Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Apologies...

I have not been able to post much. Between Christmas celebrations, feasting on delighful meals and deserts prepared by my two oldest daughters and dealing with an ill and teething 8 month old - I have been too busy. I attempted a post filled with pics of Christmas Eve this afternoon, but my computer decided to take a vacation and froze - so all was lost!

If Elsa is feeling better, I will try again tomoorow. Until then God Bless and once more;
to all.

mum2twelve aka Christi Read more!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

... or otherwise known as St. Stephen's feast day. England and Canada is where it is referred to as Boxing Day.

After several years of disasterous Christmas dinners on the 25th (things such as the septic tank backing up into the ktichen sink...) we finally decided we would no long have Christmas dinner on Christmas day but rather on Boxing Day.

So today we are being tantalized by delicious smells issuing from the kitchen and friends are slowly starting to gather in the house. We are hoping our parish priest will stop by. He is hoping that he can.

I hope one and all had a very peaceful and joyful celebration yesterday. I hope you all continue to enjoy the Christmas Octave!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!!!

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Adam...

Following the tradition started way back when my four oldest were still mostly in the single digits we call today Christmas Adam as it is the day before Christmas Eve. They borrowed this idea from another family of friends who were more or less all the same age as themselves.

The children love Christmas Adam since it means that Christmas Day is almost here.

The evening before last my nine year old, Teddy, was showing me his wounds from the day. Here is the bruise from bumping on. And I got this scratch from... and then suddenly I was directed to a bite mark.

"And this is the bite I got from Emma!" My head pulled out of the dryer quickly when I heard that one.

"Emma bit you today?"

He shrugged his tough guy shrug and went on showing his badges of honour, err rather wounds.

As I was behind in all I had to do and in a hurry to catch up - I quickly forgot that little red puncture wound he had shown me.

Yesterday though my 20 year old son, Jonathan, filled me in on the details.

Emma had been wearing her beloved lion disguise and had been on the prowl in the living room. As she pounced on Jonathan he teased her.
"Oh Lion - you aren't going to bite me are you? Lions BITE!"

Apparently she just growled her answer and kept seeking her prey. But the wheels were turning as she crawled about on the living room, hunting her unsupecting victim.

Suddenly as she passed Teddy she lunged at him announcing I'm a Lion and sunk her teeth into his calf.

When he gave a scream of pain she clasped both hands over her mouth and sat back on her hunches apparently very disconcerted that she had done this, but also quite worried that she was going to be in big trouble for biting.

Jonathan examined the wound and informed Teddy he would live and to "offer it up" and get on with his day. They had a guy to guy talk about dealing with pain and moving on. Hence the nonchalant shrug when he answered my query the night before; "Emma bit you?"

Still, being only nine, he had needed to inform his mother of the insult, but without whining. I'm quite proud of him!

Happy Christmas Adam!

mum2twleve aka Christi Read more!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Well - I have to confess, I wimped out. The boxes of decorations are still below the other 8 feet of boxes. BUT I bought some cheap (and I mean cheap) decorations at the dollar store. (I told you cheap!)

The kids had fun decorating the hearth and living room as well as the balcony that connects the two sides of the house. Sounds like a mansion, eh? But in truth it is a small 3 bedroom log house with a living room, small (to me) kitchen and dining area. Still - I feel like a millionaire with my house looking all jolly and Christmasy and happy children sipping egg nog and munching on cookies. (Store bought, I'm afraid. After 5 hours of marathon stocking stuffer shopping and Christmas grocery shopping, I have little ambition left for baking)

Now I need to talk to a certain 9 year old who has the memory of an elephant and is reminding the rest of the gang about the decorations that are still supporting the 8 ft wall of boxes filled with untold treasures brought from our previous home - a five bedroom 2 story brick. (Sigh...)

Now I have an appointment with St Nick. I usually end up meeting with him on Christmas Eve but in hopes of staving off that midnight marathon of wrapping (which when you multiply by 12 can go on for hours - no matter how simple you try to keep it!) I managed to wrangle an early appointment with him. He helped me last night go through my various piles while small ears leaned against my bedroom door and little snacks were passed though the door opened barely a crack. We discovered (as usual) that some piles were dangerously high and can not possibly hope to fit into one lone stocking, while others will barely fill a toe. Hence my whirlwind shopping spree that my husband has already forgiven me for. (Surprising what a little egg nog can accomplish!)

Then this morning little Emma, with eyes aglow with excitment, danced around the kitchen waving her beloved St Nick mug telling how HE had been in Mummy's room last watching a 'Cwitmass Mooie while Mummy wapped presents!' She showed me St Nick on her 2 inch high mug - just the perfect size for a little egg nog by the fire or a touch of cocoa with a peppermint stick in it, and reminded me again how he had been here last night. I was digging yesterday’s laundry out of the washer and stuffing it in the dryer when I heard the inevitable crash.

Emma was devastated. She collapsed to the floor in a puddle of tears, and I wrapped my arms around her while she sobbed over her broken mug. Children came running from all over the house to see what was wrong. Jonathan, her 20 year old brother and God-father rubbed her back and tried to offer her solace. I promised to look for another copy of the same, but in my heart seriously doubted such a mug would be found so close to Christmas Eve. Wiping her tears she accepted the loan of my Christmas mug.

After hitting two Wal-Mart’s I finally found the exact picture of St Nick, but on a regular sized mug and beside it a copy of Nathaniel's snowman mug. Not as cute as the miniatures they had received on December 6th. But it was St Nick, and with a twin for Nathaniel - there would be no arguments regarding the fairness of servings.

She was thrilled with it. All is well with the world and now... St Nick awaits. I must not keep him waiting!

mum2twelve aka Christi

PS Tomorrow both of my daughters, God willing, arrive!

We are all SOOOOO excited!

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Staying balanced - with God's help...

A few days ago as I was helping Nathaniel change his pants I was struck by the difference with how he dealt with being off balance while lifting one leg and then the other compared to how Emma had dealt with it a few days earlier. While Emma had promptly leaned into me, her chubby still babyish arm wrapped around my neck, completely reliant on me, Nathaniel chose to stick his thin 5 year old arms out and try to balance himself as he wobbled back and forth.

Again I was struck by the similarity to my relationship with God as I watched him struggle to stay balanced alone, despite my offers to help him balance himself on my shoulder.

Over the past four years since my husband lost his job we have struggled in many ways. Not the least spiritually as we strove to trust in God’s providence while our material belongings were slowly stripped away.

While I watched in faint amusement, Nathaniel’s comical over balancing; I wondered what God’s thoughts have been over the past four years while I too struggled, determined to stand on my own two feet. And all the while God stood along side me, patiently waiting for me to reach out and balance myself on His ready shoulder.

Unfortunately, I am a slow learner and I still catch myself trying to balance myself with my arms outstretched, wobbling back and forth until again I remember that without God – I am nothing but with Him – I can do anything.

Read more!

Monday, December 19, 2005

People Look East...

People, look East.
The time is near
Of the crowning of the year. Make your house fair as you are able, Trim the hearth and set the table. People, look East and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

As we sang this song in Mass yesterday, I felt that I was receiving permission, or perhaps direction, to begin to decorate for Christmas. To date, other than some snow flakes that the children made and hung up Thanksgiving weekend, there is nothing absolutly nothing to indicate that Christmas is only 6 days from now.

Now I would like to claim that is entirely due to piousness on my part. But I would not be being completly honest because, you see, while I know EXACTLY where my Christmas decorations are, it is exactly where they are that is slowing down my desire to decorate. They are neatly packed away in the garage.

Supporting about 6 feet of boxes, not so neatly piled on top of them.

So it is entirely possible that if they were on the top of this pile, a few decorations would already be sprouting about the house. But then again - if I am going to be entirely honest - I have to admit that even if they were easily available, they would still be packed away!

