Friday, April 29, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

but no spoilers please (updated)

Reading Sarah's Key.

Can't breathe.

Somebody get that poor little boy out of the cabinet.

UPDATE: Though it is a page turner and therefore was finished in two nights, this book will not go on my favorites list.

update from outside these four walls

We planted our earth box gardens 9 days ago and the plants have grown so much. Just the tomatoes alone have grown about 7 inches! The cukes and squashes have each grown about 4 inches.

Also, Mamma Thrasher, who had constructed the coarse foundation on the day I took pictures, finished the inside of her nest the next two days afterward with much finer material. Today I peeked in and she was sitting on at least one egg. I didn't get a good look in there because I felt bad for scaring her away.

As I type this, I am looking out of the window and there are three Mourning Doves playing in the bird bath.


This Thursday is no. 2's birthday. He will be 14. Pretty soon these kids will catch up to my age and we can all be young adults together!!

Oh, and whaddaya get for a 14 year old boy?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

this is the day

photo credit

"Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

How many times recently have you just. stopped. to enjoy the day? Stopped all the errand running. Paused all the kids' activities. Said "no" to everyone else except the beautiful family that the Lord blessed you with?

Our society is full of people with overly busy schedules, myself included. We complain about the days going by so fast! How many times have you said, "I swear the days are getting faster!" I remember as a child it would take for. freaking. ever. to get to my birthday or Christmas. But each year since I have had kids, the days get faster and faster. Weeks go by at the speed of light.

Just yesterday my kids were learning to sit up by themselves. Now the oldest is driving.

This Lenten season, however, I got a taste of that slow snail's pace we used to have as kids (at least those of us older than 40). You know, when you went out in the morning after breakfast on your bike and rode and rode and played with friends all day long until dusk when the mosquitos started stinging. I always knew it was time to go home and go inside when my legs got itchy.

Today, Easter Sunday, was the epitome of a day with a relaxed pace. We awoke at 6:30 a.m. and got ready for 7:30 Mass. After Mass we came home to have breakfast with friends. It was so nice the four of us adults sat outside on the front porch and talked for hours. Then we got the dishes cleaned up, spiffed up the house a bit to get ready for the week ahead, and then went over to the house of some other friends. Their kids are the same ages as nos. 1, 2, and 3.

The kids swam in their pool all afternoon. They got out to eat dinner and to play a game of bean bag toss, but pretty much the rest of the time they were like fish and were swimming and enjoying the water. The grown ups got to sit and chat and the clock ticked a little slower than normal. They made a bonfire and we roasted marshmallows and their son, the oldest, played the guitar. The kids sang songs that they knew and laughed and burned tons of marshmallows. YUM.

It was just the perfect day.

We all need days like that (more than we allow ourselves) to teach our children to relax. Our kids are learning how to juggle a thousand and one extra-curricular activities, but we are doing them a disservice if we never teach them how to relax.

That is my goal this year: build in as much time to be together as a family without distractions from totally enjoying the day that the Lord has made. Oh sure, a busy person will argue that they can enjoy the day the Lord has made for them while being busy at the same time. But that reminds me of Martha and Mary from the gospel. You know the story.

photo credit

There is a difference between appreciating a day that the Lord has made versus really being out there and fully enjoying it.

Soaking it all up. Absorbing every molecule of the day.

It is the ultimate way to be thankful for a day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Ok, so I was putting no.1's hair up into a bun with one of these before she headed out the door to dance class with a friend. I had a little bit of a hard time, but didn't think too much of it. Once I finished that, I went into the kitchen and proceeded to put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. All of a sudden, there was a throbbing, stinging pain that kept getting worse. I thought I had perhaps accidentally cut my hand on a knife in the sink and looked down only to see a frightful sight:

Just above the middle knuckle (palm side) was bright purple and there was a huge knot that hurt like crazy. Immediately I got weak and that cold, clammy feeling you get when you are about to pass out.

Mental panic ensued.

