Sacraments and Special Needs

This past Sunday, our Sunshine received her First Holy Communion. It’s an amazing day for any child growing up in the Catholic Church, but for those who need a little extra help/patience/encouragement/etc., it’s a triumph.

This Sunday was all hers.

Picture by Grandpa Mark

A little over a year ago, we were saying goodbye to dear Ms Connie in the nursery of our previous parish. I gave Ms. Connie my tried-and-true recipe for Cranberry Cider Jelly since she had liked it and we wouldn’t be there at Christmas to gift her another pint. She has been working Sundays at the nursery for a couple of decades, watching rambunctious young ones so the parents can attend Mass. Or, in our case, hugging the enthusiastic ASD child who towers over the wee ones and who came every Sunday with her little sisters to play in the nursery while I watched Mass on the big screen TV until Communion, when one of my older children would relieve me as soon as they had received and I rushed into church, hoping not to be late. That was our season at that time and at that place in our lives. Sunshine was too loud and fidgety in the pews to often sit through Mass, and if a toddler was overly rambunctious we often resorted to the nursery, and of course she came along, for she remembered the toys.

As we prepared to move, I realized we would likely be in a unique position with no other help besides “homegrown family help,” and no nursery with a big screen Mass viewing TV!!! Masses are still our weekly lessons in humility as we still have toddlers. And Sunshine still fidgets in her seat, still wants to greet babies near her, and examine the rings of all ladies in a certain radius of her chair.

BUT.

The first Sunday we attended Mass here last year we had to motion to the Deacon that she wasn’t able to receive Communion despite her willingness. After Mass, he asked me how old she was, and I admitted she was old enough chronologically, but academically she was in first grade thanks to developmental delays, ASD, etc etc. He smiled at me and said joyfully, “Anyone who wants to receive Communion that badly has a right to receive. Let’s see what we can do about this.”

Another tiny victory: the last time I had a picture of her with that hairstyle was in 2012. She seems to have gotten past the self-haircut stage…

I was in shock. As we drove out of the parking lot, I turned to Haus Meister and asked, “Do you think she could?”

She not only could. She did.

March 23rd she made her First Confession. I had prepped her in advance by working at home with the church’s course (DynamicCatholic.com) and through a little comic book I made for her of ‘[Sunshine] receives her first Sacraments.” She loved it and wanted me to read it often. On her First Confession Day, she wrote out her small transgressions on a piece of paper. When it was her turn, she entered the small chapel where confessions are heard with her face beaming. We could see her through the glass doors, and the beatific smile on her face is something I will carry with me forever. The DRE put a hand on my shoulder and whispered. “She’s doing great!” At that moment I saw Sunshine hand Father her list, and she smiled all the time, and he blessed her, and I realized that if anyone in the church at that moment wasn’t breathing, it was me. So I reminded myself to breathe.

Seconds later, Sunshine came out of the chapel and fist-bumped the air. “I did it!”She shouted. ‘I remembered everything!” Then we went into the main church and she recited out loud one Our Father and one Hail Mary, which in itself is a huge matter as she does not ever willingly pray out loud. The only fly in the ointment was that I had forgotten to mention in our comic book just HOW MANY Sundays would elapse between First Confession and First Communion. The book made it look like it would happen immediately. After she cried at the end of Communion the next day because she was so ready, we made a countdown on the kitchen calendar for her to see and every Sunday I’d remind her that it was 5-4-3-2-1 Sundays until the day.

6:30am May 5. “Mom? Can I put on my dress and veil now?” For a 10:45am Mass!

This photo stole my heart. She was so nervous and happy all at once. And the azaleas seemed to hold out just long enough for this moment.

