When than Aprill with his shoures soote

“Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in switch licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(So Priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages”

So did Geoffrey Chaucer begin his “Canterbury Tales.” And so did a few of us learn to memorize this passage some two decades ago in my Anglo-Saxon Lit class. Was it for extra credit or just credit? Blast. But hey, Dr. Rice, I still remembered part of it before googling it!

Anyway, one of April’s shoures, I mean, showers are falling outside tonight as I type and while we aren’t exactly going on pilgrimage this year, we have been full of wonderful events at church. Likely before I post again, the class I’ve had the honor to help teach this past academic year at our parish Faith Formation will celebrate their First Holy Communion, and our Li’l Bit will be among them. Meanwhile, in the same weekend, Docena received her Baptism (wearing the family heirloom gown). And the Rascal had his Confirmation, taking as his patron the rather unknown St. Dunstan, patron of blacksmiths. I should say St Dunstan isn’t as well known on this side of the Atlantic, for the gift we gave him of a replica medieval badge of the saint came from the UK.

Docena’s Baptism day. Her godparents are her aunt and her older brother. ❤️
Rascal being confirmed (picture compliments of a dear friend, the wife of his sponsor).

Around the Haus…

Pipkka is 1! And no sooner did she turn one than she decided that she’d take it to the max. Climbing stairs? Check. Speech? Her vocabulary increases weekly. Walking? Coming soon. I should have been more nervous about that bottom right picture in this birthday montage (newborn + two of her first birthday) because this girl is plowing onward and not looking back!

Happy 1st birthday, Pipkka! ❤️

After all the sacramental festivities, my mom went back home again in Indiana (those who know can’t say that without hearing Jim Nabors), and we thought we were going to settle in to a “new normal,” as it were, but lo and behold a new seasonal cold descended upon us. Haus Meister had it the worst with a diagnosis of bronchitis and a trip to get x-rays and make sure it wasn’t worse (it wasn’t). Fortunately, we were still able to celebrate Posey Pie’s 9th Birthday and our own familial 4th house-aversary on the same annual day last month.

The Birthday Princess

It is hard to imagine that four years before, we were gathering in the same kitchen with the food that our lovely realtor had bought for us and left as a homecoming gift. Never had a tray of cookies from Sam’s Club tasted so sweet! Everything was so different and foreign four years ago. Now it’s delightfully familiar, and we still rejoice.

And yes, still marvel at this view from the hill above and to the left of our home.

Around the Farm….

The sheep have been sheared! While I was posting my previous blogpost, we had been researching the best way to do this, and as we debated this set of shears over that, Haus Meister found a man who travels around shearing small flocks like ours. He literally goes up and down the region and had already sheared 400+ sheep before he came to our house, set up his rig where we requested and within the briefest time, divested our ewes of a year’s wool growth! Haus Meister and the kids learned how to wash and “skirt” the wool (removing any dirt and hay left behind) and soon we shall take our four bags full to a fiber mill north of here where it will be spun into yarn!

Hattie (black sheep) wonders what hit Mattie (the shorn sheep, and her own half-sister). Lottie is obscured by Hattie so I took this pic while Lou was being sheared.
The Squire helps remove Hattie’s wool as she is being sheared.
Four shorn sheep attempt to preserve their dignity.
4.5 bags full

And in other farm news, the population of ducks increased by four with the addition of four Khaki Campbell ducklings to the three Rouen ones mentioned in the previous post.

The Khaki Campbells are the solid ducklings while the Rouen are striped.

Closing Thoughts

By now we are all either intent on keeping track of, immune, or dismissive of the news coming from Ukraine. I’d argue we better darn well pay attention, because in this small world nothing can really happen anymore without affecting all of us (pandemic, anyone?).

Or perhaps I’m biased in a sense because on the ‘net page of this blog for several years has been the widget featuring a toddler picture of a little boy with red hair. We have been the prayer warriors for him for quite a while. His name on the Reece’s Rainbow website is “Clark” and he lives in Ukraine, if he’s there at all right now. And who can guess? Who can guess if a ten year old boy with cerebral palsy made it out to a refugee site? I pray he did. He’s the same age as our Miss M after all. Same sort of red hair, same sort of brown eyes (I saw him on another website with recent pictures, that’s how I know he has brown eyes). And CP, well, we know a bit about that, also. Small wonder I signed on to pray for him. May God in His mercy grant that boy a good place tonight.

We at Misselthwaite stand and pray for Ukraine. 🇺🇦

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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{pretty, happy, funny, real

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Pretty

Miss M’s birthday went well, and she was pleased with it. I’m learning to keep the toddler birthdays low-key–as low-key as possible with four siblings desirous for cake, ice cream, and root beer. I do not count Trooper or Posey in that score because Trooper hasn’t developed a sweet tooth (!!) and Posey doesn’t know those things exist yet. So we got balloons and I made pink lemonade cupcakes and even though it rained half the day it still was fun for everyone involved.

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This was 0.354 seconds before she realized she didn’t like being sung to and wanted me to hold her for the rest of the song.

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Among her gifts were the Laura & Mary Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder peg dolls from The Fig & Thimble Etsy store. All the pictures I have of her holding them are blurry because she was already making up stories with them. The dolls were an instant hit and even enabled us to sit through 85% more of Sunday Mass than usual the next morning!  Peg dolls are now tops on my list of favorite little kid toys.

"iss MEEE!" she giggles

“iss MEEE!” she giggles

My pretty Miss M.

Happy

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My dad and the Trooper, 2005.

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My Mom and Dino, her buddy, 2011.

The 2nd birthday isn’t the only big event these days. Ten days ago my parents celebrated their 36th Wedding Anniversary.

