Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Because Jesus is the Light of the World!

We've had an Advent Wreath for years.  It's always been the little felt "childrens" version with no real flames.  It could take no more abuse though, flames torn off and repinned, velcro fasteners was on its way out. 
This is to be our first season with a real, homemade advent wreath, and prayers, and the beginning of a beautiful tradition. 

In usual Jamie-fashion, I was a couple days late getting it together.  But alas, with some greenery and holly berries and a few pine cones from the yard, and yet another trip to the store for candles...we are ready to light it up!  And so at dinner last night we did.  Complete with a little background about the meaning, brief prayers/ was lovely.

And the best was when little Charlie excitedly interrupted..."Mom, do you know why we light candles and string christmas lights?" 
"Tell my why," I begged.
"Because Jesus IS the light of the world, you know.!" 


Happy Adventing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Butterflies from heaven

The other morning, I walked into the kitchen just as the kids were having a conversation about Heaven and what it might be like.  Little John added that he's excited to see his brother Cyril and his kidney. 
"Do you think your kidney is waiting for you in heaven?" I interrupted. 
"Sure," he went on to explain.  "I was born with it, it died, and now it's probably floating around heaven tied to a blue balloon, just waiting for me."  He said very matter-of-factly.

Interesting to me that he thought of things that way.  But I sure didn't try to argue with him...what do I know of the "rules" of heaven?

The kids went on, about how baby Cy was probably with Grandma Alice, and that it would be cool to meet them both someday.  And we joked that maybe Cy wasn't really a boy (we miscarried before we could really know), and that maybe she'd give us all a little grief for naming her all wrong. 

Anyhow, the conversation somehow drifted to who might get to heaven first, and how we might be able to send a sign, or a smoke-signal, or something to the rest of us here, to let us know we made it...and that me met up with Cy and Grandma.  I thought this was genius.  And so after much argument/discussion, we finally settled on purple butterflies.  One for "we made it" and a pair if we're greeted by Cy.  (For the record, Frank voted for a short-tailed squirrel, and Sam said he'd send down Johns kidney/balloon.) 

Very cool.  Hopefully our memory is made perfect in heaven, and someday (many, many moons from now) I can delight my kids on earth with a perfect pair of purple butterflies from heaven.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy Advent

I haven't even posted tidbits of our thanksgiving, or updated you on the kids' latest shananigans in weeks.  I've got to tell you about our recent conversation on Heaven initiated by 8 year old John, who's looking forward to meeting his "dead" kidney's a story that requires sharing...I'll get to it.
But first...since I've failed to aquire a proper Advent wreath in a timely fashion, I'll at the very least share our prayers/reflections with you.  (We'll be using them at home each day with dinner, as well I'll be using them with my 7th grade religion class.)

A blessed Advent to you and yours.

SundayPrayer: To you, my God, I lift my soul. I trust in you.

Mary and Joseph lived happily at Nazareth, doing their daily work with joy.
I will do my daily work well today, and with joy- for God.
Joseph received the order from the Roman ruler to go to Bethlehem and register. He obeyed the order and got ready to go.
I will obey my parents, teachers, and others in charge of me.

Mary got their house ready and began to pack what they would need for the trip. She did so without complaint.
I will not complain today, even if I must do things I do not like.

Mary and Joseph traveled by donkey.
I will be happy with the things I have and will not ask my family for more or better things.

Mary and Joseph ate the food of the poor on their journey.
I will eat healthful foods today rather than those that are not good for me. I will thank God for the food I have and pray for the hungry.

After traveling all day, Mary made Joseph a meal, and he found her a resting place.
I will do something special to bring joy to my parents and family today.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Often, I find myself remembering that scene from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer...the scene when Hermey (the dentist elf) is explaining to Rudolph how he was "In-de-end-ent."  And I can't say it without emphasizing each syllable, just like those two did.

Something about 2 year olds learning new tricks, and insisting they do things all by themselves.


Anne had one of those moments today.  It cracked me up.

For anyone with older girls who insist on wearing these crazy stretchy headbands to slick back their loose hair/bangs all the time, and are constantly adjusting them as they slide out of'll know why this is so darned funny.

I swear, she wouldn't let me help...and just kept putting them on, taking them off, over and over!

 And finally, happy with her results...this is how she insisted we head out to the grocery store.
Yes.  Lovely.   And independent!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I thought it was just really cool to spend time learning the art of home canning from my mother in law almost 16 years ago.  She was such a patient teacher, and only laughed at me a few times when my ignorance proved too much for her to contain.  Seriously.  I grew up on instant mashed potatoes and hamburger helper, on a good day.  Putting fresh fruit into a jar and hermetically sealing it to last through the winter was a foreign concept to say the least.

Clearly though, in hindsight it's easy to realize it was providential and truly one of God's gifts that she would share these things with me. 

I wouldn't have believed a soul who would have predicted I'd be staying at home raising 11 kids, and most definitely couldn't have imagined the grocery bill to feed them.


Over the past week I've been consumed with thoughts of her, as I put up 7 quarts of applesauce and another 12 quarts of apple pie filling; thanks to the last apples of the season from our cousin's trees.  Waste not, want not.

 I so wish she were here to chat about life's crazy moments, and yet I'm sure she's enjoying the view from heaven (and gasping a little when I don't wipe the rim of that jar clean before placing the wax lid!)  {smile}  Just kidding Alice.  Clean as a whistle.  And sealed nicely.

God is good.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Body of Christ

Often times, coming up with a lesson plan for my 7th grade religion class is a bit tricky.  I have a text and teachers guide, and suggested activities.  Still pulling the information together, and helping the kids to see the lesson through their own eyes...recognizing how it relates to their own lives, bringing the lesson to life can be challenging.

Today's lesson plan was all about "being the body of Christ."

Along with a prayer by St. Theresa of Avila, few paragraphs from their text, a creative team activity,  a really cool song by Casting Crowns, and some prayers to the Holy Spirit...I was still feeling like something was missing.

As I stood at the kitchen cupboard, books open, leafing through for just one more thought/idea to pull it all together, my phone rings...God is so AWESOME!  And the people who he works through...well they're AWESOME too!

You see, my van wouldn't start last night after the junior high bible study.  So I left it parked there in the church parking lot overnight, and called for a tow this morning to our local repair shop.  A lovely soul who saw our "big red bus" roll past her window on the back of a flatbed trailer found in her heart to pick up the phone and call.

Without hesitation.  Seriously...the van couldn't have even made it the 5 minute drive to the repair shop yet when she'd called.

There she was on the other end of the line asking "What can I do for you today?!"  Concerned that I didn't have a way to get kiddos to preschool/kindergarden, or that I might have other errands to run, she dialed me up and offered herself (and her wheels) to help out.  Just like that.

Thank you, my friend for being the perfect example of how each one of us is called to be "The Body of Christ" in our world.  God Bless!! 

