"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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

January 1st: Mary, Mother of God



Happy New Year!!!

Last night my husband and I  popped over to my brother and new sister-in-law's house for a New Year's Eve party.  I bought these little streamers and some party hats for the kids so they could have some fun of their own.  My sister-in-law is Martha Stewart.  Yep, my brother married her.  Except she's way younger and more glamorous than the celebrity you're thinking of.  And no jail record...
(I'm stopping).

Basically, it was an amazing spread of food and I'm probably going to drive myself back for leftovers this morning...except I was home by 9, and I'm pretty sure they rang in the New Year.  Do you think if I give them until 10:30 they'd be up? ;)

Do check out this sophisticated article (brace yourself!) by my way-cooler-than-I hipster brother, who happens to be a monk (and a genius):

8 Days after the Birth of Christ...


On this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I am renewing my consecration to her Immaculate Heart.  Might I once again recommend "33 Days to Morning Glory" by Fr. Michael Gaitley (or of course, St. Louis' original version for the more courageous)?  We read the 33 Days with our children last summer and consecrated our family on the feast of the Assumption.  I highly recommend this devotion that was a pivotal point in the life of St. John Paul II.  St. Louis de Montfort's classic True Devotion to Mary takes a bit of work to complete, but the 33 Days is so simple that truly there's no excuse not to do it!  New Year's resolution?  Dooo it!:)

Prayers for a peaceful and blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas :: A Daybook

I am listening to:  Another episode of Curious George.  We've vegging this morning after a dash to Mass, confession, and bagels.

 (I'll never stop being frustrated by the impossibility of getting a picture of a black dog, in case you couldn't tell what furry creature was laying on my legs as I vegged on the couch last night)

Outside my window: Cloudy and grey, rain is fore casted, 90% chance!  I'm shining the "joy" lights I added to our window box after a Christmas Eve dash to Target (I did not go for the lights, but for the paper products I forgot about until the day before the party I was to host!).

Thinking, thinking:  Christmas this year? Many many graces.  Abundant mercy.  I think I went to confession three times in the last week!! Honestly? It was so brutal.  My varicose veins are in a total flare up.  Physically, getting a family of 10 dressed up two days  in a row, preparing the food, cleaning the house (creating a manger scene in the basement), wrapping the presents and getting to Mass in time for my boys to serve on Christmas...just about put me and my husband under.  Thanks be to God for two things: 1) my husband's sense of humor and 2) the sacrament of confession.  I didn't handle every moment of this holiday with the grace I might have preferred to display.

The babe in the manger: The last night of wrapping (yes, Christmas Eve), I had a charlie horse in my back.  It was late.  We were home from the party and tomorrow was Christmas, which I was hosting.  I had failed an fallen so many times, and I SOOOO wanted to be ready (read, "perfect") for the coming of Jesus on Christmas.  I knew I wasn't perfect, spiritually or otherwise.  I wasn't going to be "ready" for Him to come, and He had already come: it was Christmas Eve!  Then, in my pain, it dawned on me: He came to SAVE.  Oh yes, a Savior is just what I needed to come!  I could pray for, and WELCOME a Savior.  Infant King, born to save!  Save me!!

What mercy.  What love.  Thank God for Christmas!!!

Thankful:  So, with the incredible help of my husband and children, we cleared out this house and polished and scrubbed and hung more lights and set up tables and chairs.  My Mom arrived with Christmas dinner in tow (well, the main course!) and another table.  She helped me put on table cloths and fill water glasses.  Tea lights were lit (they were the non-flame kind this year and I must add that I really like the glow of those lights...and the fact that the kids won't burn themselves!)

 A friend dropped off this hand-made Christmas ornament on Christmas Eve.  So sweet!

Christmas at my house: My beautiful sisters began to arrive, one with a 27 pound 8 month old, one 8 months pregnant, one with an angel costume on a hanger for her little pageant angel.  My house filled with even more children, one who began practicing her holiday tunes on her guitar.  My brother called from his monastery overseas.  The kitchen was all a-bustle.  Joy began to fill my weary little heart and I sat (yes, sat!!) down to rest a moment near my brother and new sister-in-law and my swollen ankles thanked me.