Again, not due to my being particuarly devout this Advent but rather because... I am not ready to deal with the chasing down of 3 and 5 year olds who have decided to admire these docorations up close. Nor am I ready to deal with the shouts of anger by the older siblings who are warning off these small tornadoes as they tear down carefully set up nativity scenes or other displays of Christmas cheer.

However, I now feel called to deal with this and at some point today or tomorrow with the help of my 6 foot 2 and 6 foot 4 sons, will tackle the 8 foot pile of boxes and carefully extract some of our Christmas ornaments and begin to place them around the house. Hopefully in places they can be easily viewed and not touched!

People Look East and sing today - LOVE the guest is on the way!

Read more!

Finally! Some baking accomplished!

And here is some of the crew sporting the cookies they had baked yesterday afternoon in the fashion of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil! We had three huge platefuls and in less than 24 hours we are already down to 1 plate! Read more!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Can it really be the fourth Sunday in Advent with only four days until my daughters are home with the rest of us to celebrate Christmas? Do I really only have 6 days left to prepare for Christmas? It feels as if it was only yesterday that I was planning all of these wonderful things we were going to do to prepare throughout Advent.

Of which I have only accomplished a quarter. And it is tempting to feel as though I have failed. But the real question is has it been peaceful in our home? Have we enjoyed each other's company and grown in charity? I think I can say, yes we have.

No, we have not done all the crafts and activities that I wanted to do, but we have written to friends, family and even some strangers. We have welcomed people into our home and shared hot coffee with strangers who were temporaily employed to work outside in the cold. We welcomed them into our home and they were cheered by the warmth and some of our Canadian chocolates that friends gave us as an early Christmas gift.

We have enjoyed fires in the fireplace and roasted marshmellows. We have been blessed by a wonderful teacher who is giving freely of her time to help educate our children in the area of religion. And they are learning so much more than religion!

So while my crafts lay by the wayside, we have enjoyed peace and love and many blessings. I can only pray that everyone who reads my blog has been as blessed.

And now - the countdown begins and I need to be more watchful than ever. Is it not in the last homestretch that statistics say that most road accidents happen? It will be tempting to stress out over ribbons, bows and baking, finding the perfect tree and last minute stocking stuffers but ultimatly - what matters most is that the heart of the home stays calm, quiet and collected so that the rest of the family can also be calm, quiet and collected.

After all, the baking will soon be eaten, and the bows ultimatly thrown out and stocking stuffers lost, broken and forgotten. But the peace of a happy family reunion, that will all too soon be over, is what counts most of everything. And that is what I, the heart of our home, need to stay focussed on.

Blessings to you all!
mum2twelve aka Christi Read more!

New Challenges!

Good Morning! I have not been online much as I am trying to learn how to create a website. I love blogging BUT I want to have more creative input in how my page looks and what I can put on it. Here I can upload a picture but I only have three choices as to where the picture goes; right, left or center and ONLY at the top of the page. Somehow, way back when, I managed to get a picture into the middle of a post but can not remember how I did that and have not been able to do it since.

I want to publish stories that I have written and ones that I am working on. I have learned from talking to other authors that there is not much money in publishing a book unless, of course, you happen to be a JK Rowling or a John Grisham. While I think I am a good writer, I seriouly doubt that my stories will catch fire like theirs have and so publishing in the old fashioned way will not likely garnish me any money. And like anyone else - I like money as in I like being able to pay my rent and I prefer not to have my power turned off. You know - the simple pleasures in life! And if I can bring in a few dollars doing something I enjoy - why not try it! So my plan is to add a donation button to the website and those who enjoy my writing and would like to support my endeavors are free to do so or not. :-)

So hopefully sometime in the very near future I will produce a website dedicated to stories written for a Catholic audience mostly, as in the Catholic culture will be predominate in the childrens lives that I write about. But not always, as you will see from the story that I have posted today. Anna will also continue to illustrate for me, and I am especially looking foward to that. The other children will also have a hand in what I will do on this website. This website will not replace what I am doing here - writing about the challenges of being a mum2twelve, but rather will be an addition to what I have here. God willing!

I would very much love to have some feedback from you as to how much you enjoyed or did not enjoy the story below. This story has been written more to entertain parents but my children enjoyed hearing it as well and told me in no uncertain terms that they felt the adventures of Davie were not over. I believe they are right and I am hoping we will see more of Davie in the future.

Please feel free to email comments to if you would prefer to comment privately.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to correspond with me!
mum2twelve aka Christi Read more!

Davie's Sunny Day Adventures

The warm sun played peek a boo with Davie through his curtains and the branches from the oak outside swayed gently, causing shadows to dance across his eyelids and tickle him awake. He rubbed his arm across his face while he stretched like a kitten just getting up from a nap. It was very quiet as he tossed the blankets back. He lay there for a few seconds listening hard. Nope – not a sound. Guess Mama and Daddy must be still sleeping, he thought to himself. He rolled over and let his toes stretch until they touched the cold bare wood and then he slid the rest of the way off his bed, lost his balance and toppled into a pile of bears. He giggled as he wrestled his way out of their paws, scarves and fuzzy ears.
Kerchew! He wiped his nose on the back of his hand and then wiped his hand across the front of his jammies. Glancing down at the yellow stain that glistened he decided it was time to dress himself. He followed the highway of matchbox cars that littered his floor in a haphazard line between his bed and the dresser. Then he scrunched down and pulled the bottom drawer out, hard, with both hands until he plopped onto his bottom. He checked over his shoulder before stepping into this drawer and used the pile of jammies and undies as a step up to the second drawer down from the top. This one he only managed to get partially out and grunted as he stuck his chubby 3 year old paw into it. He was barely able to grasp the t-shirt with his fingers tips and squeezed his eyes tight as he pulled. But his fist, clasped around the neck of his t-shirt, kept him from being able to pull it out. Frustrated he let go. Quietly, he listened again. His ears were still met with silence so he looked about his room, his eyes keen on finding a solution. Mama’s threat from yesterday still hung heavy in his memory.

“Little man, if I find you outside in your long johns, or jammies, one more time this week, your bottom will know it!”

But what to do if he couldn’t reach the dresser drawer with his play clothes in it? The bright sunlight drew his attention to the window where the sun beckoned him to come out and play. It sure was a sunny day. Hmmm, what was it Mamma had said about his new pants?

“These new pants are for Sunday only young man, Sunday, you hear?”

He glanced at the window again. Well, if this was not a sunny day – he didn’t know what was. Deftly he pulled the rocking chair that Grampa had made him, closer to the dresser. First he pulled both knees up onto the seat and then he precariously balanced himself as he wobbled. Quickly he snatched at his new blue pants so neatly folded on the top of his dresser and slowly, with his arms stretched out for balance, sat back down. Sighing he leaned back in his chair, allowed his legs to flop over the seat and closed his eyes for a second. His heart beat loudly in his ears. It quickly slowed to a more regular beat and he slid off the seat. He fumbled with the waist of the pants and decided to sit on the floor before trying to stick his feet into them. He pulled on them until they completely covered his jammie bottoms. It was a tight squeeze and took some time and left him kind of hot. The movement of the branches caught his eye and drew him to the window. He stretched as far as he could until his little toes burned with the effort and still he could not quite catch the clasp that held the panes shut.

Not to be thwarted, he padded across his room on his feet still so well padded with baby fat and stopped in front of his toy box. Stepping firmly on the same pile of bears that had cushioned his escape from bed he struggled with the heavy top of the box until he wrestled it open. He stretched over the side until he managed to grab his little wooden mallet. Well pleased with himself, he scurried back to the window and with this addition to his height he managed to push the clasp up. He pushed his head out the window and smelled deep, drinking in the fresh air as it cooled his hot cheeks. Refreshed, he let go of the window sill and tried to settle back flat on his feet but before he could, his pants caught on a small nail.

