December 31, 2014

2014: The best of.



It is so hard to pick just a handful of photos to sum up a year.  I can't do it very well even for a single event much less for a whole year.  Gosh, I can't even pick a handful of photos for one year for one of the kids!  As I look back, I am amazed at this year.  We had so many fun opportunities that were unique.  Big milestones.  Little moments.  So much goodness.

Weather.

I know, goofy, weather is getting it's own category.   We started the year in crazy cold doubled up with lots of snow.  Through March. 


And then again in....November.




Birthdays.
It was a big birthday year.





And a whole bunch in between.

Travel.
I just. can't. even.  We had an amazing year for trips.  And there are smaller ones not even listed here: a camping trip for Ken and Nate, a ATV trip for all of the boys.  Here are the big ones:

The sand dunes at sunset in the Outer Banks, NC with extended family in June.

Rain-soaked and hiding out in a sentry box for our 15th Anniversary in Puerto Rico.


Thrill seeking at the Magic Kingdom in September.
Heading up the coast from Orlando to Destin in October.


Watching an early morning lunar eclipse while we were there.


County Fair.
The 4H fair takes up so much of our time and energy it really deserves a zillion pictures.
The cutest ever to all of us.


 Moments to remember.
Then there are all the moments in between.


Finding that Coke with your name on it at the church festival.

Puddle jumping.



Bike riding.
 


The man who planted 40 trees single-handedly.
Get that man a cape! 
Grocery shopping.  We do a lot of that.
Kisses.


Brother fun.  These two have become good buds this year.




December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very blessed and grace filled Christmas and New Year!   I will hold you all in prayer and see you in 2015!

Merry Christmas,
Hope

December 21, 2014

Saintly celebrations.

There are so many feast days in December, it is crazy, isn't it?   They are all so much fun and I love that they are so...multicultural.    The diversity of the church is just awesome.  (Insert me breaking out into Toby Mac's Diverse City here.  Be prepared for a little funk).

Digression, it's my gift.

I feel like I am pretty much crazy all the time these days and feast days have become very very simple.  If for nothing else than to remind myself for next year, here are the little tidbits of our celebrations.

The Immaculate Conception
I jumped in and purchased the Saint Ornaments Download at Catholic Icing.  I'm surprised that Elizabeth hasn't done them all but the Saint Anne one is particularly cute.  These aren't difficult (I mean ...print and color...) but they might need some help with the assembly.

We went with the all-white theme for dinner and dessert.  I mentioned the Snickers pie here.   And we had Chicken Alfredo using the Pioneer Woman's Alfredo Sauce.  So so yummy.  And simple all of it.  And we went to Mass.  Of course.


St. Nicholas

Our day was an unusually busy one.  We had stockings, of course.  Fun fun fun.  Then Elizabeth and I loaded up pans of cookies for a service project.  We spent our morning at a fellow AHG'ers house making cards and assembling trays of cookies for veterans as a service project.  

Later in the day, was the annual Christmas Parade.  Our kids look forward to this every year.


Our Lady of Guadalupe/Juan Diego
Mentally, I always lump poor old Juan Diego in with Our Lady of Guadaloupe.    Which this year, OLG fell on Friday which also happened to be our co-op's Caroling/Advent Party/Last Day of the Year.  Yeah, it needs a better title.  :)  We always go caroling at a local nursing home and it really is so nice to see the joy the kids bring to the faces of the residents.  A lot of them are so lonely.

I don't have pictures of this one.   But we did have a potluck that was Mexican.  And then the girls who have been taking Irish Dance at co-op put on a mini-recital.  It was wonderful to see them all in action together!
Elizabeth is in the red.  Very first dancer.

St. Lucy.
Our  tradition for St. Lucia day is that Elizabeth would dress up in all white and serve the boys cinnamon rolls with candles in them.  They all insisted this year that we have never ever ever done this before.  Yes, we have.  Even if I haven't blogged it every year, we have so so so done it.  So there.  Which is why I must forever more document every. single. thing. we. do.  I must prove my rightness.  All this discussion on what we have and have not done made Liz a little shy and she refused to dress up.  No matter.  She still made the breakfast and served it the boys happily.  And they happily ate it.
We went out later for the traditional drive around and look at lights event.  Spending probably half an hour at our favorite house with the music and crazy lights.  The boys of the family dreaming about the day when that will be us...
All in all, fun traditions!

December 18, 2014

The big 40.






Photo by Patrick.  Ken's big party was cancelled on Sunday so one night he decided to just let the kids eat cake!

And these are the only photos we got of Ken or his cake.  Courtesy of Patrick.

The best guy in the whole world turns 40 today.  We can't be more thankful for him as the head of our family, the best husband, father and apple slicer ever.

Happy happy birthday to my best friend.  I love you!  Looking forward to seeing what the next 40 holds!

December 12, 2014

Insta-blogging!


