The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 22

Naps are so important. Maria has taken to telling us when she’s tired and needs to go to bed (at naptime and bedtime), and sometimes that she’s not tired and doesn’t. Ha. She proves me right by falling asleep especially quickly those times. I really appreciate that she’s never been a bedtime fighter, except perhaps when we were transitioning her to her own bed last year, but that was different. She loves the secure pattern for bedtime we’ve had for as long as she can remember – rosary and snuggles, then sleep – and gets antsy if we have company over too late and bedtime doesn’t come promptly enough.

John wants to help whenever I’m at the stove (he can turn a knob once it’s on, yikes, as well as accidentally open the oven door, which always offends him when it lands him so emphatically on the floor), and Maria wants to help whenever I’m redirecting John. Or rather, she wants to take over and mommy him herself. Never mind that he’s almost as big as her!

I just can’t stop with the Daddy/Son pictures, y’all. They’re just so stinking cute. It may also have something to do with the fact that if Daddy has Johnny, Johnny can’t reach my most scrumptious and delectable phone.

Stephen’s parents visited for Maria’s birthday week, and we went to Minnetonka Orchard. Maria was all about the playground, but we also went on a hayride (which John loved because it was super bouncy) and explored the corn maze and checked out the petting zoo (or the petting zoo checked out us – I drew the line at the ram tasting my baby carrier) and of course, got a picture on the tractor.

Pretty baby fingers. Will I ever have a child with skin as pale as mine? Not yet, at least!

Sure, I can play that for ya!

Hi, Mom! Shall I sing for you? I’ll have to stand on my tippy toes.

Back to business.

Maria fell in love with a trike when we were visiting Forrest and Rebekah’s family, and has insisted since that she wanted a bicycle birthday cake. I was pretty excited to make it, as I don’t often have a reason for such a project. I made small rounds for the wheels and cut out the seat, handlebars, pedals, and basket from a rectangle. The flowers were an afterthought, made with scraps of cake. I used pretzel rods to connect it all (and Stephen pointed out after the fact that it would’ve been easier to coat them with almond bark then to frost them, oh well). She was quite satisfied with the end result, and especially with the flowers. She loves to be given flowers.

Here’s our bright three year old with the pumpkin she painted with Grandpa and Grandma H! And also a windup swimming monkey, probably confiscated from John to show him how it works.


The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 21

You know how adventures seem to find you sometimes when you hadn’t even thought of the possibility? Well, we were going to make a short trip to Wisconsin. Stephen had an interview in Green Bay, so we planned to stay overnight with my brother’s family in southern WI, head up for the interview in the morning, and go home from there. BUT our transmission went out when we were still an hour away, and what with one issue and another that the auto mechanics had, we ended up with a two week vacation at my brother’s house! We enjoyed a longer chance for a visit, and of all the times for such a thing to happen, this was surely the most convenient, as we didn’t have any pressing reasons to need to return home promptly.

John belly crawled everywhere, and hoped that if he haunted the door, he might just be able to sneak out. He also made a grab at the car whenever she walked past, and thankfully she took it pretty calmly.

Maria loved having so many cousins to play with, and especially bonded with Chavvah and Mary. 

She came in every day covered with dirt, and despite her first experience with skinned knees, prays that we will be able to have a house so that she can have her own tricycle.

I hope that someday we’ll get to live even closer (to these cousins and others, too!), so that Maria can continue to develop these friendships.

Once the car was finally done, we were glad to be back home (to throw away all the moldy food and finish up a few projects before our confirmation and reception into full communion with the Catholic Church. What a roller coaster ride this has been! Never a dull moment.

Forrest and Rebekah were our sponsors, and drove up for the afternoon and evening, and Fred and Hilary drove all the way out from Washington State, and Freeman flew out for the evening. It was a day overflowing with blessings. God’s graces toward us have been so multitudinous as we continue to seek Him and strive to grow in holiness.

Five siblings + one tired baby!

Hilary and Fred got to stay for a visit – Hilary for most of the week, and Fred for the last couple of days. Unlike previous visits, Maria warmed up to Fred immediately, and was not dismayed by Happy’s presence (in fact, she took great delight in feeding Happy and ordering her about).

We enjoyed talking and going to Mass and playing games and making food and singing together. Life has been so different for the past six years, but when we’re back together again, we do our best to make up for all that time apart.

Stephen’s folks came for a visit, too, and we enjoyed catching up with them. Maria soaked up all the grandparent time and asked first thing every morning for some of “Dama’s bana bread.”

