"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.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Final Days of July

Look what was in our neighborhood!!

I texted a picture of these wild turkeys to my sisters and they all started joking that it was my husband and I with the kids.  Very funny girls.  Keep laughing.  #justyouwait

 I cannot tell you how much I am relishing every day of this summer!  I've been at the pool twice as much as I usually am because my sister with twin 5-month-olds goes every day.  I take my kids, and if I'm lucky, I get a chance to hold one of them for her.  Must. Love. Twins.  (I mean, hers.  Honestly, I'm going to own right now that I'm pretty certain there is a reason that I wasn't blessed with them myself! #mysisterisasuperwoman #shehassuperpowers)

My 1-year-old is still not walking, but he is EVERYWHERE!!!   Dirty dirty knees = baths every night! (The pool helps).  Sam is actually taking a new turn from a placid, peaceful baby to a One Year Old with a drive and determination to keep up with all 8 of his older siblings.  It might be the red hair.  And, he bites.  So, as much as I dote upon this angel of a baby, the disciplining has begun.  I just shake his jaws from my (usually) shoulder and grab his little chubby jowls and say "no biting!"  He laughs and we move on.

Still doing good in the food department.


Two childhood/high school friends happened to be in the area this week.  One of them has upsized to a 12-passenger van.  Her father-in-law is in the car business, so she and her husband opted to have their car detailed:

Is this awesome or what?  Gosh I wish we had done that for "The Golden Beast" (remember her?) but I'm pretty sure we'll leave "Timberwolf" off of our current vehicle, although that's his name.

And finally, to end this post, I'm going to own right here that I miss something this summer.  They're fluffy, they're cute, and they made for the best blog photos!

But, also messy.  And something extra Mama doesn't need to take care of.  (I guess).  Sniff, sniff.

Happy Final days of July!!

Monday, July 17, 2017


Photo Credit: Rosie!

Outside my window: my garden!! It's growing and the kids are super excited to see that there are little tomatoes starting to come.  My lettuce was a bust, so I'm going to have to research and try again another year.  Zucchini are always a sure thing!  The eggplant looks robust, but I'm unsure about the peppers...  Whatever happens, I'm just calling this "my first year" and chalking the rest up to lessons learned!

I am thinking: about the upcoming school year.  I know, I know, it kills me too.  I am LOVING summer!  I am forcing myself to sit long hours pool-side and even signed the kids up for a second round of lessons.  Rosie has a new goal: to jump off of the diving board.  But even at that, the supplies are pouring into the stores, and those pencils and markers and notebooks are calling to me.  My main goal this year is to focus on getting my youngest students reading, or close to it!  Sight words for my pre-K Eowyn, simple readers for my 5-K Legolas, and lots and lots for Rosie, who is just on the verge of proficiency.

On that note: A shoutout to the "Nate the Great" series of early readers, and also the "Great Mouse Detective" series.  Haven't read them all yet, but excited to, and so are my middles.  I LOVE summer reading!

(Which reminds me to add) Grateful:  Our Galadriel tested at a 2nd grade reading level last summer.  She was entering 4th grade. After 30 weeks of vision therapy, she tested at a 5th grade reading level.  This June she read "Little Women" and now she's reading "The Secret Garden", with a couple other's waiting on her shelf to be read next.   That's not bragging, it's gratitude.  Hope for those who have struggling readers--it really can happen!!

Plans for the week: baseball season just ended with the championship games on Sunday.  All our boys' teams came in second place.  Sunday was lots of time outside watching baseball and a little sunburn for me.

Legolas is in speech therapy this summer.  He is working hard.  I honestly love the time alone with him as he works on his /s/ blends!  What a kid he is!

I'm out of time as usual, but I'll go ahead and post this or I won't get anything up at all!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wedding Weekend

The wonderful thing about weddings is that they are really important.  They affect the course of the human race.  They certainly affect the family.  Not just the bride and the groom, but their parents and siblings.  Everyone's lives will be forever changed.

This past weekend, my third brother got married.  This brought in my brother from Europe and my sister from even-further-Northern-Midwest than we are!  
cousins from 4 families represented here
As the oldest sister, with the most kids to transport and the largest house, I was privileged to be the meeting place for everyone to gather and rehearse the songs that we do sing at the rehearsal dinner.
it's been far too long!!
 We hadn't been together for a year.  In that year three new babies were born and two other babies went from being infants to being One-year-olds.  So, what else?  We passed the children around! They had to meet their aunties and cousins!


Then came the preparations.  My sister made the mani-pedi happen for me!  My husband may have been a little shocked when she wisked me off after dinner, after the above day of socialization, but I'm sure glad she did!

The wedding was a 1 pm, so by 9:30 am I was starting to get the girls ready.  I set up Angelina Ballerina on the laptop so I could braid Eowyn's hair without screaming!

 And on to Galadriel...then Rosie, Arwen, and myself...that's a lot of hair!

I have never (NEVER) cried so much at a wedding.  I don't know if it's because the groom is one of my youngest siblings and I just feel so lovingly toward him, or if it was because the bride was just. so. beautiful!!

They are both awesome dancers.
There is so much to say, if I were to try to say anything about the wedding.  How special it was, how joyful, how fun!  But I don't even have the time to try!  It was perfect.  Now, just one more brother to find a wife for!  I LOVE WEDDINGS!!!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

On the 4th of July

A first birthday really calls for a great celebration!

But if you are so lucky as to be born on the 4th of July, your Mama gets a little help in the "festivities" department.  And your "party" is rather outrageously awesome!

 Sack races, face painting, ponies...yes!  Bouncy houses, game tents, picnics...you got it!

And the day gets topped off with a bit of pyrotechnic fun!
(Capturing fireflies)
(his face was painted as a "tiger" at the 4th celebrations in our village.  That explains his filthy face.  As for his shirt...I don't have a direct explanation other than it was a very. fun. day!)

glow bracelets

(photo credit: Arwen)
Because our Nation is worth celebrating, and so are YOU!

WHO is ONE YEAR OLD?!!!!  MY baby?!!!

unsure about that ice cream cake!

Very pleased with the "Drumstick" that he got in the afternoon!

Off to the park!

I think he was so tired by the time he had his party, that he wasn't quite sure about  his cake!
Where did this year go?

We love him so much!!!

Happy First Birthday, Sam!!!