Tag Archives: Sisters

Tale of the Magical Blue Cardigan

By: The Evil Sister’s Kind And Benevolent Sister…

Once upon a time there lived a girl named Mary Brigid. She had a deep desire to be an instrument of peace in the world, so after many years of desiring to do foreign mission work, she set out to Russia.

mary in vladivostok

Upon leaving for a land far away, Mary took with her some useful possessions. Mary knew that in order to stay happy and warm in Russia she would have to have magical clothing. Mary’s evil full-blooded stepsister, Kate had left Mary a wonderful blue cardigan. Perhaps the selfish and evil Kate had not exactly left the cardigan behind on purpose…

But a known fact of this tale is that the sweater made Mary happy. Very, very happy.

MORE BLUE

Not only did the sweater make her happy it even made her feel less tragic when she had to wear a certain apron of which she greatly despised when working with the aged at a slum hospice.

volunteer nurse apron russian vladivostock volunteer

The sweater was so magical that whenever she wore it, she felt more generous. Perhaps the said magical cardigan did not knit these pictured mittens (a kind Wisconsin resident did), but Mary was very happy to wear it the day she gave donated items to an orphanage that took in deaf and ill children.

volunteer vladivostock

After a long winter in Russia, it was time for Mary to leave. When packing Mary took careful inventory of all that she had brought with her to the cold kingdom of Vladivostok. While there, Mary had accumulated many icons. She also was gifted with beautiful jewelry from a Priest friend who hailed from Bombay.

Mary realized that she didn’t need most of her clothes anymore. She wanted to leave them behind with her friends at the hospice. When folding the magical blue cardigan Mary sighed and placed it in a pile of clothes to be donated to the hospice. She shuddered when doing so. Mary was well aware that going to Russia was a dangerous decision that she had made. However, picturing the wrath of her evil sister, Kate when she discovered that her sweater was left behind as a gift for dying at the hospice was a much more ghastly thought to consider. Laying all caution aside, Mary choose to donate it to her friends at the hospice.

Sadly not every story has a happy ending. Though Mary did return safely from her travels, she is still held accountable for that cardigan ALL the time by her big evil step/real sister, Kate the Mighty, queen of Drama.

Alas… its’s such a shame when people have such cold hearts that they don’t want dying people to stay warm.

 

(But if you must read Kate’s account of the magical cardigan, see here: The Perfect Cardigan)

The Perfect Cardigan

By Kate

Once, briefly, I possessed the perfect cardigan. Two deep pockets, soft thin fabric perfect for layering, in a deep and soothing blue. The cardigan fell perfectly about the body and made every outfit I had work. The cardigan cost $7.99 at Forever 21, but was definitely the most valuable part of my wardrobe. I was engaged to be married, it was spring, the world was new, and my cardigan was perfect. The world was beautiful.

Kate Casey Engagement Hat

Sadly, my time with the perfect cardigan was brief.

I don’t know if you have sisters, or if any of them steal your clothes, but I doubt that any sisters out there hold a candle to my sister Mary when it comes to blatant sartorial thievery.

sisters spring

Oh, Mary. She looks sweet and speaks softly. She wears flowers in her hair and cares for small children and bakes pies and cookies for the whole world- but when it comes to her sister’s clothing, that girl is entirely cold blooded. When I am visiting, Mary will upend and sort through all my clothing, deriding and ridiculing the pieces she does not approve of, and making mental notes on the ones she is interested in. Shortly before I leave she will creep in and liberate those pieces, stealing them so smoothly that I am 500 miles away before I notice. She has no shame, and a total belief that any item of clothing that belongs to her sisters should belong to her if she wants it, AND she is infuriated if you borrow any of her clothing without telling her. But the perfect cardigan brought Mary’s unfortunate clothing habits to a new level.

First, she stole it. Then she took it with her on a missionary trip to Vladivostok, Russia. THEN SHE DONATED IT TO ORPHANS. Might I add at this point that though the cardigan was perfect for me (and apparently for Mary as well) it was cheap and thin and not warm at all. NOT the perfect item of clothing for a Russian orphan in the winter, at ALL. The final touch, adding insult to injury, is that every time this topic comes up Mary sniffs and says sweetly that she can’t imagine why I am SO selfish and materialistic and unwilling to help the poor.

I have been searching for a new perfect cardigan ever since. It has been a long, futile hunt and I now possess a ripped blue cardigan sweater, a short sleeved long green cardigan, a fuzzy black hideous but extremely useful cardigan, and a red australian wool cardigan that I meant to take home to Wisconsin this winter so Mary could steal it because it is pretty and well made but has no pockets. However, all my searching has been in vain. Nothing could replace that blue cardigan.

