Come visit me for my third annual appearance at Living on Love, where I am writing on making your own Jesse Tree for the home. Because clearly if you want to read something I’ve written, you aren’t finding anything here, are you? (A temporary situation, I promise!)
Seriously, Lacy’s blog is awesome anyway–she writes on “living a big life in a simple way”–and her adventures living on a farm with her husband and adorable growing family are just delightful to read about. So check out my post and then read further.
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I made my first Holy Communion during Advent 1974, and that was the processional song. It’s the first time I remember hearing it–at any rate it’s when I learned the words–and so hearing it this time of year has a little bit of extra significance for me!
Besides which, I love Advent. As anyone who has followed this blog knows, because I’ve said so a lot! And although I haven’t set out an Advent wreath as yet, and may or may not manage a Jesse Tree, I won’t be decorating the house for Christmas for at least two weeks, as our family savors this waiting time of year.
Since I have written on this topic so much in the past, I thought I would collect them all right here for those who are interested.
Christmastime Is Here . . . NOT
One Year Later
So This Is Christmas
Signs of the Season
Signs of the Season II
Countdown to Christmas
More Advent Memories
A couple of the above posts contain links to guest posts I did on my friend Lacy’s blog, Living on Love. Lacy does an Advent series each year, and I will provide a link to my contribution for this year when it appears.
If you celebrate Advent, tell me about it in the comments!
Posted in Catholicism, family | Tagged advent, Catholicism, celebrations, Christmas, family, traditions | 4 Comments »
The NaBloPoMo wagon, that is. But, y’all, this week has been brutal.
First there was the all-nighter. Jake got his paper done. Emily bagged on us around 3 a.m. I stayed up and up and up. For those of you who have heard me rant about helicopter parenting, all I can say is that sometimes even big kids need their mothers, and Jake needed me that night.
Furthermore, any of you who do legal work will no doubt cringe when I mention that I also had discovery requests to fulfill the following day. So I was working on that the following morning while continuing to help Jake with the paper. I did not get to finally collapse until close to 4 p.m. I slept for 17 hours.
This blissful unconsciousness put a serious dent into Thanksgiving prep time, however. Normally I would have at least shopped for the food on Tuesday. But that had to wait until Wednesday and I did not get down to serious cooking business until close to 7 p.m. Brining the bird, cooking the giblets, and preparing the sweet potatoes and the mashed potatoes took until about 2 a.m. Six hours later I was back up to cover the turkey in bacon and get it into the oven. Then I moved onto the pies, and in between those major tasks handled all the little details that those of you who have hosted 18 people or so more Thanksgiving dinner won’t need me to explain.
The fruits of all this labor were delicious, and as they say, a good time was had by all. But after they all went home, it was back at it for me to clean up until around eleven (well worth it to come downstairs this morning to a clean kitchen instead of a mess). Whenever I made the mistake of sitting down for a rest I wasn’t sure I could get back up again! I finally treated myself to a long-anticipated soak in the spa tub and I thought I might just have to spend the night in there.
Mark my words, y’all: I am NOT doing this again next year! Next year you are going to be reading a post about how we went to Mass and then next door to the Crown Plaza for their Thanksgiving buffet. You heard it here first.
Posted in cooking, family, food, Parenting | Tagged celebrations, cooking, family, home and hearth, NaBloPoMo, thanksgiving, traditions | 1 Comment »
I may have mentioned a time or two that I was an English major. So that meant I wrote lots and lots of papers in college. And college being what it is, I rarely wrote any of them until the night before they were due.
I write really fast, so usually that wasn’t so painful. My senior year I took four English classes at once. By some evil twist of fate, my Southern Fiction and my Catholic Fiction class required four papers each that were always due on the same day. Routinely I would start writing these papers around nine p.m. the night before the due date, and I’d be done by midnight. This drove my roommate, who was in one of the classes with me and who was a much more painstaking writer, crazy. She’d still be working on the first draft of her one paper and I would be all done.
If this sounds like bragging, it’s not meant that way. Writing fast without the need for much revision is just a gift I have and I can’t claim any credit for it. It’s a good gift for an English major–and a blogger!–to have.
Now these are five page papers I’m talking about. When the assignment was longer, I did try to start sooner. The problem with college (and now with life) is that things aren’t neatly ordered and often responsibilities fall on top of one another. It was a mantra of mine in college to say “It has to get done so it will get done.” And I would make myself do the most urgent thing first and then move on the the next.
So there were a few times when I waited too long to start a longer paper. When I had so much to do in a given week that I just couldn’t get a head start. When I started a ten-page paper at midnight (a paper that had to be written in longhand and then had to be TYPED ON A TYPEWRITER). And that meant an all-nighter.
