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. 😉

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 on the cusp of Summer

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

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My quick porch art for the season.  I had to work fast; as soon as the word got out that I had sidewalk chalk in the Haus again, four or five pairs of hands came grabbing for it.

Within the hour, the back deck was decorated.

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Or working on our inner Celtic Warrior Princess.  Either one. 😉

Pretty

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Our 13th Anniversary (Lucky 13!) is on Tuesday.  Last week I had the quick opportunity to zip into the little Zales where Haus Meister had bought my engagement ring 14 years ago and get my rings cleaned.  That had been on my list of things to do for years!  The top ring is a gold band he bought me while we were dating (we liked the design on it), the middle is my engagement ring, and the bottom is my wedding band.  I’ve only been wearing the trio together for about a month, as I like the combination.  Earlier this month, my mother gave me her star sapphire–or Lindy star–ring that she received from her grandmother (my Nana) for her 16th birthday.  I remembered that ring being in the ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TOUCH category in Mom’s jewelry box when my sister and I were little girls looking for her 1980s beaded necklaces or, when older, trying to see who’d get to borrow her Nutcracker earrings first during the Christmas season. 🙂  So when she gave me that ring, well, I wanted to wear it daily lest I lose it.  Or one of my girls take it and lose it. Hence the gold band went from my right hand to my left. 🙂  How’s that for random today?

Happy

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These windchimes I found at Hobby Lobby!

Our Anniversary gift to each other–because we both like cooking–is a new oven range! We’re sappy romantics but we’re also practical.  😉 It arrived yesterday and the box became a backyard fort for a few hours.  Cardboard doesn’t last long around here.

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Rearranging the basement to help give it a more “family room” feel.  We have large tables and wooden chairs upstairs but if you want more comfort, this is the place.

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“Shopping the Haus” for new mantel decor.  I later added a tiny white creamer jug to the right side (it had lost it’s companion sugar bowl) and a blue vase with yellow roses to the left side.

And because my crazy-g0-nuts nesting is still in high gear, I’ve been having fun with the upstairs walls, too.

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Funny

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EEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!! Toddlers with screens!!!!!!!

Oh, and he was complaining that he hasn’t had much presence on the blog.  I told him it’s hard when he tries to avoid the camera.  So he sat still once for a picture.

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Lunch Break LEGO time.  With a Warsaurus.

Real

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Why is it that toddlers want to climb into baby seats?

Things are getting very real over here.  The bassinet is up, the carseat is on its way toward the van, there’s diapers in the closet, little outfits in the drawer, and a bottle on the shelf with the kids’ cups.

Little Bit decided to show up midway through the 37th week, all on her own. I’m just about 34weeks.  Even if Munchkin2 makes us go to 41 this time, I’m going to be ready.  This time.  Maybe.

Mixing epics….

“And now, Frodo Baggins, your journey to the Dark Side is complete…”

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The boys corrected me. Elrond isn’t dead, Frodo was aiming at something I couldn’t decipher, and Arwen had gone to get ginger ale because Vader had gotten injured (like in a Star Wars Lego cartoon they saw). But all the same, boys?!?!

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Beginning to look a lot like the end of Advent!

 

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Oh my, it seems like it’s been ages since I’ve had a chance to sit and post. The calendar is speeding forward faster than light (it seems) while I feel like we’re plodding slowly through our Advent to-do list like we’re in waterlogged boots.  In a swamp.  But not these boots:

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I got a great deal on these (read: 65% off retail!) and I am wearing them all the time.  In fact, the first time I went out to get the mail in them I stopped at the door, thinking I must be in my slippers because they were just that comfortable. Sorry, I digress.

I was going to get the pictures for this post and was puzzled to see about thirty blank or blurry photos saved, until I saw this one:
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And knew from the curl that Miss M was at it again! I love that blog nickname for her. Somehow it just fits.  Miss Spunkitude is another name I affectionately call her but it doesn’t look as good in print. With Miss M it can go so many ways, like Miss Mischief, Miss Marvelous, Miss Messy.  It all just depends.  And here I go again digressing–this is supposed to be an Advent catch-up post!

Ahem.

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I took a gamble and put my St. Nicholas candleholder out in the kitchen.  Yes, in reach of the kids. He’s tucked in a nook between a utensil jug and my oven, and save once I haven’t seen Sunshine near him. I’m kind of fond of this fellow; I am pretty sure I acquired him the year we married (or at least the year after) and I love the starry lights he casts. I didn’t want to hide him somewhere I couldn’t see those lights often.

Meanwhile, the Jesse Tree is up and smells wonderfully piney. With our Bible ornaments (laminated) and the felt ornaments from another countdown calendar, it’s looking pretty decorated.photo 4It’s my favorite kind of tree, too: the imperfect “Charlie Brown” variety. This one leans.

