Saturday, December 28, 2013

Family Time!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is continuing to enjoy the Christmas season!

Our Christmas was really nice.  I still haven't uploaded the photos and, despite multiple efforts, am still trying to organize our post Christmas house!

Jay was able to take Thursday and Friday off, so we have had a lot of fun just being present to the kids.
There has been lots of play time around here:)  After all, memories are way more important than to-do lists!

So, since I'm still not ready to share our Christmas photos......I will share some fun pics that Jay and I took yesterday during some of our family time.

Jay was giving piggie back rides, which Kate shortened to 'piggy ride' and expected Jay to snort!
It's probably because they love the show Peppa Pig so much!  No matter how much Jay tried to
convince them it was a 'horsey ride', they weren't having it!
(of course, I teased Jay that maybe they called it a 'piggy ride' because of all the tiramisu trifle he has been eating........;)

Kate was barely awake from her nap but ready to play!

Annoying Sarah...getting Sarah involved.(Look at Luke's glee in the background!)

Here's a smile!

They were hunting for T-Rex's with drills made of tinker toys!
The hats were their 'helmets'.

Here's my vote for Father of the Year!(Kate agrees:)

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Weekend Whirlwind!

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  We have celebrated, mourned, celebrated, mourned, and then celebrated again!

My Grandma passed away on Friday morning and it has just been a crazy time!

Friday night was the Christmas concert at Ellie's school and a little Christmas concert.  Ellie had the honor of being chosen to be Mary and was super excited!

Months ago, my Dad's family had picked Saturday to be the day we would have our family Christmas party.  We never realized that it would be the first without my grandmother.  Despite everyone's grief, my grandmother's wish was that the whole family stay close together even after she was gone.  Everyone felt like having the get together would be a special way to honor her memory.

We hosted the party.  It was good to spend time together.  The little kids were all cute and excited and were a good distraction.  There were more smiles than tears.....but Grandma's presence was missed.

Sunday was a whirlwind that started with Mass, then Kate's birthday party at lunch time.  It was supposed to be last weekend, but the stomach bug forced me to push it to this weekend.  I didn't want to move it until after Christmas!  I wanted Kate to feel special....even though I know she probably won't remember this birthday party!

I kept the party simple....just pizza and the awesome cake that Jay's mom made!  It had 'Bot' from Kate's favorite show, "Umizoomi".


Kate loved her cake!

So did her brother and cousins!
She loved all her presents, too!
We had a tiny bit of down time and then Jay and I headed to my Grandma's wake with the older kids.  It went really well.  We went out for dinner with my family afterwards and got home at 9:30.  We.were.tired!

This morning we were up early to get ready for the funeral.  It also went really well!  The Mass was beautiful and our pastor gave a wonderful homily.  The dinner afterwards was good, too.  I want to share more about it...just not today.  

I think Grandma was smiling, though!

Now, it is Christmas Eve Eve and I'm having a hard time switching the gears to get ready for Christmas.  It's all a bit overwhelming.....understandably so!  I know it will all work out.  The only thing that really matters is that we are all together.

With everything going on, today will be my last blog post before Christmas.  I hope you have a beautiful and blessed and peaceful Christmas with your families.  Losing my Grandma so close to Christmas, I know that I will cherish and appreciate our family time even more than I usually do!  These are the memories that make up who our families are......even the moments of spilled drinks, burned cookies, and meltdowns from over tired and sugared up toddlers.  Those can be just as memorable as the excited smiles, hugs and cheesecake!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Memories

Thank-you for the prayers.  Early this morning my grandma passed away peacefully in her sleep just as she prayed she would.  The last few weeks have been sad but beautiful all at the same time.  I would like to share more of that journey soon.

For today's quick takes, I would like to share some of my fondest memories to honor my grandmother.

(sorry, it might be more than 7 today!)

What I will always be most grateful about my life with my grandma is:

1.  Sunday dinners
My grandmother always cooked enough for a small army.  Her food was always homey, comforting and delicious.

2.  Endless supplies of hoodsie cups in the freezer 
I buy Hood patchwork ice cream all the time because it reminds me of her!

3.  Family Time


Clamboils with fresh cold watermelon in the back yard.

4.  Cousin Fun
Playing "store" with my cousins in their basement with the extra canned goods.

5.  Periwinkles
Gathering periwinkles on West Island and then my grandmother cooking them and eating them using pins with my cousins(sounds gross now!)

6+  Holidays at my Grandparents' House
There are lots of special memories from Christmas Eves and Easter Sunday.  Some of the highlights:
Playing with olives on my fingers with my sister and cousins......
Lots of pies in the sewing room....
The way my grandmother washed the dishes and all her daughters and my mom would dry and put away and chat as they went...
Homemade sweet breads on Easter for everyone(big ones for the adults and little ones for each of the grandkids)....
and my favorite,
Always having new knitted slippers from Grandma and new pajamas on Christmas Eve and all of the cousins changing before we left for home and being carried out to the car so our slippers wouldn't get wet....then looking at all the Christmas lights on the 15 minute drive home.

Lots and lots of memories...lots of celebrations.  I was blessed to have her in my life for as long as I did.  I am so grateful to God for that!






Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guess Who's Two!

I cannot believe that my baby girl is 2!  How could this possibly happen!  This mini walking talking little person is all toddler....no more baby!

It's exciting and sad all at the same time!

Kate was a not so little bundle( 9lbs. 1oz) of surprise that made her grand entrance into the world at 2:35 pm two years ago today.  We were thrilled to have another baby girl in the family!

My baby girl is growing up way too fast!  It seems like just yesterday we said 'hello' for the first time....


This is my favorite shot ever!  I took it with my phone so it isn't as clear as I would have liked.  She was about 7 hours old and it was just the two of us hanging together in the hospital.  Kate was wide awake for the first time just calmly checking me out....we were getting to know each other on the outside world.  My heart completely melted that night and has been that way ever since!

I can't imagine our lives without Kate.  Having a toddler and a newborn again for the first time in a long time wasn't easy...but all the sacrifices were completely worth it!

Kate is a strong-willed little girl that follows Luke around doing everything he does.  She talks up a storm and lets you know right away what she likes and, especially, what she doesn't like.

Kate is still very attached to me...which can drive the other people in the house crazy!  (I will have to remember that when she's a teenager and probably wants nothing to do with me!)