After dinner there was the pageant, and oh! The figgy pudding!!

Thank you, Aunt Ann!  Some people live pinterest-worthy lives.  My sister is one of them.  Good to have people like that in your life.  

 Then the ping-pong and foosball tournaments began.  My youngest sister taught my second son a "new word" (actually, he already knew it, but got a huge kick out of hearing her say it) as he beat my very competitive sister in a game of foosball.  There are rumors that there will be a rematch.

The candies came out, and people settled into couches.  Groups began to trickle out the door.  I waved from the couch, feet propped up under a blanket.

It had been so so brutal.  But now I knew it was all so so worth it!

I hope yours was a very Merry, grace-filled Christmas.

Plans for the week ahead:

Today (I'm finally hoping to post this today, a day after I started this post) we're celebrating a rather important anniversary!  And our special day just so happens to land on the Feast of the Holy Family this year!! We were married two days after Christmas, and the Sunday following Christmas is always the feast of the Holy Family.   It doesn't always land on this feast day, but when it does, our wedding anniversary seems to take on a very special cast.  The fact that this year, our milestone "15", lands on this feast of the Holy Family, is very special to me.  I have so much to be grateful for.  But that's a post of it's own.

No school this week!  My opportunity to focus on the deep-cleaning that didn't happen before Christmas and doesn't seem to happen when I'm teaching.  I'm capitalizing upon the fact that today marks the beginning of my SECOND trimester!! Time to nest!! No, not too early.  I beach like a whale on my couch the final trimester--now is the time to go crazy!  (Yes, I'm feeling better!! Not 100%, but waaayyyyyy better!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

'Twas the Afternoon before Christmas Eve...

I got this e-mail from my brother, a monk:

PS, I wish I could take you around this monastery today. Huge floor-polishers -- spinning ones, and one that you ride like a Zamboni on an ice rink -- are everywhere. There are also long ladders and dusters on wands. And someone delivered a harpsichord to the church, behind which wooden risers are being built for a chorus of 100. The take things seriously around here.

I replied to him: "I wish I had a riding floor polisher!!"  Oy.

When you host very seldom, and you home school, and you have a ten person family...well, getting ready for the hosting has it's attendant cleaning requirements.

What this looked like in my house this year (through today...there's still the upstairs):

1) clear out the schoolroom--all books on shelves, desks pushed against walls, chairs stacked, floor washed: making room for an extra dining table or two on Christmas.

2) wash couch cushions that need extra "attention", pin one broken cushion zipper (no time to get it fixed before Christmas).
    2b) move couches, separate sectional (ew, ew, ew--vacuum off sides of each section), sweep under couches, then mop.

3) mop kitchen floor, make one son detail under counters and appliances, hand scrubbing and wiping down the floor's perimeter.

4) scour main floor bathroom.

5) purge and reorganize toy room (three black garbage bags and a give away bag y'all! Oh yes!)

6) Hang "curtains" (bed sheets) and create a "set" for the children's annual Christmas pageant.

Tomorrow: vacuum that basement, attack all laundry that remains (because you cannot be caught on Christmas without socks!), clean bedrooms and scour bathrooms.

Then the fun begins!  I get to make an antipasto platter and a fruit platter (do we all love Trader Joe's?!) and a huge bunch of mini roll sandwiches.

What went wrong:

My husband left with my three oldest girls and took them to the Nutcracker.  Very special.  So sweet. They were so happy and excited....and I was left with 4 boys and a dog.  Some of the boys may have been in a teasing/fighting cycle today.  The dog did eat a tray (yes, tray) of Christmas cookies.  I had a headache.  We still managed to clean the toy room and basement together, and then made a mad dash for last-minute confessions that weren't being held (hubby read the bulletin wrong).  As I dashed for confession, I forgot to turn the stove on, with the meat for dinner sitting in the oven, ready to go.

