Life is Worth Living

Settling In With No Wind

While it is a difficult thing to move an entire household hundreds of miles, it is also an exciting adventure.  For it does no good to dwell on negative things, like the absence of grandma and grandpa and the lack of a single friend.  No, one had better do constructive things, like find the local coffee shop and clean out the van.

I did just that yesterday, and I found that when I drove out of our valley in search of coffee, the wind was blowing.  I had almost forgotten the sensation.  This lack of a daily wind is an extraordinary thing for us, as we were used to a blasting gale that blew incessantly out on the wild plains of North Dakota.

When I pulled back into the driveway, I left the van outside for the children to clean and vacuum.  The sun was shining with nary a breeze.  The children threw sweatshirts on, even though the thermometer read 39 degrees, and went at it.  I stood on the driveway, cappuccino in hand, and gazed around at the wooded hills.  Amazing.  No wind.

Later, when I went for a run around the neighborhood, I did encounter evidence of the wind on the other side of the “bowl,” however.  Our valley, you see, is shaped like an oblong bowl.  We’re situated on the northwest end, and when I ran around the park, which sits in the very center of the bowl, I noticed a few leaves tumbling across the sidewalk.  When I looked around, indeed, a few tree branches were swaying.  “Well,” thought I, “the wind can enter into this secluded haven after all.”

But surely there must be something terrible about living in a secluded, wooded valley with almost no wind?

And I’ve thought of it.  There are 3 things which must be lamented.

  1. No more sunrises.
  2. No more sunsets.
  3. And I’ll bet the mosquitos are terrible in the summer.

For now, however, I’ll enjoy the calm.  And did you know, we’ve got birds?  Lots of birds!  One can actually hear them in the house even, because there’s no wind.

 

P.S.  There’s no need for hairspray around here either.  I guess can save the environment by getting rid of that.
Life is Worth Living

Moving Update: Hello Minnesota and Wisconsin!

We made it.  We survived (barely) the 600 mile trek across the windswept prairie and have finally arrived in the woods of Wisconsin.

And I never want to move again.

Not that the move didn’t go well, for it did, but hauling around 7 sick children in two piece-of-junk vehicles, packed like sardines, without the comforts of stretching one’s legs or lying in one’s own bed for a week, is not my idea of fun.

This sickness was no ordinary cold either.  Nor was it your run-of-the-mill 24 hour puke fest.  Nope.  This was a 3-week-long raging cough that induced violent vomiting from the little girls. The children affectionately called this illness the “Barfy Cough.”

I never got it, praise be Jesus Christ, but I’m still recovering from not sleeping for a week.

In any case, it’s lovely here in Wisconsin.  I’m convinced that the wind never blows here.  We’re on day four, and I haven’t so much as seen a tree branch flutter.  This is not something you woodsy people can understand.  Coming from the prairie where a 20 mph wind is seen as a “calm” day, this is just unbelievable.

Perhaps I’ll comment more on that later.

A Few Pictures

For those of you who are curious, here a few photos from moving day.  I hope to write more soon, but I’m afraid I’ll need a few more days off, as there are a few items that need my attention…like my backload of laundry and those unopened boxes.

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The children watching the moving truck pull up.  It was exciting to watch all those men unload an entire household in 3 hours!
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This is my dad.  After the workers laid protective flooring and wrapped the front door, he manned it for them–opening and closing it when needed.
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This is my mom and Therese unpacking the kitchen.  Bless their souls!
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Here are the little girls enjoying all those empty boxes.
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The Eldest taking a break with a Little Sister hiding behind her.
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Fun, no?

Lastly, here are some Quick Facts.

Quick Facts About Moving:

  1. It’s terrible.
  2. I’ve learned that all one really needs to unpack are a corkscrew and a crockpot.
  3. In Wisconsin one can buy alcohol right in the grocery store!  Scandalous!  And so lovely!
  4. Our city offers Log Rolling lessons alongside Swimming lessons.  I don’t even know what the former is.
  5. I changed my mind about Number 2.  Really, you just need a coffee pot.  In fact, you should carry one in your purse at all times because you may not be able to A.) find yours, which is likely buried in a box labeled “books” or B.) feel like driving to the gas station at 4 am when your sick children have decided that they’re up for the day.
  6. I have a new respect for Abraham being called out of Ur.  When moving, one should just meditate on that for awhile.  At least I didn’t have to sleep in a tent.
  7. The children enjoyed moving because they got to eat candy on the way.  (I just asked Child Number 5 what her favorite thing about moving was and she said, “Candy.”)

 

 

 

Book Review

Tobit’s Dog: Book Review

I recently finished Tobit’s Dog by Michael Nicholas Richard. I had great hopes for this historical fiction, as one always sees it pasted in the Ignatius Press catalogue near the likes of Sigrid Unset and Michael O’Brien–both both excellent authors.

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Essentially this novel is a retelling of the biblical book of Tobit, but with an American, racial spin, being set in North Carolina during the Depression.  Now, I love the biblical book of Tobit, so as I said, I had great hopes for this modern twist.

Alas, I was disappointed–not disappointed enough to quit reading it, mind you, but just disappointed.  It’s like getting all psyched up for a run in the wintertime.  You know, when you commence putting on layer upon layer of clothing, pull that face mask on, and then realize the wind’s whipping at 30mph with the thermometer hovering at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  What to do?  Suck it up and get going, of course.  Realizing that you’re in for a doozy and that things might not end well.

So as I say, I was disappointed in Tobit’s Dog, and here’s why.

