Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Preparing

Hmmm, I see I have not posted since August. Sheesh. I am just really bad at this blog thing.

Still, here I am.

Advent is nearly upon us. This Advent I find myself preparing to welcome a new baby, due December 27. Because of my history of some slight complications it could be anytime in the 2-3 weeks prior.

When my son was born on December 26, nearly 4 years ago, it was a surprise. He was not due until February. But complications (yes, the same ones that may pop up again in the next few weeks) called for induction at 34 weeks. We managed with quite a bit of grace to adapt and care for my tiny little boy. We were blessed with the miracle of a mere couple of hours in the NICU and a baby healthy enough to come home with me 2 days later.  I kept him so close the next 2 months,  I think I barely put him down.

This time, I can plan. I really love preparing my heart and home for the Christ child and I this year I really love the parallels with preparing our home for a new little girl. We have created new spaces for older children, moved some middle children around and in the next few days, my current "baby" (18 months old) will share a room with some big sisters. I admit, I am going to miss my sweet Mara. I think her Papa will too.

Advent will be simple. Christmas will be simple. Our time as a family will likely be mostly centered in the warmth and quiet of our home around a newborns, our daughter and the Prince of Peace. Perfect.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Catholic Woman's Almanac: Almost Not Sick

::embracing gratitude

Husband and children who can pick up the slack as I recover from a stubborn cold.
Happy, good things happening in my sister's life.
A wonderful soccer coach for Carmen. Really wonderful.

::this moment

Waking everyone up, eating breakfast. We will probably step lightly into schooling next week, since Maddy's college classes begin. So we establish a good morning rhythm this week with everyone up early. We'll see how it goes.

::this week

Soccer, TKD...sigh. The busy begins. I still need to sign Kay and Aggie for dance. Happily, it turns out there are classes that dovetail one after the other at each of their levels in the same afternoon.

We'll have a day at a local waterpark on Thursday with all the cousins.

I am determined to make the most of these days. No slacking. 


My library on the Venice book expired. I will have to renew before I pick that up again. I was really enjoying it. Fascinating bit of history about a city I love.

Still reading In the Garden of Beasts.

Adding in soon, thanks to Elizabeth 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess .

I also think I want to get my hands on Beauty in the World: Rethinking the Foundations of Education.


What it means to be "real" on the internet? How do I approach sharing joy and grace tempered with the reality that sometimes I'm feeling anything but. I'm thinking it comes down to who do I hold responsible? In other words, when there are those moments in my life when I feel very human, broken and sinful, do I look closely at myself to find the source of the problem? Or do I assume that I fail because everyone else around me just keeps messing up? The "if only's". If only I had a bigger home, a more attentive husband, neater children and on and on it goes. When I want to share the reality of my day (here. facebook, twitter), am I sure to temper it with a healthy dose of humility and charity? Do I keep in mind that some things are just private? Am I building the Kingdom of God?


Students everywhere and their teachers.


Feast of the Assumption on Wednesday.


Since soccer did not sneak up on me this week, I at least have meals planned for when I will be out late this week. Can I tell you again how happy I am to have teens that can cook?


Finishing up a scarf for Maddy that I started, um, a LONG time ago. It is the easiest darn thing to knit, just have to give it time. Olympic closing ceremonies and various soccer and basketball games were very fruitful this weekend.

::school room

Still working on those plans. I really must have things ready to just pull out and go, and this is where I tend to really fail. Lots of tedious advance work, but ti will bear so much good fruit.

Joining these lovely ladies at Suscipio.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Early Evening Alamanac

Why not?

::embracing gratitude

Watching soccer with Carmen
Our team winning in a hard fought game
Husband home early to watch too, because he loves how much she loves it

::this moment

Heh, really should be working hard on the other part of dinner

::this week

Soccer makes an early return since Carmen was invited to join a team in a tournament over Labor Day weekend.
Tae Kwon Do for Anna.
School planning and more school planning.
Cleaning and declutterering (probably not a word).
Hoping for a pool day with my sister and her darlings.

In the Garden of Beasts
City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
Heal My Heart Oh God (need to see where this might be available from, I got it long time ago)


Of course, we have been watching the Olympics. I am struck over and over how amazing these athletes are. They reach deep into themselves and give it everything they have. If only I could bottle this drive and apply it to living a Christian life for just one day. Then I am reminded it is bottled. It is grace. He gives it freely and abundantly. I am courageous enough to receive it? Let it change me? Tone my soul and pull those lazy spiritual muscles into shape?


A FB friend asking for prayers for her mother
Courtney Lenaburg
A missionary friend
Teens struggling to live courageous Christian lives in a very damaged culture


I will get back to dinner ;) Tonight we will have spaghetti squash with homemade bolognese sauce topped with mozzarella cheese and a big green salad.
I admit I am intrigued by eating Paleo. That may be because I have seen some really delicious looking recipes. Also, is am curious about seeing if long term this may be the best way to feed my diabetic husband.

