Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Venite Adoramus Dominum!

merry christmas! i hope you are enjoying a peaceful and blessed day celebrating the birth of Our Lord and Savior who was born in the hay. this year has been such an expectant time for our family. many things that have been going on in our lives made this advent so special and i think really helped us to drink deep of the true spirit of waiting. although our waiting on earthly matters has not come to an end, as of yet, we have peace. we have the peace that can only be given through the fulfillment of an eternal promise. the promise that God would send His Son, to earth, for us. how mind blowing is that? i think we are still in awe today just as the shepherds were when they arrived at the stable. they saw myriads of angels in the skyproclaiming to them that a king had been born. what must they have expected? what would we have expected had we been out in that field on that first christmas night? did they expect a tiny baby, lying in a manger, with a simple family of peasants? but isn't that the real beauty of it? that we think we truly know what we need, what is best for us...but He only knows for sure. the people of the day thought they needed a mighty warrior and ruler of a king to come and save them...but only He knew for sure that what they really needed was a humble baby to come and save them from their sins and give them eternal life. they might not have received the earthly power they craved but what He came to give was so much more precious. He came not in power, but in love. He is love. He is the true gift of christmas. so much more precious than anything we could find under any tree. He is the gift that came to hang on a tree for you and i. to show us true love and guide us in true peace.
our prayer for you this christmas is that you may know this love and peace, celebrate it in your heart every day...and be thankful.

merry christmas from our home, to yours.

"Love came down at Christmas.
Love all lovely, Love divine.
Love came down at Christmas.
Star and angels gave the sign."
- Rossetti

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's Beginning to Feel Alot Like...I'm Going to Pass Out

of course that is to be sung to the tune of "it's beginning to look alot like christmas." but anyway. the past few days have been a marathon. i really can't completely remember what i have done but hey. i know in fact the last week has been filled with all to many trips to walmart to pick up the pictures for my christmas cards that came like three days later than they promised. so, my cards finally went out yesterday instead of tuesday like i had planned. oh well, as long as they get there by january 6th it's still christmas right?

yesterday we began at 9:30 am to look at our "possible new home." this is what i have taken to calling it so i don't get my hopes up in case something falls through like it almost has about 20 bazillion times. we are now the closest that we have been but i'm not going to shout yippee and shoot off my confetti gun (oh you laugh, but i really do have it, and i will shoot it off in the front lawn, mark my word...and won't that be a good first impression with the neighbors) until the papers are signed and they give us the keys. we then spent a marathon few hours with all three kids in tow finishing up christmas shopping. actually, i think we spent most of the time in the car...in traffic...and more traffic...and just a bit more traffic. i kept hearing my daughter's question of a few days ago echo in my ears. you see, we were listening to "it's beginning to look alot like christmas" and she asked me why anyone would say "the traffic is terrific." she said she saw nothing "terrific" about traffic. i would have to agree wholeheartedly. when we got home we hurriedly fed the kids some mac n' cheese, greeted the world's greatest babysitter and headed off to quite possibly the best christmas party i have attended in some time. it was over at amy's house. it was marvelous. she put out a superb spread of all the tastiest appetizers and the company was delightful. all of the people you love to hang out with but you don't have the time to chat with as you would like. and then we sang karaoke. well, i do use the word "sang" very liberally you understand. after one particular rendition of twisted sister's "we're not gonna take it" i don't think my ears will be the same ever again. i think we should definitely get together and karaoke again. and then i didn't get out of bed until about 10 am. i can't even remember the last time i stayed in bed until ten. i think i may actually be able to last it out through the holidays with this little extra bit of sleep. but who knows...after all...the presents aren't wrapped yet. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Welcome To Our Home...

