Saturday, April 28, 2012

just for smiles

Things around here...well, you just never know what you might walk in on.
Thought I'd share a few random photos from our week. 

Miss Anne---who's taken to climbing ev-ry-thing.  Most mornings she spends two-stepping her way across the breakfast table...thankfully, after the breakfast has been cleared.  Here, she's terrorizing the Loving Family dollhouse, sending them all running for their lives!

Okay...this just cracks me up.   We had "one of those days," where everyone was all jacked up with extra energy, but I think it was raining or I put in an old-school aerobics video in an attempt to wear them down.  It was hilarious!!!  Even the boys got in on the hip action.  HA!

And this morning.  More yucky weather.  So we camped indoors for some Saturday morning fun.  The orange blanket in the center is their make-shift campfire.  Tons of fun.  Careful Lucy, your biscuits might be burning!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

First Communion Novena

We have two who will be making there first Holy Communion on May 6th (John and Mary).  We are so excited for them to be sharing in this most Holy Meal of the Mass.  Tomorrow (Friday) will be the perfect time to begin this...
(In case you're interested, but unable to pray the full novena, a "Triduum" of prayers may be said on the 3 days leading up to the Sacrament.)

Ninth Day Before

Parents: Jesus, you love (name) very much. You saved (him, her) from sin and death by dying on the cross and rising. Through baptism (he, she) became God's child. In nine days you will come to (name) in communion. Fill (him, her) with thanksgiving for this great gift. Let our prayers help prepare (him, her) to receive you.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

Eighth Day Before

Parents: Jesus, you died for our sins. We remember this in the Eucharist. In eight days (name) will receive the sacred bread and wine of communion. This is your body and blood that you gave for us. Keep (name) free from sin and full of grace.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

Seventh Day Before

Parents: Jesus, by your death and rising you won everlasting life for us. In seven days (name) will receive you, the risen Lord, in communion. Let (name) always live so that someday (he, she) may be happy with you forever in heaven.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

Sixth Day Before

Parents: Jesus, in the Eucharist, you nourish the divine life we received in baptism. In six days, (name) will receive you for the first time in holy communion. Help (him, her) grow in love of you so that (he, she) lives as a true child of God.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

Fifth Day Before

Parents: Jesus, in communion you come closer to us than anyone can ever be. As our food and drink you become one with us. In five days, (name) will welcome you in (his, her) heart. May (he, she) come to love you more and more each day.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

Fourth Day Before

Parents: Jesus, you want all your followers to be united in love. Through the Eucharist you bind us all together in friendship and love. In four days, (name) will be more closely joined to the church through holy communion. Give (him, her) the grace to be an active member of the church.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

Third Day Before

Parents: Jesus, (name) was intitiated into your church at baptism. (He, She) is looking forward to further initiation through the Eucharist. In three days (name) will receive the sacrament of initiation. Make (him, her) a good Catholic Christian, full of faith and love.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

Second Day Before

Parents: Jesus, in the Eucharist you make us more like you. In two days you will come to (name) in communion. Enable (him, her) to be the person of kindness, compassion, wisdom and courage that you were. Increase (his, her) faith, hope and love.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.

The Day Before

Parents: Jesus, tomorrow will be a great day of joy. (Name) will receive you in holy communion for the first time. (He, She) will know how much you love us. Bless (name) and make (him, her) a strong, loving Christian. May (name) always long to receive you in the Blessed Sacrament. May (he, she) always appreciate all you have done for us.
Child: Jesus, help me prepare my heart for you.
~ from "The Gift of Holy Communion" prayers.

straight talk

(Hello friends!)

This morning the younger kids and I sped off to the New Knoxville Airport to watch Daddy board a small corporate plane, and fly off to Kinston, NC for the day.
It's his first travel experience for work, and we were so darned excited for him...and nervous...we couldn't help but see him off. 
We were able to park the van and walk right up to the gate, just a few yards from the plane.  Of course, he spotted us (surprised? VERY!) just before boarding.

As the plane taxi'd toward the runway, the kids and I made the sign of the cross and shared a little prayer for safe travels.  Of course, I led and tried to eloquently ask God to keep the pilot and passengers safe...yada, yada.  Rose impatiently interrupted with her own simple words..."But mostly make it so they don't DIE!"  Amen. 

