The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

24 December 2010


There is a palpable hush in our little world. It is Christmas Eve and the Peanuts are in bed for a few hours of rest before we go to Midnight Mass. The tiny tree is trimmed, packages are beautifully wrapped, and displayed so at to tease and entice.

We have been preparing ourselves for four weeks,and now the celebration is about to begin at last. Not only do we have a tree and treats and presents, but our new year will begin in a new house... yet another chapter for this Family of Nuts.

Speaking of family. We are greatly blessed to be together this Christmas - the eight of us and Oma too.  There are many of you out there we consider to be family, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.  May this Christmas be one of blessing and great joy for you.  Some of you have suffered this past year, and our prayers for comfort and peace are with you.

Happy Christmas, dear Reader.  May God bless you.


The Peanuts are a good bunch of nuts. They really do try to behave. Take yesterday, for example. Mama Nut was leaving the house to walk the Big Nuts to the school bus stop, and, as is usual whenever he sees his mother, Five piped up with, "Mommy, I want..." which this time was completed with "a drink". "You're going to have to wait," said Mama Nut, "I have to take your brothers to the bus."
Hoping to be helpful, I went into the kitchen, and filled a cup with water, offering it to Five. "No" he said, "I have to wait for Mommy."

Some time ago, I took Three to the library. The library, as we know, has many wonderful books, but they also have toys - a big attraction for the toy-playing demographic. (Libraries sure know how to get us through the door!) On that day, a featured toy was a basket full of animals - plastic mini ones, that is - of all habitats and time periods. Dinosaurs mingled with zebras while giant ants chased tiny tigers.
"Guess what animal I have behind my back," Three suggested.
"A turtle?" I gamely played along.
"Something like that," He encouraged.
Thinking about animals with shells on their backs, I went for snail.
"Close!" he tells me, "A giraffe!"

Winter weather calls for oatmeal in the mornings. Somehow, Five understands this to be "opie-milk".

When looking at Five, he would seem to have a normal-sized head. However, if we were to have access to highly sensitve and extremely accurate scientific equipment, I'm sure we would discover that his head is actually unusually large for a boy his size and age.
This hypothesis of mine is based on the fact that he often bangs his head on things, into things, and against things. Perhaps this is to prepare himself to be a stunt double, or crash test dummy?
The other day, in trying to see a book, he bumped into his brother Four. "Say sorry" I reminded him. "I don't have to say sorry to Four" he told me, "He bumped his head into myself." Poor thing just doesn't realize how much room his head takes up.

We have a routine of vanilla and ice so efficient First Responders would be amazed. It comes from frequent practice and application. Not too long ago, Five took a tumble down the stairs so we swung into action. Usually he's very good about ice wrapped in a cloth being pressed to the emerging bump, but this time he kept swatting at us, so I held his hands out of the way. "Give me my hands" he whimpered, "I want my hands back!"
I heard my heart break in that moment.

Being Canadian, we don't let a little ice and snow stop us from trooping to the park. Four and Five were wrapped in the best man has to offer munchkins as protection against the elements. Being so densley wrapped that he resembled a mini Michelin Man, Five could barely walk, so we propped him in the Red Flyer and away we went to the Blue Park (the one he really likes). The play structure was so slippery that Five had to crawl up the stairs on hands and knees. Four, being a little steadier on his pins had mastered the ice-walk technique and was on his way down the slide. Icey slide + slippery snow pants = a wild ride, let me tell you. Four went shooting off that slide just like a cartoon character - flying through the air in a perfect seated position before landing with a thump at least three feet from the end of the slide.
Good thing Oma wasn't there to see that!

15 December 2010


To ponder: to weigh in the mind; to consider especially quietly, soberly,and deeply.

"But Mary kept these all these things, pondering them in her heart".Lk 2:19

How right Merriam Webster is: pondering is not merely thinking about a thing. To ponder is to keep something in your heart, to consider it quietly, soberly, and deeply, as St. Luke tells us Mary did at the birth of her son.

She weighed in her mind the knowledge that her savior had been born. While every one else was amazed and talked about it with great excitement, Mary kept it in her heart. She was quiet, she was sober... solemn... grave... with the import of what had occurred, and she took it all deep within herself.

The dignity of Mary is striking. She preserved her modesty by keeping what was hers to herself. We might think she was reserved... maybe even a little cold in her quiet reflection. I certainly thought of Mary as distant, impossibly perfect, and untouched by the events happening around her: Angels delivering messages? The Messiah born at last... as her son? Fleeing to Egypt based on a dream? No big deal. She won't let any of it distract her from being serene and composed.

The truth, of course, is something else indeed. The magnitude... the importance... of the event deserves some quiet thought; it is worthy of pondering.

