Thursday, June 28, 2007


Do not walk. Go right over and read Kristen's latest post. It is a beautiful read and so appreciated.

Simplify My Life: Stage 4

I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful. (What movie is that line from?)

The kitchen is done. I cleaned out the last cabinet this afternoon. Yeah! I might have to stop now. I really am running out of room for stuff!

This is the everyday dishes and glasses cabinet. The biggest thing I eliminated was the majority of a set of glasses I have had since before I knew Brian. They were glasses my parents earned when they would fill up at our local Exxon station. I did keep the short juice glass size. That is at least until I begin my collection of Depression glass juice glasses something like these.

Here's what I got rid of.

And here is the precariously arranged cabinet with all my lovely antique dishes. My set of Petalware from the Depression (gee, I'm Depressed!). Some rosebud dishes. And a lovely set with violets. Not to mention all my serving pieces, lovely bowls and cake stands.

This be the cabinet above with all the antique (yes, Depression) glassware and crystal. And my set of red and green glass Christmas dishes for eggnog and desserts that I pick up here and there at antique shops.

Here's what I got rid of in those two cabinets. Not a whole lot, but definitely stuff I NEVER use and even a plate that was hanging on the wall in the den. It is broken. The kids threw something and it hit the plate. Why I stuck a broken plate in there, I'm not real sure. Oh, and don't you love the dollar store candle holder with the melted down stub of candle stuck in it?? Way to go Celeste!

It is really great to know I have been through the entire kitchen. It is freeing. I have stuff I do and will use and things are better arranged as a result of having less.

Keep up the good work good buddies!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You know it's love when............

you find yourself at ten o'clock at night, all freshly showered and pajamed, on the garage floor, underneath a 1994 Ford Explorer toggling a whatchamacallit to help your dear, sweet husband change his alternator.

He is a sweetie and very talented at that.

Simplify My Life: Stage 3

A little more here and a little more there. All that makes for big garage sale piles. Soon my little bits will have to stop because I am running out of room to store it all. And the garage sale is still several weeks away. I will do the last bits the week before - namely the toy clean out and pricing.

I am not very inspired with deep organizational thoughts this evening so I leave with a few photos with captions. But I should warn you - most of the time when I think I have nothing to say, I usually say enough to fill up volumes.

Here is the pot and pan cabinet. I rearranged a few things, but didn't eliminate much. There was a grill type skillet my sister was going to get rid of and that I haven't looked at since the day it was put in the cabinet. And a blue rubber cake pan that made my cake really weird.

Then there is the baking dish and large flat things cabinet. I got rid of a few things here. One thing I noticed was that I had a total of 6 or 7 loaf pans/dishes. I need my 2 metal ones for breads and a glass one for meatloaf (I prefer my Depression glass one), but 7???

Then there is the plastic ware cabinet under the island. Who needs 8 heart shaped cookie cutters? Got rid of a couple of cook books and some other miscellaneous odds and ends that were either melted, crushed, bent, broken or had no partner piece.

Aaaaah! The problem drawer - well, one of them at least. My utensil drawer is always a jumble. Just too much in there that never gets used. I got rid of a few more things out of there today. The biggest thing was the box of the Pampered Chef Easy Decorator thing. I really prefer my Wilton bags and tips. Notice I did not get rid of any of our ice cream scoops. Go ahead! Count 'em!

I also worked on the pantry. I clean this out periodically because with all the little hands in there, it gets pretty messy pretty quickly. And often times when I get home from the store on Monday nights, things get shoved in by the grocery helpers and I get too busy with other stuff to straighten it all out. I did get rid of at least four insulated baby formula carrying cases (you know, the kind you get at the hospital). I saved the two we actually use. I also uncovered some very old, ugly bibs and one of three aprons I don't wear. I mean to say I don't wear any of them. And, yes, I have 5 containers of lemonade Gatorade and 4 boxes of Pepsi Max.

I also went through the rest of the nursery and some of the kids clothing boxes. I do not know how I had soooooo many white baby socks! 30 pairs, I kid you not!

