"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday! 7 Quick Takes

 1) It absolutely rained and poured all Tuesday.  The river and pond flooded at the park.  Luckily the rain subsided before there was damage to many homes.  And then it got COLD.  Everything turned to ice!  I was in the shower (probably Wed or Thurs morning) when Galadriel came into my bathroom looking for me to see something.  I peeked out, and she was holding this:

 A huge sheet of ice.  Of course, my first response was to tell her to take it outside immediately before it broke and made a huge mess inside.  As she left, I recovered from my shock and shouted that "It is really cool and beautiful!"

2) There's a back corner to our yard that slopes downward.  It, too, was a sheet of ice.  The "hill" is not really big enough to sled down, but as a sheet of ice, it definitely worked!

Sam watching through the window

I don't know where all of my photos went, because I know I was taking tons of pictures of all of my kids all day...but you can see a couple more of Galadriel.:)

3)  Basketball season is allllmost over.  Last practices were this week.  One more weekend in March before it's officially done.  I'll miss it, but I can't wait!  Most of all, it's a sign that winter is passing and Spring is on it's way.

4) One week into Lent and I realize I am really bad at fasting.  Of course,  I knew this.  I always dreaded Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, just because I'm SUCH a grazer!  But I'm surprised at my efforts at limited fasting this lent and how attached I am to, say, my nighttime snacks.  Or the vanilla latte.  Got a ways to go till Easter, though, so I'll keep on a tryin'!

5) Thinking about rhythms of life and the chaos that can be homeschooling a family of 9 children.  I REALLY need to learn some big lessons in "delegation", and how to administrate those duties with sincerity.  Translation? Chore chart.  Or the verbal equivalent.  And it has to be non-negotiable and time sensitive.  "Go.  Now."  And then I have to call my husband in to make the kids realize I'm serious.

Makes me think this would have gone so much better if I had been a more demanding Mom when I was just getting started.  I think I tried, but little kids are only so capable, so I sort of got used to doing a bunch myself.  Now they ARE capable, but I am inconsistent in demanding chores of them.  Or inconsistent in WHICH chores I demand of any set person.  And that is where it all begins to break down.  I need accountability!  You know what? All those jokes about moms being CEOs? Not really funny.

6) New altar boy cassocks!!

7)  Just for the record, Sundays are not officially part of Lent.  That's why there are 45 days if you count from Ash Wed to Easter, not just 40.  My point? You really ARE supposed to "cheat" on Sunday.  I'm just putting that out there.  

Now, go have an awesome weekend!

Saturday, February 17, 2018


February is a tricky month.  It's still winter, not quite Spring, but it gets your hopes up.  Luckily, it is short!  March is officially a Spring month!  February can bring a lot of snow and ice and mud, but you also notice a change in the light!  It is brighter, and it lasts longer into the evenings.  Hope, I say!

Legolas and Sam sharing a favorite snack: apples and peanut butter.  So cute to see Sam grow to the point that he can sit and have a snack like a big boy.

 He is 19 months now.

Almost all of his teeth are in.  His favorite past-time is shooting hoops.   He actually "flops" after his shots, rolling onto his back and groaning.  Learning from the big boys.

 Reina patiently gives up her kennel so the little boys can make it a play space.

 They love it in there!

Since we're indoors anyway, it's a good time to tackle indoor tasks.  We've been needing to paint for well over a year now.   This is a bad picture (dark) but the mantle is navy blue.

 The navy matches the accent in the foyer (pictures still dark, sorry!):

And the back mantle and bookshelves are now white:

I'll have to get new pictures, everything looks dingy to me in these.  I do need to work on cleaning the brick above the back fireplace.  I am tempted to milk paint all of the back brick...but my husband is hesitant.

I was getting some work done and Sam was quiet in his highchair after his lunch.  I knew it was nap time, but I wasn't hearing from him, so I kept working...

The kids were all playing with a new play-doe set (and yes, this is what my kitchen table looks like in real life, judge if you will).  You can also get a sneak peek at the "accent" dark-grey wall color in the kitchen.  I'm giving that about three months and it's going to be bright yellow!  I got talked into the grey by the painter.  I'm SO not a dark girl.  Give me my cheerful yellow!

In addition to the painting, we've been finishing out the basketball season.  Arwen had the game-winning 3-pointer buzzer beater last weekend, which was the thrill of a lifetime.  This weekend she is on a retreat for Confirmation.

I am looking forward to the first signs of Spring, but in the meantime, I want to make use of every day of this short month.  Easter comes super early this year, and with it, I have a new niece or nephew  due.  New life is around the corner, but first, Lent!

With every refreshing, every renewal, comes hard work, or even the Cross.  It's learning to love that daily cross that is the key to happiness, I am sure.  And so, February.

Peace and love!:)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Giving Rides

I'm just going to pretend I've been blogging regularly and jump right in with a story from something that happened this month: I took Arwen out on a practice drive, because she needs some 30 hours of driving logged to get her license.  We made it to the grocery store and were headed home.  As we pulled out of the parking lot Arwen looked to the left and pulled out making a right turn onto the street.  

 In theory, all was fine.  In reality, she had looked left from the stop sign at the exit to the parking lot. The stop sign was placed before the sidewalk.  So, once we were in motion from the stop sign, there were probably 8 feet to the actual road.  Having glanced left from so far back, I anticipated a pause at the actual street to look FAR left and confirm that there were indeed no oncoming cars.

