Yarn Along & P,H,F,R for the third week of March

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Happy St. Joseph’s Day (a day late) and Happy First Day of Spring!

I was going to stay up a bit last night and make these two separate posts, but I’m glad I didn’t because we had a preschool night owl. We’re talking wide awake from 3:30-5:30. Two hours doesn’t sound so bad I guess, but it is when she’s constantly crawling in and out of your bed. It’s one of those things you know happens for a reason but I’m not sure what that reason is right now. 😉

I did get more work done on the special vest this week. A few more rows and the back will be done and then I’ll be working on the front.

photo 4Admittedly not the best picture but I took it yesterday hoping to post it then, and the lighting was way off. See the little cable owls there in the front of the vest? I’ve been wanting to do something with cable owls ever since I started knitting again.

Next to the vest is my pile of Lenten reading. Small Steps I’ve been reading since last October. It’s the best I’ve ever done with a daily devotional book, which says a lot. I am almost through with Fulton Sheen’s Life is Worth Living which has been excellent. Guardini’s Learning the Virtues is not a quick chapter book. You definitely need to take it a chapter and a time and ponder it as you go. That book is better than I expected, and I’m only three chapters in. Lent with St. Therese is something I’ve incorporated into our morning prayertime before school so the kids have something to do with me during Lent.

And now….

Pretty

Let’s talk Easter a moment, shall we?

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Easter dresses, specifically! The fabric is from Sarah Jane’s Wee Wander collection. The blue is for Sunshine and the pink for Princess. Miss M is going to wear Princess’ dress from last year because that girl has a surfeit of fancy dresses for Church, let me tell you. She’s finding it very good to be on the receiving end here. Posey will wear the dress and pinafore my mother-in-law smocked for Princess four years ago. I find girls’ church dresses much easier to pass on than their play clothes. It’s all the pastel colors–they attract every stain. Particularly when you’re a toddler fond of frozen blueberry snacks. But I digress. The pattern for this year’s Easter dresses is hot of the presses at Oliver & S. And no, I’m not making these myself. My mother-in-law once again graciously volunteered. 🙂

Meanwhile I’m starting to gather ideas for Easter baskets. Haus Meister and I usually give each other a little something just because and this year our gifts to each other arrived long before I’ve finalized the plans for the kids’ basket.

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A yarn sampler and a homebrew kit. We’re going to be quite happy with our projects in April. 🙂 The yarn is the Billow line from Knitpicks and came packaged as a “Garden Fresh” sampler. I want to make a baby blanket out of it for the Littlest but am not sure yet how to arrange the colors into stripes. I’m trying to finish my other projects first. 🙂

Happy

Ah, Posey Pie’s birthday. It was quite fun. I still don’t have all the pictures but I’ll share some that I do.

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Not very impressed with the crown that Grandma is trying to keep on her head long enough for a picture. In fact, Princess commandeered that crown and is now wearing it like a fascinator, which is pretty amusing.

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The Blueberry Pi Pie! This was Haus Meister’s favorite. I also made an apple pie and a coconut cream pie. Oh so good. Oh so not Lent.

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The loot, comprised of gifts from parents, aunts & uncles and grandparents. Can you tell she’s an English Literature major’s daughter? We needed more board books in our home library and these are all charming. The Cozy Classics Austen ones are hilarious–felt dolls acting out scenes from the books and one word descriptions of the scene introduce the youngest reader to Jane Austen. The S&S opposites primer was quite amusing as well. Those are holy cards on a keyring for Mass as well as the faith related board books. At Christmas I gave the little girls a “first Bible board book” but learned quickly that we couldn’t bring it to Church as they would look at the animal pages and loudly inform me what sounds each animal made.

And incidentally, that’s the third copy of 1 is One that we’ve owned. You know it’s good when you go through so many copies.

Funny

Dino was here.

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I walked into the boys’ room to put their laundry on their dressers (ostensibly so they would actually put it away) and nearly tripped over his collection.

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Last night I sent the kids downstairs to clean the family room/playroom and instead they seemed to have artistically rearranged the toys. On top of the rug that is in sore need of a good clean. The person at the foot of the table is getting a good deal of protein in their diet. 😉

Real

The pies I did well. The cake for St. Joseph Day? Not so well.