I approached the First Communion rehearsal with some trepidation. Her ASD + ADHD had prevented her from sitting in regular 2nd grade CCD (so much more fun to be with her sisters in the K/1st room where there was a kids’ Bible and crayons EVERY week). I figured she would sit with us in a pew and I would go up to Communion with her. But I reckoned without her. She sat with her class. She processed in–and out–with her class. And when the glorious moment arrived when, as she reminded me before Mass, “The King of Heaven is coming to my heart,” she was there on her own. Our pew was across from the pews of the First Communicants, and as the rest of the parish filed through the Communion line, she whispered, “Mom? Did I win?”

“Yes,” I whispered back. “You won. You did it.”

She did it. And He helped her. Because when someone wants to receive Jesus so much, there’s no reason to keep her in a nursery! Not toddlers or folks who get annoyed at her involuntary loudness or fidgetyness.

She won.

Recovery

Is it harder to recover from an illness or to recover from recovering from an illness? That’s the question that has been occupying me this week.

Sunshine enjoys the last snow of the winter this past March.

Ironically, I’m not the one who was very sick. In fact, few of us were, but when a viral cold hits a family hard, all of us are affected in some small way. Monday morning I looked down from the “gallery” or “top deck” or “open foyer” and wondered when the last time that was cleaned. Or that. Or that, that, THAT. Ack!!! Time to get down to brass tacks.

Happy 2019 “Sibling Day” to my little sister, the only person in the world, besides my husband, and our parents, who can “get” all my jokes. I love you, Kiddo.

We had an excellent March, dear reader, mostly because the month gave us Spring Break in the form of two extended visits from both sets of grandparents. My parents came first, bringing as a surprise for the cousins, my sister and her children (we hope Uncle Dan can come out soon as well, but as a tax accountant he was much needed at work)! It was the first time we had all been together since Bright Eyes’ Baptism in Sept., 2017. Fortunately, everyone got along as if no time had ever separated us. The teenage/preteen boys tried to pull pranks on their Grandpa Mark, but they soon found that you can’t kid the champion kidder. Mwa-ha-ha-HA.

Posey thinks grandparents, an aunt, and cousins, makes a 6th birthday just that more special!

Haus Meister’s parents came to visit at the end of the month and we had a jolly time with them as well. Hikes, sewing for Princess & Grandma, teepee building, and board/card games filled our extended weekend and we were, as always, so sorry to see them go.

Ugh, sick days are bad. Until someone turns on “Kipper the Dog”!

Fortunately for them, however, they left just in time as Viral Cold 2.3 hit the children. Bright Eyes and Rosebud tested our new pediatrician office’s ability to handle dual sick kid visits on a Monday (they pass!). One by one, everyone fell prey to it in varying levels. I was probably the last man standing through most, through a mix of sheer stubbornness, turmeric, bone broth, and the grace of God. Not to mention the fact that Rascal and I were registered to run a 5k race last Saturday, and neither of us wished to miss it. We probably could have done better had both of us admitted to our condition, but neither of us did, and despite that I’ll have nightmares about the second hill until I run it again, he scored second best in age group, and I even managed a personal best, so what’s to lose?

That boy in the white shirt beat his ol’mom by about a minute and was so upset he missed his target time…until that moment, when his name was called for second place.

But as I said, Monday arrived, and I saw all that had been undone in a week of sick-care, and as we were all well enough to go back to school and chores, so we did. Our life may be chaotic, but though it may sound silly, one of my life’s goals is to provide coziness to a home, and too much gone awry shakes even my incredibly complacent self. Suffice to say, Monday shook it. Now, on Wednesday night, as I type, we are as relatively close to normal as we can get. HA.

Don’t kid yourself; one of the girls picked this flower long ago.

That being said, the notice arrived from the hatchery that our postal label has been created. Our new chicks will arrive soon! Our littlest one can barely stay inside and hangs around the barn like a child in a Tasha Tudor painting. We scramble to finish assignments and tests. Our back porch container garden is slowly coming to form. The kids are planning for summer break, and I am looking over enrollment forms and marvel that, come August, I will have both a high-schooler and a kindergartener in our 21st century “1 room Schoolhouse.”