Now, there were no oncoming cars.  But I was very surprised at the lack of pause and lack of clear view before gunning it onto the street.  These are things that sort of take you by surprise when you are teaching your first child to drive.  So, I tried to explain this to Arwen, quickly and earnestly, which came across as....angry yelling.

"If you want a ride Just ask us"

Arwen was confused, because she HAD looked, and indeed, there were no cars.  But I was adamant about driving this lesson home (no pun intended.)  So, my voice grew more...earnest.  Poor Arwen was now stressed, and still driving, now, through a red light!  "STOP!!! RED LIGHT!!" I screamed, well past the white line.

Arwen screeched to a halt.  It was at train tracks.  And Arwen thought we were going to be hit by a train.  She pretty much had a panic attack and made it home, refusing to let me speak and refusing to ever drive again.  Yes, I had scarred my child for life.

Luckily we have a close and loving relationship.  Luckily I realized that I totally played a role in the very difficult, um, driving lesson that afternoon.  We spoke at length about every detail of that drive.  And then we devised a new plan.  We would start from scratch, first in parking lots, then on quiet back roads.  We'd work our way up as if starting from zero and we wouldn't attempt intersections or tricky driving situations until we were VERY ready for them.  

Legolas and Bilbo were offering "rides" the other afternoon.  Piggy back rides.  I think that those are much more my speed!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

7QT Happy New Year!


I asked Galadriel to snap a pic through our car window: can you see the red fox eating a rabbit?!
It was super pretty, I'm sorry the picture is too burry to really see.  I have lived in this house for 10 years and I STILL marvel at the wildlife that we get to see, city girl that I am.

Today I hit the local gymnastics gym with my sister and her twins.  This was the first time I have been there this winter, the first time since I was there LAST winter, the day BEFORE the twins were born via emergency c-section.  My sister was having contractions and scaring me to death.  My brother-in-law stopped in to check on his wife during his lunch break.  We were all on pins and needles (all except my sister, who was in denial up to the very moment of c-section!)  And today, watching these little peanuts scoot around on mats on their bellies, it all came back to me.  What an occasion!

Winter sunshine in the schoolroom


Lunch out with my girls. 

Someone decked Reina with holly on Christmas.

 Cute, but hard to catch with the camera!

Bonnets.  Being cooped up for long cold winter days, we get reeeeal creative.  Galadriel discovered that you can create fetching bonnets if you put scarves over baseball caps.


Someone is 18 months!  
I told myself that I'd stop tracking his age in months at 18 months.  Now I'm thinking I'll stop when he's 2.  Can you put up with me until he's 24 months old?  I hope so!

Sammy has a favorite blanket, which I think is the cutest thing in the entire world.  He won't let anyone else use it, and he gives it hugs.

 He also has a favorite hang-out.  It's in the little space in my husband's kneeler.  He loves to crawl into that little hole and play.  I'm out of time or I'd gush more profusely!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Recap

 Reina needed a little lap time this afternoon, after a raucous Christmas Eve party.  I should count how many people were here--lets just call it 30, round numbers.  There was a pageant, presents, FOOD, and a fire incident.  I'll have to save that story for another post.

This tree died two weeks ago.  Stopped taking water, and then it shriveled, withered, and wilted.  But it held it's place dutifully as the presents were placed beneath the tree on Christmas Eve.

The thing about the Christmas tree is the lights!  That gentle glow in the mornings and evenings.

Snuggling in Christmas pj's, reading books, watching Christmas movies.

At the last minute (the 23rd?) we frosted Christmas cookies.  It's really something, frosting cookies, with 9 children!

 Something merry and bright!  (and yes, sticky, messy)

My Christmas present from Galadriel:

I'll have to see if Arwen can find a way to rotate this, but I bought her artist pens for Christmas and she drew this:

This is what my blogging has come to: captions surrounding pictures.  But, I figure it'll hold us over until I have time to write profound thoughts.  I'm not sure I have those anymore.  

And the day after Christmas? Visiting cousins!  What a reunion!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Birthday for Gimli!

Thirteen years ago, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I gave birth to my third child.

We had scheduled an induction and planned my first home birth.  I had heard rumors that having a water birth helped with pain management, and I was very interested in pain management!

You know what?  It worked!  I am not sure if it was just one of those "easy" births, or if the Blessed Mother sent me special graces and blessing on her great Feast Day, but Gimli's birth was...blessed.

I was so happy after I had him.  I felt healed from two very unsatisfying birth experienced with my first two.  And Gimli happened to be a very beautiful baby, who smiled as soon as he was born.  He was an easy baby, and has been a very happy child ever since.

Now I guess he's a happy young teen!   But he has always been a sweet, joyful son, who gives his mom hugs and smiles with the deepest dimples!

I love watching Gimli play sports.  Now, of course, it's basketball season.

I think my favorite thing about watching Gimli play is that he looks up into the stands and gives me "looks"--either smiles, if things are going well, or glares, if he's mad about something.

The thing is, he likes it that I'm there (and the rest of his family too, of course).  Gimli loves his family, and I love that about him.

He's always up for a game, always up for joking.  He makes life sparkle on average days.

What more could a mother ask for?  Happy Birthday Gimli!