Friday, April 30, 2010

personality plus

These past days have been difficult while I've been ailing with this wretched sinus infection, but enough about that.  Let's talk instead about this charming 15-month-old lass of mine full of expression and personality emerging more every day. She's a cutie alright, with a look and style all her own.

She has a charming way of smiling that's partly coy, partly shy.  She kinda tucks her chin down and peers up at the recipient of her smile as she's smiling.  Spontaneous games of peek-a-boo and "where's your tummy/nose/knee?" quickly produce these sweet smiles.  Quite the girly girl, she likes her bows (and says "bow" to indicate such) and purses (actually, she likes mine the most), but she's equally at home playing with trucks, Lincoln Logs, and Legos.

Already knowing full well what she wants to tell us, she says distinctly "bubba," "cookie," "gogur" (for yogurt -- she prefers drinking from her brother's insulated Foogo straw cup), "biper" (for diaper), "dada", and "mommy".  Especially when it comes to food, she has little patience -- and a vast appetite.  When her plate runneth empty, she signs "more".  Requests escalate into demands if not met quickly.

At mealtime, she holds her hands together for grace, then claps and smiles at its conclusion.

Every time we visit the park, she wants to swing.  "Sing!"  she declares.  She's been saying her auntie's name and those of her grandparents whenever the phone rings, as though she wonders if it's one of them calling us.  When her daddy gets home at the end of the day or she sees someone else she loves, she often gives a happy "hiiiiiiii!"  And she is particularly attached to her Corolle baby doll -- though she has a few others and dotes on them as well; her face lights up when she sees "Baby".  It (she?) is her constant companion.

Speaking of cookies, I only recently let her have some of the chocolate chips in the cookies we make with chickpeas and oatmeal.  Up until then, I would just break off pieces around the chips and give the cookie part to her.  At her first taste with chocolate, a look crossed her face, the meaning behind it unmistakable: "you've been holding out on me." 

More than a few times now I've found the lass up on the sofa or a chair by her own accomplishment.  She's a determined girl.  And she's got those brothers working for her...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

tough choices

Today the elder lad's preschool is going to the zoo.  The families have been asked to go rather than the teachers and volunteers managing the big group.  While I support this idea, we are not going -- not today.

Here are some reasons why:
  • I am a simpering mess.
  • The lass started running a temperature last night and is starting to simper herself.
  • The wind is sweeping down the plain with great gusto.  This does not bode well for any of us who are already ailing with allergies and sinus misery (that's all of us).
  • Our bambini like to experience the zoo at their pace, lingering here and there and skipping over other things.  Going with a big group does not allow for this kind of flexibility.
  • I noticed on another school bulletin board that today is their class field trip to the zoo, and I would not be surprised if other schools have the same idea for today.  We once went to the zoo during Spring Break.  I won't be doing that again.  Conversely, we went as a family on a drizzly June day and had the place to ourselves and a delightful time.
  • Any zoo outing is always an undertaking for us, even under the best conditions.  Such are not present today.
 The lad is understandably disappointed to miss the outing with his "schoolmates", as he calls them.  In discussing this situation, I've let him know the reasons why we aren't able to go today, expressed empathy for his disappointment, and told him that we hope to go as a family soon when we can experience the zoo as we like to -- looking for the teeny poison dart frogs, the jaguar, the lions and tigers, the giraffes, and spending as much or as little time as we want checking them out to our satisfaction.  He seems okay with it now.  In fact, he seems happy to have a home day to play cars and other such things he enjoys.

Today happens to be the younger lad's spiritual birthday, the occasion of his baptism three years ago.  He's requested French toast for dinner, so it'll be fun getting that ready together.

This zoo trip is one of those cases (as with so many others) where the decision must be made taking into account the needs of all the family members.   Given all the factors, it's a no-brainer.  We might not be headed to the zoo, but we can still make it a "glory day" (even if we're sniffling).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

mothering under the weather

The lads are finished with their rounds of antibiotics.  Now it's me with a selection of them.  I've got another sinus infection --the second in a month, for which I have two prescriptions.  Fabulous.  Being on antibiotics again so soon is, as I've written before, unsettling to me, as it had been many years (pre-marriage and motherhood) since I had been on them (thankfully) and now I'm on them for the third time since November.

