Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fall Adventures

This post is rather picture heavy but I think it's worth it. Can I help it if my kids are so cute they compell me to sit at the computer while I have a terrible sinus infection in order to share their cuteness with the world? No, I can't help it. So, here are a few pics of the fun that we've been having this Fall.

Pumpkin Patch David and I took the kids down to pick pumpkins at Wasem farm, nearby. Moses enjoyed the doughnuts, but the actual pumpkin picking did not go over as well as I'd hoped.
Me: (excitedly) Moses! Do you want to come with me and pick a pumpkin right out of the patch?!
Moses: Ummm. No. Let's go home.
Well, what can I say? It was 90+ degrees out, bees were swarming like crazy and it was crowded with crazy people who think that hot weather in October is a treat. WhatEVER. Sometimes as parents we are the ones who have to fake excitement - the kids can just let it all hang out (see picture on left for visual).
Eventually we ended up with three randomly selected pumpkins, although if you were judging by the amount of pumpkins Moses declared not "the pumpkin", then you would think that these three were very special, indeed.

Doughnuts and cider are the reason for this smile.

On the hunt of the perfect pumpkin. You can't see it in this picture but be assured, there was copious amounts of sweat and bees.

This is one of the events that I look forward with the most all year. I don't know why exactly but I think it has something to do with harvest, autumn, domesticity, the color orange, compost piles, yummy smells, fabulous friends and thankfulness. Anyway, this year the "canning buds" accomplished getting 97.5 quarts of applesauce canned. And Lily has already done her part for king and country by consuming a a couple quarts herself.

Don't look too closely at the picture - it's actually salsa that we canned months ago but, well it's the closest I could get.

Little Boo at the Zoo
Well, the name alone will get you there. Go marketing consultants. Let's just crunch some numbers. 6 moms. 13 kiddos under age 4. Phew. It was an adventure - a darn stinking, cute adventure.

All in a line - this was, by FAR the most organized we were of the whole trip.

Could a pot of honey BE any sweeter?

That's my little Pooh.

He used to be "scary of the seals" but now he's fascinated.

Moses' "favorite friends", Ben and Geno

This picture just sums up my experience of Little Boo at the Zoo.

Fall Foliage Train Ride
Just today we went on a steam engine train ride to see the leaves. Moses' train obsession continues strongly and so this was just a big fat winner for all of us. Gorgeous Fall colors, happy families, cider and doughnuts, and of course a conductor and a train. Well, life doesn't get much better folks.

More Fall adventures are coming our way and since it is far and away my favorite time of year, I'm just lapping them up. Stay tuned for an adventure coming to a town near you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is your husband working too much?

He might be if this is the comment your son makes after dropping him off at work in the morning:

"I like Daddy, Mom. He's fun! He come over again soon?"

One of these days life is going to settle down for David. Hmmmm...maybe then he'll read this blog ;). Just kidding.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sunrise, Sunset

Tonight there was a beautiful red sunset that made the whole sky hot pink. Moses was walking by the window and this is what he had to say upon the sight (w's usually = l's).

"Uh oh. Red sky. Wow! The sun painted it! It's wuvwy. It's cwever!"

I'm sure that God appreciates someone thinking his work is clever for a change. It reminded me of the section in Orthodoxy that Chesterton is talking about the mundane things of the world really being extraordinary. Forgive me this extended quotation, I can't possibly say it as well as he and Moses do.

"The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is
due not to my activity, but to my might be true that the sun rises
regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not
to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for
instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially
enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of
life...they always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again
until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in
monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger then we."

Well, out of the mouths of babes. Thank you, Lord, for being so clever as to make the sun set tonight. It was truly lovely.

Eavesdropping 2

David: (upon seeing snot running down Moses' upper lip and into his mouth) Moses, do you need a tissue?
Moses: No, it OK. I have mine bwank-bwank.
David: Do you wipe your nose on the blanket?
Moses: Yup.
David: Please don't wipe your nose on the blanket - that's why we have tissues.
Moses: (in a very consoling tone of voice) Ah. It's fine Daddy. I have mine bwank-bwank.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday morning redeemed

It's a tired sort of day. I was up and down all night long nursing Lily and each time I'd get up I'd feel my sore throat getting worse and worse. Strep has been hanging around in my family so I'm leaning toward that diagnosis.
Then the other child made several attempts from 3 a.m. onward to change beds. The first new bed was in his doorway. David got up and saw him sleeping on the floor and put him back in his bed. The second new bed was a little further out, in the hallway. The third new bed was immediately outside of our door and this time he turned on a light and brought all of his blankets too. So, ultimately, we woke up tired, overwhelmed and already behind (no exercising or Mass this morning). And if there is one thing that I do not like it is being behind on a Monday morning. The whole week seems colored by it.
The kids, on the other hand, woke up very pleased with the world. In fact during the 15 minutes that it took us to get into the car, drop Davidoff at work and then get home again Moses had expressed these sentiments:
I wike Daddy's work.
I wike Fr. Lobert.
I wike Fr. Lobert's church.
I wike everybody.
I wike Gordon.
I wike school buses. (which, by the by, he firmly believes are all occupied by highschool football teams)
I wike these stairs.
I wike these holes. (the space inbetween each stair)
And all this wiking took place before 7:30 a.m. They say, "when mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". This is true. But today it's definitely working in reverse. Thank you Tony Mo, I wike you awot.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Once upon a...

