Tag Archive | rainy day

Believing the unbelievable

Here’s the song reference.

I heaved a largish sigh when I awoke to more rain yesterday; as badly as this area needs it to offset the dry winter, rainy days make erranding with the tribe rather challenging, and there were two that could not be postponed.  Happily, the tribe gave me something of a staggered start to the day, awakening one at a time, and eating breakfast without too much complaining.  By 8:45, all four had beed fed, dressed, and shod, the morning calls had been made, and we were off to the Parks and Recreation office to pick up the packet and tee shirts for Bugaboo’s tee ball team.  I’m still not sure how that gentleman from Parks and Rec convinced me that being the team mom would be a good idea, but we do go forth in love and service to the Lord and others, right?

Our next stop was a clothing store, as Beanie and I were both in need of some shorts that fit us properly.  We are regulars at this particular store, and the employees there are always delightfully friendly to the tribe, especially Mr. Man and Baby Guy, who grin up at the ladies from the comfort of their stroller.  Finding the right garments didn’t take us terribly long, and we were in and out in less than half an hour.  As I loaded the tribe into our van, I noticed a lady sitting in a van parked near ours.  She was alone and weeping.  After buckling Mr. Man’s car seat, I retrieved the box of tissues that lives behind the center console and walked it over to her.

She wept because she had just found out the heart of the child she carried within her had ceased to beat.  I don’t know her name, but she has my phone number. Please pray for her.   I have been her, and my heart aches with hers.  Coincidentally, our last errand involved Bugaboo’s birthday dinner.  She was born at 1:57 a.m. on May 23, 2007, after about 36 hours of labor and years of hopes, dreams, and tears. Four siblings preceded her into our hearts, but were bound for Heaven instead of earth.  As we headed for Wegmans, I remembered those days of sitting in my car, feeling helpless and crying.  I pray that lady will have peace, grace, strength, and friends and family with enough wisdom to NOT say, “Oh, you can always try again.”  I also hope she calls.  We always have room for a new friend.

There was quite the little traffic pileup as I tried to exit the parking lot, and I nearly turned around to find another exit.  Since we weren’t really in a huge hurry, I figured it was a good opportunity to sing a couple extra songs with the tribe and stayed in the line of exiting vehicles, which is why, moments later, the van erupted with squeals of delight when we all spied the cause of the vehicular logjam.

We weren’t the only ones who really wanted pictures of the family of geese crossing the street!

Our trip to the grocery store for birthday dinner ingredients was full of smiles and giggles, helped along by the lady who was running the CocoPop machine’s generous gift of a whole pop cake each for the tiny people.  The kids could sit and watch that machine pop out treats for hours, I think.  Baby Guy was particularly appreciative, this marking the first time he got one of what his siblings refer to as “big giant chips” all to himself.  We also picked up a few things for the kids’ lunches and dinners, since our evening plans would not allow Daddy and I to eat dinner until much later, after the tribe was abed.  It was a busy morning, even by our standards.

Our parish had a special Mass last night for couples wishing to renew their wedding vows.  Daddy and I thought it quite appropriate that the Mass was held on the eve of Bugaboo’s birthday, the night before a lot of our hopes as husband and wife came to fruition.  We were blessed with Nonno and Deedaw’s company, and they decided to join in the renewal as well.  Afterwards, we joked that when the kids are older, we will tell them the story of how Nonno and Deedaw got married twice in one year.

We laughed, in spite of the behavior one might expect from four small children who are all up and at church past their bedtimes, and cheered the other couples who were celebrating what the Lord joined.  It is probably safe to say that absolutely no one who knew my husband or myself on New Year’s Day of 2003 would have believed that on November 1 of that year, we would be married.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for miracles, including the four with which You have blessed our marriage, and thank You for making every day a cause for some celebration.  Thank You for tissues and prayers to comfort the brokenhearted, and thank You for all those who have comforted my husband and I through the years.  Please help us to see Your face in every person we meet, and to teach Your blessings that there is no day that passes without the miracle of love.  Help us also to teach them that part of following You is keeping Your covenants, and keeping the covenant You called us to as husband and wife.  And thank You, Lord, for the examples of covenant marriage with which You have richly blessed us.

