Thursday, November 30, 2006

St. Andrew

Before the day is done, I must post this find. Yesterday, Elizabeth Foss posted an entry about a St. Andrew Novena. Since this is our third son's Feast Day (Andrew Clayton), we thought we'd give it a try. We are offering this Novena for our baby on the way.

Attitude of the Heart

Around here fall is an attitude, as is winter. Here in Houston we can never count on the weather being particularly fall-ish or winter-ish when it's supposed to be. So, really, true seasonal joy must be an attitude that is lived out and enjoyed no matter the temperature.

This was so perfectly exemplified yesterday by my children. Might we all be more like them (in some ways and not others :))). It was a balmy 75 degrees outside and the ground had dried out from a recent rain. What's more, our great big Silver Maple tree in the back had finally figured out it was fall and has been dropping leaves like crazy. The kids have been begging me for days to rake the leaves and play in them. So yesterday I obliged. So there we were in our shorts and short sleeves raking, piling, and jumping.

The kids could not have had more fun! They were so creative too. They found more to do with fall leaves than I ever dreamed possible. They raked huge piles and buried each other. They filled the slide with leaves. They rolled trucks down the slide into leaves. They rolled themselves down the slide into leaves. They jumped off chairs into leaves. They made leaf pile forts and sat in the middle. What a joy it was to hear their joy-filled laughter ringing through the air.

You see fall isn't about the right temperature, but about the wonder of the season and the fun it holds. The same goes for winter and Christmastime. I have spent many a Christmas in shorts and if my holiday happiness did depend on the weather, I'd have been disappointed many a year. My children teach me many things. Yesterday they taught me to revel in fall leaves at 75 degrees WITH humidity. What will they teach me next?

Today we revel in drastically different weather. The high for the day was this morning at 7am (72 degrees). In a few short hours it dropped thirty degrees and got very blustery. Yesterday spring. Today winter. Despite the crazy change we are enjoying it. We are flexible. We can go from wearing shorts to building fires in less than 24 hours. From icy lemonade to hot cocoa in nothing flat. Like the Boy Scouts, we are always prepared!

Lord, may my happiness and joy never depend on things transient, but on things lasting, most especially You!

Now I'm off to brew something warm to drink!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Getting to Know Me and My Christmas Spirit

Robin sent this to me in an email and I decided I would put it on my blog instead. And I would like to tag Michele and Nicole.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

I really enjoy spiced tea when it's cold, but I like hot chocolate too. If I drink egg nog these days, it has to be the light version. The original version is just to rich and sweet for me now.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

As in our families growing up, the presents are grouped for each child some where in the same room as the tree, unwrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

We have white lights on the house and last year we switched to white lights on the tree. I like them so much better!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

No, but we always did growing up - it was a really funny plasticy one.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Sometime during the week after Thanksgiving. It usually takes a while to do it all.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Tamales on Christmas Eve.

7. Favorite Christmas memory as a child.

Really, the anticipation of Christmas morning. I remember looking out of my bedroom window after bedtime searching for Rudolph's red nose. I remember getting up during the night to go to the bathroom. To get to the bathroom from my room you had to cross a big landing that overlooked the den. I always put my hand up to shield my eyes for fear of seeing my gifts.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I have no earthly idea. I just remember my parents kept laying out gifts like always, even after my sisters and I were much older.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?


10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

Brian gets the tree out of the box and sticks the layers together. Both of us do the shaping (reshaping), but somehow I think I usually do most of it. Then we put the lights on. Then the kids all help put ornaments on. It never takes long. They hang them wherever and for the most part we let them be. At the very end, we move the tree into the corner, I put the tree skirt on and Brian puts the star on top.

11. Snow!

Love it - the 2 times I've seen it, that is.

12. Can you ice skate?

Yes, sort of. I have been several times at the rink at the Galleria. I have to run myself into the walls to stop.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

No, I really don't. We always got so many things we loved. I don't remember one big favorite standing out though.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

Nowadays, it is helping my children prepare during Advent to welcome Jesus. It is so much fun to share all the fun and joyful celebrations with them - the presents, the decorations, the cookies. But I feel a strong sense of responsibility to help them focus on the right part - Christ our Lord.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

Cookies, cookies and more cookies. My mom's recipe for iced sugar cookies are my absolute favorite. I love them all, except the Christmas rocks my mother always made. We are going to bake tomorrow.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Decorating. Baking. Actually, I have always loved Christmas Eve Midnight Mass. We haven't been in several years (since before Jacob) and I miss it. There is something about going to Mass in the dark middle of the night that is beautiful and awe inspiring. Hopefully we will do it again soon.