And here are the piles from the kitchen. By the way, Michele, if you want the stoneware dish, it's yours!

Oops! I think he grabbed a few things to take off with before I hauled them out the door. He kept saying he was making dinner.

I do not share all this to pat myself on the back. Hardly. I can't believe how much excess I have! How I let things go. How I hold on to things I don't need or use. I hope it is an encouragement to others who desire to do the same. I hope it inspires. And I hope it convinces some that even someone who thinks she knows how to clean out and organize, still needs to do a lot of cleaning out and organizing. Purge away dear friends! And as I told Robin yesterday, "Be ruthless!!!"

Now before I fold a load of laundry and go work on something like this, I must tame this beast. All this belongs to the little girl who cringes when I want to fix her hair. I must have had high hopes that she wouldn't be just like her mommy.

Let's play a guessing game

What do you get when Nicole gets a hold of the camera? Mystery photo shoot. Have fun guessing.

Number One

Number Two

Number Three

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Must Read

You must go pay a visit over here to see this lovely lady's crafty talent and her masterful planning. I am motivated and excited but what she is doing!


Here's what happens when you leave your children happily unattended in the backyard after a rainy weekend!

Actually they weren't really unattended. We were witnessing their fun through the back windows, but decided since they were muddying themselves without arguing and fussing at each other, we would leave them alone.

Whose kids are those anyway?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Growing Up

Melissa said something in her post today that I thought about tonight. She spoke about her son growing up so fast. She also talked about spending more time with them as they grow up and out of that baby stage to being older kids.

Tonight I made my weekly Monday evening trip to Kroger. Most of the time Robin and I go together. Sometimes one of the kids goes along, especially if it's just me. Tonight I was on my own and I decided to take Jacob along. He's been wanting to go with me.

As we drove and talked and walked and talked and pushed the cart and talked and shopped and talked (he's a talker like his mother), I was reminded what a fantastic boy he has become. It seems only yesterday he was born. Then he turned into a bright, curious toddler. Before I knew it he had become a little boy. Most recently he has become a boy. All six years and 62 pounds of him. One day not too long ago, I recall noticing that he wasn't a little boy anymore, but a boy. Wow - when did that happen? Overnight it seems. When I wasn't watching. And he is a really cool boy.

So like Melissa noted, I am going to focus on enjoying these little people right where they are. Not wishing for the past or hoping for the future. Tonight I spent our time together enjoying the boy that Jacob has become.

Simplify My Life: Stage 2

A little bit more clean and clear and under control. OK, so I borrowed that slogan from the acne face wash, but I think it works here!

Not much too eliminate here: the waffle iron and a box full of napkin rings I never use. But I also needed to relocate a few items. Blender and food processor in the back and crock pot in the front. I can actually get the crock pot out now without killing myself!!!!!

Kitchen towel drawer. Got rid of old icky bibs. Got rid of old kitchen towels I don't like and don't use. I do towel laundry often enough I don't really run out.

This is the placemat and napkin drawer. We hardly ever use placemats at meals anymore. Our table is so durable and well-loved that it wasn't worth the extra cleanup. It was only a few extra minutes, but lots of few extra minutes here and there add up to hours. So I got rid of excess. I had recently cleaned out old napkins so that was done. We do use cloth napkins at meals.

And finally, under the sink in the half bath around the corner. Yep, the bread machine still lives there. It's still the best place. In the box is a vacuum sealer we got free with our deep freeze. I do intend to figure out what to do with it. If not, I'm sure it will be in the next garage sale or donation box. Got rid of a load of old, excess kitchen and hand towels. Also some old discolored "pretty soaps" and some candle holders that I have no place for.

Done for the day. Just a little here and there, but it makes a BIG difference.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I think I figured out why his back hurts

Got a guess?

Simplify My Life: Stage 1

Yesterday, while Brian was playing golf and the kids were happy playing (well, pretty happy), I began to tackle a little cleaning out in order to simplify. Our garage sale isn't for a month or so, but with the number of things I am hoping to go through, there is no time like the present to begin.

