{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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I have some catching up to do. One member of our family celebrated her patron saint’s feast day not too long ago, and this year that day means a dessert in honor of the saint and a new small icon for our wall. It really is rather Pretty even though my camera doesn’t do it justice.

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Last week I was AWOL from the blog as we were going back to St. Louis for Trooper’s follow-up with his absolutely amazing specialist. My parents came down for a mini-vacation (not that they had much time to relax) and watch most of the kids while Haus Meister, Trooper, Rascal, Littlest and I headed across a few states.

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Trooper happily watched trucks for hours. He likes them as much as ever, which keeps him from being as bored as say, his brother, who began snapping pictures on my phone.

To relieve the tedium of the drive, Haus Meister produced a slackline out of the boot of the car (ok, so I’ve seen a few too many British car shows) because you never know when you might need one of those. At a rest area he rigged it up between two trees and it helped the boys stretch their legs.

IMG_1265They all really enjoyed it, although Haus Meister never quite made it across without being tackled by Rascal or pulled off by Trooper, who didn’t feel like reciprocating the help and was impatient for his next turn. Happy boys.

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We did visit the Gateway Arch on the day we left and the lines were so long we knew we couldn’t get in, get our tickets, get a ride on the tram, see the view, get down again, and then drive home by 1am. Sigh. A bit of real there.

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But we had fun elsewhere, too. 🙂

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our wooden trains are out again. The earliest seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine vie for screen time as the cheeky little engine enters his third cycle of being tops in our house amongst the preschool set.  I prefer “old school” Thomas to his current CGI shows, and so does Sunshine.

And to end on a little Real…

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I saw this at Lowes the other day. I would love to have it take over the foyer wall. I would love it if it would take over the foyer wall and not have the Mischief Squad practice rock climbing techniques using the coat hooks. Right there Miss M sees it as a potential princess dancing stage but if Sunshine was with her you’d better believe the climbing would start. 😉

 

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

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Pretty

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This graceful luna moth has been a regular visitor this week, with no less than three sightings. It is perhaps the only thing of that size I’ll tolerate next to my door with any pretence of equanimity. I’m still at variance with Nature coming indoors uninvited. This one respects my space. 😉

Happy

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That’s a given. 🙂

Funny/Real

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Posey knows how to spend a summer evening!

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Rascal and Dino have been charged with the duty of cleaning up their extensive LEGO collection. Rascal got the idea to store everything by color in our old workbox bins and strawberry baskets. The closable bin bottom right holds minifigure components. The one problem is that while organizing it they also stop to play for half the time…. or decide now that they have all they need of one color, to begin to build that one invention they were going to do that one day… 😉

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Some interesting minifig combinations. Super Bombur is my favorite. But what’s with the clean-shaven color-block Gandalf? The Spaceman Hobbit? The Yeti Hobbit?

In the mornings that I can get a row in on the rowing machine, the corgyn follow me downstairs. They wait until they hear the beep of the machine coming on and then they come galumphing down the stairs as quick as their stubby legs permit. Then they come over to me and check out the machine. Pippin goes off to chew on whatever LEGOs are on the floor (I do tell him to stop, and he does listen for about five minutes). Merry is the one I can count on for the ultimate in workout time support and encouragement.

"I'm here for you!"
“Yeah, I’m here for you!”

Thanks a lot, buddy!

{P, H, F, R}

A little overdue here….

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Pretty

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My mother-in-law’s lilies bloomed in her front yard and for part of the week I got to enjoy some. I also cleared up that windowsill. Funny how the sink sill is always a catch-all for thingamabobs and whatchamacallits. Now see my makeshift “Lourdes grotto” in the corner? It exists because I don’t know what else to do with that antique Our Lady of Lourdes statue that is missing her base. Also, that chunk of granite she’s resting on was found in our backyard by the Rascal, and brought in with pomp and circumstance as “The Arkenstone of Thrain, son of Thror, KING under the MOUNTAIN!” about a day and a half after he listened to The Hobbit on audiotape. So with that memory attached I can’t bring myself to chuck it out the back door again quite yet. 😉

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On our anniversary we visited the Farmer’s Market and bought these flowers and their accompanied handmade vases. I put them in our oratory corner. Our “little oratory” is under construction still and deserves its own post. I have, for instance, changed out the Blessed Mother icon. The candle is usually only on the corner cabinet during our night prayers. But I’ll explain all this soon.

