"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Martinmas - Welcome Winter!

 I am grateful for the sunshine falling on the last of the fall leaves.  I am thankful for sunny days when my children can dress warmly and go outside to play.  We've had our first snowfall, and our first wintery mix storm systems with wind and grey and wet...those long dark days that tend to make a mother call a realtor and look for homes in Florida.  I have had moments where I've dreaded what the next 6 months will bring to the Northern Midwest we call home.  

But I've also tried to embrace the coming chill.  To create warmth and light when there is none to be found in nature.  And I discovered the tradition of Martinmas.  A week ago last Monday was the feast of St. Martin of Tours.  St. Martin was a Roman soldier who spread the light of Christianity to the dark pagan world of the Roman Empire.  One of his symbols is a ball of fire.  So, over the centuries, his feast day was celebrated by lantern parades.  Fire in the darkness, with song and celebration.

All lit up and ready to march!

On procession

We don't live in medieval Europe, so our procession was small, but we did sing and we did celebrate with hot chocolate after circling our home a few times.

We remembered St. Martin of Tours, giving half of his red cloak to a naked beggar, discovering in a dream that the beggar was Christ.

We didn't mind the cold or the dark.

We had light and warmth and joy of our own to bring...as we welcomed the coming season.
on our mantle

modge podge, tissue paper, more modge podge: that's IT! So easy, so beautiful.  Do this for candlemas if you didn't get to it for Martinmas. You could make these for Christmas or Easter.  I loved this project!!

I have to give credit to Jessica at Shower of Roses for the tutorial...you can see her beautiful feast day celebrations there!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I stole this quote

You can go to Amongst Lovely Things to see the beautiful photos posted with this beautiful quote.  Yes, it's probably hitting me more at just this moment...you know, what with contractions and all.  I'm tucking this one away for encouragement.

"Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and ... freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them, and from nobody else.

 He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation.
He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or ... tunes turned out by the machines ... People who prefer the mechanical pleasures to such a miracle are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life... It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world."

-G.K. Chesterton

PS That "contractions" comment was not some sort of hint.  I get these for a long time before labor.  Or you could say I'm in labor for weeks. Whichever makes you feel happy...not sure which way I prefer to think about it...;)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Prelude to Winter

Yesterday was our first snowfall.  It was a beautiful snowfall which I kept meaning to photograph in my spare time, which is why I never took a picture.:)  I did make hot chocolate for the occasion, though not "St.Nick's Hot Chocolate", which I didn't have the ingredients to make, but is my all-time favorite form of hot chocolate.  (I'll post a recipe for that one of these days...)

So, although I can't show you the falling flakes, I can show you what I woke up to this morning: the sunlight streaming through the remaining fall leaves, and a pretty dusting of white over everything.

Has anyone else noticed that snowfalls bring clear and bright skies in their wake? It is always sunny after a snow day.

 I loved the last of the fall leaves nestled in with the first of the winter's snow.

We received our official "warning" of the approaching winter.  The day grew dark early, we made a run for a pair of boots and some hats and gloves for the few of us who still needed them. And I might just have splurged on a peppermint mocha while I was out...

It's a good thing we had just managed to capture a few of these beauties in beeswax before the snow hit:

I tried to turn this project into a science/nature lesson, having my  little ones trace the leaves with crayons and study them under a magnifying glass.  Kindergarteners can be very taken with magnifying glasses.  Bilbo kept saying "I never knew that!" as he looked at his leaves.  
My artistic and talented sister made hers into a gorgeous swag for her front door.  I could barely manage to string them across my mantle.  Occasionally I'll catch a whiff of the beeswax, which is just lovely!

Is it completely obvious that I'm trying to post sweet things to distract myself from the one very sweet thing that simply will. not. come. early?!! How this little holiday baby isn't making an early arrival is beyond me. I feel like I am going to pop! Bun in the oven? Ha! I've got the Thanksgiving turkey in here!!

But, truth be told, I could stand to wait another day since five of my kids have a dentist appointment tomorrow and it would be really inconvenient to have to reschedule those!  Always good to get things cleared off the plate before a baby comes. On the other hand, I'm sure my Mom and sister would just love to take my kids to those appointments for me!:)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Loved this


I'm going to try to re-read this one, probably every day between now and Christmas.  It occurred to me at some point that I do not have Christmas presents wrapped and ready to go, even though I do have a baby "wrapped" and ready to go!  I'm going to have a newborn as I prepare for the Christmas season...Christmas for 8 children...it usually entails a good deal of thought and, honestly, purchasing.

But this year? I wonder what would happen if I just sort of didn't.  Didn't purchase, anyway.  There could be baking. The kids would love to get in on that! There will be some gifts under the tree.  But, I want to protect myself from the whirlwind of endless sales and deals and, on the home front, the lists of requests.  I think I will think hard about a special gift or two, go with that, and leave it at that.

The corners can be filled in with firelight and candles, song and prayer.  And cookies.

But I will have a new baby to be loving, and I want my Advent to be filled in joyful anticipation of the coming of that other Baby we are called to welcome and love.  I don't want to lose the joy of nativity, my own, and the one that took place 2000 years ago. Those brief and fleeting moments when a newborn is new.  I don't want to miss it. Not my own baby, not that other Baby either.  I think Elizabeth's post is a very important one for me during this moment in my life.

So, I share the link.

Big, Bigger, Biggest

I need a picture of my belly to share on line.

My babies have all been over 8 pounds.  Let's say this baby will be 8.5, a nice average for my kids.  Go to the grocery store's meat section and stack up four two-pound packs of ground beef.  Mentally throw on another half pound.  THAT is IN ME!

(Let's not think about the fact that that has to somehow get OUT, too).

Anyway, just sharing a thought as I sit here, somewhat weighted down, sometimes a bit stranded under the weight of my baby.

It's good, though. It makes me overcome the urge to avoid labor and delivery.  It makes me more eager to meet this baby--the sooner the better, really.  Because there just comes a time where the impulse to delay the work involved in caring for a newborn is overcome by the impulse to be able to BREATHE again!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A little crazy

Ever feel like things are turned upside down?  (haha, cheesy joke)

 The baby is on the way and I've been trying to get the house ready...a much larger task than I might wish for, given the daily wear-and-tear that keeps those extra rearranging bedroom type projects not the easiest to get to.  So far I have rearranged the girls' room, moved Legolas' crib to the big boys' room (because our nursery is freezing in the winter--just too far from the furnace), and set up the new baby's crib, etc, in our room.  I'll get pics up of that cute stuff soon, just for fun:).

This morning I am sharing the final rose of the season which bloomed and then got stunted by the cold. I still thought it was beautiful, so I asked Arwen to take a picture of it and then we floated it in some water when we discovered that some young botanist had picked it! (I hate to blame Bilbo without direct evidence;)).
photo credit: Arwen
A beautiful late-fall rose.  Happy Monday! (Wish me luck on the home-front--more details on that to come!)