Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Nice, Long, Relaxing Labor Day Weekend

Outside my window...leaves are falling off the trees, while it is up to 99 degrees and 150% humidity.
Fall? We will welcome you at anytime!

I am thinking...about how many times recently I have been blown away impressed with the openness and loving open hearts and minds of this younger generation.  People who want to write them off are not listening and not getting to know this very different world from their view; it is so very different from my generation. From a child born in the 60's to a child born in the 80's and 90's; from and Age of Optimism to an Age of In-Your Face-Harsh-Realities; God bless you! Don't let the world define you before you've even had a change to try. Opportunities, adventures, and Abundant Graces are all waiting for you! Be not afraid! Boldly walk and seek and embrace the Faith you inherited.  

I am praying for..our friends and family, our country, our world, and all my nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, their vocations and future spouses.

I am thankful...for signal Graces; those little signs that God gives us to see Him working in ours and our loved ones' lives. Beautiful gifts, thank you, God!

In the kitchen...Molly sweetened some pecans to liven up our daily salads.
My favorite salad combination this week: bed of romaine and spinach, tomatoes, blue cheese, cucumber, boiled and chilled shrimp, cranberries, and those delightful pecans!  

Sad to say, the pecans didn't make it through the weekend.
Fortunately, she also made toffee, and it is in a protected, secured location.



I am Euly is creating...fairies again. It makes me happy to see her make happy little things for herself, her sisters and her friends.


I am reading  being read to...Molly and I started listening to an audible recording of Dante's Comedy. I am so excited by our conversations launched by what we have learned of Dante's journey through hell. We are also listening to the Teaching Company lectures on Dante's work as well. Fascinating!

I am listening to...a beautiful Cd by the Dominican Sisters of Mary called Mater Eucharistiae
I bought the album through Itunes, so I can listen on my phone or have it as calming background music while working on the computer. The Sisters were on EWTN promoting the CD and discussing its success and they were asked about what they were going to do with the money...apparently building and expanding! The order is fast growing with the following facts from their website:
  • Founded in 1997 with 4 Sisters
  • We've grown to over 110 Sisters in just 16 years
  • Average age of the Sisters is 28
  • Average age of the women who enter is 21
  • Sisters represent most of the States across the U.S. and Provinces in Canada
  • Administer two Spiritus Sanctus Academy schools in Ann Arbor, MI
  • Teaching missions at 13 schools located in CA, FL, TX, AZ, OH, and IL

I am looking forward to...the start of Sunday school next week. Class size is increasing as our parish grows. The first year -  two received First Communion; second year - five;  this year nine already registered on day one...! I am working on being more organized, using folders to communicate with parents, collect catechism themed activities and help focus the kids on what we need them to learn. 

Around the house...we met our new neighbors next door. Ceci has been itching all day to introduce herself. She saw activity outside, and bolted at her opportunity to ring their front door bell. By the time I met them, the dad and two daughters were in our back yard beaming over the enthusiastic welcome they received from my sweet 8 year old.

A favorite quote/verse/prayer for today...praying this novena after introduced to it this week by my niece...to Saint Cajetan, Patron of Job Seekers. Want to join us?

One of my favorite things...being able to be a home-body. Most of this week I have stayed home to get a good routine established- I'm serious about school schedule routine theme. It also has helped me keep the house a little more tidy-like, the laundry from getting behind, had meals at home (most cooked by my fabulous husband) and able to spend time with the kids more relaxed. Those weeks will come where I am running out a bit more often with appointments and sports and music activities.
Cozy days on the couch are the best.
Sister snapped this while I was helping Lil with an app introducing letter sounds and helps her vocabulary.


A few plans for the rest of the week...keep working on school schedule, study habits and good daily routines.

Something that made me chuckle... in a nervous this-is-probably-too-true type of chuckle.. Texas Senator Ted Cruz at Defending the American Dream. Saw here.




A peek into my day...my sweetie with two of his girls.





