Monday, June 30, 2014

Orval Abbey in Belgium

I'll admit it, I have a lot of things that trigger anxiety. Some rational, some not so much. Going someplace new, and not speaking the language is one of my larger anxiety producers, so I guess you are wondering how I am still functioning over here. I am getting used to the German thing, but this weekend we were in a different country with a different language.

We ventured out of Germany, through Luxembourg, and on into Belgium on Saturday to visit Orval Abbey, a Trappist Cistercian Monestary. Now, sitting back here at home, I am so glad we went. At the time, I wasn't so sure we had made a wise decision. We had our passports, we had food and water, the diaper bag was stocked. We typed in the address in our GPS and we were off. And until we neared the Abbey, all was well. We got to a roundabout that had a sign directing us to the Abbey, yet the GPS was telling us to take a different route. We were already a little behind schedule to meet our friends there. We decided to take the road with the sign and hope the GPS would reroute. It did not. On a little one lane road, we wound our way to the Abbey. (And this is Europe people. When I say one lane road, I mean, pray some continuous 'Hail Mary's' that you do not meet oncoming traffic.) It was already misting pretty steadily when we arrived, which did not bode well for us. (We must get ourselves some rain gear, pronto!) We could not find our friends, so we sat under a porch and ate our simple lunch we had packed. Just as we were finishing, our friends arrived.

Our tour was short but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Except maybe the rain and the cold. I did not enjoy those two things at all. The kids did not listen to the tour guide very much. They explored on their own, and that is OK. We bought some beer, we bought some cheese, we bought some cookies for the ride home. Our GPS would not work at all when we were leaving, so I am grateful to have been able to follow our friends back into Germany. There is something to be said for good old-fashioned maps and I intend to purchase those very soon.

In the foreground, the herb garden used for medicinal purposes. In the background, the ruins of the Monestary from the 1100's, which were burned by the French, I believe.

The current grounds.

more of the ruins. This door led to the old cemetary.

She was freezing. I let her have my sweater, since we couldn't find hers. Then I was freezing!

I like that he was drawn to the same flowers as his mother. I had been photographing them earlier.

In case you are wondering, those little black animals are sheep.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yarn Along "knitting for babies edition"

As I was putting the little people to bed last night, I got a notification on facebook letting me know that the package had finally arrived. I am so happy that my gift made it across the ocean safely and that my niece has it before her baby makes his/her arrival.

I absolutely loved making this blanket. It was easy to memorize, yet had enough little blips to keep it interesting. The yarn, Knitpicks shine, is so soft, and the drape of the blanket is perfect.

I had started this newest little bunny while we were whiling away in the hotel. I picked her back up once I sent off the blanket. I can show you my progress because the friend I am making this for does not get on the computer. No worry of spoiling the surprise!

The one thing I am not happy with is the nose. If I could easily go back and change it, I would. I still think she is cute though, so I am going to leave it be.

Like I said yesterday, I am trying to read "The Diary of a Country Priest", but am having a hard time getting into it. I won't give up yet though!

Here she is, sitting on my reading material, waiting for her dress to be made. At least she has cute bloomers.

Hanging out with the little boy bunny, who I used as a reference.

The bottom of the dress. It will have another little stripe if I have enough blue left!

Joining Ginny, as usual.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday Evening Daybook

Outside my window...

Still completely daylight at 8:00 pm. A wind is whipping up, making me wonder if we might not get a little summer shower before bedtime.

 I am thinking... 

about ever so much. Sunday, my mom gave me some terrible news. A childhood friend of mine lost her son in a motorcycle accident. My heart immediately broke for her. A mama should not outlive her children. Of course, Mama Mary did too and I pray that my friend may find comfort in Our Lady's arms.

I have been in a very sad mood ever since and I can't seem to shake it.

 I am thankful for.... family.

...knitting needles that keep my hands and mind busy and my anxieties at bay. husband who loves me.
 From the lesson plans...

  Jack will probably finish up this week. Anna, on the other hand, has at least 4 more weeks of work. To finish or call it finished, that is the question!

 From the kitchen... 
Lots of salami, cheese, and crackers. Simple. Yummy.

Lots of broken dishes. The marble floor has claimed lots of my corelle, wine glasses, and other things. I keep saying I want to pare down, and things keep breaking, so I guess I am being somewhat successful!

I am wearing... 

One of my favorite dresses from Modcloth and bare feet.

 I am creating... 

a bunny for a new baby of a friend. An apron for me for holding clothespins while I hang the laundry on the line. I have plans to start a quilt soon.