Happy

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Let trombones resound! We have finished school for the academic year! Well, except for the end of year CAT tests, but they arrive today or tomorrow and won’t take long.

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The LEGO bin is back and in full force downstairs. That also means we’re fully enforcing the Clean Up the Basement/Playroom rules. As with most rooms devoted to childhood, it tends to look like a toy shop explosion. There’s a constant battle here. I guess that qualifies as Real, doesn’t it? Because now that school’s “out” they kind of assume chores are “out,” too. HA.

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We are still doing our summer reading, although here they’re looking through the complete set of Zita the Spacegirl comics. Mr. Hatke, if there are plans in the works to release a set bound in “double reinforced restrainium,” please let us know. 😉

Funny/Real

Into each life some rain must fall…or if it isn’t a large rain puddle, it might just be a water main leak.

The plumbers were amused to have such an audience.

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Trooper had a better view from the boys’ room window, and Littlest?

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Our over-one-month-old (!) baby just slept through most of it all.

Nearly 7 weeks old and I’m only 1/4th of the way through the birth announcements. That’s Real.

{P, H, F, R} Baptism Edition

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Good morning! I thought I’d try to check in again. Our mornings are more relaxed now that we’re very nearly finished with school (only a few more assignments and tests). I’m already revelling in the less hurried pace, although I know I’ll be welcoming it back at the end of next month when swim team is over and the humidity is too high for anyone to want to be outside longer than an hour. At that point the options seem to be interminable Netflix reruns of previously watched cartoons or Go Back to School. The latter is definitely the preferred option for me. Not sure about them. 😉 Of course, if my summer reading program idea takes off, we may start school in August instead of July . In any event, we’re happy to welcome summer around here.

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Littlest was baptized on Saturday.  Both sets of grandparents were able to attend, as well as two aunts and a third aunt–my sister-in-law, Littlest’s official godmother–was able to watch via FaceTime!

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Littlest is the 13th to wear the heirloom christening gown, if I have my numbers right.

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We’re still combining the pictures taken by different people on different cameras. So far this is the best one I’m in. 😉 My karate chop action is me waving Miss M away from the large statue of the Sacred Heart, off screen, because she was fascinated with the fact that Jesus looked realistic and had toes.

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Father and some of the kids after the baptism.

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Our swim team crew

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The water table crew.

Water will feature largely in our summer memories this year.

 

Funny

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One of my favorite Posey pictures, this month anyway.

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The corgyn’s reaction to the “healthy weight management” food I had just poured into their shared bowl.

Merry, who needs it most, did eventually go eat some, and then Pippin followed.

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I should have left my phone nearer some capable adult hands during the baptism. These are a sample of the pictures on my phone after our family event, courtesy of the Mischief Squad.

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{P, H, F, R} in our new normal

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Well, I have a few weeks to catch up on, but if you’ve been keeping up you’ll see that the surprise arrival of Littlest has completely changed any plans we had for the month. She’ll be two weeks old tomorrow and I keep looking at the calendar and musing that if babies followed their predicted due dates then I would still have had a week to go, and she would probably have weighed over 10lbs at birth considering that she was only 2oz below 9lbs when she arrived. Now I’ve gotten to hold her, love her, share her with her adoring family, and I have some of my energy back plus I can bend over and even run again. Pluses all around!

Pretty

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It was about a week after coming home before I walked over to our Mary garden in the front yard. The peonies are beginning to bloom and my Lafter roses from the Antique Rose Emporium are really taking off! In the wider circle of the bed the mint that over-wintered are spreading like crazy and the four blueberry bushes are actually berrying! My lavender plant overwintered as well and this year rewarded me with flowers.

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I hung them in my bathroom mainly so they would survive. Hanging herbs and flowers don’t survive anywhere a toddler can grab a chair.

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The Mary garden looked so lovely I used it as a background for Littlest’s birth announcement picture. I even included one of the Lafter roses that was starting to lose its petals.

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Adding some pictures to our house. Actually the girls’ room has had these pictures in it since we moved them into the larger of the two kids’ bedrooms, but I never got a picture.