Wishing you a relaxing war-free Labor Day!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Theme Thursday on Friday: Shadow

Theme Thursday - Shadow
What is it? Is it just me?
Sometimes with these themes...
sometimes, something hits a nerve!
And something pops into my head, and no other idea will do.

Shadow, I instantly thought about my shadow when I walk late at night with my daughter and the street lights take us from being very short to very long and tall, then nothing at all until we pass the next street light. Rhythmic, familiar, breaking up monotony of the flat miles we walk...

I'll just say it:
I hated my shadow for a long, long time as a mocking reminder of the urgent need to get myself in gear, and finally loose that baby weight I gained with my third child...
although I've had three more kids since,
and over fourteen years have past,
only solidifying what I needed to loose into a permanent part of my being....

Not really...
but those of you out there who have struggled with weight know what I mean.

I've been on a journey these past many months to improve my health and loose some weight. I have made friends with my shadow. It reflects the progress I see on the scale and in the looser fitting clothes. I don't cringe, I smile.

I see me. I'm very proud of me, and very thankful months of prayer to succeed this time have been granted. I have found my strength.

I just can't do anything about the height difference in those shadows.


7FQT




Quick Takes- how's that first week back to school going?
Quick reflections of the week,
(extra fast while the kids do their multiplication spreadsheets)...
1
Combining kids in Spelling...
Quick success apparently brought on by unintended competition...
Handwriting improved, one even up'd the other by writing all their words in beautiful cursive...
both had 100 % of word list correct by Wednesday...
2
Cc loves CHC art pak
Euly not as much...
Nick not at all, said he had already done this (shading exercises), which is true, but still fun, huh? no?nope.
Euly likes doing her own handmade crafts instead...
Upon encouragement from her friends, she brought the fairy makings out again.
3
Not a success:
Summer brain drain is true.... 
Have to remind myself, it takes a little to get back to speed in music and math..
Except the success:
Craig had me add multiplication sheets, to be done daily, turned in to him (so they are neater).
He even made a spread sheet for me to print off to speed it up...
Actually a big success...
"Mom, I can do this sheet even faster today."
"No, those extra 30 division problems weren't hard at all; they were kinda fun."
Yay for dad's ideas!!
4
Always a success:
Reading aloud...
I love it too. I love the time on the couch together, relaxing, discussing, bonding, learning...
We are reading.
A book about Steven F Austin
Economics
Spanish missions in California 
And listening together to audio versions Dante's comedy (Molly only)
5
Exercise- needed, daily, run off extra energy...
YMCA for swimming laps...
And the ability of the older kids to go to the Y with out me...
And bike trails and walking trails nearby...
And a play area in back!
6
Poetry study and memorization:
Glad to be motivated and kids not shy to work in this area for five minutes a day...
as long as I promise not to put them on the spot to recite...
I haven't done that before, have I? bad me...
Nick: Lord Byron's Destruction of Sennacherib
Euly  After The Party by William Wise
Ceci: Rose Fyleman's A Fairy Went A Marketing
7
Religion will be in conjunction with Sunday School.
I'm finalizing my plans for Sunday school and helping get the book borders for the teachers.
We start after a party for BVM's birthday.
Nick and Euly for Confirmation second year: Baltimore Catechism 2 & Father Laux's Catholic Morality
Cc ... Is going to be my helper with crafts for the first communion class, and revisit St. Joseph First Communion Catechism and Tan's Confession book.

We are definitely back in the swing of things...
Happy to be motivated and have kids that are happy to be back at school...
Craig has worked from home this week, so three "hot meals" were part of the success of our days...
(actually many were salads, but overall, more nutritious than when he isn't here).
As well as he has everyone up and about earlier than I tend to...
Hopeful about the next months of school going as well!

How was yours?



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real of an ordinary school day


~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~  

Every Thursday, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Ahh, school started. Now we have ordinary-school-days style contentment. I am happy to have a schedule that everyone else adheres to, and is relaxed with lots of time at home to home school.

