Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Filling the Jars

While recently prepping some "stuff" for church, the question appeared:

In your daily life, how can you obey the command to fill the jars “to the brim”?
As you probably know this was in the context of Jesus' first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. But never before had this command been applied to us...those words spoken thousands of years ago meant for today. It's appropriate that the question doesn't ask how do I currently obey, because the status quo probably isn't the ideal. The question asks how CAN I obey, very much implying that there is a goal, a higher level of obedience to attain.

There are so many jars in life, right? So many places to put our time and energy. And how many of them have any actual worth in the consideration of eternity? Only souls, only other humans have this eternal worth. People are the jars that I should spend every moment on earth trying to fill.

So many jars, so little time. But recall Blessed Mother Teresa. She said, "If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family."
October 2013
Which is impossible at times and not because they are unlovable. Rather, I'm so bad at loving. So selfish and focused on my own agenda. When will I be able to sew next, when will I get to sit and watch Downton Abbey, when's my next vacation, why can't I do the dishes in peace, who ate the last brownie!?!?

And children are hard to raise with their personalities and general wildness. And don't forget my parenting failures (see above). Then add in all the horrible influences they'll encounter as they grow up and are exposed to more and more of the worst of the world. Right now we don't even allow the news to be on in our home. (Partly because it's all made up anyways by the reporter's agenda...but that's a topic for another day. But partly because we like them innocent.) It's daunting to consider all that's going into these jars.
March 2015
The command was to fill the jars to the brim. Nothing more. Simply put all my efforts into filling the jars as full as I possibly can. And the story gives us the promise of the outcome we can expect if we follow the command and then step back with trust that Jesus has a plan. Those servers filled the jars with water. And were serving wine-the best wine!-before the party was over.
December 2015
So I'll persevere in filling these little jars with love, lessons in virtue, and prayer. Then step back and wait for that promise to manifest itself in their lives.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Family Field Trips

We've had two special family outings in the past two weeks. First we went to see Lydia's middle school orchestra play in Fort Wayne. They are so good sometimes you forget they're so young.
Afterward we stepped "backstage" to see Lydia for a few moments before her group left. As always, the girls were THRILLED to be with her.
This weekend we attempted to go tobogganing at a nearby state park, but the line was soooo long and we actually need two more adults to be able to pull it off. Change of plans meant a stop at the nature center to check out the indoor creatures, touch a leather-back turtle, and pick up a trail map. 
In three layers of clothes, with collected walking sticks, and fortified by lots of sunshine, we took a hike. A short hike for short legs with a stop at a park and in the Inn for a snack.
Then back on the trail.
Mommy and Daddy both like to be outdoors and hope that if we take the girls along for the ride, they'll be happy campers, too.
And even when they're not...
...at least we can enjoy the view.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Felicity's Clean Teeth

Felicity had her first dental appointment a week and a half ago. First she watched her older sisters get their teeth polished. Mommy wasn't sure how the whole experience would go over. Sometimes Felicity can be very timid, but she's always working so hard to be as big as Miriam and Vivian. As she observed, Felicity whispered over and over to Mommy, "Is it my turn yet?" A GOOD SIGN!  And then she crawled up into the exam chair with a huge smile on her face.
She was an old pro within two minutes of leaning back in the chair.
Mommy had nothing to worry about and Felicity is probably the proudest owner of a blue teddy bear toothbrush in town.

Back to Reality

Some people take down their Christmas tree full of sorrow...so unhappy that Christmas is over. 

But Mommy is always a little relieved to see it all go. It means our routine is coming back and the hectic days of December are past. They're joyful days, of course, but by January 2nd we've become sugar addicts and sleep deprived zombies. Our only regret with welcoming January is welcoming Miriam's return to school. We just love having her home with us!

We jumped right back into our weekly activities with "M Monsters" for M Week
M is for...marker on my face.
M is also for...glue dripping from my hair.
Miriam had a day of cancelled school and a couple two hour delays already so while she's home with us we sneak in some activity time with her.
And some outdoor snow time, too! Our new big back yard is so fun to explore and tumble in!
January, you really are more wonderful than people give you credit for.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

2015 Wrap Up

Last two parties of 2015...Barbie Party and New Year's Eve.

Aunt Maria and four of Sarah's cousins came over with ALL of their Barbie paraphernalia. It was a lot. Enough to furnish four or five separate Barbie "homes" and supply a whole Barbie wedding.
Let Vivian's face be a testament to how much they loved this morning with their older cousins/aunt.
Older cousins/aunt - if you're reading this, know that they are already planning every minute of their next Barbie party with you. Hope you're ready!

For New Year's Eve, we ate a whole bunch of delicious food and then played Minute to Win it games with our friends. It was a lot of fun and people got pretty competitive!

Mommy planned this because she cannot stay awake past ten if she sits down. By 12:10 AM, she passed out on the chair. But at least she made it to the New Year!

Christmas 2015 - Year of Giant Toys

Let the Christmas recap commence.

Christmas Eve with Tim's family
Piles of presents under the tree and the majority were for three (spoiled) little girls!
Tim's 92 year old grandmother, Mema, made tins fudge for each family. This has been a tradition for years, and as you can see from Felicity's clean plate, we're thrilled she keeps it up.
 After all the presents were opened, the girls played and played and played...
...Daddy and his cousin Caleb also played with the girls' new fort building set. They really got into engineering the largest possible fort.
Considering we fit seven people inside, they succeeded.  The fort has been reconfigured a couple of times at home since Christmas and is the best hangout. We've let them sleep in it at night. Felicity never makes it - she just wants to sleep in her own bed after rolling around with the other two for an hour. Can't really blame her for wanting a soft mattress and the peace and quiet of her own room!

Christmas Day at Home
After Christmas morning Mass, we opened our gifts from Santa! We so enjoyed this time together celebrating Christmas! The girls are so excited and make the entire season magical.
 They (again) got piles of toys, Mommy got a BIG food processor,
and Daddy's gifts were mostly Purdue themed.
Out of all the toys they got from Santa this year, a favorite has been the Play-Doh Crazy Cuts. It's a touch messier than regular play dough, but keeps them busy for a good stretch. We've learned to keep it far away from the upholstered chairs around the kitchen table...
Later in the afternoon, Tim's family joined us for food and a few more gifts.

Christmas with Sarah's family
Sarah's family got together the Sunday after Christmas so that everyone could make it.
While we were waiting for the Canadian members of the family to arrive, we made gingerbread houses. Which, it turns out, is a lot harder than it looks.
The girls had fun with it, and despite Tim's efforts to add extra support to their creations, they just didn't seem to want to stand for very long. It was probably the sheer weight of all the candy decorations that caused the houses to cave in.
It was a nice day to relax, play games, eat too much, and...
 ...open more of the biggest presents.
Grandpa made the girls a new Barbie house. 
 It was big enough to fit a little girls inside!
And Uncle John gave them a power wheels car. They're not pros with it yet, but Daddy works with them in the basement on "driving lessons" in the evenings. Hopefully by the spring we'll be able to let the loose with it outdoors and feel confident they won't run over any of the neighbors kids or dogs.