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The Doors

You may remember a storm we told you about last year which did some major damage to one of our shed's doors.  You can see it here.  Although the doors were put back into place and they did work, they were never quite the same.  In preparation for this winter, the doors of "Padre Pio" shed are having parts replaced and are being put back into proper working order.

 Fr. Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. and Postulants Mr. Esteban and Mr Janes working on the runners.

Watch out Father, you missed something!

Changing the damaged panels and fixing the new ends on to the doors calls for teamwork.
 Br. Magdala Maria, F.SS.R. grinds off some of the rusty bolts
and smooths down some of the damaged areas.
The doors are slowly raised into place with the help of a Teleporter
This is the tricky bit... getting the doors on to the runners ...
Last minute adjustments before the sun sets to make sure the doors open and close smoothly
As good as new!

18 Days!

Where is Friday? Ever have one of those weeks? Both kids are sicky sick again. Husband is sick. I'm getting sick. Our builder didn't order our kitchen sink (what the what?!) and I ended up calling thirteen stores in a 150 mile radius to find one in stock and then driving to Massachusetts to purchase it so we wouldn't be delayed in closing. Did I mention that the sink weighs like 300 pounds? Then I got stuck at the house at a vendor meeting, making me cut picking up the kids from preschool very close. And I got into my car and my KEYS WERE NOT THERE. So I ran back into the house, except that I can't see my feet and I tripped over the stairs in our garage and landed hands first, belly second on our stone mudroom floor. So...I picked up the kids, got them home, fed them lunch, put them down for naps and then called my OB in hysterics. One NST and three hours later, Miss Lola is fine.

And then there was today. Which was calm in comparison to Monday and Tuesday. I had my weight and fluid scan for LB and she is measuring right on track. My not-so-little peanut weighed in at about 7 pounds. I am a little intimidated by that number since she's clearly not done growing. But since they were pretty off with the twins' final scan (helloooo, induction for no reason) I'm holding onto hope that she is smaller than predicted. The thought of delivering a very large infant without meds scares the bejeezus out of me. The one upside is that I've gained 28 pounds so far, so delivering a 7+ pound baby will guarantee I walk out of the hospital at least 10 pounds lighter. This is the best optimism I can procure to keep myself from rocking in a closet in fear of the ring of fire.

{ those cheeks look an awful lot like Reese's at 33 weeks }

My darling husband joined me for my appointment since we were going to get to see the bean and he stuck around for the OB portion as well. He got one laugh out of my doctor and my appointment turned into the Joe show, wherein he and my OB discussed birthday beers and pub crawls. To say I have several unanswered questions would be an understatement. I warned him that he is not allowed to be charming or story-telling on the day that I deliver or he will be exiled to the waiting room. The focus will be on my uterus and my uterus alone. Ha!

{ I think she kind of looks like Biggie Smalls here }

Just for fun I had Joe help me take some belly comparison pics. When I was 37 weeks pregnant with the twins we made a cast of my belly, it was fun to fit myself back inside the cast at the same stage of pregnancy and see the difference. No wonder I still feel great. I'm half the size I was with the kiddos.

{ twin belly in the back, singleton in the front }

{ The space between my current belly and my twin belly at 37 weeks. Amazing. }

So here we are at 37 +3 weeks. And now we wait. Approximately 18 days, to be exact. Perhaps longer, since my cervix seems to be a steel trap. Joe and I discussed membrane sweeps and other such natural labor progressors, and he thinks I should just let Lola decide when she's ready to come out. I'm starting to agree with him.

playing with plaid...

yesterday i dabbled with plaid...

i dabbled with plaid to balance out the florals which appear to be having babies all over our shed these days. now i do not claim to be a plaid expert although i do like to think once upon a time i knew a thing or two about tartan. many many moons ago, i had a job working on a button and ribbon barrow in Edinburgh. it was the daily norm to be asked questions about different tartans and what belonged to what house. i did my best to sound like i knew what i was talking about but alas i think the accent gave it away...