Forging ahead with caring for bambini when we ourselves are mildly under the weather is one of those things that we who are primary caregivers of little people just do (as do people employed in other professions).  There is no calling in sick.   I'm not incapacitated, but I am feeling the effects of the infection and companion restless night (or several, since the younger lad has been coughing so much at night).  This makes me far less patient when it comes to normal (if annoying) antics and mischief-making or (more seriously) disobedience.  It also makes me feel less like playing and more like turning on a video, though I've been trying to read to the bambini as much as my raspy voice will allow and still be as present to them as possible (along with some selective video watching).

I know it's got to be difficult for the bambini to understand why Mama might not be up for repeated trips upstairs to play or running around outside.  I hope to be back to my regular self soon.   As we slog through this allergy season, here's hoping we can all find ways to grow in holiness by offering up our small sufferings.  Maybe this is an opportunity for the bambini to practice their virtues of kindness, patience, and self-control (among others).  If nothing else, they'll know their mama is not immune to the same allergens and germs that are causing them such sniffling, coughing, and general malaise.

not as grown up as he would like to think he is

I was watching my elder lad jog from the garage to the mailbox, thinking about how grown-up he was looking running that way (being almost *five* and all), when *splat* down he went on his hands and knees.  He popped back up, turned around, and wordlessly -- stoically -- came to me (a few steps behind him) for a hug and therapeutic kiss on his sore hand.  He's still my little guy-- for now, anyway.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

he gets it.

Having a little discussion with the younger lad on nutrition...

him: "grapes have protein, mama?"
me: "no, but they have other good things for us -- like vitamins."
him: "they have natural sugar."
me: "yes, they do."

him: "chips have natural sugar, mama?"
me: "not exactly.  They are carbohydrates, though.  They're extra -- a sometimes thing -- for after we've had our growing food."

him: "bagels have protein, mama?"
me: "not a whole lot, unless you put peanut butter or something like that on them.  Yogurt has protein."
him: "yes yes yes!  I *love* yogurt!"

Monday, April 26, 2010

beau soir

In considering the various occupations of time between the bambini's bedtime and my own -- laundry, having some chocolate, and going on to bed myself being options, there really wasn't much debate.  I fell asleep snuggling the bambini for bedtime prayers.  When I awoke, I heard the last track playing on their bedtime CD and knew it was time to call it a day.  That answers that...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

apothecary shop

Allergy season is really giving us -- like so many others -- some trouble around here.  To show for it, we have a veritable apothecary of over-the-counter and prescription medicines, supplements like probiotics to help offset the tummy-upsetting effects of antibiotics, and vitamins.  One lad is on antibiotics to treat an ear infection that resulted from his allergy flare up, the other lad has an antibiotic eye drop to clear up an infection in his eye that seems to have developed from his allergies, and all three bambini now take an over-the-counter allergy remedy each night before bed.  This is in addition to the vitamins they take to maintain general health.

To keep all this straight, I've made a list of what each child is taking, how frequently, how much, and for how long, and we make tick marks on either the bottle of antibiotics or a piece of paper each time prescriptions are dispensed.  The organizer in me wants to make a chart for a more visually-enhanced experience.  I wonder if that might be overdoing it.  Probably not.

Having been through two stints of allergy shots myself and experiencing great improvement in my seasonal allergy suffering, I am no stranger to the allergy scene.  The shots helped, though, and I have been off allergy medication entirely for several years.  We live in one of the "allergy capitals" of the country, and this year is one of the worst seasons by way of pollen counts and their effects on allergies. Fresh off antibiotics myself to clear up a sinus infection, now I've got a similar eye ailment affecting the younger lad.  My beloved is also feeling the effects of the proliferation of allergens.

Whenever possible, we try to heal ailments with natural remedies such as buckwheat honey for coughs (at our pediatrician's recommendation), nasal saline rinses for clearing sinuses (though I haven't brought myself to trying a neti pot, which has garnered a lot of media attention this year), and homeopathic remedies.  We try to avoid using antibiotics unless absolutely necessary (but will when warranted).  Ever the obsessive label reader, when we must resort to over-the-counter medications, I try to find the ones that are dye-free and contain the fewest preservatives and ancillary (or "inactive") ingredients.  Side effects are something we take into consideration when deciding whether to start a new medication.

The worst part for me is seeing the bambini suffering, like last night when the younger lad coughed so hard he threw up, or when we're having to administer medication that is unpleasant for them to receive (like his eye drops -- how he loathes them).  My heart goes out to those people and families who face constant and far greater suffering than we do.   We are very grateful for our overall good health and place a premium on nourishing ourselves well to maintain it. 

