Blessed Eastertide!

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

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A blessed and joyful Easter from all of us

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to all of you!

(Posey Pie and Miss M were both unsure of the carpenter bee that was buzzing ominously around.  Little Bit on the corner there was simply contemplating mischief, I’m sure.  Rosebud, standing with Rascal, gave me a big smile right after the picture took, of course.)

I’ve got a chance to sit back and put my feet up and reflect on the great joy that the Church grants us 50 days of Alleluias and Easter celebration, but that the candy in the house already will not last even ten more days.  I honestly had no idea how Easter Sunday would play out this year. Crazy family schedules had me praying that Haus Meister would be back from an emergency business trip in time for us to get to Mass on Sunday (he did!) but this year just to make sure dinner happened, I actually ordered a meal from the Publix deli than try and make something from scratch.  But things worked out, we did make it to Easter Mass as a family, and we did have a pretty joyous day. 🙂

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Lamb Cake 2017! It survived! And no, I didn’t intend to miss frosting that ear. I had helpers this year. Sunshine and Miss M both wanted a go with the frosting tool, and there wasn’t much left by the time I noticed the omission.  Besides, it was still STANDING.  I wanted this to be a year of Lamb Cake success.  It was.  I suppose this means that Pillsbury Gluten-free baking mix and a tub of frosting is the key, rather than homemade. Hmm.

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Someone enjoyed her first Easter with us.  And her siblings enjoyed accessorizing her. Win-win!

It was a long Lent, but a “good” one for Haus Meister and I, at least.  We decided on a penance to do together for the entire Lenten season–including Sundays, and although I flubbed on some other personal resolutions, we managed to carry our joint one through. We gave up eating meat. Suffice to say, I feasted on ham today like there would be no ham tomorrow.

I don’t want to think about ham right now. Maybe a salad.

Which is funny because last night at this time I was thinking a lot about ham and not at all about a salad, unless it’s one of those with peas and lettuce and bacon bits.

Mmm. Bacon.

Which is related to ham.

So I’m moving on.

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Here’s Little Bit playing with some Peter Rabbit “skittles” I came across (cheaper on Zulily) but which will and have become a set of peg dolls. I think that is Benjamin Bunny in the red with the tie still disturbingly around his neck at time of picture (gone now).  Peter Rabbit is in her hand and Jemima Puddleduck is being whisked out of the picture by Miss M, who was actually trying to get her front and center.

I confess I didn’t take many pictures. After our ham fest, and a pleasant visit from Haus Meister’s youngest sister, the day was pretty much relegated to “hide the remaining candy as fast as you can.”  My parents texted this afternoon and asked if I wanted to Skype.  I listened to the din around me for a second and responded: “We are tired, sugar-high, and grumpy.” That about summed it up.  Haus Meister took some of the bigger kids to enjoy the neighborhood tennis courts and the playground, which is a pretty good consolation, and I kept Posey Pie and Little Bit out of the rest of the jellybeans, which didn’t console them at all.  But peace was restored to the family!

Just before she went to bed, Sunshine hugged her Daddy and said, “Thank you for the tennis!” Our hearts were warmed.

That’s good because twenty minutes earlier, Miss M told me that they had all gone to “played at the park, and playeded some baseball.”

“Tennis?” I suggested.

“Yeah that,” she replied calmly.

Proving that even with my sister’s husband patiently reminding us of the Twins baseball season over the last decade, there’s still some of us who need to work on our sports knowledge.

Happy Easter, all. 🙂  I’ll be back with another update later this week.

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Yarn Along & Recap so far….

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The afternoon sun is out for a moment in between showers of rain.  It’s not very wintry here.  My aunt just posted a picture of snow in Indiana on Instagram, and here I am in the South posting pictures of daffodils.

