February 28, 2014

Throwback: This girl.

Once upon a time, I had another blog.  Well, I still have it.  But, it is private and no one ever saw it.  Then I started THIS blog, the one you are reading.  MHH as I affectionately call it.  Anyway....I like to ramble, ever notice that?  Anyway, again.....I happened to be reading the other blog, the private one, and thought that I might bring some of those posts from the dredges to here.  Most of them are just silly.  This one I brought because I absolutely loved Elizabeth in this dress.  Which, oddly enough is the same dress Caroline wore for her first birthday.  Ahem.  At any rate, this was the original post from May 20th, 2009:

This girl will be two tomorrow. TWO. Unbelievable. This girl is spunky and sweet. She loves her baby brother and calls him "mine!" She is just like her brothers. She is nothing like her brothers. She prefers a liquid diet of orange juice and chocolate milk. But, if you can get her to sit still long enough, she is a good eater and loves applesauce, spaghetti, strawberries and grapes (but they are both called strawberries), and chicken. She has the loveliest curls, even her brothers love her hair. She likes bugs and being dirty. She likes wearing dresses and spinning. She knows the color pink. She's snuggly and wiggly and busy and all around fun and exhausting at the same time. And she is two. And we love her and can't imagine our lives without our girl. And, for now at least, she is our favoritest girl in the whole wide world.

This picture wasn't part of the original post, but I couldn't help adding it!

February 27, 2014


round button chicken

Nathan found his first real arrowhead this week.
When we first moved in here, one of the neighbors told us that he found several arrowheads and an axe head when he built his house.  And the search began.  We searched when they were digging the foundation.  We searched when the pipeline came through.  Nearly four years in, and he has found one!  We wonder if the combination of pipeline and ground heaving from freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw finally brought this one to the top.

Caroline finally celebrated her first birthday with her Nana.
We were supposed to have another little party for her with her Nana.  But, alas, the snow once again foiled our plans.  Instead, we planned an impromptu trip to Ikea and then dinner with Nana afterwards at Uno's.  This is the one picture that wasn't blurry and it is pretty goofy.  Bob is making funny faces at Caroline who is looking at him like, "what are you doing?" Who knows what Ken is looking at and Nicholas can never look at the camera while smiling!!

My husband attempting to look serious.
He doesn't have a good poker face.


Can it be spring yet?
Sick kids=messy house.  And who watches Night at the Museum in the middle of the day anyway?  Whatever it takes to get through I suppose.  And I hope we're finally through.  Though there are predictions for a major ice storm this weekend.  Stinky.   Can someone please please please push the spring button?  Before you hear a story on the news about a mom with 7 kids who abandoned her house to live in her car by the beach?  Please?

February 26, 2014

Day book: Last week of February.

Daybook: Last week of February.

Outside my window...
Sunny, bright, and clear.  It looks lovely.  The temperature is 11 degrees.  Brrrr!

I am thinking...
About my big kids out skiing this morning.  I hope they stay warm!  Supposedly, there is supposed to be a local Olympian at the slopes today....I hope it isn't too crowded.

I am thankful...
That Caroline woke up yesterday definately feeling better.  I'm so thankful we live in this time period and not some of the ones before.  When you have a baby that won't keep anything down for 4 days, you start thinking about all the little babies in times when they didn't understand germs.

I'm also thankful for all the support from friends and family.  It's nice to have someone to commiserate and offer suggestions.

In the kitchen...
There hasn't been much going on in the kitchen this week.  Except for pedialyte and jello.  Dinner last night was waffles and eggs for those who wanted to eat, the night before it was chicken noodle soup.  Appetites have been low.  Tonight, the last of our two meat birds in the crockpot.  I'm thinking they'll come home from skiing hungry and ready for warm food.  If my husband doesn't hit Wendy's first!

I am wearing...
Yoga pants, a bright blue tee, and a hoodie.  And slippers.  Always slippers.  I think at some point today I will make the effort to put on real clothes!

I am creating...
Nothing.  Nothing at all.

