Ups, downs, and joys

(She was slightly “over” the monthly sticker thing this month)

I’m not going to begin this blogpost with yet another apology about life catching up with us or time flying by.  These days, it seems to be a given.  Four kids have had growth spurts sending me scrambling to find seasonal clothing to fit them in time for the next heat wave and summer vacation.  We renewed our enrollment with Seton Home Study School for another academic year.  I’m grateful for a solid education for our children and also a special services department that helps me find great resources for Trooper and Sunshine.

Little Bit turned three earlier this month.  She’s such a feisty, imaginative little imp. She loves to trot around the house carrying her brown-and-white stuffed dog, whom she has named “Snowy” after the dog in the Tintin books.  She’s talking up a storm and asking all sorts of questions, mainly beginning with “What’s THAT?”

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Spring has brought a spot of nature to our yard.  We have apples on our two apple trees this year, and we have had not one but three house finches nesting in our porch eaves.  Just when one set fledged and we thought it would be time to pressure wash the porch down at last, two more nests appeared almost overnight!

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And then there was the episode of the stray cat.  I had seen that cat a few days before, looking utterly bedraggled, but it hadn’t stayed around.  Then, on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Miss M happened upon it in our driveway. She immediately named it “Polka Dot” (it was once a lovely tuxedo/calico kitty).  Rascal and Princess came out and fed it small amounts of food and gave it water.  Polka Dot did not move on that day, as we made a bed for it in a crate and I posted a notice in our neighborhood forum (as well as warning Haus Meister about it via text, since he was away on business).  Close to dusk, the trio moved Polka Dot into our fenced backyard deck area so it would be safe from the coyotes in the area.  However, we were the last stop in Polka Dot’s nine lives, and Mother’s Day morning found me digging a quick grave in the backyard with Rascal’s help before the smaller girls woke up and wondered where our overnight cat had gone.  A promise of a trip to Dunkin Donuts did much to dry tears (and give me some much needed coffee)! So that’s the tale of our 24-hr cat.

Our Spring has been full of house painting projects but we did turn our attention outdoors a but.  We thought about planting a garden but are satisfied to keep some houseplants alive and two tomato plants on the porch.  After my Texas rosebush came into bloom, I really think I’d like a rose patch.  One bush for each child.  What a fun variety, and a tribute to St. Mother Teresa’s famous quote, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Which brings me to the big news of this update:

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We knew officially that she was coming on my birthday back in January and she will join us around Haus Meister’s birthday in September.  What a gift from God!  The kids are quite excited and while the boys were hoping for a brother to counteract the reign of pink in the Haus, they are rather more complacent since we moved them into our old spare room.  Now their LEGOS are safe from the marauding habits of the Toddler Mischief Squad!

That’s all for tonight’s update. I hope this missive finds you all well, and enjoying the early days of summer!  God bless!

THIS IS BIG.

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We’ve hit a milestone, dear reader.

Now I should warn you, that in my extended family we have a habit for good or ill of quoting from movies we’ve seen together at random times.  Sometimes these are carefully staged, such as the letter I still have somewhere from my sister (then 15) during my freshman year at college, wherein the entire letter is movie quotes modified for the situation.  We do this at the darndest times too, usually if a situation looks too sentimental, as a way of coping, or to “trivialize the momentous and complicate the obvious.”  It has gotten us into mischief sometimes, and I crave pardon because I’m going to subject you to a small example of this tonight.

Tomorrow, someone has a big birthday.

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And just going through the pictures is enough to make me want to cry. 🙂

Tomorrow, we’re the parents of a TEENAGER.

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No way, right?

“Now I see in your eyes, the same fear, that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when [we really regret that the teen years are here], but it is not this day.

“This day, we [celebrate!]”

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. MAN!

I’m not scared of the teen years.  We all survived our own, and so did our parents.  It’s going to have its ups and downs, and maybe more downs than ups, but what good would it do to fret about it?  It’s not going to stop the clock! 😉  So no, I’m not afraid.

((Cue Yoda: “You will be. You will be.” 😉 ))

Yes, I know, I’m incurably optimistic and naive.  I’m facing uncharted waters full of breakers and other things-not-so-good.  But you know what? We’ve been facing uncharted waters all the time since that evening of December 5, 2003, when a sort of normal pregnancy went suddenly very not-normal and things happened so fast we didn’t know what our lives would look like the next day.  We were getting the no good really awful terrible news. Life was not turning out how we thought. But he came. He began by beating all the odds, and he’s still at it. Life may not have followed our original plan, but a much better one.  Trooper needed us, and we needed him.  We are all the better for him.  And God has a way of getting folks through uncharted waters, so it’s all good.  It’s all grace.

