"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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Finished!!

Baby Surprise Jacket KnitAlong
I didn't have the sweater buttoned all of the way here--she was being
as cooperative as... a One-year-old!
"So big!"
This is the story of the tortoise and the hare.  I am the tortoise, but I didn't win any races.  I just finished. And that is so awesome!  Let's see, it was May of 2011 when Elizabeth Foss came up with the amazing idea of knitting a simple sweater as a blogging community, just ten rows a day.  She and her friend walked us through the project clearly and simply, and did such an amazing and wonderful job!  But I didn't quite keep up, and at the VERY end of the project, I put my knitting up on a shelf in my china cabinet, where it sat…well, since 2011.  My baby was exactly one year old at the time, now she's four and a half, but she has a little sister who celebrates her First Birthday TODAY!!  And the sweater? It fits perfectly!!

I added the cutest buttons to make my very amateur efforts look a bit fancier!:)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Martinmas, 2014

Last year I was introduced to the tradition of celebrating the Feast of St. Martin with a lantern procession.  Celebrating the saint who brought the Light of Christ to the darkness of Pagan Rome, the saint who gave warmth to the beggar by sharing his cloak, we light lanterns and go out into the cold ourselves, shining our lights and fighting back the darkness that has encroached with the turning of the season.

This is us last year, making our way around our home, singing…not sure what the neighbors may have thought.

This year my sister and I were inspired by Auntie Leila to expand our celebration beyond our families.  We hatched a wild and crazy plot and called our pastor!  Imagine me trying to explain Martinmas, requesting the use of the hall for a light supper, and wondering if he would very much mind leading a procession?  Because our pastor is wonderful, he did not mind, so we got busy!
This is my kitchen table, under a wild mass of tissue, Ball jars, and Mod Podge! The best part was that my kids, even my boys, remembered the lanterns from last year and dove right into making theirs. I love that!
Now I have to track down my sister, because as usual, I forgot my camera for the actual event. (Yes, I'm hopeless).

My sister made two large pots of clam chowder, muffins and delicious spice cake.  I brought ham and rolls.  Our friend brought a fruit and veggie platter and candy for the children (another nice opportunity to repurpose trick-or-treat loot).

Father joined us for supper, led us in prayer and procession out into the frigid night.  We prayed at a Mary shrine outside of the church, and then we just so happened to be lucky enough to land our celebration on the usual night for perpetual adoration, so Father had us all process into church and leave our lanterns burning before Our Lord in the Eucharist.  We received benediction, and we processed out.

We could not have been more blessed.

St. Martin, pray for us!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A New Friend

I am not sure if I mentioned that our sweet golden retriever passed away last February.  She was an angel of a golden, actually an English Creme, white, golden retriever.  Unfortunately, such a fancy specimen was not of hardy "mutt" stock, and she got juvenile lymphoma at just 3 years old.  We were very sad (I still am!) to lose her.  But there was also a sort of relief after having gone through really huge efforts to get her healthy (before we knew it was cancer).  It had been hard work, and stressful.  So for a while, we didn't mind not having a dog.  But, for better or for worse, I am a dog person.  Somehow dogs just make me happy.  I like having them in the house as an extra set of eyes and ears, especially when I'm alone and at night.  I like walking dogs.  I enjoy watching them.  

Long story short, it was time to try again.  We were through with fancy breeders who charged too much and couldn't guarantee health.  We decided to look for a dog from the pound who would be some crazy mix of who knows what with a sweet disposition and a long life expectancy.  We found Violet! 

The humane society guessed that she might be part border collie and part welsh corgi.  She has a long body and short legs.  She actually looks a little Pekinese!  Her tail is long and curls up over her back, and flops in the air as she prances along.  She does not have the energy of a border collie, but she is smart and eager to please.  Can you tell I'm pretty much crazy about her?

So, Violet is our new addition.

