Our tiniest sweetie turned 14 months old today. While things are incredibly busy for us right now, I wanted to take just a moment to reflect on how much Mari has grown and changed in just the last two or three months. Perhaps I feel those same old emotions I remember when Genevieve began walking, but seeing Mari leaving babyhood behind is particularly powerful to me right now. Before our eyes, she has transformed from the happy, smiley, relatively sedentary “little bum” she always was, to a small child, bravely exploring her world as she toddles around, concentrating so hard on her balance and destinations. In her thirteenth month, Mari decided it was time to start cruising. Once she got that down, she now seems to be shifting her attention to her words. Though still in the early stages of pronunciation, she has proudly vocalized the words ball, dog, apple, mama, dada, boo (it was recently Halloween, after all), boy, and uh-oh. We are delighted each time her sweet, soft voice utters any little word, and she seems to enjoy talking. She’s still all smiles–unless you try to change her diaper, of course–and she is still so affectionate. From those first 4-week old grins to the big “snug” she gave me this morning, Mari has been such a joy to her dad and I, every single day. Happy 14 months, little toddler!
We decided that this year we would begin a tradition of making All Saints Day special in our family and home. Halloween is a lot of fun, and we don’t necessarily believe in denying any of its frivolity and kid-centered good times. However, as Christians, is not All Saints Day the true day to celebrate? After all, Halloween is only that because it is the eve of the day we celebrate all the hallowed in heaven–the saints. So, we decided to have a little fun in communion with those in paradise.
Genevieve dressed up as her patron saint, St. Genevieve, and Mari dressed up as her patron, Our Lady, Mary. I know. Crazy, eh? We were joined for the evening by St. Kateri Tekakwitha (Anna), a martyr (Josie), and St. Teresa of Calcutta (“Baby Nora”). We played “Pin the Bird on St. Francis” and “Give the Alms to the Poor” for small prizes (books and stickers), and after supper we all enjoyed hot apple cider and Soul Cakes, made from a very old recipe dating back to before the 1800s, when Halloween was about begging at the door for a cake in exchange for prayers for a soul in purgatory. At the end of the night, all the children received a Holy Card as a favor upon departing. It was a fun celebration of the men and women who we admire and know have gone before us in the love of God. Hopefully the joyous traditions will stick for years to come.
Our two wee goblins want to wish you a happy All Hallows’ Eve! Genevieve chose to be a ghost this year, taking every opportunity to practice her scary “Boo!” on innocent bystanders. She delighted in their fearful reactions each and every time. Mari didn’t have much say in her costume this year, as we happened to have princess/fairy (maybe a princess fairy?) garb lying around, so that’s what she was. She didn’t seem to mind, though. Both girls enjoyed their brief trick-or-treating experience and we were joined later for dinner by Great Auntie Jill who came bearing some extra treats.
Five years ago, Hallie and I had just started dating. I might not get all of the details exactly right in this post, but I know for sure that my brother introduced us on October 8th, 2008. A few days later, Hallie friended me on Facebook and, shortly after that, I asked her to dinner. She wasn’t available right away, due to spending the long MEA weekend up north with her family. When we did go to dinner we went to the Chatterbox in St. Paul where Hallie received a very underdone steak.
A few more days later, Hallie hosted a Halloween party at her apartment on Grand Avenue in St. Paul (which was coincidentally just a few blocks away from my apartment). I persuaded my sister-in-law, Sara, to come with me because I didn’t really known anyone at the party except Hallie, and we had thus far only been on one date. I guess I was a bit nervous. I remember that Hallie’s kitchen sink was plugged up and that many of her friends were there. Someone was even dressed up as a tree which I thought was hilarious.
At some point I think Hallie suggested that we have our photo taken. I can’t tell if it was a selfie or if someone else took the shot. I’m not even sure whose camera it came from. Anyway, the point is that I am 99% certain that the photo below was the very first photo ever taken of the two of us. It boggles the mind to see how much our love has grown since that moment, five years ago.
I think I get a kick out of the video below because it’s the first time (that I’ve seen) that Mari shows a bit of snark towards her sister. It’s hard to catch, but she’s grinning as she takes the eggs out of the bowl while Genna tries to put them back in. It only gets better when Genna gets annoyed and then Mari clocks herself in the head with the wooden spoon. Maybe others won’t find this quite so amusing, but it makes me laugh out loud every single time I watch it.