I am going...
I'm on call to pick up kids who want to come home at the mid point of the day.  I'm looking forward to treating myself to a drive-thru coca-cola.  Other than that...no plans until the weekend.  Then a baptismal celebration for my niece and a birthday party for a nephew!

I am reading...
This week has been low on the read list.  The most I've accomplished is looking through the March issue of Martha Stewart Living and blogs while sitting and holding Carrie.  I plan on getting back to Chesterton's Father Brown series.

I am praying...
For a friend who lost her baby.  Heartbreaking.  For lots of people who are sick.

Around the house...
Recovery.  We've been running on two cylinders all week when we should be on four!  We'll spend the rest of the week catching up and trying to at least get a little math done.

A favorite quote for today...
From Nicholas, "I hope I get sick because then I won't have to go to co-op!"  Then, alternately, "I hope I don't get sick."

Pope Francis tweet, "Our Lady is always close to us, especially when we feel the weight of life with all it's problems."

One of my favorite things...
Humidifiers, essential oils, pedialyte, washing machines, hot water, and tv.  Oh... They all sort of go together as one this week!!

A peek into my day...

I've got a mama's girl this week.  Soaking up the snuggles!

February 24, 2014

Nick nack.

Paddy whack give the dog a bone!  This whole post is dedicated to my Nick-nack.

He has a birthday coming up and will be that age that seems so old.... (Five).  He's really grown up the last few months.
He said, "Take my picture-- I have a cone on my head!" So I did.

He said, "Take my picture now!"  So I did!

He has been full of wonderful and funny observations lately.  None of which I seem to remember even though I think to myself " write that one down!"  Because his wittiness always comes while I'm driving or cooking or somehow otherwise in the middle of something.

Here Nicholas was thrilled to be on some ancient version of a wolf with both of his sisters.  Awesomeness, obviously.
Nicholas had his first dental visit last week.  Lookin cool in the shades.  And he was wonderfully good.  Let's just not talk about the cavities. Ouch.

I've been loving this little guy at four.  Five can only be even better!

February 23, 2014

Snow coolness.

I've decided to partake of 7 posts in 7 days with Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary.  Don't know if I can do it since I've decided such a thing a stomach bug is now on the rampage.  The best laid plans....  But hey, on to happier thoughts....

I wanted to post this last week but alas... Such is life.  Ken was out of town and I spent my week actually devoted to the children!  Go figure!  Anyway, the Sunday before he left the boys and I managed a quick trip to the creek.

I had been dying to get down there and take a picture of all the snowy perfection that I could see while driving by.  So imagine my frustration when ken and the kids took off to explore on Saturday without me!  *sniff sniff!

The water rushing under the snow and ice sounded absolutely awesome.  

Three crazy boys had a good time!

As you can see, there was still lots to enjoy Sunday morning.  And I'm glad we made the trip because the next few days the temps warmed up and the whole creek changed.

Those are not rocks.  Those are ice chunks. Some over 12 inches thick.  Cool, huh?  I don't know if you can see the one floating on the right.  Amazing the power of water!

February 20, 2014

Theme Thursday: Dishes

Dishes after a party of some sort.
I just liked the shiny.
The vase on the left was the first vase Ken ever bought for me.
And spent some sort of ridiculous amount of money (at the time) on it because he was swayed by the opinion of the little old lady tending the store.
The stemware in the back were all from our registry and were wedding gifts.
The bowl was also a wedding gift.
The little teeny versions of stemware are for the kids to be all "fancy" and have their "wine" in at dinner (aka: sparkling grape juice).
They are actually shot glasses from Ikea--some glass, some plastic.

February 13, 2014

{PHFR} and Theme Thursday

round button chicken
Team tagging PHFR and Theme Thursday this week!

