December 31, 2008

Year's End

We began 2008 on an up-note, spending our very first night ever in the Purple House on January 1. It was exciting -- and freezing. That first week of January was very, very cold and we did not yet have any insulation. The kitchen was not yet functional and all the bigger kids were piled together in one bed in the family room. The one year old slept in our closet. Can you hate a house enough to stop taking pictures of it? I did.

On February 1, we moved out of the Purple House even though it had gotten better with the addition of insulation, a kitchen and a sink in the master bathroom. We left all that luxury living behind and went to England, with a stop in Virginia where I got to meet one of the handsome hunks of the Blogosphere.

After taking the British Isles by storm (or not) we returned home in mid-March on Palm Sunday and dragged our very sleepy selves to Mass.

In April, I turned 33 and invented cheesecake tart recipe.

In May, my mind turned to gardening and the impending arrival of baby number 5.

By the end of June, I was feeling rather huge.

July was an overwhelming month. My husband's grandmother died and our baby finally arrived.

We started our homeschooling year in August and I began dealing with some postpartum depression.

My friend Jo-Lynne came to town in September, which was especially exciting, since it was the first time we've met in the nine+ years we've known each other. And my five year old turned six.

Then someone else turned two in October (Never mind the three candles he is only two).

On All Saint's Day we celebrated yet another birthday.

I discovered the baby had a hemangioma and we survived hosting Thanksgiving for twenty.

December has run me rather ragged with a ninth birthday,

busy social schedule, Christmas and all the other stuff, but it's been a good month and a good end to a full year.


Happy New Year, Y'all!

December 18, 2008

The Social Whirl

I generally don't think of myself as having a busy social life or much reason to get out of the house generally, but the past several days have involved flying from one thing to another.

It began last Thursday when the kids and I built gingerbread houses with our homeschooling group after The Boy's Latin class. The next day the oldest girl had a Little Flowers meeting, followed by a grocery trip with all five children. When we arrived home there was a message on the phone inviting us to a dinner with people from our old church. Since we don't get to see these old friends all that often any more, we piled into the car and headed to that. And didn't get home until 10. Yikes!

Saturday I went to Recollections in the morning, got home around 1, headed back out with the rest of the family to meet up with my husband's siblings, and then came home and cooked dinner for friends.

Sunday we went to mass in the morning and spent the afternoon at a birthday party.

Monday evening we had an Advent program at church and didn't get home until late.

Tuesday the oldest and youngest had check ups at the doctor. The oldest is getting so big. I knew he'd had a growth spurt, but he's even shot up a bunch in the height percentiles -- still skinny though. The baby is staying on the same curve she was on a month ago. No huge weight gains, but no losses either so that's good news.

Wednesday the kids and I went to a belated celebration in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The kids acted out the story of Juan Diego, did some craft projects and ate quesadillas.

This morning the littlest had another doctor's appointment. This time with a dermatologist to confirm that the lump on her back is indeed a hemangioma. I guess it is good to know that it looks good and is unlikely to cause any problems, but that was an expensive 15 minutes, I'm sure.

Tomorrow evening we go to my husband's work Christmas party. It's a family party and always fun.

Saturday we have tickets to the Children's Symphony in the morning and agreed to go caroling with some friends that night.

As far as I know we only have mass scheduled for Sunday and next week doesn't look too busy (although we do, I hope, have some friends coming over on Tuesday and there is that whole, um, Christmas thing), but if you don't hear from me for a while, it is probably because I have barricaded myself in the house and refused to have any further contact with the outside world.

December 09, 2008

Please Step Away From the Radio

You know you might have been listening to the radio too much, when you are helping your six year spell the word "princess" and after she says "P-R-I-" you want to add "Public Radio International."

December 05, 2008

Quick Takes Again

It's Friday so it must be Quick Takes time.

1. Twenty people for Thanksgiving is totally do-able and I have a couple of tips to make it go well in the future for all of you. Have appetizers. Kids eat more vegetables off a veggie tray than off a dinner plate and some cheese, veggies and crackers make it easier for everyone to wait. Also, although we actually have the space/chairs/dishes and whatnot to seat 20 people all at once (though not at one table) at the suggestion of one of my friends we tried feeding the grownups and littlest kids first while the food was at its hottest and the rest of the kids played. Then we reset the table for the kids and let them have their own party. The kids busied themselves with card games, weren't starving thanks to the appetizers and barely noticed that they weren't there at the table first. It worked well.

2. I have recently been concerned about whether anything physically was wrong with me that might be causing my 4.5 month old not to gain weight as fast as she should. After a checkup earlier this week, I'm glad to say I'm perfectly healthy. My thyroid is fine and so is everything else. So back to wondering what is wrong and if I'm just a lousy breastfeeder unable to feed my babies enough. I do think the 24/7 feeding schedule is helping though and that the baby is looking chunkier. I'll find out when we go back for a weight check.

3. It may be better for you, but whole wheat pasta tastes horrible. Whole wheat bread, yes! Brown rice, (mostly) yes! But whole wheat pasta -- just say no!