And, Lord, please comfort that lady from the parking lot.  Please send her many comforters and much love.

And that’s when I first saw the bear

Not literally, just literarily.  Here’s the song reference.  It’s dreadfully inappropriate (and really more of a spoken word piece than a song), but it’s the song that popped into my head as the “blog moment” happened.

We had a mellow sort of rainy day around here; I baked bread, read stories, slogged through five loads of tiny laundry, tried to create a little order in the chaosium of our kitchen, enforced naptime, that kind of thing.  The morning’s big bright spot was the discovery of Bugaboo’s toy computer, which had been missing and missed for almost eighteen months.  Somehow, it turned up under my nightstand.  She and Beanie celebrated by playing games on their respective “computers” for about an hour until Mr. Man and Baby Guy awoke, at which time there were waffles all around, followed by paint for the ladies, a dry erase marker book for Mr. Man, and lots of blocks for both boys while the girls got up to mischief with their fairies in their room.

Bugaboo didn’t nap with Beanie and the boys, but she was very good about observing quiet time.  When she tiptoed from the girls’ room, I told her since she was doing such a good job with her listening, she could have a special craft project all to herself.  Quickly gathering some toilet paper roll cores, fuzzy yarn, scrap paper and glue, I showed her how to make a dog with the assembled supplies.  She was delighted, and set about creating a veritable kennel of cardboard canines.  When Beanie arrived just as the last roll core had been covered in fuzzy yarn, she was a little distraught, so I grabbed our last Zoo Pals cup, squirted glue around the rim, and told her she could make the snake into a wild thing — then quickly explained to Bugaboo that since she’d had a craft all to herself, she needed to let Beanie have her own craft, too.  There are pictures in the gallery.  Disaster was thereby averted, and Bugaboo wandered off to see if Smudgie wanted to be brushed while Beanie cheerfully adorned her cup with strands of yarn.

After naps, dinner, dessert, and a very enthusiastic welcome for Daddy, we tried to settle the tribe in for some family story time.  Mr. Man wanted some Daddy time to himself, however, and the girls had to be sent off to their room to clean up the results of their attempt to create a snowstorm in their room with a very large canister of baby powder (I opted NOT to photograph that).  Baby Guy, finding himself minus both his big brother and Daddy, became distressed, wailing and crying.  Milk didn’t help, hugs didn’t help, singing didn’t help, so I opted for the last resort that, in my five years of motherhood, has failed but rarely.  I grabbed the nearest board book, nestled him snugly into my lap, and started to read.

Baby Guy saw the picture of the bear and immediately quieted.  I read that book, which has been a favorite of each of our little blessings, at least three times in a row, with our small, chubby son cuddled against my chest, his eager fingers reaching out to touch each of the animals.  When we finished our little story interlude, he wriggled off my lap, pulled himself up using the edge of the couch, and reached for what appears to be his new favorite tale.  I handed it to him, and he plopped down on his plump rump, staring at the book with a cheery little smile.  As he waved his treasure in the air, he burbled, “Bow bay!  Bow Bay!  Bow Bay!”

I suspect the day is not far off when, if Baby Guy is bored, sad, or in need of a Mommy moment, he’ll adopt his siblings’ habit of meandering around to all the bookshelves until he finds something he’d like to read, then climbing into my lap for a snuggle and a story.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for my parents, who taught me to read and to appreciate books before I could talk; thank You for the grace to recognize their wisdom and pass that teaching along to Your blessings.  Thank You for the means to build Your blessings a library that enlightens and entertains them, and for strong eyes to read to them.  Thank You for Your early disciples who compiled Your love letters to us into a book, for those who preserved those early manuscripts, for those have labored under Your guidance to translate them into modern languages, for those who have made faithful renderings of Your parables and the stories from Your life and illustrated them in a way that makes them beautiful to children.  Thank You for brown bears, yellow ducks, and green frogs, and for giving us enough imagination to find the fun in the thought of blue horses and purple cats.  Thank You for little blessings whose favorite way to spend time together is snuggled up around me with a pile of books, and for the stories they invent on their own.  Please help me teach them that if they choose their books well, they will always have a way to find entertainment, information, or wisdom — and please help me teach them the difference between the three.

