Monday, December 24, 2007

A Blessed Merry Christmas to You All !!!

Merry Christmas!!

And so the day is finally upon us! We have prepared our home and our hearts (although Mommy will always believe we did not quite prepare enough). We have celebrated Christmas Mass. We have had our Christmas Eve tamale dinner. We put out our cookies and milk for Santa and we read our Jan Brett copy of The Night Before Christmas. The children are tucked in bed and awaiting a joyful day tomorrow. I will catch up with you after the celebrations are over.

Merry Christmas dear family and friends! May all the blessings of the newborn Christ Child be on you!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy 7th Birthday Jacob!!!

I cannot believe it, dear son! It seems like just yesterday that we were holding you in our arms as we came home from the hospital on Christmas Day! What a Christmas gift - both then and now! Our first child, our first son!

Where have these seven years gone? They have zoomed. They have flown. They have been passed with much joy, much laughter and more happy smiles (both yours and ours) than I could begin to count.

You were a baby, then a toddler, then a preschooler, then a little boy. And now? You are all boy! A BIG all boy. How can it be that you already come up to Mommy's shoulder? It can't be!

I treasure you, dear first born son, my Jacob. Your laughter and joy, your contagious interest in everything around you, your doting love for every baby that has been born since you - these make me smile. You are growing into an incredible young boy and I am so proud of you.

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I almost forgot

One other craft project I checked off my list this past weekend was.....

With a little felt, several sizes of rick rack, some craft buttons and paint, and some thread and good old Tacky Glue we have Michael's stocking!

Every year I have had a stocking to make for someone new, it always manages to sneak up on me! But, thank goodness, once again the littlest in our house will have a stocking for Santa to fill come Christmas night.

Hooray! Hooray! It's done before Christmas Day!

I was so excited last night to finish the little Christmas quilt I had been working on. It wasn't a difficult quilt, but it took a while to complete since I could only work on it in short installments. Even so, it is done.

At 10:30 last night I stood there holding my finished quilt and asking Brian, "Well, now where do I put it?" His words? "Be bold." Oh boy! So I removed the mirror and the dust magnet, I mean floral swag, from over the fireplace and hung it there! I like the results!

Merry Christmas to ME!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Koala Glamour

Jacob (playing something - not sure what): Don't eat the eucalipstick leaves!

Nicole: What is "eucalipstick?"

Jacob: You know. The plant koalas eat.

Oh, yeah, that one.

And while we are laughing...

Earlier this afternoon we were frantically searching for Monkey before heading upstairs. We looked everywhere, but to no avail. Well, not quite everywhere. Later as I opened the refrigerator to get a drink, there was our good friend Monkey - just chillin'. She giggled as she came to retrieve him. She had put him in there to get his eyes cold. Don't ask why because I don't know - she just likes it when his smooth eyes are cold.

Our Advent and Christmas Reading BUCKET

I have been wanting to create this post for a while - well, since we got out the Christmas books a couple of weeks ago. And finally, here it is! The book selection for the holidays!

Our fall and Thanksgiving reading selection fit nicely into my lovely Longaberger basket. Our Advent and Christmas selections? Not quite. We graduated to one of the plastic crates we keep toys in. And it is almost too small. Next year it might have to be a two container system!

Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
The Saint Who Became Santa Claus
The Legend of the Poinsettia
The Night of Las Posadas
Miracle on 34th Street
Clown of God
Country Angel Christmas
B is for Bethlehem
Who Is Coming to Our House?
Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey
Max's Christmas
Santa Mouse
Frosty the Snowman (Barnes and Noble)
Babar and Father Christmas
The Nativity
The Night Before Christmas
Away in a Manger
The Christmas Story
Merry Christmas Strega Nona
Little Bear Christmas
The Nutcracker
The Christmas Knight
Santa Comes to Little House
Charlie Brown Christmas (Kohl's)
The Family Christmas Tree Book
Jingle the Christmas Clown
An Orange for Frankie
The Polar Express
The Hat
Angelina's Christmas
The Nutcracker Ballet
Clifford's Christmas
Christmas on an Island

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Advent Thought

After Father said it, I read over and over again this line from the Opening Prayer of today's Mass. This one simple sentence has so much for us to ponder all week long.

