Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Child's play

Humor me as we descend into mushy-mommy land.

There's not much more (ok, of course, just-birthed newborns) that makes my mommy heart swell as much as seeing my kids playing. Especially their first forays into play. There's something almost magical about a little person who was once totally dependent on you for any form of happiness begin to figure things out for themselves, and figure things out enough to bring themselves enjoyment with their own imaginations and bodies. Its just awesome.

They're not producing, or making, or consuming, or whining, or demanding, or even being entertained, they're just playing. Nothing needed but maybe a simple toy or two, and magic - a happy baby beginning to figure the world out. Beginning to figure out what he likes to do, how he likes to do it, what he thinks about it; basically just figuring out what living is about.

It always makes me wonder if our natural human state is like this. A simple state of happiness that uses our imaginations for pure pleasure, maybe some creativity and imagination, by just being. I wonder if God gets the same pleasure we do when looking down on us as children when we're simply happy with those around us, with having enough, with not doing, or producing, or consuming, or even "thinking" deep philosophical thoughts?

I know Max, in all his 22 months of ex-utero experience is just beginning to find the joys of providing himself with his own world of imagination and happiness, and yes it begins to come in the form of pushing cars around with "broom, broom" sounds. I hope he doesn't loose the delight that comes from simple pleasures, or forget that sweet, quiet moments of happiness can come easily at any time if we only choose to make them.

I also hope this stage of playing with markers on everything in sight ends real quick.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 64

So happy to be joining Cari at Clan Donaldson, who is hosting the Great Takes this week!

I'm so looking forward to Cari's new book, but apparently we get pre-sale books here in Canada years later than in the States?? Hopefully I'll get it in the mail before winter sets in and we're snowed in for six months unable to make it to the post office...


Well, I'm mining one boring week for takes this week. Nothing too adventurous happened. Which is probably a good thing as compared to the alternative! We plugged away at school, read a fair amount, still got outside which was great, and got by on very little sleep. Ok, just me got by on very little sleep. Nora's nighttime sleep is absolutely the pits and I'm trying more and more techniques that have yet to be too successful. I'm getting a little doubtful that there is a magic Nora sleep recipe. I'm still partly sure its teething but she's got to be the longest teether I've ever had before they sprouted. I'm just starting to feel all around exhausted. But this is pretty normal non-newsmaking baby stuff. In newsworthy mom news-I've survived the week on coffee and donuts. 


I'm guest posting today over at Messy Wife, Blessed Life for sweet Mandi! 
It's a post on saints for the multi-tasking mom - because, is there any other kind??
Please come on by and say hi!


Any crafting officinados out there want to give me suggestions for their favourite yarn? I'm just looking for a nice quality wool blend with decent colours that doesn't cost more than a good bottle of wine. 
 I love yarn and choosing but the choices out there are crazy and sorta overwhelming! I had flashbacks to looking at homeschooling curriculum from the summer when I looked at all the beautiful yarn brands yesterday. 
And I've forgotten what my favourite ones have been in the past. This is what happens when I only craft between babies. Big breaks. I'm just looking to make some scarves for the kids. I feel like store bought scarves for kids are either too wide or too short and not warm enough. And its a project not too outside of my limited scope and talent.


I caught the boys playing with their foam swords the other day and over heard Luke telling Dom, "You've got to pray to God now!" in a fairly commanding tone of voice while dangling a plastic rosary from the end of the sword in a threatening stance over Dom's head. Dominic went on to tell me he had just killed someone so now needed to pray to God. And Luke was just pushing him in that direction because he was the King. It all made so much sense. It makes me wonder how teaching about the Crusades will go over...I'm thinking pretty well.


I don't know if everyone read this post from Deacon Greg this morning but I just loved this quote from Pope Francis: 

“When I hear the confession of a young married man or woman, and they refer to their son or daughter, I ask, ‘How many children do you have?’ and they tell me. Maybe they’re expecting another question after that, but I always ask, ‘And tell me, do you play with your children? Do you waste time with your children?’ The free gift of a parent’s time is so important.”