October, reprise

I can hardly believe that fall came, stayed, and is already beginning to fade into winter.  This year the leaves turned early with some crazy cold weather in September.  Then it rained. I think there was a full week of rain in October and I began to be very afraid of how long this winter might seem (I'm still a little weary from last winter).  But then some nice days came, and the leaves that turned early did not fall, but stayed gloriously on the trees all month long. 

After learning that leaves could be preserved by simply ironing them between waxed paper (as opposed to dipping them in beeswax), we gathered the leaves that did fall and revisited some traditional fall crafts: 
After ironing between waxed paper.

I still have some saved for our Thanksgiving table.  I must confess, that while I would probably not have done this at all if I hadn't learned of the "easy" way, I really do miss the thick layer of beeswax that leaves such a delicious scent with a touch of honey in the air. 

And we did our wax crayon rubbings melted with leaves again as well: 

This project is so pretty, and the mess is totally worth the fun the kids have shaving their crayons.

Then, at the end of the month, came Halloween.  We seem to do things en masse for this holiday.  Last year we formed "the fellowship", this year? Racing Sausages: 
(google this if you have no idea who we are).

This was the biggest hit in the city.  People were cheering, shouting, and making my kids race. "Chorizo" (#5) seems to be the most popular…and actually the hotdog (is that #2? I don't even know)…followed by "cook", who is really Polish Sausage, I think.
Anyway they got their candy, had a blast, and yes, we all ate too much sugar.  The next weekend we all dressed up as Saints (well, I didn't, but the kids), and celebrated All Saints day as it should be celebrated.  I'll have to see if I can track down pictures of that.  But for now, that brings us up to date and into November!

Oratory revisited

Auntie Leila was explaining again (she did in her book, and she just reminded me on her blog) about the notion of arranging things in an octagonal formation.
She writes:
"David Clayton explains, “The octagon represents the ‘eighth day’ of Creation, by which Christ instituted the new order.”  

Hold that thought.  Here is where I am at:

I had to remove the table.  It was too wide for the space which is on a wall between two doors (you can see part of one door and part of the molding of the other below).

 I would like to find a very narrow console table to place statues and candles on, but for now, we just have our kneeler, which doesn't impede the flow of traffic as much as the table did.
 Hello--I have a visitor (this is Violet, more on her later), and I am happy to include this photo because it reveals one of several large stains (not from the dog) that have surfaced on the carpeting in this room.  I am happy to tell you this because I am hoping to re-carpet this room before too long,  Then I can show you how nice it is when it is done and you'll know that it was indeed quite needed.  So, probably within two years you can expect me to get around to this project.  Just to give you a realistic time frame.

Big digression.  Back to the oratory.

Well, the first thing to change was our crucifix:

We received this one from my Mother-in Law who had it blessed by our favorite priest, Fr. Chacon.
I love that it is a Saint Benedict cross, replete with exorcism powers.  I also think the corpus is quite beautiful.  This cross was considerably shorter than our old one, so there was some space that needed filling.  I was happy to fill in with a few of our favorite patrons:

St. Pio is up there too…
And I have a few more to add, but I was elated when I discovered that I was *near* to creating a nice octagonal shape with the collage.

Anyway, that's a glimpse of my little work in progress!

Grandma? (Overheard)

My Mom's birthday is coming up and yesterday I told my husband that I needed to get my Mom a birthday present.

Rosie was sitting next to me on the couch.  Who's "my mama?" she asked.  What? says I. "You said "my mama" who's "my mama".  "Oh, my Mom." I said, "Remember, we just talked about this the other day.  Who is my Mama? Do you remember?"

(Rosie thinks hard). "Oh yeah…who was it???…Oh YEAH! It's Aunt Maria!!!" (that would be my sister who is 8 years younger than I).

I won't tell you who she guessed next, when I said she'd have to be OLD enough to be my Mom (Aunt Ann! haha--still 18 months younger than I!)

We finally worked our way around to her grandmother.  That girl. <sigh>