Monday, January 27, 2014

Christmas Morning 2013

Here are some photos of our Christmas morning.  We woke up to open presents while the breakfast casserole baked and then later in the day, we went to Atlanta to my parents' house.

Lucy with a couple of her gifts - a stuffed unicorn from my old college roommate, and her new toy shopping cart beside her, a replacement for the old one that was cracked in several places and had no handle...

Lucy liked to help Daddy open gifts.

Lucy opening her play broom - now she can sweep in her little kitchen (or use it as a weapon! ;).

Cecilia got a Calico Critter camping set, and Caroline got a Calico Critter set of baby animals with little ride-on toys..

The older two girls got a package of books each.  Caroline got The Orphans Find a Home, Kat Finds a Friend, Kateri Tekakwitha, Secrets of Siena, The Father Brown Reader, The Search for the Madonna... and maybe another I am forgetting.  I like to buy them lots of fun Catholic books since those are not something we can usually get through the library system!

Lucy got this peg hammering toy... since she is kind of active and this can be an outlet for her energy, plus she enjoys repetitive activities now.

Cecilia looks through her book gift.  She got Can You Find Saints?, Lief the Lucky, Little Acts of Grace 2, Katie Meets the Impressionists, About Birds: A Guide for Children, Penny and her Doll, and Delightful Stories for Children - if you follow that last link, it takes you to Neumann Press.  I was disappointed because I had hoped to get her two other books that are being reprinted - but the reprint date has been pushed back, so I switched it out for the one they had reprinted.  It is a sweet book, but it is not what I really had in mind.  Oh well.  The two I wanted were Saints for Girls and An Alphabet of Saints

The stockings await their turn...

caroline gave Lucy this little stuffed bear she made from a craft kit - so sweet of her!

The girls found an envelope in the Christmas tree, held by an old stuffed otter that was mine.  I had bought it at the Tennessee Aquarium when I was 14 years old and the aquarium was relatively new (and I named it after Kurt Cobain only to come home that same day to find out he had committed suicide, but that is another story!), and I found it and gave it to the girls a couple years ago.  The envelope that Kurt the Otter was holding contained a membership to the TN Aquarium, a gift we bought for the family with money sent to us from Chris's grandfather!  We have gone once already and had a great time as a family!

Cecilia's almost-wasn't Christmas gift... a wooden stick horse.  I ordered one from an Etsy shop with enough time, according to the seller's shipping info.  Apparently that seller did a poor job of estimating and was behind and cancelled my order rather than forking over the money to overnight it and make it right... and of course I can't leave feedback to that effect since my order was cancelled and refunded.  So maybe I will post a warning review here at some point...or just tell you here, don't buy anything from hcwoodcraft on Etsy unless youdon;'t have a specific date you need it by!  I ordered it on December 1st, by the way.  So on December 21 when they told me they weren't going to have it to me after all, I was in panic mode to find a replacement - and it was Uncle Mike to the rescue!  My brother has our grandfather's Shop Smith and has been doing lots of woodworking projects with it.  So he offered to make a stick horse for Cecilia, and I drove an hour to his house to pick it up on December 23!

I made the bridle and reins on Christmas Eve, and it was all set for her the next morning!

Caroline had been asking for a doll to match the one Cecilia got last year for her birthday... here is where I got it, although this style isn't available now.


In their stockings, they got the typical candy, holy cards, toothbrushes, socks for those who needed them... and each of the older girls got a card game and an audio CD.  The games are Church Windows (a lot of fun, even if it is made by the makers of The Ungame, ha ha!) and Speed, a multiplication fact card game.  The CDs they got were Shakespeare for Children and Cat Chat Volume 1.

Lucy was thrilled with each thing she pulled out of the stocking.  She seemed surprised each time we told her to reach back in because there was more!

The biggest hit for Lucy?  Chocolate and gummy bunnies in her stocking!!

Hopefully I will post more Christmas photos soon...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Christmas Eve 2013

We attended one of the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve.  Our family posed by a tree in the vestibule after Mass.

Still hard to get everyone looking and smiling at once!

The girls posed by the large outdoor nativity too.  Lucy was excited to see the baby Jesus!

Lucy found some star-shaped candles in the fountain that were glowing red and green!  She spent awhile checking them out.

I love this little Rothschild coat!!!  My mom found it for $20 at Costco when Caroline was two, so I have enjoyed seeing each girl wear it - it is Lucy's turn this year!

Back at home, Lucy posed in her Christmas dress out in the front yard by our new wooden nativity.  All three girls have also worn this Christmas dress when they were two!

