Sunday, March 29, 2015

{Lent} Into Jerusalem

Nicholas, thurifer, leading the procession for Palm Sunday

Happy Holy Week!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Airing the chicks

Spending some time outside on the beautiful spring day. The girls thought the chicks needed to explore. The chicks just wanted back to their shelter.

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Science Day at the HMNS

Field Trips Days! Our favorites. Lilly and I spend the day exploring the museums and surrounding parks, visiting with other moms and kids. 

If you are ever in Houston, you should make plans to see the Houston Museum of Natural Science Palentology  museum. You will not be disappointed.
If you can, arrange a docent tour, and we recommend Gary, a biologist at the museum.
We had an hour tour with him yesterday as part of our HMNS science day classes, and his enthusiasm for the museum and discovery was catching.

related to rolly pollys (who have gills!)

So much to learn, so much science is rediscovering and learning and trying to teach out there.

When I was a student, I don't remember being taught much about dinosaurs, I learned more as a parent, and in these 22 years of visiting museums, the information has changed so much as they discover more and have more specimens to compare. 

First time Inheard about plate tectonics in the 90's I thought hokey science when a low quality video showed the planets fitting together, but now they about presenting it as the plausible explanation of how species spread throughout the planet, with gaps and assumptions still. When you think how Kansas and Wyoming used to be a tropical shallow ocean environment based on fossils found, there is much to keep an open mind. None conflicts with our Faith. God is awesome and gave us a world to discover so intriguing, intelligent minds wouldn't get bored discovering the vast mysteries of His creation.

Now also interestingly different, dinosaurs are closer to birds, many with feathers, not cold blooded reptiles like long taught. It must shake the world of paleontologists to have to change everything written. School text books will be behind the times for years. We joked about how much more accurate Dinosaur Train is that most books over the years, because of recent findings. It's best to keep an open mind.

Another discussion we had with biologist Gary was the evolution of man. Gary does not believe we evolved from chimps. Controversial to many, but incredible how far they are coming in discoveries. They had a wall of apes/chimps/ Neanderthals, who evolved to used tools, communication and even wore beads in their hair. We talked about the struggle of scientists as they discover these early creatures and sorting based on what they can tell. We laughed at the variety in the world, and what if you only had one or two individuals to represent all of humanity for our time period. We like to think about and discuss the discoveries, more detailed every time we visit the museum, we were very fortunate to have Gary as our guide. He discussed the controversial topics with respect and an open mind, very inspirational for students in our tour.

Where do they draw the line, how far will DNA testing come? Nothing will disprove God and His work, so it's fascinating to see what answers science will find, I think sometimes they do get on the wrong road, but they keep looking and will get there, what answers we are to discover. We had a great conversations on our long drive home.

More Photos from past visits:

{Counting Gifts} Catching up Gratitude list

Deciding to have the hall repaired, and how much pressure it took off Craig.

Max and Craig planning pool sure snd other future projects. Dreams! 

The dogs to keep Lilly company.

Sisters singing Star Wars songs together.

Spring surprises growing everywhere, especially finding bluebonnets  by the pond.

Thankful that when my hydrolic pump decided to burst. I was pulling in to a parking space and not while driving and that it was a day my husband just came back to town, and I was in the route home from the airport. I had my two big kids to spend the time.
Best of worst situation. And my husband takes all the stress and worry away.

Ready to be planted outside

Quietly and peacefully swinging

Late night dinner with my "big sister."

Running into miss Joan
"Does Ceci still carry a purse?" Lol


Little church in Hempstead

Making it through teen hormone mood swings intact.

Sheetrock complete! Like new.

Craig running to store for ice and Popsicles for a sick little Lilly.

Lilly's intensity and dedication at wii

Ceci and the handmade handkerchief misunderstanding fiasco.

"After this next car...." Backseat driving help from Lilly to Nick.

Finding an Evening confession and mass.

Oh Lilly, your expressions.

Feeling blessed and fulfilled.

The big fire was under control. The other was contained. Deo gratias.

Spotting armadillo by creek and excitement it brought on.

Receiving season greeting cards from Aunt Carolyn in the mail with her signature "Love ya."