“Normal,” for us, is certainly a lot different from what is “normal” for everyone else. And as I try to ignore the chaos in my laundry room, I lift my glass and declare that it’s all just fine.

And it is.

Monday Night Musings from Misselthwaite

Come to think on it, that blog title sounds like it should be some sort of “Secret Garden” fanfic piece, but no, it’s just yours truly blowing the dust off the blogosphere and settling in for a bit.

A long bit, I hope.   I have missed writing here.

We are ten days out from our move-aversary.  A year from the date that we pulled away from our second house in the sunrise of a lovely Tennessee Spring day.  One 12-passenger van stuffed to the gills with children and miscellany, a row boat strapped to the top, and pulling a Uhaul trailer stuffed with mattresses and lamps for our bivouac in the big empty new house until the movers would follow with our main furniture. One Audi wagon stuffed with our duffles and spare things, and houseplants.  I was determined we needed to bring those ourselves.  Just like I was determined not to leave behind our outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother, and the rocks we had brought home from our family vacation to Haus Meister’s late grandparents’ house on Burt Lake, Michigan, the previous summer. Yes, I insisted on rocks. They had been brought back from the kids’ new favorite vacation spot and we still had talked about where we had found them. Little gestures of the familiar.

Rascal and I were in charge of the Audi. We listened to “Ember Falls” on Audible. We passed through Knoxville and I spoke to him of his late great-grandparents’ house. There would have been daffodils in the woods around their home by this time. The first time I visited Haus Meister’s grandparents’ house, before we were even engaged, I loved it. I loved the welcoming house, the congenial hosts, the large yard with gently rolling slope down to a babbling creek, and the woods in the back. I always thought it would have been ideal for children to grow up in that place.

Our move was a leap of faith. We were going to a city with some familiarity only to Haus Meister, who had visited it on business for some time now. Only he had seen our house in person. We had each seen it online, and I had dismissed it at first. The house looked too large, too pretentious. I had been looking for a modest Cape Cod. But then I looked past the original photo of the house’s exterior, and fell in love. I texted Haus Meister who was at work at the time and said, in effect, “even if this is an impossibility, I have to see what this stairwell looks like.” It was an open stairwell to a second floor gallery open to the living spaces below. Honestly, I envisioned my children running around it just like Sr. Mary Benedict imagined her school children running in Mr. Bogartus’ building (“Bells of St. Mary’s.” You should see it some time).

The stairwell sold me.

This was shortly after the furniture arrived. It took me 10 months to know what to put on that wall upstairs. For the record, the baby of the family became an expert stair navigator even before she walked unassisted.

That gray January day he navigated a route now familiar and investigated the house for me. Just a look at the land and the house sold him. He knew it would be a home place, like his grandparents’ had been for his family. We still looked around, but as we did, every potential house was snapped up in the kind of market we would have loved at the time we were trying to sell the Old Haus (family annals 2011-2015).

(Incidentally, I did drive past the Old Haus once before the move. I had to say goodbye. They had my curtains still hanging in the kitchen window.)

So while we tried to make the Tennessee house look like something that hadn’t been toddler-scarred for the past six years, we were in contact with lovely realtor who worked hard to find us a spot. And God closed doors and opened windows until it came down to the moment that it would be this house.

Sometimes I still can’t believe it.

I just know I drove up to it that afternoon in March and said aloud, “Oh good, it looks cosier than the pictures!”


Moving day was Posey’s 5th birthday and for months after she would brag, “I got the Big Blue House on my birthday.” I fretted that we didn’t have a cake. I spent no little time wondering how to acquire a cake for her. In the end, we found our realtor had been to Sams and left some food in the home for us. She included a massive tray of cookies that became Posey’s birthday treat, but in the euphoria of seeing her new home she didn’t mind at all. So of course, the photo I have is of her not smiling. She’s fourth from the left at the island.