Blame it on the rain

A thousand pardons for the Milli Vanilli reference.  Given the weather yesterday (and this morning, so far), it seemed pretty appropriate; it poured so hard both of the last two nights that Mr. man and I both awoke a little after 3 a.m.  He was able to go back to sleep on both occasions, but I was not, which left me doing a sort of overall lip-synch through the day yesterday (and likely will today, unless I can sneak in a nap somewhere).  The tiny people were all a little testy as well, which I attribute to a phenomenon (common to all members of our family, human and canine) an old friend of mine calls “barometer head.”  When a low pressure system is moving in, we all feel like there’s insufficient space in our cranial cavities for our brains.

Given all the excitement of the past four days, a “stay day” was actually a blessing. The house is even more of a train wreck than usual, which is particularly unfortunate because several members of our extended family, including our beloved Zizi Carmela and Baby Guy’s godfather, will be in town this weekend; Bugaboo has a birthday party coming up Saturday morning, and there’s still a cake to plan and a largish flurry of other arrangements to be made and little tasks to be completed for that, as well.

Even with the list of chores growing by the moment, we still found time to enjoy the pleasure of a day in which we had no obligations outside our own front door.  Bugaboo drew part of our neighborhood and the rain, then she and Beanie raided the bookshelves for books that referenced rain and mud.  There were quite a few of their favorite Tinkerbell stories in the pile, but I was pleased to note that the first book Bugaboo found was an Arch Book, the one about Jesus calming the storm.

We found time, amongst the stories and the Monday bread-baking, to make a big batch of “cloud dough” as well, although after a quick experiment with Mr. Man and said dough, we opted to give him a couple of canisters of Play-Doh instead.  What better craft project for a rainy day than something called cloud dough!

There’s a particular kind of joy in spending a quiet day with the tribe, even if it’s a little discombobulated by the weather and disrupted sleep schedules.   If I keep my eyes open, those are the days when I catch the little things, like Baby Guy cruising for the first time.  It was only two steps, but it’s a start.

Now, if I can just convince his siblings to quit leaving sippy cups in random places around the house . . .

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You send the clouds and the rain, but You promise to be with us no matter how dreadful the storm may seem. Please help us teach Your blessings that people and things may leave them, but You never will.  Thank You for days that give us ample opportunities to show Your blessings how to converse with You, to offer You praise and ask You for aid, and for rainy days that make Your blessings snuggly and appreciative of chocolate milk.

Where the wild things are? Riiiiight here.

I believe that “wild things” day would have held far more laughter had the weather been slightly more cooperative — and had Bugaboo not decided, according to my husband, to wake up at 2 a.m. and play until around 4 a.m.  Heavy rain and a tired, cranky preschooler tend to put a damper on our plans.

At any rate, yesterday was CSA pickup day, so the tiny people awoke greatly excited about the prospect of frolicking around the farm for a couple of hours, looking for wild things and just playing in the fresh air and sunshine with whatever new friends happened to be there with their parents.  Bugaboo and Beanie were the first to peer out the window and understand that the likelihood of a farm play day was pretty low, but they gamely persevered in their attempts to convince me that it would be a fine day to cavort there if only they wore their galoshes and raincoats.  After I explained to both girls how horribly unfair that would be to Baby Guy (who does not walk yet), and also discourteous to the nice farmer who might not appreciate having his grounds damaged by rambunctious small people in galoshes, I thought I mollified them by explaining that they would be welcome to don their rain gear and enjoy the mud in our own back yard when we returned from retrieving our farm box.

