December 24, 2015

Advent Week 4.

 And, here we are.  The fourth week of Advent.  All the candles are lit.  The anticipation is reaching a crescendo.  All the details have to either fall into place or pushed aside.  Jesus is coming, ready or not.
Finally, this week has had the moments of peaceful play that every mother loves.  We've still had beautiful weather which makes it hard to focus on the inside things!  Who wants to bake cookies when it's 60 and sunny out?  (I don't but this weather is a treat for us.)  Who would rather go to the park and be thankful that we don't have to bundle up in coats and mittens and hats?  (Me!!)  We've still managed to squeeze in some cookies and a drive to look at lights.  We are ready in all the important ways.  O come, O come Emmanuel!

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!  May the love of Christ surround you with the peace and joy that only HE can give!

Advent Week 3.

Advent week 3.  Time really slips away.  It's a good thing the Church gives us all this time to prepare ourselves for Christmas!

We did a pretty good job of keeping up with Jesse tree/Advent wreath devotions this year so far.  I think the fact that everyone is getting older helps.  We also were doing two ornaments most nights to compensate for the nights when other commitments pulled us away.

Nathan's school schedule was a little lighter this week so we were able to slip away to the Cincinnati Museum Center and see The Art of the Brick exhibit.

"Hey, Dum-Dum!  You give me gum-gum!"  The Easter Island head was one of the favorites in the exhibit.  My favorite was the Lego stained-glass window.  It was pretty neat but I didn't get a picture.
The T-Rex was another favorite.
Patrick unwittingly dressed appropriately and matched green man.  Appropriate!

Though it was interesting to see Legos used as art, the favorite time of the whole exhibit was actually playing with the legos.  Funny, seems like we have a lot of those at home!  How amazing it is to have them sorted into little bins though.

Some of the guys went to see a Star Wars movie that premiered.  Had something to do with The Force Awakening.  You probably haven't heard anything about it at all, have you?  At any rate, Patrick was ready use the Force if he had to.  Thankfully, he didn't.

While the guys were away, we had a Polar Express night.  It was required that we read the book first,  I think the movie is okay, but I much prefer the sweetness of the book.

Treats coming up....
Just in time for the hot chocolate scene!  A cozy way to spend the evening.

Then we had a birthday on Friday.  It was a simple celebration.  The man blew out candles in a bun because we had lots of cookies to eat.  The intent was that we would do the big deal with Ken's parents the next day.
But!  Instead, Ken didn't get a party at all.  What we thought was going to be a routine visit to the Urgent Care for one of the boys turned into an overnight stay at Children's complete with IV antibiotics and all.  Whew!  Not how we would've thought we'd spend the Saturday before Christmas.  Thankfully, the infection that had spread from an abscess quickly resolved before it became something more serious.

December 23, 2015

Advent Week 2.

Advent Week 2 started off with St. Nicholas Day.  A namesake day and a feast day all in one.

Is there a better way to start the day than chocolate in your pajamas?  Probably not!

We also decorated our tree on this day.  Always a mix of fun and chaos!

We ended St. Nicholas Day much the way we began... with sugar.  We made our St. Nicholas cookies from The Bakers Dozen and had fun decorating.  My last decorating bag bust just as we started so we improvised with ziploc bags--fun but messy!

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the day we chose for the burial of our babies as a local cemetary. Our priest was able to come and do the blessing and committal.  It was a beautiful day and though not easy, brought us all closure and a sense of peace.
There was an attempt at Christmas photos this week.  Carrie really got into the spirit.

We also enjoyed going to Grandma and Grandpa's house and helping with some of their decorations.  Ken found an ornament he made with Grandma when he was in Preschool.  So special!  It is fun to be able to look at their ornaments from over the years and hear the stories of who made what.  Lots of happy memories!  And, hey, a family photo to boot!  :)

The weather has been so glorious here we've been spending as much time outside as possible.  It feels like spring not fall/winter!
And we ended our week with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and getting ready for St. Lucia day in the morning... complete with St. Lucy jammies (and a trip to IKEA...okay, that really wasn't part of the celebration but IKEA is Swedish and all... lol).

So many rich and diverse Feasts to celebrate.  I love it!

December 11, 2015

Advent Week 1.

So, the first week of Advent... busy and yet, uneventful in it's own way!  Who blogs about the first week of Advent, anyway? Well, I guess I do.  

Of course, Advent starts coming off a pie high and weekend full of shopping and flung us straight into colds/coughs/maybe pneumonia/maybe not so ... let's stay home from Friday co-op where I had the below art project all planned out for class.  I was excited to try it and then we did.  (Directions can be found here.)

 I love all the variations.  Clockwise we have versions by : Liz, Peter, Carrie (abstract!!), work in progress, Nick, Jacob.  Somehow, I missed Patrick's in this collage and Nathan, poor boy, still had to go to class.  Now, I just have to hang them up?

 The girls also got haircuts.  I know, I'm lame.  Blogging about haircuts.  BUT, there was great debate in the house over if Carrie should actually get any hair cut or not.  I documented with before pictures because this was her first haircut, after all.  She was a pro and very still the entire time.  The after pic is the top left, complete with hair straightened and glitter.  I think the hairdresser chickened out too and didn't cut much off saying, "Do you know how much people pay for hair like hers?"  Lol.

