Monday, November 30, 2015

Pink and Five

My Dear L,

You have grown so much in the last year, and now you are five. Your birthday always comes in the whirlwind that is Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent. You were born on the First Sunday of Advent, you labor beginning early in the morning and ending just before dinner, quite the opposite of your older sister who made us stay up all night, but setting the standard for everyone else.

What would life be without the middle sister? For G, she cannot remember life before you, and after the first strange weeks your presence became so necessary. For F, you have always been the caring, sensitive sister. And baby T has a special smile and squeal of delight just for you.
You strive hard to wear all pink everyday, and if not pink, it has to be something pretty, like stars. Your school (besides the occasional reading lesson) and quiet time this year has been devoted wholly to the making of paper dolls: princesses with pretty crowns and large extended families. And in your generous nature you make paper things for everyone in the house (except the baby). Who needs toys when you have tape, scissors, paper, and crayons?
You told us last week that when you grow up you are going to be a Pink Sister, a mom, or a ballet dancer. I suppose in any of those vocations you could still pull off wearing pink everyday.

Love you Always,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Seven Quick Takes, Friday, Nov. 13

1. I have not done quick takes in over a month. The thing is, they are not exactly quick to write, but I have about 30 minutes if the baby stays asleep, so I am going to give it a go.

2. A month ago, I was dying of lack of sleep. Seriously. Well, not really, but since then the baby has popped in two teeth, we did a bit of sleep training/letting him learn how to fall asleep without being bounced vigorously (yes, it was that bad). And instead of waking every 90 minutes and taking 40 to get back to sleep, he is we are getting stretches as long as 5 hours, and I am only waking most nights 2 times to nurse him. Guys, it is amazing. I feel like a person again.

3. Now that I am no longer a zombie, I am thinking a lot more clearly. When we finish a school day I can manage a chore or two before lunch rather than just staring off. When we make it to quiet time I am actually able to write things instead of a mindless Facebook experience. And we are getting at least one long nap a day out of the baby, the other one is usually not as good, but still.

4. Someone woke up.

It is tricky to type with a baby on your lap, but I am going to give it a go. Also, here you see my haircut I just got literally an hour ago. I always say two inches and add some layers and I feel like after the layers they have shorn off at least 4 inches.

5. I realized that I was getting boring back when T would not sleep as I was only and always talking about it, so I am going to really try to think of something else to write about, like how G finally got that one math concept down this week that we spent three agonizing days on and I finally asked M to explain it to her and she got it in five minutes. Or how the kids stopped screaming as much, well for like two days. My mom and dad are coming next week. I have not seen them since June, so we are pretty excited to see them. I think they are excited to see this baby who has doubled in weight since they last saw him. Oh, baby again. Sorry.

6. I finished two books in the last week. The first was Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens which was about as Dickensesque as you could want. He has a way of describing grimy, dirty places that just makes me feel icky and gritty and sometimes even nauseated. M suggested that I write about our free system of English laws, but I am not going to. Second book, the letters of Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin (A Call to a Deeper Love). It was soooo good. I am writing something up on it, so look for that soon. But really, just read it yourself, especially if you are married and a mom.

7. This week I started In This House of Brede by Rumor Godden. We found it at Loomes over Labor Day weekend, and it is beautiful so far. I like books that make me a better person, and this seems to be one of them. So were the letters. M this week finished Emma by Jane Austen and has decided that it is one of the most brilliant English language novels ever, and then he started Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

And that about sums up life lately, baby, homeschooling, books, and writing projects. There are few coming out soon, stay tuned...

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Now We Are Three

 My dear F,

Today you are three. Three. Three years ago, I woke up at 4:30 am in labor with you, and you took another 15 hours to come out. You were so worth it, but you know that. You tell us all confidently daily, "I am a pwin-CESS!" You spend your days going from intensely serious about whatever you are doing to trying to make us all laugh by being silly.
You love playing with your big sisters, and you love your baby brother. You also like to scream. A lot. You screamed a lot at the farm this summer. You were afraid of the dog. But after a couple of days you were okay with her, and when we went back to the farm last week you were not scared of her at all. "That's Rosie. She is my favorite."

I do not think you that you feel supplanted by your baby brother, and I am glad. You are so confident that you are loved. Of course your Uncle P will like the card you made him for his birthday, because "He likes purple and he likes ME!"

Happy birthday to you, my sweet, silly girl. And thanks for all your "help" in the kitchen. Maybe one day we will actually make your peanut-butter cup filled and covered chocolate cake together without any mishaps.

Love you forever,

Monday, November 2, 2015

What We Did for All Saints and What We are Doing for All Souls

Every year I pull out the sewing machine in October to make costumes. Our kids dress up as saints and go to a really cute All Saints party on All Hallows Eve (like a Christmas party on Christmas Eve), and play games for candy.
Left to Right: St. Felicity, St. Perpetua, and St. Kateri
I squeezed all of the sewing into the Saturday a week before the party, because I knew it would be the only time I could sew. M has been taking the girls to the grocery store on Saturday mornings and I am left in silent-house-only-the-baby-bliss for however long he takes. That is how I started my sewing, and I ended it by mid-afternoon. So, not so bad.
This is what they did when I asked them to look prayerful. Apparently it is prayerful to eat plants...
Our saints this year: Sts. Felicity and Perpetua who were martyred together in Carthage in the 3rd century and the Native American St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
I asked them to pose with the pumpkin, but St. Perpetua was done and wanted to get in the house.
For St. Kateri, I was asked to base the costume on the image here and found this simple tutorial for making a costume. I also bought fabric that would not fray, so no hem was required.

For the Carthage martyrs, I looked up how to make a Roman stola, stuck t shirts underneath, and used our hand dyed play scarves for on top.  And in Minnesota, the appropriate food wear of sandals would not work, so we went with church shoes for the martyrs and moccasin slippers for St. Kateri.
On Halloween, due to sleep issues/bedtime, we decided on T and I staying home from the party so he could have his bedtime. And by a miracle of St. Jude (we prayed the novena), this baby has only woken up once each the last two nights! Also, his teeth finally broke through!
We all woke up refreshed for the 7:30 am Traditional Latin Low Mass, and T wore his adorable All Saints outfit. Seriously, whoever designs baby dress clothes is a genius.
Please, pardon the adorable baby photo dump. I can't help it.
Now, as much as I love a feast for all the Saints, I think I like today, All Souls day, better. I wrote the devotion today over at Blessed is She, and I am so happy that I got to do it. Because I got to spread the word about how we can earn indulgences today and this week for the poor souls in purgatory. Check it out.

We were able to wake up for morning Mass today to pray for the souls, and are going to be praying in a cemetery for them later this week. If I feel so inspired, we might make a batch of Soul Cakes today as well, but maybe not.
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