It went well. I cleaned out one wall of cabinets in the kitchen. Four cabinets down and eight to go. Nine cabinets if you count the one under the sink in the bathroom around the corner. The bread machine and a couple of other things are in there. Oh, and six drawers too. I have always enjoyed the action of cleaning out and getting rids of things. This time though, I thought about it differently. I thought about excess, not just about eliminating things so I can neatly fit things in the space we have. There is so much that can go! It is freeing.

Here are a few photos of the first results.

This was the first cabinet I tackled. I got rid of a bean pot that matches our everyday dishes, but which I have never used in these almost 9 years. And, yes, there are the TWO red oven mitts I use (and one cute Christmas one). I didn't see the point in keeping any extra oven mitts. It just doesn't seem to be one of those things I would need an emergency pair of and of course new ones aren't too hard to come by. It is simple. It is uncluttered. And all I see are the things I use. Hallelujah!

The next cabinet I purged was above the stove and microwave. There wasn't much up there anyway, but as you can see in the below it, I managed to get rid of 7 miscellaneous jars - mostly old pickle jars. Hmmmm. And there is that favorite old enamel ware I love and want to use more often.

Next was the everyday cup and mug cabinet. One of the most often used cabinets in our kitchen. I love it! We use most everything here on a very regular basis. There are some extra or sentimental mugs at the top and a set of old insulated glasses that belonged to Brian's grandfather. We don't use those very often, but we do use them. Below that is what I got rid of. An excess of plastic cups with lids from various restaurants. The kids use those type of cups daily for their meals, but we were literally overflowing! Broken sippy cups, a melted insulated mug, a few bowls, and other stuff we just don't need.

Last, but not least, my mixing and measuring cabinet. I got rid of a few more bowls and some Pampered Chef tools that I never use because they annoy me.

Later, after lunch, Brian and I tackled our bedroom closet and dresser drawers. We ended up with LOTS of clothes to put in the garage sale or donate and cleaner closet. Brian wasn't sure about some of his winter shirts, but I told him to wait until after winter. Then he would have a much clearer picture of what he actually wore.

It is amazing for me to realize that even someone like me, who periodically organizes and purges and donates, STILL has a lot of stuff I don't use. Things stuffed in drawers that should have gone in the trash?

Being detached feels good. Having less feels good. Lord, continue to help us as we clean out and learn to do with less. Help us to give out of our abundance.

First Summer Snow Cones

Last night we went to our local snow cone eatery and indulged in our first icy treat of the summer. What memories this brings back from my childhood. There were many summer evenings growing up that you could find our family at "Sno Wiz". Sometimes it was just me and my mom. She ALWAYS got watermelon. Sno Wiz was a little red wooden shack. You would think a light breeze could have blown it down, but I clearly remember after Hurricane Alicia in 1983 that it was still standing! Many other things were blown down and torn apart, but not our favorite Sno Wiz!!! It is gone now, but I am so glad we have this little place nearby that gives Sno Wiz a run for its money. As I enjoyed my tangerine mountain of syrupy ice, I remember how much I love a good snow cone - not a wimpy dry one. Yum. Yum.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Two feet away!

Brian left early this morning to play golf with his dad. So it was just me and the kids this morning. At breakfast, somewhere around 9am, we were reading our Bible for the day and saying our morning prayers. I usually offer a few intentions and then we end our prayer. Today Jacob piped up with a special intention. Usually everyone is too busy eating to think that hard. He said, "Jesus, please help Daddy make a hole in one today while he's playing golf. Amen." Brian's game is getting better all the time, but seeing as he isn't quite as experienced and talented a golfer as his dad (playing for 50 years or so and quite good!), I felt the need to add a little disclaimer. Like our all-knowing God needs one. To that I tacked on, "Yes, Lord that would be nice, but even if he doesn't make a hole in one, we just pray he shoots well and has a great time playing with Pappa. Amen." There. Hate to let the kids down. I mean even Pappa has only made two hole in ones in all these years!

Three or four hours later Brian comes through the back door and is met by three happy little people and a wife. Immediately Jacob asks, "Daddy. Daddy. Did you make a hole in one today???"