{pretty} 
We finally had some rain and the plants around the house showed their appreciation.








{happy}
Euly came up with a combination of supplies to decorate ornaments for Christmas. Cute!







{scary}{funny}
Recess!
Well, it's funny to Nick that I always say, "That's kind of a scary thing to do."
(ya' know, jumping off the plaything onto the trampoline).
"Haha, You always say that, mom.  No, it's not scary."  
No, not scary at all.



 {real}
The coffee table always needs a good cleaning and clearing off at the end of a good school day. So worth the mess to have a place to discuss what we're reading, make plans, and check progress.



Hope you're finding contentment. 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend Life - Summer's over, time to get serious

Outside my window...
still hot, storms have been passing by bringing extra humidity and no rain. The nice change lately has been the early morning sounds of fall birds calling.

I am thinking...
About how blessed my girls are. Euly was invited  to spend time with her Aunt Mar and cousin Aly. Ceci was invited to join in today. Mar texted this picture of a bit of their fun. Earlier I asked when she wanted me to pick up my girls and she said no time soon, having too much fun. Obviously!



I am praying for..
our family, our neighbors, our country, our world:
Photo gallery from destruction of Egyptian Churches
 from Etheldredasplace

In the kitchen...
Venison taco salad curtesy of Nicholas. We are rotating cooking responsibilities to ensure the kids can cook a variety of things, Nicholas made a yummy taco salad cooking venison he provided this past season. His version was very spicy, enjoyed and appreciated!

I am going...
to share this with my fellow Sunday School teachers, but watch it, it applies to all of us educators and parents.


I am reading...
the Orphelines to Ceci and Lilly: A Happy Orpheline, A Brother For the Orphelines, A Pet For the Orphelines so far. It is out of print, by Nancy Savage Carlson, little lessons from life of happy little French orphans from the 50's & 60's.

I am watching...
Youtube.
These videos. I saw this one first about helping prepare children before Mass.
then saw this one as explanation for wearing the Scapular, and thought I'd share for those who want to know why we wear a scapular.



I am listening to...
talks by Andrew Pudewa.
My friend, Carol, has been inspiring me to think about my homeschooling philosophies and inspiring me to learn more and rethink what we've been doing, and intentionally not doing. I've been at this a while, and still like the philosophies I began this homeschooling journey with 15 or more years ago. Along these many years, we've had bumps in the road and major distractions and a few set backs. Babies, moves, job changes for my husband and myself, and learning difficulties have all played a role at eroding my confidence as a homeschooler. So now, I want to reexamine what I am doing, not just do what I've always done. This year all is aligned to make a fresh start. ( I find I am getting back to the basics I followed 15 years ago).

Nurturing Competent Communicators is a free download here. I have also really enjoyed Mastery Learning . There was a IEW craze in the homeschooling world years ago, and I resisted. I'm enjoying catching up on these talks.

I am happy I came across this...
Art History blog teaching kids about Vincent Van Gogh.

Around the house...
we need rain. Or maybe a cool front. Storms have passed all around us, thundered and lightninged, no rain. I thought our AC was out, but apparently the new fangled thermostats need batteries to tell the AC to turn on. Yay for easy fixes.

I am pondering...
this hair color, she asked the stylist to put a color that would naturally occur on a human. I didn't think Ariel would count since she was a mermaid, will be more specific if she wants to try this again.


I am thankful...
these two are starting to feel better. They had pesty colds most of the week.



A favorite quote/verse/prayer for today...
I am hoping to have Father over for dinner, and bless our schoolroom. Found this lovely prayer and I'm saving for that occasion, if he doesn't already have his own.

BLESSING OF A SCHOOL


(Upon entering the building, the priest sprinkles the rooms with holy water, saying:)

V. Peace to this house. 
R. And to all who live in it. 

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord. 
R. Who has made heaven and earth. 

