Christmas in April, a spring of surprises, Angry Birds saving the Earth, and doughnut dreams (7 Quick Takes Friday)


For weeks Daniel has been preparing for his spring concert at preschool. When I asked him what songs he would be singing, he said, “Christmas songs.”

“Really?” I said. “Like what?”

“Jingle Bells and stuff like that,” he said.

It seemed unlikely, but who am I to question? “Should I find a Santa hat for you to wear?” I asked.

“No, Mama,” he said. “Someone else will be Santa. I am just going to sing.”

I decided to ask his teacher.

“Oh, he’s confused because we’re singing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen,” she said.

That sounded logical. But when I mentioned that to Daniel, he said, “No, we’re singing Christmas songs!” And he launched into an imitation of Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”

I suspected some of the confusion might have been that he never got to perform in his Christmas program in December because he was sick that day. But I figured the worst-case scenario was that he would be singing one thing and his classmates would sing another. Actually that might be the best-case scenario. The Buettner boys often don’t even lip sync.

Yesterday on the way home—after the dress rehearsal—he said they weren’t singing Christmas music after all.

“What are you singing?” I asked.

“’Let It Go,’ ‘Baby Fishes,’ and ‘The World Is a Rainbow.’”

And here I was hoping for Jingle Bells.


Naturally, because of how life happens to work, Leo is also performing a song today with his class.

I will need the help of St. Christopher and the patron saint of getting to multiple school events happening just minutes apart to pull this off, but I am determined to make it happen. If it doesn’t work, I will be sadder than either of my sons, especially since their father will be trapped in a meeting he cannot escape. But I really do believe I can do it, and even without a helicopter.

This is, of course, the one and only time this spring that they are both performing. It is a good test. And I remind myself that I am truly blessed if this is my challenge of the day.

This is our first spring in our new house, so everything that blooms in a yard is a surprise.

I suspected that some of the bushes behind our house were forsythia, and they are! I love forsythia. There’s something so striking about the yellow, one of the first colors of spring.

There’s a lovely tree in our yard, and I am watching it with great interest. Because I have such little knowledge of trees, I will have to wait until it blossoms to figure out what it is. Do you happen to know? I can’t wait to see it in full bloom.

Of course, with my lack of gardening abilities, the bigger surprise may be if everything blooms again next spring.

Speaking of trees, our family project for Leo’s kindergarten class this month was creating an Earth Day poster.

I knew just what I wanted to do: a 3-D globe in the middle with three crosses on it. It was going to say, “God so loved the world, and so do we.” It would take 10 minutes, tops, and it would tie Earth Day and Lent together.

Leo had a different idea involving Angry Birds and Piggies and catapults. And he wanted everything to be flat.

Well, it was his project, so we went with his far more creative and slightly more time-intensive idea.

He took it proudly to school and he came home without volunteering any report on how it was received.

“Did your friends like it?” I asked him.

He gave a long dramatic sigh. “You know what I’m going to say, Mama.”

“Well, did they like it?”


Whew. Another family project down. One (or maybe two?) to go. I think we can, I think we can, I think we can. And then I’ll be saying how quickly kindergarten flew by.

Did everyone’s children grow like crazy during the winter?

The neighborhood children look so much taller than they did last fall before the endless snows. And our boys are doing things on the playground that they didn’t even consider doing back in October.

It’s fascinating to me how much they have grown in so many ways. And being on the playground seems to bring it out in them.


One night this week after we had tucked the boys in, I went in to check on them. Daniel was still awake.

“Do you want me to turn on your VeggieTales CD?” I asked him.


“How about one of your stories?”

“No,” he said. “Do you think you could buy some of those chocolate chip cookies and those little round chocolate doughnuts?”

So that’s what my son is thinking about at night. No wonder he was having trouble falling sleep. Chocolate doughnuts could keep me up, too.


I finally did it. I broke down and started a Facebook page for Open Window. I have been trying to decide whether I need one. Then this past week the comments feature on the blog stopped working. And the email notification system hasn’t been working consistently.

My wonderful friends here at The Catholic Review are working to fix these issues, and I know they will, but I realized that if the blog had a Facebook page, people could comment there and see when a blog was posted. So I decided the time was right, and I launched a page.

I hope you’ll join the conversation there, on Twitter, or write to me at I always love to hear from you!

Read more quick takes at Jen’s Conversion Diary.

Catholic Review

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