How it all ended well:

My husband rendez-voused with me at a mexican restaurant.  He was starving and I didn't have dinner.  Instead, we sat in a warm restaurant and ate chips and salsa.  We made it home in time to get Aragorn to basketball practice.  I even began to wrap presents!

Speaking of which, I gotta run!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Week Before Christmas::A Daybook

(I started this a few days back...ignore time references)

Listening to: Chattering little girls in the schoolroom.  I love that they've started to play in our back room now that it's far too cold to play on the picnic tables outdoors.  The neighbors bring over tupperware full of Lego Friends.  I have been eavesdropping on their hopes for Christmas, and I'm a little concerned--a friend just described an elaborate, many-stories tall Lego house that she's hoping for!  Geez, friends can raise the bar for present expectations! haha

From the Kitchen:  I owe Arwen a huge apology.  She and her friend baked Christmas "cookies" yesterday, except they put the dough in a pan and made "bars".  I was pretty disappointed because I was envisioning getting a head start on the cookie platter.  However, last night I gave the bars a try...and...they were a mazing!!!  I'm cutting them small and putting them on the platter after all! Teaches me to be critical! 

Living the Liturgy:
Despite the several things I posted about in the first week of advent, I just never got around to setting up a "hay for baby Jesus" crib this year.  (I'm sure you know, but you place in a piece of straw for each prayer or sacrifice and thus prepare a soft bed for Jesus by Christmas).  Not to be deterred, last night I capitalized upon the fact that it was the first day of the "O Antiphons" and told the kids that for this final octave before Christmas we would be working extra hard to get ready for Jesus.

Yep, I made it seem like this was all liturgically correct and not at all last-minute-fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.  I'm really good at that.  It's a talent.  You could be jealous, but then again, you probably had your hay crib up on the first day of Advent! haha

Do you know that I really love the "O Antiphons"?  I didn't even know what these were until a few years ago.  If you don't, just think of "O Come O Come Emmanuel".  That song was written for the "O Antiphons": O Come Thou Wisdom, O Root of Jesse, Key of David...just find all of the verses and you'll have 'em!:)

The Antiphons are prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours, and these are the ones for December 17-Christmas Eve.  The first letter of each antiphon spelled backwards is "Ero Cras", latin for "Tomorrow I Come".  You should check out what Jessica does over at Shower of Roses--someday I'd love to be that organized and have a family gift for each day leading to Christmas.  

Around the House:
Are these nesting dolls cute or what?  Baby Jesus is still inside of Mary.  They're new this year, and I will add that they're quite sturdy.  My kids have been playing with them a lot.  (I think I got them from the Catholic Company??  They sell the shepherd with animals and three kings too).

 Rudolf has been a very present figure in our home this Advent.  Legolas loves him!  His nose lights up and blinks as "Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer" plays.

Worth Checking Out:  A friend of mine has shared some beautiful thoughts on suffering, the vocation of marriage, and God's mercy and grace.  Consoling words for those of us feeling a little less than pristinely prepared for the coming of Our Savior:

She writes: I may have lost out on a couple of months, but it wasn't too late to change my tune.  God is always ready and waiting for us to turn to Him.  We fall and fall again.  But we have to keep getting back up again and renewing our firm amendment to try harder in the future.  God's mercy is always available.  His help is always there.  We just have to choose to want it.
read the rest here

Plans for the Week:  Well, besides wrapping all of the gifts for my ten person family...