I just love it because it's so very true and beautiful.


If you could spare a quick prayer for home education in Alberta that would be much appreciated! The ridiculous provincial government is trying to make wide ranging regulatory changes that would dramatically impact the freedom of how homeschooling works in the province through a committee that won't even be open to voting by the legislature. Its all so cheery isn't it? Anyway, I'm getting in such a bad mood having to email all these politicians about their stupidity. I'll take some prayers for my foul mood, too.


I swear I had something in mind for a number seven and its completely and utterly left me. I blame this ridiculous case of baby brain. Honestly, I can't even go half an hour without forgetting something. Its killing me! 

Oh! I think it was this - because I just love them!

I wish I wore more hats to my children's baptisms...

Happy Weekend everyone!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Five Faves - Recipes, Books, Old Lady Slippers

I'm back with a couple random favourites...and let me warn you, they are RANDOM!


These old lady slippers. From Costco, but apparently never seen on the internet before. 

Colour me a 75 year old grandma, but these slippers are the best things ever. Obviously, the frump factor is high, but the comfort factor far outweighs the ugly! The sheepskin is perfect for my circulation-challenged tootsies, and the soles are super comfy because it appears I spend a lot of time on my feet at home. Anyway, I wear these all the time and I honestly can't believe I didn't buy them at Costco sooner. They're also a fraction of the price of the big brand names, which I'm sure also feel great, but there ya go. 


The Baby Whisperer.

Whenever anyone asks me secrets to my baby sleep training I just say The Baby Whisperer. And specifically this book. All the tips I'd give someone come directly from this book so I feel like a plagiarist giving advice. I like this book and Happiest Baby on the Block, but unlike Happiest Baby on the Block this book gives way more tips for different types of behaviour. It goes way beyond just sleeping to cover most baby and toddler issues with feeding and behaviour in general. I don't follow everything, obviously, but I feel like her approach isn't too far off from attachment parenting ideals but far more practical and always rings of common sense. Even if you don't believe in sleep training (because you're a martyr or something) this book has a lot of other great tips, I think everyone would find something worthwhile in at least checking this book out. I'm so thankful I read this when Gemma was six months old and that I had these tips when I would go on to have 5 babies in six years because I would be so hooped if I didn't have these tips and babies/toddlers that wouldn't sleep!



Magnificat Children's Books.

These are the books we let our kids have during Mass. I always mean to write up a whole post about them, but since I haven't gotten around to it I'll mention them here.

I find the pictures to be sweet and the content excellent for small kids. My husband thinks they're a little young for our older kids now, but they're perfect for ages 2-3 I think. The older kids really like the Catholic Bible as it has just the right amount of bloody battle scenes and nativity scenes. I'd like to say they entertain the kids through all of Mass, but even for a decent distraction when all hell is about to brake loose they work fairly well. We leave them in our pew at church, because we have a pew - I know! Small town church what can I say! - so they only see them once a week which always helps with attention span. Anyways, you really can't have enough religious board books, am I right?!


I used up the last of the garden tomatoes a few weeks ago with this recipe and it was amazing. I may have added an additional brick of cream cheese...because, I mean! But its a great use of the last of your garden tomatoes and tomatoes that are no longer "perfect" because you just throw them in the oven to roast, and its from Smitten Kitchen so its obviously going to be awesome.



Their song "Pompeii" has been in my head for weeks. And it'll get stuck in yours. The whole album is decent, and Dominic knows all the words to a couple songs already. So I hope they're kid appropriate...I'll have to go check!
You're welcome.

Make sure to go see Hallie and all the lovely ladies with their favourites, and have a weekend-like Wednesday!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Difference Between Your First Baby Not Sleeping at Night and Your Fifth Baby Not Sleeping at Night

 First child, the thumb-sucker. Pretty sure she was about 4 months old at this point, and had a radical conversion to sleep.

Spoiler Alert! In reality, not much.

