Monday, February 15, 2016

But I'm stuck in colder weather

Snow day! Getting even an inch of snow is exciting in these parts. Waking to find 4 inches is thrilling, at least for Irish Jig. After breakfast, those brave enough (it had switched over to sleeting) layered up and headed out for a quick snow ball fight.

Chasing Daddy with a snowball.  It ended badly for her :)

You'll notice Zydeco is missing.  He's smart.  He stayed inside, stayed warm, and stayed dry.  Jig started the adventure with a hat...somehow it ended up on the mini snowman.  Jig is now sporting an awesome case of eczema from the cold...

Apparently, that's how we roll.

Song lyrics from the Zac Brown Band.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Love will keep us together (well, love and a few other things)

When the subway art trend hit popular culture, I was as enamored as the next gal. I was attracted to the funky art styles and even printed a few Eighteen25 fun ones for teacher gifts. I also liked the idea of a family rules type sign for our home. As I searched Pinterest and Etsy, though, I found that the ones readily available for purchase didn't quite reflect our family's attitude. I don't really need a sign in our main hallway reminding us to brush teeth or wash hands. I was looking for something with a little more depth of character.

I realized what I really wanted was a sign that stated the traits James and I wanted our family to embody. Once I decided this, I kept a few index cards of ideas floating around with me. I would jot down a character trait to highlight after hearing a great reading at Mass or after having a conversation with a friend.

Then I discovered This site lets you design your own sign and print it in one of several ways. You probably already knew about this site, but here in the House of Lame, we're always behind the 8 ball, so to say. I started working on my design and quickly realized the other very important aspect that bothered my psyche about the ready made subway art - I gravitate toward straight lines and organized design. The cacophony of fonts and squished words in most subway art just makes my head hurt. Enter my own personal, just for our family design.

WellsKrewe is our long time family moniker and is a nod toward my New Orleans heritage full of Mardi Gras Krewes (social groups that host parades). It's this term that friends and family use to refer to the whole lot of us and it seemed perfect for this sign. This sign describes who we are and what we'll become - ultimately the Domestic Church we are called to be.

We strive to be loving, be truthful, be joyful, be considerate, be thankful, be wise, and be peaceful.  If we can successfully achieve these criteria, we'll all be living happily and contented.  James and I have started picking a scripture passage to flesh out each trait. The reading matches how that trait should be exemplified by each of us in our home. For example, John 15:12 tells us, "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you."  While there are numerous scriptures regarding the topic of love, this one simply states what is expected and therefore it's perfect for us.

What traits would your family put on a tailor made subway art sign???

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Do you want to build a snowman??

In this house, the answer to that question is NO. NO. NO.

This is week two of snow in an area that typically sees about 2" total per year...and those as light dustings, not as a huge dump. This is day 7 of school closings and all my children would rather be in school around their friends and in their normal routines. My office has shut down for three of the days and the main roads were clear enough for me to travel otherwise. Mr. Neoclassic's office uses the liberal leave policy which is really code for we know it's dangerous for folks to travel, but we're not going to actually pay you to stay home. He's taken a few vacation days to sit near the fire, drink hot tea, and read the paper. I'm sewing more purple robes for our church. And trying to keep my toes warm.

Poor St. Francis seems so cold buried in snow back there!

Snowman #1, sidewalk clearing duty

Snowman #2, driveway clearing duty

For the record, I shoveled the first go round of sidewalks during last week's storm.  Mr. Neoclassic is shoveling a path for the dog through the backyard.  Our poodle does not like snow and it's very funny to watch her daintily pick her way across her man made path through the yard.

Family games - check. Family movies - check. School project work - check. Sibling fights - check. Parent tempers - check.

Ah winter - you can officially get the hell out of here.  Except it's too cold to be considered hell.

If a Southern girl suffers single digit temperatures and repeated snowfalls, does she qualify for any sort of advanced LENTEN suffering credits???  I must investigate the possibility.

Monday, February 16, 2015

We remember, we celebrate, we believe!

***About that new header picture....I took that photo during our last ice storm. The ravine is close to my office complex and the trees were so beautiful covered in ice. As the winds would blow, sections of the wheat colored grass would just collapse under the ice weight. The moment was both peaceful and eerie.***

Jazz has been assisting me with a huge project for our church.  We are making about 40 poncho style robes for the coming Lent and Easter seasons.   Jazz used the alphabet stitch feature on my machine to create size labels for all of the robes.  I cut the robes and ran the edges through my serger.  The necklines were finished with bias tape for a more sturdy product.  All the white robes are now complete and the purple robes are in the serging phase of the process.  I've offered to let Jazz serge, but I think she's afraid of the machine speed :)

Each year, those choosing to study the faith and enter fully into the Catholic Church participate in the initiation programs such as RCIA or Catholics Come Home.  Our church also has a wonderful program for younger children entering the Church that is geared toward their level of understanding and attentiveness.  These programs culminate at the Easter Vigil Mass when those studying, known as Catechumens, are brought fully into the Church family.  Depending on the size of the Catechumen class, this Mass can be very lengthy - think 4 hours.  The Mass begins very solemnly and transitions into almost a party atmosphere as we celebrate.

During Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter), the Catechumens wear the purple robes to visually remind the entire parish of the importance of the Lenten Season.  They will attend the Vigil Mass wearing these robes and, following the Baptism celebration, will be robed in the white of rebirth and renewal.  Those having been baptized leave the sanctuary to change into dry clothing and return to the worship center donned in white.  As this occurs, our parish family is standing to greet them and usually singing Festival Canticle, a song about the victory of our Lord.  I love the line, we remember, we celebrate, we believe, because the whole Mass calls us to remember the journey of our newest members.  We celebrate with them and we are reminded of the enormity of our belief and our faith.