It was Posey’s 5th birthday and for months after she would brag, “I got the Big Blue House on my birthday.” We would occasionally remind her that she wouldn’t get that big a gift next year (although she has a house-sized gift list, and all pink.) I fretted that we didn’t have a cake. I spent no little time wondering how to acquire a cake for her. In the end, we found our realtor had been to Sams and left some food in the home for us. She included a massive tray of cookies that became Posey’s birthday treat, but in the euphoria of seeing her new home she didn’t mind at all.

For two weeks, the island pictured above was our kitchen table, precisely because our tables were being packed in Tennessee. Even now, we gravitate toward the island at mealtimes. At one point, the island was the only thing that worked perfectly in that kitchen–and even then, we had to replace the garbage disposal in that sink now that I recall.) We were soon to replace every major appliance. The wall oven we have eeked along on a wing, prayer, and online manual. It is dark in the areas behind because the kitchen had the only working lights in the house. Everywhere else there were burned-out bulbs from a house too long empty. The lamps we had brought went into the living room and bedrooms. Even now, this past winter has definitely taught us which parts of the house needs the most hygge.

It’s still hard to put into words all the emotions of moving day. Perhaps that is why it has taken me over eleven months to attempt to try. For the record, we feel entirely at home here, and love our new home. And do you know? The moment we walked through the front doors (which may be replaced this year with something that insulates), the kids rushed up the stairs and began to run around the gallery, just as I imagined they would.

And they still do.

Catching Up

Pray, dear reader, bear with me as I try to sum up the greatest whirlwind adventure of our family’s recent history.  In the past month, we’ve picked up and moved a state away and found ourselves in a house twice as big as our previous one with six times the land!

And we had no idea this was coming until shortly before Christmas.

Friends, we are home now in Misselthwaite.  I began to call it thus about four days after our arrival.  We relocated to a huge empty house in the country, a house that had been left to itself for around 18 months and whose grounds had been basically overgrown.  Because it was the perfect time of year to listen to “The Secret Garden” on Audible (or read it in actual book format), we had it playing as we unpacked and I realized that we had landed in our own Secret Garden of sorts.  A house left alone had become a HOME again, and we were waking up along with it.  So I determined one rainy Monday that this house is our own Misselthwaite Farm (not Manor, it’s not THAT grand; we don’t have a “hundred rooms”.

But it is a farmette, of sorts, because we have an overgrown grapevine, and we have chickens.

That’s right, dear readers, seven years from the time we were building the “Poulet Chalet” in the backyard of the Old Haus–which had to be abandoned because we moved to an absolutely wonderful neighborhood in every respect except not chicken friendly–we quickly made good on a promise to the older kids that they could have their chickens at last… by acquiring four Buff Orpington chicks, five Barred Rocks, two Rhode Island Reds, and an Easter Egger from the local True Value even before the rest of our furniture arrived.

Because we are crazy like that.  And you know, it is not a bad thing.  Did you know that chickens are hilarious and sort of calming to watch? No, I’m not insane, just hie thee to the nearest “Chick Days” location and watch the little ones scurry about the brooder.

Besides, we acquired a CAT a week before we moved to help Sunshine cope with the transition. And he did.  He’s Patrol Cat in the evenings now, but he lets her cuddle him when she needs the extra comfort.  We sadly lost Pippin, last of the corgyn, in September when his back broke after jumping out of a bathtub, and I had sworn then that nary a pet would we have until Bright Eyes was at least of kindergarten age…  We make plans, and God chuckles.

We have twelve chickens and we are on the waiting list for RABBITS, but when God gives you six acres, why not?

So, why are we here? Because Haus Meister was offered a new position in his company. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Do we miss our old home? We miss our family members and the friends we had to leave behind.  You can’t have fifteen + years of roots and not feel the pangs when uprooted.

But….

We look at each other every day and wonder at the generosity of a Providence that remembered our dreams and granted them when we least expected.