But in my mind there is a slight bit of difference between what used to rage through my brain when my first baby wouldn't sleep at night and now when my fifth baby doesn't sleep at night.

My first dear child didn't sleep much at all in her first three or so months due to some vicious, evil, malicious colic. She wouldn't sleep in the daylight, in the darkness, while moving, swaddled,  or nursing; no sleeping ever. I do remember some nights where we would drive up and down our bumpy country roads and after about 45 minutes she'd fall asleep, but then wake up minutes after we got home. I remember staying up at all hours, rocking, nursing, shushing her and completely believing this was how the rest of my life was going to play out. I would never sleep again. Ever. And I believed that with my whole being.

Because it was my first baby and I had no concept of a baby's insanely fast growth and the heightened speed of time once you have children, and thus could not fathom a time where my child could ever function, let alone sleep at all, without my constant attention. Sure, I was completely exhausted and irrational, but the thought of ever sleeping again seemed to be at similar odds as a alien landing on my lawn.

It was an almost hopeless state of mind. This state of mind, as I'm sure you know, doesn't do much to  create a cheerful disposition. It actually crushes all happiness and prospects of ever feeling anything other than akin to a flattened coffee cup on a busy highway.

Fifth child, the newborn-sleeping champ.

The difference when you have your fifth baby and they don't sleep at night is that you simultaneously can't believe you've done this and survived four previous times, and also believe that in reality it's probably going to pass in a couple weeks, maybe months, and surprisingly, you're ok with that idea. Sure, you still feel like as if you've been smashed into the pavement by heavy machinery, but somehow you feel as if this is your natural environment. There's also that glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, you'll make it through the first year of the child's life and once again maybe string together a couple solid hours of sleep. It becomes a more natural mindset. You adapt.

That being said, I can also attest to their being no magic that comes from being a mom to many. I think I had been misinformed in the past because I had this strange belief that mothers of a gaggle of children somehow only had children who slept through the night. How else could they possibly handle a sleepless baby and other people to care for?! But alas, no magic. There is also no "Mom-of-Many" magic that keeps you from still getting frustrated, exhausted, insane, and a little hopeless feeling when you go a few nights of little to no sleep. As much as I hope I deal with sleeplessness a little better than my past only-a-mom-to-one-baby self who acted as if the world was coming to a swift and dramatic end, I'm pretty sure I'm still a royal pain to live with the next day, who becomes more than a little bit of a yelly-mummy, a slight ogre in regards to noise levels, who ends up despising whoever created so much laundry in the house.

At the very least when I deal with a baby who's not sleeping I have a veritable arsenal of sleep training techniques. Because of the success I've had in the past of combatting almost any sleep issue in babies, I've come to have a little more confidence that sleep training does work and pays off in spades. I also know that sleep training's success rate works in direct relation with how much effort I put in with consistency and sometimes that requires sacrificing sleep at night. In addition to this knowledge, I know that I don't have to follow everything the book says if I'm really tired and just want to get through the night squeezing as much sleep as I can get. I take all these things a little easier with my fifth baby. I know that sometimes I'm just going to have to do what I can to survive, but that I can always return to sleep techniques that will help a baby learn to sleep. And maybe one blessed day they'll sleep. Through the night. And I'll be able to enjoy it.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

G.K. of the Day!

"If Nature herself is so kind a mother, why should anybody be so pessimistic as to shrink from motherhood? The truth is that, whenever modern thought wants to shrink from motherhood it will use pessimism as an excuse. And then, when it wants to shrink from the responsibility of religious education, it will be just as ready to use optimisim as an excuse."

- G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News, Aug. 26, 1922. 

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol 63.

Joining the Seven Quick Takes Greatness as usual!