::quick off topic

Want on earth has gotten into my 3 year old. He is bouncing around the kitchen like one of those crazy bouncy balls.


I went through all my knitting projects that have been um, well, just laying there on needles for way too long. I just undid a whole bunch and committed to finishing the ones I really love. I have plans
for some surprises, but I must finish at least one thing before I order any more yarn.

This weekend brought me new insight into why sewing your own clothes is a tremendous skill. Carmen wanted a new dress. After wandering through the offerings of some local stores, we were feeling very dejected. Just awful. Ugly and cheaply made. We are turning to mini-Boden or Tea online this time around. But really, after looking at some fabrics online, knowing that for the yardage I probably need, it would cost almost half to make a truly beautiful dress....well, I feel almost guilty about that sewing machine I never seem to touch anymore. I just find it so hard to get over this inertia. Perhaps I need to call Elizabeth for some inspiration.

::school room

Plans, plans, plans!

Joining these lovely ladies at Suscipio.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Very Hot Day in the Middle of a Very Hot Week

It is hot.

So hot.

We are cool and comfortable inside (though I shudder to think what the electric bill will look like this month). But, oh my, everyone is still CRANKY. Even me. The constant background noise of bickering and sniping is almost unbearable.

So now, little ones and medium ones are painting, for the moment forgetting that it too hot to safely play outside and the pool feels like a giant lukewarm bath.

Tomorrow I think I will make some scented playdough and pull out all our fun tools and cookie cutters. I will come up with something fun for Saturday, which will be the hottest day of all. I will be ever so grateful for electricity and air conditioning and refrigeration.

Aaaannddd I will absolutely get a plan for some simple fun schooling to get us through the very hot days.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fleeting Beauty

I have written before about watching Carmen play soccer or Lilly play basketball. I never want to miss watching them. Carmen always thrills me with her skill and intelligence. Lilly impresses me with her sheer athleticism and determination.

I sometimes write about my little girls that dance. Not often. I still feel new to the dancing "scene". I have my own version of sports mom down. It is unique, mostly because I believe a home schooling mother of many children inevitably brings a unique perspective to just about everything she does. So now, after just a couple of years, I am figuring out the "dance mom" thing, in a way that suits the realities (and joys of my life).

Last night Aggie and Kay danced in the end of the year recital for their studio. Their school is small, family owned and run. They are a fixture in Manassas. Miss Bonnie and her husband have been parishioners at All Saints for 40 years. Miss Lisa, Kay's instructor, their daughter, went to school there. It is a lovely place and I am very happy to have found a home there for my little girls.

This year, as I got Kay ready, did her hair, gave her just a little blush on her cheeks, I was struck by her clam and confidence. She is only eight. But this was her thirds recital. She knew what she was doing. And she does love that stage. When she came out onto the stage, so straight and beautiful it took my breath away. I marveled at how long and fluid her whole body suddenly seemed. Such grace. She was smiling, big.

As I helped Aggie get dressed, she was a bundle of five year old excitement. Her first time on a stage, under lights. She wasn't scared. She was Tinkerbell, complete with a little pair of green wings, read to float on the stage. I left her, she assured me she would be fine, waiting with her class. She wanted me to see her dance.
When she lead her line of fairies out, of course, the tears sprang to my eyes. She was perfect. Really. And so so happy.

I didn't film them. There is a DVD I can buy. I may. (Some incredibly intense work issues made it impossible for Dave to be there. It was heartbreaking for him.) I will probably watch it once again. Still, something in me likes that I have those images, those emotions, safely captured in my heart. It is not so much that I need to see it again. I have that moment, when time stood still, and my little girls were the only ones I could see on that stage.

(These wonderful pictures are courtesy of my father.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Month of May with Mary

Second Meditation-
Read from the Life of Mary by Inos Biffi pgs. 12-19

Study this painting of the Wedding at Cana.  Can you see the six stone jars? Do you see Our Lady? Some of the Apostles are pictured here as well. Read the account in the Gospel of John.  Notice how Our Lord listens to His Mother. This is a good way of remembering why we ask Our Lady to pray for us. Jesus listens to His Mother, just like we listen to our mother.

Think about how Mary knew in a very special way who her Son was, the Messiah, her Savior. As we pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary ask Our Lady to help us to come to know Jesus more fully, especially as He reveals himself in the Luminous Mysteries.

Listen to Sing of Mary by L'Angelus. I remember singing this often in the month of May in Catholic school when I was small. It is a lovely song that speaks to the hidden life of the Holy Family.

Start a little pot of lavender or make a small sachet.  Draw the tiny purple blossoms. It is said that lavender got its scent when Mary laid Jesus’ clothes to dry on it. It was called Mary’s Drying Plant.

Here is a quilt block of a lavendar flower. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bread of Life

A beautiful day for Kay, my girl who is all joy and light. She was happy. 

Friday, May 4, 2012