If you follow me on Instagram, then you've seen most of these and you can just move along now.  Or perhaps, you were zoning out to the scrolling happenin' over there---->.  

(Fancy graphics, eh?)

Anyhow, I'm just waiting for the littles to fall asleep before moving freely about the cabin so I thought I would, you know,  make an official blog post about.... Nothing.  Two points for you if you are still reading!

Advent got off to a good start.

Then, alas, the flu? The headache virus of extreme annoyance? As far as viruses go, I can't complain-- other than nothing was accomplished for a week while it went through everyone. 

Poor Elizabeth suffered the most. She missed the family outing to cut down the Christmas tree.  Well, so did I and so did Caroline.  It's just that Carrie didn't know what she was missing.
Liz was back in the game the next day and happily watched me make snickers pie.

You want to see that?  Here you go:
Bad photo of snickers pie.  You asked for it!  It tasted yummy.  That is all.

The boy trip to get the perfect tree.  It is beautiful!
Decorating in action.  Carrie thought this was thrilling.  Put the ornament on, take it off, rustle in the ornament bin, put same ornament on, take it off, step on it, rustle in the bin, repeat.


So, I accepted the challenge to run a mile every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

And the universe laughed.

Then it gave us weird virus thing.  Where I am required to sit on couch with unhappy children all day.  And have Peter climb on me.  It's the climbing on me part that really got me.  The point is ... I only exercised twice.  Sure, pictures, why not.



Mucho excitemento.

Sums up my life exactly.  Aren't you glad you stopped by?  Well, even if you aren't--I'm glad you did!  

God bless,
Hope


December 1, 2014

Simple thoughts.

Outside my window...the warm weather of the weekend had turned into icy rain.  Yuck.  I would have relished a week of 60 degree temps.

I am thinking...that I haven't done a daybook post in a long time.  It is fun to go back and look at them, so I might reinstate them here.  
I am thankful...for a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family and food!  (Ken said he would like to have a second Thanksgiving it was all so good). 
                      ...for a weekend of pleasant weather to hang lights.
                      ...for answered prayer intentions.
                      ...for a healthy family.

From the learning rooms...ugh.  ugh ugh ugh.  I feel like I'm floundering a bit, can't seem to get to it all or to all the people.  I have a couple older ones who need work graded, a second grader who flits off to play with siblings, a nearly two-year-old that loves to destroy the house, a three year old who alternately wants to be in my lap or needing something.  So, basically, looking forward to Christmas break and not feeling stressed about it.  ha!

In the kitchen...I stocked up on a bunch of things to make freezer meals.  I just need to go back and get a few fill-in items.  Makes my life easier if I can make a bunch up and then just pull from the freezer.  We have a service project this coming weekend for AHG and we are making cookie plates to take to Veterans.  And, we are making some treats for a pregnancy center benefit so.... cookies, cookies, and more cookies this week.  I think that should count for school.  But, somehow, it doesn't.   
I am wearing... um...no one cares.  Okay, okay.  A hoodie, jogging pants and a tee.  I thought I would get dressed in comfy clothes this morn (just to get everyone moving on school work and such) and then go back and really get dressed.  Seeing as the weather outside is what it is.... I think I might just stay this way.

whoops!  She's got the lights stuck in her hat!
I am creating...scrapbooks.  Finally, finally, putting some pictures in an album from our California trip 3 years ago.  It is so much fun to go back and look at the pictures!  I wish I had done it sooner because there is a lot I don't remember.  Thankfully, ye ol' blog helps to jolt my memory and I have a little notebook I almost always take on trips.    Then, I realized I have no... zip, zero, none...pictures of Caroline's birth either printed or scrapbooked.  Poor seventh child.  Gotta get on that.  Before she turns two.

I am going...nowhere today, apparently.  For the rest of the week:  Patrick has theatre on Tuesday,  We also have to drop off cookies for the benefit on Tuesday.  Thursday, Nathan has a TOB class.  Friday is co-op and Nathan has youth group.  Saturday is St. Nicholas Day, AHG service project, our local Christmas parade, and maybe somewhere in there go snag our Christmas tree.  Sunday will be Mass and decorate the tree.  Or go get the tree if it doesn't happen Saturday.  Somewhere in there, I'm sure I will have to go to the grocery store and ...who knows what else.  :)

I am praying... for a little baby due very soon.  And lots of little intentions close to my heart.  Oh, and the St. Andrew Christmas Novena.

I am reading...children's books for Advent (it is on the to-do list today to fill the book basket), the SheReadsTruth app readings, as well as our daily bible readings for our Jesse Tree.

I am hoping...to get shopping done and focus energy on home-making and living the season!

I am looking forward to...enjoying Advent.  It's my favorite!

I am hearing...kids playing puppies in the other room. erupting into noisy exclamations.

Around the house...decorating, cleaning, purging, the usual.