Friday, December 23, 2011

and the day rolls on.

We had peanut butter and jelly on BUNS for lunch. Because we're crazy like that...and it's Christmas Adam. Alongside Ramen noodles and apple wedges, we're pretty sure this is what the modern day Wisemen would have come bearing. Because it's just that good.

Oh, and we're (okay...only me...the kids cleared the room as soon as I started singing) jammin' out to this... one of my faves. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Adam.

(because, Adam comes right before Eve.)

So, we're all giddy, and excited...just two days till Christmas. We're all a little stir-crazy, thinking we should be doing something. Should we clean? Or do something special? Or what?! It's also "vacation" which means we really don't want to do anything "not fun."
Here we are on Christmas Adam (our little name for the day before Christmas Eve), wondering what we should do. It's just 10am, and we've already colored up all the pictures we can possibly bare, and the boys have made a gazillion paper airplanes...which somehow, I LOVE/HATE all at the same time. I'm a little obsessive compulsive when it comes to paperscraps. They make me itch. But anyways. It's Christmas vacation, and I'm just pouring more cofffee, and enjoying the fact that everyone's getting along.
And I'm also scheming a little hour away for last minute "must haves" before all the parties forthcoming.
In general, this day feels much like the day before any scheduled birth. I know there are things that need done. And I'll do them. But I'm also aware that this day ahead means much more than just a day....and so I want to just sip coffee, and enjoy the moment. Relax. Things are about to change. Christ (this new baby) is coming, and it's gonna rock our world. And somehow, we hope, that we'll be changed in the process. That just like with our own new babies, we'll embrace this new Christ child, remember how easy it is to love an infant, and to want to do everything for it. Placing that child's needs before our own. Learning to say "yes" again with love. Because that's all this new baby needs, is for us to respond with a loving yes. That's it. LOVE. Yes.
What a great reminder it seems, as we celebrate each Christmas, that Christ our Saviour came into this world as a newborn. And how simple it is to love an infant. Somehow when I think of him grown-up, it becomes more difficult in my head to connect. But babies...well we all know how a baby can light up a whole room. A baby changes us. We accept, embrace, simply LOVE babies.
So today, I'm excited, and full of hope. And anxious to meet this new baby Jesus again. And while I'm certain to be busy, especially after dark when the duties of Christmas gifts and wrapping take over, today I'm going to soak it in.
This day of waiting...Christmas Adam.
I can feel my heart growing bigger already...always room for more LOVE.
Love this season of hope, this season where LOVE WINS.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

just remembering

Sent my kiddos off to mass before school this morning. I remembered after they left that mass is being offered today for a very special lady that graced our lives , if only too briefly. Can't believe it's been 5 years since she passed so quickly, and tragically. Irene was a beautiful woman who brought joy and laughter into our family, and reminded us how to give of ourselves with great love. Alice has been asking for Zucchini Bread lately, I think I'll make it today. It's not Irene's special recipe, but whenever we make it we all think of her, and how generous she was with sharing her garden goodies. Her zucchini bread was the bomb...and her pumpkin cookies.

I wanted to add a nice picture of her...I have several. I couldn't find a single picture of her looking at the camera though. The sparkle and smile in the eyes of those around her in all them made it clear how special she was!

Missing you Irene. Pray for us from your certain special seat in Heaven.

(note: the other namesake of our Little "Lucy Irene.")

Monday, December 19, 2011

happy advent-ures.

