Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Baby Yarn Along

I haven't been participating in Ginny's Yarn Along for a while since I've been working on a secret project that I wasn't ready to share.  I can share it now because it has finally been revealed to the giftee.  Notice, I said "revealed to" and not "given"----because it's still not finished!

Behold the Mirbeau Slip Stitch baby blanket for my bff who had Baby #10 a couple of weeks ago.  I started the blanket a little late, maybe a month or so before she delivered, not realizing how long it would take to knit, but I don't mind the lengthy project as it's sort of a "prayer blanket."  As I knit, I say lots of Hail Mary's and Memorares.  Occasionally, a whole rosary, but that's difficult with so many interruptions and no beads to help me keep my place!  I wanted to knit something that would keep me praying for them through the end of a difficult pregnancy.  As they both had a close call at delivery, and a difficult couple of weeks since then, I'm glad it's not finished because Mom and the family still need the prayers!  If you wouldn't mind sending up an extra prayer two for them, I know it would be appreciated.

My book this week is James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small which I just got from the library yesterday for our book club.  We've been on hiatus for the month of May which is great because I couldn't have stood the pressure of one more thing on my to-do list!  I'm looking forward to this because everyone else says it's awesome, funny, and uplifting.  Have you read it or any of his others?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Roswell Remembers

We went the "Roswell Remembers" Memorial Day celebration todayyesterday.  Most of the family went, and we met some of our fellow American Heritage Girls there.  

One of our friends got there very early and scored awesome seats for us, but we didn't end up sitting in them as lots of older folks, and probably Vets, were looking for seats, too.  So we let go most of the saved seats and stayed off to the side.  
Roswell does a beautiful memorial every year.  The music is good; there were Celtic pipes and drums in addition to the symphony orchestra.  There is a wreath-laying by a widow or a mother at the base of the memorial wall.  The main speaker is good and not too long-winded.  Everyone's favorite part is "From the Heart" where anyone can get up and share for 3 minutes.  It's usually vets who talk about their experiences or another hero.

There are lots of displays to see before and after the main event.  Lots of veterans organizations, the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.   I always find the display of traps set by the Viet Cong to be fascinating and chilling.  I can't imagine the courage that is needed to go out and fight, knowing the horrors that might be waiting!
One of the speakers told us about a soldier who was one of the first to land on the beach at Normandy, and managed to survive the war.  After coming home, and working until he was 65, he retired to putter around the house.  Getting tired of that, he got at job at age 67 at Walmart as a greeter.  He's 87 now, and couldn't be at the ceremony because he had to work!  We needed to go to Walmart, so we made a trip over there to shake his hand and give him a hug, but he wasn't there.  I like to think that they finally came to their senses and let an American hero have the day off---with pay!

God bless all the men and women, and their families, who work to defend our country!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I'm spending too much time on the computer this morning as I continue to unwind from last night's American Heritage Girls Court of Honor.  It was awesome, and beautifully planned (by someone else!), exciting for the girls, and just exhausting.  

My baby got braces on her top teeth this week.  She was so excited about it...for months leading up to it...and so proud to show her friends.  The next day, when a sore mouth and hunger clashed, she was not so thrilled.  :-(
What a cutie!

Truly awesome article in the National Catholic Register by blogger Simcha Fischer about What We Should Tell Our Kids About Sex.  If you have kids, or you're struggling with this issue, you should click over and read it.  Really.  It would be great if I had known some of this stuff as a teen other than the nebulous "wait for marriage" idea that I somehow grasped out of thin air.  I can't remember ever having a conversation with my mom about it

Another great article, if a little old and dusty, that's worth clicking over for, from First Things about Schooling at Home.  This is a nice look at what homeschooling can look like.  At our house, it's still a bit too check-off-each-subject oriented, but I've tried to move to a model more like this in recent years.  

