Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Random, Early Morning Reflective Thoughts

Just sitting here awake at wee hours due to an accident while someone slept,
treasuring my little girls and realizing my age and the age difference between us.
I'm fifty, when they are fifty, I most likely will not be here on earth, I'd be 90 and 95, respectively.
So I squeeze them now. I hug and kiss them, strike their soft, sweet cheeks and snuggle in the warmth of their clean bed with my girls. I love to listen to their deep, even breathing as they sleep peacefully. 

Yes, I recommend having babies when you are young but I treasure having had these babies while I was already (unjustly) deemed geriatric. These girls keep me young, no idea what "fifty" is supposed to be. I used to think fifty meant near the end because of a trick of my step grandfather told us he was fifty on his seventy fifth birthday, and we believed everything he told us. The sweet man died two years later of heart failure. God rest his soul.

Lilly fears losing me, I don't relate my thoughts to her as I have here. She wakes and panics if she can't find me. "Mom, I have that feeling." What feeling? "That you're dead." I'm here, all is well. It happens almost daily, I am with her all day. She's very imaginative, sometimes it goes scary. The nightmares have mostly stopped, thank God.

I love the quiet time of Advent. Since moving to the country,  we have slowed down. Since we are still new to this area, we don't have too many activities to have to stop to enjoy the season. Quiet, reflective and sometime lonely times are our way of life. I love the quiet, but two of my extroverts try to fill in the silence as much as possible.

I'll be honest and admit the hardest part of the season is balancing gifts for Christmas. It's something I have to consciously keep from worrying over. It probably matters more to me in some fairness exercise that can't ever balance due to ages and all differences, but I believe it balances over a lifetime.

I'm also a party pooper when it comes to Santa Claus. I love Saint Nicholas. I'm not a fan of Santa. Sorry to be a bummer mama.  We don't make visits, due to my first babies total fear of strangers, but the girls wrote letters this year. You can't escape it. Sweet country girls ask my kids, "What did you tell Santa to bring you?" Sales clerks ask if they've been good for Santa. I haven't become such a curmudgeon not to play along. 

We are counting down the days of Advent by praying together in candlelight, adding to the Jesse tree and reading OT readings. We are cleaning out clothes, books and toys to donate.

No Bah humbug, we have lots of cheer, and tittering and excitement. 

We are reading Dicken's Christmas Carol as our read aloud this week. As familiar as I am, there are parts that still bring tears to my eyes. My kids always ask, are you ok, mom? Yes! It just makes me sad.  

We are also have some incredible conversations from C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. Even touchy topics like human sexuality. Very good for reading and discussing together. We are also reading Christian Apologetics by Father Laux for Ccd. A good year for conversation with Euly 14 and Nick 16.

In farm news, Our new  black baby lamb vanished yesterday.

 Euly took this photo in the morning, and by midday, the mama showed up agitated, alone. We don't know what happened, I'm sad, all my kids are sad, even ones who don't live here. We hope it isn't suffering somewhere. We spent hours yesterday walking the property in hopes of finding it. The mama ran around upset here and there sticking close to the herd.
It seemed too big to be hawk prey. Three neighbors dogs were spotted on our property by the creek. Could have been anything.  It seems crazy to hope it's ok. 

We discovered her last week on a nature walk.

And sought them out every day since.

Another ewe looks about ready, may just lock her up for her own good. 

Craig finished the installation of the wood burning fireplace in our bedroom. He wanted to break it in last night, but it wasn't going to drop under 50. We still have sheetrock repair, paint, build siding chimney box to cover smoke stack. But what a job! Craig isn't afraid to take on anything. 

I'd like to paint our bedroom over Christmas break. I have decided on a wood bark grey color.

He also installed string lights on front and back porches. We have a strand left over for a spot in the woods. 


Craig has been planning Christmas dinner. We are hoping to have a New Year's Eve celebration, although many who normally come are out of the country this year. Life changes quickly, trying to hold on to a tradition.

