Thursday, May 31, 2007

So Alexander

We've often suspected that Alex lives in a parallel universe that meets our own at some impossible vertex that is Alex himself. He sees the world from angles most of us just don't which leads us to believe that he will one day be either a great poet, a tremendous inventor, or out on the streets.

Just yesterday, my new egg poacher arrived via UPS. I thought I'd poach eggs and drop them on toast for a simple meal for the kids. Alex, who had only known hard boiled and fried eggs all his life was taken aback when he saw his dinner.

"What kind of animal do you suppose laid these eggs?" he asked aghast.

"A chicken, Alex."

"No, no, no," he wouldn't buy it, "These are much too big for chickens."

How to Bee a Flower

Partake as doth the Bee,
Abstemiously.
The Rose is an Estate--
In Sicily.

(Poem by Emily Dickinson. Photograph: mine)

Pool Buddies

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Phew...This Flew!

Dear Toothfairie,

This is a letter to explain that Alexander has lost his front tooth (you may see the gap for yourself if you must) and has not yet received a visit from you.

Please understand, as I was keeping the tooth for Alex in a safe place so that he might present it to you-- under his pillow-- this very evening. Well, Alex's youngest brothers got into this "safe" place and do I really need to explain more? Perhaps you have baby brothers of your own?

We ask you kindly to receive this letter and this tooth-shaped I.O.U. promising to relinquish the real tooth to you-- without expectation of further payment-- should it ever be found, though we must confess that we do not think it very likely.

Thank You in Advance Kind Fairie,
Alex's Mother

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Q: What do You Get...Part Two

...when you've taken those boys to the pool?

A:

1. You get your three year old to wrap his tiny fingers around your neck while you hold him in the pool, kiss you on the cheek and proclaim, "Mama, I love you in the water!"

2. You get to discover, much to your surprise and delight, that both babies can stand in the shallow end of the big pool this year.

3. You get to laugh when one of them sees the off duty guards sweeping and asks, "Are those the Life Cleaners?"

4. You get to see them all swim and play together like a family of otters.

5. You get to chuckle when they use their fingers "like windshield wipers" to clear the water drops from your sunglasses.

6. You get to bring them home tired and hungry

7. You get to feed them

8. and you get to put their sun-kissed little bodies to bed

9. and run your fingers through the highlights in their hair

10. and know that you've given them a happy, happy day

11. and that their dreams will be sweet

12. because tomorrow will bring more of the same.

Q: What Do you Get...

..when you promise five little boys that you will take them to the pool for the first time of the season after lunch?

A: Nagged. Just as they are putting their breakfast bowls into the sink they are saying, "I'm hungry for lunch." "When's lunch?" "Why can't we have lunch?" "I think it is lunch time, now." "Why do we always eat lunch so late, anyway?" "I'm soooooooo hungry."

Stepping up to the Plate

At Simeon's last practice, I was surprised to turn around and see Jacob up at bat! They were kind enough to throw him a few pitches, but I may need to leave him home in the future if he can't understand that he isn't a member of the team and that the big boys need their practice time. Another mother, who thought he was adorable, snapped this shot and sent it to me later.

Monday, May 28, 2007

He's on to Me

After much visiting with other families recently, Zachary's new craze is to ask me, "What is your name?"

I say, "Mama."

He says, "No, you're Su-zanne Temple."

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Young and Old

Two people I met today that made me smile...

1. The most beautiful, five-day-old baby girl. Her little feet were sticking out of her blanket propped up in her car seat in the grocery shopping cart for all to see. She had the most perfect and delicately made toes I have ever seen. Her mother let me take a peek at her sleeping face, too, and the rest of her was as lovely as those toes.

2. An elderly man on his way in the church door as we were on our way out. He smiled as the boys passed and then took my arm, "Enjoy them now, Dearie," he said kindly, "They grow all too fast...They just keep going up into the next grade... and before you know it, they're gone."