Even though I've been through it so many times, it still surprises me how fast the baby years go by!  Kate has gotten so independent so fast!  Sigh....

This little blue eyed girl is very, very loved!


Happy Birthday, Kate!


...please don't grow up too fast!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Grandparents Teach

I'm finding that I am looking at things with a whole different perspective as I experience the walk on this road of my grandmother's terminal illness.  Grieving can be a difficult process.  There are times when days feel normal and everything's ok and other days that crescendo into an emotional whirlwind that seem impossible to calm.  (I learned that big word....crescendo...from Little Einsteins in case you were wondering;)

My Grandma's illness has brought up so many different thoughts and emotions.  There are lots of times that I find myself thinking of the past.  All the memories from my childhood, and especially holiday celebrations at my grandparents' house, transport me there in my mind once again.  Those memories are warm and comforting and I am grateful for every one of them.

When my mind is in the present and processing through her illness, the grief is strong for the loss that I know is coming.  Every family member has a place in my life and having that place empty is going to hurt.  Family dynamics will change.  My grandmother was the magnet that drew everyone together.  With her gone, each of her children, all with their own families, will not have that unifying factor any longer.  Get togethers will change...and change is hard.

I think the most difficult thought process that I have been trying to work through is the future.  When someone dies, it reminds me of my own mortality.  I've already been struggling with this being on the brink of the big 4-0....and now it is magnified even more.

Up until 2 or 3 years ago, age just felt like a number that could go on forever.  It was just a number.  As 40 gets closer and closer....it doesn't feel like 'just a number' anymore.  All of a sudden, the invincibility has gone away and vulnerability has taken up residence.  As I near 40, the realization that everything has a ceiling is more than a little scary.  There is an end....and 40 can very well be, (if I am blessed), close to a halfway point!

The feelings and thoughts I had when I was younger of being able to do just about anything is abruptly replaced with the knowledge that those ideas are no longer true.  The choice path is more narrow.....although that doesn't mean my life isn't full.

(I'm sorry...I know this is probably completely confusing!  That's what happens when emotions rule the roost!)

Let's try an example.....in Christmases past, I would go a little crazy with desserts.  I would make 2 cheesecakes, a couple of pies, some fudge and many different kinds of cookies.  Lots of choices!

Now, I simplify  a bit and only do 1 cheesecake, 1 pie, a trifle, some cookies, and a gluten free dessert.  Still more than enough to satisfy and look exciting so I don't even miss making more!(and I get to enjoy the extra down time!)

That's where I'm at in life, too.  I may have less choices, but everything I do have in my life fills me up just the same!  And, just like on Christmas when my sister often shows up with an incredible addition to the dessert table, God frequently throws in something interesting and exciting in my life!  (My life is certainly not boring!)

My Grandma's illness has made me feel, not only the grief of preparing to lose her presence in my earthly life, but also the other areas that I feel loss in my life:  grief over a family member's broken marriage, the grief over loving our son through a broken relationship, praying another son through frustration and unmet longing, and dealing with my own grief about children growing up and learning the painful process of letting go.

Looking forward, considering that one day I will be in my Grandma's position of preparing to meet our Lord at any moment, is making me think about how I might want that to look.  I don't want to get there and have a list full of regrets.    I'm pretty sure there's a lesson or a direction that God is trying to teach me and guide me into.  This is something that's going to take more time, and lots of prayer, to work through.

All of my (messy and confusing) thoughts and feelings is just another proof that grandparents have so much to teach us....even up to their very last day!  



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

It was a busy weekend with lots of different things going on.  On Saturday morning, I put ribbons and bows on all the Christmas gifts.  I'm no Martha Stuart(!), but even simple ribbons and store made bows make presents a little extra special!

Jay finished painting the cabinets(hooray!) and rehung the doors!  Now we just have to put up the backsplash and then I will share pictures:)

Thanks to my sister-in-law and Sarah, Jay and I both got to go to Jon's first basketball game of his senior year.  It was a date afternoon!  It got even better when 2 of our closest friends were at the game, too, so they could watch their daughter cheer......double date afternoon!

(Can you tell we don't get out much?)

Sunday was a tough day.  Sarah had something going on with CCD that Jay needed to go to with her.  We had to split Masses and then Jay was gone until 1:30.  I was pretty emotional all day because my grandmother is in her final days.  It's stirred up a whole lot of messy emotions that I will share soon in a separate post.

After watching the Patriots lose (boo), Jay and the girls did some Christmas shopping.  They didn't get home too late, and Jay and I spent the rest of the night watching movies on the Hallmark Channel. (Which is very cathartic when you are feeling sad.)

Yesterday, I went to visit my grandmother.  It was sad...but gave me a lot of peace.  I will share more details later in the week.

Yesterday afternoon, I went Christmas shopping with my sister and dad for my mom.  It was a full day!  When I got home, I was a lump on the couch!(And, yes, Jay and I watched more Hallmark movies:)

Today is a new day!  Off to work then lots of laundry and paperwork to catch on...so exciting!;)  This week is B.U.S.Y.(!) and is going to fly by!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Jumping into Friday!

Jumping into Friday....this week felt soooooo long!

1: Stomach Bug
stomach bug has been making its way through our house.:(  Thankfully, for most people it has been fast moving.  I am grateful that if it had to happen, that it happened this week and not closer to Christmas!  I hope that after this weekend, we will be a healthy household once again!

2-7:  Luke-isms
Since this week hasn't been much fun around here, I have some "Luke-isms" I have been saving up!

Luke:  Why is it raining?....Maybe I left the water on last night!

Luke walking around trick-or treating on Halloween.....
Luke:  My little legs don't work so well at night!  They work good in the morning."

and

Neighbor(looking at Jon in his dinosaur mask):  (feigning fear)  "Ooh, it's a dinosaur!"
Luke:  "It's just Jon, my big brother.".....(looking over at Jon) "You are my big brother, right?"

I was at the grocery store, looking at a pumice stone I was going to buy...
Luke:  "That's silly!  We have rocks in the backyard at home!"

Jay was driving Luke to school on a very rainy day and drove through a big puddle that splashed water onto the car covering the windshield.  
Luke:  "Wow!!!"
Jay: (Turned on the windshield wipers"
Luke:  "Good thinking, Daddy!"