Here in our little home pharmacy, we hope to dispense with the dispensing of medications as soon as the allergen heyday for such things as tree pollens and grasses tapers off.  Until then, I'm going to be monitoring our supply of tissue and tinkering with my chart to get it just so.  I'll probably get it that way just when the need for it is ending.  And that will be fine by me...

Friday, April 23, 2010

if I had a hammer

Variations on a theme:
(can you guess what it is today? -- not that this would distinguish it from very many other days, but I digress)
  • "If you want to hammer, do so on your tool bench."
  • "That's not a hammer."
  • "Hit *balls* with bats -- and not toward the house!"
  • "Please save hammering (on your tool bench) for after siesta time."
Really the lads have spent most of the day digging in the dirt box out back (or using plastic carrot-shaped baseball bats as drumsticks for their "concert") or in the sand box at the park where we met some friends for a little while, but the rest of the time...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

toddlerisms: the best kind of vocabulary lesson

younger lad: "I'm a chip-a-nee-ma."

me: "What's that?"
he: "It's a kind of chickpea."

me: "What do you use it for?"
he: "For chook chooks."

me: "What are those?"
he: "A kind of cookie."

well, of course.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

mark my words

An A/C dude is here to service the units for summer.  I *will not* mention anything about capacitors.  Should he happen to bring them up, I will not ask him if he drives a DeLorean in his off hours. 

instant breakfast

I'm giving this smoothie a go in the hopes of fending off the low-blood-sugar-induced dizzies to which I seem especially prone during pregnancy.  Loaded with protein and sweetened with agave nectar (which does not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels), let's hope it does the trick.  I'm taking it with me on our morning jaunt to preschool and wherever else...

Monday, April 19, 2010

musical minds

We always like going to story time at our local branch library.  The talented librarian who usually leads it brings instruments to play between books.  She has several follow-along songs and little games she does with them.

In the past month or two, I've stopped slinging the lass at story time.  She likes to walk around a little -- or just stand there and listen to the story (or sit on the floor and play with my little purse).  Today, though, she got some egg shakers and jingle bells along with her brothers and had a great time shaking them at the designated time.   She's had fun playing with the instruments we have at home, but seeing her following the librarian's directions was amazing!  She was having a great time.

Add this to the songs the younger lad breaks into and the elder lad's piano prowess, and I think I might have some little musicians on my hands...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

sister day

I became a big sister 17 years ago today.  It has always been my joy having the sister I do.  She's growing into a lovely young lady, and it's my honor to call her my friend.  I wish her great joy today and in the coming year, and pray she is blessed with discernment, wisdom, fortitude, peace, and grace.

Friday, April 16, 2010

so it goes

Funny thing happened this morning: as their dad was leaving for work, the lads discovered a bowl of lemons on the counter.  The younger lad held one above his head and ran around the house yelling "I'm a lemon head!"  Soon we had two Lemon Heads.

I was just about dash over and post this very story, when, as can happen, soon the lemony glee was replaced by some minor fisticuffs between the lads owing to one wanting some space in the bedroom they share and the other seizing an opportunity to irritate his brother by having none of that.

This squabble extinguished, everyone's personal space respected, and the brothers at peace with each other again (how quickly they can let such things go is a bit of a wonder to me, but I'm glad of it), we loaded up to take the elder lad to the pediatrician.

Upon arrival, the younger lad asks "where's the stroller?"  (Sometimes I bring one if it's just me taking all three to the ped.  Sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth.)

"I didn't bring one, babe.  Everybody's walking today."

"Except [the lass].  You carry her, Mama?"  he asks.  I answer in the affirmative.   "I can walk."  he says.  "I have feet.  We all have feet."

Diagnosis: ear infection.  Lovely.  This on top of the relentless sniffling thanks to the ridiculous pollen count.  Poor guy.

Now the house is quiet with three sleeping bambini (a rarity during daylight hours).  Here's hoping my elder Lemon Head will soon be feeling more like himself...

Russell Hoban's Frances books

Russell Hoban's books about a clever badger named Frances and a handful of lovingly-constructed cohorts have a way of finding themselves checked out on my library card at just the right time.  They are repeat checker-outers.   And they speak on some aspects of life familiar to all children (and their parents) in an insightful, humorous way. 

