Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Godfather Again

A year ago Brian was asked to be the godfather of the little boy in the picture below and I missed the baptism because Hannah was going into surgery for an emergency appendectomy as the baptism began.  This year I was able to attend the baptism of his next godson.  He's a popular guy!

So both of these boys in this picture are his godsons.

Brian and his Godson
It was a beautiful baptism, and I am almost finished with his saint doll that I am making for his gift.  I have come to just accept that I am always three steps behind these days.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Belgium Brewery Weekend

After Judah's birthday we had a weekend trip with some friends of ours and we traveled around a bit, staying in a micro brewery/B&B that is one of Brian's favorites.  We had one room between all eight of us which sometimes works, but this time was a bit too tight.  The second night, Brian ended up sleeping on the floor which he does quite nicely since his back seems to like hard surfaces.  It only had two full sized beds and one twin.  Judah slept in a sleeping bag on the floor and Bobby was in a pack-n-play.

Just a picture from before we left when I was packing and Isaac was spending some quality time with Bobby, reading to him in the rocking chair.
 Anyway, we arrived Friday night and just let the kids play in the garden.  That day was really just a travel day. 

Saturday we had breakfast and then drove to Beauraing, Chimay, and Orvall.

The B&B we stayed at had a house where the rooms and dining hall were, and then had this cute little bar across the driveway.  This was Saturday morning before leaving on our day trip.

I got to braid somebody's hair at breakfast!

We have already been to Beauraing, but our friends hadn't so we stopped there in the morning and looked around.  We had not previously been down into the crypt with Pope St. JP II's relic, so we were able to do that this time and to see the cloth that had his blood on it from when he was shot.

We had also been to Chimay last time we lived over in Europe, but it had been so long and I have good memories of it.  We ate at the restaurant there across from the monastery first and then went to the monastery.  I spent most of my time in the gift shop trying to buy gifts for a few people. 

Unfortunately, by the time we got to Orvall, the place we had not been to yet, it was closing in ten minutes.  We would have had to pay for entry and it was not going to be worth it.  We looked around the outside and went in the gift shop there as well.  We stopped at a friterie on the way home to get food to go.  We had a weird and scary run in with a crazy driver.  Basically, a guy pulling a trailer got angry and started trying to block our friend's van so he could get out and confront him, but luckily we were both able to get around him.  Then he caught up with us all again and tried to run our friend's van off the road repeatedly.  Eventually, I guess he was satisfied with the degree they had to swerve off the road into the grass and left.  This was all on farm roads and no one else was around but us.  We were behind our friends and so we saw the whole thing.  Very bizarre! 

The next day, we had planned to have breakfast and then go to Tongerin to the flea markets, where we'd also find a church and have Mass with our resident priest with whom we travel (AKA Godfather Brian.)  However, plans were quickly changed since Genevieve got sick and threw up all morning long.  Instead we had breakfast and then had Mass an hour later in the gardens of the B&B.  Tongerin was abandoned and we just headed home.  No sooner had we pulled up to our house then our resident priest got sick and started throwing up too.  During the month he stayed with us this was the second time that we got him sick.  Poor guy!

Here are the relics of JP II.

This is a terrible picture of us, BUT I think it shows how much we look alike and have a similar non-smiling resting face.  Really, it's like in those magazines at the check out counters when they take pictures of famous people when they are just walking on the street and they look horrible.
This is apparently the only real picture we got at Chimay.  I love eating outside with the bright green scenery that goes on for days.  You feel like you are the only ones in the world.  There are two big playgrounds for the kids which made it a perfect break from all the driving for them and us.

Orval Monastery

Getting too  big!

Setting up for Mass in the garden

Right before we left, we got a group picture with one of the owners of the place.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, Judah: The Goose Egg Edition

Wow!  When you get this behind on a blog it just feels overwhelming to even do a single post.  I'm still completely busy right now, but I expect that may be the case for a good many years so I am just going to try to chop away at it bit by bit like I usually do when I am a month behind.