We read “Where the Wild Things Are” over breakfast, and I explained to them that we could make a game of spotting wild things on our way to and from the farm.  Wild things, we decided, could be birds, animals, insects, or plants, and if someone spotted a wild thing but did not know its name, a description would do.  During a lull in the rain, we splashed up the front steps and into the van, chattering as we went over which of the things in our front yard were wild and which ones were cultivated.  Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man all agreed that while the peonies, which are definitely cultivated, may be the prettiest part of our yard, their favorites are the dandelions and buttercups, because they can pick as many of those as they wish.  All the signs for a fun, if abbreviated by the weather, outing were present, and I heaved a sigh of relief as I backed out of the driveway.

As we drove, we managed to spot several species of birds, including swallows, robins, and a huge raven, wild-growing trees of many kinds, wild grasses, and wild flowers, including cornflowers, goldenrod, and Queen Anne’s lace.  A fly had somehow entered the van with us, and Beanie excitedly informed me that it, too, was a wild thing, and that the mosquitoes that bit her arm the previous day were wild things, wild things she did not like.  As we approached the farm, though, Bugaboo renewed her campaign for playtime in the big play area at the farm, and was repeatedly met with the reasons it would be not only unfeasible, but also unfair to her youngest sibling (Mr. Man joined in Bugaboo’s campaign, wheedling, “Fahm pease?” to punctuate her every attempt).

Proverbs 15:30-31 kept coming to mind about then, to wit:  “A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones.  The ear that listens to salutary reproof is among the wise.”  I was working on those cheerful glances, but the steady whine from the back of the van, somewhat like the high-pitched whining drone of a big swamp mosquito, was starting to wear on me; I was thinking an awful lot about that “reproof” part as I loaded our veggies and eggs into the van.

Since the rain was still sullenly waiting inside the clouds when we left, we detoured to a local big-box store on the way home to restock our dwindling supply of milk and diapers, and to select some Mother’s Day cards for the gaggle of grandmothers.  Picking out cards with the kids is usually a lot of fun; while each child makes a card for each grandmother, too, all the grandmas are fans of products by the Hallmark company, so we make the effort.  Singing cards, glittery cards, cards with pop-up surprises and magnets — it’s generally a guarantee of at least fifteen minutes of fun in the greeting cards aisle.  Mr. Man requires close supervision, because he would like to procure one of each card design, but Beanie and Bugaboo are very good about carefully inspecting, then replacing the cards that interest them, without damaging them.  Baby Guy likes the music and sound ones.

The girls are usually able to agree on at least one card.  Not so yesterday; every time Beanie even smiled at a card, Bugaboo promptly exclaimed, “That one’s just not right!  We can’t give THAT to Grandma/Deedaw/Nana!”  After the seventh or eighth such rejection, Beanie started to cry, and I advised Bugaboo that since she didn’t like any of the cards, she could stand on the other side of our cart and Beanie could choose them with help from Mr. Man.  Beanie and Mr. Man were thrilled to be charged with such an awesome responsibility, and within three minutes, had selected three very pretty cards, all of which play music.  Bugaboo, not having internalized that a little kindness would go a long way, grumpily looked at the greetings and announced, “I don’t like any of them.  They’re all ugly.”

I finished our shopping very quickly.  Bugaboo got another disappointment when I told her, in response to her inquiry, she was welcome to select any sandwich filling she liked, but that we were not stopping at the fried foods counter for lunch, to which proposal she replied, “I just won’t get anything, then.  You just don’t want me to have anything I like.”