Praises to the Holy Spirit for bringing this lesson to life for me, and for allowing me to share the experience with my class. 

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.”  
                                ~St. Teresa of Avila 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Apparently I need a longer arm to get us all in the picture.  Sorry Anne.
Yes.  We did vote.  Well, only I voted but with the help of my little pollsters. 

We all got stickers though. 

On the way to the polls, I chatted briefly with the 2, 4, and 6 year olds about what it means to vote.  About how we get to help choose our new president.  I mentioned the two presidential candidates...of course the kids were familiar with both names.  "Rock" Obama is the man responsible for stealing all the good food from the cafeteria (according to Frank.)  And Mitt is the "nice guy" according to Rose.  Their opinions may have been swayed slightly by the older "school kids" in our house.  Ha!
Lucy added without hesitation..."I'm going with God on this one, Mom." 

AMEN.  (me too.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

On the feast of All Saints.

I started the morning at a much quicker pace than usual today.  Typically I hang out in my flannels, present for the kids as they pass through the kitchen.  They make their own breakfast, clean up a fuzz, go about their morning hoopla.  I'm there to give gentle reminders and help with shoe-tying, hair beautifying, and of course morning prayer.  All the while, sipping my coffee and enjoying the whirlwind that surrounds me.
Today though...thing were different.  I woke the four youngest earlier than they prefer.  I helped them dress and get ready for church.  We dropped the older kids off at school, then off to Mass we went.  The fact that their eyes were only half-open, and they'd not had breakfast yet seemed to help them stay fairly settled in the pew.  Even Anne had nothing to say today.   That is until we returned from Communion.   As soon as we were back in the pew and kneeling, she began screaming and pointing back to the Eucharistic Minister.   Making it very clear that she did not get her share.  I hushed her and rocked her and tried to explain "someday, when you're a big girl." 
And I realized in that little instant again, what a privelige it is to be part of this special Communion...a sacred meal that defies the boundaries of time/space.  A sharing in the Bread of Life with all our family here on Earth and in Heaven. 
Breakfast with the Saints, shall we say.

It made me smile that she wanted to be a part of it, even if only for a snack...and in that moment I felt so incredibly blessed to have been called to be part of it.  Grateful that she helped me to remember the beautiful gift of sharing in the breaking of the Bread. 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ahhhh....just what I needed...

A little peace and quiet.
Hahahaha!!!  NOT!  
Alice and Emma left for a costume party with friends...leaving the noisiest part of our bunch here.   Turns out it was a typical not so peaceful, rather noisy Saturday night on the homefront.
Life is good.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Just like that.  My baby is two.

No more bottles, or sippies, no burp clothes, or bibs.  (Well, she needs a bib, but refuses to wear it.)  No more onesies (potty training soon.)  No more patroling for polly pocket shoes or Legos or other tiny things that babies like to put in their mouths. 

You see, after nearly 13 straight years of baby stuff in our house...suddenly...there are no babies. 

Oh, she's still my baby.  But she's becoming a big girl so quickly.  By summer, I expect we'll be done with diapers as well.  Seriously.  I never imagined that day would come.  Some part of me thinks that I should be celebrating...screaming from the rooftops!  Wooohoooooo!!! We made it!! 

And yet here I tears thinking about how wonderful it is to have a baby in the house, and how I'm going to miss these difficult/simple times.   It's all I've known for a long time.  God has been so good.  Thank you God.  Thank you.  thank you. 

And God bless Anne on her 2nd birthday!  You're still my baby girl.

Trick-or Treat!

Only 9 made the last minute picture...Sam and Mary had already taken off with friends.

One more last minute trip to Dollar General for green face paint (we've got every color here, but green!), 30bucks to order in pizza (who has time to cook on a night like this?!), a one-hour scramble of face painting, hair spraying, costuming, shoe-tying, primping, and hunting for bags to hold the loot, not to mention last minute decorating by the oldest two...wanting to "haunt" the place a bit.
"Mom, where's the tape?"
Mom, can you tie my shoes?"
"Mom, my cape feels weird."
"Have you seen my pirate hook?"
"My makeup is next."
"Can I have hot rollers in?" 
"Is it time to go yet?"
"The neighbors are going!"
"Sam and Mary left already...."
"Please mom, pleeeeeeeeeease."
"Say cheese."
"Be nice...use sidewalks...don't step on anyones flowers!...say thank you!....Be careful...don't talk to strangers!...home by 8.  Listen to Dad!!!"

ahh.  silence.  

Lots of silence.

We only got about a dozen trick or treaters here this year.  Far from the numbers in our old neighborhood.  What a lot of stress and craziness for an hour and a half of fun!
Love it. 

Thank God it's over!

Now whose having a Snickers bar for breakfast?!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Indian Summer

We were in Celina this morning, running some errands and decided it was too beautiful to stay in the van.  We enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch at Grand Lake...and riding the dolphin rock...and feeding seagulls.  The weather was GORGEOUS!

God is good.

From the Belly of the Beast

This one.

This crazy halloween vulture has brought forth one of our kookiest family adventures to date.  And sadly, it's an adventure I should be ashamed & embarassed to admit.  Which is exactly why I feel compelled to blog it.

I'll start at the beginning.  Nine days ago to be exact.

Monday, October 15th 7:50 am: The kids depart for school, and as they leave the house notice that one of the halloween yard ornaments had been blown over, and lighbulb burnt out from the winds the night before. 
I unplug it, and drag it into the front room with plans to attend to it later.  It's Monday after all, and we're not in a hurry to accomplish anything on Monday mornings.  The kids and I muddle through the early morning taking our time to get dressed, brush teeth, all the while I slurp through my first pot of coffee and eye the tacky plastic vulture laying in the front room beckoning for a new lightbulb.  It was accomplished by lunch time for sure.  Anyhow, as I removed the screws from his backside, and opened up the cover to replace the light, I noted (though obviously didn't process the info till later) that his belly was full of mouse droppings.  I even remember this is a warm place for mice to snuggle in the cold fall weather.  Lightbulb is replaced, and vulture returns to his place on the front stoop.

And so our adventure begins...from the belly of the beastly vulture.

Later that afternoon, kids off to school, Annie napping, I sit at the kitchen island sipping more coffee and sifting through e-mails to the hum of the washer and dryer running.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement down the hallway.  I peek up from the screen to see a mouse creeping his way into the hall closet.  My jaw drops in disbelief.  I have not seen a mouse in more than a dozen years...not since we lived out in the country in the old farm house.  You have got to be kidding me!  By now I've had enough caffeine to realize that the mouse droppings inside the vulture surely meant that there was indeed a mouse...and that mouse was now finding himself a warm snuggly place in our house.  DUH!  "Over my dead body."  I grunted outloud.  I tiptoed quickly down the hall and pulled open the closet door.  Obviously he's sneakier than me.  But he's new to the indoors, so I'm confident we'll have him caught in no time.  I pull out all the shoes, vaccuum the closet floor, and reorganize them...somehow I'm sure mice don't like organized sneakers.  (Mostly I wanted to be sure he wasn't making a warm home in a size 9.) 