Brian paused. "Well, no Jacob, but I did come within two feet of making a hole in one!"

We all just about fell over!

Thanks Lord and sorry for the disclaimer prayer. Amen.

Curious George

Okay. I hope we are not the ONLY people who have not seen this yet, but last night we watched the new (?) Curious George movie while we ate our Friday night fare - homemade pizza. It was a fun and adorable movie. The kids laughed so hard and enjoyed it so much. I will hate to see this one go back to the library.

And this little monkey gave it a two thumbs up!

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Thoughts on Treasure in Heaven

After reading today's Gospel this morning, I felt compelled to write this post that I have been putting off for lack of time. But now, as all the children are either napping or otherwise happily occupied, I think I will tackle it.

Recently there has been a buzz about the blogging world about living with simplicity and being detached from our material possessions. While I am sure she is not the first person to ever blog on this topic, a lovely Catholic mommy blogger recently created a most noteworthy entry. I was truly amazed at her ability to live with such simplicity and beauty. Our world tells us to want, want, want, buy, buy, buy, shop, shop, shop. And what Kristen has demonstrated is that we don't have to live this way. We can live with just a little and do it with style and grace.

The other wonderful thing is the effect that her entry has had on others in the blogsphere. What an opportunity to remember that we can use our blogs for good or evil, to build up or tear down. What would our Lord want? I think we all know the answer and I am grateful for Kristen for using hers for goodness, beauty and encouragement. I know I have felt inspired by what she showed us and I know others have felt this as well. I know my home and my clothing or toy choices will not be exactly like Kristen's. They don't have to be. But it has led me to want to have less. To do without. To clean out, declutter and simplify. We can all do with less. Think about how little many a nun possesses in her humble cell. So while we can reap earthly benefits from this simple living and detachment (peace, cleanliness, order), we must remember that our motivation should be as Kristen noted, that of having our hearts in the right place and storing up our treasure in Heaven.

Before I move on to a little more of my own ideas, I would also lie to draw your attention to her question and answer post for today. In this, she does a lovely job of answering some hard questions. She provides answers that show great thoughtfulness, charity and consideration. Great job again!

I think if you polled those who know me well, I tend already towards living a pretty organized and uncluttered lifestyle. Not to pat myself on the back. Often my need to be free of clutter and stuff and mess is a burden and a detriment. It can keep me from the important things in life - the people, especially the little ones that cause most of the disorder. But even though I may be organized, I still know we have way too much stuff. I think one can have order and organization, but still have too many things! Even lots of stuff can be organized and neat!

My husband got a little scared when I said I wanted to get rid of more stuff. I already throw out stuff and purge periodically. I believe we are still living in this 1900 square foot house with 4 kids because I have thrown out and donated over the years. (And that would be 1900 square feet and no basement - none of those here in Houston.) But even he sees the reality of this need. Not because we are running out of space (maybe just a tad) but because it is better for us spiritually. Stuff gets us nowhere. So I have been thinking a lot the past couple of days about where to begin this process of simplification. And I think that is what it is - simplifying. I already do the throwing out and organizing. But the types of questions I have to ask myself now are things like "Do I really need 10 oven mitts?" Yes, I think I really do have 10! Gifts, ones I've held onto for years, hand-me-acrosses. But they are excess. I always use the same two really good ones anyway. This is the kind of work I'm looking at here.

Now, before I progress, I must state that this sort of thinking in NO WAY applies to books. You can never have too many - of the really good kinds, that is. I do clean out books, but only to make room for more! There. I feel better now!

Since we are planning a garage sale in July, I have been saving the bags of stuff I cleaned out last month. This was mostly crafty stuff I haven't used in a long time. In the next couple of weeks I am going to start seriously cleaning out everything else - every cabinet, drawer, etc. Whatever isn't sold, we will donate to the local thrift/resale shop.

