Thursday, December 31, 2009

CHRISTMAS... more than a day~ it's a SEASON!
Our Christmas celebration continues, through the Baptism of our Lord, which we celebrate on
Jan. 10th, 2010.
The birth of Christ is such a cause for celebration and awe ~ we couldn't possibly contain it all in one day!
May His birth transform our lives, again and again and again...
Happy, Blessed New Year to you & yours!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve
part 2

After visiting with Grandma, we headed to Uncle Craig & Aunt Beth's, where Peter's Christmas gift was waiting...  Boy was Peter ever excited to meet Rocky!
Grandma Billie & Grandpa Cliff were in on this surprise, too, having housed Rocky for the past 10 days to provide for the Christmas surprise.  And Peter WAS surprised! 
Seen here playing with Uncle Craig & Aunt Beth's new Boxer puppy (Finnegan), Rocky had the sweetest red bow on his collar (thanks, Beth!).

Rocky was a perfect pup in the car on the ride home (3+ hours), besides the unbelievable amount of light fur he shed everywhere.  As the boys hopped in the car to go to Mass this morning, their black dress pants were soon covered in Rocky fur!   We found Rocky thru an e-list, and adopted him from a soldier who is being deployed.  Our prayers are with him, and all the men and women who serve in our military.  Their sacrifices are often subtle.  

Merry Christmas!
Christmas Eve 09
part 1

Every Christmas Eve our family (and my mom's brother & his family) gathers at my Grandma's house for dinner & a celebration.  We've been doing this since I was a little girl. I remember hoping to see Santa's lit sleigh in the sky on our drives home late at night from Grandma and Grandad's house!  I thought I caught a glimpse of Rudolph's nose one year...

But not this year.  With Grandma in the nursing home (in Tacoma) recovering from her fall, we decided to take our Christmas greetings there.  My sister, Molly, and her husband, Clark, and their 3 kids (Niko, Mike, and Kati) met up with us, and so did my dad. 

We had a very nice visit with Grandma, and Peter was able to give Grandma the very special glass hummingbird box he bought with his own money.  Grandma did not want to be in the photos (who would after what she's been through?), so this is the compromise shot of us all together.

It was very special to bring her our simple gifts and to share some time with her on Christmas Eve. 
More than once she expressed her regret that we couldn't all be at a party together... but we made the party right there.  Just as it should be.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy birthday, Tim!
What a great dad/husband we have in Tim... 
Yesterday we showered him with love and special gifts on his 42nd birthday.
Tim, Joseph and Peter spent the day skiing at Mt. Baker, with a few inches of new snow and beautiful blue skies.  Too bad none of them carried a camera!  Oh well.

Scouts in the evening gave many others a chance to sing to Tim, who was a good sport and wore the infamous "Happy Birthday" hat.  Sorry, no photos... it's against common sense.

Today is Uncle Peter John's birthday... another Christmas baby!
It's beginning to look alot like Christmas....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent Finale

Here we go... the final days of preparation for the celebration of the humble birth of our Lord and Savior! 

The first day of winter. 
The day before Tim's birthday. 
The day we will set up our life-sized nativity scene in our front yard. 
Another day to pray for Grandma and for all those who suffer or who are alone or are without faith.
A day to rejoice!

O come, O Day spring,  come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Special Visitors
Today a few of our favorite people came up to visit us for lunch & dessert.
Eric, Sean & Tim attended Catholic grade school, middle school and high school together.  Both were groomsmen in our wedding.  Today they came to visit with their wives... and Sean's first-born son!

Eric, Sean & Tim have had many adventures and escapades together over the years, and now Sean is sharing the experience of parenting a little boy.  His son is extremely cute and content, and we certainly enjoyed having him at our house for the afternoon.  Seeing the ladies (Renee and Kristy) was equally fantastic, helping balance out the male/female ratio to closer to 3-1 (not quite, but close).

Such a fun way to pass an Advent Saturday.  It's almost time to light the 4th candle (violet), as this evening begins the Vigil of the 4th Sunday of Advent.

O come, O Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just enough snow

Yesterday we had just enough snow for a few hours of sledding and a little fort and snowman building.
For Joseph and Peter, whose favorite comic characters are Calvin and Hobbes, snow brings a special feeling of delight... and mischievousness!