...for a little christmas tour. this year is even more bittersweet because it will be the last christmas we spend in our beautiful 100 year old house. and although we feel very blessed, there is still a bit of sadness knowing in a month we will be leaving this home in which we have shared so many memories.

the beautiful fresh wreath at the head of the post hangs on the outside of our transom door. it was made by some really talented friends of ours. isn't it gorgeous? you can see it from the outside but it's not actually outside. let's just say that it wouldn't make it one night outside without someone, er, helping themself to it.

here is what is on the inside of the door......with it's matching swag hanging over the arch into the living room.i made both of these our first year in this house.

this is our bush, i mean tree, in the living room.for some reason i prefer the fatter the better shape for a tree. it must be a reflection on my diet and exercise plan or lack thereof.

and here are the new ornaments for 2007 for each of our children.

they each receive a new ornament every year. it is given to them when we put up our tree. each child has a theme that their ornaments stick to. for our oldest, it is crosses. her middle name is also "joy" so we try to find one that incorporates that too. our little boy gets puppies. our younger daughter gets nativity scenes and we get an angel to remember our little one we lost. so this might prompt the question..."why the penguin?" well, hallmark is sold out of the fifth christmas ornament for our son. so we got him this little penguin to hang on the tree until hopefully we can locate one to finish out his set.

and here is our nativity under the tree.with an empty mangerand without mary and joseph...because obviously they are still traveling to bethlehem...from the windowsill on the other side of the room. :) mary and joseph will arrive on the morning of christmas eve and our children will lovingly place Jesus in the manger when we arrive home from mass in the evening on christmas eve. on christmas day we will get out the wise men and they will journey day to day throughout our house until they reach the nativity on the feast of the epiphany.

as you begin to go upstairs you see our stockings and christmas cards on the stairs.on christmas eve after the kids have gone to bed i weave white lights through the evergreen garland as a reminder for them on christmas morning that all things have been made new because Christ, our light, has come into the world.

then upstairs the children have their tree.
usually it has their nativity under it, but that is strewn about the floor. and don't even get me started on the broken pieces i found today. it's playmobil people. isn't that supposed to be indestructible or something?

well, i hope you enjoyed the tour of our home and learning a bit about our christmas traditions. may the Christ Child find a loving place in your heart this season and all year through.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More Preparation...

today we made cookies...
and i finished up an apron i will be sending out with my stocking for the swap.i could tell you what pattern i made it from but i didn't think it was looking right. so i took liberties with the pattern instructions...many liberties. therefore, if you find a pattern that looks like this, well yes, of course that's the one i used. :) i hope the recipient enjoys it anyway.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree

today we went on safari to get out christmas tree. we always approach this activity as if we are hunting a savage wild beast. none of those precut babies for us...it's all about the hunt. through the wonderful kindness of a friend we were coaxed to go to a new farm this year, which was much larger than the farm of previous years. well, we hiked around acre after acre for two hours until we found just the right one. the kids were getting exhausted...heck, so were we...so they were overjoyed to find it.there is something about a christmas tree that assures me that everything is right with the world and that God is still in charge no matter what might go on. this "hope" ornament is quite possibly my most favorite ornament on our tree. it's not the most expensive one by any means. in fact, i think i got it 90% after christmas at target a few years back. but, i love it because isn't that what christmas is in it's true essence...hope? this ornament has seen alot of things in our home. i particularly remember it two years ago. i had just given birth to our third child and was in deep postpartum depression. i would sit in the chair in our living room, nursing our little girl and staring at that ornament on the front of the tree. even though i felt horrible, there was some little flicker inside that said there was hope in the season and eventually, though it might take awhile, things would be alright. it's just amazing what a little ornament on an evergreen can do. i just love pulling out the ornaments year after year.

those that remind you of those you hold dear...

and those that remind you of those who have passed from your life and you hope to see in heaven one day. today was a wonderful day for family and for memories. the kids had such a joyful day and it was joyful for us to see them and walk through the tree farm and down memory lane with them. please join me tomorrow when i post pics for Boomama's Holiday Tour of Homes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Feast Days, Owl Vomit and Homemade Stockings

well, did that get your attention? it's been so long since i've posted and there has been alot going on.

