Saturday, January 3, 2015

The LAST 2014 DPP Post - 22, 23, 24, and 25.

I had come to the conclusion that I just wasn't going to do the last few days of the project.  My time with my family was more important to me that keeping up here.  But today, as I was unloading the camera of pictures - I realized that I took a few pictures with the intention of sharing them here.  And I thought, now that things have calmed down why not finish things up.  It was such a wonderful holiday season for the Hoffman family.  We had lots of fun and many memories were made. 

DPP Day 22 -

In an effort to keep the little kiddos reminded of their regular routine and to allow me to work from home for the day (spring semester is coming whether I am ready for it or not), Brandon and Katherine went to school today.  Elizabeth and Benjamin spent the day playing together well - which was such a nice treat for me to listen to while I worked the day away.  We are blessed that our kiddos get along pretty well most of the time but if there is fighting to be had, it is usually Elizabeth and Benjamin.  They can show an ugly side of each that we, fortunately, don't see any other time.  I can remember having a special kind of ugly side that I saved for Kevin growing up. . .and he certainly did the same.  And in case you are wondering - clearly, he started it.  Every. time.  :)

The kiddos were busy creating all evening - which is typically Brandon's favorite thing to do.  He loves to color and lately, he will sit for hours writing his letters.  He takes after his big sister in that way.  But tonight, after a week of being sick, a day at school really took it out of a guy.  So while he is happy, he is exhausted.  And when Brandon is tired, angry, or sad - the rocking chair is where you will find him.  Always rocking, sometimes singing, sometimes sleeping, and sometimes yelling.  I LOVE the sweet expression on his face.  This kid is a funny balance of LOUD but sweet - he is a hugger.  A balance of wild and crazy but able to calm for activities.  His director at his school always says he is going to rule the world - because he is also a balance of bossy yet charming.  He has a special talent for getting people to do what he wants them to.  :)
Here you can see all the creating going on.  Elizabeth worked hours and hours to make a hot pads for everyone in the family.  Benjamin is making cards for the family.  And they both wrapped their gifts up and mysteriously, buying wrapping paper will need to be on the top of next year's Christmas to do list.  :)  What you can also see is that someone else is worn out from her day at school.  Instead of dealing with that quietly like her brother, she felt the need to tell us all about it. . . .for hours.  Seriously. . .hours.  There was NOTHING we could do to help a sister out.  So we put her in her high chair and listened - while we did other things.  If we as Hoffmans have no other talents, tuning out noise will always be a gift we share.
DPP Day 23 - the beginning of the celebration. . .
I don't know where the day time went on this day.  It was a mix of work prep, Christmas prep, and managing kiddos so excited they don't know what to do with themselves.  But the evening was spent with one of our favorite of Christmas traditions.  We go to Rich's moms house a couple to several days before Christmas to celebrate with each other and open the gifts we have selected.  Rich's mom is always incredibly generous despite our continued attempts to have her cut back.  If you know Marilyn - you know that she is as stubborn as she is sweet and generous.  If you ever want to see both sides at once - try to pay for dinner.  :)  What I love about this time is that it is never rushed.  It stands outside the typical "holiday" time and allows for time together without having to worry about going anywhere else or missing anything else.  Perhaps the hardest part of being blessed with family close by is balancing time and negotiating where we will be and when.  Leaves room for a lot of guilt and stress during the holidays.  We are fortunate that the guilt is self driven as our family has always been gracious in giving us latitude to try and figure out what works best.  THAT might be the best Christmas gift they give Rich and me each year. 
Here is Barb and Billie giving "little Richie" a big kiss.  Anyone that knew Rich at age 4, knows that Brandon looks almost identical.  He is also equally ornery and charming.

Here is my "big kid" getting his favorite Christmas gift.  I knew this would be his favorite so it seemed only fair to let is mama get it for him.  We have over/under odds on whether he gets it built before next Christmas.  Let me know if you want in.... ha!  ;)

Just liked this picture of mother and son chatting while dishing up leftovers.  Makes me happy. 

Here are the girls playing. . . .

Here are the boys playing.
DPP Day 24 - Christmas Eve
Christmas eve is always full of traditions that my parents started years ago.  All three of us kids love them and our kids are learning to love them too.  Rich (and many others) favorite part is the beef tenderloin with bĂ©arnaise sauce that my mom makes for dinner.  Our family is getting big enough - we may have to start taking out loans just to get enough meat purchased!  We make and decorate cookies - for Santa - but truth be told it is really so there is something to snitch on Christmas morning.  We sing Christmas carols always ending with Silent Night and a reminder of what we are truly celebrating.  
One of my favorite memories from this Christmas eve was sitting quietly in the boys room with the three older kiddos and telling the story of Jesus' birth together.  They threw in any parts that they felt I had missed.  They shouted out the parts they knew were coming next.  It was cute and fun and meaningful.
A rare treat of getting to have a can of soda.  Looks like he thinks he is getting away with something, doesn't it?

Did I forget to mention the traditional light saber battles?  Is it just me or is this good guy vs good guy?  Where is the red light saber?  I love Ben's form here.  He goes big or goes home.  Mikey - well he is more laid back in his approach.

 Singing carols while I attempt to dust off my piano playing skills.

A little Jingle Bells with cello accompaniment.  Both Ben and Elizabeth also played a carol on the piano. . .the torch is in the passing process.  Always makes me miss Mamo at carol time.  She was the best.

This picture serves as a reminder that this was NOT Omom and Pawee's best Christmas.  They powered through (despite my constant recommendations to postpone) but they were both exhausted and miserable.  I am pretty sure by the end, they wish they would have listened to me.  But let's face it, isn't that how everyone feels when they don't listen to me?!?!  Ha!  Honestly - this was the only time I even saw my dad that night.  And I think I only heard him say about 5 words and only ate one cookie.  Now THAT is how you know he is sick!

DPP Day 25 - The Final Day!   Merry Christmas to ALL!

As the last day and my last picture. . .we wish all our friends and family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I can't look at this picture without hearing the Holderness family Christmas Jammies rap in my head.  Go Here if you haven't seen it.
I had delusions of getting a Christmas or New Year's card out to all our 100 closest friends and family - but that just doesn't seem likely.  So please accept these DPP posts as our holiday greetings to you and yours. 
May 2015 be your best year yet!  It just might be ours. . .we will do everything we can to make it so.
Love, The Hoffmans