With a grunt he pulled back and Davie’s eyes widened as he watched his pants spin a web between him and the window. He backed up some more and grinned as he saw the thread stretch. Wow – just like a spider, he thought. Maybe if enough thread came out he could make a web and catch some bugs. Then he noticed the corresponding hole and stopped pulling. Now he felt more like a prisoner than a spider. He was caught on that nail, with a hole growing faster than a weed. He tried smacking at the thread with his mallet. Several smacks later the thread was well wrapped around the mallet and snapped from the weight. He dropped the mallet in relief and backed away from the window staring at the gaping hole that allowed his jammie bottoms to peek back at him. Nervously he glanced at the bedroom door, and decided it was time to check Mama’s room and see if she was awake and reading from her bible, or if she was still asleep as the continued quiet suggested. First though he had better take his pants off before she saw the hole in them. He stuffed them, still attached to the mallet, under his bears.

Then taking giant steps, he tip toed across the room and his heart skipped a beat when his foot hit a car and sent it skidding into the radiator. Pausing only for a second, he started back on his mission. Shortly his blue eyes were peeking between the door frame and the door. Daddy was snoring and Mama was not reading, in fact her curls were not quite visible under Granma’s blue quilt. As he drew back he noticed the opened door of the bathroom and decided to pay a visit to it. He pushed the door open and his eyes were delighted with the sight of his daddy’s razor and cream set out for his shave. Davie wondered if he could make those big white mountains of snow that Daddy smoothed over his face every morning. He clambered onto the closed toilet and grasped the can in his chubby hands and sat back down on the lid. He starred at the can and wondered how to get the top off. Uncle Rory came to mind and he slapped the can against the sink, trying to mimic his uncle opening a bottle of soda. The lid somersaulted into the tub and twirled to a stop.

Davie smelled the can and then carefully stood back up and leaned into the sink. Clasping the bright red can in his left hand, he stretched until he could turn the water on. Gently, he placed the can on the side of the sink so that he could wrestle the plug into its hole. A wide grin spread across his face as he grasped the can again and with both thumbs pressed down and watched snowy mountains fill the growing lake. His plump cheeks hurt from smiling, this was so much fun. Until he felt drops on his toes and realized his mountains were sliding out of the sink and onto the floor. He drew in a sharp breath as he recalled Mama’s eyes the last time he flooded the bathroom.

“Davie,” she had sighed, “You do that again young man and you had better pack your bags!”

Squaring his shoulders he crept off the toilet seat and hurried to his room. He crawled under his bed and pulled at a small overnight suitcase, the same one Mama said she used when she brought him home from the hospital. She had shown him how she had packed it with his newborn jammies she had brought to the hospital, a blue pair if he were a boy and a pink just in case he had been an Eva instead of a Davie. She had shown him then how to spring the locks open which he did again now. Hurriedly, he pushed it across the floor this time ignoring the cars as they scattered noisily, he needed to pack his bags before Mama found that mess. He wasn’t sure how it would fix it, but he sure didn’t want to see Mama’s eyes look so sad again. He pulled his blue jammies out and his green ones and his spotted ones. He didn’t like the spotted ones so much, but they might help fill his case.

He flipped the lid shut and snapped one lock closed and dragged the case behind him. He slowed down as he passed Mama’s and Daddy’s door and tried to tug it quietly past. He then pulled it down the stairs behind him, hoping the clunks wouldn’t waken them before he found something else to fill the case. As he pulled it into the kitchen, Kittie rose from her corner and greeted him with a Meow.

By now Davie was pretty hungry and it looked like Kittie was too, so he pushed the suitcase over in front of the fridge door and climbed on top so that he could pull the handle open. It flipped open easily as his new height gave a strong advantage he did not normally have. He jumped back as the door swung open, and the case tumbled back as well. On the shelf closest to his normal height he spied the milk jar. Kittie loved to lick up his milk whenever he spilled some, so he thought maybe she would like to share a bowl of it with him. Glancing at the cupboard where Mama kept the dishes he realized that not even his case would him reach a bowl and he knew better than to climb on a kitchen chair. Mama had dusted the seat of his pants enough to teach him better than that. Not to be daunted he decided to simply pour some milk into the suitcase for Kittie. He would have to have his later. Granma was always saying God put us in charge of the animals so we had better care for them well.

He clicked the lock open and then gently poured the bottle of milk in. Kittie licked her lips and daintily pulled herself up onto the side of the suitcase with her pretty white paws. She could not quite reach the milk that was quickly soaking into the spotted jammies so Davie decided to give her a hand and lifted her little bottom off the ground until she slipped into the suitcase. Before Kittie had a chance to register what had happened to her, Davie popped the lid closed. He locked the snaps and sat down. It was such a sunny day, maybe he and Kittie could have a picnic out by the Granpa’s garden. He was tired of bending over to push the suitcase here and there, so he looked for something he could pull it with. Under the sink he found some of Granma’s string that Mama was always complaining about her saving. He pulled it though the handle on the top of the case and started to pull it across the floor. He had just made it across the porch and reached the stairs when he heard Mama wail his name from above him. He looked up at the second floor hall window and he could see her knocking on it.

Daaavie? Davie!!

His round blue eyes were bewildered. What was she so upset about? He looked down at his jammies and sighed. Oh yeah, he wasn’t dressed yet. Read more!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thank You everyone who has prayed for my daughter. She is doing much better. We had a good visit and I am so grateful that we were able to be there for her. We are all looking foward to both of our oldest daughters coming home for Christmas. I am looking forward to seeing how we cope being fourteen in a small three bedroom log cabin. It should be fun, crazy, cozy, and did I mention crazy? No doubt tempers will get frazzeled from time to time but prayers and long walks and outings will help that! But most of all it will just be wonderful to be all together as a family this Christmas and for more than just 48 hours.

mum2twelve aka Christi Read more!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A prayer...

...that I think will become a family favorite. My oldest son, Jonathan, discovered this prayer and laminated it so that we can use it daily. He was searching for a simple morning offering for the family.

THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER (attributed to Pope Clement XI)

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask,
For as long as you ask,
Because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Read more!

His Birthright...

"I think he thinks it's his birth right."; my husband announced to the living room as he stared out the window.

"Huh?" I replied as I read my email.

"Nathaniel, I think he thinks it is his birthright to return the rented vehicles with me. "

I joined his stare out the window and there in the rented car we had driven to Charlotte yesterday was 5 year old Nathaniel ensconced in one of our boaster seats that he apparently had managed to place in the car all by himself. Nevermind it was not yet 8 am, and the temperature below freezing. There he placidly sat, waiting for his father to come drive the vehicle back to the rental place. I could not tell if he had his coat on or not as just his fuzzy red head was showing from my vantage point. But I could tell he had placed the boaster in the front seat.

In just my short sleeves I went out to the car and opened the front door and explained to him that he would have to move to the back where he would be safer. With the larger goal of being allowed to drive to town with his Daddy in mind, he got out without a complaint and carefully dragged the boaster seat out of the car explaining. "Oh! I can do hit my helf!" Then he bumped his fingers on the door and decided maybe he could use a little help after all. I picked him up to place him in the boaster seat. His little fingers were freezing! And so was I by now!

Quickly I got him an extra sweater, his mittens and a blanket so that he could warm up while he waited for his Daddy who was gulping down a hot tea so that his little son would not have freeze any longer. We could have insisted he come in, but his silent determination and hard work to get ready all by himself just begged to be rewarded.

They drove off together minutes later, chatting and happy. They were gone before I could remind my husband of an errand I needed him to do in town.