Knitting.  I really should be knitting.  Deadline looming tomorrow, but I have all afternoon (she said, hopefully), and then 2 hours at trivia tonight.  I took a much-needed break yesterday from the stress and sat in the car knitting (and occasionally tweeting) while waiting for Tom to get out of school.  I had an hour and a half which I could have spent driving home and back, or just sitting and praying while knitting.  I think I chose the better option.

On Twitter this week---I'm following Cardinal Timothy Dolan.  He pretty much rocks.  Loved his tweet quoting St. Augustine that if you want to be a saint, be grateful.  So, I'm working on being grateful.  If only it were that easy!

Looks like this is going to be The Summer of Movies since our bored College Boy got a job at a movie theater.  So the whole family scores free movie tickets!  Dh and I are totally psyched.  We might make back the money spent on his uniform pants and shoes, but I don't think we'll get as high as high school tuition.  Not in one summer, anyway.  We don't have that much free time.  Keeping my fingers crossed that there are that many good movies to see----OTOH, if we're not paying, we can afford to see the less good ones!  And see the good ones twice!  

Does that make sense?  Can you tell we're excited? 
Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Epic {phfr}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

I don't think I ever shared the details of our Epic Road Trip to Joplin at the beginning of the month.  "Epic" because its a freaking long drive to make in one day with 4 kids and no spouse.  So, the children range in age from 10-22, but I still felt the weight of responsiblity for all that precious cargo!

 We always drive past Paducah, Ky, but we've never stopped there, unless it was on the side of the road to get gas or fast food.  After leaving at 5 a.m., Paducah was in the perfect spot for lunch which we had brought in a cooler.  

 I had no idea what a pretty, old town it is!  We parked downtown, after turning around in the parking lot of the National Quilt Museum, and walked to the riverfront for lunch.  Their flood wall is very picturesque!  The kids screamed in dismay at the quilt museum, and were relieved that we didn't go in, but I hear it's amazing and the children would have loved it.  Next time, dudes. 

 Even the doorknobs downtown are pretty!  We had fun looking through a couple of antique and consignments shops before getting back on the road---and seriously lost.  Well, not lost, but definitely more on picturesque back roads that Google Maps recommends than on the interstate!

My sister's adopted Shih Tzu, Tucker, who is so sweet and grateful to have been saved, and loves her so much that he stays at her feet when it's past his bedtime.  He's trying to stay awake with everyone else, but he keeps falling asleep like a toddler, instead of just going to bed.

The joy of iphones is that they can be used to find out if there are any recommended Diners, Drive-ins, or Dives on the route so you can avoid the tedium of which fast-food chain to stop at on the exit!

Driving in major cities, downtown, is not my favorite thing to do, but that's exactly what happened when we chose Arnold's as our destination in Nashville.  There was a little consignment shop next door that we had some fun in afterwards!  The food was southern, homestyle.  There was a line all the way to the door.  And the place was packed the whole time we were there, and I overheard that it's like that all day long, 7 days a week.  

Amazingly enough, even with that longer-than-expected detour and lunch and shopping, we still made it home in excellent time!  Can I just say, wow, the folks in Nashville were nice.  Everyone we spoke to was so friendly!

This is what children do in the car:  the 10 yo sits quietly in the back playing with whatever is handy, and listening to an ipod because any type of reading makes her sick.  Though she and Pip did do some travel-schooling when he sat back there and did the reading aloud.

The 22 yo reads YA fiction to see if it's appropriate for the Summer Reading List for her school.  Eats babybel cheeses, and photographs them, too.

The 13 yo takes the babybel wax and carefully sculpts a creepy creature which, in the end, looks a little too devilish for me.  

The 16 yo work constantly on his AP World History project which involved finding a million-and-one facts to put on this chart.  Here is his finally-finished project.  I think 26+ hours in the car was a big boost in his productivity!

