Monday, January 27, 2014

9 Months

Well, well, well. What do we have here? An update about Felicity that is 3 weeks late. But it is happening.
A few things about Felicity that everyone seems to notice: her eyes are so bright and blue! And those a little more closely acquainted: her belly button is such an outie! Felicity has mastered the steps and (pretty much) sleeping through the night.
Daddy and Miriam teach Felicity how it's done.
Missing something? Check her mouth...EVERYTHING's in her mouth (makes her sisters crazy because they have had to learn to keep their toys and drawings away from her). And she has started to stand on her own for a few seconds at a time. This child is determined to do what her sisters do as quickly as possible. 
We forget at times that we are dealing with a baby and not a toddler. This month she also had her first Christmas.
TOWELS!?!?!? Hurray!!
Her older sisters wondered why she didn't get many presents from Santa, but when you're the third little girl in four years you really just don't need much!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

On Our Plates: Tangy Meatballs

Super short post. Crockpot cooking, of course and again...we haven't shared in a while and thought you probably missed it. This recipe was super easy. Miriam could pull it off. Three ingredients. Here goes.

Sweet & Tangy Meatballs
36-ish meatballs
16 oz grape jelly
20 oz spicy bbq sauce
Label two freezer bags: Cook on low 2-4 hours. Split ingredients between the two bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze.

This could be served as a warm appetizer. We like to eat them with garlic bread and fruit. Rice is sometimes suggested, too. The girls GOBBLE it up. Tim adds hot sauce to his portion. Do whatever makes your mouth feel best...and if you are where we are, stay warm!

Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Take 4

We're so behind on getting everything on the ol' blog. Giving it to you fast and linking up with Conversion Diary again.

1. Best Parenting Moment of the Year already occurred in our house. So who knows what that means about how the rest of the year will go...anyways, with Pepa's death, we have been talking about heaven a lot. A LOT. And it doesn't exactly make complete sense to our girls. Hence, the conversation:

Miriam: Mom, are there houses in heaven?
Mom: Yes, God made everyone a house in heaven. (He did. It's in the Bible.)
Vivian: I am going to have a big house. But I want it to be right next to sister's house.
Miriam: Yeah, Vivi and I will have our houses right next to each other in heaven.
We are not failing as parents after all.

2. And on that high note...a confession: our Christmas decorations are still up. Maybe this weekend we'll get them down?
Aunt Sue knows we're a mess. Or she's sleeping through this post.
3. We went to CANADA for a weekend! Tim pointed out many times during the trip that it was like going to Georgia or Northern Florida for a weekend. Only in the wrong direction. We went for Aunt Annette's bridal shower and got to surprise her! It was so fun to see her life in Ottawa with Tom...his seminary, her house, their friends, the famous sites of the city. 
We also experienced the Divine Liturgy (Ukrainian Catholic version of the Mass) as well as their annual water blessing to celebrate Christ's baptism. It was an especially awesome weekend to visit because this is the one time of year their church community gathers at the Museum of Civilization in Quebec. The first (we think) Ukrainian Catholic church (about the size of a chapel) was moved from western Canada to inside the museum! And each year Divine Liturgy is celebrated inside this old, tiny church in the museum on the feast of Christ's baptism (celebrated later than in the Roman Catholic Church).
That water blessing was outdoors after the liturgy and is about an hour long. In the crazy Canadian snow/cold. The big girls didn't mind too much - they spent the whole time playing in the snow.
More notable times from the trip: Bridget was of age to drink in the Great White North!
And if you're ever in Ottawa, go to The Works. Drink out of measuring cups, eat poutine, and marvel at the creativity of their burger selections.
4. Mommy joined Instagram. Because she obviously needed another social media blackhole in her life. Enjoy. @sashaandall awaits your admiration.

5. We're doing alphabet theme weeks. If you follow Pinterest, you've already guessed that. (However, looking at the boards it seems Mommy is pretty terrible at pinning the activities...paper and pencil scheduling still rules.) A Week. Lots of fun crafts about ants, aunts, apples, angles, angels, airplanes, etc. Favorite was our handprint angels which we took to Pepa in the hospital. A triangle for the angel body (talked about angles). Circle for the head (no angles!). Their closed handprints were the wings. Pipe cleaner halo.
6. B Week. Bees, bunnies, bears, buttons, etc. Favorite activity: writing their own little books! Storylines centered around Daniel Tiger, Dora, and Felicity...apparently those are a few of their favorite things. These little books were super simple: cut a few pages of paper in half (three is plenty, really) so that you have a pile of 8.5"x5.5" papers. Cut down a piece of fancy scrapbook paper to the same dimensions for the cover. Fold the cover around a few pages. Staple to secure. Ta. Da. While we were on the subject of books, Mommy also explained the basic parts of a book (author, illustrator, cover, title, etc.)
7. C Week. That's this week and we're talking about caterpillars, cows, cats, candy, cupcakes, cookies, cake, cars. Clearly this week is destined to be amazing with all those sweets. This cupcake activity was a HIT. When Vivian saw the shaving cream her eyes lit up and they were at their mess making best.
Whew! You made it! Happy weekend!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pepa, goodbye for now.