Happy 13th Birthday, our Trooper. We love you so much, you crazy, funny, sarcastic teenager. You still light our world with your smile and our days with your laughter.  It is an honor and privilege to be your parents.  You mean the world to us, big guy.  We bless and thank God for the first 13 years of your life, and we look forward to sharing the teen years with you.

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Busy Living Life

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I’ve come to the important conclusion that I need to stop beginning blog posts with an apology for being busy.  I am probably going to be busy for the next twenty years, so it’s entirely redundant and unnecessary to apologize for it.  If you do not hear from us in over a week, we’re just busy living life.

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Rosebud hit her two month milestone and just looking at this picture makes me realize all the more how much larger she’s grown and how much she’s adorably rounding out.  And how much time has passed since my last blogpost, but again, no apologizing.

School started, and on the same day that school began, Little Bit decided it would be a fun day to slice her finger on an exercise bike and thence need stitches.  Thankfully, her aunt was able to take over the school day (good practice before beginning her Montessori job the next week) so I could get her to the pediatrician.  Elizabeth Foss wrote an excellent article once about the first school day never going as planned, and I repeated that like a mantra all that morning.

The mischevious, marvelous Miss M turned five (5!!!!!!) in August, obtaining a princess dress that she has worn almost daily since.

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Rascal has turned 11, reestablished his LEGO collection, sprained his thumb, and is currently out hunting doves.

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We rediscovered the old episodes of “Zorro,” starring Guy Williams, which has given the kids another hero to imitate, and taught Miss M that “Z” is for “Zorro.”  I should mention though, that the boys also like to impersonate the bumbling duo of Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Reyes.

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My laundry basket (plastic) broke and it was tiring lugging it around. Serendipitously, I discovered it was much easier hauling the laundry with our leftover IKEA bags.  There’s a bit of sage advice for you.

Haus Meister went to Idaho on business, reminding us of a trip we took out there ten years ago.  The picture top right is of a lake in the Grand Teton National Park where little Trooper and Rascal waded and splashed.  Haus Meister camped in the Park for two days and snapped a bunch of pictures for us while hiking.  We left a bit of our hearts out West on that trip.  Haus Meister and I like to joke that one day we’ll retire there.  Near enough to see these mountains often.

In the meantime, our own mountains are near enough to visit in a day, so we took my parents out over their last visit.

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Of course, 0ur hiking was limited but the kids accomplished a bit of creek stomping.

I liked this view of Miss M and Posey Pie exploring a trail.  The arch of the woods ahead of them reminded me of the scene in the movie version of “Fellowship of the Ring” when the hobbits first meet the Black Rider.

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“Get off the road!”

And by the way, whomever you are, TG, your initial carving on that tree is now captured for posterity.

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This is a Yarn Along picture I meant to post a few weeks ago.  I am making slow but steady progress on my Evelyn cardigan. I’m also continuing on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.

July: A book you should have read in school:The Virginian,” by Owen Wister.  I had looked for that in high school because it was on our reading list but our library never had it.

August: A book published before you were born:”A Wrinkle in Time.”  I had never read that because someone told me it was weird.   Then I found it on several reading lists and at a sale so I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was like a lighter version of C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy!  And one of the characters happened to mention one of my philosophies of life quite perfectly:

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I’ve been doing that for years, for better or for worse.   I know many people who have misunderstood me on that score, who think I should deal with life more seriously.  The thing is, I do take life seriously, but I refuse to let it get me down without a laugh.  After all, the news channels and social media are chock-full of things being taken far too seriously.

We cannot all do that.  How bogged down we’d all be!

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We need to find some brightness in anything.  To have some corner of joy to lighten the darkness.

To find something funny in the mess….

…like this: what bug did they catch in my jar-mug?!

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And why wasn’t it THIS FIEND FROM GEHENNA?!!  (Seriously, that was a huge cricket)

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Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: One Morning in May

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

and some

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Happy May, and month of our Lady!

Someone had a birthday this month! Someone pretty and precocious!

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Our Little Bit is every bit of 2 now.  She celebrated with donuts on a Sunday with one set of grandparents, and strawberry shortcake on her actual birthday with the other set. And both times she was equally well pleased.

Happy

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Princess’ American Heritage Girl troop ended the year with a painting & popcorn party.

Then there’s my knitting.  I’m happy about knitting.  I’m happy about books.

But I haven’t been knitting much lately because I discovered these books. Also because it kept falling off the double pointed needles… or a toddler began to unravel it. I digress…

It’s hard to knit when every free moment of the evening was spent in medieval Norway.

