Saturday, December 14, 2013

{Marmee at the Window}

Happiest of Birthdays to my Marmee! I often read Little Women in December, which means that Mrs. March is on the brain whenever my mom's birthday rolls around. I can't help but note the similarities between these women, and am so very thankful to have a friend, mentor and confidante in my own Marmee. 

Mother's Day, 2001

One of the dearest portraits in the story is still echoed in our home, and has been for years and years. It represents the love, support, cheering and tenderness that Krista, Johnny and I grew up with and know still today:

They always looked back before turning the corner, for their mother was always at the window, 
to nod and smile, and wave her hand to them. Somehow it seemed as if they couldn't have gone through the day without that; for, whatever their mood might be, the last glimpse of that motherly face was sure to affect them like sunshine.
 ~L.M. Alcott

So today I'm grateful for the sunshine in our lives, and the nods and smiles that have lifted our spirits and inspired our souls to go out into the world -- yet always with a look back and a special wave for our Marmee, faithfully standing at the "waving window."
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Friday, December 13, 2013

{A Winner!}

My Little Miss has been curled up this week with her own copy of Little House in the Big Woods. It's such a delight to watch her enjoy those timeless stories! We (Aidan, Avery and I) also finished our read-aloud this week (The Wheel on the School -- such a delightful read), and decided to move on to Farmer Boy next. We're just two or three chapters in and we're already reminded of how . . . delicious . . . this book is! So descriptive and cozy . . . and so much talk of food! We were nearly drooling last night over the ham and the cakes and the pies . . . and oh, it's lunch time and I'm torturing myself. Thankfully, I have a pot of chicken and rice soup simmering on the stove. Hooray for leftovers. (And of course the children have faithfully reminded me that it's Chocolate Milk Friday.)

Thank you for once again taking part in my giveaway, dear friends! We shook our ABC tiles like crazy to determine this week's winner, and I'm pleased to announce that Candice has won a copy of Little House in the Big Woods! (Go ahead and shoot me an email or facebook message with your address, Candice, and I'll pop your book in the mail!)

Have a comfy-cozy weekend, my friends! If not filled with hams and pies, may it warm your spirit and fill you with joy, nonetheless!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

{Then and Now}

Because some moments . . .

Are worth repeating.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

{The Trip, Part Four: Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So and So On}

It seems only fitting to follow last week's live television airing of The Sound of Music with our own magical experiences in those very same places.

As we were preparing for our trip, we debated about whether or not to do the official Sound of Music tour. We'd heard it was great, but we also knew it would be one more expense and that we would have to follow a schedule. Some of us aren't overly fond of schedules. And large groups of people. We opted to go it alone. This ended up being a great choice. We were able to leisurely stroll about the gardens and fountains and, whenever we wanted more details or information, we naturally went to Wikipedia as our source. Naturally.

Our morning began in the Mirabell Gardens where many of the Do-Re-Mi shots in the film took place. We skipped across the fountains, just like Maria and the Von Trapp children, and . . . we even saw a nun out for a morning walk. (Quick! Pretend like I'm taking your picture!!! It's a NUN!!!) It was thrilling. We didn't wear jumpers fashioned from drapes, but if we'd had the option, I'm sure we would have. (I did wear a skirt -- on purpose -- because it just seemed like The Right Thing to Do.)

We had watched the movie before heading to Salzburg, so the best way we could describe the trip to Kinsley was by calling the whole experience "The Sound of Music." She was very excited to go to "The Sound of Music," where her one hope was to pick a purple flower. We were quite sure that flower picking wasn't allowed in the gardens, but that's just not something you can tell a three-year-old who has traveled for hours and hours to visit the really-truly "Sound of Music." We quietly surrounded her while she (shhhh!) picked a flower. (Good thing the nun wasn't nearby.) That was all she needed, and her Sound of Music dreams had come true.

Our own Sound of Music dreams came true throughout the day as well. We hopped up and down the steps (whilst accompanied by a man playing the accordion) and realized how tricky it must have been for the children to hop backwards in that scene. As we hopped and skipped, a bride and groom emerged from the nearby chapel. How romantic is that?

We also found the statues that the children skip in front of during the same Do-Re-Mi scene. Our hands, patting where little Gretl's hand once patted. Our feet, hopping where Julie Andrews' feet once hopped. Amazing.

