Tuesday, January 31, 2012

That kind of day

After a good day in the classroom, I moved into the kitchen to start dinner. The tortilla dough came together quickly and I left the little blobs of dough to their resting and began the chopping of the vegetables. It was during the chopping that I once again heard the familiar "whack" as one of our kitchen chairs tipped over and hit the floor. I jump every time. Those chairs are top-heavy and they go over at the slightest touch. Only when I turned to put it upright, there was Therese, lying on the floor, on top of the chair. Oh, how she cried! When I picked her up, blood was coming fast from her mouth. At first I could not determine where all the blood was coming from. I gently pulled her bottom lip down and there were two big wounds where her teeth must have bit into her lip. Then I checked the top lip. It was worse. That little flap that connects the lip and gums was split open and gushing. Dinner was put on hold as I tended to Therese. The bleeding finally slowed down after 20 minutes or so, but she was still inconsolable. So, on day one of trying to wean her of the pacifier, I caved. She settled down, but did not want to be put down. Finally, Tony was home, and she snuggled into his arms, and I got back to making our dinner. We sat down together to say the blessing at precisely 8:03 pm.

When stories were read, prayers said, and children were finally tucked in bed, I was exhausted. But poor Therese kept waking. Tony and I took turns comforting her. At 1:30 am, she finally settled down for the night. Wearily, I eased my body into the bed that had been calling me for quite some time and pulled the blankets around me and fell asleep. Two hours later, I heard the shuffle of feet and sensed someone standing over me. It was Anna, and she was burning up with fever. I gave her medicine and laid down with her, praying that she truly has outgrown the seizures. This morning, praise God, she is doing fine. I figure the fever will return soon, though, once the effects of the medicine have worn off. My goals for the day have been lowered significantly. It seems like a cuddle up on the couch, story reading kind of day and not so much a hunker down at the classroom table to tackle school kind of day. And that is where I am heading now, to the couch.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pizza Crust Success!

Quickly, before I forget what I did, I want to write down what made the pizza crust one of the best I have ever made. I dusted it generously with flour as I patted it out on the pans. I have also upped the temperature of the oven to 550 degrees, which is the highest my oven will go.  Pre-heating the stones in the oven while I get the crusts ready on greased cookie sheets also seems to improve the crust. When I am ready to assemble the pizza, I pull out the baking stones and transfer the crusts onto the stones and then put everything together. Tonight the pizzas slid off the stones effortlessly and the crust had a great crispness and texture. My pizza crust is a continual work in progress, so I thought I'd share my newest discovery. The one thing I want to learn and haven't yet is how to toss the crust in the air like the professionals!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Letting Go

Last night, I made a big leap of faith. I let Anna spend the night at a friend's house. Her first sleepover, which is a big event in a little girl's life. But this mama hen has kept her chicks very close to her since losing Ben. Sure Sophie has been away at college, but she is 19 and it is time for her to test her wings. It is different with the little ones. Especially Anna. I feel this need to keep her closer. Call it a mama's intuition. She is still there, probably having the best of times, while the mama waits, trusting that all is well.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some thoughts and news on this Monday

As I wait for Olivia to return from DC after joining in the March for Life today, I thought I'd take a moment to write some thoughts down. First of all, I am so proud of my teenage daughters who fully embrace their faith and are as horrified at the idea of abortion as I am. It literally leaves a sick feeling in my stomach and an ache in my heart when I think about all those babies. Both of my older girls have attended the March for Life several times. One day, I hope to have the chance to be there too.

Sophie did not go this year, but she had a good excuse. She is out of the country. A little over a week ago, we loaded up in the van and drove her to the airport to start the adventure of a lifetime. She will be studying in Austria this semester. It is still so odd to think about how far away she really is. I was grateful for the distraction of keeping up with three little ones in an international airport to keep me from completely losing it. It was still more than heart-rending to watch her turn and go through that gate all by herself.

