Domestic Church

I forget that my kids have a completely different vocabulary than I did growing up. I'm not even talking about "rad," "dude," "bodacious," (can you tell I grew up in California in the 80's and 90's?) and the like. No, I mean their Catholic language.

Eucharist, examine, confession, canonized, purgatory, etc. were the smallest of blips on my radar growing up.  But for my kids, well, we here them nearly every day.

Most interesting is the way they relate to Mary. I was reminded again of a great quote from St. Maximilian Kolbe recently. "Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Mother too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did." We talk a good deal about and to Mary and, in doing so, have many names and titles for her.

So it's easy to see why Lucy would get turned around.

At the park this week, they had a small merry-go-round.  Lucy wanted to be brave on it but much preferred the swings. Pen though . . . well, Pen stood up while it was spinning and made it to the center where she head banged and laughed. Yes, she is a spitfire. Pray for us. When we got home I was telling Jac about Penny's fearlessness and how the teenagers on the merry-go-round had been so patient with her.

"Yeah, when I was on the lady-go-round, those big kids were nice but I was scared." Lucy explained.

"The what?" we asked to clarify.

"The lady-go-round."

"What??"

"LADY-go-round."

"Ooooh! The merry-go-round?"

"Yes!  That's what I said!"

I didn't laugh, but I did smile.  We call Mary by her name but also by her many titles. "Our Lady," is utilized often. So what's the big deal about replacing what sounded like her name with this simple title?

I doubt this name will stick as the parks we frequent are lame and don't have merry-go-rounds. But I want the memory of this mix-up to hang about a while longer.

We are all about learning-by-doing around here.  Penny has begun to attempt the sign of the cross and is enthusiastic about holding her hands for prayer.  This is thanks to plenty of, "Penny! Do this! PenPen! Look! Pen! Like this!" (siblings are great!) and her just observing.

It's great until you realize that some of the finer points get lost in translation.

This spring, Lucy insisted she could lead a decade of the Rosary. I'm trying to remember that the little kids need the opportunities their older siblings were given.  So while we were all doubtful, we invited her to lead.

She smiled and got bashful.  She quietly mumbled her prayers so that we asked over and over for her to say it loud enough for everyone. This is what she said/says:

"Hello, Mary! Full of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Now, the Hail Mary actually says,

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed in the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death.

It could be argued that Lu hits the high points.  And while her siblings snicker (siblings ARE great!!), I hold to the truth of her earnest prayer.

The "Hail!" is nothing more than a greeting, closer to a "Hello, Mary!" I'd like to think than to a "Hear ye, hear ye!" from St. Gabriel. And the 'full of God" is really what being full of grace is all about, right?  Plus, it brings to mind Mary, belly stretched tight at the end of nine months, being so very 'full of God.' While we don't abide cutting corners, I do appreciate her pithiness and cutting to the chase as we should always be thinking about the fragility of our life.

Yes, we are working on teaching her the "right" way to say it.  But I'm taking the time to revel in the lessons her learning-by-doing is teaching my heart, too.

"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives on child such as this in my name receives me."  Matthew 18:3-5

At 4:30 pm, while I was nauseous with nerves and the kids hovered about me while I fought with the sewing machine ("Tension! Let's talk about tension! C'mon!!"), I gave myself a harsh talking to. Why? Why do you do this to yourself? Why do you make things harder than they have to be? Why must you make things a thing?

Well, because they're fun and memorable and pretty darn great.

I'm just writing it down so I'll remember the next time we are all in a frenzy.

I wish I could say it wasn't all my fault but even the kids dragging their feet can be traced back to me modeling plenty of procrastination. Dang. So the fact we chose our Mardi Gras theme on Friday, chose the day to celebrate on Saturday and then didn't have the house anywhere near presentable until lunchtime today. . . It was a team effort on the waiting.

I hope the kids remember how their costumes appeared like magic from the cantankerous machine. How bed sheets and scraps and curtains became garb from Japan, Africa, Russia, and India. I hope they take the joy of Mardi Gras and the fun of costumes  with them where've they go in this wide, wide world. And I hope-for the love of Pete and all that is holy- that they learn, by some miracle, to plan ahead.