Firstly, the characters were all limp and toneless.  I mean, there was no real depth to Tobit, Tobias, Anna, Sarah, Gaston Walker, Judge Oliver, Mason Newberry, Del Gaines, Ben Cobb, Crafy Forgeron, Doc Mack…well, all of them.  There were too many characters in this book.  It was distracting.  Like on page 9, not kidding, I had to start writing them down.  When I got to 20 names, by the first third of the book, I just quit with it.  And let me tell you, there were many more to come.

Secondly, I was dissatisfied with the plot.  I didn’t mind it when Richard downplayed the great fish miracle or lowered the number of husbands killed by the demon, or used blessed water from Lourdes to cure Tobit’s blindness, but throwing in that disturbing suicide scene and adding the sodomy bit was…too much.  Not too much as in I can’t handle grotesque situations, no.  Too much, as in it was too hasty, barely scratching the surface of human nature, and corny and hackneyed.  In fact, the whole book had a deplorable element of triteness.

That said, would I recommend it?  Maybe, if you’re desperate for a read that won’t assault your Christian morals.  Richard does get that right, and I commend him for it.  You know, the good is good, and the bad is bad.  And good wins.  Thanks be to God.

A Note on Moving

Lastly, we’re in the final stages of packing a household of 9 and about to sail across 600 miles of prairie to disembark in a forest.  It’s rather exciting around here, and I’m a bit distracted.

In other words, it’ll probably be a few weeks before I can offer another post.

 

Life is Worth Living

Moving, again?!?

Yes, it’s true.  We’re moving again.

This time, however, we’re not just hopping across a river and strolling down the road a few miles.  Nope, we’re trekking across the state, skipping over Minnesota, and landing in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where my husband will begin a new job at the end of January.

We’re very excited about this move for a few reasons:

  1. La Crosse puts us within about 70 miles of Rochester, MN, where our son doctors.  This will be a tremendous relief for us, should we need to race to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night again.  (God forbid.)
  2. La Crosse, as you perceptive readers may have noticed, has gorgeous churches, complete with Traditional Latin Masses every single Sunday.  As this is what our hearts long for, we are truly delighted and grateful for this opportunity.
  3. My husband is very pleased too with his new job.  It looks to be just what we need.
  4. And…it’s warmer in Wisconsin!  And the sun shines more.  Not kidding.  My husband looked it up.  Any move closer to the equator is a Serious Plus.

There are a few downsides to moving south (and east), however.

  1. We will be leaving behind family and friends.  This will not be easy, and it does tear our hearts.  We have been so blessed over the years with devoted grandparents and caring friends.  We thank God for them every day.
  2. It will also be terrible to leave the prairie for a forest.  How does one see the weather coming in Wisconsin?  My goodness, I’ll have to actually look at a Weather App.
  3. My husband has frequently commented that he’ll miss his boss and coworkers.  His boss in particular is a good man–a man he looks up to.  He will be awfully hard to replace.

In any case, though, God has clearly made His will known to us, and we are happy to move.  Wisconsin, here we come!

And we did the unthinkable…

Due to the impending move, we did the unthinkable and put the Christmas tree up early.  Yes, we are still observing our Advent rituals.  For example, here are the little girls joyfully watching the Advent candles burn:

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Yes, those candles are crooked; it’s the best we can do around here.

But we did it; we committed Liturgical Sin and bought a huge, 9-foot Fraser Fir right smack in the middle of Advent.*

Oh, what a tree!  Just for fun, here are some photos of the children decorating it.

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All said and done:

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If you look closely at the foot of the fireplace, you’ll see our Nativity Stable and Inn.  (You know, the Inn that rejected Joseph and Mary.)  Of course Joseph and Mary aren’t there yet, in fact, they wandering around in the kitchen cupboards right now, and the children are having a jolly, good time playing with all the shepherds, sheep, and inn keepers.

Favorite Christmas Ornament?

All my birds.  One cannot have enough birds in a Christmas tree.

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Isn’t he cute?

Ok, I really like this ornament too.  It’s my husband in 1987.  He made this ornament for his mother, and she graciously gave it to us.

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Isn’t he cute too?
*Next year, however, we do plan on waiting until the last possible moment for buying and putting up a Christmas tree.  Truly, there is something really special about that.  See HERE for it.
Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Back to School!

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. We’re back into another academic year.  Two of our children are attending a Catholic Montessori School, three are being homeschooled, and the remaining toddler and baby are just. plain. busy.  How do I get it all done?
  2. With a lot of grace and a Good Schedule.  I haven’t quite finished tweaking my new schedule, but when I do, I’ll put it out there for you glance at.  Sometimes it helpful to see what other mothers are doing.
  3. I saw my first weasel the other day.  It was running across our backyard and made for a group of pine trees.  The thing that really stood out was it’s black-tipped tail.  I wish I could have snapped a picture of it.
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Here’s a picture I found on Wikimedia Commons.  Note the black-tipped tail.  The one we saw was about as big as our cat, Strider.

 

4.  My twin boys love serving the Traditional Latin Mass.  Last Sunday I snapped a shot of them holding the torches during the Eucharistic Prayer.  (I know, I know, I should have been praying and not grabbing my phone.  But this just isn’t something one gets to see every day.  In fact, most people never get to see a TLM around here.)

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My boys are the two in the middle.  The beautiful thing about this Mass is the amount of boys wanting to serve.  You can’t see them, but there are three other servers kneeling in choir.

5.  Our house finally sold!  If everything goes well – inspection, etc. – we’ll be moving in October.  We’re very excited about this, as we found a beautiful place to move to that will fit our large family and our large van.  Miracle.