Until, last weekend, I went looking for an air mattress at Target and took a slight detour to the clothing section of the store.

image

It turns out my new perfect cardigan isn’t blue after all. It’s somewhere between citrine and chartreuse.
image

And since I’m not planning to see Mary for several months, maybe I can keep it for awhile.

Rosie

By Mary

The other month I ran into a former neighbor who reminded me about how he spent the night at my parent’s house taking care of the four eldest Slattery siblings when my mom was at the hospital having Patrick. Apparently I screamed the night through, before falling asleep on his lap. I guess when you’re two, having Mom away for the first time ever is a rough experience.

Aurora has passed her due date and will be welcoming another daughter into the world any time now.

046
The current baby of the family will soon become a big sister.

angel baby

I adore Antonia, or Rosie as she is often times called.

Like me, she is the fourth child in her family, and her birth order will surely form her in many ways.At this point in her life she seldom used words, but instead stretches out her chubby arms or points towards what she wants.

angel baby Antonia

Usually it’s a way of communication to be held, which just to happens to be one of my favorite things to do when I am in Aurora’s company.

nieces

As always, it will be a delight to be an aunt again, and I’ll be more than happy to let Antonia scream on my lap as she misses her Mama. She may not know it at the time, but gaining a new siblings is one of the best things life has to offer, even if it means being demoted from being the baby of the brood.

Read more about Aurora here:

How I Became a Slattery- A Love Story

On The Night Before Christmas

By: Clare

Yeah, I know, more Christmas posts. But this one’s just informative. Okay, so I won’t  be giving you any vital information that could be used to launch a rocket, or telling you the secret to preventing old age (although my Dad probably could, and it would inevitably involve fermented beets and pounds and pounds of garlic). You might find it semi-entertaining, though, if you’re into drama.

Take a look at this picture.

all3.jpgs

You may have thought, “Wow, that’s a big Christmas tree”, or “Wow, it looks like Colleen has no arms”, but really I’d say when I look at this picture I see three very tall girls, with very long hair, who look pretty put-together and happy.

Put-together? Maybe.

Happy? Now.

But this is the after shot.You see, for the Slattery girls, Christmas Eve Mass is a yearly tradition that we look forward to because it means dressing up and posing for pictures. This is more Kate’s forte than anyone else’s but we try to follow in the footsteps of our oldest sister. But no matter what, whether all four of us are together on Christmas Eve or not, we can never, ever get through the preparation for Mass without some minor (sometimes…often…major) drama moments. There have been a multitude of them throughout the years, and there are always tears. At this point I would like to take a moment to clarify which one of us is usually crying. That answer would not include me. It’s split pretty evenly, really. Mary and I just yell. Kate and Colleen are really good at bringing the tears. And I mean really good.

So, if you’re wondering what a before-Christmas-Mass picture looks like, here’s about how each of us would look…

Kate

cryinggirl

Mary

exclamation

Colleen

400-04726684

And me..

ug

And this is about how we look all together, just add in a dress or two, one mirror, and five makeup cases..

before

But, Christmas is a beautiful time of the year, and I’m actually pretty endeared to the whole process of Christmas Eve Mass preparation, because you get some quality entertainment, and some great memories.

Despite sisters attempting to strangle each other..

strangle

It all turns out beautifully…

all4

I hope you and yours had a very blessed, and beautiful Christmas yourselves!

silly

Defining Style

by Kate

Oh, the rocky road to personal style. These days, I live in a real live city.

pittsburgh portrait style

Pittsburgh may not be quite like Paris (though it does look like it sometimes!) but it does boast a real fashion scene full of very sophisticated and stylish people. I am not one of them, but I do appreciate the fact that I can walk down the street in bright mustard yellow or pleather leggings and a sweeping cape and (sort of) generally blend into traffic. I am pretty sure this would not be the case in the streets of the small towns near the dairy country from whence I came, although it IS possible to drive a tractor to the grocery store, or tie an Amish buggy up at the hitching post without drawing a second glance.

Granted, even in Pittsburgh the hat I wore to the recent baptism of my son may have gotten a second glance or two.

baptism hat

Still, there is a part of me that measures the success or failure of my personal style not by the outfits I wear in the city. Somehow a part of me will always believe the essence of my personal style is measured by what I wear on Christmas Eve in the choir loft of the old German Catholic parish church across the country road from my parent’s farmhouse. The theoretical opinion of that congregation of familiar farm families kneeling in the candlelit stillness means more to me than any urban fashionista ever could.

This year I won’t be there.