Another week has flown by. I swear sometimes I blink and a week is over. Or maybe it feels like blinking because I'm getting little sleep?? Possibly. I know other weeks can drag and drag but this one has flown. I was busy with sick kids, the regular amount of school, and just trying to keep things afloat. I'm getting used to this keeping things afloat stage, but its making it almost impossible to even imagine having more time to do different/other things. Not really a complaint, it just feels as if sometimes 100% of my energy goes into just keeping things afloat. I guess I want more spectacular outcomes from such large amounts of output. I mean, keeping five kids alive is no small feat, so really I should count it successful. 


Turning to more important matters, I was touched by reading Mandi's post this week about the recent loss of her baby in a miscarriage. It seems as if many of my friends and family have expereinced this type of loss this year and it is such a difficult part of life that to deal with. I know there is nothing I can say to help that pain, but I wish I could help them even a little in their time of grief. I've been praying daily for these intentions for a while now, actually every time I'm pregnant the immense importance of life in the womb always hits me a little deeper. With every pregnancy I think I've added different ways to pray for different mothers, pregnant mothers in difficult circumstances, mother's who've lost children, mother's who struggle to conceive, mother's of sick children, the list goes on. I think that as I gain more experience as a mother I hope my heart is growing to understand other mothers better. I hope its teaching me to pray more. It goes to show that motherhood requires bravery and strength. 


Its the Feast of St. Luke today! Since its his name day Luke gets to decide what special treat he would like me to make for him and his request was "chocolate cupcakes with green icing". It's been his request for anything special for about the last two years. I can't convince him that anything else will do. 

It's funny that after we named Luke I realized that I've always really liked this saint. I have always appreciated the Gospel of Luke a little more than the others. Which shouldn't be something you admit should it? But I've always like the Marian slant of his Gospel, the Magnificat, the little details of the life of a woman and mother in such a momentous time in history. I also really like imagining St. Luke painting an icon of Our Lady. 


I made the mistake of starting Simcha's The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning last night at around 10. I stayed up and finished the whole thing. It was so great! As someone who carries the cross of NFP daily, it was so comforting to read from someone who so perfectly understood; who wrote understanding the myriad difficulties, who didn't diminish the sacrifice and mistakes involved, who spoke to the good things that are born from sacrifice even when we don't see them.

It's exactly the type of book on NFP that is needed. It doesn't get bogged down in logistics or theological nit-picking or pointing fingers or method slogging or trying to convert the uninitiated. It speaks to the beauty of sex, relationship, marriage, sin, family, and our relationship with God. Even if you don't practice NFP right now, this book is such a well stated and intelligent discussion on sex and marriage that it's more than worth the read. Of course, Simcha writes with her usual amount of brilliance, insight, and humour which is perfect for the subject matter as it makes for an enjoyable and engaging read of what has been uncomfortable or dreary in the past. 

I really think any married Catholic should read this. This book is an important one in that it is probably the only book the deals with this subject matter with right Catholic thinking in an approachable way. I also think this would be a nice read for any priest as well. The more priests who are familiar with the practices and pitfalls of NFP the more they can help us in the trenches.

I know I'm one of Simcha's biggest fans, but I loved this book. I cried, I laughed, it made me think. 


So I just thought I'd throw my two cents into the ring, because I just read Kendra's thought's on that Matt Walsh stay at home mom post. I'm sure everyone's read it, and while I liked the post because it was such a strong proponent of a mother's value in staying at home with children, I also don't know if that post really spoke to anyone other than the choir. Which is pretty much his style of writing, I don't think he reaches out and changes minds, which is fine, but I think that's why it also spurs the gut reaction from working moms.

First off, every working mom I know is wonderful, loving, hardworking, and caring. Their kids are great too. So I understand, sorta, how they don't want all this lauding of the stay at home mom. But the thing is, and I haven't reread his article so maybe he does compare more, but I thought his main point wasn't in comparing the two but in simply pointing out that a stay at home mom really works hard. He's saying it not because working moms are slackers, because that's obviously not true, but because somehow there are still people out there who have the bonkers idea that stay at home moms lounge around all day and are bored idiots. Its not about comparison its about educating people who are somehow completely ignorant. 

