"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.

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!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

17 Months

I know my baby isn't really young enough to justify tracking his life by months, but I just can't seem to stop.  And when December 4th rolled around, Sam hit seventeen months.  I feel like it's been more like seven.

Where in the world does the time go?  Sam is a joyful, sweet, energetic little toddler who loves to play ball, play outside with his big brothers, loves his siblings, loves Reina our labradoodle.

 At the hotel on our road trip over Thanksgiving, he had a little too much fun sleeping with me in the "not-a-crib".  I think he thought it was a trampoline.  Crazy kid.

One thing that I should probably work on, but find really cute, is that he recently has become totally jealous of me!  If I pick up any other child, he's not happy.  I should probably teach him that he needs to share me, but, usually, I just find a way to hold him too.  He's my baby after all! 

So, not much of a post, but I couldn't hold back from a quick Sam update!  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pre-Advent Catch-up!

I guess we're due for a little update!  I wonder if I can keep up this blog (not that I really do, but at all!)

Remember the peg doll exchange I joined?  I volunteered to do the "purple wiseman".  I wanted him to look oriental ("from the East") and I wanted him to be ornate as possible (for a wooden peg doll).  Of course, my imagination usually outstrips my talents.  But I did manage a pretty jewel on the turban.

And I had some glitter glue for the turban and cloak, which was given a layer of mod podge along with the rest of the doll.

The way it worked was we made 10, and then at the exchange kept one of our own and got 9 other pieces to the set.

Wanna see them?

I'm pretty in love with the angels!

I'm a little mad at myself for not painting a GIFT like the other two wise men thought to do!  I had actually hoped to find a little chunk of gold rock to super glue to the doll, but hadn't gotten that done.

Anyway, it's been fun to look at pre-Advent without my other nativity sets out yet.


As Thanksgiving approached I knew my husband had a little hankering to head to his home land...  
I think it had been a good 4-5 years since we last had Thanksgiving with my in-laws.  It might have been longer than that!  But there was one week of a break before the basketball season began, the weather looked good, so we decided to try. 

The night before we were supposed to leave, Legolas came down with a bad fever.  My husband was up all night with him and we couldn't leave.  Everyone was in tears (well, the kids).  But that day Legolas woke up feeling much better and as the day progressed, it seemed that the illness was a short one.  We kept open the possibility of going if no one else got sick that night.  The next morning, all seemed well.  Everyone still wanted to give it a try, even though we'd be a day shorter for our visit.

We were off!
I texted this picture to my Mother-in-Law to tell her we were on our way!

First pit stop: cones at Burger King!

My kids have such a great attitude towards traveling.  It is sort of like tagging along with a traveling circus.  They make it easy.

balloons from a dinner at "Red Robin" on the trip home
So, here's a random photo dump to give you an idea of the trip!

My husband always comments on the layers you can see in the rocks...his original plan was to be a geologist.  
A duet on Gramz's amazing grand piano:

Have you ever run into someone from the Southwest who complains of feeling claustrophobic in the Midwest with all of our trees?

That's because it's ALL about the SKY out there!

I bought this Christmas cactus with my Mother-in-Law probably 7 years ago.  She feeds it for me when I'm gone.  I am pretty much in love.  It's huge!

 In the one week we were there, we landed no less than THREE family birthdays and the birth of a great-grandson on Thanksgiving Day!!

So, we had cake

Eowyn celebrated her 4th birthday the Monday before Thanksgiving, my little turkey!

And more cake (and pies)

We headed home on Sunday morning.

Thankfully we had wonderful weather and safe travels!

It was such a joyful visit and I miss my in-laws already.  But...there really is something to being HOME!  

 I got to see these little friends again!  Must have twins in your life!  I'm positively daffy over my niece and nephew.  I should probably dial it back...but I don't really see why.

 And this little guy had been taken care of by my long-suffering mother, dear woman!  Nothing like house sitting a turtle in your spare time!  They're kindof a pain because their lights need to be turned on in the morning and off at night, so, I was grateful!

And finally, the St. Andrew Novena began!! I think this must be my very favorite time of year!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

7-Quick Takes: November

Pro-Life Poster Contest

October was Respect Life Month, and our parish hosted it's annual Pro-life poster contest.  My only complaint is that there is only one winner per age group, and there are so many beautiful entries that I wish they had at least a first and second place!  In any case, the winners were announced at the Fall Festival, and Galadriel won for Level 3.  


