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nifty & nice... #5

Mr Spring is quite the tease these days.
flashing bits of himself here and there,
then disappearing again...
i imagine he's off, 
flashing someone else


however, i know
there will come a time
when he stops his flashing ways
and just gives us a bit of full exposure


i need to be ready,
i need to be ready indeedy!
being ready can be involve all manner of things,
for all manner of folks


i wish it involved having clean windows
inside and out
but alas after 5 years
and a gazillion fir trees
i do not have those.
my man did do his besty best last year
(i dared not voice it out loud)
but he was fighting a losing battle
from the beginning


however when Mr Spring comes around
for an extended stay 
i will not note the crappy film of dirt 
across the windows,
nor the need for fresh paint upon
the 'less than white' walls
after 5 years...
no sirree!
for i have a plan,
a plan where
i will distract myself
and any others that may happen
to be in the vicinity,
by pointing and saying
in quite a knowledgeable tone
(secret to folks thinking
you many know what you are talking about
and hence pay attention.
my clan are wise to it,
after all these years
but i'm hopeful
random passing strangers
will not be so)

"oh goodness, 
how marvelous and magnificent,
to see Mr Spring
and gosh, what a coincidence,
i just happened to be ready
with 2 very spiffy springy 
new cushion covers
upon the settee"

and of course
i have no doubt
those passing bods will exclaim.
"oh hurrah hooray, 
how extraordinarily nifty,
and may we be so bold
as to add,
quite simply, perfectly nice.
yes, Tif
without a doubt
nifty and nice!"


i might blush,
i might look at the ground
and not catch
any passing bods eyes
but inside 
i will feel a little happy,
just a tad
to know i was ready
for Mr Spring and his
full on exposure 

if perhaps you wish to be ready too,
if you live with high hopes
that Mr Spring will one day soon
expose himself in your direction
and need some springified cushions
in your springified nest
 you can find 
all you need to know
to make similar
'patched and pieced'
cushions


or
your could be just like
little olive
forget the business of patching and piecing
and just find the nearest
handy dandy blanket 
and be
ready and waiting
to welcome 
Mr Spring
into your home
the best way you know how


Update on painting our Christchurch Oratory

Photos of the
Mother of Perpetual Succour Oratory, 
Christchurch, New Zealand.

 
 St Joseph's holy picture has been enhanced by its polychrome
surrounding and canopy.
The peculiar Star and Cross above the holy image are copies 
of the Holy Cross and Star
that to this day, in Bethlehem,
 commemorate 
the apparition of the angel to St Joseph in Bethlehem:
"And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him."
Mt. 2:13

 The updated image of the work done behind the altar
and surrounding our Mother of Perpetual Succour.

The dedicated work continues...
Thank you Brother!


  

I'm Still Alive

And I haven't killed anyone or committed hari-kari...



I almost didn't hit publish on Monday's post, but I am so glad I did. Thank you all for the outpouring of support and advice and camaraderie. Thank you for making me feel normal and for giving me permission to wave the white flag.



I meant to say thank you so much sooner, but my Mac bit the dust on Tuesday. I am going to say that I manifested its destiny. I kept telling the universe that I needed a break and time to focus on myself and the kids and lo and behold my computer just pooped out. Thank you, universe!



Not being able to work allowed me to take TWO long runs this week, during which time I realized I really need to update my iTunes with some new music. I literally listened to this song 17 times over two runs.



I am headed to Boston for the weekend for a workshop and dinner with my dear friend, Gina. This is my first time away from Lola Burger, so I am anxious. But I think a full night of sleep, some time for myself and wine with a good friend is just what the doctor ordered.



p.s. Lola got her ears pierced yesterday! I love this little nugget.











{ baby jowls }


nifty & nice... #4

in my 'make kitchen ship shape, tippity top' again mode, i thought it rather grand to add some display storage due to all cupboards having doors. as we saw earlier in 'nifty & nice... #2' this was achieved under the island. i also achieved it opposite the island in the bit that is supposed to be a kitchen knook and house a table but our table is around the corner, thus leaving a wall free for a medley of free standing kitchen storage. (and now also little olive and her suitcase)

so i heaved and i hoed a very battered shelf from Gladys into our kitchen and plonked it 'a top' an old sideboard which has seen all four clan members through as babies and now resides as handy dandy storage for waifs and strays of china bits and bobs. i was tres delighted with the results. spent a happy few hours arranging my pyrex collection (other treasures) on view, after years of being kept in the dark. 

do note: little olive in her new little space, perfectly situated for surveying all that goes on at mossy shed
do not note: little olive's rolly polly pudding look, left over from winter...

the next day a little thought came to mind. "well yes it all looks most lovely but in a few more days it will be caked in a layer of dust and floating dog hair no doubt". i banished the little voice. several days later it piped up again. "gosh, doesn't that big old jumbly bumbly lot of clutter on those shelves do your minimalist head in". hush, be gone i cried....

