Monday, December 31, 2007

while you were out

The three oldest kids went to spend time with their cousins and we did all we could to get this ready for the two oldest girls:

This is a picture of what once was our master bedroom. It is now the two oldest girls' room (#1 and #3). Oh, how I wish it would stay as beautifully clean as it is now.

When we got home from picking them up from their little three day get-away, they knew nothing of it. We had managed to keep it a surprise. We all went upstairs. Things at the top of the steps were still cluttered. "You'll have to go around through our room," I said. They entered their new room.
Number 3 was shocked and cautiously loved it.
Number 1 was snippy, yet stoic, and cried a little. Quietly. The air was a little thick with tension. Nervousness on our part, hoping she'd like it, and for her, the source of tension was probably pressure to like it when she really just wanted to scream.
I told both of the girls that it was ok for them to take as long as they needed to get used to the idea. "You won't hurt my feelings if you don't like it right away," I reassured the oldest girl. "It's not that I hate it, I just miss my old room".
"Yeah, I know," I said, "me too."
But y'know what I found out? I don't miss my room. I think this room (the biggest of all the bedrooms) is so much better as their room than it ever was as our room. It is calm. It is clean. It sparkles and shines. The new rug feels so soft. The beds are quite comfy. It has fun hideaway storage places.
Best of all, there are two girls in there, right this very moment, snoozing. They will soon find that they have more in common than they had ever thought. They will discover that they can become really great friends. They will develop a stronger bond than if we left things the way they were. They will make memories that they will laugh about over coffee in 20 or 30 years. These sisters. Roommates. Friends forever.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

happy butday

Happy birthday (or butday as number 2 used to call it) to my favorite sister.
I love you.
ps- watch out for nine-eyed dogs

Sunday, December 23, 2007

talk about your bella lunas

Tonight's moon is absolutely breathtaking. It is huge and clear and beautiful. There is a bright celestial orb just underneath, which I am thinking is Venus. In any case, it's no wonder there are so many poetic tributes to such a gorgeous creation.

ah, Christmas vacation

I must say, as nice as it is to have a routine, it is also nice to not have one. This morning the kids wanted to play Scattergories. In order to avoid arguments which stem from an overly competitive first-born, I reminded them that they needed to concentrate on the fun rather than on who wins. And for the most part, the game was relatively quarrel-free.

On a separate note, I am working on completing a small list of things that I have been putting off for awhile, one of which is to put pictures in albums. Ten years ago, the film would have been promptly developed, the dates written on the backs of the photos and they would have been stuck into photo albums right away. Now that I have five children, I am roughly 9 months behind. Not too bad, really, I suppose.

King and I have a little "While You Were Out" surprise for my daughters when they go to visit their cousins for a couple of days at the end of the week. I'll have to blog about it later, as number 1 is trying to peek over my shoulder.

Just in case I don't get back to the computer in the next little while, I just want to wish you and your family a beautiful Christmas season. So many people I hear about are so looking forward to Christmas afternoon when they DE-decorate their lives of all Christmas decorations. I want to grab a megaphone and say "People, people, people, this is the FIRST day of Christmas. Relax. You've got 11 more days to bask in the glow of Christmas. Wait until Epiphany to put all those things away."

Ennyhoo, I am off to plot and plan my secret for my girls and to play board games and to have lots of pajama time. xoxo :o) mg

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like....


Over the past couple of years I have discovered that I am a lover of "simple" and "understated". Therefore, I prefer no ornaments on the tree. I know, I am an oddball. But, when the kids are all tucked into bed, King and I love to sit up in the living room and stare at our beautiful Christmas tree (pre-lit Lowe's special) and chat. The fact that my view is not obstructed by old, tired ornaments calms my frazzled nerves. Not to mention the fact that I don't have to shoo any toddlers roaming about away from said tree during the daytime hours is a very good thing as well.

King is just the opposite. He prefers colored lights (even the big bulb kind) and tons of ornaments. He scoffs at my need for simplicity in the tree department. (And from the looks of my dining room table - Christmas gift central - I can understand the paradoxical nature of my logic.) He has mentioned several times that we need to decorate the tree. He even wrote it down on our "to-do" list. I had firmly held a "no ornament" stance on the downstairs tree until I looked in the two bags he brought down tonight.

Then, resistance weakened.

Now we have a few things on it (which does honor my desire for simplicity), a smattering of ornaments which commemorate the past year. At the very top is the tiara that Bia gave me when I turned 40. There are two silly-faced glittered snowmen that make me giggle when I think about the people who think that the human race is in control of the weather. The two little American flags that make me remember that we wanted to go camping over July 4th, but decided not to because of the wee ones (campfire + toddlers = disaster). The Moravian stars we got at Old Salem as well as the blown glass ornaments we got at the One Eared Cow studio make me remember the great trips we took with the kids this summer.

This is nice. Both of us are pleased. Tonight we snuggle up with a big, steaming cup of compromise.

Friday, December 14, 2007

new version of an old favorite

Christmas is coming and I am getting fat.
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat.
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat.