What did I do, you ask?  I drove.  And drove.  And drove.  There weren't many requests from the other drivers to take over as they had other things to occupy their time.  And I listened to lots of my favorite Catholic podcasts from SQPN.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Day in May

We were having dinner with my in-laws who were visiting when the phone rang.  Our youngest jumped up to answer it, but didn't recognize the hoarse voice of her uncle who said that a massive tornado had just struck Joplin.  Confused, she hung up and told me what the caller said.  I turned on the weather channel to find out what was going on and saw a reporter standing on the street with the heavily-damaged St. John's hospital in the background. 

It was shocking, to say the least, but I found out quickly that the tornado had missed my dad's home and they were safe.  But there was so much damage!   We all saw it on the news for days. 

Going to my dad's for his 80th birthday at the beginning of the month was my first chance to go back and see, up close, what had happened.  I never lived full-time in Joplin as my brother and sister did.  My father grew up there and has been there most of his adult life, so it was in Joplin that I spent many Christmases and summer vacations.  

 It was a gorgeous, sunny day, the day they drove us through the Tornado Zone.  Just like the day it happened, my stepmother said.   Dad didn't want me to go alone through the area since all the landmarks I knew as a child, along with the street signs, were gone.  I would very quickly have become lost unless I drove in a straight line to the end of the damaged area.  All over town the street names have been spray-painted on the streets---one of the legacies that will live on for many years, I guess.

 The Joplin I have known all my life never looked like this!  The Joplin I knew was a grid of streets filled with houses and trees and businesses all squashed together on small, rectangular lots.  Now, you can see from one end of town to the other.  Most of the trees and houses are completely gone, the debris cleared away for the most part.  Here and there are remnants of houses still standing that make you wonder what happened to the owners and their family.

 I was driving and one of the children was wielding the camera, so I don't have the pics I would have liked.  There's a beautiful, rebuilt playground across from the hospital that the Extreme Home Makeover team built for the children of Joplin.  There are seven lovely, little, unique homes that they built, not far from the park, that send a message of hope to the community.  There are also several Habitat for Humanity houses near there.

The whole area is so unrecognizable that I didn't even realize as we slowed to a stop at a corner that we were next to my grandmother and grandfather's house.  Amazingly, their detached garage, built of cinderblock, was leveled, but the frame house stood.  It has been renovated and looks different, so it didn't really strike me as remarkable.  But just a couple of blocks away, we came to my aunt and uncle's house, or where their house had once stood.  I think the whole block was leveled.  

That block had a feature that I've rarely seen anywhere else----there were 3-4 steps leading up from the sidewalk, and there were retaining walls built of concrete along the front of the yards, instead of gently sloping hills.  Their wall was always painted red, and that's how I knew where we were when my brother, in the car in front of us, stopped.  The red wall was there, along with it's neighbors, but no houses on either side of the street.  And that was when I burst into tears.  

I loved that house.  I loved my aunt and uncle who lived there with my 2 cousins, and I loved the many, happy times I spent there as a young child.  It was a modest, tiny house, as most of them are in Joplin.  It probably had only 3 bedrooms, if that, and 1 bathroom, so I guess it wasn't the house, but the family it stood for.

I'm happy that my family no longer lived there and my aunt didn't have to witness the destruction of the home where she raised her children and lived most of her life.  I know my father, who was very lucky, is heartbroken over the damage that has been done to his beloved hometown.

But, you know what?  During the whole drive, we heard story after story of heroism during and immediately after the tornado.  We heard stories about how all the churches and the people are working together to rebuild their community.  It will be a very, long process, but it is happening, and I pray that all those who were hurt will be healed during the process of rebuilding.  It's amazing to hear how generous everyone is during tragedies like this.  It's too bad that it takes tragedies like this to bring people together.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Daybook

Sometimes I think about that phrase "for today" as I begin the Daybook, and I wonder what it means.  Today (ha!) it suddenly strikes me that I'm supposed to be grateful for all these little things that make up my day, because Today is all I have.  Yesterday, and all those other yesterdays are over, and I can't bring them back.  If I have regrets, all I can do is let them inform my behavior for today, so that I don't make the same mistakes again.  Tomorrow isn't here, so I shouldn't waste the beautiful gifts and opportunities of today wondering how I'll get it all done.