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Project: Simple Newborn Hat with a Touch of Lace.

Happy, kind of funny, and real, too.

Our house projects continue to shape up and finish.

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Haus Meister made his semi-annual trip to IKEA on his way home from a business trip and found the new accessories for the bathroom (now beautifully blue and white).  We found the light fixture at our Lowes.  But as for the vanity, well, let’s just say someone decided to be helpful, ala Paddington

So there’s that to be finished.

Meanwhile, Haus Meister fixed up the paint in the boys’ room.  We still need to do behind the bunk bed and replace the trim, but the Paddington helper had “helped” in there as well so we wanted to catch up fast as it was a bit of an eyesore.

In an earlier post we mentioned that the walls matched the boys’ Trail Life calendar, so we thought of the three mountains in the Trail Life logo, and from there we decided to add a few more.

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(Plus a droid)

And a volcano (because I am pitiful at patching a wall).

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The boys are quite happy and excited about their room.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 2016 So Far

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Time to chime in and reassure you that Life is Happening besides Knitting.  And oh, how it’s flying by!

On January 14 we made some news public.

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Littlest isn’t the littlest anymore!  Little Bit, as we have re-blog-nicknamed her, is happy to announce that in July, Munchkin2 will join our family.

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I’m just reaching week 21 and feeling pretty well.  It’s a little more tiring than it used to be when I was pregnant at 25, but I have extra help around the house these days.

A month ago, my sister-in-law moved in with us!  The kids are over-the-moon excited to see her every day, and we’re having a ton of fun, too.  She is looking forward to beginning CNA classes and in the meantime helps out around here and in other places, Church included.  People kept congratulating us on the “new addition,” meaning her, which threw me a pregnancy-brain loop because I’d be giving them dumb looks, knowing that they knew about the baby…

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In other news, we’ve been busy with Church…

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Birthdays…

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Being sick (every child and even adult had one or more of the following: strep, croup, colds, ear infections, and then one had an allergic rash, all since February 1) …

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Cooking … (Daddy made it, she helped)…

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Enjoying what little snow we had….

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Dreaming of the weather staying consistently Springlike….

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And starting to redecorate rooms too long neglected.  At the first of the year, when I looked over my Christmas journals and realized that for the first time in nearly five years, I didn’t have “Sell the Old Haus” on my New Year’s Resolution but realized again that we could concentrate our visits to Lowes and etc, on this House, this one, our HOME, and only our HOME, it was like gulping breaths of fresh air.

(If you wonder why that didn’t hit me full force at the end of last October, I blame it on first trimester fatigue plus concentrating on the upcoming holidays)

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Incidentally, I covered that unlovely label on the giant detergent bucket with a picture of sunflowers that the kids colored for me.  It’s the little things.

Happy Birthday, Trooper!

It’s just Littlest and I awake right now.  The rest of the house is sleeping late, mainly because there’s been a lot of sniffles and coughing overnight. The whole family has been down with this crud, one by two, ever since Thanksgiving break ended.  The kids wanted an extended break time but this was not the way to obtain it. 😉

Last night my dad and I assembled a fitness trampoline downstairs.  It’s Trooper’s big birthday gift to help with sensory during the day.  Haus Meister and I are going to put off his special trip to the climbing gym until he’s feeling better, but there will be online shopping for climbing shoes.  My parents had asked me to make sure Trooper e-mailed them his birthday wish list, so one day I sat down with him and opened the “mail” app on his iPad.  It’s the family address, of course, so I got everything ready and told him it was time to type.  He picks out the letters one by one, sometimes grabbing my finger to type if he’s in a hurry (I let my hand go limp so he is the one guiding) and sometimes he picks them out with his own finger while I lightly keep a touch on his wrist to remind him to focus.

I would like climbing shoes for my birthday.  Mine are too tight. 

And then he was done, but I was impressed once again that he realized the need and wanted to express it.  He’s sharp as a tack, that boy, and a little snarky sometimes, too.  One time during these little typing sessions I began to wax poetic about how wonderful it was that he could communicate so well with us now, and was there anything he wanted to tell me right this minute?

Be quiet.

Followed up with his cheesy grin so I’d know he was joking. HA!