Whew. What a weekend. We are soaking in the spirit of Christmas, big time.
Since St. Lucy we've been busy little beavers. Thursday brought a day of shopping, just my mom and me. Wonderful day of hustle-and-bustle through the malls...all for the sake of Santa. Friday a handful of us went Christmas caroling with Fr. Rick and a few other families. I had forgotten how much fun it was, and how much joy it seems to bring to the homes we visited. The true spirit of Christmas. Loved it! Saturday brought our first Christmas party of the mom's family in St. Henry. Santa was there and brought gifts for all the kiddies...we ate like kings, and just truly enjoyed catching up. Love family. Anne was in rare form, just giddy and laughing as she ran among the big boys tossing a Nerf football across the hall. Her guardian angel was working overtime, with more than a few near-misses. There were aunts and uncles who wanted the football throwing to stop...but seriously...we've been doing that for all 38 years I've been attending! Wouldn't be Christmas without some small child getting tackled by a teenager going long.
Sunday was mass, and a nice quiet day at home, followed by the Christmas concert at church that evening with all 5 choirs performing. It was beautiful. BEAUTIFUL! Emma takes piano lessons from our choir director and was one of the students performing piano solo's prior to the start of the concert. She played the 12 Days of Christmas. I was proud of her. And then she and Alice and Grace all sang later with the Children's choir. This was Grace's first year...she was "all that." The evening ended with the mixed choir singing "Oh holy night." Yes. It was. Holy. Inspiring. Beautiful. What a wonderful ministry the choirs and music department of our parish provides. Absolutely inspiring!
Tonight was bible study at my friend Stacie's. We read ahead to Luke's account of that Holy Night, and the angels, and the shepherd. And Mary "pondered all these things in her heart." We were right there with her for the moment, imagining and wondering and pondering it too. WHat a gift, indeed.
My Christmas shopping is nearly done...just the few last-minute things that seem never to be done. I did some baking today, just because I could, and the girls at home asked. It was nice. And not at all stressful. And I'm looking forward to this final week leading up to the Birthday party. Don't want to get lost in the cake and balloons and party streamers. I want to see His holy light when we all gather in to celebrate.
Feelin' like this past weekend has really set the pace, put our hearts in the right place to really recognize the gift of Him. We are so blessed, and grateful.
Hope you all are enjoying these last days of Advent. I'm looking forward again to those "quiet" days of Christmas with the kids home, and game-playing, and enjoying. Now if the rain would stop and give us another little dusting of snow...just a dusting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

St. Lucy, pray for us.

Yesterday (December 13th) we celebrated the Feast of St. Lucia (Lucy). We learned about her when I was expecting our 10th child, due this time of year. We did what we always do when we're considering baby names...consulted the the Catholic Calendar. There it was...Dec. 13th...Feast of St. Lucy. Loved the name instantly. We researched her a little more, and prayed to her...asking for her intercession for a healthy baby, and on December 18th little Lucy Irene came into our lives. Healthy, happy baby girl. And like her name sake, she instantly inspired us to let our Christ lights shine. ("Lucy" means light.) We hosted a bowling party/canned food drive with all of our playgroup family/friends in January after she was born for our local food pantry. She can't help but bring out the best in us. (Although she's three now, and tantrums happen...but still that little light is shining...and I'm optimistic about what FOUR will bring.)


To celebrate St. Lucy's day, we baked (sort-of) traditional ring of bread. I didn't make the braided bread that I have in the past, but more of a quick-rise dough in a bundt pan, then smothered it with an orange glaze/icing, and craisins for color. There were candles, representing that light I mentioned. And we prayed before dinner...

Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world, for all the centuries to see. We may not suffer torture in our lives the way you did, but we are still called to let the light of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. Please help us to have the courage to bring our Christianity into our work, our recreation, our relationships, our conversation -- every corner of our day. Amen

I had intended to take a picture of our lovely bread, warm and ooey gooey, right out of the oven with candles glowing...but well...we ate it just that quick! Here's a picture of our Little Lucy "helping" to make the frosting...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas unscripted.

I like my Christmas traditions.
Well, most of them...or at least the idea of most of them.

Seriously? What do I like most about Christmas traditions? We have plenty of them...but what are my favorite? Hmmmmmmm....