17. What tops your tree?

A red punched tin star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?

I'd have to say both. It is so much fun to give. To my husband because I love to surprise him and please him. To my children because they are just so much fun to buy for. It is fun to put thought into gifts for others. It is fun to receive because it is neat to see the thought other people put in to gifts for me, especially Brian.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

Hands down, "What Child Is This?" And I think I found the absolute perfect version by Mercy Me. Stunning.

20. Candy Canes! yuck or yummy?


21. Fave Christmas Movie?

The Muppet Christmas Carol, but I love so many of them.


Birthday Meme

I was tagged by Michelle to play this little birthday meme thing. So here goes.

Here's how you play:

1) Go to Wikipedia
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)

My birthday is September 9th.

3 events:

1776 - The Continental Congress officially names their new union of sovereign states the United States (the United States didn't become a country until the ratification of the Constitution).
1850 - California is admitted as the thirty-first U.S. state.
1956 - Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

2 important birthdays:

1828 (N.S.) - Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (d. 1910)
1960 - Hugh Grant, British actor

1 death:

1087 - William the Conqueror


Japan - Chrysanthemum Day (Kiku no Sekku).

I tag Melissa and Robin. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Mess

I know. I realize it is only November 28th, but I believe we are in for a long month of Christmas mess. It has only just begun. Christmas itself is messy with all the wrappings and boxes and cookie crumbs, but I think I have decided that Christmas decorating is by far the messiest. I guess I should express some thankfulness, because at least it keeps me from being bored! :) We had a long weekend of decorating and refinishing the front door and sawing in the garage. The floors were absolutely horrible, but I knew that vacuuming and mopping at that point would be self-defeating, so I didn't. Yesterday we finished decorating the inside of the house and the boxes are once again sealed and awaiting replacement in the attic. We were very busy with school and decorating yesterday, so I designated Tuesday as the day! And, I must say, after a lovely dinner including lots of sticky white rice, I was glad I had waited - gotta wait till the stuff dries out. So this morning after breakfast (with lots of toast crumbs) I began. I vacuumed the whole downstairs, half the stairway and mopped the kitchen. As I look at the front hall I realize it needs wiping down too. Lots of dirty footprints. While freeing the stairs from the millions of fake garland and Christmas tree needles, I noticed something green and questioned whether or not it was actually Easter grass. Even though we banned plastic Easter grass several years back, I wouldn't be surprised if I were still finding it in every nook and cranny. Now, if everyone could manage not to eat, drink, come in from outside, cut paper or touch the Christmas tree and garland, I might be able to keep the floors clean. Yeah, right.

But you know, it is the mess that reminds me we are living and loving. Mess is inevitable. Happy children and lots of fun and work well-done are worth it all. I know it has been said before, but someday the mess will be gone and so will the children. Maybe I will offer up the messes and clean up 60 more times today with a cheerful, thankful heart. Happy Mess!!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

An Eight Year Old Tradition

I guess this tradition had its beginning on our honeymoon, as we browsed the Amelia Island shops eight and a half years ago. We bought ourselves a small blue egg Christmas ornament depicting places on the Island. It was our first "married" Christmas ornament. We happily hung it on our tree that December. I think we even got out the camera tripod and took a photo of us hanging it. Then, that first Christmas (we'd been married almost 6 months), Brian gave me another new ornament on the tree - a sweet Nativity that he had written on the bottom of to commemorate the year. Little did I know then that it would become a tradition. Each year Brian "surprises" me with an ornament he has chosen. Now we have eight years of treasured ornaments. Last night, as we sat in front of the tree and the fire with the kids, enjoying the last moments of our long weekend, we tried to find them all. Finally, we did. It was a fun little journey through the ornaments. I love this tradition that my precious husband began - he is thoughtful and sentimental (only 2 of the many reasons I married him). I am excited to imagine 20 years from now the collection of wonderful treasures on our tree. For now, though, I will enjoy the eight we have and look forward to the ninth installment in the series.

The Honeymoon Ornament

1998 - A Kneeling Santa

1999 - A Sparkly White Reindeer

2000 - Another Precious Nativity

2001 - An Old World Cross

2002 - Noah's Ark

2003 - A Lovely Angel

2004 - A Glass Snowman

2005 - A Waterford Snowflake

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Long Awaited Day!

