Some people with less than wonderful childhoods want a certain type of family-the one they never had.  Others have wonderful childhoods and want the same thing for their own family.  I'm in the second category.  I grew up with four sisters and six brothers, and four of those brothers were "in a row" between my sister 16 years older than me and myself.  So I always wanted boys-plural.  Didn't get them.  But with the grandsons and Aidan, I've got them now and I just love it!  Here are the boys playing outside on a spring day this week-just before a day of snow and freezing rain.
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This doesn't mean that I don't love my girls.  In fact, there are some people who make your day better, and brighter, simply by being in the world.  Our first daughter is like that.  She is quiet, and sweet, and a magnet for the rest of us.  Even her siblings go to her for "balance".
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I can't wait to see what the personality of our one granddaughter will be.  Already she is a super happy baby, smiling easily when you talk to her.  She looks a lot like her brother, but she also looks like our son in many ways.  
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(P.S.-I don't have that many pictures of Little Baby, since she's away at college)
 
 
I am running short on time for many things because I am either staying overnight with my mother or recovering from staying overnight and because it is just a busy time of year at work.  However, Aidan and I made it to the FIRST Robotics competition a couple of Saturdays ago and he just loved it!
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His favorite things were actually the little blimps flying around the arena.
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Then, one night this week when I spent the night at Mom's house, he and G finished his pinewood derby car for Tiger Scouts.  He was super proud of this!
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This has been a very good week- a gospel festival at our church, Chinese presents from my cousin's wife, our son's children for the afternoon, and skiing all day with Aidan.
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Our granddaughter is really starting to plump out and smile all the time.  She also loves it when I sing a certain song to her.  Our first grandson and I have a song, but the two year-olds don't like singing-one is too busy and one starts to cry the moment anyone sings, even his own mother, who has a beautiful voice.  So this is very sweet.

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Her brother is busy, busy, busy all the time

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And then there is Aidan, who tries to avoid photographs whenever possible

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It is snowing out again-this time a beautiful, fluffy, steady snow that will result in half a foot-perfect for the last day of Massachusetts school vacation, and then we'll get our road back.  Friday we got a foot and had no school, starting our break a day early.  Here are the boys playing outside.
Yesterday was a very exciting day!  Have I mentioned how much I loooove Scouts?  It's so wonderful to have Aidan involved in something where God & country mean something, where good deeds are the goal, and where the boys are not competing with one another but are practicing fraternal cooperation.  He had his first badge ceremony.  Here he is with me pinning the badge on him.
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This is the Tiger Scout group lined up alphabetically.  Our first son is just short of 6'2" and Aidan is expected to be the same height or taller than him.  It's not really obvious in this shot, but he is far taller than the other boys.
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In our pack, the badges stay upside down until a good deed is done, and then they can be affixed to the shirt right side up.  Aidan did his good deed after the ceremony by helping to put the chairs away, even though he didn't take them out :-)

But the fun wasn't over with this award!  It turns out that he was one of the three top sellers for popcorn.  So he got a pin for his lapel, which of course he couldn't leave alone and by the time we left the back had rolled off into one of those places where little things hide for decades.  He didn't find it quite as exciting as the Wal Mart gift card that came with it, anyway!
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It is the year of the rabbit, and we've been gifted with a snow bunny.  He wants me to go sledding with him every day, and if I don't, he whines, "You never do anything with me," which is his mantra whenever he thinks that it might help-it doesn't.  So today I told him I would watch him from the window and this is what he did.
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He "sunned" himself between two snow banks for about half an hour, even though it snowed on him for most of that time.  He also wanted me to see him sliding down one of the banks on his snow pants.  Here he is about to take off:
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We just had some sleet and freezing rain and will probably have more before it snows again near morning-expecting about 8" of snow before it stops-and I went outside to take a picture, only to discover that our lilac branches were completely denuded by the rain.  Here is what they looked like last night.
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We're going to get more snow on Tuesday and chances are we'll get another big storm this week, but it might actually skip Wednesday this time in favor of Thursday.  Aidan will be psyched if that happens, since Wednesday is snowboarding lessons and when there is no school, there is no lesson.  We'd take him on the snow day  if he had enough experience, but it's still new to him.
 
 
Well, the little rodent came out despite the storm and said that spring would be early this year, but you would never know it from these photos.
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This is Aidan taking a break from shoveling with Dad.
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It was such a nice day, though, that I had to take a walk up to my mother's house.
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Unfortunately, last night/early this morning, there was a fire across town and the family lost everything.  He is our son in-law's best friend.  She is my cousin's first grandchild.  They have two daughters, seven and two I think, and another one on the way.  So here are the fire trucks refilling their tanks across from my mother's house.
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We finally got snow.  After only having snow on December 26 and most of the state having a brown Christmas while the rest of the country got hit, we are making up for lost time.  We've had three snow days and a delayed opening in the past two weeks.  This coming week we will have either heavy snow and winds or a blizzard-depends whether or not the storm tracks along the coast or further out to sea.  And the temps?  They'll be frigid for at least the next week.
So what do you do with weather like this?  Yes, there is sledding and skiing and snowboarding, but there is also hanging out around the house playing games and going out for pizza with the whole family when Aidan's first badge ceremony for Tiger Scouts gets canceled due to heavy snow (how many of you learned to spell cancelled with two Ls and get frustrated that one of the rules that made sense in grammar has been changed?).  Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks:
 
 
So we're all done now-all four trees.  It was so great to see Aidan this year, excited and knowing what was coming.  He was singing carols, pestering me about "how long before..." whatever the next time marker was, and generally loving the season.
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So here is how our Christmas goes.  Christmas Eve-candlelight service followed by food and a tree with our big kids and their kids.  Christmas morning-home with our younger kids.  Christmas afternoon-joining my enormous family.  Day after Christmas-food and a tree with G's family.  Here are some pictures of our preparations and celebrations (the first half):
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Aidan, above, standing on a chair to reach the top.  Eventually he will be tall enough not to need the chair, whereas I will just get shorter and never reach the top!  Below is the tree, ready for the grandchildren to come.
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The "big" gifts for the three grandsons were a "whirly wheel" at left for RB; a John Deere wheelbarrow for his brother MB, and a Melissa and Doug folding barn for BB.  All four grandchildren got a "Going to Grandma's House" bag with books, pjs, toys (diapers for CB).  Below, I managed to capture them all in just two shots.
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There is always that one gift, right?  Well, this is it for me this year.  This is the gift that I will tell my kids and grandkids about because not only am I thrilled to finally have a cutting board, but also, I'm thrilled because my son in-law cut down a tree and then used his chainsaw to create this for me!  He is so special to us.  He spent weeks helping my husband go through all of the insides of Aidan's big gift, bought from a market in Texas that specializes in outdoor riding gear, both new and used.  A special guy and a special gift.

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