Friday, June 29, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

A pretty birthday cake, to celebrate with extended family, which delighted Lucy, who calls M&M's "num-nums."

{Happy} and {Funny}
This birthday present made Lucy very happy.  She calls it her "bass."

It even hangs on a guitar hanger, just like Daddy's.

round button chicken

Friday, June 22, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Capturing contentment:

Somehow this felt like the beginning of home-school:  two years old, playing under forts made of sheets and blankets, and stacks of library books.
round button chicken

Friday, June 15, 2012

{this moment}

Joining Amanda - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Needle and ThREAD

Linus has been in need of some pants, so last week when I had an opportunity to go to a fabric store, I found some brown linen (along with some other fabric still waiting for my attention) to make him some.  I'm very happy with the way they turned out, and I am hopeful that he will be able to wear them for a long time.  The pants are hemmed up several inches, in addition to the cuffs, all of which I hand stitched to be easily removed when the time comes.  With only the narrow hem finishing the bottom edge of the pants, they would fit Lucy, so as long as they don't wear too badly in the wash, Linus should be able to wear these pants for a good long time.

The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C. M. Millen is the story of a monk who is distracted from his chore of copying books by the beauty of the world outside his window.  When he is sent to make the brown ink used by the monks, he discovers that he can make other colors.  It is a beautifully illustrated book that Lucy requests over and over;  Theophane is a current favorite.

** By the way, I am not an Amazon affiliate.  The link above is purely for your convenience and so you can peek inside the book.
needle and thREAD

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Flowers for the dinner table.

A very happy bride.

I thought this was an appropriate cup to store all the medicine
apparatus needed to take care of two babies who came home sick
from the trip.

"Cake.  Candle.  Ha--Bir--choo--hooo!"
Lucy built a birthday cake to sing Happy Birthday.

round button chicken

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yarn Along

I managed a few more rounds of my sock this week; there hasn't been much knitting around here.

I wanted to share with you a book I discovered at the Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey book shop.  A Child's Rule of Life by Robert Hugh Benson is a sweet rhymed book that describes an ideal of behavior and prayers throughout the day from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night, including pages on hearing Mass and receiving Communion and going to Confession.  Each page is intricately illustrated in black and white line drawings (they are of a similar size to the illustration on the cover).  Lucy has been quite taken with this book, asking to have it read over and over.  For a couple weeks it was the favorite book, which we read five or six times a day.  We have since been given several other new books, so it has been eclipsed for the time being.  An excerpt from the introduction:

... So if you'd be holy, just read it through slowly
And then set and learn it by heart,
For a child that is good must have quite understood
the whole rule, not only a part.

The Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine

On our way home on a road trip to see friends and family and attend my sister's wedding, we stopped for Sunday Mass at the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine.  As you can see from the pictures, the chapel is in a room that was not built for that purpose, but they have decorated it nicely.  The Mass was very well attended (read:  packed to overflowing, and the choir was off in another room) with many families with young children.  We discovered again the wonderful way one can come into places where the older form of the Roman Rite is celebrated, meet people who are complete strangers and wind up chatting like old friends. 

Mason Jar Smoothies

Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter mentioned in passing a while back that the business end of a blender will fit on any regular mason jar.  I read that, read it again, and thought, hmmm... I think I can make use of that information.  Too bad I threw out all the mason jars I had saved.  And then I started saving the mason jars that came my way.
 Here's the jar, and the relevant bits of the blender.  I had some strawberries that were threatening to go bad on me, so I wanted to make smoothies from them, but Lucy and Linus are scared of the noise the blender makes, so I can really only run the blender once a week when my mother-in-law is here to play with them.
 The washed and trimmed strawberries, some applesauce, and half a banana went into the jar.
 Sure enough, it fits!

I put the lids on and  put the jars in the refrigerator, and had a healthy snack ready and waiting for me.  All I had to clean up was the blade and the ring, which go easily into the dishwasher (and so do the mason jars after they're empty).  Easy.

Go see who else is making their time online count.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Lucy is building block towers, as usual, and just beside the
tower is the bookcase with the prayer books she's suddenly so
interested in.
This week, because of a confluence of intentions, inspiration, situation, and opportunity, I have been making a renewed effort at praying the Divine Office.  I use the Monastic Diurnal and a companion book containing Matins.  Lucy has suddenly seen me praying a lot more often, and she has suddenly taken an interest in some small prayer books we have around the house with a similar appearance to the ones I use.  As I start an hour of the Office, she'll disappear suddenly and be very quiet.  When I go to look for her, I find her sitting on the couch looking at a prayer book.  One day, I had started to pray, and then Linus needed something and I went to take care of him, leaving my book in Lucy's reach.  She stood there by it, turning the pages and babbling in the same inflection I use when reading the Hours aloud.  While Lucy wasn't the reason I started making an extra effort to fit in more of the Divine Office, I think I need to continue it for her sake.

I took both Lucy and Linus to Mass by myself this morning for the first time.  When I went forward to receive Communion, Lucy walked with me instead of being carried as she usually is, and when I knelt at the altar rail, Lucy knelt there beside me with her face right at the height of the rail.  And when we left the church after Mass, and I genuflected before leaving the church, she did also.

More and more, Lucy imitates what she sees me do.  If I do the right things, then by the time she reaches the age of reason, she will already have good habits which will easily become virtue, and if I don't, the the easiest opportunity will have been wasted.  The days when they are so impressionable are so precious.  I pray I will use them well.