3 days later i needed several pyrex bowls for dinner... darn, drat and double drat. that pesky voice was right, a layer of dust and other floaty around bits that happen to have past on by and plonked themselves in my bowls were laughing at me. now i had to clean the bowls before i could put the food in them. then again i could not, but i knew what i had seen and in all conscience could not do such a thing... the little voice could be heard loud and clear. "dust and jumbly bumbly clutter will be your undoing. it will send you to the funny farm within a month". this time i listened

so i pondered as it required rather a lot of pondering i felt. not able to return everything back to behind doors having shuffled other stuff into the 'behind doors' space, i was having to come up with some nifty thinking, yes this called for a cunning plan if ever a cunning plan was called for. and there it was, just as it always seems to be. something prompts something else and before you know it, you arrive at a tippity top solution you wish you had thought of in the first place, thus avoiding dust and jumbly bumbly things to have happened in the first place.

yes i needed some kind of doors (irony of it as it was the doors in the first place which prompted me to wish for an open shelving space) but i did not have any random doors lying around my shed. its just not a thing i collect... so fabric would have to do. 
after a little bit more thought, a bit of dabbling with Miss Ethel, some pinking shears, a piece of old curtain fabric and 2 springer rods later, i had myself 2 fabric doors.



 i did not hem the sides, i did not fret nor lie awake at night worrying one fabric door was wider than the other. no i did not. all i cared to see was the jumbly bumbly piles which had at first looked so delightful and in turn, became dust catchers and a dizzing array of clutter, had been 'abracadabra-ed' away by some rather natty looking fabric doors which i do believe any granny worth her granny chic salt would be proud to have in her kitchen.


gosh, not only nifty but extremely granny chic nice...

what's that little voice? "don't those curtains make it a little tricky dicky to remove bowls when you need them?" 
i'm not listening, not listening, fingers in ears, can't hear you....

nifty & nice... #3 {wordless wednesday}


nifty & nice... #2

find an odd little shelf in the thrift store.
bring it home, hide it in a cupboard.
have an epiphany 3 months later.

drag little shelf out,
lop off its top
(with a bit of care and consideration.)
disguise dodgy treacle brown stain
with same paint as kitchen cupboards.

ask very nicely a little doggie
who lives in a suitcase
if she would care to move
from her little space
after 3 and a half years.

marvel at how quick
your little doggie 
is to take advantage of the move
and in turn
question if life living under an island
had not been quite so thrilling 
as you had thought...

shuffle shelf under island,
if not quite fitting,
do a bit more loping
and deny it was anything 
to do with your pants measuring.

and voila! some display shelves
for knickity knacks
and knackity knicks




'nifty and oh so nice'

What Will the Neighbors Think?

When Joe and I were dating, I was in the process of buying a new (to me) car. We were out to lunch with his parents and we got on the topic of cars and what we did drive, what we have driven and what we would want to drive. His dad confided in me that he had always wanted to get a (fill in the blank, because I can't remember for the life of me) car but never did, because what would people think?



Let me preface this by saying that my in-laws are good, hard-working people. My father-in-law has had a long military career and has been a teacher for over 20 years. I remember thinking, how stupid? Why would you not buy something that you want, that you can afford because of what someone else might think about it?



I get it now.



There are days that are so long, and so hard, with three babies that I have come to resent my life and where it is right now. I know it is temporary. And please, if you are struggling with IF, please know that I know how lucky I am and that you would trade places with me in a heartbeat. I am not meaning to sound ungrateful. But life. is. hard.



We had another music class today. When it was time to leave, Ryan laid face down on the floor and wouldn't move. Reese refused to wear shoes, again, and though she was standing, she wouldn't walk. Lola is no longer content to just sit in a car seat and sleep for an hour, but if I take her out and hold her during our activities the twins get wild. Whether that's from knowing I don't have a free hand to lasso them in or jealousy, I really have no idea. With three classes left, I don't know whether to suck it up and keep going or just skip the last three altogether. What I do know is that I get in my car on Monday afternoons, after running around like a crazy person to get out the door and then taking them to this activity, and I think to myself, I fucking hate my life. Really, that is my exact inner monologue.