We're finishing up basketball games before a nice, long, three week break in the season.  My kids are off to a great start.  Gimli is on a great team and holds our family record for game points (I think it's 12, I'll be in trouble if I have this wrong!).  Aragorn is point guard on a team that isn't super-loaded with talent.  They have seen a victory, but yesterday was a devastating (30-point?) defeat.  I'm proud of how hard he plays.  And Arwen is an off-guard this year on a team with lots of good athletes.  There aren't any "stars" on her team, but they all work together really well, and they're fun to watch play.  In fact...I gotta go run to one right now!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


**my caps isn't working for some letters on my keyboard...the "typos" are something I can't help right now...

It's funny, I've been reading Elizabeth Foss' "Comfort and Joy" e-book this Advent.  It's all about keeping your eye on the important thing, preparing for Jesus, and not pushing yourself to do everything.

she tells us to look at the Christmas tree lights, to slow down, to eat well and take time to pray.

I read, I agree...

and then: my husband informed me that our children's home schooling has been a joke lately.  I came down with a nasty cold on top of my lingering morning sickness, and I've been fighting migraines this pregnancy.  I am also slotted to host Christmas dinner for my (large) extended family.  [And I really, really love hosting my family!]

Yesterday morning I created a schedule in which our children would work diligently on their school work until noon, then we would go as a family into the basement and clean.  we had shelving units that need to be cleared out and a toy room that needed weeding and re-organizing.  There is a ping-pong table and a foosball table (courtesy of Gimli's 11th birthday this month:)).  I love the idea of the kids (and men) having "tournements" in the basement while the ladies chat upstairs.

As I finished math and reading on the couch with Rosie, I also suddenly felt feverish.

I stumbled upstairs to my bedroom and climbed (crawled?) into my bed.  Legolas came up, sobbing, because his Daddy wouldn't let him watch an episode of "Curious George".  I pulled him in next to me.  Eowyn came in too, and cuddled next to me with her dollies.  For some reason she likes to stroke my cheeks...

I gave very specific orders to my children as to their jobs in the basement.   They were eager to help.

And then my husband came in.  Legolas had fallen asleep (pretty sure he has my cold).  He said that if I was this sick that we couldn't host Christmas.

Luckily, there are ten days to go.  But it was a low moment in a very dark day.

After an hour of basement work, the kids were sent back to school.  They worked until it was totally dark outside: 4:00?  I am eagerly awaiting the 21st of December; on the 22nd the days will grow longer again!

we turned on all of our outdoor lights and all 8 of my children went outside to play in the dark (and wet--I did yell at them to get out of the huge puddle at the end of our driveway).

I threw together something for dinner.  we began "Dangerous Journey" by Laszlo Hamori (recommended by Auntie Leila) as a read-aloud for the whole family and we all got hooked (highly recommend!!)   we lit our Advent candles and prayed a family rosary.  I went to bed when the kids did, and was asleep before most.

Today is a new day.  I'm focusing on pacing myself.  school comes first this week.  Then cleaning.  I'm going to be very patient and save my baking for the days before Christmas that we take off of school.

And if I don't recover from my cold, or move a bit past this morning sickness, then we really might let my mom host Christmas.  

I can't burn out.  I can recover from sickness.  I can cut my loses.  I really can cancel hosting Christmas.

 I can't cancel Christmas--that comes, He comes, ready or not.  I need to be ready.


Monday, December 14, 2015

St. Lucia Day: Saved!

Last night it was pitch dark and pouring rain.  All of our Christmas lights were on inside.  There was a ring at the doorbell.  There, hood up, stood my niece with dark golden hair, holding a platter with braided St. Lucia bread drizzled with icing and craisins.

My dear sister had baked it that afternoon and shared the enormous loaf that it makes with us.

I had failed, once again, to remember St. Lucy's day.  I always think it's the 14th.  When Father mentioned the feast at Mass yesterday morning, once again I felt totally defeated.  I pretty quickly reminded myself that this isn't really a tradition we need to keep.  We aren't Scandinavian and we have no "Lucy"s in the house.  Still, I absolutely love the idea of my girls waking early to bring hot rolls to the sleeping menfolk in bed.  Hasn't really happened...

Last night I pulled out two St. Lucy picture books and let the kids munch on the gift of St. Lucy bread while we read two more from our basket.

It was perfect.