I spent most of the evening in disbelief, and talked through a plan a couple times with John about how to get rid of the little guy.  I should have acted faster.

Tuesday.   Day 2.  I hadn't yet told the kids about our visitor.  These are not the conversations we want our kids to be having with other folks.  Why?  I don't know...but it just seems "dirty" and well, better left untalked about.  (pffft.  whatever.)  As I walk into the kitchen first thing, kids are gathering in for breakfast.  We sit happily munching our toast and cereal, and what the heck?!...that mouse shoots out of the music room, slip-sliding across the hardwood and right into the pantry.  He looked more confused than the kids, who by this time are standing on their chairs screaming "RAT!"  I assure them it's not a rat, and confess the happenings of the day before.  Mental note...get a trap from the hardware...stat!
Just moments later, he's darting from the pantry across the kitchen and under the fridge.  Dangit.  This time, no hysterics, we all just look at each other in disbelief.  Game on.

I stop by the hardware later that day for an assortment of snap traps,  bait them with peanut butter, place them scattered throughout the house...closet, pantry, music room, under fridge...everywhere.

By dinner, they're all licked clean.  But no mouse.   Oh, he's goooood.

Weds.  Day 3.  Alice opens the pantry first thing to check the traps...and sure enough that little booger shoots out the pantry and through her legs.  She's gasping, and thrilled.  The chase is on.  I grab a broom (as if I'm that swift), and we chase him under the sink, and out again, behind the washer and dryer, and back under the fridge.  Foiled again.  We all settle down for breakfast chatting about the little rodent like the some people rant about the latest survivor episode.  (Is that show even on?!)  Anyways.  Lively conversation to say the least, it was thrilling.  This day I'm more careful as to placing the pin of the trap just barely on the edge, so that the slightest movement will set it off.  Nutella is our chocolately new bait of choice, as it sticks into the trap a little better. 

All the traps are licked clean by dinner.  Are you kidding me?!   Oh no, he didn't.

Now, I'm googling homemade traps.   I'm am going to get this booger if it's the last thing I do.
The kids are mapping out homemade's engineering at it's best.

I came up with a ramp/bucket/spinning wheel of peanut butter that promises to be the only way to catch mice.  I set it up near the pantry at bedtime.  Muwahahahaha!  It promised wrong.

Thurs.  Day 4.  Traps are licked clean again, and no mouse in my bucket of spinning peanut butter wheel of doom.   I'm growing weary.   And the mouse is getting fatter.  That's okay, fatter means slower.  I'm bound to get him eventurally, right?!  Oh, and by now the kids have all but taken out a news ad sharing the adventures of our RAT we have in our kitchen.  Friends are asking for updates, wondering if we've named him.  (NO.  We have not.)  So much for keeping it our dirty little secret.

This day, a friend suggests sticky traps.  Little trays of glue that catch them on the run...and they stick there...till they die.  Inhumane, I know.  But I am on a mission to rid my house of this little rodent.  I have no mercy at this point.  Back to the hardware for a half-dozen sticky traps.  I place them near floor boards, and near little crevices.  This is it.  Bring it on...

Friday.  Day 5.  I wake up to find one of the sticky trays pushed across the kitchen floor with a Lego in it.  Are you kiddin' me?!  The kids weren't out of bed yet...this fat slick annoying mouse beast is toyin' with the wrong mama.  (by the way, I quit baiting the snap traps...he's not going to be adding to my grocery bill...the ramp/bucket/spinning wheel of peanut butter death is now in my closet, and John's clothes are starting to smell Jiffy, and I'm upping the ante by putting a smidge of peanut butter on the sticky traps.  If he won't cross them by accident, we'll lure him in... (curse, curse, snarl.  He's not gonna get the best of me!  Is he?) whatever-the-heck-it is.  I've almost given up hope.  I've cleaned behind/under all my kitchen appliances, cleaned the entire pantry and restocked.  I've not found any evidence (can you say, chocolate sprinkles) that he's still around.  But, I'm afraid he still is.  Either he can't fit through the holes anymore...since he was fed like a king his first days here...or he's off calling in his friends...or perhaps, he's finding a food source someother place I've not realized yet.  I'm thinking by Christmas he could be the size of a small weiner dog.  And good news...the kids are really hoping for a puppy.

Oh Lord...please help me with this one.

I'm growing weary....

Friday, October 12, 2012

hope to see you there.

It's been a whole year since women came out in droves to relax and reconnect at the the Perfectly Imperfect Woman retreat at the Spiritual Center in Maria Stein.  WOW!  A whole year.

Well, they've pulled it together again, with fabulous speakers and presenters and sharers -of-their-talents, and wine-sipping, and shopping, and mani's and pedi's for heaven sake!  All that and Mass and opportunites for Reconciliation (so we can get our God-groove on).   Perfect.

I'm super stoked to go again, and pleased as punch to have just a teensy-tinsy little part on Saturday morning...kicking off the day with coffee and chat...and whatever else the Holy Spirit leads me to share.  (Not so much on cooking though...truly, cooking's really not mah thang.)  But we can talk food, and the love we women put into it for our'll just have to come see... 

Anyways...there's still time to register.   Hope to see you there!

PS...Praise God I don't have to do Zumba again...not that I'm opposed to exercise or sweat...and not that I really participated last year...I sipped coffee and watched all those other nutcakes, er ummm....nice ladies.   It's a retreat for goodness sake...I'll be chillin' and chattin' (and praising God that we don't have to exercise on retreat). 
PPS... I do Love you nutcakes, er umm, nice ladies who have better workout willpower than me.  I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

G'night God.

I found this little gem of a bedtime prayer as I was leafing through some old papers tonight.  A humble surrender by Pope John XXIII after a tough day at the office...

"I'm tired and I'm going to bed.  It's your church.  Take care of it."

Just like that.  I love it.  Better than Memory Foam or Posturepedic or white noise or mindless television or Benadryl...or whatever it is that people fix themselves to sleep with.  Ahh, the real peace that comes in trusting that all is taken care of.  Just letting go...and letting God. 
(sigh.)   I think I'll give that one a try tonight.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago?!

(or Jamie Schmiesing, for that matter.)

Does anyone even remember Carmen Sandiago?  Or does that really date me?  Maybe she came before "Where's Waldo?"  I'm not sure.

Anyways.  I digress.