Outside my window...
It's a gorgeous morning, and I took the dog on a longer walk than usual, taking most of the cul-de-sacs and turns in the neighborhood.  In fact, I passed another couple with their dog at least 3 times going the opposite direction.  I love seeing them together.  They're the parents of my boys' good friends, and the 2 of them have such animated conversations on their walks.

I am thinking...
Lots of deep thoughts these days.  About Life.  My life.  Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing?  Hello...Mid-Life-Crisis, anyone?  The funny thing is...when DH and I were doing our Catholicism study group yesterday...this one... of the ladies in our group said that she's still waiting for God to tell her (very clearly, because she's dense like that [her words, not mine]) what she's supposed to do with her life.  Well, she is about 85 years old, and one of the most beautiful, prayerful, loving, hardworking women I know, and if she hasn't figured it out at her age, then I don't know how I'm supposed to!

I am thankful...
For so many things, especially when I look around at the hard battles others are fighting.

From the learning rooms...
Summer mode.  Reading and math before swim team, ideally.  But since the Pipster is planning to be a Team Captain and going to all the practices, he won't get in his work before swim team.  And I'll bet he'll be tired afterward.  Hmmmm.  That makes me nervous as he's pretty far behind in his textbook.

In the kitchen...
I need to work on easy, summer menus, and I got an app for that! It's Menu Planner.  It's a little heavy on the preliminary work because you have to enter your recipes, unless you want to download recipes from the sites that it works with.  I'm cheating a bit and just entering the ingredients, not the instructions because I can go to the book for that, but then you can choose the dates, select your meals, and it comes up with the shopping list for the meals within the chosen date-range.  I'm looking forward to sitting down this week and entering more recipes, and seeing if it also works on my phone!

I am wearing...
Workout clothes.  Did my 45 min. walk and lots of weights in the basement.  Pew.

I am knitting...
Not as much as I should be!  I'll show you next week.  My hard deadline for this project is Saturday for blocking.  Now, if I could just stay off Twitter.

I am going...
to go crazy with the annual, summer car-juggling.  Not really, but it does get a little hairy sometimes between my schedule and the kids'.   Short meeting tonight for AHG, BSA Court of Honor tomorrow, last choir rehearsal Wednesday, AHG Court of Honor Thursday...Chiropractor, picking up after school every day since Tom still has a week left, and the usual errands.  Well, one day at a time, right?  Somehow, it all gets done if it's meant to happen.

I am reading...
Rifles for Watie---I like this version of the Civil War that I've never heard about...the fighting in Missouri and Kansas.
The Catholics Next Door---on my Kindle while I knit.
The Truth About St. Therese took a backseat to Rifles.  Back to that this week.

I am hoping and praying for...
::A little boy with brain cancer who was diagnosed stage 4 when he was 2.  He is now 4, and it looks like they're making one last effort to keep him with them as long as possible.
::The Mouro family, and their little Truman.
::Our parish and our pastor.  And all our priests.  Some need conversion and the strength to teach the truth, and the faithful ones need strength to teach the truth in the face of resistant parishioners, and they all need our prayers to be faithful to their vows.
::My sweet friends who are both recovering from major surgery.
::For a beautiful young man with a drug problem.
::Elizabeth DeHority
::Summer jobs for my 2 boys!  Pete has a job interview today, so a little Hail Mary would be nice!

I am looking forward to...
Just today.

I am hearing on my ipod...
Waiting anxiously for time in the car with Meg and Pip to listen to the SQPN podcast about the Season Finale of Once Upon a Time.  It was an epic episode and we want to hear what they say!
Around the house...
Summer projects starting next week.  Katie has a list that she's working on and I think I might end up helping with those.

