Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Starting to Feel Like Summer! Daybook

Tuesday, May 28

Outside my window...
Sunny with a few clouds.  The weather this weekend has been absolutely glorious---not too hot, and with very little humidity.

I am thankful...
For the freedoms we have, and especially for the men and women who paid for them with their lives.  My husband had a nice, relaxing day off yesterday, and I'm grateful for that, too.

One of my big boys comes home tonight for the rest of the week! Yay!

From the school table...
School's out for the summer, but we really do need to sit down together and come up with some summer activities so the entire summer isn't wasted by playing idiotic games on the computer and ipod!

In the kitchen...
A meat, a veggie, and a starch.  Easy meal planning.

I am wearing...
yoga capris and a summery, orange v-neck.  It's my new "uniform" for the many walks with the dog every day.

I am knitting...
Not knitting.  Spinning.  SPIN.NING. With my new drop spindle.  I'm on my last batt of fleece.  I have no idea what it is, but it's super soft and scrumptious.   This whole spinning thing is rather addictive, and I've gotten a lot better; I've even learned to drop the spindle and spin the wool while the spindle hangs free and...well...spins.  It's hard to talk about spinning without overusing those words spin and spindle!  I'll probably work obsessively on this batt until it's finished and then figure out how to ply yarn.  God willing, I won't ruin this beautiful stuff.

I am going...
Checking my calendar to see where I'm going today reminds me that we have a swim meet tonight.  Grrrrooooaaaannnn.  I'm sorry; it's not that bad, but we've been doing swim team for about 14 years now.  And if we continue until Meg is 18, it will be 21 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It's only 6 weeks of summer, but some of the jobs are waaaaaayyyyy out of my comfort zone and the people running the show seem to want me to move up to those jobs because I've had kids on the team for so long.

The good thing about this year is that we're using Sign Up Genius to sign up.  Assuming I'm not away from a computer for 48 hours when the list goes up for the next meet, I should be able to get a job I'm happy with.  When the email came out for the first 2 meets, I was at WalMart and got a text from TMax (who was at school!!!) telling me to Go! Go! Go!  Maybe it's not such a bad thing that his phone alerts him to every email.  ;-)

(And he was having days on end of study halls because he had finished his school work and AP exams. That's the only reason his phone was on.)

I am reading...
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict.  I picked it up last night, not wanting to face any of the "grown up" books on my nightstand, but I was thinking that I might not enjoy it, having pretty much forgotten the plots of the other Mysterious Benedict Society books.  However, I was immediately sucked into it, and the other stories are starting to come back.  We love these books.  They're a lot of fun.  I wonder if I could get Meg to read them this summer.

I am hoping and praying...
For my sister who broke her ankle in 2 places, and had to have surgery to repair it with plates and screws, and won't be able to put any weight on it for 8 weeks, at least.  All this as she was putting the finishing touches on the moving truck to help her newly-minted M.D. daughter move half way across the country.  Aside from the obvious pain and inconvenience of such an injury, they've both missed out on a precious week together as my niece starts her new life.

I am hearing on my ipod...
The voice of Fr. Michael Gaitley praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  I love this new app from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception! 

Around the house...
Spinning....dust....unfolded laundry.  Spinning.  ;-)

One of my favorite things...

Retiring from being AHG's Troop Coordinator for the past 3 years (and 2 years as Vice Coordinator before that).  But seriously, this:

My parting gift was this hand-made Sacred Heart mosaic cross.  It's huge, about 15" tall x 9" wide, and it was made by one of the ladies in the troop who has some amazing talent, evidently.  I'm honored to have one of her creations made especially for me!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
2 swim meets, doctors and dentists.  Something to do every day.  I guess it's still May.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yarn Along & Moore

I really wanted to blog a little earlier in the week, but first we were just being lazy.  ;-)  And then we...I... was overwhelmed by the tornado in Oklahoma.  You may recall that I have family in Joplin, which is like my 2nd hometown, and was deeply saddened by their tornado 2 years ago.  I also have beloved family in Oklahoma City...my 3rd hometown, if I can have such a thing....whom I was very worried about Monday.

I mapped the distance between my uncle's house and Moore, OK, and it's only 7 miles.  I'm assuming that's to the center of Moore, not necessarily where the tornado began.  So...a little too close to home, again.  Thank God, all family members are safe, even though they were pretty scared at the time!