For over a month now, Nicole and I have been eagerly anticipating today and the beginning of a new Mother and Daughter holiday tradition! And today finally arrived.

After lunch, Nicole and I got ourselves all dressed up and hopped in the car for our drive into downtown Houston to see The Nutcracker Ballet. Nicole took a little snooze on the drive and I woke her up just as we were pulling into the parking lot. I found myself getting all choked up at the thought of arriving and getting ready to enjoy this special time with my precious daughter. We marveled at the beautiful theater. It had been so many years since I had been to see the performance, so in a way it was all new to me again.

The performance was absolutely stunning! We whispered our oohs and aahs all the way through both acts. You just couldn't take your eyes off the stage. Nicole excitedly commented several times on how the beautiful costumes sparkled - it must seem magical to her. After the show we went down to the theater lobby and saw several of the dancers in costume - the mice and the soldiers. Then we browsed the souvenir booth. Nicole chose a lovely Nutcracker - she really had her mind made up. We almost skipped along as we went to take our photos in front of the giant Christmas tree before leaving.

It was a magical afternoon. One I know I will treasure all year long. I look forward to many more opportunities to enjoy this tradition and celebrate this joyous season.

I pray that Nicole's dreams tonight are of the Sugar Plum Fairy type. I know mine will be of the graceful Snow Queen and her Snowflakes and of a blessedly happy afternoon with my little ballerina.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It is Saturday after Thanksgiving. As we drive around, running errands,etc., we are seeing more and more Christmas decorations going up, including our own. I wasn't sure I would be ready this weekend. Growing up we had waited until after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. While that was never a problem, Brian and I decided we wanted to do it differently for our family. To me Christmas is a season so full of joy and excitement and we like to begin the celebrations earlier. I really believe it is so much about what you focus on and not so much when. But I appreciate the fact that all families have different traditions and timelines. I think that is what makes family life beautiful. I believe that taking joy in the lights and the tree and the cookies are not bad things. When our focus is on Jesus, then these are beauties and joys that only add to our celebration of Him!

We had contemplated waiting until the First Sunday of Advent, next weekend. But on Thanksgiving, I was feeling festive and we decided it would be fun to at least get started this weekend.

This morning Brian and Bill (Robin's husband with the taller ladder) got all the lights on the house that go way up high. We will finish up the rest of the lights little by little and start working on the rest of the house. Tonight we will put up our tree, enjoy cocoa and tea and hopefully a fire. What a glorious time of year! This year Brian is going to cut out our very first wooden yard decoration - I can't wait!!!!!!

I hope you enjoy your family time together as you decorate, celebrate and prepare!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Thankful Heart

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name!"

Psalm 100:4


Today I want to diligently remember and be mindful of all I am thankful for.

* For my God who loves and forgives me.

* An opportunity to start each day anew through the grace of God and with His aid to grow in holiness.

* My dear husband who loves me so much I can't fathom it. He is the answer to many years of prayers and hopes and dreams. I love my life with him.

* My four precious children. Gifts! Enough said!

* The ability to have children and raise them in the Catholic faith to know, love and serve our Lord.

* The chance at Heaven.

* The Eucharist and confession.

* Brian's job and all it provides for us. And the fact that he enjoys it and succeeds in it so well.

* Family and friends who give, give, give and love, love, love.

* Having the great majority of my family close by.

* The opportunity to homeschool, sharing faith and knowledge with my little ones.

* Quilts, quilting and the blessing of time (at least a little) and some money to pursue it.

* Good books and lots of them.

* Food (had to include that one).

* Celebrating the holidays with my own little family and building all kinds of wonderful traditions and memories.

* Digital cameras, computers and the internet - for all the good they are capable of.

* My life - it is all I could have dreamed and more!

And here are a few Thanksgiving turkeys to brighten your day.

Caution: Creative Genius at Work

Inspired by creativity and driven by neccesity, Jacob created this:

A what? A rope knotted between 2 swings. Oh. I know you are waiting for the genius part. Well, you see, Jacob knows how to swing himself. Nicole is yet to master that skill. Either Jacob or someone else has to push Nicole. So, he devised a way to swing her at the same time he swings! A rope knotted between 2 swings. Brilliant? Yes. Dangerous? Possibly. I just love it, though. I set a few ground rules for its use and then let them enjoy it.