The weekend brought the annual trip to the tree farm.  Insert abysmal attempt at group photo here.  Don't look so miserable, people!  It wasn't even cold!

These three found the perfect tree.  And they would have cut it down, too, if I hadn't confiscated that saw in time.

 The two oldest boys cut down the tree themselves.  It is a weird thing to suddenly be displaced in your duties.  The two littlest wanted in on the action so Ken "helped" them have a turn.

Insert group photo with tree that is goofy but hey, they look alive!   Then, it was off to hot chocolate, popcorn, and putting the tree up in the family room before the Christmas parade.

Group photo at the parade.  They look like they need....sugar.  Good thing the peppermint sticks will rain like manna from the sky.

Ears in fingers every time the police cars or fire engines go by!

 Home for dinner and a movie while Dad ran out to the store for St. Nick treats (oops!).  Off to bed and the stockings hung by the chimney with care.....

November 25, 2015

Twins in heaven.

Last Tuesday, I went in for a routine ultrasound.  I didn't have a good feeling going into the appointment as I had suddenly stopped feeling nauseous the week before.

My feelings were justified when I saw two sweet babies and no heartbeats.  One measuring 9w1d and one measuring 7w5d.

I'll be honest, I left the appointment in disbelief and praying for a miracle.  The ultrasound tech was so flustered herself, I had a lot of unanswered questions and doubts.  I went home and broke the news to the kids and began asking people to pray that the ultrasound (abdominal) was wrong.  I said , who needs a push for canonization?? Fulton Sheen and Mother Theresa (who I've mentioned is very special to me)!  Of course, those two will be canonized in their own time but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.

With the miscarriage of Frances earlier this year, I was prepared for it.  Being surprised by twins (I had no idea) and finding out there were no heartbeats all at once was doubly devastating.  Oh how I would have loved two babies! I had already been dreaming of kissing sweet baby cheeks.

A follow up ultrasound on Friday confirmed that there were no heartbeats. By this time, I was thankful for the closure.  The babies were born on Monday the 23rd.  

As a cute antidote.... Peter has called this baby" Speedmotor from the very beginning.  Speedmotor sometimes called dad before he left for work and even sometimes sent "presents".  So we are very affectionately naming one of the babies Benedict Fulton Speedmotor and one Catherine Theresa.
Catherine Theresa

Benedict Fulton

My Lord, the baby is dead!
 Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?
 “Why, My child—do you ask ‘why’? Well, I will tell you why.
 You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.”
 I am humbled before you, my Lord, for questioning Your wisdom, goodness, and love. I speak as a fool—forgive me. I acknowledge Your sovereign rights over life and death. I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity.                                                                                         
     --  Mother M. Angelica

(found on EWTN here).

November 20, 2015

Smoky Mountains.

The fourth weekend of October, we went camping with some friends to the Smoky Mountains.  The week before was tumultuous.  Our friends had a death in the family, Ken was out of town (actually, out of the country), Nick had just dislocated his wrist the week before, there were many other small setbacks that made us think--are we crazy to consider still going???   

I'm glad we did.  The weather was beautiful (the forecast predicted a wash-out) except for the last day.

Nicholas loves to make the pancakes at home AND while camping.
This girl just likes being wild and free!

We made a big mistake the first day.  We got into the campsite somewhere around 1 in the morning Saturday morning (after a later than intended start Friday afternoon, plus a delay for a popped tire for our friends).  By the time we'd all set up and finally climbed into bed it was sometime after 3am.  Of course, everyone still woke up at 7 am with the sun just like normal.

So, Saturday afternoon, we decided to go for a hike.  A 4.2 mile hike.  A 4.2 mile hike with tired kids and a very rocky, rooty trail.  (Honestly, the trail was awful it was so rocky and rooty).  About 3/4 of a mile in, Carrie was in full on meltdown mode yet wouldn't ride in the backpack.  Then Nick fell, tripping over a root.  And hurt his GOOD wrist.  I think he really just freaked himself out.  He refused to go any further.

So after trudging on for another 1/4 mi, Ken decided to turn back and take those two the the car while the rest of us carried on.

You can't beat climbing through a tree.
Closely Control Children.  That sign cracks me up!  Though I'm not sure this waterfall was worth the hike, haha!  The end of the trail had a really steep section going up, and then extremely steep going down.  Poor Peter, his little legs were so tired I had to hold his hands with a death grip to keep him from tripping every step.  But he made it!  And the way back, Nathan and Patrick took turns carrying him piggy-back until we got to spot he could walk on his own again.

After Mass on Sunday, we did a motor trail and then picked a hiking trail off of that.  Perfect for little people who needed a quick nap!
Speaking of naps, Carrie isn't in this picture because she was having one in the car.
The views were beautiful!  Perfect fall colors through the mountains.  The phone camera doesn't do it justice!
When we got to the hiking trail at the top of the mountain, Nick got a little worried again.  And Carrie was a little crabby again in spite of her nap.  So, I took those two and we explored down the other side of the mountain while the rest hiked.  We ended up stopping at the Ephraim Bales Cabin.

 My little piggy in the hogpen.

It was the perfect little diversion for the three of us.  A cabin and outbuildings to explore.  Access the the creek to make dams in and throw rocks.
Monday it rained all day.  We ended up spending the day wandering through shops in downtown Gatlinburg.  Other than having to put the camper away in the rain, it was perfect!  I'm looking forward to the next trip to the Smokies!