Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Praying the Rosary in the Language of the Church

 I have relearned the prayers after years of not praying in Latin. If you are interested, I encourage you to take it up, it is somehow more satisfying to pray in the ancient nonchanging  language of the Church.


Listen along and pray along with this priest for each mystery. Repeating with him will help the memory process go quickly. And I promise you'll be humming Ave, Ave, Ave Maria without realizing it is putting you in a good mood.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Looking forward Daybook

What I am looking at...a beautiful pink sky sunrise. "Something woke me up early." is something I say most mornings. I think it just may be my new mode to wake up around  4 a.m. It is quiet, mostly, minus the roosters, owls, wine chimes, cats, dogs, etc, I am not bemoaning lack of sleep, I am rested, I guess I had enough and I'm ready for the day to get going. I love mornings. A fresh new day, begins with a new hope.

I hear the owl outside my window and decided to take a little walk to see if I could pin point the hoots to come out with my camera later and see if I could spy on their nests. I wasn't as quiet as I needed to be to pass Euly's room since Heidi is usually stirring early hours too. Little puppy energy is cute until it isn't. I grabbed her leash and she waited while I bundled a little for the 37 degrees outside.

The moon was bright. It seems as if this full moon cycle has lasted a long time. We have had more clear nights to enjoy the brightness.The shadows cast from the winding limbs of the oaks were a little too dark and ominous for Heidi. I decided to pray and walk to the front of the poetry for a morning rosary and needed to tug her to encourage her to continue to the front. In daylight she bounces up the road, but the shadows reaching across the road were playing tricks on her eyes. I had to look twice a few times to make sure it was jut a bush or small tree lurking in the dark. Once we reached the gate and turned back toward home, her enthusiasm returned and pulled me the way home. 

Round trip to the front is about a half mile, good distance to complete the Joyful mysteries and start the day off right.

What I am meal planning...I am getting strict about my window for the intermittent fasting again, in preparation for Lent, when I hope to add more restrictions. Currently I only eat between 10 a.m. and stop at 6 p.m. For breakfast I'll have a big protein meal: today eggs, berries, and toast. Small snack size after noon of cheese and fruit, and dinner: roasted pork tenderloin, potatoes, onions and green salad.

What will school look like today...no outside appointments or classes today, my favorite kind of day, we stay home. We will start with math (Ceci's preference), move on to history, music appreciation (current Gregorian chant study), classical writing on analogies, break for lunch with animal care, exercise, fresh air since it looks like its going to be a beautiful day. The afternoon will include vocabulary, independent reading, and biology mixed with art with study of plant life.

How I am coping with stress...I have jumped into my Catholic faith studies with energy and focus. I am inspired! I have had this fiery inspiration many sporadic times over the years and have been fortunate with what comes out of it. I am hopeful I can experience spiritual growth again, help encourage others to set a fire to their soul. Tempis fugit, people!

I find Lent more successful when I prepare as the days get closer, getting used to routine of prayer, diet changes, etc. instead of waking up Ash Wednesday after an over indulgent Fat Tuesday and reminding myself what I can have or do and focusing on feeling hunger. I will probably always still focus on may hunger, but I'll be a little more accustomed to telling myself, just wait a bit longer, there will be food. 

Where are you traveling... I am going to visit my oldest, Max, in St, Louis. He estimates he will be working in STL another year, and would like move again to an area with more life. He move to the suburbs nearer to work last January's then they hit lockdown in late February, and never had a chance to meet, socialize. Its a lonely area in a lonely time.  The area is new and looks like a city center with apartments built around, more facade than  city life reality partly due to shutdowns. He wants to move back into the city, but now he knows the city better, so will stay away from the beautiful architecture high crime apartments. I do hope we can start a twelve month countdown until he moves back to Texas. I love having my family closer.

Ceci spent some time with Molly and we were able to visit with Molly and Sebastian as we handed Ceci off halfway between at an old favorite pizza place. We will be seeing more of them over the next few weekends.