We also had Lucy pose by the chicken - since he was wearing a Santa hat, he got a spotlight shining at him at night just like the nativity did.  Lucy was trying to take her sweater off and we told her no (short sleeved dress!!  cold evening!!), so this is the face she makes when she is disappointed/embarrassed/full of silent defiance, ha ha.  She won't make eye contact at first and won't respond verbally after being told not to do something that she wanted to do.  See her hands, poised and just itching to take that sweater off??

In front of the tree.  I think I have given up on getting the perfect shot since we added a third child.  I only made four attempts this year - I suppose that means I admit defeat.  

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Opening one gift each on Christmas Eve... a tradition.  I always make sure that they each have something like pajamas or slippers to open that they can wear to bed that night or the next morning while still in pajamas.  This year it was new matching pajamas for everyone - haven't done the all-matching thing in several years now, but since Caroline still doesn't mind matching the others at age 8 and I found nice all-cotton wintery pj's at the Gymboree outlet store, this is what they got this year. 

 All matchy-matchy before heading to bed, after enjoying some Christmas goodies we'd baked along with some eggnog.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

A Very Special Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1st is a holy day of obligation, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  As Catholics, we always kick off the New Year with Mass!  I like to make a blueberry crumble for dessert on this day, and we usually eat a dish called Rosemary Chicken for dinner.  So we attended Mass at 11:00 this morning and then later...

...the blueberry crumble!

So, why are we eating the blueberry crumble in front of the TV?  Well, that is the "very special" part!

A couple weeks ago, we found out that my brother Tim, a seminarian, would be serving Mass for the Holy Father in the Vatican on January 1st with his class from the Pontifical College Josephinum!  What an honor for his class to have while on their trip to Rome!

But... an even bigger surprise was when we woke up to Tim's Facebook message that stated, "Wow. Serving for the Holy Father this morning was truly amazing. All the pilgrims in Saint Peter's were inspiring. We waited in the chapel of Michelangelo's Pieta (behind the glass) and then he came in and greeted each of us. I had the honor of holding his mitre during the Mass."

So, not only would he be helping to serve at the Mass, but actually doing a specific job - holding the Pope's mitre!!!  that's the pointy hat, for all you non-Catholics out there.  The Pope wears it only during specific parts of the Mass, so it actually is a real job, having to bring it up and take it back again.  Tim didn't actually place it on Pope Francis's head - he handed it off to the person who did that part.  

So, we watched the video of the Mass by streaming it on EWTN.  Tim was pretty much right behind the Holy Father during both the processional and recessional!  Here is a photo I snapped of the TV with my camera (yes, lame, I know):

He is the one on the left, behind Pope Francis, next to one of those guys who look like the secret service.  When they recessed out of the basilica after Mass, Only about six people turned and followed the Pope off to the side while all the other seminarians, priests, and bishops filed out another way.  He really got to play a special part so close to the Pope!

The girls were impressed to see their Uncle Tim, Cecilia's godfather, right behind the Pope!!  And of course, they were excited about the blueberry crumble!

Lucy was just thrilled to be eating in the den!  She was pretty upset when she'd thought we were going to eat dinner there first and found out otherwise... but she was able to actually pick out her Uncle Tim when we paused the video and asked her to point to him.  She correctly picked out both Tim and Pope Francis during the recessional!

Here are some screen shots that Chris captured from the video stream:

During the processional, Tim entered the church following the Holy Father - he is the one in all white - the black of his cassock is covered up by the white cloth thingy he had to hold the mitre - I assume he will tell us what this is called and the reason for using it.

Another view of his back... can you imagine following the Pope right up to the altar???

Right behind and to the left of Pope Francis in this image

At the edge of the photo in this one

In the above photo, he is the one all the way to the right side.  There are two seminarians there, and you will notice in the next image that Tim has moved forward and is about to go in front of the altar at the top right corner of it to hand off the mitre:

This is the front view of the same thing - him coming around the altar to get or give the mitre:

And in this one, if you look at all the men in the sanctuary, he is the one second farthest to the left of the image:
In this one above, Tim is on the left side of the sanctuary, coming forward with the mitre.  He is the one with the white surplus over the black cassock, right behind the guy dressed all in white.

The recessional: again, behind Pope Francis and to the left side

And here are some professional photos taken of the day... First, Tim meeting the Pope!

Here he is after the recessional - the one at the far right with the yellow-fringed thingy which I assume he had in order to hold the mitre without touching it?

How exciting for us to get to watch my brother serve for the Holy Father!!!

Happy and Blessed New Year, everyone!