V. The Lord be with you. 
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, 
You commanded Your apostles to beg a blessing of peace 
on whatever house they should enter. 
We beg of You, through our ministry, make this house, 
destined for the education of boys (and/or girls,) a holy one. 
Pour on it the richness of Your blessing and peace. 
Make it their salvation, as You did for Zachaeus, 
when You entered his house. 
Have Your angels watch over it, 
to drive away every hostile force. 
Fill those who teach here with the spirit of knowledge, 
wisdom, and fear of You. 
Support with heavenly grace those who study here, 
so that they may grasp with their 
minds what is taught for their salvation, 
keep it in their hearts, 
and follow it out in their conduct. 
May all who use this building be pleasing 
to You in the exercise of every virtue, 
so that they may sometime merit to be received 
into their eternal home in heaven, 
through You, Jesus Christ, 
the Savior of the world, 
who live and are King and God for ever and ever. 

R. Amen.


One of my favorite things...
spending time with my husband. After his nightmare of a business trip this week ended early enough to catch dinner, we wanted to try a Thai place close by. We thought wine would be nice change from the usual (water), and thought we picked something good, but the screw top was an indication we picked low on the wine list. Not being a wine connoisseur, I didn't mind.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I am so happy to see so many clear days on my calendar next week for we officially start school Monday morning, which means we can start and finish projects without the neighbors knocking because they officially start school.  Music lessons began already, soccer doesn't start until October, so we are set wide open for our school routine. Still included Wednesday get togethers with our friends, scouts, Ccd and teen apologetics classes start in the next weeks.

Something that made me laugh..
This photo was taken at the Assumption mass of me and my little girls. I think it is beautiful, but it makes me laugh.. 
At the Communion rail, Lilly decided it was her first communion day, held the posture the rest of us do, and almost had the priest (unfamiliar to us) convinced that she should receive Jesus. Panic! "No, she doesn't receive," escaped my lips, hopefully not too loud, so he gave Lilly a blessing and then gave Ceci a blessing, so I had to whisper that she does receive. I was probably sweating nervous relief on my way back to the pew. I saw this picture yesterday, and thought how beautiful, even with Lilly's tongue sticking out!  I love the servers sweet expression, is that a little smile?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

pretty happy funny real

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~  

Every Thursday, over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

I had an opportunity to get a new phone 
(basically "free", btw, because phone company takes old phones as trade ins.)
 I have been happy to have it for picture taking this week...
{pretty}
It is pretty good at capturing nighttime moonlight scenes...


Better with sunsets...


{happy}
And my fancy dancy new phone has an underwater case (my son convinced me I needed), "Mom, you can take pictures underwater." I'm such a sucker. Like, when? This hasn't been a priority in a phone's functions before. After seeing the boys' summer camp pics:
 Nick's learning to scuba in a west Texas spring fed pool

Max's from Seabase in the Florida Keys


 I thought it might be fun having. 

So, I took this of Ceci swimming at night.
I can't look at this picture without holding my breath



{funny}
Ceci was working on making rosary beads for her friend, and Lilly decided to make one for her favorite three year old friend, Michael. Her little fingers were surprisingly nimble.


She worked so quickly that the decades didn't stop at ten. 
Michael might not mind. :) 
Maybe we need a visit from the bead fairy...? 
Maybe I should just leave it alone...?
Anyone else struggle with kids craft intervention issues?


{real}
Empty table Max used as his work station-computer space- command center all summer. He left to return to school last night. Now I have reclaimed our work space; it's clean, empty and ready for school to begin. I even have an eager student waiting for me to start...




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Saint Augustine Novena

Begin this prayer today and recite for nine days. 
Feast day August 28
Saint Augustine, great Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church, may your life of conversion to the Catholic Faith be an example to both those who have never been apart of the Church, and to those who have fallen away from Christ's Church. Through your closeness with Our Lord in Heaven, intercede for us and bring to the One True Faith the following people (mention names).