The three youngest girls visit Molly on a one on one basis. She would be happy if they came together, but they cherish their special time with her, they would rather spread out visits  so they can soak up all the Molly time themselves. I need to jump in on the rotation!

What about your hair...haha, no-one would ask me this, but my hair drives me crazy. It is thinning and looking soulless and flat, ends are rough. I just had it cut two weeks ago! I am thinking of just having several inches off the bottom to bring it back to life. I'm sending a photo to Brianna to see if she thinks I should. 

Craig and I spent the afternoon to clear two trails blocked by one, huge tree.Most trails are finally cleared, still need to pick up branches and take down a few precarious dead limbs.

Have a good one.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Name Change

 I changed the name of the blog from Counting Gifts of Grace to Pax Rustica Fiat Benedicta a Deo. 

When we bought our property in. 2014 we needed a name for tax records. We hadn't lived on the property yet, and I felt we didn't really have the complete feel to come up with something so serious as a name.We had visited the property plenty of times over the year and half of purchasing ordeal, and knew that it was peaceful and the home was rustic. I envisioned a peaceful haven from the big city and growing suburbia life we were retreating from. So Pax Rustica was named.

Working with one of our Fraternity priests this year on Latin translations of names for confirm action students - in the vocative and nominative tenses, I was inspired with  his expertise on the Latin language.  I asked his help to rename the property, still keeping Pax Rustica for legal reasons,  make it more of a dedication to God since it has been a blessing to our family.

Fortunately he was familiar with our home sincere had visited us. He offered many options: 

Pax Rustica sub Deo ( ...under God)

Pax Rustica Divina Providentia (...through God's Providence)

Pax Rustica ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam 

Then he suggested, if I wanted it expressed more like a prayer to ask God's Blessing on our home and property:

Pax Rustica Fiat Benedicta a Deo

and it just felt perfect.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Albert The Great

Around the house he’s just “Albert.” On the occasions he eats the leftovers I intended for the chickens, he’s called by the full name we christened him with when we first saw the rolly, polly puppy- “Fat Albert.”

But on walks I call him “Alberto Jose Gonzales.” I actually sing it out to him. Try it, it’s a musical combination of names. 
He is a little scared sometimes. The dog trainer diagnosed him with low self esteem. Recently, I was told he was quite unsocialized. He’s all that and more. So on our walks, I try to encourage him to stay with me, and not run for the house the first strange sound in the woods spooks him. Deer snorts will stop him in his tracts. In night walks he will purposely stop behind us to make us realize we are walking further away from the safety of home and don’t we want to go back there?!
When I take him on walks and sing his name, inspired by Spanish explores of the past, he usually snoops around the brush on the sides of the road, chases a random squirrel or rabbit. I whistle to him and keep tabs on him so he knows I’ll see him sneak off.
My girls don’t like the name I give him on walks since it isn’t his officially name. But I know he loves it.

Monday, November 2, 2020

For All Soul’s Day

“As we enter Heaven, 
we will see them,
so many of them, 
coming toward us and thanking us. 
We will ask who they are and they will say: 
‘A poor soul you prayed for in purgatory.'” 

- Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Sun.-Sun., Nov. 1-8, Plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls in Purgatory, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed, provided the usual conditions are met.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Vatican issued a special decree extending the plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory throughout the month of November.

Friday, October 30, 2020

7 Quick Takes on a Friday

1. I missed blogging. I missed reading blogs. I have no idea why I stopped even checking, except I loaned my laptop to my college daughter and she just recently was able to get one of her own. Blogging from my iPhone or iPad ws frustrating and fraught with technical difficulties.

But the questions is: Why did Instagram absorb all my social outlet attention? I don't know, but admit it did. Probably laziness to just use one app,  I don't spend much time on Facebook. 