Prints in the snow.
Our first feathered friend.
Our second feathered friend.
Two weeks ago, I took the screens out of the windows.
So I could see and photograph the birds better.
The only problem is that now it appears that the birds don't see the windows.
(Yeah, they're that clean!  Uh huh, you know it, ....uh....)
We've had many birds crash and now two that have been stunned enough we've had to rescue them for a short while so the cat doesn't get them.
At the very least, we are getting some up close and personal looks at these little guys.

Nathan knows how to keep his littlest siblings happy.
Sled rides down and sled rides up.
And cozy puzzle time on the couch.

Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Peter were taking turns posing with their baby critters and snapping photos.
Future Instagram-ers.
This one is just plain funny!

This is where my "hearts" come in for the week.
Elizabeth has put holes in literally every pair of pants she owns.
I'm so sick of buying clothes that I refuse to replace them.
Elizabeth requested I make the patches hearts.
And she requested pretty pink stitching too.
We'll see if I get to that.
Nicholas just loves that pair of camo so we're trying to save them until the end of the season.
So, when you see my children decked out in old-school patches, it isn't that their momma has such a big family she can't afford to take care of them all or some ridiculousness like that.
She just doesn't want to load them all in the big van for a trip to Kohls!!
We're gonna make these pants last till spring!!

February 12, 2014

A little bit of Sunshine.

So, first of all, I've never been nominated for anything.  I'm tickled pink that Sarah at With a Hopeful Heart nominated me for a Sunshine Award!  Now the challenge is for me to come up with ten things about myself.  The problem is, I'm really not that interesting, lol! Here goes:
Try not to fall asleep now.
I am allergic to benzoyl peroxide.  (Fabulous during the teen years when you are trying to find SOMETHING to help with acne....yeah, just think about that for a second.)  And a lot of dyes and fragrances. They either make me blow up like a balloon, itch like a madwoman or give me a migraine. Or all of the above. So, don't be offended if you never see me use that beautiful candle you gave me.  I usually try them and know within minutes if it has to go in the garbage.  Sometimes, if I know they have a scent, I just don't burn them and look at them instead.  I do have "known" scents that are okay and I can use certain diffusers, etc.  Trial and error.

I converted to Catholicism in college. It was awesome entering into the church during the Easter vigil!  And nerve-racking.  Ken and I laugh when we think back to that night.  We were living in Columbus, OH at the time--his whole family came up for the event (awesome), stayed for the Mass, and then we all trooped to Cincinnati to help his parents deliver the Sunday newspapers (their job at the time) in the wee hours of the morn.  But, hey, we were young then and crazy was the name of our game.  I'll be honest, I have no recollection of that Easter Sunday.

Picture of a picture.
The only one I've got of the Vigil that you can see
anything but the flash illuminating people's heads.
That's my sponsor, Lyn next to me.
There is one person who I credit with inspiring me to make that leap to love Jesus.  That was my RA in college, Tricia.  She was on fire for Jesus and she was going to drag everyone with her.  She was the right blend of bubbly and persistent and drug me to my first Campus Crusade for Christ.  Which is where I learned that you can love Jesus and still rock--back then to great bands like Audio Adrenaline and DcTalk.  I wish I knew where she was today and what she was up to!  She went on a mission trip to Albania and brought back laminated stamps for souvenirs.  Stamps of Mother Theresa.  She wasn't Catholic (or wasn't then).  I still have mine and the date on it is 1994.  That seems so long ago.

I have no middle name. Which drives most other people batty--especially those who really, really want you to put something in that blank on a form.  Once, when I was in college, I considered giving myself a middle name.  This was about the time I entered the Church.  I happened to mention this to my mom, who blew up, and said, "You will NOT!  I did not give you a middle name and a middle name you will not have!"  Or something like that.  Now, I'm glad she put her foot down.

I insisted when I got married that 3 kids was my top number (hey, I was still growing in the faith....). And that I intended to be "done" by the time I was 32.  I think God laughed every time I said that. I laugh when I think I have more than doubled that number.  And I don't regret it one bit.