May your conversion centuries ago continue to inspire those who are lost today and with the help of your prayers, may God bring them to a full understanding of the Faith. Most importantly, may your struggle to find Truth, through many sins and failings be an example of the Lord Jesus' forgiveness and eternal saving Grace. Amen.

Oh God, hear the prayer of your servant, St Augustine, and bring the message of salvation to all who seek you in sincerity. Amen.

Thanks to Catholic Fire for the reminder!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Musings and Ramblings about Miracles on Monday

I have been dealing with laundry since I woke this morning, Eight clean baskets were waiting to be folded. I never get that behind. Today, eight more to run through.  We have been very busy with some unexpected company, some extra volunteer work, and extra laundry preparing for Max to return to school, which has been postponed a few days, so I can sit at the computer and relax and think in quiet for a few escaped minutes at a time, between when the washer and drier chime.

The neighbor kids are over hanging out with my kids and I have a lively, happy, full house. Kids every where, with match ups for most, except Lilly. Lilly floats between the groups at play, with me at work, with her brother at organizing and her sister who is starting a very large painting project in her room.

We had a nice, dry, cooler weekend than usual for August. I spent most of my Saturday indoors wrestling over numbers in the troop's Boy Scout accounting system, which shouldn't be called that, since it isn't a double entry accounting system. In my past life, I enjoyed a specific aspect of my work as a CPA and even further back as a bank teller, balancing numbers.  Most later projects I worked on were basically forensic accounting for bankruptcy and divorce clients and were advanced, sophisticated puzzles. In an closed accounting system, everything is there, the puzzle was only to unravel the hidden paths. In this system, it isn't closed, and it allows phantom entries, requires nothing to balance, and as this no way to track liabilities or equity, assets could never equal anything, except reconciled to the bank. It isn't more than the check registers that come with a new box of checks, except its worse. The designers at BSA will be hearing from this opinionated treasurer, once I finish wading through this tangle. A volunteer treasurer needs more reliable tools which work.

So, halfway through my day, I starting thinking about dinner, and OH! we had some company coming, and I hadn't done a thing. Just then, I received a text from my sister, who had finished an event with her daughter, and surprised me with news she was bringing us a large feast, courtesy of the caterer of that event, and would that be okay with me? YES! Surprise, a nice blessing!

My sisters arrived, we all hugged, talked, and consoled some hurting hearts. The evening was an example to us all that my sisters and I, my house, and my extended family on that evening were vehicles God used to flow abundant Graces to those present. One of the inexplicable occurrences, where you stand back later and marvel at what happened: beautifully miraculous events to bring willing and humble souls to Him. I am not in a position to share any more details. I am thankful for our wonderful pastor. I am amazed at how humble some people can be, oblivious to their human-ness, reflecting their trust and faith in the spiritual realm.

Heaven is real.
Hell is real.
And there are many unseen working to win souls for both. We must not forget, we have the choices, we have the gift of free will.

These miraculous and marvelous moments are physically draining, yet life goes on, laundry piles up. We earthly creatures do have time ticking away. I relish knowing some day we won't be stopped by time and we can enjoy God's love for eternity. The breeze of the angel's wings will carry us on, so I can get through the piles waiting in these baskets for today.

Once hosting a couple of our priests in Georgia for dinner, Father D suddenly interrupted the dinner conversation to marvel at the miracle of the Transfiguration. He said most people don't understand the Transfiguration; the event on a mountain when Peter, James and John and  were witnesses to Jesus' blinding Glory, face as bright as the sun, conversing with Moses and Elijah. The miracle was every moment He had walked on earth, looking just like everyone else, humbly veiling His Glory,  He let down the cloak for the moment of the Transfiguration as a gift for the apostles and each of us to see Who He was.  Father paused, we sat silent pondering that vision,  and we continued with dinner. Of course, that changed they way I thought of the Transfiguration, but the lasting impression for me was how constantly present Father D was with God, with Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit every moment, all day. And how so many of the rest of us forget. He wouldn't forget, he is a priest who faithfully celebrates Mass daily, in a closer presence with Christ I could never fully understand, at least not on earth.