God bless the very young, the very old, and all of us between.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Summer Rule of Six

Six Things to Include in My Children's Summer Days

Melissa Wiley translated Charlotte Mason's more general rule of three things to include in your child's day (something to do, something to love, something to think about) into more practical categories and thus developed her now famous Rule of Six. Our rule of six does not differ much from Melissa's and includes meaningful or disciplined work, healthy and imaginative play, beauty (art and music and nature), good books, prayer, and discussion. When planning our summer learning, I simply came up with specific plans for each of these categories keeping in mind the more relaxed learning atmosphere I hope to create.

1. Meaningful or Disciplined Work: This takes the form of the three R's during the school year, but for summer we put all workbooks aside. Meaningful work becomes yard work or gardening in addition to light household chores. Also, making puzzles and practicing flashcards.



2. Healthy and Imaginative Play: Baseball on Saturdays, baseball camp in June, tennis in the evenings or family walks, bike rides, baseball practice and jogs. Swimming lessons. Go to the beach, join the pool! Get as much exposure to sun, fresh air, grass, sand, fresh and salt water as the weather allows. Family board games after dark including geography games and math games.

3. Beauty: Art, music, nature: Sign up for summer art classes, stock van with an abundance of good music for listening en route to the pool and/or beach, plan summer vacation in a beautiful place, visit state parks on weekends, have Jeremy take the boys fishing, eat out of doors as much as possible. Visit public rose gardens in June. Bird watching at memorial park. Plan day trips to zoos and aquariums. Go berry picking, visit area farms, and cook/bake with local grown foods from farm stands whenever possible.

4. Good Books: Get to the library once a week. Fill the house with quality books and audio, lots of fun audio! Read books about where we will be going on vacation. Purchase and encourage reading fun math books as well as stories.

5. Prayer: Morning offering at breakfast, guardian angel prayer at lunch, read Bible stories on Sundays, attend Mass one day a week in addition to Sundays. Confession on Saturdays. Evening family prayer.

6. Discussion: Take the time to listen to the children's questions and answer them carefully. Ask questions, too, and listen to their observations and ideas. Make one on one time with the children when possible.


We're planning to have a great summer; I hope you do too!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"You Said...

...you weren't posting this week," my husband reminded me yesterday when I posted something simple to my blog. (He doesn't like inconsistency--fancy that!)

He was right, of course. I had said I would not post. I even posted that I would not post, but then I pretty much completed the summer planning in ONE afternoon and as for the wrapping things up, well, we're pretty much wrapped up. Tomorrow is the last day of school for us and I feel good about that.

"You keep posting," he said again today. "Why?" I explained the above, but no amount of excuses would satisfy him. I had said one thing and done another and I deserved to be chastised for it. He was pleased to see others call me on it, too.

This from the man who was disappointed when I told him I wouldn't be posting for the week. This from the man I have been spending every night with this week when I am usually blogging.

Integrity. Consistency. Doing what you say you will do. I suppose there's something good about all that. "Now you're probably going to write a post about how you were not supposed to post and you did anyway and people called you on it," he had the nerve to say to me tonight.

Well, I can be as consistent as anybody and I can not-post when I say I'm going to not-post. So, just to show him, I'm not going to post about how I was not going to post, but did anyway.

So there.

Pom-Pom Pets


Many months back, I treated Simeon to a bookstore shopping spree as a reward for something I can't remember now. He spotted a book about making your own pom-pom pets and brought it to me all excited... until he noticed the editor was American Girl.

"Do you think this book is just for girls?" He asked disappointed.

I thought a moment as I thumbed through the pages remembering the happy times I spent as a child making my own pom-poms from cardboard and string. The ideas in this book kit are simple and sweet and the new plastic pom-pom makers intrigued me. Fluffy animal pets don't strike me as something for girls only, especially when they include directions for making an owl, a polar bear, and even a skunk. We bought it. Today, we made this bunny.

Good, simple fun.

The book kit is not very generous with yarn. We had to supplement. We also bought some props as pictured in the book: see silk lettuce above.

Facts...

...the industry has never denied. This is an informational video. Promote it.

h/t: Fumare

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Goodbye, the Game

Nicholas' favorite thing to do these days is to put on his father's shoes.

He digs through Jeremy's drawers first and gathers whatever important items he can find--a set of keys, a bill fold, a broken watch, a ball point pen. He takes these and jumps into Jeremy's shoes-- still wearing his own.