Jamie's still very much here; thinking about writing and blogposts every single day.  Thinkin' about it.  I'm thinking about lots of other stuff that isn't getting done too.  And it's pretty easy for me to get stuck dwelling in the Land of the Undone.  That's not very productive though.  Truth is, as much as I think about writing, I really haven't had much desire to write lately.  I want badly to tell everyone how life is changing here.  Some things should seem so much easier in my little world with 10 of the kids gone most afternoons.  Should.  Laundry seems more under control, I'll say that.  And I even have dinner planned by 3pm most days.  That's HUGE.  (I've always been a last minute "What the heck am I gonna throw on the table tonight?" kinda gal.  Having time to think and plan really is a good thing. For all the domestic stuff that seems to get a little easier though, life stirs up a new set of challenges.  Balancing an insane schedule that still allows time to nurture a marriage, strengthen some sort of family bond, and really builds a foundation of faith, rather than just "survive" another day seems an impossible task.  Currently I'm totally in survival mode.  I'm not giving up on that "something greater" though.  God's got a grip on my apron string...and He's promised he'll pull us through.  We're just transitioning...just transitioning.  Hold on Jamie.  Certainly we must just be "between seasons" here...and this place in our faith life is the sucky part where we clean out closets and figure out what still fits and what doesn't.   Uggh.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."  Proverbs 3:5

I haven't been totally sitting around eating bonbons to drown my miseries though.  In lieu of writing, I've found a temporary new creative outlet...we'll call it "nest feathering."  That's my code word for turning free/cheap items into something wonderful (or at least sorta great) to make this bigger house feel more like our cozy home.  Nope, I'm not too proud to say I've got some reclaimed items (read that: curbside treasures) that with a little love and sanding/painting are finding new life here.  Here are just a few pics of projects over recent weeks/months...

I dabbled in the art of hand-painting words onto a sign.  I really wanted this quote in our "quiet room," but just couldn't justify springing for those peel and stick words.  (I'm cheap like that.)  So I swiped the top board that wasn't being used from a shelving unit in our basement, and painted away.  Not too terrible for a first attempt, I don't think.  It's approximately 18"X36" and fits perfectly over the couch in that room.

 In that same "quiet" space...also our music room.  We have these great built-ins which include a pull-open writing desk.  All of our books are kept in the family room and toy room, so this is sort of under-utilized space.  I painted the backs of the shelves in a complimentary color (actually left-over kitchen it coordinates with the room next door...and it was FREE!) 

And then Emma helped me tear out the desk- stuff, and turn this space into our family prayer place.   It holds our rosaries, and candle, a pic of the Holy Family...well you can see for yourself.  The drawers beneath hold prayer cards, extra rosaries, etc.  It's sort of a private little retreat for prayers, if you will.

This next one is a piece I spared from the curb.  It's an old 1970's dresser (it was dark brown and legless, with a large mirror attached to the top/back.)  that my Aunt was ready to dump.  I snatched it up (Freeeee for the haulin') and added some legs, some turquoise color, and some stain to antique it a bit.  Better than new!  And now a roost for our tv in the new family room. 

Okay...seriously this one came out of a dumpster.  Someone called me from their work one day, and said they had tossed this old unfinished wood display unit into the dumpster, and if nothing else, would make great storage in the basement or something.  Well it came to rest in our shed for over a year, and now moved here, and with a little trim molding/paint/antique distressing, it's a perfect complement to my junk dresser/tv holder.  And fills a major gap in our new space.  It holds all the kids' board games and puzzles out of sight underneath.  For FREEEEE!  (Oh, and I didn't mean to include this...but check out those funky orange curtains on the and I sewed them (lined them even thanks to some tips from crafty/decorator friend Stacie) with fabric I found much cheaper online than in stores.  Mucho savings there.)

You're not going to believe that someone put this little set of chair on the curb.  Seriously AWESOME condition, and my new favorite spot to supervise the morning circus as I sip my coffee.
The table is one of the very first pieces of furniture John and I ever bought before we were married...had some wicker chairs to match from a super-cheap import store.  Those chairs didn't last though. I just repainted the table for an update.
               Wait for it...this gets better...

Here is the rest of the set (Yes...FREE...from the curb.)   I'm sorry if you're reading this, and it was from your can't change your's the rules!   I didn't really need more patio furniture, but who could resist free?!   They're perched right outside the kitchen window, and I figure I can bring extra seating out or in as needed. 

Okay...this is leftover chalk board paint from my garage home-school project last spring.  The paint held up so well out there...with crashing bikes and scooter...I decided I'd love it in the house.  So I painted the pantry doors in the kitchen.  One side is my week-at-a-glance schedule, the other side is grocery list/random jokes/bible verses/whatever.  The kids get the bottom half for doodling.  Really lovin' it.  (and yes, more attempts to hand-paint words with the "What's going on?" and "What's going, going, gone.")

More hand-painting...I'm kind of getting addicted.  No, not on the door.  I was afraid I'd mess that up too bad.  I updated the mailbox with a little color, and hand-painted house numbers.  All left-over paints.  Freee.....

So there you have it... just a few of the reasons I tell myself I'm too busy to blog.   Maybe I'm just avoiding things here...maybe just enjoying a different creative process...maybe I'm nuts and need to knock it off.  Who knows.  I think about you all often.  I understand God is still working in me, and on me, and hopefully soon again, through you.  Love you all.  THanks for hanging on, even when I'm a terrible blog-host.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

prayer request

(I thought this posted on Monday...but Blogger had other intentions.  Sorry for the late notice.)

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
~Matthew 18: 19-20

It's been a long time ago (can you say, 21 years), but I'm pretty certain that there were a lot of things racing through my mind as I was handed my high-school diploma.  I'm certain I wanted to look good on stage...and not trip.  It was blistering hot that day...and I KNOW I thought about whether my gown would be stuck to my hiney as I stood up to get my diploma.  (Please Lord, spare me that humiliation!) That was probably at the forefront of my simple thoughts.  I bet I was hoping my aunts and uncles wouldn't hang around just too long after the cake was cut so I could "book it" to the long list of great parties that my classmates had planned.  Oh...the scholarship I was awarded probably gave me a few nervous thoughts about college that was just a few months away.  But nowhere in my wildest dreams would I or any other senior-on-his/her-way-out-into-the-world be thinking about Cancer.

Unfortunately, a recent grad in our community is facing just that.  His college start is on hold as he focuses instead on surgery and treatment for the tumor on his brain.  

Please join his family and friends, and parish community (and surrounding) for a day of prayer, whether you might know Austin K., or not.  Lift him, and his family and his doctors up in prayers as he undergoes his first surgery tomorrow.

There is a prayer vigil scheduled at St. Augustine Catholic Church here in Minster on Tuesday, September 18th from 8am (mass) till 8pm.  If you can't make it to church, pray is the most powerful thing we can offer.



Saturday, September 15, 2012


Alice and Emma are really enjoying their sports seasons this fall.  As seventh graders, it's their first real full-time commitment to a team...practicing 5 days a week and really pouring their heart into it.
WIth all that commitment comes a new set of challenges as well.  It's been intersting to watch them as they settle in to their places on the team.  Or maybe...not more accurate.

