It’s the first 7QT of 2015, and the first time I’m linking up with the new 7QT host, Kelly Mantoan of This Ain’t The Lyceum. You remember Kelly, right? The homeschooling mama who mic dropped at Edel after rapping Flo Rida? (No, Kelly…I’m never letting that precious memory go. EVAH.) Here’s a quick glimpse of what we’ve been up to in the past two weeks. Also, you should know that after all of this I have exactly ZERO PTO left, so I will be at work every day for the foreseeable future. (All you peeps who follow me on Instagram are going to be SO.HAPPY. for this! I’ve been overgramming for sure.)
– 1 –
We spent a quiet Christmas Eve and Day here at home. After the crazy amount of
crap gifts we tripped over received last year at Christmas, our plans for a scaled down Christmas this year worked really well. We explained to the kids early on, when they were writing letters to Santa at Thanksgiving time, that there would be a few changes from our normal Christmas routines. We assured them that Santa was already on board, as we had explained our desires to him and since Santa is a Saint, he ALWAYS respects and abides by the rules laid out by parents. New for 2014, they were only allowed to list five things that they’d like to receive on Christmas Day. This eliminated the ridiculous norm of listing every and anything they laid their precious eyes on, made them think long and hard about what they ACTUALLY wanted, and kept the “gimmes” to a dull roar. Additionally, they were told that besides their stocking, Santa would only be giving them ONE gift, and Mommy and Daddy would be giving them two others. Grand total – 3 gifts per kid, plus a stocking. We explained that Baby Jesus only received three gifts, and He was King of the World…so clearly, we don’t need any more than three. When explained this way, they all readily agreed. I gotta tell ya, this was the least stressful gift-buying season I have ever had, and Christmas morning was pretty great because of it.
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One of the gifts I made for the girls was their very own chapel veils. I won a veil in a giveaway a few weeks ago, and ever since I received it, the girls have been clamoring for one of their own. Since the one I won is purple (great for Advent!) and I needed a black one for Ordinary Time anyway, I decided to make them their own veils when I sat down to make my black one. They turned out sooo cute!
Why do I veil? I will address that in a future post, because there’s a lot I want to say about it and it’s a very recent decision that was 17 years in the making, but for now, you can start by reading this and this.
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Christmas afternoon, we loaded up the car and headed to New Orleans to visit family. We arrived late that evening, had a late supper and went to bed. Friday, we spent the day chatting with family, playing with the kids and their new toys and games, and teaching Elizabeth how to cross-stitch. We visited Christmas In The Oaks that evening. Every year since I can remember, the live oaks at City Park in New Orleans are magically lit with millions of lights, and the walkthrough was just as magical for me as an adult with my babies as it was when I visited as a child. We ended the evening with some delicious begniets and cafe’ au lait at Morning Call in City Park. It was a wonderful night!
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Saturday was grey and gloomy, but that didn’t stop us from having some more fun! We took the kids on their first-ever ride on a streetcar, rolling down beautiful St. Charles Avenue.
It was Superman’s first time to ride, too. They all had a blast, and it was easy on our shoestring budget – just $1.25 per rider. We hopped off to try some of the best fried chicken in New Orleans – nay, the entire Gulf South – at Willie Mae’s Scotch House at St. Charles and Cherokee. Some more time with family, and a fun game of Apples to Apples, Jr., was everything we needed for a fun-filled day of memories.
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Sunday we headed across the Lake (Lake Pontchartrain, for anyone still reading) and spent some time with my dad’s side of the family. We went to Mass in shifts, as the youngest two were sick with some kind of coughing situation. Marie and I celebrated the feast of the Holy Family at St. Jane de Chantal parish in Abita Springs, a sweet country parish with a beautiful altar. Superman and Elizabeth went to the evening Mass at Our Lady of the Lake in Mandeville, a 150 year old parish still run by the Benedictines that established it. What a great day! Monday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the Abita Springs Cafe, then enjoyed strolling the streets of downtown Covington.
To top it off, I made my traditional stop at Fleurty Girl for a sweet Nola t-shirt, some Praline flavored lip balm, and this sweet streetcar ornament. It’s the perfect memento of our trip!
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Monday night we drove to Morgan City to visit with my mom’s aunt and uncle. After the kids opened their presents, we had some yummy Mexican food at Tampico’s and just enjoyed being together. We left to come home on Tuesday. I read By The Downward Way (review post forthcoming) on the way home and could NOT put it down. If you’re looking for some spooky, riveting fiction, I highly recommend it.
– 7 –
As I mentioned before, Howie and Therese were coughing through our entire trip, and by Tuesday it was getting unbearable to listen to them. The cacophony of hacking, sniffles, and chest-rattling baritones was a most unwelcome soundtrack on the seven hour ride home. I made them appointments for that very evening at the after-hours clinic, and I am so glad I did – they were diagnosed with pneumonia and bronchitis! I started feeling icky on the way home, and rang in the new year with a bad cold and strep throat. Today, I am finally beginning to feel human again. The kids are 100% better now, praise God!
Though I will miss the craziness and fun of the holidays, I am glad to be settling back into a routine this coming week. Happy Epiphany to you and yours!