Friday, June 29, 2012

I Can Believe It
















I have lots of people say to me, "Did you always want a big family?"  My first thought is, "This is not that big of a family."  And after that I must admit to myself that YES I have always wanted a big family.

Having 6 kids is SO me.  I have never known how to do things without REALLY doing them.  When I was in college I really liked being a waitress (although I think the term is "server" now).  So I got 3 jobs at one time...being a waitress.

I like being busy.  I like having things to do.  I realize that the creation of these children is not MY doing all alone.  God is the one Who makes the final call on all things living.  He knows me well.  He created me to be the mom of these children and the ones that are still with Him.

When I look at pictures of our family I do sometimes think.."I can't believe they are all mine!"  When I was working at Chuck Wagon , Congo Craig s and Hurricanes in Gainesville FL I probably could have never guessed that this was going to be my future.  I would have been the girl to say.."Are all those kids yours?"  I may have even said it with a sour face...

But right now knowing me,  knowing the personality God gave me,  being blessed beyond belief to have been matched with such a perfect guy I can believe it..all of it!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012






When summer began I was a little like, "What am I going to do with these people if we have NO SCHOOL to do?"  In a way I was not looking forward to it.  I like to daily doing of school to keep minds, hands and hearts busy.

But I am officially LOVING this summer.  I love the long mornings and busy afternoons..all fun stuff.  The hardest decisions come in the form of, "What time should we go swimming?"

Since I start summer early, May, that means I end it early August .  So I am looking at the beginning of the end. I am get ready to get ready to BE READY!!

But for now I love the sun pouring in, kids all around in some state of doing!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


It is finally DONE!! I have loved and NOT loved working on this shawl. Lots of easy knitting which can be perfect sometimes and NOT perfect other times. I started taking it with me everywhere and trying to work on it as much as possible. DSC_0830 I think I am going to LOVE owning this shawl. It is big, which is exactly what I wanted. I am very much loving the whole "wear a shawl instead of a sweater" idea. I am kinda in an old fashioned mood, and I think old fashioned people wore shawls. DSC_0834 I finished Sunday night and blocked it on Monday. While it was still damp I wore it around the house. Not sure if that is really OK to do if you are blocking something...but I get to excited. Plus I cranked air down to like 67degrees so I would not DIE while wearing a wool shawl in June. DSC_0840 Just in case you were wondering..I have like 17 pictures of ME wearing THIS shawl so if you want to go do something else you won't be missing much...just another angle of the same yellow shawl... DSC_0842 You may be thinking that you see a small error in the back line of stitching...YOU DON'T..that is called "making this a ONE-OF-A-KIND". There is a difference. DSC_0853 Don't judge the uneven hair pooling over the really big, yellow shawl..I cut it myself..remember!! DSC_0879


These next few pictures are me HUGGING THE SHAWL!!'s pretty exciting to me when I finish a project. I like to linger in the feeling of joy for awhile.



DSC_0899 for a really sensible picture of me bending down in my woods with my really big yellow shawl on. I have seen lots of people take this type of shot with their knitted garments..right??


And this shot is one that Emily wanted me to try. She wanted me to wrap my really big yellow shawl around the tree, me stand behind it and smile really big... So I did!!

  DSC_0940And this is my thank you to my dear Sweet Bean who always joyfully takes 200 pictures of her mama wearing her knitted items in the middle of summer!! DSC_0958

Check out Ginny's blog for more amazing pictures of perfectly knitted items!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lessons Learned


I had an amazing time this weekend. I got to attend the IHM Catholic Homeschool Conference. It was not my first time going to a homeschool conference but it was by far the biggest I have been to. I had a great time. I got so much more out of it than I expected. Far more than I can even go over here. But before I can't recall some of the wonderful things I heard and let seep in, I wanted to put it down. So, with lots of detail being forgotten or summarized, here I go...



 I walked around the large open space that was crammed with more Catholic teaching tools than one ever thought possible. There are about 40 different spelling programs for sale at any given table. The techniques for teaching writing have been packaged in many different bundles... The ways to have your student practice writing are endless. And Math??? Forget it...People are amazing. So much good. So many choices.

 But all day I kept thinking,"I have a way to teach that at home already. It may not be that flashy or fun..but it is effective. I JUST HAVE TO DO IT!!! I am the greatest piece of curriculm I can get my hands on." There is nothing they can sell to replace ME. I need to be on top of things. I need to spend those extra minutes at night prepping for the next day. I need to use what I have. I need to execute the objectives that every grade requires. It is that simple!! It is that hard too!! How much easier would it be to buy a new bundle of something to replace the thing I most struggle with when it comes to homeschooling, lack of follow through. Letting myself blame a program instead of seeing that my attitude and heart is half the battle.


That is not to say that jumping ship on a program is not a very good option sometimes. But mostly, for me, I have to look at the spirit in which I am using the program/method. Can I tweek what I already have? Can I use just a portion of it for this child instead of the whole thing as I had done before?

