Christmas 2016

I try to keep myself in check. I really do. Attempting to give our children 3 gifts, just like the three wise man carrying gift. Santa also brings three gifts (excluding books and clothing).  Either their mama can’t count, or my kid’s Christmas list have gotten more expensive over the years because they made out big time this year.  And by big time I mean they have had a lot of down time, slacked some on their chores, slept a little later than usual, oh yes- and had a great Christmas morning to wake up to.

I struggle with this a bit but try to remind myself that my husband and I do not buy much for them (relatively speaking) throughout the year. Britton will tell you, matter of factly, that she purchases most of her clothing, makeup and “wants” herself.  And darn it, they are good kids whose daddy loves to give them things he wasn’t able to have growing up. Isn’t that what parenthood is all about? Giving our kids the best life possible? Be it experiences, gift, education, or love?

Christmas Eve was celebrated with Mike’s mom and step-dad, “Gan,” at our house for lunch followed by Christmas Eve at our church where Kenley served as crucifer (acolyte). For the past 35 years we have gone after church to the Hanley’s house. We’ve missed this tradition only twice in 35 years– and one of those times was when my dad was dying. It’s just not Christmas Eve if not with our dear friends and family at the Hanley’s house. We missed my life-long friend MHH (aka Mary Heather Hanley— yes, her real name is Mary Heather Lines now but she will always be MHH to me) this year who had baby #3, Ellie Grace, just a few weeks ago so she was not able to fly cross country from Seattle this time. She gets a free pass this one time. Once.

After listening to Santa’s sleigh bells on the drive home, the kids open their one gift (Christmas pajamas) finding out which wrapping paper is theirs. They then all sleep together, have their Mama threaten them not come out of their rooms, and count the hours until 7 am Christmas morning when they’re told they can wake us up.

Oh Christmas 2016, we don’t want you to be over. I stand in protest by continuing to play ‘Contemporary Christian Holiday Radio’ on Pandora. Just ask Alexa.

Christmas morning

Christmas morning

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

Christmas eve pajamas for the kids (well, technically shark slippers for Raynes who has been able to wear the same Santa pajamas for three years strong now)

 

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

 

We then made the annual trip over to Sassy and Pops– a whole one mile drive– to see cousins and create chaos.

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

 

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

New braces for B. Merry Christmas, kid.

 

After opening gifts, but before afternoon naps, we drive the one mile back him before we return a second time for the ‘big’ family dinner at my parent’s house with Mr. Robinson’s parents, Meme, aunts, uncles, cousins, and three french hens.

 

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

Nana is doing great and has recently graduated from the wheelchair to the walker, and is a healthy weight now as well. She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and having conversations (and laughter!) with them. They enjoy her company as well!

 

 

Roast beef. Need I say more?

Roast beef. Need I say more?

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

 

My Aunt Deborah's ticket into Christmas dinner. Her annual Yule Log. Goodness knows how long this takes to make, but it only comes once a year and it is well worth the extra 6 (plus!) lbs I know have to loose come January 1st.

My Aunt Deborah’s ticket into Christmas dinner. Her annual Yule Log. Goodness knows how long this takes to make, but it only comes once a year and it is well worth the extra 6 (plus!) lbs I know have to loose come January 1st.

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

My brother-in-law’s mother, Leslie, bakes the best Christmas cookies and decorates each and every one. My kids are lucky if I manage to make slice-n-bake cookies.

 

Not bad for almost 91 years young?! Her secret? Scotch tape on her brow every day. Think I'm kidding? Walk into her room any weekday and you will see what I mean.

Not bad for almost 91 years young?! Her secret? Scotch tape on her brow every day. Think I’m kidding? Walk into her room any weekday and you will see what I mean.

The Sisters. A proper noun.

The Sisters. A proper noun.

Christmas 2016 via grateful simplicity

Merry Christmas 2016 to you and yours!

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Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone. Six years goes by in the blink of an eye. Trust me, I say this from experience little one. A whole 39 years and 9 months so I would know. 

In keeping with the theme of December birthdays, December 21st is always a good one with its cookie decorating, red and green colors and generally all-around jolly mood by all.  A foul-proof party if you will. The recent Florida fall-like weather has felt more like September than December. A good ol’ fashioned backyard birthday party, complete with a pinata and tire swing.

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Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

 

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone via grateful simplicity

 

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

A trampoline is really all one needs in life. According to these kids.

 

 

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Mrs. Harris has a 9 day-old– who would’ve known?!

 

 

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Okay. this makes me laugh. Stand back!

 

 

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

A race for the candy- because they all need more sugar.

 

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

 

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Happy Birthday to you, Allie Boone

Happy 40th “Mrs. Grant”

‘Tis true.