There’s a mountain view at the end of my driveway. Our house is nestled in a valley. I counted twenty deer in the clearing across from my kitchen window on Holy Thursday, and after Easter all of a sudden some wild turkeys showed up. The wild birds have discovered our bird feeders at last (there’s a downy woodpecker couple that think we put up that suet block just for them).

We mourned leaving our wonderful parish Church, and then found ourselves in a little stone church in the country (and when I say “little” I mean it could fit in a quarter of our dear old minor basilica) who welcomed us with open arms.

We mourned leaving our friends, and were greeted by neighbors who brought over fresh eggs from THEIR backyard coop (!), flowers from their garden, goodies from their kitchen, and wine from the local area.  As a thank you, I tried to make a lemon pound cake loaf for them but forgot to add the eggs so fell back on my very favorite chocolate-chip cookie receipt.

And for the first time in three years, the kids had a good snow to enjoy.  And they, themselves, even as they write notes to the friends they left, can’t help but tell me how happy they are.  Rascal himself came up to me on his own and said, “I feel like I’m getting stronger here.  Like Colin in ‘The Secret Garden’!”

Stay tuned, dear reader, for more “Misselthwaite Matters.” Or in regular parlance, the antics of our family as we adjust to life in the country!

And I will post pictures…once our internet catches up…because we are in the COUNTRY!

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Merriest Christmas

From all of us, to all of you!

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It’s been quite a year, and quite a holiday.  I’m still working on cards and still trying to get the baking done this year! Happy 2nd Day of Christmas!

“Bright Eyes,” the littlest of the family, is peeking out on Rascal’s lap. You will hear more about her soon.

 

Ups, downs, and joys

(She was slightly “over” the monthly sticker thing this month)

I’m not going to begin this blogpost with yet another apology about life catching up with us or time flying by.  These days, it seems to be a given.  Four kids have had growth spurts sending me scrambling to find seasonal clothing to fit them in time for the next heat wave and summer vacation.  We renewed our enrollment with Seton Home Study School for another academic year.  I’m grateful for a solid education for our children and also a special services department that helps me find great resources for Trooper and Sunshine.

Little Bit turned three earlier this month.  She’s such a feisty, imaginative little imp. She loves to trot around the house carrying her brown-and-white stuffed dog, whom she has named “Snowy” after the dog in the Tintin books.  She’s talking up a storm and asking all sorts of questions, mainly beginning with “What’s THAT?”

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Spring has brought a spot of nature to our yard.  We have apples on our two apple trees this year, and we have had not one but three house finches nesting in our porch eaves.  Just when one set fledged and we thought it would be time to pressure wash the porch down at last, two more nests appeared almost overnight!

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And then there was the episode of the stray cat.  I had seen that cat a few days before, looking utterly bedraggled, but it hadn’t stayed around.  Then, on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Miss M happened upon it in our driveway. She immediately named it “Polka Dot” (it was once a lovely tuxedo/calico kitty).  Rascal and Princess came out and fed it small amounts of food and gave it water.  Polka Dot did not move on that day, as we made a bed for it in a crate and I posted a notice in our neighborhood forum (as well as warning Haus Meister about it via text, since he was away on business).  Close to dusk, the trio moved Polka Dot into our fenced backyard deck area so it would be safe from the coyotes in the area.  However, we were the last stop in Polka Dot’s nine lives, and Mother’s Day morning found me digging a quick grave in the backyard with Rascal’s help before the smaller girls woke up and wondered where our overnight cat had gone.  A promise of a trip to Dunkin Donuts did much to dry tears (and give me some much needed coffee)! So that’s the tale of our 24-hr cat.

Our Spring has been full of house painting projects but we did turn our attention outdoors a but.  We thought about planting a garden but are satisfied to keep some houseplants alive and two tomato plants on the porch.  After my Texas rosebush came into bloom, I really think I’d like a rose patch.  One bush for each child.  What a fun variety, and a tribute to St. Mother Teresa’s famous quote, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Which brings me to the big news of this update:

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We knew officially that she was coming on my birthday back in January and she will join us around Haus Meister’s birthday in September.  What a gift from God!  The kids are quite excited and while the boys were hoping for a brother to counteract the reign of pink in the Haus, they are rather more complacent since we moved them into our old spare room.  Now their LEGOS are safe from the marauding habits of the Toddler Mischief Squad!

