Sofia's First Reconciliation

Today was a very big day for Sofia.  It was her First Reconciliation!  She was my first child to actually be scared!  No matter how much we assured her, she was still ready to bolt.  She was prepared but we worried she would freeze when the time actually came.

She did so well though.  One great thing our parish did afterward was to throw a big party!  This was so amazing.  There were games, pizza, and an ice cream bar.  People filtered in after they were done and we played games till everyone was ready to join us.  It was a great way to get to sit and talk with some of the other members of our church!

After!  Look at that smile! 

Trying horchata!

Sofia will never forget this day!  It was such a blessing!

Santa Lucia 2017

Yes, Evie is wearing my glasses... upside down in fact

I know, this was a month ago.  But hey, this blog is also here to preserve memories!

So before I start posting pictures of Easter, I thought I would share with you some of our Saint Lucy traditions.  Saint Lucy is a big deal around here, we are fans, shall we say.  It is one of the things we look forward to every year.  In fact, I had to look up some photos of years past to share.





This year, our Lucy grew out of the little angel costume we have and we dug out some old Saint Anthony Festa dresses her sister wore when she was in the Queen's Court.  The white symbolizes Saint Lucy's purity.   We then took one of dad's red ties and tied it around her waist.  I am all about reusing and recycling around here.  The red symbolizes her martyrdom. The Saint Lucy in your household (usually the oldest girl) wears a crown of greenery, usually with lighted candles!  As you can see we generally skip that part, using paper or none at all.  The candles and wreath come from the idea that Saint Lucy used to wear one of these so she would have her hands free to hand out things to the poor and needy.

Every year, for quite awhile, you can see I have made a braided bread ring, instead of the traditional swirled rolls.  We really love Karen Edmisten's Saint Lucia's Braided Bread and we just stick with what works... well except that one year i used salt instead of sugar.  It was more a braided pretzel that time.

 We also do a little procession around the house.  You can find the music to the Saint Lucy song on You Tube or if you have time to teach it to your kids, it is worth it!  This is all usually done in the morning before the sun rises, but around here... well we are not really morning people so it is always done in the evening after the sun has set.  Instead of coffee, we do hot cocoa or warm milk with cinnamon.  While we eat our treat we listen to our favorite books for Saint Lucy day: Lucia and the Light and Lucia, Saint of Light(affiliate links)

It is truly a simple tradition that is simple to pull together.  Honestly, you could even go to the store and buy donuts if you are too busy to make anything!  It is a sweet way to celebrate Advent and the Church!

I'm Ok. Are You Ok?

 It was said today.  This very morning before I fell to weeping and then drifted off to sleep.

I can not do it anymore.

I was at my breaking point.  I had been having probably the worst month.  Nothing was going right.  Everything from the washing machine breaking, a dark night of the soul, and even a long time family friend and neighbor passing away.  I got in fights online about homeschooling.  I stopped wanting to leave the house but I had so many errands that when I didn't have somewhere to go I just sat at home on the couch.

There has been next to no reading going on for any of us.  Just Minecraft, legos and Sofia the First.

"I don't want to.  I really, really don't want to send the kids to school, but I don't think I can homeschool anymore."

My husband nodded.  He was disappointed.  He hated school growing up, so did I but not as much as he did.  He said he would call the local private school on Monday and figure it out somehow.

I then fell into a fitful sleep, wishing my mother was there to tell me what to do.  It is funny how in our weakest moments, even when we are in our forties, we can wish for our moms to hold us and tell us everything is going to be alright.

While I was sleeping, my husband talked to the kids and they all broke down crying.  They didn't want to go to school.  They liked homeschooling.  And while this was going on I dreamed and woke up with a clear head.

I am depressed.  It could be the time of year.  It could be feeling far away from God.  It could be that my husband has had to work a lot lately and we took on extra duties for Advent.  It could be the kids fighting because they have a lack of something substantial to do and that they feel my weariness.  Ok, it is all of that, and more.

I am sure there are some of you out there saying, yes, you need to send them to school.  And maybe that will happen eventually.  Yet I know, that sending them off to school after Christmas break is not going to solve all the things that are plaguing me right now.  In fact, I fear it might make them worse.

So here is what I am going to do:

  • I am going to start keeping a gratitude journal.  Maybe I will even post some of the things here on the blog once a week.  
  • I am going to get back on the wagon with a lot of things.  I am going to start exercising now and eating better (after Christmas, because let's be honest I will fail if I try to a week before).  
  • I will get organized.  I know I do so much better when I have a plan.  I may not stick with the plan, I hate authority- even my own - but I need a plan.  If I have goals I can check off at the end of a day I feel I have accomplished something.
  • I am going to take the kids out to do things other than just errands.
  • I am going to go out with my husband more regularly for more than just errands.
  • I am going to let go of my expectations of perfection.  That is a big one and the one that is killing me the most.  I want everything to be wonderful and exciting, and engaging... and that leads to burn out.  I am not perfect.  No one is no matter how pretty their Instagram feed is.  
This season is hard and it might bring huge change for us, who knows.  My gut is telling me now is not the time to send them to school.  Honestly I truly think I would put them in and a month or two later pull them back out and that will not do any of us favors.  I need to feel confident about such a choice.  Life is messy.  My life is messy, your life is messy, and you know what?  That is ok!

O Christmas Tree 2017

Our annual Christmas tree hunt at the u-cut place was not a very successful one.  Yes, we did get a tree, but it was not easy.  We hunted high and low, up and down, and all around.  We actually kind of settled on one and it had a weird trunk so it didn't fit into the stand so well.  We actually had to tie it to the wall. 

The kids seemed to be more interested in rock collecting then finding a tree, which is great except when they want you to carry them and sneak them into your pockets when you aren't looking. And to top it all off, I had to go and step on a rock and twist my ankle and make my back sad... so no family photo with the tree. 

Well POO.

Hey, but we got a tree.  We survived and most of the rocks stayed at the u-cut place.

Black Friday in the Woods 2017

It has been a tradition for the past few years to go in the very opposite direction of the mall for the day after Thanksgiving.  I want to kind of bask in the gratitude of family and so we head out to the woods to play.

This year we headed up to the Union Creek area.  We watched the raging Rogue River, hunted for mushrooms (not to eat but to look at), and threw rocks into Lost Creek Lake.  It was a great chance to get away, especially since most of us had been battling the flu the week before.  There was no vigorous hiking, sadly, since we were still on the mend, but we did get an small adventure all the same.

Thanksgiving 2017

I did not get many photos of Thanksgiving.  We were busy eating, sadly watching the older ones go off to work (ugh, retail), and then crashing on the couch.  But I did share over on Instagram a picture of this amazing bread that my 11 year old Lucy made.  I have to admit, I am stinking proud.  She did it all herself, except I helped a bit with the kneading.  I am thinking that I will be doing less coking at Christmas!

This was my first Thanksgiving in a long time that was NOT gluten free.  My body has not been so happy with me ever since, but it was good while it lasted.  Most of the recipes came from Pioneer Woman, since I trust her, lol.  The bread basket creation that Lucy so wonderfully made came from the book My Little House Crafts Book.

I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving and I don't know about you but I am really looking forward to Advent.  It is strange though, it doesn't feel wintry enough yet.  I am guessing that will all change soon!
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