Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sweetheart Cherries

I finally got around to painting these last night. Now my set is complete. I had my apple and pear framed in my kitchen in Connecticut, but the walls are larger here so I added the peach and a fourth frame hung empty for the last year now. I drew these cherries last summer when I had mad pregnancy-induced cravings for them and thought maybe it meant we were having a girl. Well Micah is no girl, but boy is he a Sweetheart.

I'm working on putting chair rail and maybe beadboard in the kitchen and then painting. I'll post pictures of the completed project when I get there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

You Win Some lose some.

Right now, I'm losing a whole lot of hair. Every time I brush I can make a little bird's nest from what the brush pulls out, I have to clear the shower drain daily to avoid clogging, loose hairs hang long and tickle the backs of my arms, and the baby always seems to have some of my hair wrapped tightly in his little drooly fists.

I've been through this before and I know it's normal and that it will balance out as it adjusts to normal levels of shedding. Still, I'll be happy when it stops.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The bEarth Day Boy

..and a really cool balloon.

A Few of My Favorite Things vol. 6

Frog tape. I've had disappointing experiences with bleed-through blue painter's tape and have hesitated to add color around here for fear of ruining the clean lines of a professional job. Now a year has passed and the nail pops have all popped and I'm tired of the monochromatic look we've had, so I did my homework. I found this expensive frog tape that promised a professional look and took my chances. It did not disappoint. I am very happy with these clean lines. It's pricey for tape (about twice the cost of blue tape) but worth the few extra dollars in my opinion.

Ralph Lauren Suede. This paint and texture really warms a room. I don't know if this picture captures the texture, exactly, but it really looks like suede on the walls. I used this paint in Connecticut to get our house ready for sale and fell in love with it. Now it's mine to keep. I am so pleased with these results in our dining room. One room down, too many to think about to go.

Jacob Learns to Skate

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some Questions, I Just Can't Answer

Alex: Mom, why do some people still try inventing time machines when, if it were to ever work out, those inventors would have come back and told us all about it?

Techno Kids

Alex's green marker started to run dry as he was coloring a hillside of grass and flowers. "Hmmm," he said putting the cap back on it. "It needs to charge."

Local Art

Quick Draw Cactus by Alex

The Joy of Baking by Nicholas

Simeon drew this one for himself...

...and this one for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy bEarth Day!

To our Nicholas.
Number five turned four today.

(picture from his birth announcement 2005)

A Few of My Favorite Things vol. 5

Netflix Box! Netflix Box! Netflix Box!

We love this thing. It streams your instant watch queue right to your television for whole family entertainment. It's like having 12,000 titles in your video library without dealing with all those DVDs that likely would be destroyed, scratched, lost, ruined (in this house anyway). We've been watching Leave it to Beaver. My kids love it! Good, wholesome fun.


Jacob: Mom, can I have a quarter from my money to buy this comic Alex drew?

Me: Why would you pay money for a comic Alex drew?

Jacob: Well, because Alex says it's an original and it's the only copy ever printed which makes it rare and so that's valuable.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Putting Away the 0-3 mos Clothes

...and found a favorite set of jammies that I had forgotten about. I dropped them into a pile destined for storage and, seriously, I felt the wind go out of me when they hit that pile. It was like a punch in the gut. He's only four months old! I must be crazy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

so much depends upon

a red wheel

our sad lawn

Friday, April 17, 2009

Could There Possibly Be...

..anything more than you,
nursling child, cradled up to me
in this sea of sheets?

Your father sleeps deeply by.

His breathing
intermingles with
the crickets singing
intermingles with
your gulping

and a cool breeze passes over us all,
and a cool breeze passes over all.

Tributes to Thomas Dillon

Studeo has a fine collection of tributes to Thomas Dillon over at the Love2learn Blog. He was a remarkable man and his loss is felt deeply by many.

Why they ALWAYS choose me when Madlibs requires (female in the room)?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, I am an English muffin.

Blah-blah black sheep have you any wool? for the little boy who lives down the lame.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Roger That

I had to talk business with someone today for a few short moments and so I asked the older boys to watch the younger ones at a distance. We hadn't spoken long before my 8 year old came and stood by us. When I asked him what he wanted, he just held up a walkie talkie and turned it on and we could hear the baby crying through it. I went to fetch Micah and found him propped up and surrounded by all brothers, the other walkie talkie held close to his mouth. I was a bit embarrassed, but I could see the woman I was trying to speak with was very much amused and so all was well.

Prayers Please

I am shocked and saddened to hear that Thomas Dillon the president of my alma mater, Thomas Aquinas College, died in a car accident today. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To the Woman who Sat behind Me at Easter Mass

I heard you. I know you meant for me to hear you. I pretended not to hear, but I did hear you say to your friend, "I look at all these boys and sure they're cute, but then I think of my Jonny (not his real name) and say just she wait until they're thirteen. She'll be sorry then."