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Don’t get me wrong; I do wish we had one more good snow before Spring begins in earnest. I wish we hadn’t already had mosquito bites in January.  Overall, though, I’m not complaining because I don’t have to try to drive in the snow. 🙂  If we get more than an inch, none of us go anywhere and we just enjoy the stuff and pray the power stays on. 🙂  Otherwise Haus Meister has to pull the Charles Ingalls routine and chop wood for our wood stove.  I do remember the night he was out at 2am restocking the woodpile because the power had gone down.  How homestead-erish it made me feel!  Ironically, true homesteaders would have had all their wood chopped and near at hand already.  But I digress.

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I finished Haus Meister’s socks/slippers before Candlemas so at least it was technically still in Christmastide. 🙂  I need to work on stitching soles onto slippers but he tells me they are quite comfortable.  I have some yarn I’m going to use for socks for me using the same pattern but without the leather soles.  I enjoyed the pattern a lot.

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My first official project of 2017 ended up being the Antler Toque.  I’m stash busting some Istex Alafosslopi in blue tweed.  Since the dusting of snow around Epiphany reminded me that we are woefully undersupplied in the hats and mittens department, I thought to keep happy doing small quick projects that help me use the yarn on hand.

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This picture was taken last week before I began the cables on the hat.  These are my reads for February.  The Brothers Karamazov is what my sister and I chose to fill the “book of over 600 pages” for our Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 reading challenge.  Some chapters were hard to slog through without Russian v0dka, I’m sure (I didn’t try), but about halfway through I just couldn’t put it down.  Haus Meister kept teasing me about binge-reading, but I was.  I just was.  And then it ended.

Dostoyevsky, if we meet in the hereafter, you must tell me how you were going to wrap up the loose threads at the end of your story. Yes, I do insist there are loose threads at the end of a 718 page novel! The only explanation I can find is that the author was a few months from his own death, but he left one character on the verge of death, and I’d kind of like to know what happened to him.  And two of the others as well! Whom does Alexey marry eventually? What becomes of him?  And Dmitri? Does his plan succeed?  It was the nearest I have come to throwing a book against a wall in a long time–I merely banged the book against my knees. How could it be over at that point?!?!?!  I did actually throw Tess of the D’Ubervilles because it was (in my humble opinion) just awful.  This time, I had come to the end of 718 pages and I wanted a quick epilogue, at least. Note: since writing the above I have learned some editions do have an epilogue; I just happened through frugality to have purchased the one that didn’t. Heh.

Suffice to say, it was a good book.  I’m going over it again, a little more slowly, to see if I missed any clues now that I know how it ends.  Besides, February isn’t over yet.

Different is also a nice book, and definitely not in the same genre as Brothers K, so it’s rather amusing to see them pictured together.  It’s non-fiction and encouraging, like a warm cup of tea from a friend who has been there raising a high needs child.  I have been taking this book slow, reading a chapter every few days, so I’m not finished yet.

In other news….

Happy girls.

Happy boys.  At the end of January, the lads went to Dallas as the support team for Trooper who was due for a trip to his CP specialist.  They had a fabulous time visiting cousins, climbing trees, watching trucks (that’d be Trooper), and seeing the Frontiers of Flight Museum.  Trooper is standing in front of the Apollo 7 capsule.

Trooper is going to be getting new ankle braces soon.  He has totally outgrown his last pair. This guy is growing like a weed!

I’m having fun with a new teapot and new candles, except that one on the right didn’t look as nice once the label was off. It looked like a soft-boiled egg with a wick in the middle. So why did I take a picture of it?  Because I wanted to prove to anyone who heard me vent about it (my mom and sister, mainly), that it looked like a soft-boiled egg.

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This handsome fellow (picture taken by Sunshine), has been busy with more painting.  He did the kitchen, upper half of the basement, and is going to do the classroom in Lowe’s Historic Collection Antique Filoli Lace (which I mention in case I forget and need to look for it again).  The hallway, foyer, and upper living room is rapidly becoming Woodlawn Colonial Gray (from the same collection).

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Better picture forthcoming; this was all I had on my phone.

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As the laundry room was never entirely finished last year, I made up for lost time while the guys were in Dallas and painted the whole in “Craft White.”  It looks so fresh and warm in there now.  These doldrum months between Christmas and Spring is the perfect time to renew the home.  In our case, that usually involves painting, but there it is.