4. We're going to get a live Christmas tree this year for the first time in seven years. We used to go for real ones, but after our year in Fairbanks where oddly enough real ones are more trouble and/or more expensive, we've always used a fake. But back to reality this year and I'm looking forward to it. We're also using real greens. We picked up a bunch of free cuttings at Home Depot and used them on our mantles and I even made my own wreath for the front door using florist's wire and a wire hanger. Since I already had the wire and the hanger (and ribbon to decorate it) it was free. Yay free!

5. Two of my favorite teas are for sale again -- if you are looking for Christmas presents for the tea lover in your life -- I highly recommend The Republic of Tea's Comfort and Joy and Tea of Good Tidings.

6. My two year old alternates between loving his baby sister and trying to squish her. He's also taken to asking frequently if he can "hold him." At least he hasn't yet tried to pick her up.

7. I have a long list of things I want to make for Christmas. Have I even started most of them? Of course not. I'm in big trouble.

December 04, 2008

Book Meme

標hich book or books are you reading now?

I'm in the middle of Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It's funny, but I can only read about punctuation for so long at a time before my eyes glaze over. I just returned But Didn't We Have Fun? to the library. I wanted to like it, but the author who is trying to write an informal history of baseball's early years wasn't informal enough for me.

標hat is your favorite time to read?

Mostly in the evenings, because otherwise there are too many interruptions.

柊nd your favorite place?

Bed or the bathtub

標ho is your favorite novelist?

It depends on my mood and the moment -- sometimes Jane Austen or P.G. Wodehouse or sometimes someone else all together.

漂ou favorite poem?

I don't just pull poetry off the shelves to read it all that often, but I am rather fond of Robert W. Service.

標hat is the most difficult book you致e ever read?

The most difficult book I ever have finished was Kafka's The Castle, but then there are books like The Grapes of Wrath and Plato's Republic that for me have been such a long hard slog that I've never finished them.

標hat was the first book you remember reading?

I think something by Dr. Seuss, but I'm not sure. I do remember checking this book about Edith and a Bear out very frequently from the library before I could read.

疋o you have a comfort book that you re-read?

Several. The Anne of Green Gables books, some Wodehouse, mostly books I read first when I was a kid or a teenager.

標hat is the most erotic book you致e read?

My friends and I got our hands on Anais Nin one time, but it isn't a category I dabble in much.

標hich classic should you have read?

Lots of them. I some how graduated from a college that is famous for its English major without taking a single English class. Which means I missed out on many things I should have read. But I've probably read more German literary classics than you have. Not that I remember them anymore though.

標hich book did you never want to end?

I can't think of a single book, but I wanted the Anne books and the books about Betsy and Tacy to continue on forever.

標hat is your most overrated book?

Besides anything by James Joyce?

標hich character could you have an affair with?

Mr. Darcy

標ho is your favorite character?

It all depends. There are so many great characters in books, it would be hard to pick just one.

標hich character do you most dislike?

Again, I'm not sure. I mean there are some really evil characters to hate out there. Kafka excels in some, for instance.

標hich character do you identify with most?

I always liked Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy and Anne, when she's in trouble. Maybe Ramona. And of course, Elizabeth Bennet.

標hich book changed your life?

Oddly enough (because I am not Eastern Orthodox) it was a book called Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy by Frederica Matthewes-Greene that started me down the road to Catholicism.

Meme highjacked from Robbo.

December 03, 2008

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?

Ten points to the first person to spot the quotation.

Apparently (and my husband will be very surprised) I am 98% male. Actually, I think this merely means that my writing style isn't so girly as Andrew Sullivan's.

From the also quite manly Janis.

Smart Mice

We have an old drafty house. We have lots of kids scattering lots of crumbs on the floors. We have no cat. What do we have lots of mice roaming the premises.

So far I've seen five mice and we've only killed three. The other night I looked up from the computer to see a mouse sniff the mouse trap and head the other way. I thought peanut butter was irresistible to them, but apparently this particular mouse was smart enough to resist temptation.

Having no desire to move to glue traps or poison, we'll have to see how long they can hold out against the lure of peanut butter. Resistance is futile (I hope).

December 02, 2008

I Need a 28 Hour Day

My fall wreath is still on the door. There are ceramic turkeys on the dining room mantle and over the house sits a distinct lack of Advent or Christmas decoration. Yesterday was the oldest boy's ninth birthday. Once he was tiny. Now he is big. How the heck did that happen?

For his birthday he got a watch from us, a 100 foot tape measure and a Lego Brickmaster subscription from one set of grandparents and a bunch of Tom Swift books and a trip to Opryland Hotel from the other grandparents. He also got a collection of Smurf episodes on DVD. The lovely thing about this child is that he loves and appreciates all gifts. Had I gotten him a brick and a lump of coal, he would have been happy. Had he gotten nothing at all, he still would have found joy in the day. I wish I could be more like him and always find pleasure in where I am and what I have.

We had a party for him on Sunday afternoon. I let him pick one family to invite and so we had over some friends who have three kids around my son's age. The kids played, ate pizza and cake and made a good party of it.

Yesterday we went to Opryland to see the Christmas decorations and enjoy the tourist feeling in our own city. In the evening we went to an Advent program at our parish.

Now I need to get back to the everyday and get in some schooling along with taking down the autumnal decorations and putting out the wintery ones.