What made me want to quit IG, or at least stop it now? Lilly was on the Explore place looking at the random meme and things that pop up and I heard audio very crude, inappropriate and plainly offensive to me, horrible to her delicate and innocent ten years old ears. I immediately deleted the app. 

Instagram selects posts for me to see, it monitors anyone I follows off they say anything about voting or corona. But can't stop the type of obscenity we heard?!!

I have not deleted my accounts, @maryhaddox, @mwh_photo, @regina_caeli_parish

but removed access from her 100 % access. She is fine with it, say she didn't catch what was said, but who knows what else has popped up. I had already deleted followers (thise random male followings with their first last name and #'s following), turned settings to private, and we don't "like" inappropriate accounts (which I would think would make like accounts be suggested) and that still popped up. NOT okay instagram, not okay.

2. I have learned Craig's secret to lighting a successful fire in the fireplace. It is a little bit of a ch eat, but fast and effective:

Jump start with he propane lighter flame thrower. Sounds more dangerous than it is, I'm sure.

3. I have been having fun discovering old photography slides, finding ways I can display and use. My oldest told me much of the film he shot, especially in the beginning could be used for my purposes. He told me this after I scoured eBay for slides. It's funny how you can look far for treasure, and realize it was near your own hearth.

4. After teaching some of the subjects so many times over again (fifth time for some, sixth for others). I needed a change with biology and flipped to study plants first in the year.  We are in the midst of collecting leaves, studying plants and identifying tree types. The girls have been drawing in their nature journals to record facts and identify tiffing details. Ceci is quite the artist in hers. 

5. Since Ive been grounded from international travel this year, I have been enjoying our exlorations of others to satisfy the wanderer in my nature. We've studied the explorers from 1400's on. We are still in the Canadian forests also learning much about Indias and Jesuits. 

I've really enjoyed Hillaire Belloc's Path to Rome as he pilgrimaged last century from France to Rome. For 2020, I've binged watched YouTube Bald and Bankrupt as he has explored parts of the world I would never have imagined going. But wow! It has been addictive and fascinating. It should be called "Bald and Bold." 

6. Craig and I have a date night tonight - Thai therapeutic massage for an hour and a half! Not our traditional outing, but I am really looking forward to it. I recommend Thai combination massage. Yes, the therapist stands on your back, with the aid of rails from the ceiling to adjust their weight. But they are knowledgeable with pressure and combination pressures. 

7. What outing do I miss most this year? Going to the movies. it was a treat to plan our movie, pick the movie snacks  - popcorn and soda at one theater or sliders and margs at another. Have new movies come out all year? I feel a little deprived but I have made up for it in audio books I've been binging on.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Six Year Home Anniversary - updates no-one would care about but me.

Six years, still in love.

We aren't under any delusions that we bought a perfect home. We bought land with a home, a home which had been abandoned, left open at times, robbed of appliances and fixtures. We love a challenge and we love having projects that need us.  We do know we found true love with this house. 

Six years have seen many, many projects, and we have many, many left to go, and unfortunately, many re-do's will be necessary.

This year, my four and half year old (too expensive to break down) built in refrigerator died! Just outside of warranty. The estimate given was basically 2/3 the cost of it new, and turns out, the cost of a commercial refrigerator and wine cooler.

Wait, a Commercial refrigerator in a residential home? Yes, and we love it. Rumored drawback: noise? Yes, when the compressor runs, it is noisier than a residential fridge. But, it is so efficient, it doesn’t cycle that much.  It isn’t so noisy it stops a conversation. Our house is open, so if watching a quiet movie, you’ll notice it kick on. We wanted the glass door to see what was there before we open it, to stop the ‘open door while I search what good there could be hidden in the depths.’ The light is so bright, it makes it clear where everything is. I don’t have the organization down perfectly, but I can say I know we do not waste near what we used to. Another downside - no warranty since its commercial use in a home? Well, the last warranty didn't do us any good, and with this design, if it goes out, the mechanism is on top, easy to switch out if ever needed. 

