Editors Note: This post is 2073 words long. Holy Crumpets! Grab a snack, a beverage, and enjoy!!

Anyone else feel like we've been running a marathon lately? I sure do.

This past few weeks it is like I've been going and going. It is finally starting to catch up though, and I find myself having to take it slower and relax some. Fortunately, this next week we have nothing going on...with the exception of Andy having to work some. The girls are off of school and my week is pretty free. It'll be a nice week to get caught up on things and maybe get a little organized. You know, like a find homes for all the new things that the girls got for Christmas.

Now where to start on getting you caught up? It's been a while, I know.

On the 18th of this month the girls had their Christmas Concerts at school. Cassie's (2nd and 3rd grades) was from 12-12:45. Kalli's (Kindergarten and 1st grade) was 2-2:45. I spent the morning volunteering in the library at school, and then met up with my mom, brother, and Andy to watch Cassie's concert. She did absolutely wonderful and the most touching part was when one of her classmates, who has been learning to play guitar, played with his dad and accompanied the group as they sang "Silent Night". Her group also sang...Snow Angels; Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily; Happy Holidays; Christmas Bells; and The Ride of the One Horse Open Sleigh.

After her part of the concert, Andy Tony and I went to lunch while my mom went to pick my dad from work. We then all met back at the school for Kalli's concert. Her group sang African Noel; S-A-N-T-A; The Mitten Song; In the Toy Shop; Jingle Jive; and Great Big Star. She did a wonderful job and I was surprised how well all the kids did with all families there. After Kalli's concert Andy and I said goodbye to my parents and Tony and headed to the library so that I could help out a little more until the girls' day was done and we could bring them home.

During the time in between things I found a moment to talk with the music teacher. Mind you, with all the volunteering I do at the school, all the teachers and staff know me pretty well, and I let her know how much I loved that she had brought Christmas back into the school concert. At the school the girls were at last year it was a "winter" concert. This year was a concert held during the winter, yet it was a Christmas concert.

The teacher, Ms. V, informed me that when she first started at this school she went out on a limb and tried Christmas music. At the end of the first concert, an elderly gentleman came to her with tears in his eyes and personally thanked her for putting Christmas back in the concert. From that point on she has continued and has gotten a lot of positive responses. I love that she pushed the limit that little bit and that it worked out. Winter concerts are nice, but a Christmas concert is just that little bit more special and helps get the kids in the spirit and excited about the holiday.

On the last day of school before winter break the girls each had a Christmas party in their individual classrooms and I was able to help out in Kalli's classroom. Nothing like sugaring up kids before sending them home. of those kids are mine. Damn!

I went around the school handing out gifts (homemade hot chocolate) to all the teachers that work directly with my girls, the librarian, the principal, and then left a large container with a note in the teachers' lounge. The last stop was with the principal and I talked with her briefly before the school day was done.

When I first signed the girls up at this new school this past summer I was quite anxious about the change. For Kalli she would be just starting Kindergarten there. No big deal. However, for Cassie, she would be starting 3rd grade. She was established at her old school. All the kids knew about her "disability" and that it was no big deal. At the new school, would the kids be so understanding? Would she have friends? I should have just looked at my little girl and known that it is impossible not to love her.

I thanked the principal (Ms. S) for working with us and for having such a wonderful school. I don't think principals get the credit due for the work they have to do....working with troubled children, parents that don't care or are difficult, and trying to keep track of (in the case of our school...400-some kids) It can't be easy. And yet the girls' school and the children that go there seem pretty tight-knit and accepting. Ms. S informed me that she is also impressed with how well the other children accepted Cassie. She said that it is like they don't even see that she is a little different. I personally, love it.

Ms. S also thanked me for being such a large part of the school...I volunteer any free days in the kindergarten classroom and library. (so much actually that they are trying to get me to apply for a few entry type jobs) I enjoy being appreciated. I've already told them they will either get sick of seeing me or just hire me on. And after the girls' concert I introduced my parents, brother, and Andy to Ms. S and she put her arm around me and said that I was the newest staff member. Maybe I have an in for when the girls are grown and I do need a job?? For now though I will volunteer, maybe sub for the noon monitors when they aren't available (if I get that application in), and enjoy getting my baby fixes through other peoples' children. :)

Because we are procrastinators, professional procrastinators in fact, we finally took the girls to see Santa last weekend. You know...the weekend before Christmas. Good thing Santa listens close and has the elves working 24/7 this time of the year. The girls visited and I got a few pictures. I was quite impressed with Santa as when he saw Cassie in her wheelchair he got out of his chair and knelt down to talk with her and get pictures with the girls. It is the little things like this that just make me smile. He didn't need to...she could have transferred to him, or just sat next to him in her chair, but he went the extra step to get more down to her level. I appreciated it. Such a good Santa...he is on my good list.


