“Come away, O human child!/To the waters and the wild/With a faery, hand in hand,/For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” (William Butler Yeats, “The Stolen Child” 1889)

Hunkered down in our warm pajamas with the rain drizzling outside all day, this has to be the coziest St. Patrick’s Day I’ve ever celebrated. We spent the morning baking Irish soda bread and listening to our St. Patrick’s Day playlist, and the the kiddos and I read all bundled up on the couch while the soda bread baked in the oven. I found a recipe I really like out of the old Sunset Bread’s cookbook, with a moist and delicate crumb. It is somewhere in between a coffee cake and a bread, this particular recipe. We were going to save it all for dinner, but the kiddos and I couldn’t resist: for lunch we had a warm piece, served with apples, and white cheddar that is really from Ireland. With the rain falling all over our green grass and trees, we truly felt transported.

Katie, especially, had fun pretending to be a leprechaun princess today. When the kiddos came downstairs this morning, they discovered that a leprechaun had come last night, changed the color of the toilet water, and left gelt by our leprechaun house.

We played almost all day and cuddled. Katie, Eric, and I made a nest in Katie’s bed and a smell blanket tent, and we spent about an hour singing songs and cuddling together before Eric’s nap. Those “nest” times are some of my favorite times with the kiddos. We sing as many “Music Together” songs as we can think of, or play rhyme games, or today, listen to the rain outside. Nothing could possibly feel cozier for me than all being nestled together.

When Eric went to his crib for a nap, Katie and I read three more chapters from The Long Winter while watching the rain against her bedroom window. So magical and snuggly.

After reading, we went downstairs to make our broccoli soup. The vibrant green soup is our St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Both the children love it—Katie had two adult-sized bowlfuls at dinner—and it was especially nourishing on this cold day. I was never a huge fan of broccoli growing up, but both of my children are—go figure. They love it in soup, roasted with tomatoes, and when they were little, pureed. This soup is easy to make and has a bit of cheese in it, too. Otherwise, there is hardly any fat and no additional sugars other than what may be found in gold potatoes, onions, broccoli, and whole milk. It turns out to be an extremely vivid green, also, and that makes it fun.

As a surprise for dinner, I also made:

A fruit rainbow! Both of the kiddos were tickled about this. Our fruit rainbow had strawberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, and purple grapes. And Eric liked his kiwi this time! Yay! I’ve been trying that one on him periodically.

Our St. Patrick’s Day dinner: fruit rainbow, broccoli soup, and Irish soda bread. For dessert, we had mint chip ice cream. The meal had a happiness and magic to it, and even the kiddos thought so: I think it was the fruit rainbow. It felt special.

Bathing fresh for the evening, we all put on green pajamas, too, so we felt extra festive for dinnertime and our evening cuddles/playtime.

After dinner, we had our Saturday movie night. Eric had actually never seen The Wizard of Oz, and I thought it would fit our theme somewhat. When Katie was about two-and-a-half years old, or perhaps a wee bit younger, she went through a period of really loving this film. I wasn’t sure what Eric, being 19 months, would think. Oh my goodness, he was hooked almost right away. As soon as Dorothy started singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” he sat down and started watching intently. When her house landed, he loved the whole munchkin scene. As they were singing, “Ding dong the witch is dead/Rub your eyes/Get out of bed…” he started patting his legs to the rhythm of the song. (Bill has a sweet video of this). Eric kept saying, “More, more!” He laughed at parts of the Scarecrow scene, and again with the Tin Man. Toward the end, he petered out a bit, but still I found that this film resonated highly with him. It used to be my very favorite, too, growing up.

We were watching the Tin Man scene when Bill took this picture. The kiddos are both savoring their mint chip ice cream.

During the movie, I had set up a huge piece of butcher paper taped onto our table and some crayons for all of us to draw. Katie drew a beautiful rainbow with just about every color in it. I love these little people.

I think this has to be my favorite St. Patrick’s Day I’ve ever spent. Other than wearing green, I never actually celebrated it before having my children. Now, I view the holiday as one more opportunity to make an ordinary day a little extra special and magical with them. Katie said right before bed that she wished this St. Patrick’s Day would not end.

Also, before I end this entry, I wanted to share this sweet picture of the kiddos coloring with Aunt Debbie when we all went to Nana’s a couple of days ago:

Aunt Debbie was helping Katie make a map of Nana’s house for the purpose of locating the faeries that Katie believes to be there. I am so thankful for the time and chance to make these memories, that my children will have even the smallest sense of how special it has always been to be around Nana’s table and to play in her house just as my cousin, and brother, and I did growing up. I wish every day that Uncle Eric and Grandpa Mitchell were still in that house, too: Katie and Eric would have loved them so. Next week two more of my aunts are planning to visit, and we’re hoping for a family gathering. Memories to cherish and store up in these two little souls…

I hope everyone had a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day, full of magic and coziness!