Luke watching Sports Center with his brothers....
Luke: (when a Nascar segment came on)
 "Those cars go fast!  Are they going to get a ticket?"

Luke watching Jay open the refrigerator.....
Luke:  "What are you doing, Daddy?"
Jay:  "I'm getting breakfast."
Luke:  "OK, me too!" (Luke reaches in and grabs half a stick of butter.)
Jay:  "Luke, that's gross!"
Luke:  "No, Daddy, it's butter!  It's yummy!"

Luke randomly calling out to Jay...
Luke:  "Hey, Daddy, I like you!"
Jay:  "Thanks, Luke, I love you!"

Luke sitting on the couch:
Luke:  (looking over at me)  "You know, Kate's germs are gross!"

Have a great...and germ-free....weekend!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Making (another) List

The stomach bug continues to forge through our family.  Ellie came down with it this morning:(  I have still been feeling really nauseous every day, too.  Not fun:(

On a positive note, Kate and Luke are back to normal.  I did keep Luke home today just to make sure the diarrhea was gone.  He and Kate have been playing and we have all had good snuggle time watching cartoons.  It gave me a little extra rest.

The other 'sitting activity' I did was to go through the rest of my holiday cookbooks and solidify my menus for the holidays coming up.  Having a queasy stomach probably kept me from going overboard on the desserts!

Of course....the most important items on the list are the desserts!

Next Thursday will be 'baking day'.  We(meaning me and the girls) will bake a whole bunch of different cookies to give out to teachers, therapists, neighbors and family friends.  Here's the list:

surprise package cookies(sugar cookies with an Andes candy mint on the inside)
gingerbread men
molasses sugar cookies
chocolate snowballs
macaroon kisses
almond joy cookies
red velvet cookies
chocolate macaroon bars
striped ice box cookies
sugar cookies

Jay and the older boys hover around the kitchen to eat any 'cookie casualties'. :)

For our extended family Christmas gathering on the 21st, I'm making an apple pie, a chocolate cherry cheesecake(one of my favorites) and a truffle tree.  I found a few truffle recipes to make, too.  The truffle tree is something I found last month in the Taste of Home Magazine.  You take a 12 in. foam tree, cover it in aluminum foil and then use toothpicks to attach truffles all over.  A dessert and a centerpiece all at the same time!

I can't believe that Christmas is coming up so fast!  I really love all the planning and anticipation that goes into making it a special time of year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Invasion of the Stomach Bug

The stomach bug continues to spread in our house:(

In the middle of the night, Kate threw up 3 times.  One of the times involved changing my bed sheets and both of our pajamas.  Not much fum...and not much sleep.

All of the hulabaloo woke up half of the house, too.  It took Luke a while to go back to sleep.  He is still having tummy troubles....so he hasn't been in school all week.  His tummy seemed better until after lunch....I will save you from the details, but it's clear he still isn't 100%!

He was so tired today, too.  He got out of bed after 7 and promptly fell back asleep on the couch!
Poor little guy is just not himself!

Hopefully, we can all get healthy by the weekend.  My in-law's are all battling the stomach bug, too.  We are supposed to celebrate Kate's birthday on Sunday, but it might have to be postponed.  

On the bright side, since Kate took a terrific nap and Luke watched Wreck it, Ralph with Andrew, I got all of our wrapping finished!  I just need to add some ribbon and bows to a few things but everything else is done!  

Two weeks until Christmas, and the word of the week is simplify, simplify, simplify.  (And that's not really such a bad thing!)

Happy hump day!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Again

Here we are at Monday again!

This weekend went by extra fast!  Here are a few of the highlights.....

*Jay continued painting the kitchen.  Only the upper cabinet doors need 2 coats of finish paint. Maybe it really will be done by Christmas:)

*The back splash I ordered came in several days earlier than I expected...and I like it!  Hooray!

*Ellie's basketball team lost a game in overtime on Saturday afternoon.  Ellie was on the floor several times scrambling for the basketball.  Sarah was proud:)

*My mother-in-law's garden club put on a fundraising tea.  Sarah, Ellie and I arrived late because of the basketball game.  It was really nice...we got to hear some wonderful singers belting out some Christmas tunes, the food was great and they were selling some beautiful  ornaments and decorated greens.

*Luke threw up Saturday night: (  I got very little sleep that night because everytime he made a noise or moved I jumped up to grab the bucket 'just in case'.  He was fine yesterday, and ate everything all day while having a ball with a bag of nerf guns that Jay left out on the counter after Friday's youth group meeting!

*I attended my parents' Christmas brunch for their business Sunday morning.  It was really good and I got to go to a restaurant I had never tried before.....and talk to grown-ups!  We also do a yankee swap.  I ended up with a cute snowman mug, an assortment of specialty hot cocoa, and a super soft snowman blanket.  Sarah grabbed the blanket as soon as I walked in the door and claimed it for their own:)

*We watched the Patriot's game which ended with an amazing last minute win (YAY!) and a season ending injury for Gronk.(BOO!)

*I made ribs and we brought them to my mom's to share dinner with my parents and help them decorate their (2nd) tree.

*Luke is still not 100%  and now I'm not feeling so well either:(  Hopefully, a little rest is all I need!  There's too much to do to be sick this time of year!

*Kate is regressing back to an extra clingy stage.  I love the way she says,"go on your lap", but she just wants to sit with me all.day.long!  I know someday I will miss this...but right now it's a little challenging!

Well....10 is a good number so I will end here!  Happy Monday!


Friday, December 6, 2013

It's FINALLY Friday!

Wow was this week tough!  I am soooo glad that it is Friday!(I thought it would never get here!  

1.  Crazy Day
Today started with a doctor's appointment for Peter with his developmental pediatrician.  I screwed up and went to the wrong location!  Thankfully, we ended up only being 12 minutes late and everyone accepted my apologies!  Then I took Peter to Shaws to pick up some sale items and some of his food.  I brought Peter home and picked up Luke, Kate and Ellie and headed to Stop and Shop to do the rest of the shopping.  Now I am tired:)....but we are only halfway through the day!