This break is most likely the last period Molly will live here. Sadness and joy fill me. She starts college up again in January in and apartment with a long lease, including two summers, so no reason to come here to settle, when rent is paid there. I'm sure she will still come home some, but she's on her way to independence.  I'm so proud of her, she  has made such great progress. Dual credit pushed her ahead. Starting in her sophomore year and now she's considering a masters program to finish in about the same time as a four year degree. She made four A's and we are waiting to hear about the fifth. Craig takes them out for a nice celebration dinner when it's a 4.0 semester. 

I am not pushing the dual credit with Nick, it works for some, others are better to a slower pace. We will start his senior year. I'm still treasuring my time with him schooling at home.

This post has taken a couple of days, but I'm in the same position as when I started: wee hours, listening to my girls sleep. I'm letting them sleep late.  We had friends over yesterday til pretty late. I hate for them to leave and offer them to stay over instead of making the long drive home in late hours, with everyone sleepy, but they always say next time. So I stay up later cleaning and praying for their safe travels. It was memorable since their oldest daughter came to visit with my oldest daughter, longtime friends and a rare treat for both our husbands to be here together. I never get the camera out because the visits are always very full of visiting, cooking, cleaning for next meal. Fulfilling. We did have some quiet time together on the porch under the gas heater with a glass of wine.
I got this one while Lilly crashed on my shoulder.

Happy Thursday!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Second Week of Advent Daybook

Outside my window...sunny and cool. We are happy to see the clouds move out so our dirt road can dry out. It was pummeled, flooded and partially washed away by the creek. 

I am thinking ... about Advent attitudes. It surprises me how heated some can get over when someone else puts up their tree. 

I am praying for..friends fighting cancer, Molly's recovery from dental surgery, finals, jobs, and all those we've lost "beyond the door" this year.

I am thankful...praying together with my kids. I love how they know which decade of the rosary is "theirs."

In the kitchen...the girls participated in a 4h mock food show competition and prepared picnic type food items, presented to the judges and answered questions. This was a great experience and good opportunity for us to learn more about 4h. 
Ceci loves Cupcake Wars and turned this into her own opportunity to show her skills. She made a delicious (from scratch) chocolate peanut butter snicker surprise cupcake. The judges loved it. 

Euly made a fruit arrangement and lemon aid. We learned about what we need to present and will plan the actual dish with more nutritional info and serving sizes.

Kids are creating...annual gingerbread house. Max came to visit and helped the girls with it.

I am waiting...while Molly is having her wisdom teeth removed. Neither of us like dentists very much, nothing personal, just lifetime of bad experiences. We also don't like needles or losing the control of our consciousness; so to make it this far, with the procedure underway, says a lot. We are learning to offer up unpleasantness in prayer for those in worse situations. It's only teeth, thank God for dentists. 
She recovered quickly, just exhausted.

I am reading...Cs Lewis Mere Christianity with Euly and Nick. Also Christmas short stories. And all our Advent and Christmas picture books.

I am watching...the CCD kids sing Immaculate Mary with other classes. Lilly's teacher shared these photos. Lilly loved her class and doesn't mind being the only girl.

I am listening to...Phantom Of the Opera album. 

Euly and I went to see the opera last Sunday and it was so fabulous. We had a great mother daughter date and enjoyed the whole experience. Especially the part which almost went to disaster. I had been trying to get the best price ticket and ended up ordering the wrong day. So when we walked in to ticket taker and they pointed this sad fact out to me. I was in shock. The sweet lady told me not to panic, but I was already, and sent me to the ticket counter and they found seats for us, no added charge.
We couldn't have enjoyed it anymore knowing we could have been thrown out. Thank you, Hobby Center!
The set was an engineering feat! It turned and opened to every different scene to alley ways, opera house, cemetery and manager's office. I loved every moment. Euly was glowing!

Around the house...we finished staining the outside siding. We were delayed while Craig planned and installed a wood burning stove and then had to repair the rotten siding. We still have the decks to do. But oh, an accomplishment! Feels good.
We need another chimney extension before we can have a fire. Our bedroom has so many windows, this wood burning stove will save us its cost in propane this year.