After take-off the plane service technician greeted us, and offered us a quick tour of the hangar and one of the other planes...just like the one John was traveling on.   We saw the cockpit, and the very luxurious passenger area...complete with a kitchenette and restroom...we saw it all!  What an awesome nice of him to take the time in his busy day.  Especially since our visit was unplanned, and he didn't know us from Adam.  Guess he figured a disheveled lady with 5 young kids at 7:45am, must have legitimite reason to be there.  Why else would we be out that early, 'cept to see Daddy off.

We're excited to greet John back safely home for supper, and hear about his adventures.

Anyways, as we drove the 15 minute trip back home, I couldn't help but think of Rosie's prayer again...and how simple and to the point it was.  Sometimes words are my friend.  Other times, I get so caught up in trying to get them right, I fail to say what I really mean.  Or worse, I say nothing at all.

Hence the silence here.

Oh, life is traveling at lightning speed.  And I've had so many new experiences/stories to share as I try to roll with life and it's changes.  I'm gonna try to quit perfecting the words in my head, and just "spit it out" for you here.  Attempt to say what I we can all grow/learn/love from it.

Miss you all. 

Thank you God.  For Rosie, and words, and safe travels.  and everything.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

still turning cards

I continue to make my way through the deck of "Daily Reflections" cards I received last month.


"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts."
~Collosians 3:15

Seriously...I should have flipped/read this before the kids left for school. Oh my, was it one of those mornings. I'll take full blame...shoulda never let them stay up till 9:30 to finish that movie they were watching. But it was a cute one...and they seemed "settled." Perfectly good idea at the time.
Anyhow...lots of "unpeacefulness" going on this morning...arguing, tears, even some boys getting physical with the nudges and knocks they like to torment each other with. Good grief.

Peace. Yes, please. Hope their day at school goes better. The younger kids here are just waking up, much better rested than the big siblings that passed through the kitchen before them...the day is already brighter here. Could be that my coffee is kicking in too...or perhaps... the reminder of God's peace, the kind of peace that is lasting and true, is settling in.

Praise God. Prince of Peace.

Make me a channel...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Carrot cake and a deviled egg for breakfast...somehow I can justify this as my veggie and protein for the day.

Throw in a few malted milk balls, and I've got a well balanced meal.

Alleluia Easter!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I've neglected

Several family members asked over Easter, "How's the renovation going?" It made me think how neglectful I've been in sharing the final outcome with you. Fact is, I've wanted to share pics a few times now, but didn't want to dwell on the "things" of life. You know...didn't want to seem all caught up in what we've got.

Truth is though, God is good! And years (and years) of scraping, and sacrificing and saving, and working hard to provide the basics for our family, has led us to an opportunity to provide a little more. And now we can proceed to continue to scrape and save. (insert smiley face here, if I knew how.)

Anyhow. We are finished with the apartment renovation (have been for a couple weeks), and now can just enjoy hanging a picture here and there, or adding a "finishing detail" as it comes along.

When we purchased this home, it included an attached 2-bedroom apartment. The tenant knew better than we did how we'd want to use the space, and moved out even before we had a chance to meet/ask her.
That left us with a seperate (but accessible) living space, just waiting to blossom into our extended kitchen and new great family room space. In demo-ing the apartment space, we tore out EV.RY.THING including it's old bathroom and moved it to a better suited place in the room.

Here are some pics...before's and afters...

standing at our kitchen island, this is the wall that we had taken down...beyond is the apartment space that was. There's a hallway to the right in picture. The doorway lead to a pass-thru closet that was our only entrance to the apartment.

And here the girls pose once again, this time no wall. And the apartment space is now completely ours to enjoy...all one great open floor plan. You can tell by the transition in the hardwood floor where the old wall used to be. The hallway isn't there anymore, but the doorway to the coat-closet is the same, and still provides a back entrance to the mudroom/garage. Beyond the new orange wall is the new bathroom with the toilet/sink a seperate space from the shower area. Very practical!!

This was our "life in plastic" for about 3 weeks. Boy are we grateful that the dust has finally settled. That's not to say I've got it completely dusted away yet, but at least it's settled.

Once the demo was done, and the walls down. We had this amazing space off the kitchen. YES...Emma was rip-sticking in the apartment!!!
Inside the old apartement. I took this picture standing on the backside of our kitchen wall, looking towards the front door/window. Still lots of demo to do in this picture, but a few of the apartment walls were down, and half the carpet gone.
And here, in the new...I'm standing in nearly the same spot, looking at the new front window/entry way. And enjoying all the view has to offer. Yes, we (I) got a little bold with color...but it is a fun family space for a wild and crazy family!
And the opposite view from our front entry way, looking back. Lots of bare wall space...decorating will come. What I love even more is all the bare floor space. I can't tell you how awesome it's been having dance parties, even family camp-ins with room for sleeping bags everywhere! And how 'bout that table with 14 chairs!!! John giggles often that there's always room for one more.