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I noticed as the layers were baking that while I had separated the five egg yolks and added them to the mixing bowl, I had neglected to add the five egg whites. And to please a family member who doesn’t like cream cheese, I used  Greek yogurt in the icing but something tells me that wasn’t the best substitution. I was going to joke that “this is cake baking with pregnancy brain” but seeing the list angle of our layer cake I realized that no, about 50% of my cakes turn out that way. This one particularly channels the cake I made long ago for my parents’ 19th Wedding Anniversary. Both that cake and this reminded me of the cake in Sleeping Beauty that the fairy tries to prop up with a broom, and both also had very drippy powdered sugary icing. The kids, however, loved this cake. Miss M is about to steal a finger of icing there, and I caught her with Sunshine later scooping up the icing that spilled off the cake with an ice cream scoop. This is probably why Sunshine had such an awake night. You’d have thought it would have given her a sugar coma. Ah well…

Yarn Along: Raindrop Cardigan on the road!

Two weeks back I wrote about starting the Raindrop Cardigan. Unfortunately I had to frog all my work and restart because I thought I had cast on the correct number of stitches that late night I began and didn’t recount. It ended up I was making a cardigan two sizes too large with a pattern allowing 2-4″ positive ease.

As my three year old says: “Whoopsie.”

So as we hit the road to St. Louis I recast the sweater. I wanted to write about it as we drove, since we traveled on a Yarn Along link-up day, but all you would have seen was this:

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While in St. Louis, Haus Meister let me pick out a Mother’s Day gift here:

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Of course I can’t help myself in these places. I left with a Mother’s Day gift and an Anniversary gift and something rather frivolous.

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I don’t know what this will be yet, but it sparkles. I have at least two girls who will love it.

Meanwhile, I actually haven’t touched my knitting since we arrived home late Sunday, but I unpacked it this morning to help incentivize me. I want to have this finished by next week! (Cue maniacal laughter)

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Reading-wise, I’m perusing curriculum ideas for next year, because somehow it seems the thing to do as this school year scrambles to a finish. I’m highly interested in this social studies course since one of the kids will be studying American history next year. I think the Little House class will make a great supplement.

Happy knitting!

A very good day

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Posey Pie “watches” the Pope offer Mass at St. Anna’s in the Vatican.

What a week this has been. Ever since the white smoke was seen on our media screens last Wednesday afternoon, we seem to have been in a state of jubilation.

(Well, almost. There’s been some hiccups relating to homeownership I’ll save for another post.)

We love our new Holy Father.

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I’ve been getting to know more about him through the Vatican Radio website, a site I’ve been following ever so closely since the first news of the resignation of Pope Benedict (for whom we still pray and still love) and then the conclave. And what neat things we’ve witnessed! First Pope from the Americas, first Pope named Francis… not among the papabile picked by the mainstream American media. Then the pictures of him paying his own bill, riding public transportation, washing the feet of mothers in a maternity center, standing outside  a parish church in the Vatican to greet those who attended Mass–and the crowd gathered just beyond–as if he was an ordinary pastor. As if he wasn’t giving the Swiss guards and Vatican security a bout of cardiac arrest.

Then reading as I did last night:

An historic first will grace the Mass, March 19, that will inaugurate the pontificate of Pope Francis . After a separation of nearly 1,000 years, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople will attend the inauguration of the Pope of Rome.

That’s huge. What an amazing period of Church history we’re in.

One thing that makes me particularly happy is that the kids seem really to connect with him. We’ve always talked about the Pope, always mentioned that we pray for his intention at the first “Our Father” of every nightly Rosary, but I don’t know if they really made a connection with Pope Benedict and his role in our church. After all, Princess still thinks our parish priest is the Pope. But now that they’ve been watching the coverage of the resignation, the move to Castel Gandolfo, and everything since, suddenly it clicked. Pope Francis is our Pope. We belong to this family.

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And when today I printed out a coloring page of Pope Francis along with another of St. Joseph to have the kids commemorate the big events of today, the kids went wild.

