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–April’s Almost over Already??

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So, a few Thursdays have come and gone without my attempt at weekly posting.  Of course, around here that doesn’t mean a lack of things going on.

PRETTY flowers!  My geranium planter really…blossomed, and my Texas roses began to bloom last night.  These are the Lafter roses from Antique Rose Emporium.  I’m also pleased to report that the three tomato plants in pots on our porch have begun showing yellow flowers.  Looking forward to fresh tomatoes!

HAPPY girls!

Happy kids enjoying the first homemade (healthy, smoothie based, low-sugar-ssh-don’t-tell-them) popsicles of the season.

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Happy Trooper goes climbing.

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And I am happy to have re-enrolled the children in Seton Home Study School for the 2016/2017 school year.

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The first time I ever heard about homeschooling was in my public school classroom, and I was 11.  A substitute teacher was announced for the day, and the girl in front of me turned to me and hissed, “He homeschools his kids. They think they are so much better than the rest of us.” With the implicit belief in the veracity of my peers, I ticked that fact away that homeschoolers were pompous and went on with the day.

Later I saw the same substitute teacher with his kids at a high school basketball game, and looking at his daughter, who was my age, I thought to myself that she didn’t look as if she thought she was a cut above the rest of us. In fact, she looked very much like someone I’d want to have for a friend.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  It’s a calling.  Like every calling, it’s not “one size fits all.”  It just happens to be our calling, and part of our family story.  It may not be part of yours. That’s fine. We do NOT think we are better than anyone else, and never will.

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I looked up from rinsing the dishes to see this. Oh, kids.

REAL

Changes around the house continue, large and small.

The main bathroom is now a lovely shade of “Woodlawn Silver Brook,” the “Endless Love and Laundry” sign is across from the laundry room, and the wainscoting is up in the laundry room.

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I added some baskets and straightened up the sideboard.

It keeps our tablecloths available.

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I’m kind of stuck on tablecloths.  We’re finally at a stage in our family where we can put these on the table before dinner and no one tries to pull them off.  So now the person in charge of clearing and washing the table picks one of our random assortment and decorates the table before dinner. It adds a dimension of beauty to our day, and transitions from school day to after-school quite nicely.

And then, we switched places betwixt the sideboard and kitchen table.

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We have another large table in the living room, and someday I’d love to make an opening in that wall where the sconces are, ideally to make a counter with barstools on the living room side, adding some more natural light to the kitchen thanks to the living room’s massive window, and adding more seating.  But that’s on the 10year plan. 😉

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Sunshine shows off our new microwave, since our 1995-era dinosaur of a microwave went out with a pop one evening.  I considered going back to a microwave-less existence, but then proceeded to burn three things in a day on the stovetop trying to reheat or bake. Including green beans.  I’ve never burned green beans.  So to Lowes we went!

Goodbye 2015!

YARN ALONG! I can’t seem to get the tag to link up, so I’m just linking in ye old-fashioned way.

Well, it’s been months since I posted on my knitting because frankly, it didn’t seem to change much from week to week.  Some weeks I had only managed a row or two on the way to Mass on Sunday, but I’m happy to say this Christmas break I’ve been able to seriously step up the knitting progress.  The day after Christmas I was able to bind off the body of the sweater, and have been working down the first sleeve ever since. Will I finish it for him during the 12 days of Christmas? To be honest, I have no idea. I want to be done by January 18th, though, as that was the date I cast this sweater on the needles.  Also, I signed on to participate in the Evelyn knit-a-long, this time for something for me, and it starts sometime next month.

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Altogether, though, I’m very pleased with the Armas project.  It took a good deal longer than I thought it would, but that wasn’t the design’s issue but rather my everlasting struggle with time management. 😉

A little light reading this week.  I’m kind of on an Astrid Lindgren kick, having scored Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, as well as Happy Times in Noisy Village on Thrift Books this month. I am not above reading the books I buy for my children, nor do I think anyone should ever be.

Meanwhile we had a very Merry Christmas here at the Haus.  My parents came down for the main holiday, and on Boxing Day we had a big dinner for them, my in-laws, some friends, and our parish priest. What fun!  We aren’t doing a big dinner tomorrow for New Years, but we are expecting more friends to stop over for the night on their travels back home.  It promises to be a fun beginning to a new year.

My resolutions for 2016 seem to be trending toward keeping things running smoothly.  Yesterday I sat down and pencilled out a menu plan for the entire month of January.  Today I began to work on the lesson plans for the month, knowing that I would not want to do that while having our friends over.  My workstation in is the foyer, where I can have a central space to keep track of things. It consists of an old dresser from my grandmother’s house, that keeps our binders, maps, mailing materials, and lesson plans out of sight.  A shelf on the wall above–from my great-grandmother–is the year-round place where I keep the books I’m reading, stationary (if I ever get around to hand-writing an actual letter or sending a real card!), a letter holder for bills, a plant, a picture of Jacob, and a favorite icon. This year I’m trying something new and have Susan Branch’s desk calendar on the wall between shelf and dresser.  My menu plan is to the left of that (with chore rules above), and to the right are favorite drawings from my resident artists.

