Saturday, June 28, 2014

Answer Me This...

Playing along and answering Kendra's questions for this week
1. How often do you take public transportation?
Never in the U.S. In and around Greater Houston we all like to have our cars accessible, and usually have many miles covering many routes to get any where we head out every direction we out to go. For most of us, public transportation isn't an option since it isn't available. As a rule, I plan 40 minute commute for most outings. Houston is spread out over so many miles, four different area codes cover the general areas. You can drive over 100 miles from north to south, east to west and still be considered Houston area.

See that third outer loop? We live outside of it. This new toll road loop construction of this monstrous highway system is an unbelievable feat. Some of the structures are quite intimidating to drive beneath.

I only have used public transportation while in Italy and it took a few days to figure the Roman system of reading maps, times, locations and bus numbers. When we go back, we'll be pros.
Always carried in my wallet to be ready for the buses in Rome...

2. How many cousins do you have? If we are talking 100 % cousins, we have 26. Both grandfathers remarried and had more children, I don't know how many added half cousins there are, at least 12 more...

My kids have 16 first cousins.

3. Have you ever fired a gun?

Yes. I'd recommend wearing ear protection.

4. Do you ride roller coasters?

If my kids ask me to ride with  them, I usually will.  I loved to ride coasters in high school and college, but after having  babies, my equilibrium is off or just the idea that this is dangerous overwhelms the desire for that thrill.It's never my idea any more, but if they want or need me, and I don't have a little one who needs me more, I'll ride.

I really enjoy water park rides more. Since water keeps us cool while running around in the heat, it's much more enjoyable and practical here than non water amusement parks. My four year old talked me into riding one at Sclitterbahn this summer, I was nervous and she was jubilantly brave. I was proud of her spirit and frightened she'd fly off in another direction the whole time. 

5. What's your favorite flower?

Euly way back in 2005 holding a massive hydrangea.

I don't have good luck growing them in Texas, I'll keep trying. While in Georgia, we inherited some prolific hydrangea plants. 
I will keep trying here, maybe the soil isn't right or I don't water enough...
The gardenia comes in a very close second. I love the scent floating up from my garden.

6. Are you allergic to anything?
Thankfully, no.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Theme Thursday - Swim

TT Jn:Jl14

Everyone in my family has always been drawn to water. 
Most of my kids learned to swim as they were learning to walk.
Euly here:

We've had a secret wish to build an amusement park in our backyard so we've had various water fun throughout the years. 
We used an old pump to turn our Georgia pool into a wave/ splash pool.

and later turned our playground into a water slip-and-slide.

For this summer, we have a pool to use daily, I'm hoping to get Lilly up to speed swimming. 
She doesn't like to get her face wet and go under, but wants to be in the pool all day long. 
I think learning to swim is natural and most kids learn the basics by watching each other and trying out at their own pace.
She'll get there soon.

Ceci on the other hand has been swimming like a fish:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Excursions: pretty, happy, funny, real

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Butterfly Iris blooming all around the landscaping plants this month.

We went to a petting zoo /kid fun park earlier this week. The girls loved feeding and petting the farm animals.
 And other random fun like outdoor chess, ping pong, putt putt golf, teatherball, and their favorite: the zip line.

"Arg, me matie!"


It gets hot in Texas
and it is great to have a willing big brother to carry you to the car!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weekend Daybook, Pics, Prayers and Answer Me This thrown in

A peek into my day...Procession for the Feast of a Corpus Christi.

Outside my's one of those humid Houston days when I walk outside and am hit with a hot wall of air and my sunglasses instantly fog up. 
We paid a visit to our vacationing dogs out with Miss Betty and watched the Saturday volunteers remove the goat pen and fencing. The goats were moved across the church property.
Father is driving the dozer removing pesty Chinese Tallow's, Craig is driving the skid steer and a few other volunteers are removing panels of the pen.

I am thinking...about how much I love my silly kids!

I am praying for..Father Walker's soul, his family and his parish and our culture.

I think by now most Catholics have heard the tragic story of the violent death of Father Walker in Arizona.

He visited our parish last August, not yet a priest for two years, but already had the faithful dedication of a FSSP priest. I took this picture from his sermon..

and this while celebrating the Canon of the Mass.

This is a sermon referred to me of his (not while at our parish), but very good to hear on Marcy & Justice.

All the FSSP priests, all Catholic priests, all Catholics and all faithful Christians are affected by the news of the senseless, violent death of Father Walker. The sermon below is given by Father Flood, who heads the FSSP in North America, given at a Requiem Mass in Father Walker's honor.

I am thankful...for the gifts of wonderful FSSP priests! Our parish is deeply blessed by our pastor beyond the wonderful sermons he gives at mass (as you can see in my first photo above). 

In the kitchen...I cooked up simple spaghetti for the girls for an easy dinner. They have been feeling a little under the weather and needed something nourishing but bland for dinner.

I am creating...busy bags and I am behind, but determined to finish them up. I am making something like this: (or not quite...) 

I am watching...(because of a review from Jamie Jo here, )The Paradise BBC Masterpiece for Season 1 on Netflix. I just love Denise! She is a great character with qualities of being ladylike, loyal, hard working, and innocent. 

I am thinking about a view into homeschooling...these Seton videos show homeschooling in a great light. We do not use Seton as our curriculum, but have used some of their workbooks as supplements. I like these videos as an example of how homeschooling looks.

