Friday, February 10, 2017

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. The Circus!

Last Saturday, our children were able to attend the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus during its final touring year, after 145 years of entertaining Americans.

This has fondness for me because my father took us to this circus annually, our missing only about two years in two decades.

On Saturday afternoon, a friend called us and said he had an extra ticket for the showing in two hours, and did John want to accompany their family? Well, we couldn't let just John go to such a fond, historic event, so we quickly hopped online and bought three more tickets--only three could be purchased together in those late moments!

Chris took the two girls, while our friend took John, and I stayed home with the two little boys. I felt badly for Joseph, but Chris pointed out rightly that the overly loud noises and blaring lights can be quite frightening for a child that age (which I remember from my much younger little sister attending the circus when we were children).

A grand time was had by all the children, plus I received a little blessing at home that night.

2. Perseverance in Reading Aloud

As the children rushed in the door, I was upstairs, having put the two little ones to sleep. Bursting into the master bedroom, they said, "We're ready for you to read to us!" I asked first to "hear all about it." Margaret started telling me earnestly about what happened in the last chapter of our current read-aloud ("Skylark" of the "Sarah, Plain and Tall" series). I corrected, "No, no! I meant to tell me about the circus!"

Even though our children were positively dazzled by the circus--they had real horses, Mama! Real!--their first thought upon coming home in the evening was that we would they wanted to have our nightly ritual of reading aloud.

So, we got in PJs and read "Skylark" and "Mr. Bowditch."

3. The Feast of St. Agatha

I baked three loaves of Spiced Applesauce Bread on Saturday in anticipation of an event planned by the Charlotte Latin Mass Community.

We arranged for the Cantate Domino Latin Choir (the girls' choir) to sing on the Feast of St. Agatha and encouraged everyone to bring in bread to be blessed by the priest. People brought in delicious quick breads to share as well as loaves of bread to be blessed and taken home. We served coffee as usual plus hot apple cider.

The festivities resulted in attendance of our 12:30 Latin Mass being one-third bigger than the biggest attendance we ever have!

Fr. Barone blessing the bread

Not only did the girls' choir sing for the Mass, but they led our parishioners in a wassailing song afterward, marking the end of the liturgical Christmas season.

The girls' choir leading a wassailing song

Notes from Chris' short speech to the parishioners:
The ancient tradition of wassailing involved people at the end of Christmastide going door to door singing and offering a drink of warm cider in exchange for gifts. This practice is where the modern practice of caroling comes from.
The word wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon greeting meaning “be thou in good health” for which the response would be “drinc hail” … which means “drink thou to good health”.

An ancient ceremony popular in parts of Spain, France and Germany was known as the “Farewell to the Alleluia”.

As you may recall, starting next week, on Septuagesima Sunday, the Alleluia is suppressed from the Mass until Easter Sunday. The reason is that our lips must be cleansed and purified by the penance of Lent before we dare utter it again on Easter.
The farewell ceremony was enacted just before Septuagesima Sunday in several ways: either by reciting hymns in honor of the alleluia, by solemnly burying a casket that represents the Alleluia, or in the most grand of displays the men of the parish would build a large man made of wood and straw with the words Alleluia across his chest and they would burn the “Alleluia Man” in a large bon fire in the town square.

Back at home, Chris decided to make a quick Alleluia Man out of Popsicle sticks and paper to burn in a back yard bonfire, which the kids thought was great fun.

4. Superbowl 51

After all the St. Agatha festivities, we whisked home, Mary and I attended our music lessons, we ate a classically Americana dinner, and then watched the Super Bowl, turning off the TV during the unappealing halftime show.

I retired to bed during the third quarter, thinking to myself that it is quite a dull Super Bowl game when one team scores all the points and the other team manages nothing. Of course, that is how I missed a historic game and one of the greatest come-backs in football history.

5. New Sneakers

I'm no pro athlete like those in the Super Bowl, but I was so happy that my dad bought me new walking sneakers for my fortieth birthday. I was walking about three brisk miles per day before this pregnancy, and then couldn't hardly move for six weeks, but now, at almost 14 weeks along, I'm back up to a slow one to one-and-a-half miles. I'm hoping the second trimester energy will get me really moving again!

6. Thomas

I installed a baby gate in the Bonus Room, dividing the play half and the school half. Thomas did not like this development because it meant I could actually teach, and he could not turn the printer on and off dozens of times, dump all the pens, pencils, and crayons into a giant, mixed-up pile, color on things that aren't paper, or empty my bookshelves of books.

In an effort not to let me become too efficient at teaching, Thomas spent all week standing at the baby gate, screaming his heart out for as long as I would sit on the other side teaching a sibling. He's almost loud enough that the student and I can't hear each other talking, so Thomas' method of protest is working.


Like most toddlers, Thomas likes to climb atop the piano bench and play a few notes throughout the day. What makes it especially cute is that he often finds a piece of paper and sets it carefully on the music stand to be his "sheet of music" for playing. One day this week, he carried a wrinkled Post-It Note lovingly back and forth between the two pianos to use as his sheet music.

One morning before I'd dressed Thomas in daytime clothing, he retrieved a pair of his four-year-old brother's clean underwear and brought them to me with much enthusiasm and a wordless request--he's still wordless at 18 months old--to wear them. So, I put them on Thomas over his pajamas and that toddler was one happy boy all morning!

So proud of his underwear

7. New-to-Us Furniture

I've been seeking a furniture solution to store toys in the Bonus Room because our old, faithful armoire we used for that purpose has really bitten the dust: over the years, the drawers on the bottom broke so we couldn't open them to retrieve the toys, then the doors broke and wouldn't ever close, and finally this month the shelving collapsed and all the bins of toys came sliding out.

It was surprisingly hard to find a large piece of furniture that would lock and that wasn't above my budget, and I was about to go with a utilitarian Rubbermaid-type of furniture, the kind used to store tools in a garage. However, a friend's business is closing its office and moving to a work-at-home model, so the friend offered that I could look over the used office furniture to purchase. We scored a wonderful deal on seven pieces of furniture! This is going to transform our Bonus Room (both the play side and the school side), and reduce stress for me as I should be able to lock away things like art supplies and toys with small parts.

I'm so excited for Friday afternoon when some strapping young men from our homeschool community come over to help us retrieve and move all the furniture pieces around.

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

1 comment:

  1. We wanted to take our kids to the circus during this final tour but, alas, they're cutting it a little short. They come to our town annually in late May, but it looks like they're finishing up before then.