Workings moms don't face quite the same thing because as soon as they say their job position they convey the idea that they spend their time in a profitable activity. In other words people assume they work. When a stay at home mom says she's a stay at home mom some people look at you and say "Well, that must be nice to have so much time to spend with your children," as if you're on vacation at Club Med all day. It also can just illicit a plain rude and patronizing disrespect from strangers because we somehow are lazy and unproductive with our time. That's why stay at home mom's are excited when people defend the work they put in at home. Not that they think working mothers don't feel the same way about their kids, or don't do as much work at home, or spend quality time with their children, it's because of the general disrespect of the idea of staying at home must involve no work somehow. It's obviously an absurd proposition, but it exists somehow.

And this all happens because we live in a society that doesn't value motherhood. When abortion happens in the millions each year, there is no proper value on motherhood period. Not stay at home or working mothers, but mothers in general. We reduce motherhood to some kind of production or commodity or hobby. Not a vocation that is inherently respected, protected, and lauded. That's just the world we live in and that's why this misunderstanding happens again and again and again. 


Ok, lets go in a completely opposite direction now!

There's still no snow on the ground! Which for Canada is kinda a big deal. Last year at this time there was already snow and it was not to depart till say, April, so I'm thankful for each snow-free day from here on in. I think this winter may be the toughest yet for me. I'll have five house-bound babies. Most of which are so very loud. I'm thinking we should just build a soundproof room I could put them all in for a break once in a while. I'm going to need perseverance to make it to Spring. And maybe a trip to Mexico.

Every day there's no snow on the ground I'm still insisting the babes go out and play. They're already getting bundled and its already ridiculous amount of work making sure everyone has proper headwear and coats. But I'm still doing it dammit!

The kids all got to enjoy watching my dad load cattle on Monday, which led to big excitement for the boys. They were bundled up watching them, but the sun shone so I even took Nora out and she grumpily watched from the sidelines as Max even sat still while the calves galloped onto cattle liners. So at least we're taking some small advantage of these last snow-free days.


Well, its good to be making a blogging contribution this week. It makes me feel a touch more productive and little less like I'm living under a rock. Thanks for your precious time in reading, I still marvel at the idea that people read my ramblings. Its a beautiful thing. 

Happy weekend everyone! I'm off to make some chocolate cupcakes with green icing...

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Monday, October 14, 2013

G.K. of the Day!

"The true religion of today does not concern itself with dogmas and doctrines. Indeed, it concerns itself almost entirely with diet--or rather with the idea of forcibly interfering with the diet of other people. Modern religious liberty like that established by the American Republic, means that we must not order a man's doctrine, but we may order his dinner."

- G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News, May 11, 1929.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol 62.

Hi Jen, and all you fabulous quick takers!


Do my quick takes always read like a week rehash/lament? Well. I guess that's what they are. Haha- enjoy!

This week Nora decided she hates the idea of my blogging, or maybe just my blog. It could be both. But every chance I had when I had either all the other kids in bed/busy/cared for and she was supposed to be napping/sleeping for the night she would wake up and scream, scream, scream. And I don't really know the reason for the screams, she seemed perfectly affable while awake or being held...its one of those baby mysteries. 

And obviously this isn't that big a deal, I really don't blog religiously or have leagues of followers or anything. But it just was something I wanted to do for about 10-30 minutes. And frankly, that's 10-30 minutes of doing what I want that can only happen once a day unless I want to stay up to all hours, which I just can't. For some reason this is hugely demoralizing. Is it 10-30 minutes that I just don't want to give up to the needs of my children? Yes. But does it make a huge difference to my mental health? Yes. Do I not offer it up willing? No. If anyone doesn't understand the sacrifice of motherhood then they've never stayed home with multiple children. Or one child. Anyways, moral of the story is no writing but not a lot of progress on the path to holiness. Again. Ugh.


