The Everyday

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Two week catch-up edition

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The recent blogging hiatus has been irking me a little, but life has just been that crazily busy lately.  At first I feared that my recent capitulation and entrance into the world of Facebook had something to do with it, but I haven’t even posted a lot there this week.  Basically my homeschool group began to use Facebook as a launchpad for group discussions and calendar dates.  So despite years of saying I’d never never join FB, I’m there now, and I must confess it’s been so nice catching up with old friends.

As I prepared to write today’s post, I downloaded several pictures from my nice camera’s photo card, which card of course I promptly erased.  Unfortunately iPhoto then crashed and lost all my recently downloaded pictures. GRR! I’m glad there wasn’t many photos in that download of the children, but I will now have to redo my YarnAlong photos for the week, and you’re now stuck with my grainy iPhone pictures.  Ah, technology.

Pretty Happy

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A very lovely Princess had a birthday two weeks ago.  Unfortunately this seems to be the only picture on my camera, and those were the only cupcakes to survive until the icing.  Apparently someone found my not-so-hidden cupcake hiding place. 😉  The important thing is that Princess had a very happy 6th birthday.

Happy Happy

I love to read books; always have, always will.  I am so happy to see a love for reading emerge in our children too.

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Although sometimes they aid naps. 😉 I just realized that I took pictures of them reading the same book!  I promise we do have lots of books around here.

Happy

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Over the weekend we picked up a whole bushel of apples from the local orchard (no, I didn’t hand-pick them).  So far we’ve made two pies, apple cranberry crisp, and enjoyed as many apples as the girlies can eat.  They love apples.

Real Happy

Trooper’s first attempt at Special Olympics.  He had a very fun time.  Unfortunately the team had a flat tire on the way to the event so it was a scramble getting the horses ready and there wasn’t any reins for Trooper to hold onto and show how he’s learning to guide the horse.  Basically he got to sit back and chill, and that never bothers him.  He still got 4th Place. 🙂  Way to go!!!!

During the "obstacle course"
During the “obstacle course”

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Fun Happy

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(Posey is trying to eat an apple in these pictures.)
family life

Happy Birthday, marvelous mischievous Miss M!

She’s acted older than her age for so long that I once thought she turned 3 last year…but actually she turns 3 today. 🙂

It’s a tulle and tutu ballerina birthday, because her favorite things to wear are ballet outfits. I’ll offer her something perfectly charming from her closet and she’ll simply shoot me her mischief look and growl: “No. I wanna be-a-reena!” She can say “ballerina” on its own but tumbles over “be a ballerina,” so she shortens it to “be-a-reena.”

Happy Be-a-reena birthday, sweetheart!

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family life · homeschooling · The Everyday · The fine art of crafting

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…

family life

One Year Today!

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A year ago today you came into our lives…

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And we are all the better for having you with us.

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Then you were tiny, helpless, totally dependent upon us.

Now you are “a tall drink of water” (as my Nana used to say) for 12 mos, increasingly trying to be independent, and though you still need our help you are longing to run with your big sisters and tackle your big brothers.

You are so beloved–everyone falls over each other to greet you in the morning and hold you throughout the day (while you want to let them–you’re very verbal if you don’t).

You speed crawl, try to join any conversation, captivate total strangers with your hazel eyes, and have a fan club based on a picture of you sucking your two fingers with a St. Lucy crown on your head.

We can’t wait to get to know you more over your second year, as you gear up to join the Toddler Mischief Squad (and please, stop throwing your brother’s shoes in the toilet when he leaves them in the bathroom!)

Happy 1st Birthday dearest Posey Pie!

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(and happy Pi day, too!)

(Yes, I am making her a birthday pie but we will have them tomorrow at her family party)

my thoughts on the subject

Birthday Girls

BIRTHDAY GIRLS
Egad–what a horribly fuzzy phone picture!

Posey and I share a special day today. She is officially 10 months old, and I’ve now come of age as per Shire reckoning. I suppose this means I must settle down now and live like a very respectable hobbit, not doing anything unexpected or going off on crazy adventures, but I confess I haven’t much hope of that. In fact, when I’m 63 or even 93 if I make it that far, I fully anticipate I will still be trying to garden something every warm season and rack up a whole slew of overly ambitious knitting goals in the cold seasons, when I’m not traveling the world with Haus Meister. It’s a simple life, but it’s fun.