I am always reminded of a very special Easter Vigil Mass in 1995, when Mr. Neoclassic joined our faith in full communion.  Having already been baptized into a Christian religion, he celebrated the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.  And the proof is in this one Polaroid of the event!

I love his baby face.  And my closed eyes.
(And my early 90's hot pink.)

What will you celebrate this Easter season??

Post title from Festival Canticle by Richard Hillert

Thursday, January 1, 2015

...and a Happy New Year!

Since my Christmas cards were mailed DURING the Christmas season, as opposed to the Advent Season, I feel totally justified in posting Christmas morning pictures on Jan 1. This blog is only read by those who know me well, so the delay really won't shock or bother anyone, anyway. Irish Jig suffered a cold for the first weeks of December and was diagnosed the Tuesday prior to Christmas Day with Type A Influenza.

Joy, Joy, Joy!

Mr. Neoclassic and I made the decision to quarantine our family.  We had a fabulous few days of games, family jokes, movies, songs, and lots of books. By day three, the Tamaflu had done it's job and Irish Jig was noticeably improved.  With the rest of us on preventative doses of Tamaflu, we managed to avoid subsequent cases.

We generally like to attend the vigil Mass because it gives us the opportunity to focus on Christmas, in it's truest sense, long before the gift unwrapping begins.  This year, we opted not to attend the Vigil, believing that the crowd didn't need any possible germs from us. We did venture out for Mass on Christmas morning, but were very careful to sit in the back and wave from afar!

For the grandparents and various family members, here are some of the Christmas morning gifting highlights.

Waiting for the boys prior to stampeding down the stairs for gifts!

And with one gift, this girl was content and fulfilled.  That did not, of course, stop
her from opening any other gifts....

A box of electrical components, circuits, and robot programming gear.
The expression/ gesture of pure rapture and happiness just cracks me up!

So very joyful in her little nest of Legos, books, and a CD player for bedtime stories.
That last one is really a gift for the rest of us, shhhh!

Zydeco's hand picked gift for his dad: Shakespeare's Insult Generator.
This one kept us laughing all day!

Apparently, she could get more excited...the book to tell her what to do with all the Legos.
A thoughtful gift from Classic Rock.

Because somebody has to help this boy dress appropriately...

The only Mama-handmade under the tree this year.
A crown.  But NOT a princess crown.
(PS - Nana, it has vintage buttons on it from the great box!)

Where's Waldo?!

Auntie M: she's polishing the jewelry box mirror so she can see herself :)

And by loading these pictures, I've realized there is not one single picture of me on Christmas morning!  Oops.  

Our family hopes your Christmas and New Year were fabulous.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Joy to the World

So this post is a bit late...on Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy, we hosted the annual Gingerbread House Decorating event. We opted to "spice" things up a bit this year by having each participate choose a decorating theme. Possibilities included Harry Potter, Star Wars, Frozen, Legos, and the like. Here are the happy house builders...

Hagrid's Hut: complete with pumpkin patch and flobberworms.

Santa's Workshop!

The start of Sponge Bob: that's Patrick the starfish...

Supposedly a Princess Castle. 
She did the whole thing herself this year, so I just Let It Go!!! 

Scooby Doo: complete with Scooby snacks.

Frozen: complete with an Olaf snowman.

Burning off the sugar high playing in the leaves!

Pick up football.  And trash talk, of course.  I love boys!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tis a gift to be free...

For the past several years, I have tried to create the majority of the Christmas gifts our family gives. Either by sewing or baking, we’d create something wonderful for friends and family. This originally started about the time the press reported most of the small toys imported from China were covered in toxic lead paint. I wanted to know that the gifts I gave my children or my nieces and nephews weren’t hazardous.

We would also incorporate purchased/ manufactured gifts because sometimes, that’s just what is needed or desired. If a small child is begging for Legos, you don’t give them crochet finger puppets. Both excite the imagination, but one is truly more relevant for the asker.

That all said, this year I realized that a full time job just doesn’t lend enough time to the sewing and creating endeavor. I decided which very few gifts would be handmade and accepted the rest would be purchased.

But I have put a great deal of thought into how the gifts would be purchased. I want to make my “almighty dollar” make a difference. So I turned to the Fair Trade Federation website and looked into various retailers offering fair trade merchandise. Scarves, coffee mugs, wall art, jewelry, and so much more are available for purchase. These items ensure the makers, often in depressed societies, are justly compensated for their work and time.

Image result for fair trade symbol

Here are a few of my favorite finds this year (click to go to company website):

Ten Thousand Villages (their local retail store closed last year, but their online store is awesome)

Serrv (their wall hangings and tree skirts make me drool)

Project Have Hope (these are the most beautiful bead bracelets I’ve seen!)

TaraLuna (the scarves are exquisite and I selfishly purchased a whole new stack of dinner napkins for our family)

Women of Cloud Forest (I want all of the embroidered bags….I can’t decide! Sea turtle? Fruit Bat?)

The lyric I’ve used today is very old and everyone knows the song….Tis a Gift to be Simple…but we sometimes need a reminder that it truly is a gift to be FREE. Just knowing my shopping will help someone – a lot of someones if I’m honest about my shopping – be a little more independent and a little more dignified makes my personal Christmas season much more meaningful.

PS - I didn't include any pictures of the items I bought because I don't want to give away the surprise...shhhh!