29 August 2015

Seven Quick Takes

Happy belated feast of St Augustine! He's one of my favorite saints, obviously; the blog's name comes from one of his quotes. I'm so glad I could make it to Mass yesterday with the kids. The homily for his feast was incredible, drawing parallels between Augustine's day and our own—a breakdown of society from within, a rising threat from barbarism from without, a loss of culture and language, a widespread lack of education, logic, and understanding of history. St Augustine intimately understood the faults and follies of his day, because he had personally adopted one after another of them in the years before his conversion. Following conversion and later ordination, St Augustine put his logical and rhetorical powers to work correcting error and instructing on the Truth; a remarkable body of his works have been passed down to us today, smuggled out of Hippo just before the city was sacked by the Vandals. It is for us to pray, Father said, for the grace to transform our culture and our world as St Augustine did. 

Our local Catholic radio station, an EWTN affiliate, brought Fr Mitch Pacwa, S.J., up for their annual celebration and fundraising event this weekend. (That was his homily yesterday that I appreciated so much!) Following Mass this morning with the bishop and some other priests from our diocese, Fr Pacwa gave a talk on "the glory of the liturgy," and is giving another this evening on "sanctifying Catholic families." I really, really wanted to go hear both talks, but with two potentially disruptive little kids, I didn't think it would be right to go and risk bothering everyone else. Both talks are being recorded, though, and I can't wait to hear them! When I find a link to the recordings, I'll be sure to share it. From what I've heard, this morning's talk was excellent.

I did bring the kids to the radio station's potluck supper tonight, though. Matt couldn't come, which was so unfortunate: I got to see so many of the people we know from all of the different parishes, including some I hadn't seen in years, and many who had not yet met Kit. As part of the supper, the event organizers set up a "crockpot taste-off" with categories for soup, stew, chowder and chili, as well as a dessert auction. I brought fudge for the auction (Little Bear was very disappointed to have to set it up on the dessert table and walk away from it!), and vegetarian chili with brown basmati rice to pour it over. I knew there was no way that vegetarian-anything would win in a crowd of Alaskan hunters, but I didn't have any meat thawed, and my crockpot was half empty by the end of the evening, so some folks must have appreciated having a meatless option! Plus, it made me happy to be able to label it "Friday Chili" and have a halfway reasonable expectation that if people had come to an event supporting the Catholic radio station, they would be able to infer that it was meatless.

No snow yet. I shouldn't have to say that in August, right? But we did actually have snow forecast for this morning; fortunately, it was 36 degrees F when we woke up this morning, so it was just raining instead of snowing. I mean, yuck, 36-degree rain, but at least we can still hold out hope for not getting snow until September this year! Matt ran out in the rain and brought in a load of wood and kindling, and he and Little Bear laid the first fire of the season before breakfast this morning.

Plaid flannel and carharts... those're my men. Matt split a bunch of wood this afternoon, and Little Bear helped him haul it up to the porch and stack it neatly in the wood rack. Winter will be here before we know it.

Amazon Subscribe & Save: the verdict is... meh. Last month, we got a box of Huggies sz 1 diapers, a box of Huggies sz 4 overnight diapers, and a box of Huggies Natural wipes. We've used the Huggies brand since Little Bear was born, but Kit's diapers and the wipes that they sent us didn't seem to be the same quality; the diapers didn't fit at all and leaked awfully, so I wound up switching to Pampers and buying them at the store all month; we donated the giant Huggies box to the crisis pregnancy center, hoping they would fit a baby with a different body shape. The wipes work fine, but frequently tear in half when I'm taking them out of the package, which has never been a problem before. They also have a different texture than we were used to. We are using up this box, but then I'm going to re-check my price comparison; I'm pretty sure we can get Safeway's store-brand wipes (which we like) for a better price than the brand-name wipes even with the Subscribe & Save discount.

The overnight diapers are fine, and are definitely a better price than in stores, so we'll keep getting those. I changed the sz 1 diaper subscription from Huggies to Pampers, so we will see how those are; this month's Subscribe & Save delivery was only the Pampers, and they just arrived yesterday—I haven't yet had time to open the box. So far, though, I'm definitely underwhelmed by the program.

When Little Bear was tiny, it was frustrating but kind of amusing that he absolutely flat-out refused to wear anything that didn't have two separate enclosed legs: the elastic-hemmed or closed-bottomed "sleep sack" styles of sleepers were completely unacceptable, and he would kick and scream until I changed him into something with feet. Now, Little Miss Kit does not like pajamas with feet. Not one bit. Last night I knew it was supposed to get down into the low 30s, so I put her in fleece footie pajamas... and she kicked and screamed until I gave up and handed her off to Daddy so I could slip into the sleeping Little Bear's room and find the great big up-to-9mo fleece sleep sack that I had never expected to need and had folded up and stuck in the closet. Once in her preferred style of pajamas, the crying immediately stopped and she snuggled down and went to sleep.

My siblings started school last week, so we did too; it's less of a scheduled thing and more of a "when I think of it and am sitting down feeding the baby and need something good for him to do" kind of thing, which is fine because it's mostly just of fun this year anyway, and I don't need to be making either of us stressed about "getting school done" at a particular time each day. Little Bear had a fun week: for religion, we talked about some of the basic prayers (sign of the cross, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, guardian angel prayer, St Michael prayer, act of faith, act of hope, act of love, act of contrition), where they come from, what the words mean... We also read about St Monica and St Augustine on their feast days.

We did a page or two every day but Friday in the Early Literacy book, which is definitely his favorite book so far, except for when I ask him to practice using the "tripod grip" with his pencil. On Monday, the book told us to go for a walk and take a picture of something God had created to paste on the first page. Little Bear found this big toadstool:

He practiced writing 1s at Grandma's house Tuesday morning while I ran to town briefly with Kit, and he was so proud of himself for doing his schoolwork while his aunts and uncle were doing theirs.

We had decided that Saturday mornings would be a good time for science with Daddy, but I didn't have things ready for them this morning (a big cookie and frosting to depict a cross-section of the layers of the earth), so I baked cookies today and they'll do it tomorrow. So far, we're all enjoying preschool!

For more quick takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum.

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