family life · my thoughts on the subject

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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family life

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.

 

family life

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Waiting and then waiting….

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So our summer began and we had a routine of reading and playing. Princess and Miss M attended their annual summer day camp with our American Heritage Girls troop. It was Miss M’s first week away from parents or grandparents, and even though Princess was in the same park, they weren’t together all the time.  It was rocky on the first day, but by the fourth day she was quite a pro.

The boys had some school to wrap up, and even now, after this week off and next, there’s going to be worksheets as we get stuff done.  I’m enjoying the respite from a full schedule to rest, breathe a little, and begin to plan for the next school year.

Last Saturday I told Haus Meister I felt like a “broody old hen on a nest.” It was as if all I could do was focus on that July 10 due date.  Would she come before I finished knitting her booties? (No, I finished them on the 17th).  Would she come before or during the week my mom and sister planned to spend with us?  I couldn’t answer any of this.  So I found a hat pattern on Ravelry that I could make with the last skein of Knit Picks yarn that I used for the booties.  I cast it on the needles Saturday night.

Pretty

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I finished the hat Sunday night, recovering in the hospital from the surprise arrival of our Rosebud.

Pretty Happy

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7lbs 10oz, 21″, 3:55pm on Father’s Day.

Yes, that’s right. Daddy’s Littlest Girl arrived on Father’s Day. I joked that she was vying for being the official Daddy’s Girl by becoming the best Father’s Day gift ever.

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Because someone asked, that’s not a tattoo on Haus Meister’s hand.  It’s Rosebud’s footprint.  The nurse gave him a footprint stamp after stamping the official paper. 😉

 Real but Happy.

Some Roses, even in June, need some extra help to fully bloom.  Rosebud had some fluid in her lungs so she is in the NICU for a little while.  These pictures are a little delayed, for she is no longer on her CPAP machine.

This is the same NICU where Trooper spent the first 119 days of his life.  We have met nurses and respiratory techs who remember him even now.  As he (understandably) would not voluntarily enter a hospital, it’s been hard to take him back for a visit, so it’s been nice to have a chance to give them a success story.  They are very impressed with the fact that he likes to go indoor rock-climbing!

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This picture is more recent, and was taken last evening when Rascal got to visit his baby sister again.  Her story parallels his more than the dramatic/traumatic story of  Trooper. Rascal had aspirated amniotic fluid at birth and also had to spend the first week of life in a special care nursery, in a different hospital, however.  Her baby pictures are following the same pattern: birth, CPAP machine, nasal cannula, and now we wait for her to be off of that.

We waited months to see her, and now we wait again to bring her home.  She’s worth every second of the wait.

I know I had not expected (based on reasons that I won’t go into since this blog is read by guys who won’t appreciate it,) that this pregnancy was a girl pregnancy. It didn’t feel like it. It resembled in many ways the early pregnancies with the boys.  But obviously even a veteran of ten pregnancies can be wrong on some counts.  I never wanted her to think that I was disappointed that she was a girl.  It’s irrational to think she would think that, but when you’re huge and hormonal it’s hard to be rational anyway. I covered my bases though. One of the first things I said to her after birth was a paraphrase of one of the loveliest lines in Anne of Green Gables.

“It’s a girl. My girl. My girl that I’m proud of.”

Real Funny.

And while we wait, life totally goes on for everyone else. 😉

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family life

Lucky #13

Today is Haus Meister’s and my 13th Wedding Anniversary!!

That was then:

Sappy wedding photo alert
May 31, 2003

This is now.

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The balloon stayed home when we went out for dinner.  I haven’t seen it since we got home, so I assume it lasted the usual average of 3.5 minutes before popping.

Ah, married life.  It’s been such a fun adventure.

Sometimes it looks like this:

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(The Rattlebang Picnic, by Margaret Mahy)

Sometimes like this:

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(The Seven Silly Eaters, by Marla Frazee)

And we’re rather looking forward to a time like this:

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Only with a corgi instead of a cat.  (Thanksgiving is Here, by Diane Goode)

We made up a fun numerical countdown regarding the joys of our happy crazy life, and the ups and downs, past, present, and future… Although don’t consider this is in any way in order of importance.

13 years of happy marriage

12 years of diaper changes

11 gallons of milk a week (I wish we were joking)

10 amazing little (and tall) blessings

9 pairs of shoes to hunt for on Sundays

8 used vehicles

7 years homeschooling

6 years or so left to save for college (EEEEEKK!)

5 bedrooms would be nice…

4 address changes

3 loads of laundry daily

2 runs for the dishwasher

and 1 Pembroke Welsh Corgi!

Thanks, Haus Meister, for 13 fabulous years.  Looking forward to all the many many more.

family life · The Everyday

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real on the cusp of Summer

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

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My quick porch art for the season.  I had to work fast; as soon as the word got out that I had sidewalk chalk in the Haus again, four or five pairs of hands came grabbing for it.