Alice loves Volleyball.  She started playing last spring on a club team, and really took to the game.  She is a strong server, likes to dig, and has a great attititude.  That last part has really been put to the test as their team is struggling to make marks in the "win column" this year.  It's been tough. 

Emma on the other hand, chose running.  She's passionate about Cross Country, and really seems to be finding her groove.  Her struggles come from a different place...the exact opposite place really.  Her team has won every meet.  There are 14 junior high runners and they are all incredible.  It's a challenge to be a part of such a well-oiled machine, and still stand out as an individual.  She's feeling "stuck."

Yesterday as I prayed about their unique challenges, I came across this bible verse, and had some time to talk with each of them this morning, before they headed out on their respective buses.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us; let us use them.   ~Romans 12:6

To Alice:  Do not let fear of what others think,  keep you from being a positive leader, a role model for grace and humility and kindness even when the score is not in your favor.  Winning will come, let your actions show that you're a true winner, regardless of the game's outcome.  Lead your team to a personal victory each and every time you're on the court.  Your God-given gifts include your ability, you are a calm leader, you have a positive attitude, and you have a kind heart. Use them.  I am proud of you, and I love you.

To Emma:  Do not allow yourself to "fit" into any one mold.  You are full of surprises and you are capable of amazing things.  Do your best, take chances, push past comfortable.  Allow your mind to believe what God has created your body to be capable of.  Your gifts include your ability, your determination, your desire to be the best you can be.  Use them.
I am proud of you, and I love you.

Right now, Anne's gift seems to be playing in water.  She just soaked herself as she discovered the buttons on the fridge water dispenser.  I must go.  PEACE.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The weather is cooler, coffee is warm and the floury bread dough under my nails reminds me how blessed I truly am.  Something about fall weather, maybe the idea of harvests or maybe just the fact that gray skies force me into a feeling of slowing down a bit...but something about it brings about a deeper sense of gratitude for how God takes care, and provides.

It also inspires me and helps me to recognize the things I do throughout the day are also a loving way to provide for my family here.  I am not a bread-winner, by any means.  But I can feather the nest, I can turn a few humble ingredients into something good and nourishing, I can keep things running smoothly here.  I've even come to a place in my life where laundry doesn't horrify me like it used to.  These are the my contributions, my means of providing for my loves.

Proverbs 31 comes to mind today.  In particular, verses 10-31.  And I'm feelin' all that.

God has blessed me, and blessed my family through the work of my hands.  Not to toot our own horns, but it's quite a fulfilling job we women have...don't ya think.

Toot. Toot.

granola bar update.

I've heard that many of you are trying the granola bar recipe...and loving it.  So glad.

I've also heard that several of you have tried it and had trouble with them falling apart like crazy.  I know where you're coming from.  My suggestion for this (cause it happened to me with one batch) is to press them well, and definitely wait at LEAST 30 minutes before trying to cut hour is better if you can stand it.  They are worth the wait.   Seriously, the longer they're in the fridge, the easier they are to cut without crumbling everywhere.

Don't give up on this one!

I did try a batch the other day with craisins, almonds and (crushed) yogurt covered pretzels in place of the rice cereal and crushed plain pretzels.  It was the BOMB, and did not require any melted coating on top.  YUM!

Friday, September 7, 2012

friday funny.

Lucy's comment on Justin Bieber:

"Mom, I think he's HOT...(pause, and my eyebrows raise in wonder.)...underneath all that hair."


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Better than the "the real ones."

I try to make homemade versions of lots of different snacks/treats.  And usually I hear the same's not as good as the "real ones."

That is until I tried this new recipe for homemade, no-bake granola bars. 

You see, a single box of granola bars (the Quaker Oats Chewy variety) doesn't make it's way around the snack table once.  Only 8 or is it 10 in box?  That just won't do.  After-school snacks can kill a budget.  And so granola bars and things of the like have become rare grocery splurges. 

I have made this recipe at least 4 times now.  (A double batch makes approx 3 dozen bars...cut to the same size as the Quaker kind.)  My kids say they are the "Bomb."  Even "better than the real ones."

I've played with the recipe (based on what I had in the pantry) each time, and each time was better than the next. (Once I substitued Molasses for the honey (good, but slightly bitter), once I used crushed peanuts to replace the pretzels I ran short on, another time I used a few packets of instant oatmeal to make up for my shortage of quick oats.  Early on, we realized that pressing the mini chocolate chips into the bars just didn't work, so I now melt a little chocolate and drizzle it on top so it stays put.  I've used crunchy peanut butter, and even tried the Jif Chocolate peanut butter once...just to see.  I can't wait to experiment with craisins and almonds covered in white chocolate drizzle.  Yumm.)


No-Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
(a double batch fills both a 9x13 and an 8x8 pan perfectly, and yields about 36 bars.)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup chopped pretzels
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips


1. Cut out an 8 x 8 inch square of parchment paper. Place the parchment paper in the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.  My note:make your paper larger than the bottom of the pan!  The bars are so much easier to cut if you can lift the whole block right out of the pan with the edges of the paper, and cut them on your countertop/cutting board.

2. In a large sauce pan, add butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to bubble. Once bubbling, cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

3. Stir in the oats, crispy cereal, and pretzels. Stir until well coated. Pour into the prepared pan. Press the mixture evenly into the pan. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top and gently press into the granola bars with your hands.  Seriously:  skip the pressing, and just drizzle (less than it calls for) melted chocolate lightly over the top.

4. Place the bars in the refrigerator and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Cut into bars and serve.

Note-I store the bars in the refrigerator. I've kept them in the fridge for up to a week and they are still tasty!

Adapted from Rachael Ray

finger-dippin' goodness.

I busted little Annie making her way over to the holy water font in our kitchen the other day. Too Darn Cute! She was dripping in blessings by the time she was done...
God Bless Anne in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

high hopes

Can you believe that most of the kids in my seventh grade parish religion class had never heard of Jiminy Cricket?!  Or maybe they just didn't want me to make them sing along...that might be more true. 

(completely off-subject; sorry about that.)

Anyways, like Jiminy Cricket, I had "high hopes" with the start of this school year that by now my house would be immaculately clean, laundry piles tamed, closets and drawers organized and so on.

Hasn't happened. 


I also thought that I'd be kickin' blog hiney, and typing out my feelings like it's nobody's business.  You can see for yourself how I'm doing on that one.

In all actuality, I'm still enjoying another week of "summer" with little Lucy until she begins preschool next week.  The two of us have become quite the dynamic duo while little Annie naps her afternoons away.  We've crafted and colored and stickered.  We've done makeovers and fingernails and curlers...even played "Toddlers and Tiaras" one afternoon.  She won the big crown.  It helps when your mama is running the pageant.  (Yes, I should be ashamed that I've seen that show.  My girls LOVE it.  Even more ashamed that we "played" it.  But it was FUN.)  We've cooked dinners, baked treats, folded laundry, and sometimes just collapsed on the couch and dozed off to some snuggly good books. 