"Prepare our hearts and remove the sadness that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope which his presence will bestow, for he is Lord for ever and ever."

Christmas Photo Session - Take One

All I can say is......

What did we do before digital cameras?

The world is truly a better place because of them.

P.S. Just so you know - the session was calm and uneventful and there will be no "take two".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I have not fallen

Some very funny people out there (you know who you are - he he) speculated as to where I had fallen. Behind the desk? In a bowl of batter? Way too funny!

Well, I have not fallen. I just have no time lately!

I do promise a decent blog entry very soon. Possibly tomorrow. Today was Jacob's birthday party (not quite 7 yet) and then this afternoon he had a fever. At least he got to enjoy his party first!

Until later I leave you with a few explanations as to why my blogging is so light and fluffy lately.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Slow Motion

That would be my blogging speed.

I am still here.

I do still care.

I do not know where all my free time disappeared to in the last two months. I've lost it and I can't seem to find it.

I plan to post more often. I am devising a plan and a time. Half asleep between the hours of three and four in the morning.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

P.S. I was going to post a really cute photo of one of the little reasons why I haven't written much lately but I cannot find the little memory stick converter thingy so I can download a few photos. I dropped it behind the desk and I give up trying to find it. Soon. I promise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Two cute photos

Photo Number One
Entitled: Life Is Changing

Photo Number Two
Entitled: The Squirrel Feeder Isn't Near As Much Fun

Happy Thanksgiving to You!

Long time no blog - I know. I can't believe how little I have written lately. I am not sure if I am just busy or lazy. :)

I couldn't let this wonderful holiday slip by without a greeting to you all. Jacob has memorized this poem over the last few weeks and was so excited for me to record his performance. He loved to know that you would be hearing his special poem on my blog!

We are taking a nice break from everything school this week. We have read some Thanksgiving books. We baked Banana Bread yesterday and Cranberry-Orange Bread today. Tomorrow morning we will have a lovely bread breakfast - both of these kinds plus some pumpkin bread from the freezer. I can't wait!

We made a fun little turkey craft today. The kids needed a lot of help with it, but they liked the results.

This evening they helped bake the pumpkin pie for our celebration with Brian's parents tomorrow. It turned out beautiful! They are such wonderful kitchen helpers. Every time we cook,I enjoy their help more and more. I think the more I relax and let them be kids in the kitchen, the more I enjoy it.

I stayed up last night and finished the binding on my fall table runner (see above photo). Yippee! Just in time for Thanksgiving! I guess next year, I will enjoy it all during fall. Just so I can be sure of finishing my Christmas table topper at least two days before Christmas, I started today!

We are so looking forward to our day tomorrow! The weather will be turning cold while we sleep. It is fun ti anticipate waking up to cold and cocoa and yummy bread. We will pray the Responsorial Psalm from the Thanksgiving Day Mass and then we will be off to give thanks with family.

I pray your day is blessed and full of joy and thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sometimes I assign a writing project for Jacob (poem, story, facts for a lapbook). When he has to type facts or copy things on the computer, he does fine. Often times a creative writing project gets lots of complaints.

"I can't think of anything."

"I don't know what to write next."

Those are not fun assignments for either of us. So today Jacob came to me on his own and asked to type a story. I practically ran to the computer and got the word processor going. He had an idea. He was motivated. And the result? Absolutely wonderful, priceless, creative, thoughtful and even really well done grammatically. I love it!

This is Jacob's first draft. We corrected it and printed it out.

When the time of the bears coms.

When the time of the bears coms you will see all the anumols runing away afraid of being eaten.
When the time of the bears coms you will hear the big stomps of the bears and you must run away for they might eat you up.
When the time of the bears coms you will feel the breth of the bears and run.
When the time of the bears coms you will smell the bears and you will not like it.
When the time of the bears coms you will taste the bears meat and you will love it. The end.

