Counting my Blessings

We’re going to be hosting the dinner tomorrow, and we’re lucky to have almost all of Haus Meister’s extended family with us.  While I don’t have to do all the cooking, I am roasting a 19lb bird and I have committed to a number of pies, not to mention colcannon, asparagus, and the sweet potato casserole.  And oh, the cranberries…. so I should be baking something right now instead of sitting in front of the screen…. Riiiight.

But I have a lot of fun pictures I’ve been waiting to share and now is a good time.

I’m just so thankful for this rowdy bunch of hooligans.

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They make me rethink my “comfort zone” — for instance, this handsome guy with the toothsome grin JUST lost his second molar. As in, just now came up to me and motioned to his mouth where it was dangling on it’s last gasp and can I just say that extremely loose teeth make me squeamish?! His brothers are the type that will chase after me to show off their loose teeth while I scream, but he doesn’t like it any more than I do (chalk it up to extreme oral sensitivity) and so he waits to ask for help only if he thinks he needs it.  One day he came up from the basement with blood on his face and I ran downstairs expecting broken glass or something but no, he had had a tooth loose and never mentioned it. Just threw it away. Buuuut that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, I swallow my squeamishness and help yank the tooth.  And then I think I’ve made progress until someone tries chasing me with a loose tooth again….

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They make me realize the wonder of God’s creation by asking a zillion questions I can’t always answer without pulling out a book–or Wikipedia.  They make me value my Faith by giving me the chance to pass it on, and help me rejoice by living it themselves.

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They amuse me with a hundred fantastical stories a day, especially those made up on the spur of the moment to hopefully distract me from the fact that I’ve just assigned him a chore…

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They wear princess dresses for “school pictures.” They inspire me with their enthusiasm and creativity and make me really really wish I could knit faster and that my sewing machine worked again. 😉

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They challenge me a hundred ways a day, stretch me further than I thought I could go, and always always always keep me on my toes.

Because honestly, you can’t script moments like these:

(No, no one had the wine.  But we definitely started storing the box wine in a different place after I caught that!)

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They keep me laughing.

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They keep me smiling.

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They melt my heart.  Even as they tear up my house.

And I’m especially thankful for the handsome, loving man who helps keep everything around here, including me, running smoothly.  🙂

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{pretty, happy, funny, real

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Pretty

Miss M’s birthday went well, and she was pleased with it. I’m learning to keep the toddler birthdays low-key–as low-key as possible with four siblings desirous for cake, ice cream, and root beer. I do not count Trooper or Posey in that score because Trooper hasn’t developed a sweet tooth (!!) and Posey doesn’t know those things exist yet. So we got balloons and I made pink lemonade cupcakes and even though it rained half the day it still was fun for everyone involved.

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This was 0.354 seconds before she realized she didn’t like being sung to and wanted me to hold her for the rest of the song.

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Among her gifts were the Laura & Mary Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder peg dolls from The Fig & Thimble Etsy store. All the pictures I have of her holding them are blurry because she was already making up stories with them. The dolls were an instant hit and even enabled us to sit through 85% more of Sunday Mass than usual the next morning!  Peg dolls are now tops on my list of favorite little kid toys.

"iss MEEE!" she giggles

“iss MEEE!” she giggles

My pretty Miss M.

Happy

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My dad and the Trooper, 2005.

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My Mom and Dino, her buddy, 2011.

The 2nd birthday isn’t the only big event these days. Ten days ago my parents celebrated their 36th Wedding Anniversary.

And while my cousins were writing very wonderful posts about their own parents’ 40th Wedding Anniversary, I was a loser and forgot to even get my parents’ card out on time.

 But at least I spared putting the picture taken in 1975 up here for immortality. Do we still have that picture? The plaid bell-bottoms one?

Seriously, Mom and Dad, I do think you’re wonderful and I couldn’t ask for better parents, or grandparents for my gang. And I promise that we’ll give you at least a card on time next year…or by your 40th! 😉

Other big events: Someone has an 8th birthday this weekend.

And 14 years ago yesterday I met my husband. You may read all about it here.  I didn’t know that was going to be the start of something absolutely wonderful, but I’m forever grateful for it all the same.

Funny

The Desolation of Smaug trailer…LEGO-style! Thanks to my sister for the link.

I can so see my boys doing something like this in 7 – 10 years.

Real

“Some spawn of Ungoliant, or I’m not a wizard” — Radagast the Brown, in the recent Hobbit movie.

It’s official: we live in Mirkwood.

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I would say if these suckers dared enter our house, I’d be after them with a tennis racket. But let’s be honest: I’d scream, run to the opposite side of the house and sit plugging my ears until Haus Meister or one of the boys came and told me the thing was gone. Fortunately for my self-image’s sake, and the lives of the spiders, this hasn’t happened yet.

Feeling a little pathetic and huge.

