"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.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Progress in the Schoolroom

 In case anyone is wondering how our addition is coming along...

They've started to drywall.  Here is the framed out opening from our dining room area--the doorway will be the space on the far right, and the two wooden posts will be wall.  It's nice because it extends our dining "room" wall where there used to be a sliding door out to the porch.

The doorway will not have a door, and will be slightly more gracious than a usual (32-inch?) doorway.  It's about 40 inches and will just be framed out.  I thought long and hard about this, and I think I'll like the open flow with the house, and the space to be able to carry armfulls of school "stuff" in and out with more ease.

 Same wall from the flip side:  Sadly, the brick will all be coverd, but I want to be able to hang things on that inside wall (white board, maps), which will be the "front" of the classroom.

So, here it is all insulated--and the door is on now!  Mmmm...that's it for now...stay tuned!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Not-Back-to-School!


With early-this-week's cool weather (it was in the 60's!) the deer were out eating the crabapples from our neighbor's yard!  


Can you see all three bunnies? Zorro's black, but you can see a piece of her.

 School starts for the local Catholic schools tonight, with supplies drop-off and social.  It starts in earnest on Monday.  We are going to wait to start until Labor Day.  I love seeing my children enjoy the last days of summer in the yard with their friends.

No nap today, and we've switched our our choice of weapon.


Do you see the bunny going up into the tree house?


Have you all discovered the wonder of kinetic sand?! It's a must.  Why is this "real"? Well, Legolas is playing with his sand during the family rosary, on his beanbag, in our living room.  Anything to get in a family rosary with the littles!


I love this Mary in our woods.   I see her from the house and she consoles me.  I'm sad.  I know that hormones are playing their role, and I'm not quite a week from the miscarriage.  But sometimes, I just think of what was supposed to be, and what is now.  I know that God has it all in His loving plan.

"The Lord gives and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the Name of the Lord!"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another."

                                                       (taken from "a miscarriage prayer"--Mother Angelica)
                                                           (read the rest here).

{This Moment}

Another nap, another gun.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Funny (Overheard)

Gimli:  "So why did the baby miscarry? Could he just not breathe in there or something?"


It's so good to find little moments of humor during otherwise sad days.  Thank God for my children!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Our Loss is Heaven's Gain

This morning I went in for an ultrasound.  There wasn't even sign of implantation, so our little baby most likely didn't even make it that far.  But the positive pregnancy test means that there was indeed a little baby with us for a short space of time.

We've named the baby for St. Philomena, our special patroness, and for the Blessed Mother.


There are so many beautiful consolations when you believe what the Church teaches on the gift of life.  For one, my baby had an immortal soul, and that means that my baby is alive and waiting for us in heaven.  My little one is a powerful intercessor for our family and some day we will be able to meet one another, embrace--yes, even physically, for the first time after the resurrection of the dead-- and spend eternity together forever.  It's mind-blowing, really.

When you think of how short life is--anyone's life--it's a pretty fantastic trade-off: gaining an eternity of joy for existing just a moment on earth.

If you would be so generous as to continue to keep me in your prayers, they are still monitoring to make sure there isn't a hidden ectopic pregnancy.  And I still have a ways to go before my physical healing will be complete.  Just prayers for health and safety.  Thank you so much!!

"Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary."

---Pope Francis, Laudato Si

Saturday, August 22, 2015

On the Queenship of Mary: Prayers, please

It looks like I may be miscarrying our little Philomena.

"Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary."

---Pope Francis, Laudato Si

Friday, August 21, 2015

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} August


Making the most of the summer blooms, Galadriel put the hydrangeas in Arwen's hair.  That girl will turn anything into an accessory!  

acrylic by Arwen (uncompleted)

Arwen and I went to a mother/daughter night at a local art studio.  I thought the girls were the only ones who would be painting.  I imagined Arwen showing off her talent (above) while I chatted with my friends.  Not so.  I resorted to doing what I do best: doodling...except with acrylic.  I was stressed the entire time and relieved when it was over.  Here are my flowers:

{still pretty, and happy}

 I hung this little shelf in the corner of my kitchen and it makes me so happy!  I think the Mary is unique, and I love how she and baby Jesus are smiling--just happy to be together.  She's my official "kitchen madonna" and I love her!