I want you to know that I don't think I will be sorry then.

I won't be sorry not because I am the perfect parent and my children will not go whichever way Jonny has gone because I have made all the right choices. I have tried to make all the right choices, but I've made mistakes in ignorance and in weakness and I expect I will make mistakes again. I don't believe in perfect parents. I do believe in parents who never give up, who pick themselves up and dust themselves off when they've made mistakes, who never stop caring, whose children are a priority, who draw deeply from within themselves and try to rise up that they might be the best they can be for their children. I have been this kind of parent and I don't expect I'll just stop when my children turn thirteen, but I know, too, that sometimes even my best just isn't good enough.

Even so, I will not be sorry.

I won't be sorry not because I know my children will sail through the teen years without a hitch. I know many teenagers who are a joy to their parents. I know several parents who claim the teen years are the best years with their children. I know these children and I know these parents personally. It does happen. I can hope for the same, but I also know that some kids just need to learn from their own mistakes and in order to do that they need to make those mistakes. My children may make mistakes. They may make mistakes that will grieve me.

Even so, I will not be sorry.

I will not be sorry because while I have invested myself in them, I know these children are not my children first. They are God's children first and the work to be completed in them is God's work. He knit them in my womb. I carried what He knit. I do not pretend to know God's plans for them or His ways, but I do know that He is stronger than sin and much bigger than all our mistakes. He descended into the deepest recesses of the darkness and He was victorious. He makes all things new. His resurrection is the reason for the hope that is within me, the reason we came to Mass on Easter day. His resurrection is the reason, whatever trials we have yet to face, I will never, ever be sorry for bringing new life into this world. Thankful, humbled, but never sorry.

Alex's Muse

Alex: Sometimes I see something in my head and I have to run really, really fast to get a pencil and paper, but then it doesn't look as good when I am done drawing it as it looked in my head.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This is the Day the Lord Has Made, Rejoice!

Highlights of a Happy Easter

It started raining here on Good Friday at oh, just about 3:00. Holy Saturday was cold with sun and clouds. We couldn't have had a more glorious Easter sunrise or bright, clear morning and day. I love it when nature observes the liturgical season.

In our house, the Easter bunny hangs out with angels.

The mess before the Mass.
Simeon says, "I know why the ancient Chinese lived so long. It was because they had no Peeps in their diet." Likely true.

We left early for Mass, but not early enough. Our parish is overflowing.

In the south where the Church is growing so fast the buildings can't keep up, Cafeteria Catholics could just as easily be those who couldn't get a seat and are watching Mass on a large screen television in the parish cafeteria.

We decided to leave and come back for the later Mass. We took pictures while we waited...

...and swung on the parish school swings.

Jacob loved wearing a tie. He kept saying, "I look like a man going to work."

In the end, it was worth the wait. Mass was beautiful. Simeon served at the altar and Jacob and Nicholas held the offering basket for the children's offering.

Then we went home and ate ham and potatoes and more chocolate and spent a wonderful evening with friends. There were lots of children, lots of sugar, and lots of joy.

But then this morning I woke up and I have completely lost my voice. So, if I owe you a phone call, don't expect it. I'll be silently cleaning up and folding laundry today.

Happy Easter, everyone!


To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holy Saturday

The Lamentation: Allesandro Botticelli

Joseph of Arimithea, John the beloved disciple, Mary mother of Jesus, Mary the Magdalene at his feet. Could that be Veronica by his head? And the other two women? Martha, Mary the mother of James?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday Good

Title taken from T.S. Elliot poem, East Coker

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maundy Thursday

And He came upon His disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch one hour with me?" Matthew 26:40

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Jump Baby Jump!

So far, he mostly just spins...

keeping his eye on his Momma.

Spy Wednesday

"Today and during the Sacred Triduum, the Matins and Lauds of the Divine Office are often sung in a haunting service known as the Tenebrae service ("tenebrae" meaning "shadows"), which is basically a funeral service for Jesus. During the Matins on Good Friday, one by one, the candles are extinguished in the Church, leaving the congregation in total darkness, and in a silence that is punctuated by the strepitus meant to evoke the convulsion of nature at the death of Christ. It has also been described as the sound of the tomb door closing." Read more at Fish Eaters.

Homemade Board Game

This is all the rage at the Temple home these days. It's a homemade board game with rules so complicated I can't follow it all but the kids seem to understand it as they play happily for hours on end. Zachary tells me he is "Oz boy," there are pirates and Merlin is somehow involved. Players gain and lose "HP" fighting all the bad guys. Food and water levels are critical as well as the players attack the "Castle of Doom," sometimes shortened to "Cassadoom." The game is at times competitive, at times cooperative. It's the perfect game, really. I just have one question: These boys living in my house, where did they come from?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tattle of the Day

Nicholas: Mooooom, Jacob is causing!