Legends and wives’ tales oft tell of the voracious appetites and odd cravings that pregnant moms have for foodstuffs. Once upon a time (2005, expecting Rascal), ravenously hungry after going a morning without breakfast, I scarfed down the “Momma’s Pancake Breakfast” at lunch at a Cracker Barrel with such rapidity that construction workers turned around to look at me in shock and awe. It was a little embarrassing.

Last night I had the opposite problem. Haus Meister and I went out for our last date before the new baby arrives, and we chose our absolute favorite place to go as usual–a little Italian place in a little old house that was built in the same era as our Old Haus. When the current owners started the restaurant about five years ago, they added a huge kitchen off the back and a garden on the side so fresh herbs and seasonings could be used. The owners are Italian themselves and the food is sublime. And filling. And there is a LOT of it.

Sometimes Haus Meister and I are wise and share an entree. Other times we aren’t and we come home with leftovers. Amend that: we always come home with leftovers, because they like to make sure you leave well-fed at this establishment. Last night we both decided to have appetizers, because I thought that the mozzarella sticks sounded good (and they are above and beyond anything you buy in the freezer section) and he wanted (gulp) frog legs. So we ate the appetizers as they took our order for dinner. Dinner also comes with warm garlic rolls and a soup or salad. We chose salad–the soups could stand alone as entrees. Oh my. Don’t get me started on their soups….mmm….

Anyway, three bites into my salad I had the uncomfortable feeling that I wouldn’t have enough room for the dinner I’d ordered. Worse still, I wouldn’t have enough room for the myriad choices of cheesecake that I saw advertised on the dessert board. Delicacies created especially for Valentine’s Day…all of them sounded good, but how could I eat a slice, if I could choose between them?

Our main entrees arrived as I sat back in the chair to the best of my ability, no mean feat at 35wks pregnant. I hoped against hope that I’d have room for the dinner they had already cooked. It wasn’t feeling like it. Plus I had the added Mommy guilt, remembering a scene only last Thursday where I had reminded the kids not to have a snack close to dinner, for now they couldn’t eat the good food I’d made. Haus Meister smiled and reminded me that we could always take home the dinner and have it for leftovers on Sunday. It turned out that he was in the same boat! So, sheepishly, we asked the waitress for take-home boxes.

And a slice of Nutella cheesecake (they added the cannoli gratis, because this place is like that). We paid the tab, tipped her, and he held the door as I’m sure I literally waddled to his car.

It was a little funny to have a date and not be able to do justice to the food. But then, the company and conversation was incomparable, the food was delicious, and we did have a great time.

The Nutella cheesecake was divine, by the way. And the Italian food made a great lunch today.

So I guess in the end, it was a win-win, despite my feeling huge and pathetic. 😉

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Lucky 13

Originally posted on August 21, 2009. I had to update the picture. Lucky 13 this year! 13 years…. Best 13 years ever.

Dwelling in Tol Galen

 

Haus Meister and I met on this day in 1999, in the lower level of the building pictured above.  We had just finished our entrance grammar exam, two brand new freshmen embarking on our college careers.

I’m naturally an outgoing person, but I had been feeling too homesick the evening before to mingle at the ice cream social.  I hadn’t met many members of my class yet, at least outside the mandatory orientation talks.  So, coming out of the classroom I looked around for a chance to strike up a friendly conversation with someone.

Only one person in the immediate vicinity was not grouped in a cluster of people but stood on the fringe listening.  I thought it amusing–and rather gentlemanly–that he was already in slacks and a tie.  Myself, I was enjoying the brief days before dress code would be enforced.

“Hi!” I greeted this well-dressed stranger. “That…

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What They Said…

I loved this post. Please stop by and read!

Men without chests, or, what C. S. Lewis made me think about. 

by Leila.

But please come back, because I have a reminder about something going on tomorrow that affects our family and every family with a disabled member. It’s that pesky UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. While it was prevented from getting a full Senate vote, it does still go before the special committee for a vote tomorrow. Unlike most government actions these days, it does seem to have a bipartisan following. However, this is still a wrong move for our country. I’m not against our disabled countrymen having wheelchair ramps available when they travel overseas, don’t get me wrong, but do we have to adopt international laws to do so? Can’t we work something out without going to the UN? It’s Article 7 of this Convention that bothers me, and anyone else like me who is responsible for an impaired child’s education. It states that the government can step in and decide the child’s education if it is deemed in the child’s best interest. Hello? This government that can’t balance its own budget suddenly is given the right to arbitrarily decide where Trooper is going to go to school? Anyone else see a problem with this?
So, please, please call your Senators and ask them to oppose this. It opens up things that had best be left alone. Because if the government decides they know what is best for disabled kids today, what’s going to stop them from deciding what’s best for typical children tomorrow?
And if you want a better written idea of what I just tried to say, please check out this one from the Home School Legal Defense Association.  
Thanks!