It is huge. I can put Ceci’s four layer cake creations, next to a whole watermelon and case of drinks and still have room to spare on the bottom shelf, right side. My electric bill showed no difference. We thought about a three door, but satisfied with the two door. A TRUE freezer is in the works for the future.

The tale of the refrigerator doesn’t end there. It is a If You Give A Mouse a Cookie type story. 

My refrigerator went out, we replaced it with a larger refrigerator, 

Our wine fridge had an accident with a Christmas gift ( hover board )  and shattered years back,  since the refrigerator (TRUE) distributor (katom.com) also sold wine refrigerators, it was time to replace.

Since both of those took up space where the external door was, the door space needed be closed in. The double doors around the corner would now be main entrance to rear of house, but they were wooden and rotten and too fragile for every day use. So new double doors needed. Unfortunately,  HD ordered a smaller version, and we had to reframe the doorway, but Craig was never happy with the reduced doorway, (three inches top and sides) so, we will probably use these somewhere else, and get ones that fit original space. He didn't want to put trim back on, which was the signal he wasn't happy with how it turned out.

One reason for this, when the commercial refrigerator arrived, before we switched out the doors, it took every millimeter to get it in, hoping to never have to get it back out, we should have one exit it can go out.

The exterior of the house is sided with cedar, of which we have never liked due to change in appearance with age, shrinkage, etc. We like Hardie plank. So the exterior wall behind the new refrigerator, with door closed in,  needed new siding. Craig and I replaced siding on that wall, easier than we thought it would be. 

Before we did more, we needed to decide what to do about the other windows and doors, also showing age, also wood, some rotten. None of this is a surprise to us, thankfully. It just hadn't made it to the top of the list until now. We have 43 windows which need replacing, Foooouuuuurtyyyyyy threeeee, which includes closing in four windows, and replacing a double door for a window. 

Big sigh, but fairly relieved sigh as the cost of the windows wasn't near what we had feared over the years while procrastinating on an estimate. Same situation with the Hardie plank. It is actually less cost that the cedar siding. Who would have guessed?

But we aren't happy with the window replacement company, because we want assurance it will be done right, no rotten wood left, no surprises for future us. So, as of now, the salesman is sitting on his hands while we decide what to do and get other estimates and assurances. I think we should get windows as we go replacing siding. My thought:  replace windows and door in each wall section, make repairs as discovered, then do siding, then paint when all done. I don’t want to finance any part of it, and also don’t want to take a huge hunk out of savings. We live out in the woods, no neighbor association could get frustrated with our slow progress.  This way we can truly repair all surprises that come up.  If we go with the company, the cost isn't much difference, but if they are out here popping in 43 windows in one day, I think there could be things missed that we wouldn't want missed.

It’s all an  argument I’m having with myself at the moment, especially since I was the one who called to have windows  replaced in first place.

While replacing the siding, we thought it was time to put fresh wood down on black deck. Love it!

The last large item is the foundation - what again!?  That's right, it was the first thing we did six years ago, the reason we bought the land with a house, instead of a house on land. (I'm saying the house with a bad foundation isn't considered much). No-one wants a house with a bad foundation. Ours is built on beams, not a slab, and it has small crawl space, not a basement. Six years ago, it was leveled, termite protected, etc. But piers were not dug to bedrock, and with the clay, creep soil, property riddled with random springs, we see hints of settling issues again. That is the largest estimate I am putting off for now. No reason. I believe it can be fixed, in a permanent solution type way. There are just other more pressing, more satisfying repairs in front of it.

Water heater for my bath is next. Ours works, just not as efficient. It may even be original. We can fill our oversized tub up half way with hot water, then wait a bit before anyone takes a shower.

With cooling weather, we are able to work more outdoors. Craig is smoothing out ground at back of house to help with drainage. We moved the old propane tank and current propane tank away from housed so backyard can be prepared for grass in the spring. We had so many trees down this year, many from a small freak tornado. We have been splitting wood. Who knows how long it would take to go through all this firewood! Need any, let me know.