I have no "funny" or "real" pictures to show yet, but I'll update this if I get some.  Somehow I'm bad at filling all of the catagories each week (what's wrong with me?!), and yet, I enjoy blogging along with Like Mother Like Daughter.  So, I'll link up until someone is on to me and I get kicked off!  Shhh!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This Moment

My Daybook: An August Wednesday

Outside my window:

Storms have cleared out the 90-degrees-and-humid of last week and left us with cool breezes that carry with them the promise of early fall.

Planning and scheduling:

I have set our first day of school for August 31st.  That's the first day for the parochial schools in our area, and it will motivate my children to know they aren't alone in saying goodbye to summer.  Amazingly, when I floated this idea at dinner last night, they started cheering and were thoroughly excited at the prospect of begining a new year.  

I'm still planning on using commonplace books to record our studies, but I need to finalize the living books lists and the concrete spine of our path of studies.  

More importantly, I am trying to figure out a schedule for visits to the perpetual adoration chapel each day.  We are so blessed to live probably a half-mile away from the chapel.  I want to let my children take their bikes for a quick visit.  They can do this in pairs, so we don't overwhelm the chapel with all 10 of us at once.  I'd also like to let the kids go earlier in the day so that it doesn't get too late, when we start forgetting things.  But of course, "early" is when the most productive schooling gets done.  Maybe after Religion and Math, for a recess break.  Then after lunch for the second pair.  

 I am listening to:

nail guns and power saws.  All but one window is in!  I am praying that the school room will be ready for us by October.  We'll get started at our dining room table as usual, and then transfer in right as we're in a good rhythm for the new year.

 So so thankful:

I asked my Mom to come help me go through my clothing bins.  I have many bins, and I want her no-nonsense input on what I should hang on to for hand-me-downs, and what needs to go.

This is a project I've had on my "to-do" list since Christmas! I bet you she'll plow through it by tonight--oh my goodness the thrill of that thought!

 And for the raw milk my brother-in-law has been driving to get for us!  For years I have heard of the benefits of raw milk, but of course, it is illegal to sell in our state.  So, you join a co-op, work for a farmer, and own part of the cow, and thus rights to the milk.  That seems a bit ridiculous just for good old fashioned milk from a cow!  Well, my brother-in-law has jumped all of those hoops and is able to bring home milk on account of it.  My favorite part: the cream on top!

I am thinking:

I love being pregnant.  I love this little baby inside of me--whoever he or she is!  My kids love their little sibling.  They are so excited!  They keep asking if my stomach is getting bigger.  They get a huge kick out of me having cravings (it's Gatorade, y'all! Hand it over!)

My husband?  I'm dying here.  My husband is researching 15-passenger vans.  I might cry.  I'm so attached to our nice, dainty 12-passenger van.  And yet, I can't deny we need the space.  I had my three nieces with us the other day, and we so did not fit.  Have you seen the new Ford Express?  Or those Mercedes'?  Hideous!!  I'm going to try to get some pictures up.  They are really worth a belly laugh!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I was upstairs laying next to Legolas, trying to help him fall asleep for a much needed nap.

Bilbo ran upstairs calling for me.  I didn't want to shout, so he ran into Arwen first:

Bilbo:  "How many cups of flour go into chocolate chip cookies?"

Arwen: "At least a few."

Now, the standard recipe that I use calls for 2 1/4 cups flour, so I sort of thought three wasn't the worst guess.  The conversation continued:

Bilbo: "how many is a few?"

Arwen: "like...six.  I don't know, two, four, six...a bunch.  Use how many it says on the peanut butter recipe." (This is in a kids cookbook that they can read; unfortunately, this recipe calls for one cup of flour and one cup of oatmeal)  

I intervened, and luckily Legolas still took his nap.