I have been snappin  a ton of silly pics, and collected a pile of random thoughts that I have "high hopes" of sharing with you all real soon.  I'm hangin in there...hope you will too.


Monday, August 27, 2012

St. Monica, pray for us.

This mama knew a thing or two about dealing with a rebelious child...and how prayer is the key to conversion.  I'm guessing her son (St. Augie) gave her a gray hair or two, being the "free spirit" that he was...right up until his conversion on her deathbed.

Prayer for the Return of a Loved One to the Church.
Lord Jesus, I know that you give everyone the grace to seek and to find you in their lives; so I want to pray for someone who is very dear to me, someone who was in the church but who has turned away.
Grant your grace to this person, Lord that he (she) may come back to full union with you in the church. Grant him (her) the eyes of faith to see that only in your true church the fullness of life can be found.
Let my life and the lives of all the faithful be so truly Christian that they may be a sign and an invitation to reconversion for this person and for all who may have fallen away. I ask this, Lord in you name and through the intercession of Mary Immacualte, Mother of the Church. Amen.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

coffee chat

All the kids are still in bed this morning, save two.  Emma, whom I just delivered to catch the bus for her first Jr. High Cross Country meet and Anne, who's moving furniture as I type.  I'll be brief.

I just wanted to try to spill out quickly how proud I am of Emma and her efforts/hard work these last months.  She's literally run the souls off of a pair of running shoes since June.  All this training...distance running, sprints, core exercises, and stuff I don't even know... boiling down to a two mile race on a foreign course against girls who want to win it just as much as the next one.  She was frustrated to wake up with a runny nose/sore throat...variables she couldn't have factored into her training regimine.  Life does that, doesn't it.  We can do all the right things, but in the end most of it's out of our control so we just do our best.

Her team "locker buddy" left her a note of inspiration yesterday...typical for their age group..."Go get 'em!  You can do it" stuff.  But at the end of her note she added,  "When you start your race......GIVE IT ALL TO GOD!"   How cool is that.  You can run all the miles in the world, eat all the right foods, hydrate all you want...but it is God who gives us strength and truly nourishes.  All glory to Him, our living bread.

With friends/teammates like that, I think she's already won.

Let us run with endurance the race that is set out before us   Hebrews  12:1

Go get 'em Emma!!

(she doesn't actually run till closer to noon, so we'll be loading up the fan club and heading out to cheer her on later this morning.  This is new to us as well, our first of many more meets to come.  I don't think we'll paint our faces for the first one...maybe lay low and feel the vibe.)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Here's your sign.

Our pile of junk mail today included an offer from Highlights magazine...a sales pitch for kids magazines/fun pages that attmepts to real us in with free stickers!

While I will not be subscribing (as usual.) I will be graciously accepting this token gift of stickers as a SIGN FROM GOD...a direct order if you will, that today is a day to chill out. While Anne is napping away, Lucy and I will snuggle, color, stick stickers, read a book or two...and just hang out.

Operation: Clean & Organize This Crazy House is on hold.   It's been replaced by Mission:  Stop And Smell The Roses.  For now, junk drawers and clutter, dustbunny lairs, hard water stains in the shower, and lost Lego dudes looking for Barbie shoes in foreign places can wait.
We've got more important things to take care of.

Thank you Lord, for your subtle reminder of what is most important.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2 more out

Frank and Rose heading out for their first afternoon of kindergarden.

The nest is growing quieter, seeming larger/emptier by the minute. Oh my.

after the tears...

...reality sets in.
 1st day of school!!!

Little Rosie caught me celebrating...hee, hee.
(never mind my pale belly flab peeking out...I think I've earned it.)

Sent 7 of my babies out the door this morning for their first day of school.  Two more will be joining them later for afternoon kindergarden. 

9 kids in school.

Lucy will start preschool next month...just a few afternoons a week. 

That will leave Anne and me. 


I cried as I read this post on facebook...not sure how far it's already traveled, or who originally posted it.  I had to share.

"Here we are again, Lord. Their backpacks are loaded and their faces are scrubbed and their lunch accounts are full. And I know you'll walk with them, Lord. You always do. But a mom still has to ask. Will You walk with them? Will You whisper to them what they need to hear, when I'm not there to whisper it? Will You please, oh please, cover their school with the protection only You can give, and will You keep harm far away? Will You make their minds strong and ready to learn? Will You help them understand that hard work honors the One who created them? Will You guide their teachers, giving them patience and wisdom and creativity and even more patience? Will You bless them for their efforts? Will You love all those children there, the ones whose lunch accounts aren't full, the ones who feel alone? Will You teach my children to be kind and unselfish and to love those who are different from them? Will You point them back toward home just as soon as you can? Lord, I give them to You today and everyday, trusting them to Your care. Amen."

Crying again as I repost it.
Blessings to you and your families as we roll with the changes another school year brings.

Alice & Emma- 7th grade, Sam- 6th grade, Grace- 4th grade, Mary & John- 3rd grade, Charlie- 1st grade.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

eggs and JAM

(far from silent.)

I'm gonna miss mornings like this when school starts...breakfasts that last much longer than they should. 

Music.  Magic.  Memories to last.

 It started with Alice, rehearsing for her upcoming "Chatterbox" performance...she's working on "moving" and working the stage.  She had instant groupies!
 Little Anne did the mic check...too bad mom's terrible with the camera.
Even the boys joined in with percussion...crayola markers for make-shift drumsticks, Mary working her tambourine, Rose and Lucy joining in on strings...and Emma helping to keep the younger ones content by fixing broken strings/setting up "drum sets" etc. 

My coffee cup runneth over...(sigh.) 
Thank you Lord, for the start of another beautiful day.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

the latest nudge.

Let us be silent,
so that we may hear
the whisper of God.
          ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 27, 2012

# 7

My seventh is seven today.  SEVEN!
Happy Birthday Charlie!

I remember well, my nervous (read: anxiety-ridden) anticipation of your arrival.  Our Christmas letter that first year summed it up well I think.  After sharing the various gifts that each of our children bring to our home, I added....
"...and NEXT comes Charlie, who's gift is that he keeps us from wanting to say LAST (no, we're not expecting as of yet.)  Before he made his debut in July, we certainly tried to prepare ourselves and the kids for the chaos and stress that were sure to come.  But the truth is, Charlie has brought the exact opposite.  He is such a joy!!!  We just feel that he's brought such a sense of peace to our home.  He's a little bit of heaven, sent to remind us to be grateful and to recognize all the graces that come with following God's lead.  How blessed we truly are!"
( not always peaceful.  But definitely a constant reminder of God's grace.  He's never short on hugs and kisses, never too big for a snuggle.)

