Thursday, October 5, 2017

Lulu is 6

In our house, not all birthday celebrations are equal. Maria's comes at the end of the school year, when our energies are depleted and the fair weather makes us lazy.  Pippa's birthday festivities suffer from their proximity to Christmas; the ranks of guests are thinned by seasonal commitments and seasonal colds.  For Donnie...well, we'll see what happens for our springtime, almost-Easter baby.  Of all the members of our household, Louisa is most likely to have her birthday feted in a big way.  For Louisa's birthday we are fresh from the summer and all our resolutions to be more hospitable are fresh in our minds.  And around here, the end of September is a beautiful time.  Trees grow tawny, apples ripen, the sky shouts blue.

This year, we were lucky to be able to have Louisa's birthday at Horse Listener's Apple Orchard.    The Orchard gave us a gallon of apple cider, sent a fresh-faced lad with a tractor train to give the kids rides, and saved the day by providing us with plastic forks (I forgot that cake is a fork food).  We got to feed the horses, and many of our guests picked apples.  The orchard didn't charge us a cent except the price of the picked apples.   I'm so grateful to them!

As you can see from all the flushed cheeks in the pictures, it was an oddly hot day.   Yet Louisa's joy was undiminished.  Big celebrations suit our vivacious girl.  She enjoys the attention, enjoys the bringing together of schoolmates, neighbors, church friends, and relatives.  She enjoys the sudden influx of novel little things from the pinata.   Once the party is done, she enjoys giving Pippa permission to play with her presents.  Then she enjoys  revoking that permission and taking control of her booty once again.  That is Lulu, in turns generous and tyrannical.  Happy 6th to our princess.

Things for the pinata.   As time goes by, I squirrel away the assorted tchotchkes that the girls receive into an out-of-reach box.  Then they get washed and put in the pinata at the next birthday.  Baubles in, baubles out.  It sure beats paying for new plastic stuff to give away at parties, and I think the kids enjoy the eclectic mix.

Cousin Cat.

Maria is such a photo ham!  We have about eight pictures where she is wearing this identical, exaggerated grin.

Pip and Cat in the tractor train.  The cars look to be made from old plastic barrels.

Beautiful birthday girl!

Monday, May 1, 2017

First Communion

Many years ago, I attended the first communion party of a little girl who went to our church.  It was a delightful party--house crammed with people, children rolling around on the floors, animated conversation everywhere, excellent food.  There was a pretty, homemade coconut cake, and the dress worn by the first communicant was made of ivory silk and sewn by her mother.  It was what a Catholic party should be--joyful and unfussy, but with plenty of personal touches!

I long hoped that we would make Maria's first communion a similarly well-feted event.   After all, first communion is a pivotal moment in the story of a soul, and it's fitting that it should be celebrated in a big way.   But reality has a way of paring down our plans.  Between having a newborn and having a stomach bug hit our house this past week, I had doubts that we would even make it to the mass.

But we did make it, and so did our very dear friends, James, Dominic, and Imelda.  Having them there meant a great deal to us.  It was a beautiful service. Tears were shed.

We went home for  a festal family meal of baked beans, bacon, blackberries, and cornbread.  Maria requested the cornbread in lieu of cake.  I was happy to comply!

Maria spent her afternoon listening to the audiobook of The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict and gave no appearance pining for a party.  Hopefully, we'll have a party later, but today, it was lovely to just have the first communion.
The flower crown was a project of this morning.  The greenery and small flowers came from our yard, and the rest came from a $4 Aldi's bouquet.  I love that our humble yard violets found their way into the crown. Violets remind me of St. Therese.

Evidently, wearing white is contagious.

It's frivolous, but I'm so pleased with Maria's dress!  It came via Amazon from a company in Singapore where they make dresses to order.  The first time she tried it on, Maria complained that having such a high neckline was uncomfortable.  I tried to resign myself to the idea that Maria would wear the "backup" dress that I had found at a thrift store and bought in case the dress from the Orient failed to arrive in time.  But when I asked her which dress she would wear this morning, she said "the long one."  Her initial reaction was probably just nerves and contrariness.  Our biggest girl does not like primping and fussing!  I'm grateful she changed her mind.