Within the hour, the back deck was decorated.

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Or working on our inner Celtic Warrior Princess.  Either one. 😉

Pretty

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Our 13th Anniversary (Lucky 13!) is on Tuesday.  Last week I had the quick opportunity to zip into the little Zales where Haus Meister had bought my engagement ring 14 years ago and get my rings cleaned.  That had been on my list of things to do for years!  The top ring is a gold band he bought me while we were dating (we liked the design on it), the middle is my engagement ring, and the bottom is my wedding band.  I’ve only been wearing the trio together for about a month, as I like the combination.  Earlier this month, my mother gave me her star sapphire–or Lindy star–ring that she received from her grandmother (my Nana) for her 16th birthday.  I remembered that ring being in the ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TOUCH category in Mom’s jewelry box when my sister and I were little girls looking for her 1980s beaded necklaces or, when older, trying to see who’d get to borrow her Nutcracker earrings first during the Christmas season. 🙂  So when she gave me that ring, well, I wanted to wear it daily lest I lose it.  Or one of my girls take it and lose it. Hence the gold band went from my right hand to my left. 🙂  How’s that for random today?

Happy

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These windchimes I found at Hobby Lobby!

Our Anniversary gift to each other–because we both like cooking–is a new oven range! We’re sappy romantics but we’re also practical.  😉 It arrived yesterday and the box became a backyard fort for a few hours.  Cardboard doesn’t last long around here.

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Rearranging the basement to help give it a more “family room” feel.  We have large tables and wooden chairs upstairs but if you want more comfort, this is the place.

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“Shopping the Haus” for new mantel decor.  I later added a tiny white creamer jug to the right side (it had lost it’s companion sugar bowl) and a blue vase with yellow roses to the left side.

And because my crazy-g0-nuts nesting is still in high gear, I’ve been having fun with the upstairs walls, too.

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Funny

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EEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!! Toddlers with screens!!!!!!!

Oh, and he was complaining that he hasn’t had much presence on the blog.  I told him it’s hard when he tries to avoid the camera.  So he sat still once for a picture.

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Lunch Break LEGO time.  With a Warsaurus.

Real

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Why is it that toddlers want to climb into baby seats?

Things are getting very real over here.  The bassinet is up, the carseat is on its way toward the van, there’s diapers in the closet, little outfits in the drawer, and a bottle on the shelf with the kids’ cups.

Little Bit decided to show up midway through the 37th week, all on her own. I’m just about 34weeks.  Even if Munchkin2 makes us go to 41 this time, I’m going to be ready.  This time.  Maybe.

family life · The Everyday

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real–April Already?!

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I left this blog stuck in the Triduum and here we are in the second week of the Easter Season.  Happy Easter!  He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!

image5An Easter family picture, which pretty much encompasses pretty, happy, funny & real. From the spunky lass who snuck to the back step when she was told to stand in the front, to the boy who forgot to tuck in his shirt, Trooper’s cheesy grin, and Posey pinching me while looking so sweetly… Ah, life.  It’s good.

More “Pretty Happy” about Easter…

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The Lamb cake survived!  I used a Betty Crocker gluten free cake  mix so that our whole party could enjoy it (we had 18 people over for dinner.  It was great!).  Of course, Miss M had to point out that it looked like a dog.  So it’s a lamb-dog cake.  Again.

Happy

Lace curtains always make me happy.

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Little Bit always makes us smile.  Hard to believe she’ll be two at the end of the month.

I promised the boys that we’d begin to do something to their room this month, and no sooner did I begin to try an idea than they ran wild with it and now they’re eager to finish.  It’s a good incentive to get school done. 😉

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We joked that since it matches their Trail Life calendar, then it’s the “Trail Life Room”!

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The Little People Cinderella was totally left there by a little sister who had come in to observe.

I know a lot of the blog pictures have to do with the girls, so here’s the other two boys. 🙂

Funny Real.

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Hello, my nickname is Sunshine, because I’m an energetic warm beam of fun and light in my house. I just lost two front teeth, cut my hair (Dad and Mom did damage control), and specialize in taking phone pictures.  I have been known to take 132 pictures of “Little Bear” while watching it on Amazon Prime.  Lately, Mom found about 30 pictures of random items on the floor before it got swept.  Famously, The Spoon and The Spaghetti Noodle.

Keeping it real, always.

family life

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?

 

 

 

family life · The Everyday

{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.

Advent/Christmas · family life · The fine art of crafting

Goodbye 2015!

YARN ALONG! I can’t seem to get the tag to link up, so I’m just linking in ye old-fashioned way.

