The table on Christmas Eve.

We had our traditional Christmas Eve feast, the modified Feast of Seven Fishes. This year it was four: lobster, shrimp, stuffed clams, and baccala (codfish stew).

I realized that this is the one festive meal we have as a family, everything else—Christmas day, Thanksgiving, Easter—are done with the in-laws. This is the one time the kids see the table dressed with a tablecloth. That’s where the fancy begins and ends; but it is my token gesture at festivity.

Dom, Anthony, and the tree on Christmas morning. The guys don’t look like they’re ready to be up.

For the first time this year I kind of wished for some fancy china. My parents always had two sets and I loved the formality of using the “good” plates. At the same time, we don’t currently have the room to store a second set of plate and the kids are still a little too young to really be trusted with nice china. But at some point I would like to have a proper holiday table that truly feels different from our everyday dinners.

Isabella and Sophia waiting for present opening time.

We went to Midnight Mass and it was glorious. Once again, I forgot to bring a camera and so didn’t capture anything. Perhaps that’s for the best, thought it would have been nice to try to snap a shot with the kids in front of the manger. I didn’t get any pictures of the kids in their Christmas finery. Maybe next year.

Sophie with presents. Santa piled them all in the new toboggan in the fireplace.

Christmas morning the kids still got up early. Around 7. They opened presents, didn’t eat much breakfast. As they had each given me a wishlist this year, it was easy to give them the gift that they wanted.

Everyone gathers to help Anthony unwrap his present.

The highlight of the presents was definitely Anthony’s car. Oh the joy on his face! It was quite clear that he understood that here, finally, was a car of his own that his brother couldn’t take from him. He shrieked his happiness and let it be known that he loved it with a stream of babble. I didn’t understand the words but the sentiment was clear.

Anthony with his VERY OWN CAR!

Bella got her coveted forks for the play kitchen and spoons as well since they came in a combo pack. She also got a fancy princes dress that she hadn’t specifically asked for but which she did want. Oh to see her dancing in the frothy pink bliss of it!

Bella in her new dress.

Sophie got her ring. Actually, she go two since Grandma B also got her one. An embarrassment of riches. She also got a set of pattern blocks. She loves puzzles.

Sophie really, really wanted a ring for Christmas. I found this huge hideous thing at Target and she was ecstatic as I knew she would be.

All the kids got a Christmas book and Ben got his own copy of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.

Ben with his new school bus. It was all he wanted for Christmas.

Each of the big kids got gloves, chapstick, a pomegranate, a candy cane, a chocolate orange and some Reese’s peanut butter cups in their stockings. Anthony didn’t get anything in his.

The children will get another round of gifts at Epiphany. Christmas gifts are from Santa. Epiphany gifts are from Mom and Dad. There will be books for sure and I’m thinking of getting some big twin size quilts for the girls.

Sophie with tape on the end of her nose. Don’t ask why. Just enjoy the cuteness of my dimple girl.

On Christmas day in the afternoon we went to Dom’s brother’s for a potluck dinner and hanging out with the family. Dining is buffet style as there are far too many of us to fit round the table. I think there were fourteen adults and seventeen grandkids ranging from 7 months to 21 years old. It is loud and boisterous and very, very, very happy. Oh and the food… amazing. Baked ham, meatballs, lasagna, orzo salad, baked brie… I’m sure to forget stuff if I try to list it all.

Two days later and I’m still recovering, eating too much candy, enjoying Dom’s extended vacation. Hunkering down because now it’s really feeling like winter.

Christmas isn’t over yet and I plan to enjoy every last minute of it.

Princess Bella tries out the toboggan.

Merry Christmas, to one and all.

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  • I like this format a lot!  It’s easier to read (I am legally blind without my glasses, so easier-to-read is often a factor when I’m deciding what blogs to peruse), and I like the contrast of the font on the side.  Love the font you chose for the main posts.

  • It looks wonderful, and I am turning cartwheels over your full-post RSS. No more excerpts! Means easy reading on my phone—I appreciate that so much!


  • Oh I love it! It looks so pretty, lovely colors and easy to read. I am thrilled with the update because since my brain tumor last year I can’t use regular computers, only my iPad, and on the iPad your blog always loaded off to the left side of the screen, teeny teeny tiny: I always had to pinch the screen to expand it up to actually fit the screen and be readable. I have no idea why your blog did that (there’s one other blog I read where it happens too) but it doesn’t do it anymore with this new update so I’m thrilled grin

  • I love the look of the new blog.  If I ever started blogging they are the colours I would choose.  I typed some of your post and the   font, which I agree is lovely, and it came up Georgia – is that correct?

  • I love the new (-ish) look, Melanie. Am especially fond of the fonts –  kudos to you husband!

    I know you said the banner pic is the same, but somehow it looks different – the colors seem different? Very lovely, though.  smile

  • So sweet that everyone is commenting on the fonts. I think Dom has an especial knack when it comes to fonts.

    Lissa, the thought of you turning cartwheels makes me smile.

    I didn’t know the blog was looking icky in iPad format. Hooray that it now looks nice for you, Ellie and Kathryn!

    Tami, you are right. While it’s the same painting, the banner picture has been re-sized and the colors are a little more muted. This version has more brown and less of the greens. It’s subtle and I go back and forth between liking it better and not liking it as much. I do love the deep greens but then I think the browner version sort of matches better with the overall color scheme. It is kind of a sepia tone effect.

  • Hi Sharon, the typeface for the blog entries and titles are supposed to be Kreon, part of the Google Web Fonts database, but if your browser doesn’t support web fonts, it will default to Georgia most likely. The sans-serif fonts in the sidebars are supposed to be Lato, but will default to either Arial or Helvetica or Verdana, I think.

    The typeface for the blog title in the photo is Metamorphous.

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Believe me, I am as thrilled with the new design as anyone because I had to read it the old way with all its limitations and flaws too, but worse because I was responsible for it!

    Please let me know if you find anything amiss. There was lots to do tweak and fiddle with and I may have missed a thing or two.

  • Congratulations, Melanie and Dom.  I do like the new colors…  happy new year!  Here’s hoping you’ll be part of a revived effort to expand organized Catholic homeschooling southward this year.

  • Dom tweaked the banner image to bring back some of the blues and greens.

    scotch meg, I do hope so. It would be lovely to find more homeschooling families in our neck of the woods… and to have the energy to get out and do stuff with them.

    Karen, thank you.