It is a good day to be Catholic. A very good day.

Week Recap

The week ahead promises to be chock-full of its own amazing news so I want to put up some pictures before things start rolling around here. We’ve been thrown off as usual by the “spring forward” of Daylight Savings Time (my annual groan) and with Posy Pea’s arrival imminent we decided to take Spring Break this week instead of next. This morning we had the unprecedented experience of two night owls as Miss M and Sunshine decided to be bright eyed and bushy tailed from 3am-present (well, except for Miss M, who crashed around 6:45), and as I struggle to keep the eyes open I realize our Spring Break decision was probably amongst the wisest academic decisions I made this year. 😉

So without further eloquence…

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My foyer shelf, all decked out for March and April. Gardening ….

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…and Spring Cleaning are on the mind.

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Getting out on the “last” cold weekend before Easter (the previous weekend).  Haus Meister took the big kids back to the lake for another nature walk (and yes they did return with another driftwood piece).

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Two boys lost a tooth this week, one of them for the very first time!

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An aunt and cousins came to visit and stay with us for a few weeks while we wait for Posy Pea and welcome her home! The children are loving the captive audience of their 5month old littlest cousin.

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Reading assignments are less of a chore with such a smiling face next to you!

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The oven fix mentioned a few posts ago worked for the door for all of three uses (not Haus Meister’s fault), but the error code soon returned and was replaced by another, indicating that we’d need to replace the entire control panel for the oven. As the door was still crooked, the temperature sensor still faulty, and now that, we decided just to replace the oven. What joy! What rapture!

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Over the past weekend the weather warmed up, and so what did the corgyn do? They decided to stay glued to an inside wall. I question their intelligence.

When Miss M and Sunshine, in complete juxtaposition to their actions this morning, granted me a free hour on Friday afternoon by napping after school–both of them, at the same time–I decided to bring out my sewing machine. Almost eighteen months ago I packed up the machine because it kept tangling the thread on me as I tried to make some homemade gift bags during an Advent season. I had a pile of mending to do and figured I would at least see if I needed the machine serviced. To my surprise, the machine behaved itself and I was able to knock several mending projects off my to-do list. What a relief–I love to sew, but mending is my bane. How ironic is that? I also found a pair of cotton nightgowns at the bottom of my mending pile that needed to be scrapped. I upcycled the lower parts of them into petticoats/slips for my daughter and niece.

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The girls were quite excited and wore the petticoats over their skirts the rest of the day.

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With the balmy Spring air coming in from the deck door, the sunshine softly lighting the room, the recliner beckoning for impatient children to rest in while I “sew them up something,” and the corgi chewing on something or other down there, I become more and more convinced that I appropriated the best room in the house for my sewing nook. It’s not going to turn into a dining room again anytime soon.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

 

No Yarn-Along linkup this week, due solely to the fact that I forgot to take pictures of my continued progress on Roaring Meg and also because yesterday was a crazy busy day involving the usual school routine as well as taking three children to well-child check-ups and scheduling other appointments.  Besides, you don’t want to think my life revolves around yarn, do you? 😉 That’s just my ‘free’ time. 😉

Pretty

I went through the girls’ clothes to move out the stuff they’d outgrown and bring up some things from the bins to help get through the last weeks before Spring. And since I was down there already, I brought up some little things that we look forward to seeing again very soon. Seven weeks. It’s incredible. My cousin and I were due around the same day but I have a feeling since her son’s birth will be a scheduled c-section, she’s going to beat me here. Please keep them and their darling son in your prayers.

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Happy/Real

Ever since Paintfest 2012 I have been careful not to put anything on the walls. Funny how my nonchalance about taping random school papers to the wall disappeared once the wall was a color we loved. Now I’ve organized everyone’s lesson plans onto the bulletin board, and while special papers do get displayed now and again, they also get put away in the kids’ binders that much faster.

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And also because I saw how quickly a poster board could be destroyed if it fell. I had moved them to my cutting table in my nook while the painting was going on. I guess I didn’t anticipate little hands would be reaching for them!

Who, me?
Who, me?