That’s all for tonight’s update. I hope this missive finds you all well, and enjoying the early days of summer!  God bless!

Happy Birthday, Posey Pie

Four years ago today, the sun was shining, it wasn’t sleeting, and a perfect new redheaded daughter came into our lives.

Although it might be pointed out that she didn’t give us much of a chance to see that red hair for about 15 months.


Happy 4th Birthday, our sweet sparkling girl! We love you so much. You dance through our day with such joy!


(Not much changes in two years).

We asked you for weeks what you wanted for your birthday. All you’d say was, “Pink!”

So we made sure that she woke up to a bit of pink.


Again, happy birthday, our precious Posey Pie!

Yarn Along & Recap so far….

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The afternoon sun is out for a moment in between showers of rain.  It’s not very wintry here.  My aunt just posted a picture of snow in Indiana on Instagram, and here I am in the South posting pictures of daffodils.

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Don’t get me wrong; I do wish we had one more good snow before Spring begins in earnest. I wish we hadn’t already had mosquito bites in January.  Overall, though, I’m not complaining because I don’t have to try to drive in the snow. 🙂  If we get more than an inch, none of us go anywhere and we just enjoy the stuff and pray the power stays on. 🙂  Otherwise Haus Meister has to pull the Charles Ingalls routine and chop wood for our wood stove.  I do remember the night he was out at 2am restocking the woodpile because the power had gone down.  How homestead-erish it made me feel!  Ironically, true homesteaders would have had all their wood chopped and near at hand already.  But I digress.

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I finished Haus Meister’s socks/slippers before Candlemas so at least it was technically still in Christmastide. 🙂  I need to work on stitching soles onto slippers but he tells me they are quite comfortable.  I have some yarn I’m going to use for socks for me using the same pattern but without the leather soles.  I enjoyed the pattern a lot.

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My first official project of 2017 ended up being the Antler Toque.  I’m stash busting some Istex Alafosslopi in blue tweed.  Since the dusting of snow around Epiphany reminded me that we are woefully undersupplied in the hats and mittens department, I thought to keep happy doing small quick projects that help me use the yarn on hand.

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This picture was taken last week before I began the cables on the hat.  These are my reads for February.  The Brothers Karamazov is what my sister and I chose to fill the “book of over 600 pages” for our Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 reading challenge.  Some chapters were hard to slog through without Russian v0dka, I’m sure (I didn’t try), but about halfway through I just couldn’t put it down.  Haus Meister kept teasing me about binge-reading, but I was.  I just was.  And then it ended.

Dostoyevsky, if we meet in the hereafter, you must tell me how you were going to wrap up the loose threads at the end of your story. Yes, I do insist there are loose threads at the end of a 718 page novel! The only explanation I can find is that the author was a few months from his own death, but he left one character on the verge of death, and I’d kind of like to know what happened to him.  And two of the others as well! Whom does Alexey marry eventually? What becomes of him?  And Dmitri? Does his plan succeed?  It was the nearest I have come to throwing a book against a wall in a long time–I merely banged the book against my knees. How could it be over at that point?!?!?!  I did actually throw Tess of the D’Ubervilles because it was (in my humble opinion) just awful.  This time, I had come to the end of 718 pages and I wanted a quick epilogue, at least. Note: since writing the above I have learned some editions do have an epilogue; I just happened through frugality to have purchased the one that didn’t. Heh.

Suffice to say, it was a good book.  I’m going over it again, a little more slowly, to see if I missed any clues now that I know how it ends.  Besides, February isn’t over yet.