Nick and Euly practicing their dance moves.

Ceci practicing her Hermia lines with me.

Stupid insomnia
Beautiful sunrise to get my tired bones up.

Nick getting  unsolicited (and unnecessary) but still valid, dating advice from checker at Walmart.

Pinch me, I'm dreaming moment.

Sooooo thankful for our home.

Petrified wood finds.

Giving Molly space and our trust.

Sharing life with my kids.

Childhood imagination.

Our bed is big enough to welcome ones who need a safe place to rest after a bad dream.

"Why does it smell like dirt in here?"
Started the garden with planting seeds.

Started my Lenten reading early.

Replacing Molly's mantilla after it was destroyed falling out the car after late night adoration.

Ordering the very last Cradle to cross wreath. 

Getting rid of half of Ceci's clothes.  Now her drawers can clothes #handmedownoverload

Getting rid of half the Barbies 
De junking with the girls help!

Luxurious HOV lane all to ourselves.
No guilt passing all those stopped cars.

Molly getting up every morning for her commute to class.

Kitty warming my toes, dog walks by, she doesn't even flinch. Finally acts like she belongs.

Tractor and projects we completed together.

Shop vac.


Ceci's reading improving.
Her efforts are paying off!

Praying for friends.

"Could always be worse."

Trying to keep above water in this culture:
Things have always been hard for those who follow Christ.

Max- his tests, final semester push.

Cleaning up future garden. Removing boulders. Evicting the ants

Green tea supplements, great for watching appetite. Bad for sleep. Placebo effects?

Outlet mall salesmen offering Nick a job ..a few years away, 

Loving a day spent at home.

Taking school a bit more seriously.

Middle kids being who they are going to be, great friends, future leaders.

Catholic homeschoolers dance. 

Dodging a bullet.

One showing her she's worth the effort.

Molly's kind heart

Moved wii. Exercised

Always sweetness by my side

Ceci's first sleep over with Irlan.

Goofy dog..Loves us..But won't give me eye contact 

Date night.

"Pretend the limo and truck are in love "

Commitment restart.
Diet restart.
Walking restart.

Finding paper work I needed.
Still have a few lost items from move. But feeling more organized.

Father's mothers party went well.
Deemed a "success" :)

Pax Rustica inspiring others

Sweet emails from Miss Betty.

Phone calls from Dd.

Christmas gifts a month late.

Notes from Molly found in the morning. 

Go fish at bedtime,
Go fish in the morning,
Lilly is getting the hang of it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rock Delivery- An Ordeal

I feel like talking through the happenings around here and why I keep praying :
St Joseph:

    Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession were left unassisted.
 Full of confidence in your power I fly unto you and beg your protection.
 Despise not O Guardian of the Redeemer my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear and answer me. Amen.

And how we added holy helpers: Saint Michael, Saint Christopher, Saint Charbel, Saint Anthony and Saint Francis (he was added to watch over chickens tonight) to pray for us.

I started this while waiting and helping when and how I could as two big trucks tried to dig their way out of our soggy ground. Loaded each with 25 tons of rock. They didn't want to back down my drive, and wanted to turn around in the rain soaked ground by my already fragile condition road.

Not a good decision all the way around and my nature had me feeling guilt or responsibility for a situation that was not my doing, past ordering the rock in the first place. I hate to see people in impossible situations. I don't know if they had back up help to call. They were probably missing out on other work trying to get out of here. We lost a day of work spreading the rock. We lost a school afternoon. Not what anyone planned and not good all around,

It was a beautiful day. No one had lost a temper, all just worked calmly and safely to get the impossible situations under control.

We had so much rain this past week. Angry rain. It's still appreciated.

Angry rain does lots of damage to the road. We have to work on redirecting rain run off but for now we are trying  to correct rain damage and cover a spring that popped up in a new spot in the road. Springs are cool. We even were able to point where it seeped up. But why pop up in the middle of the road?
It makes the kids want to do this:

Craig found a couple of pipes with holes and they dug trenches to lay in to leach some water under ground. I can't see that it has helped. So we ordered the rock.