John has started pulling himself up onto everything.

He thinks he’s pretty cool.

Maria took her first nosedive and some how managed to hurt only her face on the pavement, but not her hands and knees. She was pretty sad about it for quite a while, but then she started to take great pleasure in noticing this trophy when she saw her reflection. Now most of the scabs are gone and it’s just a bright pink.

Little Man likes to be everywhere sister is. Sometimes Sister doesn’t find this very convenient.

And then there are many times that Sister wants to be right where Buddy is, which may be slightly less than the safest thing for him.

Since soaking the dried fruit and citrus zest for hot cross buns in brandy, I try to do it for other things that have dried fruit in them. It makes the end product so moist and adds such great flavor. I did it for a Williamsburg Orange Cake I made this last weekend, and it was definitely the best I’d ever made. 

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 20

It’s been a long while since I last posted. These weeks have been very busy with many things; the biggest being that Stephen resigned as rector of St Dunstan’s and renounced his orders as an Anglican priest, and we are preparing to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church on September 17.

 This is something we’ve been discerning for a long time, and God, in his mercy, made it very clear that the time has come, but it’s also been very difficult – St Dunstan’s is a parish that exceeded our expectations, our diocese was amazing, and our bishop wise and loving, but even more than this, we grieve the unconditional surrender of Stephen’s vocation. God is good and faithful, and we know that his plans for us are much better than the ones we made for ourselves. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to seek his will for us in all things.

I completed a project very dear to my heart – a memorial for 9 of my little nieces and nephews who were miscarried. I loved how the medium of felt worked for this – the Sacred Heart that holds all of the sweet little teardrop swaddled babies, each embroidered with their names and unique faces and hair. What a gift it was to me to work so much love and prayer into it all.

Caught in the act! Who needs a silver teething ring when you can use a silver goblet?

My fashionista. She’s so grown up and I have all the feels about it! She says “Too much sleep for me, Mommy,” and proceeds to fall asleep before her brother. She is learning the art of interrogating, from the basic “why?” to asking anyone who closes himself in the bathroom, “Do you need to go potty or poopy or just brush your teeth?” to “How do you drive to Holy Family? How do you wash dishes? How do you wash your special Sunday glasses?” She is usually either singing, talking, or asleep. 

Matching braids!

Swingin’ pals!

My sister Hilary drove my Mama and little sister Hailie up for a visit, and it was so good to have a few hours with us three “little” girls and Mama, and then Mama and Hailie for a little over a week!

Maria followed Grandma Tucker around like a puppy dog. She enjoyed combing her hair, reading stories with her, and playing Old Maid with her (which she calls “Home Made”). She now insists that I must be only Mommy and never Mama, because “Mama is Auntie Hailie’s mama and Dama Tutter!” 

I put the monk costume I made last year on John, and he thought he was the Best Joke Ever. But then, he always thinks he is!

Matching stripes!

John is now scooting, and therefore getting into things. The delights of the bookshelf was one of his first discoveries, and it cracked me up when he pulled this book off the shelf.

He also plays brisk games of chase the potato around the kitchen, follows anyone he wants to whenever he pleases, and is dirty all down his front at the end of the day. I guess I need to mop!

“Mommy, tan I dust doe read this boot?” (Can I just go read this book). She picked extras in case Mommy and Daddy joined her.

This guy. So much sunshine. Plus for some reason I never seem to document the rainy part of his disposition…does it even exist? (The answer is yes, and it takes a lot of feeds and snuggles to make that sunshine! But it’s so worth it).

She was happy to push him, but mostly just wanted to get in, too!

My kids crack me up. Maria was wearing her favorite too-long skirt and boots. John is positive that having something on his head makes him hilarious.

It’s that time of year again. The apples are ripening and the memories come at unexpected, inconvenient times…and this time it’s been five years since my brother Ford died. Grief with kids is rough. This time around, I’ve wanted to hide, yell, scream, and cry, cry, cry. With four teeth and two more on the way in, John has been pretty needy. After all, he’s a baby! But there are moments that kids can be such channels of grace. During his nap, John had startled awake, and when he drifted back off, his hand rested on my face in such a loving way. What a gift.

My loves.

Those two teeth I was complaining about came through while Daddy was away on retreat! This little man army crawls everywhere, says “Mama,” “Dada,” “Bubba,” and a host of adorable babbled words that mean nothing or everything, and is beginning to pull himself up on furniture.