 I had another moment of pause this Sunday when our pastor was delivering the most powerful sermon on confession I had ever heard. This Sunday's Gospel was the story of the ten lepers Jesus healed and said “Go show yourselves to the priests.” I asked him to please write it down so I could share with EVERYONE. Was it anything new to a practicing Catholic? Maybe not, definitely many aspects explained more clearly, understood by all ages, and delivered with such Mercy, about God's Mercy, you could feel Love. Explanations to motivate anyone to run to confession. So good to hear.

All weekend, I felt in the presence of angels. Protective angels. St. Michael the Archangel type of wonderful, courageous angels. It was nice.

And now it's Monday, and off we go to our regular schedules and ticking clocks.

Every week I have reminders, reminders that we are on an earthly journey, and heaven and hell are just veiled from our vision. We desperately need not to forget what we are journeying towards, and check our direction,...

We do forget many times,
much of the time.

Then, there are those moments, WE KNOW. We know why we are here, in this time, this place, with these people and the only thing we need to focus on is His Love, His Mercy, and grab as many people with us to turn toward heaven with all the intent our hearts can muster. And when someone grabs you to return to the Faith, don't resist, thank God!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Super Meme Catch Up Combo



Oh, yes I am going to combine all my favorite weekly link-ups together!...

1
Friday morning we woke up late and happy from last evening, realizing it's kinda hot in the house and the power must have already been off for hours. It's sunny, no storms, and hoping a neighbor alerted the power people early. Once I finally talked to power company, they said don't expect power until mid afternoon, then it started a minute later. Service! Yay for air conditioning!

2
Most everyone slept late this morning anyway because we were out late last night. Last night was a celebration of many prayers answered; we've been praying for the seven years we've been back in Texas for a Fraternity parish to be established in Houston for us to join, help grow, raise our family and celebrate the traditional Latin mass under Rome.
"It's waaay past my bedtime, mom, can you stop with the flash?"
3
We are official! It's been a beautifully rewarding  experience to see it all come together, so many prayers answered: our parish is named after our Blessed Mother's coronation, Regina Caeli, and established on the feast of Her Assumption. We have a lot of work ahead of us,  but how blessed we all feel now that it is official! (which means we can start fundraising and get closer to building on our parish's 40 acres). During the installation of our pastor, we were reminded of the love and concern for our our faith by our archbishop, it is evident and for all to see. Thank you Cardinal DiNardo! (not him in photo below) And thanks to all the people who worked behind scenes to get things done. Yay you!



How did I get so many big people in my entourage? 


Seriously I am having feelings of WHERE DID THE TIME GO??, how did they grow so fast and sometimes, who are these people??!!?


5
On our drive to the church, I had a melancholy feeling of how many more times will the eight of us be together for an event again? Friday, Max goes back to college, Molly starts her senior year of high school. I know it's all for good things, but they grow too fast and I forgot to ever make a time capsule of their youth. Oh well, I have photos.
"Gosh, mom, I'm feeling rather sleepy, but I'm having too much fun to tell you it's time to stop visiting and go home."



6
My evening walks...
Most evenings I have others to walk with me, but this week I had every evening to myself. I could take in the beauty of the hidden trails since I wasn't distracted with conversation. 

7
Apparently not all creatures enjoy the trail as much as I do:
Got a guess of what this is? 

Ok, I know, a  weird random post, 
If you want, you can fill your day reading 
Happy Friday- have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Come Home to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

Goal update - Administrative business

I have a few types of posts on this blog of mine which are administrative in nature: things I want to remember and remind myself, that wouldn't really concern anyone else. You are welcome to indulge me and celebrate my minor successes or click next and see a cool video, no obligations. :)

I'm checking in around day 508 out of 1000 to see what progress I have made. These goals are just ideas I had mulling over in my head over time, and wrote down,  most not in stone, but many I made with serious intent to change my life and to hopefully have positive impact of the others who share my life. Many of these aren't one-time-only goals, they are habit building, adjusting my mindset and behavior and should be revisited every so often. 