We celebrated Penny's birthday with Her Godparents and Susan. We put her in her Guadalupe dress and she represented Mexico. Lucy was a Spanish flamenco dancer, Gem a Russian maiden (because it had a crown AND jewelry!), and Ellie opted for an African woman. "Even though I think I'm probably the second or third most whitest person in the house!" Her reason? She really, REALLY, wanted to wear her hair wrapped up. She went to bed only after asking if she could repeat the hair-do soon. And she loved that Maria came as an Africa. princess. Tess and I watched a video about how to wear a sari and pulled one together out of curtains. How fun to have Val arrive in a gorgeous authentic sari from her days in India! Philip wanted to be a Samurai and even *gasp!* let us put his hair into a Samurai bun. "My hair pores aren't as strong as the girls!" He announced. And Max, well Max likes to push his mother to the point where she gives up and then he pulls through. He would not commit to a country and decided at 5:15 that he would be Phileas Fogg from Around the World in 80 Days. But he wore a pink cravat so I won't complain! I represented Scotland and Clan Crawford with my kilt and Jac was "European" in his FNE uniform. He and Sebastian were a good pair as Seb was a Frenchman. Nate represented Peru and Susan was from North America-it was very cosmopolitan, you can be sure! We ate whipped cream on bacon and pancakes and in our pop and covered in sprinkles. In the end Jac said, "I'm so glad it's not Ash Wednesday tomorrow! Two full days of gluttony!" Yeah, that's pretty great.

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“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1

While shopping for Lucy's birthday, the kids were appalled to find themselves walking in a winter wonderland.  "Why is the Christmas stuff out?!" Philip was near panic.  "We haven't even gotten through All Hallow's Eve!"  Seeing the Christmas trees and sparkling decor convinced Gemma that her birthday had to be happening in the next few days.  The girls have begun to repeatedly casually mention gift suggestions for Christmas and Jac asked while out and about what color we should we wear for Christmas this year.  Philip is on countdown for Advent songs and facebook keeps reminding me that there are only 9 Fridays Until Christmas!!! All that is to say IT IS COMING.

I wrote last year  about our Jesse tree and got to thinking that I'd love to share that tradition with even more folks.  How about an ornament swap?!

A Jesse Tree ornament swap works like this- each participant who registers will be assigned one symbol to make. The total number of ornaments each participant will make of their symbol will depend on the number of those participating, but the maximum number required is 28. All ornaments will be turned in to the swap organizer and they will combine all of the ornaments into full sets of the 28 ornaments. You will receive a PDF booklet containing scriptures for each ornament and the order in which they are displayed.

Think and pray about if you would like to participate this year and tell your friends! Please look over the dates below as meeting these deadlines are the way we can insure to get the sets back to you in time to begin Advent!

Click here to see some example ornaments

Click here to see some Pinterest ideas


Dates:

Sign Up Deadline - 11/9
Receive your symbol and assigned number you will make - 11/10
Turn in all your ornaments - 11/22
Receive your full sets - 11/25


Questions

How can I receive more than one set?  - Sign up to make more than one symbol!

What sort of ornaments or materials are okay?  - It is good to keep in mind that the ornaments will hopefully be handled by little hands so durable is good! Foam, craft foam, sculpey or air dry clay, crochet/knit, fabric, felt, shrinky-dink, metal, wood, craft sticks, clothespins, leather, salt/cornstarch dough, etc., are all excellent ideas!

But I'm not very crafty. Can I still do it? – Absolutely! Pinterest has a wealth of ideas! Plus, you are made in the image and likeness of the great Creator so you've got creativity in there somewhere!

How do I sign up? Fill out the form below:

Fill out my online form.

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I don't remember what age I was when my Aunt Linda and Uncle Mike moved down to the valley and into a storybook cottage of a house. I was young enough that the swing hanging from the massive poplars in front was a real selling point for me. There was a back porch, a bathroom with two entrances and a kitchen that seemed to hug the dining room. I have so many warm memories of that home and the hours spent in it.

It helped that Aunt Linda is a spectacular hostess and homemaker in the real sense of the word. She taught by example how to go all out and how that makes people feel special. A family dinner would mean goblets and name cards and a beautiful centerpiece. I had my very first slice of red velvet cake, baked in the shape of a heart, seated at her table. Life was worth celebrating and celebrations should be big!

She also taught me how to decorate the corners. For each holiday and season, she spread little touches throughout her home. Christmas meant festive towels and wintery vignettes- even in the bathroom. It made sense to me, the way that a celebration would permeate everything.