Fish fingers

We look forward to simple things in this house. For example, Monday is garbage day. Four and Five are big, big fans of garbage trucks. Well… anything on wheels in fact, and garbage trucks definitely qualify. It helps that they drive right by our house: garbage; recycling; compost. And each of the three trucks goes up the street past our house, and down the street past our house. For those as mathematically-challenged as I am, that’s six passes of big trucks past our front window. What makes it even better is that sometimes, while the truck is in sight of our front window, the man who runs alongside the truck will push a button that makes parts inside move, causing the garbage to be squished up and disappear. Moving parts are as fascinating to boys as wheels are.

Another cause for excitement is library day. Every two weeks or so, I go to the library, book bag in tow, to restock our supply of reading material. By ‘our’, what I mean is ‘their’. ‘Their’ being Four and Five… with a little One, Two, and Three thrown in. It’s fun for me, because I enjoy forging connections between people and the printed word (please note: I said ‘printed word’ very deliberately. Do not get me started on bound books vs. electronic publishing) and because by the end of two weeks, the literate in this house are ready for a fresh batch of story-time material. I like browsing the shelves for good books, and with each selection I wonder: is this going to be the favourite book of the bunch? Because there is always one that is a big hit, and gets read aloud at least 73 times a day. It could be about a duck driving a truck, an animal ABC book, or a story about an enormous potato (which Five calls the Bigtato book) The front runner this time seems to be one called Barney’s fingers, or something like that. It’s about a fish called Barney who has fingers. Get it? Fish fingers? You know… like fish sticks… oh, never mind.

08 December 2010


We had a lively discussion the other night at supper about flags of the world. Two was trying to remember which country's flag was white with a red 'X' on it. To help us figure it out, he told us his friend 'Whoobert' had a shirt from there.

"Whoobert," he said.
"Hubert?" We asked.
"Whoo-bert, we call him," Two replied. Well, that's that then. Whoobert has a shirt from the country with a white flag that has a red 'X' on it.

In the latest batch of library books is one called "The Enormous potato" about a... well, a very large potato. One of the lines of this picture book about a farmer who grew a special spud describes the wonder as "a really big potato"
Which has led Five to ask us many many times each day to read him the "Bigtato Book"

Another one of those books is an animals ABC book: A is for alligator; B is for black bear... and so on. S happens to be for scorpion. The scorpion is a mean looking critter... all stingy tail, pinchy claws, and beady little eyes. Five doesn't like the scorpion at all, and will scootch to the other end of the couch when we get to that page, telling me, "I don't like that guy. I don't want to look at him." and waits for me to turn the page, so it can't get him.

At one point during the weekend, we caught about half an hour of an old television show called Airwolf. It's about a team of good guys who use a top-secret helicopter whose best feature is a really cool soundtrack that plays whenever it's in flight.
It was the first time the Peanuts had seen the show. Mama Nut and I were big fans of it ourselves, back in the days when we thought shoulder pads were the height of fashion. (Jan Michael Vincent had absolutely nothing to do with our high regard for this show.)
Anyway. While Mama Nut was getting Five ready for bed, he recounted all the details of the show, stopping himself occasionally to ask Mama to hum the musical theme - correcting her when necessary. Then he would cut her off with, "That's all. Thank you." and carry on narrating the story, cuing her again in the appropriate spot for more musical interlude.
I should point out that he's three years old, and a few months ago could barely make himself understood well enough to ask for juice.

03 December 2010

Home in 23 days

... until the House of Nuts is on the move once more.

In the way that has become typical of us, we began to think that we should think about moving. Not long after, moving became a reality: the day after Christmas we will get the keys to our new house.

The time between thought and move here to Sohoe two years ago was two months. I've had other moves that happened that quickly, but this one - 23 days - is the quickest, by far. Not to mention awkwardly timed, what with Christmas coming and all. It seems that our Advent preparations this year will involve packing and cleaning, rather than baking and wrapping.

What a wonderful way to begin a new year though - everything feels new again in a new home... full of hope and promise and unknown potential.

The truly amazing detail is that we're moving only eight houses away. We can see the new place from the front door of the current house. It backs onto the park the boys play in, and not only will the big boys be able to go to the same school, they will use the same bus stop.

The drawback to it being so nearby is that we're thinking this is going to be an easy move; that we'll just load up the Red Flyer wagon with sweaters and tea towels and legos and pull it down the street behind us, then unload the things directly into their new places. Sounds great, doesn't it? But consider the date, and the expected weather conditions. Consider how many sweaters and tea towels and legos there are in this family of eight people and how many trips of the Red Flyer that would require. Imagine unmentionables falling off the pretty red wagon into the slush, left behind for cars to drive over, and a random neighbour to leave on the front doorstep because they were too embarrassed for you to bring themselves to ring the bell.

Anyway. Think of us as you fight the crowds, or family, or the holiday blues and be thankful that you're already home.