Currently a little more than half way on time and over half on accomplishments. I was actually surprised at how satisfying it was to scratch off big goals and little things as well. Maybe I should just go ahead and start on that apple pie. :)

101 Goals in 1001 days
Starting January 11, 2012 - Ending October 7, 2014

1. make a cookbook scrapbook
2. Build a fence for the dogs
3. family rosary every night at 9 p.m  

4. loose I, II, III, IV, V pound goals
5. run the three mile loop (continuously)
6. don't use fowl language for one full week
7. don't loose temper for one full week.
8. make each child smile every day of the week
9. sew an item of clothing   

10. paint a picture with oil paint
11. learn a new song on the piano
12. learn a new song and sing it with children
13. memorize a poem   November 2012
14. take care of dddd March 2012
15. stop and conquer sugar addiction 

16 go to an art museum
17. take kids to Colonial Williamsburg or C.I.
18. stop biting nails  January 2012
19. get disposal so I can stop nagging
20. school - get kids above grade level in Math & LA
21.special appt
21. Feed the homeless
22 take family to confession 
23 family read aloud every day
24 only one meal out per week
25 cook one meal at home every day
26 visit Grand Canyon scratch

26 visit friends and family more
27.take kids on vacation
28. get kids passports
29 M test scores up
30 Host Easter Egg hunt and feast  Easter 2012

31 Take kids to pick strawberries
32 Take N to state capital March 2012
33 Dinner out with M Vic & Anthony's 1/2012

34 Dinner out with just M
35 Dinner out with just N
36 Dinner out with just E
37 Dinner out with just C
38 Go to Austin just to visit Donna March 2012
39 Go to eye doctor April 2012
40 Do family puzzle
41 Get in habit of keeping holy the Sabbath - no unnecessary work 

42 Visit family & friends in TN
43 Take kids hiking in Tennessee
44 Make family's Lebanese recipes
45. Do something nice for stranger
46 Take a photo every day.
47 Enter a photo contest
48 Clean out attic
49 Read a novel

50 Take an exercise class with M
51 Grow a garden
52 Go to a movie with hubby
53 Go out to eat with hubby

54 Make candlelight dinner for hubby
55 Eliminate white flour from diet56 Eliminated soda from diet
57 Get kids to water ski
58 Get kids to go sailing
59 Get a basketball goal
60 Get everybody to the dentist
61 Go to the chiropractor
62 Get N braces
63 Get hubby to q

64 Go C&W dancing
65 Take kids C&W dancing
66 Finish N's therapy
67 Finish Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving

68 Send handwritten letter to five people
69 Go grocery shopping and stick to list
70 Host a neighbor to tea
71 Start recycling
72 Have tea with girls one a week
73 Take girls shopping for tea items

74 Relearn Spanish and use phrases with kids
75 Get wedding photo redone and hung
76 Take family portrait
77 Let hair go back to natural
78 Christmastime memories

78 Get Cc therapy started...or not
79 Start riding bike
80 Read Bible daily
81 Memorize Bible verses with kids
82 Start outdoor nativity tradition
83 Monthly nature walk and add to journal
84 Have good and prayerful Lent
85 Organize photos

86 Visit an old friend
87 Go on  a couple rv trips a year
88 Plan 25th anniversary party

89 Use only positive words, be deliberate
90 Take Donna on trip 
91 Go visit family cemetery in TN
92 Make sushi
93 Keep routine to keep house clean
94 Go no tv for lent

95 make an apple pie from scratch
96 Have salad every day for a  week
97 Paint a room in the house
98 plant bulbs

99 write our will
100 declutter & donate
101 Teach M to drive

Parting is such sweet sorrow...