Different is also a nice book, and definitely not in the same genre as Brothers K, so it’s rather amusing to see them pictured together.  It’s non-fiction and encouraging, like a warm cup of tea from a friend who has been there raising a high needs child.  I have been taking this book slow, reading a chapter every few days, so I’m not finished yet.

In other news….

Happy girls.

Happy boys.  At the end of January, the lads went to Dallas as the support team for Trooper who was due for a trip to his CP specialist.  They had a fabulous time visiting cousins, climbing trees, watching trucks (that’d be Trooper), and seeing the Frontiers of Flight Museum.  Trooper is standing in front of the Apollo 7 capsule.

Trooper is going to be getting new ankle braces soon.  He has totally outgrown his last pair. This guy is growing like a weed!

I’m having fun with a new teapot and new candles, except that one on the right didn’t look as nice once the label was off. It looked like a soft-boiled egg with a wick in the middle. So why did I take a picture of it?  Because I wanted to prove to anyone who heard me vent about it (my mom and sister, mainly), that it looked like a soft-boiled egg.

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This handsome fellow (picture taken by Sunshine), has been busy with more painting.  He did the kitchen, upper half of the basement, and is going to do the classroom in Lowe’s Historic Collection Antique Filoli Lace (which I mention in case I forget and need to look for it again).  The hallway, foyer, and upper living room is rapidly becoming Woodlawn Colonial Gray (from the same collection).

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Better picture forthcoming; this was all I had on my phone.

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As the laundry room was never entirely finished last year, I made up for lost time while the guys were in Dallas and painted the whole in “Craft White.”  It looks so fresh and warm in there now.  These doldrum months between Christmas and Spring is the perfect time to renew the home.  In our case, that usually involves painting, but there it is.

Well, all for now.  Have a great week!

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Remember the days when the messages were embossed on the hearts, and you didn’t have to use Google to know what they said?

 

At Year’s End

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Merry Christmas!

(I can still say that; it’s the 6th day of Christmas)

and Happy New Year soon!

I know 2016 has gotten a bad reputation lately. Ok, it’s been blamed for everything from the weather, to celebrity deaths, to the presidential election.  As if a calendar is really responsible for circumstances, or specifically, how we humans deal with circumstances. Admittedly, back during our long drought and heat wave I was looking forward to 2017 but that’s because we get Winter here from January-early March. 😉

I also realize I was pretty quiet here on the blog. I suppose most of it was the plain busy-ness of our life. I suppose also because it seemed that everything online was about politics. I felt like chiming in, but then I didn’t.  There was so much shouting, so much disrespect, so much MUCHNESS about it all, and the idea of adding anything to it did not appeal. But in abstaining from blogging I forgot the reason I do so….

It’s to share a little of our light with you.

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And if we all snuffed our light because we were afraid of being scorched by others, how can we hope to bring some joy into a world that has had quite enough of all that isn’t?

My aim with this blog is to share the joys and realities of our crazy cosy chaotic family, and to make you laugh while doing so. If I succeed, I am content.

So, without further ado, here’s the sum of 2016 and what you can expect from 2017 here at the Haus.

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Princess Rosebud would like you to know that she has to endure six more of these photo shoots.

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There will be LEGO

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There will be Star Wars (and SW jokes)

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There will be homeschooling! (You got to love fine motor practice. Meanwhile, they balk at the end of Christmas break fast approaching. If you listen hard tomorrow night you’ll probably hear the collective groan).

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There will be knitting! Especially since I’m about 3″ into that second slipper sock!

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There will be books! My sister and I made up a reading challenge together based on one at the 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy site.  Stay tuned for more on that.

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There will be boats.  There will be fun.  There will be a vacation.

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There will be laughter.

There will also be a time when I can keep that workstation cleared off!

Maybe.

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So in this coming “month of hope and new beginnings,” I wish you again a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 See you in January, 2o17, dear readers.