One of my favorite things...
Quiet afternoons when I don't have to be anywhere and I can just knit and read, or knit and pray, or knit and watch a movie.  Or all three combos.  That might be my summer mornings, at least until swim team ends in July, if I get away from the computer!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Oops, told you those in the I Am Going section!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Because there are hardly ever any good pictures of me, and because neither my children (the official photographers at my dad's 80th b-day party), nor anyone else with a camera, took any of me while we were there, my dad asked me to get a picture with Pip (he was neglected, too) for his photobook.  We got dressed up again, and Meg took some pics for us.

 Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, May 18, 2012

End of School Quick Takes

After reading Jen's Quick Takes, I got sucked into taking a sample Spanish lesson from Pimsleur.  You can take the first 30 minute lesson of any of their languages for free.  I really liked it.  I've tried several language programs over the years (though we've never done Rosetta Stone), and I thought this had a couple of things going for it:  it immerses you in a conversation and then breaks it down word by word.  It also breaks down the words by syllables which I've never encountered before.  I usually need to see a word to understand how they're pronouncing it (though that wouldn't work for Chinese!), and this really helped me get the pronunciation right.  I am also lured in by the fact that you can buy a few lessons at a time in MP3 format instead of investing over $200 in DVD's that you might not use.  You can find out if your kids hate it in fewer than 5 lessons and for only $21.95!

Today is the last day of school for the neighbors, so there's probably a big pool party this afternoon.  But if there is, I didn't get the memo.  Do you think they started inviting just the kids who actually go to school?

One of the neighbors was here playing during school hours yesterday.  They've figured out the system:  since they practically never miss school during the year, they just skip the last couple of days where valuable hours that could be spent cramming a little more knowledge into their heads are just wasted by cleaning out desks and watching stupid movies in every class.  I love that.

We, OTOH, simply give up.  Technically, we know there are a couple more days of the school year, and we're no where near finishing certain textbooks, so we just quit.  But since I plan to make them do math and read every day, I think it will more than add up to the number of hours we would have spent in the last 2 days of school.

I bought myself a new book for Mother's Day---because, dontcha know, every day is Mother's Day!  I bought Alabama Studio Style.  I'm so excited to start stitching, I can hardly stand it, but I'm forcing myself to wait until I finish my current knitting project which has an absolute, final deadline of next Saturday.  I think the sewing will be faster, but I keep trying to remind myself that since a lot of it is done by hand, it might be just as slow as knitting.

I finally got a Kindle Touch for Mother's Day, too.  I have the Kindle App on my phone, which I love, but I do get a bit tired of the tiny print and the brightness.  It's great for reading in bed, if I have to, but I wanted the Kindle so I could have a whole, portable library in one small package!

My sweet son got me a Kindle book for my big day, too.  He picked one off my wish list, and it was The Catholics Next Door:  Adventures in Imperfect Living.  I'm 29% of the way through it, and really enjoying it while I knit----because I can do that with a Kindle.  I don't need a third hand to hold the book!  Saints are great reading, but it's also nice to read about the real struggles of people who live in my world, and Greg and Jennifer Willits have a very engaging style.  I can hear their voices in my head (from listening to their podcasts, rosaries, etc.).  And then there was the time I accosted (like a total fangirl) met Jennifer at the Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress a few years ago.  That was back when they were making their video series, "That Catholic Show".  You really ought to click over and watch those if you haven't seen them.  They'd be good for Religion Summer School!

So, on that note, I should go pretend to teach school for a little while.  Nag the kids.  Get out the books and spread them around the table.  Nag the kids.  Repeat Ad nauseum.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pondering My Purpose

We're winding up the schoolyear here, and books are dropping off the schedule one by one.  That's always a great feeling when the daily load gets lighter, but this year it seems to be balanced by the fact that I'm still very busy. 

Maybe next week will be the last "busy" week.  The local schools get out tomorrow and morning swim practices will start next week.  I still have choir and the big End of Year banquet for American Heritage Girls, but then those will be done, or we'll just move into a low-key mode.

