Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How my garden grows

Here are a few photos from the garden to get your Monday morning off to a good start. These were from late last week. How can I tell? There is sunshine! We had a very soggy weekend here, but pretty good despite.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What to do?

OK, I bought these nifty little things at the scrapbook store the other day when I was getting supplies to make Andrew's party invitations. I want to create something with them to hang in my kitchen, but not sure what yet. The larger sheet are thicker cardboard stick-ons and the little sheet is brads about the size of a quarter.

So here's where you come in!

I need thoughts and suggestions. I don't have to use them all. Some wouldn't have appropriate wording for the kitchen anyway. What shall I do?

Crafty, Crafty

The other night, while keeping Robin awake as she labored over her little bags, I whipped up a few things! I felt so guilty that I was "whipping up" and she was trudging along.

Here is my set of 6 coasters that I made. I used this pattern and pulled some red and blue fabrics from my stash. I cut them that afternoon and put them together during our late night. They are so easy and so much fun. I can just envision all the possibilities. Way too cute!

The next day they found their new home in my kitchen next my stove where I have my antique spice rack and my coffee spoon rest. Today I turned them on the diagonal - much cuter!

Then I "whipped up" some quilt squares for my turquoise and brown quilt. I have had my fabric cut and I had matched up all my blocks at our last craft night. So I have just been waiting to sit down and sew. And I did. These squares make up 1/4 of the quilt top. There are three other layouts of 8 blocks each. I love how they turned out and I can't wait to see the whole quilt together.

Then today at the library I checked out some basic crocheting books for a refresher course. I think the last time I crocheted was Junior High, so I might need more refreshing than I think. But anyway, I am anxious to start this afghan I saw at that new blog that I love - in the very same colors! It just makes me happy when I look at it.

I love creating!

The REAL reason

I did this Weight Watchers thing before, after Andrew was born, and had great success. I am back to Weight Watchers now and doing well. I am looking forward to getting back to my original goal weight that I reached. And I do have reasons. I want to be healthy. I want to take care of my body. I want to feel good. But my newest most compelling reason is this! I bought it in the size I WILL be!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jacob's Experiment

I am in love

with this woman and her work and her blog. I could sit in front of the computer screen and drool, I mean look at her creations and colors ALL DAY LONG!

Enjoy! (Click on the buttons on the right side of her blog for all the goodies!)

Monday, May 21, 2007

The adventure for today is.............


Poor little Nicole. She came to us last night around 12:30 and mumbled that she "needed a bucket under chin." But thankfully she got back in her bed and went back to sleep. Then around 2:15 we heard from their room what we had halfway expected. Hopefully that will be the only time she throws up and that no one else comes down with it. Pray for us. I am hoping it is a result of all the junk she consumed yesterday!

Pray that I will be a good Mommy to them all today and that I take it easy on myself.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Happy Baptism Michael!

Today is a momentous day! Another little Christian was born into God's family. Earlier today we celebrated the beautiful Sacrament of Michael's Baptism. Family and friends were there to celebrate and it was just beautiful. The ceremony was lovely in its formality and informality. It was formal purely because of the beauty of the Sacrament and the Rite itself. It was informal and personal because it was smaller than before (not as many different babies) and Father Skip did a beautiful job explaining everything and making the families a part of everything.

As I held him later this afternoon and fed him, I was struck by the wonder of it all. I looked at his little person. He didn't look different. He didn't act different. But he was incredibly different! He was not the same Michael he had been just a few short hours before! He was forever changed. How easy it is to forget this during the busyness of everyday life. Yes, he is my son, but he is not mine. He belongs to God. He is a gift, a loan. And today we made a promise to do our best to ensure that he returns to God in good condition. How precious a gift.

Michael, newly baptized, wearing the gown that Brian's mom made by hand and that has been worn by all the children. It is so beautiful. The children's names are embroidered around the bottom of the gown. We so treasure this special garment of grace!

Another photo of the newest little Christian!

This is our Pastor, Father Skip, and a volunteer altar server, Nick, getting ready to anoint the chest of the other baby being baptized. We were so excited when Father asked Jacob if he would like to assist him by holding the vial of oil. Jacob practically ran up to help. What a blessed moment!

Father Skip blesses the waters of Baptism. I loved this photo because of the perspective. I love how you can see the Crucifix so beautifully.