Like everyone else, I'm am brokenhearted for all those who lost loved ones and their homes.  Lots of prayers for those poor families!

I was too tired to blog earlier because we went camping with our homeschool group this weekend.    It was the first time in years that we had the freedom to join them on the annual trip.  It was close to home, only 30 minutes, and everyone was free!  Unfortunately, it was a bit rainy, and it rained almost all night Friday night.  One tent flooded, but the day finally dawned and the rain stopped.  It was overcast most of the day, so it was actually quite nice for the kids to play with their friends, and swim in the lake.  I'm sure you can imagine how many children were there with at least 20 Catholic homeschool families in attendance!!  It was awesome!

All day long we watched the weather forecast and debated whether or not to come home Saturday night.  In the end, we decided we had had All The Fun, and Sunday morning would just be packing up anyway to get home in time for Mass, so we left around 9:00 p.m. and slept in our own beds that night.  And thank heavens we did, because those heavens opened up and there were huge thunderstorms and very heavy rains all night long!  That was a lucky break.

Here you can see the book I've been reading:  The Children's Blizzard by Laskin.  It was very interesting learning about the beginnings of the National Weather Service and the whole meteorological aspect of this blizzard, but it went into far too many digressions.  I think people spend so much time researching a book that they don't want to leave anything out of the book!  It all has to go in!!  

It reminded me of Isaac's Storm, about the hurricane that destroyed Galveston, TX, in the early 20th century.  I liked that one a bit better, however.  As much as you can like a disaster book, anyway.

I have not been working much on my ripple afghan because I got an Etsy gift card for Mother's Day and spent it on some roving and a drop spindle, so I've been learning to spin.  And doing a very poor job of it, I must say.  I think this is some of the ugliest yarn I've ever seen!
What do you make with crummy, lumpy wool like this???

I'm glad I chose the braid I liked the least to start on.  The second one is already looking better, and I have a 3rd package which is the prettiest and softest.  I hope that by the time I get to that one, I've improved a good deal!

Evidently there's a weather-disaster theme to this post.  Sorry about that.  Totally unintentional.

Friday, May 17, 2013

7 Quick Takes with Links!


This is a great article on why the world doesn't take the Catholic Church seriously.   The press continues to talk about "the Catholic vote" at election time, but why bother?  Most Catholics vote the same as everyone else, but the fact that they still talk about means that we used to, and probably should still since Church teachings haven't changed in 2000 years.



Abby Johnson on how she's no different than Kermit Gosnell.   


The Anonymous SAHM.  I'm still an anonymous SAHM.  Not a doctor staying home, not a writer, just a mom, and except for a brief period in high school where I wanted to be a lawyer, that's about all I've ever wanted to be.


Conveniently, 3 Takes left for videos from Tom's piano recital last night! 




Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

PHFR - Graduation Edition

round button chicken


Me.  Because Jamie Jo said I should include more pictures of myself.  ;-) Or, maybe she meant someone else should take more pics of me, and I should include them in my blog.  Something like that.  
Between Film Studies Convocation and the Commencement Exercises for the entire university, we had a good time walking around the old campus taking pictures.

Love that Japanese maple against the gray building!


A bunch of kids happily hanging out together.
And a happy mom enjoying it.


Still waiting for Commencement, we had a little tailgate, and the young photobombers were having a blast.


When you're dragged to a graduation ceremony for over 5,000 students, and you're feeling a little....detached... from the activity, you take pictures of your shoes.

I think she did the same thing 2 years ago when Katie graduated!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

When Kids Grow Up

It's Wednesday, and we've reach a new normal.   Brendan has graduated from college, and after a few days visiting with us, he has gone "home".  Yes, he even said out loud that this is the place he "visits" from now on!  :-( Pete is still in college, and, so, technically, still lives here, but he is spending the summer on campus working and playing Ultimate Frisbee with his teammates.  (They'll be going to Nationals in a couple of weeks!)  He went back on Monday.

So, here we are.  I have six children, but only 3 at home.  And it's quieter than ever since swim team season has started.  Let me tell you, nothing makes me feel older than telling a young-ish mom that I've just met that I have six kids, but 3 of them are out of the house.  I never thought it would happen!

