Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

S'Nami Boh

This is the hymn that is sung in Byzantine Churches for the Christmas Eve Liturgy.  Though the tenor of this video doesn't do Fr. Joseph's deep, resonating bass justice, it is a beautiful hymn, which brings Christmas home to my heart just hearing it.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!!


Thursday, December 23, 2010


Nothing happens at the Black's but the Two Little Girls know about it.  Especially in the kitchen.

If you pull out baking bowls or flour or sugar (particularly sugar) or vanilla, you will soon hear the familiar (sometimes dreaded) sound of their little wooden high-chairs *scroooooonkeeeeenkskenrrnenssk* scraping across the dining room, squeaking slowly (but steadily) into the kitchen, and up to the counter, right in front of your workspace.

"I'm just gonna see what's in this loodle bowl here," they say. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas trees are a serious business here at the in-law's.  The sagas of tree-getting are many and varied (and hilarious).  There was the year that Dad brought home 4 trees. Yeah--four.  Because they were all that the lot had left.  They were so lonely, I guess. 

Then there was the year that they got a 16-some foot tree, since in their old house they had cathedral ceilings.  And the year they lived 30 minutes from any hardware stores and broke three different tree stands trying to hold up a large-ish tree, which means three trips to and from town to get a new stand. 

There was the year they got a fabulous deal on a tree that was supposed to have gone to a large company for their rather large foyer, but the tree somehow never made it there.  So dad brought that one home.  Seriously--this tree was 10 feet in diameter at the bottom.  It was totally ginormous.  

That was the Christmas Taylor and I had started dating.  

That was also the year the Christmas tree nearly fell on me... [story for another time]

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


[miss this little girl...]

Monday, December 20, 2010


Husbands are awesome because they do things like this when the Wife is having a hard week..

He loves me.. He loves me a lot.

I love you too, my own Sweet P'Taylor.  And I'm so blessed to be your Wifey-Love :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Updated Photos

Things I'm pretty good at: 
  • bringing my camera with me wherever I go
  • being not-too-shy about getting it out of my bag to take pictures
  • taking a photo (or seven) a day

Things I need to improve: 
  • uploading and processing my pictures more regularly (um, less work, right?) 
  • posting them online more frequently
  • being even less shy about taking my camera out to take pictures
  • "street" shots (of random people walking by or standing around)
Still, the 365 is coming along.. and I've been enjoying it!  I think I've even gotten a few decent shots.  Maybe. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I've held lots of babies in my life.  My sister when I was very young. Nieces and nephews. Siblings-in-law. Friends' babies.  Babies I've only just met.

But always it was just holding them. For a moment.  Here and there.  The baby was always someone else's baby.  They were mine only in Love and far-off relationship.

And I've given lots of baby gifts over the years.  Hats, blankets, carriers, pictures, booties, mittens, clothes, nursing covers, shoes.  I've wrapped them and transported them and handed them over, watching as the mother and father undid the wrapping and ooh-ed and ahh-ed.

I did all that today again, just like always.  But it was wildly different this time.  I sat down on the couch, with That Sweet Baby Girl in my arms and asked Taylor to grab the little gift bag I had brought.  I had thought that the foster mother would open it and ooh and ahh.

"Why don't you go open it? Over there with Baby?"  she said.

I wasn't ready for that.  I'd never opened a gift unless mother's hands were full (of baby).  And certainly never while holding a baby that might be mine.  Taylor brought the bag over, sat down next to me on the couch, and put his arm around my waist.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Day Away

Tomorrow we'll meet her.  A baby girl who could be ours.  A baby girl that God has placed in our lives for a time--who knows how long--to remain in our hearts forever.

I've never met a baby that could be mine.  I've only ever held other people's children.  Children who had parents close by, who knew mommy and daddy from the first moment of life, who would never need to ask "who are my birth parents?"

I am a strange mix of excitement, joy, anxiety, sorrow, giddy-ness, and apprehension.  What will it be like when I hold her?  What will it be like when she grabs on to my finger with her sweet little hand?  Will I get to feed her?  Can I kiss her?  Will I want to?  What will I feel as I hand her back to her foster mother when it's time for us to go home?  I don't know.

Oh, Sweet Baby, I wanted very much to be your foster mother while the legal technicalities of your future were hammered out.  I wanted to hold you and feed you and sleep close by every night, watching you breathe, knowing that your mother wanted us in your life, no matter how long we got to take care of you... I know that God has a plan, though, so I must trust Him that this is the best way.  I miss you already, Baby, even though I haven't met you.  I can't wait to hold you, even if just once. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Posing for self-portraits in a pretty handmade Christmas dress leave husbands irresponsible for their actions:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas to Me

To me, Christmas is a time of creativity.  It always has been.  From my earliest memories, Momma was always cooking, baking, gifting, sewing, painting, and decorating.  She loved the holidays. 