2.  Bumpy Night
Luke was restless until 12:30am and Kate was restless all night:(  I was up for good at 5:30 with two kids snuggled up against me.  I started to think about the to-do list and almost started to panic realized that Christmas is SO close!  I barely managed to not ruin the morning with my stress!(Of course, doctor appt.'s with Peter always make me feel extra stressed, too!)  But, I don't want to become so overwhelmed that Advent loses its peace because of a crazy, overwhelmed mama!

Here's why I'm a little stressed.....
3.  Kitchen Reno
We are still in the midst of our mini kitchen reno!  The bottom cabinets and island are finished, but the top cabinets still need the finish coats and the doors haven't even been primed.  I finally found a backsplash that I think will work(fingers crossed!) that should arrive at some point this week.  I'm just hoping it won't turn into a 'Humpty Dumpty Kitchen' that never gets put back together again.  

4.  Early Christmas Celebration
We are celebrating Christmas with my dad's side of the family on the Saturday before Christmas.  That means that there are only 2(!)Saturdays left to finish our projects.  Ellie has basketball games every Saturday, so that always breaks up the day.  When only one of us is home watching the little ones, it's tough to get much done.

Did I mention I'm hosting that day?  Yeah...I'm hosting.  Which I love to do....I just need to start figuring out what is really important to me to get done around the house because, realistically, the to-do list is a permanent fixture in my life!  Time to prioritize!

5.  Just Keep Crocheting...Just Keep Crocheting
My friend Carol helped me get started crocheting a blanket for my grandmother for Christmas.  My grandmother has terminal cancer.  This will be her last Christmas with us and I wanted to do something special.  She has always knitted or crocheted blankets, sweaters and hats for all of us.  Kate goes to sleep with one of her creations every night.  So, I wanted to make her something out of love(though not nearly as complicated!).  I'm 3/4 of the way done.....and I want to have it finished by next week!  I just don't get a ton of time to sit(by myself) and use both of my hands for something!  (Shocking isn't it!?!:)

6.  Baking
I do a lot of baking close to Christmas.  Usually by now I have perused my cookbooks and magazines and planned out what I want to bake/cook and when I will bake/cook it.  There's baking for the teachers, baking for the family, dessert for the family party, dessert for Christmas Eve, dessert for Christmas Day, sides for Christmas Day, food for New Year's Eve and desserts and food for New Year's Day.....and I haven't planned for any of it!

I realized this morning that two weeks from today is the last day of school before Christmas break for all the kids!  That means all the cookies for the teachers (and all of Peter's therapists) need to be made before then!

Yikes!!!  I need to get going!  I will be adding that to this weekend's to-do list...along with painting, a basketball game, a tea with the girls that my mother-in-law's garden club is putting on, a Christmas party with my co-workers, Breakfast with Saint Nick at Ellie and Luke's school.......It will be a full weekend for sure!

7.  Wrapping
I've done great on the shopping...but the wrapping is tough!  I actually like to wrap....it's just fitting in the time to do it!  If my little ones would cooperate at night, maybe I could get some done!  I might be trying to pawn off Kate for a morning on my sister-in-law or mother-in-law so I can get everything done!

And...Kate's nap is over so off I go!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend:)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Little Nostalgia

Andrew and Jon always loved Legos!  (Mike not so much:)  Every Christmas for years there have been Legos on their Christmas lists.  Truth be told, Jon has not enjoyed getting older and, as of last year, added toys back on his Christmas list to make it more fun!(lol:)

As soon as Luke was big enough, Jon introduced him to Legos.  All of a sudden, giant bins of Legos that had been kept under beds and in the attic made a reappearance.  Honestly, Jon and Andrew had more fun with them and spent longer creating things than Luke did at first.  Now, Luke is just as hooked as his brothers.:)
  
We still get the Lego catalog mailed to us  in late October every year.  This year, I kept going back and forth about getting them one of the Advent calendar Lego sets.  I knew Luke would enjoy it....Jon and Andrew, too.  I thought it would be a fun way to add a little extra nostalgia to the holiday for the teenagers.  Time is passing quickly, and it will be all too soon when our older kids are no longer living under our roof.  It makes creating special little moments even more important! 

So...of course I ordered it:)

They were all excited about it when I brought it out.  Luke had a hard time understanding that you can only open one flap per day at first which resulted in a few tears.......


But now, only 5 days into Advent, he is a pro.  Each day, Luke, Jon and Andrew take a turn opening a flap.  The older boys help Luke put together his little Lego.....and Luke gets to play with Andrew and Jon's find once they put them together.  (They were even nice enough to let Luke go first:)

They are all having fun with it!

That makes me happy:)


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hope is Good

At the very end of our long Thanksgiving weekend, we entered into a new realm of parenting.....supporting a teenager with a broken heart.

It was unexpected....and has made for several emotionally draining days.  Jay and I both hurt seeing him hurt so much.  We are grieving for his lost relationship right along side of him.  We are both trying to be available to him...to comfort, to talk, to pray for wisdom so that we can offer some words of advice and encouragement.

It's.so.not.easy!  This is just another instance where I wish that 'magic mommy kisses' could just take everything away!

Just when we thought life was zigging...it zagged; and it isn't easy to adjust to sometimes.

As parents, we try to help our children make the best decisions they can.  Encouraging Andrew to go to the local university to save A LOT of money per year isn't working out for him.  He hates it and isn't finding a niche.  I feel awful...and now we are backpedaling and reapplying to schools for next year.

At the same time, Jon is applying to school and I'm afraid of making wrong decisions for him.  Big decisions=big worries.....and despite prayer, I'm not feeling very confident about any direction!  Like Jay texted me yesterday, sometimes we just feel rudderless.

Ultimately, Andrew and Jon have to make their own decisions.  Some won't work and some will need to be re-routed.  I just wish we could make it easier...and pain free for them!

I know and trust that God has a plan for them.  We just need to pray that He reveals the next step clearly for both of them....

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.

Hope is good.......

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Family Photo Shoots!

Christmas card picture attempts can get a little hairy....especially with the amount of people we have in a picture.  You need to go in to the "shoot" with a game plan:  namely, sit everyone down as quickly as possible and shoot as many pictures as you can before someone starts crying and hopefully most kids are looking at the camera and, in the best case scenario, actually smiling!

It doesn't always work out that way.  In fact, some of the last several years I have opted to simply use the photo cards with multiple picture spots and just fill them in with good pictures taken over the course of the year.