Christmas Eve morning we headed to breakfast like we do every year to celebrate Cassie's birthday. Because her birthday is Christmas Eve we have a breakfast which is hers and she gets one birthday gift from grandma. From there things become Christmas. We then celebrate her birthday in January on a day that we pick just for her.

This year when we headed to breakfast she had one less tooth to eat with. The day before, she had told me that one of her teeth was bothering her (aka: it is loose, I have issues with textures especailly in my mouth....therefore....please look, but DO NOT touch, determine if it is loose enough, and pull it. Without moving it. She likes to keep things interesting. I did get it out though as it was only connected by like 1 thread. Not any of Cassie's doing though. She won't wiggle teeth. They have to be pushed out by the next tooth. Because otherwise, they move. And we don't like things moving in our mouth. gulp.

After breakfast, Becky and Brady (the now 3 week old little sir fabulous) came to exchange gifts with the girls and to visit at my parent's. The girls are completely enamored with their new little cousin. Even Kalli likes him. Well, until he starts to move around more and following her. Then all bets are off. This picture is from a few days earlier when the girls were sitting together to hold him. Cassie is going to be such a super babysitter some day and a good mommy. She adores babies and young children that aren't her sister.

She does like her sister, but I've been informed that her sister is annoying sometimes and talks too much. All I can say is AMEN sister! No...really though, I used to feel pretty much the same way about Cassie. I used to ask her speech therapist if now that we got her to talk could we now get her to stop. Please.

I have hope that someday Kalli too will slow down the talking some, but I'm not holding my breath.

Later in the day on Christmas Eve we opened gifts from everyone. (my parents, brother-Tony, to be sister in law-Kelli, and us) This year we had taken the girls shopping for each other. Talk about interesting. I've never been up and down the aisles at Target that much. Andy was with the opposite child browsing in a different area of the store. After going through the aisles for the 10 billionth time (ok...I exaggerate, but not much) I chose 3 things for the girl I had with me to pick for the other girl. Of course, at first they pick the thing that they would like the most. I then ask if that is what they think their sister would like. This question is followed by a stare that looks like I have 3 heads and a questioning look that is begging to know if this is a trick question.

"If your sister was here and I showed her these same 3 things, what would she choose", I ask rephrasing my question. The answer this time is something that I know shows that they aren't thinking of themselves. Selfless-ness is something that I really am trying to work on with the girls. I don't want them to think of Christmas, or life for that matter, as something that is only about them. It is about others and making other people happy sometimes too.

I took this picture of the girls response after they gave each other their gifts. I think they got it.


This morning was Christmas morning and the girls woke us at what I refer to as "the butt crack of dawn". It is a time of the day that I am not a fan of. We got up though, because we are wonderful parents, and let the girls open their Santa gifts. They must have been on the good list because they got a couple of the things that they asked for and a couple they didn't even ask for. Cassie got a DVD of her favorite show on the planet....Cats. Best part: as she tore the first part of the paper off it was back side up and she said, "could it be?" she then tore the rest of the paper off, turned it around, and squealed. I've never seen her so happy about a gift. Of course she watched it and also watched the bonus features (the making of Cats, in this case). I think that Cassie is one of the only people that I know that LOVES to watch all the bonus features for movies. This includes the producer/director talk overs and such.

Christmas was very good to us this year. And with the exception of Kalli having a little bit of a cold, Cassie having a little bit of a runny nose, and my cold-induced asthma we are all healthy, happy, and enjoying time together. I'm actually not scared of the girls being off for the next week. Cuddling with them and playing sounds like the plan. Maybe there will some days that we stay in pjs all day. Who knows.

A certain person, however, did find Christmas to be exhausting.

Cassie came to get me when she saw that Kalli was sleeping. She is in my mom's chair here and she is O-U-T! Also...yes, those are roller skates on her feet. They are a gift from Becky and Kalli fell asleep with them on. That is my girlie!

Hope everyone had a superb Christmas, stayed safe, and that Santa was good to you. Also, since I mention birthdays on here. Happy Birthday to my first-ever baby, Cassie. Hard to believe that she is 9. When did that happen???