Despite being so busy, running in and out of the house all day, trying to keep up with laundry and chores, I'm pondering my purpose in life.  Is this really it?  Is it raising my 6 kids (who are mostly raised, at this point)?  Is it home schooling them?  Keeping house for my loving husband?  Singing in the choir?

I look around at my friends, at the blogosphere, and see women who are working, who have active, money-making niche blogs, or who have a fabulous skill that they share with the world.  And it provides them with an income at the same time!  I keep wondering what I could do to bring in some money to the household.  (And you know, just typing that feels so crass and shallow!)  Is it that I just want to feel important?  Do I want more money so my children can have more stuff and less of me?  I barely have time for the things I am already doing, though I'm fairly certain that they are part of God's will and I haven't said 'yes' to things recklessly. 

But where is that Other Thing that promises to fulfill me and answer all my hopes and dreams for the perfect life?

So, I keep pondering, looking for that perfect job opportunity or craft that will fulfill my needs (both pecuniary and personal), and I keep getting the same prompt:

Pray more!
Pray more, and the answers will be given to you!

If I pray more, it will sanctify the work I already do.
If I pray more, I'll know if what I am doing is what I am meant to do.
If I pray more, I will be fulfilled in all the ways that count---without changing a single, other thing.

Maybe prayer is the key!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gus the Vermin Hunter

Gus is supposedly a mix of Pug and West Highland Terrier.  Or he's a Border Terrier.  Or he's a Cairn Terrier.  Whatever else he is, he is a Vermin Hunter.

The other morning he spotted a little spider halfway across the room....
Resting on my sleeping mats for the homeless that I was finishing.

Playing with his still-wriggling prey

It's under his left paw.

Deciding how to play with it next.
After he catches it, he tosses it around and pats it with his paws before he eats it.  Yum.

The next day, Katie said there was a huge cockroach downstairs (Don't judge.  This is Georgia, folks!), so we sent him down after it.  Apparently, there was quite a chase scene, which I missed, but Gus the Vermin Hunter prevailed and left the roach in 3 pieces on the floor.

I wish I could send him up to the attic to catch whatever lives up there!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

This is the kind of moment that makes a mother proud.  Actually, it's more than 6 moments, but you know what I mean.

This Mother's Day started off happy, but it's deteriorating into a bout of deep sadness, wishing my mom was here on earth, so I could call her and wish her a happy day and thank her for everything she ever did for me.  You know, I don't think I ever did that.  Make sure you do it.

In lieu of my earthly mother, I went out in the rain, with my feet bare, and picked all the beautiful flowers I could find on the side of my house to decorate my Blessed Mother's altar.

And now, I'm going to sit down, knit, and pray for my dear friend who has a new baby and is happy to be alive.  And I know her children are happy about that, too.

That first piece, Divenire, is a little melancholy.  Cheer up with this ensemble piece.  You can't see my son in this video.  :-(

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quick Takes

I feel as if I've been on the computer for hours and I'm letting my kids oversleep by hours! The first is absolutely true since I've been awake since 4 a.m., and at the computer reading, watching, and knitting since 4:30!  But it's still only 7:30 and I don't have to get the kids up quite yet.

I said the other day that I was looking forward to Saturday so I could relax.  I forgot that I have a long meeting Saturday morning and then a piano recital later in the day.  Somewhere in there we have to clean, grocery shop, and cook.  I'm sure there's other stuff that I'm forgetting about, but instead of the logical step of trying to remember it, I'll try to forget the zillions of things to be done and places to be between now and Mother's day.  ;-)

Somone...ahem...remarked on my not smiling last night.  Not Smiling is a bad habit of mine.  It's not necessarily because I'm in a bad mood; I'm probably just thinking about the next thing to be done on my list.  Part 1 of this post on Sharing Your Faith with Joy  struck a chord with me, but I think it's probably much easier for someone who is much more outgoing than myself.   Despite the fact that I've done a fair amount of public speaking (talking about sex and NFP, no less) in the past decade, and do crazy things like cantor at my parish, and lead our American Heritage Girls troop,  I've really no desire to attract attention to myself.  How socially awkward/backward is that?