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My kitchen windowsill in December. I opted not to keep buying flowers during Advent and instead got these little trees.

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Looks rather cheerful from the upper deck.

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A new acquisition for our room was this Christmas cactus. It sits perfectly on our bedroom sill and adds a lot to the room. I have been forgetting just how much a small touch can improve things.

photo 1Back to the kitchen for a moment. My two Tasha Tudor Advent calendars flank my Susan Branch yearly calendar. The bare part of the wall is being filled with the kids’ British Christmas Village building-a-day countdown. I took this picture on Sunday but we haven’t gotten much farther, mainly because although they keep coloring, we haven’t taped them up yet.

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I have hardly knitted a stitch since Thanksgiving break. 😦 I tried to finish the second washcloth I began on the drive home only to have it unravelled twice when I left my knitting out in the open. Grr. So these skeins wait for me to have a second or two and begin again. This photo kind of reminds me of one of those “Need a Gift for the Knitter in your Life?” ads. The little bowl I found at Wal-Mart in their Hallmark “North Pole” display. That makes one other good thing to come from Wal-Mart besides the mulled cider candles.

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My Christmas goat collection! Haus Meister found the red fellow at IKEA (our new favorite store), the Annalee one came from my Mom (sorry it’s missing it’s saddle, Mom–Someone got to it when it was on the mantel last Christmas, which is why they are in my room this year), and the straw one came from my cousin. 🙂

The Gavlebocken still stands, by the way, as of time of post.

The LEGOs are beginning to show the spirit of things around here.  On the eve of St. Nicholas Day, St. Nick’s workshop appeared.

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But because we never seem to leave a design the same for two or three days running, by the weekend it was The Caballero’s Christmas Hacienda.

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Then Rascal made me a LEGO goat, which would have been displayed with my Christmas goat collection only it got assimilated into some other design shortly after this.

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Ok, that’s enough for now. I’m going to try and get more Christmas cards ready for the mail before I generally resemble the sweetheart below.  Hope you all have a happy rest-of-your-Advent!

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{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} in the first week of Advent

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Advent is here; I am now listening to Christmas music with abandon (shame on me) although I did download a new version of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” by two talented artists called “The Piano Guys” which is amusing because one of them is playing the cello.

So what’s new in these parts…

Pretty

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I turned my front door wreath into a perpetual Advent wreath! Or just until Epiphany, anyway. The banner above it was made by my sister and yes, it does read “Joy.” The “y” was blurred.

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In our little oratory corner I was able to put out our German Advent wreath. I am so happy to have this out again.  I promise it is not about to burn the ceiling. In fact, these candles are rather quick melting. Remind me next year not to order the Amazon.com special no matter how on top of it I feel. It’s five days into Advent and just lighting it for our family rosary has shortened that candle by half.

Happy

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While in my old hometown for Thanksgiving, we got to see our first snow of the season. It was nothing to the locals, who had already seen some, but to us it was amazing.

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We also enjoyed a trip to the Children’s Museum, with it’s “Jolly Days” in full swing.

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Cousins enjoying the slide in the Snow Castle.

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Checking out a mastodon skeleton.

Real

Switching “real” and “funny” here. I already told you what we found when we got to the parking lot of the Museum.

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Nota bene: if ever you’re visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and they tell you there’s no room in their parking garage, avoid parking in their Waterclock lot. It may look safe being right next to the parking garage, but there’s no security camera on it, and anyone can drive in and out quickly.

To add insult to injury, it looks as though the thieves also rummaged around and found our nice camera.   And while looking through pictures on my phone, I found one with my knitting bag on our last afternoon together.

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Good bye, Armas. Good-bye, knitting bag.

I haven’t cast on a new sweater for my husband yet, although the needles are ready and I fished out some of the remaining balls of Istex Alafoss. Plus he spoiled me by having me google yarn shop locations on our way back home, and dropped me off at one that was 10 minutes from our route. Providentially there was a Chick-Fil-A at that exit so he drove around and got food for the crew while I shopped. On the way home I finished 1.25 washcloths.  I love using the “unavoidable delay” of travel like that.

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My helper. 🙂

Funny

Let’s end on a goofy note. Sunshine’s hair is starting to do this cute flip at the ends if you get it just right.

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Then I realized we were pretty much at the “Episode IV” stage again. Sigh.

Thank you, Google Images
Thank you, Google Images

Sweet Sunshine-girl, I don’t care if we keep your hair at your shoulders… just don’t cut it again when it gets there, please! 😉  And no, I don’t think I trust you with a lightsaber, either.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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Pretty

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This graceful luna moth has been a regular visitor this week, with no less than three sightings. It is perhaps the only thing of that size I’ll tolerate next to my door with any pretence of equanimity. I’m still at variance with Nature coming indoors uninvited. This one respects my space. 😉

Happy

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That’s a given. 🙂

Funny/Real

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Posey knows how to spend a summer evening!