I thought of Aunt Linda when I cleared the window sill above my sink to make room for my favorite nativity. Was it necessary? Most assuredly not. But helpful? Yes! Finding myself at the sink- as I often am- I am reminded to reflect on the expectation of the season. It brings me so much joy to have such a festive surprise in the midst of the ordinary.

That's what the seasons are about, after all. A break in the midst of ordinary time, they call us to clear away what is normally in view, to make room for the Lord. We fill up our lives with clutter and noise and the special seasons ask us to stop and take stock. To set up a space for Christ to come in and make our hearts his home. Do we extend him that hospitality? True, decorating my kitchen or bathroom or hanging a wreath on the office door doesn't do that but it does open my heart to welcoming his pervasive presence. And the joy that comes in embracing the season- well it's just a shadow of what is to come through him!

We're still working on the decor up in here, but we are relishing the preparation in each and every corner even as we clear the corners of our hearts, "preparing the way of the Lord." 'Tis the season!

I like to involve all the senses in the season. This podcast of sermons from the Cathedral in Bismark is challenging my heart and soul. We know Monsignor Richter but Fr. Johnson and Bishop Kagan are heavy hitters, too, and leave me pondering their words at the sink every day. Good thing I like my view!

Being a mom is hard.

There are no performance reviews, no standardized tests, or yearly award programs to tell you that what you are doing- anything you are doing- is working. It's the stuff of sleepless nights: Does is matter? What am I doing with my life? Am I making a difference?

But God is so good and consolations, however few and far between they may be, are sweet and sustaining. Sometimes they jolt me out of the mundane with their flashes of glory and brilliance, other times they feel like a gentle squeeze of the shoulder. And sometimes, sometimes, they make me pump my fist in the air Rocky Balboa-style, allowing me to ignore the metaphorical cut above my eye and my fat lip because, remember, being a mom is hard and there is a fight that we are taking the heat in.

Whew!

In early November I had one such fist-pumping moment and it's been carrying me through. Phil quietly clarified, out of no where, why Advent is his favorite.

"It's not the gifts at the end, it really isn't, though I DO like those. I just like all of our traditions and the getting ready and waiting. I like the books and the surprises we unwrap each day and the activities we do and the cookies and stuff. But probably my favorite is the music because I really, really like the music and I can't wait to listen to it again."

My middle of the night questions were answered with a resounding, "YES! It matters!"

I told you God is good.

Sometimes I fret that the kids know more and feel more fondness for Advent music than for actual Christmas hymns and carols. But then, so what? When we made the purposeful decision to focus in the season with seasonal music, I was hopeful if doubtful. However, as my mom says, the proof  is in the pudding. The sounds of the season are very much part and parcel to the experience for our kids. Bring on the consolation, I say!

And the music. Bring on the music.

I've posted this before, but in the event someone needs quick access, here's our Advent playlist.

A parent needs encouragement! From people without kids who can say, "I want to be like you!" And from those in the trenches with them, and those beyond their stage who can assure them that it IS worth it. This lady and her family are just that for me. 

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It occurred to me as we hustled the kids into their costumes to catch the good light for pics before the Greet and Treat that perhaps this was NOT the stuff that I desired memories to be made of.

Fast forward 10 years: "Yeah, Halloween is just really stressful to me.  It reminds me of my mother being hysterical . . ."

I exaggerate but only slightly.

It was a stressful costume year.

The weekend Mama Syd and Papa Chris left -IN JULY- we started discussing who they wanted to be. (An aside: "I think it's cool how people usually ask, "Oh, WHAT do you want to be?" But for us it's WHO because it's an actual person." -Philip) There was no discussion, just decissive announcements.  Surprised and pleased, I accepted all of them willingly (and, let's be honest, I'd accept any saint so . . . ) But that Sunday we went to Cathedral for mass and I looked up at the stained glass and saw St. Catherine's veil and my heart sank.

It was pretty much all uphill struggle from there.

