"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, May 28, 2015

About 13

Arwen, self portrait in charcoal pencil
There are times in motherhood when you call upon all of the wisdom you have ever managed to glean over the course of your life.  I think 13 has been one of those years for us.
Add caption
I want to record some of my favorite pieces of wisdom, to remind myself what I have found to be totally true and useful, because I really do forget in the heat of the moment, but also, to share.

Auntie Leila  has an amazing post on the "12 year old girl" and another on the "13 year old boy".  The wisdom that comes back to me is--food. sleep. exercise.   It's true--when hormones are raging and the body is growing at crazy rates, it is REALLY important to have decent food around.  Plentiful and healthy.  I made 14 fried eggs this morning and poor Arwen didn't get one. I only had yogurt (which she likes) left other than the buttered toast, which I didn't want her making a meal out of exclusively.  But Arwen had been "making do" with yogurt all week.  I don't think we had any fruit left in the house.  No deli meat, no leftovers.  (Arwen had been taking her German class on-line while the rest of us ate).  My mistake. It was hard on her, and at 13, we want to try to help make things a little easier.

Sleep. Girls at 13 aren't really used to taking a daily nap like they did at 3, but lots of opportunities for quiet reading in a bedroom or an early night is a wonderful idea.  I have simply noticed that compromised sleep, um, doesn't help.

Sleep, but then, get out! Fresh air and exercise just might save your 13 year old.  My daughter does play her sports, but you know what is really great? Getting her out on a morning or afternoon walk or jog/walk, just me and her.  And then...we can talk.

Being available to talk is the wisdom I credit to my own mother.  That woman would lay awake until the wee hours of the morning listening to some poor daughter crying about some social disaster or other at the side of her bed as Dad snored in the corner.   Of course, Dad was also available for long walks and talks.  It's amazing what your little girl, now not so little, might have to confide: fears, hopes, questions.

Well, that's enough for tonight.  13 is not too late to tuck into bed and kiss goodnight.
I'm ok with 13.  Watching a flower come into bloom is a time of joyful expectancy and hope.  Just stock up the pantry and keep some tennies at the doorstep!

Indulge me

I know I am not the first person in the universe to have a little girl with curls.  I know that these aren't even the best curls I've ever seen.

But, this is my first little girl to have this many curls last this long into babyhood.

 And I'm pretty well...loving it!

Remember this?
Halloween 2014
Chorizo, meet Chorizo.  (At the Memorial Day parade).

I may have called him over. I may have shouted repeatedly like a crazy lady. And I may have shouted "Go Brewers" before I realized that I'd have to stand next to the same people for the rest of that parade.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring has Sprung!

You know it is spring when the animal babies start appearing: ducks and goslings at the local pond, and this year, puppies!
This Spring, our neighbors dog had its second litter of puppies.  Last time she had a litter we were in the Southwest for the summer.  This time...well, I just couldn't resist the offer to come and see!
They are labradoodles and just too cute.  You can watch them grow on their website:

Four boys, four girls: just like us!  And yes, my kids think we need one.  I'm an easy sell when it comes to dogs, but my husband...well, they aren't ready until the summer.  I hadn't ever seen puppies at the nursing stage (eyes and ears still closed, not walking yet).  The swimming pool they are in was right in the family kitchen/dining room. It was too cute!

Monday, May 18, 2015

May is for...

May is for Mornings, snuggling with bunnies

May is for Exploring, under bridges 

 May is for long walks along wide ponds.

May is for washing windows, making messes, and keeping the baby coralled while making dinner.

May is also for finishing the school year (more on that soon!)

May is the month of Mary.  I think our Heavenly Mother blesses us mothers with much this month.  Let's count our blessings and give thanks!  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Fifth Birthday

Last week Rosie turned 5.  Rosie is very much a middle child (in a family of 10, there can be several "middles").  Rosie was our spoiled and doted on baby.  She was everything a baby girl should have been--chubby, darling, and precocious.  Then came Legolas, with all of his elfkin antics to steal our hearts, and keep us running to keep him safe.  Then Eowyn was born...and my hands were doubly full, and Rosie was bumped up another rung on the totem pole.

It's not like you stop adoring your chubby toddlers--far from it--but with two younger siblings, that, say, three-year-old is going to have to do a bit of growing.  Rosie became a little jealous and a little clingy-needy.  So, we give Rosie some special attention.  And for her fifth birthday, this special big sister (/little sister) got a very special bicycle.  It is light blue (not pink), with ribbons on the handlebars and training wheels.  A big girl bike, importantly bigger than Legolas' little Lightning McQueen bike with training wheels.

And...because it is spring, and because Rosie has a special relationship with her biggest sister Arwen, and because it just seemed right, we surprised Rosie with a very special present.

meet "Coconut", a mini-Holland Lop
  Arwen has been wanting one too, and Rosie would need help taking good care of her pet, so we got two, and the girls will work together to care for them.
and this is "Alfalfa", in the box on the way home

So Rosie is now officially a big girl, with a pet bunny of her very own to take care of with her big sister Arwen.  It was a very happy birthday indeed!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

February Post, for May

I discovered this in my drafts...