Our homeschool group had an interesting email discussion going on last week about general health and what to eat or not eat.  One part of it that I found timely was about sleeping (see #1).  I've known for years that sleeping in a pitch dark room is important for a woman's cycle (see #3), and ours is pretty dark, but lately when I've been awake in the middle of the night, I've notices a few places where dim lights are sneaking in!  Also related to sleeping is the effect that computers and such have on our sleep habits, and that evening usage is likely to prevent our going to sleep easily (something I have noticed).  At the recommendation of a friend, I downloaded the f.lux app for my iMac which mimics the lighting the computer is in after the sun goes down.  It gives the computer a sunset-type glow by eliminating the blue back-light that makes our brains think it's daytime.   Loving it so far.  I have to read up on jailbreaking my iphone so I can add it to that.

Getting Better Sleep is part of an ongoing effort to simplify and improve the quality of our lives.  Good sleep is part of that.  So is just generally staying away from the screens in the evening which I would like to do more of.  Or is it 'less of'?  :-)  (See?  I'm smiling!)

Yesterday was a perfect Georgia day!  Today looks promising, too.  It was sunny, 75, and no humidity with a light breeze blowing---the kind of day that makes you revel in the beauty of God's creation and makes you happy to be alive.  I'm so thankful to have this monster of a dog sweet puppy that makes me get outside and walk every day now! 

And now, it's really time to wake the kids and start the day in earnest.  Lots of places to go today; I'll have to enjoy the weather between car trips.

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We're Back!

FOR TODAY Outside my window...
I haven't really looked!  I think it's pretty cloudy and we're expecting rain, but that's good because we need it!

I am thinking...
About the bazillion and one things that need to be done around here!  I'm expecting that my Blessed Mother will give me the grace I need to accomplish the neccesary things.

I am thankful...
for our safe return from the Epic Road Trip to Joplin for my father's 80th birthday party.  It was a good drive with 4 of my children---the 2 college boys couldn't get away---and I managed to do most of the driving out there without my husband.  Katie drove the last couple of hours, but I drove all. the. way. home.  It's a full 12 hours of driving + stopping for meals, gas, and bathroom breaks.  We made it out in 14 hours and back in 13.5!  I had a wonderful visit with my sister and brother; I met a couple of cousins that I didn't know because they're 20+ years older than I am; I didn't get to talk much with my dad, but the kids did.  And I survived the encounters with my stepmother, and that's about all we need to say about that!  

From the learning rooms...
We're down to the last 2 weeks of school which feels really good.  But we're way behind in math, and that doesn't feel so good.  I think we'll attempt to do math daily through the summer; it keeps them from forgetting everything, anyway.

In the kitchen...
Making dinner for a friend today.

I am knitting...
Not fast enough!  A prayer blanket is my current project and I need to finish it last weekend.  But prayers are still needed, so I guess it's okay that I'm still knitting!

I am going...
To see my friend, stop at the library (cool, there's one around the corner from her house where I can drop off the books!), and pick up Tom from school.  Otherwise, I'll be at home slaving away working:  teaching school, cooking, nursing a sick college boy, and doing his stinky college laundry all while encouraging him and others to carry his stuff downstairs.  

I am wondering... How it's all going to get done today!

I am reading... St. Therese is not on my nightstand anymore for some reason (oh, took it on the trip and read not a word!), and I'm into Rifles for Watie which I found at the library for $0.25 and am enjoying.

I am looking forward to...
Saturday.  Seriously.  Oh, and Mother's Day.  And tomorrow because I placed an Amazon order yesterday.  And seeing my Dear Friend today.  So, I'm super busy, but there is something to look forward to every day in addition to all those wonderful little moments with my family where my kids make me laugh.  I'm happy to have my boys home and I have to enjoy the heck out of Brendan who is only staying for 2 days before going back to May-mester.

Around the house...
College dorm stuff spread from the front door to the back door!