Well, all for now.  Have a great week!

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Remember the days when the messages were embossed on the hearts, and you didn’t have to use Google to know what they said?

 

At Year’s End

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Merry Christmas!

(I can still say that; it’s the 6th day of Christmas)

and Happy New Year soon!

I know 2016 has gotten a bad reputation lately. Ok, it’s been blamed for everything from the weather, to celebrity deaths, to the presidential election.  As if a calendar is really responsible for circumstances, or specifically, how we humans deal with circumstances. Admittedly, back during our long drought and heat wave I was looking forward to 2017 but that’s because we get Winter here from January-early March. 😉

I also realize I was pretty quiet here on the blog. I suppose most of it was the plain busy-ness of our life. I suppose also because it seemed that everything online was about politics. I felt like chiming in, but then I didn’t.  There was so much shouting, so much disrespect, so much MUCHNESS about it all, and the idea of adding anything to it did not appeal. But in abstaining from blogging I forgot the reason I do so….

It’s to share a little of our light with you.

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And if we all snuffed our light because we were afraid of being scorched by others, how can we hope to bring some joy into a world that has had quite enough of all that isn’t?

My aim with this blog is to share the joys and realities of our crazy cosy chaotic family, and to make you laugh while doing so. If I succeed, I am content.

So, without further ado, here’s the sum of 2016 and what you can expect from 2017 here at the Haus.

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Princess Rosebud would like you to know that she has to endure six more of these photo shoots.

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There will be LEGO

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There will be Star Wars (and SW jokes)

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There will be homeschooling! (You got to love fine motor practice. Meanwhile, they balk at the end of Christmas break fast approaching. If you listen hard tomorrow night you’ll probably hear the collective groan).

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There will be knitting! Especially since I’m about 3″ into that second slipper sock!

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There will be books! My sister and I made up a reading challenge together based on one at the 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy site.  Stay tuned for more on that.

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There will be boats.  There will be fun.  There will be a vacation.

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There will be laughter.

There will also be a time when I can keep that workstation cleared off!

Maybe.

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So in this coming “month of hope and new beginnings,” I wish you again a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 See you in January, 2o17, dear readers.

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Oh, what, you didn’t know Tupperware was the latest fashion trend? Well, around here, according to Little Bit, is definitely is.  She raids my Tupperware drawer and keeps clapping one on her head and passing others out to whomever is near.  Yes, she expects you to wear them. One night I was clearing up dinner and suddenly up she pops with a tupperware container.  It happened to be precisely what I needed at the moment so with an absent “Thank you” I began schlopping the soup into container.  Schlopping is a very descriptive word.  Anyway, my attention is grabbed by a heartbroken “Awwwww!” and I turned to see her shuffling off with her tupperware hat on, head bowed, looking for all the world like a pouting Ewok. Ewoks pout, I’m sure.  So, I make a point to wear the hat when it’s offered.

And yes, I do wash them after wearing. 😉

Coming into November

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It hasn’t gotten very cold here yet.  Only recently has the temperature dropped near the acceptable level for the wood stove, but we haven’t gotten to light it yet. After a 3week cough jag in September, it took most of the energy to get back to normal, so I finally decorated for Fall in October (a month late).

 

It’s been so dry that wildfires have burned 69 acres of the mountain across the valley from our ridge.  And coming along with the barren dryness of our season here, we have the election tomorrow.  What a malaise has settled on the country’s atmosphere.  I wish with all my heart that the decision rendered tomorrow would be the best for our country.  I cannot see how the current choices offer that promise.  But I never pretended to be one of the Wise who can see all ends.

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General response to election news and robo-calls.

I’m just tending my little corner of the hearth and guiding nine little souls on their path in this crazy world.  The flame we light in our children’s hearts is what will make America great again.  It is the small, quietly kindling flame of love, joy, respect for each other, honesty, fairness, and the rest of those small virtues that need to begin at home. And Faith. Always Faith.  I cling to this, no matter what political season or what party wins.