I could describe the rest of the next two hours until I sent Bugaboo to her room, where she slept for half the afternoon, but I’d rather just show the pictures of the fun things Beanie, Mr. Man and I did with wild things.  It amazes me that a child who is asked six times if she needs a nap will angrily respond, “NO!” each time, but when sent to her room because she’s being so unpleasant that I need a break from her, will immediately fall asleep.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, Your blessings are gifts from You, and I do my best to love and cherish them, to raise them in Your ways and to seek always Your face.  Please grant me the patience and wisdom to discipline when I must, but to prayerfully reflect at the end of each day upon the example of Your love I have set for them with my words and actions.  Please bless me with the grace of clear vision to see my own thoughts, words, and deeds through Your eyes, and to seek counsel from other wise parents who walk in Your ways when I am uncertain.  And, Lord, if I’ve done it right, please still my mind and calm my heart.

Gershon Kingsley, eat your heart out

Yesterday seemed made for a certain Seussian feline, as the weather was entirely too cold and rainy for even my little tribe of stalwart mud fanatics to spend an appreciable amount of time outdoors.  Fortunately, we are blessed with an abundance of books and art supplies, and the makings of both chicken soup and spaghetti with meat sauce, both of which are foul-weather favorites around here.  Baby Guy followed his usual rainy day custom of taking his nap at ten in the morning and sleeping until sometime after two in the afternoon, while Mr. Man was permitted to opt out of his nap and join his sisters and I in our hour of quiet time after lunch.

Among the titles in our collection is this little gem from Tomie de Paola; it gives the history of popcorn, along with a host of fascinating popcorn facts, in the context of two brothers making popcorn on their stove.  This is yet another book I recommend highly.  At any rate, while we did not read The Popcorn Book today, the kids ate dinner at a sufficiently early hour to justify a snack during our evening Spider-Man social.  While Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man were busily putting toys back in boxes, bins, and cupboards, and Baby Guy was cheerfully crawling back and forth in pursuit of Smudgie’s wagging tail, I decided to make a quick batch of stove-top popcorn.

I’ve never actually made popcorn in a pan on the stove before, mind you, but I’d seen it done by older relatives over thirty years ago.  We always had popcorn machines as a child, then a microwave, and I’ve used a very noisy air popper for the last couple of years.  However, since we’ve read about the old-fashioned way, it seemed worthwhile to show the midget mob that the method of which they had read was, in fact, possible.  I heated the oil, melted a little real, unsalted butter (the kind that has cream as its sole ingredient) in a saucepan, then tossed a test kernel into the hot oil.

Thankfully, I managed to duck out of the way of the flying popcorn before it smacked me in the eye.

After I located the lid for the relevant pan, I poured in the rest of the kernels and gently shook the pan until a fluffy mass quietly billowed forth; half a cup of popcorn kernels yielded just enough popcorn to fill my handled mixing bowl.  By the time I sprinkled over a fingertip pinch of salt and tossed in the butter, our three oldest children had assembled on the living room couch and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.  I put Bugaboo in charge of the bowl, helping myself to a handful of warm popcorn while reminding her to keep hold of the handle.

If you know anyone who would like an air popper, he or she can have mine.  That’s the best popcorn I’ve ever eaten, and the tribe agrees.  After the tribe was abed, I made another batch to share with my husband, and we have added him to the list of old-school popcorn devotees.

From a stewardship perspective, there were exactly six unpopped kernels out of a half cup of corn, which meant significantly less waste than any other method I’ve used.  It’s fluffier and sweeter, too.  Once the tiny people had finished watching their show and demolishing the popcorn, I asked them what they thought the popcorn did in the pan.  Bugaboo and Beanie responded by gleefully jumping up and down and making popping noises; after a moment’s skeptical observation, Mr. Man decided to join in the fun, while Baby Guy watched, smiling and laughing at his siblings’ silliness.

In The Popcorn Book, Mr. de Paola mentions that early European settlers ate popped corn with cream for breakfast.  Bugaboo remembered this as she was helping herself to another handful, and asked if we could have that for breakfast tomorrow.  I replied that while we don’t have any cream, we have whole milk, which should work just as well.  I’d rather have them eat that than most breakfast cereals!  It will be a good opportunity to teach them about this gift the native Americans gave to the Europeans, and to talk about how food brings people of all backgrounds together.