Not that most people would think it simple if they had caught a glimpse of me this afternoon, trying to pull the boys through their respective math lessons while they were still on a party-high from the previous birthdays this weekend (more in my next) and not wanting to do school at all, and at the same time Trooper was frustrated because his iPad battery is on the fritz, Princess was hollering for a sharpened pencil so she could draw and the toddlers were breaking into the ice cream in the freezer and the baby wanted to be walked around. That was a tough hour. But eventually everything smoothed out and by dinnertime life was good again. 😉

And overall it is a great life, and it is fun, and being in my 30s isn’t nearly as dreadful as it is sometimes made out to be when you’re not there yet.

So thanks, Mom and Dad, for putting up with me for 33 years. I’d thank my sister for putting up with me but she really didn’t have a choice in the matter. 😉  Thanks Haus Meister for putting up with me for 14 of those if you add in the dating years. Thanks, kids of mine, for ensuring that our lives will never in the slightest be dull.

family life · my thoughts on the subject · special needs

Double Digits

I just couldn’t let another week end without mentioning a HUGE EVENT in our family life.

Someone turned 10 last week.

A big boy and his preemie sleeper
A big boy and his preemie sleeper–taken in 2009

One of the reasons I don’t bother writing birth stories is that it’s usually more information than the male readers of my blog ever needed to know. Another is that Trooper’s birth was scary. I was 22, six months married, and had absolutely no idea what was going on, why my water broke, and whether or not the baby would live. In fact, I was sure he would die. Just writing those sentences puts me in a tremble.

Then the nurses and doctors came in with their prognoses. One thing that cheered me was that the statistics were getting better for Trooper–he’d have about a 35-40% chance of survival.

But he would never be “normal.”

He would never be happy.

He would ruin our lives.

We would probably divorce over him (we were told this twice).

“Are you sure you want us to keep him alive after the birth?”

And through my shock and pain and fear as I lay there all I could think of–and this is honestly what I thought–He is a baby born into this hospital. That makes him a patient here. Why the h–l wouldn’t you try to keep your patients alive?!?! Isn’t that your JOB? Isn’t that what you are here for?!?!?!?! Isn’t that why we came in?!?!?!

Instead in a small voice I said, “If God wants him God will take him. Keep him alive, at least let us baptize him before anything happens.”

The moment he was born he was whisked to the waiting NICU staff. I remember Haus Meister saying, “He’s here, he’s ours, he’s beautiful.” They paused the briefest moment for Haus Meister to take the tiny holy water bottle we’d grabbed on our way out the door and perform an emergency Baptism. And then I knew Trooper was going to be taken care of, and I relaxed a bit for the first time in 24 hours.

10 years later….

trooper

 

He’s here. He’s ours. He’s a ham.

He has cerebral palsy, autism, and sensory processing disorder. He has challenges he fights daily. He is so proud of his accomplishments.

He is, and I stress this, THE HAPPIEST KID I HAVE EVER SEEN.

He has enriched our lives beyond measure.

We are still happily married.

We thank God for each day we have with this boy.

We thank God for the special nurses who fell in love with our boy, especially the night shift team we got to know so well–it was the only time Haus Meister and I could visit together. Rusti, Courtney, Christina, Tricia, and Debbie. I have never forgotten you. Drs. Kennedy and Thomas, God bless you too. I know how you fought for our boy. All the respiratory therapists, one of whom actually passes us in the speech therapy office and smiles to see that fragile baby now standing 4’9″ and weighing 74lbs.

No, it is not an easy road to follow, raising a child with special needs. It challenges you, stretches you–even sometimes to what you think might be the breaking point.  You learn more medical vocabulary than you ever thought you would need. Your speech/OT/physical therapists go on your speed dial. You learn to rearrange your life to adapt. Some activities you drop all together, some dreams you postpone indefinitely, and sometimes it takes you a while to figure that out.  Sometimes you fight denial for days, months, years. Sometimes you find yourself fighting the apathy of a world that doesn’t understand the value of a life that isn’t “normal.” You can couch it in any sugar coated term you want, but in boils down to the fact that they think your kid isn’t normal, that they think your kid is useless. 

No one is useless. And so you pick up and go on, knowing that it’s your lifework now to help this person entrusted to your care. It is both your cross and your reward. 

What do I mean by that? Sitting next to the hospital bed for the nth time isn’t a treat (cross). Seeing him smile when he does his homework correctly–we both feel like a million bucks (reward).