 I am planning... 

to be better organized for the new school year in the fall. I have been reading and contemplating and praying. Lots of praying about being a better homeschool mama.

 I am reading... 

 I just started "The Diary of a Country Priest" for the second time. I didn't make it too far the first attempt. I still am having trouble getting into this story.

 I am reading "Pippi Longstocking" to the kids.

 I am hearing... 

 ...the wind in the trees.

 ...the kid's movie I let them watch so I could type.

 Around the house...

I still have a few odds and ends that I don't quite know where they belong. I am waiting for Amazon to deliver a slip cover for my favorite chair and ottoman that has definitely seen better days.

 I am going... try and straighten up a bit since we will be having our first overnight guest tomorrow!

I am praying for...

 ...all those on my list of intentions. friend who lost her son.

 Picture of the Day... 
the apron I made.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Today has been a day of firsts for me.

It was my first German Mass.

It was my first Corpus Christi Procession.

It was my first time going to the town of Bann and it's Church.

There were good moments, and some not so good moments, but I am so glad I decided to go.

The Church was beautiful all on its own, yet the people had laid flowers everywhere. On the sidewalks, in windows, driveways, doorways, everywhere was filled with flowers. Yellow and white flags were everywhere too.

Inside the Church, they had everything set up for the procession. We arrived about 30 minutes early, since I was very worried about getting lost and missing the whole thing. There were only a handful of people inside, but the Church quickly filled with people, mostly older folks, some smiling at my children, some casting weary glances at them. I put on my veil and knelt to pray. For that moment, everything was so lovely. Peter and Therese required that I leave about midway through Mass. We stood outside the open doors and peered in until it was time for Communion.

I will admit that I did not understand much of the procession, but it was beautiful anyway. I am pretty sure there were some children who made their First Holy Communion today and they had baskets of flower petals that they strew on the ground as we walked to two different altars along the way. On almost every driveway or sidewalk of each house, there was a statue of Mary or Jesus. I was filled with joy as I looked upon all the care taken to make this procession special. Like I said, I did not understand what was being said, and this was the first procession I have ever attended, so I am not much help in educating you on what we witnessed. But here it is through my lens...

Monday, June 9, 2014


I am not waiting for the yarn along on Wednesday. For one thing, I just am so excited to share how the basket turned out that I cannot wait! Did I mention that patience is not one of virtues I have mastered? For another thing, I also hope to have another project finished to share on Wednesday.

Did I also mention that Tony has been gone for a week to Normandy to play his tuba and commemorate D-Day? No? Well, he has. I am also not patiently awaiting his arrival in a few hours. We are all more than ready to have him home.

Trying to capture the color most accurately. This is not it.

This is close, but not quite.

This seems to be the closest I can get.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Try, Try Again

It started out as a quick little project to use up some yarn. While browsing Ravelry, I came across this cute basket. I had some yarn that would be perfect. I haven't crocheted in quite a while, but really, how hard could it be? Ha! First time, I kept thinking that maybe it should be a little thicker, that maybe it would not stand up on its own. And then, as the trellis pattern developed, I realized that mine did not quite look right. I wasn't sure how to fix it though, since I seemed to be following the pattern correctly. I trudged along until the only thing I could do was to rip the whole thing out and start over. So I had a huge pile of yarn on the classroom floor that I was just sure the kids would turn into a huger mess. I got a smaller crochet hook and began again. The bottom of the basket was immediately much more like what I wanted. Great! Then onto that trellis pattern. Still it was not looking quite right. I went along for a few more rounds. Then I stopped and took a really close up look at the picture in the pattern. Then I re-read the pattern. Then the light bulb came on and I knew what I was doing wrong. So, I ripped it out yet again. Finally it is looking right and I know I will like the results.

So hang in here with me a little longer whilst I try and get philosophical and make a connection to my life. During the last months with the move and all the emotional upheavals of our family, I have lost sight of the big picture. What I am trying to accomplish with my children, with my family. I trudged along, not really happy with how things were going, but not sure how to make it what I had envisioned. Then I remembered what it was I had originally wanted for my family when we started this home schooling adventure. It was to get my family to Heaven. I don't need them to go to the best schools, or to be "successful" in the world's eye. I want them to be full of joy, and I believe that comes from God above. So, there needs to be some unraveling, if you will, of habits formed during these crazy months. I will start again. And honestly, I will probably have to start over more than once, since I am not perfect. I will mess up again. I just need to remember to keep striving for the results I hope to achieve.

They are worth it, all the work.

Trying to stay on the right path, I sometimes feel as flattened as those bugs on the windshield. But I will try, try again!

Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along.