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An unexpected rainbow in the sky this weekend. Princess called it “the smile of God.”

Now, on to more family news, shall we?

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Our three big girls started attending American Heritage Girls in September.  The picture was taken that day, when the dogwood was still green.  Keeping it real: Sunshine still finds it overwhelming, and we got permission to move her into Miss M’s Pathfinder group.  It was just a better fit.  However, I adore this picture, and Sunshine’s sweet smile.

For Fall Break, Haus Meister took Rascal, Princess, and Dino up to Northern Michigan to visit his grandfather (their great-grandfather).  Granddad turned 99 last month!  It had been about five years since any of us had last seen the cottage on the lake, and the kids made many memories.  Granddad enjoyed conversing with Haus Meister after the kids had gone to bed, and while they were awake, the kids told Granddad all about their lake exploring and even prayed the Rosary with him.  It was truly an “epoch” in their lives.

Cousins came to visit!  Jipped out of a nice cosy family gathering after Rosebud arrived owing to her being in the NICU that time, my mom and my sister brought our nieces and nephew down for some cousin fun over their Fall Break.  The kids had such fun together, despite autumn cleaning.  More memories were made.

On Hallowe’en we had a quick trip to the grocery store where Publix had staff stationed throughout the store offering treats and pumpkins to any costumed trick-or-treaters.  So my sister and I packed up a few of ours and headed out.  Most of these costumes are self-explanatory, although I’ll mention that our niece at the head of the lineup there was Molly McIntyre of Pleasant Company/American Girl fame, complete with doll.  Dino was “Vacation Stormtrooper,” hence the swim trunks.  It is a perfectly legitimate costume; “Vacation Stormtrooper” is a fan-fiction creation of Dino’s own.  Sunshine went out for the candy hunt in the neighborhood, dressed in the dinosaur costume that has seen a few Halloweens now.  We had a merry gathering for dinner, including dear friends and all three of our parish priests.  It was definitely a party to remember.

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November 8 for us means 17 years as a couple.  He was 19, I was 18, we were college freshmen, and our first date was him making me tea on a camp stove at a picnic table in the woods, because neither of us had a car.

So was the charity event Haus Meister and I attended last weekend.  Our church had a fundraiser for our sister parish in Haiti.  There was a silent auction, swing music, wine and appetizers, and the fun of having conversations with other adults from our parish without having to turn around and chase a toddler.  Not that we mind doing that.  They are darling little toddlers, after all. 😉

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Can it stay cold soon?

 

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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So, recapping July?

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Well, hello there.  It’s been a while.  One hot dry day after another and suddenly, summer break was over for us and this beauty started first grade.

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We were–are–in “summer hibernation” anyway.  Too hot and humid to want to spend a ton of time outside, unless it’s neighborhood poolside! 😉  One night we had “Christmas in July” and turned on our DVD of London’s Nutcracker Ballet and the girls danced out their energy. 🙂

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Back on July 2, we went to the nearby Civil War Battlefield Park for a renactment cannon fire in honor of Independence Day.  This is one of our new family traditions.  It takes longer to drive our van up the mountain and find a van-friendly parking spot than the cannon program lasts, but it’s worth the experience.

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And the view.

These two lovelies handled the sound better this year. 🙂

My family came for a visit in time for Rosebud to come home from the NICU.  Unfortunately, my sister and brother-in-law and their kids had to leave the morning of her homecoming, but we had as pleasant a time with them as we could with all the hospital runs.

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Posey and her buddy, Grandpa Mark

 The kids enjoyed my parents’ stay through Independence Day, and Rosebud’s Baptism .  My Dad brought a little whirligig thingamabobber that really had the kids laughing.

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I’m looking forward to updating this picture very soon–that baby has grown!

I tried to get a one month picture with those ubiquitous month stickers that seem to be all the rage these days.  Of course, this was the best I could get on her actual monthaversary.

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I tried again the next day, but couldn’t find the sticker!

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But it’s a lovely picture of her.