In Wisconsin, my family is beginning to gather, with the college kids returning and the wood stove burning. I’ll see them soon, at a big wedding coming up after the holidays, but I’ll miss them on Christmas Eve, and I’ll miss my own great fashion moment of the year. I’ll be waiting for pictures of my sisters, arriving at church in style.

You can find our Christmas stories here:

Christmas in the Clamor and the Chaos

We’ll All be Home for Christmas

Christmas and Coming Home

The Spirit of Christmas

and more urban style adventures here:

Frumpiness and Pleather

Pittsburgh is my Paris (A Bibliophile’s Dream)

Belated Birthday of a Beauty

by Kate

I can’t remember birthdays, but I do remember a vast collection of verses and  fragments of lullabies. These have been defining characteristics of my role as eldest of nine children. I have managed to consistently remember the birthday of one brother, closest in age to myself, and after that I lost track entirely of the dates, months, and even seasons that marked the entrance of my younger siblings into our family. However, I sang most of the younger ones to sleep on a regular basis, and read all of  The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings out loud on long Wisconsin winter nights and languid summer ones, too.

That is why I am writing this birthday post about my beautiful little sister Colleen today….

instead of yesterday, which was her birthday. I know it was her birthday, because I saw it on facebook today. There is no use pretending anything else, as Colleen knows me too well.

I am thinking about Colleen today, and that although I did not remember her birthday yesterday, I do vividly remember the perfection of her tiny hands and fingernails hours after she was born. I remember the delight in her eyes as a toddler, her thumb in her mouth and her other arm outstretched to greet the world. Colleen never crawled. As the seventh child, she didn’t need to. She scooted about a bit and the rest of the time she was carried on someone’s hip, stretching her arm out imperiously to indicate the direction she wished to go.

Colleen still greets the world with delight, and after she started walking, she never stopped running.

She is exuberant, elegant, and extraordinary, this little sister of mine.

On this day after Colleen’s birthday, I am grateful for the many gifts that she has given me. Thank you, little sister, for teaching me to sing soft lullabies to tired toddlers curled in a pile of blankets. Thank you for teaching me to take long walks with little children, taking time to really see the huge silvery moon hanging over the woods on a snowy evening and the way the clouds roll in slowly over the ridge.

Thank you for playing dress up as a small child, and as a beautiful girl, and for running through the garden in silken rags at any age.

Thank you for the poem you wrote and gave to me at my wedding, when you were a bridesmaid in a vintage ballgown…

The poem that made me cry for an hour, until my new husband said “Kate! It’s your wedding! You are supposed to be happy!” and I tried to explain through my tears that I was.

Thank you for being so happy, and for bringing so much joy and music and laughter into our family.

Thank you for being my little sister, and for teaching me so much.


Maybe next year, I’ll even remember your birthday… ON your birthday. (But probably not.)

Adventures in Pittsburgh

By: Clare

Its been two weeks, and I can’t procrastinate any longer.

Two weeks since my trip to Pittsburgh to see my biggest, baddest sister have the biggest, fattest baby ever. But I didn’t really watch her have the baby. Yuck. Aaand I’m pretty sure half of the words I used to describe Kate and the baby aren’t really legit words.

Two days after I started a new school year as a sophmore, I was already plain tuckered out and sick of high school, so it was real relief to be able to hop on a plane (for my very first time!) and head out to Pittsburgh to wait for the baby boy to arrive.

But first was the bus…

Which meant..waiting..for the bus. And arriving..at the wrong bus stop.

And waiting at the airport…

and walking. I.hate.walking.

Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, and there was so much to see and do. Due to the fact I kept forgetting to bring along my camera, I was able to really sightsee and enjoy everything.

Like getting a birds-eye view of the expansive, intricate city.

And getting the view through  a child’s eye.

Dear little Princess Olympia is like no other.

She’s makes for some great photo ops.

Yes, we went up, down, and all around Pittsburgh. Everything was an adventure.

Like the park-where you can ride ducks like they’re bucking broncos.

and fly through the air like you’re Superman!

Speaking of flying through the air, Kate got me involved her awesome dance studio’s newest class-aerial silks.

As a farm kid who grew up climbing trees, ropes, and anything else that I could fall from and break bones/scratch me up and leave scars, aerial silks was almost second nature.

Almost.

Until I woke up the following morning, and was seriously soar. Which would have been okay, had my older sister decided to lend a helping hand, literally, and give a back massage. But being two weeks overdue at the time, she wasn’t feeling too hospitable.

Yes, that baby just didn’t want to be born. Which meant my mother and I elongated our trip, and I got to miss another week of school. Which was fine by me. Until I came back and collected all my homework.

But the baby was born! Late, very late. And not on his own time. Because his own time, probably would have involved him being born walking.

Welcome, Francisco!