I thought it was a huge blood clot that had worked its way through my veins and was headed to my heart. Or a parasitic blood infection that was about to pop out of my hand, something along the lines of what happened to Sigourney Weaver in Alien.

My friend who was taking no. 1 to dance pulled up in front of the house and I hobbled to the car. "Look." I said, showing her my hand. "Oh, you broke a little blood vessel," she calmly stated.

Right away I felt better.

"You mean it's not a blood clot on the way to my lungs? Or a worm with sharp teeth about to break through my skin?" "Nope," she laughed, "I've had that happen before. You'll be fine." And then she added the words that made me need a nap and a Geritol pill:

"Getting old is hell, ain't it?"


The weird thing is that I still don't know how I did it.

photo taken a day after "the mystery accident"

Friday, April 22, 2011

grab your beads, let's roll

Did you know that a set of Rosary Beads is not only for praying the Rosary?

You can also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

And speaking of Divine Mercy...

beginning today and lasting for 9 days is the Divine Mercy Novena.

No beads necessary for the Novena.

Powerful. Stuff.

Trust me.

earth boxes & herb pots

  • 2 Beefsteak tomatoes

  • 1 Better Boy tomato

  • 1 Sweet 100 (grape tomato)

  • 1 Buttercrunch lettuce

  • 1 Broccoli

  • 2 cucumber

  • 2 yellow squash

  • 1 zucchini

  • 2 basil

  • 1 parsley

  • 1 cilantro

  • 1 strawberry

  • 8 bags potting soil

  • 1 bag dolomite lime

  • 1 bag 10-10-10 fertilizer

  • and 1 gorgeous Saturday afternoon

That day could not have been more beautiful. Perfect for planting veggies and herbs and being outside with the five people that King and I love most.


Oh, and 2 blueberry bushes.

They will go in the ground this weekend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I found this on Lindsey Jo's pinterest page and immediately thought of a conversation I had recently with someone young who feels socially awkward. God bless her.

Lord have mercy I wouldn't go back to the teenage years for all the tea in China.


And speaking of "Lord have mercy," King and I must ask for mercy a lot around here (we sure need it), because the wee one today was lifting something heavy to bring to me because she thought I needed it and I heard her between grunts of struggling say "God have mercy!"

Probably wrong, but adorable nonetheless.

wordless wednesday

Sunday, April 17, 2011

wake up people


I have heard the way your children speak to you lately. What the heck? Why do you not require they speak to you respectfully?

Do you think somehow that you are doing them a favor letting them "express themselves"?

Do you think you are freakin' martyr because you are able to hide your frustration when they talk to you like you were dog poop on the bottom of their shoe?

Fathers, do you see how your daughters are dressing?!?!?!

And you let them walk out of the house looking like that?

Do you want them to get a reputation..... or worse?

You are raising the next generation for God's sake. Please!

Do the job that He gave to you.

Come on.

Man up.

Do the right thing.

one woman's week at the gym

Dear Diary, For my birthday this year, I purchased a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

MONDAY: Started my day at 6:00 am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines.. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!

TUESDAY: I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.

WEDNESDAY: The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why in the name of all that is holy would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other crap too.

THURSDAY: A-hole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl.. I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny wench to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine-- which I sank.

FRIDAY: I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anaemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the dadgum barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

SATURDAY: Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..

SUNDAY: I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year I will choose a gift that is more lighthearted and fun-- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. Besides, if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

for the record

I don't like riding by a very old house that is overgrown with weeds and the roof is caving in, "No Trespassing" signs posted on the windows. It's just too sad. Like a forgotten old woman in a nursing home.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

wild goings on

Things are getting sort of wild in our back yard today.

It is amazing to me to think of that little Red-Bellied Woodpecker (which don't have red bellies, oddly enough) carefully crafting that perfectly round hole and creating a big enough space inside to have a family. Isn't she adorable?

I didn't sit there long enough to see if "the Mister" was nearby.