Momma's nativity sets, for example, took countless hours of hard, detailed work from start to finish.  She even poured the ceramics herself, and had them fired.  Then there was the basecoat (which we kiddies got to help with--how hard can it be to paint something all one color? (turns out it's rather tricky, to get it not-lumpy and goopy)), which was sealed, then the antiquing, sealing, colored antiquing, more sealing, and finally, the painted details, which Momma mostly did.  

It was just stunning to see her finished sets arranged just so at the parish holiday bazaar.  I wonder how many of her sets are scattered through our home town--how many lovely pieces of Love and talent and dedication adorn the homes of our friends at Christmastime.  

And still, nothing puts me more in a Christmas mood than getting my full box of paints and paint brushes out and, stroke by stroke, bringing clay or ceramic pieces to life.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Being a [Law] Student's Wife

It takes a certain kind of woman to be a student's wife.  I'm not tooting my own horn, here--it takes a certain kind of woman to be married to any one kind of man.  I know I couldn't be a Navy wife, and I don't think I'd be very good as a rock star's wife.  I might be able to manage as, say, a dentist's wife, or an engineer's wife, but the life of a student's wife suits me best.  At least for now.

There's a unique rhythm to life when your husband's a student, a give and take and lull and roar of the semester.  Each season has its characteristics and each different phase of the semester carries with it its own peculiar "mood" in the home.

Right now, for instance, we are in the death throes of finals.  Taylor has finished two finals so far, one Tax (exciting, right? (apparently, though, it was a pretty good class)) and one on the History of Western Legal Thought (yeah, that was a pretty cool class, too), and he's spent days figuratively chained to the kitchen table on his (nifty, new) lap top, outlining writing outlining writing outlining.  He comes up for air occasionally and watches a movie with me, eats, or he'll make coffee or open a beer (which beverage is solely dependent on the time of day).  Sometimes he spends the day at a cafe, just to change up the scene.  But he's a hard worker, for sure.  Tomorrow he has his First Amendment final and Cyber Law on Wednesday.  So he's still outlining and writing and reading and studying.

Now, you may be asking yourself (and rightly so) how this picture differs from the rest of the semester.  Well... it doesn't. Not really.  Except that there's less class-ing involved during finals, and there's a bit more, shall we say, tension in the air as the cold wraith-like breath of finals threatens to frighten the life away from the law student's soul.  You can imagine this is not a nice feeling right before Christmas. And no matter how often people tell me "well, isn't it nice to be done before the holidays?" I know that you're never done in school.. not if there's another semester looming ahead of you.

That's just part of the rhythm, and a lot like "real" life outside of school.  There's always something else to be done, even when on break.  As a student's wife, Advent will always be tense with finals and the rush of finishing piddly things before the semester ends.  Christmas break is never wholly break, with articles or notes to finish by January.

I know there are lots of wives (or, let's be fair, husbands too) who couldn't be married to a student.  It's a life that has its own unique set of challenges (and perks).  But that's why we got married.  We wanted to share the challenges we knew we'd face, and we wanted to be together through the difficulties we couldn't predict.  It's simply better together.

And I love that he's home so much in the afternoons.  He'll be reading or writing, often with his headphones on, but I just like to have him in the house.  If he was working a 9 to 5, I couldn't rub his shoulders whenever I wanted, and I couldn't strategically interrupt him for a few kisses now and then.  I like that we can go to a cafe together to "get work done," me with my knitting or embroidery and him with his books and computer.  I love that he gets time off from classes during Christmas and during the summer, when we can plan trips and adventures.  I love that he loves what he's doing.

Being a law student's wife isn't any harder than being any other kind of wife, really.  It's different than being a builder's wife or a poet's wife, but no harder, I think.  I love it.  Because I love being married to Taylor.

And right now, he's a law student.  He won't be a student forever (right, Love?).  Who knows what he'll be when he graduates :)  Another exciting adventure awaits us..

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Christmas Dress

My very own Christmas dress.  A good friend sent me a pattern she thought I would like, and I finally cut it out last week.  I started sewing Friday evening and hand-stitched the hem yesterday afternoon, watching Wall-E with my Sweet P'Taylor...  

I remember Christmas dresses when I was a little girl.  Sometimes we would buy them; sometimes, Momma would make them.  On Christmas Eve we would all open one present from under the tree before going to the children's mass as a family.  Momma would often suggest a particular gift for us to open, and I remember once I received a pair of brand new, shiny black, heeled shoes.  I felt so grown up and beautiful walking into Church that night.  Rustling dress, new shoes, warm winter coat.  I sat up straight because I felt like such a lady.  I paid extra close attention because I was so grown-up.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Day

Kris Kringle has been working on some ornaments this month.  Each one stitched by hand.  Each one emerging slowly from pattern pieces and teeny tiny stitches.  Each making an appearance on sometime close to Sunday morning.  A labor of love, though, no matter when they are finished.

