Christmas Day

Christmas suspense was building. This little watcher kept a tree-side vigil patiently:


Well, mostly patiently.


We enjoyed Christmas music from family musicians old:

and new:


One of the best parts of the day was a father-son Jingle Bells duet. Alexander has been taking clarinet lessons for about three months.


Keeping time:img_1981

Little brothers-my favorite.

Daniel and Dominic sweethearts. Joseph is not amused.



Grandparents visited:


Dominic and Claire love to play ‘puppysitting’


Landon won the originality award for wrapping presents for himself:img_6610

Merry Christmas!


For Unto us a Child is Born


Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice! Give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today!

~ a Latin carol from the 14th century, translated by John M. Neale, 1853

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Snapshots

A gate guarded the gifts while they were displayed for a short time before we opened them:


Claire learned very quickly how to open presents…

…and was on to the next one.



The whole family caught the stomach bug right before Christmas. Landon was the last, and he was still recovering until the day after Christmas.


Note that our family is growing-a little brother coming in May. I cannot wait to hold a little newborn again. Luckily, I’m so busy with school it seems like this pregnancy is passing by more quickly than any of the others. I think it will be spring before I know it.

Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving break is finally here. Despite writing last about how close Thanksgiving seemed, while wading through my schoolwork it seemed that it would never actually come. I had an intensely busy pre-break week, filled with two tests, three papers, two nights of substitute ballet teaching, and two afternoons of babysitting.   After the constant time management and studying, it’s hard for my brain to have it all come to an end and not need to do anything. None of my teachers assigned any homework over the 5-day holiday (I love it when teachers treat a break as an actual break. So many love to give large projects or tests for us to study while we’re away), so  I really have nothing school related to do.

Luckily, there is plenty to do at home, the foremost thing being cooking for our Thanksgiving meal. I used to cook so much before I was a college student, that during the school year I really have the urge to bake and bake and bake as soon as I have a chance. It’s a good thing there’s so many mouths around to help me eat up all the treats!


These pictures are from the Fourth of July (was that almost a month ago already?). I’ve never been able to take pictures in such dim light before, so I was really excited about the way these turned out. The camera is a little tricky to manage at an aperture this wide open, so some of them are a bit out of focus, but the moment is captured nevertheless.  Here, Dominic gets help from John to hold a flaming fire sword.





This one of Joseph is the best photo only lit by a sparkler: IMG_3064


Daniel also loved waving around fire at the end of the stick:IMG_3024


Garden Journal IV-4th of July in the Garden

The perennial garden decided to burst with patriotic color just in time for Independence Day! It looks gorgeous right now, with the most eye-catching blooms being the bright red lilies that just exploded like a firecrackers this week . They are one of the oldest plants I have, as they were transplanted from my grandma’s garden somewhere around eight years ago. They have done really well, and have bloomed prolifically every year, and grown thick enough I have had to divide them more than once.

The shasta daisies have also been very faithful bloomers, and there are short plants next to the lilies that are older, and the tall ones I just planted last year for some hight in the garden.

In the pot at the middle of the garden  is a red geranium which belongs to Daniel. I let him pick it out at the store by himself, and he calls it his ‘rose’ because he is not able to say geranium. (So cute!) He helps me water it, and likes to see it in bloom, though he does’t like to see the buds die when they are done flowering.

Harder to see is a blue salvia plant under the tall daisies, a new addition to the garden this year. It has been blooming for over a month straight!IMG_2989

Happy Fourth of July!


New Year’s Eve

Our family celebrated the end of 2012 with a parade of tasty treats. Shrimp was my favorite:New Year's Eve1

These pickles wrapped in cream cheese and corned beef were picture perfect:
New Year's Eve2Mmmm… Cheese!

New Year's Eve3

Daniel’s favorite food was fruit pizza, which disappeared too fast for a photo. : )New Year's Eve4


After three years, this extreme project is finished in time for Christmas, and Dominic is just the right size to fit into it!

Babies are extremely tricky to photograph, and I’m so happy he sat still for a few seconds for me to snap this great shot! The bow was not planned, it was just sitting on the floor and he was playing with it when I was about to pick him up to take his picture. I didn’t want to take it away and make him cry, and it ended up being a great prop!

Christmas and the Old Testament

For school this year, Landon and I have been using a book that goes through and explains Scripture. Appropriately, we ended this semester at the end of the Old Testament, right before the Incarnation and Christmas.  I must say that in the past I have not enjoyed reading the Old Testament. It seemed to be full of war, being conquered, and turning away from God. Much less enjoyable to read than the hopeful New Testament.  I also had a very low regard for the Jewish people. I mean, how can you walk through the Red Sea and fall down and worship the Golden Calf on the other side? Now, however, I’m able to look at the Old Testament for what it is: the preparation of the world for the Son of God.

The Jewish people spent almost the entire Old Testament either falling into captivity or rising up in a glorious rebellion and freeing themselves. Every time God blessed them with victory, such when he allowed David to defeat the Philistines, they enjoyed a short time of prosperity while they were faithful to God. Then complacency would set in, and they turned to the idols and false gods of the people around them, such as when King Solomon, despite the wisdom and wealth God had given him, worshiped the idols of his many wives. Not long after, a neighboring king sent in his armies and conquered all of Israel. Then the people realized their mistakes, repented, and were able to drive off their enemies, and the whole cycle started all over again.

In view of this, it is no wonder that when they were told they would have a Savior they looked for a military leader. But upon closer scrutiny of the Old Testament, you realize that the cycle of captivity and freedom is closely linked to the cycle of obedience and disobedience to God. What the Israelites didn’t realize, however, was that their bondage to earthly kings was a result of their bondage to sin. Instead of sending a military leader, God sent a Savior for the root of the problem-slavery to sin.

Latin reads: ‘and the Word was made flesh”


Excerpts from the Thanksgiving Proclamation

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…

…”They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens..

…”In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

“Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.”

By the President: Abraham Lincoln


Dominic thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of Halloween. Even though he didn’t get to go outside, he was kept busy watching out the window for the trick or treaters. When the approached the door, he would run to greet them as fast as he could. 

Maria in costume:

Alexander, Legolas from Lord of the Rings. (complete with pointy ears)

Johnathan, a righwraith from Lord of the Rings:


Daniel as Gimli the dwarf from Lord of the Rings. Somewhere he misplaced his beard.

Before we went from house to house, I reminded the boys to say ‘thank you’ after they received some candy. from that point on, every time someone put candy in Daniel’s bucket, he said, “Thank you!” then immediately called to where I was standing on the sidewalk, ”   “Pumpkin, (his nickname for me) I said thank you!” That made a lot of people laugh.

The boys’ pumpkins:

Christmas Novena

“Happy new year!” Dad greeted me this morning. Advent has arrived, the first day of the liturgical year, the time to remember the waiting of Israelites for the coming of the Messiah, and prepare for Christmas. One of the ways I’m getting ready is by saying the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, which I have heard of but never done before. Though its not technically a novena, it consists of saying this beautiful prayer 15 times a day from Nov 30, (St. Andrew’s day), until Christmas:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [State your intention(s) here…] through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

This seems like a good way to keep continuously in mind the true reason of Christmas on mind throughout the day, and I strung together some plastic purple beads together to keep track of the number of times I’ve said it. I’m looking forward to starting it Tuesday.