"Goodbye," he says to me carrying off his important, man things-- the broken watch dangling from his wrist. "Going work," he explains and shuffles toward the door.

I play it up, "Oooohhh, you're off to work now? OK, see you soon. Bye now. Love you!" He's pleased that I play along, but shuffles on without looking back... around the corner... and out of sight.

"Goodbye!' I holler, "Goodbye!" he repeats.

"Goodbye" I say again trying to keep the game going, but this time he is beyond hearing. He is gone.

Oh sure, it's all fun and games for now, but this boy (my baby) is practicing for life and I have a feeling I will be the last to shout "Goodbye" when he leaves home for real, too. And then I won't find him sleeping in a corner of the house, later, still wearing his father's shoes and clutching a watch that has-- long ago-- lost track of the passage of time.

Miss Named

The boys found a ladybug and were very excited. They were letting it crawl all over their skin and so I warned,

"Do be careful, ladybugs bite sometimes."

They do.

"They bite?" Simeon wondered, "That can't be. What kind of lady does that?"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Taking A Break

I'm turning my computer off for the week to focus my full attention on closing up the school year and planning our summer schedule. I hesitated to post this because I try to avoid blogging about blogging, but I didn't want anyone to read my silence incorrectly.

Besides, if I don't announce it, I'll probably change my mind.

Have a great week, all!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Am David


I Am David, the movie, is a beautiful and moving story of determination and healing. I especially appreciate the way it illustrates the importance of the relationship between mother and son. Powerful.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Reading Disorder

The way the boys tear through book after book and audio tape after audio tape in back-to-back reading/listening in the days following a trip to the library-- I almost want to call it binge reading. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Taking Chances

After Nicholas was born, it just wasn't possible for me to go to church alone with the children anymore. The two little ones were more than I could handle by myself. For a long while, I didn't even attempt it.

A recent First Communion ceremony that we attended somewhat cautiously, however, confirmed my suspicions that all the boys are now officially mature enough to attend Mass with me alone. They were perfectly behaved. Now, I realized, we could participate in the Mass on weekdays again, though we really were not in the habit anymore.

Ascension Thursday provided the perfect occasion to go together again. I was a bit concerned that I was being overly confident--what if the First Communion ceremony had been a fluke and today the two little ones would cause some unexpected disaster, or an older child would pull an even less expected stunt? I took my chances.

The church was crowded. I scanned the pews looking for an open end and found none, oh wait...one. We filed in and only after sitting did I realize why the pew had been empty. There was no kneeler along half of it. Luckily I sat where there was a kneeler. It was the three oldest boys who were kneeler-less. I whispered to them that it was Ok and that they could just sit when others were kneeling. They nodded in agreement.

When the Eucharistic Prayer began, however, I could see that Simeon was uncomfortable sitting through the consecration. He moved to the edge of his seat and sort of half-knelt while hanging on to the pew, then he just went for it and knelt down on the cold stone floor. It was a small, but sincere act of piety and the others followed his lead, as they always do. Alex first, then Jacob dropped down onto the hard floor--moved more by respect for Simeon than for the Sacrament they have yet to understand.

For the rest of the liturgy, my heart swelled with gratitude for these children, for this oldest son, for the example he sets, and that the others follow. I could thank God, too, for the opportunity to thank Him while in His house and at His table, and not just from my kitchen.

So though the littlest ones were somewhat squirmy toward the end, the wiggling seemed a small price to pay and I've decided, now, to make a habit of taking my chances.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascension Thursday


"While He blessed them, He parted from them, and was carried up into Heaven."
-Luke 24:51

Temperament

To most people, the Orange Bowl is a stadium located in the city of Miami, but in our house it is the only proper container for Zachary's breakfast. Lunch and diner must be served on orange plates as well and, of course, all beverages must be served to him in an orange cup.

Our first three children weren't so particular and number five is looking like he will go the way of his oldest three brothers. No, the other children are far from being particular. It sometimes drives me batty just how un-particular they are--particularly in the way they are so unflinching about dirt and messes and sloppiness of all kinds. We were at our wits ends for a time there, trying to teach these boys basic hygiene and common decency when it comes to leaving things lying about...