Remember that little announcement about how the Army thought Alaska should be our next duty station? Well, I have some exciting news. Some very nice person infomed us that there is such a thing as senior-year stabilization for families whose children are wanting to finish high school at their current school. We applied for and were granted said stabilization! That means that we can remain here until mid 2013! I tell you I am fervently praying that Alaska does not still need a tuba player then.

I am also glad that our assignment has been postponed because it would have been very interesting travelling all the way to Alaska with a newborn. I have been both excited and nervous to share this news with you. I think once you have a miscarriage it is always scary announcing a new baby. However, I am hoping that all of you will pray for this new little one along with me.

Here is Jack's idea of what is going on in my tummy: (the circle is my stomach and that is the baby)

Here is what we saw 2 weeks ago:

Baby number 7 is due mid August!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Outside my window...

...deceptively beautiful. The sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant, cloudless blue. It seems to be calling me. But, oh, how cold it really is! I will keep on looking at this pretty scene from inside the house.

I am thinking...
...about so many things! I am thinking about organizing the house. I am thinking about decluttering. I am thinking about a good deep cleaning of the entire house. I am thinking, but I haven't found a time put to all these thoughts into actions.

I am thankful for....
...a warm house
...kids who do their schoolwork without complaining (at least today anyway)
...Therese's naptime

From the lesson plans...
...we were behind where I wanted to be, but the kids have done wonderfully this week and we are catching up!

From the kitchen...
...a new pizza crust recipe for tonight. My new Better Homes and Gardens said right on the front "Artisan Pizza at home", so here's hoping! I already made the dough and it is resting in the fridge until this afternoon.

...less meat! This week's menu had three meatless meals. I made black bean burgers the other night, with little hope of my husband liking the meal. But they were a success! Everyone loved them.

I am wearing...
...blue jeans, a green v-neck sweater, socks and slippers. I just cannot seem to keep my toes warm.

I am creating...
...a dishcloth, maybe for myself, maybe not. I'll see if I feel inspired to gift this one.

...I am in between knitting projects at the moment. Unfortunately, I think I may have done in all the knitted diaper covers for Therese. I used Woolite to wash them and now, even with freshly lanolizing them, they are leaking terribly. I will probably try to wash them once more in a different soap and lanolize again before I start making lots of covers!

I am reading...
..."The Story of a Soul" by St. Therese and  "First Comes Love" by Scott Hahn. I read both in little snippets.

I am hoping...
...to be more productive around the house.

I am hearing...
...Jack and Anna painting with her new paints from Christmas for "art". That is why I am actually getting a post written!

Around the house...
...all those things I am thinking about need to get started!

I am going...
...to the post office today to mail a special package for a special little someone if I can muster up the courage to brave the cold!

One of my favorite things...
...Therese doing her "funny" walks. She likes to make us laugh by walking in crazy ways.

I am praying for...
...all those on my special intention list

...my mother-in-law

...a special private intention

Plans for the rest of the week...
...homeschool co-op tomorrow and  dinner with friends this weekend.

***edited to add***

As soon as I hit publish, a sheepish Anna slinked up to me and informed me of a little accident with the paint...

This is why I don't have time for organizing and such. I am kept busy throughout the day taking care of the little messes!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny again for a yarn along post.

This little guy was a stocking stuffer for Jack this year. Sophie and Anna received neck warmers and Olivia finally had 2 fingerless gloves! The minion was a huge success. He may need his arms reattached soon, as he is twirled by the arms a lot. Notice the one on the right is already looking iffy. His shoes have gotten a little fuzzy too. I guess that just shows all the love he gets. The new technique I learned was duplicate stitching. The band for his goggles is done with this technique. I had to do it backwards from the tutorial since I am a lefty and you are using a darning needle. Other than that, he was extremely quick to knit.

In other knitting news, I seem to be on a destructive streak. I broke a second needle while making another gift for a friend. I haven't sent it yet, so no picture this week. Anyway, I picked up the project one evening to discover that the kids must have dropped something heavy on it, because my needle was broken right where it joins the metal part that screws into the cable. (It was a harmony interchangable needle.) Some wood glue and 24 hours of drying time seem to have done the trick, thank goodness.