One of the things that struck me about Kristen's post was her take on clothing. I admire her for how she does it, but I'm not sure I am there yet. Not sure I ever will be. But what I do want is to hold on to less and make an effort to reduce the amount the children have. I have held on to all the children's clothing. We received most of our little girl clothes as beautiful hand me downs. It would have cost me a fortune to buy all those things. And I cannot financially justify getting rid of most of the clothing since as far as I know I am nowhere near the end of my childbearing years. Most of what we have is in great shape and works for all the seasons. With Jacob born in December and Andrew born in July, there were often things I couldn't reuse for both.

Most of the little girl and baby girl clothes are packed far up in a closet and since I am not going to be getting them down any time soon, I think we'll go through those at a later date. But as I trudge through all the boy clothes for a third time, I plan to rid ourselves of the excess as we pull out each box of sizes. For me, it is more practical at this time for the children to have a decent selection of clothes. With four very small children, I cannot physically keep up with doing laundry as often. And my boys are messy!!!! I cannot bear to allow them to wear the nicer clothes anywhere near food. Or the outdoors. Or markers. Or much of anywhere. Just today Andrew needed 3 changes of clothes. So I will be reducing the number of outfits, but I still need a good stock.

Of course, I will once again purge toys. I do a pretty good job keeping on top of this, but we could still use to cut back even more. A couple of weeks ago, I revamped my toy rotation system so that they have fewer buckets of toys to choose from on a weekly basis. It is funny because all the other buckets are easily accessible upstairs, but since no one likes to play up stairs by themselves, nobody is dragging them out! Under this new system, I have been able to observe well what is really getting played with as we rotate toys in and out. As with the clothing we have, I feel in a bind about toys too. Like many families, we have both boy and girl and baby toys which adds to the sheer number and variety. I can't get rid of every baby toy - there could still be more babies. I do my best to donate what doesn't get played with or extras of things, but sometimes it still feels like a lot. On a free day, I will go through once again and see where I can simplify. There is always room for less.

Another big project will be the kitchen. We have everyday dishes, nice dishes (actually a set of old Depression Glass dishes I collected for many years), crystal and serving pieces. I love dishes, especially old kitchen utensils and antique glassware, etc. from the 30s, 40s and 50s. What I will be looking for here are those things (like oven mitts) that I have too many of and those things I haven't used in YEARS or ever! Without even opening a cabinet, I could name an awful lot of things to get rid of.

Other than just going through all the odd closets and drawers in the house, the only other big grouping I need to work on is my clothing and, Brian, his. It is so easy to do when I stand there and ask myself, "How long has it been since I've worn this??????" Well, being as I have just finished pregnancy a short four months ago, there is actually a lot I haven't worn. :))) But I will. Still, there is plenty that can go. Toss. Toss. Toss.

I am thoroughly looking forward to working on all this. I am an organizer and purger at the very core. I take delight in organizing just about anything. If I ever needed that extra income, I think I would love to organize other people's stuff.

But I am so thankful to Kristen for making me think about it differently. Not just an efficiency and space issue, but as a spiritual issue. I have to dig deep and ask God to help me see what place my stuff truly has in my life. It has to be put in proper perspective and I have to be able to teach my children it's proper place as well. My job as a mother and wife is to help my family get to Heaven. This is one of many ways I can try to do that.

Lord Jesus,
help me to let go,
give me the courage to go without,
and grace me with contentment in the process.
Give the words and example to teach my children
to love you above all things.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

For Grandmommy

I had a reader actually make a special request today! WOW!

It was my mother.

And I must admit it was a good one. are the beautiful pictures of your beautiful granddaughter you requested.

Enjoy! I know I am.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Deep Spiritual Thought for the Day

A quote from my meditation book that I so dearly love:

"Sanctity requires a fight against conformity, against lukewarmness, against an easy-going worldly attitude. It demands heroism - not in extraordinary situations that we are unlikely to encounter, but in continual fidelity to our task in the unremarkable duties of each day."

Homeschooling Year One: Come and Gone

We have only recently closed the books on our first year of homeschooling. Kindergarten was a success in so many ways. It wasn't always easy or as perfectly orchestrated as I would have liked, but it was fun and I think Jacob really learned a lot. Hopefully this week I will get around to making a little portfolio showcasing the highlights of his year. The state doesn't require anything of us, but it would be good to have on hand. Mostly, I would like something purely for the sake of remembering. What was his work like when he started? What did he do along the way? And where did he end up?