yesterday i sallied forth with plaid in mind, the sort of plaid which would sit comfortably amongst the florals. as the case would be, i did not come across any plaid which fitted the bill, however, i did come across a plaid flannel which stopped me in my tracks. it was a plaid which told me once upon a time it would have lived life as a granny's car blanket. something to keep the old legs and jippy knees warm whilst driving around in the middle of a cold winter's day.
i was not convinced.
the plaid was.
and so it came home with me,
all 2 and 1/2 yards

i had visions for my little piece of plaid to be backed, along with inners and everything being rather lovely and quilt-y like. however my cogs and body changed their mind upon arrival home. it took me all afternoon to 'doilify' my little piece of plaid, for my doilifying skills are rusty to say the least. 

after cartwheeling 8 doilies in place i had to have a rest, i noted Miss Ethel needed one too. we both agreed a quilt-y like throw would not be necessary today...

as i placed my newly doilified plaid throw (a grand title for a couple of yards of fabric and a few doilies) upon the settee and stepped back, 

thoughts of my youth and tartan knowledge came trundling through my head. i wondered if indeed this was a true tartan, and if so, what house would it belong to? the little voice inside my head piped up, very pleased with its self.
"why Tif, of course it is a tartan and it belongs to the House of LumberJack"

Tif :)

A New House

During the summer we had a pair of geese come to live on Papa Stronsay.  They did not have a house to live in, but they did not mind because it was the summer and they were not troubled by bad weather.  As the autumn came on, however, they became increasingly worried about how they would get through the winter.  Seeing their plight, Br. Nicodemus Mary, F.SS.R. offered to build them a dwelling place:

The goose house was to be built using a spare ruin.  Br. Nicodemus is preparing to fill the gap in the wall.

 The structure is almost complete.
The beginnings of the wall.  Behind can be the small shed in which the monastery generator is housed.

All done!  In time a gate will go in the gateway, but the geese cannot fly so for now it is fine.

I hope they will be happy with their new home!

Sunday Funday

Fall is my favorite thing about living in Upstate NY. Hay rides, hot apple cider (spiked with Jack Daniels when I'm not pregnant), pumpkin patches and apple picking. We took the kids apple picking today for Sunday Funday (our family day together) and had a blast. This will probably be our only apple adventure this season because the orchards were hit hard by the spring and summer weather and, well, we may be a little busy this fall.

The kids are a riot these days. They have a big obsession right now with Old MacDonald, farms, farm animals, the noises that animals on the farms make, things that grow on farms (karn/corn, ah-pulls/apples, HAY!/hay...), tractors and the like. We watch a lot of Baby Doolittle and they hand me my cell phone and sing "e-i! e-i!" so that I'll play this clip on YouTube. Last week was Farm Theme Week at preschool and they lost their minds.

As soon as we pulled up to the farm that has the orchard they started singing "E-I-E-I-O". They waved to every car that drove off the farm "Bye! See you!" like they were the farm's greeting committee. The pointed out all of the fruits and veggies at the farm -- all were clearly 'corn' and 'apples'. Even though most of it was actually squash and pumpkin. And at one point we thought Reese was sniffing the mums, only to find that she was actually licking them. I have no words for that.

{ riding the track-ka back to the car }

This was their third time picking apples, as we took them twice last year, and I think they were somehow less interested in picking this time around even though they are clearly more capable. Their focus was 100% on eating. I swear that the farm stands should weigh my kids before and after they "pick" fruit instead of weighing our bags. I'm pretty sure they each ate a bushel. I tried to encourage collection and not consumption, but once they realized they could throw their half-eaten apple on the floor and pick a new, fresh one, the battle was lost for good.

Reese soon figured out that daddy was carrying a fresh stash of uneaten apples and began trading hers in while Joe and I were picking. We kept coming back to the bag to find half eaten apples piled on top.

{ the apple exchange program }

The best part of the apple season being a bit diminished this year is that there were a lot of very small apples left on the trees, which are perfect for finicky toddler lunches wherein they request foods based on the sole fact that they can actually say the word that the food is called. I was thrilled by our haul and am so thankful we were able to make time to do this together before we welcome the new sprout.

There's Nothing Quite Like Homemade!