...and then along comes Zachary. What a breath of fresh air to see a child concerned about cleanliness! Suddenly, I didn't feel so alone in the war on dirt. He likes to have things orderly and well kept. He likes clean hands, dry pants, and combed hair--a child after my own heart.

What I didn't expect was that there would be a downside to this fastidiousness. He is so particular about cleanliness that he will sometimes change his clothes five times in a day. To his credit, he does put his "dirty" clothes in the hamper, but this child is a major contributor to the laundry monster. Also, he can sometimes be distressed about messes when it isn't so convenient for me, like when we are out and about and I don't have a change of clothes for him.

Realizing that a natural temperament that inclines one toward tidiness has its own set of challenges has really helped me to see the blessings of the other four's more relaxed approach to life. The others may be called back to put their wet socks in the hamper, but they won't be insisting on meals served on any particular color any time soon and neither do they mind staying late to see the fireworks even if they are grass stained and covered in ketchup and chocolate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Our Good Fortune

We have been very fortunate to discover the joys of Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events on audio.

Oh, what dire and calamitous events befall those poor and hapless Baudelaire orphans. Ahhhhh, but with such literary occasion! The bereaved children and their clever narrator are never short on words to describe their disastrous circumstances-- words such as nefarious, treacherous, and lampooned. The events themselves provide plentiful opportunity for teaching literary concepts as well as historical bits of interest and a smattering of science to boot.

Simeon is not old enough to read these books on his own just yet, but he has been listening to them on audio. We are on book the fifth, The Hostile Hospital, and enjoying it thoroughly.

Here is a link to a PDF file of an Unfortunate Events Activity Kit for 3rd to 5th graders. I particularly liked the crossword that uses baby Sunny's amusing baby babble words.

The official activity book for this series is called Puzzling Puzzles: Bothersome Games that will Bother Some People.

Delightfully annoying I am sure!

Because I Just Haven't Posted Enough...

...pictures of myself recently.


My husband took this photograph last Sunday as well. The park we went to draws professional photographers from all around and it isn't uncommon to run into wedding parties there with their own photographer in tow, either. This was just a quick snapshot, but little soft focus around the edges almost makes it look professional (i.e. the soft focus makes the background look almost like it could be a real print on a big canvas backdrop. Hey, isn't that backwards?)

I love digital cameras.

Anyway, sorry to to post me again, but I am considering changing my profile picture to this cropped version of the same picture. I thought it might be more in season than the wool sweater. What do you think? To change or not to change? Put your votes in the box.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Getting Walked On

Last night, I ran a late errand to buy socks. (Why is it that I am ALWALYS buying socks?) I spent about $60. I guess that wasn't just on socks. I did pick up a few extra items, but nothing I can remember. What I do remember is that I did NOT buy the adorable child-sized leather chairs I saw or the pricey hamper I wanted, so to me it was $60 for [boring ol'] socks. Socks are a big expense around here.

When I returned home, I went into the boys' dark rooms to place the new socks in drawers. The boys were all sleeping. Upon entering the little boys' room, the floor suddenly started to move beneath my feet. It was like walking on water and every time I stepped again to catch my balance another wave rolled under me. The room was perfectly dark and for a moment I was completely confused and would have been even more bewildered if I weren't so busy trying to stay on my feet.

That's about when I remembered that Simeon was sleeping on the floor of this room in a sleeping bag so as not to share a room with Alex and hopefully avoid getting sick. As understanding set in so did distress as I aimed in the dark, hoping to step OFF of my son.

Once on solid ground, I hunched down and looked for his head which was at the opposite end of where I tried to look first.

"Simeon, Simeon, are you OK? I am so sorry. I forgot you were there."

He groaned.

"Simeon, are you OK? Does it hurt? I need you to say something," I pleaded.

He groaned again and I wondered if he were even awake but then he managed to say,

"It's OK. You can walk on me."

Well, I wasn't exactly looking for that kind of permission, but I was glad to see that he was fine.

Yum

Do stop in at The Virtual Kitchen. Kristen has some terrific recipes posted.

