Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stacks of Books on Epiphany {Little Christmas}

The past few years we have been giving our children stacks of books on Christmas morning. This year, between the morning sickness and the virus I caught a couple weeks before Christmas, I never got around to ordering the last of the books. I had more than enough books for a few of the children but not even one for a couple of them... I ended up deciding to save the books for Epiphany (Little Christmas) instead, giving myself plenty of time to find a few more.  However, the weather got really bad and some of my shipments didn't even arrive by Epiphany.  I ended up simplifying some of the stacks, to make them a little more even, and saving some of the extra books to give as Easter and Birthday gifts later this year.

Most of the children didn't mind at all that their stacks were smaller, but our nine year old commented, "Now that I actually like books, my stack is so much smaller than usual!" A few years ago he was the one who, as he was opening the last book in his stack, was overheard saying, "Please don't be a book, please don't be a book, pleeeeassse don't be a book... Oh NO! It is a BOOK! And it's a bad one... There is a FAIRY in it!"

Here is the list of books that did make it under the tree this year. 
{Note: All links to Amazon and St. Augustine Academy Press are affiliate links.} 

Captain (age 16) received two additional books from the series he was given last year by Rev. Henry S Spalding S.J. The Marks of the Bear Claws and The Race for Copper Island.  Also available directly from St. Augustine Academy Press.

Ranger (age 14) received Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction 3: Build Siege Weapons of the Dark Ages along with Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction Targets: 100+ Tear-Out Targets, Plus 5 New Mini Weapons

The older boys were also given a copy of the brand new book by John Flanagan, The Battle of Packham Heath to add to their collection of Ranger's Apprentice books, the inspiration behind the Ranger's Apprentice Birthday Party a couple years ago.

Twinkle Toes (age 13) has been reading through the Nancy Drew books again and asked for Book 1 in the series to add to the collection she has from my childhood. She received The Secret of the Old Clock as well as Color the Classics: Anne of Green Gables: A Coloring Book Visit to Prince Edward Island.

Chiquita (age 11) received God and the General's Daughter as well as The Chronicles of Narnia Official Coloring Book. She has been loving her writing class this year using Following Narnia Volume 1: The Lion's Song and has already requested a Narnia themed birthday!

Snuggles (age 9) received Strangers at the Manger, as well as three books from the Matt Christopher Sport Series: The Hockey Machine, Ice Magic, and Body Check. (Thank you for the suggestion, Debbie, he has read all three of them already and looks forward to reading more in the series!)

Rose (age 7) ended up receiving (and has been loving!) the Jingle Bells Christmas Carol Coloring I had gotten at a discount with purchase at Barnes and Noble, a copy of I am Therese (to go along with the Doll she received for Christmas, and The Story of the Snow Children. She was one of the ones whose books didn't arrive in time, but I now have some gorgeous fairy tales stashed away for her Easter basket!

Bud (age 5) received Ollie's Ski TripFavorite Thornton Burgess Animal Stories Boxed Set and Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Celebrating Epiphany

January 6, 2017 - Epiphany of the Lord

And behold the star, which they had seen in the East, went before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. - Matt. II, 9, 10 #epiphanyofthelord #wheredidweputtheblessedchalk #hopefullywecangetmoreaftermassonsunday

Manger Scene and Three Kings from Naturally Catholic

The Three Wise Men left a stack of Epiphany gifts under the tree!

Last Sunday, after Mass for the Solemnity of the Lord's Epiphany, Father blessed some chalk for our Blessing of the Home on the Feast of the Epiphany.

The Solemnity of the Epiphany is celebrated either on January 6 or, according to the decision of the episcopal conference, on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. (source)

The word Epiphany means “manifestation.” As such, the object of the Church on this feast is not only to commemorate the historical arrival of the Magi with their gifts for the new-born King, but moreover to adore the same Christ Who continues to reveal Himself to us today.

It is an ancient custom to bless the home on Epiphany followed by a festive meal. The current year and the legendary initials of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar) are marked above the outside doorway with blessed chalk; crosses are placed between the initials and year: 

20 + C + M + B + 17

The initials C-M-B are also interpreted as the Latin phrase “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means “Christ bless this home!”

Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Dolls' Christmas

Rose has been playing with her new Fairy Tale Cottage Dollhouse at the base of our Christmas tree and even her dolls have their Nativity set displayed! We just took down our tree and miss it already...

Sacred Liturgy Conference :: Register Now!

"Join Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample and Bishop Robert F. Vasa in Southern Oregon July 12th – 15th for a three-day immersion in the Church’s sacred liturgy and its living musical heritage. The theme of the 5th annual conference is “The Voice of the Bridegroom”, and will focus on sacred liturgy, Church history, and the role of Gregorian chant."

Sean and I are so excited about the upcoming conference which will be hosted at the Sacred Heart Church (where we were married in 1999) and we purchased our tickets last September! 

Archbishop Sample will be there! Father Saguto (he attended Christendom College at the same time I did and is currently District Superior of North America for the FSSP, the order in which my three brother-in-laws are priests) will be there! His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke will be there!

We had no idea that we'd be surprised with another baby, due to arrive just two and a half weeks before the conference, but I'm really hoping that I'll still be able to attend. It is going to be amazing! 

Our older boys will be two of the servers for the various Masses. You can see the full schedule here.  

Will we be seeing any of you at the conference? There is still time to register but seating is limited and is first-come first-served. The registration deadline is April 3, 2017. 

for more information and to register!

Friday, January 13, 2017

New Year Daybook :: Snow Days

Happy New Year! I didn't mean to disappear for the last few weeks... We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's despite all the viruses I kept catching. I ended up coming down with a bad cold the day after our Rose Red and Snow White Birthday Party, another shortly after Christmas leading up to New Year's, and then the flu on the evening of the first. Thankfully our children didn't get nearly as sick as I did and have really enjoyed the crazy winter weather we have been having! 

Outside my window...
Snow! On New Year's Day the kids were so excited to wake up to our first snow of the season! Nearly two weeks later, we still have snow on the ground which is really abnormal for our area...


❄️🎶 Do you want to build a snowman?🎶❄️

January 5th: Another snow day! ❄❄️ All schools are closed, my husband's office is closed, and the county roads officials are saying stay home if you can. It's going to be awhile before they can clear all the roads and ours is usually one of the last... I really wish I would have gotten to the store last weekend before this storm hit, but very thankful that we still have power!

I am thinking...
We weren't able to make it up to the mountains but they got to have some fun sledding during our Christmas break after all! ❄️

I am thankful... 
for power! We had another (unexpected) snow storm this week and it caused all sorts of damage and power outages. Our power went out Monday night but thankfully, after 17 hours, it was restored. As of yesterday there were still hundreds (down from thousands) of homes in our little town without power. My dad (an electrical contractor and inspector) says we need to just bite the bullet and let him install a backup generator for our home. We almost did it this past summer but wanted to pay off the car and finish a couple other projects first.

January 9th: Driving home from work this evening.... Huge snowflakes coming down fast, snow and ice covered roads, and even turkeys! 🙏🏻❄❄️ I thought they said we weren't going to get anymore snow this week?! #thankfulfor4wheeldrive #imgonnaneedittogetupourdriveway

January 10th: Our power has been out since last night and there is still no "estimated time of restoration" ... We are now in camping mode around here with paper goods and five gallon containers of water next to the sink. Yesterday morning I had pulled out a roast and some steaks from the freezer for the next couple nights. I had planned to use the crock pot for the roast, but am trying the Dutch Oven instead, and we'll be having grilled steaks for lunch. Now to figure out what to do with twenty-two eggs, a half gallon of Egg-Nog, and everything else that's left in the fridge...

These are just a couple of the many trees that fell across our road following the unexpected snowstorm on Monday night, taking power lines with them. I heard that there were 16+ trees across our road in between our house and town. We wouldn't have been able to go anywhere even if we could have gotten out of the driveway... This picture was taken just before the turn where I took the pictures of the turkeys crossing the road the night before. There are two roads leading out to my parents and both were covered with snow and trees as well despite all the drastic tree trimming that was done around the valley last summer. One was closed all day and the other only had one lane open!