Great job Jacob!

Happy Lazy Busy Wednesday

Can a day be both lazy and busy, you ask? Of course it can. It is lazy when you spend the day at home (our favorite) enjoying the sunshine and the smells of baking and the all the Thanksgiving preparations (crafts, reading, cooking). It is at the same time busy when you are doing laundry, checking the crockpot, doing school, reading and crafting and baking. It has been a lovely day! Just the right amount of lazy and just the right amount of busy.

Today the kids spent a little time adding handprints to their Thankfulness Tree in the front hall. They spent a little more time creating feathered turkey pictures.

Later, after lunch and playing in the sunny backyard, Jacob spent a good while creating the knight/crusader battle picture you see. Nicole colored alongside him - some of her best original creations to date.

As for me, I tended the roast in the crockpot, made pumpkin bread, did laundry, cleaned a bathroom (oh, boy), and made a buttermilk pie. We are going to a Thanksgiving Vigil Mass at Church and then we are going to attend the 3rd annual Pie Sharing get together afterwards in the Hall. I am looking forward to that. Hopefully there will be a nice turnout. What's better? Pie and people after Mass.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

I am thankful for...

Thanksgiving food.


Well, it is almost 7am. My house actually smells a little Thanksgiving-ish. Not because of a turkey. It's a pot raost I started in the crock pot last night. Actually, I was supposed to start it the night before so that we could eat it for dinner last night and have the leftovers tonight. BUT, I didn't remember that the roast needed to be started the night before until 10am yesterday morning. Luckily we had enough leftovers and odds and ends to muddle our way through dinner last night.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. To time with family, what looks to be a beautiful day, Brian being home, the Thanksgiving parade on TV and to the FOOD. I am pregnant, can you tell? To tell the truth, I would probably be writing this post even if I wasn't expecting. I love food (why I went to Weight Watchers - hee hee) and ESPECIALLY Thanksgiving food. I think my dear friend Robin expressed similar sentimental feelings - I knew we were made to be friends! :)

This year we will be spending most of the day with my parents (10 minutes away). I am so excited because both of my sisters will be there. We will all be together! That doesn't always happen for the holidays because of the way that we and one of my other sisters alternate time with our families. Needless to say, I am so happy about that. We are also expecting one of my sister's in-laws. So that should make it extra special.

My mom usually does most of the cooking. One of my sisters and I are bringing the pies - Pumpkin Pie for her and Buttermilk Pie for me. My other sister is bringing fruit in some form or fashion and, I think, some cheeses or something to munch on while we salivate, I mean, wait patiently for the turkey to be done. My mom is baking the bird (with the stuffing inside - my FAVORITE), making pecan pie, and squash casserole. Rolls, too? I can't remember. My sister's in-laws are bringing a ham and then I am now also bringing a yummy sweet potato dish I tried the other night. Oh, and my mom bought cookies for the kids from the Cake Lady (the best bakery EVER!) Mmmmmmm! And I think I will bake 2 more loaves of pumpkin bread - 1 for breakfast and one to take.

I can't wait. So, as you can see, I will enjoy myself and I will hate to step on the scale come my next doctor appointment in December.

I pray you will all enjoy your feasts, but even more the love and comapny of friends and/or family. Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I am planning to have a Thankfulness post for tomorrow. It would be fun if everyone joined in!

Temper, temper

I finally got around to reading Danielle's question post from yesterday and most of the wonderful comments that have been added. I am not afraid to say that I can easily lose my temper, too, and always regret it. But as I pray and seriously work on this fault, I have noticed improvement. I think it is something most mothers struggle with and that is why I link to her post. There are many holy women there offering good advice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mommy, It IS a Renoir!

The trick is, can you guess which one is the Renoir????

This is Jacob's art lesson for the day. We use the Childsize Masterpieces that Laura Berquist suggests and most of the suggestions in her lesson plan. Today's assignment was to make up a story about one of the art prints. I included that too - it takes a very boyish turn at one point!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Being Open to Life

Danielle linked to Amy and Amy linked to someone else and so on and so forth. Anyway, in a nutshell, the discussion deals with a group of Christians that do not use any form of birth control and do not support the use of NFP or fertility awareness. It is termed the "quiverfull" movement.
They are criticized for these practices and beliefs and as someone else mentioned this criticism seems to me highly unnecessary.