They tell a story of a snowy afternoon... coming home from the library.

Wrapped in a warm wool coat..

Three gray buttons keep the cold out.

There's a note in my pocket from someone special..

filled with love.. 

As I passed out of the city, I think I saw a polar bear watching me..

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Weekend

I really need one this week.. hope yours is wonder-full!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

If I Could..

If I could re-arrange the entire academic world's idea of when it's a good idea to have finals, it would be something like this: 

Most of January would be vacation.  Since T is in law school, I will state that I think January's a great month to meet with firms and other lawyerly folk to hopefully get that ever-illusive job.  New Year's resolutions, re-focusing on work, all that stuff.

School "starts" sometime in February, just in time for Lent.  Really, what could be better for enhancing the discipline of Lent than rigorously putting one's nose to the grindstone of academic work?  Yeah, that would be penance enough for me, too.  Spring break could still be sometime around Easter.  I'm all for getting the week after Easter off--who wants to vacation during a fast? 

By the end of May the semester is winding up and finals happen sometime end of May/beginning of June.  The  rest of June and all of July are also vacation.  The next semester (that is, the second semester of the school year--is this confusing you yet?) starts in August.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I'm not sure if we should share.  I don't know if it's something that one would blog about or if it's better to keep it closer to the vest, all in the family.  I want to ask for prayers but I don't want you to think that I'm anxious or hopeful for one certain outcome or another...

Last Wednesday, a woman had a baby--a baby girl--and she wanted to make an adoption plan for her daughter. She had looked at our profile book and thought we'd make a nice family for her baby.  She talked to the adoption agency and they talked to the father.  The father does not want to make an adoption plan.

The case has to go to court, now, because the mother (wisely) won't sign relinquishment forms if the father is so unwilling.  The court will decide if the baby can be placed for adoption or if the mother will parent.  It is my understanding that, in most cases where one parent refuses an adoption plan, the judge rarely rules against the parent.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do Not Be Afraid, Mary

The first time I visited Taylor's family was during Advent, just after Thanksgiving.  Raised Roman Catholic, I was used to starting advent sometime in December, but Byzantine advent starts two weeks earlier.  The colors, instead of purple and rose (a red-headed Jesuit once emphatically told me it was not pink), are a somber, but still lively red--the color of fasting.

The fast moves through Thanksgiving (Byzantines always make room for feasts!) and the last days of November, entering December with the triumphant feast of Holy Father Nicholas.  As December 25 approaches, everything about the liturgy tingles with anticipation--the melodies, the antiphons, the psalms, the Gospel, and the singing!

In fact, the intensity of the singing in Taylor's house sometimes causes a chuckle during the second and third weeks of advent, when the prokimemon is proclaimed: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have won God's favor.  You will conceive from the Spirit and bear God's son."  Do not be afraid, visitors, we sing this loud because we are very excited for Christmas to come... It's a wonderful way to prepare for the feast. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Just a quiet Sunday today. We woke earlier than usual and had a simple breakfast (of curried rice.. go figure), tidying the house a bit before heading into Mass. 

I grabbed this picture of Taylor because Bonobo's is having a contest.  Taylor loves these pants, and winning a shopping spree wouldn't be a bad deal :)

So, if you have a moment, go vote for Taylor.  Because, really--doesn't he look great in these?

I think so.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

For Unto Us a Child is Born!

My sweet husband and I spent a lovely evening together attending the Handel and Haydn Society's annual performance of Handel's Messiah.  It was beautiful.

Every year, Taylor's family attends a Seattle performance of Messiah in Benaroya Hall and we have been lucky enough to have an organization like the Handel and Haydn society to facilitate our continuing the tradition.  Before I met T's family I'd only ever head parts of the performance in movies or on the radio occasionally.

It's an amazing piece of music.  I confess that I don't like everything about it--the florid arias throughout can sometimes seem a bit much to my taste... but there are certain parts, phrases of a few notes or whole pieces that thrill me every time.  The soprano this year was one of the best we've heard, and the clear, smooth note of her voice rang out high and bright like crystal "Come unto Him all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest."

Friday, December 3, 2010


Our little home is getting ready.. we're all getting excited.

I'm so glad to see my favorite ornaments, too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Teal Wool

in skirt form

pattern from a wrap-around jean skirt I've had for years, which isn't dressy enough for the workplace.

warm. cozy. stylish. adjustable (to wear on the hips or at the natural waist).

buttons. pockets.

I like it :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010