He hasn’t been horseback riding now for about eighteen months, and he doesn’t miss it.  After his tenth birthday, the instructor we liked switched jobs, and then he was passed around through instructors who really didn’t have a way to challenge him and couldn’t be bothered to push him harder. The Special Olympics he was in?  I didn’t mention it at the time but they hadn’t even made it possible for him to guide the horse himself.  Crumbs, the terminology escapes me, but there were no reins for Trooper to hold himself. As his grandmother had been taking him to his lessons, she had said how much nicer it was that he was learning to use the reins himself.  I never got to see that. They put the rope on for the instructor to pull the horse around the arena, and Trooper just sat up there for the ride. Afterward his new instructor changed times to something less manageable for us, so we called it quits.

By then, he’d found his new sport.

I like climbing better than riding, he typed once. They never let me lead the horse. I was always being pulled around. With climbing, the auto belay means I can do things myself. I like to get up the wall. It makes me strong.  I really like it when I can get to the top of the wall.  I feel like I can do anything.

And when he’s not on auto-belay? His Dad has his back.

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Happy 12th Birthday to our high climbing Trooper. Our inspiration and our hero.

And if you need to remember how he almost didn’t make it, how he was supposed to ruin our lives, and how happy we are that he’s here? 

 

 

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} The September Catch-Up Edition

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I am sorry to have neglected ye Olde Blog, but honestly, if I had to sit and write out my thoughts over this past month in something long enough to count (not a Facebook update, for instance), it’d have gone something like this:

Oh please let this house sale go through. Please let this house sale go through. Please don’t let the house inspector go bonkers because the house is 60yrs old.  Please let the buyer’s FHA appraisal pass. What if none of this happens? Please let this go through.

In other words, I still have much to work in the Faith and Trust Department. By the grace of God and no doubt the intercession of a few saints, the Old Haus will likely close next week.  It could have been tomorrow, but the flood insurance transfer got stuck in paper limbo.  The house inspector was pretty merciful (there were a couple of lines that had Haus Meister and I laughing–like how the railing attached to the house next to the back steps might fall off and hit a car?!). The appraisal passed with no repairs needed.  The buyer still wants the house and didn’t ask for additional repairs beyond a few small things recommended in the inspection. A far cry from the offer we had to reject in 2014– Mr.-You’re-paying-my-closing-but-I-also-want-you-to-pay-15K-in-upgrades-and-while-I’m-at-it-let’s-give-you-4k-less-than-the-previously-agreed-price. I’m sure he has a name, but that’s how I recall him, bless his heart.

I need to work on Charity, too….

So I’m relieved mixed with anxious (we still have six days til closing) mixed with a little sad.  We will never call that place home again now, really. It won’t be ours.  It will be someone else’s cobbled walkway and someone else’s yellow elm tree and someone else’s familiar creaks in the old floor.  On the other hand, it will be someone else’s mortgage. And we can return to fixing up the lovely house we live in now. Not a bad plan, that.

Pretty

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Our pretty little girl on her 7th Birthday.  She picked out the dress, the tiara, and the boots.  It is good to be 7, and a Princess.

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Everyone in the family who is kindergarten age on up participated in the Mudstache Run, an obstacle course/race benefiting our Trail Life troop here in the area.  IMG_3601

Princess and Dino were in the first race, a 0.5mile course.  Princess is ahead of Dino, her bright flowered headband blending into the shirt of the person in front of her.  Dino is running in his John Deere boots.  We couldn’t find his sneakers before the race.  Keeping it real, here!

Rascal was too fast for me to take a picture.  He and his best friend ran the 1 mile course.

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Here I am, huffing and puffing behind Sunshine who ran the Adaptive Race (also 0.5 mi).  She enjoyed herself so much that she ran the course two and a half more times. I also need some work in the Running Department.

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Haus Meister ran with Trooper in the Adaptive Race, too. Trooper and Sunshine both came in first for their groups.  Princess came in second in her age group, and the other two boys did a fine job and are already planning to medal next year. 😉

Funny

Ben Hatke’s latest, Little Robot, is a huge hit around here.  I kept finding children reading it at various times in various places.

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Real

Well, we did something bold last month.  We signed up to have our picture taken for the parish directory.  I’m pleased to say it turned out well, and here’s a picture of a picture of the family!

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So in this year’s installment, Dino ISN’T wearing a hat, everyone is FACING FORWARD, and mostly smiling.  Miss M did not like the way the photographer was trying to get her to smile and the only way to convince her not to jump on my lap was to hold her as I was doing. Sunshine insisted on bringing her ragged “BabyDoll” inside and we decided not to fight that battle as we didn’t know how she’d do with the picture taking anyway. Fortunately she’s holding the doll’s face against her and that’s good because the week before she’d colored it purple and the last thing I wanted to do in my Christmas letter is to explain that my daughter is not in the habit of asphyxiating her dolls.  Just coloring them.