The moment of Michael's Baptism. Hooray, precious one! All the children came up to participate. His godparents are my sister, Jamie, and her husband, Mark. That is my sister in the photo, but that is not her husband. That is my other sister's husband, Noel. Because Mark was going to be out of town, we had Noel stand in as a proxy. We sure missed having Mark there.

Our little family, my sister, my brother-in-law and Father Skip.

The whole group! We always love to have a photo of everyone who came to the Baptism. My mom and dad and sisters are to my right and Brian's parents are to his left. And of course, Robin's family and Michele's family. It wouldn't be the same without everybody there!

One of the most important pictures of the day !!!! The cake!!!!! Thanks to my mom and the Cake Lady Bakery!

Nicole and Nathan having fun while eating lunch afterwards. Ham, salads, fruit, baked beans and LOTS of cake!

All the big kids sat in the front hall to eat. And, yes, that is my big foot in the photo, but notice the really cute sandal on the foot!
My dearest, most handsomest, most wonderfulest husband and his sweet baby Michael. I love you both!

Later in the evening the kids ate a little dinner on the patio out back and we opened all the generous gifts Michael received. I think Michael was sleeping.

It was a wonderful day! I love you, Michael, and I couldn't be happier to be your Mommy and have the job of leading you towards Christ. I will give you my best!

Friday, May 18, 2007

More nature observation

After writing that post on nature observation in the local ditch, I think it interesting that I would have another interesting opportunity to observe today. We were just outside in our backyard and I was perusing our flowers and plants, plucking deadheads and the like. When what to my wandering eyes did appear?????? Spittlebug! My Marigolds are full of Spittlebug! I find myself a bit excited at this find. Before having kids, I would have been utterly grossed out and tossed the plant. But now I am giddy at the thought that we would actually see a book we have only read about in books. You see! It really is all in one small sqaure of the yard! I was giddy enough to take pictures! All right - not jsut the spittlebug!

My lovely Lantana!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


My New Bible

I ordered this Bible recently. Yes, I already have a Bible, several in fact. The Bible I have had since I was a teenager is a New American translation. I have read it. I have studied it. I have loved it. But I really like the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. It is said to be the best English translation and I agree. A while back I had ordered this edition, but the way it is typeset made it crowded and hard to read. Ignatius Press recently published the second edition and so I decided I needed it. It came last week and I have been enjoying it. It is lovely. Even the paper they used for the pages is more lovely - thicker and smooth to the touch. I am a happy customer.

Greeting Cards

I used to enjoy rubber stamping and made all my own greeting cards. It was always fun, but over time got to be more and more laborious. Stamping took a lot of thought for me and required a lot of preparation just to make a few cards. The end product was usually lovely, but over time I began to enjoy it less and less. In recent past, I would cringe at the thought of having to make even one birthday card. So for the time being, my stamps and stamping supplies have been boxed up on the shelf. But, you see, I haven't bought birthday cards in years! And I am so good at forgetting groceries at the grocery store, that I know I will easily forget to pick out cards when I need them. More stress! But, that is how it would have to be. Then, one day to my surprise, this little catalog showed up in my mailbox. The cards seemed lovely and if I ordered some assortment packs the cards would only cost 99 cents a piece. I thought I would give it a try. The thought of having a stash of lovely cards to pull from was right up my alley. So I ordered a few collections to get me started. They came today and I am very pleased. The artwork is nicely done. The messages and Scripture quotes are lovely. I think I will be ordering again.

Creating to the break of day

Well, not literally the break of day, but 11:30 pm at least.

Robin and I did our part last night to get some creativity in. We got back to having our quilting/craft night. We hadn't done one since before Michael was born, but since he is in more of a routine now, we thought we could do it. We worked from 9:30ish to 11:30ish. I worked on a quilt, she made a test version of a really cute crayon bag and we sipped coffee. We also did our fair share of gabbing.

Had fun dear friend!

Freeway Feeders and Nature Notations

Once upon a time, when I knew next to nothing about nature study, I really thought science was learned in textbooks (like I learned it) and studying nature meant getting out to a forest or park. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Over the years, as I have read, I have learned that nature study is watering the plants, observing ladybugs on the maple tree, digging for worms and doodle bugs, and whatever can be discovered in one small square of the yard.