Fourty five minutes later a white vehicle caught my eye as I sat typing on the computer and I looked expectantly out the window and was surprised to see the rental car back. I met them at the door. Nathaniel looked very pleased, and quite happy with a small gift in his hand for Emma who had not been able to come as the truck only fits one boaster and Hugo was looking far from pleased. I looked at him quizically as Nathaniel rambled on about his gift for Emma to whom he is Christmas Angel. Hugo explained tersely;
"I forgot the keys to the truck and then Nathaniel threw up on the way back to get them. "

To my look of horror at the rental, he replied;

"Not to worry - he threw up mostly in a bag and on the blanket, but someone will have to help him change."
I took Nathaniel upstairs and he proudly showed Emma her gift which he explained she had to share while I stripped his pants off, and helped him into a fresh pair.

By the time I was back downstairs the rental was gone and the boaster seat was on the front porch. Apparently, Hugo was not keen on granting Nathaniel his birthright a second time in one day. Not that I could blame him - however, he left before I could inform of the errand that must to be completed in town today. Some days are just like that. Read more!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I am leaving for Charlotte in a few minutes. My second oldest daughter is in college and in the middle of exams and ill. She needs my help and could use some prayers. She has asthma and when she is stressed (as in exam time) she sometimes has severe asthma attacks.

Please pray for her health. She has wonderful goals for her life, principally she wants to help unwed mums choose life for their babies and rebuild thier lives during a time of crisis. Please pray for her studies and exams for this week, as well as her health.

God Bless you all!

Christi Read more!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Quote of the party...

Towards the end of our party after playing about all afternoon and charming the older children and adults, Emma pranced into the kitchen and in anything but a shy voice announced to everyone in general;

"I'm shy!"

Flashed us a huge smile and danced out of the kitchen and back to her playing. Read more!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Room Service please...

It was 6:40 am exactly! My bedroom door sprung open and 3 year old Emma burst through, full of life and energy and - desperate for the bathroom.

"Mummy, I have to go pottie!"

"Emmph," I mumbled, "so go!"

"Otay!" she replied brightly. And burst through the bathoom door, slaming it shut behind her.

I squinted at the alarm clock and kissed Elsa on the cheek as she snoozed beside me all cuddly and warm. I was barely drifting off when the bathroom door sprung open again. Out bounced Tigger disguised as Emma who announced:

"I'm doeing back to my woom Mummy, to be wit La La!" (Translate Lala as Gabriela, her 14 year old sister.)

That pronouncement was music to my ears - it meant possibly another 20 minutes of dozing time.

She drew in her breath and I started to roll over, but was halted by her next statement.

"So tan you make me a baba Mummy?"

"Emmm, okay Emma" I yawned and rolled back towards her.

"And bwing it my woom, Mummy."

I lay there blinking as she whisked out the door. I rolled over and woke my husband up.

"Hugo - we have just moved up a notch, now we are expected to provide room service for Emma!"

Funny, somehow he was not as amused as I was, maybe it was the hour? Read more!

Third Sunday of Advent

Gaudette Sunday

Today is the Sunday of joy and today we are having a celebration here in our home. Most years this is the day we put up our Christmas tree, but this year my two oldest daughters will not be home until the 22 and I have not had my oldest home to decorate the Christmas tree in years so we are waiting... with great anticipation.... In other words in the spirit of the Season!

I hope everyone has a joy filled Gaudette Sunday.

Many Blessings
mum2twelve Read more!

Friday, December 09, 2005

It was mid morning and Emma needed my help putting her underwear back on after a trip to the pottie. (These days I get a pair of underwear shoved in my nose instead of a full pottie! It is a nice change. ) I sat down on the bed and Emma immediately wrapped one arm around my neck and leaned against me as she balanced on one foot. She had complete trust that I would not move or set her off balance in anyway as I helped her put one foot into her undies and then the other. As she stood there leaning on me, dependent on me for her balance, I thought about how God wants us to trust Him in this way, and I also thought about how children trust their parents implicitly. From the moment a newborn is laid in his mother’s arms, there is this bond of trust. While the newborn is not aware of his trust – this trust is evident as it gazes into his mother’s eyes. We have done nothing to warrant it, but it is there and as long as we do nothing to disprove this trust it only continues to grow. And it is this trust that God seems to want from us – to know that He will never move away from us as we lean on him, especially at moments in our lives when we feel very unbalanced. I only wish I found it as easy to trust Him as Emma finds it to trust me when she leans against me to steady herself. How freeing that would be!

Read more!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I'm borrowing from Danielle...

This is very beautiful and peaceful!

In Honour of Mary Our Mother.

Please check it out if you have a minute. Thank you Danielle for sharing this with us! Read more!

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing;
You reign now in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

In heaven, the blessed your glory proclaim;
On earth we, your children, invoke your sweet name.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

We pray for the Church, our true Mother on earth,
And beg you to watch o'er the land of our birth.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

Read more!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

No Cookies!

Well- we did not manage to get any cookies baked, but we did create some very beautiful Christmas Cards for an injured soldier, Joshua Sparling. If you would like to read his story click here. A word of warning - it is a sad story about a brave soldier who is rewarded with a 'get well' card that tells him to die. There are other soldiers listed in the news story who have received little to no mail and the reporter asks that we take the time to send these brave men and woman a little note.

We finished off our feast day with a marshmallow roast in the fireplace. Whilst trying to determine how many marshmallows individuals had consumed and therfore how many more to allow the children to have, I asked Noah how many he had eaten.

His reply: "Well - I have eaten three BUT one of them I didn't really enjoy...." Read more!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tomorrow is Saint Nicholas Day...

...and normally I would have made these ahead of time. This year we will make them as a Saint Nicholas Day activity, together as a family. I hope to be able to post a picture of them tomorrow but it rather depends on my camera, which has not been co-operating of late. My oldest daughter Amanda, introduced the idea of mixing ginger and chocolate together to our family. I will always remember her words like it was yesterday: "I know it sounds weird Mummy, but trust me - they will be delicious. Really!"

And she was right - they were delicious and the start to a new tradition. I don't think we have missed a single year yet without these delicious cookies on St Nicholas' special day.

Marlene’s Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 f


½ cup white sugar (If you double use only ¾ c white sugar)

½ cup molasses

½ cup shortening (butter etc)

1/3 cup HOT water

1 egg

2 level teaspoons baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ginger

2 ½ cups white flour

Chocolate M&Ms (Emmmm – delish!)

Cream the sugar molasses and shortening together and then add the hot water stir until smooth and then add the egg(s).

Add salt, soda and ginger to the flour and then slowly mix the flour into the wet ingredients. When the dough is well mixed you can roll it out on a slightly floured surface and then begin to cut your cookies out.

Decorate the cookies with your M&Ms, bake at 350 until lightly browned, typically 20 minutes.

Store in a safe place until St Nicholas day and try not to sneak too many yourselves!

(I don't remember if you grease the cookie sheets or not... Will let you all know tomorrow!)

Read more!

A prayer to the Infant Jesus

Divine Child Jesus,
In my difficulties: help me
From the enemies of my soul: save me
In my errors: enlighten me
In my doubts and pains: comfort me
In my solitudes: be with me
In my diseases: invigorate me
When others despise me: encourage me
In temptations: defend me
In difficult hours: strengthen me
With your maternal heart: love me
With your immense power: protect me
And, into your arms, when I die: receive me

Read more!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Second Sunday in Advent

Today has been a nice quiet day for our family. We passed out invitations today at Mass for a little party we hope to have this coming Gaudette Sunday. Just a few friends and a little fun on the Sunday of hope!

There was a little fun to be had after Mass today at my expense. Some of the little kids and I were helping put a few decorations up that were needed for a function occurring later in the afternoon. So it was a good while before we joined the older kids and children sitting in the van
...waiting.... with little to do.... except hang my diaper bag from the mirrow on the passenger door with a lock and then pretend to have lost the key....

