Saturday, April 28, 2012

On this special day

It is early in the morning and all is quiet. Yesterday, my mom and I spent the day in the kitchen preparing food for a big celebration. All this past year, and really, all her life, we have been preparing Anna for this special day. Today, my Anna Rose will receive her First Holy Communion.

This week, my mother-in-law, who will be arriving in a few hours, sent her a sweet letter. In it, she wrote of her prayer that Anna always keep Jesus as her best friend. My prayer is that she remembers this day always as the day Jesus became her best friend and that she may continue to develop and increase that friendship all through her life.

My mother-in-law also enclosed the lyrics to the song they sang on her First Communion day, back in 1931!

Jesus, Jesus come to me,

All my longing is for Thee.

Of all friends the best Thou art,

Make of me Thy counterpart.


May I ask for your prayers for Anna on this most important day?

Monday, April 16, 2012

April Daybook



Outside my window...
...a glorious morning! It is one of those cloudless, deep blue skies that make it seem like you can see straight up to Heaven. The birds are chirping away, flitting from tree to tree. The kids are already tromping around outside with a flashlight to see if they can find the rabbit's hiding spot under the shed.


I am thinking...
...about our priest's sermon this weekend. It got me thinking, which is a good thing. He brought up the topic of how divided the Catholic Church is within its own walls between those who are more progressive and those who are more conservative and the strain that it causes. I listened very carefully because this has been on my mind lately. He didn't give a solution. Likely he doesn't know how to bring us all together either. The one thing that I did come away with was that I need to live my faith daily so that others may see Christ in me. I am not eloquent and I can't often say effectively what I know in my heart to be true. I must rely on my actions to speak for me. Rather frightening thought, since I still have such a long way to go in that area too.


I am thankful for....
...my family.

...this new little baby growing inside me and how the kids just come and touch my belly in anticipation, even Therese.

...the ability to stay home with my kids.

...hot coffee and the sound of the perculator blurping away in the morning.

From the lesson plans...
 
A slow start this morning on actual academics. Finding rabbit hiding places has trumped the books.


From the kitchen...

The no-restaurant Lenten sacrifice was successful. Excepting for travel and the occasional date night or celebration, I like staying home for meals.
 
I made bagels this week which turned out great, but they are time consuming to be sure. I also made ghee, which I burned. Oops. This no dairy thing is frustrating. Oh, to have slathered cream cheese on those bagels!


I am wearing...

...shorts and a black sleeveless shirt. The thermostat reports that it is currently 81 degrees in my house this morning. I will be taking a claritin and opening the windows, thank you very much.


I am creating...

...that blasted bolero! One sleeve done and the other on the needles. Then comes the seaming! Oh, my. Why did I ever think I could do this?

I am planning...
 
...Anna's First Communion reception. Also, she will be wearing the dress I wore for my First Communion. So did Sophie and Olivia, along with my sister's daughter. When we pulled it out of storage for Sophie, it was way too short. Thankfully, my mom had had to hem it for me, and when we let out the hem, it was perfect for Sophie. Anna seems to be taking after me, because I will be hemming the dress this week.

I am reading...
..."Five Little Peppers" to the kids. It is such fun to say words like shan't, 'twould, a-coming, and a-wishing. Makes me want to live in a tiny cottage with a persnickety old stove.
 

I am hoping...
 
...that all the seeds I planted yesterday decide to sprout into nice beautiful plants that bear much fruit!
 
I am hearing...

...Anna and Jack playing together.
 
...Therese asking for a "ba-ba".

Around the house...

...lots of cleaning that needs to be done since the weekend was spent planting the garden and traipsing to all the neighborhood yard sales, where I found some great deals.

I am going...
...to the commissary.
 
...to hopefully make bread.


I am praying for...
...all those on my list of intentions.
 
Picture of the Day...
 
 
Resting after a wheelbarrow ride.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yarn Along- AAARRRGGGHHH!!!


This is getting to the point of ridiculous! I went to the local yarn shop, i.e. not cheap, to purchase the yarn for my bolero because I wanted it to be nice. This is the fourth, yes FOURTH time I have encountered what you see below. The yarn is split almost completely through. I bought three skeins for the project. It has happened twice on each skein so far. What would you do? I am tempted to go back and ask either for another skein free of charge (I will probably need it now that I have had to waste so much yarn) or a refund of some sort.