There are parts of life that are amazing. Like yesterday when we brought the twins to a toddler amusement park and I got to watch them ride the carousel. Or last Friday, when I took them outside to paint and they painted together and played so nicely. Or this morning when Reese leaned in and gave Ryan a kiss for absolutely no reason.



But the beauty right now is often buried under 60 loads of laundry, a sink that is never empty, a house that is always disheveled, a bill that I somehow forgot to pay, errands that I avoid running because I would have to go to a store with three babies alone. The list goes on and on. Each night we put the kids down to bed at 8 p.m. and we spend the next 2+ hours cleaning, folding, sorting, paying, sweeping. At 11 p.m. we sit down to watch the news and go to bed. We are tired. I am tired.



Joe and I were talking the other day and I told him that I feel like we have nothing to look forward to. Does that make sense? Before we had kids, we would work our asses off (in a completely different way) and there would always be some sort of carrot that would serve as motivation. A vacation, saving up for something big, I don't even remember what else motivated us anymore because it's inconsequential. But we felt motivated. Our lives now feel robotic. We are so swamped that sometimes we don't get to take advantage of the beautiful moments with our family, and with each other, because life gets in the way.



I started freelancing again at the beginning of the month and I am taking a few classes as I start to get things in order to start my own business. With our marriage hanging in the balance, I need to start working again. To know that, if push comes to shove, I can provide for our family alone. What this means is that the little free time (me time) I had before is all but gone. This move is a good thing for me, in so many ways. But it also means that I'm stretched thinner than I maybe have ever been.



Tonight we sat down and evaluated our finances and our lives to see if we can afford to hire an au pair. To even type that is hard for me. Because what will people think?



Will they think I can't parent my kids? Or that I don't want to? That I'm lazy? Or hoity toity? It overwhelms me.



I love my babies more than anything in this world. I want to provide for them. But more than that, I want to be present for them. I want to be able to put down my chores and sit with them and read the same book seven times, without looking at the clock knowing that I need to get dinner started or laundry folded. I want to connect with my husband before we fall down exhausted on the couch.



I don't even know if this is a path we will go down. There are a lot of moving pieces to consider and some other things that need to happen first. The idea of another set of hands is almost too good to be true. Maybe by the time we readied ourselves for that kind of help, we'd already be over the hardest part? I have no idea.



All I know is I'm exhausted. I miss my kids. I miss my husband. I miss myself.

nifty & nice... #1

do your stems feel a little top heavy?
are things weighing you down a little?
thinking you may need a helping hand?


good old vintage plastic knitting needles!
not only nifty
but extra extremely nice looking too

footynote:
* this nifty & nice idea came from my adopted auntie
* use only knitting needles you are not too bothered about 
as some can go a little squiffy below the soil

Pajama Friday

We celebrated another Pajama Friday, which is basically what I call the one day of the week where I don't schedule a single activity for myself or the kids. You would think Pajama Fridays would be easy, but they aren't because you have to entertain your kids alone for 11 hours. No small feat. By the time I got my poop together this morning it was already too late to mobilize the troops and take them to the park. The weather was unseasonably warm, so we threw on some sweats and headed out for finger painting, sidewalk chalking and bubbling.











I had to fight them to get them back inside for the lamest lunch ever. I literally gave them pints of berries and tomatoes and called it a picnic. Don't judge me.



Two bubble baths and a few tuck ins later, and the twins were down to bed leaving me and Lola to set about cleaning up the morning's destruction. I think that's the hardest part about the third kid factor, I always have someone with me. After we cleaned, Lola helped me crank out an assignment for work and before long our twins were awake again.



I mentioned in my recent post about Reese, how she runs around telling everyone that she is careful, to be careful, blah blah blah. Anyway, Ryan is a copy cat, whatever Reese does, Ryan has to do. So after naps they were jumping on pillows and he was mimicing her and I was trying to capture their craziness on film. I ended up catching this golden nugget...










Now I know what you're thinking. Yes, she's just fine. She jumped right up fake crying and saying "I okay! I okay!" After a brief heart attack and a few hugs, I nearly peed my pants laughing. Frigging toddlers.

Happy Sixth Monthday

It's hard to believe that my littlest is already halfway through her first year. The days are long, but the years are so very short. Happy half birthday, sweetness.

















a gigantically ginormous pause...

we interrupt this gigantically ginormous pause 
to announce normal rambling service will resume, 
come high or come low,
come rain or come shine, 
on monday 22nd april
with a most thrilling event
'nifty & nice' week!


till then, Tif is finishing off
the longest dance ever to take place
with Mr Lurgy


and doing her darnedest
to keep her little light flickering bright
despite it being switched to pilot mode
without her permission.
there can be only one culprit
and he goes by the name of
Mr Lurgy, the blighter...