I guess this is a perfect example of child-led learning. And I really like it. But I don't think it works for everything. If I sat around and waited for Jacob to be inspired to do his handwriting, we'd be in trouble. And I believe some writing projects must be assigned. But I do believe in capitalizing on the moments like these. If you were here, you would have heard lots of praise and compliments. Well deserved.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Home Safe

The shuttle we watched launch into space on the 23rd of October is now home safe and sound! Praise God for a super and safe mission!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I really like the Light Southwestern Style Vegetable Soup!!!

Andrew ABCs

The ending sung to the familiar ABC tune.

"ABCs. Next time I'm going to sing with you!"

Holidays in Review

I think I'm catching up. I think I'm catching up. I think I'm catching up!

Halloween jumped up on us rather quickly and was gone in a flash - along with our quickly rotting jack-o-lanterns. Thankfully, I had done some Halloween costume preparation before our trip. So Tuesday and Wednesday we spent time on the little details. Jacob and I made his robot costume. (Brian was a robot for Halloween once when he was growing up.) I cut the box and covered it and Jacob did most of the decorating. It was fun making a homemade costume.

Nicole wanted to be a flower fairy. I had found the tu-tu at Wal-Mart earlier in the month. I pulled up her hair, put flowers in it and made her a flower wand.

Andrew was a "towboy" (all his c's are t's)! And what a cutie he was. I think he really understood the whole dress-up, trick-or-treat idea this year. He really understood once the candy started filling his bag.

Brian took the kids trick-or-treating. Michael and I stayed home, cleaned up from dinner and handed out candy bags. This Halloween didn't seem near as busy as in years past, but it was fun. I sent all the chocolate with Brian today. I was slowing eating it all! Not good for someone counting Weight Watchers points.

All Saints Day came and went about as quickly! We started the day with 9 am Mass. After some brief lessons, we attempted to make little Saint dolls. I had noticed some people out in cyberspace were going to be making "spoon Saints" to celebrate the Feast. I love them. They are so precious. But I knew I would be totally frustrated working in such miniature, especially with my brood of "minis" making them. So I set about devising another option - that very morning! (Why do I do this?) I love the idea - just larger!

So....... I found these printable doll bodies and made some copies on cardstock (I decided to use the one on the right only so with some cutting and recopying, I put two on a page.) Then I set about making cardstock clothing templates. I drew these up as we went along. Then the kids used the templates to make their Saint's clothing out of colored construction paper. We added some other details that I drew for them and glued everything to the doll. Here's how they turned out! Andrew's has a bit too much stray glue and pencil marks, but still cute.

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Barbara

St. Andrew

They were so much fun to make that I spent a large portion of the rest of my day creating lots of other generic "saint-type" clothing templates. I would like to make these available to you all as a PDF file, but I have yet to get the templates to scan the correct size. If worse comes to worse, you can let me know you want copies and I will mail them to you. The nice thing is that the clothing fits these little dolls perfectly and you can use the templates year after year. Imagine the little collection of saints you could grow!

We read and talked about Saints and read this book for the first time. Later that afternoon we had an invitation to our very first ever Apple Tasting Party at Robin's house. That was a fun time! The kids loved eating all the different types of apples and comparing them. What a neat way to add something special to such a special Feast Day!

That evening after dinner we carved our Jack-o-lanterns. Always messy. Always fun. This year the kids designed their own faces all on their own. I wondered how they would turn out. We were all pleased with the results. We had pumpkin cake for dessert and I roasted most of the pumpkin seeds seasoned them according to this recipe. The kids even like them!

We had a fun several days, although they were crazy busy. Now we have the wonderful Thanksgiving holiday to look forward to! I can taste it now!

God bless you all dear friends!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Brotherly Love and Care

The kids fight over who can help feed Michael.

I am so glad.

Just one of many reasons that brothers and sisters are good things.