The illness in our house hasn't been passed around, yet, so these still look good to me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

May Flowers

This morning I had breakfast in bed and was showered with cards, good wishes, chatter and chocolate by my loving sons who were eager for me to share the wealth almost as soon as they gave it. After mass, we drove out to a municipal park known for its rose gardens. While the roses won't be here for another month or so, the tulips were a sight to see...

...and the Lilacs were a smell to smell.

Sorry, this picture is not a scratch and sniff.

After strolling about for a time, we played some baseball on the diamond and then hit our favorite restaurant for dinner. This was a happy day. It was a day filled with laughter and sunshine, surprises and special moments. This was one of the best days; one of the days I want to remember so that it might bring sunshine to my old age. Today was one of those days that reminds me how rich I am, and how blessed, and why I do what I do and how wonderful it all is. Tomorrow, tomorrow I may be sick...I expect to be sick tomorrow... but tonight, I go to bed:

Queen of My World.

Thank you, God!

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's day 2006: Jacob shares a nap with me.

Five Things I Love About Being a Mother

1. I love to see my children grow. I love to see them reach new heights (literally and otherwise), learn new things, and attain greater abilities. I love to see the fine young men they are becoming and imagine what their futures might bring.

2. I love to see my children caring for each other. A comforting hug when one has been injured, a gentle word when another is frustrated, a pat on the back when a third has done well, I see these gestures and more each day and count their worth more than all the flowers in the fields.

3. I love the faith my children have in me. Though I am not always worthy of it, these children trust me completely. It is a very humbling thing to be pushed, in one moment, beyond your limits and rise up in the next moment because you see the trust of those who pushed you there.

4. I love the flowers and the affection. The boys here find femininity a curious thing. They know I'm different and to them that means I like pretty things and things that smell nice and look clean. They go out of their way sometimes to give me such things and I always appreciate that.

5. I love the company. I love a happy and busy home. I grew up in one and I am pleased to have made my own. I love the fullness of a shared life that can be found here, whether it is in the boisterous celebration of a holiday or just the quiet company of a shared nap.

Happy Mother's Day to Mothers Everywhere!
Today, you are in my prayers.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's a Small World After All

It's been something of a rough week for us, here. Circumstances made it such that I've had to hold the fort on my own more than usual and the resulting exhaustion serves as a convenient excuse for my having backed into someone's car on Wednesday afternoon. The gentleman whose car it was, was very gracious about it and the damage wasn't extensive, but we did have to make a claim to our insurance. Ugg.

Add to this, that these prayers have yet to be clearly answered and something for which we were hoping in that regard came back this week as a closed door. Not the end of the world for sure, but a disappointment none the less. There have also been stresses related to taxes and bills and such mix ups with these, that I will say it is none of it our fault and spare you the tedious details.

Did I mention we had broken glass in the house this week? Twice? And then, when I thought the week was finally over, poor Alex started a stomach bug that's sure to bless us all. Fluids for Mother's Day... like we had for Valentine's Day. It does seem to be to be the language of love. Sigh.

Just when the week's discouragements began to join forces against me, I heard a soft little voice at my feet,

"Book?"

Nicholas was holding up Leo Lionni's A Color of His Own, hoping that I wasn't too busy to read it to him. I dropped everything for that moment and welcomed the invitation into Nicholas' little world--the world of carpets and sippy cups, toy cars and board books. It is a simple world, a colorful world and the problems there-- I can manage; I can change a diaper, give a drink, read a book, kiss an owie, push a swing. I find such refreshment there when the rest of life becomes overwhelming. The beauty of it, too, is that this isn't escapism, this is my job and my duty to be with these little ones and share a life with them. How simple. How refreshing. How good.

Ants

An illustration from Simeon's latest book titled, "Simeon's Bugs."

Rain, Rain...

...I'm glad you came.

Sometimes these beautiful spring days cause me stress. I somehow feel pressured to take advantage of the weather and enjoy it to the fullest. I almost feel obliged to get out and make the most of it and a certain anxiety that, despite my best efforts, I'm missing an opportunity. Then the clouds roll in and the sky cracks open and lets fall a torrent of rain...

We may or may not go to the library today.

We may or may not bake banana bread.

No sun. No pressure. Just a slow paced rainy day and a welcomed change.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Found

Nicholas not-napping on the floor of Simeon's closet where he wasn't getting into Simeon's carefully hidden magic kit.