You can't see Peter in this image: he's hiding right below my head.
We were all watching videos on my phone.
I really wanted to name Jacob after a lighthouse in OBX.  Ken wouldn't let me.  Jacob really fits him better!  You can harass me about that later.
Name that lighthouse.
We have tons of animals and critters around. I draw the line at arachnids and birds (in the house--in the coop are fine), my husband draws the line at snakes. Gotta have some kind of standards. One of our promises when we moved was that we would allow the kids to have more pets. Why'd we say that?!!  There are days when I secretly dream of getting rid of all the animals and moving back into a teeny house with a teeny yard.  
My kind of pet: one that sleeps allll day.
I'm totally boring. Totally. Coming up with 10 things is strangely hard. But, I'm a bookworm at heart and I love crafting. I need to escape to a quiet space (even if in my own head) or I get grumpy.  I clearly remember being called a bookworm once in high school and being very offended.  Reading just came naturally and that hardly made me a bookworm in my opinion!!  I learned to read at 4, a trait that none of my children have mimicked as of yet.  (sigh)

My favorite saint is Mary. To Jesus through Mary!

I did that saint-for-the-year generator over at Conversion Diary and got St. Bernardine of Siena.  Who I thought at first was a girl.  Then after research, I find that HE is the patron saint of many things but one of those is of people with chest ailments.  At which point, I think, "HUH?"  And then I spend the first month of the year with sick kids.  Kids with coughs and fevers and ear infections.  And I laugh.  Because I have much to learn.  And I wonder if St. Bernardine and I are going to become very, very good friends this year.  (Speaking of good friends, St. Bernardine, I wouldn't mind a trip to Italy, you know....)

St. Bernardine of Siena

Whew!  If you made it this far, good for you!  Now as a reward for completing this task, I get to nominate some of my favorite bloggers who I find full of sunshine!!

I nominate Roxie at Blooms of Joy (don't wack me over the head, Roxie!!) and Briana at I Can't Decide.  Go visit them at their blogs and soak up some of their sunshine and beautiful children!  And thanks again Sarah!

Here are the rules for the Sunshine Award:

1. Use the award logo in your post.
2. Link to whoever nominated you.
3. Tell us 10 pieces of information about yourself.
4. Nominate fellow bloggers who "positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere".
5. Leave a comment on the nominees' blogs to tell them of the award.

February 10, 2014

Never worry.

Never worry.  Sometimes that's easier said than done, right?  I mean especially in February if you are a homeschooler!

I would love to be one if those people who didn't worry about numbers-- of the algebra or the masses sort.  I think one worries when you are schooling one child.  One really worries when you are schooling multiple children with an infant on the lap and a toddler destroying the kitchen.  Some homeschoolers can say " don't worry be happy" in the area of schooling.  Lots of people thrive on unschooling and I wish I was one of those people!  I worry that I'm not doing enough, that they aren't learning enough, we aren't enjoying each other enough.

I had the opportunity to attend a morning out for homeschooling moms on Saturday.  It was lovely.  The resounding theme was to appreciate the gifts God has given you and to not fret about what the outcome will be.  We live in a world where our success is measured by accomplishments.  And even worse, there is something of the notion that as homeschoolers our kids should all go to college with full-ride scholarships or we've certainly failed.  That is a huge burden to carry.

It is so easy to think in terms of accomplishments: my kid is a grade ahead in math, my kid was named MVP in such and such a sport, my kid.... and it could go on.  None of those things are bad things.  They are good, they can be good.  We must be careful if the glory is not on God but on our child or on ourselves.  Ouch.  What if it is all about us?  What if none of our children have ANY accomplishments that we can think of.  What does that say?  Are we failing?  There the worry starts.  And the faith ends.

Truly, our burden is light.  First of all, God gave us the grace to educate our children when we got married.  Go figure, He had a plan!  Second, our primary objective is to help our children realize their potential as children of God.  Whether they turn out to be plumbers or architects.  Whether they never stray from their faith or they step away for a bit.  Third, let us hand our worry over.  How many times have we heard from Matthew chapter 6, "Do not worry about your life...can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  ... Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you...."  