One of my favorite things...
My kids making me laugh.  I loved spending all those hours in the car with them.  They crack me up sometimes; they're so witty.  When they're not plugged into their ipods or whining and bickering, that is.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
The usual stuff:  choir, the farm-fresh milk and egg run which now includes fresh veggies which are amazing, AHG (last regular meeting!).  Also this week is our swim team kick-off.  Can you believe that?  I keep having horrifying flashbacks of having to work the bullpens.  Ugh.  Give me a job that doesn't involve wrangling snakes herding cats organizing beautiful children who all look identical in their matching swimsuits and caps!

Is your Month of May super busy?  What are your highlights?
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Friday, May 4, 2012

We are on the road (some of us, not all of us) for a Command Performance of My Dad's 80th Birthday.  I'm driving straight through, 14+ hours, to Joplin with a selection of kids who can spare the time to come along for the ride.  It's not much time, either, mind you.  Friday out and Monday back.  It's only slightly insane.

I'll be glad to see my Dad.  And he'll be extra glad to see all three of his children together at the same time.  That hasn't happened in  Well, we were together briefly for Mom's funeral, and then Grandmother's funeral, but he didn't attend either of those.

So, hey!  It might be fun to get to see my siblings, now that we've grown up and stopped fighting, for a happy occasion instead of a funeral!

Stocking up for the trip means gathering lots of car supplies.  It will probably be wasted effort, though, because they may sleep the whole way with their ipods plugged in!  I picked up 3 Nancy Drew mysteries to see if we can interest Meg in them.  She hates to do anything in the car because "doing" makes her sick and "listening" makes her sleepy.  We'll see.  Maybe she'll like these; they're fairly short, and then she can read the zillions we have at home when we get back!

I also stumbled across Pioneer Woman's love story, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, which I had never purchased and had subsequently forgotten about.  I've already listened to one disc!

Some people can actually read real books in the car, so I got Zita for Pip to try out.
I didn't know it was a graphic novel.  Needless to say, he finished it already.  "You should get the rest of those, Mom!"  Great.  They're not available at any of the nearby libraries.

I also snagged some books-for-sale at the library which may come in handy.  Plus, I culled a stack of books from the shelves that the kids can try to read for school in the car.  They'll be really unhappy if I have to add 2 days to the school year because of this unexpected trip!
 Does your family do real books or audio books on car trips?  Or just ipods and computers?

Car Food is also a vital part of any car trip.  And for my family, gum.  Lots of it.  (Blech.  I hate gum!)  We still need more snacks of a less-healthy sort and beverages.  What do you take on long trips?
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Thursday, May 3, 2012



We went to an International Festival on Confirmation weekend where Meg got a henna tattoo.  That took 5 minutes and cost $5.  I think the Henna lady was probably raking in the dough more than anyone else at the fair!   She had a steady flow of people in line.  

If you've never had one, that is a pic right after we came home with the "paint" still on (it was like painting with fabric paint).  When it was dry and crusty, she washed it all off and we were disappointed to see that it was very light, too light, on her skin.  Amazingly, it darkened up overnight and then lasted a couple of weeks.  

Someone loves his puppy dog and took lots of pics of him in the backyard.  The first one is this morning as Gus is happily licking the peanut butter out of his Kong.

One HOT day before the pool opened, Meg and Pip made themselves each a small pool.  He has mad spitting skillz!

"Nosey" strawberries from our organic farmer.  And, no, I don't know why he's wearing gloves in this picture.

This is from the day we went to see Brendan give his Honor's presentation.  They were very sweet giving hugs to each other, but he wouldn't let me take a real picture.  That Anti-Photo thing is obviously a genetic trait that he got from his dad.  I can take 25 pics and probably not get a single normal face, unless he's in a really cooperative mood and works for it!  So you'll never know how handsome they both are.  

Have YOU captured any contentment this week?  Or in...ahem...past weeks?  Join the fun at Like Mother Like Daughter!


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