July 27, 2005

and today...July 27, 2012 (dad's busy puttin' bread on the table.)
Love you Chaz-mo.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

more from the Frank-ster.

Haven't had any little Frank tid-bits on the blog lately.  Despite his constant grumpiness, and "worst days ever!"  that kid cracks me up.  He is the cynic, the critic, the glass-half-empty kinda guy.  And despite his best efforts to drag me into his mood-of-doom, I just want to squeeze his cheeks and love on him that much more.

Here's his latest and greatest...

He and Sam got into an argument.  More like Frank drove Sam absolutely over the edge repeating the same 3 or 4 words over and over again, until Sam snapped, yelled at him and sent him out of the room, banished from the table of Lego's they'd been sharing.  Frank (annoying as he'd been a few moments ago) was now heartbroken, in tears, and wanting to write Sam a note to apologize.  He sat down at the bar as I was fixing lunch and sounded out the note as best he could...asking me a couple times how to spell certain words.  In the end...his simple apology, and peace offering totally cracked me up, and melted me like butter (or cheese!)

"From Frank, To Sam:  I am sorry, but do you want cheese or not?"

When I asked him what the heck he meant by the cheese part, he replied with a shrug, "In case he's hungry!"   (naturally.)

(sigh).  Love that little dude.

movin right along

Thank you for all the incredibly kind comments. 
I really wasn't fishing...but you're all so encouraging.  Thank you!

I think one anonymous commenter really hit the nail on the head (and made me scratch my noggin) when she mentioned that even when I don't write and share with you...knowing that I should be writing and sharing has made me much more aware, and contemplative about all the goodness God brings into our lives.  And for that, I feel truly blessed.   Awareness is a wonderful gift.  And share-ness is the step I'm working on now.

So...enough of all the compliments and kindness and mushy stuff.  My head's getting a little big for my shoulders.

Back to reality.  The perfectly imperfect me.  Moving forward.  One baby step at a time through the laundry, and housework, and weird sticky stuff on the side of the fridge...through the morning sleeping-in snuggles, to the end of the day "Angel of God's" and everything in between.  Remembering that God's hand is guiding us through it all, and hoping that I'm not giving him too many callouses in the process. 

Happy Weekend everyone!  God is good!

(I have some random thoughts/ideas for posts in my head...hoping to answer some of the questions I've been asked when speaking in large groups.  There have been some doozies, and would love to elaborate here.  Questions like "I have twin toddlers, when will life get back to normal?"  and "How do you discipline your children?"  among others.

Do you have any topics or thoughts/questions you'd like me address.  (I'm not saying I'll have the right answers...but it might strike up some great conversations in the comment box!)

Peace out.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The First Steps

The First Steps, by Vincent Van Gogh
(Deacon John referred to this painting in his homily on Sunday)

Almost every day, I find time to open up my computer, check e-mail, peek at a blog or two that I follow, and sometimes even check in here.  Random thoughts roll around in my head about things I've been meaning to share, but most days I feel like I don't have the time to develop those thoughts into words, and so I close the computer back up, and hope for more time "later."

I'd be dishonest if I didn't share that lately, I want to just call it quits.  (with the blog, that is.)  As I go through "dry spells" in my faith life, when nothing seems especially enlightening or overtly worth mentioning/celebrating...I'm just trusting, and hanging in there...I feel as though I'm stringing you along through the mundane.  And if I'm feeling "blah" about things, I must certainly leave that impression with you too.  So my mind toys with the idea of just packing it in...pretending there was never a blog, and feeling assured that none of you will miss it when I've gone.  (Certainly there's another on your list of favorites that will fill the bill.)

Seriously.  Who am I?

And then, we go to Mass.  (And Little Miss Anne does not...she stays with Grandma.)  And I get a good swift kick in the butt thanks again to beautiful music (we sang "The Summons" again,) and great readings, and a homily that felt like it was written specifically for me.  ME.  (Because to answer my own question,  I am HIS!)  And even when I seem to be only "going through the motions," He reminds me to continue to trust.  And as we take those first steps towards something new, even first steps toward starting over He is there...providing us with the people and the tools we need for take encourage us, and even to catch us should we stumble.  (Lord knows, I feel like I've been stumbling lately.) 

And so, if you're willing to keep checking in...I'm going to try to keep taking baby steps, attempting to put all these thoughts and inspirations into words.  Hoping that by writing them out, my thoughts will become actions...a lived faith, and trust in God's perfect plan...a way to bring our family into a deeper relationship with Him, and in turn, your family too.

Peace & God Bless

but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
~2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

the difficulty in slowing down

Sam was showing a couple of his cousins how to play an old-school Atari game (Pong) the other day.  As the adults passed through the room and stopped to reminisce at the "simplicity" of the game, we laughed out loud to hear one of the boys mumble..."This is the hardest game I've ever played!  It's so slow!"


Did you have this when you were a kid?  Both players compteting from a single console unit...turning knobs to control your "racket."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Red, White and....


God Bless America!

(and God Bless grandma for dropping off that blue-frosted cake.)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Leapin Lighnin Bolts, Batman!

The power is out!

A brief but powerful thunderstorm with 70+ mph winds swept through our area late yesterday afternoon, leaving trees and branches down, shingles strewn in all directions, all sorts of messes and hazards...including widespread power outages.

We faired pretty well, with only a small cherry tree lost, and a couple other branches to clean up.  It became an adventure of sorts as neighbors pulled together with chainsaws to help with clean up, and all the kids drug branches back to the alley.  There they burrowed little tunnels and made forts from the wreckage.  Our neighbors to the north (New Bremen) lost power completely, and around 9pm then, our community was dark too.  (Wondering if they had to turn ours off, to work on restoring power in New Bremen?).  Anyways.  It made for an interesting bedtime.  After shuffling all the dirty-yard-working-kids through dark showers, we finally settled in the family room with candlelight, sleeping bags and a good book.  We made our way through book #4 in the Junie B. Jones chapter book series.  The kids are in love with the little kindergardener and her shananingans.  It was a perfect, settling end to an unsettled evening.  They drifted off to sleep by chapter 5.   Ahh...God is good...all is well in our home.

And then I remembered that the swim towels I'd thrown in the washer for Saturday morning's meet weren't going to dry on their out to the clothesline I went with them, in the dark.  Shucks.  Hope they're dry by 7am.

End note:  Woke up to my cell phone alarm at 6:30 am, it's thunderstorming.  Towels aren't dry, but the meet's cancelled.  Power is back on.  Back to bed for just a little longer...all is okay in our little world.

Hoping the same can be said for yours.


Friday, June 29, 2012

back to the books

We were much too busy (with vacation bible school, out-of-town guests, etc) to check in at the library last week.  So on Wednesday of this week, we had some catching up to do there.  Fortunately we had our books read, and documented, even started a chapter book series that I'm reading to the younger kids (more on that later.)  So with paperwork in order, we headed out.