40 is around the corner for me– and according to Mr. Robinson, it ain’t so bad. Raynes Pre-K teacher/my friend Sarah, affectionately known as “Mrs. Grant” turned the big four-oh so this month so we celebrated the way most almost and already middle-aged women celebrate. Boarded a trolley, loaded with alcohol and carols, to drive around and look at Christmas lights while laughing and sipping wine. Turns out December birthdays are lots of fun with a built-in theme every year. As for me? I’m still in total denial that 40 will be here soon. And while I can’t be sure, I may have even seen a grey hair (or two!) today. Which immediately made me feel light-headed.  Who am I? Whose body is this? This is happening? Yes, this is happening.

Happy 40th “Mrs. Grant”

Happy 40th "Mrs. Grant" via grateful simplicity

 

Happy 40th "Mrs. Grant" via grateful simplicity

Cheers to Sarah!

 

Happy 40th "Mrs. Grant" via grateful simplicity

 

Happy 40th "Mrs. Grant" via grateful simplicity

The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas, give or take.

December is always bustling and it seems there is always those twelve days in a row of parties/activities/events.  I like to call it the ‘the twelve days of Christmas.’ So… on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.

 

An Ugly Christmas Sweater Day…..

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Annual White Elephant Christmas Party…

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

 

A Pre-K Sing Holiday Along….

 

12 days of Christmas via grateful simplicity

 

A 40th birthday celebration…

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

 

A 90’s concert with Salt N Peppa….. (because nothing says Christmas more than Push It)

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

 

 The Nutcracker Ballet (a tradition with my girls)…

12 days of Christmas via grateful simplicity

 

Garden Club parties….

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Britton’s first boy/girl (Christmas) bonfire….

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

 

A Cotillion Christmas…

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

 

Holiday Magic with the Tallahassee Symphony and my favorite little Michael…..

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

He, suprisingly, did great at the show with the 95 questions coming the form of a loud whisper. All the favorite Nutcracker songs were performed along with Frozen and a Sing Along. Definitely will go next year– maybe this will be OUR tradition (sorry, Uncle Matt– the green pants aren’t going anywhere anytime soon)…

 

 

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The view from our balcony seats– My grandfather was a conductor and the FSU School of Music, the Kuersteiner Building, was named after in. It was neat to be able to take Raynes to hear the symphony and describe to him a man, whom neither of us ever met, who did this very thing many years ago.

 

 

A 6th birthday cookie decorating party….

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

 

And some silly Christmas Cheer (happy 69th Spider!)…..

 

The 12 Days of Christmas Via grateful simplicity

And a partridge and a pear tree…..

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Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons

If I were super organized and sent a Christmas letter to family and friends it would read a little something like this:

 

Twenty sixteen came in quick and is quickly turning into a year ending with a seven. We have settled into our no-longer-so-new house with two three kids, two dogs, Meme, and her over-weight Persian cat named Lilli.

Britton is in 8th grade and spends her time playing soccer, studying (straight A’s! this year) and listening to music. She also tried volleyball for the first time this year and is getting ready for the opening of tennis season.  She went on a mission trip with our church youth group this summer and, despite my faults, has turned out to be a wonderful teenager. My prayer is that she continues to make good decisions, put others first, and remember Whose she is.

Kenley stays busy with her running club and cheer leading. She is on the Lower School Student Council and recently gave a speech titled, ‘Why Tallahassee is the best place to live.’ Bet you didn’t know that we have one of the nation’s first Christmas service?! At any given time she is readying 2-3 books but, I am sad to say, loves her iPad equally. She has grown so tall over the past year that she has all but caught up to both her sister and me. She has scored some new clothes in the process, is quite the writer, and she constantly reminds (and often times shows) us that the middle children are so sweet.

Five year-old Raynes wakes up happy, asking questions (no less than 194 a day)– and stays chatty and upbeat all day every day. He is quite the artist and likes dart guns, riding his bicycle, Poochie and hunting with his daddy. He doesn’t like it when we tell him he looks like the Elf on the Shelf and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a professional greeter at a big store like Wal-Mart one day. What can I say? The boy loves people.

Mike is managing to balance work and home successfully – which is no easy task! His business continues to grow and this summer he earned a rewards trips to California and we had a sunny CA grand time.

I am enjoying my job at my alma mater, and the children’s school, where I work year-round in administration. It affords me the ability to be at every school function, and get to see my babies during the day and Mike is so supportive.  There’s not much time for hobbies but I do try to pick up my camera and keep up my ol’ blog from time to time.  Exercise doesn’t exactly count as a “hobby” but more of a necessity like breathing, eating, and coloring hair. 2017 be a big year with my 40th birthday and 16 year wedding anniversary coming in the next couple months. Sometimes, if I stop and look at the blessings that surround us I am afraid they will suddenly disappear. Perhaps that is why the camera doesn’t leave my hands, I tend to ‘over-share’ on social media, and why my right eye twitches. But for now, I’ll take it all in, appreciate the heck out of it, and celebrate a wonderful year full of His graciousness.

 

Ho Ho Ho via grateful simplicity

 

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons via grateful simplicity

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons

 

Britton (age 13)

Britton (age 13)

Kenley (age 10)

Kenley (age 10)

Raynes (age 5)

Raynes (age 5)