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These are stationery cards from Sarah Jane. They have all the months of the year but I singled out the girls’ birth months and put them in quick frames until I can do something better with them. Some of the girls were jealous that Littlest, being born in May, got the girl holding the flower bouquet. That would mainly be Princess, who being born in September gets the girl holding the lunchbox. 😉

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The girls make nice wall companions for Jill’s ballerina. 🙂

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Then I found this gem and knew I HAD to have it in my foyer.

Happy Funny

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Rascal drew this sign for the new baby’s homecoming. He was so excited he apparently forgot all the rules for capitals and punctuation.

Funny

Two weeks ago, Posey Pie seemed like such a tiny baby. Now she’s a giant one.

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Big enough to share our new acquisition with Littlest (and luckily enjoys it).

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I’m head over heels for this stroller. Part of it may be because I got it for only $14 thanks to carefully hoarded Amazon points, and part of it may be because it truly is the best double stroller I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned two others.

Real

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Sunshine cut her hair again. Above her ear. She now has an official “pixie cut,” unless you’re asking Dino, who will just tell you she looks like a boy. So we don’t ask Dino. And actually, Sunshine looks pretty darn cute with that pixie cut, and it saves me time getting her out the door, so I’m reconciled.

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real — End of March edition

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Thank goodness for Thursdays. You might never hear from me otherwise!

Of course there’s plenty of excuses for not blogging, but the main one is that we’re still holding down the fort as Haus Meister pulls 60-70 hr work weeks, and sometimes just going to bed twenty minutes after the kids do is the best option. Oh, and then there’s the stomach bug that hit last week and proceeded to make its way through the family. Fortunately it did not hit everyone with the same intensity. Four children had it worse, one boy had it less, Haus Meister and I suffered slightly, and Miss M and Posey missed it entirely. Whew.

One wonderful thing to come from this week is a new family prayer tradition, but that deserves its own blogpost so I will make time to do that this weekend.

Meanwhile…

Pretty

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On Tuesday we had snow. Yes, snow. It didn’t stick of course. It came down sometimes in gusts and sometimes like flurries and meanwhile I stood looking at my daffodils bending in the breeze and wondered just what month it is again? 😉 I had already removed my pots of blueberry bushes and the lavender plant to shelter from the frosts of the past three nights. This is most likely Winter’s Last Hurrah down here, but Sunshine at least is still enjoying it. In the picture we are leaving speech therapy (she and Trooper go on the same day–she has an expressive language delay that is rapidly improving, especially based on her charming rendition of “Hot Tross Buns”), and while Trooper had already hopped into the van (he does not like snow), Sunshine wanted to stand and revel in it.

Happy

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Happy girlies in the morning. I draw your attention away from their lovely smiles and the cheerio mess behind them and toward the doll in Miss M’s arms. That doll and I go way back; she was a Christmas gift from my aunt and uncle on Christmas Eve, 1986. She was a “preemie” edition Cabbage Patch doll, which was appropriate since nearly six years before I had been the preemie of the family. Her name on the Cabbage Patch papers was Ella Giselle but I had it “legally” changed at Cabbage Patch HQ to “Melissa Anne,” thinking it was more elegant and less like the elderly Avon lady who visited my mom often, whose name also was Ella. Bless her. Anyway, “Melissa” was my favorite doll all through childhood and was the nostalgia item I took with me to college after graduation. And of course after I married she came down South and waited five years for the first girl to show up. Sporadically loved by both Princess and Sunshine–and patched up when the latter discovered scissors and wanted to see what the doll’s stuffing was like–“Melissa” has now found a loving mommy again in Miss M. Only now she isn’t called “Melissa,” but has the very original new name of “Dolly.”

So once again Dolly goes everywhere with her new mommy (even moreso, I think, than she did with me) and has many adventures. Like hiding in the tupperware drawer.

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Funny

I feel guilty that most of the pictures on the blog lately are of the younger set of kids. This has nothing to do with favoritism or anything like that, but more because the older set don’t stick around when I’m taking pictures. But last night I took one of Trooper being silly.

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Oh yes, it’s haircut time.

