Boys at the beach

Boys at the beach

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real ~ Midsummer Edition

{Pretty}

Our little garden. Much thanks to Aaron's godfather and his daughter, who invited Bluejay and Chickadee over a few weeks ago, and then sent them home with a tomato plant, an eggplant plant, a squash plant, a lemon cucumber plant, a basil plant and two pots of flowers. We have a big eggplant already that is almost ready to harvest, and I've been using the basil in various cooking. We love watering our fast growing little container garden.

{Happy}

Swim lessons. I took all 4 children to the pool for eight days (only the older two were actually taking lessons). A few of the days I was able to bring our teenage neighbor to help me out, but mostly I did it by myself. And I rocked it. I think the key to parenting lots of littles is a) go slow, and b) don't panic.  If you can do both of those things, you can pretty much do anything. It's not as easy as it sounds, though. Hahahaha.



I have lots of pictures of Bluejay and Chickadee swimming, but I realized that they include lots of other people's children, so I'm not going to post them on my blog. But here are the two younger ones, being troopers at the pool.  

{Funny}

The things Sparrow says these days. We've been using the record player lately and have the first Beatles album, which belonged to Aaron's mom. I was putting on a record and Sparrow kept saying "I want wadybugs! I want wadybugs!" (That's ladybugs, for those of you who don't speak toddler). I finally figured it out: "Oh, you want the Beatles." "Mmm hmm," he said, very satisfied. 

Also, he has a friend named Emmiliana. I was singing Karma Chameleon the other day (don't ask me why, I don't even like that song), and later I heard Sparrow singing "Comb, comb, comb, comb, comb Emmiliana".

He's a funny boy.

{Real}

Baby girl got sick for the first time. Oh, how that hurts a mama's heart. She is fine, and handled it like a champ, and I did too, although not quite as bravely, since I got very worried the first morning she woke up at 4am with a fever, and then again later when our lactation consultant suggested I make sure she didn't have pneumonia.  



She's almost better now, just has the tail end of a cough. And now I'm coming down with it. Joy.  

Our computer is being weird lately and won't let me see the pictures Aaron has downloaded, when I'm logged in as me. So I don't have very many good ones to post today. 


Linking up with Like Mother Like Daughter...





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What I'm Reading - February through May

I finished The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. Markides and really enjoyed it. I got much more spiritual encouragment and advice than I had anticipated from my initial perusal of this book. Highly recommend.  

After sharing my January reading blog post with my darling husband, he got me
 For the Life of the World and Everyday Saints for Valentine's day.  I had to make myself not touch Everyday Saints until I'd finished The Mountain of Silence. Then I devoured it. It was every bit as wonderful as I'd heard. I missed it for weeks when I was done. I have also started For the Life of the World, which is incredible. I am reading it very slowly, because I feel like I really need to pay attention to each paragraph. The depth of truth in this book is stunning and yet subtle. It requires me to pay attention. I'm only a few chapters in so far.


In the interim I read Hannah Coulter, which was very good, as is everything by Wendell Berry, but not, I would have to say, my favorite of his. This one had a greater focus on the reality and brevity of life.  A bit sad.  I also read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. It was a bit slower reading at first, at least in comparison to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but definitely entertaining, and picked up quickly toward the end.
My sister-in-law lent me another Terry Pratchett book, Going Postal. It was the best one I've read yet, lots of fun. As soon as I finished, I requested a few more from the library. So now I have Men at Arms and Guards, Guards! waiting for me.  

I just finished re-reading In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. A very good book and this time (having recently read Everyday Saints), I noted many of the similarities between Orthodox monasticism and Roman Catholic monasticism, at least of the Benedictine variety. The only thing that struck me as odd was the reference to the crucifix with the broken knees. What about the scripture "For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken" (John 19:36)?


I still want to pick up a copy of Brideshead Revisited. And I found a book of short stories by Jessamyn West at our local used bookstore and have read a few so far - I loved Cress Delahanty as a girl and was excited to see that she had a greater repertoire.

Also, I should note that the main reason I'm able to keep up with reading after Jenny Wren's birth is the amount of time I spend hooked up to that blessed breast pump.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real in short

This post will be full of subpar pictures I took on my cell phone. But, at least I'm getting a post up!



{Pretty}

Geraniums in this wine barrel were my Mother's Day gift last year. Look how good they are doing!  (I recognize this is only something to celebrate when you are a veteran plant killer like me).


This sweet little girl.



{Happy}

Baptism gowns, washed by Jenny Wren's godmother-to-be in anticipation of her baptism this weekend.


This prickly pear cactus was given to us by a friend, the man who used to teach me US history back when I was a homeschooled 5th-8th grader. The bottom leaf is what he gave us. It came from Luther Burbank's garden, and it has no thorns.  I was told he spoke kindly to this plant always, and prayed over it, and thus it grew without thorns. We have tried to be kind to ours and say some prayers for it, and, indeed, it grew new "leaves" just recently, after being in our garden for about 5 months. The new leaves do have thorns, I am sure we are not as dedicated as Mr. Burbank, and I know there has been a fair share of yelling that takes place in our back yard. But the children are thrilled to see the new growth.



Finally getting caught up on all those thank you notes for everyone's kindness after Jenny Wren's birth.


{Funny}

Sparrow has this funny thing. He does not like chairs to be upright. You can always tell he's been in the room when you see this.


My handsome oldest boy got a hold of my camera phone.



{Real}
My breakfast this morning. Frozen quiche. Reheated two-day-old coffee. Water. However, it was delicious because I was hungry, and I got to eat it on the patio the cool of the morning. As you can guess, I shared the quiche.


We got the dreaded stomach bug. This is Sparrow on day 3 of it. I thought he was done so we went to the park. Alas, not so. But he was a trooper.