Nick had worked tirelessly for hours. He had to  be getting hungry running the tractor, moving dirt where the truck dumped it takes lighten load and he tried to pull the truck out of its foot deep trenches. He's such a good person, calm, patient, hard working. Never complains. What would I do...where would I be without his help?!

Hours and hours passed. We tried pulling with the tractor, with my 4wd, with both vehicles. Hope.. movement!! Then it slipped back. And this was only one truck, it was getting late and we hadn't tried freeing the second truck and the first was still deeply buried. Axels deep. We tried and helped as many times as they asked.
one stuck left, one stuck right

I must admit, there were moments I wanted to swear off being a planning part of any outdoor projects again. Ever. Seriously. And definitely not ever when Craig is traveling again. Promise!

I'm not cursed. It's something with the road. I love our road, I take lots of pictures on the road. Our road has caused people problems and worry since the beginning. The original dozer operator hired to clear the road veered off a little far, and cleared into the neighbor's land, causing the sale of a long, skinny strip of land to be exchanged. The renter previous to our purchase had been stuck routinely, each new neighbor we meet has a story to tell of helping him out. 

Finally, the truck drivers called in help. We fed them, we gave them drink. Waited. For hours. We listened to stories of trucks flipping in similar situations...after we had helped all day. Prayers were heard.

The kids needed to get ready for bed, ready for our big day ahead. The drivers still worked.

It got dark fast, only a sliver of moon tonight.

We heard and tried to interpret whistles, creaks, bangs, horn blasts, metal clangs, and hoped with each it meant they were done. The most recent horn blast was 11:53 pm. Sorry neighbors. But we also heard engine revs after that. The girls prayed the nighttime prayers hoping the drivers were able to go to their homes soon.

After the littles fell asleep, Euly and I watched from the top of the road, until we both agreed we had to go to bed. Still couldn't sleep with engine noises revving at 12:24 a.m.

Hopefully they were home safe before too much longer. I hope they didn't forget to dump the load of rock they came to deliver!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Day book: Passion Week

Outside My Window.... 
Rain saturated beauty. Everything is greening up in a beautiful spectrum of greens and yellows. We have had so much rain, it's hard to believe the clouds can hold any more water. 
Ceci and I went for our nature walk and were amazed at the swollen creeks. 
We dared to climb over one section on a downed tree, just to get to woods we couldn't penetrate.

I Am Thinking....about the pecking order of chickens. We have never had the chicks start pecking at this young age. We moved them to a larger brooder, but something is making them mean. The girls made separate living spaces for the injured and the most aggressive hoping that would help. I don't want to loose any while still in the brooder!

I Am Thankful....for my car. It is repaired and back in my possession. Running to Costco Thursday, as I pulled into a parking spot to straighten up, I heard a pop and suddenly couldn't steer and then discovered no brakes. Close call in nudging car in front, but all was good. 
It was pouring rain. Craig was still on airplane coming back in town. My two other drivers were with me, to help me shop and visit. So we waited for Craig to land.
I was thankful to be parking, not driving and in an accident when the hydraulic pump blew. 
Craig landed, was on his way, I called the dealer and a tow, both happy to help. Craig and tow truck got there together, rescued us as my car went to shop.
He suggested we get lunch before we shop. That's my husband, turning these situations into something enjoyable. The four of us had a great lunch, did our shopping and my car was ready Saturday morning, happy to be back in service. Thankful for God's protection.

I Am Praying for...Max to get everything clear for graduation, to do well in all his final course work, to find a good job, nearby if possible, and to feel at peace with his hard work over these college years. College stress is so manufactured compared to the real world. There is so much out of the student's control. The universities treat them as children and then don't do enough to help prepare for the workplace or find gainful employment. 
I'm so thankful that my almamater did, but sadly times have changed. With the gas price and supply overage the oil companies aren't hiring, so it's a stressful time to be looking for a job.

Also for Beverly, diagnosed with cancer this week and for two other friends fighting cancer, Lisa and Shelby. All moms of five or more children. 

For victims trapped in abusive relationships, and healing for those have been freed.

