June 29, 2010

Name that bug!

Beautiful, isn't it?  I don't think the picture does it justice.  It kind of looks like it has a tile mosaic on it's back.  I thought it was related to a firefly, thus a beetle, but I was way off.  It is an Alianthus-Webworm-Moth.  And, interestingly enough, Indiana isn't listed as a state it is found in.  Ohio is, though, and that is just a stone's throw away.  Bugs are cool in the country!  If you find one and you don't know what it is, insectindentification.org has a handy-dandy database you can search by color and state.


June 24, 2010

Take back the Summer.

It is a call to arms.

A call to end a life of crazy, hectic, get-in-the-car-and-go-everyday-because-there-is-so-much-to-do.

I am so so tired.

I am taking back the summer.

I remember, way back when my kids were little and there were only 2 (or 3), that summer used to be relaxing and refreshing.  Every day was about having fun and going to the park and a nap in the afternoon.

The last couple of summers have not been like that.  Selling a house didn't help any.  Had to be out of the house on someone else's schedule.  I've been running too many errands.  The kids are getting bigger and they have committments of their own.  All of that creates for a lot of being-on-the-go.  A lot of being gone during the week.

Errand running and sports and piano lessons and all of that drains the life from us moms. I'm convinced of it. It is the loading kids in cars, driving in the heat, missing nap times, stopping here-stopping there, so much that by the time you get home you just want to flop on the couch and turn on the TV. You kind of miss summer that way.


Did I say I was tired?  I am.  And I think the only sure-fire way of curing that is to cut-back, slow-down, and enjoy the kids. 

Therefore, I vow to stay home three days a week.  You with me?  Come on, take back your summer, too!  The only way is to STAY HOME!  Unless you are on vacation.  I would say that going to the park or library is okay on "home" days as long as they aren't combined with errand running. 

I am hoping an additional benefit would be that my house might not be the perpetual disaster that comes from being away from it too much!

Bring on summer!  And popsicles!  And sprinklers!  And a refreshed family!  Yay!

June 22, 2010

Beach Week in Review!

We had a great week at the Outer Banks in North Carolina last week.  Now that we're home, it already seems so long ago!  We had perfect weather and lots of fun with cousins and even managed to escape sunburns.  For the first vacation I can ever remember, my dearest husband (who burns easily) actually wore his sunscreen faithfully.  Yay!  :)

We have a road-trip tradition of keeping track of weird things and funny comments.  Such as, the number of times Jacob asked for a pop-tart: 9 (including all the times after we had told them they were all gone).

The number of times someone said "This is the worst day (or car trip) ever":  5

The number of times Liz yelled for her backpack: 5

The number of police we saw: 7

The number of Ohio Bicentennial barns: 2

Quotes:

"Me!"  (Nick)

"I like sippy tops!! I've changed my mind!  ...No, don't write that." (Ken)

"Your hair smells like peaches." (Patrick to Jacob) "That must be a good smell!" (Jacob in reply)

"We're going to go a way we've never gone before which I'm not totally sure about." (Ken)

"My gameboy is dead." (Patrick, exactly 25 minutes into the car ride)

"Are we at the beach yet?"  (Elizabeth, one hour four minutes into the car ride)

We listened to The Magicians Nephew on the way to the beach and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on the way home.  I am amazed at how enthralled my kids were through both books. 



My favorite part of the whole trip was the night we rode bikes and got ice cream, just us.  When you are travelling with a crowd of 12 adults and 24 kids, the special times are sometimes those when you get a quiet moment with just your little family.  We had been souvenir shopping and came back to the beach house and no one was home yet.  So we jumped on the bikes and rode to a sound-side little row of shops that has an ice-cream shop.  We all got chocolate cones with sprinkles and watched the sun set and the only thing I'm bummed about is I didn't take the camera!  It was a lovely time though.



Besides of all the fun that comes of just being with cousins day in and day out, there is the beach fun that you can't get at home.  Like crabbing.  Mole crabs by day and ghost crabs by night (usually).  And then there is the rare time you dig one up by accident.  Nathan, always fearless, is holding a ghost crab above.  Nick really really liked the crabs too.  Luckily, he never got pinched.


And then, there was a ping-pong tournament.  With real trophies.  You can't beat that!  I seriously tried to give my favorite team the upper hand during their game play in the doubles category.  But, alas, they still lost.  But barely.  I'm just saying.  And he is Mr. Wonderful, if I do say so myself.


And even sweet Elizabeth had a blast.  She kept saying, "I so happy about going to the beach! I excited!" Fun fun fun all day long!  Best of all, she got to be with her favorite cousin, Gracie, 24/7.  And pretty much the only way we got her to go anywhere was to say Gracie was going to be there too.  Those two girls were so sweet together all week and I was really glad they had each other for company.


All in all, it was a good week.  Everybody was safe and had fun and there was no arguing.  It really is a blessing for my kids to be surrounded by such a fun and loving extended family.  Many memories for years and years to come!


June 21, 2010

Book Review--Small Steps for Catholic Moms Companion Journal.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to review books for The Catholic Company.  And, can you imagine how excited I was when one of the books I could review was the Small Steps for Catholic Moms Companion Journal by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss?  Way, way excited!  Now, I don't have the Small Steps for Catholic Moms book itself.  But after looking through the companion journal, that will be my next purchase!

