{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas, beloved patron of children and, among numerous other patronages, brewers! We love St. Nicholas over here.


I’m doing this a bit backward today because I want you to see this first. 🙂 The other day I wrote you that the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities had not passed the Senate. I learned this very morning upon opening my e-mail that the Senate plans to revote after January 1.  If you’re unfamiliar with it, the CRPD is a United Nations convention that seeks to protect the rights of people with “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory” disabilities.

It seeks to protect the “rights” of these people by usurping parental rights “if deemed in the child’s best interest” by the government and forcing those classified as having those disabilities to receive “reproductive services.” I.E. Sterilization.

This is what our country is trying to do to this boy, born 9 years ago today at 24 weeks gestation.


Not the happiest birthday present I can give him, is it? But we promised him the day he was born that he would get all the love and care and help he would need to live a cherished life on this earth, and we have done so. We will always do so. Because he is worth it.

He has been through more hell than you and I could comprehend. Have you almost died? He almost did. Several times. But he fought back. We fought back. He has the best team of people watching out for him today. His speech therapist rocks. His neurologist is one of the best in the field. He is surrounded by a family who loves him.

He is not a statistic. He is not just a number. He is not going to become one, either. He is not going to be classified, dismissed by a government who doesn’t think he has the chance to be meaningful.

He has already changed lives. A friend of mine said a co-worker of hers rethought his stance on abortion after seeing Trooper’s NICU picture in my friend’s cubicle and hearing of his fight for life.

You might think this is silly, but in my family we have a goofy habit of using movie quotes in our daily parlance. When I think of Trooper, a line from The Hobbit comes to mind.

Why the halfling?

Why…? Perhaps it is because I am afraid. And he gives me courage.

My son gives me courage. He gives me strength. He is my example of patience, of enjoying simple everyday moments. His smile lights up our world.

He is our hero.

Happy 9th Birthday Trooper. You are so loved, my biggest boy.

Holding him for the first time, December 29, 2003.

Holding him for the first time, December 29, 2003.

(Please pray that the UN treaty doesn’t pass.)



This morning we woke to the sound of Rascal announcing that St. Nicholas had arrived. Groggily I smiled and sounded encouraging every time he came into the room announcing what each of them (and us) had received in their shoes last night. He was especially impressed with the Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes in the Advent tree and the gold chocolate coins also hanging there. I confess when I saw it I was (ahem) pleased with the effect as well. 🙂

Soon Dinosaur’s excited voice added to the mix. And Princess’. And all the while I wondered what Haus Meister was still doing asleep. If they are awake, shouldn’t he ready for work? Both eyes open now, I reached over and grabbed my phone. The time read 4:07am. At that I hopped out of bed, alotted a Christmas cake to each awake child, and ushered them back to their beds until a reasonable hour.


Our Advent Tree.

Oh this Advent Tree.

This is the third year we’ve gone out the first weekend of Advent and bought a small real tree for the kids to help decorate with Jesse Tree ornaments as the days of Advent stretch on. The first year, memorably, we even packed our tree into our van, between the driver and front passenger seat, and drove up to Indiana with the lights plugged into the cigarette lighter. We made it look very Christmasey on our trip.

This year, somehow, I was behind on getting our Advent things ready. You would think since it came late, we’d be on top of things, right? Ha. Anyway, even though two years ago I drew my own Jesse Tree ornaments for the kids to color, I thought it would be easier to just have them make some out of salt dough and bake them. Ha HA. They were more interested in playing with the homemade playdough. So fortunately for me the lovely and talented Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda linked to other lovely and talented women who had Jesse Tree ornaments and I went with these since it reminded me of an old Advent calendar my mom had for us when my sister and I were little. Also, it included the O Antiphons, a part of Advent I cherish. Three of the kids cut out two copies of an ornament each morning, glue them together, and after I punch a hole in them and tie a ribbon, on the tree they go.


And it is well that we have three copies of the ornaments as Sunshine and Miss M go crazy rearranging them. At least this way there’s a semi-reasonable chance that most of the set of ornaments will be on the tree this year. We always add lights on Dec. 5th because that is the day the Jesse Tree remembers Abraham, and God’s promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars.

The first night we had the tree, Rascal lamented its barrenness and despite my assurance that it would fill up, decided to do a bit of decorating with things laying around.


This included the “Rudolph nose” that won’t be on the van this year since I lost the antlers, an Angry Bird plush toy, and the ends of a ribbon spool that look like he put CDs on the tree. Pleased with the effect, however, Rascal and Dino then sat across from it on the couch and sang ‘O Christmas Tree.’ I love our life.

We did take most of it down to make room for the Jesse Tree ornaments the next day. We had three days to catch up on by that point.


Enough already, right? Almost, almost. Just our Advent stations to go now….


In the middle: the Advent tree my father-in-law made for Trooper’s first birthday. There are Christmas card pictures inside each box so when they are opened, you have something pretty to look at. Inside the doors this year are slips of paper with a daily Advent task on it. When the task is accomplished, the slips become part of a paper chain to go on the Jesse Tree. On the left of the Jesse tree is a calendar Rascal received at CCD and on the right is Trooper’s annual sticker Nativity calendar. Or what I made into one, at least. The LEGO calendar is for Rascal and Dino to share but as of going to post isn’t going to reside at this station since Sunshine opened half the doors. The Nutcracker one is for the girls, and each day a little book ornament tells the story of the Nutcracker Ballet before these ornaments too, go on our Advent tree.


In the kitchen, more Advent calendars! Our parish sent little Advent calendar cards to every child in the parish. Every! We got six, each individually addressed to our young’uns. My Tasha Tudor Advent Calendar is the standing book, and I have another vintage one in our bedroom (behind locked door). There’s a third Tasha one somewhere but I can’t recall where I put it (!!!).


This is our Advent wreath again this year, constructed by Rascal. He had the idea to make the candles stand up, which impressed me a bit since that hadn’t occurred to me. I might bring out our lovely German wooden one, but I’ll keep it high up and out of reach.

Oh, and I do have a countdown candle, but I forgot to blow it out one night and now, heh heh, I won’t have to light it again until December 14th.


Those marks on the wall are about to disappear for good. Haus Meister is almost done painting the living room, and we’re just going to keep it up until every room that needs paint gets it! He has a lot of vacation time coming up that he has to take since it can’t roll over, so guess how he’s going spend it? I’ll keep him plied with goodies to thank him. 🙂

5 thoughts on “{pretty, happy, funny, real}

  1. That was beautiful, what you wrote about your son! I was overjoyed with the victory as well, but alas it’s just a stay until next time. Onward we march and pray! That Advent tree your fil made is just fabulous! (and you’re not the only ‘goofy’ ones – a vast quantity of our daily parlance is from books and movies!) Blessed feast day to you and yours!

  2. Thanks Kimberlee. I enjoy reading your blog and your Eliza is a treasure. One blessing of the blog world is that we find out we’re not alone raising our extra-special blessings in a world programmed to misunderstand and ignore them. We’ll be marching and praying together.

    Book quotes too! Oh yes! 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday to Trooper!!

    I love those Jesse Tree pdfs. I didn’t find these till after I had made mine, but will definitely do them next year, so lovely and easy to print.

  4. I love what you wrote about your son. What a witness you are and he is and your whole family is!
    And wow, you have a lot of Advent going on! I am very in love with the wooden tree your father made.

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