She’s also good at rearranging the Christmas card basket. I honestly can’t guess who we’ll be praying for at the beginning of the meal because the basket is constantly in flux.

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No, I didn’t intentionally put her that close to the sideboard. She pushed her chair over there and then sat in it.

Funny

One night as I walked around the house I came across this guy on the floor.

I was a little taken aback.

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My first thought was: Jesus?

Then: Sully from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman? Qui-Gon Jinn?

(as the children have seen neither that retired TV show or any other Star Wars than 90% of Episode IV, those were unlikely but the thought was there nonetheless.)

So I went to the children to ask for the story behind this fellow. Finally Princess admitted to having constructed this particular mini-figure.

“It’s Granddad!” She says happily.

I looked at the minfig again.

There’s probably no way my father-in-law ever had such long and luxurious hair, even in the ’70s. Or if so, no photographs remain. 🙂 It is definitely not the case now.

So we gave “Granddad” a haircut.

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And now he just looks like Obi-Wan in Episode 3.

{Pretty, happy, funny, real}

Pretty

I wanted to get a picture of this before it comes down this weekend to make room for our Advent tree. 🙂 This was our “thankful wall.” Last year I had high ambitions for copying other people’s ideas and make an actual tree on the wall out of brown construction paper and then add a leaf every day. Well, two days in the toddlers had ripped half the tree off the wall. So this time I cut out leaves and the kids and I came up with ideas on most of the days this month and then I taped them to the wall, out of reach of the toddlers. 🙂

The lovely and elegant Miss M, who after arriving at her cousin’s house this Thanksgiving, immediately appropriated the best kids’ chair in the place. Seriously, we worried that she’d try and drag it home with us. 😉

Happy

It’s the Pink Puffer Coat girls!

That would be Sunshine and her cousin of the same age, burning off energy at the playground on a rather chilly day after Thanksgiving. We didn’t stay out long.

Miss M and her littlest cousin know exactly what to do on the day after Thanksgiving!

Funny

The boy brings me his LEGO guy and said: “I put the girl’s hair on him and made him look like Luke Skywalker!”

He has a point.

Real

I’m a genealogy nut. I love learning the history of our family and was thrilled in high school to have a look at the extensive genealogy my uncle was compiling of my dad’s side of the family. We’ve been in this country since the late 1700s and I’m in the ninth generation. There has been an ancestor or current living relative in nearly every war this country has fought. After our wedding I learned that I wasn’t the only one with relatives in Indiana. Haus Meister’s mother’s family–whom heretofore I had assumed were as Southern as can be–had ancestors that lived in a little town not twenty minutes from where I grew up. One of them was a Quaker who left the church to fight in the Civil War–even in the local battlefield hereabouts–writing home very often and distinguishing himself enough to earn a promotion to First Lieutenant before the war was over (I confess I’m a bit jealous. My Civil War ancestor wasn’t as illustrious). He then came home, resumed his Quaker religion, became a county assessor and died in 1917. I heard that Haus Meister’s late grandfather had spent the time on our wedding weekend to go the little town and see the house where his own grandfather had lived and presumably visit the graves of his family. I found the house myself on a previous trip, but until this time we didn’t know where the cemetery was that the Lieutenant rests in. Thanks to findagrave.com (how’s that for a macabre name!), we learned that not only the Lieutenant but his son and grandson–Haus Meister’s other direct relations–are buried there. So we made time this weekend to try and find some of them before Mass last Saturday. Fortunately, we found the Lieutenant and his wife.

Now that we know where to go, we’ll do some more family history and find the others next time.

And for some REAL on a somber note, please click this link for something that affects anyone related to a person with disabilities, particularly children.

Still looking up….

I just wanted to thank those of you who commented on my blog post last Friday either verbally or otherwise. One problem with “keeping it real” is that within about 15 hours I felt like a huge whiner and just wanted to delete the post off the face of the earth. But I didn’t. I do want to add that I never expected homeschooling to be the One Perfect Goal to Shelter My Children from All Imaginable Evil. That’s not why we do what we do. Perhaps some of you thought it odd that I should have been so cut up that a special needs nearly 9yr old was shunned or that a 7yr old got his feelings hurt. I do want to clarify that I wasn’t cut up because “oh, we’re homeschoolers, that should not happen amongst us!” No, I was cut up because I’m their mom. And I feel their hurt.

