Friday, January 28, 2011

For Papa and Uncle Bill

(Notice WHAT kind of champion his shirt says...)

Big Aspirations

Madge (on the phone to Grandma Mimi): I just want to be a mom. And an artist. I just want to be a mom when Mommy is a mom too.

Madge, I love you. I always wanted to be a mom too. Keep praying to God and He will always make you happy in His path and time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's a Snowy Day

Last night, well, yesterday afternoon on our way back from overseas' training, Caleb, Little Caleb, and I were hit with a downpour of snow. Traffic was A drive that would normally take 10 minutes was probably about 60. We were supposed to get 3, 5 or 6 inches. We finally made it to our good friends' house to retrieve our little girly treasures. These friends were so kind to let us wait out the heavy snow by enjoying a delicious dinner with them while the little ones played and enjoyed homemade pumpkin pie. While the girls dance infront of the firelight and built a little "blanket fort" we all enjoyed hot cups of tea before the flicker, flicker, flickering of the lights turned into deep darkness. Power outage. Soon candlelight illuminated the darkness and good conversation drowned out the soothing silence. We arrived home to a warm home (thank you, God) and lights aglow. (Our dear friends were not as blessed until morning when their power came back on.) Caleb did a wonderful job getting us home safely. The roads were covered; the snow was heavy; cars had gone off the road into various embankments along the way; and, a poor tractor trailer driver got his truck caught in the tunnel of an overpass. We guessed that the clearance sign wasn't visible/completely covered in snow. Poor man.

Anyway, the morning has been sunny. Our activities surrounded around weather, snowflakes and good books: The Snowy Day, Weather and Climate, and The Mitten.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Knock, Knock"

It's not yet 7am. I am sitting at the computer: books for the day--check; power-tie--check; cup of coffee--check; knock-knock jokes--che...what? The girls are in the living room playing in their princess castle. I overhear Pita saying, "Knock, knock. Who's there?" Madge replies, "No, Peach. You just do the first part." She catches on after a try or two. The following jokes are the big hits (don't ask me why):

Knock, knock. Who's there? Banana strawberry. Banana strawberry who. Banana strawberry princess. Teeheehee.

Knock, knock. Who's there? Strawberry. Strawberry who. Strawberry mommy. Teeheehee.

Thanks for the morning entertainment, my beautiful girls.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy 6 months, Sweet Face!


(wearing your GERMANY shirt for your godfather!)

You are 6 months old today, Mr. Cal-see! What a joy you are in our lives. You make us all happy with your sweet, sweet smile, your contagious giggles--- to the point of your getting hiccups(!), and your big blue eyes make us all melt. We love you, sweet boy. Thank you for being the little brother that you are to your big sisters. They cannot get enough of you. Last night as I was bouncing Pita to sleep she started asking, "I hold baby?" Even as tired as she was, she still wanted you in her arms. Our precious time with you on the couch was super last night: just you and I and Dad. You kept gazing back at Dad in between snuggling with Mommy. We love you. Keep growing closer each day to Jesus and stay right by Blessed Mama, and you will be set for a good life. Happy 6 months, sweets! (We will be celebrating your 1/2 birthday tonight with a little party and a BIG, sweet, chocolate chip cookie your sisters are going to help me make AND decorate later this afternoon.) We will be dancing to your song tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Art, Simplicity and Beauty in Color

Yesterday our art lesson was simple circles and blended colors, thanks to some tips from Mr. Kandinsky and Russian abstract art. He put an artist with color and a hand with the piano; once combined, both create beautiful masterpieces.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Português, Português, Português

Last week we began Portuguese classes at a nearby national language institute. Both Mares and I have been using the same language tutor, which has been nice to ensure consistency in our learning and pronunciation. So far it has been going well. I really enjoy it but have also been feeling the mental strain of learning a new language. 40 hours a week of Portuguese is, well, intense. It's cute that every day Madge is asking us how to say one thing or another in Portuguese.

Ate amanha, Português.

If They Were Countries...

I think this is such a neat map. The Economist overlays countries with the GDP of each of the states in the U.S. For example, Taiwan's GDP is the size of Michigan's, and Australia's GDP is the size of New York's. This provides some interesting perspective for taking stock of the United States in the world.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Baby

Last night, Madge, we were saying the Rosary, and you walked into the kitchen where I was packing Dad's lunch for the next day, when you asked, "Mom, can I sit on your lap, like Jesus sat on Blessed Mama's? I want to be a baby forever." I later told you that if I had to repeat my favorite things of the day, that would have been a big one. You made Mom's day at night. I love you, sweet girl.
Grandma Mimi has sent us beautiful images of Our Lady with Baby Jesus, some of my favorite paintings of Mom and Baby. They are my reminders of how real life was, and the precious moments were between them, as St. Joseph guided and protected his two Treasures.

Mr. Almost-6-Month Old

Little Caleb,
You are Mr. Happy: My Joy, and oh, So MUCH more!

As I was getting a little workout in the other night, I was listening to your song--the song we played lots and lots and sang when your little heart beat inside me-- and just appreciating your life again, and again, and again.I did know that everything would work out, and I, each day, promise you that I will give you SO much, although you have given me more than I could have ever imagined. You have given us a beautiful world. Our atmosphere is joy with you in it.

I love you, sweet little face.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sisters and Brother Time.. The best time here!

Madge, Peach and Cal-see,

We love you, you threesome! You have the best time playing together. Today, Caleb was your little baby, Madge, and Pita had her little dolly as her "baby"-- imaginary play you love all THE t-i-m-e.

I love you, three. Keep playing. Keep enjoying life. Always love one another. You are each other's best friends.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

St. Louis

In St. Louis, we were able to visit with Mary's parents (who flew in from Seattle), and with other family members and close friends. We enjoyed catching up with so many people. Going back to the church where we were married and to the restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner were particularly memorable moments. It was the first time for everyone to meet Baby Caleb.


It felt like we were making a documentary entitled "24 hours in Chicago." That was literally the case. We arrived noon one day and left at noon the next. We went to visit with my brother, Micah. We had a great time with him. In that short period of time, we had a taco lunch at his apartment, traveled to Navy Pier and visited the Chicago Children's Museum, marveled at the Lincoln Park Zoo evening Christmas lights (joined at this time by Micah's delightful fiance Suzanne), had a Brazilian pizza dinner with Micah, Suzanne, and Suzanne's sister (followed by some Wii entertainment), and went out to breakfast the next day at one of Micah's and Suzanne's favorite breakfast haunts.