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Oh, what, you didn’t know Tupperware was the latest fashion trend? Well, around here, according to Little Bit, is definitely is.  She raids my Tupperware drawer and keeps clapping one on her head and passing others out to whomever is near.  Yes, she expects you to wear them. One night I was clearing up dinner and suddenly up she pops with a tupperware container.  It happened to be precisely what I needed at the moment so with an absent “Thank you” I began schlopping the soup into container.  Schlopping is a very descriptive word.  Anyway, my attention is grabbed by a heartbroken “Awwwww!” and I turned to see her shuffling off with her tupperware hat on, head bowed, looking for all the world like a pouting Ewok. Ewoks pout, I’m sure.  So, I make a point to wear the hat when it’s offered.

And yes, I do wash them after wearing. 😉

Yarn Along — A knitting buddy?

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Gratuitous baby picture to start this post!

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She’s at long last filling out those booties I knit her this summer!  She’s in them as often as I can find both of the pair!

I’m at that stage of Christmas preparations where despite my early shopping and all my early plans, I still feel a week behind and like there’s a thick fog between me and Christmas with zero hope of accomplishing anything.  I’m still on the first of Haus Meister’s two socks. I’m still wrapping presents.  I’m on the “G” page in our address book for Christmas cards.  The jam hasn’t been made, and the cookies are still in potential (I have the ingredients, but haven’t put it all together).

And then Miss M, chatting to me while coming home from errands tonight, whines that Christmas is taking soooooo looooong to get here. I could use another week of prep, myself. 😉

I say this to dispel the notion that I have it all together. But let’s talk yarn now.

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I took this picture last week for a Yarn Along post that never got written.  I’m about ten rows further on that sock, mainly because little hands got at it and took out the needles about twice a day. The little stockings are two of the four ornament stockings I did finish and will have in four of my children’s St. Nicholas stockings in Dec. 2017.  I am putting a note in my August 2017 planner to start the other five that very month.  Maybe I will put it back until July. That sounds reasonable. See–positive thinking.  I’m not late for 2016 but ahead for 2017!  Right, I don’t buy it either, but it sounds good! 🙂

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Now that bright variegated ball of yarn?  That belongs to our Princess!  Princess came across this book on her shelves and decided she really wanted to learn to knit.  So when we had our visit from St. Nicholas, there was a ball of yarn in her stocking as well as her very very very own first pair of circular needles and stitch markers! She did recognize the yarn as a ball we had dyed using KoolAid something like two years ago, but she didn’t mind and was thrilled with the gift.

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She wanted me to help her start this project that very morning, so we did.  A week later, she’s still excited about it, and still knitting!  She has her own little workbag, made by her Grandma out of fabric that has adorable geese on it.  So she totes her work around, upstairs, downstairs, to Grandma’s house, etc. Grandma and I have both helped with “damage control,” and the little hat definitely has an endearingly lopsided appearance under Princess’ nimble little fingers.  I’m pretty sure she accidentally taught herself short rows at one point and reverse stockinette in another, but for the most part she’s getting the hang of it.

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At this point, and so early in her knitting career, I didn’t have it in me to make her take out all the stitches and redo those spots.  She has ambitions for this hat and a deadline to meet, and I didn’t want to dampen her enthusiasm. I might be stricter with the next project, but at the moment I’m waiting to see if there will be a next project.  I’d love to have a knitting buddy!

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Here’s the book that has been my mainstay this Advent.  I am going to miss this devotional.  I want something like it for every day of the year!  On top of it is a fun mug I received from one of the mothers in our American Heritage Girl Troop (we had a Christmas party and sock gift exchange for the leaders and parent volunteers).  She even made me a darling Swedish Goat felt ornament, because as with every Advent I’m still checking on this guy:

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A little smaller this year, as the usual huge Goat was burned down on the first Sunday of Advent.

So, anyway, up there’s my devotional, my coffee mug, and my husband’s Christmas present.  Because as I said before, it’s God, my husband, and coffee that gets me through.

And knitting.

((And yes, mom, being able to call/text my mom and sister, but a phone would really have not looked good in that picture. ;)))