On a Tuesday that feels like a Monday

I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

The pansies in the front bed look trampled. I remind myself that pansies are hardy and they will rebound.



::listening to 

the refrigerator hum. Ahh, silence of the early morning after a very big Christmas party and a very late night. I was up early to deliver Mike to the airport and now I'm relishing the quiet of my house.


::clothing myself in 

a soccer sweatshirt, dirty jeans, messy hair. I actually slept in these clothes and just rolled out of bed for the aformentioned airport run. I will properly attire for the day. Later.



::giving thanks for

  • a goodhearted teenaged boy who did a huge shopping run with me on the 23rd. We went to Costco and Trader Joe's and (unexpectedly) The Mall. He was great company and an enormous help and I spent the whole time very grateful just to be with him.
  • my executive assistant. One teenaged girl in the middle of all those brothers. She's wrapped and wrapped and wrapped. She's made my lists, checked them twice, reminded repeatedly. She spent several nights with her computer and her cell phone in her bed because she'd put herself on text alerts to find a much-wanted toy for her little sisters. She really is my best friend ever.
  • a sweet soul with a shy smile who can whisk a cranky, croupy little sister into his arms and get her singing Taylor Swift instead of crying big tears. His magic may or may not involve chocolate.
  • the not-quite-teenager who, despite some pretty intense orthodontic pain, was a cleaning machine in the kitchen last night. He paired with is uncle and and whipped the kitchen into pristine condition after I'd cooked for and fed 23 people. No small task.
  • the young man, excited about the possibility, who told me all about his business plan while I arranged anitpasto. He's also the only one old enough to do a last minute run to the store to re-stock beer.
  • the new pair of hands next to mine, pretty new ring sparkling, deftly rolling cake pops in crushed peppermint, bringing her own sweetness to our kitchen.


::pondering prayerfully

 Parenting on the road is an art. It requires imagination and organization. Think about it:  You have to do all the usual stuff (feed, dress, bathe, supervise, teach, comfort, discipline, put to bed, and so on) in an atmosphere where your children are hyperstimulated, without the familiarity of place and the resources you take for granted at home. Although it's not impossible--and can even be fun--parenting on the road is not something you want to learn on the fly, particularly at Walt Disney World...The point we want to drive home is that preparation, or the lack thereof, can make or break your Walt Disney World vacation.

~The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2012

I sincerely hope I'm up to this task. Expect this space to be pretty quiet this week as I prepare.




::clicking around these links

I've done no clicking of my own recently, but I noticed this morning that Emily has a list of her Top Favorite Blog Posts of the Year. I plan to click through those during my second cup of tea this afternoon. Do you have some favorite posts of the past year? Link to them in the comments and let me know--I'm looking for places to click.


::turning the pages of this book

We are doing some serious binge reading here this week:

Birnbaum's Walt Disney World

Birnbaum's Walt Disney World for Kids


The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2012

 We leave at 0-Dark-Thirty Sunday. {But if you're a robber, note that we are leaving several big strong young men in the this house--and a half dozen contractors, hopefully).

Still reading your Disney tips and finding them enormously helpful.



::thinking thoughts as I go about my daily round

There is no doubt about it; Christmas is different now than it was in years past. The twinkling awe of little ones is embodied in just three little girls. But boy, did they ever twinkle! There's enough Christmas magic in Karoline to light the world, I'm sure. I added a third table to the family gathering this year. It has dawned on me that my house is getting fuller, not emptier. There was more work this year, no doubt. There was more help, too. The days of "just us" (all eleven of just us) are fading. There are new faces around my table and tucked into the living spaces of my house on most days. My children have brought new people into the circle of our family: girls with shiny new rings, boys who make music in my basement and then record it and sit in my car in the driveway to critique their work, a lovely dancer who looks strikingly like Karoline and just seems as if she's always belonged. They are woven now into the memory of this holiday, forever a part of the fabric of this family.


::creating by hand

just a couple more things to finish up before our trip, but they remain a secret. Nicholas gave Karoline a sewing box and two yards of darling fabric for Christmas. She wanted to make a bag right then and there. I was sorely tempted to give in and help her make something in which to pack. I reconsidered. There's enough to do without adding handmade duffel bags to the list. Still, there's something about handmade...

I have a ridiculous amount of fabric for my after-we-get-back projoects. I doubt I'll need to buy fabric for all of 2012. And I actually have a list of the order I plan to sew the projects. I should just unsbuscribe to every sewing and quilting blog right now because there is no room on the list for a single new idea. And sketches. I"m sketching quilts. What makes me think I can do that?

I began a new embrodery project Christmas night. Mike asked me what it was to be and I told him I'm making drapes for our bedroom. Actually, I don't plan to embroider the full length of drapes, just a bit or maybe a little more than a bit. Anyway, he mused that perhaps I don't have the time to do that kind of handwork. I don't have the time to not do it. To end the day with a peaceful half hour or hour or so, crafting something quiet and beautiful to bring a certain art into my home--there's real contented joy in that. I noticed that as I stitched he was playing Brickbreaker on his Blackberry. He's got his handwork; I've got mine.


::learning lessons in



::encouraging learning 

The little girls got LeapPads for Christmas. And then I took them away the morning after Christmas. I'll return them when we begin our 14 hour drive. They are now loaded with learning games of all sorts. We're going to miss a good chunk of historically productive school time at the beginning of January. I'm loading up the electronic gadgets to make sure that math and phonics happen every day. Truthfully, this game looks so promising and Leap has historically been so impressive that I wouldn't be surprised if Karoline is reading novels by the time we return.


::carefully cultivating rhythm

Not. No rhythm, not even the pretense of rhythm. The only rhythm-related goal this week is to make sure that bedtimes are observed. And to encourage a super lot of rest and oceans of water for my croupy little girls.


::begging prayers

for strength and grace and wisdom and patience as we travel.


::keeping house

packing and decluttering as we go. I figure we are going to pack for a two week trip. Anything left behind must be non-essential anyway. So, that's a great way to fill those givewaway bags. Only Mary Beth is in on this strategy...


::crafting in the kitchen 

I have cooked and created with food so much these past few days. I really do find time in the kitchen as restorative and creative as time spent knitting. It was joy. And now, we have a refrigerator groaning under the weight of leftovers. That's a joy, too.





::loving the moments

after Mass on Christmas Eve, Sarah insisted on walking out of the Basilica. There are countless big, stone steps down to the street level. Christian took one hand and Mary Beth took another and they swung her down those steps. All three of them seemed so happy in the moment of it. Then Patrick swung her up over his shoulder and she giggled her best little girl giggle in that clear Christmas night. I remembered that three years ago, we spent her first Christmas in the sacrisity of that church (which is quite the beautiful sacristity). She was still a fragile newborn and the nuns were helping me to protect her from germs. I was a little lonely, away from my family. But I was quietly grateful with my 5 pound sugar sack snuggled against me. This year, we happened to sit right under the Matriarch Sarah mosaic. My Sarah Annie looked up and saw her name in stone and noticed that her patron saint was wearing a pink mantle. Of course. "My church...." she whispered. And it really is. That makes me so happy for her.


::living the liturgy

 I love these after Christmas Day feasts, the ones that remind me that Christmas is a season. I popped into Facebook last night for a moment and read that someone had already taken down her tree and boxed up the holiday. I'm grateful that the Church reminds me to take all these days and live them to their fullest. We need these days of joy--they water our souls.


::planning for the week ahead

pack, plan, pack, plan. Eat leftovers. Make merry.