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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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.

 

It’s Rolling With the Punches

…or so I have learned this Lent.  Re-learned?  It has been one of those seasons where nothing seems to go as planned, but if I don’t sweat every last bit of small stuff, it’s not so bad, right? 😉

The strep episode ended at the commencement of a three week fiasco with a refrigerator that wouldn’t cool. We’d think it was fixed, then it would stop again. So last week, new refrigerator.

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Then, my beat up phone was due for an upgrade. That took a week to work out.

First World Problems.

We continued our fixing up of the house, repainting as the days got warmer and the sunshine came out.  Plants arrived in the mail that I’ll write about another time (when I have them all in ground).

My sister-in-law coaxed me into the yellow (Benjamin Moore 275 Banana Cream) for the laundry/powder room. This is in progress. And I admit she made a good call, and so I would show only laundry triage is happening.

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Haus Meister and the kids spent last weekend working on the red bathroom upstairs. It will no longer be red very soon.  (Top wall: Valspar Woodlawn Silver Brook; Wainscoting: Valspar Bungalow White)

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I can’t believe how big these kids are growing.  They’re all shooting up like rockets this Spring!

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This is so tranquil now….

Ideally, the bathroom would have been totally done by now, but that’s where we roll with the punches.  No sooner had we the satisfaction of a working fridge, a working phone, projects going well, and school coming along nicely… enter stage left the 12 hr flu bug, which hit all of us between Tuesday and Friday.

Eww. That’s what I mean by laundry triage. Finally this morning I determined to just stop saying that “THIS week we will get back to normal.” Bad things happen when I say it! 😉

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But around here there’s too much fun going on. Look at that smile!

So we roll with the punches and look for the fun silver linings and brighten the Haus for Spring.

 

I confess I’m kind of addicted to The Pioneer Woman’s line of products. A convalescent cup of Vernor’s and ice chips never looked so good. Or my morning coffee. Or that creamer with a hyacinth that Sunshine plucked (without permission, alas) from my front bed. And I finally found a kitchen rug I liked! You can’t see it, though, because it’s just as often a toddler reading spot. The littlest girlies barely remember carpet in a house! 😉 And for the record PW isn’t being compensated for this endorsement. I’m just gushing because would you really rather hear about the doings of 10 people with a stomach bug?

 

 

 

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

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

On January 14 we made some news public.

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

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

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

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

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Birthdays…

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

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Cooking … (Daddy made it, she helped)…

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Enjoying what little snow we had….

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Dreaming of the weather staying consistently Springlike….

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

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

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

{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.

Pretty

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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….

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

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Big nope.