"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, October 28, 2016


"Babies remind us to be in awe of the world. 

We should never stop being in awe of babies. 

Each time a baby is born, it is as if a whole new world has been created, 

because the world is being seen for the first time by a new soul as if it were the first day of creation;

inside that little head, there is a new system of stars, 

 new grass, 


new cities,

a new sea."

--G.K. Chesterton  

Friday, October 21, 2016

7 Quick Takes: Pumpkin Farming

It's Friday!  I've never posted 7 Quick Takes before, but I'm going to see how this goes...I'm not sure what "7" things might come up.

1) Since I have photos uploaded, I will share that we made it to the pumpkin patch again this year!  We always opt for a very rural pumpkin farm experience.  This means no train rides and hay rides or elaborate corn mazes.  Just pumpkins and mud.  I love the large stretches of land and the beauty of the countryside.  For kids raised in the suburbs, I think this is balm for the soul.

 2) From the time she was very little, Rosie has had the hardest time choosing a pumpkin.  (The pictures are of Eowyn, so don't be confused).  I thought there were many beautiful pumpkin options.  Rosie wanted a good stem.  She also didn't like the "dirt side" of the pumpkins...which they all have.  Once she looked enough to realize they all had mud on one side she was more willing to choose.

 3) Legolas went running off at his pace (lightning) and managed to land his foot in a rotten pumpkin.  Rotten and filled with about three inches of slime water.  By the time I reached him he had one socked foot propped up on a pumpkin and a shoe in his hand.  This was about 30 seconds into our picking.   Luckily it went smoothly from there on out.

4) We always get caramel apples at the end of our time.  It's a tradition.  An increasingly expensive tradition!  You know, when you buy an apple or two with your first children and spend, say $5, you think, "this is so special".  When you buy 8 caramel apples at $2.50 a piece...you start thinking about buying a bag of Brach's caramels and start dipping your own!

5) And not to make myself sound like the cheapest of cheapskates, but honestly: I truly think I'm going to try to grow pumpkins next year!  First of all, I know they'll grow because I have seen my neighbors do so with success.  Secondly, pumpkins aren't cheap either!  And we have to buy 8 (soon to be 9) because that's also a tradition--that each kid gets to carve their own.  I think maybe a family pumpkin tradition would have been a good thing to start with.  But alas, we've got the tradition we have...so, I'm going to grow my own (or try) next year!

6) I'm out of thoughts on the pumpkin patch.  Here are a couple of pics of Arwen's b-day to round out #6 and #7.  Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

For Arwen

 I think Arwen is my #1 fan of this blog.  She takes most of the pictures for it and she always loves to discover a new post.

Arwen turned 15 yesterday!  When your oldest has a birthday, it marks not only an important day in their life, but an important day in your own, the day you became a mother!

I remember so clearly the weeks after I was married.  Just settled into a cute apartment, volunteering at Project Rachel, discovering that we were expecting a month or so into our marriage.

I remember the friends I made at our Bradley Method childbirth classes (hi Heather!:)) I remember reading every single book I could on babies and watching hours and hours of "A Baby Story" on HGTV.

 I went overdue with Arwen and she was 9 pounds 1 ounce: big for a first.  But she was perfect as far as I was concerned, and I was just a little biased.;)  As she grew, we only loved and admired her more.  It's a really good thing we went on to have a whole bunch more kids...I'm pretty sure we were "those" parents with our "perfect" child.

Over the years, Arwen went through all sorts of phases: ballerinas, horses, and a really really long tom-boy phase.  She's sporty, but I wasn't sure we'd ever get past Tom Boy.  But we did!  She was always artistic and loved to write.  She discovered her love of languages and geography pretty early on.

As Arwen became a teen she grew into some new interests.  She taught herself to play the ukulele.  She decided she does NOT like to babysit other kids, but she is head-over-heels for her youngest siblings.  She's an awesome big sister.

I was so uncertain as to what to do for high school with Arwen.  Her Dad wasn't unsure, and pretty soon neither was Arwen!  I was honestly shocked when she told me that she wanted to be home schooled for high school in part because she was afraid she would lose the close relationship she has with her siblings and she was especially concerned about the youngest ones not growing up knowing her.

Arwen tells me just about daily how cheesy I am, and I'm guessing this post is going to make her cringe.  That's ok.  It's the sentimental old mom that I've grown into over the past 15 years.