this time of the year is chock full o' wonderful saints feast days to inspire the kids. our first celebration was st. nicholas day on the 6th. the kids awoke to treats in their shoes and also lovely snow on the ground. then we went to a friends house where we listened to stories about st. nicholas, made crafts and then delivered them to a local nursing home

december 12th is the feast of our lady of guadalupe. we celebrated by reading the story of juan diego and our lady and by having a dinner of tacos and spanish rice.

today is the feast of st. lucy. she was a young martyr who among other tortures suffered having her eyes gouged out because she would not denounce her faith. we celebrated by having a big breakfast (for dinner)which was made even better by nana's homemade pumpkin bread which arrived in the mail todayand i wanted to make thesebut i couldn't get any takers (not even a four year old little boy would go for it...i couldn't believe it).

tomorrow we remember st. john of the cross. i can't figure out how to celebrate for him, but he was so cool i'd certainly like to find a way.

now on to the owl vomit. awhile back we received an "owl pellet" from a friend in our homeschooling group. an "owl pellet" is what the owl regurgitates. the owls body will breakdown and absorb all of the fleshy matter of it's prey, which it eats whole, but it cannot digest the solid matter. so, after the rest of the prey is finished digesting, the owl coughs up (for lack of a better, less gross word) the bones in a ball of feathers. tonight we disected one of those balls to find out what the owl had eaten. we discovered that our owl must have been somewhat of a hog because we found three skulls. two were from mice and the other was from a mole. the kids thought this was so cool to try and put back together all the skeletons.

and finally, tonight i had some time to sew, because unfortunately a mother's dessert night was canceled on account of weather. so i whipped up the stocking i need to send out for a stocking exchange i signed up for. here it is...i am rather proud of the way it turned out. it was my first attempt at anything patchworkesque. now i just need to finish the apron that goes with the stocking so i can mail it out on saturday.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

...And Now It's Advent!

well, i haven't posted since thanksgiving...because well...it's been downright crazy around here. since then we've had two birthdays, company from out of town, a horrible meeting about our new home, a craft show, multiple dress rehearsals and hours of hair curling, a dance recital, lots of sleepless nights and have also sold our house (yep, we're no longer homeowners, we can call ourselves tenants in our own home). i think that run on sentence shows exactly how with it i am right about now. i think i am possibly figuring out what day and time it is. which reminds me...i should be in bed. anyway, today is the first sunday of advent. tonight we used our advent wreath for dinner and as usual, the kids love it. we blessed the wreath, read the scripture for today, lit the candle and sang "o come, o come emmanuel." we have a beautiful advent wreath which my grandmother gave me for christmas a few years ago just days before she died. the wreath is actually four separate pieces with a statue on each. i would love to show you a picture but our pc crashed the other day and i'm writing this on my husband's mac. oh people, it is so painful. i have refused in the past to learn it but now i fear i may have no other choice. the love of my life informs me that i can use the camera the same on here as on the pc but i'm afraid that grasping something new tonight may actually cause my head to explode. i'm a teensy bit fragile right now you see. ok, so he's going downstairs to take a picture of the wreath for me. i guess i'll just close my eyes, plug my ears and hum while he uploads it.so what do you think? it looks alot better in person, but you get the idea.

this year we will be preparing for our Savior's birth with a jesse tree. we always do something for advent but this is a first year for the jesse tree. we will be using the kit from illuminated ink for some of the ornaments and making the rest ourselves. we will also be incorporating as many of the feast days of the season as we can. a few definites on the list are st. nicholas, the immaculate conception and our lady of guadalupe. however, what i am most excited about this advent is that i have almost completed my christmas shopping (just two gifts left to go) and i will be able to spend advent in preparation with my children. this has always been a goal of mine every year, but it has never come to pass...it thrills me that it's finally here. i am hoping that all the craziness and heartache of the past few weeks are behind us and that we will be able to truly quiet ourselves and await His coming.