Learning all the time...
Yesterday, January 12th, was the first day the local school district has been open since Christmas break began on December 16th! Thankfully, the snow (and all the snow days that will be added to the end up the school year, right when we'll be getting ready to welcome our new little one) won't effect our homeschooled students. They have been able to get back to school despite the poor road conditions, though the power outage did make some subjects a little more challenging on Tuesday.

Celebrating the liturgical year...
the O Antiphons, exciting news on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, all the wonderful feasts during the Christmas season, blessing our home on the feast of the Epiphany, and the feast of the Baptism of the Lord (last Monday on the OF calendar and today on the EF calendar)... We still have our Christmas tree up and will probably take it down tomorrow. I'm so glad it's lasted this long this year!

From the kitchen...
amazingly delicious Pumpkin Pancakes for me using the recipe from Holiday on the Autoimmune Protocol (a gift from a sweet and thoughtful friend)...

... and Snowman Pancakes for the rest of the family! 

January 5th: Snowman Pancakes for Breakfast 
#anothersnowday #toocoldtoplayoutside #christmasbreak #twelfthdayofchristmas

I am working...
lots of hours at the office, converting my dad's sole proprietorship to a corporation and setting up a new payroll and accounting system now that my dad and brother are partners. The kids haven't been the only ones learning all sorts of new things lately! It's definitely been a challenge to juggle everything, but I've really enjoyed working part time this past year and am so grateful for the flexible hours and extra income it's provided our family.

I am creating...
or rather the kids had fun creating snow angels and snowmen. I just took pictures and tried to stay warm inside!

I am going...
in for another appointment and ultrasound at the end of next week. My doctor wants to take a look at my cervix before each of my next monthly appointments, just to make sure it isn't showing any signs of early changes since I have a history of pre-term labor and bedrest. Baby will already be 17 weeks tomorrow! So far everything is going well. We appreciate the extra prayers so much!

I am hoping...
now that I seem to be getting a little break from the severe morning sickness, and recovering from the viruses, to get back to a good school schedule with my little ones and our plans for this school year. I can't believe the school year is half over!

I am praying...
a special prayer, shared with me by a sweet friend, for all the pregnant mommas for whom I've promised to pray:

Heavenly Father, true source of light and hope, thank you for your many blessings of love. In this special time that I am with child I thank you especially for the gift of the precious life you have sent to our family. Please send your grace to my friends N., N., N. with child. Please help us, by your grace, to be pure of heart like Mary and unfailingly obedient to your law. I pray fervently for all of the unborn of the world and for their angels to escort them to the enlightenment of baptism. After the example of the holy family, please help our families to be light-bearers who will help to spread Your kingdom on earth, and by your grace, increase the number of those in heaven, where we pray to be with you for all eternity in the presence of your eternal light! We ask this through Christ Jesus, Our Lord. Amen.

Happy New Year's Eve!!! 🎉 I was really sick (the nausea was back with a vengeance) the past few days, but I'm feeling (mostly) better tonight and we are headed to a party! I had our daughter snap a picture of me and the baby. I'm pretty sure I felt her moving for the first time last night! ❤️ #15weekspregnant #ilookhuge #alreadyhadtopulloutmaternityclothes

I am reading…
lots of picture books about ❄️SNOW❄️ to our little ones! Some are set up on the hutch and the rest are in a basket in the living room.

Snowmen at NightSnowmen at ChristmasSnowmen at Work
A Day on SkatesOllie's Ski TripThe Story of the Snow ChildrenThe Mitten

I've also filled up our January book basket and tomorrow we will be reading the story of St. Felix and the Spider!

Pondering these words…
from St. John Paul II:

"Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence."

I am listening… 
to Christmas music! My boys have been setting up their Bose Speaker in the kitchen and connecting it to the playlists on either their iTouch and Mini iPad. It's been so nice!

Around the house...
Snow! Snow! Snow!

One of my favorite things...
homemade whipped cream, hot cocoa and peppermint candy canes on snowy days!

This week{end}'s plans...
  • Today is my Mother-in-Law's 80th birthday! Wish we could be there to celebrate with her ♥
  • Our once every-two-month's Latin Mass is Sunday evening!
  • My baby brother and very first Godson turns TWENTY-ONE on Sunday!
  • Monday is a holiday, which means my husband will have the day off for my birthday this year!

A little peek at my day...