Sunday, December 30, 2007

This and That

Christmas was wonderful. There was very little stress and lots of family time. It gave me so much pleasure to see the joy on Happy Boy's face when he opened his stocking and presents. He even took joy in watching us open OUR stockings and presents. His favorite gift by far was a wind-up LED flashlight. Reeda's was a little stuffed girl gnome which my mother-in-law knitted for her.

I had requested no plastic toys (except for Duplos/ Legos) and no toys made in China. They received handmade toys, wooden toys, and educational items, so I was very pleased with that.

We watched the movie Miss Potter a couple days ago. Way back in May and June a couple different bloggers raved about it so I added my name to the library queue. Six months later it finally came up just before Christmas. I enjoyed the movie and now want to read the whole set of books. Luckily for me, Happy Boy was given the set for Christmas.

Tonight we watched the movie Freedom Writers. Except for foul language (which I actually think was appropriate given the context) it was a good movie. I suspect that many public school teachers (and especially the NEA) are like the department chair who worshiped bureaucracy rather than teachers who actually care about giving their students and education.

Some time before Christmas Reeda took her first step. It is still not a daily occurrence so we get very excited whenever it happens.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

No More Classes!

Yesterday my husband turned in his very last paper for his very last class. One of the perks of grad school is that many of the professors don't require finals so he is now officially done with coursework for his doctorate. Now he just has to take is comprehensive exams and write a several hundred page dissertation. . . We are both so relieved that this is behind us. The next big hurdle will be the exams in March, but I personally will find those easier than having my husband gone several nights a week. But then, I am not the one taking a three day test. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Novena Begins Today

Here is the novena that our family says:

Novena to the Infant Jesus


O most holy Virgin, and blessed St. Joseph, obtain for us the grace to perform this novena with such attention, devotion, and ardent charity, as will entitle us to join the angels in rendering glory to God. Amen.

Let us say twelve times the Hail Mary, in remembrance of the care and solicitude shown by our Blessed Lady towards the Infant Jesus till His twelfth year.

Let us make three aspirations, to incline the Infant Jesus to turn His favorable attention on us.

O Divine Infant of Bethlehem, Whom we adore and acknowledge to be our sovereign Lord, come and take birth in our hearts. Amen.

O Infant Jesus, grant that each moment of our lives, we may pay homage to that moment in which Thou didst begin the work of our salvation. Amen.

O holy Mother of Our Infant Saviour, obtain that we may so prepare for His coming, as not to be separated from Him for all eternity. Amen.

Let us pray.

Most holy Infant Jesus, true God and true man, our Saviour and Redeemer; with all earnestness and respect, we beseech Thee, by that charity, humility and bounty, which Thou didst display in Thy Infancy, graciously undertaken for love of us, that Thou vouchsafe to grant us the favor we now beg, if it be for the honor of God and our salvation. Amen.

Here each one will beg in spirit the particular favor desired. Pause for a short time.

O most amiable Infant Jesus, we are most unworthy to be heard in this our petition; but Thy holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, and the great St. Joseph, Thy foster-father while on earth, are worthy to be heard soliciting in our behalf. Then, O divine Infant, being mindful of their most sublime merits, especially those they acquired during the time they served Thee in Thy infancy in Bethlehem, Thy flight into Egypt, and Thy childhood at Nazareth, vouchsafe to grant our request, and give us grace to promote the honor of Thy omnipotent infancy, to serve Thee with fidelity, as domestic servants, all the days of our lives, and to obtain a happy death, assisted in that last hour by the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, whose zeal for Thy honour will lead us to praise and bless Thy divine mercies forever and ever. Amen.


Whilst deep silence dwelt on all things below, and the night was in the midst of its course, the almighty Word came down from its throne. Alleluia

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus, Who didst, for the love of us, vouchsafe to reduce Thy incarnated divinity and most divine humanity to the humiliating state of birth and infancy; grant that we, acknowledging Thy infinite wisdom in Thy infancy, Thy power in Thy weakness, and Thy majesty in Thy littleness, may adore Thee, a little one on earth, and behold Thee great in heaven; who livest and reignest with God the Father, in unity with the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Meme

I haven't seen any Christmas memes going around this year, so I took this from someone's blogpost from last year to recycle it with my own answers.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Both

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? The presents are wrapped, but we don't do Santa. Do people actually not wrap presents?