Of the large full trees which we downed, those are curing to be taking to the Mill and long planks and beams will be cut. The planks are to be used as the counter top for when we replace the bar. I always called the bar: the control station. It dominates the transition from living to kitchen. A focal point. 


We are still deciding if we change the orientation. The full bar will be counter height, still have a sink and ice maker, and I am planning for easy access appliance under counter and dispenser and items use for entertaining. It’s a farmhouse feel home, and I think having the wood from the property will just be perfect! 

Many other areas need updating and rearranging. But as of now, I still love it. I am patient. We are making progress. It’s just time, imagination, money and strength to get it all done. It's even more than a home to us. We personify the house to believe it loves having us here, rescuing it, it loves to host others. Each improvement makes it feel a little better and more welcoming. Sound like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang house?

Yes, I think it is.


Hopeful Daybook 10262020

Outside my window... it looks like fall just showed up. Today was one of those days to wear all the seasons’ clothes. Hot and humid this morning, this afternoon a nice breeze came, brought some rain and now I'm thinking if the temperatures keep dropping, we should start a fire in the bedroom stove.

I am hoping ... the Senate approves Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court tonight!… 


My next hope is for great news next Tuesday!

I am reading...My Path to Rome by Hillarie Belloc. I own the book but had a though time getting started, so I bought the audio book. The narrator sounds as what I imagine Mr. Belloc might have sounded like. I'm not far into it but I'm enjoying his travels from France on pilgrimage to Rome a little over hundred years ago. 

Today the girls and I finished listening to Elijah Wood narrate Huckleberry Finn. Lilly was never comfortable with the frequent use of the n word, This is the only of Twain's books to be on the Great Book list. Based on our pastors recommendations, and his experience at TAC, we are trying to cross off more Great Books. Father said since people aren't reading the great lessons in the Great books, people don't understand faith, culture, consequences of actions as they should. 

I am also reading Fulfilled for a monthly Bible study my sister asked me to participate in. I have benefitted from the perspective centering on the Tabernacle.

I am thinking...I need another road trip. The girls and I went to see Max in Missouri for a little more than a long weekend. It was nice and easy up and back. Euly helps with night driving. Max only has a one bedroom apartment but it’s in a city center type design in the suburbs, with a hotel next door, where we stayed. It was nice and easy for him to not get overwhelmed with so many in his apartment and nice and easy for us to have our own space, breakfast in morning, etc. It was close enough to Missouri River, I got up early and went for a nature walk one morning.

In the kitchen...tonight's dinner was jerk chicken and rice with cucumber salad. We had some pecan pies left over from Saturday nights party. Are you cooking more, and more variety than before 2020? We are. 

Around the farm...the peachicks are growing up. They’re no hassle as they have the large old sheep/duck shed all to themselves.We have a heat light and the auto water pan in with them so all we do is check in them and fill their feed. Three little peachicks don't really eat much. (Don’t poo much…) One has a deformed leg/foot like his mother did. Both of hers were deformed. She got along fine,  until something killed her, but she made it to adulthood and had two batches of babies. These three are the only left. I don't know if the small one will make it once released to elements, but that won't be for over a year. 

In the forever ongoing home renovations..as always we have many projects going. I wrote an update of things with the house in separate post since it’s the six anniversary of closing on the house.

In our homeschool.. plodding along. We played with calligraphy, sketching trees, listed to stories, wrote stories,. and math today. Everyday is a bit different. It was a big tiring weekend, so we needed a smooth day back today. 

There is another girl, Lilly's friend, who is the youngest in her large homeschooling family, creative and energetic and able to get together one a week for their social and creative outlets. I am so thankful!

I am creating...photos on glass as a found raiser idea for our parish. I am trying out an idea with various sizes. I will post outcome and get opinions when they are complete.

I am planning...not much and not far out. It’s a little Sad because I love to plan especially for travel. None for now.