I tried this year(twice actually)...I really wanted a group shot!  It was just not meant to be!

Andrew and Luke not looking at the camera and Mike's hand looks oddly placed!

Andrew looks annoyed and ditto on Mike's hand!

Andrew looks really annoyed with eyes closed!

Ditto on Andrew, Kate is crying, Ellie isn't looking at the camera!

Then we gave up.....

......and tried again with 2 couches.


Peter looks ridiculous...and seriously, could Andrew just smile!

Ditto Peter and Andrew!

I was going to use this one except it didn't fit on the card!  UGH!!!  So much for the 2 couch idea!

This one, when enlarged, was out of focus:(...plus, Sarah is making a ridiculous smile and Ellie is man handling Luke.

Slightly out of focus and Kate was obviously done....

.....as is evident by her disappearance!

So, after all that, I spent an hour going through our pics trying to get combos so that 8 kids fit into 5 slots!  But it is done!  I will share the results when they come in the mail:)

Next year, I'm just taking 3 mini group shots at the get-go!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Filled to the Brim!

Wow!  What a weekend!

Of course, it was an extended weekend....and ours was filled to the tippity top with food, family, excitement and shopping!

Thanksgiving went great....other than morning Mass.  Peter was awful because he was so excited about going to my aunt's house and getting special cupcakes.  Kate was extra wiggly, loud and cranky....which is always so much fun:/

Pondering the situation in the "cry room" with Kate, while trying to avoid getting overly frustrated and putting a damper on the day(!), I had the thought that our family is just "messy".  While other kids are content to rest their heads on mom or dad's shoulder through Mass, our kids are not.  It's just hard that we have 3 wiggly ones....Luke isn't great although usually he isn't too bad either!  Peter is just Peter....and even after 12 years he is still hard in church.

God knows what our kids are like...so our job is to remain patient and work on encouraging better behavior in our little ones.  So.not.easy!

Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's house went great.  Because my grandmother has terminal cancer, almost everyone in the family was there.  My grandmother had a good day and she looked wonderful!  That was such an answer to prayer.  She sat in the living room and was treated like a queen:)  Everyone took turns sitting in the seats around her spending time in conversation.  She even had an appetite!  She amazed all of us by polishing off a whole plate of food and desserts!  It was a gift for all of us!

Later in the day, Jay went by his parent's house with everyone except Kate, (who was napping), and Peter(who was overstimulated and needed a break.)  We finished the day at my parent's house flipping through sales fliers and eating leftover turkey....and a lasagna I made for Andrew.  (Something for him to be thankful for since he does not like poultry unless it is in the form of a nugget!)

Friday was another whirlwind day!  Jay took the youth group shopping for a family in need at 5am.  I left at 7:30...thanks to Mike babysitting until Jay got home at 9:)....to go Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister.  While I was gone for 11 blissful hours of shopping sans children, Jay spent the afternoon making hundreds of perogies with our kids, his mom, and his sister and her two kids.  By the time I got home close to 8pm, everyone was tired!  (I actually would have been gone a little longer, but Kate never got a nap and was melting down!)

Shopping was very productive for me and for helping my mom get everyone on her list covered.  Between Black Friday and previous online shopping, I am one present and a few scratch tickets shy of being completely done Christmas shopping!  It's always my goal to be done shopping before Advent.....so I'm happy with where I'm at!:)

I will save the second half of our weekend update for another post!  Stay tuned for tales of Christmas trees, failed Christmas card picture attempts, adventures with siblings, and other random happenings!

Happy Monday!






Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm looking forward to cutting into the desserts we made yesterday!

Apple crisp, 2 pumpkin pies, 2 lemon meringue pies(thanks to Sarah), 
a chocolate chip cheesecake, and an apple pie:)

I think we should be all set through the weekend!:)

I hope your day is filled with great food and special family memories!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Getting Ready For the Excitement!

We are on the verge of a very exciting long weekend!

Mike got home at dinner time last night.  It was so nice to have everyone under the same roof again:)  All the kids were excited to see him and it was great to listen to the older boys all chattering last night as I fell asleep.  (I will have to remember that blissful moment when they start getting on each other's nerves 24 hours from now!;)

This morning, Jon had to hand in his baby picture for the yearbook.  Since he is  procrastinator extraordinaire, the final decision was made at 6:25 this morning!  Here it is......

Such the cutie:)

I'm still in denial that he is a senior!

While I was looking for baby pictures with Jon, I found our informal 'photo shoot' of Jon's first Christmas.  I tried to take a picture of all three boys by our Christmas tree...and they weren't cooperating!  I will share them later in the week:)

Hopefully this year's photo shoot goes better!  Getting a group shot for our Christmas card is on my to-do list this weekend.....along with baking, shopping, decorating our Christmas tree, perogi-fest, the Variety Show, and anything else I forgot!  

It will be a fun, and busy, long weekend!

First up....baking!  Sarah, Ellie and I will be making a chocolate chip cheesecake, apple pie, pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie, and apple crisp today.   Quite the list...but I do love to bake.  I'm a little concerned about losing power since there is a big rain and wind storm going on outside!  I already warned Jay that if we do lose power, I will need him to come home and run the generator!

Good luck with all of your Thanksgiving preparations!


















































































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Monday, November 25, 2013

That Went By Fast!

Well that weekend went by fast!

Saturday was spent sanding and painting kitchen cabinets(mostly Jay) and being a taxi for our children(that would be me).  The bottom cabinets sans doors are done along with the island.  The top cabinets are primed and Jay spray painted the hardware.  It's starting to take shape but there is still a ways to go!  All the dust from the sanding made quite the mess!  It took hours to clean everything!  Sigh...but the plus side is that I actually did fall cleaning this year in the kitchen.....

Sunday started with Mass, then a little more painting.  It was Jay's weekend on call and he had to work for a few hours in the afternoon.  Then he went with the teenagers to their rehearsal for their variety show act.  He had his own practice for the act he is in right after that.

It was a long afternoon of cleaning the kitchen for me!  It was sooooo slow going!  I was a little cranky by the time he got home:(......