Nearby, Kinsley was drawn to a park, and we welcomed the chance to let her run and play and spin for a bit.

The rest of the Sound of Music sites required "roaming about Salzburg," so after touring the city on foot (visited in The Trip, Part Three), we hopped back in the car and took inventory. We had yet to find The Yellow Wall, the Lake Where Maria and the Children Tip Over in the Canoe and The Outside of the Von Trapp Home with the Iron Gate. We fairly quickly found the lake, with the villa in the distance. Krista jumped out to snap a few pictures, and I leaned from the car to snap pictures of her snapping pictures. It was at this point that Kinsley piped up, "Can Somebody please move so I can see?"

I quickly deduced that I was The Offending Somebody and leaned back so the princess could have an unobstructed view of the lake.

(A note: Because Kinsley hasn't spent much time with her aunties, and because Krista and I look somewhat alike, Kinsley had a hard time telling us apart at first. It took a few days for her to stop calling us "Hey!" and "Somebody!" and Brooke very gently guided her in calling us Auntie Krissie and Auntie Juni rather than Hey and Somebody. Alas, I remained Somebody for the remainder of the trip. As I was often reminded.)

The daylight was slipping away as Krista hopped back in the car. We peered at Nonnberg Abbey in the distance (unfortunately we didn't have time to go there) and wound our way until we found The Yellow Wall and The Outside of the Von Trapp Home. (Of course many of the movie locations are actually Hollywood sets.)

We jumped in and out of the car, cramming in as many pictures as we could while the light lingered. It's also possible that we drove the car down a pedestrian path to approach a certain location. We had confidence in sunshine, we had confidence in rain, and we had confidence that spring would come again.

We also had confidence that we had had an amazing day, and that Hey and Somebody had just seen a dozen dreams come true.

* * * * *

After a very full and exciting day, we headed back toward Filzmoos to grab dinner and head to bed. As we were nearing the restaurant, little Kinsley was still working on her aunties' names, and Brooke was still helping her use them. By this time it was dark and Kinsley requested, "Can Somebody please turn on the light?" 

Brooke gently reminded her to use specific names, and Kinsley rose to the occasion. "Excuse me . . . Miss? Can Somebody please turn on the light?" Somebody did.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

{Friday Giveaway!}

The other day as I was waiting in the checkout line at the local thrift store (oh, I found the loveliest cream crocheted table cloth that just fits our round school table!), the woman in front of me was pulling her things together to leave when the cashier wished her, "Happy Holidays!"

The woman leaned in and hissed, "What did you say?"

The cashier smiled, "I said Happy Holidays!"

"Which holiday?" she demanded.

"Well, Christmas . . ." stammered the clerk. "Some people get offended . . ."

"Then say Merry Christmas!" she growled, and stomped out of the store, muttering other Scrooge-like comments under her breath.

Well. That was something to behold. (I like to call it irony.) Also pretty sad. I was as merry and cheerful as could be to that cashier, looking at her with eyes that oozed, "I'm really sorry you have to deal with people like that."

And when she wished me "Happy Holidays," I said, "Thank you! You have a great day!" even though I wouldn't have been the slightest bit offended if she had said "Merry Christmas."

Sigh. What is this world coming to? Well, there is still good in this world! And to prove it, I'm going to give away another delicious book: Little House in the Big Woods. EVERYONE in this aching world should be required to read the Little House books. Don't you think? I have a few copies of the set in my house -- I intend to see that my children's someday homes are properly furnished with all of them -- but this is an extra! It's in good used condition, with a slight crease on the spine and a few very gentle wrinkles on a couple of the front pages. No odors, writing or tears.  

I would love for this book to find a place on your bookshelf! If you would too (and your mailing address is in the US), go ahead and leave me a comment here on the blog or under the link on facebook (one entry per person). In your comment, why don't you mention one scene or story that stands out in your mind from any of the Little House books. If you haven't read them yet, just promise me you will someday! :o) I'll announce a winner next Friday!

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. We had a little dusting of snow this morning, and Little Miss is down with a bit o' fever. (Not to be confused with the Fever n' Ague of Little House fame.) So we're hunkering down with warm drinks, books and Christmas movies. I'm pulling for White Christmas, but I might be outnumbered by the Elf fans. Either way, I'm sure it will be jolly and merry and happy. Whichever way you say it.
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