And while my cousins were writing very wonderful posts about their own parents’ 40th Wedding Anniversary, I was a loser and forgot to even get my parents’ card out on time.

 But at least I spared putting the picture taken in 1975 up here for immortality. Do we still have that picture? The plaid bell-bottoms one?

Seriously, Mom and Dad, I do think you’re wonderful and I couldn’t ask for better parents, or grandparents for my gang. And I promise that we’ll give you at least a card on time next year…or by your 40th! 😉

Other big events: Someone has an 8th birthday this weekend.

And 14 years ago yesterday I met my husband. You may read all about it here.  I didn’t know that was going to be the start of something absolutely wonderful, but I’m forever grateful for it all the same.

Funny

The Desolation of Smaug trailer…LEGO-style! Thanks to my sister for the link.

I can so see my boys doing something like this in 7 – 10 years.

Real

“Some spawn of Ungoliant, or I’m not a wizard” — Radagast the Brown, in the recent Hobbit movie.

It’s official: we live in Mirkwood.

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I would say if these suckers dared enter our house, I’d be after them with a tennis racket. But let’s be honest: I’d scream, run to the opposite side of the house and sit plugging my ears until Haus Meister or one of the boys came and told me the thing was gone. Fortunately for my self-image’s sake, and the lives of the spiders, this hasn’t happened yet.

Feeling a little pathetic and huge.

Legends and wives’ tales oft tell of the voracious appetites and odd cravings that pregnant moms have for foodstuffs. Once upon a time (2005, expecting Rascal), ravenously hungry after going a morning without breakfast, I scarfed down the “Momma’s Pancake Breakfast” at lunch at a Cracker Barrel with such rapidity that construction workers turned around to look at me in shock and awe. It was a little embarrassing.

Last night I had the opposite problem. Haus Meister and I went out for our last date before the new baby arrives, and we chose our absolute favorite place to go as usual–a little Italian place in a little old house that was built in the same era as our Old Haus. When the current owners started the restaurant about five years ago, they added a huge kitchen off the back and a garden on the side so fresh herbs and seasonings could be used. The owners are Italian themselves and the food is sublime. And filling. And there is a LOT of it.

Sometimes Haus Meister and I are wise and share an entree. Other times we aren’t and we come home with leftovers. Amend that: we always come home with leftovers, because they like to make sure you leave well-fed at this establishment. Last night we both decided to have appetizers, because I thought that the mozzarella sticks sounded good (and they are above and beyond anything you buy in the freezer section) and he wanted (gulp) frog legs. So we ate the appetizers as they took our order for dinner. Dinner also comes with warm garlic rolls and a soup or salad. We chose salad–the soups could stand alone as entrees. Oh my. Don’t get me started on their soups….mmm….

Anyway, three bites into my salad I had the uncomfortable feeling that I wouldn’t have enough room for the dinner I’d ordered. Worse still, I wouldn’t have enough room for the myriad choices of cheesecake that I saw advertised on the dessert board. Delicacies created especially for Valentine’s Day…all of them sounded good, but how could I eat a slice, if I could choose between them?

Our main entrees arrived as I sat back in the chair to the best of my ability, no mean feat at 35wks pregnant. I hoped against hope that I’d have room for the dinner they had already cooked. It wasn’t feeling like it. Plus I had the added Mommy guilt, remembering a scene only last Thursday where I had reminded the kids not to have a snack close to dinner, for now they couldn’t eat the good food I’d made. Haus Meister smiled and reminded me that we could always take home the dinner and have it for leftovers on Sunday. It turned out that he was in the same boat! So, sheepishly, we asked the waitress for take-home boxes.

And a slice of Nutella cheesecake (they added the cannoli gratis, because this place is like that). We paid the tab, tipped her, and he held the door as I’m sure I literally waddled to his car.

It was a little funny to have a date and not be able to do justice to the food. But then, the company and conversation was incomparable, the food was delicious, and we did have a great time.

The Nutella cheesecake was divine, by the way. And the Italian food made a great lunch today.

So I guess in the end, it was a win-win, despite my feeling huge and pathetic. 😉

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Lucky 13

Originally posted on August 21, 2009. I had to update the picture. Lucky 13 this year! 13 years…. Best 13 years ever.

Misselthwaite Matters

 

Haus Meister and I met on this day in 1999, in the lower level of the building pictured above.  We had just finished our entrance grammar exam, two brand new freshmen embarking on our college careers.

I’m naturally an outgoing person, but I had been feeling too homesick the evening before to mingle at the ice cream social.  I hadn’t met many members of my class yet, at least outside the mandatory orientation talks.  So, coming out of the classroom I looked around for a chance to strike up a friendly conversation with someone.

Only one person in the immediate vicinity was not grouped in a cluster of people but stood on the fringe listening.  I thought it amusing–and rather gentlemanly–that he was already in slacks and a tie.  Myself, I was enjoying the brief days before dress code would be enforced.

“Hi!” I greeted this well-dressed stranger. “That…

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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!

Apps

If you compare our phones, Haus Meister and I have a lot of the same stuff on them. Still, you can definitely tell our phones apart, and not just by color and case.

HIS APPS:

  • Lowes
  • iBrewmaster
  • Cars

HER APPS

  • Etsy
  • WordPress
  • Knitting Daily

Just something we’ve noticed…. 😉

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Pretty

Even storm clouds can be pretty (when they’re miles away and not right on top of you, of course).

Happy

Sleepy Baby, on a drive to the farmstand to pick up even more strawberries this week.

Funny

 

TRIBBLES EXIST!!!!

Actually, it’s a neighbor’s dog’s toy that washed into our drive during the rain last week, but hey, if you take away the tag it looks like a drenched Tribble.

Real

Saving the best for last:

May 31, 2003

Today is our 9th Wedding Anniversary.

“If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.”

–Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband