Ninja Training, a demonstration.

NINJA TRAINING. (Or so we’re told.) As demonstrated by Will, age 6.

Mi Familia

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Epiphany 101

Borrowing from the incomparable list-making of Alejna, this is a list related to EPIPHANY.

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Epiphany: In name and title

Epiphany: Sudden flashes of realization

  • Epiphany, the sudden discovery of some meaning.
  • Epiphany is also used to describe religious visions, such as Theophany, Hierophany, and Darsana.

Epiphany: A holiday around the world

  • According to the Gospel of Matthew, the three Kings (Magi) followed a Star in the heavens to the Baby Jesus, arriving with gifts for him on the day now celebrated as Epiphany.  Melchior represented Europe, arrived on horseback and brought gold.  Gaspar represented Arabia, arrived in camel, and brought frankincense.  Balthazar represented Africa, arrived on elephant, and brought myrrh.  Most Christian calendars recognize this date as January 6th.
  • Some branches of Christianity celebrate the coming of Epiphany by honoring it as the Twelfth Night.  These Christians Twelve Holy Days from December 26th to January 6th is considered the spiritual heart of the year to follow, with January 6th as “Holy of the Holiest.”
  • In England, “Twelfth Night” is traditionally the last opportunity to party before the resumption of post-holiday work.  The “Yule Log” is kept lit until Twelfth Night to bring good fortune in the new year.
  • Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the Baptism of Jesus with the Feast of Theophany (literally, “manifestation of God”) on January 6th.  They also perform the “Great Blessing of the Waters.”  In Greek Orthodox tradition, during the “Blessing of the Waters” celebration, young men dive into the water to retrieve a cross that was thrown in by a priest after being blessed.  The first man to find it is believed to have good luck for a year.
  • In Ireland, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th under the name Little Christmas (Nollaig Bheag) , or Women’s Christmas.  This is the first time I’ve heard of Women’s Christmas (Nollaig na mBan), but the general idea is that men take up all duties related to house, home, and family, and women party all day.
  • Italian children hang their socks on the eve of January 6th for Befana to visit to fill them with candy or coal, behavior dependent.  This is similar to Russia’s Baboushka,  who also provides presents on the eve of Epiphany.
  • In Spanish tradition, on the even of the Day of the Kings (El Dia de los Reyes), children polish and leave their shoes ready to accept presents from the Kings.  Roscon, a special type of bread decorated with candy fruit, is made.
  • In Mexico, children may leave shoes near the family nativity season or under a tree, with notes with toy requests for the Kings, sometimes with offerings of hay for the Kings’ animals.  A bread called Rosca de Reyes is made in the shape of a King’s crown and holds a small doll inside.  The person who finds the doll in their bit of Rosca is responsible for throwing a party on February 2nd, “Candelaria Day”.
  • Similarly, in Puerto Rico, children traditionally fill a box with hay and put it under their beds.  They eat Rosca de Reyes in the evening, with a small doll inside representing the baby Jesus.
  • The Christmas season ends on January 6th in the Philippines for Tatlong Hari (“Three Kings”).  Children here also leave shoes out, so that candy or money may be placed inside.  Others greet one another with the phrase “Happy Three Kings!”
  • The gâteau des Rois is eaten in France on Epiphany.  This is a kind of king cake, with a trinket (usually a porcelain figurine of a king) or a bean hidden inside.  The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket becomes “king” for a day.  King cakes are eaten in other areas of Europe, including Belgium and Portugal.
  • King Cake is also available in Louisiana starting on January 6th, as Epiphany marks the start of the Carnival Season, which lasts to Mardi Gras Day.  (Side note: I’m all about blasphemy, but eating King Cake before January 6th is seriously messed up.)

Epiphany: The day that comes tomorrow

  • Epiphany = January 6th = tomorrow.
  • It is the last day of the yearly daily blogging event, Holidailies.
  • King cakes will go on sale in New Orleans; Paul will have jury duty; and Kate will go to the Aquarium on a field trip.
  • My age will change from age 21 to age 22.  In hex.
  • Tomorrow, January 6th, is My Birthday.



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12 days of Christmas, in sound only.

We’re 6 days into the business trip, and here is where we’re at:

Twelve critical car failures
Eleven inside-out shirts
Ten broken pieces
Nine honey-soaked shelves
Eight groceries lost
Seven piles of cat puke
Six un-mailed packages

….Five sections of tree lights out!….

Four flat-tire helpers
Three more days of single-parenting
Two arguing children

Mi Familia

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Flashback Fitness.

Offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: it’s JAZZERCISE with KATE!

Leg warmers optional.

Aerobics not your style?  Try some yoga with our own in-house Yogi…

Mi Familia

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*Doorbell chime*


My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father. Prepare to d—

*Door slam*

Family Life in NOLA

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Nighttime Haiku for the Sleep Deprived

I ponder: kicks? shoves?
What recourse have I for this?
My snoring husband.

Mi Familia

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The gift the gives back.

Important business, this reading Heifer International’s newsletter.

No, really, Mom.  Did you know you a flock of chicks is only $20?

Thanks, Heifer.  With YOUR help, we’re just one pants-less morning away from Potty Trained.


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Today’s Headlines

Breaking news, 11am this morning:


Afternoon addition:


Evening release:


Family Photos

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Out in the back.

Remember the back of our house?  All that damage from that storm, um, how many years ago?  One would think we’d have wrapped up all that work, right?

We’re getting there.

Actually, this picture, representing what the back has looked like for the last three months, is now officially OUTDATED.

But it took some time.  First, Paul had to trim in the windows.  This took a couple of weeks, working in the evenings.  Note that the wood fits in perfectly without needing to be ripped.  (That was completely planned, of course.)

Below is an example of the finished trim.  Paul got the inspiration for the design based on our friend Bryan’s handiwork.  Bryan is actually the only living person on earth who is actually MORE detail oriented than Paul in his home renovations*.  So Bryan did a decorative strip on the top of his windows (just like the one seen on the window base) and routed a groove up the sides of each trim board (I’ve seen the pictures and it really is pretty impressive). 

Paul has been doing nothing but talking about this beautifully detailed trim since he visited Bryan last summer.  You think I’m kidding? Invite Paul over to your house and within 5 minutes, he’ll point out all sorts of details in your trim and tell you about his friend in New Hampshire who gets poplar for, like, .40 cents a foot and does all his own trim detail by hand. Paul even wants to TAKE DOWN all the other trim he’s done in the entire house and REDO it.  I’ve tried to explain to Paul that the reason Bryan and the family won’t come for Mardi Gras isn’t because they would be repulsed by our unadorned trim; it’s because they are tightly packed in snowbanks until April. This may have talked some sense into Paul, because he was fine just trimming the windows like this for now.

A full window, trimmed out.

The little study window.

Seriously, you want on Paul’s good side? Maybe have some computer problems that need fixing? COMPLIMENT HIM ON THE WINDOWS. Just trust me on this.

With the windows trimmed, we were about ready for the next big push: painting everything.  Thankfully, these are 9′ ceilings (not the 12′ walls covered in thick dirty oil-based paint that we need to paint in the rest of the house) — so they are much easier to paint.  To do the study and the family room, we used 10 cans of paint this weekend.  Paul showed mercy by doing the ceiling painting himself and all the high cut-in.  Everything has three coats of paint… primer and two color.  Including the trim.

Also, it was really, really, REALLY easy to paint the trim around the windows because of how perfectly the trim was done.

Paul and I were able to accomplish all of this progress (including the requisite caulk, sanding, vacuuming, and even the insertion of some light cans) because my parents took the kids for the weekend.  We worked until after midnight both Friday and Saturday and were up working by 8 each day.  We both really, really hurt. If my hair looks a little stringy, it’s because I can’t lift my arms above my shoulders to wash until Tuesday at least.

Here is the color in the study. It sort of looks like we are tentatively planning a nursery room, doesn’t it?

More of the family room. The paint theme for the room is, “this is suppose to be our happy place!”

Incidentally, Paul keeps calling the family room “the game room,” our office “his office,” and the outbuilding, “his workshop.”  I’m letting him be delusional about all that for now, since he looks all cute icing his sore arms in the bathtub.

* I just wanted to add, as a point of proof and respect, that Bryan’s perfectionism is only outdone by his wife’s patience.  As I remember, they slept in their dining room for several YEARS as Bryan worked on their bedroom.  She also patiently worked around not having kitchen counters (Bryan hand made them from soapstone, of course) and cabinets (he went to woodworking school to learn how to do this the right way) for more than a few years.  All the while she is raising three kids (including twin boys) in the middle of nowhere New England.  When I start to think, ugh, let’s be done already!, I need only think of them and shut my trap up tight.

Home and Renovation
Home and Renovation

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It’s cold here today.

Cold weather accessories taken out, as a rare necessity.  Also necessary: modeling them.

(The glasses influenced the Photoshop actions.)

Family Life in NOLA
Special Family Moments

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