Friday, November 12, 2010

A new Advent wreath, and some book reviews that are simply PRECIOUS

Yesterday I had a wonderful, wonderful day off with Henry. I had a hard time coming back to work today and leaving him. I miss him. :(

We started the day off at the grocery store, and it got me all excited scoping out Thanksgiving turkeys. I'm terribly excited about Thanksgiving this year, it's one of my favorite holidays. Definitely my favorite of the secular holidays. It was so nice being in the store during a weekday morning. So much less crowded and so much more pleasant. And Hank was an excellent boy. As he lounged in the cart, munching on a slice of bologna that he charmed out of the lady slicing our deli meats, I thought ahead to my maternity leave late next spring. My maternity leave with Hank was a bit dicey. You see, I cried, well, ALL THE TIME. In retrospect, I'm pretty certain I had a fairly substantial case of postpartum depression, but I was simply unprepared and didn't know what to do about it. It was a difficult thing, and sometime during my pregnancy I'll devote a whole post to it. It's a very important issue, and the only way to help women is to talk about this and increase awareness. So, that's coming, but in the mean time, I'm trying to prepare for a mentally healthier time for myself after this baby is born. This time, I feel hopeful that my preparation will serve us well.

Anyway, we loaded up on food for the week, and after stashing everything in the refrigerator, we headed out to the local Christian goods store. Hank had never been there before, and he was enthralled. He was very good, but as you parents might have already discerned, him being enthralled means me not being able to focus on anything else for longer than a 10 second interval:

CL stops to look at gift Bible selection.

Hank darts off.

"Mommy, look at this ornament! It has baby Jesus on it!" (from 2 aisles away)

"Ok Honey, but remember, look but don't touch."

"It has a jingle bell, Mommy!"

*jingling, followed by a small crash*

A little bit stressful. But I managed to pick up a few gifts, AND, *drum roll*

A beautiful new Advent wreath. :) It looks very much like this one:
What I like about it is that it's very traditional, and what I've always wanted. Pine cones, greenery, purple ribbons. Mine has a bit of glitter on it, including some glittery gold balls. The clincher was that this model has little spikes in the candle holders, to secure the tapers. This is my main problem with the wreath that I currently have, my fear that they will tip when lit. It was only $24, and every year that I put out my old one I long anew for a wreath such as this. I figured I deserved one. :) So I scooped it, and soon it will adorn the center spot on our dining room buffet. *proud*

Hank especially liked the Advent section. We spent about 20 minutes in there poring over various details. Well, Henry pored and I supervised. I really, REALLY enjoyed it.

Then I lured him over to the childrens book section, because I wanted to get him a new Bible. I've mentioned before that Hank loves his original Bible, this one:

We read through it about 3 full times, and it's all beat up and tattered. I felt that he was outgrowing it a bit, so I replaced it with another one that I chose. Big fat failure. For whatever reason, Hank just did not dig this Bible. Illustrations are big with him. They have to capture his imagination. And the stories can't be too lengthy; it simply won't hold his attention. This new Bible just did not have the mojo that he needed to keep up our nightly Bible reading habit. So, at the store, I encouraged Hank to pick out a Bible that he did like, and that we could start reading again before bedtime. He chose this one:

I would rather that he picked a Catholic childrens Bible, but no biggie. I have to say, this one has GORGEOUS illustrations. The scenes depicting the first Christmas took my breath away. And it is in fact slightly larger than his old Bible, thus including some stories that he hasn't heard yet. That was my goal in the upgrade, so I was happy. It was also very reasonably priced, about $14 for a hardback. Last night we read about Gideon, new stuff for Hank. I'm very glad that we're picking up this tradition again.

Finally, I spied a book that I simply couldn't resist, and have been dying to blog about. It's called Angel in the Waters and is published by Sophia Institute Press.

This is a story of an unborn baby, adjusting to life in his mother's womb, and being comforted by his guardian angel. He grows and grows, enjoying his aquatic existence, until he becomes so big that he can't swim anymore. He knows something is changing, and his angel assures him that there is a larger world out there that he will be entering soon, but everything will be ok. The parts with the baby being upset at his water leaving and frightened by the sudden sensations made me cry.

When he is born, he's very disoriented, and can't find his angel. At this point of the reading, Hank, who despite initial protestations at wanting to read something of his own choosing, was listening with rapt attention and wide eyes, and declared:


We read on to find that the baby indeed sees his angel again, but also comes to be comforted by his mother and father. The angel tells the baby that even when he can't hear or see him, he'll always be there. When we got to the part about the angel telling the baby that there is even a larger world than this one out there, and that one day, he'll lead him there too, I couldn't help it. I simply burst into tears.

This is a wonderful book. At $6.95 it was a few dollars more than I wanted to spend on a childrens book, but it is WELL worth it. This is an easy and enjoyable read (for parents too!) but it is not a quickie read. You know, those hardcover books for kids nowadays that you can spend $12.99 on and it turns out to be about 5 pages total, all of which are fluff. This is a substantial read, and there is a good amount of sound content. The illustrations of the baby growing are too freaking precious for words.

For anyone with a baby on the way, or just looking to share a pro-life message with children, this is an outstanding resource. Definitely check it out.

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