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 19

We’ve spent a good bit of time traveling over the past month, between going to our diocesan synod in Illinois and then after a week at home, visiting family in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. The kids were good travelers overall, and we sure loved naptime – time for Mama to read uninterrupted out loud!

We took Stephen’s sleeping bag with us for Maria to sleep on, which was a fun adventure for her, as well as something familiar she could look forward to…and it meant we didn’t have to share our bed with her!

Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t have hurt to share this one with her. We lucked out and got a king sized bed in the hotel we stayed at during Synod. I have a love-hate relationship with king beds. It’s so nice to have space that the baby doesn’t have to always be against me, but…if I’m wanting to snuggle with Stephen and then I pull the baby to me to feed him, I’m likely about two counties away from my water bottle. And I need my water bottle. We talk about upgrading to a king someday, especially because Maria still does get in bed with us sometimes, which is not a pleasant experience, as it requires John and me to be wedged into the middle between Stephen and Maria, who are each up against the edge…but if we ever do, we’ll have to come up with some solution. Like a shelf over the bed for water and books. Maybe. Because then you could knock contents of said shelf onto sleeping children…maybe not such a good plan.

John loves it when I jump with him in the carrier. Also, he has the best grin ever.

Maria is a huge fan of bright yellow wayside flowers, and they collect and wither in the car when she forgets them. In addition to their beauty, she finds them useful for a game she plays that she calls “blowing”, which, as far as she can see, is what those folks do outside buildings (smoking).

I love that Maria goes off to “read by herself”. I may need reminded in ten years or so that it is a lovable thing.

Jack-in-the-Box! We don’t call him Jack, but I couldn’t resist the pun.

Maria had so much fun with her Tucker cousins, but this was the only picture I got during our visit…because I was so busy having fun, too! It was so good to have some time to hang out and catch up.

Just a couple of crazies. Freeman finally got to meet John! Freeman was confirmed the same day that John was baptized, so I guess that makes them some sort of sacramental pals.

Loving the head-tummy rub! And this was the only picture I took during our week in Hillsdale. *insert facepalm* We had a relaxing, fun week together, and did indeed succeed in surprising Stephen’s mom by arriving on her birthday!

We stopped in Wheaton to lunch with Freeman on our way back, and remembered to take a picture!

John is suddenly sitting up by himself and keeping his balance quite well! Here you see Maria playing her accordion for him while he is trying to figure out how he can go over to play it too.

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 18

We got a Tula! Hoorah for Craigslist! It still feels too fancy to wear around the house (compared to my well-worn, simple geometric print, faithful Ergo, which has suffered from too many washings recently, as well as teething). It’s definitely different in many ways from the Ergo, and I think overall, it’s the more comfortable for Baby of the two, but I haven’t used it for long enough yet to give a full review.

These succulents were barely opening when we received them in a bouquet a few weeks ago, but they’ve lasted longer than all the other flowers and are finally almost fully open. I love them!

On Saturday, Stephen pointed out that since Pentecost is the second highest Feast of the year, we should have a special meal. I made a birthday cake for the Church, and we appropriately lit the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin on fire. I was perplexed as to whether I should say “Happy Pentecost” or “Happy Birthday Church”, so I asked Stephen, and he told me to put on the introit. The Alleluia couldn’t fit and is wrapped around the side of the cake.

And Stephen set the table the night before. Hopefully soon we’ll start having a pretty table every Sunday. As it is, we rarely use our tablecloth and napkins. Little steps, though. We’ve started to have challah and wine every Sunday, so we’ll work our way up to fancy meats and desserts and table and all that. It’s hard to make space and time for a special meal when Sunday is one of the busiest days of the week for us.

John is rolling over and back all the time now, and he does it so efficiently. He always starts out on his bear and ends up in the bare floor. Here Maria decided to help him chew on his rattle (which she loves to sneak away with and carry around, sucking it like a sippy cup…her imagination is always busy these days!). He has his second tooth now, and is busy working on more.

Well. I wanted to share this sequence of photos (because aren’t they the cutest?) to show the progression of John’s glee, but they uploaded backwards. So scroll back up and look at them that way, if you please. My sister Hilary is here for a visit, and we’re trying to make every minute count! We’ve been besties for longer than I can remember, so being together is packed with conversation and music and cooking and cleaning and just being together, trying to soak each other up and catch up since the last visit.

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 17

This sweet boy. He’s had a long bout of teething, and I’ve been wearing him much more than my muscles would like. He’s been such a trooper. 