Nothing surprises me anymore

I guess Monkey got tired of that humid jungle heat.

To Florida and Back

Yes, I know, I left you hanging once again. I have so wanted to post about our trip since we returned home, but last week was so very busy and full, I never got the chance. We spent last Monday cleaning up and putting away all the stuff we had taken. Thankfully Brian was home to help out with all that. But then Tuesday we began scurrying to catch up on school work, attend different activities, do laundry and prepare for Halloween and All Saints Day. Then there was our homeschool co-op on Friday as usual. Saturday Robin and I attended the quilt show (another whole post). And Sunday we were cheerfully occupied with Mass, a birthday party and a couple of errands. Last night I was finally able to stay up for a while, sort through our vacation photos and create a slide show. There were so many photos I wanted to share, I thought this was the best way to show them. Hopefully it's not one big bore!

Today we are off to a much more normal start. We got going earlier this morning and are now completed with most of our work for the day. The kids all got up at their normal times, around 7:30 am. The problem is that now 7:30 am is 6:30 am. Oh, well. It has been a good morning so far. The kids are absolutely loving the pleasant weather we've been having since we returned home. They have played outside so much - something they couldn't and didn't want to do all summer. They are taking pillows and blankets and books to the playset and just laying on the fort part. It is a blessing to have such lovely weather. I think tomorrow the temperatures will drop some and I know they will love that!

Once upon a time I thought I would compose a long, reflective, thoughtful post about our trip and all we did. But now I see that just ain't gonna happen. My brain cells are seriously lacking and I don't think I have it in me to do that kind of post. Plus, I want to move on. There are other things I want to post. So some scattered thoughts will have to suffice.

By far, the most memorable part of the trip was the shuttle launch - the whole reason for the trip in the first place. It was an amazing thing to experience and made you feel a great sense of awe and wonder for the incredible minds God has given to humans. Such great minds that could dream up and create and actually get man into outer space.

We made the trek to Florida because a while back Brian had won an award for some work he had done. The award was a trip to see the shuttle launch for him and a guest. Well, he wanted to take more than one guest. For a long time we couldn't figure out how to make it work. There were a number of events that only Brian and a guest over 18 could attend - long tours, tour bus, etc. I couldn't go to these and take Michael along (he kind of still needs me around). So we devised a grand plan to ALL go and take Brian's parents.

We all stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom villa at the hotel where the awards events were hosted - way fun!

The evening we arrived, Brian took his mom with him to a fancy dinner for all the award recipients from NASA and the various contractors. His dad and I stayed back and got tired kids in bed.

The next morning, his parents stayed with all the kids while Brian and I went to a lovely awards breakfast for the recipients from his company.

The next day, there was an all day tour of Kennedy Space Center. Brain took his dad to that while Brian's mom and I took the kids swimming.

The next day we had to prepare for the launch. Brian and his dad went on the tour bus to the VIP viewing area at Banana Creek. His mom and I took the kids to another location to wait for the launch. This special Space View park was in a town called Titusville about a mile further away from the shuttle than Brian and his dad.

The shuttle was set to launch at 11:38am on the 23rd, but there was only a 40% chance go for that day. We were a little nervous we might really have to leave and not see the shuttle launch. We knew all along that was a risk, but the reality of it was sad. The kids and Gamma and I arrived at the park around 10am and got settled. Then we waited. I was amazed how quickly the time passed, all the while wondering if we'd be making this crazy trek again the next day. At some point, things were go for launch and then the anticipation really built up! It sunk in. This is really going to happen! Then the time flew by. There was 20 minutes. Then 10 minutes. All of sudden there was only 5 minutes until liftoff. I recall that at T minus 4 minutes, I was scrambling to find my glasses. What a difference corrective vision makes! The time leading up to the launch, those very last minutes are so exciting and sooooo emotional. Then it goes. And before you know it, the shuttle is just a speck in the blue sky. And only a short 8 or so minutes later, the main engines shutoff and the shuttle reaches orbit. We all commented on how QUICKLY it is all over and done. And then it almost feels odd to pack it up and leave shortly thereafter. Brian got some fantastic video. Once home, we played it through our stereo speakers at a high volume level and we could really experience the same sounds and feelings Brian did.