Then, we headed to my in-laws for dinner to celebrate Jay's mom's birthday.  My sil, Julie, made Chicken Piccata, and my other sil, Jackie, made sides.  It was very yummy!  Andrew and Julie made the birthday cake....and that was great, too.  I got off easy and only had to bring soda and ice cream:)

It was a busy weekend..but we got a great start on the kitchen.  I'm having a hard time finding a back splash that is just the right combo of just enough color and not too pricey.

I did learn that I could never have open shelving in a kitchen!  That is way too much pressure!  I can't wait until my doors are painted and back on...hiding the chaos!

This is an exciting week leading to an equally exciting weekend!  Stay tuned for the details!:)

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Finally Friday!

It's Friday!  Hooray!  This week went by soooooo slow!  Joining with Jen for Quick Take Friday!

#1:  Painting
Last weekend we started the painting re-do of our family room.  It's been two years since we started using the room as a family room by taking down 2 walls.  The flooring still doesn't all match, but it is so great to have all the walls painted!  A special thanks to our 'painting angel', Carol, who offered to come over on Wednesday and continue where Jay and my Dad left off!  She finished all the walls and we got to move the furniture back!  I love the color:)  Now, it's on to the kitchen cabinets!  I.can't.wait. 

 (before and after pictures coming soon..I hope!)

#2:  Almost Thanksgiving
I'm sooo looking forward to this coming holiday week!  I don't host Thanksgiving, but I enjoy making lots of desserts to bring with us!  On the list this year:  Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, apple pie, pumpkin pie, gluten/dairy free apple crisp, and Sarah wants to make her specialty, lemon meringue pie!  

I know this time of year is very busy, but it is such a special time, too!  I love all the family time and special traditions and special food.  I just have to remember to pace myself to avoid the "Scrooge Syndrome"!:)

#3:  Extra Special Family Memories
I mentioned a few weeks ago that my grandmother was diagnosed at the end of the summer with terminal cancer.  This Thanksgiving is extra special because it will be the last one that she will be with us.  Unfortunately, the cancer has been progressing very quickly.  She is getting very frail...but is peaceful.  I'm still praying that she will be with us for Christmas, but I don't want her to be suffering either.  For now, I'm grateful we will all be together next week with all our extended family from all over.  I'm praying that she has a good day health wise on Thanksgiving so that she can enjoy having all her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren around her....and that she soaks in all the love everyone has for her.

#4:  Shopping
I have gotten a lot of my Christmas shopping done online.  I am probably 75% done, and I'm hoping to finish the rest of it when I go shopping on Black Friday with my mom and sister.  We don't go crazy early in the morning, but it's a fun day to spend together and we've done it for a long time.....At least 20 years because I remember going when Michael was about 10 months old and he only wanted my sister to carry him so we piled his carriage with bags.  That was convenient!  This year I will have no one in tow....thankfully, Jay has the day off!  I.can't.wait!  

#5:  Try New Things
I was adventurous last week and tried two new things....Groupon and Shutterfly!  I used both to buy gifts for people on our list....I can't disclose what because I don't want to give anything away!  I received my Shutterfly order yesterday and I am really pleased with how it came out!  The items I ordered with the Groupon should be in next week....hopefully that came out as well!

#6:  Ruined Surprise(almost)
I did a lot of online ordering and it already started arriving yesterday around dinner time.  Jon noticed the big boxes outside right before dinner and I asked him to bring them inside.  One of Luke's presents is a white board easel because he and Kate have a ton of fun writing on my white board calendar when I erase it at the end of the month.  Luke likes to play school with Ellie, too, so they will have fun with it!

The easel was one of the boxes delivered, but it wasn't in another box!  Jon walked in proclaiming loudly,  "Hey, it's an easel!  Who ordered this?"  Luke was right on the couch a few feet away!  Thankfully, Luke was mesmerized by Peppa Pig...a new favorite show that conveniently comes on at 5pm which buys me time to get dinner ready.  He didn't even look up!  I ran right over 'shushing' Jon and grabbed a sheet to wrap it in so Jon could hide it in my closet!  I wrapped it after everyone went to bed...I don't want to take any chances of ruining the surprise!

At least I can say I started wrapping already!  

#7:  I Got Nothing....
But I hope you have a great weekend:)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who's Got the Remote?

Any Person of Interest(POI) Fans out there?  Did you watch last night's episode?  (If you're a fan and haven't watched it yet, stop reading now! *spoiler alert*)

Jay and Sarah are big POI fans.  They are big superhero, good guy vs bad guy fans.  I'm more of a romantic comedy kinda gal.  I'm don't enjoy a lot of violence, detest scenes where people are being tortured, and like the shows where the conflict comes after the characters are developed and then is resolved by the end.  Real life is full of too many unhappy endings....I don't need the movies or tv shows I watch to have heavy endings, too!

(Needless to say, none of my older kids are thrilled when I'm in control of the remote.  Of course, that's almost never!)

Since Sarah and Jay watch POI as often as possible, I catch pieces of the episodes most weeks.  Some weeks I watch the whole episode, though I have to pay attention to my anxiety levels!  I have become such a wimp about violence since I started having kids!

Last night was NOT my favorite episode.  Too much violence AND they killed off one of our favorite main characters, Detective Carter.  It was a shocking, last minute gunshot wound that left all of us with our mouths open and very disappointed.  Every time Kate woke me up last night, (which, unfortunately for me, was a lot), I kept thinking about the way the show ended.

So, to the writers of POI, I am very disappointed.

I think next week, I will go to bed early.  Or go watch HGTV in our family room!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Waiting For the Glory Stories

No act of kindness, no matter how small, 
is ever wasted.
Aesop

This quote was in my inbox today from Catholic Digest.  It was quite timely, too.  We have some friends and family members struggling with some very big crosses right now.  I wish I could solve everyone's problems and take away all their worries, sadness, and fears.  

But I can't.

I pray, I listen, I try to give advice...preferably good(!)...when I can.  I carry their hurt in my heart and lift it up in prayer to God....asking for relief for their struggles, healing for their hurts, hope for their sadness and fortitude until they reach the end of their struggle.  

I still wish that I could do more.  So often, my little offering feels so insignificant!  It's especially hard when it's a struggle one of my own children is going through because, as a mom, I'm supposed to fix it.  

Why do magic mommy kisses have to lose their magic as kids get older?