I usually try to be positive about being at home and being with my kids because that really is two of the strongest principles I hold dear. But sometimes you can just get discouraged. I had a couple days like that this week. Not that I was specifically unhappy with anything in particular, I was just so tired of everything in general. So tired of the plain old days, with constant demands with no end in sight. Sometimes you can't help but crave change. Glamour. The outside world. And then you start thinking to yourself, "hey those kids with moms who have exciting looking jobs don't seem so bad? The moms get to put on outfits in the morning! They go places, accomplish things, get out of the house for more than an hour! Maybe my whole life's path has been wrong!"

And of course, these discouraging thoughts are really bogus. They're really temptations. The temptation to think that by putting what you want first you really will be happy. The temptation that glamour, travel, excitement is more rewarding and lasting to you and your family than the routine, care, safety, and trust you are instilling in your children by being there day in day out. The temptation to shirk the way God has shown you for what you want when you want it. All that jazz. 


Not a good week for sleep around here. Patience for children is at an all time low. Haha, says the mom of five kids. That feels like something you shouldn't admit for fear someone is going to lock you up. So today was cereal for breakfast, extra cartoons, and more play downstairs/outside-away-from-mom time. And extra coffee for me. 


With the no time to write comes also the no time to read my favourite blogs. So I've been the worst commenter ever, and I'm weeks behind in all my regulars. Actually my reader is about to explode. I think I need to subscribe to less blogs but I just want to read more and more. I haven't even read some categories in what feels like months. My "Style", "Design", and "Food" categories are piling up. I miss them. But also have no time. I miss time. 


Even though it was a less than stellar week for me, the schooling department went surprisingly well. We tackled all our books over the week which was nice, got in lots of the extra reading I wanted to cover, and the kids have done pretty well not driving me nuts. So win-win! The biggest challenge I have is dealing with Max. If you ask him how old he is he would most definitely not say 21 months. He believes he's at least three like the rest of his siblings and takes great personal offence when I don't include him in everything. Which as you can imagine just adds to the peace and harmony surrounding school time. And since he's too young for the tv he ends up having a "nap" of sorts when I need to do hands on work with the kids. Which really doesn't bother me, but it really bothers him. Basically, the over age 2 category of tots seems like a breeze compared to the under 2 set.


Ok, everyone, what's our stance on knock-off J.Crew jewelry? I'm firmly planted on the side of eBay-for-a-fraction-of-the-cost of the fence, but is that wrong? Does it make me look cheap?? Basically I'm not looking for philosophical reasoning, I'm looking for what you think it looks like in real life by comparison. I think for the money savings but still looking uber-trendy factor is legit and worth it. Its not quite as awesome as wearing the real thing, but I'll learn to live with it. Yay? Nay?


Its Thanksgiving weekend around here. Yes, all of Canada actually. And I love it! I love having a fall holiday at least two months away from Christmas!! Seriously, Thanksgiving in November is almost the worst idea I've ever heard of. Take that American Superpower! We're having friends to stay till Sunday, helping my dad move cattle Sunday and Monday, and eating all my mom's turkey both those days as well. I may eat my body's weight in pumpkin pie, just because I can! On the other hand its the first Thanksgiving in years where I haven't been pregnant (I KNOW!!) so maybe I'll show some restraint.  But I wish all my Canadian friends the nicest long weekend! And you Americans just a plain old weekend. Just kidding, I love you too, eat some pie anyway!

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Monday, October 7, 2013

G.K. of the Day!

"We Catholics must realize that by this time we are living in Pagan lands; and that the barbarians around us know not what they do."

- G.K. Chesterton, G.K.'s Weekly, Dec. 31, 1932

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy Sunday Lovelies...

Today I'm absolutely chuffed to be guest hosting for the fabulous, fashionable ladies at Fine Linen and Purple!

Do come say hi and link up the cute outfit you're wearing to Mass today so we can all celebrate fall fashion with its wonderful sweaters, boots, jackets, knits, and darker colours; because Autumn really is the greatest season of the year for clothes!

And I'm already feeling fantastically embarrassed by my "fashion" pictures...

I wonder why?