I am watching...nothing right now. No series, movies, etc. Any must see suggestions you'd recommend? We watched The Fatima movie last week. I liked it, still so much more to learn, pray, etc.

I am thankful for...the good fruits from 2020. Craig has been home more than ever in our married with kids life. I think the travel started sometime after Max was two, then some times weekly, sometimes, not even home every other weekend. I'll be honest, it was a transition, His job was basically 100 % travel then suddenly 100% on web call from his desk in our bedroom. His job completely changed. Thank God!  A new position. In the beginning mostly managing the outbreak. We have all learned a lot.   I had to get used to not utilizing the bathroom around his work schedule. I have enjoyed having him here to visit with any time of day. He had the house to himself when we went to Max's and genuinely missed us. It does get too quiet when the kids are away.

I am looking forward to… the holidays...we are celebrating the holidays unafraid. We live in a rural community and we live unafraid in our daily life. It was a choice we made to live out of town,"social distance" is a way of life with county people. Houston area is a bit crazy still, but the counties we live and deal with are more relaxed.

I am praying...for our priests. One is ill, not covid. Praying for their health since they have such heavy burdens with this current situation.  So many more masses, and duties fall on one if the other falls ill.

I am planning … for the first eight days of November prayers for indulgence for Poor Souls in purgatory. I am planning out and mapping daily masses for daily communion to help the souls release from purgatory. It's been a tradition every year since we learned of it from a FSSP priest in Georgia, in 2004. The kids have memories of going through all kinds and varieties of cemeteries. 

On health topics.. this year has had many good effects. I as able to get off some pounds I needed, still motivated to get more off. Currently I am planing a fast through the election. I don't starve in a fast, it’s much easier than Lenten or Advent fasts. It's the intermittent fasting eight hour open window, eating only between hours of 10 am and 6 pm, which some life exceptions. I drink lots of water, eat spicier food, and take Blessed Herb supplements for the cleaning benefits during a fast. I have plenty of energy and went for a walk today before the rains. I am trying to focus any discomfort as an offering for the Election's outcome and conversion of family and fellow citizens.

I am dreaming...of completing come current project around here. The ones I can complete on my own. Since repairing my bedroom I need to hang pictures back on the walls. I filled in and painted over past nail holes so I could look fresh at where I wanted to hang pictures, but haven't been motivated to do it just yet. I have become more patiently procrastinating this past year. but I have a war against clutter and junk sitting around, so its next on the list. 

My big dream project is to clear the attic and my shed of all items I don't and won't need. I imagine the attic only to store seasonal holiday items,  photos and quality toys for future grandkids.

I am going...to take Ceci to her yoga class in the morning and go or a nice long walk at a park nearby unless it rains, otherwise I'll get my grocery shopping done.

I am listening to...quiet evening at home. The internet on our various providers is just not working, which means quiet den, no tv or YouTube or what ever. I read over a paper Euly wrote for a literature class on a poem by Emily Dickinson. It is nice to have a different perspective to share to help her see a bigger viewpoint of Dickinson.

Can I get your opinion….about buying relics. I understand it is a sin to sell(profit) on a saint’s relic. I came across some in Rome and was encouraged to make a donation to the caretakers. I didn’t see anything irreverent there.

The question - Euly and I were at a local market (RoundTop) with much resale, considered fashionable resale with hefty price tags. We came across a booth with items from France, including relics. Euly said she was moved to get the Saint Margaret Mart (Sacred Heart visionary ) relic, to rescue it and keep it in our prayer area with reverence. Others not knowing where it could end up The lady running the booth lives in France and US, and is Methodist. The relic is in a frame with an image of St Therese, looks very old. There are no papers from Rome verifying the relic, and relics should have to be authenticated. But that doesn’t mean the relic is not valid. It could mean I threw money away and it wasn’t real, but Euly really wanted us to rescue it and give her a home.