Now, I would love to say having this workstation means that everything stays neat and tidy, but my husband will be the first to tell you that is not the case, if he were inclined to do so. 😉  And it’s a constant struggle not to let the workstation become the dumpstation. However, at the moment it is looking nice and tidy, which is more than I can say about it’s appearance an hour or so ago:

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And that’s another struggle constant in the household: keeping things running smoothly while raising toddlers!

Here’s farewell to 2015 and a blessed 2016 to all of you with love from all of us!

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{P, h, f, r} Blogaversary Edition

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Good evening, dear reader!  The cyberfolk at WordPress remind me that today is my blogaversary.  I’ve been blogging six years! It’s hard to believe in a way, but then, Princess was a mere five months old at the time, so there we have it.  Goodness, that means half the children have “grown up” on the blog.  You’ll see the announcement for Sunshine’s arrival on down.  I seriously need to back up the information here on print or something.  Any clues how?

Meanwhile life goes on around here. 🙂 I have made terrific progress with the Armas sweater, now being on row 18.  I was on row 37 when the first sweater disappeared so I seem to be less plagued with gremlins this time around.  But yesterday the main thing on my mind was the fact that I had a dentist appointment, and that rather threw a pall over things until it was over, and it was quite late when I recalled it was Yarn Along day, so I’ll have to post progress next week.

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The oratory corner dressed back up for Ordinary Time.

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Different outfits, different hairdos, but they all love Sleeping Beauty.  And probably still Prince Philip, too.

Happy

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Trooper at the indoor climbing gym.  This guy is amazing.  I say that all the time, but dang it, he is.  Still surpassing the doctors’ expectations at 11.  “He’ll probably always be slower than his brothers,” we were warned.  In some physical ways, that’s true.  That’s the cerebral palsy.  But academically…. academically… HE HAS CAUGHT UP WITH RASCAL. Do you see that? He’s only a year behind his chronological peers.  DO YOU SEE THAT?  I’m about to cry. We’re so proud of this boy.

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Whew.  Getting emotional there.

Ok, so total subject change.  Here’s some things I found on the Internet.

I wanted to upgrade our repertoire of classical music so I sat down in the iTunes store and hunted out some of the composers we’ve studied this semester (Bach and Handel. Mozart starts next week followed by Haydn, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky).  In my perusal I came across this album cover, and I confess it amused me.

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Then we recently downloaded an extension of the My Playhouse app that the little kids enjoy, called My Playhouse School.  Of course, it’s a model of a public school, and the kids have fun playing school in a different setting. Particularly the chemistry room, where you can “add” liquids to a beaker with interesting effect.  What I noticed, almost disturbingly, was that the default chemistry teacher looks like that guy from ‘Breaking Bad.’ Not that I’ve seen any episodes–I haven’t, but I’ve seen enough posters on Netflix and etc.  But do you see it, too?

photo 4  Oh hi there, photobombing Sunshine! 😉  Anyway, I know not all bald guys with goatees resemble Mr. Breaking Bad, but maybe it’s that gloomy furrowed brow.  Anyway….

Real

I had the dishes done, the sink scrubbed, then turned to make sure the table had been cleared…

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Big nope.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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Well, the first week of the new school year is now behind us. As first weeks go it was definitely one of our better ones, although there was a bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth from time to time at the thought of all the work that needed to be done. And then the kids joined in. 😉 No, it wasn’t that bad. Princess did comment that her first grade coursework was definitely longer than her kindergarten one. The one most pleased with course advancement is Trooper, surprising as it may seem. He’s hovering between two grade levels and likes the higher one more. With patience and luck and a good dose of grace I’m hoping to test him fully into the higher grade maybe even by Christmas. He’s in a good spot right now and I want to take advantage of it. 🙂

But meanwhile, it was back to the books, even if it means you’re reading to your little sister. 🙂 

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(Happy)

It’s still summer, though, and last Friday Haus Meister brought me home a treat:

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I’ve made 7.5 pints of Ginger Peach Tea Jam already, then gave a bag to one of my good friends around here, and plan to try and make jam out of the ones in my refrigerator this weekend. Yes, we have also eaten some. These peaches are one of the best things about summer in the Deep South. 

(Pretty Happy)

Going back to the school topic, I’m once again juggling the household/homeschool routine and sometimes during this week, frankly, folding the laundry has had to wait until later in the day or early in the morning. I’ve been folding in the basement family room lately, and sometimes I have company.

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The Mischief Squad at Rest.

Miss M is definitely into tea parties right now. I think she’s hosted more than either of her older sisters. She might host more as her articulation improves, because right now she indicates another tea party session is at hand by demanding: “Come down sit a pahty.” Given that her “party” sounds a lot like “potty,” I myself have often mistaken her meaning. Dear thing.

