Our new piano, summer reading victories, fun with boxes, battlefields, and birthdays, and more (7 Quick Takes Friday)

– 1 –
We have a piano!

Months ago my uncle and aunt offered us their piano. We don’t know whether our sons are musically inclined. They like to sing, and Daniel is so into dancing he may well be the next Fred Astaire. Still, learning to play the piano–or at least be familiar with it–is good for everyone. And I grew up with a piano in the house.

Isn’t it beautiful?

So we accepted their generous offer, and it took me months to figure out where we would put it and hire a piano mover and then pick a date.

But here it is.

We’re very excited. There are a bunch of rules about how many people can play it at a time (one), how many toys can be on the piano (none), how much banging on the piano is allowed (none) and whether food and drink can be anywhere near it (never ever ever ever!).

The day the piano arrived I tapped out “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

“Mama!” Leo said. “You can play the piano?”

“Just a few songs,” I said nonchalantly. And then I launched into a one-fingered version of “Jingle Bells.”

The boys should surpass me soon enough. Meanwhile, the song “I Love a Piano” is running through my head.

– 2 –

Every morning when we drop Daniel off at preschool, he stands at the window and waves goodbye. It doesn’t matter which parent takes him. The routine is always the same.

Until yesterday. Yesterday morning he matter-of-factly told me he was going to go straight to his classroom and not wave to me.

“I can’t hear you through the window,” he said, as if something had changed since we started waving to him through that window more than two years ago.

His teacher smiled, mouthed, “That’s good,” and gave me a thumb’s up. Ah, she knows me so well.

Our not-so-little 4-year-old gave me a hug and a kiss and then ran off to play. And I walked to the car feeling a little sad that he wasn’t waving and making faces at me through the window, and a little proud that he is getting so independent.

– 3 –

How is your summer reading going? Our boys have been reading all summer through the program at Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library (where they have two aunts who are librarians). A child who read for 15 minutes for 49 straight days could earn a colored-rubber-band loom, and Leo has had his eye on that prize for weeks.

Well, we reached 49 days and yesterday Leo went to the library with Grandma to collect his prize. His little brother asked him to get his prize for him, too, and I knew our bigger boy could handle that enormous responsibility.

Leo picked out a glider for his little brother and then assembled it for him. Daniel was quite content.

Leo came home with the loom and a couple thousand rubber bands, which he asked me to sort. You know you’re a mother when your son asks you to sort tiny colored rubber bands with him–and an hour after he falls asleep, you realize you’re still sitting at the table pulling orange bands away from yellow ones.

We’ll take both our boys back to spend more of their Pratt Bucks before the summer is finished. It has been a fun program, we are proud to own our very own loom, and the boys love that they still have some “money” left to spend at the library.

– 4 –

In the end, though, no prize could ever top a cardboard box.

Thank you, Grandma, for letting us have that amazing box.

– 5 –

Over the weekend we were invited to a party at our friends’ house near Gettysburg, Pa. So we decided to pack a picnic lunch and stop and visit the battlefield on our way to the party.

We probably spent 20 minutes there, but we loved looking at the cannons and eating our lunch as we watched a hot air balloon rise. We have been so fortunate to have a cooler July than usual–although I do miss the hot, sticky weather we usually have–and it was a perfect day for a picnic.

We are looking forward to a return visit soon, and I’m hoping we can see more of the monuments and talk more about what happened there. But that was harder than I had anticipated.

Have you ever tried to explain the Civil War to a 6-year-old?

– 6 –

Tomorrow is my birthday! It’s also the Feast Day of St. Joachim and St. Anne. When we were first married and we were praying for children, I said the St. Anne novena every morning. She gave birth to Mary late in life, so I always figured she was a good saint to talk to. (Anne is also my confirmation name.)

Photo taken by my sister Maureen at The Cloisters in New York

I haven’t prayed the St. Anne novena in years, but I am doing it this year (though with different intentions), and I’ll finish it tomorrow. Then the wild birthday celebrations will begin. Or they would if they hadn’t already started. This year the partying began with a lunch with friends, and then a birthday dinner at my parents’ house. The celebrations just go on and on and on. I do love my birthday.

I also love my mother’s strawberry frosting.

When our sons asked me how old I am, I told them the truth. It sounds old to them–and to me too–but I have to remember that 16 sounds old to them, too. I should have just told them that I was 16. That’s what my mother told us every year when I was a child, and I believed her until my oldest sister told me the truth.

– 7 –
Sometimes people ask me what I blog about, and I say, “Oh, adopting and our life as a Catholic family and whatever else comes to mind.”

This week was a “whatever else comes to mind” kind of week. I wrote about the mice in our house, our zucchini fun, my vocation as a working mom, and natural family planning.

I’m also hosting my first blog link-up, Full of Grace, which I’ll leave open until the Feast of the Assumption. If you have a blog, I hope you’ll join me in writing about faith and family!

Jen at Conversion Diary is busy hosting the #Edel14 conference, so you can read more quick takes at Carolyn’s blog.

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