"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Daybook - December 21, 2009

For Today... Monday, December 21, 2009

Outside my window... it's dark and chilly (around 20 degrees). We got another dusting of snow over the weekend to keep things looking pretty and white. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I am thinking... about coffee and prayer. I tend to see my morning prayer time as one more item on my schedule/to do list, rather than something that is as necessary for my soul as coffee is for my body in the morning. I so look forward to my morning coffee, and I want to experience that same desire for my morning prayer time.

I am thankful for... my spiritual director. I have been blessed with three great priests since my college days when I fell in love with and was re-converted to my Catholic faith. The growth I have experienced and the blessings the Lord has showered upon me through these priests has been one of the greatest gifts in my life and has made me the person I am today.

From the school room... We're finishing up a few things today and tomorrow and then taking a break until after the holidays. Yeah!

From the kitchen... We spent most of Saturday baking. We made chewy-chews (Santa's favorite, if you didn't know), swedish balls (a variation of Russian tea cakes), peanut butter blossoms, and spritz. The kids also dipped pretzels and made peppermint bark. The dough is ready for our gingerbread men and our sugar cookie cut-outs, which we'll hopefully get to today. I really enjoyed baking with the kids this year. I think it was the first year where it was actually helpful to have them helping -- you know, when kids "help" sometimes the job takes longer. In fact, the Older Girl was so proud of herself because she made the chewy-chews all. by. herself. including measuring the ingredients, mixing them, putting them in the oven, cutting them, and rolling them in sugar. The Younger Girl and The Boy did the pretzels and the peppermint bark with almost no help from me, too. They took turns mixing and dipping and sprinkling. The Boy's favorite part of the whole day was smashing candy canes for the peppermint bark. The Baby ate her first Christmas cookie last night -- a spritz.

I am wearing... polka-dotted fleece jammie pants, a T-shirt, my robe and slippers.

I am creating ... a menu for Christmas Day. It will be my first time hosting. I'm leaning toward beef of some sort -- turkey says Thanksgiving and ham says Easter in my mind. Any suggestions?

I am going... to take the kids to get a Christmas present for Daddy. We spent most of yesterday at the Mall of America finishing our shopping (I know, I know -- I don't like shopping on Sundays either, but it was the only day we have Daddy's help, which I needed for the siblings to be able to pick out something for each other). As our family gets larger, I'm having trouble figuring out how to do a present exchange between the siblings. I want them to experience the giving part of Christmas, since they are so spoiled in the receiving part of it, but it's getting too expensive for them to each buy something for the other three and dad and mom, and they're not really old enough to draw names and keep it a surprise for a month. What do you other large families do?

I am reading... We're finishing up Destination Bethlehem this week. I'm still slowly working my way through Witness to Hope and The Examen Prayer. I wonder what it would be like to have time to read a novel (not one that The Girls are reading for school!).

I am hoping... to not be too stressed this week and to get enough sleep to enjoy the celebrations.

I am hearing... The Baby just starting to make some noise upstairs.

Around the house... things have stayed largely picked up all week! Amazing! I think everyone is enjoying the peace of the Christmas tree and lit candles and has a little more motivation to keep things looking nice.
My husband gave me an early Christmas present this weekend -- a space heater for under my desk. Our schoolroom is an addition and has three walls to the outside and no basement underneath it and so very little insulation. I have been freezing, so my DH put plastic on the windows, and between that and my space heater, work should be much more comfortable -- it's hard to type when your fingers are frozen.

One of my favorite things... a good story that ends well. Here's one for you: Last Monday we attended Bishop Sirba's ordination and installation as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Duluth. We left Monday morning and stopped for brunch on our way north. It was a cold day, below zero, so I left the kids in their sweats and had them change into their dress clothes in the van when we arrived. After they were ready, I took the three oldest inside while my DH grabbed The Baby. As he was walking away from the van, he checked his pocket for his keys to lock it and realized the van was still running -- because it was so cold, we had left it running while the kids were changing. He opened the passenger side door and grabbed the keys and locked it. The liturgy was beautiful (two and a half hours, but the kids did really well, because it was in an arena with stadium seating and they could actually see, plus Bishop Sirba is someone they know, so they were pretty excited). There was a public reception following the ordination in the same building and we were also there for another couple of hours. We ran into a lot of people we hadn't seen in a long time, which was nice, and we were able to receive an episcopal blessing from the new bishop.

The Girls with The Handmaids of the Merciful Heart of Jesus --
my girls LOVE these women, and I thought it was so cute that they were coincidentally dressed just like them!

The biggest disappointment of the day -- the "photographer" didn't wait for the camera to focus!

We headed back to our van around seven. The kids are ready to go at this point -- it's been a long day and everyone is tired and hungry. The van will not start. Apparently when my DH grabbed the keys (remember it was from the passenger side), he left the lights on (no little alarm goes off if the driver's side door is not opened). We have never done this before. The parking ramp was almost empty. We could not find our jumper cables or anyone else that had any. We headed back to the ballroom where the reception had been held. I stayed there with the kids, while my DH went back to the ramp to try to find someone to jump us. By now, the reception was over and Bishop Sirba was leaving with Bishop Christensen of Superior, Wisconsin, also a friend of ours. They asked why we were still there. I told them. Bishop Christensen said, "I've got jumper cables -- where's Matt?" So ... the bishop headed to the parking ramp in his SUV and I headed there on foot. It was taking a while in the cold to get the van to start, so Bishop Christensen suggested he take me and the kids over to the hotel where the priests and family members of Bishop Sirba were having dinner. So ... we transfer the carseat, The Baby screams the whole way over, I'm saying to the kids in my head, "Please behave, please behave," knowing I'm asking a lot after this long day. We end up having a wonderful dinner -- steak and salmon sure beats McDonalds in the car, which was our original plan. The kids were great. A priest friend we haven't seen since college moved over to our table to join us.

goofing around with Father J at the reception

but behaving nicely most of the time

We thanked the new bishop for letting us crash his party. We got home safely sometime between midnight and one. The kids slept the whole way home. All's well that ends well. And now we have a great story to tell.

DH with Bishop Christensen and the jumper cables

A few plans for the rest of the week: Finish the dozen or so Christmas cards that require a special note. Finish our Christmas cookies. Mail packages to relatives out of town. Get my haircut. Wrap presents. Grocery shop. Attend the Archbishop's Christmas party. Transform our Advent tree into a Christmas tree. Celebrate the birth of Our Lord with family and friends!

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  1. What a busy but fulfilling weekend you had in the midst of Christmas preparations!

    Our children are similar ages and genders to yours. This year, for the first time, they came up with gifts for each other on their own. Mostly hand-me-down toys and treasures. I also have a few little new things they can give one another like a calendar, photo album, glow in the dark stars, etc.

    I am thinking beef tenderloin for Christmas!

  2. Re peanut butter blossoms -- I grew up calling them "peanut blossoms" (and still do), although I suppose "peanut butter blossoms" is a somewhat better name, since they're made with peanut butter, and not merely peanuts.


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