Persecuted Christians around the world.

am Cinderella. We went Saturday, just Lilly, Ceci and me. I really enjoyed it, I hadn't seen a trailer or advertising for it, so I went in with no expectations. I was happy to see two Downton stars in it: Rose and Daisy.
I thought is was the best Cinderella I have seen. The costumes, location and sets were beautiful. The story concentrated on having courage and striving to be kind, sticking to promises and commitments. Also having forgiveness showed very good Christian values. It stuck to the classic animated Disney version framework but the animals didn't talk and butterflies didn't make the dress. Mice helped. The mice were pretty cute. But there was more story development. We saw her happy childhood when her parents were alive. Also nice, Cinderella and the prince met before the ball, showing he liked her for more than her beauty.

I'm such a bad mom that Lilly didn't know the story! So she was in the edge of her seat, thoroughly enjoying herself! "What's going to happen next?!"
Cinderella's dress for the ball was so beautiful. The dance moves were lovely and I wished Nick and Euly could have seen the dance ( since they've been working on a waltz).
It was surprisingly fun, and Helena Bonham Carter was absolutely beautiful as the fairy Godmother. Go see it. It's nice when there is a beautiful movie like this to see in theatersand it teaches beautiful behavior.

I Am Reading....Swallowdale

I Am Learning....that the romanticized idea of hearing rain in a metal roof will actually keep you up at night. Granted, we've had what Nick calls "angry rain." Raining sooo hard, like someone/angel turned the faucet on high, then turned it up some more. I am seriously thinking of getting a rain barrel. My baby garden would love some rain water.

Around The House....we still have lots of areas to paint, but I am happy with the main areas that our painter did. I'm happy with Cecila's room, she helped paint. We just need to add clouds to the ceiling. Euly painted her vanity, still a few touches to add in there, light fixture and medicine cabinet (out of little house).Nick painted his room. All bold and dramatic colors, but they love it, so I'm content.
I'll post pictures soon.

I Am Pondering....rain. How much can fall?! The ground is a sponge. The road is back being a problem, since a spring popped up in the middle and makes a perpetual pit.

We fixed the fence openings last week, but the creek crossing still have escape routes for gromit. In the middle of running errands Tuesday I got a call from a neighbor that she had him. My number is on his collar, since he escapes so much. He was lucky to live through the visits as they have guardian dogs trained to protect their show goats. Trained to kill any intruders!! Scary. Dumb dog.
Funny thing, the husband helped build our house and helped answer some of our questions. We're slowly meeting the neighbors on the street. All have stories of the colorful nature of the previous owners. Not bad, but very colorful.

Few Plans For This day at museum, schoolwork, Mid Summer Night Play practice, need to get rock for road, plan menu for Easter, share with my sisters and mom. Grounds clean up, if we get a break from rain, we need to mow! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

{phfr} Spring Break

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

First Bluebonnet




We usually stay home spring break. We use it as a week to catch up on sleep, homework, cleaning, projects. A week to recharge for the last weeks and months of school left before summer.
All my chickies are home. It's nice when spring breaks are at the same time. 
We had some administrative stuff to take care of for Max's transcript to ensure he'll graduate in the spring. 
A community college freshman class (already completed)wanted a notarized transcript from our humble homeschool high school even though they had his university transcript on file. Silly box checkers had us driving around and getting things done Monday. Then the federal government had me driving around Tuesday. For a passport, we needed a birth certificate from the county of birth(state not good enough), but we didn't know this until a visit to another courthouse, we were told because she wasn't born in a hospital, we needed more proof.. Of life? More box checkers making me burn gas. Got that done too! 
Wednesday we relaxed together and enjoyed seeing the last of the dumpster! It had its own drama with it, with threats of having to empty it and more absurdities, then the boss came along and taught the driver how it's done. And it's gone. So happy to be able to see the meadow again.
I finally replaced my shattered phone, more driving and waiting. We have AT&T and I question keeping it every time. Lots of waiting involved. My patience paid off and I'm enjoying a phone without quirks. These pics are from phone. 

We have some plans for the rest of the week with many hands home to help.
General clean up, fence garden, fence and rebuild chicken coop. See where dog got of perimeter fence! Make a scrap metal run. Start rebuilding playscape in more of a treehouse design. 
Big plans, but when Craig is here with his boys, big things get accomplished.