Notes to Self

1. If there is an unfresh smell in the room, there is a cause, source, reason-- if you will-- for that unfresh smell. Find it. Don't just open windows and hope it will air out.

2. Don't let Nicholas go diaperless and out of sight. No, not even for 30 seconds. Sorry self, I make these rules for your own good.

Attention All...

...Nexflix subscribers!

Did you notice the new "Instant Watching" feature at Netfix? For every dollar you pay for your monthly subscription to Netfix you get one hour of free instant watching of selected films per month! Not bad. Certainly, you won't find new releases there, but if you're like us and don't watch television, the supplement adds a lot to the value of your subscription.

Things we've recently enjoyed from Netflix instant watching...

IMAX: Coral Reef

The Natural History of the Chicken. No, I'm not kidding. This was very weird and the people in it were weird, too. I suppose that isn't surprising, but it did spark some interesting discussions around here.

The Empire State Building from the Modern Marvels series.

Mammoth Journey from the Walking with Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Beasts series. Did you know the Osage Orange is part of the Mulberry family and is largely inedible to living animals, but was a staple of the Mammoth diet?

The fabulous Blue Planet documentaries Seas of Life, Tidal Seas and Coasts are also available there! As well as David Attenborough's Life in the Freezer. Excellent.

Be warned there are plenty of bad things there as well, so don't look over the selections with anyone you wouldn't take into a video rental store.

Dirt's Little Secrets

This article would explain why my children are so happy. Dirty, but happy.

h/t: m2

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Center


In case any of you were wondering, this is what was at the center of that baseball: A rubbery orange ball that smells bad (like wet yarn or dog breath). Very exciting.

So worth all that effort.

Moms Who Blog

I'm not sure what changes I'll keep here, but the hints and tips at the new Moms Who Blog blog makes it so easy to change my blog layout, I'm sure I will find something I'm happy with. The image above is Jacob years ago "mowing" the lawn with my husband. Thanks Moms!

Reading With Alex

Alex: Sssttrr...ike, as in: Strike three, you're out!
RRrrrrr....oam, as in: The Roam-ins were afraid of Attila the Hun.

I didn't have the heart to correct him.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lightning Bug


For Anonymous below, here are the five cuts I just gave all centered around a Lightning Bug Zachary found.

The Barber is IN


Five summer cuts. In one afternoon. I'm hangin' out my pole now because while I've given some bad cuts in the past, I don't think it is possible to give as many boy cuts as I have and not develop a certain level of skill. This last round was one of my best. I think I can finally say I've mastered the boy cut. So to those young mothers of boys out there who don't want to pay $12 0r $15 a head every six weeks or so, I say PRACTICE while they are young and PERSEVERE...

...or bring 'em to me. I'll do it for $5.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Hope Chest


Mine was the last of the clothes to be changed over from winter to spring. Yesterday, I pulled from my armoir wools and corduroys in deep purples and browns and emptied drawers full of heavy socks and flannel pajamas. I piled sweaters neatly on the bed and admired the rich harvest-colored, woolen rainbow.

I turned the key of the hope chest and breathed in the sweet smell of cedar that lines the insides. We purchased this chest in the first year of our marriage. We had found it in an antique store and I loved the feathery grain of the dark walnut veneer, but it was probably the ornate, golden key that sold it. Those were the days when I listened more closely to the whims of Romanticism. I have long since turned my ear to her more advisable elder sister, Practicality.

Practicality was standing strong beside me at that very moment, as she has been helping me to take a hard line with the clothing this year. A new theory I've hatched that too many clothes have been the driving force behind my laundry woes has me clearing dressers and drawers like never before.

From the chest, I pulled maternity clothes from when I was expecting Simeon. These were items that I never wore in subsequent pregnancies because I had learned not to wear them; items the industry has since learned not to make. There was the one-piece linen pants suit with the sailor-striped top. (One piece styling is probably best constrained to toddler sizes.) And there was the plaid jumper. I had thought I looked cute in this thing until I saw pictures of me in it. In the photos, the plaid had something of a doorknob effect around my belly and I didn't think that was good. I folded these and set them aside for give away.