A Novena Blessing

August 11th was the feast of St. Philomena and St. Clare.  I didn't realize they shared a feast day until this year.  I've always loved both of these beautiful saints.  This year I was able to celebrate the second feast day of my little Eowyn, for whom St. Clare is one of her patrons.

I had two intentions coming upon the feast of St. Philomena.   I began a novena 9 days before the 11th.  One of my intentions was for God's will for our family in regards to having more children.  I mentioned in my last post that this is far and away the longest spacing we've ever had.  It might have something to do with the "nursing relationship" I have with my 21 month old.:)

My husband and I certainly have our work cut out for us each day.  It's not like I "needed" to add to the numbers...but of course, it's never been about the numbers.

I wanted my heart to be open to His will for our family, for my husband and I in our vocation of living out our marriage in service to Him, even as I was grateful for the much needed spacing we had received.

And it does cross one's mind after almost 15 years of marriage...that the years of fertility are not indefinite.  And souls created for eternity...are eternal.

I asked for another blessing, if it was in God's plan for our family.

The day after I finished my novena I took a pregnancy test.

I really didn't need to take the test, but it seemed like the thing to do: to confirm the blessing was really there.

And it was.

I'm so thankful.

St. Philomena, Powerful with God, pray for us!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sneak Peek: Our Homeschool Room Addition

I'm going to tell you right now that this isn't going to be glamorous.  Not Pinterest material.  I'm just going to share what it is because I hope that in the end it's awesome anyway! 

You can see the second "mini-roof" that will extend over the back windows.  (Explained below.)

 I'm not architectural, creative or particularly artistic.  I am also very busy.  I have considered turning our screened porch into living space for many years.  In the northern midwest, the number of months in which you can really make use of a screened porch are limited.  As my children have grown older and just bigger, we really needed to use our basement as a rec room, and not as a school room.  Epecially in the winter.  Well, this summer my baby was over a year-and-a-half years old and I, for the first time ever, not only did not have a new baby in arms, but was not even expecting.

I capitalized upon this by promptly buying a puppy, relandscaping our sorely neglected front yard, and springing for the addition.

I'm going to stop here and explain a little: do you see how the back extends beyond the concrete base?  That's all code.  We popped out the walls as far as we could to maximize the interior space without pouring a new foundation.

The side walls were brought popped out to (not beyond) the foundation.  Apparently this technique is simply "box bay" windows.    Like a bay window, but not--the windows aren't bay windows, but you create that sort of effect by building out around them.  

Here are the four across the back, as you've seen, only two are in so far:

ignore Bilbo, photo bomb

Probably the single thing the kids and I are sooo excited about is the window seat they're going to build in one of the "box bays".  This one:

Sorry I'm so bad at capturing and explaining all of this, but you can see where the inside corner is, and how it will "pop out" the amount of space that Bilbo is so conveniently standing in.  That's where a window seat will be, with two windows above it, which are now just cut out.

And then there is the thing my husband is so excited about: skylights!  Just two (I wish we had gone for four, but they're mighty costly), but with only one cut out and put in I can already tell that it lets in a significant amount of light.  And light is at a premium around here.  Especially for my husband from the sunny southwest.  

 And...that's it! (for now)  I'll keep you updated.

Oh, and after all of this?  I found out I'm pregnant!  More on that another post. :)

Friday, August 14, 2015

{PFHR} State Fair Edition

 So it was the cows you wanted to see?

{Funny}- had to do this edition out of order

Can we get a "moo"?

I've always been partial to poultry...

{Pretty - no?}


Well, the kids were happy...I was trying not to look.  This was their "father's" decision...

"My" happy is the progress being made on our "addition" (the 4-seasonings of our screen porch).

Here's a sneak peek at the progress: 

Just half way through getting the windows in...but still: we have windows!!!


Never mind that these puppies run $4 per cup!!  It's called staving off massive fits and total dehydration.  (note to self: pack water)

Full disclosure: massive break-downs still ensued.  Legolas didn't want to leave.  Eowyn wanted to go on more rides.  She actually tried to crash gates--at age 1 1/2.  She's a wild one.