I have 3 of the 5 pieces of the bolero completed and I hate to give up now. I have had to start over so many times on each piece that I have no desire to work on this project anymore. 

Advice would be greatly appreciated.

HELP!

As for reading, I finished Hallie Lord's book, "Style, Sex, and Substance". I enjoyed reading it. I am back to trying to finish up St. Therese's autobiography and Scott Hahn's book "First Comes Love".

Thank you Ginny, for hosting.

Wisdom of the Little Flower

Like the wind blowing through the trees, rustling the branches and sending them in new directions, God sometimes sends a breeze that helps us go in new directions. This morning, it was the words of St. Therese in her autobiography. My spirit has been very restless lately. I have this desire for things to be perfect, but I need to realize that this life is far from perfect. I was looking at parts of my life with such frustration and disdain, when really, what I needed to change was my own heart.

Our tiny dogwood tree that we planted last Mother's Day. This is the first time it has bloomed.

"When God told His people that they must love their neighbor as themselves, it was before He had come upon earth Himself; knowing how much man loved himself, it was the best He could ask. But when Jesus gives His Apostles a New Commandment, His own Commandment, He asks them to love one another, not only as they love themselves, but as He Himself loves them and will love them even unto the comsummation of the world!"

Tiny, but perfect.

"I know that whenever I am charitable, it is Jesus alone who is acting through me and that the more closely I unite myself to Him, the more I will be able to love all my Sisters."

One of the existing Azalea bushes in the landscaping. We have pulled up most of the original, overgrown plants, but I think this one is too pretty and will keep trying to prune it back to a better size.
 
"I see now that true charity consists in bearing with the faults of those about us..."

I made homemade ketchup again yesterday. I thought it was too beautiful to just hide in the fridge, so I snapped off a couple of photos first.

How often I let the little annoyances of those I love most keep me from loving them as I should. What a treasure God sent us in the words of St. Therese.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pull up a chair

Do you have a cup of coffee or tea in hand? Good. Now we can sit down together and enjoy the morning! It is a lovely morning, with the blue sky and all the pretty shades of green right outside my window. There is also a robin in my yard searching for bits of stuff and string to make her nest with, along with a little brown rabbit who the kids desperately want to catch and make into their very own pet.

I hope your Easter was as joyous as ours. Lent was so long this year. Easter morning dawned with cinnamon rolls on our plates and the delighted squeals of children finding their baskets and the eggs they colored. Anna had a plan to stay up and see the Easter Bunny but then thought better of it when she remembered that Santa doesn't come until all little children are asleep. Fearing Mr. Bunny might have the same policy in place, she went right to bed.

On Good Friday, I decided that we had to color our eggs with natural dyes. I had been itching to try this for many years now, but never had. This was the year. So with a list of ingredients in hand, I went to the store. I don't even like beets, but into the cart they went. A purple cabbage (we are having slaw with our black bean burgers this week with the unused portion) and some yellow and red onions went in the cart too. I bet the stock boy thought I was nuts digging under all the onions to load up my produce bag with all the discarded skins! I already had turmeric in the spice cabinet and I always have a large jug of vinegar so I headed home with this idyllic picture in my head of the kids and I blissfully cooking and coloring our eggs the all natural way. That picture faded fast. This is messy work folks! With five different colors we wanted to make and only four burners on my stove, I already could tell this would take longer than I thought. We ended up in the kitchen all afternoon. My kids also need to get a better understanding of the word "gentle" when stirring the eggs in the dye. 

  How can a vegetable so beautiful taste like dirt? I so want to like beets.

 The kids oohed and aahed when I sliced the cabbage in half.

 Here are all those onion skins I went digging for at the grocery store.

 The ones on the left are dyed with beets, the orange ones are the yellow onion skins.

 The yellow is the turmeric.
The browish green came from red onion skins.
Tony said I should just have used our brown eggs.
The blue is from the cabbage.

 How sad is it that my kids are wearing their Christmas pajamas on Easter morning?

 "Can we eat the jellybeans before the cinnamon rolls?"

 It's a dinosaur head shaped plastic egg. He loved it.

 What the floor looked like.