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Picnics, pioneers, and a pretty wet ending

In an attempt to be a fun mum and take full advantage of a beautiful fall day we packed up a picnic and went down our country road a couple of miles to this small church in the middle of woods and fields. This homeschooling business can't be all toil and drudgery!

 I've always wanted to go poke around this quaint looking church, and if ever we were going to move away I'd always regret not exploring these out of the way, but just down the road, spots. So even though packing up five kids in the middle of the day can be a Herculean effort in the drag department sometimes its worth it for the sake of soaking up nature and beauty and stuff. Plus getting out of the house is never a bad thing, right?

The area of Alberta in which we live is bespeakled with small churches in what seems the middle of nowhere. Down random country roads miles and miles from what towns but sometimes just a few miles away from each other. Some are still kept up by local parishes with priests visiting every few months for a special service or Mass, many have been boarded up and are falling in disrepair, but most like this one  we visited are still cared for in that the grounds are always freshly mown and the graves of the cemeteries clearly still attended to. 

Because this area was settled by mostly Ukrainians at the beginning of the twentieth century the rural country churches tend to be Ukrainian Orthodox, Ukrainian Catholic, and sometimes Russian Orthodox. There are usually domes and many churches have Byzantine style designs. They're truly beautiful and charming.

 I'm always moved by the fact that these pioneers who must have come from really dire circumstances in order to tame this very cold wilderness cared so much for their faith as to build small churches wherever they could. They didn't have much, many lived only in sod houses for years, but the churches remain as a symbol of enduring faith.

This church we visited had no markers left as to what denomination it was built to celebrate, and I'm not friendly enough with the farmers who live around it to dig deeper into its history, but I believe it must have been a simple, humble, yet sincere place of worship.

It also had a small cemetery in its grounds with the graves of about 30-40 people. And being the good Catholic mom I am I told the kids to come check out some gravestones. Because we all need to know that that's where we'll all end up. What's a picnic without a touch of the morbid?

These grave markers are of the real pioneers of our area, which is pretty amazing and impressive. There's not much more written history around here that's older than this person's lifetime. From what I could glean from more recent tomb markers, those making up this small cemetery were mostly of one family, probably those who farmed the land. There were quite a few graves of very young children and babies, which always chokes me up. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to be a mother in times of high infant mortality, let alone a mother living in the deep Canadian wilderness miles away from any doctors or child-saving medicine. 

But back to the scenic, natural beauty! It was a perfect fall day, still blissfully warm where we could even spot the flocks of birds flying south. 

It was a bit Hitchcock-ian. A bit crazy having that many birds swooping right over your head!

The kids were having a great time roaming around exploring with sandwiches and cheese in hand up until I wanted to take their picture. Then everyone got crabby. And weird. And threw their body in unnatural directions. I mean, I got one happy child out of five. You can't even see Max. And my own baby is giving me glares. And this was the best shot out of 25, I kid you not.

After we finished exploring, eating, and "praying for the dead people" as Dom says, we quickly drove down the road a bit further to a little "lake" which should probably be classified as a pond, but since this is Alberta and its a bit bigger than a puddle it earns lake status. We were approaching the dreaded nap deadline, so this was going to have to be a quick stop to avoid rapid meltdown in multiple people, and maybe the kids too.

I also brought along my sister, aka Auntie Nanny. She really comes in handy with the extra pair of hands and all. She's a great help with baby herding, really, she should put it on her resume. But neither she nor I was fast enough in catching Max when he took a run straight into the lake.

Canadian lakes at the end of September are not something you can describe as "warm". But remarkably the crazy boy thought it was fun and just stomped around in the water when I asked if he was freezing. It was funny to see the non-reaction from his siblings, "Oh yeah, Max...walking into a body of water...seems pretty normal."

Since Max was nearing toddler hypothermia I stripped him in the back of the car and he got to ride home in only a diaper and a good helping of sand. This was the close of our picnic adventure, as you can also see was a bit much for the teeny Nora.

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter because I believe all these qualify as Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - I'll let you decide which is which!

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