Friday, December 28, 2012

From the Mouth of a Babe...

Today, December 28th, we remember the Holy Innocents. I read from one of our favorite books Around the Year Once Upon a Time Saints so that we could all hear more of the story about the babies and little boys tragically killed during Herod's slaughter of the holy innocents. (Note: All of Ethel Pochocki's Once Upon a Time Saint books are fantastic.)

In reading to our little treasures during lunch,  it was quite obvious to me from the readings that times have not changed. Babies are continually being murdered, day in and day out, and people set foundational LIFE "issues" aside as just one thing in a number of factors when voting for a candidate. (Has anyone ever thought about the fact that if we do not have people, we will never have a growing economy???) Madge's eyes welled with tears as we thought about what it would be like to all of the sudden not have our little Caleb, 2 years old, playing and romping outside anymore. From, Around the Year Once Upon a Time Saints:
Bethlehem was now a town with only little girls. There were no sounds of little boys chasing each other in and out of each other;s houses, or making roads with their toy trucks, or playing ball with their fathers after supper...The Holy Innocents were the first martyrs, the "flowers buds nipped by frost" for Christ's sake..." (p. 30)

Then Pita asked about Mr. Obama as we read about how little innnocent babies were killed then so similar to today as the commander-in-chief of our country not only supports but adamantly pushes forward the murder of the innocents. The girls wanted to pray for Mr. Obama, whom they lift up in our Rosary intentions as well. Then Madge went on to say, "Let's pray for the people who are like 'let's have him be president.'" Yes, all supporters of Mr. Obama too. Because like the followers of Herod, I bet-- I hope-- one day those same people very much regretted ever supporting such a man. Who have we lost through abortion? Saints. Protectors. Compassionate mothers. Dear fathers. Women and men who could have solved environmental issues instead of folks nowadays blaming new life, precious lives, leaving carbon "footprints." The list goes on and on. Through contraception and abortion, whose life is being snuffed out of existence? Holy Innocents, dear babies, destraught mothers and fathers of Bethlehem, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Article: Fathers disappear from households across America

Washington Times article capturing the picture of family households and the rapidly-growing phenomenon of single mothers around the United States. Not a big surprise, but holds helpful data and great reminder to all dads to step up and be intimately involved in the lives of their children.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

A vigilia de Natal, Brasilia. 2012. Thank you, Lord, for these 4 blessings, your heavenly gifts. May life always be respected and cherished, no matter how small.

Friday, December 21, 2012

News Article: 5-Foot Boa Constrictor Found in U.S. Ambasador's Yard

An article came out today about a 5-foot boa constrictor found in the U.S. Ambassador's yard, which is not that far from our house. Kind of scary! I have seen a similar snake in more remote areas of Brazil but not in the metropolis of Brasilia.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Foreign Service Journal Article on Homeschooling

The Foreign Service Journal, a monthly publication for members of the U.S. Foreign Service, published an article on homeschooling for its December edition.  It is wonderful to see the Foreign Service establishment provide greater recognition to this esteemed, albeit alternative and niche, educational modality. Homeschooling abroad, we can relate quite a bit to the author.

The full article is on page 63 of this month's edition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Maranatha! Come, Jesus, Come!

Gingerbread House

It's always cute to see what things have made an impression on the kids. This year, Madge had told us how much she looked forward to doing a gingerbread house. Who knew! Fortunately, she told me with enough advance notice so that we could order one on (such an apropos website for us Amazonians). The kids had a blast putting it together. Unfortunately, some of the pieces for the roof broke in the mail, but we were able to do a repair job. Another difficulty of celebrating Christmas in the tropics is that we can't leave the gingerbread house out. The many, many, many ants (thousands of species) around here love anything sweet. Thus our gingerbread house is sitting in the storage freezer until we devour it after 3 Kings day.

Oh Christmas Tree!

We decorated our Christmas tree on Saturday, Dec.8. We had a lot of fun going through ornaments, putting up the lights and beads. I kept eying the royal palm trees in the backyard--one of the few times where I was wishing we were living in a temperate instead of tropical zone so that we could have a real pine tree. All in all, the tree was a huge success and it has definitely set the tone in our home as we prepare for Christmas, now only 1 week away!



And after...



On Wednesday, we went as a family to the Nutcracker at the National Theater in Brasilia. It was a very enjoyable and memorable experience. We had front row seats right in the middle, so it couldn't have been a better spot. We could peer down into the orchestra pit throughout the performance. Fortunately, Little Penny slept the entire show, so Mary could sit with us. Little Caleb looked like a big boy sitting in his own chair. At various points of the show, he would get up and start doing ballerina twirls, or turn and ask, "Is this ballet?" and "When is the mouse coming?" Pita and Madge both thought that the harp was a neat instrument. (I thought the piccolo was funny: there was barely enough room to get both hands on the instrument.) The girls loved getting dressed up and the beautiful ballet. We had prepared by watching the movie on Netflix earlier in the week. We have also had the music trilling throughout the house for the past week

Cookie Time!

Mares and the kids have been busy Christmas cookie bakers! I feel like everyday I return from work and they are all busy decorating cookies. They have had a few playdates, too, inviting friends over to decorate the cookies. Thank goodness I can get sprinkles and icing through work, since otherwise they are tough to find on the Brazilian market.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trying to remain peaceful...

...and focused as we prepare.

One Sweet Seven-Week Penelope

(6 weeks 6 days, December 16, 2012)

(7 weeks old, December 17, 2012)

Sweet Penelope, you are 7 weeks old today and a most beautiful girl! I love how you love to just snuggle close. You are such a little lover and love to be loved. You receive so much affection from your Maddy, Pita, Little Caleb, and Dad and Mom. You light the room up when you enter in our arms. You really are a blessing to us. May you always follow Jesus' path for you, wherever He may lead you with Our Lady's hand in yours and St. Joseph as your protector. St. Irene, Servant of God Elisabeth Lesseur and Our Lady, the New Eve, pray for Penelope and us!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12: A Feastday for our Guadalupe

Happy Feastday, Guadalupe! Today we celebrate your patron, Our Lady of Guadalupe. We are so blessed to have you in our life. You bring us such joy and happiness, ever keeping us on our toes and ever with inquisitive questions about life. May Our Lady of Guadalupe protect you, Pita, on your way. May she always keep you close to our Lord. Mom and Dad love you and dedicate you and our family once again to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Monday, December 10, 2012