The sight of the city's sanding truck dumping grit along their sledding route was almost more than they could bear.  So they began plotting their revenge... you don't want to hear the plans, trust me!

Tim is planning another trip up skiing with them soon, so they will get anothe snow-fix before long.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Update on Grandma:
Grandma is still in the hospital, and still in a great deal of pain (some days are better than others).
She is wearing a neck brace to keep her neck still to allow the fracture to heal (surgery is deemed too risky).  This could mean up to 3 months of limited mobility wearing the brace.
She will be moved to a long-term care facility if/when her pain is manageable and her nutrition is balanced out. (She has no appetite.)
Mom has stayed with her ever since the day of the fall. 
My sister has been there every day.
I'm going to visit her again tomorrow.
Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Please Pray
My grandma, 92, fell down the stairs and broke bones in her neck and probably her pelvis, too.
She has stitches from lacerations in her elbows, knees, and forehead.
She's going to be getting an MRI today for the doctors to determine the extent of the damage and a course of treatment.... so please pray.

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother Mary, and we ask especially for Mary's intercessory prayers for grandma. 
photo taken at grandma's 90th b-day party w/ 8 of her 11 great grandkids (now she has 12!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We hunted our annual Advent Tree (which will become a Christmas Tree on the Eve of December 24!) at  a local tree farm in the foothills of Mount Baker.  This is truly one of our favorite family traditions.  Finding a time to make the trek up there all together took some doing, as the varsity swim team schedule has Zachary at the pool from 2:15-5PM every day.  But we managed to find a morning that Tim could break away from work, and up we went armed with Santa hats to bag our tree.

It took a family vote to narrow down the finalists, but in the end it was a unanimous decision (rare).
We brought home a beautiful Noble Fir, which is now lit, decorated and awaiting the placement of the star on top.  It's Zac's year to have the honors, and since he's been on retreat this weekend, the boys saved the star for him to place upon his return.

Happy Second Sunday of Advent!
A voice of one crying out in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.

Luke 3:4

Happy Feast day of Saint Nicholas, Patron of Bakers and Pawnbrokers!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Farewell Bryan

We celebrated a funeral Mass yesterday for our friend, Bryan, who was killed last week.  We prayed for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his loved ones.  We prayed for his brother, Christopher, who died of AIDS.  We prayed that Bryan's killer would be caught, and for justice to be served.  We prayed for peace and for Christian unity.

Today Bryan's body was buried.  His mom, Pam, gave the crucifix from the coffin to his brother, Michael, her remaining son. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Special Visit
Don't you love it when you get surprise visitors? 
When someone very special turns up at your door to greet you?
We were blessed by such a visit from my distant Scottish cousin, Peter, and his lovely wife, Julie.
I met them for the first time back in the late 80's (?) when they came to Seattle to re-establish contact with my grandma and our U.S. MacIntyre clan.  They brought their 2 kids (then pre-teenagers) Tim and Jenny, who now each have 2 kids!  On another surprise visit, they turned up at my Grandma & Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary party.  Of course my grandparents were absolutely stunned and delighted to be honored with such a special visit from far-away relatives.
This trip, they shocked  my Aunt Sue and Uncle Mike by making secret arrangements to be at their daughter, Kati's house on Thanksgiving.  When Sue & Mike saw Peter and Julie, they just couldn't figure it out... "We know these people, and we know where we are... how did they get here?"  They joke that there's a hole in Kati's floor now from when their jaws hit it!
Peter and Julie make such a great effort to stay connected with us in the US, and their presence is like a burst of sunshine.  We heard about Peter's recent travels to Cuba, and about their upcoming trip to Morocco.
Peter sang for us at the dinner table, a real treat for the boys, especially, who know the MacIntyres are legendary for their vocal talent!
We love seeing photos of Peter dressed in his finest (kilt) for a black tie event.
All in all, having Peter and Julie visit (and bring a delicious pie!!)
is one of the greatest Christmas gifts we shall receive.
I think we should follow their lead and be the kind of relatives who go out of their way to stay connected in meaningful ways with even the most distant of family members...