This is when putting my trust in God is most real....when it's hard to do.  He has all the answers and comfort that everyone needs!  Moments of struggle make seeing God's hand in the lives around us so much larger and clearer!

So, even though my heart is heavy for the people in my life that are struggling, I can't wait to see what great good God will work!  I'm waiting for the 'glory stories'!

Todayif you hear his voice, do not harden youhearts.” Hebrews 4;8

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Gaggle of Hats

Sometimes I wear "too many hats"!  And I don't mean the kind on my head!  As moms, the 6,000 jobs that we perform each day(for free!) can get a little overwhelming some days!  Today, I'm sharing my multi-hat Thursday adventure for my Quick Take Friday post.....

Hat #1:  Clothes Consultant
I love any reason to "have to" shop, and yesterday was as good as any!  Sarah was in need of a warmer jacket.  I was actually looking for a vest to go over her fleece, but ended up finding a super deal on a Columbia jacket.  Since I had a 30% off coupon on top of the sale, there was no way I was leaving it behind.  It fit and she loved it...and now she can be warm on the way to and from school.  Usually, clothes consultant is my favorite job because shopping and clothes are 2 of my favorite things and I have to avoid stores at all cost don't get a chance to get to a mall very often.

Hat #2:  Laundry Person
Seriously....10 people in a house.  Enough said!  Everyday is laundry day around here!

Hat #3:  Cook
All those people in my house expect to eat dinner every night!  Last night, I made Chicken Parmesan with homemade tomato sauce.  I like to cook...and I was especially happy with the way the meal came out because I used the fresh shredded parmesan cheese I had bought last week at the grocery store for the Italian Wedding Soup I made over the weekend.  Everyone filled their plates and bellies....so I guess they enjoyed it.  (Although I have to say that sometimes a little vocal praise would go a long way....sigh)

Hat #4:  Dishwasher
The duty doesn't always fall to me, but last night I was the dishwasher.  Jay had gotten home a little late and Ellie had basketball practice so dinner and clean up were a little rushed...and we were short-handed at clean up/bath time!  I got all the dishes done except for the 2 messiest pans which needed to be soaked/scrubbed.  Unfortunately, I had to step in to cover part of bath time and never got back to the pans, which led to a lot little stress on my part this am.  (I hate waking up to a messy kitchen, it makes me feel like I'm starting behind the 8 ball(!),  and I was babysitting this morning and wanted to have things organized.)  So,  because my stress was escalating to a point that was ruining the peace in the house, because my husband is so wonderful, he cleaned up the dishes before he left for work.  Because, really, he needs another task to do.......sigh.

Hat #5:  Secretary
On Thursday nights, I go to my parents are print up the paychecks for their employees and pay any online taxes that are due.  It doesn't take me long, but it's something that needs to get done...and another hat to wear!

Hat #6:  Mom of Restless Toddler and Preschooler
Kate should have gone to sleep easily last night because she had an early nap yesterday. No.such.luck.  I had several things that needed to be done last night...and a couple of things I hoped to get done, and there was no cooperation!   Kate took over 30 minutes to fall asleep nursing, and then, just when I was going to put her down, someone in the house accidently dropped the portable phone on her head and woke her up and it took me another 25 minutes to get her settled again!!!!  I was SO not happy!

Then, I got her to bed about 9:30 and started the online orders I needed to do for fundraisers at Ellie and Luke's school, and Luke woke up crying at 9:45!  Argh!  It was not a good sleeping night last night:(

Hat #7:  Editor? Sous Chef
And since it is seven quick take Friday, I will combine the last two.  Last night, Sarah needed something short proofread for school (and early this am Mike emailed me his 6 page paper to proofread).  Andrew worked until almost 10 last night and then came home and needed a hand to make a birthday cake for his girlfriend, which he plans on surprising her with today.  I was just changing hats all over the place last night!!!


I wore a few too many hats...and it showed in my impatient morning!  Thankfully, things are running more smoothly now.  I will try to keep the hat wearing to a minimum today....at least in theory!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Great Morning!

After yesterday's post about trying to have a Christmas that is filled with balance and peace, I headed out shopping last night with my friend, Carol.  She is the wonder of wonders when it comes to homemade gifts and I enlisted her help with a project I wanted to make for my grandmother.  Where she is the wonder of wonders, I am the 'crafts for dummies' kinda girl!

We were walking though Michael's and you could just see her brain working and creating projects with everything she saw!  I look at all those pretty, shiny things and feel overwhelmed with no idea what to do with anything!

We had so much fun, though, and I loved listening to her ideas.  She helped me pick out yarn for my crocheting project and I love the color combination that I found.  She is in a hat making mode right now and picked up lots of great yarn that was all on sale to make hats for her son and his college friends for Christmas.  (Talented and generous!)

Then, we spent another hour just looking around the store finding awesome stocking stuffers for our daughters.  Ellie and Sarah are going to love them.  Fun stuff!

Today, I found myself with a morning with nothing scheduled.  Usually I have a book club, but I pushed it off until next week because a couple of moms couldn't make it.  We are reading Sex, Style and Substance, which contains 10 fairly short chapters by Catholic bloggers on real life subjects.  We are on chapter 2, which I read before I realized we would be rescheduling the meeting.  In Chapter 2, one of the subjects Halli Lord  talks about is taking time to do something for yourself everyday.  I'm not good at doing that.  It did inspire me though.  So, when I found myself with a free morning, I decided to venture out with Kate and do some shopping.(Because I love to shop!)

I started at Kohl's because I had a gift card and needed black "comfy" pants and a black long sleeve shirt for the Variety Show dance I'm in at the end of November.  I also found a cute black sweater:)

Sarah is in need of a winter coat and vest.  I was looking for a vest but found a Columbia jacket on super sale and I had a 30% off coupon on top of that!  Score!

Kate did great in her carriage and then played in the dressing room while I tried the clothes on.  She loved the mirrors!

Kate did so great that we headed to the Christmas Tree shop a couple of stores down.  I found some cool star lights!  I think lights are by far my favorite way to decorate for Christmas!  Lights and jingle bells make me happy:)  Christmas Tree Shop is one of those stores where you walk in and buy a bunch of random stuff that equals $60 withut even trying!

Kate did great again and loved looking at all the snowmen and Christmas decorations!  She was only 6 days shy of being a Christmas baby, so she should love this season in a special way!