 Anyway..all of these thoughts filled my mind as I was tempted by all sorts of teaching goodies. Bright new books wrapped in brand new plastic. Each smelling as a new book smells, full of promise. The lesson for me was bigger and deeper than just NOT buying new school stuff.

 This year I am determined to focus on the simple process of being present to each child . I am setting out to use positive, lighthearted, effective ways of reaching each little student I get to teach this year. I think I am going into this year as more of a mom and less of a teacher. This being a new thought for me. I am mom forever...teacher comes in 2nd to that. Since I have always thought moms have more influence than teachers do this adjustment in my perspective should work!!



 I got there early and sat waiting for the 9:00 Rosary. They asked if anyone wanted to be enrolled in the Brown Scapular. I was not sure what they meant. Did you have to be enrolled? How? Why? I have seen the Brown Scapular hanging around the necks of many Catholics. I admit to even buying one and wearing it for a time without even knowing why I was. But I never knew anything about it. And when I would ask people I got a sketchy answer which lead me to believe they were not sure why they were wearing it either. I could have read my way to the answer but I never took the time.


After the Rosary a priest stood before us and explained the Brown Scapular. A symbol of prayer and protection of our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Father explained that the Carmalite nuns, who spend their lives praying for the church (us), and Mary offer prayers for those who wear the Brown Scapular. Through our faith in Mary's prayers, joined with our own, we can obtain special protection. Father explained this so much more fully and beautiful. Being enrolled meant having the priest pray over me and then placing the Scapular around my neck. I waited my turn and once he put the Scapular around my neck I felt an instant transformation take place. I honestly did. I felt different instantly. I can't explain it. I am not just saying that I thought I felt something...or I wish I felt something. I REALLY felt something. I still do. I feel a closeness with God and Mary that I have never really felt.

 Do I think it is the brown string in of itself??? No, I think I was touched by Mary as a grace and gift. Many people say they feel different once they leave the confessional. I have yet to feel the Grace poured out in confession. I want to feel changed, better somehow. But I have never felt the purging some had talked about. I have wanted to, but no go. This enrollment made me feel different. I was not expecting to have this feeling so the joy is all the more real to me.

 I feel grateful to have been there. I feel grateful to have this around me. A constant and powerful attachment to the prayers I so badly need.



After I had my heart filled with joy of my enrollment I got to listen to a talk by Dr. Ray Guirundi. Some of you may have had the chance to listen to him yourself. He is really funny, even if he can be a bit cheesy. He said lots of really good things that I have had in my mind but there was one thing that keeps replaying in my mind since I left. He said that taking your kids to daily mass, bringing them to every confession available, reading about every Saint that ever lived will be all for nothing if you don't treat people kindly. If you are mean to your sister-in-law, hateful to a neighbor, yelling at people in the left turn lane: all of that will have more influence than you checking off your "To Be A Good Catholic List". If you have 11 babies for 11 years in a row and you consider yourself THE MOST OPEN TO LIFE person in the world, but you can't talk to your children and husband lovingly than what does all the rest matter. What are you teaching your children??

WOW!! I feel so guilty that I can't get to more daily masses. I feel awful that confession has been far and few between this year. But maybe I should feel more guilty that I was harsh about a neighbor in front of my kids. Maybe I should really talk to them about me talking rudely about a friend. Maybe I can lead them to love God and His Church more by just trying not to loose my temper at Priscilla so much. Getting to more confessions and daily masses are a goal too...but getting my heart in the right way to lead seems so be first on the list of leading little ones to God.  I am not just letting myself off the hook for trying to bring my kids to mass more. I so badly want to do that.  I just see there are lots of ways to build a ship, not just one!


I could go on and on. I can tell you that I was inspired to use more laughter in our school day. I can tell you that I have never read the book of Tobit in the Bible but after hearing a priest teach on it I have been savoring each verse, soaking up the story of salvation history told through Sarah and Tobias. So much...

 I got to hear a talk on "Temperment God Gave Your Spouse". I had read the first book a few years ago and stopped short of figuring out Pete's temperment. Mine being so obvious . But being reminded that the ways in which we process information has more to do with our personalities than husbands just TRYING to drive their wives crazy.

  DSC_0406 - Copy

Happy Day!! What a great and HAPPY DAY!!

p.s. sorry for not linking to anything I talked about just took so long to write all of this and I have got to get out of this chair or I will die!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

You Wanna Meet Up?






(Couldn't choose my favorite..and you guys kept walking in and out of the sun..not easy to adjust...cute anyway. He just grabbed your hand and for a moment it was just pure sweetness)








(Ginny's Shot. I love this and the next few you took. We were standing at such a beautiful spot. I am so glad you grabbed the camera while we were down there. These are so good!!)


(Ginny's Shot. I have no editing stuff but I think these look great anyway)




(Ginny's. I love this one. I don't know why but I just love it. She so badly wanted to go up there!!)


(Ginny's. I know this is a bit dark but I think she looks so cool and the dark kinda adds a to the scene)


 (Ginny's. You took so many of Priscilla trying to get up that rock. I could have made an entire post off the many faces you captured)


(Ginny's. cute)



And ..of course a post hike lip gloss trading session...



So glad we did!!