Early Morning Masses at the Monastery

My wonderful husband volunteered to stay with sleeping babies at the guesthouse so that I could go to Low Mass early in the morning.  Under each of the arches you see at the side of the crypt Church is an altar, in addition to the main altar, and another against the far wall.  At each of those altars a priest was saying Mass.  I didn't actually count, but there were something along the lines of fourteen Massing going on at once.  These were silent Masses, with nothing said above a whisper so as not to disturb the others.  It was a beautiful thing to see, and stood in stark contrast to the one other place I have seen which had more priests than daily Masses on the schedule (they concelebrated, and it was for many reasons not particularly dignified -- Father Z posted a similar picture recently). 

Quiet Mass (with no babies) at the Abbey in the cool Oklahoma dawn.  Do you blame me for wanting to go back?  Alas, the Abbey is nearly 700 miles from our home.  Maybe when they're older ...

Friday, June 8, 2012

7 Quick Takes

Thoughts from my Kindle:

1.  From Mary, Help of Christians:
"We have also the testimony of one of the greatest thinkers and Protestant philosophers, Leibnitz, for the claim that the veneration and invocation of the saints is founded in reason, on Holy Scripture, and on the tradition of the Church.  He writes:  'Because we justly expect great advantage by uniting our prayers with those of our brethren here on earth, I can not understand how it can be called a crime if a person invokes the intercession of a glorified soul, or an angel.  If it be really idolatry or a detestable cult to invoke the saints and the angels to intercede for us with God, I do not comprehend how Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Ambrose, and others, who were hitherto considered saints, can be absolved from idolatry or superstition.  To continue in such a practice would indeed not be a small defect in the Fathers, such as is inherent in human nature -- it would be an enormous public crime.'"

2.  From The Divine Office
"Must the person know the meaning of the words read?  No such knowledge is necessary, for God hears the prayer of the ignorant and illiterate and of the babes.  To the chief priests and scribes, who hearing the children crying out the Saviour's praise in the temple, Christ said  "Yea, have you not read  'out of the mouths of infants and sucklings thou hast perfected praise'" (St. Matth. xxi.  15-16)."

My mother in law once said of my infant, "She's too little to pray."  And I responded, "Who can say how much or how little the soul of a baptized baby is able to pray, before it learns to speak."  I'm not at all sure that my babies don't speak to God in words He understands before they speak to me in words I understand.  And Edward J. Quigley seems to be certain that God hears that mispronounced Our Father as the child begins to speak.

3.   From The Divine Office : giving advice on the fruitful recitation of the Divine Office:
To propose some particular intention before the recitation of the Hours begins, and to renew it during the recitation is an excellent means of guarding against distractions and mechanical routine.  It sustains during the prayer the fervour with which it was begun.  St. Bonaventure said to priests  "Give great attention to the signs (i.e., to the directions about kneeling, standing, sign of cross, etc.), greater attention to the words, and the greatest attention to the (particular) intention."

4.    From The Divine Office, giving a translation of the prayer for use before beginning the Divine Office:
Open Thou, O Lord, my mouth to bless Thy holy name;  cleanse my heart from vain, evil and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding, inflame my will, so that I may worthily, attentively, and devoutly recite this Office and deserve to be heard in the presence of Thy Divine Majesty.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
O Lord, in union with that divine intention wherewith Thou whilst here on earth didst Thyself praise God, I offer these Hours to Thee.
I think this might be a good response to the question Jen posed about learning to love the psalms.

5.   From The Divine Office
St. Bonaventure recommended that at each Hour some thought of the mysteries of the life and death of Christ should be held in mind.  Thus, Matins, the night office, might be offered up in honour of the birth and infancy of Christ; Lauds, in honour of his resurrection;  Terce, in honour of the coming of the Holy Ghost;  None, in memory of Christ's death;  Vespers, in thanksgiving for the Eucharist.

6.   From The Divine Office 
Deus in adjutorium meum intende.
Domine ad adjuvandum me festina.  
These words, the opening words of Psalm 69, were always and everywhere used by the monks of old, says Cassian, who called this short prayer the formula of piety, the continual prayer.  The Church repeats it often in her Office.  St. John Climacus says it is the great cry of petition for help to triumph over our invisible enemy, who wishes to distract us and to mar our prayer.  It should be said with humility and with confidence in God.  In repeating these holy words we make the sign of the Cross;  for, all grace comes from the sacrifice of the Cross;  and besides, it is a holy and ancient practice to begin all good works with the sacred sign.

7.     From The Divine Office 
The verse which serves at the antiphon text contains the fundamental thought of the psalm to which it is sung and indicates the point of view from which it is to be understood.  In other words, it gives the key to the liturgical and mystical meaning of the psalm, with regard to the feast on which it occurs.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ...

but mostly CUTE, because with a little girl who's almost two and just beginning to be able to speak her mind, and a little boy who's nine months old and beginning to express his likes and dislikes, we have a whole lot of CUTE around here!
"Bee-bee  mess-ee."
Lucy has been sick, and in order to get her to take her medicine without a fight, we let her give her baby medicine with a spare syringe.

Linus likes to pull books off the shelf ...

just like his sister did at the same age.

Lucy is still finding new uses for blocks.

Baby balance beam.

Her skill at balancing them impresses me.

These are some very happy, dirty, little-boy toes.  I should make sure they get that way more often.

round button chicken