Summer is winding down, the first box of fall curricula appeared on my doorstep yesterday.

Max finished his summer internship and has turned his attention toward organizing books, clothes, and dorm boxes to ready the start of his junior year.

Molly signed up for her senior year classes and has her books ready, just itching to stock up on school supplies.

Most regular summer plans, trips, visits and vacations have been experienced.

My kids are growing up. Life is moving fast.



I am enjoying this new phase of motherhood which allows me more independence to run errands, go to appointments and even an occasional date with my sweetheart.

Especially these days, I am so thankful to have Lilly here with me. At three, she isn't old enough to run down to the neighbors to play with her sisters. I have quiet time of reading to her on the couch where, occasionally, our voices are the only sounds in the house. She has an active imagination populated with all kinds of imaginary friends, monsters and other peoples. "Mom! Why are you walking on my children?" when I walked in the middle of the playroom, "Sorry, I didn't know anyone was there?!?!" "Don't wash that bowl, it's where my friend IO lives; you're ok IO." Some of these times, I just stop what I'm doing and decide to play, play like I did when Max was three. I played with the ones in the middle, but mostly they played with each other. Lilly is at the end, at a greater gap..

We build Brio train tracks, work puzzles and play restaurant in her play kitchen. Play is fun! Play is good bonding time, and I know she is content just being with me, it's is better for her person to have me be with her. It is good for me to remind myself, the dishes can wait, the folding can wait, these moments are so precious! When playing together, you learn so much more about your children than you do in other aspects of life, don't you agree?



The girls' are counting down the days the pool will be open, and times we will have without "school" to be done. It's August, in Texas, unfortunately we do not see signs of fall just yet.

Another sign summer is winding down, when we see our last play at Winedale. I met one of my sisters with three of her kids,  Craig and Lilly stayed home. I missed her, but enjoyed being about to have the time with my middle four. I hadn't seen The Tempest in full, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. 


The eight year old girls could not contain their enthusiasm and excitement for all the sounds and costume changes, and a unique twist with Puppies, puppies, puppies! and an unfortunate misspeak of a word "fart." Some parts of the first act bored them a little as the story unfolded, but once the action started in the second act, they were mesmerized, on their tippy toes in the balcony overlooking the play. It probably was the most physically demanding play for the actors with wardrobe changes and a convincing stormy shipwreck scene. The girls quoted some of their favorite lines during intermission and once the play was over.
They didn't block my view, I had fun watching their excitement!
  • Long drive home, after that late night. I was content to spend much of my Saturday morning like this:

    In The Tempest, after Miranda's father agrees to her marriage with Ferdinand, and the couple shares a moment of joy, Prospero gives the groom a warning speech about keeping their relationship pure before their wedding. Shouldn't all dad's so warn the young men in their daughter's lives?

    ProsperoThen, as my gift and thine own acquisition 
    Worthily purchased take my daughter: but 
    If thou dost break her virgin-knot before 
    All sanctimonious ceremonies may 
    With full and holy rite be minister'd, 
    No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall
    To make this contract grow: but barren hate, 
    Sour-eyed disdain and discord shall bestrew 
    The union of your bed with weeds so loathly 
    That you shall hate it both: therefore take heed, 
    As Hymen's lamps shall light you.

  • FerdinandAs I hope 
    For quiet days, fair issue and long life, 
    With such love as 'tis now, the murkiest den, 
    The most opportune place, the strong'st suggestion. 
    Our worser genius can, shall never melt 
    Mine honour into lust, to take away 
    The edge of that day's celebration 
    When I shall think: or Phoebus' steeds are founder'd, 
    Or Night kept chain'd below.
  • ProsperoFairly spoke. 
    Sit then and talk with her; she is thine own. 




    Saw this on facebook, thought this was a creative way to remind us of how many of us are these days: 



    Good, isn't it?