It is worth it every step of the way.

Once as we left the grocery store with the bagger pushing our cart to the van–a complimentary service by this grocery chain–the gentleman turned to me and, gesturing toward Trooper, said, “I bet he’s a real challenge for you, huh?” I closed my eyes for the briefest space thinking for the millionth time that I wished people wouldn’t naturally assume that if someone doesn’t speak, then they must be deaf as well. Trooper can hear and process exactly what we are saying. Then I thought amusedly that most of the time my typically developing children give me more potential for gray hairs than the Trooper does.

So I smiled and said, “No. If there are challenges we face them together. We are a family. And we are happy.”

We love you, our big 10 year old Trooper.

You are worth everything. You always have been, and always will be.

We are so excited to see what the next 10 years bring you.

IMG_3098(Watch him ask me for a horse now)

The Everyday

(pretty, happy, funny, real)

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Starting with REAL.

Not good with Carpet.

A major update is coming to the Haus this weekend and I have to move some things around to get ready. WE’RE GETTING HARDWOOD FLOORS!!!! My heart rejoices! Three things I miss most about my Old Haus are the neighbors, the maple tree in the backyard, and the hardwood floors. The neighbors still rank high in my esteem–we’ve not been able to connect as much with our current ones. They aren’t the stand at your mailbox and chat type. The maple tree has been replaced by a forest, true, but I loved the way the afternoon sun hit it in October and November and made the whole back of the house shine gold. And the floors? I always loved them but never valued them as much until we moved into a home with white carpet.

But that was going to be ok, right? We would just rip up the carpet when the Old Haus sold. Well, it hasn’t sold yet–we’re still praying for an offer, for goodness’ sake!–but on Monday this carpet had its last straw broken. We’ve endured the soils and the stains. We covered the hole in the carpet that black labrador puppy chewed out with a rug (mostly. The rug moves with the kids). We grimaced when Sunshine accidentally dumped a tube of black craft paint on the carpet (the kind that washes off skin but not any type of fabric). After all, we had some slick tile picked out, a warm tile that looked like wood and could be shaped in herringbone style. A real Hobbit floor. As soon as the house sold it would be ours. We just had to hold on….. And not look at the carpet.

Until Monday, as I said. I was working with Trooper in his room and when his lesson was done Rascal passed me in the hall. ‘Oh yeah, Mama,” he casually says, “I forgot to tell you that Sunshine just dumped the rest of the milk out in the living room.”

I shrieked. “Not on the floor?!”

“Um, yeah Mama, on the floor,” he replies, as if to suggest where else?

There was at least half a gallon left in that jug.

Out came the mighty Hoover carpet cleaner, a purchase made to tide us over until the Hobbit floor (and to mop up occasional spills in the bedrooms since they are still carpeted). There’s no chance the carpet pad could have survived the deluge. I attacked that floor more than once, but not all great Neptune’s ocean was enough to wash that milk entirely clean. The second night of cleaning Haus Meister and I just looked at each other and knew enough was enough.

Two years of carpet cleaning, incessant spills, dogs, toddlers, holes, paint. ENOUGH.

Hang Bag End flooring. It was time for a frugal hardwood.

So he went to the store, he found the perfect color. And tonight he brings it home!

By Monday I will have peace of mind again, living in a house with the Toddler Mischief Squad and no white carpet in my living room and sewing nook.

As if it’s looked white since 2011 anyway….

Now for the rest of Pretty, happy, funny:

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The resident Princess turned five not too long ago. She was feted with her choice of strawberry pink cupcakes with pink icing and strawberry pink ice cream. Earlier in the week she also picked out some raspberry pink lemonade from the deli. It was the pinkiest pink day in family history, and she was gracious to share her cupcakes with our troop of Trail Life boys who happened to be meeting at our house her birthday evening to work on a project. The lads were not at all adverse to dive into some sugar, no matter how pink.

Happy 5th Birthday, my biggest girl! You’re a treasure.

family life

Happy Birthday

..to the Man of the House!

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According to Shire-reckoning, you have now officially come of age!*

Many, many happy returns of the day, my love!

*You’ll have to open your Tolkien for that one, folks. I could tell you, and he wouldn’t mind because he’s truly the last to be bothered with the passage of another year, but hey, what’s the fun of it if I can’t throw some trivia your way! Ok, it has to do with hobbits.