St. John Vianney

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I was equal parts excitement and trepidation at the thought of sewing up a cassock and surplice for the boy man.  I was relieved and overwhelmed to find a cassock pattern but put off cutting it out for 3 weeks because things would get real.  Let it be known here and now that I hate patterns because I'm convinced they hate me.  "Matching symbols" - mine never match.  I told Jac I would stop sewing if the pattern instructed me to "ease in fullness" one more time and in the end I abandoned the hem for bias tape finishing.  In total the cassock used 150+ yards of thread and I didn't weep when I had to rip out the collar and reset it.  But I DID cry when Max announced Thursday night that he had to start on his crusader costume because his friend wanted him to be a crusader for the party on Saturday.  Okay, I flipped out and then I cried.  For an hour.  In the bathtub, alone.  Yes, I had spent 3 nights up past 1 to get his stuff done for the parish party so I was a little frazzled and fragile but still.  It was a low point for sure. I was torn as I want him to experience those sorts of frienships that call for coordinating costumes but the cassock!  And the surplice that sprang from my mind and was trimmed in a thrift store valance!  And wig! Appologies were made (from each of us) and he rocked it as The Cure of Ars.

St. Martin de Porres

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Philip's current fave was a cause for joy.  In a year where every piece needed to be made, when I realized that he could wear the alb from last year I did an actual dance for joy.  Yes, a cowl/hood combo is tricky and slightly stressful but each time I do it, it gets easier and that's good news as Philip announced on Sunday that he wants to be a different kind of monk each year.  He requested a mouse for his costume and we had a lot of fun stitching up a little felt critter for his shoulder together.  He was so enamored that he made one all on his own for Lucy's birthday gift.

St. Margaret of Antioch

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Tess was introduced to St. Margaret through the Explorer girls who took her as their patron.  Tess and I researched her story and went back and forth - St. Margaret is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saints that were popular in the Middle Ages.  For that reason most of her artwork shows her in medieval dress but she was a virgin martyr from the 4th century.  She settled on Roman style and, God bless her, hers was the easiest to pull together.  We went in the style of Scarlett and Maria and used a curtain (technically, shower curtain.  Again.) for her dress and a pashmina I had for her shawl.  She found some great accessories and we had a sword, palm branch and dragon stuffy so she was set.  Tess was a great encourager to me when I wanted to quit - she asked over and over how she could help and would inquire each morning what I had accomplished the night before and would cross things off the list.

St. Catherine Laboure

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Is NOT the flying nun.  She is a Daughter of Charity and that's not a veil but a Cornette after the headdress of the peasants of France at the time the order was founded.  Oh, we researched and did our homework!  Susan suggested writing the community for a pattern and the response I got back was that the habit it a sacramental so the sisters don't pass it on.  Back to square one. *insert weeping here* Jac and I studied photos and paintings and made miniatures and then full scale models in paper.  I used heavy fusible interfacing instead of the traditional starch because I thought the smell would be too much for our sensitive sensed gal.  It worked excellently.  On Sunday after Mass I instructed everyone to remove their costumes so they could eat.  "Take it off? But why?!" Ellie wanted to know.  She kept it on, relishing in the feeling it gave as she jumped on the tramp and ran around the backyard.  She then asked if her habit could be a mass dress.  She's a big fan.

Mary of the Immaculate Heart

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The kids thought it was so funny and clever that Mary appeared to St. Catherine 3 times to tell her to make the Miraculous Medal, "And Gemma is 3!" They like connections.  I let Gemma decide on the colors of her dress and "capey-cape."  "And a bail, right mama?  You're going to make me a bail, too, right?"  We cut up a sheet for her dress and everyone was delighted at the bits and pieces from my stash that came together to make  her heart.  But Gemma was over the moon about the halo with stars Jac fashioned to top her veil.  Friday as they donned all the pieces for the first time she opted for her "sparkle shoes because they match my capey-cape like they are really Mary's shoes because I AM MARY."

St. Martin's Mouse

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We couldn't decide what we wanted Luce to be.  We were leaning hard towards her being the dragon St. Margaret vanquished.  Everyone liked that idea because, as Phil said repeatedly, "All our saints battled the devil in their own way." Everyone liked that idea but Randy who pulled the godfather card and nixed it.  So she was a mouse for St. Martin instead.  I cut the jumper out of a thrifted thermal and Tess put the elastic in the existing hem - a mercy for sure.  I sewed her tail on by eye-balling it one late, late night and it ended up being about 3 inches off center which proved to be all sorts of funny to Jac each time she put it on.  She was not excited about the costume or her ears, no matter how her siblings tried to coax her.  But when she saw everyone else dressed to the nines, she changed her mind very quickly.  Come Saturday, she was yelling, "No!  Me!  Mouse! Me, face!  Mouse!  Face!"