As I looked at my husband he quipped:
"Well, if you are going to leave us waiting here for an hour with nothing to do.... what can you expect?"

They finally produced the key, much to my relief! Read more!

Friday, December 02, 2005

An important factor in keeping ones sanity...

These days Emma, who is three and recently toilet trained, has a tendency to wait until she is fairly dancing before she tears across the room to the oldest person present and announces in great distress; "I need to use the potty. I need to use the potty!", the stress levels in her voice rising with each word. Until someone acknowledges this press conference, she continues her dance of agony.

Once acknowledged she races for the nearest bathroom and a minute later re-appears, calm and collected, usually with her undies in hand, demanding assistance with their return to where they belong.

Now I understand how, at three, life is so interesting that one does not want to stop what s/he is doing but rather waits until the last possible minute before finally accepting the fact that s/he really does need to use the bathroom. What I don't understand is why, at 43, I do the same thing. Only in my case rather than dancing a jig around the room I just grow increasingly impatient with all about me until I just absolutly can no longer deny that my bladder is, and has been, filled way beyond capacity for the past hour.

So for the sake of my sanity (and the safety of my children) I have decided that bathroom breaks are a necessity and not an option, and perhaps I want to drink less caffine until I break myself of this terrible habit. Read more!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

off on a 24 hr jaunt...

This time to the North. Wish I could drop and and visit with anyone in the area! We will hit Columbus, Ohio early tomorrow morning, pick up our merchandise from the local base and then find our favourite Tim Hortens. We almost have it's location memorized.

Once there we will stock up on coffee and treats before heading back south. Anyone know what temperatures to expect, snow flurries, drizzle, sleet?

Prayers requested as always!

God Bless and see you when we get back... tomorrow evening!

mum2twelve Read more!

I love my tister...

"Look Mummy, LOOK at ME!", called Emma.

"I'm holding Elta!" This drew my quick attention given Emma is only three and Elsa is now a whopping 17 lbs at 7 months of age.

Sitting on the floor with her legs encircling Elsa, and her arms wrapped around her waist, Emma grinned at me.

"Look Mummy. I holding Elta so see won't fall down."


Elsa flopped over Emma's knee and wonked her head on the floor but did not really have time to cry as Emma was quickly trying to upright her amidst oodles of kisses and hugs.

Yes, Emma really does love her sister! Read more!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving

Or an Ode to two beautiful cats...

Wednesday was a teary and somewhat stressful day here. Mid-day while all of us were trying to work through our get ready lists for big sister Jenny coming home - a very sad discovery was made. One of our cats was discovered dead in the barn. Miguel and the two younger boys, Teddy and Noah were taking a break from their lists and while taking a detour through the barn, they discovered Harlie. She was a very beautiful and striking looking cat and was pretty even in death. However - that did not eased the pain of her passing for the little ones.

They all declared though that they would be brave and try not to be too sad since it was Thanksgiving and they did not wish to spoil Jenny's visit. I believe God assisted them with this unexpected cross as I heard more than once the comment that God seemed to be helping them as they did not feel as sad as they did this summer when we discovered that Cappie had passed away in the night. (Pictured above) This does not mean that tears were not shed, nor that they did not slip out often during the weekend to sit by the double graves in the back field.

I had promised Gabriela, the owner of Cappie, an ode to her beloved pet and now before I have managed to post what I wrote this summer for Cappie, I have need for two obits. However, Aimee has done such a wonderful job writing about Harlie, that I will simply include the link to her post here.

Rest In Peace Harlie

I will never forget the day we adopted Cappie about 6 years ago. We had stopped by Pets Smart and unbenownst to me they were having an adoptathon. While I shopped for doggie treats, litter and general pet needs the girls, Jenny, Aimee and their little sister Gabriela were cuddling with cats and kittens. Once I caught up with them I was assailed by Aimee and Jenny to check out Gabriela, who had crawled into the cage with a tiny, though full grown, male cat. He was tawny coloured, like a mountain lion, with a touch of cream on his tail - like the froth of a cappachino.

'Look Mummy, look how gentle he is, and how much they love each other!", they purred into my ear.
'Please let Gabriela bring him home. Pleeeease, she doesn't have her own pet yet and she really wants him. Pleeeeas
Gabriela said not a word, but pleaded with me silently with her big blue eys while Cappie continued to melt into her lap.

I relented. "Your father will kill me, you know. We already have four cats! But, alright, we can take him. For a trial period." I tacked on, semi hoping maybe that gave me an out. We filled in the papers and brought home our "foster son" and a new member was added to the family. Permantly.

Cappie had a way of kneading your head that drove one crazy and he was hilarious to watch playing hide and seek with the "other boys", Sam and James who immeadiatly took to their new brother. He loved Gabriela most though, and she was on the only one who could safely carry him out of doors. Anyone else attempted to carry him, and you risked 4 sets of very sharp claws implanting themselves in your chest or arms. Until Emma that is. In his last year with us he endeared himself to all the adults; as we watched this cat, who turned into a wild scratching fur ball if we tried to carry him, turn into putty in Emma's chubby 2 year old arms. In her arms he was the story book cat that everyone could dress in doll clothes, and drag about in any manner of ways. All of the other cats steer clear of Emma when she appears on the scene. She can clear the room of cats in under a nano second. But Cappie would sit down and stare into space while Emma bent over, grunted and hefted him up into her arms. Once released he did not dive for cover but would, with great dignity, begin to stroll away and immeadiatly stop if Emma decided it was time to carry him again. Which she invariably did.

The morning we discovered that he had died there was great grief. Not just for Cappie, but for Gabriela and Emma. The older boys (Jonathan and Miguel) who had no great love for him quietly searched for our shovel. Discovering that it had accidently been left in a rental truck, they pick up a post digger and took turns in the 90 plus summer heat and thick humidity digging a grave for Cappie. It was back breaking work and took 3 - 4 hours, but their love for their younger, grieving siblings kept them at it.

And once again this past week, these two boys showed their love for their younger siblings as well as their oldest sister this time. Quietly without a word; they went to work digging a grave beside Cappie's, in the rain and the cold. I had hoped to say a second Good Bye to Harlie before she was buried, but they were too quick for me.

While it is hard to lose a animal, it is harder to see the children grieving over a beloved pet, esp during the Holidays. But it was eased greatly, both times, by seeing the love the children showed for each other as they supported one another. I know they were only animals, but they were loved and cherished by the children that I love and cherish. It also served as a reminder for us all - that you never know when our Maker will call us. We need always to be ready for this time, whether it is our's or that of someone else we love. We must always remember to give our loved ones a hug, to smile as they pass you the salt, to listen when they speak, and especially to pray for them.

God Bless you and God Bless our pets... Read more!

Monday, November 28, 2005

His name is de new boyfriend

A few nights ago a few of us were crowded around the monitor of my computer. Our family pictures are set up as a slide show slash screen saver. So we were watching the family slip by in groups and in sets of twos and threes as well as members all alone. I was pointing to people and asking Emma who is this and who is this. Sometimes Nathaniel would chime in all helpful when she hesitated, or when I teased and called the sister or brother by the wrong name.

Then some of the zoo pictures started to wind across the screen and we came to a group picture of almost everyone. I pointed to Jenny's boyfriend, John, who happened to be holding the baby as she slept. (He is very good at keeping sleeping babies sleeping!) I said; "So who is this holding Elsa? Emma was distracted so Nathaniel had the whole stage to himself and stuttered;
"Oh, oh, I know, I know. It's, it, ... uhhh,... his name is de..., his name is de new boyfwiend!" Read more!

Our Wreath - finally!

As promised, I am posting a picture of our Advent wreath. I had worried the past month that although I had my candles well in advance, I would put off searching for the old wreath or purchasing a new one until the last moment.

I did.