Meanwhile, we did have a glorious Fall weekend and we did manage to take a bunch of random family pictures for the annual Christmas card, none of which made the final cut. I did make the unfortunate comment to my husband, “Well, we can rule out the formal backgrounds,” as I browsed Shutterfly, unaware that he had just taken a drink. 😉 Upon recovering he instantly agreed. I do have a couple of shots that I will print for the family archives. I have a scrapbook someone gave me in 2004 and in it I put each year’s family picture, and there’s a slot for every year until 2o24. It’s hard to imagine right now how our family photo will look then. I hope we are all going to be facing forward, at least! Or goodness–will we even have photos then? For those of you interested, in this year’s card I chose a layout that had enough picture spots for each of us (without looking like the Brady Bunch) and fortunately the children all obliged me by smiling individually for the camera. And I did it this early because it was on sale! Yippee!

We have a fun week ahead. I’m going to make pumpkin pancakes in the morning and we are going to begin putting up Thanksgiving pictures. Thanksgiving has been forgotten by the commercial decorating world, except for those monstrous inflatable turkeys you see in people’s yards. I rather miss plain autumn decor in stores, you know? Luckily I have my stash from college still out, and I need to bring up my pilgrim candlesticks. Rascal is going to finish out a level of reading this week, a big triumph for him. So no, if I’ve been away from the keyboard it’s not that I’m still having a bad day. It’s just that we had a couple of good days, and now things are as always still looking up. 🙂

P.S. I did call the funeral home on Saturday and reported the missing vase from Jacob’s grave. The kind gentleman did ask me whether the vase was gone or perhaps just inverted. I felt for a second like the lady who calls the Geek Squad when really her computer was unplugged, but I confidently asserted that “Um, no, I could stick my hand in the hole that was left there.” Whereupon he instantly said “aha” like the game was afoot and told me to call back Tuesday when the boss would be in the office. So, we’ll see where this goes.

Oh, you mean *that* Peter.

Monday, a very wet, miserable Monday found us at our homeschool co-op as usual. The head teacher in the preschool room told a Bible story about Jesus talking to the Apostles–the famous “fishers of men” story. She then asked the circle of youngsters around her whether any of them knew who Peter was.

At this time my Princess jubilantly throws her hand in the air and cheers: “He’s a Rabbit!”

 

No, sweetheart, not that Peter. 😉

School Days

Tomorrow another academic adventure begins! This year our week will begin with co-op day, enjoyed by all. I hope for a smooth transition accordingly.

*Update: the first day went very well all things considered. I just have to remember one thing: MAKE LUNCHES THE NIGHT BEFORE!

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What They Said…

I loved this post. Please stop by and read!

Men without chests, or, what C. S. Lewis made me think about. 

by Leila.

But please come back, because I have a reminder about something going on tomorrow that affects our family and every family with a disabled member. It’s that pesky UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. While it was prevented from getting a full Senate vote, it does still go before the special committee for a vote tomorrow. Unlike most government actions these days, it does seem to have a bipartisan following. However, this is still a wrong move for our country. I’m not against our disabled countrymen having wheelchair ramps available when they travel overseas, don’t get me wrong, but do we have to adopt international laws to do so? Can’t we work something out without going to the UN? It’s Article 7 of this Convention that bothers me, and anyone else like me who is responsible for an impaired child’s education. It states that the government can step in and decide the child’s education if it is deemed in the child’s best interest. Hello? This government that can’t balance its own budget suddenly is given the right to arbitrarily decide where Trooper is going to go to school? Anyone else see a problem with this?
So, please, please call your Senators and ask them to oppose this. It opens up things that had best be left alone. Because if the government decides they know what is best for disabled kids today, what’s going to stop them from deciding what’s best for typical children tomorrow?
And if you want a better written idea of what I just tried to say, please check out this one from the Home School Legal Defense Association.  
Thanks!