Santa Lucia, pray for us!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


I was stringing lights on our Christmas Tree when Legolas (age 3) suddenly said:

"Oh yeah, it's 'Merry Christmas'".

I thought it was cute that he was calling it not just Christmas, but Merry Christmas.  His speech has been a little slower in developing than some of my chatty girls were.

He continued:

"I want something for 'Merry Christmas'!"

At this point I realized that he thought that since we were putting up the tree he thought it was actually Christmas, and I had to try to explain (several times) that Christmas was still two weeks off...

I guess it's time!!

I think all of my readers already know, but to make it official...

I need to make an announcement. :) Our little "Fellowship" is adding a new member.

 Arwen has helped me out.  I was thinking that we really needed a "Sam" (Gamgee). But, since I have a way of knowing these things, I'm pretty sure it's not a Sam.  Arwen came up with the darling new Lord of the Rings character name for me: "Goldberry"! (Tom Bombadil's wife, for those of us who aren't the experts my obsessed children are).

I'm only 12 weeks along, but the violence of my "morning" sickness is my way of knowing if it's a boy or a girl.  We'll probably confirm this (for those of you who are skeptical of my certain knowledge) at our 20 week ultrasound.

If I'm wrong, I'll call our newest addition Sam, but in the meantime, I'll be referring to our little one as Goldberry.

Little Goldberry is due in June, right before the feast of Maria Goretti in early July (I think the 7th).

There's a story I have to tell about our little baby's special patron, but it has to wait.

Right now I have to dash to get ready for Mass and a day full of basketball games!  Telling the story of St. Maria's intercession has been on my to-do list for, well, a trimester!  I'll get there, but this morning, I just really needed to make an official announcement.

Prayers welcome!!

Friday, December 11, 2015


 I think my favorite thing about having a Christmas tree up is the lights!  I just love the glow of Christmas lights in the early mornings and again in the evenings.

I don't have quite the story I had to tell about "finding the perfect tree" as I did last year.  This year, Eowyn and I had a cold.  I sent my husband and a representative number of children to find our tree.  I was content to decorate whatever tree they might find.:)   And they found a beauty!  It's a 7-8 footer, full, green and very healthy.  I wonder if a new tradition is forming?  There's something nice about the surprise; waiting at home to see what tree will be ours this year!

See the pretty flowers peeking up in the foreground?  A friend surprised me with a bouquet of flowers for my birthday.  I never knew I was such a flower person.  But I am--I really am!  I sort of think of them as frivolous, but every time I look at them: happy!

Also, those felt ball garlands?  I stole the idea from my sister who hung hers last Christmas and left them up all year!  They are just too cute and cheerful.  

Short post this year, but I'm working on another one.  A longer and pretty important one.  But you have to wait until I feel better.  

Advent blessings!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advent Link-up

Today I'm joining in with Like Mother Like Daughter and sharing where we're at for Advent around our house.

For the record I LOVE Advent!  Maybe it's something about loving babies, and their arrivals?  Those precious, precious days of new birth...and of course, This Birth is infinitely precious, perfect, Divine.

Don't judge me if I seem to be going overboard.:)  Here we go!

I popped my nativity scenes, sans baby Jesus, up on my mantles (I have two. My fireplace is double-sided).  This one is from my Mother-in-Law (we've gone through a Jim Shore phase in our relationship):

Yes, St. Joseph is missing a hand, and the donkey's ears and tail are glued on...and the shepherd lost his crook, and hand... Let's call it a much-loved set.:)

And this set is from my sister-in-law:

My very favorite piece--the donkey!

I always wonder if I should nix the trees...???  Anyway, it's beautiful.  And yes, like the above set, just about every figure is broken.  I did consider that the Stations of the Cross (that I hung last Lent, seen under the mantle) might be unseasonal and finally need to come down.  But upon contemplating the scene from my couch, I have found the juxtaposition of Jesus' begining and fulfullment of his mission as our Savior to be a beautiful and rich source of meditation: the Stations stay!:)

I picked up a little 3-foot tree this year to hang our Jesse Tree ornaments on.

