When my husband brought me home to meet his family 21 1/2 years ago, my future sister-in-law Danielle asked me if it was difficult for me meeting so many people at once. Chris was one of eleven children, and the whole family was out in force for his little sister's graduation from eighth grade. Far from feeling overwhelmed, this only child was right at home and wanted in!
Here are a few photos of Thanksgiving with the best extended family in the world.
Baby seems to be having fun:
More best friends:
Pretty in pink:
Home from college:
Toddlers' cracker selfie:
Christmas pajamas for the twelve-and-under set--thank you for the gift, Aunt Mary-Kate!!!
Another beautiful Thanksgiving for all!
For the past few years, we have had a tradition in our house of making a Thanksgiving style dinner on or around my birthday in mid-November. This allows us never to miss Thanksgiving dinner at grandfather's house--with all the aunts and uncles and cousins--yet still have the fun and bustle of preparing a huge feast at home. The one rule of Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving is that every single child in the family must prepare something. Even the two year old helped stir the cranberry sauce. This is their annual birthday gift to Mom, and it is always a memorable day working together in the kitchen.
This year's menu:
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roast Cauliflower with panko breadcrumbs
Apple, Sage, and Sausage Stuffing
Pumpkin Cream Pie
Four kinds of ice cream
To tide us all over before a long morning in the kitchen, Clair whipped up a round of pumpkin smoothies.
(Those are my cream scones in the background. Another light breakfast treat to begin the day.)
Little Rebecca had fun making mince tartlets:
Made from refrigerated dough and jarred mincemeat, it was the perfect independent project for a seven year old.
When I was growing up, my mother would always buy three pies at the bakery every Thanksgiving--mince, pumpkin and apple--and we all had a sliver of each with a scoop of ice cream. Although I am the only member of the family who loves mince pie, we keep the tradition alive.
Big sister Clair made this fancy lattice tartlet. I am thinking we will make a slew of these for our next doll's tea party:
Into the oven they go!
Here is a photo of some of the younger members of the production staff (below). If you think the kitchen is starting to look a bit messy, you should have seen the pile up of plates a few hours later. Pictures will NOT be forthcoming.
A solemn lad surveys the bird:
Caesar salad (homemade croutons passed separately):
Pumpkins, birds and candlelight:
We dragged in an old coffee table to serve as a child size server. No more getting up every time the under ten crowd wants seconds on the sidedishes:
My only regret is not getting a picture of the family sitting down to dinner. I will leave you instead with Bernadette's apple pie . . .
. . . and Cecilia's Pumpkin Cream. Another blessed birthday!
When my son Neil was little, his hair was a pale, baby blonde. Over the years, it ripened into something darker--a golden honey color--but still unmistakably blonde, particularly in summer. Two weeks ago, his hair had suddenly darkened, so that you could not tell his color from that of his brown haired sister. Day after day, I kept exclaiming over it, particularly when I saw him sitting in the sun and could see plainly that his hair was brown, without so much as a hint of its former gold.
Saturday night, I reminded him to take a shower so he would look neat and tidy for Mass the next day. It was getting late, and he did not feel like it, but I insisted. When he returned fifteen minutes later, I could see his hair was damp, yet not especially wet. The thought crossed my mind that he had run it under the sink without actually washing it. I employed my best cross examination skills.
Mom: "Did you take that shower?"
Mom: "Did you wash your hair?"
Mom: "With shampoo?"
Mom: "What shampoo did you use?"
Neil (sheepishly): "Um, that shampoo in the white bathroom."
Mom (sensing I was getting to the bottom of something): "What? What kind is it?"
Neil: "It's called 'Brilliant' something."
Mom (very surprised): "Brilliant Brunette?"
Neil: "Yes. It was the only one there."
Mom: "How long have you been using it?"
Neil: "I don't know--a few weeks, maybe?"
Mom (doubled over with laughter): "It's been turning your hair brown!"
Bernadette (the sister who has been on hand this whole time): "Don't use that shampoo anymore . . . even if it has been working wonders for you!"
Mom is in the shower. She is also behind on the laundry.
Unknown child knocking on the door: "Mom, I don't [unintelligible garble]!"
Mom: "Honey, speak a bit louder, I can't hear you!"
Child: "I don't [unintelligible garble]!"
Mom: "I still can't hear you! Open the door a crack!"
Child: "Mom, I don't have anything suitable to wear to Mass!"
Mom: "Oh, honey, there are plenty of dresses in your closet to wear to Mass."
Child: "But, Mom, [unintelligible]."
Mom: "No buts, honey, put on your Land's End polka dot dress . . . or the white one."
Mom: "I said, no buts, go get one of those dresses on right now."
Child: "But, Mom! It's Neil!"
It is August 6th, the beginning of my annual "homeschool nesting" season. Now most mothers start this process in June or earlier, but, for me, it usually hits me about a week into August that the summer will not last forever, and I need to start decluttering, beautifying, planning, and dreaming about the year to come.
One of my resolutions for this year is to be home more. I am going to reduce our outside commitments as much as possible and enjoy the greatest gift of homeschooling--TIME. Time to think and dream and learn and love and be together.
I hate to see the summer end, but there is something to be said for turning leaves and turning pages, morning walks and evening fires . . . glorious, golden days together that will never come again.
Thank you, dear Lord, for another year of homeschooling. What a gift.
[Someone, please, remind me to go back and reread this post in February!]
[Today's small step in the right direction: Signing up for courses in Honors Chemistry and Human Biology at Homeschool Connections.]
So I was watching 1940's Pride and Prejudice, starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. I had gotten to the following scene, woefully untrue to the book, yet perhaps my favorite part of the whole movie. Watch it if you have five minutes to be entertained. (Actress Edna May Oliver is a comic genius, and Greer Garson is no slouch herself):
As I was chuckling over this, I could hear a text coming in on my phone. It was a link to a video from my fifteen year old daughter:
She has me pegged.
We attended the final vows of our spiritually adopted Franciscan brother, Brother Bernadino Marie.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 230 East 90th Street, New York City.
Two Gunther rows:
A prayer after Mass at the shrine in honor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, a patroness to all homeschoolers:
God bless, Brother Bernadino!