That is my goal for February.  The most worrisome month.  The month when life can seem the most daunting.  When the house never gets clean, the snow never goes away, the sun barely shines, and those school books are the most dreaded.  What will happen if we just take the person nearest us and helps them?  Loves them?  Teach them? Feed them soul food?  I'm willing to find out.  I'm willing to help the person nearest me and put my trust in The Lord (and not my curriculum)!

February 8, 2014

Tour a Country: Russia

TJumping on the momentum of the Olympics, we're switching up our Tour a Country plans and studying Russia.  (Russia isn't actually part of it, but it is now part of ours!)

DLTK has coloring pages abounding for Russia and also Olympic ones.  We had a little race the other night to see who could color the rings in the right colors first.  Liz won, granted her colors were "backwards", and Patrick was a close second.  We also colored maps and marked cities.
The race is on.

Peter was very proud of his Olympic Rings.  Which he colored purple blue and  green!

On to books:
We actually have Rechenka's Eggs as one of our Easter books.  But we will pull this one off the shelves.  It fits.  Despite Russia and the Ukraine aren't really getting along currently.  Ahem.  There you go, sounding board for a good political discussion!  The Keeping Quilt would be a good option as well.

I also have Russia ABCs and these stickers would be cute to go with that.  Also, this book on Russia.  If you want a little more Olympics, I liked G is for Gold Medal.

I didn't look up any movies on Russia.  We might.  I kind of figure watching the Olympics themselves will probably be enough TV time!

February 6, 2014

Theme Thursday: Church Windows

A window from a local Seminary, taken while on a field trip.
Honestly,  I'm amazed that I have a semi-viewable photo at all seeing as I had Carrie on my back in the Beco and Peter clinging to me in the front (major case of stranger anxiety just as we walked in the door) and I snapped this with my phone.

Truthfully, I have a lot of blurry mosaics which are beautiful in real life but not so much on my phone.
And, I guess we can all be thankful of my predicament at the time or we'd have a million stained glass photos to look at.
Because I love stained glass and I would have taken a photo of every. single. one.
Someday, maybe I'll get around to posting photos of the pieces I made in my younger days.
But, I digress.
There was one thing that really struck me on our field trip to the Seminary.
Everything is beautiful, of course.
And we are surrounded by art, each with its own story.
One that was stolen from Spain and gifted to the Seminary by a Pope or Archbishop or something.
Others part of a series that once hung in the Vatican.
But, but....
There is a new chapel. 
Again, beautiful.
And the view outside this chapel---magnificent.
Gorgeous woods and views and sunshine.
And, if it was me, I would be hanging birdfeeders outside of these windows and would probably sit there all day long staring out.
However, these windows are simply awaiting their final adornment--to be filled with stained glass.
Which brings one to think about distraction.
On one hand, to me, it seems it would be a shame to cover those beautiful windows and miss the beauty of God's creation outside of those windows.
On the other, how easy would it be to focus on God if you are distracted by the doe and her fawn right outside?

And, thus, stained glass.
Glass with a purpose!

February 4, 2014

A first birthday party.

We celebrated Caroline's first birthday on Saturday.
The stage was set: streamers and balloons abounded, the cake was pink and girly, the happy wishes decorated the chalkboard. 
The birthday girl anxiously awaited her guests.
Well, actually, she just wanted to go outside and play with the others. 
So we climbed the steps instead! 
Presents were opened.
She was amazed and thrilled at the commotion around her.
She loved being surrounded by excited siblings and cousins!
Finally, she's got it.
There are good things in those bags!
Anything else for me? 
What's this all about??
Interesting, very interesting!
Nope, don't really like it.

Caroline touched the cupcake, tasted it and said, "No thank you!  Please just wash my hands now!"
And off to find pajamas we went....

It was a treat to celebrate this special day.
First birthdays are mostly for Mom.
And I enjoyed celebrating this special little girl and the life and joy we've been blessed with this past year.

Happy Birthday, Caroline!
We are thankful for you every day.