They decided when they got into the car after the All Saints party on Saturday that they didn't want to go trick or treating - Sonic corndogs, Ichabod Crane, and Charlie Brown sounded just right to them.  And really?  It was the best thank you they could've given me

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All you holy men and women, pray for us!

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Parenting, as it turns out, is a giant crap shoot.

The thing is, you pour your heart and soul and very life into your kids and then just hold your breath, hoping something, anything, sticks.  Results may vary.  And seeing how each person grows and develops at their own pace, it may take many, many decades to see how you did.

In the trenches, it can be overwhelming and, at times, discouraging.

A few weeks ago, after Jac and Max were away on camp out, they came back, took some showers and we prepared for Mass.  Lucy did her level best to let everyone in Cathedral know that she was being tortured.  Trying to stand, in heels, and keep a 25 pound willful toddler in my arms while she thrashed and pitched and bucked. . . it was exhausting.  Then we bolted from there to a holy hour out at Terra Sancta.  By that time, Lucy had perfected her escape tactics and Gemma had spent her patience.  I hustled them into the hallway.

I meant to just let them stretch their legs (and allow everyone else the chance to pray uninterrupted), but the Lord had other plans.  Following her sister down the hall, Gemma came upon the larger than life Pieta statue.  For a moment she stood transfixed, staring up, head back, onto the anguish of Mary cradling the body of Christ.

"Mama," Gemma breathed, tenderly reaching out to caress Our Lord's chest, "THIS is my favorite friend."

I had been standing back, watching her from the periphery, so I couldn't hear her well.

"What did you say, Gemma."

"I said this is my favorite friend." Her eyes studied his face, slowly moving down, taking it all in.  She traced his ribs with her tiny fingers and outlined the hole in his side, sticking her hand in like a little Thomas.  "Jesus is my favorite friend."

For 20 minutes she visited with Jesus.  She told me about him.  She talked about Mary. She asked countless questions.  She began by facing him, reaching up to 'soft' his beard, remarking how it was bigger than Daddy's and that she liked it.  She was sad he was so sad. . . She was praying for him. . . She tried to sit on his lap but found that sitting beside him, she could place her hand in his.  It was a good fit.  Why did they bam his hands. . .?  She could make him feel better. . .  When she was big, she would stop them so he wouldn't die. . .  She switched sides and gently pet his other hand.  She leaned down, resting her cheek on the cool plaster.  Jesus is big. . . Bigger than you, right mama . . .?  And his mama is, too. . .  She is sad that Jesus is dead. . .  I am sad, too. . .  Then she stood and reached up and up until I asked her what she needed.

"I can't reach Mary's tears and I need to."

I lifted her up and she felt each drop, outlining them softly and holding Mary's cheeks in her hands.

"Gemma, do you know why Jesus died?" I whispered into her ear.

She froze.

"Because he loves you so much and wants to be with you in heaven forever. Your his favorite friend."

Her head whipped around to look upon Jesus' face again.

"Yeah, I am.  And I love him, too. Do you, Mama? Even when you're big?"

She was assured that I did and dad did and all her siblings and Bridget and Elizabeth and Randy and Susan and . . . everyone she knows and loves, they all love Jesus. He's our favorite friend and we love him because he first loved us.

Before we headed back into the chapel, she lingered for a second before she announced, "Jesus isn't dead because he's my friend."  Then she skipped off and my heart skipped a beat.  Somewhere, she picked it up and it was sticking.  Yes, there are many years and choices to go, but right there, right then, it felt like we were winning.  With an abundance of grace, we are winning.

 

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Let's remember 2015 as the Seder That Nearly Wasn't.

About a week before Holy Thursday I had a moment where the bickering and whining and complaining and all around nastiness pushed me over the edge.  There was yelling.  Awkward sideways glances shot from kid to kid.  I announced I wasn't going to a Seder if they "kept it up." (Oh, hello dreaded words my parent's used that I said I never would!  Welcome back!) I threatened no Easter baskets.  I put the read aloud up. That got Philip's attention.

"What can we do to make sure we actually do those things?" he quietly asked.