So Sunday afternoon I spent a half hearted five minutes searching under the stairs for the old wreath, but decided I wanted a much smaller wreath than the one we had used over the past years. So some of the girls and I hit the stores looking for flowers that would be exactly like the ones I had decorated the previous wreath with. James, our ragdoll had eaten, picked off, chewed and ultimatly destroyed all of those original flowers until we had a simple bare wreath with four candle holders. It took him approximatly three Advents to accomplish this.

However, the flowers we used 7 years ago are apparently no longer being produced. Old stock long gone by the wayside. I took a deep breath and regrouped.
"Stand here girls for a minute."
I gritted my teeth while I dove into these rows and rows of flowers, and tried to figure out what would come closest to what I had wanted! So many flowers and none looked the way I had imagined. Slowly, with input from Anna and Gabriela, I began to make choices and build a new wreath in my imagination, but it was proving difficult to match the image of pruple that I had in my mind. Finally we gave up and decided to try another crafts store. We paid for a few flowers, the wreath and other craft supplies I wanted for some of our Advent crafts that we will be doing over the next few weeks and left.

We got to the next store and Elsa simply demanded to be nursed before we could scurry again through the rain and into Michaels. Once there we were again assailed by rows and rows and rows of silk, dry and plastic flowers, but none quite the shade of purple I was seeking. Lots of purples, reds, browns, golds, yellows and even white, but that exact shade of purple was proving to be quite elusive. At last content with my choices, I grabbed a cheap glue gun and stuffed it into the cart and asked a lady behind the floral counter where she kept her candle holders that she had used on her advent wreath - the one behind her on display.
"Oh - I'm sorry - I didn't make that, it came like that from our supplier, we just put it up as a display. "
I stared at her dumbly.
"Oh, well, ummm okay, but you do have candle holders, eh?"
The florist behind her chimmed in helpfully.
"Those would be over there." (Gesticulates in a general direction over her shoulder) "But we are sold out of those, I know because I was looking for them for another customer earlier today. You could try A.C.Moore...."

I blinked at her. This couldn't be happening. I had just been to that store and had not found holders.
"Well," I asked hesitantly, "is there another Micheals nearby..."
Glad to be helpful, they listed three or four different craft or fabric stores, not one closer than a thirty minute drive... The first lady added brightly - "Oh you could try the dollar store in Wakeforest." I brightened at that, I liked the proposed cost, as well as its near vicinity.
"But they are closed on Sundays."
Try as I might I could not help but feel bitter about that, and the irony of it hit me hard!
"Well, thanks anyway." I replied not really making much effort to hide my dissapointment. Refusing to give up all hope I slipped over in the general direction they had pointed, hoping against hope that the second lady was wrong. She wasn't.
I gathered the girls and patiently answered Bethany's questions about this and that and we got through the line. I made a conscious effort to be polite to every one around me. What I really wanted to do was pout, smack my purchases on the counter and snarl at everyone. After all - my wreath was ruined - I did not want to place candles around it in regular candle holders, I wanted them IN my wreath, where they were suppose to be. My annoyance with myself for waiting so long to buy the needed items sat hot in my chest. The temptation to inflict it on others was large.

I am grateful that I did not (entirely) give in to it, especially in front of my four daughters. We piled the bags into our cart and headed back into the rain and loaded our purchases and ourselves into the van. I backed up and then wove my way through the crowded parking lot, stoppng for other drivers and waving them ahead of me. As I continued to force myself to show a charity to others that I was not feeling, my mood began to lift. I chuckled inwardly at myself. So what if I we had to light our candles tomorrow, or use regular candle holders. Was it worth spoiling the day over that? (How often has my husband asked me that very question over our 25 yrs of marriage? What can I say - I'm a slow learner!) Then another thought struck me - something I am often saying to the kids.

Well you just got lucky. You have something to offer up!

At this point I laughed out loud, causing Anna to ask me what was so funny. She knew how dissappointed I was. I am not that good an actress. I shared with all the girls what it was that I was thinking. As I drove home, I thought quite a bit about how hard it is sometimes to do as I say and not just say what to do.

Read more!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

First Sunday in Advent

"Charity is that with which no man is lost, and without which no man is saved."
Saint Robert Bellarmine

"O God, thou art my God, I seek thee;
my flesh faints for thee, as in dry and weary land where no water is.
So I looked upon thee in the sanctuary, beholding thy power and glory.
Because thy steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise thee.
So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name.
Pslam 63: 1-4

Readings for the day:
Jeremiah 20:7-9, Psalms:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9, Romans 12:1-2, Mathew 16:21-27

Saint of the Day: Saint Augustine Read more!

Advent thoughts on the Eve of the First Sunday…

There is one homily that I will never forget. It was given by Father McNally in the early nineties, shortly after I had officially joined the Church. He was talking about Advent in contrast to the secular idea of when the Christmas season really begins. As Catholics we called to try and observe Advent while plagued with Christmas commercials and a culture plying us with all of our wants ~ disguised as needs. If you are working for a large company, as opposed for yourself, you are surrounded by peers who are planning Christmas parties. Your children if in school, (assuming Christmas is not a foul word yet for your school board), are also surrounded by festivities when we are actually suppose to be in a time of fast and prayer as we prepare for Christ’s birth.

Father addressed various ways of coping with that, while also trying to be a quiet witness to our friends and relatives. He began with the exterior means, things as simple as not turning on your Christmas lights until Christmas Eve. 'Of course put up your lights outside before the snow flies (we were living in a northern portion of Canada) but bide your time before turning them on and then keep them up and shinning until the official end of the Christmas season in the Church.' This would be the Twelve Days of Christmas, the true source for the popular Christmas Carol and begins with Christmas Mass at Midnight and continues to Epiphany (The Day of the Kings or Wise Men).

Popular merry-making. Codex Theod., II, 8, 27 (cf. XV, 5,5) forbids, in 425, circus games on 25 December; though not till Codex Just., III, 12, 6 (529) is cessation of work imposed. The Second Council of Tours (can. xi, xvii) proclaims, in 566 or 567, the sanctity of the "twelve days" from Christmas to Epiphany, and the duty of Advent fast; that of Agde (506), in canons 63-64, orders a universal communion, and that of Braga (563) forbids fasting on Christmas Day. Popular merry-making, however, so increased that the "Laws of King Cnut", fabricated c. 1110, order a fast from Christmas to Epiphany. ( )

But in today’s world it seems that all festivity ends with the Christmas dinner and is picked up in a purely temporal manner for New Years Eve, leaving us Christians in the cold and no where to go with our merry making that we have denied ourselves all of Advent. The Christmas carols that played in the malls and on our car radios disappears and life returns to its normal muted humdrum existence. Despite this, Father McNally encouraged to try and follow the traditional fast and self denying through out Advent. Some how this seems to be so much easier to do during Lent as even most of the secular world is aware of the Catholic tradition of fasting, or at least giving up something, for lent. He suggested that when there are office parties that surely we should attend but to not over indulge in the treats, but quietly avoid seconds and refrain from making a show of our sacrifice. 'We should by all means take advantage of the feast days and celebrate them with the decorum that they warrant.' This advice was easily digested but the following was the most difficult and is a struggle to this day.

He strongly advised that we forbear all Christmas Carols and try to listen only to Advent hymns such as O Come O Come Emmanuel and to not put up our Christmas tree until Christmas Eve.