I am so thrilled we all got to have this wonderful launch experience. I was nervous about the whole thing before we left on the trip, but as the days went by I was more and more glad with each of those days that we had all come to Florida. It was a wonderful time for our family!

We did so many other things aside from the launch. I guess I will just list some of my favorite things.

1. Staying in the villa was majorly wonderful. So much room to spread out, a full kitchen and a washer/dryer!

2. The slide at the hotel pool was way too fun. I am not sure who went down more - me or the kids.

3. The car ride was better than I ever could have expected. Perfect? No. Manageable, pleasant and fun? You bet. I would so do it again!

4. Sharing Epcot with the kids was lots of fun. We didn't even care that it rained on us most of the time. Someday we really look forward to going back and doing the whole thing!

5. Downtown Disney was neat too! From those of you who live nearby, think Kemah on steroids.

6. It was a blessing to have no computer with email and internet, no normal life to keep me occupied, no chores begging to be done. We all spent more time just enjoying each other.

7. The Atlantic was lovely - much the way I remember it looking on our honeymoon. But we did not like the teeny tiny flying bugs that bit us in the parking lot! What were those anyway????

8. We so enjoyed traveling with Gamma and Pappa.

9. Pensacola Beach is gorgeous!!!!! The beaches are to die for! For those of you who are familiar with our local Galveston beach - THIS IS NOT THE SAME GULF OF MEXICO!!!! We are going back very soon to spend more time and see the sights in the area.

10. Peanut butter and jelly at home has never tasted so good!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Home again. Home again. Jiggety jog.

Yep, we're home. Yep, we were gone.
But we did not go to market. And we bought neither a fat pig or a fat hog.

We left at 5:30 am on the 19th and returned this evening at 6:45pm.
We travelled to Orlando.
We saw the shuttle launch into outer space on Tuesday the 23rd - unbelievable!
We did 5 million other wonderful things.

It was a fantastic trip! It couldn't have been more perfect, more fun, more anything!

Thank you too all of you expressing concern for Michael. He is fine. As you can imagine the Thursday before our trip was madness, pure madness. I never got to enter a final post before getting 2 hours sleep and hitting the road. I am sorry you were left hanging. I took him to the doctor on Thursday afternoon and like he said, Michael was pretty much well before we got there. Praise God!

I am great and, yes, I will be boring you with all the details - soon - and the 500,000 photos we took (well,maybe not that many)!

Much love to you all. Prayers for you! I have so much catching up to do! I know it was your prayers that got Michael well so quickly and kept us all well during the trip.

God bless you, dear ones!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

First Fever

Michael began yesterday afternoon with a fever. His first. I hate for him to be sick. I hate for any of them to be sick.

Please pray that he will be over the fever very quickly and that whatever it is he has will be mild. There would be better weeks for him to be sick.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I know I have said it before

but I will say it again.


They actually had this CD!!!!!!!! I got the heads up on this recording at Real Learning and we were listening to the samples on Amazon. What fun! Then I searched on our library website and sure enough!!!!!!!!! I ordered that CD faster than you could blink an eye!

I wouldn't have it any other way

Today, the song of choice for Jacob and Nicole is the Gloria from Mass. How precious.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

At the speed of life

I have way too much in the backlog for posting. I think if I were to attempt to post it all, I would end up completely frustrated. So I won't!


What you get here, today, is a fruit salad type post - lots of very different good things all mixed together for one mighty nice bowl full!

First we have the beautiful clear blue skies that have accompanied our lovely pleasant weather this last week. This would be my view from my lawn chair while the children played.

Next we have Nicole pushing Michael in the little car - one of the kids' favorite things to do of late. When did he get old enough to ride in a push car? Tell me, please!