I don't know if it is stress, trying to stay awake, because the little ones around me are eating all the time, the fact that we are smack dab in between two yummy holidays, a combination of them all, or just what, but I am feeling the need to munch non-stop.
Then the fact that I feel guilty about it makes me want to eat too. What the heck?!?!
Maybe Santa needs to put a therapist in my stocking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

this wouldn't happen to a Proverbs 31 woman

I was asked to host a group of Christian women today at a Christmas luncheon. It started at 11:30. It is now 11:40. NO one is here.
I have prepared a talk on the Proverbs 31 woman and how we can try to incorporate her characteristics into our lives. NO one is here.
My house is clean, table linens are set out on three tables. NO one is here.
I have made 20 bracelets ..... a gift for each of the Proverbs 31 women. They are made of 24 pearlized beads each representing a characteristic and a teardrop ruby in the center to remind each of us to be willing to God's will in our lives as we strive to be the woman in the scripture. NO one is here.

No one except me.

Do you suppose God is trying to tell me something? Or maybe He is my lunch date. I would have started cleaning earlier had I known.

update: After sitting, and watching the street to see if anyone pulled up for 30 minutes, one lady showed up, then after another 30 minutes another couple of ladies arrived together. Even though I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to say what needed to be said to whomever He needed to hear the message, I am still convinced that today was a lesson for me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


There is a reason it is called the witching hour. Though tonight it was more like the bewitching hour.
I left the kids downstairs doing a few chores while I ran upstairs to bathe #4. While I was washing away the remains of the day from his little body, I hear a siren.
Then I realize it is not an ambulance, nor is it a sea nymph luring me to the coast, it is a child. Someone who is tired and cranky and hungry and whose oldest sister has just gotten the best of him.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

it's even a little warmer in there

Last night we had crackling fire in our living room. It was so nice to listen to the pop and crack of the logs as they burned. So cozy. King and I sat up and had a glass of wine and watched the dancing flames. We spent time together, relaxing, like we have not been able to do since I can't even remember when. How utterly romantic and way past due. We were so unwound that we even fell asleep curled up together on the couch.
But you wanna know something funny? We have a fake fireplace. A beautiful mantle, but we removed the unvented gas logs when we were restoring the house. We now have our flat screen tv in that space. And a dvd player.... and, you guessed it, a "movie" of a roaring fire.

Goofy as hell? Yes. Best $7 we've ever spent? You betcha!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

here goes

OK, after monogramming nearly 100 scarves for the school Christmas bazaar, (or as King calls it, the Christmas BIZARRE because the kids get him the same coffee mug year after year) I am finally taking the time to step up to the challenge of Bia's tag.

I was, oh, five or so when I got a Chrissy doll. It was so neat. She had a ponytail that you could pull and it would "grow" long. Then to make it short again, you turned a knob on her back. I don't really remember playing with her like every day or anything, but I do recall how incredibly happy I was to see her that Christmas morning waiting on me under the tree. It must be one of my earliest memories. I can remember my green felt stocking with my name on it too.

As a grown-up, I do love the "things"... like I am rawther enjoying my new embroidery machine, which must be capable of so many things that I haven't even discovered yet. But, it's the intangibles that I most appreciate....
-seeing Christmas through the eyes of my children.
-the Christmas I found out I was expecting #4
-friends stopping by and spending a bit of time out of their crazy schedule to get caught up with us
-hearing that a dear friend of mine, whose birthday happens to be a few days after Christmas (what a great Christmas present she must have been) is in the process of reconciling her marriage
-the "no pressure" feeling of Christmas break ("riding" the day as if it were a stallion on a mission all it's own)

As far as my future Christmas gift goes..... don't know if I can dream that big, but I'd want it to include my children, all grown and happy and healthy, and tons of grandkids.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Ok, Bia, this is the first time I've been tagged. I have a few more scarves to monogram for the school's Christmas bazaar, but after that I will get right on it. I think I know my favorite present from childhood... but you know how it is when you get older, you don't really get gifts. But, I'm thinking. Watch this spot.

something to ponder

A friend brought lunch to me today and we were talking about Christmas shopping. Her kids got her up at 3 am on Black Friday to take advantage of those bargains. She told me that someone who was standing near her in the line to pay asked if she'd get up that early to go to a church service. Answering honestly, she laughingly said, "no, probably not."
But it made her think.... "it's easy getting up in the wee hours to save 25% on some stupid gift, but getting up by 9 a.m. to make it to church on Sunday, now that's hard to do!"

shopping for my favorite people

Each year for nearly a decade our parish has had what is called an "Angel Tree" which is put up on the first Sunday of Advent. It has lots and lots of paper angels on it and each angel has a gift request from a needy family in the area.
My tradition has been to get as many angel gift tags as we have children. So this year we picked 5 angels from the tree. Like clockwork, when we come home from Mass that day I find that I am just chomping at the bit to go shopping for these people. I have no idea who they are, but my heart is bursting with love for each of them. If I could buy them the moon and wrap it up for them to open on Christmas day I would.
In fact, I think it is safe to say that I enjoy getting the Angel Tree gifts more than any of the other shopping I have to do this time of year. I almost resent anything I get for my own kids, yet I will gladly get an 8 year old a "hand held sports game" or an "outfit for a 4 year old".
Wrapping them, though, is the best. "Merry Christmas to a beautiful little girl" or "Merry Christmas to a very special young man" is the message I tuck into each package. I always pray that when they read those words, it will make them feel as special as they are to me.