In Bread and Jam for Frances, Frances has an unswerving devotion to bread with jam that rivals my elder lad's preference for bagels with peanut butter for nearly every meal.   She turns up her nose at the eggs her mother serves for breakfast (happily devoured by Frances's baby sister -- sound familiar?  It is at our house.) in favor of the stand-by.  At lunch, she has no interest in the varied and colorful meal her friend Albert brings (complete with little salt and pepper shakers and a host of foodstuffs); she's happy with her bread and jam.  For dinner she will have none of the veal cutlet her father so eagerly enjoys.  She's having... bread and jam.  Her mother catches on to this and serves her only bread and jam, not even offering her what everyone else is having.  Interesting strategy with telling results... maybe it would work here, though it might already be working out that way.  More than a few times now, the lad has said "I'm tired of bagels and peanut butter."

With the three-year-old lad's birthday having just passed, A Birthday for Frances could not be more timely.  Frances's baby sister Gloria is having a birthday, and Frances is struggling with the fuss being made -- even though she has been reassured that her upcoming birthday will merit similar festivities.  Their father takes Frances to choose a birthday present for Gloria.  Frances hems and haws over whether to actually give Gloria the present until the very last moment, verbalizing the internal conflict she feels in her signature song-like way.

Now might be a good time for me to disclose my predisposition to liking the name Frances, as it was my grandmother's.  She went by Fran and was about five-foot-two.  

Frances learns a heartening message about befriending one's sibling in Best Friends for Frances after her buddy Albert tells Frances she can't accompany him on a boy's-only outing.  Frances and Gloria load up their hamper with all kinds of yummy foods (I'm guessing this is after her bread-and-jam-only phase), run into Albert along the way (who would love to help them eat all the food in the hamper), and cautiously allow him to come on their outing.  What will this mean for the budding friendship between the sisters? 

This series also includes Bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, and A Bargain for Frances.  Originally written in the 1970's, there are timeless elements to these stories that make them pertinent to kids and parents today.  The era-specific references increase their charm.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a little night music

The elder lad wandered into the bedroom where I was readying the lass for Lights Out this evening and sat down at our digital piano.  He said something like, "would you like some music?"  To which I replied, "sure!"  It has long been my policy to let the bambini noodle around on the piano (while insisting that "only fingers go on the piano" -- not trucks or toys or other things -- and to use the pads of their fingers at that) and just casually mention things sometimes like "the keys have names from A to G -- not the whole alphabet."

That's what I did tonight, and to my wonderment and great delight, the lad said "let me find A..."

**and he did**

Starting at the very bottom of the keyboard, he spelled aloud "A-B-C-D-E-F-G... A" and kept right on going (he did eventually get to H, I, and J, but I gently reminded him where to start over and he was back on track).  As I've casually done before, I played a few major scales for him in various keys.  Then he played a C-major scale, followed by an original composition about a dinosaur back down at the bottom of the keyboard.

I've been thinking that this summer might be an ideal time to take the next step on him gaining some more familiarity with the piano, because he does seem interested and we will have the time to do it.  I'm pretty daunted by the idea of being his piano teacher, but I have a few materials that I think will probably help (if I can devote the time to perusing them first so that I don't bungle the teachable moments as they present themselves). 

We'll see what other compositions might come out of such informal studies...

Monday, April 12, 2010

in the moment

There are moments that unfold into stretches of time defying explanation or categorization.  They are some of the sweetest.

Such a one happened this morning.  The lass awoke after everyone else, and just needed Mama to hold her close while she perked up.  The lads each donned their alter egos for the day: the elder lad was "Sarah," the family dog belonging to a schoolmate of my lad's who often accompanies said schoolmate's mom to pick up her lad from preschool.  We fed him pretend dog biscuits and affirmed he was a "good dog."  The younger lad was Chico Bon Bon, the protagonist in Monkey with a Tool Belt and the just-as-fun sequel Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem.  He segued from monkey-patterned PJs to a t-shirt bedecked with tools.  The lass just stayed snuggled in the crook of my arm, glancing back and forth at her two delightfully nutty brothers.

This went on for a while until Sarah, Chico Bon Bon, the lass, and I moved on to other things (and less tranquil moments).  I was aware of it at the time and have thought back upon this throughout the day, how grateful I am for the time to live out these moments just as they unfold.  This season is coming to an end soon with the elder lad starting kindergarten in the fall, so I want to savor each such moment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


note to self: the charger for the baby monitor will not recharge the iPod, even if the plug appears to fit in one of the holes.  This is not the first time you've tried this, but it still won't work.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

opinion poll

I'm thinking about adding a box of "favorite posts" to the sidebar of this blog.  Kindly leave me a comment with the name or subject matter of your favorite Opus Vita post(s).  Thanks!

tomato red nail polish: yes or no?