Well, it’s been months since I posted on my knitting because frankly, it didn’t seem to change much from week to week.  Some weeks I had only managed a row or two on the way to Mass on Sunday, but I’m happy to say this Christmas break I’ve been able to seriously step up the knitting progress.  The day after Christmas I was able to bind off the body of the sweater, and have been working down the first sleeve ever since. Will I finish it for him during the 12 days of Christmas? To be honest, I have no idea. I want to be done by January 18th, though, as that was the date I cast this sweater on the needles.  Also, I signed on to participate in the Evelyn knit-a-long, this time for something for me, and it starts sometime next month.

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Altogether, though, I’m very pleased with the Armas project.  It took a good deal longer than I thought it would, but that wasn’t the design’s issue but rather my everlasting struggle with time management. 😉

A little light reading this week.  I’m kind of on an Astrid Lindgren kick, having scored Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, as well as Happy Times in Noisy Village on Thrift Books this month. I am not above reading the books I buy for my children, nor do I think anyone should ever be.

Meanwhile we had a very Merry Christmas here at the Haus.  My parents came down for the main holiday, and on Boxing Day we had a big dinner for them, my in-laws, some friends, and our parish priest. What fun!  We aren’t doing a big dinner tomorrow for New Years, but we are expecting more friends to stop over for the night on their travels back home.  It promises to be a fun beginning to a new year.

My resolutions for 2016 seem to be trending toward keeping things running smoothly.  Yesterday I sat down and pencilled out a menu plan for the entire month of January.  Today I began to work on the lesson plans for the month, knowing that I would not want to do that while having our friends over.  My workstation in is the foyer, where I can have a central space to keep track of things. It consists of an old dresser from my grandmother’s house, that keeps our binders, maps, mailing materials, and lesson plans out of sight.  A shelf on the wall above–from my great-grandmother–is the year-round place where I keep the books I’m reading, stationary (if I ever get around to hand-writing an actual letter or sending a real card!), a letter holder for bills, a plant, a picture of Jacob, and a favorite icon. This year I’m trying something new and have Susan Branch’s desk calendar on the wall between shelf and dresser.  My menu plan is to the left of that (with chore rules above), and to the right are favorite drawings from my resident artists.

Now, I would love to say having this workstation means that everything stays neat and tidy, but my husband will be the first to tell you that is not the case, if he were inclined to do so. 😉  And it’s a constant struggle not to let the workstation become the dumpstation. However, at the moment it is looking nice and tidy, which is more than I can say about it’s appearance an hour or so ago:

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And that’s another struggle constant in the household: keeping things running smoothly while raising toddlers!

Here’s farewell to 2015 and a blessed 2016 to all of you with love from all of us!

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family life

Counting my Blessings

We’re going to be hosting the dinner tomorrow, and we’re lucky to have almost all of Haus Meister’s extended family with us.  While I don’t have to do all the cooking, I am roasting a 19lb bird and I have committed to a number of pies, not to mention colcannon, asparagus, and the sweet potato casserole.  And oh, the cranberries…. so I should be baking something right now instead of sitting in front of the screen…. Riiiight.

But I have a lot of fun pictures I’ve been waiting to share and now is a good time.

I’m just so thankful for this rowdy bunch of hooligans.

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They make me rethink my “comfort zone” — for instance, this handsome guy with the toothsome grin JUST lost his second molar. As in, just now came up to me and motioned to his mouth where it was dangling on it’s last gasp and can I just say that extremely loose teeth make me squeamish?! His brothers are the type that will chase after me to show off their loose teeth while I scream, but he doesn’t like it any more than I do (chalk it up to extreme oral sensitivity) and so he waits to ask for help only if he thinks he needs it.  One day he came up from the basement with blood on his face and I ran downstairs expecting broken glass or something but no, he had had a tooth loose and never mentioned it. Just threw it away. Buuuut that’s neither here nor there.  The point is, I swallow my squeamishness and help yank the tooth.  And then I think I’ve made progress until someone tries chasing me with a loose tooth again….

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They make me realize the wonder of God’s creation by asking a zillion questions I can’t always answer without pulling out a book–or Wikipedia.  They make me value my Faith by giving me the chance to pass it on, and help me rejoice by living it themselves.

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They amuse me with a hundred fantastical stories a day, especially those made up on the spur of the moment to hopefully distract me from the fact that I’ve just assigned him a chore…

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They wear princess dresses for “school pictures.” They inspire me with their enthusiasm and creativity and make me really really wish I could knit faster and that my sewing machine worked again. 😉

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They challenge me a hundred ways a day, stretch me further than I thought I could go, and always always always keep me on my toes.

Because honestly, you can’t script moments like these:

(No, no one had the wine.  But we definitely started storing the box wine in a different place after I caught that!)

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They keep me laughing.

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They keep me smiling.

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They melt my heart.  Even as they tear up my house.

And I’m especially thankful for the handsome, loving man who helps keep everything around here, including me, running smoothly.  🙂

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