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Rascal and Dino have been charged with the duty of cleaning up their extensive LEGO collection. Rascal got the idea to store everything by color in our old workbox bins and strawberry baskets. The closable bin bottom right holds minifigure components. The one problem is that while organizing it they also stop to play for half the time…. or decide now that they have all they need of one color, to begin to build that one invention they were going to do that one day… 😉

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Some interesting minifig combinations. Super Bombur is my favorite. But what’s with the clean-shaven color-block Gandalf? The Spaceman Hobbit? The Yeti Hobbit?

In the mornings that I can get a row in on the rowing machine, the corgyn follow me downstairs. They wait until they hear the beep of the machine coming on and then they come galumphing down the stairs as quick as their stubby legs permit. Then they come over to me and check out the machine. Pippin goes off to chew on whatever LEGOs are on the floor (I do tell him to stop, and he does listen for about five minutes). Merry is the one I can count on for the ultimate in workout time support and encouragement.

"I'm here for you!"
“Yeah, I’m here for you!”

Thanks a lot, buddy!

{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.

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real–first week of March edition

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Pretty

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The icon wall in the foyer is ready for Lent! Princess, Rascal, and Dino made their annual Lenten countdown calendar yesterday. Only Princess remembered that the Lenten color is purple, it seems. But hey, I’m flexible with the kids’ art… though I did have to question Dino why he persisted in drawing “Pirate Penguins” in parts of his calendar. Pirate Penguins is a recurring art theme for him, and as it is mainly from his own imagination I’m not too sure about the details. Sigh, yes that is a pencil mark on the wall. Miss M is our new wall artist. She’s even more subtle than Sunshine, her predecessor. But never fear, this weekend I’m running around with the touch-up paint!

A week from tomorrow is Posey’s first birthday. Where did that year go? I told you all last year that when Posey arrived home, Miss M thought she was the neatest thing ever. A real live doll to play with! Over the months Posey became less of a live doll and more of an actual playmate, but has that changed Miss M’s affections?

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Nope.

(They don’t share a crib. Miss M climbed in after Posey woke up. And yes, I have to repaint the closet doors in my room….)

Happy

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Feeding the dinosaurs.

(Egad! That wall, too!)

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Rebuilding Bag End (with some modifications. One day we will retain all the pieces to a LEGO set. One. Day.)

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Trooper checking out the interior.

Funny

I knew we were in trouble when I heard, “Mom! Sunshine took the toilet lid off again!”

I just wasn’t expecting the duck.

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I think I prefer her playing in the sink. I don’t know what gave her this idea anyway.

Real

This week I cleaned up a pile of random stuff in my room that had been sitting there since before Christmas (sigh). At the bottom of the pile was a bunch of now defunct coupons to Bath & Body Works that I had meant to send to my sis-in-law in college in case she and her girlfriends could use them. I never shop at B&BW anymore unless it is for a Christmas gift for my youngest sis-in-law, so I knew I wouldn’t need them. One advertisement in the coupons made me feel a little, well, old.

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I looked at it and thought to myself, Huh…I don’t think I want to see midnight every night for forever. How wearisome, much less the dressing up every night to go out until midnight or later…. 😉 I guess “Forever Midnight” just sounds like Purgatory to someone who has been rejoicing at the chance to go to sleep at 11p. 😉

{pretty, happy, funny, real)

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Ah, the post wherein I play catch-up for the week and hopefully get through it without mentioning yarn anymore than I’ve already had to, lest the family readers looking for amusing anecdotes about our wonderful crazy life think that they’ve wandered into a crafty knitting blog.

Although, that is part of my wonderful crazy life….

But moving on.

Pretty

When I took down our wooden Christmas countdown tree, which is hung every year in the foyer because my father-in-law (who made the tree in his workshop) found the perfect place to hang the nail for it there, I had already decided to put a new picture in its place. The question was: what? I’d never had a permanent home for anything there but it is very near to the wall on which we placed our Sacred Heart picture that we had enthroned in our home some years before. I wondered and waited for some inspiration, and within a week or two a catalog from Monastery Icons arrived with this on the cover:

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It arrived two days ago and as soon as I get a picture with good lighting (sunshine again please?) I’ll post it!

Happy, Funny, Real….

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Because clearly we need binoculars to see the Kipper cartoon on the computer screen directly in front of us.

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From what I gather, Rascal’s cargo ship was being attacked by Dino’s Pirate Yeti Spaceman with a dwarvish battle axe. Or something like that. I don’t think the Yeti won, but he gets full marks for bravery.

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Nothing is safe from her these days.