The past few summers have been absolutely crazy with all of them home wanting to use the same car at the same time.  But that seems to be over now, too.

People say it all the time....enjoy these years while they're young, because they'll be gone before you know it....but...WOW...it's true.  So much energy wasted on worrying about how this or that was going to get done (when it always managed to get done, or it didn't need to be done, after all).   So much energy wasted on trying to be the perfect housewife, as if that is what defines who I am. I'd really much rather be known as the fun mom who always had time for a smile and a hug or a game with the children.  I'd rather be known as the mom who raised young saints.

Life does get a bit crazy with a large family....not that I think 6 is all that large....let's talk to my friend with 10....and some of that is unavoidable, but how we respond to it is our choice.  After many, many years of really congested calendar weeks (and I have always tried really hard not to over schedule the family!) where I was frantic, I finally saw that the week ended and it all got done.  Somehow.  Either someone stepped in to help and I didn't have to do it all myself.  Or someone got sick.  Or events were cancelled.  Or I let the housework and laundry go for a few days.  It. always. got. done, and if I had known that it would  at the beginning of the week, I would have been a much calmer mom!

So, I'm here to tell you, Dear Readers, the time is short.  I know you can't imagine how short, but it is.  Stop reading blogs while your children pull at you and ask for things---games, snacks, hugs, whatever---go love them.
---Trim down your blog list to only those blogs that lift you up and give you something useful for your life.  Don't read the ones that make you feel bad about your life, or tempt you to shop too much, or just simply don't help you improve your life.  Cut them out.  I do that several times per year because new ones keep creeping in!

---Come up with a household management system that is do-able.  Enlist your kids to help because that's the only way they will have a clue how to take care of themselves when they leave home!

---Find out what your husband's minimum standards are.  My husband just wants to be fed; other husbands might not care about food as much.  ;-)

---Speaking of food...have family dinners every night.  Yes, every night.  We might not all be there every night, but those of us who are sit down together and talk.   It might not be fancy, but we do it.  I might not be there, but I get it prepped so the kids can finish it.  Family dinners are the one thing that we've always done, and I am so thankful for!

---My husband's important laundry is taken care of at the dry cleaners, not by me.  Maybe some people don't mind ironing shirts, but we figured out many years ago that the cost at the cleaners was minimal compared with the stress of my trying to replicate their job with children underfoot!

---Keep a family calendar, either on the computer/phone or wall, so you know what needs to be done when, and you can learn to say "No" when it gets too full!

I'm so thankful that I've learned some of these lessons while I still have children at home to practice them on!  (Reason #57,612 why big families are good.)  I hope some of it will rub off on the older ones.

Life is short.  Go live it.  Love your family.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful moms out there who work so hard for their families!

Reading Mother's Day posts has me teary-eyed already.  How many of you are in tears today?  My husband keeps saying he's not doing anything for me today because I'm not his mother, (I think he's joking) but his mother is actually here today, so he can celebrate with her.  

My mom, God rest her soul, is not here, but I hope she knows how much I love her and miss her. 

My children are not all here, yet.  There is one more missing who is returning from a camping trip this morning.  Then, we will all be together for today, and I will enjoy having all my children together for one more day.  

My Blessed Mother

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

French-Inspired Curtains

 I finally got around to making Meg's French-inspired curtains---which are kind of fun, but really just an inexpensive replacement for the horrid lime-green curtains that don't go with her new wall color!

I picked up a linen-like dropcloth from the big box store.  This one is for a hallway, so it's long and thin, and if you cut it in half it's perfect for 2 curtains!

You weren't planning to use this patch of sunshine, were you?

She wanted an Eiffel tower which looks good in the first picture, but then it kind of misses the mark at the bottom.  Quelle dommage!  We looked up common French phrases to write on the curtains (avec Sharpies, bien sûr!), and we still had plenty of room without repeating the same things dozens of times, so....

I wrote the Hail Mary at the bottom of that curtain, and on the other one, j'ai écrit le prière à Saint Michel Archange et une fleur de lis.

Waaaay too green in these pictures!

Finally, some coordinating bins for the shelves, and new ribbon on the memo board.  Et voilá!  Finis.