A day later and the rest of the family dropped like flies. Oddly enough, despite the sheet washing and bathroom scrubbing and generally feeling awful that had to occur, we actually enjoyed some quiet family time together, doing puzzles when we felt up to it and taking lots and lots of naps. I'm not used to Bluejay and Chickadee sleeping during the day anymore, but they napped wherever they happened to be sitting this time.





round button chicken
I am linking this post up with 



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baby News!!!

Our little girl, baby numero quattro, surprised this mama by deciding to be born almost three weeks early! In fact, she snuck in the day after her big sister's 4th birthday.  Introducing Little Jenny Wren:



All of my babies so far have been big chunkers, this is my first little baby (6 lbs 2 oz at birth). So that explains the enormous pajamas she's wearing in this picture.  My sweet sister-in-law headed out shopping and sent a huge package of newborn size clothes for her, and now she is more appropriately dressed.  Only I don't have any of those pictures on the laptop yet, of course.

The "big" sister and brothers are so so excited. They love her to pieces and I have to ask them to step back a little when I'm trying to nurse Jenny Wren, since they are always as close to her as they can get.

The birth was amazing, my fourth home birth and my first water birth. After lots of pre-labor the night before, once I actually accepted that she was coming early and went into real labor (which, it seems, just required my finally making that mental adjustment), she was born in an hour and a half. It was my most present labor yet. I remember at one point joking with my midwife between contractions; I had packed a dresser FULL of baby girl clothes, and there were two boy outfits sitting on the bookshelf.  I said "those two are just in case it's a boy".  I was just so sure she was our girl.





Little Jenny Wren has Down syndrome, so these past three weeks have been a whole new experience for us - more doctor appointments (we went to basically NONE with our other babies) and more challenges breastfeeding. We were so blessed to have the home birth, because that saved us from any time in the NICU - she was doing very well that evening and when we took her to the doctor the next day, and so we've been able to just deal with the necessary evaluations without any hospital visits. Most importantly we had an echocardiogram, which showed that her heart is in great shape. Now, I am a full time feeding mama... trying to help this little girl get the eating habit down, and doing lots and lots of pumping. The hardest thing for me has been accepting that she cannot get sufficient nutrition directly from the breast, and that I need to use bottles of pumped milk to achieve that for her. But I've been making lots of milk so no need for formula, I've had some good conversations with other mamas who have been through this, as well as great lactation consultants and I am really hopeful that we can be back primarily breast feeding before this journey is over.  I am very committed to long term breastfeeding with all my children, so this has been a hurdle for me.




My amazing husband has been able to take extra time off work to run the household while I take care of this babe. He has been our rock. 

I have lots more pictures to post of Jenny Wren, her big brothers and sister, and other things that I want to update on this blog (homeschooling! reading! other kiddos!) but just posting this has been a little treat for myself. So, more to come...



Monday, February 2, 2015

What I'm Reading - January Edition

One of my goals I noted in my beginning of the year daybooks for the past few years was to keep a record of what I read. So, here is a start~

January:

I finished The Brothers Karamazov (this remarkable translation)!! This was a re-read for me, although I only vaguely remember the ending from when I read it last. Such an incredible book. No character in here is a caricature. I do not doubt it will continue to be amongst just about every list of the greatest novels ever written. My dad gave this version to me last year for my birthday.

I devoured Among Others by Jo Walton, a Christmas gift from my lovely sister-in-law.  It was delightful, refreshing, had a lovely depth while still being an easy book to read. I couldn't put it down.

Started The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos C. Markides. I am enjoying this more and more as I get deeper into it. I wish I'd been better at keeping a pencil handy to notate in this one.  About half-way through now.

For a break from the more intense reading, I picked up some Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad, passed on to me by another sister-in-law, which was great fun. In each pregnancy I've found I get to a point where I need more of the fun and lightweight reading, and this fit the bill nicely, not intense at all, not dumb, not annoying. After finishing this one, I decided I needed more of this fare for the next few months, so will be picking up more Pratchett, some Douglas Adams, and a few others along that line.

Also on the to-read list right now: I would really love to finally read For the Life of the World, by Fr. Alexander Schmemann.  I have heard many wonderful things about this book, and recently saw an incredible CBS documentary on Fr. Alexander's life and impact, which made me cry. In the spiritual reading category as well, I've been dying to get my hands on a copy of Everyday Saints.

In the literature/novels category, I just ordered Hannah Coulter, for my next installment of Wendell Berry reading, and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, to get a little deeper into the world of Douglas Adams.  I guess I have a taste for fantasy/sci fi these days!  I think reading Among Others may have something to do with it.

And last but not least, I am curious to read Brideshead Revisited, it's popped up in several reading lists of interest to me lately. There wasn't a copy at my favorite used bookstore I visited this weekend, but hopefully I can get to the library sometime soon.

So that's the January update... let's see how far I get this year, with baby number four arriving soon, and homeschooling, and working and trying to fit in a little crocheting and all.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Because it makes me laugh...

The Panther

by Ogden Nash


The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn't been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don't anther.



Monday, December 29, 2014

Overheard on the 4th Day of Christmas

Bluejay and Chickadee to one another this morning several times this morning~

"Are you the innkeeper?"
"Yes"
"Do you have a room to rent?"
"I'm sorry, there's no room.  Well there's one place..."
"Anything will do as long as it has a roof"
"You can use my stable in the cave back there"
"Thank you!"

And then Chickadee said "Joseph and Mary went to the stable..."

These were not either of their roles in the Nativity play they performed before Christmas, but I guess they were memorizing them as well. Such busy little minds... Chickadee was the one who particularly remembered the exact lines and told Bluejay what to say, but they took turns being the Innkeeper and Joseph.