Becky wasn't in...the kids all wondered if something was terribly wrong..."Did she quit mom?!"  No, we hadn't driven her to that just yet, I assured them.  Even library ladies need a day off, I explained.  (Thinking in my head "Especially library ladies need a day off!"  Wow.

Anyhow, to make things easier on the lady at the Reading Club table, I sent the little kids off to "check out new books."  (Code for: play with the toys/trains, look for the craft, or do a puzzle.)
I handed her each of the kids booklets, and we moved through them smoothly with no arguments about change-of-names or anything.  At last we were finished, and it occurred to me, I hadn't seen Anne doing her usual book sort lately.  Shoot.  "Anyone seen Anne?" I whispered to the kids...nope. 

Just then, the little booger came sashaying her way out of Ms. Becky's office.  Quite oblivious to the fact (or proud of, maybe) that she was covered head to toe in yesterday's cold coffee, and still toting Becky's coffee mug.  I followed her soggy tracks back to her desk chair, which was also covered in the wonderful-smelling brew.  Darnit!  (thank you Lord that it was not a hot cup-o-joe.)
She climbed right back up on the chair, and pointed proudly, even mumbled "hot!  no, no, no."  And then grinned like the Cheshire Cat.  Darnit...she's too dang cute. 

So I spent the next 10 minutes scrubbing Ms. Becky's office chair with papertowels, and damp sponges graciously provided by one of the other librarians.  I have to say, the chair looked very new...and they seemed happy for me to take the heat on this one.  The fabric was nice, and must have been scotch-guarded at some point.  Thank you God.  The coffee seemed to come out nicely.

I'll have to send Ms. Becky an apology note, and perhaps a travel mug with a lid:)

And so continues our Summer Reading club drama. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

WWJD? (not this time.)

Someone commented to me at the swim meet last evening about how I "must have it all together."
If I had been drinking something at the time, it surely would have come out my nose.

Not got it all together.

Today I busted my two youngest boys for peeing in the garage trash-can.

Since this is a first for me, I'm wondering (A.) do other people's kids do this stuff?  and (B.) how do you begin to respond?  I'd like to say I had a WWJD? moment.  But seriously, it was more like WTF?  (as in What the *beep*?!)  Yes, I sensor words in my head too, 'been livin with kids that long.
Seriously though, where did I go wrong here?

After a brief moment of staring confused and in disbelief, I followed the girls out to the garage to investigate.  It didn't take a rocket-scientist to notice that the garage-turned-classroom wastebasket was filled with damp papers.  Clearly the class clowns had marked their territory...and they were nowhere to be found.  Though it didn't take long for them to turn up with all their sisters scouring the house and yard, eager to bust 'em.   I'd like to say I handled things calmly, but it was nowhere near calm...or cool...definitely not collected.  I ranted briefly about them acting like wild dogs, and asked if they wanted to live in cages in the yard.  (Not my finest moment.)  But I think they got the picture, or at least know now not to pee in front of their sisters. 

I led them out to the back yard to help them empty, and clean out the wastebasket with the garden hose and soap.  All the while, flashbacks in my head of my brothers doing this same crazy stuff when we were this age.  And how we laugh about this stuff maybe I should lighten up a little. Grateful in hindsight that I didn't make them clean it out with their toothbrushes...nonsense thoughts like that actually go through my head sometime.  Thank you Holy Spirit for the strength to ignore that insanity.

Does anyone else have moments like these?  Maybe not exactly like these...but the moments that have you scratching your head wondering if their dad's dropped them when you weren't looking? 

This is just another one of those crazy so-not-got-it-all together days.

 Livin' the dream, baby.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

loop holes

I have a no-snacks-in-front-of-the-tv policy here.  This rule can only be overlooked for popcorn and a good movie.  It was put in place for obvious reasons, like carpet and upholstery to name two.  But also includes more idealistic notions like...when you're eating in front of the tv, you're not thinking about what you're eating which leads to issues with weight that I don't want my kids to go through.  Anywho...
My kids test this all the time!  I probably hollar out a dozen or more times per day..."no snacks in front of the tv!"

Charlie found a loop hole...still off the carpet/furniture...still watching his favorite cartoon. 

I spotted him out back through my kitchen window, as he was peering through to the kids tv/toy room area; tiny bowl of chips within reach.

Ah, bugger!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

time traveling

A road trip earlier this week led us over to Berne, Indiana for a step back in time...a couple hundred learn a bit about how early swiss settlers spent their days.  The kids and some of their cousins, a few of my sisters-in-law, and grandpa and me loaded into two vans for a day's adventure.

We toured the Swiss Heritage Museum, where we most enjoyed visiting the old school house and our storyteller-tour guide's animated portrayal of our school teacher.  She had us saying The Pledge, singing My Country Tis of Thee, even practicing our vowel sounds.  Several of the kids were called out for their shananigans and given proper discipline, including poor Mary who was stuck in the corner wearing a dunce cap.  She gave each of the kids a name suitable to the time period...and you can imagine the grief Frank gave her when she called him "Peter."  Oh Lord, help us.
The kids tried various pioneer games including walking on stilts, feed sack races, and "jumping the Wabash."  We also toured a home/garden, cheesemaker's home/workshop, apple cider press, a doctor's office and church. 

After the tour we drove into the center of town to see the beautiful Swiss Clock Tower and Glockenspiel (love that word.)  The clock rings beautiful chimes every hour, but at certain hours (noon, 3 and 6) it plays music and doors open high up on the tower for statues to revolve/peek out.  Very sweet.  (the kids loved laying on their backs at the tower's foot to watch the statues go round.)

From there we traveled a few blocks over to the Palmer House for pie and ice cream.  YUMM!

Our drive home was a scenic tour past Amishville Campground (where we had initially planned to visit...but it's restaurant/Amish home tour is only open on the weekends).  It was eye-opening for us all to realize how many people in that area choose to live a life without the many ammenities we've come to rely electricity, and running water, and cars, and OMG nearly every modern "convenience."  Can you imagine a life with no I-anythings (pods, pads, phones.)  Simpler, more difficult, humbling.

here are a few shots from the day...

 Sixteen of the grandkids/great-grandkids that joined in the adventure...

Our picnic lunch in a beautiful old barn.

 Poor Mary...she just didn't grasp the math lesson for the day, so this will surely help her understand.

 Before we can sit, we must all say the Pledge, and sing...

 Kids and adults trying their hand at stilt-walking.

 (above) Girls in church, and (below) boys in jail.   Hmmmm....

 The clock tower in Berne...

 Grandpa and all the kiddos...

 Waiting patiently for the show to begin...

And there it is...way up high...5foot tall statues revolving through those clock-tower doors.