As I thought about it all this evening, I realized that it all comes back to being open to life, the Catholic Church's key teaching where marriage, sex and babies are concerned.

Think of it this way for a moment:

Say a family is a "quiverfull" proponent and chooses not to practice fertility awareness methods. They are open to God's will as far as their family size is concerned. God may send them 15 children. They have been open to life and God's will has been done.

Say there's another family that is also a "quiverfull" proponent, identical in every way to the first. They are equally open to God's will as far as their family size is concerned. However, God may send them 2 children. They have been open to life also and God's will has been done.

The first family is no more a "quiverfull" family than the other. Nor is the second family any less. Why? Because it all comes down to openness to life and God's will for each particular family. If we are completely open to life and God's will then, by all means, God's will WILL be done. In a way, it's all about attitude.

No child is an accident. God never says, "Oooops, I forgot you were laid off work three months ago. That baby you just conceived was an accident on my part. Sorry." NEVER. That just doesn't happen. God's will is perfect. Each child is planned by God. The child that arrives 3 months after your husband is laid off work has a purpose and was planned by God. The child that arrives after 3 years of trying has a purpose and was planned by God. Maybe the child is going to change us and help us to grow as Christians like we never thought possible. Who knows!!!

So to me it doesn't matter a whole lot whether you subscribe to the "quiverfull" movement or not. God's will wins out.

I do believe that the Catholic Church is correct in saying that NFP CAN BE used morally and licitly in marriage to space babies. Granted, the Church also says that a "just" reason(s) must be present. Might we say, unselfish. The key here, once again, is openness to life and God's will for your family.

So you see. It all comes back to openness to life. And being open to life can have varied outcomes, as far as size is concerned, for each individual family.

May I be open to life and your will, my Lord. I don't know what you have planned for us. It is scary at times, the thought of what your will might be. But I know it is perfect. Your plan is perfect. You are perfect. I am not. May I rely on you and the strength you will give me and my family for whatever you send our way.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


My kidos, that is.

OK, so let me brag just briefly while it is all still fresh in my head. And let me thank God while it is all still fresh in my head - how often I forget that one. So easy to focus on the difficulties, problems and trials and forget those really exceptional evenings.

Brian went off to his monthly Opus Dei Evening of Recollection. I was left with the kids - nothing new. I set about cleaning up Andrew and cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. This is where the exceptional part begins.

:) Nicole willingly, cheerfully and thoughtfully cleared the table, helped load the dishwasher, wiped down the placemats (her usual job), and wiped down the chairs.

:) Jacob vacuumed like never before. This is a task I am always reluctant to turn over to anyone because I am frustrated by all the missed food and crumbs. Not tonight. I only said once, "Jacob do a super job. You can see the food, so try and get it all." And what a job he did, so cheerfully too. I never had to prod.

:) They cleaned up toys willingly.

:) Jacob helped me get the tub ready for baths (lots of heavy work and bending).

:) They bathed and got out without fussing or complaining or arguing.

:) They got pajama-ed and toothbrushed in a jiffy (no small feat for one little girl I know.)

WOW! What an evening. I can't wait to tell Brian!

Now, before I go any further, I must clear up a few things. Do my children always do this? NO! They are great kids, but they are kids just like the rest of them. More often than not, I hear:

"Why do I always have to wipe down the placemats?"

"Buuuuuut, I was just beginning to read a book."


That's exactly why I must chronicle this evening for all posterity. Because it is worth remembering. It is what I should remember when I am frustrated by their normal kid behavior. I love these kids. They are gifts. They are gems. They make life so worthwhile. And I am proud to be their Mommy.


Go on over to Robin's Thanksgiving Recipe Swap and see my entry. Don't forget to enter your own! I'm dying to see what everyone loves!

And here is another recipe contribution, the spiced tea I mentioned earlier:

Pear Tree Spiced Tea

32 oz. jar Tang
1/2 cup instant tea
1 lb. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together well, adding brown sugar last. Store in an airtight container.

3 Tbsp. per cup of hot water
1 cup per 12 cups of hot water

Not exactly sugar free, but tasty!

A Blustery Day

And that it was.

I sit here with a nice mug of hot apple cider (instant - have made my yummy spiced tea mix yet) and typing away, reflecting on this perfectly lovely day.