For those mystified by the title of this post, this may be helpful (link will open in a new window).

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for the simple gift of popcorn to share with Your blessings, with the laughter and happiness it brought.  Some of Your greatest miracles involved food and drink, from the wedding at Cana to the loaves and fishes; You remain with us in bread and wine at every Mass.  Please help me teach Your blessings that sharing a meal, or even a snack, brings us closer together, and to praise You always for the bounty You provide for us to eat.  Please remind us to share that bounty with our neighbors who are hungry, and help us teach the lesson of Your friend Martha, that preparing food can be a ministry if it is done in Your service.  As we prepare our meals today, Lord, remind us as you reminded Martha that the food is less important than the love it fuels our bodies to share, and let us serve in all ways with glad hearts.

Seek and you shall find

It was a raw and rainy day hereabouts, the sort of day that begs for big mugs of hot cocoa and lots and lots of stories.

Once the ladies had colored all the pictures they could stand, and everyone had a decent nap, we opted for an afternoon story marathon, which began before the boys were done snoozing.  I’ve mentioned before that reading is a favorite pastime at our house, and we have a formidable library of children’s books.  I’ve also noted that we read a wide variety of materials, and that we’ve been able to find Christ in whatever we read.  For today’s post, I’ll share the books we read and how we saw the Lord in each one.  For those who just want to know what books we read, I’ll begin with a gallery view.

For the books that are specifically about faith, I’ll assume you can figure out how Jesus was included, but if there’s one about which you would like specific information, please ask in the comments or in an email, and I’ll be happy to answer you.

We are huge Tomie de Paola fans around here.  Fin M’Coul is a retelling of an ancient Irish legend, and in it, the wife of the giant loves him enough to use all her wit and talent to save her husband from a horrible beating at the hands of a bully giant.  It’s sort of like Samson and Delilah, except in this case, Delilah saves Samson.  We found Jesus’s teaching to the Pharisees from Matthew 19 here, about how the Lord created male and female, and the two become one flesh forever.

This one is easy.  It begins with Psalm 139:14 — “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Yes.  Every new life is.

I’ve loved this book since I was tiny.  By reading it, we are reminded that while we may receive a mild rebuke for straying, the good shepherd always welcomes the lost member of his flock.

These are pretty self-explanatory!

My Big Book of Opposites reminds us that the Lord made all creatures, great and small.  It’s Time to Play gives a little lesson on stewardship, that we are to clean up the messes we make, and that even putting our toys away can be a happy task.

Brave Butterfly reminds us that we can do things we think are impossible if we have faith.  Peekaboo Fun reminds us that the Lord made every living and non-living thing, and He made them in an infinite number of shapes, sizes, and colors.

It’s Great to be an Engine reminds us that we are to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Jesus wanted the little children to come to Him, so we have special books to help bring them closer!

Can you tell these two have been well-loved?  The Belly Button Book reminds us that we all are born of women, as Jesus was, and Doggies reminds us that the Lord created some animals to be our friends, playmates, and protectors.

Pooh’s 1-2-3 reminds us that whenever two or more are gathered in His name, there He is, and that each of us has something we can share.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat calls to mind Noah and his ark, and, of course, Christ calling the fishermen.

Psalm 139 again!

While this book is more about snow and baking cookies, it’s also a good reminder that we share the fruits of our labors with our neighbors — and, of course, we give gifts to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

The wonders of Creation can be explored and investigated, but not always fully explained.  We thank the Lord for the mysteries he’s given us.

In the Fairy Berry Bake-Off, we learn that arrogance leads to unloving behavior, wastefulness, and destruction, but that we always have the opportunity to reconcile and be forgiven.  In Beck’s Bunny Secret, we learn that telling a lie leads to unhappiness and mistrust among friends, but, again, there is the opportunity for repentance and redemption.

