Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection Day


Break the box and shed the nard;
Stop not now to count the cost;
Hither bring pearl, opal, sard;
Reck not what the poor have lost;
Upon Christ throw all away:
Know ye, this is Easter Day.

Build His church and deck His shrine;
Empty though it be on earth;
Ye have kept your choicest wine--
Let if flow for heavenly mirth;
Pluck the harp and breathe the horn:
Know ye not 'tis Easter morn?

Gather gladness from the skies;
Take a lesson from the ground;
Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes
And a Spring-time joy have found;
Earth throws Winter's robes away,
Decks herself for Easter Day.
Beauty now for ashes wear,
Perfumes for the garb of woe.
Chaplets for dishevelled hair,
Dances for sad footsteps slow;
Open wide your hearts that they
Let in joy this Easter Day.

Seeks God's house in happy throng;
Crowded let His table be;
Mingle praises, prayer and song,
Singing to the Trinity.
Henceforth let your souls alway
Make each morn an Easter Day.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

Springtime Update

I write that heading more out of "flying by my instruments" than from any sense one could gain from walking outside our house into the five inches of snow on the ground. My calendar says it's spring, and my body insists it must be time. Even if I can't see a single blade of grass or a crocus peeking from all that white.

But at least there is the smell of the Easter lily filling up my whole downstairs, and actually, that almost makes up for it. It is the most perfect smell.
In the last week and half we've been busy--Annabella planting and tending to seeds indoors and decorating Easter eggs; Penelope learning to stand and cruise (and showing unwillingness to go anywhere without her baby doll), saying "HI" and waving at everyone nearby; Jake taking the GRE; and I have busied myself preparing for Jake's birthday, our sixth anniversary, and Easter, and deciding I may actually be homeschooling next year.
Bella and I read a book about seeds that we resurrected from last year's reading, explaining the anatomy and physiology of a seed in beautiful illustrations and storytelling. Then we planted sunflowers, tomatoes, baby's breath and cosmos that will hopefully make their debut in our yard once it's warmer. That was ten days ago. The baby's breath and Autumn Beauty sunflowers are now over 3" tall! We both get very excited to see how they've grown every morning.
Annabella has already started writing simple words and identifying letters and sounds, and she's really wanting to learn to read. So I think we're going to jump into that here in the next few weeks. Who knows... she might be well on her way before her fourth birthday. For this, as well as a few other poignant reasons, I think we're going to be opting for ballet, BSF Kids, and some regular playgroups instead of Montessori next year. And Mama will be doing all the schooling.
Penelope is waving, as I said, "Hi," and very recently "Bye," as well as finding names for everyone in the family. "Dada" is the current favorite, followed by "Baba" (Annabella), and "Mama" falls in a distant third. She's able to go anywhere she wants, including upstairs, so we're having to be more vigilant and finish up baby proofing the house. She's a joyful little lady, and every morning, I look forward to her crawling into our bed and saying, "Hi! Hi!," clasping and unclasping her little hand. She's almost too busy these days to give her mommy a hug. Now I realize I have not had ten children, but I have never seen anything quite as adorable as the relationship Penny has with the little baby dolls we have floating around the house. She will hold one under her arm, lovingly, crawl around and proceed to play, chatter, look at books, etc. with the baby in tow. She will hug it close to her body, show it the toys or books in her hands before discarding them. She will look for the baby when it's not around, and it truly makes her happy. Just embracing and doing all her little endeavors with her baby. It's beyond precious. Jake is applying to MSU's master's program in public affairs for the fall semester, so the last few weeks have seen him brushing up on vocabulary and various math processes in anticipation for the GRE. It came and went and he did just fine. Of course. So now there's the application to finish, statements to complete, and a waiting game for acceptance. He's also been rehearsing with the band he's a part of here in town, and he seems to be having a lot of fun.
As for me, I have the pleasure of following these little girls and this wonderful man around, helping and hovering through each of these new pursuits, cheering on one of my favorite trio of people. In between cheerleading sessions, I'm reading about education philosophy, curriculum, scope and sequence, ordering perennials for my landscaping endeavors, volunteering at church, brainstorming some sewing projects and writing bi-monthly blogs. I'm also looking forward to a visit from my mom in a couple weeks, and we are hoping by then our weather is a little more hospitable. This coming spring might be my favorite yet, simply by contrast to the marathon Michigan winter we'll be pulling out of. But until signs indicate it's around the corner, I'll have to close my eyes, breath in my Easter lily slow and long and pretend I'm a visitor in Eden.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Nine Months

Nine months ago, this morning, Blessed Births Family Wellness and Birth Center:

This evening, before bed:

Our little Joyful Bundle is doing so many fun things! She's just started to REALLY crawl, and is maneuvering through the whole house, even attempting to stand up. She says "Mama" and "Dada," and she LOVES to play with her big sister. (Play rough, even, which is a problem for Mama.) Though she's still nursing, she has an excellent appetite for solid food, particularly enjoying green beans, oatmeal and fruits. The only time she seems to be impatient is if I make the mistake of putting her in her highchair before I'm ready to put a spoon in her mouth. Then there will usually be some squealing and impatient yells... as she gets a bit older, I suppose we'll have to deal with that. :) Her sense of humor is adorable--she loves being silly, especially hanging upside down--and her little laugh is contagious. She will diligently and patiently work with things in her hands, and physically, she's quite strong. She weighs 19 lbs. right now, and her hair is getting to a strange point where I'm having to pull it back all the time in the front. Her favorite activities include playing Mommy's piano, getting a bath, emptying baskets (laundry, toys, anything in a basket), disassembling items and doing anything that includes Annabella. Penelope Mae Joy has brought immeasurable joy into our family; we continue to delight in her every day.