This morning my beloved took the lads to a local farm that specializes in cultivating heirloom tomatoes and selling the seeds to hobbyists as well as Seed Savers Exchange.  They chose several varieties of tomatoes to plant in our new veggie garden.  On the way, they stopped at a drugstore for some supplies to enrich the soil (calcium carbonate tablets AKA antacids, aspirin, and Epsom salt) along with the compost they bought at the garden center on the way home.

After some quality time digging in the dirt, the elder lad came in and wanted to bake cookies* with me.  As he was managing the mixer, he said "Mom, I saw some pretty nail polish for you -- green, and all kinds of colors."

"Oh?" Said I.  "Green?"

"Yes, and pink, and purple... all kinds of colors."

"You think I should paint my nails?"  I asked.  (I couldn't agree more.)


I'll get right on that...

*I use butter instead of margarine, because I'm a purist that way, and whole eggs instead of whites. I was ever so happy to have these cookies among the things I'd brought to the hospital with me when our lass was born, as they hit the spot in the wee hours of the morning when I was pacing with, rocking, and snuggling her -- and practicing using such descriptors as "she" and "her" in reference to a child of mine.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

music to my ears

Sometimes the lads get to laughing at the same time and I can't help but think of Ralphie and Randy from the movie A Christmas Story -- they sound so much like them!  (This is one of those movies that I can recite from beginning to end, having watched it nearly every year on Thanksgiving with our dear friends of Bonnie Box fame.)

In fact, when we moved into our current house, I found one of them in a kitchen cabinet next to the wall oven just the right size for a little person and just about offered the lad a glass of milk (as a disclaimer: no one was in trouble -- they were just goofing around).

The lass has a surprisingly full-bodied laugh for such a wee little girl.  I love it.

I try to not to inflict too much tickling in an effort to draw forth the music to my ears that is their laughter, keeping in mind how intensely I dislike being tickled myself, but it's difficult to practice such self-restraint when the reward is so delightful.  Smooches often work well to this end, as do butterfly kisses -- and do not have the same breath-stealing dimension tickling does.  When the lads ask to be tickled, though, I'm happy to oblige until they say "enough!"

But then again, sometimes the bambini can make each other laugh in ways and to such a degree that no one else can (whether or not the hilarious-to-them subject matter is entirely appropriate -- I speak in reference to these two wily preschool-aged boys of mine).  

The sound of my loved ones' laughter -- not just my bambini's but my beloved's, parents', siblings', and friends' -- is truly the sweetest music to my ears.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

bedtime prayers

At the end of a day filled with such delights as a trip to Lowe's with his daddy in "the big truck" and an afternoon spent planting veggies in the garden, the younger lad snuggled up with me for bedtime prayers.  "Mama, I want you to pray with me."

me: "OK.  For whom should we pray?"

him: "You, Mama."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

the end of an era

Making homemade pizza tonight, I query the bambini as to their topping preferences.

Elder lad: cheese (of which he ate none once it was baked -- he put the olive oil, spices, and toppings on but wouldn't eat the finished product)

Younger lad: "pepperoni." 

"What?"  I had to ask.  I was expecting to hear "penny-no-nee", but instead he said "pepperoni."

*sniff* the end of an era...

Monday, April 05, 2010


The bambini and I made an angel food cake for my beloved's birthday today (with Cooks Illustrated's "foolproof chocolate frosting", of which there is some leftover -- happy day!).   It was a first for me; I haven't had a lot of angel food cake in my lifetime, so I really wasn't too sure what I was going for anyway.  Maybe it was better that way.  I'm happy to report, though, that it seemed to be just what my beloved was hoping for.

We do a lot of baking together, and I've come to a new level of acceptance when it comes to spatula shenanigans.  The main point is, after all, to craft something healthy (or at least festive, in today's case) and delicious *together*.  The lads love to scoop and pour ingredients, pretending that they're dirt or cement mix or some such thing.  The elder lad takes great pride in operating the stand mixer (with an adult standing right there, of course).  The younger lad loves to help, so he's happiest given any task -- especially one involving sifting or pouring.   As with everything else, I try to employ positive language as my default, so I say such things as "keep all the ingredients in the bowl", which at our house seems to be better received when phrased as "keep all the cement in the drum" (as in, the drum of the cement mixer truck). 