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My sister and I aren’t exactly alike in everything but often we have similar ideas. This year we beat off the winter doldrums (more necessary in her case with three months of non-stop snow) by planning ways to make our homes sparkle without harsh chemicals.  My older kids are helping with the chores more so I wanted to have something I could trust in their hands. And making citrus-all-purpose-vinegar cleaner is kind of spring like and nice smelling (when you get past the vinegar). Funnily, we each began ours at the same time without knowing it. Recipe found here. While this is great, my other go-to is a 1:1 mix of water and white vinegar with a few drops of Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena dish soap. But back to the citrus thing now.

Mine:

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Hers:

lemon vinegar

Then there’s the five gallons of laundry detergent I whipped up in my kitchen and the jars of homemade dishwasher soap.  Those are working pretty well so far, although I get the occasional cloudy glass still. I have seen little difference between the store bought laundry detergent and the one made here–except mine smells nicer. 😉 My sister and I are also brainstorming ideas for our Etsy store this spring and comparing orders and label ideas. She’s making lip glosses and moisturizers, I’m making salves. Or at least I will, once the MountainRose Herbs order arrives. 😉 I’m pretty sure our dad thinks we’ve jumped off some neo-hippie deep end, but it’s been a fun way to spend the cold end of winter.

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….

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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. 🙂

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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…

(Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real)

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My apologies to those of you who are sick of snow.

We’re happy to have had some more.

It didn’t come as quite a surprise this time, although it did pretty much shut the city down for two days. We lost power overnight but it was back on in time for coffee in the morning, so no complaints. 😉

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Rascal and Princess built snowmen as the real brunt of the snow began to fall around dinnertime last night.

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We woke to something like 5-6″ in our backyard.

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The “forest” behind our house was stunning.

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This is such an unusual sight I could hardly keep from taking pictures of the trees.

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Ahem. As you see.

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Before the snow melted–as it is, as  I type–the kids and Haus Meister went out front to build snowmen. That’s Haus Meister with the Toddler Mischief Squad.

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We also attempted a snowfort. It got 3 bucket loads high in places, but that picture wasn’t on my phone.

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Someone felt a little left out.

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So we took her for a turn about the yard.

It will be 61F next week. We enjoyed this possibly last snow.

Yarn Along & (p, h, f, r)

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Pretty

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From the phone camera archives–a tableau from this past New Year’s Eve. Those are bayberry candles burning down in the old tradition: “This bayberry candle comes from a friend /so on Christmas eve burn it down to the end. / For a bayberry candle burned to the socket, / will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” Now our candles came from a store and not from a friend, and I burned ours on New Years instead of Christmas Eve, so it’s probably a good thing I was just doing it for the sake of an old colonial tradition and also because it smelled great! 😉

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I am still working on my mom’s Shalom cardigan. She knows it is for her now so I can openly boast that I’ve finally knitted something for her. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn, having under-budgeted for the sweater when I bought the yarn a year ago. Since I had to send off for more skeins via mail, I took the time to start on Ysolda’s Mystery Shawl Knit-a-long, only a week behind everyone else–even though I bought the pattern and joined the Ravelry group on January 5! Other knitters might possibly recognize this poor picture as part of Clue 1-B. I know I’m going to go on to Clue 2-A, hopefully before the third clue is released on Monday!

Happy

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The picture I meant to post last week for Yarn Along but never managed to write. See my lovely new Georgette Heyer collection? Perfect for the winter doldrums! Also a new paperback edition of Mansfield Park from Ignatius Critical editions so I don’t have to worry about crazy weird introductions or essays included. Ahhhh… Oh, and the gardening book might just be the answer to our backyard gardening woes. Maybe, just maybe….

The big reddish thing there is the Shalom cardigan in progress. The two skeins of Classic Elite Firefly there propping up the gardening book are for the mystery shawl.

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A blurry look at my cute Miss M in front of my yarn cupboard. Miss M makes me happy. Yarn also helps keep the morale going. The fact that Miss M can’t get to that yarn keeps the peace.

Funny

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I found that I had a “little” extra help taking down the Christmas decorations.

Real

The news of Baby Girl #5 meant that there needed to be a change-up in the bedroom arrangements. When we bought the house, the boys got the larger of the two kids’ bedrooms because they had more stuff (read:LEGO) than the girls and also the girls’ room had a closet organizer that I thought they should appreciate (there were also just 2 girls in the room and Miss M on the way). The girls did appreciate the closet organizer but only as a ladder, so the organizer was ditched pretty quickly. Now the thought of trying to fit five girls into their pink room was getting pretty claustrophobic so we determined to switch out the kids’ rooms.