I have only ever experienced pasta in its dried-out form, in a bag from the supermarket.  However, at Papa Stronsay we have recently been the recipients of a very kind gift: a pasta maker!  I was really taken by the whole process and thought that some of our readers might also fall into the same category as I do, of being ignorant of the process of making pasta, so I am posting some photos below of Br. Magdala Maria, F.SS.R. and postulant Mr. Esteban showing us how it's done:

Beating eggs for the dough.

 Kneading the dough.

The dough is repeatedly put through this roller.  Each time the setting is changed so that it rolls the dough a little thinner.

As this happens, the rolled dough gets longer…

...and longer!

Once completed the very thin strip of dough is laid out and the process begins again on a new piece.

The pasta-maker has several attachments for making different types of pasta.  Here the tagliatelle attachment is fitted.

With all the sheets of pasta dough prepared, the process of cutting can begin.

As the strips of tagliatelle emerge, they are hung to dry.

It dries for up to an hour, but by this time, it is not as dry as it would be in a packet or dried pasta, but has just become a little firmer.

Into the pot!

The finished product!  It is really incredible just how much better homemade pasta is than the pasta bought in the supermarket!

A big thank you to the kind donor of this equipment!

Birth Plan, Hospital Bag and a 20/20 Registry

Little Lola is 23 days from her scheduled arrival. I am not at all ready. By this time last pregnancy my bags had been packed for weeks, lists were everywhere and I was "completely in control" (ha!). Tuesday night I lost part of my mucous plug (you're welcome for that visual), my contractions got as close as 12 minutes apart and I thought, "holy shit, I'm going to have a kid today". And then the little bugger went to sleep and that was that.

At my 36 +4 week appointment yesterday I found out I am 100% effaced and 2 cm dilated. And Lola is very, very low (uh, I didn't need an internal to tell me that...). Hopefully this all means this little peanut is working on her exit strategy. They think I won't make it to October 14th and frankly I hope they are right. I am exhausted and ready to bring her home...so I can be even more exhausted.

We have a wedding that is encompassing our whole universe this weekend and then the focus is on packing for the hospital and tying up as many loose ends at both houses as possible. I looked back on my previous birth plan and hospital bag pack list and the hospital bag list is spot on for this trip to L&D also. Now I just need to actually use it to pack. I'm not sure if I'll waste time rewriting another birth plan since I am 99.4% sure that no one actually read it last time. Or if they did it was over donuts and coffee at the nurses station whilst making fun of me...

As for my registry, obviously I didn't have/need one this time around. But my sister asked me for my registry list and I went back through and edited my original for her with my now 20/20 parenting genius (also known as hindsight). Here it is for anyone that is a soon-to-be first time mom. Take it with a grain of salt as different things work for different people.

Updated Registry

In other pregnancy land updates, the proofs from my maternity pictures came in this week. Our photographer did an amazing job capturing our lives -- the real moments, not just the pretty posed pictures (again). I am so thankful to have her as a photographer and friend. I should have the DVD of the images in hand soon. This one in particular killed me, as it is my daily life in a nutshell. Kisses from one kid; death grip on another. Life is beautiful.

hip hip hooray!

today i turn 44
Gladys opens her door for the first time
so many things to celebrate
so many things to be thankful for

(spending her birthday quietly and wisely with her constant canine companions)

That's What She Said

Earlier this week, this sweet little angel walked up to her brother and ripped the pacifier out of his mouth. When he started to cry she took the paci out of her mouth, wagged her finger in his face and said "share".

See? They can be taught.

Because only She can help you! - We had better believe it!

This clip released last 7th May
was filmed before thousands of supporters of the now
President of Egypt
Dr. Mohamed Morsi Isa El-Ayyat
who assumed his office on 30 June.
Dr. Morsi (Mursi) is also present
and can be seen on stage here.

The content of this video
should motivate us to
pray the Holy Rosary with intensity.
The message of Our Lady of Fatima is a message for today:

“I want you ... to continue to
 pray the Rosary every day 
in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, 
in order to obtain peace for the world 
and the end of the war, 
because only she can help you.”
(13 July, 1917).


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