As we close the books and retire our pencils and erasers, I have already made most of our plans for the coming first grade year. I have perused catalogs, shopped online, cataloged recommendations, spent at the homeschool conference (and elsewhere). I am really looking forward to the next year. I am making some changes, for the better I hope. And I am really looking forward to beginning the new curriculum that will form our foundation and act as our springboard. After much thought and consideration, I have decided that I LOVE the Mater Amabilis curriculum enough to give it a try.

I have been reading about homeschooling for years. As I think I have said before, Brian was always worried that while waiting for Jacob to turn school age, I would grab some child as they stepped off the school bus and start homeschooling the poor dear. The journey to this point in our current curriculum has been interesting. I started out reading a book called Catholic Homeschooling. This is written by the lady who runs Seton Home Study. It was a good book - very informative and probably a good introduction. Upon reading reading it I remember falling in love and declaring that this is the way to go. I will homeschool just like she described!!! And while I learned a lot from this book, each book I read took me further and further away from the type of homeschooling she describes. So what did I read?

Catholic Education: Homeward Bound
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum
Educating the Wholehearted Child
Real Learning
Charlotte Mason Companion
A Catholic Homeschool Treasury

I remember reading the book on classical education by Laura Berquist. Again, I was convinced that this is what I would follow. And I still really like her philosophy and what she does. But as I kept reading, both books and on the Internet, I realized that I was drawn over and over and over again to the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. My two FAVORITE books on homeschooling are Educating the Wholehearted Child and Real Learning (both dealing with Charlotte Mason's method). I have read each one twice. What beautiful books!! Love them. Love them. Love them.

I love Charlotte Mason's philosophy for several reasons. The main reason is the focus on reading quality children's literature (not "twaddle") and using living books to learn many subjects. It is not a workbook/textbook aproach. While I know everyone (parents and children) have their own needs and preferences, I remember feeling overwhelmed and scared when I looked at the stack of texts and workbooks Seton used in Kindergarten. I knew this was not for us. We have had and will have some workbooks - Math, Spelling, Handwriting, Map Skills and Phonics practice, but those take up so little of our time and that makes us all happy.

I am a reader and so far Jacob and Nicole adore books as well. A week or two ago I took them to Brian's parents for the day. Their Gamma told them she had gotten a bunch of books from the library for them. They darted around the corner and not 3 minutes later were found on the sofas with their stacks. Going to Half Price books is like going to a candy store for them. I love buying them wonderful books. I love coming home with armloads from the library. I love reading to them and, over the past year, watching Jacob devour, I mean read books for himself. I am choosy about my books - always have been. We have a wonderful collection of science and nature books and historical books. We use these books to learn science and history without using textbooks (or using them on a very limited basis). I never liked history and I think that is because it was taught from a dry, factual textbook that spent snippets of time on each topic. How much more exciting it is to learn history as we read books like this, this and this. I am excited and looking forward to learning all the things I missed. This way it is so NOT BORING!

So we are making the switch. Last year, for Kindergarten, we purchased the Mother of Divine Grace syllabus (developed from Laura Berquist's book) to use as our foundation for Jacob's curriculum. It is great, but about mid-year I realized this wasn't what I was looking for. I made some changes as I began reading more about Mater Amabilis. Then I decided Mater Amabilis was definitely the direction I wanted to take for Jacob's first grade year. I am looking forward to giving it a try. It has a richness about it and looks like it will keep Jacob very interested. I like that it leaves you free to choose the materials you prefer for Math, Handwriting and a couple of other subjects. I like this because I tend to like some guidance and direction, but also the flexibility to choose things I like or think will work best for my child. One math program may work for one, but not another. We need flexibilty there. Same for handwriting or teaching the mechanics of reading, etc.