Monday, April 06, 2009

More Daffodils

My husband has been spoiling me with fresh cut flowers lately. He brought these home when they were all closed and I thought the vase might be too large for them, but the next morning I awoke to THIS. The Easter bunny made an early appearance because, well, he just seems to belong right there, chillin' out. He's secular anyway, right? Now, back to our regularly scheduled Holy Week.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


The Great White Jacob has spotted his prey and begins circling. The macaroni and cheese doesn't stand a chance against this ferocious predator.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Funny, Funny

Wow, it looks like Kristen is having a busy weekend, going some interesting places and running into familiar faces.

Friday, April 03, 2009

There's always Room for More

As we were leaving the library today, we clashed car seats with a woman in the doorway. I had to look inside and there, I was greeted with the grin of a beautiful baby boy.

"Oh my," I said to his mother, "He looks just about the age of ours."

"Three and a half months," his mother said proudly.

"Yes," I said "ours too. Three and...yes, just about...our little guy was born on December 19th"

"Him, too." the mother replied.

"Really? The 19th?" I asked. Wow, I thought to myself. We have so much in common.

"Ummm, yes" she said looking around, "I'm sorry, do you have five boys?"

"Well, six" I said. I could see from her expression that she didn't think we had much in common.

"How do you do it?" she asked.

It's no different, I wanted to say. That baby joy, that love of the little one and the way he fills your heart up till you think it might burst--that joy in his every motion, his little noises, his sweet, sweet first smiles, it's still the same. It isn't any different, just now there are seven, yes, seven of us to take it all in and love every minute of it. My husband, myself, our five boys, we're still just as smitten with number six as you are with number one. He's every bit as wonderful, every moment our pride and joy, yes, all of ours. It isn't much different. Really. Except maybe better, I wanted to say. We have so much in common.

She wouldn't have understood that, I could see, and so I said something about how it gets easier when they grow up and you have the help, which is true, but that's not what I wanted to say. What struck me more was how much we had in common, this mother of one and I and how each and every baby is everything, everything and more and how it doesn't run out but just gets magnified and multiplied and how there's always room for more.

I hope she sees that some day, this mother I met. May she be so blessed.

A Few of My Favorite Things vol. 4

We like to let the kids read in bed for as long as they want. So, we've had our share of reading lights and our share of reading light problems. From cheaply made plastic lights falling apart, to lights so battery-hungry we couldn't keep up, to burn 'em up in bed hot lights, to clip lights that scratched the furniture, we've had our share of problems.

These lights are fantastic on all fronts. They are sturdy and have strong flexible goosenecks. They plug in and come with a low-energy using LED bulb that says it will last 30,000 hours (that's a lot of reading). They don't get hot and the clip has a rubber lining that prevents damage to furniture. The bulb is bright enough to read by, creating a small dome of light for each child private enough to allow others in the room to sleep. We're so happy with these.

Off to the library to resupply the books!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Thoughts of Spring

A great read over at First Things, The Springtime of John Paul II.

Minds Meet, but are Manners Minded?

Truth be told, dinner time had gotten all but out of control. The kids seemed to think this was silly hour and parents began to consider it the dreaded hour when we tried in vain to talk to one another over the noise and then there were dishes to clean up afterward and sweeping. Not much fun.

We realized at this stage in our life, dinner probably isn't the best time to try to talk to each other. We sat the kids down and told them dinner was the time to share their ideas and experiences with their parents, and father especially as he doesn't have much time with us otherwise. We made the rule that conversation had to center around what the parents would be interested in hearing from them. No silly jokes, no nonsense. And we'd make the effort to encourage and listen to them.

So, at dinner tonight, they talked about their day and showed some pictures they drew which led to a discussion about talents and each child wanted to share his talent and one got to thinking his talent was flexibility which ended with him having his feet behind his head and everyone laughing and laughing.

"I suppose this is a step forward." I said to my husband,"We're having conversation."

"Yes," my husband agreed with a smile, "but maybe they've just brought us down to their level."

Am I the Only One with Feelings???

So, we're watching Planet Earth last night,

"...and so the injured elephant calf wanders thirsty and lost. He follows his mother's tracks-- the only hope for his survival-- but sadly, in the wrong direction."

The camera man continues to film, David Attenborough drolls on in his silky rich voice, my children watch with cold interest, my husband has nothing to say, and me?

I'm in the kitchen making dinner, hugging my own little "calf" closer in his sling and trying not to cry.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Happy April

Despite being told, Nicholas can't help himself, he must pick our daffodils "for Mary." I think she appreciates them. And the little blue vase? A gift from Jacob. He found it at the abandoned house and washed it out. Perfect.