Yesterday I had a little nature study lesson of my own. I was on my way to pick up Jacob, Nicole and Andrew from their grandparents house. There was a bit of traffic on the feeder road where I was waiting to turn. Michael was asleep in the back and the music was off (miracle for me). I happened to glance out the window to my left. And, oh, the wonders that caught my eye. To my left, very close by, was a lovely ditch - retention pond, if you want to be a little more genteel. Yes, just a ditch. But, mind you, this is the very same dutch where the kids and I have observed egrets before. So there's got to be something good going on. Much to my surprise, this lowly ditch and its surroundings were teeming with God's life. Floating in the water, were green plants and "blobs" of algae. There were little flowers blooming amongst them. With a closer observation you could see bunches of small fish darting about. Surrounding the water were at least four different types of "weeds" - some flowering. Close to the road were little brown-eyed Susans, little white flowers and delicate pink buttercups. A little farther out were some delicate little purple flowers and even further out some striking red wildflowers. I would guess they were Indian paints, but they were too far away for me to know for sure. As I observed one thing after another, I was struck by the fact that even here in this small area of our world, this ditch, that world normally be labelled as "unsightly," was the beauty of God's creation.

Just as in the lowliest of His people, the smallest of the small, the poorest of the poor, there is just as much image of the Creator, as in the richest and smartest. God is everywhere. In all things. God is. And all it took was the common everyday freeway feeder ditch for this little revelation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thought for the evening before I go to sleep

As I was browsing a few of my favorite blogs and some links from those, I was reading about Soule Mama on her blog and her desire and need to create. The kids were all asleep (I mean, ALL) and Brian was spending some guy time with a friend. I was alone, sort of. And yet here I sat in front of the computer aimlessly clicking. Yes, there was some good reading to be done, but I could be doing so much more. As I read, I felt the call to step away. Step away, fill my mug with the steaming coffee my husband made me and create. And so I did. I cut and I stacked some of my newly laundered and pressed quilt fabrics.

As I worked and sipped, I thought. I thought about our need to create. I find a great desire in myself to create thigns, especially things of beaty. I think we have this need because it was placed there by our Creator Himseldf. A reflection of Him. Creating is part of our very nature. Whether it be quilts, magnets, aprons, gardens or paintings, it is a joy to create. I take great joy in it. I think I will make a point in the coming days to carve out a little time each day to create. How refreshing!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A peek into our weekend

Jacob and his Lego robot that he and I constructed on Friday afternoon. It's still together!

Mikey on Friday night

Pirate Andrew sporting his new pirate gear that he received at one of Saturday's birthday parties.

Mikey on Mother's Day

Mikey again! Just so irresistible!

My Mother's Day photo with my kiddies.

Are we done yet?????

Happy Mother's Day

I would like to take this entry to honor all the mothers I love.

I love you, Mama, for giving me life, for loving me and nurturing me, and teaching me what it means to be a mom. It is because of you that "mom" is the only title I ever really wanted.

I love you, Mom, for giving birth to your precious son Brian and for raising him up to be the man who would marry me and love me unconditionally for all of my life. I am so thankful too for your friendship and love.

To my dear sister, who is a beautiful example of what a holy, Catholic mother should be. I love to be able to share conversations with you.

To my very closest friends, Robin, Michele and Kris, you are love and support and laughter to me through all those phases and stages of motherhood that we share.

To my newest blogging friends, what beautiful things I learn from you about motherhood. You give me so much support and encouragement and love, even though we've never met. Hope to someday.

Over you all I pray this blessing:

May God,
the source of life,
give you joy in the love, growth,
and holiness of your children.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I caught the bug!

The blog design bug, that is!

Thank you Melissa and Blair! I think I figured it out! I am slow, but I got it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Loveliness of Thursday

Yesterday was a lovely day. Things went smoothly, for the most part, all day and my mood was cheery and positive. Not sure what brought that on, but just the same, I was enjoying the day. The beauty of the day. It wasn't without its fights and a tantrum, but my attitude was focused on the lovely. So here I venture to share some of the miscellaneous lovely from our day.

Loveliness of Artwork

Early in the day after breakfast, I finally got around to making some lovely saint magnets with the printouts that had been waiting on my desk for days. For this bit of loveliness I have Melissa to thank. She does wonderful things with a printer and some self-laminating sheets from Wal-Mart. I had printed off some pics of some favorite saints, backed them with cardstock and laminated them! How lovely they turned out! The photo doesn't do them justice. Thanks Melissa!