As my beloved has said before, it isn't a party until the mixer gets dirty.  Still I try to keep as close a lid on kitchen messes as I can, because I don't want sugar tracked throughout the house and know full well how quickly that can happen if one of the bambini gets loose after a spill.  I'm one of those to clean up as I go along, because really I'm lazy and hate cleaning up a big mess afterward.  I find it so discouraging.

Messes are a part of life with young children.  We try to minimize them or clean them up right away, but they aren't (usually) causes for distress.  Making the right memories with the bambini of us collaborating on something we all can delight in together like a birthday cake or something that will be both yummy and nutritious are more important than stressing out about a mess.  Learning to clean the mess up is a valuable and much-needed skill anyway.  It comes with the territory.  At least, that's what I try to tell myself...

Here's hoping my beloved has had a delightful birthday today, and that he knows how much he is loved and cherished.  We are all grateful for him and his loving, humble service to our family.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter anticipation

While I might have been a bit uncertain of myself on Holy Thursday, I awoke this morning with great joy that Easter is upon us.  At this late hour I am filled with hope and excitement that we have arrived at long last at the night in which

"Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave."*
* From the Exultet, proclaimed at the Easter Vigil after the lighting of the new Paschal Candle which burns throughout the Easter season and at every baptism (among other times) in the year to come.

Now's about the time people who have gone to the Easter Vigil, including those who have come into the Catholic Church, might be returning home or celebrating with their fellow faithful at a reception in the church parish hall.  We didn't go to the Easter Vigil this year, as it begins after the bambini's bedtime and is a long -- breathtakingly beautiful -- liturgy filled with prayer, music, flowers, rejoicing ... all the best efforts of all those who gather to celebrate.

We spent this beautiful Holy Saturday with my parents and sister.  It was a lovely little getaway for us, highlighted by lots of fun outside and an emphatic "this is so fun!" from the elder lad as he hunted for the eggs his auntie had hidden for him and his siblings.

As we begin our Easter celebration -- one that the Church celebrates for 50 days, and every Sunday of the year -- I reflect back on our Lenten journey, grateful for the blessings it brought to light, grateful for the renewal and opportunities for repentance it offered, and grateful for the grace that propels us forward to (by that same grace) maintain this deepened connection with Christ every day henceforth. 

I think the best closing comes from the Exultet again:

"May the morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever."

Amen.  Alleluia!

Friday, April 02, 2010

gratitude on Good Friday

Lord, on this Good Friday when you gave your very self for our salvation, I thank you for your many blessings, especially those of life itself, redemption, faith, joy, hope, peace, protection, guidance, and grace.  Please continue to bless us with these gifts; help us to use them according to your will and for your glory.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

ready or not

I've been checking things off my list to be ready for Easter (baskets, correspondence, ingredients for celebratory meals, and such) and my beloved's birthday on Monday.  I'm happy to say I'm pretty much ready (except for the table full of laundry that awaits folding and the packing for our overnight trip tomorrow to visit my parents and sister for the holiday, but I'll get to those). 

The thing is, I'm not convinced that I'm spiritually ready for the events of this weekend -- for Easter morning.  I'm not sure if I lived Lent as well as I should have, or if I have helped my bambini do so.  They know we have been in the season of Lent and generally of it being a season of repentance, that tomorrow -- Good Friday -- we will mark the Lord's passion and death, and that Sunday is Easter (about which they are very excited).  We have scaled back on many of the perks and pleasantries in an effort to allow Christ to enter more fully in, and we have made this reason known to our bambini.  There is that nagging question in my mind, though, as to whether it has been enough.  Is it ever?

This being after sundown on Holy Thursday, we have entered into the Triduum, meaning Three Days, commemorating the Last Supper, Good Friday of the Lord's Passion, and Easter (including the Easter Vigil celebrated after sundown on Holy Saturday).  Lent has ended; we have arrived at the holiest of holy days.  

I pray for the grace to be open to receiving the graces poured out in abundance these final days leading up to Easter, for for either a release from self-doubt and/or a renewed sense of focus and accomplishment in living the liturgical year -- especially these holiest days and seasons -- in a very real way, and for a heart open and ready to rejoice Sunday morning. 
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