Piano Recital

As soon as we got home from the Fall Festival, we headed over to (another) church where Arwen and Galadriel had their first piano recital!

They were so nervous!  My parents were able to make it, which made it all the more special.  The girls did super!  


My sister was out of town last week and Bilbo was in charge of dog-sitting.  Poor little Cricket was too lonely, even with Bilbo playing in the yard and taking her on walks in the afternoons, so we just brought her to our house for a couple of hours each day.

Sam loved chasing her around--so much smaller than our labradoodle!

She was loved and carried around so much that she had to be happy to go back to her own home to rest!


One of my very favorite times of year is the octave of All Souls, when the Church grants a plenary indulgence to a poor soul in Purgatory each day for nine days, if you visit the cemetery and pray for the dead.

We tried to stop after Mass each morning, but a couple of days we forgot and made a post-dinner dash out in our van in the pitch darkness that is now 5:00pm!  One night I told the kids to get into their pj's after dinner and then told them we were going for a drive to the cemetery.  There's something so exciting about being out at night in the dark, especially if you come home for hot chocolate!


Sam is pretty obsessed with balls.  We rigged up some low hoops for him one afternoon and he was delighted!


Eowyn in the schoolroom

Quite the serious 3K-student!


I'm trying to embrace Daylight Savings "Fall back"...but as much as I tell myself it's cozy and build fires and make hot chocolate, there really is something HARD about it getting dark so early and having such long nights with so many children.  Luckily, the holidays are here and that brings a whole lot of cheer.  It looks like we might be traveling for Thanksgiving if we can all stay healthy and the weather holds!  I'm sure I'll keep you posted! 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

16 Months

Today Sam is 16 months old!  He is starting to talk more, which is incredibly cute and makes me convinced that he's a genius.  What are these advanced words? Well, "up"...and "ball".  Genius, right?

Those words actually really sum up his life right now: he loves me to carry him around, and he loves to chase after a ball.  If my older boys are outside playing, he toddles around near them chasing his own mini ball.  It's a great stage--unless he just runs off toward the street or a huge mud puddle.  In fact, yesterday I had to chase him down in a neighbor's yard where my boys were playing football with a friend.  Sam saw them and took off for the fun.

Teething woes.  My kids always have terrible teething between 1 and 2 years.  They get their teeth late, and then they all come crashing through before the second birthday.  Poor Sam has had a few rough days with teething, and has a big fat new molar to show for it!

And that's about it for this little boy.   What a cutie.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I've got some rules when it comes to Halloween.  First rule is that every single year I remind my children what All Hallow's E'en is celebrating: the Eve of All Saint's Day.  And we DO celebrate All Saint's Day with (well, Mass, per Holy Day of Obligation) no school, festive food, and usually big parties with a bunch of kids dressed as Saints, but this year, just us, dressed as saints around the dinner table.  We also do Litanies of the Saints by song, singing "pray for us" as we sing the names of ever single saint we can possibly remember!  It takes a long time and is one of my favorite traditions ever!

Rule #2: no scary costumes, and only happy pumpkins.  The happy pumpkins was my Dad's rule, and that's probably just because he's such a sweet man and my Mom also was pretty staunchly opposed to anything yucky/dark/or scary.  I know that some people simply boycott this holiday (I used to skip the trick-or-treating because I hate the ugly stuff too) but I'm personally out to reclaim it as rightfully ours, as we wear fun costumes (if not Saints on trick-or-treating night) and go get candy before the big Feast Day.

I love fall, I love feeling neighborly, and I love kids being able to knock on anyone's door and being greeted with smiles and treats.  I think in our society where we are all isolated in our own little homes and have precious little community, this is a worthy activity.

Rule #3 (it's not a rule): I LOVE it when we can coordinate our costumes as a family!! We have gone as the "Racing Sausages" and as the "Fellowship of the Ring".  This year, we went as playing cards.  Specifically, we were a "Royal Flush", with Joker, and some Clubs thrown in for good measure (and there were too many of us to just go as one hand).

Yes, we were a LARGE group of cards (we had some cousins join in for the fun!) and yes, we received many comments on our costumes.

I thought it was a great success!

Looking forward to All Saint's Day tomorrow!!