And here is more lovely artwork that we completed and hung yesterday morning. We have been studying plants in our science lessons. This is what is called craft projects off the cuff. I knew what I wanted to make, but wasn't really prepared with the supplies. Time to do a little restocking. Anyway, we improvised. Pipe cleaners and beads for flowers. And for Andrew, lots and lots of glue (his are the orange flowers). We also made the flower and bee pictures using coiled wire to make the bee kind of dance around. The older kids really enjoyed the projects and Andrew really enjoyed the glue!

One thing these art projects reinforced for me is that science need not always be worksheets and diagrams. It was with ease and simplicity that we were able to discuss pollination and how some plants have flowers AS we made our crafts. I didn't need to sit them down before me with a chart of a flower and my pointer stick to make my point (no pun intended).

Loveliness of Fabric

Oh, what beauty fabric holds for me. I am mesmerized by its color and pattern and the way different pieces play together. While I have been quilting for several years now and have quite a stash of things to work on, there is always something new to catch my fancy. Of late I have been inspired in this area by Elizabeth Foss and her creativity. She is a truly lovely lady from all I have read from her and about her. She always makes me want to add more fancy, more delight, more flowers, more loveliness to my home and our lives. Lately she has blogged about some of their sewing projects and crafts. It is always a joy to see what they are up to - one big reason I love blogs.

The other day she posted a link to a fabric designing mom. What beauty Heather Bailey creates. After seeing her first line of fabrics here, I dialed up my local quilt shop (so lucky to have one local) to see if they carry it. They do. Wasn't sure which colorway they carry, but wanted to see the fabric in person. Elizabeth had also posted an entry about her BAG. And oh, what a bag it is! It was love at first sight. I have always loved purses. I have not always loved pink. But pink now ranks up there next to purple and blue in my book. In fact, I am becoming very attracted to all things pink. When I saw her Vera Bradley bag, I decided it was time I had one too. I have always admired them, but have passed them up for some reason or another every time I see them. And not because I don't LOVE them. Well, lucky for me, my local quilt shop has always carried Vera Bradley bags. AND, lucky for me, I still had lots gift certificates left and a $20 off coupon! So I made plans for our adventure.

I say "our adventure" because this urgent little trip was going to have to be made late in the afternoon with all four kids in tow. Don't gasp. I am not brave. I am crazy. I fed Mikey when he woke up, got Andrew up from nap and bribed, I mean, pep talked the oldest two. We also needed to run to Kroger for some more medicine. So I explained the rules to Jacob and Nicole and promised them that if they were PERFECT we could buy a bag of cherry sours when we got to Kroger. And they were PERFECT. I was so proud of them! We browsed the fabrics at Quakertown Quilts and located the Heather Bailey line. The fabric was lovely, but they were carrying my least favorite colorway, #1. I would have much preferred the color scheme of the others. Anyway, the fabric next to it caught my eye from the minute I saw it. It is by Moda Fabrics and here is what I bought.

Then, as I was standing at the table having my yardage cut for the backing, I became highly distracted by ANOTHER line of beautiful fabrics across the way. Luckily I had lots of gift certificate money because I bought this too!!!! Oh my goodness! The photo doesn't do it justice. Currently it is sitting on my sewing table all washed and dried and ready to be pressed and cut! I can't wait.

Then my angel children and I headed to the Vera Bradley section to snag me a beautiful and much "needed" bag. I am thrilled. It is not as big as Elizabeth's since I still plan to keep a small diaper bag too (a necessity with 2 in diapers). But there is still plenty of room to throw in a diaper, a container of wipes and other odds and ends if I so desire. I really don't carry terribly much in my purse - a minimalist of sorts in this area. I considered the small handbag, but it just didn't do the lovely fabric justice. The fabric makes me happy so I figured the more of it the better. And here is my happy bag, as Elizabeth so perfectly named it.

We went on to Kroger, all in cheeriest of moods, and chose our cherry sours. What a perfectly lovely fabric-filled afternoon!

Loveliness of Laughter

And, finally, the loveliest thing of all. My children and me laughing! Andrew insisted upon wearing his BIG brother's WAY TOO BIG Spiderman costume. So be it! We all laughed so hard as he so willingly performed for us all. Who is that masked man?

So that was my bit of loveliness for the week. We put the tempers, the thrush, the school and the challenges aside and had a perfectly lovely day.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Nope. I did not make the bedding. Bargain at Garden Ridge several years back. $30 each set!