As for reading, I am not getting much reading time in lately. I am so tired in the evenings that I have been falling asleep at the same time as the kids. I am reading "The Long Winter" to Anna and Jack. It is making me very grateful for a climate controlled house! Brrrrr!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

He's five!

Planning a birthday party right after Christmas can prove to be challenging. We only had a few days to come up with an idea after returning from Tennessee. Jack and I browsed the internet looking at "birthday party themes for boys". There were so many clever ideas, but we were short on time and most of them started out by stating that you should allow yourself 4 weeks to pull these parties together! Yikes! Then we saw one where the fire department actually came to their house. Jack was hooked. I called our local fire department and they do not do that, but they said we were welcome to come take a tour of the fire station. We called his friends and planned for Saturday afternoon. They did warn us that it would be cut short if they happened to get a call.
 We started out seeing where they ate, slept, and gathered before heading out to see the engines. Just as the firefighters started telling the kids about the engine, the alert sounded and they were called to help someone who was unconscious. The firefighters said that the call would be a short one and we could wait. So, we watched them jump in the truck, put on the sirens and pull out of the station! Pretty impressive.

While waiting for their return, the kids did what they always do when playing at our house. They all jumped in the back of Tony's truck. I personally do not see what is so much fun about this, but I guess you have to be a kid to understand.

As promised, 15 minutes later they pulled back into the station. The kids were all over the fire engine and the firefighters answered all their questions.

They all took turns sitting behind the wheel.

Oh, was he ever happy!

 Jack and his friend Cort

 Even at a firefighter party, the girls outnumbered the boys!

 Then the ambulance returned to the station.
We got to learn all about the ambulance too.

Finally, we returned home to have some homemade angel food birthday cake and ice cream for those who can have dairy, 'cause what's a party without cake AND ice cream? I'd say Jack's fifth birthday came together splendidly.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Oldest and the Youngest

I didn't take many pictures at my mom's house. In fact, these are the only ones I took, and it was at the request of my grandmother. She asked if I would take some pictures of the "oldest" with the "youngest". I was more than happy to oblige. Therese and Jack both love their great-grandmother with such a sweet love. They are drawn to her when she walks in the door. They run to her with smiles of joy and hug her tight.

And she loves them right back. The smile on Grams' face when they come to her lights up my heart.

When I was little, I would stay with Grams and Grandad for several days by myself each summer. It was such a treat to have them all to myself. Their house did not have many toys, but I never lacked for things to do. My grandmother and I would practice cross-stitching, or dress up, or go through her jewelry box and try on all the pretty things. My grandad made the best gadgets and told the funniest jokes and would carve little trinkets out of walnuts.

These two ladies are very special to me. I am glad they are forming their own special bond.

99 years separate them, the oldest and the youngest.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Tonight I made another great dish that took very little tweaking to make it dairy free for the kids. I found the recipe on foodgawker. I hope you have taken my advice and have checked out this website. You will not be disappointed. The recipe is called Mushroom Barley Risotto.

My husband's quote of the evening: "Something with a name that bad should not taste this good."

Instead of veggie broth, I used my homemade turkey stock. There is a tablespoon of butter and some parmesan cheese that are added right at the end. So, before I do that, I get a small serving bowl and put enough in it for Jack and Therese. Then I add the butter to our serving bowl. The cheese gets its own little bowl and we can sprinkle our own, except for Anna who needs moderation in all things cheese. I have to keep the cheese dish on the opposite end of the table from her or she would sneak it all through the meal. Therese had thirds tonight. She kept signing "more". The only person who is not a fan of this dish is Olivia, my mushroom hater. But she picks out the mushrooms and says it tastes great after that.

The talk around the table this evening was mostly about what Sophie still needs before she leaves for Austria in a mere 10 days. She has to figure out how to pack all she needs for a semester into 2 suitcases and keep it under 40 pounds each. They do not assign roommates until they arrive and she is nervous. Then there is the whole voltage difference and how to deal with that. I have enjoyed having my whole family together through the holidays. Tomorrow Olivia returns to school and I guess that is officially the end of our time together as a complete family.