Cool thing about being in this new home...all the rules can change. I'm feeling liberated this year by the fact that some of the things on our every-year-Christmas-to-do-list...have gone and went. No pressure. Oh, don't get me wrong...there's still decorating, and shopping, and party-planning. But some of things that I thought I enjoyed, were in fact some of the very things that were weighing me particular, the baking. Lord knows I LOVE to bake and candy-make. But was getting out of control.
No baking this year. None. Unless the kids have asked to make something in particular...and then we make it...and eat it. No saving for Christmas! We enjoy the fruits. Done.

I can't tell you what a difference this has made in my spirits...for the time it allows me to do other more fun (less stressful) things, not to mention the breather our grocery bill gets. I was buying a LOT of chocolate and specialty stuff in years past.

Sunday we spent the day trying something new...or at least something new for this time of year. A day of outdoor fun, complete with marshmallow toasting, and hot cocoa, and our favorite christmas music. We played "Pickle" and "Tag" and just enjoyed the day...thoroughly enjoyed it.

Completely "not in the plans," unscripted, good Christmas memories. Will it become tradition? Who knows. It was fun...and we all laughed out loud...especially little Anne who spent her first time "running" through the grass with big brothers and sisters, and yes...even Mom was running. We giggled till we all fell down.

God is good.

Peace and joy to you all this Advent and Christmas season.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Great news! Today, I found my camera. Yes, there are still a few things misplaced, but I continue to chip away at boxes, and somedays are like Christmas opening up packages to find things I've been anxiously awaiting. This morning, it was my camera. Yipppeeee!

Hope you don't mind that I went a little overboard snapping away some pics to share of our new home. I should start by saying that every day here feels like we're living a dream. God was so generous in bringing this particular home into our lives. It's nearly 80 years old(ish), and yet feels as though it was made exactly for us. God is so good. I am still overwhelmed with a grateful's better than my wildest dreams.

So quaint, no?! Just love the curb appeal.

A view from the kitchen into the front sitting room...yes, sitting. I'm also in love with the glass door, even though I gasp every time little Anne slams it shut so she can press her little nose on it better.

Okay, not a necessary picture... but these are the chairs that had John very nervous when I ordered them. He's still not sold...but I LOVE them. My splash of color in an all "beige" room.

Off the back of the house is our family room with a ladder to the kids play loft. Very cool. (Wish I was a kid again.)

This is one of the things that I LOVE about our's history...all the kids/grandkids that passed through these rooms before us...measured over time on the basement door. We added our list over there on the left.

Here's our coat closet...actually an old hallway that leads to the current apartment. Look at all those reminders of the blessings God gives...and his Providence. He does take care.

And the kitchen...with this huge picture window. I can see the window to the family room from here.

Here's the adorable window over my kitchen sink. Seriously...I'm in love. It makes little rainbows all over the kitchen in the morning sun. Reminds me He's smiling down on us. Oh, and see our Blessed Mother over there on the corner of the patio...all lit up at night as I do my evening kitchen clean-up. (sigh.)

Kitchen island...with kids busy benda-roo-ing. (In hindsight, I should have "staged" a prettier picture...but truly, this is our life...busy, beautiful. Who want's an empty "pretty" kitchen?!) This room is the heart of our home. Beyond the island is my laundry area. Hidden behind that wall...but constantly in use. So convenient. This might make some cringe to have laundry in the kitchen...but I LOVE it.

Standing at my kitchen sink, looking back towards the other half of the for another set of crafters at the table. Seriously?! Who am I to deserve this kitchen?! (yes, I am HIS...and He is so good.)
*Note...that wall beyond the kitchen table will (by spring) be busted out to make way to the apartment space that will become our great room. Only sad that I'll have to find a new place for "The Last Supper." I'll get over it though, and will surely find just the right spot.

Here I stand in the laundry area peaking around the other side of the island...see my new washer there in the corner. THANK YOU!

This little spot is above the computer armoire in the laundry area. Those are my grandmother's dishes she played with as a little girl. Love that I have the perfect place to display them.

And of course...the view I have while standing at my washing machine. Truly...this house was made for us, and our favorite things.