What will it be next?

Some days I find myself asking that question.

Today's answer is thrush.

Well, yippee. I have been agonizing over it all day long. I know deep down that there are moms out there who have it so much worse than I do, but that thought never gives me much peace. While thrush is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, it is a lot for me right now. It is that "one more thing." It is not life threatening or terribly serious, but quite annoying and frustrating. Recent days have been filled with arguing, fussing, tantrums, tiredness and busyness - some of that from the kids :)) I am tired lately and worn out. I am behind on tasks (but it's bothering me less and less). When I realized today that it really is thrush, I just wanted to throw my own little temper tantrum. I just don't feel like dealing with this right now. But the thing is - I must. No choice. If we want thrush gone, I have to deal with it. I have to deal with everything. I don't get to toss out any of those difficult challenges of late and just say, "No thanks. Not right now." I must continue to deal with all the problems and little annoyances life sends my way because deep down the only thing that gives me consolation is to know that it is through these sufferinsg (even if small), I am being redeemed, refined and made stronger.

As I read to the children tonight before tucking them in, there was a Bible verse in their storybook that keeps coming to mind since then. Not a new one, but a good one.

"Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I can pray about this thrush situation. I can pray it heals. I can pray I make it through and dont get too frustrated. I can even pray for a miraculous healing if I want! But one thing I must also do is rejoice and give thanks. I must rejoice and give thanks for all that is good in my life. But somehow I also have to find a way to rejoice and give thanks about this particular situation - the thrush. That is the hard part. But apparently that is God's will for me this day. This moment.

Thrush will not last forever (though I've heard it's tough to eradicate) - Rejoice! To get us through we have La Leche League leaders who help us tremendously - Give Thanks! This might be one more thing to help me slow down - Rejoice! There is a treatment - Give Thanks! I am being redeemed, refined and made stronger - Hallelujah!

You pray for me. I'll pray for you.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The New Room

I am not sure how a room with two beds before now looks bigger and has more floor space with three beds. It's like the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish. The kids are loving their rearranged space and Andrew is doing beautifully with the transition. And Jacob is doing a super job making his top bunk! And Mommy? Well, she gets her early morning workout making the other two beds.

I played myself to sleep

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Busy Weekend

It was a busy weekend around here. Saturday was mostly spent rearranging and organizing. As you may have realized from my previous post, we now have stacked bunk beds in the kids' room. Jacob and Nicole have shared a room for a while with the bunk beds separated on the floor. Andrew was still sleeping in the nursery in the crib. Well, as Michael gets older and bigger, we were wanting to free up the crib for him. So it was time for Andrew to move out of the nursery and move into the big kid room.

We ate breakfast and then I made a trip to Wal-Mart for odds and ends and to the Mattress store. While I was gone and Michael napped, the others got busy with lots of rearranging and LOTS of vacuuming. I honestly can't believe the amount of dust that collects. When I got home, there was a lot of mess and a lot of work to be done, but I was SO pleased with the results.

To make a long, and potentially boring story short, here's how our day of work turned out!

* The bunk beds got stacked and moved. We bought a new mattress and springs for Andrew. And now they all sleep together. Some little people have been up late last night and tonight, but they are happy for the most part. I am amazed at the amount of floor space still available in that room. We shifted the toy shelf out into the loft area and moved my old sewing desk in. Now they have another work space available.

* I have been cleaning out and reorganizing a small loft area upstairs that has always been called my "craft room." For quite a few years now, it has operated as my station for stamping and cardmaking and a little scrapbooking. My hundred plus rubber stamps were hanging on one wall and a large white table was my work space. It also double as storage for lots of craft stuff and other odds and ends. I am less interested in rubber stamping these days, but still didn't want to sell it all - at lest not yet. So I shifted it all into well labelled boxes and drawers that are still quite accessible for projects. The loft area is still part storage, but now functions as another play area as well. It works great!