On Being Puff

Hey Cutie Bug,



You are 27 months old. I don't think I'm allowed to count your age in months anymore, but since I'm the mommy I'm going to make up the rules. I have been meaning to write down all of the things that have been going on in your little world for a while, but I never actually sat down to make those notes. Lately, you are so funny and so astute that I have to write this down before I forget. So let's start with how much you talk and some of the things you are saying, shall we?







For starters, whenever you cry or you're upset, I rub your back and whisper to you "I know, I know" as in, I know baby, I know you're hurting/sad/scared, I'm here to make it better. Now when you are hurt or sad or scared, you will walk around crying while repeating over and over again "I know, I know". The other day you had a terrible diaper rash and while I was wiping you, you were crying "I knowwww, I knowwww". I was trying so hard not to laugh.



Crying is something that you do often. Mostly for dramatic effect. You like to tell me no. And not in a mean way. But I'll ask you "Reese, would you like to have lunch now?" and you'll look at me and say "no" very sweetly. It's hard to be mad at you when you are just being honest.







A few weeks ago daddy was home alone with all of you guys and you were really having a day. Bubba fell and got hurt and you were walking around crying hysterically. Daddy asked you what was wrong and you said "I'm crying!" (very dramatically). He said "I know you're crying, why are you crying?" and you said "I'm sad!" (even more dramatically). You are very in touch with your feelings.




You are also very polite. When you aren't telling us no, you say "yes, please". Reese would you like to go for a walk? Yes, please. You also use thank you regularly, although you immediately follow it up with a "you're welcome!" and welcome is said with a ton of emphasis WELL-COMM. You essentially thank yourself and you're welcome yourself for everything. 







Today when I picked you guys up from school your teacher pulled me aside to tell me about something you said at snack time. Apparently you were playing when everyone was sitting for snacks. She asked you if you wanted to sit at the table and have snack with everyone else. She told me you put your hand on your hip, turned your foot out to the side and said "well, what is it?" ha! She was floored. I don't know where you get this stuff from.







You have started using your own name with regularity. Share Reese, Reese turn, Reese try. The other day we were playing hide and go seek and I was pretending to look for you. You were "hiding" underneath one of daddy's winter hats (which is to say you pulled the hat on over your whole head and assumed that you were now invisible). I kept saying "Reese, Reese, where are you?" you pulled the hat off your head and shouted "Here she is! It's Puff!" It was the first time I had heard you call yourself Puff and I darn near peed my pants. Loved it.



Other things that you say all the time are "what happened?" and "careful!" and I know this is because I am always asking you guys what happened when someone is crying or yelling at you all to be careful. This house full of monkeys we live in can get crazy sometimes.







When you don't want to do something you close your eyes in this funny little way that makes your nose scrunch up and then you tilt your head to the side. Then you will open your eyes just a smidge, just so they are tiny little slits and you check to see if I'm still standing there. I think the head tilt helps you see out of your tiny eye slits. I wish I could capture this face on camera. I haven't been able to yet. Anyway, this exchange happens no less than forty times a day...when I want to take your toothbrush away, when I want you to eat something that I'm waving in front of your mouth on a fork, when I ask you to put something away. I could go on and on. You literally try to will things away with your mind. What a hoot.



Right now you love animals, especially animals that live on farms. You know all of your animal noises - even dolphins (eee-eee!) and monkeys (ooo-eee-aaa). Your favorite animals are definitely horses. You run around shouting "yee-haw" or "giddy-up". All of your little people are farmers or cowboys. You have just started playing pretend. Eating pretend food, having your little people talk to one another or ride their horses. Your imagination is amazing. My heart explodes watching you translate your world.







You love bouncing and jumping, whether it's on a trampoline or mommy's bed. You jump while screaming "I'm careful!" what a hoot. You also love playing catch and when I hear you shout "RED-DY! catch!" I know I am about to be hit in the head with a ball. We still have to work on giving people time to respond to "ready". You love to take pictures with my big camera. You hold the camera to your eyes and scream "camerrr, smile!" Some of the best pictures I have of your brother, lately, are ones you took.



