Friday, December 30, 2011

{this moment}

I have so many pictures I would love to share, but they are going to have to wait... I've been too busy enjoying and snuggling with this sweet little guy, who doesn't like to be put down for more than 10-20 minutes at a time - day or night.   Not that I'm complaining, I just seem to have forgotten how to multitask.  ;)

These pictures were taken during one of those brief hands-free moments this afternoon, allowing me to play with another favorite Christmas gift!  As you can see, I'm not the only one that Bud has wrapped around his tiny fingers!

I hope you are all having a very peaceful and blessed Christmastide!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real} ~ new baby edition!

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.

Since I announced this pregnancy in a {pretty, happy, funny, real} post, I thought it would be fun to share a few more pictures of our little guy's birth for this week's post.  

I was out looking for some pretty red ornaments to add to our Christmas tree this past Sunday afternoon when the first really strong contractions hit while at the store.   They weren't very frequent, but by the time we were praying our family rosary I thought it might be a good idea to go to the hospital to be checked.   Captain took this picture in front of our tree at about 9pm on December 18th, just before we headed to hospital. 


After a very long night (I was only at 3cm when I arrived to the hospital and had only progressed to 6cm by 4am), our sweet little guy arrived (very quickly) at 5:02 am.   At 4:45 the doctor suggested that I try and take a na, since I probably had at least a couple more hours.  I asked if she really thought it would really be that much longer.   She checked and sure enough I was at 9cm.  The next contraction made 9 1/2, and the following I was at 10.  One more contraction later he was born.  I did have to stop pushing for a few seconds so she could unwrap the cord from his neck, but it was that quick!  Hubby took this picture just after they handed him to me.  I was very happy to have the delivery behind me and to be holding our healthy baby boy! 

December 19th

December 20th

December 21st

I had hoped that I would be able to come home the following day, but due to the group b strep, I needed to stay at the hospital for 48 hours.  It was really a blessing since this recovery has been one of the hardest, even if the delivery was one of the easiest.  In my case the recoveries really do get harder each time...  However, I did enjoy the wonderful room service! ;) 

"Bye, bye hospital!"

First visits from very excited older siblings, and our first family picture.  
Just try and overlook the fact that my girls need their hair done and I look like I haven't slept in 36+ hours for some reason! ;)

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment!

P.S. Kelly in WI, please send me an email so I can get you your prize for winning our Baby Pool! Congratulations!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

He's Here!

* * *

Birthday: December 19, 2011
Time: 5:02 am
Weight: 7 pounds 5 ounces
Length: 20 inches

* * *

I will share more about our labor and delivery later, but I just had to hop online to share a couple pictures and to thank you all for your prayers!

The baby and I will be staying here at the hospital until Wednesday, so that they can continue to monitor him, due to the Group-B Strep, but so far he is doing wonderfully!

We are so thankful that our little guy arrived safely and very excited he will be celebrating his 1st Christmas with us this year!

Deo Gratias!

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.

St. Andrew the Apostle, Pray for us!
St. Thomas Becket, Pray for us! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Celebrating the O Antiphons :: The Golden Nights

Ever since our oldest children were very little, we have been implementing an old monastic custom in our home of providing special treats, representing each of the "O Antiphons," on the days leading up to Christmas.  Each night, after our family rosary, we pray the O Antiphon for the day, sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel (which was inspired by this ancient tradition), and then give the children a special treat.    Some years it has been little gifts for the family, some years it is all food related, and some years it is a mix of both.   You can see some of my past posts from 2007-2010 by scrolling through the archives and visiting Catholic Cuisine.

This year, being full term and expecting a baby at any time, I decided to avoid any food treats that needed preparation, and have 7 little gifts wrapped and ready for the children, so that they can still open them, whether I end up being home or not.   I wrapped each of the gifts in gold paper, attaching one of our new O Antiphon Ornaments to each package, and set out our O Antiphon House.
The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
The O Antiphon Prayers begin today, December 17th, and end on the 23rd, which is the last Vespers of Advent, since the evening prayer on the 24th is the Vigil of Christmas.  Our family just loves this little tradition, and it is such a fun way to teach the children about these beautiful prayers of the church and also increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer!  Here are the treats that I choose for this year:

December 17th
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, I often choose a new Catholic Book for our family.  This year I choose Around the Year: Once Upon a Time Saints. We have, and love, the previous two books in this collection (Once upon a Time Saints and More Once Upon a Time Saints) and have been wanting to add this one to our collection as well.

In past years we have given the children the beautiful A Catholic Child's Picture Dictionar, Novena: The Power of Prayer, new children's prayer books for Mass, and a craft kit to make Christmas Bookmarks.     

December 18th
O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

We usually emphasize the word "house" in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread Houses or Gingerbread Cookies on this night.   Last year I gave the kids a fun new Gingerbread House Cookie Cutter.  This year, I was able to find another one of the Wilton Gingerbread Mini Village Kits and purchased it for this night.   I'm still hoping that sometime during the Christmas season we will be able to host another night of Gingerbread Fun, but I haven't chosen a date yet! ;)

In the past we have also roasted marshmallows over a fire on this night, drawing from the reference to "Moses in the burning bush," which is always lots of fun too.  I might just have to talk Hubby into lighting a fire in our outdoor fire pit tomorrow night, since (at this rate) I don't think I am going to be going anywhere anytime soon! 

