"The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father's work of creation." (CCC2205)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rescue Horse picture overload!

You've been warned! We've been out to the rescue stable 4 times now -- totally glamorous job, we pick up poo -- and then wheel it down a path to the giant poo pile -- and we brush horses -- HA! But it's fun for the girls and they love to help out with any animals. As we're not doing the SPCA this year - just because we needed to focus more on school work on the mornings -- the USERL became the place we could work in the afternoon, have the same kind of volunteering effort -- and take care of big E's horse loving needs. 

They have a number of horses in the area, apparently if I wanted to drive about as far in another direction there's a stable with 28 horses! But this one has 4 -- which is more than enough poo ... the 4 lovely lasses are horses who were rescued from some sort of sad or mistreated life, although I don't know their stories -- they're all SO sweet though I can't imagine anyone neglecting these horses. 

I thought it would take them a while to trust us, I was so nervous they'd be skittish around the kids -- but -- my loud and boisterous group (who are reminded regularly to stay quiet and not run, but that doesn't mean it's a perfect system) are followed around the pasture by 4 sweet horses who just want another pet, another brush, another kind word. Awww. 

So -- pictures!
R and Gracie

M and Cindi

R and Diva

E and Goldie ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

identical twins

We're still waiting on our copy of the next National Geographic -- but the cover story is about identical twins -- since finding that we were expecting twins who were most likely identical (thanks to a DNA test when they were 18 months old, we know that they are indeed) -- 

I just read this interesting intro piece on NPR ... 

I try to downplay our girls twin-ship because I want them to have their own lives and to be celebrated ... and punished when applicable ... only for what they did -- not to feel that they are part of a unit, but each alone a person who has her own ideas and opinions, faults and abilities ... We purposely did not name them with names that rhyme or otherwise *go together* we don't generally dress them the same (except when torturing all siblings for a holiday) and we don't expect the same level of work or behavior --

Frankly -- R has a shorter temper with others, but is generally helpful and more studious -- while M is long in patience but generally lazy when asked to be of help and complains like nobody's business about having to go back and re-do work that she sloppily plowed through instead of learning. 

In our city I know they have a twin study program at VCU -- but I've never been more than vaguely curious -- I don't want our twins to be defined by the matter of their birth or DNA -- I want them to be who they are, yet -- I eagerly await seeing what they will think about this next issue of one of their favorite magazines -- if they will decide that being twins is something more than a passing fascination by which they can stand out to new friends ... 

Of course, to hear them tell it -- they are going to live together, M will be a zoo keeper while R will be a veterinarian -- R worries that she'll make all the money and be stuck supporting M all her life. HA!

They are so funny -- and I tell them they are welcome to make all these plans -- but to realize that when they are grown, they will probably not want to live anywhere near each other -- and that's ok too. 

But then I wonder. Is it that different for twins? And how will it be for them? I can try to encourage them to be their own people -- but it is they who will decide how that plays out when they are adults. Not me. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cookie helpers unite!

This is the third batch of cookies we've made for Christmas -- the first batch was for our own gingerbread houses -- the second batch was supposed to be enough to share with our neighbors -- but alas -- they were just too good!

SO! Third batch on Christmas Eve and our neighbors have their needed supply of Grandma Donna's famous sugar cookies. ::whew::

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha!

Big E could not be more excited -- she's ages from Confirmation (in our parish that's 11th grade! -- E is in 7th) She has been hoping that one day Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha would become a Saint, and yesterday we heard the news that she would be -- I couldn't find many articles on it, but then this morning when having my morning listen to NPR, there it was! [paste of article below] HOORAY!


In February 2006, 5-year-old Jake Finkbonner fell and hit his head while playing basketball at his school in Ferndale, Wash. Soon, he developed a fever and his head swelled. His mother, Elsa, rushed him to Seattle Children's Hospital, where the doctors realized Jake was battling a flesh-eating bacterium called Strep A.
"It traveled all around his face, his scalp, his neck, his chest," she recalls, "and why it didn't travel to his brain or his eyeballs or his heart? He was protected."
Jake was protected, she says, by Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk Indian who lived 350 years ago. She had converted to Catholicism and was considered holy enough by the Vatican to be elevated to "blessed" — one step before sainthood — in 1980. The Finkbonners are Lummi Indian, and their family and friends prayed that Kateri would intercede with God for Jake.
But the doctors' efforts to get ahead of the infection were unsuccessful, and Jake was given his last rites. Then, suddenly, the infection stopped, stunning the doctors. The Rev. Paul Pluth, of the Archdiocese of Seattle, says that was the day an acquaintance placed a "relic" of Kateri — in this case, a small pendant — on Jake's pillow. Pluth believes the timing was not coincidental.
"You can pinpoint the exact date on which this relic was brought to Jake's hospital bed," he says. "He was expected to die at that time, and after the relic was brought and placed on his hospital bed, he did begin to improve."
Of course, Jake did receive the best medical treatment from expert doctors.
Still, for nearly five years, Pluth has headed a tribunal investigating Jake's recovery. And now, after considering testimony by the doctors and others, Pope Benedict XVI has declared it was a miracle, meaning that Kateri is expected to become a saint next year.
"I think it's pretty great that she's becoming a saint," says Jake Finkbonner, who is now 11. "And not only that she's so far the only Native American saint, but that I'm pretty much part of it. I don't know anybody else except for myself who's included in the process of becoming a saint."
Jake has fully recovered, although he's had more than 25 surgeries to reduce the scarring on his face. In the short term, he says, he might celebrate with a milkshake. In the long term, he says, he plans to be a plastic surgeon, so he can help children like him.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Least Favorite Christmas Songs

So -- I end up disliking some Christmas songs for being intellectually dishonest -- 
This one drives me nuts because Mary was clearly NOT an ordinary girl and was obviously *special* and *unique* regardless of your Christian tradition -- it could not have been just any girl, it had to be her, and for that matter Joseph was rather unique and special too, what kind of man would stand by a woman in her state in those days? It couldn't have been just an ordinary man, it had to be THIS man, this man who wasn't afraid to stand with Mary. 