Craig had to add a wall where the window was. I'll post a pic when we have first fire.

I am pondering...when we can add a deck off our bedroom now that the exterior is complete. (Still some window washing/ scraping).
Picture is before staining- in progress after wall was filled in. We still need to replace doors and build chimney box over smoke stack... And build a deck. Just not sure how big. 

A few plans for the rest of the week... Immaculate Conception, 4h party, Nutcracker, piano, Shakespeare group get together, 4h group meeting.

A peek into my day...the other day when we went for a walk after the rains. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Four Years of Blogging It Up

Four years ago I was inspired after reading Ann Voskamp's book to count up to 1000 gifts. Thanksgiving of that year I began noting of little things for which I was thankful. I had a series of computer and phone data crashes that inspired me to start a blog, to keep a journal of our days online and untouched from my computer issues.

I started the blog for me, and maybe provide a place my kids might like to reflect on life from my eyes. I have since been encouraged and surprised by comments and like minded friends out there on this journey along side me, raising our kids in different geographical areas, but with the same hoped for destination: Heaven. 

Sometimes I know I have nothing to say, nothing to add. I think what if this looks like I'm bragging? Complaining?  It is not my intention, I want to store memories, events, occasions of real, every day life. If it inspires, I am overjoyed. If it offends, I am sorry, but I am doing my best at following my heart as I can in this world to reflect our life as Catholic homeschoolers. I love every aspect of it. Life is full of love, of joy and hard work, disappointments and sadness too.

As far as counting gifts, I still take notes, not writing them down as much as I did at the start, blogging them even less since I have recorded many thousands of moments here. I do still snap the memory in my mind, breath a prayer of thanksgiving for all Our Lord has generously blessed me. 

Life evolves and focuses change. The blog will eventually change as well.  When we bought the house, we had to give it a name for tax purposes. We named it Pax Rustica.  It is Latin and translates to a Rustic Peace. I am thinking about leaving blogger and starting my own .com and name it after the property. 

Thank you for visiting with me here, it means so much to receive your comments; it always encourages me after putting a part of our lives out there.

God bless you!

October and November thankfulness:

Girls getting 4h practice

Diet restart

The Obriens farm

Max's encouragement 

Thanksgiving- being welcomed

Phantom of the Opera

Kind ticket people to fix my mistakes and save the day

Plenty of wood for the fireplace

Celebrating every year of Max

Giggling with Lillykin, cold sheets with cold toes.

Space heaters

Blurry memories

Sheep shelter

Halloween candy smell

Night out

Flowers in the fall

Lilly's Quarter choices

Marilyn and Hope

Euly and a wonderful 14 years


Country western dances

Dance contest winners

Kleb woods resident fox

Cutie pie

Pumpkin choices


Face painting fun

Corn maze fair activities

Hay rides

Giving the exterior a face lift

Cow girls

My grandmothers house in the fall

Ceci waging her own cup cake wars


Monday, November 30, 2015

Theme Thursday- Groups Shots

Linking with Micaela for Theme Thursday Group Photos.

On the way out of town for Thanksgiving, I thought, since we were dressed up, why not try a family shot? The more spontaneous and no notice works best with this crowd.

We thought we'd try a few different poses, mostly to loosen everyone up.
We lost the chord for the remote camera trigger, so Max or Nick ran back and forth to hit the timer.

 Lilly's Silly Face idea:

 Ceci's Jazz Hands Idea:

Pondering look,or AKA punch your own face.
 Try to look "normal"

And Craig wanted one on the porch, like last year, probably our annual look.
Yes, there is usually at least one animal willing to pose with us. It seemed appropriate to feature Hope this year.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

23 years of being a mom

Max turned twenty three today and in our family tradition, he took the day off and spent it with us. We always have birthdays as a personal holiday from school, and from work when possible. We honor and celebrate each one of us in gratitude.

I am so proud of Max. He is working hard as a marine system engineer and has plans to do and build side projects going through his imagination. I wish I could take credit for all this imagination from being his teacher for twelve years, but the only thing I did was give him room to grow and explore. I am so thankful we homeschooled. 

