Saturday, September 1, 2018

Birthday at the zoo

Anna turned 14 yesterday. We made our second trip to the zoo after getting her ears pierced and lunch at Chick-fil-a.

Our first trip, we missed the gorillas. Yesterday we arrived just as the program about the gorillas began. We were able to see a mother and 3 month old baby. After that, we moseyed around, taking our time, and enjoying the non-animal activities. Sadly for Peter, most of these activities require you to weigh more than his 35 pounds. He can ride the carousel, however, and after taking a few whirls around, we crossed over the bridge to the gardens and splash pad. I can tell we are going to love this zoo!

You can walk inside the kangaroo exhibit. They were so excited to see us.

Mother and baby gorilla

Cones in their natural habitat

The ropes activity they all had been looking forward to.

The misery of not weighing enough to participate

Pony rides

Monday, August 20, 2018

On the move (again)

Our year in Kingsport has come to a close. We said our tearful goodbyes as we pulled away from my parent's house and set out on our next adventure. We have been in South Carolina for a little over a week, most of that in a hotel room. The computer is up and running and I downloaded the photos from my camera this morning. The unpacking is coming along. Most of the boxes are empty and are in the garage. Now the fun part of making this house our home begins. We love the backyard! We also are returning to homeschooling the first week of September, which means I need to tackle the classroom organizing pronto!

Boredom set in at the hotel quickly. Jack and I did a Lego minifigure photoshoot.

Anna and Jack woke early to try and catch some fish. No luck yet, but it is only the second day.

view from the floating dock. I had to watch out for flying hooks!

There are so many dragonflies in our yard! I have not set up my birdfeeders yet, though I have seen a few hummingbirds.

To me, it looks like he is smiling at the camera.

My creative side has been on the back burner for a while, especially the writing side. I hope to rectify that by doing daily journaling with the kids once school commences.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July Yarn Along

The theme here, I believe, is go big! The book is the last selection of the book club I joined this year. "The Well-Read Mom" has been just what I needed. I met a lovely group of women. Each brought her own unique views to the meetings, along with good food, and great fellowship. I went into this book never having seen the play, the movie, nor did I know the general story line. I am slightly less than half-way through, and I am under no illusions that I will have to go to the meeting without having finished the book, though I am enjoying it and will finish up on my own.

For quite some time, my knitting projects have been small, mostly stuffed animals. I had seen the Color Affection shawl many times while browsing Ravelry. I finally decided that the time was right for a bigger project that could be easily worked on while listening to long books on Audible ;) The end of the shawl will most likely come before the end of Les Miserables.

Here is the link to the Yarn Along.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


We finished up school last week. (well, not Anna and I, but that is not something to dwell upon at the moment, so let's not) Summer time is officially here for these three youngest of mine.

They know how to live to the fullest, children do. Belly laughs, squeals of delight. I need to take a lesson from them. Just trying to capture it brought joy and smiles into my heart.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A day in the life

The snooze alarm has already been pressed once, so I roll out of bed and ask the Lord to help me through this new day. As I wait for the coffee to brew, I unload the dishes from last night. Pouring a generous splash of half and half into my cup, I head outside, wrapped in an afghan, to read my morning prayers.

This day starts like most. This morning, I am thinking about words I read every day in the Canticle of Zechariah.

"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free."

I am always baffled at these words. With all the ugly in the world, how can these words possibly ring true? And then, I hear a little voice saying "you can be free if you rest in Me and my way." And that way is love. Choosing to love amid the ugly. Choosing to remain calm in the midst of the chaos.

That choosing part is the challenging thing. It is so easy to snap back at the frustrated child. To choose a calm, quiet act of love instead is His way. How many times have I chosen the wrong thing? Too many, my friend, too many. But I am trying again and again and again!

And that was not the only thing I heard that little voice tell me this morning. I have been having this recurring dream where I am in the car and all of a sudden I realize no one is driving and I am supposed to be the one driving. Frantically I scramble over the seat, trying to reach the pedals and steering wheel in time to avoid an awful collision. This is usually when I awake in a panic. As I lay there in the pre-dawn hours, wide awake now, I hear that little voice say to me quite clearly, "You are focused on things that are not the most important. Focus on the road." What road?! And then I know, the road to you, my Lord. I am putting my focus on the things that ultimately don't matter. Bringing my family and myself to the Lord is the most important. That should be my main focus. And it comes back to that first little voice I heard, "rest in Me and my way".

Love. It is that simple. Smile. Enjoy the breeze, the sun, the people God has given you.

Bird watching is my new morning hobby.

This is Lulu begging me to let her join me in the bird watching outside. Sorry Lulu.

The last book of our book club. I listen while in the pick-up line at school and after those kids are tucked in for the night.

My lovely rosary that accompanies me in the car.

A thank-you for teaching CCD this year. Therese is really wanting to plant them right now. So we will.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Today I am thankful for...

-an afternoon walk with my kids yesterday. We played "I Spy", blew on dandelions, and had a good romp through the grass and trees.

-another beautiful day today. We may go to the park, I don't know, but whatever we do, it must be out of doors.

-Sophie's minor aches and pains after a car accident, in which someone pulled out in front of her. It could have been much, much worse.

-the fact that she was driving the car we bought just two weeks ago. It gave up itself to keep her safe. Her old car would not have protected her in the same way.

-technology, and the ability to talk to Tony and see his face all the way in Korea.

-the shower faucet that is either hot or cold, and rarely just right, for it reminds me that I have running water, and a roof over my head.

-the messy clutter of four kids, for I am abundantly blessed.

-my camera and the opportunities to capture the sweetness of life.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Day at the Park

 The weather was lovely yesterday. For the first time this year, I was able to enjoy my coffee and Magnificat outside on the back porch. The birds were chirping and flitting from the trees to the feeder. The quietness of the morning filled me with a calm, and as I sat there thinking of the things that I could do with the day, I knew I wanted to take the children on a picnic. I called my parents and invited them as well. We headed to Laurel Run Park, as I had been told we could hike from there to Bays Mountain. The hike would have to be another day, but I planned to check out the park and get the trail maps to prepare for the future hike.

The kids eagerly packed their new water shoes, because the website said there was a creek. They relish a good creek walk and as soon as we set up our things at a picnic table, they were off. I sat there at the table, setting out the lunch, and just enjoying time with my parents, when Anna called out "I see a snake." Now, I appreciate nature, but snakes are in a separate category. Going over to the creek to investigate, there, on a rock less than 10 feet from Anna, was a brown water snake sunning himself. He was probably 3 feet long. The thing was, I had to look carefully to find him, as he blended into the rock quite perfectly. It was unsettling to say the least that I sent my kids into the creek not even thinking about this possible danger. I know the snake was non-venomous, but it was a snake all the same. We saw many more snakes that afternoon in the creek, though he was easily the largest.

I was more than ready to explore the trails and move away from the creek, and so we walked for a bit on the trail. The wildflowers were like a carpet on the forest floor. Purples and yellows spreading out in thick blankets among the fallen trees and brown leaves still there as evidence of the winter that has just come to the end of its seasonal reign.

We went to the Vigil Mass that evening. Once again, the quiet in the sanctuary filled me with a peaceful calm. It was then that I felt God sent me a message. The creek was our path in life. The snake, the temptations of the devil and how he carefully camouflages those temptations among the seemingly harmless good things of life. We must be vigilant, especially as parents, to help our children navigate and recognize the dangers and temptations they will face every day. It gave me hope that Anna, in her fun, still managed to be on the lookout, and moved out of the path of the snake.