The companion journal is spiral-bound and broken down into months with each month having a corresponding virtue to reflect upon.  For example, I went straight to the month of June and (ka-pow!) the virtue is Gentleness.  This really struck me because this is exactly what I have been feeling called to work on.  Elizabeth writes, "Like the monastery bell calls a monk, the child calls a mother to service, and her work with the child becomes a prayer.  ...She will count every call to gentleness over exasperation a blessing."  I can say that I will hold this thought in my head as I try to work on gentleness in the chaos of little people instead of exasperated.  Some of the other virtues are Grace (May), Courage (April), Humility (July), Diligence (September) with special section for Lent.  Aren't these all virtues we could use encouragement for as we walk this (sometimes lonely) path of motherhood?  Diligence as we start a new school year in September.  Courage as we try to struggle through in April.  Grace as we contemplate our Blessed Mother in May and all our shortcomings and desires to be like Her.  This little companion journal reads like a good friend who knows just the right things to say to encourage us along.

This journal really just reflects the truly caring and God-filled natures of these two beautiful women, Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss.  If you didn't know it before (but I think you did), then you would know it by going through this journal.  It is very well-written with an essay about each virtue followed by questions for reflection and journaling space.  Although the journal is designed for personal reflection, I could see how it could also be used in a small group format.  I really just can't say enough praise for this handy little booklet and I can't wait to get the book.

You can find the Small Steps for Catholic Moms Companion Journal at The Catholic Company for $12.95 and the book Small Steps for Catholic Moms for $16.95.  Really reasonable prices for tools that can help us in our journey as Catholic moms!

June 8, 2010

Hieroglyphics.

Both of these artifacts drawn by Patrick on the garage floor.  It is the little things like this that I know I won't remember 30 days from now but yet, exudes the personality of that particular child.
Bowser spitting flames at Mario, in a little bit of sand.


A sideways heart with a cross at the top drawn in water.

June 7, 2010

Reptiles Galore!




We've had a wave of reptiles in our possesion this past week.  The most notable was the snake the boys found yesterday.  Being the brave soul that he is, Nathan wasted no time in capturing what has been the largest snake we've seen so far.  Measuring in at 4 feet 6 inches, "Striker" was a feisty fellow.  We think he is a Northern Water Snake.  We also found two turtles crossing the road (at different times), one was a box turtle and I can't remember what the first one was.

Nathan and his catch.


The whole gang of snake hunters.




Striker.



Our little box turtle buddy.


June 6, 2010

Glorious!

The heavens declare the Glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft.
--Psalm 19:2

June 3, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook--Park Fun Edition.



June 3, 2010


I've been promising the kids all week we'd go to the park. All week!  I don't like to promise and not come through so... we pulled out all the stops at the last minute!  And, I'm combining two posts into one, yippee for me! 

Outside my window...it is dark and rainy.  The sunset was awesome.  I just love it here.  Sitting on the front porch watching the storms move through, the sunsets, the swallows, the grass in the breeze.  Just awesome.


I am thinking...about schedules.  We've all been running a-muck since we moved here and I need peace and order.  I've never been a big fan of schedules, even though we've always loosely followed one.  But, I think my sanity requires a strict one right now.  Any suggestions?  How do you jump from no schedule to a very determined schedule?
He looks so big!

I am thankful for...dishwashers.  Even ones I don't like.  And for God's awesome grace and power!

From the learning rooms...this doesn't apply.  My mother is finally home, thank goodness, and feeling better.  But, we are still recovering ourselves.  So, I think all formal learning will have to wait until after our vacation and we can settle into that routine I was talking about.  And I'm ordering some books for inspiration from Amazon.  Ones that have been in my cart forever but I haven't ordered.

From the kitchen...simple stuff.  Simple, simple, simple.  Although, I really want to try this but I'm not sure it is a good idea (for my waistline).  :)

I am wearing...a pink tank top and jean shorts.  With a headband AND a ponytail and dangly earrings.  I lost one of my standard silver hoops!

I am creating...vacation packing lists and piles of stuff!  I would like to be creating some scrapbook pages and some order in my house!
A hummingbird!  Our fav...

I am going...to my mom's house tomorrow.  We'll swim (she'll watch if she's up to it) and hang out with her for awhile.

I am reading...blogs and Pottery Barn catalogs.  I can't ever afford to buy anything from there but I still like to look!

I am hoping...my husband decides if he is going to buy a car soon! I'm worried for our current van. I have been praying over it during the whole house-building process and I hope it doesn't go Ka-Boom!  :)

I am hearing...the dishwasher and the dog barking.  I should go bring her in.

Around the house...I would like to hang some more pictures this week.  The vegetable garden is in dire need of help.  I have been slowly putting down newspaper and mulch but it takes me such a long time to get anything done.  And, I keep running out of newspaper!

One of my favorite things...ice cream and sticky kids!

Visit Peggy for more daybooks that hopefully have less pictures! Ha!

June 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! (redo)


Liz finally got her party complete with princess cake and best friend Gracie.  And lots of "pretty stuff" for presents.  She was thrilled and had a glorious day.  I am so happy she finally got the party she was dreaming of!

The boys even had fun.  But they thought the cake looked like Barbie was stuck in a cupcake and was yelling, "Help! Get me out!"  And some of them, I won't name names, wouldn't eat any cake because it was purple.  Their loss--it was good!  :)