Archive for January 2nd, 2007

Cottage Blessed

January 2, 2007 @ 8:36 pm | Filed under:

Happy First Blog Anniversary (a day late) to one of my favorite people in the whole world!

Maybe it’s because we just watched It’s a Wonderful Life, but all this week I’ve been thinking about Alice and the gentle, quiet, beautiful influence she has on everyone who encounters her, both in the world and on these here internets. She is a gem, a regular George Bailey: a person humbly oblivious to the effect she has on the lives of those who know her, and those who read her words.

I was thrilled—nay, triumphant unto gloating!—when Alice the Best (as she is known in my household; just ask her goddaughter Beanie) began blogging a year ago.  Her zest for motherhood, her celebration of the merriment and mishaps that make up life in a house full of small children, her genius for creating crafts that enliven the traditions of our shared faith—all these things have enriched my life since we met (at a bakery, of course) ten years ago, and the lives of hundreds of homeschooling mothers since the first day she plugged in her modem. Now her blog brings those gifts to a whole new audience.

In a sphere full of lovely, intelligent, inspiring blogs, hers stands out. One day she has me laughing so loud I wake up my baby, and the next day I’m bawling at how beautifully she captures a fleeting moment of childhood. And no one does crafts like Alice. Time and again she has shown us, in pictures, how she puts together her beautiful crafts step by step. And then there are her liturgical teas! I’ve been harrassing urging Alice to put together a book of teas ever since she dazzled her children and me with a Shakespearean "tempest in a teapot" long, long ago. Instead, she shares them freely with the whole world.

This is why I keep coming back to this image of Alice as the George Bailey of the internet. It’s hard to imagine what the homeschooling world would be like without her. Her brainstorms are contagious. Years ago, her fabulous idea to help her daughter put together a First Communion notebook met with such enthusiasm among the Catholic homeschooling crowd that the concept is now almost a given. Her Easter Vigil notebook and Pope John Paul II memorial notebook were embraced with similar zeal.

I remember a time years ago when she eagerly showed me a copy of Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and spoke of how one day, when her tiny girls were old enough, she would like to help them keep a family nature journal. Ooh, good idea! I said, mentally adding this notion to my already bursting-at-the-seams collection of Alice’s Ideas to Copy. Blogging inspired her to take the family nature journal to a new medium, and thus was Cottage Garden born. From fairy houses to spring soups, mantis adventures to epic battles, there is always something interesting to discover in that garden. The kids’ narrations and observations make you want to let your own kids stay outside all day from now on. When you read their pieces, you can see how much they have absorbed their mom’s merry sense of humor and appreciation for nature.

Most of all, I think Alice reminds us what a privilege it is to be entrusted with the children we’ve been given. She writes eloquently and movingly of the profound gratitude she feels for her husband and growing family. Reading her blog, I am suffused with exactly the same sense of joy and wonder I have always found in her comfortable kitchen. There is such a spirit of fun there: the fun that fills the atmosphere of a home in which the mother is cherishing every precious day of the happy golden years when her children are young.

Thank you, dear friend, for inviting us into your cottage day after day. Here’s to many more years of happy posting.

Oh No Ivanhoe

January 2, 2007 @ 2:59 pm | Filed under: ,

I can’t find my copy of Ivanhoe. I know exactly where it used to be—in Virginia. Hmm. Guess I’ll have to make a quick trip to the library to tide us over until it turns up. Or maybe I’ll just do something wild and crazy like pick a different book. Robinson Crusoe? Oliver Twist? Oh, the delicious agony of choice!

Flexibility is king in our little homeschool. Okay, maybe not KING. More like court jester. Yes, that’s it: always ready for an interjection. Nothing ever, ever goes according to plan. I don’t call my plans "plans" anymore; they are merely "suggestions."

For example, Scott had planned to go to work today. Then his back went out. Perhaps it had something to do with his having to hold our almost-six-year-old at an awkward angle so that her vomit would land on the floor instead of our bed. This morning he could hardly walk, so I suggested he take his medication and stay in bed. (Hey, he gave himself his own little Gift of the Magi there, didn’t he? Saved the bed from getting thrown up on, and now he’s stuck in it?)

The older girls and I went ahead with the launch of our CM term this morning. Beanie is feeling much better and was happy to play with flower fairies on the couch while Jane and Rose and I read some of those nifty books we’ve been talking about. Feels good to be back in the groove, even if the groove is a little lopsided.

You guys have asked a ton of great questions in the comments lately. I’ll be answering them throughout the week—at least, that’s the plan suggestion.

What Santa Brought

January 2, 2007 @ 9:55 am | Filed under:

So! Very! Excited!


(St. Nick had a little help from six months’ worth of saved-up ClubMom points. Gotta love a company that pays in cash and gift cards.)