And this blurry photo is a picture of the start of a Brown Thrasher nest, which is the whole reason that I was out there with binoculars and a camera anyway. I just happened to discover the Woodpecker when I was waiting on Mom and Dad Thrasher to return. They both were very busy placing sticks (and that piece of white paper) all day today. I took some fabric scraps out there hoping they would incorporate them into their nest. We'll see.

Best part: Except when the kids found out where I was, it was very peaceful sitting in the car with the windows down, gentle breeze blowing. Me with my binoculars and zoomy zoom zoom lens.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

wordless wednesday

sign up sheet below

Ok is it just me or is there anyone else who wouldn't mind a little weekend getaway from the hub and kids?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

attn: moms of girls

changing our culture one outfit at a time

I love the fact that they have a whole page dedicated to modesty guidelines! So nice to know I am not a lone voice in the wilderness.

Monday, April 11, 2011

but you won't find either of us wearing overalls

We are getting ready to be farmers.

Last night King and I ordered 4 Earth Boxes. For quite awhile, we had been wanting to plant a little garden somewhere in the yard, but didn't want to mess up any of the lawn or flowerbeds. Enter my sister-in-law. Last summer we visited them for a brief little overnight trip. Outside her breakfast table window, she had tomato plants, pepper plants, and basil growing. I had no idea she had such a green thumb. Turns out she doesn't really have a green thumb, she had 3 Earth Boxes.

Then, when she made us lunch, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Tomato & basil paninis. Something similar to this.

Do you already know about Earth Boxes? If not, take about 30 minutes and Google it. Look at this You Tube video and see how normal people like you and me can successfully grow vegetables and fruits.

(There are several other videos on You Tube from people who have grown incredible vegetables showing off the growth and yield of their plants!)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

re: spring cleaning list

Among the items on our spring cleaning list:

  1. change sheets, flip mattress, air out pillows in sun

  2. clean kitchen walls, wipe down cabinet fronts, wash kitchen windows, "quick shine" kitchen floors

  3. admire shine

  4. hose off front porch

  5. spray perimeter of house for bugs

  6. trim tree branches on backyard young live oak

  7. hang. this. hammock.

  8. wonder why we didn't do it sooner

We now have seven places on our property to be out in nature and relax. The stupid thing is that we don't have many opportunities to get out there. Perhaps the next items on our list should be

9. look for every opportunity to relax

10. take it

two words....

Spring Cleaning.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

wordless wednesday

never underestimate the power of a lemonade stand

This week my kids are on spring break and they are all pitching in and helping have a lemonade stand. We thought we could split the profits and give half to a friend of mine who is battling brain cancer.

We decided we would have it starting at 11 a.m. on all non-rainy days.

At the end of Monday(they lasted until 5!) they were exhausted, but in a good way. They decided that they didn't want to split the profits, they wanted to give all the money to help her.

Yesterday, they realized what a blessing it would be not only to our friend, but also to them when a customer told them about her mother who is in the hospital battling cancer for the third time.

Looks like it will be beautiful all week! So, from 11 - 2 (or longer if their energy holds out) we will be selling lemonade at 50 cents per cup and reaping the grace and blessings that come with each "thank you".

Saturday, April 2, 2011

too many chiefs, not enough indians

In case you don't know, the new buzz word in education is

All schools want to produce leaders. It's a noble thing to want to do.

No. 1 was given an application to fill out for the National Honor Society recently. On it were questions about where all the student volunteers on a regular basis, what activities the student is involved in, what organizations the student is involved in in which they held leadership positions both in and out of school, honors and awards the student has received.

Just reading the application made me feel like a slug who wasn't a good enough person, let alone a good enough mom who exposes her children to as many volunteer opportunities as the day can handle. If I was a good mom, I would be setting up situations in which she can take a leadership role.

I mean, can't she just put on the application,
"Regarding volunteering and leadership skills: I am the first born of five children."

Nuff said. N'est ce pas?

I'm wondering, if all children grow up to be strong leaders, who will be the followers? Who will be the doers?