Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Son's Graduation

It's been a long road to get this point (failing last year and having to repeat 6th grade; failing exams and having to take makeup exams in order to pass 6th grade this year), BUT we finally made it. Today, December 12, at 10 am my son became a member of the graduating class of 2013.  Granted this should have happened last year but it happened and I am so super proud of him.  He is off to high school next year, so 7th grade, watch out!

walking in with his teacher

looking snazzy for his big bro's graduation

formal ceremony commences

the graduating class and their families

the flag

let the commencement commence

the invitation

And of course, mariachi!!! :)

Getting his diploma

Hubby taking a picture

the graduating class singing their farewell song

and it's all over... he has graduated!


So proud of our boy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Gift List

I am pretty much DONE with my shopping (yay) and just wanted to share what I got the kiddos this year for Christmas.

13 year old:
*PS Vita (not bought yet but in the process of buying it and luckily the in laws offered to help split the price with us).
*2 pairs of shoes (which he desperately needs but will also like)
*Ecko Unlimited T-shirt
Stocking: chocolates, Uno? Haven't gotten any stocking stuffers for him yet.

6 and a half year old:
*Ken Doll
*Barbie Tablet
*Styling Doll head
*A pair of boots
Stocking: 3 Monster High type mini dolls and Disney Princess wallet and watch and chocolates

5 year old:
*Woody (he is going to freak)
*red Hulk
*Captain America Shield
*2 pairs of shoes
Stocking: Ben 10 wallet and watch and chocolates

*Musical Glow worm
*Musical electronic book
*Bath time book
Stocking: Monkey teether rattle and bath toys

Notice the gifts aren't even this year.... mostly because Hubby went shopping on his own for the kids (he's the one that got the T-shirt and shoes).  I am going to leave it like this because I am not going to go broke trying to even things up.  For the older one, the PS Vita makes up for it and my daughter got more stocking stuffers.  And the baby, well, he's a baby:  he doesn't care.  Plus this does not include what my inlaws already got them.

Father in law (fil) got my daughter 2 Monster High dolls that she wanted.  Mother in law (mil) got her another doll.  Fil got my older son a bike.  Mil got my 5 year a few gifts, like transformer type toys and action figures.  And she got the baby a musical piano.  Fil got my 5 year old the four action figures he wanted plus a robot that moves.  I think my kids are all set for the Holidays.

Now that my kids are all set, I have to move my focus onto the other people I have to shop for.  Granted, I will probably be going over my initial budget, I still want to get a few people a few little things.  We have brother in law's 2 kids to shop for plus I have my Secret Santa gifts to purchase (2 kids and a mom).  And Hubby has to get a gift each for 2 angel tree kids from his job.  And in keeping with the charitable giving, I cleaned out my kids toy boxes last night, making room for their new gifts while making sure less fortunate children have toys for Christmas.

'Tis The Season For Presents

Yes, it is the season of gift giving.  Yes, I know Christmas is much more than what's under the tree.  Yes, it is a time of sharing and giving (and yes, that giving does include gifts).  Yes, it is also a time for family and charity and just lots of merriment. But I do love me some gifts... not just for me but mostly for my kids.  Oh what fun it is to shop for the "wee lil ones".

As usual, my kids made their Christmas wish list and handed it over to me and their dad.  As the years pass by, it becomes that much easier to buy for them as they can tell you exactly what they want.  However, that might mean more 'moolah', as most of what kids want they see on TV and those toys and games can be pricey.  Plus the older they get, the more electronically savvy they get.  That's why we have the 3 gift rule: each kid gets 3 gifts each from mom and dad plus a few little stocking stuffers (we get to choose which 3 gifts they get from their list, which thankfully, is never enormous).  This little rule helps us stay in a reasonable budget and allows us to enjoy an affordable and fun holiday season.

Whatever they don't get from their list at Christmas, we try and get it for them for their birthdays.  This way, we don't go into gift overload: win win!

So what, you may ask, made it on their list this year.  My 13 year old asked for the PSP Vita (that tops his list this year) and a smart phone.  Just two!!!  Not bad; my kid ain't greedy.  BUT, those 2 gifts alone would run us well over $300 and trying to stay on a budget of $600 or less for EVERYONE we had to shop for would have proven almost impossible with his gifts taking half the budget.  So at my urging, he added a few other things to give us some options just in case he couldn't get either of his top 2 gift wishes.  He then added a laptop (umph), and a foosball table (oi).  Nothing on his list is cheap.  Well, that's what you get when you have a teenager... their gifts tend to be on the more expensive side, so I had a lot of thinking and budgeting to do. Remember, I now have FOUR kids to shop for and even though the baby doesn't really count (as babies don't need, well, any Christmas gifts) I still wanted to get the little guy something.  So my money had to s t r e t c h.

My little princess asked for the sweetest things and as it turns out, the things she wants aren't that costly at all.  I feel almost bad that her gifts cost so little. Her wish list includes a bicycle (she recently learned how to ride a bike without training wheels and asked for a new big girl bike for X-mas).  She also wants a Ken doll, a Guess Who game, a Princess bouncy ball, a play tablet, a Tinkerbell movie and the moxie girl styling doll head she saw at the toy store.  Now, as you probably guessed it, she is not to expect all these gifts; just 3 will be under the tree for her to unwrap come Christmas morn, so I made sure to ask her constantly what toys she really liked to get a grasp on what 3 things to get her.

My 5 year old son is even easier than my little girl and asks for pretty much the same things over and over again.  He knew what he wanted and made sure we knew it too and poor thing has no patience, so almost everyday he asks if it's Christmas yet.  I think the anticipation to see if he got what he asked for is just too much to bear.  He wants Woody from Toy Story (and has been asking for this toy since forever... ever since my mother in law got him Buzz Lightyear, which is what he asked for last year).  He also asks for a few Hero action figures, namely Captain America, Hulk, Superman and Wolverine.  Then, when we went to the toy store a few weeks ago, he fell in love with the red Hulk (which is red, not green like the normal Hulk) and the Captain America toy shield.  I knew exactly what he wanted.

As for the baby, well, what does an almost 4 month baby need for Christmas?  Good question.  I figured a few rattles and infant toys that can grow with him would suffice.  After all, I can't ask him what he wants now can I?  With list in hand, I got pretty much everything I think my kids will love.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Everywhere you turn in my living room, there is just a little bit of Christmas magic.  We finally set up and trimmed our tree yesterday and I am loving how my house is looking at the moment:  very holiday like.  Christmas is my favorite time of year... everything about the season makes me happy.  And it has become so much more magical and special ever since I started having children.  As a mom, nothing makes me happier than seeing how happy my kids are come Christmas time; and it's not just about the gifts either.  It's about all the special things we do and all the little traditional elements we incorporate into the season: making cards, baking goodies, taking the yearly picture by the tree, etc.  It's just every little thing about this holiday that makes the world that much more peaceful, merry and bright.

A test shot just for fun

The actual picture (this we used for our Christmas card).  I got lucky as all kids are looking at the camera and smiling and this was the 1st picture I took.

Baby A

The Christmas card

Cards we made for family and friends