Pepa, 95 years of life and 71 years of wedded bliss under his belt, died on January 10, 2014 surrounded by his wife and children. We buried him days later and while Mommy and Daddy were so sad to say goodbye, we were so glad he was at rest with the Lord he loved. Most of these pictures are from our time after the funeral with Tim's family celebrating Pepa's life.
Children, here are a few things about Pepa for you to remember. You'll remember them through Mommy's eyes; her eulogy of his goodness.
Pepa was always kind. He did not complain or speak badly about people. He called everyone a "sweetie." Mema called him Freddie sometimes as an endearment. And when he saw you three little girls he said, every time, "Aren't they cute, Mildred? Aren't they cute! Oh and then they grow up." Pepa was never afraid or hesitant to say, "I love you."
He was active. Pepa and Mema walked the track at the Y on Main Street every morning for years together; when Mommy and Daddy were engaged they were still walking. Before that he ran. And he loved the pool. He put on his trunks and sat in the pool until he was at least ninety, maybe older. He worked hard all his life and demanded that everyone else do the same.
He loved Mema. Loved his wife all the time. He would lean over to her during meals, when he'd forgotten who everyone else at the table was, and say, "You're my sweetie forever. Forever." When he died, Mema thanked him. Out loud. Repeatedly. What a compliment to their marriage.
Pepa had a hard life at times. During the Great Depression, his family lost everything. During World War II, he was separated from his young wife and new baby. When he got out of the service, he had no job waiting for him to support his family. He started at the bottom rung of his company and worked his way to a VP position with no college degree. He had cancer and heart surgery. In short, he suffered, like every human ever. The great difference is that he didn't let the suffering make him angry. At the end of it all, he was peaceful and gracious and grateful. He taught his loved ones how to love.
He loved God and prayer. So pray that our family would learn from his example and love each other no matter how difficult some moments are; pray that we might see our Pepa again in heaven.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Life is Such a Blessing

Well, today you get Tim on the other end of the keyboard.  We're nearly snowed in here, and I know some family members wish they could make it here but can't.

The snow has stopped, but the cold and wind keep on coming!

I thought I would put some pictures and thoughts on here from the last few days.

Two posts back, our dear Pepa (as he's known by many) was in the hospital and fighting an infection and who knows what else.

Well, he ended up in the ICU, and even with everyone's best efforts, his sickness (mainly pneumonia) is just too much to fight off.  So now, he's in the same room, but transitioned into hospice care.  Monitors, oxygen levels, etc. don't matter anymore.  Our job now is to keep Pepa comfortable and let him know we love him.  Father Derrick and Father Denis (our new priest who will be filling in for Father Derrick while he is on sabbatical) said that we also needed to give him permission to go.  So we did - boy was that hard.

Father Derrick was happy to come up and give the Anointing of the Sick again AND bless their 71 years of marriage.  They are a wonderful example of a great marriage.  Mema walks into the hospital room and if Pepa's been restless or agitated, she holds his hand and lets him know she's there and he calms right down.  They really are a great team.

As of Monday morning, he's still peacefully resting with my mom Linda and his wife Mildred at his side.  Say some prayers for them all if you could - he'll be missed.
Sunday the 5th - what love
December 27th - celebrating Pepa's 95th birthday (in conjunction with Phil and Linda's 49th - hence the "495")
We love you Pepa!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas (again) + New Year's Eve

We "found" more pictures from Christmas...Felicity woke up painfully early on Christmas morning, but Miriam and Vivian both slept in. So when she laid down for her morning nap, both girls were just getting into their gifts from Santa. Felicity's first Christmas would have to wait a little longer. The older girls found stockings full of stickers and fruit ropes...
...and more presents from Santa than two little girls could keep track of.
The most exciting were the Frozen dolls Ana and Elsa. We saw the movie in the theater and the girls are both in love with everything Frozen. So Santa fed that beast.
 When Felicity woke up, her sisters helped her with her stocking and gifts.
 She didn't mind the help at all.
Miriam and Vivian both have bunnies they sleep with every night, so Santa brought Felicity her own bunny, too.
Also a few more pictures of our girls with their Arizona cousins who we already miss!
We also had a New Year's Eve party with friends and family. There were SO MANY babies and kids! Our girls LOVED it.
Daddy shot off lots of fireworks, the kids all wore each other out, their parents took them home, and our girls passed out. That's 2013. Wrapped up. The End.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

All is Bright

Today we celebrated Mema and Pepa's 71st wedding anniversary!!! That's a lot of years. We haven't even made it to five yet.
The love birds with the children who never stop moving
They're celebrating at the hospital where Pepa has been pretty much all week for a bunch of reasons. So if you have an extra slot in your prayers tonight, please include him. If it's God's will, we wouldn't mind keeping him around a little while longer.
As we were saying our goodbyes this morning, Vivian gave Pepa a big hug and said, "You get better. You're a good guy." It was the sweetest, funniest, most perfect thing she could have said. Those Vivers are good to have around.