I remember one particular time, staying up all night writing and typing until dawn and then turning in the paper the following morning. I was writing about Gulliver’s Travels, and I was so sleepy that I kept spelling the horse-people’s name a different way every time I mentioned it. I won’t even try to remember how to spell it now, although it would be easy because Google. I attached an apologetic note to my paper explaining that I was exhausted and the letters just kept running together before my eyes!
When I was a little girl about ten years old my mother and I stayed up all night one night to watch the sun rise in the morning, just for fun. She made me sweet coffee with lots of milk and we stayed up and talked all night. It was an adventure. In high school I sometimes stayed up all night talking with friends. Then there were those college all-nighters. I’ve stayed up all night laboring with four babies. But it’s been a long time since I can remember staying up all night on purpose, particularly pulling the kind of all-nighter that is followed by a full day of responsibilities with no opportunity for sleep until late in the following day.
But guess what? Jake has waited until the last minute to write his Western Civilization paper, a paper with such ridiculous parameters that you wouldn’t believe them if I read them to you. And Jake does NOT write fast. He is going to need a lot of moral support to finish this paper and Emily and I are providing it. It looks like we will be up all night tonight. I hope I still have it in me.
Posted in family, Parenting, teenagers | Tagged all-nighter, family, teenagers, Writing | 3 Comments »
When it starts to get chilly outside, before I leave the house you might hear my ask one of my kids to “bring me my noodle!” And if you did hear that, you would probably think I was crazy. So let me explain.
I buy a lot of beauty products through the mail from Yves Rocher (which I love, by the way), and most purchases come with a free gift. A few years ago, that gift was a sort of wrap or shawl thing, off white with a fringe. At the time, I had two beautiful long winter coats which I had had for many years, but no casual winter jacket, so I took to wrapping this shawl around me whenever I went out in cold weather. Jake and Teddy made fun of the shawl, saying it looked like a lasagne noodle. Pretty soon they were calling it “Mom’s noodle.”
I acquired a black wrap too, and eventually even I started referring to these garments as noodles.
It was September when our house burned down, still hot and summery, so no one thought about replacing things like coats until we started to really need them. One of the first clothing purchases I made for myself with the gift cards I received was a black noodle with a fringe. Someone gave be a thick ivory fleece one, I got another black one for Christmas, and then Yves Rocher sent me a brown one! I don’t have those winter coats anymore, of course, so now my entire outerwear wardrobe consists of . . . noodles!
Posted in family | Tagged fashion, wordplay | 2 Comments »
We call Emily, Jake, and Teddy “the big kids,” and William and Lorelei “the little people.” because there’s a a gap of six years between Teddy and William and there are times when it really does feel like we have two separate families. (And yes, a woman in the Kroger parking lot did once ask me if they all had the same father. Yes she did.)
William isn’t really little anymore, and Emily, Jake, and Teddy are hardly kids! Long gone are the years when I struggled to go anywhere or do anything with a four-year-old, a one-year-old, and a newborn. Emily is 22 and a college graduate, Jake is 19, Teddy is 18–and their birthdays are fast approaching. Yesterday they were kids and today they are adults.
Teddy will be home for Thanksgiving Monday. All my big kids will be in one place. It won’t be just like old times, but it will be good times.
Posted in family | Tagged family, kids to adults, time flies | Leave a Comment »
Almost twenty-three years ago, Emily arrived looking pretty much exactly like John. He brought his own newborn picture to the hospital and several people assumed it was hers. Great, I thought, I did all the work and he gets all the credit. And his black hair and brown eyes would surely prove dominant every time. I thought I’d never have a child who would look like me.
If you have enough kids, though, you can count on some variety. Jake does look, if not like me, like my family. ”I know this baby!” my mother exclaimed when she saw him for the first time. Teddy has blue eyes and fairer skin, but still at this point most people think he closely resembles John. William was blonde as a small child and his eyes are green, and I’ve found that coloring confuses people when it comes to noticing resemblances, but hold up a picture of him to one of his daddy at the same age, and the similarities are clear.
Then came Lorelei. Looking at her in the hospital, I said, “I think she looks like Mima.” It took years before other people started to agree with me. She has Mima’s nose is a childlike form. But when people see her with Emily, they often assume they are mother and daughter (to Emily’s chagrin). Childhood pictures of the two of them are very close. And if Lorelei looks like Emily, and Emily looks like John, then Lorelei can’t look like me, can she? (And I don’t have Mima’s nose!)
Well, look at these pictures and tell me what you think.
Posted in family | Tagged big families, family | 15 Comments »