This morning we woke up to wind, I mean WIND! I went off to my doctor's appointment. There was enough wind to practically knock this little pregnant lady over. When I returned home, we did some lessons and then around 11:30, before lunch was ready, the kids begged me to go out. And so they did. They spent lots of time before and after lunch playing in the sunshiny, windy backyard. Actually, the weather was so perfect, we were still in shorts! It was wonderful! They were having so much fun and I rarely heard a raised voice or argument. They were just having fun TOGETHER. They stayed out till almost 2pm (time for naps/rests) and just before then Andrew got sand in his eyes. But we recoverd nicely. What a fun time!

(A few fun action photos)

Later this afternoon after naptime we decided to walk down to get the mail and enjoy the last little bit of this blustery day before dark. We stepped out and practically ran back in. We were no longer comfortable in our shorts. We put on pants (all except Jacob - he insisted he wasn't cold!) and made our way back out. The temperature had really changed. I think we are in for a 43 degree night and a lovely, sunny 67 degree day tomorrow! Aaah, this is fall.

What perfectly lovely, sunny, blustery, fall day. Thank you Jesus.

Common Question

How many wooden golf tees have you laundered today?



I suspect I will se many more over the years.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Well, I went outside to see how far Mr. Caterpillar had traveled. Actually, he moves a lot faster than one would have expected. Ok, I said I wasn't brave enough to catch it, but I had a change of heart. I knew Brian would be heartbroken if he didn't get to see it. I trooped to the garage, retrieved the bug jar and corralled the caterpillar without even having to touch it. I threw in some Silver Maple tree leaves and put on the fabric cover. There. Good deed done for the day!

Our nature find for the day!

While I was putting Andrew down for his morning nap, Jacob and Nicole looked out the patio door windows and discovered this caterpillar crawling across the patio. We went outside to watch it and take some photos.

We have identified it as an Imperial Moth Caterpillar. We have a favorite website for identifying bugs, etc. "What's That Bug?" is always a great starting point for our research and we have identified many unknown bugs this way! What fun! If Brian were home (i'm not brave enough) we probably would be watching it in our bug box.

Too Frazzled to Think Straight

Well, I know I have been out of pocket for a while - WOW! last Tuesday to be exact! Can't believe it. Truly, as the title says, I have been so busy, I didn't have enough mental presence of mind to write anything worth posting, even though there was plenty to talk about. So here I am, almost a week later, with plenty to say!

It has been an interesting week!

Saturday night I went to the hospital because I was feeling not quite right and was worrying about early contractions. (Everything is perfectly fine - so normal, in fact, I am quite boring.) I have absolutely no history of early labor of any kind, but a mother worries. I think I was a victim to common pregnancy tummy troubles and a great big dose of being overworked and overtired! My mother told me on Saturday night, as I cried over the phone, "Celeste, think of all you have done in the past week!" How right she was! So here it is:

* Of course the quilt show Thursday, over a week ago. That was stressful fun, though.

* That Saturday, the 4th, we left early morning for a trip to Dallas to visit Brian's family and so he could attend the big NASCAR race with his brother. Travel always makes for stress, no matter how much fun you have!

* Worried a good majority of that Sunday because my niece was throwing up all Saturday night. Just what we needed! (Never did catch it, by the way. Thanks be to God!)

* Traveled home Monday unpacked and got things back to normal.

* Tuesday, I did normal house stuff, ballet and quilted the baby quilt I was working on (needed to be finished before shower on Saturday)

* Wednesday, I bound the quilt and finished it off. By the end of the day I was exhausted and my back was killing me! Also, shopped at Dollar Tree for items for the kids Operation Christmas Child boxes.

* Thursday, we prepared our boxes. Fun! We did the library and I started making preparations for the shower and for teaching at our homeschool co-op on Friday morn.

* Friday we had co-op, and a trip to Target for things I didn't have, but thought I had for baking a large shower cake that evening. I baked a cake and we went to Jacob and Nicole's co-op fall showcase that evening!

* Then of course Saturday was spent in shower mode from 9am to 6pm. Granted I had the most extraordinary help of two dear and creative friends, but I was zapped! The shower was a success though and oh so lovely.

Thus, all this found me Saturday night, huddled on the sofa watching Dateline NBC, missing out on hamburgers at my in-laws and not feeling "quite right."

But all that is over now. Everyone is fine. The kids had a fun sleepover night at their grandparents. I am thankful to God to be reassured that everything is going well with baby and me. We had a lovely Sunday with beautiful weather and fun parish picnic. And the fire in the fireplace last night just made it perfect (yes, it was only in the 50's but to us lifetime Houstonians, that's fire weather!)