Another religious one that drives me bonkers is that ever popular "Mary did you Know?" OF COURSE SHE KNEW -- she was *visited* by and *angel* -- wow. Yeah she knew. Also, as a Catholic, we have all that Immaculate Conception business, Mary isn't going to be *one day delivered* by her Son -- she was specially created for this job -- she's not dim, she's not unaware, she's just brave as all the heavens. 

But none of these will ever make me as crazy as my least favorite Christmas song of all time ... 

Ok this came out when I was 8 -- so naturally I heard it a lot growing up and I didn't really listen to the words until I was an adult -- but let's think about some of these lyrics -- there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas? (Is THAT what they're missing then? If it were colder in Africa would they be doing oh so much better?) -- Thank God it's them instead of you (SERIOUSLY?!? That's so awful .. .Oh I can't stand it -- Thank God that other people are suffering while you live in relative wealth and pleasantness. That's just sick. I could not loathe a holiday song more. I would listen to a never ending loop of 'Dominic the Donkey' and 'I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas' for an hour before I'd submit to listening to this rubbish.)

ok my overly opinionated post about Christmas songs I dislike is done. Back to your regular programming. 

It's almost time for school work ...

Here on this Monday before Christmas, I have a sneaking suspicion that the public school kids are off all this week ... I'm not going to look it up, because then ... It would be a fact -- and I'd truly be evil ... instead I'll just go with ::meh:: and we'll get a few more days of lessons in -- and frankly -- there will likely be more days of lessons between Christmas and New Years ... I have no qualms with making sure things get done, even when other kids are having a break. 

Some years we take these weeks off, but with a new baby coming in a few weeks -- I know there will be fewer days of school work -- and with the girls all taking turns being sick (and making me sick) for most of October -- we're a little behind. Not so much that it matters, but enough that it bothers me. 

I think even in a perfect world there's a good chance E will be doing her math book half way through the summer -- but that's ok, less review needed in the fall. When I plan what the girls should do from each book for each week to get them done by mid-June I plan for a perfect world. This is my foolishness, and come April-ish they start to realize how much they still need to do -- and will do double lessons without a complaint because they know that summer is coming -- I suppose in the future I should build in more time for lazy days, more time for sick days, more time for holidays -- but thus far it's not really a PROBLEM that we're only 1/3 of the way through books as we approach the 1/2 mark on the school year ... 

I guess one thing to love about homeschooling is that I'm not worried at all about it, except that it will annoy the kids -- It will get done in the end, and before next September. So ... why worry?

Face painting

Our family attended a birthday party this weekend for a beautiful little boy turning 1 year old -- his parents went all out in many ways, one of which was to have a totally awesome face painter -- Most of the little girls had butterflies or princess crowns ... and rainbow arms ... we were not immune to that, but I like how *usually* my girls buck the trend and go their own way.

M decided to be a tiger ...

R wanted to be a puppy ... 

E went with a sassy pre-teen style swirl and some Henna hands ... 

While little e went with the crowd ... princess crown and rainbow arm. HA! But hers was the prettiest!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ok it's official -- I have started buying diapers.

HA! Now I don't feel like so very behind, the first orders have been placed -- pocket diapers from one store -- inserts from another (it's fun being picky!) -- and while they're not ALL that we'll need -- it's a good start. ::whew::

My dear and crazy friends from our homeschooling co-op gave us a little babyshower on Friday as part of our usual Christmas party, I honestly don't think little T needs anything else -- ok well a few things else, but nothing I can't live without until the spring yardsale with the twins club that's due to happen a few weeks after she arrives. 

I even *successfully* got the car seat cover off of little e's old car seat and got it REALLY clean, so now -- I don't need to buy a new car seat -- there was nothing wrong with it other than that a child sat in it for 2 years making it filthy. YEAH!

I've mailed a few packages of Etsy sales, and finished our Christmas shopping -- feeling very blessed that it's going to be a smaller than usual year, we just don't need anything --- we're going to have easily as much fun, good cheer, and glad tidings with some time spent with our lovely families. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Proof that I'm entering the mental-motherhood stage of pregnancy

I bought her another coat. I've crocheted her another sweater -- I'm SO inordinately worried that she will be cold that I can't have enough coats and sweaters for her to wear -- how often do I think I'll be taking this new tiny person out of the house?

My next project is to go get yet MORE yarn -- and crochet her a thick bunting/sweater with the little split in it to wear over the buckle of her car seat. Maybe then I'll feel like I have enough warm things for her?

I tried to pack a little bag to take to the hospital (just for kicks, I still have circa 3 months left -- I expect to go early -- but not this early) and now -- I need to repack it because she has a new coat. 

Mind you all this -- and I have yet to buy a single cloth diaper, which I know I need to do -- I keep picking them out -- and then deciding to wait to see if I can pay for them with pottery money. Which means I really should list the new things I've made on my Etsy -- priorities -- she'll be warm, but she won't have anything to pee in. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The sweater!

This is my first successful sweater, I usually make them too chunky, or can't work out how to attach the arms without them looking silly -- 

This time I STARTED with the arms, making them the same size -- and then loosely followed a pattern for a kimono sweater that I read online. 

I'm running out of cotton yarn, though -- someone needs to hit the craft store!