Yesterday Moses offered to read me a book. This is the first time he's wanted to read to me and I was really looking forward to finding out what he retained from what I read to him. He chose his Giant Dump Truck book that we have had from the library for months. It's a book about a particular type of dump truck that works in quarries and mines. Someday the information in that book is going to win me a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Moses: (opens to blank page with only the library bar code) Once upon a potty - I mean - Once upon a a far away land...there was a dump truck. You ready to turn the page, mommy?
Me: Sure, bud.
Moses: There was a one (pointing to the page number at the bottom of the page). And there was a two (pointing to the next page). You ready to turn the page, mommy?
Me: Sure, love-boy.
Moses: There was a three. There was a four.
Etc., Etc., until the end of the book. Apparently the information that we learned in that book will not help him win any games of Trivial Pursuit.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Overheard from the Living Room:

(Splash, splash)

Dad: OK, Moses, I'm going to wash you off now - we need to rinse. Oh, don't pee. Well, don't pee ON Lily.

Moses: Ha Ha - Daddy - me pee on Lily, look.

Dad: No, Moses- DON'T pee on Lily- it's not funny. It's very, very yucky.

Moses: (dissapointed) Oh, OK. Stop me pee on Lily.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Houston, we have a problem...

Just got back from retreat. Now I'm on the computer doing my best impression of escapism. I was clearly not prepared for re-entry - my heat shields are burning up, the oxogyn is getting very thin, and my voice is high and squeaky. So, here I am, trying to ignore the smells and sounds coming from the children and poking around on Facebook and blogs. How do I deal with this level of need and chaos on a daily basis? My brain must have been fried somewhere along the way, because after a weekend of calm and quiet and prayer and adults I am clearly not able to handle all these sensations.
Well, there is just only so much escapism allowed to a mom and I have used several days worth here so I will be cleaning up the strained peaches from the carpet first and then fixing one malfunctioning control at a time until my brain is back to being fried enough that it can process the madness of multi-tasking without overload. Don't they have some sort of simulation machine set up for mom coming home after a retreat?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The bloom is off the Lily

It is here. The stinky poo. Which, as an aside, means that Lily has made her foray into the world of eating solids. She has taken to it as only my monster girly could. The very best words to describe my darling girl-child are:

Fat and Happy.

And the way she is eating it looks that they will continue to be the best descriptions of her for some time. I have to admit that I am really surprised and a little sad that she is already 6 months old and is moving away from me. No longer am I the only source of sustenance. BUT food makes her so happy and it makes me happy so we now have something more in common. Oh, and the answer to the perennial question, "Would a Rose smell as sweet if you fed it solid food?" is emphatically, "NO".

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cathedral Builder

I don't know who Charlotte is and I'll admit (with a modicum of embarrasement) that this is a forward that I received but...well, I really appreciated the sentiment and the imagery, so, here it is.

I'm invisible...

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Pick me up right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going .... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.

My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read -- no, devour -- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -- we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God who saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.'

And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder.

As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.'

That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible moms.

Build on dear friend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Worth the Hype, 3

My new wet/dry hair straightener. For $22.00 at Target I can go from jumper-homeschool-mom-with-frizzy-half-dried hair to Rachel from Friends in 10 minutes. No blow-drying necessary.
I may post before and after pictures sometime if I ever let my hair go the way of the frizz again but it's doubtful...

Home and Gardens

Jeanne Marie Laskas is a really fun author that I've been reading a lot of over the past couple months, I just finished her 3rd book last night. I've marked lots of passages that I want to share with the little part of the blogosphere that Love Life fills up but I'll just start with this one because it exactly states how I feel about housekeeping. Since I live in a little apartment and have no balcony (cue: much wailing in my heart) my home is my garden.
Gardening is all about the urge for excellence, which a gardener never achieves, which is what keeps the gardener hooked. Gardening is about power. You are the master of that world. You are the king and queen and the duke and the duchess. You see what happens when you can tame a four-by-six slice of nature, and pretty soon you think: What about ten by twenty? You tame, and you tame, and you tame, and all you can see is what is not tamed.

That is my gardener spirit at work in my little slice of apartment eden to a tee.
Link to picture.