She loves her new grown-up room, and I love that it's clean and the bed is made every day!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Another Rainy Daybook


Outside my window...
Rain, rain, and more rain.  I don't know how much more of this I can stand.  We're so tired of the rain, that we actually took the kids to the pool (which "opened" Saturday) during the brief, sunny break between storm fronts.  It was not much more than 60 outside, and the water must have been much colder, but they (sort of) enjoyed it.  Some of us simply enjoyed sitting in the sunshine and staying dry.  Or napping.

I am thinking...
About my second child graduating from college this week.  Another bittersweet event.  I'm so proud of what he has accomplished, and I'm looking forward to seeing where he goes from here (though he's not going anywhere for a while as he's taking a year off to re-energize). (See Hoping and Praying...)

I am thankful...
That we finally had the plumber come out to solve the roaring pipes when the toilets were flushed!  It was so simple.  We still needed an expert, but it was simple for him, and it's done, and the house is blissfully quiet---at least it sounds normal when you flush, not like we have ghosts or the pipes are going to explode!

From the school table...
We are wrapping up the essentials in the next 2 weeks!  I'm so excited!  I need to find a math workbook for Meg over the summer, because she forgets her math very easily, and we need to transition from Singapore to Saxon, but we are looking forward to being DONE!

In the kitchen...
Leftover chicken enchiladas today.  They were super yummy yesterday!

I am wearing...
My new uniform---workout pants, a v-neck, and jacket.  I got a Fitbit Zip, and I'm trying to get my 10,000 steps per day which means a lot of walks with the dog.  I've discovered I'm much more likely to get my exercise if I'm dressed comfortably.  These days, even jeans don't count as comfortable.

I am knitting...
Crocheting my ripple afghan.  Still.  Maybe if it keeps raining, I can finish this week.  Maybe if it stops raining I can crochet at the park or outside in the sun.

I am going...
To focus my energies at home, this week.  Graduation prep, house cleaning, meal planning, etc.

I am hoping and praying...
For my two oldest children to get jobs!  They've signed a lease on an apartment together, and they're going to have a fun year while they work towards starting on their Masters degrees, but they can only save money if they get jobs.  :-/

I am looking forward to...
Getting a new camera!  I got the go-ahead this morning, so I need to make a purchase.  Our point-and-shoot broke (thank goodness, and no, I didn't help it along!), and it's time to upgrade to DSLR.  I'm dying to learn to take gorgeous photos.
Around the house...
It's kind of messy since we didn't do chores this weekend.  We spent practically the whole weekend watching opera on TV.  That's okay, we would just be cleaning it again this week for the arrival of the inlaws for Friday's graduation.
One of my favorite things...

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Have I mentioned Graduation?

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
No picture.  Broken camera.  :-(  Not even an iphone picture.

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Two of My Favorite Things

I was thinking about joining Ginny's Yarn Along today, but nothing much has changed since my last post on Friday.  I'm still crocheting and reading the same things.  The thing that has changed is my mood----I'm really grumpy.  So I thought I would share with you.  ;-)

Not my grumpy mood...but 2 of my favorite things.  I don't think I'm quite up to 5 Favorites today, but you can visit Hallie to see who is.

1. My mother's fudge.  It's the perfect cure...okay, not perfect...for a bad mood.  Anyway, it cheers me to think of her and whip up a batch for a pick-me up.  So, today I'll share the extremely complex recipe with you!

1/2 c butter, melted & removed from heat
1 tsp (or capful) of vanilla extract
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 lb. powdered sugar

Whisk all ingredients together, adding up to

1/2 c hot water

to make it smooth and spreadable.  Pour onto a buttered platter and let cool.  If you can wait.  I never knew anyone who could.

Today I added chopped walnuts for extra nutrition.  hahaha.  A couple of notes:  I always add water because I like my chocolate on the darker side.  You can use milk if you prefer a milkier chocolate.  We also use this recipe for frosting cakes---just add a little more liquid to make it the consistency you want!

2.  Praying the Regina Caeli during the Easter season.  A while back, I set the noon alarm on my phone to remind me to pray the Angelus every day.  Now that it is Easter, we pray the Regina Caeli every day---most days, not every day.  And when I'm grumpy, it reminds me that I have a very good reason to rejoice and be glad!

Queen of Heaven
V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.
V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


I'd love to know what your favorites are for changing your mood!  Help a girl out!


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