Today we begin anew with thanks and praise to our God for always watching over us and bringing us through what seems to be the impossible. Now I must go start anew with some breakfast for me and the little people. God bless your day. I am glad to be typing again!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Time to Vote

Don't forget! There's plenty of time. Make a way to get out there and vote. It is so important.

I have received so many political phone recordings and they get a bit old, but I have to hand it to Shelley Sekula Gibbs. She put a lot into her race to make sure everyone knew how to write her in. I hope her efforts pay off!!! No matter the amount of commercials, fliers and phone calls, she is the person for the job. She is a faithful Catholic (see her at a local church's Mass often) and she is very pro-life.

Here is a wonderful prayer that was also linked on Danielle's website.

Our vote really does count.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Day at the Show

It was once again a lovely quilt show. There are either 18 or 19 long aisles of hundreds of vendors. I got in around 10:15 and made it to the bathroom first so I could concentrate well. Then I began. I made it through the first 9 aisles before lunch at 1pm. I met my mother-in-law and her friends for our sack lunch. Then at 1:45pm I began again! I finished all the aisles by around 3:30pm and then had some time left over to browse through all the contest/display quilts.

I bought some really beautiful things, all before lunch I believe. I bought a new roll of Blendables thread (Spring Garden #4102) to quilt a friend's baby quilt.

I bought a wonderful little pattern for these basket weave reversible placemats. They are really kind of primitive and different. They would be fun to do with scraps or to make with special fabrics for the different holidays.

I bought 3 pillowcase kits - one for each of the kids. I plan to make them as Christmas gifts. Jacob gets a cowboy/horse one. Nicole's is pink and purple with ballerinas. And Andrew's has all sorts of sports balls on the fabric. They look easy and fun. Last year I made them each a tied fleece blanket and they use them all the time downstairs for snuggling and just playing.

My big purchase was the following:

I bought this book, One Block Wonders, to make this absolutely gorgeous quilt. It was stunning and I couldn't pass it up. The pieced part of the quilt is made of one big piece of fabric cut a certain way. The fabric in this quilt is a poinsettia fabric and it is just gorgeous! I listened to the lady describe how to make it and was really interested in the whole process. Sounds neat and fairly easy. I can't wait.

There was so much more I could have bought, but since I have quite a bit waiting in reserve to be made, I refrained. It was another wonderful quilt show year!

I think if you go this website, somehow there is either a webcam or some photos you can look at.


Just so you know, I added a couple of new categories on my sidebar. I had a book listing on their before, but I didn't care for how it looked. I wanted mine to have photos like Melissa's, but my photos were so big. I couldn't make them smaller and I decided it wasn't worth my effort. So I opted for clipart above each category. I moved them up the list on the sidebar so they are easier to see. Hope these are fun for you!

P.S. Quilt show details coming soon!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Houston International Quilt Festival

Well, it is only 10 minutes till 7am, but barring any unforseen circumstances, this morning I am off to the grandest quilt show in the entire world. I shall leave a little after nine. I shall go to the Metro Park and Ride nearby to catch a bus downtown full of nothing but crazy quilting ladies. I shall arrive at the George R. Brown Convention Center with delight. I shall pay my entrance fee. I shall walk in and be overwhelmed by the beauty and magnificence of it all - quilting! I shall spend money!

This is either the 5th or 6th time I have been. This will be the third time I have been pregnant while attending. I can't wait!

And thank you to my dearest Brian who has willingly taken a day off work so I could go today. I love you so much!

All Saints Pumpkin Carving

Well, I must admit, our All Saints Day activities were a little less grand than I had anticipated, but I was tired and worn and Nicole was still just a little sick. We did make it to 7:30am Mass and then went to pick up some All Saints Day kolaches and donuts afterwards (great excuse, right?). We managed to read several saints books we have and later in the day they watched some short videos we have - St. Patrick and Mother Theresa. After dinner we carved our pumpkin as planned. Maybe next year I will be a little more energetic.

Yep, that's Jacob with a chip clip on his nose!

How is it that mom always gets the dirty job? (Actually Brian offered, but I took the task myself - I had to do my part!)

Jacob and Nicole shared the job of drawing on the face - quite precious. It was fun to give them that privilege.

Everyone is so proud - even Andrew!

Sorry the last one is sideways. I don't have the energy to try and reload the photo!