And all of a sudden, it's the day after Christmas! Poof! Monday was a quiet day with no plans so I decided to offer help to a friend who seemed overwhelmed. Helping makes me feel better. I picked up her girls and had a play date for Voss and Abby that morning. It worked out great. No after school activities so it was so nice to not have places to rush to or even homework to push. Voss and I had a little play date with his friendemey, Parker. Then, we went to MOSH to see the train exhibit. He loved it- even though the museum was crazy busy with field trips. Abigail had her Christmas play at school. She did a great job as a STAR. I picked up McDonalds treats for Voss and I (Mmmm peppermint mocha!) then went to the girl's school for their class parties and watching Polar Express. Afternoon play ground and kids night at TCC. My brother, Erik and his girlfriend Kelley came in town. I had big plans to haze and grill Kelley. Other than not liking shrimp, I really had nothing to make fun of her for unfortunately. I enjoyed talking with her; she fit along quite nicely into the Voss-chaos. Marly adores her! Suzanne and I met them out to watch them perform Improv. We had a few drinks later- a great way to kick off the family fun! Thursday we did a girls run after dropping Abby off at school. We played at the park then did a boat ride to FYC for lunch. We raced Ellie to golf then back to my parent's for a steak dinner and welcome Matt home. Friday morning we all went caroling at the nursing home, one of my favorite traditions! We had a great turn out this year! We did a park play date after. Phil took the girls bowling. Voss and I rode bikes to visit with my parents and ended up on another boat ride. The weather has been really warm, which is great for outdoor play- but kina bums me out at Christmas. That night we went to a neighbor's open house then to an ugly sweater party at the McGraths. Saturday was a lazy morning with a big breakfast then a Target run with the girls and a run to my parents with me and Voss. The guys went hunting. I made a gingerbread. We just sorta hung out. That evening we went to the Napoleon's open house then met my family at the zoo for the Zoo Lights. It was a great idea, but way too crowded as usual. Maybe we'll go back in 10 years when the kids are older and can stay up later. We were saved after bedtime with Peppermint bark ice cream. pizza and a White Christmas! I'm loving this Barenaked Ladies Christmas radio on Pandora. I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday- but my children's fighting and entitled attitude is about to push me over the edge. I must be doing something wrong. I truly thought about giving them goose poop. Has anyone ever done that for real? Did it work? Well instead Christmas magic happened with some blood, sweat and tears! The pictures make it look so golden and happy- but please know there was some nastiness involved- me yelling at my kids and my #5thchild. We did mass 2 times on Christmas Eve. Once in the morning with the Applegates then bfast at TCC. Then, we did the whole Voss family Christmas with all my siblings. Katie and Steve flew in that morning. It turned into a great day. We all went to mass that evening. My dad read. The insense about did me in. We got Chinese food and drove around to see lights. I almost threw out 2 kids from the car. We had dinner and I read The Night Before Christmas- stopped to scream only a few times. They all went to sleep early, including the #5thchild. I wanted to join in (oh my that insense- God really was permeating!) Woooosh- the magic! Nightcap with Miss Katie while watching the beautiful scene of Santa's presence. Christmas morning started at 7, which isn't so bad at all! It was fun and load and chaotic. Having Katie and Steve here was neat. I made the crack potatoes. Phil made eggs and bacon. They were great at playing with the kids. We said good-bye to Erik and Kelley as they headed to the airport to see her family. We made our way to my parent's house. Bloody Mary's and raw oysters! Suzanne got the boys back from Jason after 2 weeks. She welcomed them home with a new puppy, Blizzard! All the kids had a ball with him! We ended the night coming back over for mich ultras and It's a Wonderful Life. I mean it really is: the good and the bad! Today Phil is playing golf. I've thrown all the kids out of the house bc I need a parenting break. I am drinking a diet dr. Pepper and blogging therapy! I did get to go on a quick run this morning, which was nice. In a bit we'll go back over to my parent's house for a cousin visit with Natalie and the Hickses!