We took the kids to Midnight Mass, and I’m so very glad we did. They went to bed, and we woke them up at a little after 11 to get ready. Babs was not such a fan, though Toddlerkins thought it was great fun. We were early, and the music was grand. The girls’ eyes were wide and throughout the Mass, the little one kept holding her arms out in the direction of above the altar. I wonder which of the host of angels was holding his/her arms out too? 🙂 I have more to say about this – this is going to be its own post someday soon (I hope). There was incense, and Babby’s eyes when the procession came down the aisle, Father holding Baby Jesus, was a priceless sight. They were awake the whole way home, Babs telling us all about the night, the lights, the things that I would have completely overlooked on my own. She was up at 6:30 or 7, but somehow Bob got her to crawl in bed with us, and when Nanny came at 8:30, she woke us both up.
Bob’s family has a tradition at Christmas: coffeecake. My mother-in-law (Nanny) has not only redefined how I view coffeecake and when I’m hungry for it, but she brought it with her this morning when she came at the unholy-early hour of 8:30. This is the picture I took of it yesterday:
I am so very grateful that Nanny likes to bake cookies. Yesterday, she asked if we would come over so she could make cut-outs with Babby. “If you don’t come, I don’t think I’ll make them,” she said. I’m still not sure if she said that to assure that I’d be there lickety-split. I’m a great fan of eating cookies, especially cut-outs (sans icing is my favorite, but I’ll take what I can get, especially since I’m not likely to make them myself).
Here’s the plate of cookies they made:
And here’s the icing (which, I think, is Babby’s favorite part – Nanny lets her mix the food coloring in and everything):
And the completed works of art, every bit as delicious as they look (even if they did have icing):
There are a lot of things I wish I had done to observe Advent, but that can’t be helped until next year. One thing we did do was count down using this Nativity Advent calendar, made by Pockets of Learning, which I found at Catholic Child. Though it was missing a whole row of pieces and then there was a mix-up as to which pieces we really needed, their customer service was outstanding, and we received the replacement pieces in time to enjoy it. I’m not sure who enjoyed putting each piece up more, Babby or me.
Though I have 312 Christmas songs in my iTunes library, the soundtrack for Christmas for me remains a mixture of the Carpenters and the Nutcracker. I remember Aunt C playing Christmas Portrait and Old-Fashioned Christmas over and over in the Christmases of my youth, on a record player. I can still picture the Thanksgiving weekend I was in 4th grade, lying on her couch practicing my lines for the school play, with the sounds of Karen Carpenter in the background. Whenever I hear the songs (and I listen to them a lot on Christmas!), I think of her. I also think of Prince Charming, who shares my passion for them (he’s a 70s music buff, he is), and who will listen to them as much as I will play them (sometimes even when it’s not Christmas).
Speaking of Aunt C, we saw her briefly today, at Grandma’s, where we went for “dinner” (which means lunch in GramWorld). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay, so we’re home much sooner than we intended. Two are upstairs sleeping and the now-awake nearly-four-year-old is haranguing me about the presents we brought home with us. (This situation is why St. Publius is going to be such a great friend to have this year.)
THANK YOU to all of you who prayed for our health in the past week. Yesterday was Toddlerkins’s first “normal” day since last Saturday when she unveiled her plan to keep me home for the entire weekend. This morning, when she finally woke up (having no idea about the presents awaiting her downstairs, nor of her sister’s impatience to “help” her open them), she was as normal as ever. And, near as I can tell, Miss Muffet has been immune to whatever bug it was.
In her hand, a farmer. In the background, the Unparalleled Home Warmer (wood stove).
Did you know that today’s a Day with the Duke on AMC? Does life get any better than this?
Now, for a group of people I don’t often talk about: my colleagues. I work with an amazing group of three women and one priest (not counting the music minister, who I don’t see much, and our deacon, who is not often in the office).
You’ve all met Ann, who blogged for a while and is supposedly coming back (I’ll believe it when I see it). What you can’t possibly know is how much she does, without complaining or drawing notice to herself. What you don’t appreciate, because you don’t work with her everyday, is the little ways she makes the people around her happier through her service and her unfailing humor. What you should see is how my kids – especially Toddlerkins, though Miss Muffet has a way of batting her eyes and hugging her that just doesn’t fail – have her completely wrapped around their little fingers. I can’t look at a pair of snazzy shoes without thinking of Miss Ann and Miss Muffet, who share a love of things fashionable and shoe-related.
Then there’s Sue. There are two Susans in my life, and I think of how much I love them both most in the summer when my black-eyed Susans bloom out in the garden. Sue loves my kids as though they are her own. She has gained Aunt status and she has become a dear friend. Working with her is a blessing for so many reasons, but most of all for the joy of having her in my life.
Kelly, the newest member of our office staff, is so much like me and so much different from me that it’s hard to know where to start. Her heart is big and her aim is true. She has more energy than anyone I have ever met (myself included). And I love her dearly and I learn something from her every day I’m around her, though never in ways I expect.
I have written about Padre before, and though there’s much more I could say, I’ll just say that he is a wonderful gift in my life in so many ways.
Now that I’ve said all that, I’m wondering if it’s appropriate. It seems strange to be as passionate about your colleagues as this. All the same, this parish work has always felt to me like it’s where I belong (third in line after my vocations as wife and mother). I went through a period of discernment recently, trying to determine if the time had come to stop working at the parish. The answer came back with a resounding YES. It’s where God wants me.
And I’m glad. I am blessed by these colleagues of mine – and there are days – too many of them to count – when having witnesses is a blessing for my children. 🙂