* And my favorite change of all! That wonderful, large white desk/table that used to be in the loft area is now in my bedroom!!!! I am so excited. Quilting is craft of choice and I think I love it more than I ever loved stamping. So easy. So therapeutic. So peaceful. It is truly a joy to create. Stamping always required so much thought and too many gizmos and doodads. ANYWAY, my quilting has always been a "whole-house" craft - which means I quilted all over the house. I would sew on a small desk in our bedroom (too noisy in the loft area). I would cut on my cutting mat on the kitchen island downstairs. I would pin and trim threads on my bed. I would iron on the bathroom counter. Not ideal, but I was determined. As I was making reorganizing plans, I realized the wonderful white desk in my craft room (really quite large now that I look at tit) would be a perfect spot for all my quilting needs - if only I could convince Brian to move it into our bedroom. I didn't have to do much convincing. My wonderful husband had moved it first while I was at Wal-Mart. I tried it out today and it is wonderful. SO MUCH room for my sewing. I can cut here. I can iron here. Yippee!!!!!!!!!

We worked and worked. I organized and organized. And by yesterday evening the house was back in order and most everything that had spent the day strewn across our bedroom was now in a new home. It is beautiful.

Ooooh, I almost forgot to mention. Earlier in the week while I was cleaning out closets upstairs, I emptied out an entire hallway linen closet. Just by cleaning out, throwing away and regrouping/reorganizing. This empty closet is now half full - of quilting!!!!!

Some of you may think this post is strange. "My goodness! This girl goes on and on about organizing." But those of you who know me well, know this kind of thing (organizing and cleaning out, that is) really floats my boat. Give me a space and I'll transform it! I love it. And I love all my new spaces.

6 years of age and older

That is the age requirement for a child to sleep on the top bunk of a set of bunk beds.

I now know why.

It is not a safety issue.

It is a matter youthfulness and flexibility. Six year olds are excellent climbers. Six year olds are very capable of making their own beds. They have to be. No one else is physically able to climb to the top and make the bed. Take it from me. I know.

Friday, May 04, 2007


That one word describes my kids' favorite dinner time meals lately. Plain and simple. Just plain old meat. As much as I tend to prefer my meats dressed up with seasonings and lovely colorful veggies or mixed up in a casserole, these kids of mine have been enjoying meat in its plainest forms. I think it is growing on me too. And it is certainly much healthier for a Mom whose back on her Weight Watchers wagon. Here's a few samples of winners over the past couple of weeks.

Plain Old Chicken Number One

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in a skillet until done. The end.

A Little Less Plain Old Chicken Number Two

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Garlic powder
Bottle of BBQ sauce, your choice

Put chicken in baking dish. Sprinkle garlic powder on top. Spread BBQ sauce on top. Bake at 375. The end.

Ribs a la Crockpot

Pork spareribs
Onion, sliced
Bottle of BBQ sauce, your choice

Brown ribs in skillet. Put ribs in crockpot. Layer in onions and top with BBQ sauce. Cook for 6-8 hours on low. The end.

It just doesn't get much easier than this for a mom with four little bitties and its all really tasty.

And all is quiet

It is a rare moment in the Harrington home.

It is 4:00pm and aside from the tapping of the keys on the keyboard, all is silent. WOW!

Jacob is spending the afternoon with his grandparents. Nicole is a bit under the weather and fell asleep after watching Looney Tunes. Andrew is taking his usual afternoon nap. Michael is doing the same. WOW!

I don't quite know what to do with myself. Well, actually I do. I finished Michael's Baptism invitations and now I am on the computer. There is laundry waiting and a dishwasher that needs unloading and loading. I will get there. This peace will only last so long. And it is a beautiful peace. But you know, I'm thinking I might get tired of all this peace after a while.

Free Friday!

We are finished with our homeschool co-op for the year, so now we have Fridays FREE! As usual, we finished our lessons the first four days of the week and now today we are just playing. It is nice. Even though we enjoy co-op, it is a pleasant break to not have to get up and rush out the door at 8am. So we went about our normal morning minus Jacob's lessons. I made the kids a play house of sorts and vacuumed and mopped the kitchen SOOOOOO needed it!). The kids are being very creative in their little hideout, all except Andrew who abandoned it an hour ago for better entertainment - the big green vacuum.

Monkey at breakfast this morning!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The End

Of this day that is. And all I can say is thank goodness.

And praise God.

And Hallelujah!