I am to simplify the needs of a home. We are (temporarily?) downsizing a very large home with 4 bedrooms, three car garage, a shop on two acres to a three bedroom apartment, a one car garage and a storage unit. We have gotten rid of so many things, but still have so much more we need to donate, recycle and trash, maybe even sell once I get organized. 
I was so thrilled with our recycle company and the variety of things they took in including old plastic toys, cloth toys, metal (that didn't go to the scrap metal place), every kind of plastic bins and a variety of paper refuse.

There is a local Purple Heart donation drop off not too far away that abuts a much more modest neighborhood. When we placed our items for donation, the neighbors came and asked to take many of the items including clothing, bookcases and such. (They were not interested in Christmas items - the holiday is too far away I'd guess). At first I thought it strange or even a little uncomfortable. But after the second and third drop off, we were excited to see our things absorbed and recycled into the local community. It was much more rewarding than it going to a faceless organization, far more rewarding than a tax donation would be.

Around the house... we closed on the sale of our house the last possible minute Friday afternoon after a couple of strange delays by the buyer's mortgage company. It's done, for a while we were a little concerned. Now we wait...There is scheduled activity on our new home on Monday, any prayers for our family would be appreciated!).

A favorite quote/verse/prayer for today...

One of my favorite things...thinking about and enjoying the experience of others. Craig went on a hot air balloon ride while in California and videoed it with the go-pro. Watching it was enough hot air balloon ride I will ever want. I am happy for the adventurers in my life to share the scuba stories, so I never have to wonder about cave diving; sailing in the Atlantic and soon to hear about Nick's Philmont hiking adventures so I can experience over a week of rigorous hiking vicariously.

For a little fun, I will answer Kendra's questions of the week..

1. When's the last time you got a new bathing suit? 
At least four years ago. I am due one now, after losing weight last year, the ones I have are too loose to wear in the water. So for now I wear shorts and an exercise shirt, from our river trip. I did try a few on not long ago, but was a little uncomfortable seeing myself in a suit after so many years.

2. Who made the last incoming call on your phone?
My daughter, Molly, on her drive home from work.

3. If you receive communion, do you receive it in the hands or on the tongue?
Only on the tongue. At a traditional Latin Mass, the Host is only offered on the tongue. I still prefer to receive on the tongue at a Novus Ordo mass when I attend.

4. Do you have a tattoo?
I have thought about how to invest in a tattoo removal business once time has changed the look of many tattoos out there now.

5. How many dinner plates are in your house?
Oh, caught me on my obsession and an area hard for me to downsize. Presently in our tight temporary quarters, I deliberately selected only the Blue Willow pattern I love

It makes me happy and it keeps things simple. 
In total I probably own over 200 plates(big, little, in between, china, platic and corelle), including a china set given to me by my husband's grandmother, Mary.
I have some special occasion plates, some every day, some left from our wedding pattern (after 26 years and six kids - although I am quite clumsy myself - most have not survived).
I did give ten to Max to have for his new apartment...

6. Do you have an accent?
I don't think so, maybe some from the north may think so, but I'd describe my accent as generally generically  southern. I don't use too many southern or hick phrases, except "y'all," which gives me away every time.

Go see Kendra's and others' answers...
And have a great week!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Theme Thursday returns! The official unofficial sport of summer

We are still in TKD classes, since I participate in class, I don't have a chance to take any pictures.

I know grainy nighttime phone photos aren't a lot of fun, except we have had so much fun with our nightly swims, I have to keep trying to capture a photo worth sharing.

So for Theme Thursday- Sports theme, 
I submit the sport: Water Play including limitless rounds of Marco Polo, underwater flips: forward and backwards, jumping, splashing, uncontrolled yelling outbursts of joy, and free style swimming of all forms.

The unofficial sport of summer.

Go visit Cari for the exciting return of Theme Thursday and pick out themes to capture and join in the fun.
TT Jn:Jl14

The pretty,happy,funny,real while Moving

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Most of the month of June so far, we have been moving out of our home of the past eight years into temporary arrangements (while we wait for the next phase of life to begin).

The transition is going well so far.

There are many beautiful features about our home that I will miss. I loved the beauty looking out the front door.
And out the back...
 The back yard is so beautiful and green, and now very changed with the removal of the play scape. 
My husband thought we should handle dismantling it ourselves, which we did with no problems. 
It's the reassembly that has me a little nervous.

On our last walk through, 
 Lilly sitting in the very clean and very empty kitchen.

 It is a beautiful home that someone else will now enjoy and experience their lives in.

Regular life had to continue during moving days, and we kept our scheduled appt with Nick's ortho to get the braces off. He says eating is a pleasant experience once again (not having to deal with braces getting in the way and snagging food in the brackets).

Happy to be free of the braces, and now off to deal with enamel issues.

These two thoroughly enjoyed our home, in and out all day long. 
They love water and are now enjoying the pool at our temporary residence.
I know they will miss this a little.

Ceci took a trip down memory lane to see how big she has grown compared to imprints made in the concrete. She measures her hands to Nick's when we had left over concrete after patio installed three years ago.

 Lilly's then and now:

Max's handprint in 2011
Bye house, you've been a great shelter and loving retreat for our family

We are adjusting to the tighter spaces with relative ease. The great thing about non home ownership: free time, no yard work chores, really all chores are less since we are dealing with less stuff and less space.

Our dining room, school room table abuts the pantry (since a family of eight needs more pantry space than built in). It will work for us for now.