I let life get in the way, I failed to post as often.  Jaxson has made his way over on my Facebook page...he has a huge following there.  As a matter of fact, I get more likes and comment when a story about Jaxson goes up than I do about any of my other posts.  He deserves equal space here also.  He is so smart and entertaining.  He is happy and makes those of us around him happy to. He's growing fast now...and he's just learned how to whistle so I see the big boy trying to emerge as me and his Mom try to keep him small.  He is not going to let that happen.  One on one with him though offers such great moments, memories and oh my gosh, he is so loving with his kisses and hugs..So keeping with those thoughts in hopefully, will be seeing a lot more of Jaxson over here on the blog.  We have a lot of catching up to do before he moves on in a year or two.  I don't want the boys to have lopsided books.

Having said that, a few weeks ago, I picked Jaxson up at school and we had a few hours before getting Liam. Instead of going home I took him to a place both him and Liam love.  The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. We go there often when the weather is not nice enough to be outside.  A few weeks before our visit, they had just opened up the new Moon room.  Jaxson loved listening to a video of how the moon works with the planets and stars and he was fascinated by it..and of course the head phones were a really big deal.  Why do kids love wearing head phones so much. Also in this room you could touch the moon at another display.  Can you imagine... you just close your eyes, which we did, and we touched the moon.  It really did feel just like Swiss cheese...and then he was off. He never walks, he tells me it's the fast sneakers.

Don't even ask me.  I have no idea what this thing is or does...well, I know when you plug it in just right, it lights up. So let's just say, while he was busy with this project, I just stepped back, took a photo of what it was and hopefully Santa will bring it for Christmas.

We didn't have a lot of time but Jaxson told me right when we got to the Museum that we had to save time for the gift shop.  A fabulous place for little ones to shop on their own.  So after a giant cookie and a juice box we headed to the shop.  He got a Moon puzzle for Liam and a Moon for himself.  Then it was time to leave and go pick up Liam at school.

It was a lovely few hours with Jaxson.  I hope he understands how much it meant to me to be just with him. In those moments, as he played and skipped and felt the connection to the museum and to just us, I hope he also had fun being just with me. The museum was lovely and fun but honestly, the best part, the part that I hope sticks with him later, was really the conversation in the car, coming and going.  Holding hands and skipping as we walked through the plaza to get to the museum...and more conversation about how much I loved that we got to spend this time let him know that he is not number two or second child but that he is always and will forever be, my best number one Buddy...and time-spent with him is like finding a shiny penny on the ground and knowing that its's a good luck day. The hugs I got as I lifted him out of the car when we got home, were the perfect ending to time spent with you Buddy.  

So going forward we made a pack to go out by ourselves some days...and of course I have that same pack with Liam now...I'm soaking it up for as long as it last. 

Life is about adventures and time-spent with those you love...don't let it slip by while your waiting for something better to come along...because soon that window will be gone.


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