Today was another day filled with many difficult moments. Two days in a row. But despite the hard days, I know God is making me stronger through it all. Days like these used to throw me off completely, spiraling downward, rarely recovering before days end. Lately, I notice that I am much more able to survive and move on fairly quickly. It seems easier to move from a teary temper tantrum to picking ladybugs off the backyard maple tree. From breaking up a fight to an art project. I was able to pick up and move on today (and that phonecall to a dear friend really did the trick). Maybe it is a special type of resiliency that God has reserved for me - blessing me with it now when I most need it. Whatever it is, it is from God. It is His loving reply to the pleas my heart makes as I wrestle a diaper on a screaming toddler. It is by His grace and His love that I am here tonight writing this.

We ended the day with a trip this evening to Baskin Robbins for some 31 cent ice cream scoops. And in the end, you realize, yes, ice cream really does make everything better.

Really cute...

This was in an email I received from Catholic Heritage Curriculum and I thought it was fun.

You Know You're Homeschooling When...
...the Math class lasts four hours.
...recess lasts five hours.
...the 'cafeteria cook' is a 2nd grader.
...your teacher comes to school in her bathrobe.
...the teacher knows that the baby really did tear up your homework.
...you don't have to stand in a drenching rain to wait for the school bus.
...you don't need to worry which teacher you'll have next year.
...you get to help pick your textbooks, and they uphold the Faith.
Courtesy of Laura Nicholson

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Loveliness of Gardens

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I think this statement is so true where gardens are concerned. What is lovely to me may not be so lovely to anyone else. But, then, maybe that's what makes all gardens so beautiful - they are prized, they are loved, they are treasured.

I wasn't sure about whether or not I should submit a post for this fair, seeing as how my garden isn't terribly special or dazzling. I have no particular rhyme or reason as to why I plant what I plant or where I plant it. I am a chronic transplanter, moving many of our specimens multiple times over the years. I plant and then the scorching Houston heat takes its toll. My yard and its gardens are ordinary. Suburban home with a suburban fenced in yard with grass and trees. But I love my yard. In fact, we had recently considered buying a new home which in the end didn't work out. Since then, I have thought about how much I love my yard and my kitchen windows that bring it into view as I cook and clean. I would certainly miss it.

My garden is loved. My garden is prized. My garden is treasured. I love its coolness and breeziness in the late afternoons and evenings. I love its shade trees. I love its flowers and vegetables and shrubs. And, most of all, I love the children who explore it and delight in it daily.

I would say my mother taught me how to garden, but I am not sure I got as many of her super gardener genes as I would have liked. She was President of the Garden Club when my sisters were younger and she is so knowledgeable about everything planted. She can grow anything with success and is faithful in her tending of her own gardens. She loves it. I want to love it as much as she does.

Our garden this year is coming along nicely, even after a late start (new babies in February do that, you know). Brian rebuilt and expanded our vegetable garden and I planted a few new things. I am not finished there is so much more I would like to do. And I know all the other lovely ladies participating in this fair will have much inspiration for me.

I suppose I will end this with some photos of our garden/yard. And then I think I will turn on my screen saver and go enjoy that outdoor space I have so lovingly contemplated. It is beckoning me. Its beauty calls to me. I should listen and follow.

One of my favorite purchases this year and I plan to buy a few more. Nothing makes me feel happier and more cheerful than when I look upon these geraniums.

I must say these daisies make me feel pretty delightful too. They are one of my all time favorite flowers. They are always so cheerful. They last a long time either cut or in the pot. And they keep blooming year after year here in my yard.

This year I was so excited to add these lovely native Texas Bluebonnets - our state flower. This photo is from several weeks ago. Now they are beginning to die back and go to seed. But that is fine. It just means more beautiful Bluebonnets next year!

Purple Petunias -couldn't be prettier!

These are one of my favorite flowers growing each year. They are from my lovely rose bushes just underneath my kitchen window. When I let the bushes grow tall, I can see the blooms through my window. This particular variety (Melody Parfume, I believe) has the MOST heavenly smell. The children love to cut them and bring them in to me.

This is a favorite area of mine. I love our statue and I love the mix of things around Our Lady - Dianthus, Hawthorne, Jasmine, Hibiscus and "grassy things." When the Hibiscus blooms, it promises to be even more lovely with soft shades of pink.

These may look like weeds, but they should turn out to be some lovely wildflowers that we planted from seeds - our little experiment.

Another favorite area of mine surrounding our statue of St. Francis. I love the mix of things here, as well.

Our squash blossom. Soon we hope to see not only a blossom, but a beautiful yellow crookneck squash. We can't wait!!! But what a lovely way for squash to begin.