So how did our family cope with these well advised suggestions from a priest who is a very holy man? At that time we were part of a strong Catholic home schooling group which helped immensely. We did not have to deal with the pressures of school festivities and Christmas (Or should I say Winter Holiday?) concerts and we could plan group activities around the feast days that are many in December. We have four in quick succession during the month December that are well known and celebrated in various fashions throughout the world. They begin with one of the most famous which happens to also be responsible for our modern Santa Claus, St Nicholas on December 6th. This is followed by a Holy Day of Obligation here in the States, which is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and falls on the 8th. Two lesser known, but still familiar, Saint days are Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Lucy and these days fall back to back with our Lady’s day being celebrated on the 12th and St. Lucy’s on the 13th . Then we also have the feast day of Juan Diego on the 9th, if we really want an extra day of festivity to light the dark days of winter. In our family we rise early on St. Nicholas day to a table filled with yummy treats such as ginger bread and hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a candy cane. Traditionally each child receives a letter or Christmas card from St Nick with a note of encouragement, as well as gentle admonishments for areas where improvement is needed. These letters are written with great love as well as with prayer and much thought. A small gift lays alongside each place sitting or on the plate. Some years that is the day the children have written their Christmas list of wishes to leave for St. Nick to take back to Baby Jesus to read. This year I am planning on suggesting a list of Thanksgivings in lieu of wishes.

Another local Catholic Home schooling group that was an hours distance from us had monthly meeting, and well in advance of Advent it would invite parents to share ideas they used to help incorporate peace and spiritual growth within their families. My favorite was the idea of having table clothes that reflected the colour of the Season. So the first Sunday of Advent the children awake to a purple table cloth or runner on the table. Then Gaudette Sunday is celebrated with a rose coloured cloth, and Christmas Eve or Morning is greeted with either a red tablecloth or a cheery Christmas themed cloth. I did this for many years until a recent move caused the misplacement of our advent tablecloths that I had sewn by hand so many years ago in Canada. The very first year that we decided to do this, we also happened to receive a care package from my Stepmother and father, in which there was a delightful cloth decorated with jolly St Nick. This adorned our table on St Nick’s day and was also laid below the red cloth we placed on the table late Christmas Eve. Sadly, they are all missing and I cannot afford to replace them this year. We will have to be content with our paper cloths that we have been decorating each birthday and make a Christmas one and perhaps one for each feast day as well.

I think the biggest struggle we have had with any of Father McNally’s suggestions vies between the listening of Christmas Carols and when to erect the Christmas tree. I have completely lost the battle with the idea of decorating the tree on Christmas Eve for the last ten years and have gracefully retreated from the battle field with the compromise being that we decorate the tree on Gaudette Sunday. (However, the fact that our two oldest children will not arrive until 22nd or 23rd may give me a card up my sleeve this year.) As to the Carols, I must admit there is very little advent music out there, and the little there is wears out fast. So as a family we have completely given into the secular tendency to start listening to carols by Thanksgiving, and this year it was even earlier I am ashamed to admit! Originally we searched for John Michael Talbot music and used his quiet cds for a year or two until they disappeared or got destroyed, not sure which. I feel that we gave it a strong shot, but ultimately we just succumbed to the lure of this beautiful music and have searched for a large variety of it so that we do not tire of it before Epiphany.

This year, in addition to our small family advent traditions we have built up, I have added a new one through the purchase a book I found online this year while searching for my advent candles. It is Jotham’s Journey and is meant to be read one portion of the story for each day of Advent with the story culminating on Christmas Eve. I am really looking forward to this addition to our family evenings this year and hope to add the other two volumes of this trilogy in the years to come. I also hope to complete a Jesse Tree this year and it will be our first attempt at one.

Largely, our family goal for Advent this year is to draw closer to each other as a family unit, continue to strengthen our family prayer life and focus on charity, starting within our own family – for if we do not learn to cherish our own brothers and sisters, how can we know how to love the rest of humanity?

I pray that each of you find peace in these coming days of waiting and that as the light expands weekly from your lit advent candles, so will the light of Christ grow within your heart and that of your family.

GOD Bless

aka Christi to her friends, Madre to her two oldest sons, mummy to the rest of her children and originally localinda to her husband!

Read more!

Friday, November 25, 2005


We were reclining in the living room and the fire was crackling and spreading warmth through the room, feeding the sleepiness that accompanies a busy day that has been followed by a large meal. Contrary to our normal routine, we were praying the Rosary after dinner instead of after breakfast and had reached our fourth decade.

"Bethany?" one of the adults asked. "Would you like to lead this one?"

"Oh, that's okay." she said, hugging my Catholic Mother's Journal. "I'm the announcer. Maybe Anna would like to lead this one."

Anna looked up. "Oh, no - that's okay - you go ahead Bethany. You can lead it, I don't mind."

"Well," replied Bethany. "I really don't mind you know. I've been announcing the mysteries. So you go ahead."

A few yawns were stiffled, after all it was going on ten and we all were pretty tired.

"I really think you should have a turn Bethany, Honestly I don't mind at all..."
"Gee Anna, I really don't mind..."

As the discussion continued barely audible in their soft voices, Noah leaned a little toward me and whispered in my ear. "You know, sometimes charity can be a little annoying."

I nodded in agreement while hiding my smile. Patiently we waited until Anna finally persevered and convinced her little sister that she really should get a turn leading a decade even if she was the announcer. Sitting a little taller, Bethany announced the decade and then proceeded to also lead it.

Well - charity might be a little annoying when dragged out like this, but it still made me proud of my babies. Read more!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Left Overs....

Jenny is home and we have been busy baking today. My rolls are sitting on the porch as they need to be slightly chilled before being set to rise. Jenny is teaching Anna how to make pumpkin pie and htis being her first pie we are using pre-made pie dough. Come Christmas - she will get her first pie dough lesson. While I was starting on my rolls - the phone rang. It was Aimee. She is cooking Thanksgiving dinner all by herself for her boyfriends parents, who are flying in from Texas today. She was using my bread recipe and wanted to know what temp to set the oven to for the rolls she was baking.
"You know Aimee," I reminded her, "that recipe makes enough bread to last 2 - 3 days... for OUR family."
"I know!" she sighed. She is still not used to paring recipes down for 4 - 6 people, let alone for one. "Besides," she said "I was so focused on my Thanksgiving menu that I never thought to buy groceries for the rest of the weekend - just Thanksgiving dinner. I blew my whole weeks food budget on it, so I am hoping we will have enough left overs the rest of the time they are here...." Given she is used to making thanksgiving dinner for 12 - 14, there should be lots of left overs. So no worries there!
(Smilely borrowed from Franciscan cards - link on the right)

Read more!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bless us oh Lord, in these Thy gifts...

"Get used to lifting your heart to God, in acts of thanksgiving, many times a day. Because he gives you this and that. Because you have been despised. Because you haven't what you need or because you have.

Because he made his Mother so beautiful, his Mother who is also your Mother. Because he created the sun and the moon and this animal and that plant. Because he made that man eloquent and you he left tongue-tied...

Thank him for everything, because everything is good."
The Way, 268
Author ~ St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei Read more!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Advent Activities

Secret Christmas Angels...

We have many things we love to do during advent and this morning we have begun preparing for one of our most favorite activities. The children have decorated a cracker box by removing the outer flaps, drawing lovely pictures on some white paper and gluing it to the outside of the box. To what end, you might ask! Well – they have also written their siblings names to be put into the box. Then this Thanksgiving the eleven oldest children will all draw names. (Actually, one of us will draw for our oldest daughter Aimee as she is unable to join us for Thanksgiving this year and it is only eleven names as Elsa is too young to participate yet.) Then each child will be a secret angel to the sibling whose name they draw.

A secret angel helps to foster an atmosphere of charity by doing kind things in secret for their sibling. It culminates with each child purchasing a Christmas gift for the person they were secret angel to and on Christmas day each person gets one guess as to who was their angel. The children really love it and I like is so much because it helps us to focus on others instead of ourselves during a time of the year when children are highly encouraged through commercials on the tellie, the papers, and radio to focus on what THEY want for Christmas.