Do you know about the purchase of relics? Please let me know. I have not spoken to our priest just yet, as he is doing double duty (as said above).

I did see a 1902 Latin missal, probably used on the altar when latin Mass was the norm, and found it cradled in my arms, and the sales lady said, “You have to have that, don’t you?” No poker face here.

Something funny.
.. We had a small group over for our Pastor's birthday, and I took a quick picture around the table when we brought him the cake.I shared it with everyone when I thanked them for coming. one of the witty ones said the arrangement reminded him of the dogs playing poker picture. I had seen it before, or versions of it, painted on velvet...Anyway, I searched it to show the girls and found so many versions of dogs playing poker. I thought this one matched our scene pretty well.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Road trip to Missouri

The girls and I have been planning on spending a fall in Tennessee with family to see the fall foliage for years and finally this year, we had time, but sadly, the family we were to see are at risk of premonitory health factors due to covid. We don’t have covid, but I guess it’s frightening for them since we’d be coming from out of state.

So, we decided to see Max in Missouri. He said leaves were changing, so we went.

On the way up we detoured to Huntsville to meet up with Nick for breakfast. Then we had some bad weather, a hurricane was hitting Louisiana and we were detoured through Shreveport for some reason unknown. We stopped in Arkansas to have dinner with a friend of Eulys and went on a small walk to a bluff.

Stopped in Poplar Bluff, Mo for the night and finished the drive with beautiful weather and a pretty tour of fall Foliage through Mark Twain forest, while listening to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

We stayed at the hotel adjacent to Max’s apartment. One night there was a family above us, arrived after 10 pm.
They were so loud, we complained over phone three times and in person (after midnight). 
It sounded like bouncing balls, jumping on both beds. I could not fathomed how.
The night employees were just mad at me, as I predicted they’d be. So on the morning I asked to see the GM and was immediately told I’d get a refund for the previous night. 
I just said mainly I wanted sleep and to make sure either I’d be moved  or they would. They said they checked out but their little monsters must have been left behind because crazy bangs continued until 11. 
When we went to meet up with Max for lunch, I saw the family in the parking lot and the 11 year old boy was bouncing a basketball. Yep. Both parent there too.. I have six children and traveled many times with all of them with just one parent, me. I never had a complaint, much less four in one night! 
To further my disappointment, I learned they were homeschoolers.
I decided we are no longer homeschoolers.
We are scholars, following the college model, roaming and adjusting as we see fit. Maybe I sound snobby,
But I worked too hard developing manners in my children to be lumped in with people who had no curtesy for their fellow man, women, families, or homeschoolers.

Caught myself ranting again, too late. Sorry.

First night we toured the old beautiful town of Saint Charles, Max’s new town, safely out in the suburbs. 

While in Missouri, we visited our favorite place
The City Museum in St Louis. Part amusement park, part architectural museum, enough fun and learning for hours and hours!

I pushed my limit on fear of height. A steep one story slide almost stopped me, but I did it and had little kids ask me how scary it was. 

The we stopped by the Lone Elk Park on our way home, based on a recommendation by another homeschooler, large family of scholar.
We saw elk, one just in front of my car and then a whole herd of bison! It was a beautiful drive.

Another day we visited the St Louis zoo and the Jewel Box botanical house.
We had some nippy weather. Nice! Especially since the zoo required mask wearing.

The next day I went to a humid hike by myself, with the mosquitos. 

We had a very nice visit and an easy and pleasant one day drive home.
If you are wondering, no gas stations along the route required masks.
Facial freedom was nice!

De Sota Bluff, Arkansas             

Saint Charles & Missouri River

Saint Louis Zoo

Lone Elk Park

Forest Park JewelBox

Saint Louis City Museum

On the Missouri River


Mark Twain Forest
Pretty park a couple miles off road. Mark Twain’s Forest
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Praying the Rosary in the Language of the Church

 I have relearned the prayers after years of not praying in Latin. If you are interested, I encourage you to take it up, it is somehow more ...