  Unfortunately, I'm not finding a picture of the tree...hmmm...well, imagine a three-foot tree.  Earlier this week I did a little ornament making project with the kids.  Just cut out felt shapes, decorated with glitter glue, stuffed with cotton balls, and sewed with embroidery floss:
 You can't go wrong, they all turn out darling!  I think it's the glitter...
We don't have our tree yet, so the kids hung them up with the Jesse tree ornaments on the little 3-footer:

 This one is Bilbo's manger (drying):

 Moving on, I pulled our Christmas books and have been making myself feel like a very good Mom by reading through them with the kids, a few each day.  (This is the result of many years of purchasing!  Remember, I have 8 children and I've been home schooling since my 14 year old daugher was 3!)

I have this Jesse Tree up...but only this (lame) picture of it.  It's just a paper kit, but I laminate it and my last one lasted for 5 years.   We re-did it this year.

 Our felt Advent calendar:

Cutest little figures, but they do hang, sort of...off...as the velcro isn't perfect.

And, I've got this wooden one: 

Last and maybe least, I surprised my kids this year with a playmobile Advent "calendar."  A new toy a day until the scene is complete on Christmas.  Totally secular, but they're having a lot of fun with it.:)


Oh! And of course we have an Advent Wreath!! Of course, I have no picture of it.  Anyway, just know that all of the above, which added up is a lot, was collected over a decade and a half of marriage.  Now I just pull it up in a box from the basement.  Looks good on a blog, but not really as impressive as all that...not that it doesn't set the mood for the kids to get ready for Christmas!

And yes, it's all about the waiting!  The preparation of our hearts for Jesus.  Anyway, that's about it for us:).  Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Backlash: Overheard

hubby: "The dog threw up on the couch."

me: "what? no, really?"

hubby: "They said it looks like turkey"

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Return of the Hunt!

Aragorn got himself a ten-point buck!  (Do we love the tongue hanging out? lol)

Happy.  Proud.

 It's a little sad to see just how beautiful these animals are.  They had to cut the mouth to see how old the buck was (he was two).

 A debt of gratitude to my brothers for orchestrating this first hunt for Arwen, Aragorn and Gimli.  My husband went with two of my brothers, so all three kids could go with one adult to accompany each child.  My husband didn't grow up hunting, so it was hugely helpful to have my brothers there to gut (and help drag) the buck.  My dad never hunted, so when my brothers wanted to learn they had to do everything by trial and error (with my sainted father dutifully assisting the effort).  They tell hillarious tales of the first time they had to gut a deer: reading a manual as my dad operated the knife.

And we've got 100 pounds of meat headed our way by Thanksgiving!  We just fired up the deep-freeze.  My kids are dreaming of deer sausage on the griddle with eggs--sooo good!

Congratulations Aragorn!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Brainstorming

***If Arwen is reading my blog--stop now, babe, sorry, you'll spoil Christmas! Love you!***

So,  I've been trying to look ahead.  I just hate last-minute Christmas present shopping!!

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things I thought were cute.  I think I might be an Amazon affiliate, but I've never sold a thing.  It seems like everyone puts that out there as a caveat. Is that required? If you buy something, I'll let you know if I get a kickback!:)

I told you that Eowyn is hugely into her kitchen these days, and we have only bits and pieces of tea sets left.   I saw a few I liked...

These seem to get rusty when kids (like mine) use lots of water for tea parties:

But they are durable and I like this pattern.  I'm sure I've had two other sets over the years, one was ladybugs and another roses.  I think this one would be perfect for Eowyn...except I've seen them all end up rusted.  So...

The question is, would water be worse with a set like this?  Because I LOVE this set!!

I've mentioned before that I sort of have a Plan Toys fettish...but I think it's the wood!  And the tea bags!! I like the size and shape and that there aren't too many tiny pieces to lose.  But, water?