December 19th
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

In the past I have purchased our Poinsettia Plant for Christmas, new books including The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Miracle of the First Poinsettia, baked Poinsettia Cupcakes, made recipes with root vegetables including Hearty Beef Stew and Carrot Cake, or served Root Beer.  This year I picked up some Old Fashioned Root Beer Drops on a recent field trip to use for this O Antiphon gift!

December 20th
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Since this is initially a monastic tradition, and on this night, the monk in charge of the wine cellar would provide a special bottle of wine. We usually always serve a special drink with dinner.  Sometimes I also serve a Key Lime Pie as well. Yum!

This year I opted to purchase a couple key hook rails from Target to use to hang our Rosaries.  (I already have two of these in my pantry for my aprons and they are wonderful!)

December 21st
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

For this day, I have ordered the Kurt Adler 10-Light Candle with Gold Dish Light Set (which was a lot less expensive when I ordered ours) to add to our Christmas Tree, inspired by Around the Year with the Trapp Family:

"In our house the large Christmas tree, twelve feet high, always a beautiful, thick balsam fir, requires a lot of time to be decorated "the old way." During the preceding nights, the older children have wrapped up candies in tinfoil or in tissue paper with fringed edges and have then tied red thread to candies as well as to hundreds of cookies. They are hung on the tree first. On the lower branches we hang also small apples and tangerines. Then come Christmas-tree decorations from our home studios--angels and stars worked in silver or brass, which will glitter later in the light of the candles. Yes, candles--because there will be six dozen small candleholders with real candles fastened to the branches. (On either side of the tree there will be a camouflaged bucket with water and a mop with a long handle "just in case." So far we have never needed it.) Next, dozens of packages of tinsel are emptied on twigs and branches; and the last touch is silver chains spinning in spider-web fashion, criss-crossed from branch to branch. The final effect is like a fairy tale." 

Other past ideas include a surprise trip to town (complete with mugs of Cocoa) to view Christmas Lights,  decorating our own house or tree with Christmas lights, and serving "O Dayspring Ice Cream."

December 22nd
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

Originally I really wanted to order a beautiful set of Three Kings Gifts, but since they are all so expensive I settled on a lovely Three Kings Puzzle for the kids to work on during the 12 days of Christmas, leading up to Epiphany.  However, since it is only a 550 piece puzzle, I'm thinking it isn't going to take them that long!

Other years we have made Crowns, added a "King" puppet to our puppet collection, baked a Crown Cake and/or Cookies, and added the King of the Golden City CD to our collection.

December 23rd
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

This is the last of the O Antiphons!  I actually ended up having two gifts for this day, since I ended up ordering the Holy Family Puzzle - which I may save and give them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Emmanuel means "God is with us."   Since we receive Christ through the Holy Eucharist at Mass, the original gift I ordered for this night was a beautiful new embroidered Mass bag from Catholic Embroidery.   These little totes work so wonderfully for carrying our prayer books and veils into Mass each Sunday.

In the past the children have been given special Holy Cards or Coloring Books, including the beautiful Eucharistic Adoration: With Saints And Symbols Of The Eucharist Coloring book, added various Children's Nativity Sets to our collection, and made a Chocolate Nativity Scene.

You can listen to the O Antiphons beautifully chanted in Latin here or purchase the CD An Advent Processions Based on the Great O Antiphons.

And don't forget the quick and easy O Antiphon Chocolate Coins, if you'd like a simple treat for each day!  I had hoped to make a Latin version of these coins sometime this past year, and just never did get around to it.

Can you believe that it is nearly Christmas already?! 
I hope you all have a very blessed final week of Advent!  

Friday, December 16, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A single photo, capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. To see more visit Soule Mama

P.S. I'm still here... just busy.   More pictures coming soon!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Christmas Rose Birthday Cake

After seeing the Rose Cake Tutorial at I am Baker, I knew I had to try and make this cake.   I didn't do the fun vertical layer interior (our cake is just chocolate) but the rose exterior was so much fun!   This was my first attempt ever at making Roses with a 1M frosting tip and plastic bag... I couldn't believe how easy they were to make!  Didn't it turn out pretty?! 

I still can't believe that our sweet little "Christmas Rose" is already 2 years old... 
I'll be back later with a pictures from our birthday celebration

Happy Birthday Rose!

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share a few more pictures from this year's Santa Lucia Celebration!


The girls all looked so pretty, dressed for our little Santa Lucia Celebration


Very, very happy that we ended up baking St. Lucia's Braided Bread this year.  The other surprise treats, a jar of Lingonberries imported from Sweden (purchased locally) and a darling little Santa Lucia Doll for our sweet girl who was celebrating a name day, were a happy addition as well!


Our little "Star Boy" was so cute, as always, even when yawning.  He was very excited to be having WHITE BREAD for dessert.  Our little picky eater's favorite! 


It may not fit me (ever again!) but my pre-maternity white t-shirts, paired with a ribbon from a Gymboree Christmas gift box, make a perfect Santa Lucia gown for an almost two year old!   (All you have to do is pin the neckline in the back, so it's not too loose.)

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment!