Sunday, May 6, 2012

Our First Communicant

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Elizabeth celebrated her first communion on Saturday and I have never seen a little girl so excited. She counted down the days and then she counted down the hours. She practiced holding her hands correctly and saying, "Amen," with her goldfish almost every single day. She begged me to do more lessons with her in her first Eucharist preparation workbook. Watching her received Jesus for the first time as been an absolutely joyous experience.

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Elizabeth and my mom began special preparations months ago on Elizabeth's dress. They perused dozens of first communion dresses online and using them as inspiration, designed Elizabeth's dress together. The whole process was such a joy for both of them: the designing, the sewing, the choosing of fabrics and embroidered details, the fittings--and the final reveal.

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We even managed to use the occasion to get a family photo. I didn't get one at Easter so I didn't want to miss this opportunity. Gustin was so good during the entire first communion mass, but as soon as we pulled out the camera he turned into Mr. Grumpy.

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I'm sure he's going to be teased for years to come about all the grumpy faced photos from when he was four-years-old!

Here's another photo from just before mass began.

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He'll smile as long as he has his hands covering his face. Silly boy. You can't help but love this kid.

When I think back to Jonathan's first communion, I remember the intense feeling that my little boy had just grown up before my eyes. He even looked taller to me as he walked back to his seat after receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

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With Elizabeth, I will always remember the joy that flowed out of her so freely and abundantly and spilled over into the lives of her siblings, parents and grandparents. We are all so blessed to have this precious soul in our lives!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No More Excuses!

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Lately (as in the last several years) I've been bemoaning my lack of progress on sewing projects. For instance, I began I quilt for Elizabeth 6 years ago and I still haven't finished piecing the top. I finally realized that a big part of the problem was that I didn't have a place to keep my sewing machine. Evey time I wanted to sew I would pull out my machine and set it up on the kitchen table and then would have to put it away again before the next meal. It was enough of a hassle that I rarely sewed unless it was absolutely necessary.

For Christmas my wonderful parents bought me this craft table to use for my sewing. It's set up in a corner of my room near the window just waiting to be used. But, as you can see, that corner still looks a bit... unloved. Boring. Blank.

I'm notoriously slow with decorating my home and it was high time to give this corner a bit of attention. I wanted to create an inspirational environment that would fuel my creativity and would make this corner personal and inviting--a place where I wanted to sit down, relax and spend some time. So, I started collecting items from around the house that are meaningful to me but that had not yet been hung on our walls.

I laid the hodgepodge of items out on the bed and tried several different arrangements.

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And I finally decided on this one:

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I included some of my personal photos that I plan to change out from time to time.

The icons are my confirmation saint, St. Catherine of Sienna, Eric's confirmation saint, St. Gregory the Great, and one of our favorite saints and Gustin's namesake, St. Augustine.

The gold framed picture is a gift from my parents and is a collage of images of Blessed Pope John Paul II--a man I admire so greatly. It's beautiful in that it contains images from the early years of his papacy when he was so energetic and engaging as well as images from his declining years when he suffered so much but with great dignity.

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My favorite piece by far, however, is this image of the Madonna and Child. Isn't it gorgeous? Kristin of the Small Treasures blog briefly had an etsy shop where she sold these wall reliefs and when she posted that she was going to stop making them I quickly snatched one up before they sold out.

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Here's the finished space all ready to tackle some sewing projects. I'm very happy with it even though St. Gregory refuses to hang straight. See, even a saint who has earned "Great" at the end of his name isn't perfect.