Here is Jacob posing with his Spanish Galleon ship that we made in honor of Columbus Day. It was a really fun craft and he named it honor of me - the "Celeste".

Yesterday brave Brian took Jacob and Nicole and Andrew to the Cub Scout Zoofari event. This was a kick-off event for the scouting season held at a nifty place in a neighboring town called Bayou Wildlife Park. The kids rode ponies and went to the petting zoo and, best of all, took a forty minute tram ride where all the animals (except the alligator and the rhino) get up close and personal with the visitors. They even feed them. Everyone had a great time. And it was such perfect weather!

And, of course, some cute poses of the kids. Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with Michael at lunch today.

And one of my favorite photos for today...

Well, now I feel better. I have gotten all that off my chest! I much prefer single topic type posts, but I just couldn't see that happening. Something is better than nothing. Right?


Friday, October 12, 2007

Girls Being Girls

This afternoon Nicole and I made these darling little flower fairies using her new kit that arrived yesterday in the mail. They were so much fun to make. While I did do a good bit of the work, there was an awful lot that Nicole could do. We still have lots of supplies in the kit to make many more little fairies. It was a fun activity for us girls to do! Simply enchanting.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Healed by our children

I finally read this post of Elizabeth's just now. I felt myself sighing and nodding my head in agreement. How true it is that I am healed by children (the ones that I think cause me so much stress!) when I stop and listen and allow myself to be completely available and present for them. Thank you Elizabeth.

Don't forget to visit Serendipity. It is a treasure!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Faster than I can keep up with

At seven and a half months....

He has 3 teeth coming in all at once.

Eats like a horse.

Army crawls faster than I can walk.

Gets anywhere he pleases before I know he's gone.

Can get up on his knees - oh, boy!

Either I am getting older and slower or the fourth baby is just faster than the others were!!!! I think that would be the first option.

True Blue Friend

You know you have the very best kind of very best friend when...

You feel completely comfortable calling her on her cell phone while on her trip in Ohio to see if she has any lasagna noodles in her pantry here at home that you can go borrow since you only have four noodles left and the engaged couple you've been sponsoring is coming for dinner in thirty minutes.

Yep. Truest of the true. Best of the best. That would be Robin.

I hope nobody got photos of me racing across the street barefoot clutching six lasagna noodles.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fall Sprang

(Clever title courtesy of Brian - thanks, dear one)

This weekend fall become a reality. Not outside. Inside. Outside it is still quite balmy and summery, but that is normal for here this time of year. Give it a few weeks and maybe some of those fronts will make their way all the way down here.

The kids asked so sweetly that I couldn't resist the fun of getting down the fall decorations and arranging them in their places.

For a week or two I have had this arrangement on our kitchen table - mini pumpkins and gourds in an old enamelware bowl from my Aunt. I love it! It is so fall. It is so my kitchen. (It is still patiently awaiting the fall table runner to sit upon.)

On Saturday, amidst little ones tossing fall flowers, leaves and paper pumpkins from the box that once housed them, I was able (with their help) to arrange our displays. They really enjoyed seeing it all go up. They got plastic window clings and paper decorations to place in their room. Not to mention a glowing plastic jack-o-lantern. It seems fall is everywhere we turn, but here are just a few highlights.

The right side of our mantel. A mix of pumpkins I've collected (fabric, straw, plastic, wax and wood) and lots of artificial leaves and nuts and stuff.

The left side. More of the same mixture and a lamp that's always there.

The table beside the sofa. I pulled out the usual flowers from the crock and replaced them with fall colored artificial mums. You can so cleverly see my cardboard pumpkins in the background.

The entry hall. Garland, wax swag, etc.

My little fall corner. I was inspired by this lovely lady and her enticing stack of autumn magazines. So I carved out a little space for the same. I had one fall magazine already and I bought a couple more. Some cardboard decorations are attached to the cabinet doors. And, of course, Mary stands nearby to focus any little bit of time I might stop by and flip through my magazines and enjoy the space. I might even need a fall mug to add to my corner. What fun! It is so much about the little things.