Enter a friend who owns a professional custom tile company, who had a client who wanted to get rid of a wooden bedroom suite. Knowing our family as he did, our friend arranged for us to get it and came over on Sunday to help Haus Meister unload it. I meanwhile quickly painted over the pink and in a few hours the transformation between rooms was mostly complete (still doing the odds and ends). 

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(I’m standing next to Trooper’s bed, which is the same one that Haus Meister made for him when we lived in the Old Haus).

There is one more thing that the girls need to make their room completely theirs again, though.

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 A new coat of paint!

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

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Back again for another week of pictures! If you’re wondering where I went, let me just put it in two words: Christmas Cards. Rather, trying to decide if I really wanted to put a Christmas letter in those Christmas cards. I  hemmed and hawed over the subject for a week because, you see, about eight years ago I decided to stop doing a letter per se and doing something quirky and rhyming in each. I’m no true poet, mind, as I rather operate on the Sir Percy Blakeney definition of poetry:

“The pretty thing rhymes in four places/ don’t you see?/ And if a rhyme rhymes, it makes a poem/ If you follow me.” (Anthony Andrews in The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1982)

To make a long story short, five minutes after deciding that I just wouldn’t do anything extra in my card this year, I hammered something out and it worked. And so I finally got started on my cards.

Family Christmas Tradition #28: Mom spends a week stressing about something she doesn’t have to do anyway, but does it all the same. 😉

So, in Advent news our Jesse Tree arrived on St. Nicholas Day. It did come from the Wal-Mart garden department but as there was a measly $2 difference between a 3-4′ tree and a 5-6′ tree, I went for the larger. It’s in the corner of our upstairs family room, which I affectionately call the Advent corner. My Tasha Tudor Advent calendar is on the wall next to it and a side table is holding our basket of Christmas picture books. Now ironically, we haven’t been keeping up as well with our Jesse Tree ornaments this year. Perhaps it was the late start. Perhaps it’s because I’m forgetting until the end of the day. At any rate, the other Advent calendars in the house are up and running well so I won’t stress this one this year.

So, in no particular order, our family Advent doings.

Happy Funny

The Advent corner
The Advent corner at 6am. Need to take another picture with more light!

Oh, and to add a littleReal to this, you can barely see at the top of the tree below the star there is our felt Advent wreath. Our Advent wreath refused to stay on a table this year. I kept finding it on a toddler’s head or left on the floor so decided to take matters into my own hands. It really looks pretty fetching up there when you see it in person. I am looking forward to the year I can trustfully put back out our lovely German wooden Advent wreath. But by then, I’ll miss this chaotic season, maybe a little. 😉

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Our Fontanini Nativity is up and going again. It is never the same for more than a few hours at a time. It was Rascal’s idea to add pine needles that fall from the Jesse Tree (and Wal-Mart doesn’t have one of those lovely machines that jiggle the loose needles off the tree before you bring it home) as “hay” for the manger. The little tonka truck on the left makes hay deliveries apparently. For the record, I did have the kings and their animals traveling up from the basement (this is in our foyer, which has been de-wallpapered and repainted since this picture was taken), but one day the little girls brought them all upstairs and we haven’t been able to move them. Or rather, I could probably move the kings if the animals were allowed to stay. It’s my own fault for insisting on three pretty elegant animals.

St. Nicholas brought a new figure this year:

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John the Farmer. I thought it rather appropriate that there is a bit of green and yellow paint on John.

Family Tradition #62: After reading last Advent that Pope Emeritus Benedict’s family would add a piece to their family nativity each year, I thought that was a great idea. Saves the expense of adding a lot all at once, and quite frankly if you play your cards right you can find some nice pieces on eBay for half the retail price.

Pretty/Happy/Real

The visit we made to a Christmas tree farm in Indiana where my sister and brother-in-law and their little girls picked out their real Jesse tree (to become a full fledged Christmas tree on the 24th). We didn’t pick out a tree for the obvious reason that we had no way of transporting a large tree home as I mentioned last week, but as I also mentioned we don’t have tree farms like these down South (at least in our town) so I wanted the kids to have the experience.

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