I'm afraid, so I'm also tempted to follow my sister's advice and go for this one:

Could it be more beautiful?  I think it might actually be real!  But we have a friend who got them for her little girl's three-year-old birthday party.  My only concern: how shatter proof are these?

Well, moving on from tea sets (we can't spend all day)...

I don't know what it is about this little set of princess blocks, but I love it every time I see it!

My sister found this dollie for her girls.  We have so many dolls...but, it's soooo sweet!  Soft and cuddly.

And, I've had these in my cart more times...I just think they'd be nice in the schoolroom.  Good math manipulative, fun, and would keep little hands busy while I'm busy with bigger ones.  Just haven't sprung for it...yet.

Big Kids:

Wish I had thought to go about buying these this way, rather than one by one:

I haven't read them myself, and they are available at the local library.  I'm not sure we need to add the collection to our home library unless my kids really love them and want to read them over and again...I love the idea of getting stacks of books for Christmas...decisions, decisions.

Is it just me, or does everyone think "The Christmas Story" when they hear someone wants a BB gun for Christmas?

I'm not sure this is the one they want.  I leave all fire-arm decisions up to my husband.  I like safety.  

I've got to show this, though, because I think it's going to be a huge hit.  I think I'll put in someone's stocking for St. Nick...

I was also eyeing this one, because they really are so much fun:

Middle girls:

So, for the record I'm completely against Barbie.  I know many women out there grew up loving and playing with them, but I didn't.  Even way back then, my parents thought they were immodest.  Play acting Ken and Barbie hopping into the pink convertable to go to the mall isn't my idea of teaching my girls to grow up to be modest and holy wives and mothers.  Tea parties and play kitchens, babies wrapped in play silks, yes.  Have you browsed the Barbie aisle recently?  The poses of the dolls alone are enough to make a case against them!  No, I haven't mentioned the bust line.  And heaven forbid one of them wind up without their clothes laying around for the boys to gawk at!

But...this summer my two middle girls were playing with their little neighborhood girl friends.  They had buckets of Barbies from their mother's childhood.  Lots of outfits and shoes to try on...and they are girls.:)  Well, my girls asked if they could have just one, modest Barbie.  I'm not sure (given their form) that such a thing really exists, but...I got Galadriel a ballerina and Rosie a cowgirl with a horse.  Then Rosie's Barbie's head popped off, and it just didn't hold straight when we popped it back on.  And Galadriel really wanted some modest clothes to play with.

I searched and searched.  I found

These say something about a "puppy adventure", but I didn't actually see puppies included.  I wouldn't say they are perfectly modest, but they come pretty close, and none of them look like they have bad attitudes.  Fairly sweet and feminine.  I can handle it.

And this for Rosie:

Arwen never really had a chance to play dolls much.  Followed by her two brothers, she sort of went the route of horses and then a huge tom-boy phase.  Now she's interested in photography and she's always loved animals, writing, and art.  She didn't have little neighborhood friends when she was younger (now she does, which is nice) so I'm loving the sweetness of Galadriel and Rosie liking to play house and Lego Friends on picnic tables in our back yards (well, before the snow fell!).  I do keep pretty close tabs on what sort of "play" goes on.  One funny little story, one of the neighbors got the Lego Friends rockstar stage (it's called something else that's eluding me at the moment).

Let's see...there's this one

and this one

  It comes with different wigs for the singers to wear, including a blue one.  Obviously, this isn't really up my alley.  However, Galadriel came back one day and was explaining how she coordinated blue hair with a blue top and blue skirt.  To her, I think it was all about a pretty ensemble.  I'm afraid the punk element of having blue hair was lost upon her ("to the innocent...").  I did refuse to consider buying these sets for our family, but there are some pretty cute ones available.

I picked out this one:

and I think Galadriel would love this (she's into dolphins):

I'm out of time, but I'm just going to post this for the fun of it.   Pretty superficial post, yes.  Maybe I'll get deep as Advent really draws near!:)