You are not the kind of kid that likes to be told what to do. You have to be part of the decision making process. It's not a bad quality to have, at all. I love that you are strong-willed and assertive. I have had to learn how to parent you, and I am still learning. I have found what works is giving you choices. Instead of asking if you want to get dressed in the morning, I need to ask you "which of these three dresses do you want to wear today?" to get buy-in. You are able to pick out your own clothes and you do a great job matching already. You pick out your hair bows daily and you absolutely love your routines, and will remind me if I left something out ("I brush teeth now?").









While you are a very dominant personality, you are also one of the kindest people I know. I don't know how a heart so big fits in your tiny body. You give out hugs for no reason. You seek out your siblings to kiss them or hold their hands. You tell mommy and daddy and Bubba all the time that you love us. You are kind. You share without being asked to do so. If you have water, you bring your glass to Bubba so he can have a sip. If someone falls and gets hurt, you run to help them and ask if they are okay. (After you tell them to be careful! ha!) I often find you sitting next to Lola, just holding her hand. You are such a good big sister.



Your favorite TV show is Bubble Guppies and you can tell me exactly which 'sode you want to watch and you know most of the words when it comes on. Yesterday I put your hair in pigtails and when you saw yourself in the mirror, you touched your piggies and said "like Oona". I almost died. Your favorite movie is Finding Nemo. As a result of watching Nemo, you now say "awesome" and "dude" with regularity.







You are slowly becoming a great eater. It took a while. I give you credit because you will say "I try it" and put your tongue to your fork. You don't always eat what I serve, but you always "try" everything. You will request certain foods, even if you'll never eat them (i.e. a sandwich). But since you have started talking, meals have become easier because you can tell me what you want and your requests are always wonderful -- pears, cheese, yogurt, tomatoes -- things I don't mind you eating, so you make my life easy. I asked you what you wanted for breakfast this morning and you told me pancakes. Ha! I didn't have time to make them, so we agreed on cereal and I am making you pancakes for dinner, as promised. Your favorite foods right now are definitely bananas, spaghetti, tomatoes and blueberries. You eat a half pint of blueberries almost every day. I don't know where you put it all.



At night, not only do we have to go through our normal bedtime routine (baths, lotion, milk, books) but now you have to physically be tucked in. You lay down and tell us "tuck in"and hand us your blankets so that we can lay them over you and tuck them under you. We say goodnight to each of your animals -- and there are many of them that you sleep with now -- and place them all around you. Already, you try to find ways to keep us in your room. "I have hug now?" I mean seriously, who could say no to another hug? If I let you, you'd make me hug you 75 times more. I usually draw the line at ten extra hugs and then we really go night nights.







You are beautiful and spunky, funny and kind. Each day I am amazed by your little personality and the little girl you are becoming. I am so excited about all the things that are to come.



Love you, Puff.



Mommy

Easter Vigil


 The High Altar before the Vigil Ceremonies began on Papa Stronsay


Preparations in the Sacristy


The Easter Fire prepared by Br Valentine seen on left


Br Yousef Marie sings the Exsultet for the first time as a Deacon


Br Jean-Marie, our sub-deacon chanting the first lesson 


Father Anthony Mary for the first time as a priest blesses the Pascal Water


Holy Mass begins with the images still covered in purple


Chanting of the Easter Vigil Gospel, with images now unveiled


 Br Yousef as deacon assists Fr Anthony as he celebrates Holy Mass


The Regina Caeli rings out as our hearts are filled with joy
 as the Lenten Fast is now at an end!


Easter Sunday morning is calm, bright and sunny


The Holy Island of Papa Stronsay as see from our boat.

"gaudia Paschalia" winging it way!

For Rev. Fr John and Mrs. Hunwicke.
Photos of our Christchurch chapel.

Oratory of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour,
141 Rutland Street,
St Alban's, Christchurch,
as it had been.

Brother Nicodemus Mary,F.SS.R.
moved into action last week.
 
Brother enjoys decorating the sanctuary.
The chapel had been a hall belonging to the Closed Brethren.
Over the years many generous friends
have worked to make it suitable for the Holy Sacrifice.

Soon after we arrived, friends made this opening in the hall's ceiling
and found a suitable window to give added emphasis and light
to the altar which is directly below.

The image of Our Mother of Perpetual Succour
was carefully protected during operations.

 The work is not finished.
 But last Saturday night the altar was replaced for the
Mass of Low Sunday.
 
 More coats of paint are needed and
further developments will be reported.

Our tabernacle was brought to Christchurch
as part of our luggage last month.
It is French and quite old.

 Its doors are beautifully carved.

 This is how things stood for Low Sunday.
May God bless the devoted monk and his holy work.




 

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