 After returning from Mass, I had lots of work to do. We invited two families from our homeschool group to join us for Easter dinner. Everyone brought something which made it so much easier but I still had to figure out how to seat 16 people in our house and if we had enough dishes to serve 16 people. We did, excepting the cups, so I bought some plastic ones. I cooked side dishes and bread to make sure there was dairy-free food for us weirdos. I wanted to make a dairy-free dessert but was coming up empty. I went to check my e-mail because isn't that what everyone does when they can't figure out a solution to their problems. There, in my inbox, was the answer. Groupon had an offer from a bakery called "My Vegan Sweet Tooth". I bought the groupon and ordered 2 dozen cookies and a cherry crumble pie. Oh, and those sweet rolls we enjoyed for breakfast too!

The older kids hid eggs for the littler ones out back.

 Look how excited she was to show me what she found!

The bigger kids need to remember that they are slightly taller than the littles.
That did not stop them from retreiving the egg!

It is always wonderful to have a special day like Sunday, but it is equally as wonderful to have a routine to return to the next day. I liked having the rhythm of Monday laundry and grocery shopping and schoolwork to remind me of my vocation that I have chosen. Which is what I need to return to now. Have a lovely day.


Friday, April 6, 2012

The spirit is willing but...

Oh this Lent. I know exactly what God wanted me to work on and I failed. Failed miserably. Was it pregnancy hormones or was it Jesus' adversary who kept poking at me, prodding me, till I could take it no more?

Was it that I really didn't turn to God when the going got tough? Probably. When will I learn where to put my faith and hope?

And yet, there might be hope for me. Last night, during Holy Thursday Mass, I heard a voice, that quiet voice that my heart has been tuning out, say ever so gently, "Won't you come spend an hour with me after the kids are in bed?" "Bring your husband with you that you may spend that hour with me together." So after we got home and put the kids to bed, I sat there thinking about that voice. It was so cold outside. The Church was a 20 minute drive away. Again. My eyelids were already drooping and my body ached with tired from a long day. So I asked my husband, "Do you want to go?" He looked so tired too. But he gave a sigh and got up off the couch. And I did too. And we went to sit with Jesus.

There, in that small room, with all the candles, and the quiet, I felt His Grace renew my resolve and strength to continue this thing that God wants of me. Oh, I am sure that once back in the trenches, I will find it hard, no, impossible some days. But for now, I will dust myself off, stand back up, and try again. There is so much to gain and everything to lose.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In other news

Anna and I have been trying to get extra schoolwork done each day. That means that Jack has time for such activities as art and extreme lego building. I had to ask for a description on this one, but I love the answer. In case you are having trouble like I was, this is a drawing of the dinosaurs waiting for the bus. The bus is at the bottom of the picture. 


Here is my artist, pausing long enough to give me a sweet grin.


She turns 19 months this week.

One day, she looked like a baby.

The next day, she turned into a toddler.

I am pretty sure this guy lives under the deck.

We see him many times every day.

The kids get so excited at each appearance.

Tonight, as Tony was grilling the burgers and I was preparing the potatoes and beans, the kids were outside playing on the swings, running around and just having a good old time. Tony called the kids to dinner and they all came running. Poor Therese was the last one in mostly due to her short legs that don't keep up with the bigger kids just yet. The screen door slammed shut on her hand.

She was such a trooper. I grabbed her up and saw that most of the skin had been peeled back. Sitting on the floor with her in my lap, I gently cleaned her hand, whispering in her ear what I needed to do. She kept nodding solemnly that she understood and did not flinch as I removed the excess skin, disinfected the wounds and covered them with bandages. I will watch to make sure there is no swelling, but she is already running around happily once again.


Monday, April 2, 2012

We're Having a.....

Let's see if I can give you the statistics here:

If you go by the month I am due, I should be having a girl. All the girls so far are summer babies.

If you go by how easy or difficult the newborn has been, I should be having a boy. They have been fussy, then happy. Therese was very happy and easy-going.

If you look at birth order, I should be having a boy. There is Sophie, and then after that, it has been a girl followed by a boy every time.

A mother just has that feeling sometimes that lets her know before science ever can. If you go by that "feeling", I should be having a boy.

Tony has a boy's name picked out that I do not care for in the slightest.

I have a lovely girl's name picked out.

Given all that information, it should come as no surprise that this little baby is......






A BOY!