I still get all "verklempt" considering God's goodness. (verklempt! Remember Linda Richman skit on SNL?! Ha!)

"I will bless the Lord at all times, praise shall always be on my lips. My soul shall glory in the Lord, for he has been so good to me." - some nice church song, I can't think of now.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frankly speaking.

Smack dab in the middle of mass last evening (for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception,) an argument took place. While singing, even!

All 13 of us crammed into our usual pew...right up front where the only distraction is, well, Anne. That's another story entirely. Frank was on my lap, and as usual during songs, I use his finger as my pointer for the words.

We sang "...and Holy is your name."
And Frank would get all huffy each time..."NO IT ISN'T, MOM!"
And I'd smile.
And we'd sing it again "and Holy is your name" ..."NO MOM, IT'S NOT!" (whispers getting a little louder each time around.)
And I'd smile.
Finally, he couldn't stand it..."STOP IT MOM. MY NAME IS FRANK!"
Yes. It is. (still smiling, relieved the song was over so we could stop the loud whispering.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our deepest fear.

I shared this quote (stolen from another blog) with a women's group in Russia recently. Lovely women. Very open and friendly and kind. (thank you for inviting me!) God (as He so brilliantly always does) placed it right under my nose just in time. It truly sums up what I believe to be true, and just don't have the words to say it so eloquently...

I believe credit goes to author Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Just brilliant, and empowering. Had to share. As if you all didn't have enough reason to let your light shine! Fear not, children of God...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Frank's word for the day.

Keeping in mind that he's only can imagine how floored I was when out of nowhere he hit me with this one:

(seriously, completely out of the blue...I was probably cleaning up lunch or something trivial at the time.)

Frank: "Mom, do you know what compassion is?"
Me: (thinking about my grocery list or what to make for dinner, or some other distracting thing) Umm...know what what is?!
Frank: Comp-ash-ion...enunciating for his idiot mom who's clearly not listening.
Me: no...what.
Frank: Compassion is when someone has a sad face, and you go up to them to see what's the matter, and play with them if they're sad. That's compassion.
Me: (tearing up, and melting like butter...cause he's five, and he's my boy...all sweet and toothless, and talking about compassion.) uh.huh. That's right.

Hugging ensued...and he got all grossed out and ran away. But it was too late. My heart already melted.

He's gooooood.

Oh's been such a long time.

For the first time since we moved, I sat down this evening with my little ones for a bedtime movie. It felt felt like home. It's also the first night I've sat with a computer on my lap...feet up. Now that feels good too. Good to know the wireless connection reaches into the Sitting Room. (Did I mention we now have such a space?! With furniture even, so that I might do more than fall onto the carpet exhausted at the end of the day.) Yes. Sitting room. No tv. Just furniture is nice. Sitting with feet up on said furniture is even nicer.

We are finally settling in. Beginning to do normal family things that I didn't even realize how much I'd been snuggling with little ones on my lap for a movie. Sitting with them at the end of the day. Nice.

Finally boxes are diappearing ('cept in the garage), misplaced items are being placed again, light switches are not a mystery any longer (mostly.) Life as we love it has resumed.

Oh, there is still such a huge "to do" list...with many more boxes and bins of things I won't need till after the holidays needing sorted..."later". And the renovation of the attached apartment is underway. Our dreams of a great family room are becoming more real all the time. But with most of the work being done by family members, this means many crazy evenings and weekends ahead. Crazy is a word we're getting used to though. It's how we roll.

I apologize for my absence here on the blog. My silence is certainly not an indicator that I've had nothing to write about...only that it's taken me longer than I thought to settle in. Rather than writing, I've been praying. Praying for direction, and many "thank you GOd!" prayers, praying for our family, and for some folks who need prayers...and for some whom have touched my life in ways that can only be compensated with prayer. God is so good, and I have much to be grateful for.

Thank you all for your patience.

Look forward to more opportunities to sit in this here Sitting Room.