(Pretty funny)

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Speaking of Miss M, she has a birthday fast approaching. Warning: pictures to-be-posted promise pink profusion.

(Pretty)

Now for some news that I cannot believe I haven’t mentioned yet. As most of you know our Old Haus has been on the market for eleven months after our previous renters moved onto a larger house. We had two potential buyers back down because of financing as they were trying to get the offer made to begin with, and one offer we refused because he was rather unreasonable. He wanted us to modernize the place and pay his closing costs, while offering us under our asking price. Among his requests were that we completely update the plumbing pipes (not that it needed it) and move the water heater to an entirely new and awkward location. Sayonara! And after this the summer doldrums set in and no one looked at the house for a couple of weeks.

So I tried the novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.

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A week later Haus Meister gets a text from a family friend who knew that we would be open to renting the house and knew of two potential tenants who might be interested. An option that we had almost given up hope about suddenly became reality. I prayed the novena in late July. August 3rd a one-year rental agreement was signed and they moved in August 4th. 

I’m keeping that novena card.

(Pretty REAL)

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}


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Pretty

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Haus Meister, Rascal, & Dino went camping last week with their Trail Life troop.

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They had a great time in a breathtaking area.

Rascal says he wants to live here when he grows up. Partly because of the sheer natural beauty, and partly because a Lodge at the Park serves hot cocoa in July.

Meanwhile…

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This beautiful 10 week old likes her new toy.

Happy

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Rascal the happy biker.

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Haus Meister & Dino–happy hikers. That’s Dino’s “T-Rex” imitation.

While the boys were camping, Princess and I went to Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt.

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There you fill your own cup with flavorful frozen yogurt, then add toppings. I had strawberry cheesecake with sliced strawberries and chocolate chips on top. My eyes may or may not have been larger than my stomach.

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Likewise. Princess chose watermelon yogurt topped by a chocolate covered strawberry, some things called strawberry poppers, peanut butter cups and a gummy frog.

In other news, Dino outgrew his beat-up worn-in John Deere boots (he got a gently used pair on eBay in his correct size) so someone absconded the old pair.

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Funny

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Posey takes “tea”…

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…and pictures of her feet.

Real

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Hard to believe it, but school is going to start up again soon. I mailed off the enrollment forms for the next school year. Publix already has school supplies in the front kiosk (I am already stocking up on glue). The Land’s End backpack catalog arrived, which is kind of amusing since we don’t really use backpacks, but the kids picked out their favorites anyway (no, I didn’t buy them. I don’t unless we need luggage). ThredUp is having a pretty neat back-to-school “rewards” program (and you’ll get $$ off your purchase with that link). The weather even cooled off enough this morning to give the illusion of Fall, and enable us to turn off the a/c. However, it’s still summer, and the hottest month in the region is 17 days away or so.

And our intrepid swimmers participate in the final meet of the Fun League tonight!

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{P, H, F, R}

A little overdue here….

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Pretty

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My mother-in-law’s lilies bloomed in her front yard and for part of the week I got to enjoy some. I also cleared up that windowsill. Funny how the sink sill is always a catch-all for thingamabobs and whatchamacallits. Now see my makeshift “Lourdes grotto” in the corner? It exists because I don’t know what else to do with that antique Our Lady of Lourdes statue that is missing her base. Also, that chunk of granite she’s resting on was found in our backyard by the Rascal, and brought in with pomp and circumstance as “The Arkenstone of Thrain, son of Thror, KING under the MOUNTAIN!” about a day and a half after he listened to The Hobbit on audiotape. So with that memory attached I can’t bring myself to chuck it out the back door again quite yet. 😉

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On our anniversary we visited the Farmer’s Market and bought these flowers and their accompanied handmade vases. I put them in our oratory corner. Our “little oratory” is under construction still and deserves its own post. I have, for instance, changed out the Blessed Mother icon. The candle is usually only on the corner cabinet during our night prayers. But I’ll explain all this soon.

Happy

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Let trombones resound! We have finished school for the academic year! Well, except for the end of year CAT tests, but they arrive today or tomorrow and won’t take long.

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The LEGO bin is back and in full force downstairs. That also means we’re fully enforcing the Clean Up the Basement/Playroom rules. As with most rooms devoted to childhood, it tends to look like a toy shop explosion. There’s a constant battle here. I guess that qualifies as Real, doesn’t it? Because now that school’s “out” they kind of assume chores are “out,” too. HA.

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We are still doing our summer reading, although here they’re looking through the complete set of Zita the Spacegirl comics. Mr. Hatke, if there are plans in the works to release a set bound in “double reinforced restrainium,” please let us know. 😉

Funny/Real

Into each life some rain must fall…or if it isn’t a large rain puddle, it might just be a water main leak.

The plumbers were amused to have such an audience.

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Trooper had a better view from the boys’ room window, and Littlest?

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Our over-one-month-old (!) baby just slept through most of it all.

Nearly 7 weeks old and I’m only 1/4th of the way through the birth announcements. That’s Real.