Next, I found maternity clothes from my one and only summer pregnancy. The shorts were old and very worn as only maternity clothes can be. The tops were faded. I folded these, too. Among the more recently worn maternity clothes was a brown crinoline top that Simeon had said made me look like a "baked potato" (I had to laugh when he said this because it was... so... true.)

Then there was the HUGE wool sweater that my husband had bought me on our honeymoon. A much-too-large thing as he was always buying me things then that would fit HIM. He hadn't learned, yet, how to buy for me and I had never worn it except on the day he gave it and I set this aside, too. Then, I found a shirt that had been my mother's. It was an old shirt she had no longer wanted and let me borrow and keep when I needed to change at her house. Beneath that was the phosphorescent fuchsia scarf my late grandmother had knit for me. It was always here at the bottom of this chest.

I folded the good maternity clothes and placed them neatly beside the sweaters and socks and flannel pajamas. A cool breeze stirred and sunlight was pouring through my open windows and the sweet smell of cedar hung in the air. I looked up and Practicality was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, her younger sister was at my side. Quickly, carefully, she helped me to place everything back into the chest--the scarf, the too-big sweater, the clownish maternity clothes, the threadbare shorts, my mother's old shirt, the potato skin. Together, we placed all these back inside the hope chest, closed the feathery lid, and turned the golden key.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Aristotle...

...once said, "All men, by nature, desire to know."

I propose to add: And all boys, by nature, will tear nearly anything apart in order to find out.

Confession

Ever since I changed the clothes out for spring and summer, I really enjoy doing the laundry. I love folding brightly colored tops and crisp shorts and placing them in neatly organized closets to be chosen by little boys who will look sharp in the classic styles.

Am I crazy?

In the Garden

Narcissus
The earth laughs in flowers.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Violets in birdbath
It is on the edge of a petal that love waits.
-William Carlos Williams


Tulips in filtered light along fence.
'Tis my faith that every flower

enjoys the air it breathes.
-William Wordsworth


An old bulb produced a flower that was all leaf, but what a leaf!
Let us open our leaves like the flowers,
be passive and receive.
-John Keats

One Tulip learns to peek through fence for unfiltered sunlight.
There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation's braggarts.
-John Muir

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Overheard

Jacob: Papa's back from a business trip. He was at Lanta. That's in Georgia.

Saints Meme

Four Favorites...

1. St Joseph-He has led our family step by step to where we are now in terms of career, housing, and family dynamics. We continue to follow his lead, trusting in his constant assistance. He is a friend and father to this family in such a way that it makes me wonder at the fact that we have not yet met him in person.

2. St Thomas Aquinas-Played a major role in my husband's conversion to the Catholic faith (as well as my own formation) and is an ongoing influence in our development of understanding the faith.

3. St Augustine-I love a sinner turned great saint. It gives me hope. Also, I share his love of words. Augustine was full of words (unlike Aquinas) --passionate words, abstruse words, fleshy words, spiritual words. He just wrote and wrote and wrote more and ever more words saying, here and there, something deeply meaningful or highly quotable.

4. St. Therese the Little Flower-To be frank, I don't care for her writing much at all. It strikes me as excessively girlish. But I think her "little way" is also my way and that I can appreciate. Far from girlish, the little way requires tremendous fortitude. It isn't easy to find and choose God in the ordinary and mundane, day after day. I sometimes wish I could exchange this slow, quiet, almost imperceptible death to self for a quick and glorious martyrdom!

Two Blesseds

1. John Paul II
2. Theresa of Calcutta

Someone I think should be a saint...

1. Either of those two Blesseds.

Thanks, Sara!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Banlanced Meal

Zachary: (coming to me this morning with his arms filled with cars) For breakfast, may I please have some toast with my cars?

St Joseph the Worker


May 1st marks the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. It is fitting that May, Mary's month, begin with a day that honors her spouse. It is almost as though Mary herself placed him there, asking us to honor him as she honors him. I can imagine too, St. Joseph-- in his humility-- accepting his spouse's generosity but asking that he be honored as her servant and as the servant of Christ, St Joseph the laborer.

Pillar of families, Glory of home life, Model of artisans,
St. Joseph, pray for us.
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