I still had 45 minutes to kill before getting Luke, so we headed to Lowe's to look at backsplashes.  Two years ago, we did some renovations in our house.  The contractors finished 4 days before Kate was born.  With a toddler and a baby...and all the other kids thrown in....we have not gotten much accomplished in the house since then.  That includes painting the family room, which before the renovation was 2 bedrooms and it is still painted 2 different colors!

So, my goal for Christmas, (which I am hosting), is to put up a back splash in the kitchen, paint the kitchen cabinets, and paint the family room.(including a feature wall that will be either painted with stencil or wall papered.)  Hence, my trip to Lowes!  Kate was done sitting in the carriage so she "helped" me push.  I ended up finding the shade of green that I want in the back splash (and on the kitchen island) on some Christmas ornaments and throw pillows.  I bought them and a sample piece of back splash to try against our kitchen counters.

Hopefully it works!  On the way home, I picked up some hash browns at Dunkin as a treat for Kate and Luke with lunch and a small salted caramel hot cocoa for me.  The cocoa is incredible!  Of course, chocolate and caramel are my favorite combination!

It was so much fun shopping, Kate fell asleep on the way home, and I got to sit and sip my cocoa while I waited outside of school to get Luke!  It was such a great morning!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Balance and Peace

I don't know about you, but Christmas has been on my mind a lot the last couple of weeks!  There are reminders of the upcoming season everywhere!  (Including the 6,000 new toy commercials that are being played constantly on Disney Jr and Nick Jr.!  Ugh!)

Every year I struggle with the balance of making Christmas special while not blowing our budget.  Inevitably, I forget to budget for the "little things", like all the baking ingredients and stocking stuffers....which isn't really so little with all the baking I do and all the stockings I fill!  I also get caught up in some impulse buying, because there are so many cute toys/clothes and the "kids would just love this...and this, and this"!

Christmas morning comes, and I realize that some of the things that I thought they would "love" they really could have done without.  Buyers remorse sinks in....sigh!

There is so much "special" in Christmas!  The special food and the special treats and the special gifts and the special movies and the special decoration and the special music...lots and lots of special.  There are also lots of opportunities for special giving and I love how God puts friends or strangers on our heart to share all the blessings we have.

Creating all this "special" is a lot of work for moms.  I try hard to keep a balance so that I add happiness and cheer to this season and keep myself from becoming Scrooge-like!  There are always some bumpy moments...just like during 'regular' non-holiday seasons.  Keeping peace is important, though, and I have learned over the years when to say "when"...usually long before the meltdown stage.  (So, I know that while I might write down 15 different types of cookies during my seasonal cookbook perusal for Christmas treats, usually I only make 8 to 10 come 'baking day' to keep the moment enjoyable!)

This year, I am determined to stick to the budget and not venture away from the list!  This will be such a struggle...I love to shop and once I get going, it is soooo hard to stop!

I need to stay focused on my plan to have an all cash Christmas and create the "special" within the real budget. I want the true Love of Christmas to fill my family, my friends, and my home.  My hypothesis is that having more balance will make our Christmas celebrations more peaceful.  Where there is balance, there is always so much more satisfaction and peace....

...and I really like peace!

 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Little of This And A Little of That!

This weekend went by in a blur!

On Saturday, Jay and Jon were gone half the day to visit one of the schools Jon is applying to.  Then, they went out for lunch and had some good 1:1 time.  That doesn't happen often enough around here, so when the opportunity arises we need to jump on it!

Since Mike is away and Andrew was working, the rest of us hung around and did some cleaning and cooking.  Sarah made white chocolate macadamia nut cookies(Jay's favorite) and chocolate chip cookies(all the kids' favorite).  I made a white chocolate snack mix recipe to send to Mike since my parents were going to visit him on Sunday.  (It was really yummy...chex mix, pretzels, m&m's, candy corn(Mike's fav) and white chocolate!  I had to bag it and hide it so we didn't eat it all!)

On Sunday, we went to Mass and I tried a new recipe for lunch....Italian Wedding Soup.  It was a hit among the soup lovers of the house.  I didn't do anything super special for food because the Patriots had a by week, so we spent extra time playing with the little kids.

Jay didn't have Monday off, but everyone else did.  I played catch-up with some work and everyone spent a lazy afternoon just hanging out together.

My teenagers crack me up.  Andrew and Sarah have been taking turns writing (complicated) math equations in a the small empty space on my whiteboard calendar!  They are self proclaimed math geeks:)  They get their math ability from Jay's dad....certainly not from me!

Oh...and it's snowing today!!!!  Just a little, but still!  It looks pretty when you're inside looking at the snow while snuggled up under a blanket!  I'm not ready for winter...but it is putting me in the mood for Christmas shopping so I think I will spend some more time organizing my lists!  I love lists!

Well....a little boring today but it's all I have!  Hope your week is moving right along!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Quotable Quotes

We are wrapping up the first week of November!  This month is going to fly!  

Every morning I get A Quiet Moment from Catholic Digest.  I keep a lot of the quotes in my inbox for future use.  I decided to share 7 of my favorites for Quick Take Friday with Jen.  I hope you like them as well!

#1

Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head.
St. Charles Borromeo

#2
God speaks silently, God speaks in your heart; if your heart is noisy, chattering, you will not hear.
Caryll Houselander

#3
Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be brave!
Pope Francis

(...I just love Pope Francis!)
#4
We shall steer safely through every storm so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.
St. Francis de Sales
Doctor of the Church


#5
“The times are bad! The times are troublesome!” This is what humans say. But we are our times. Let us live well and our times will be good. Such as we are, such are our times.
St. Augustine
Doctor of the Church


#6
We live poverty by filling the hours of the day usefully, doing everything as well as we can, and living little details of order, punctuality, and good humor.
St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer

(That's certainly not the easiest thing to do!  I'm definitely a work in progress!)
#7
To see the miraculous within the ordinary is the mark of highest wisdom.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

(I love this one!  Every mundane, ordinary day doing dishes, washing clothes, feeding children, wiping noses...all those matter to care for the little(and not so little anymore!) miracles God has blessed us with as mothers.  (and grandmothers, and aunties, and godmothers.......)

I hope you have glorious weekend seeing the miraculous within your own ordinary!