Happy birthday Max! With all my love!

23 snippets of some favorite memories of Max through the years:

1st - Galveston. 
I quit my job just after Max's birth. We moved to a small island off Galveston when I was eight months pregnant. So, adjustment with a new baby was a little lonely. It gave me time to recover from birth, get in a routine being a mama, and making dinner for Craig when he came home from work. It was a wonderful time with Craig working 4/10's so we had long weekends to love and play with baby Max.
That first year, I memorized everything about him. I was so awe stuck at the miracle of life and thought he might disappear at any moment, so I just held him, played, spent every moment soaking in motherhood. 

He was a joy. He learned to swim before he learned to walk that first year. Babies are amazing.

2nd - Texas
We had fun just Max and me driving all over Texas to visit family. We spent some time in Rockport helping my in laws recover from surgeries at the same time different hospitals, one for cancer, one for a broken bone.
They were easy patients so we had time biking around the area. Max was good for them, his happy voice chatting up all the time.

3rd - moved to Alabama
A big adventure. We found a home we liked on our house hunting trip but didn't make an offer because it was way out of our range. So we moved into an apartment to look, we drove by the place again months later, and thought we'd throw a low ball offer. The owners liked us, and were charmed by Max, and impressed by Craig's plans of renovation and restoration and took our offer! A beautiful old home on 10 acres.
Max had the next two and half years of adventure of growing up in the woods. We spent much of our time outdoors exploring.

4th Alabama- sister Molly joins our family
Wonderful adventures visiting family and being the ring bearer in my cousins wedding in the chapel my grandfather built in the hills of Tennessee.

5th Alabama
Decided we had too much fun learning at home, so we became homeschoolers. Max loved legos and being read to, it is how we spent much of our days.

6th Galveston County, Tx
We moved to an apartment on a waterway and Max spent most of his time swimming in the pool or playing in the sandy edges of the waterway. 

7th Michigan
New baby brother in tow, we moved north, found a 1950's house in an old neighborhood filled with families. The Lemonade stand is a fun memory of that year, lesson learned about neighborliness and friends made through Assumption Grotto parish.

8th Spain! Always being on the move, the kids are great travelers. Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in December is a memory that will always stay with me. 

9th Texas - New year, new house, new state, new baby sister. Max made friends in the new neighborhood, one in particular shared an interest in computers.

10th Baseball and good sportsmanship. These do not always go together in the small country leagues, I am sad to say. Max rose above many conflicts and learned much through bad (adult) sports, and earned a few good sportsmanship awards because of his good influence on others.

11th Georgia & The Haddox Bugle
We started a little family newsletter with highlights from our move to keep in touch with family and friends. Our requested readership was up to 25 by the time we moved back to Texas. (life before blogs), Max loved to add and collect for the joke section. We included stories, art projects and details of life on our mini farm.

12th We had a horse, pool and trampoline. 4 Wheelers, neighbors and friends.  We spent most of our days outdoors. We also added another baby sister, Ceci.

13th Scouts with Father Demets. Our small parish French priest started a Boy Scout troop. Camp outs were also mini retreats. It was a very fun and active troop. We hosted a Civil War reenactment at our home.

Received Confirmation

14th Texas Leaving Georgia friends was hard for the kids. Max transitioned with new friendships through scouts. We found a large troop near us. We also were back with family and cousins.

This year was full of adventures with the RV and an opportunity to fly.

16th A good summer for scout trips - Bahama sailing adventure with a spot on Scrubs.

17th Earned Eagle Scout


18th Lilly's godfather

19th off to Galveston for college: Pride and Loss. Max was awarded a large scholarship for his selected degree plan, so he was off as a college freshman. It came quickly and I missed him more than I'd imagined. His visits home were special.But I missed having him in our daily lives, terribly!

20th Spending college breaks with us, and having a special friendship with Lilly.

Taking Nick to the Florida keys

Imagining and building projects

23rd Best memory of this year: Being able to enjoy my adult son as a friend.