Thank you for humoring me as I go on and on...and for sharing with me in these blessings our Lord has provided.

Somewhere through this process I came across a bible story that in some ways reminded me this year of blessings we're experiencing. It was Leviticus 25, I think and had to do with God's rewarding the Israelites for their years of faithfulness.

I'm not saying I've been completely good. Always full of questions, and wonder for what God's plan is in our lives. But I also think that the last 10 years have had their share of blurry challenges and struggles, and perhaps, just maybe, God's smiling for all the times we've said "yes" to his will, even when it was with hesitation, or fear.

May this time of goodness be the courage and motivation to continue to say yes to his will, especially as we enter into the new phases of life...teenagers, and all that has to bring. Oh my.

For now, I'll just enjoy the blessings....and praise GOd!

Easter Blessings!

Hope you all had a blessed Easter, surrounded by those you love and filled with memories of loved ones we are sure to meet again one day thanks to the beautiful gift of new life Easter brings. Praises to our Lord for his ultimate gift of love and sacrifice.

We had a full family weekend thanks to extra time off work and school, and collectively participating in various Easter Triduum services.

Thought I'd take a moment to share some lighter memories of our Easter weekend...

Alice and Emma played a double header against Parkway girls on Saturday...a full day at their lovely park in Rockford. We enjoyed the beautiful weather, their playground, a picnic lunch between games, and even a visit with Easter Bunny thanks to the Egg Hunt they had going on in the park that day. (We obviously were not dressed for an official visit with the King of Easter Candy, but hey when life hands us free colored eggs...we roll.)

That same evening, we finally had an opportunity to color eggs...all of us. Boy is it getting trickier all the time to spend quality family time together. And to be able to keep the mess outdoors...woohoo! Gorgeous weather!

Frank took this business very seiously...though its hard to take him seriously with that dirt-stained only a mother could love.
Seriously. PINK. and all that.
The perfect Easter manicure...
He found us!!! There are always worries about being forgotten with a move to a new home.

Easter Cheeeeeeese!!!!!! All cleaned up (and squinty and silly) after Mass at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Candy?! What candy?! I don't know anything about any candy...
Peace to you and yours...and Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

just knowing

There are amazing people in this world who have a special gift of knowing what needs to be done, and they just do it...or assign someone else to do it. Or both.
Really. It's a gift.
I spend most of my days oblivious to the happenings in the community/world around me. Busy with my own concerns for the day like...well you know...laundry, and meals, and cleaning, and sorting, and making sure everyone is to school/practices/games/lessons/clubs on time, and that the rest of us are watching, waiting, or transporting as needed. Yesterday was a particularly brutal day as far as scheduling goes. And yet, other people...even people I know well and love, are facing their own life challenges...accidents, injuries, deaths even, grieving for loved ones, having babies, needing help...any sort of help. And where am I? Worrying about whether someone has clean baseball socks, or whether someone else needs a peanut butter sandwich before they run out the door.
I suck at looking beyond my own business sometimes. I fail miserably at being a good neighbor.

A lady in our neighborhood past away last weekend. Suddenly, unexpectedly. And while we're new to the neighborhood...we've been in this town all our lives, and we all know each other. And we know her husband who grieves, and her children, some of whom also live in our neighborhood. Oh, it's sad. And yet, what do we do in times like these but pray, and offer sympathies. And then (this is where I screw up) we get back to busy with our own business.
Not some people though. Nope. They know just what's needed. They know the business that needs to be taken care of. Like which neighbors should bring food, and which neighbors will be assigned to baking desserts for the funeral luncheon. And who will collect for flowers or whatever. It's beautiful, and humbling, and inspiring. And I was so incredibly grateful to get the call to bake a couple desserts. It's exactly what I would LOVE to do. Seriously. Something tangible to take the burden away from the family even if some miniscule way. I'm inspired by the people who still call on neighbors, encouraging us...even if assigning do our part. I prayed as I baked late into the night last night that I would learn from be a better neighbor, to recognize others needs ahead of my own. (I prayed a little love into each bite too...that those who eat it would be comforted a bit.) It is in fact, why we're here right? To lend a hand, to serve each other. To love and be loved. To be the living Christ for others when they can, in any given moment share only in his suffering.

Thank you Lord for people who just know...and do...and encourage us to live more like you.