Recently, Elizabeth Foss posted:
Did January get away from you? Did all your resolve kind of melt away as you recovered from the holidays and tried to get ahead of the business-as-usual January? Me, too. Can we call this beginning of February a new beginning and put to paper five things which will strengthen us? Just five things that we can resolve to do to better equip us to journey in faith. Make a real list. 
January?  Get away from me?
My Mom arrived at our house on Christmas Eve with a terrible "cold".  She had a sore throat and her ears were plugged.  My brother-in-law stayed home that night with some "sickness" which included oozing eyes. (Ew).  On December 27th, we stayed home from our 14th Anniversary night-out since Bilbo had a fever.  One by one, we ALL caught some form of this "cold"/flu/virus-from-hades.  Fevers,  sore throats (strep?), oozing eyes.  We felt awful--AWFUL--for three weeks. Some of the symptoms were quite painful.  Some nights we had to take Advil for the throat pain.  It was so crazy weird, bad.

February began with a beautiful snow fall, and…the stomach flu.  I don't even care about the stomach flu. It's over.  It was fast and furious.  I'm out to reclaim this new year.  I'd love to call February a new beginning and find five things to help me keep that resolve.

 Elizabeth said to find 5 things that will strengthen us.

I found my journal entry from February and it said:

1) healthy diet (I had specifics written down which is actually humorous for me to read now).

2) lift weights.  This is a new concept for me. I also have failed to lift consistently (or at all recently), but I do think that lifting heavier weights (and my maximum is about 20 pounds, both hands together) has big effects on both muscle and mood. More effect more quickly.

3) Divine Mercy chaplet.  I haven't ever had this as a consistent daily habit.

4) keep kitchen clean. because clean kitchen = some sense of order in the home

5) more time with my husband--dates, mini-dates (getting coffee or running an errand together), etc.

I think my list would look different now, but I'm glad to be reminded of what I wrote.  Thanks to my very diligent husband I can say that we're getting close to having a Divine Mercy chaplet habit formed this year.  It is so powerful and takes such little time!

Since my oldest is now rounding the bend on 14 years old, our "date nights" have been more frequent than they ever had been before...but we usually still have the youngest two with us, so, its only so glamorous.  I'd like to work on that.

I'm going to ponder all of this again and hope to revisit the "list" with you soon.  Feel free to share yours with me (or any ideas) if you care to!  I think it's important to be intentional about self-care. I'm learning hard lessons on that these days.  I'll share about that soon too.  But we are mothers, and we need to be strong for so many others to lean on us.  We do need to strengthen ourselves so we can be all we need to be for everyone else.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

There and back again

This April we made our annual Spring visit to the Land of Enchantment (that's New Mexico, of course!)

The mornings, were glorious.


My feet, new Nike's, attempting a run

We flew into Phoenix (a first for us as a family), drove to the Grand Canyon (breathtakingly awesome and also terrifying to a mother with 8 children to keep out of the Canyon, preferably).

We drove to New Mexico where we visited our family for 3 weeks, and then on our way home drove to Santa Fe where we saw the "Miraculous Staircase",

gorgeous stained glass windows, here, St. Anthony

a life-sized Sacred Heart

The stations were beautiful

The railings were added later, originally there were no rails or supports. The staircase makes two complete turns and defies engineering. The legend tells of a carpenter who appeared, built the staircase, and left without pay.  It was built for nuns to reach the choirloft above in this church which was too small for a regular (straight) set of stairs.  The legendary carpenter, of course, is often credited with being St. Joseph, sent in answer to the prayers of the nuns.

 the Cathedral (which was loaded with amazing relics!), and bought beaded jewlry from the street vendors in the two hours we had before we needed to bee-line it to Albuquerque in time for the anticipation Mass, since we flew out Sunday morning.

These shots are from said bee-line drive:
just cell-phone pics, through the car window, (sorry) but still--so glorious

some Southwest "bad lands"

This one didn't turn out well, but the panorama was amazing.  

I love this one.  The layers of color in the rock...I can see why people become geologists.

Now, back to those glorious mornings...they were a time in which I actively strove to recouperate from the plane trip in.  I have this phobia (of flying), and it reaped havoc on me on the four hour trip to Phoenix.  I knew, of course, that I would have to get home somehow... and 30 hours in the car was the only "other" option.

I took this picture, marveling at the fact that there were probably over a hundred people hurtling above me in that little capsule.  I marveled at every plane I saw that trip.  Watching it fly out of sight, knowing that those flights arrived safely at their destination.  I was preparing.  I had to get home.

I did.  We flew.  I may have told my husband in line at the check-in "I don't think I can do this".  He might have told me I could.  I might have had to find the restrooms.  

The thing about phobias is that they, by definition, aren't reasonable.  I know flying is safe (I guess, I mean, that's what they all say...)

Anyway, I know I treasure the time with my in-laws, I am grateful for my children to have seen so much of the Southwest of our country.  Memories are forever.  As for phobias? Well, there's always therapy.  We'll just take it one day at a time and see what the future holds.  It's good to be home!