 I hope I've appreciated every single day with this first child of mine.  She is as precious to me today as the day she was born.  Happy Birthday sweet 15 year old!  xoxo I love you! Your super cheesy, totally embarrassing Mom!;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Time is flying by faster than I can blog.  My days have been a whirl of mothering 9 children and learning what it means to rely not on our own strength but on that which comes from Jesus and Mary.  They are faithful and they are merciful.

So, you saw the pictures of my big baby?! Isn't he scrumptious?! A little hard on the old back...I've been trying to put him down more, but he's so happy when I hold him.  Sam has been my most reflux-y  baby, but without the crying that usually goes with colic.  Just lots and lots of spit-up and burping time needed.  Keeping him upright helps.  It's finally getting better, but both he and I were required to change outfits on account of his issues multiple times a day.  I don't ever want to wish away the precious newborn months, but I am not going to say it doesn't get easier on the laundry as he gets better at keeping his meals down!:)

I want to give a quick update on my other children, but I am sure I don't have time to cover all of them in this post.

1) Arwen: rocking home schooling for high school.  She is totally organized and responsible.  She did suffer a pretty tough blow when she was told we couldn't do the home school basketball team.  It travels and has multiple overnight tournaments out of city.  With our family, that wasn't going to work.  But she absorbed that disappointment with maturity,  we found a local league for her to play in this winter (not as competitive, but still fun I hope!), and she has been trying out the clubs that our local home schooling community provides.  God has been good and she has made at least one new good friend so far--and it's only October, so that's not bad!:)

2) Aragorn is playing tackle football.  He is a full head shorter than the other players.  He is young for his class, and either he's not going to be that tall, or he hasn't hit his growth spurt yet.:)  However, he's pretty fast and tough to take down.  He hasn't had much glory this season (no touchdowns:)) but he did get the game ball a couple of games back.  His coach calls him a "little machine", and I think he looks super cute in his pads!  So far no injuries--lets see if we can get through this season safely!!

3) Galadriel was so excited to have her very first babysitting job.  Galadriel is a natural with little kids but at just 10 she isn't really able to work as a sitter.  However, when a nice young mom was visiting our next door neighbor and was looking for a sitter for the morning, they were ok with Galadriel watching her little girls with me next door in case of trouble.

4) Rosie lost her two front teeth and looks like the perfect little first grader she is.

 5) Legolas loves school too!

6) and yes, Eowyn...is still learning that she's not the center of the universe.  So far she's not really buying it.

7) I guess that's everyone but Bilbo and Gimli.  They're good.:)  Actually, they've been having fun playing "crab soccer" in the basement lately.  That's where you play while in a crab walk position (on all fours, but face up).  Bilbo is also on a crazy "Monopoly" kick. He is pretty dominant...I think Rosie might have taken him once.  Yes, excitement all around.  You see? I feel guilty for skipping a kid or two so this is what you get.  Updates on boardgames.  I just lost my reading audience.  Both of them!

What Have I Done?

A home schooling mom works so hard to refine her children's abilities to write persuasively.  Today Arwen informed me that she had composed an essay on her current chore, which she makes no pretense of hiding her dislike of.  I share with you this little gem:

 Doing the Dishes: An abhorrent chore
By: Arwen

            My least favorite chore is doing the dishes. There are many reasons why I find dishes duty distasteful. One reason is that doing the dishes is time consuming. With multiple members in the family, all with hearty appetites, there are frequently heaps of disgusting dishes piled haphazardly in the sink and on the counters. Thus, it takes a somewhat lengthy space of time to deposit all of the tableware into the dishwasher. Also, there are many unpleasant consequences to doing the dishes. One of these is that one must roll up one’s sleeves because one’s hands and forearms commonly become saturated. In addition, the state of affairs in the kitchen is cramped and ill-designed. It is difficult to maneuver properly, especially if others are passing through the crowded room as well. Moreover, without adequate space, dishwater splashes messily upon the counters and floor, transforming both into a wet, gunky mess. The worst of these consequences is that one inevitably becomes wet from the splattering, dripping liquid. The most terrible component of dish washing is the leftover food one should encounter upon each plate and bowl. Generally, forks and spoons are liberally coated in saliva and crumbs. In addition, cups are sometimes filled with detritus and one may stumble across an occasional pile of masticated matter. The most revolting form old food can take is when it is left sitting in water. Dairy products thicken and befog the swirling waters. Ground beef crumbles and floats on the surface, while chicken sits in a slimy heap at the bottom. Fruits melt and vegetables turn to mush. When in a sink, once-delicious victuals become loathsome. Therefore, the chore of doing the dishes is often held in low esteem.