My own personal Advent Wreath…

As an answer to the age old dilemma of who gets to light the new candle each Sunday of Advent one year I decided that on the first Sunday of advent each child would make their own wreath out of paper with paper candles on them. Then each Sunday, each child gets to glue the flame on their wreath. Some years they have kept wreaths in their bedrooms and others they have opted to decorate the main room of the house with them.

You need:

Paper or Styrofoam plates

Coloured paper


Glue sticks, hopefully enough to go around for each to have their own as there is a lot of gluing in this activity.

In lieu of plates one can cut wreaths out of construction paper.

If using the plates you cut a hole in the middle. I draw or get my older children to draw oodles of leaves on green paper, typically just pointed oval shapes. Then we cut and cut and cut. And then we glue and glue and glue… Usually we enjoy a plateful of cookies, the first candy canes of the season as well as some hot chocolate while we do this, accompanied of course by lots of giggles and Christmas carols in the background.

Some times we have cut out little red circles to add as holly to the wreaths to decorate them a bit.

A very simple craft that eases the potential of hurt feelings when one or another sibling is chosen to light the candle on Sunday.

Baby Jesus’ bed…

Last year we had a pretty glass jar sitting on the counter. Beside it was a box filled with bits of yarn waiting to be earned. The yarn that would eventualy fill glass jar was what we would fill baby Jesus’ crèche on Christmas Eve when we put it out for baby Jesus to rest his little head in after we had all gone to bed for the evening.

The children earned the right to put the bits of yarn in one at a time through doing good deeds, preferably in secret. Hence, no one was to question one another as to what they had done to earn a bit of yarn for baby Jesus.

But there was another side of this. If a child was disciplined by a parent for being uncharitable to another member of the family he would be asked to remove a piece of yarn from the glass jar as a reminder that ‘whatsoever you do to another, you do also to me’. Again – we were not to ask anyone why they were removing yarn from the jar as it was between them and God.

As the last week of Advent approached, it was most interesting to see how the glass jar began to fill with great energy! It was also lovely how the children tried to support each other when they saw someone have to remove a piece of yarn. Rather than chiding each other for decreasing Christ’s comfort, they seem to feel for the person who was being so explicitly reminded of how their actions hurt God. I think that this year – I will actively participate in this too.

We also have special feast days that we like to remember during Advent and I hope this week to share what we do for our favourite one ~ Saint Nicolas day.

Wreath update…. In one word… GULP!

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Monday, November 21, 2005

The comic Strip...

By Anna
(BTW - if you click on the pciture - it will open into a full page - making it easier to appreciate the details, as well as to read.)

Tomorrow we hope to have a list and details for activities we have used in the past to celebrate advent. Still no wreath and I now have less than a week to go. But I have my candles! (Smug grin accompanies this statement to offset my distress over the missing wreath!) Read more!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christmas music is wafting through the house...

...and it was only 7 am - November 16th! How could that be? I heard children crooning away with the von Trapp grandchildren as they sang; Please Don't Send Me Fruitcake.

I was hidden in my bedroom sipping a tea, trying to prepare myself for a day that was already 2 hours old thanks to a little muffin who is developing the very bad habit of awaking at five am, when I heard these joyful notes slip through the cracks of my bedroom door. Gabriela knocked on the door and came in with an armful of baby who needed a change and explained to me that Bethany, 7, had pinned up a "sign up' sheet for the family Christmas play and in trying to create the right atmosphere to encourage her siblings to sign up and attend the first meeting for it this afternoon she was playing Gabriela's Rhapsody's play list.

This was a "kodak" moment that is the perfect answer to the eternal question I am frequently asked:

"But if you teach your children at home - how do they get any socialization?" Read more!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Guess How Much I love You?

Apparently someone has recently read our copy of How Much Do I Love You? to Emma as a conversation I over heard recently, revealed to me.

Emma calling coyly from another room: Meekell?

Miguel (18): Yes?

Emma: I wuv you all over the place!

Miguel: I love you all over the place too! (Smiles at me and then goes back to his computer.)

Emma: Meekell?

Miguel: Yes? (grinning)

Emma: I wuv you ALL over the place!

Miguel: I love you too! (Still staring at the computer...)

Emma: Meekell?

Miguel: Yes? (patiently...)

Emma: I wuv you ALL OVER the place!

Miguel: I love YOU all over the place (continues typing while smiling to himself)

Emma in a teasing tone: Meekell?

Miguel: Yes? (still patiently and well knowing the answer by now)

Emma: I WUV you ALL over the place!

Miguel: I love you too. (Grins at me again and I grin back. )

Emma: Meekell?

Miguel: Yes?

This went on way beyond what I would have had patience for. It was very endearing to see my 18 yr old patiently answer his 3 year old sister over and over until she finally lost interest in her new game. This is just one of the many pleasures one gets to enjoy in a large family. Read more!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The answer...

It was Saturday morning and I had my wicker basket hugged to my hip and the baby balanced on the other side. I glanced at Emma’s clothes as I carefully searched for the next step down, and noticed a wrinkled pink pull up peeking out between some jammies and a dress. While it still had it's flowers it was obviously slept in. ‘Humph’, I thought to myself. ‘Someone is not being careful when they help Emma change in the morning. I’ll have to ask the girls to pay more attention.’

I finally felt the floor solid under my feet, and passed Elsa to someone else, made my way to the laundry closet and dropped my wicker basket in front of the washer. I opened the dryer to remove Nathaniel’s clothes that I had put to dry the night before. I groaned when I saw they were still completely wet. Darn, I was sure I had turned them on. My memory has not been functioning so well for a while, but really?! Then I remembered I had purposely not turned it on because Nathaniel had been enjoying ‘helping’ me wash his clothes so much that I had decided to let him turn the dryer on. Obviously someone, or something, had come between me, Nathaniel and our date with the dryer.

Grumbling, I turned it on, and then gasped when I saw that the washer was full of towels, washed but clearly…. Not…. Dry…. I slapped them into Nathaniel’s basket and dragged them to the porch where Jenny’s makeshift clothes line still hung across the front of it. I flopped bath towels over the railings and pulled my sunglasses down so I could see to hang kitchen towels from the loose string that was flickering in the breeze. Harlie purred and rubbed her nose in my side as she basked in the sun under my dangling dish towels. I gave her dirty look to warn her off the bath towels now decorating the porch sides, and slipped back into the house. It was only 8’ish – I might get Emma’s laundry done yet before noon, if I managed not to get sidetracked too much. Hurriedly I dumped the full basket into the washer and pumped an oz of detergent into it, slammed the lid shut and moved onto the next chore.

Somewhere around two I remembered Emma’s clothes and headed back to the house from the packing shed where I had been organizing packing materials for the coming week. I opened the washer, reached in and grabbed…. that pink pull up I had seen earlier. I gave a yelp, and then laughed. Anna and Gabriela, curious as to what was so funny came over to look and had to laugh too at the pull up that now weighed at least a lb if not two and was about 4 – 5 inches thick with rinse water.
“Thank Heavens it didn’t burst.”, I exclaimed.
You see this is not the first time I have recycled a pull up, or a diaper for the matter, and I well know the mess it can make. But it had been a few years since the last time so I was quite amazed at the amount of water they can now hold. We threw it out, and I proceeded to pull the clothes out and toss them into the waiting dryer. Suddenly I gave another shriek. Darned if there hadn’t been TWO pull ups in that load and this one, while holding as much water as the first, had leaked some of its gel. The side of the washer looked as though it were slathered with a vanilla slushy! YUCK!

Moral of this story…. Umm – don’t recycle pull ups in the washer? Read more!

Can you guess what mum2twelve did?

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

"We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can - namely surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us."
St Theresa of Avila

Readings for the day:Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20 30-31
Psalms 128:1-2. 3, 4-5
1Thessalonians 5:1-6
Mathew 25:14-30

Saint of the Day: St Francis Xavier Cabrini

(Image of Jesus with child found at
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