We will be doing Level 1B as detailed on their website. It is beautifully laid out and just looks so captivating. I know it is not for everyone, but I believe it is right up our alley. It seems well-rounded. There is lots of reading coupled with narration as opposed to fill in the blanks on workbook pages. It seems to me the natural result of reading is to talk about it and that is how narration works. Someday that narration will turn into writing. It is also nice to see Nicole talk about the stories and narrate in her own 4 year old way.

I am excited about the next year. Again, I am sure it will not be perfect, but learning is a life long process. If I can learn to relax about the daily difficulties or the times when everything on the list doesn't get checked off, it can be a success. I love learning. I want my children to love learning. That is why we are taking this homeschooling journey. That is why we are going with this curriculum and philosophy. I believe these will foster this love and make it grow.

I love talking and writing about homeschooling. I know there are many more experienced homeschooling moms out there, but this is my own two cents. We all have something to offer one another. So, if anyone wants to discuss further or ask questions, I am up for it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jacob says

As we prepared for an after dinner, family trip to Academy this evening, Jacob stood in the den paging through his Beginner's Guide to Fishing book. Without looking up from his book, he blurted out,

"At Academy I really want to go to the "article lurchers" aisle.

Mom: "Hmmmmmm, Jacob??? Let me see that book."

Jacob: "I want to look at the 'article lurchers'."

Mom: Oh. I see now. Go show your Daddy what your talking about.

Brian laughed as he realized Jacob really wanted to visit the aisle with the ARTIFICIAL LURES. Maybe that Alphaphonics didn't work so well?????

Happy Sleepy Lump of a Baby

Bumbo Baby and Big Boy Brother

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Wild Ride Through God's Word

We did it! We all survived our first Vacation Bible School experience. Actually, we did more than survive. It was a great success. Yes, at the end of the week I was absolutely worn out from the daily driving back and forth. But Jacob and Nicole enjoyed themselves SOOOOOO much. They couldn't get enough of all the fun and good times at Avalanche Ranch.

I had been wanting to enroll Jacob and Nicole in VBS this summer. Our parish, Mary Queen, only allows children who have finished Kindergarten (and up) to attend. Nicole would not be able to go, but I knew she would enjoy going. So I enrolled them both in a nearby parish's program - at St. Clare, one of 7 parishes within 20 minutes of our house.

They began last Monday and faithfully attended with great excitement. They enjoyed great music (we bought the CD)! There were cool snacks, puppets, people in costume, Bible stories told in an engaging format, crafts, outside play. Jacob really got into from the first minute. He loved the music and the hand motions. Nicole was a bit apprehensive the first morning, but it didn't take her long to figure out how much fun it was. She loved the little videos they'd watch each day and all the crafts. It was a fantastic experience and when asked if they'd like to go next summer, I got a resounding "YES!!!!!!!!"

It gives me great joy to see them having fun learning to love God and their Catholic faith. I hope to have this same childlike wonder. On the evening before their final day, the families gathered for a pot luck dinner and a n overview of the kids' activities. What fun! The children performed some of their songs and we saw videos showcasing all the fun. It was a fun week.

Jacob is the one in the hat and bandanna (Nicole did not want to get up on stage). Incidentally, the two boys in front of Jacob are Michele's oldest two, Brennan and Nicholas. St. Clare is their parish!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

To all the Fathers I love so much!

To Brian, my best friend. The man who gives his little ones so much love and does so much to be a wonderfully present father to his children. Our children would miss out on so much if you weren't here - creating things from "the junk box," wrestling, silly games at the dinner table, just to name a few. You are the one who has so much patience with me. The one who loves me no matter what. I love you!

To Dad. Thanks for being a faithful, faith-filled and loving father to my dear husband. You helped mold him into the man I love. Thank you for treating me like one of your own from the very first. Thank you for always being willing to play, play, play with your grandchildren.

To my Daddy. You love all "your girls" so much. And I love you. You always believed in me and knew I could accomplish anything. Like my card to you said, "Thank you to my dad who has never stopped looking out for me. From the daughter who will never stop looking up to you." And thank you for loving my little ones so much.

May God bless you all for always!