Judah got this Robin costume for his birthday.  He asked for it specifically.  The plate is full of "bug" appetizers that were a big hit.  Ritz crackers with cream cheese and a ladybug made of half a grape tomato and a quarter of a black olive.  
So, our sweet and not so sweet Judah/Ben/Benny/Benjamin (depending on who you ask/he says you can call him whatever you want)  turned four towards the end of August, and we were hoping it would bring an end to this wacky behavior of fits over the littlest things, like getting dressed or eating dinner, but, alas, it was not to be.  His fits and resistance to bedtime have continued, but I would say they are slightly less often and we haven't had any huge ones lately either so maybe we are on the down slope of it all.  The big 4 did bring with it a hernia diagnosis (possibly from said giant fits or from his coughing fits when he gets asthmatic with a cold, hard to say.)   Also, he got to wear the handed down wooden "4" necklace from when I was a kid.  Unfortunately, he was swinging it around on the playground at kindergarten and hit himself in the forehead big time.  Here's a picture with the goose egg.

 The Good News:  He is otherwise healthy and a very cute, pleasant boy.  If you don't push the wrong button he can be quite adorable.  Judah is also very smart and asks to do "school work" whenever Drew is doing his.  He can recognize all his numbers through ten, count, tell more or less, recognize most of his letters and say their sounds.  He knows how to play many card games with the big kids.  He's about 35lbs.  He LOVES insects right now and wants to know all about them.  He catches them and tries to scare his sisters with them.  He'll pick up anything, and we are working on that because he even picked up a bee one day at the pool and was letting it crawl all over his hand.  He said, "Look, Mom, it didn't sting me!"  Luckily, it was water logged and didn't sting him, but he was then instructed not to try that stunt again.  I call him my little entomologist.  Lately he's been asking me a question, and if I say "I think..." before answering he replies with, "Can you look it up on the internet to check?"  He and Bobby have been getting on better lately with lots of love, hugs, and kisses to be shared.

Responsibilities:  He's getting off easy with the chores since he has so many more compliant brothers and sisters (at least at the moment) and he only has to set the table before dinner, take the empty egg crates to the fireplace, clean up his room after rest time, and line up the shoes by the back door.

He got a promotion from sidekick to superhero.

Privileges:  His four year old privilege is to move to a booster and switch from nap time to rest time.  He started skipping naps and doing rest time a couple months ago because he was staying awake so long at night that I thought it would help him go to sleep better (at night) if he wasn't napping, and it has mostly done that.  We haven't made the full transition to booster yet because of pure lack of time to get the car seat out of the van and the booster in place, but if he is riding in any other vehicle he does ride in a booster now.  I can't believe I am about to be down to one car seat.

The cake was a mixture of ideas from Pinterest.  I made the ladybugs out of strawberries, blueberries and icing.  The spiders were oreo cookies and icing.  The worms crawling out of the cake were gummy worms coming out of the "dirt" AKA the chocolate cake where I scarped away some of the icing.  He asked for his name to be written on it with a "fancy J."  Even though he says you can call him "whatever you want" he still spells his name J U D A H and introduces himself that way too.

Celebration:  We had a bug cake, bug appetizers, and we had a simple dinner at home.  Normally we go out to the restaurant of the birthday boy/girl's choice, but since Judah has such a picky palate we left off that tradition for him.  I always bring a PB&J to restaurants for him because I will not pay for food he is not likely to eat willingly, and I will not force him to eat a dinner when I am trying to enjoy mine.  Hence, the dinner at home!  I was just glad his specifications for a cake were all doable.  He threw in the need for worms on his cake at the last minute, but luckily we had gummy worms to come to the rescue.

Happy birthday, dear Judah!  We love you and are so thankful for you sweet heart, your smile, and your desire to share and be loving more often than not.  You are funny, adorable, cuddly, and a smarty pants.  We love you so!