Outside my window…it’s rainy.  The perfect excuse to stay inside and blog.

I am thinking…it’s hard to get in the holiday spirit when the temperatures are still in the mid 70s.  It’s just not right to think that we were playing at the beach (we were even wading in the water) a week before Thanksgiving. 

I am thankful…for patient big brothers.

From the learning rooms…we’re finishing up J week.  I promise to post H and I (and now J, too!) weeks soon.

In the kitchen…Grandma Nury brought fried fish last night.  Delicious.  Not a bite leftover.

I am wearing…comfy corduroys and a blue t-shirt.  Oh and these wonderfully fluffy red socks that Mom gave to me last week. 

I am creating…Advent plans.

I am going…to return the Advent candle ring and candles I bought at Mardel’s this week.  I was in for such a surprise when I was unpacking the Christmas decorations this morning.  I don’t know how, but I had forgotten all about the beautiful Advent wreath that my dear sister made me for Christmas last year.  It looks gorgeous in the center of our table. 

If you’re wishing to give homemade gifts this year but are lacking time, check here and here and here for some great gifts to give that are handmade.  If you have some other recommendations for handmade (or made in the USA) gift ideas, please share with us in the comments. 

I am readingMitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison.  Yep, it’s that time again.  I read this book every year as part of my Advent journey.  It keeps me grounded in my parenting journey.

I am hoping…for a peaceful Advent season.

I am listening…to Alphie.  We just replaced his batteries this morning and he’s been very busy playing games with Joseph all morning.

I am looking forward to…the sun.  Ha, ha.  One morning of rain and already I’m  ready to see the sun! 

Around the house…preparing the best way I know how for the coming of Christ. 

I am pondering

“Our children are, in the words of Kahlil Gibran, the gift of Life’s longing for Itself.  They run toward Life, arms open, and Life loves Itself through their small bodies.  Pressing themselves into the sand, sifting dirt, watching an inchworm measure a branch, reaching toward the black cat, who evades, then looks at them through inscrutable green eyes…it is their biological imperative to reach toward Life, and we, their caregivers, must structure the way in which Life reaches back, the way they are touched in return.

They need to be touched by grass, flowers, sunshine, birdsong.  They need a pile of dirt, and earthworms, clay for mud pies and dirt balls for target practice.  They need sticks and bare feet, stubbed toes, too.  They need songs, stories, paints, costumes.  And games that go on without end. 

These children are Life reaching out to discover Itself.  What they touch must be vibrantly alive, that in growing they may learn to respect, to nurture, to cherish and protect.  This is our task; it is urgent they thrive.

They are Hope itself, here, now, forever.”

Taken from Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer

I am praying…the St. Andrew Christmas devotion.  It seems only right considering that we now have an Andrew in our family.  You can read more about it here, but here’s a copy of the prayer.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897.

One of my favorite things…big, curious eyes, taking it all in.

Here are some pictures for thought I am sharing…Thanksgiving thoughts…

Baking pumpkin pie with Grandpa Gary (using a real pumpkin!)…

We had a special guest at our Thanksgiving dinner this year.  A friend named Tim.  The kids thought the best thing about Tim was the motorcycle gear he came equipped with…

Full and happy (thanks Mom and Dad for feeding the hungry)…

and a few little Indians…

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