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Our Rosebud.

Toward the end of the month, I finished a knitting project that we affectionately call Grumpy Bunny.

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Miss M asked me to make it for Rosebud while the baby was still in the hospital, and I’m glad I did, even if Rosebud takes little interest in it right now. 😉  When my kids actually request me to knit something, I’m always ready to oblige!

So passed July away.  We started back to school on August 8, homeschooling grades pre-K through 6.  Only three days in, but we’re glad to be back on routine.  There’s a lot going on this autumn for us, so I hope to keep this a little more updated. 🙂

Ending on a geeky note.

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Posey Pie decided, after I bought the Star Wars band-aids, that I had a lot of boo-boos on my arm.  I think I had maybe a mosquito bite. One. If that.

 

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Waiting and then waiting….

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So our summer began and we had a routine of reading and playing. Princess and Miss M attended their annual summer day camp with our American Heritage Girls troop. It was Miss M’s first week away from parents or grandparents, and even though Princess was in the same park, they weren’t together all the time.  It was rocky on the first day, but by the fourth day she was quite a pro.

The boys had some school to wrap up, and even now, after this week off and next, there’s going to be worksheets as we get stuff done.  I’m enjoying the respite from a full schedule to rest, breathe a little, and begin to plan for the next school year.

Last Saturday I told Haus Meister I felt like a “broody old hen on a nest.” It was as if all I could do was focus on that July 10 due date.  Would she come before I finished knitting her booties? (No, I finished them on the 17th).  Would she come before or during the week my mom and sister planned to spend with us?  I couldn’t answer any of this.  So I found a hat pattern on Ravelry that I could make with the last skein of Knit Picks yarn that I used for the booties.  I cast it on the needles Saturday night.

Pretty

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I finished the hat Sunday night, recovering in the hospital from the surprise arrival of our Rosebud.

Pretty Happy

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7lbs 10oz, 21″, 3:55pm on Father’s Day.

Yes, that’s right. Daddy’s Littlest Girl arrived on Father’s Day. I joked that she was vying for being the official Daddy’s Girl by becoming the best Father’s Day gift ever.

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Because someone asked, that’s not a tattoo on Haus Meister’s hand.  It’s Rosebud’s footprint.  The nurse gave him a footprint stamp after stamping the official paper. 😉

 Real but Happy.

Some Roses, even in June, need some extra help to fully bloom.  Rosebud had some fluid in her lungs so she is in the NICU for a little while.  These pictures are a little delayed, for she is no longer on her CPAP machine.

This is the same NICU where Trooper spent the first 119 days of his life.  We have met nurses and respiratory techs who remember him even now.  As he (understandably) would not voluntarily enter a hospital, it’s been hard to take him back for a visit, so it’s been nice to have a chance to give them a success story.  They are very impressed with the fact that he likes to go indoor rock-climbing!

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This picture is more recent, and was taken last evening when Rascal got to visit his baby sister again.  Her story parallels his more than the dramatic/traumatic story of  Trooper. Rascal had aspirated amniotic fluid at birth and also had to spend the first week of life in a special care nursery, in a different hospital, however.  Her baby pictures are following the same pattern: birth, CPAP machine, nasal cannula, and now we wait for her to be off of that.

We waited months to see her, and now we wait again to bring her home.  She’s worth every second of the wait.

I know I had not expected (based on reasons that I won’t go into since this blog is read by guys who won’t appreciate it,) that this pregnancy was a girl pregnancy. It didn’t feel like it. It resembled in many ways the early pregnancies with the boys.  But obviously even a veteran of ten pregnancies can be wrong on some counts.  I never wanted her to think that I was disappointed that she was a girl.  It’s irrational to think she would think that, but when you’re huge and hormonal it’s hard to be rational anyway. I covered my bases though. One of the first things I said to her after birth was a paraphrase of one of the loveliest lines in Anne of Green Gables.

“It’s a girl. My girl. My girl that I’m proud of.”

Real Funny.

And while we wait, life totally goes on for everyone else. 😉

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