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored on our big tree, white on the Jesse Tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.

5. When do you put your decorations up? It depends. Sometimes the first Sunday in Advent, sometimes later.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Clam chowder - Christmas Eve is the only time I make it all year.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Seeing the living room it by only the Christmas tree with the stockings stuffed and the presents under the tree.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My mom told me when I was in fourth grade.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Not anymore. I did as a child.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With lights and ornaments but nothing edible.

11. Snow? Love it or Dread it? I like it coming down as long as I am safe and warm at home. I dread driving in it.

12. Can you ice skate? I suppose so. It has been a long time since I tried.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? No.

14. What's the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you? Too many to count. To be brief I will say sounds, smells, colors and Liturgical practices.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Don't know for sure. Probably either gingerbread cake or gingerbread cookies.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Reciting the Christmas novena and O Antiphons leading up to Christmas.

17. What tops your tree? Nothing.

18. Which do you prefer - giving or receiving? Depends on the circumstances. I love giving to my husband and children, but not to people I barely know.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night.

20. Candy canes? No. I love peppermint, but not candy canes for some reason.

Since few people read my blog, I will tag anyone who wants to do this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One Night with the King

My husband and I recently watched One Night with the King, the movie about the Biblical figure Esther. It is hard to articulate what I think about the movie, but I will give it a shot.

You will probably like this movie if you watch it with a blank mind. If you know absolutely nothing about the story of Esther that will be a good thing. If you have never seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that is an even better thing. If not, then those two combined make the movie lame, lame, lame.

Well, to give the movie a fair chance, I must say that in no reviews that I read did people mention the LOTR similarities. Some Christians loved the artistic license with the screenplay and some did not. In other words, what bothered me may not bother you.

First of all, the movie is actually based on a book called Hadassah, not the book of Esther. I suppose that the artistic license taken in the movie was found in the book, but I am not going to read it to find out. An example of what I didn't like was that the only reason Xerxes believed that she was Jewish was because of a Star of David which was "hidden" in her necklace.

The Lord of the Rings was a great movie, but not to be duplicated. Sigh. Too many times did the director, screenwriter, and hair and makeup artists try to duplicate it. I know it wasn't just me, because my husband felt this way before I even mentioned it. A small example is that one of the antagonists in the movie also played Denethor, the Steward of Gondor in the LOTR. He looked exactly the same. All the way down to his hair and costume. Fortunately, the actor who played both Mordecai and Gimli actually looked like a Jewish scribe and not a dwarf. That would have been an amusing disaster.

If you have seen it, what did you think?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December Miscellany

On Saturday we took the children to see Santa. We aren't going to tell them that Santa is the one who fills the stockings and brings the presents, but I just like the pictures. My husband thinks this is silly but humors me as long as pictures with Santa don't cost any money. Last year we couldn't find a "free" Santa, but this year a local Protestant church had a sign saying "Santa and donuts from nine to 10:30 - bring your camera!" I guess the plan was to lure people to their Christmas services, but it was free so we went. Unfortunately none of the pictures turned out that great, but oh well.

Sunday it was 78. The temperature dropped in the evening and we discovered our heater didn't work. Our apartment manager said that it won't be working until Wednesday. When I awoke this morning it was 51 in my bedroom and colder in Happy Boy's room.

Most of my Christmas shopping is done, but I still have to get a few things. I had been planning on a certain gift for my brother-in-law, but my husband was appalled at the thought of it, so I am back to searching.

One would think that if someone is ordering something online at Christmastime that that something has the potential to be a gift. In other words, when it is mailed to the customer it should be mailed in something that is not transparent in case said customer's spouse collects the mail. I guess not everyone does think like that.

Our Advent is going well. I feel like we are properly focused on the preparations for Christ's coming this year, rather than having four weeks of Christmas before the big day.

Anything interesting happening in your December?