The Strawberry Shortcake stories remind us of the value of friendship as defined in Sirach 6.

In the “Little Miss” books, we are reminded that He has given each of us particular talents, but that it sometimes takes us a while to figure out how to put those talents to their best use.

The Wind in the Willows reminds us that friends who lead us down the paths of wisdom are priceless, and that love sometimes means saying “no.”

In Bossy Bee, we remember that Jesus, the great leader and teacher, wasn’t rude or bossy, but gentle and humble.

The Foot Bookcalls to mind Christ washing the feet of His disciples.

We love Arch books.

If you have never read this book, go directly to your library or bookstore and get it.  Each of us has a gift to offer, and if we offer it freely and with love, even the most seemingly strange offering is pleasing to Him.  I have had this particular copy since I was five years old.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, we can see Your face anywhere we seek You.  Thank You for your constant presence, and help me teach Your blessings to recognize You and Your wisdom in books that don’t mention Your name.  Please grant us the wisdom to see Your triumph and grace in all things, that we may use every word we read, song we sing, and show we watch to draw nearer to you.

Swingin’ in the rain

While I don’t exactly bubble-wrap the tiny people, I’ve always been a little reluctant to let them play outside when the weather turns cool and rainy. Such was the case this morning, as a murky grey sky intermittently spat out sullen drabs of rain. Consequently, Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man spent a fair amount of time this morning looking longingly out the kitchen window and heaving sighs far larger than one might credit to such little bodies.

I made pancakes for lunch in an effort to mitigate their melancholy, which helped slightly, and allowed the girlies to watch “The Care Bears Movie” while the boys napped and I sorted five hundred loads of laundry. I tried singing, Play-Doh, raisins (they’re made from grapes and sunshine, after all), counting blessings, and a dozen or so other “can’t miss” tactics, all to no avail.

Finally, I stuck my head out the back door while folding a load of laundry. Then I thought about one of those things my head knows that contradicts the advice from Mom and Granny I carry in my heart, to wit: playing in the rain will not make you sick.

When I came back up the stairs with the load of folded laundry, Bugaboo and Beanie were glumly parked on the couch perusing a couple of their brothers’ books. I didn’t really expect the response they gave to my offhanded, “Okay, ladybugs, if you put on long pants, long sleeves, and shoes, you may play outside.  Just come in if you get cold and wet, preferably before you start whining.”

For a moment, I thought I had somehow pitched a no-hitter in game 7 of the World Series.  There was THAT MUCH cheering, jumping up and down, and general unfettered celebrating.

Off they went, waking their brothers with their thunderous bounding and jumping down the stairs.   Mr. Man, who wasn’t feeling terribly energetic today, decided his sisters were welcome to have the rainy backyard all to themselves, and wandered upstairs to play with Alphie and cadge a little extra storytime.  Baby Guy practiced his crawling and, somewhat to my surprise, came within about four degrees of pulling himself up to a stand before toppling over onto a giant teddy bear (thanks, Grandpa!).

Also somewhat to my surprise, the girls came in about a half hour before I would have called them for dinner.  The rain had stopped completely, and the sun was shyly extending a few tentative rays through a muck of a sky; apparently, the fun of being outside this afternoon wore off a bit when the rain ceased!

After dinner, Mr. Man decided that the new evening ritual of raising a post-dinner ruckus in the yard must be observed.  I am told that this time, it was he who removed Beanie’s boot and gave it to Smudgie to start the night’s game of “chase the puppy.”

Today’s prayer: Lord, Your blessings saw the beauty of a grey and rainy day, and rejoiced when they were allowed outside to enjoy what You had sent.  Thank You for reminding me, through their eyes, that You send blessings every day, if I open my eyes to see them.  Help me to always recognize the wonder of Your gifts, even when they don’t seem to be what the world would consider largesse.  You give me opportunities to teach Your blessings that beauty is not confined to sunshine and rainbows; thank You for the chance to learn it from them, as well.