Then there came the puking sickness.  Lucy being sick was rough and on Sunday when she refused to walk or hold up her head and cried the little she was awake and sweated through her sleep - well, that about did us all in.  Then Gemma was hit and had a hard time bouncing back (insert joke about food and bouncing here). But when Mama Syd came down with it, well, that was terrible.  EVERYTHING was suspended.

I thought long and hard about cancelling.

The thing about traditions, though, is that they don't care what is happening.  They will be observed! The kids wondered about the matza.  They asked over and over who was attending.  Why couldn't Susan come?  No, but why? Tentatively, I started to prepare.

Mama Syd took a turn for the worse. Guests backed out.  We had bought a roast instead of a brisket, for the love of Pete!

I thought back on years past and the prep work we did in the week leading up to the Seder as we began prep around 7 pm the night before.  Philip took care of the marinade.  Ellie trimmed parsley and Gemma and Lucy supervised the slicing of the radishes.  Papa Chris came up in time to peel and grate apples and help Tess put together the charoset.  Around the table, the girls chattered excitedly.

Remember this?  Remember that?  Mom, don't forget!  Oh, that year!  What about. . . ?

They were busy and intense and filled with excitement.

"I'm so excited, I don't think I'll be able to sleep!" Ellie giggled. My throat grew tight.  This was what it was about.

The next day brought frenzied cleaning, Max manning the mop and Tess ironing the linens.  While Jac and I Easter shopped (a luxury with the grandparents in house), the crew made name cards complete with drawings of the Ten Plagues. (Some were more impressed by this than others.)  They researched napkin folds and all tried to get some mandated rest.  We tested our new lamb cake pan (some adjustments need to be made but I didn't cry!) and rinsed goblets.  Soon, I looked over to see all busy at work setting the table and doing the real work required and it was beautiful.

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In the end, it was a calm and lovely Seder.  The roast was delicious.  Lucy sat in a big chair and participated like a big kid.  The eldest read scriptures and Ellie did a fantastic reprise of the question reading.  Gemma only asked once if we'd buy her some Frozen flip flops and we were done in time to clear the table and load the dishwasher before Mass.  It really was a beautiful night.

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Here's hoping the kids remember the Saving of the Seder over my tantrum and that I'll remember that it's never as hard as I make it out to be.

Next year in Jerusalem!

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We have been discussing Mardi Gras themes for this year since before Mardi Gras last year.  Let's just say that 'Masquerade' didn't impress everyone.

You can't win 'em all.

Anyway, Philip just up and decided that Super Heroes would be the theme.  I lobbied for Black and White while Susan requested anything without masks.

It wasn't until the Friday before that we made the decision.  Going back and forth, I finally read ideas aloud from an online list.  When Time Traveler was said, Jac announced that was it and it was.

And, glory be!, wouldn't you know we had everything we needed right under our roof?  Actually, the eldest 4 kids largely decided and found their costumes on their own (Tess needed some help with the decision). I whipped up Lucy's get up around 2 pm on Tuesday and followed that up with my own garb.

We live on the edge, people.  ON THE EDGE.

Our crew ended up including Max the Ninja, Philip the Celtic Warrior, Tess the traditional Mexican, Ellie the Native American, Gemma the Norwegian Princess and Lu the pint-sized Puritan.

Okay, so Gemma actually wanted to be a cowgirl but we couldn't find her boots or a shirt and really, she was happier in her Elsa dress anyway.  Ellie was excited that she "went with" Lu AND Jac.

Oh, yes.  Jac was a Cowboy and I was a Viking woman.

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A Viking woman complete with a spoon on my belt because my ancestors were prepared.  I'm totally claiming it.

Our guests arrived in high style, too. We had a Thyme Traveler (who doesn't love punny friends?!), an 80's rocker, a 50's sock hopper, a 40's lady (and fedora), a classic Larry Byrd, and Marty, Jennifer, and the Flux Capacitor from Back to the Future.

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So great!

The Valle's brought Hurricanes for the adults and the whipped cream and syrup flowed. At one point Gemma requested straight Nutella smeared on her plate so she could eat it.  Being Fat Tuesday, who were we to deny her?

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After the kids were put to bed, we queued up Back to the Future because- brace yourself - Bridget had never seen it.

I know, I know. We rectified that right quick because, Hello, McFly!

"I'm so glad we did this!" Bridget said as she left.

I heartily agreed.  Here's looking forward to Mardi Gras 2016!

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