On Mother’s Day, we took our supper sandwiches out and ate on the grass and then made our calls to our moms before heading back in for bed. As you can see, Maria loves to do what Daddy does. I especially love seeing her imitate him when he gets to be with us for Mass – on the kneeler, her back straight, her hands folded, her face attentive.

Pink and yellow honeysuckle on one plant! Is it normal for pink honeysuckle to be scentless? Because I find that to be so disappointing, after growing up with honeysuckle fragrance being one of the best of the summer.

Because Sister can’t stand being on the sidelines when a camera is involved…

This is what she had to get in the middle of. While Mama melts in a puddle in the distance. I have a picture somewhere of Daddy and Maria doing the same thing. And yes, John is starting to scoot a bit and experiment with positions that will propel him farther.

When Mama sets a stack of hangers next to you, grab them quickly!

Our parish’s Canterbury Festival has been postponed, but when John and I came down with colds right before it was originally scheduled, I figured I should go ahead and dress them up for a picture. Have you ever seen a cuter jester? The costumes are handmedowns, and I was so excited that John’s was so appropriate for his personality.

Hi, Mom! Sister is snuggling me again! 

Maria is the queen of mix and match. I don’t remember how old she was when she first started switching lids around on our differently colored water bottles for a laugh, but I think it was at least a year ago. She continues to be quietly amused by such practical jokes.

Pretty flowers…

Pretty leaves! And that should hold you until I have a picture of Little Man’s first tooth. It looks like his second will be in before the week is out, but I thought that two months ago about his first one!

The Scrawl Vol. 2, No. 16

John’s been enjoying being on his tummy more recently. He can scoot if he has something to kick against, and he’s rolling over a bit more frequently (he first rolled back-to-tummy at one week old when he was having his diaper changed but was determined to be in a position for eating, but then only did so rarely until now). Because I’m used to Maria’s mobility now and he’s pretty big, I catch myself thinking that he should be sitting up, or considering the fact that he’s squirming off my lap reasonable – he just wants to get down and play, right? Nope, he’s only four months. (Bonus: I did not notice until after I took this picture that Maria’s new sandals are Seahawks colors, so I cannot take credit for that).

We planted some marigolds, and they’re sprouting! I’m disappointed that I’m not magical enough to get geraniums to grow, but marigolds are exciting, too! {Three out of five sprouts have died so far and the last two look sad. Maybe I’m just not supposed to have flowers in my kitchen.}

It snowed on my birthday! Just enough to wash the world clean on our way to start the day off right with Mass.

It’s been nice to get outside more often! One day we went out to take out garbage and recyclables, and simply didn’t come back in for a long while. Maria was happy to pick up sticks.

Maria loves to do whatever I’m doing to John, and sometimes I have to remind her that I am John’s Mama, and if she wants to do Mama things she should do them to her baby. This occasion, she requested a Moby for her baby (to match Mama), so I tied her baby on with a receiving blanket and she paced with me. Her baby fell asleep before John, so she sat and snuggled him while she waited for me.

These gorgeous roses were part of a bouquet we brought home from church. They smelled amazing, and our bedroom was laced with their perfume for days!

We acquired an old little piano, and I’ve loved having it played most every day. That’s one of the things I’ve remained homesick for since getting married, having a piano played daily in the home.

Just bein’ crazy at the store.

John loves grabbing things, and he finds his toes to be pretty handy for this purpose most of the time. (Also, the t shirt is such a big boy shirt. It looks as though he’s going to get his toy truck and head out to the sandbox. Or maybe that’s just me).

We went to the zoo with Grandpa and Grandma H, and Maria was fascinated by all the animals.

And then these guys were sitting around looking like a lot more fun than exotic plants, so I had to take a picture or ten.

Having fun with Grandpa H.

Maria got to help Grandpa and Grandma make cookies! (While I trimmed John’s nails – took me a bit to figure out what was going on back there!)

John is such a people person! He’ll often give a smile just if you look at him or make silly faces at him. He likes his down times every once in a while, but he always wants to have some familiar person close by him.

We went on a date with Daddy! And we didn’t have time to dress up, so we just grabbed hats on the way out. A little swagger never hurt anybody, right?

We drove down to Kansas for a funeral, and I sat in the back with these beauties for all but 20 minutes of the driving time. They were troopers.

I took Maria over to see the milk can cows, and she instantly clambered onto the calf.

New clothes! And warm weather means we can see those dimples elbows now. Loving all the chubby rolls!