Friday, December 19, 2014

Events to be remembered in case they ask...

The first three events we attended a couple months back.  I love taking our kids to speakers and forums even if the information goes way above their head.  They certainly look forward to each event.  I wanted to write these down in case I needed to reference in the future.

1.  Anthony Esolen's talk at the Cathedral 

I read his book Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child.  Esolen is an English professor at Providence College and a graduate of Princeton University.  He was the type of speaker that you wait with bated breath for every word that comes out and hope the talk lasts for about four hours.  He has such a brilliant mind with incredible spiritual depth. 

2.  Neil Gershefeld's talk as part of the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues on "How to Make "almost" Anything."

Our friend and professor, Shane Farritor, gave the the first talk at the forum.  He is leading the way for an exciting venue called Innovation Campus soon to be offered at the University of Nebraska.  

The event was held at the Lied Center.  John was working late that night, but I really wanted the kids to hear the talks so off we went.  We sat front and center which I knew was a risk with the little two squirrels. I had to take them out, but the older kids really enjoyed listening to Gershefeld's ideas.  He is a professor at MIT and the director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms.


3.  Governor Pete Ricketts and Lt. Governor Mike Foley Picnic and watch party

We took the kids to Mike Foley's watch party back in May? I believe.  They were the only kids there, but really enjoyed watching the process and the night unfold.  They watched the election results come in and reported to John and I with eager anticipation.  I wanted to remember this night in particular because Vianney fell and scraped her knee on the way into the event.  I was unaware of her falling until a couple days later when I was giving her a bath and noticed her scraped knee.  I asked her when she hurt herself to which she replied, "I fell at the Foley party."  I don't know why I chuckled, but I guess it was cute to hear her say "Foley party."

In late October, our new Governor held a family picnic.  We enjoyed seeing and hearing the Governor-to-be, Lt. Governor Mike Foley, Senator Ben Sasse, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, and others.  Several of our friends were in attendance also so it was a great gathering of friends all united under one main passion-the defense of human LIFE.

4.  The Nutcracker at the Lied Center

Our children receive tickets to see the Nutcracker each year as part of our St. Nicholas celebration.  I have a hard time watching the show as my eyes are drawn to watching them watch the ballet.  This was Vianney's first year.  We went this past Sunday.




5.  On Saturday, we went to see a play called Imagine Christmas.  The opening scene was a mesmerizing rendition of the story of creation.  The music, the costumes, and the actors left many with a big lump in their throat.  How magnificent God must be to really realize how vast the universe is!



Friday, December 5, 2014

Evidence of Life

We were home in Beloit over Thanksgiving and my mother was discussing with me the gigantic task of keeping up her home especially without my father. The roof, the gutters, the siding, the lawn, the windows, etc., etc., all need attended to. I can understand why it is so overwhelming at times for her.  Although, while we were talking I couldn't help but think of how the maintenance of her home is giving her purpose and meaning to life.  It is so good for humans to take care of things.  You cannot help but love or learn to love something you take care of.

Probably one of the more frustrating obstacles that arises in life is uncompleted tasks.  Children certainly don't allow for much to be completed or stay completed.  I know I will never be caught up.  I don't think about that much ever anymore.  I have moments, but the vision of the what we are doing usually is in the forefront.  Raising a family is something that will always require maintenance and upkeep.  You don't just mow your lawn once and you are done.  It usually is a weekly task.  Those daily and weekly task give us purpose and meaning. 

I can look around at all of their beautiful signs of life around are home and can be brought to tears.   When I look at them I think, "I believe in something greater than myself."

Food.  One of the biggest daily necessities.  Their lives revolve around food.  I have many that ask first thing in the morning what we are having for dinner that night.  I have some that want to bake everyday.  Lunch is usually something that makes me pause.  We have been doing school and chores all morning and then we pause to look at each other.  I set out 9 lunch plates everyday.  At one time, I only set out 1 plate.  Funny.  These really are the times to remember.
I might be in the top weird percent of America, but I LOVE laundry.  I love washing their clothes, but more importantly I love folding their clothes.  When John and I were first engaged, I read an article in a magazine about a new book that was being released titled Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House.  I went right over to Barnes and Noble and bought it.  I poured over the laundry section.  I always have laundry to do.  I hope I have laundry to do for many years.  Their clothes remind me of the day.  They remind me of how chubby and tiny their little bodies are.  I smile at their favorite shirts.  I cringe at the certain pieces that I don't prefer, but THEY LOVE.  Even that though, makes me smile. 
His little shoes.  He walks with one foot a little turned in so we bought him special shoes to help a bit.  These clunkers will definitely go in his baby box.  I can hear him coming from a mile away. 

We have a good snow system down now.  The older five can get themselves ready and warm.  They also know where to hang everything after they have finished freezing outside.  Hours and Hours.  I treasure this view especially as the fun that was had in all those clothes is imprinted on my heart as I watched it all unfold from my kitchen sink window.

I dream of a home magically decorated for Christmas at every turn of the eye.  Every year without exception, they are so excited to be decorating the house for Christmas.  As we bring up the tubs of decor, their hands and mouths are going a mile a minute remembering each piece.  They have visions of where things should go.  Rose wanted to set up the village this year.  Dominic had his heart set on arranging our Nutcracker collection. Lillie looked through our tree ornaments over and over.  I let them all do it.  We have very few of these moments together in the perspective of life, so I just let them be.  Their versions are much better anyway. 
A full calendar.  My calendar use to be off-limits.  I wanted it neat and organized until I saw the beauty in all the important dates they took the time to note on the calendar.  It really is comical to look back and note what certain children were looking forward to indicated usually by their phonetic version of the event. 
Sign of a good meal.  Feet crossed under the high chair. 
I have written many times about their play.  Yesterday, they played Shark Tank for 4 hours straight.  They made offers, rejected offers, pretended to be Mr. Wonderful.  I never wanted it to end.  My only regret was John was at work.  He would have loved it. 
Inappropriate Advent Calendars in Aisle 5. 
I am not quite sure where she belongs in the whole Nativity scene.  Their special touches. 
I double dare you to find something more adorable than a one-year-old learning to use a fork.  The concentration, the aiming, the misfiring and more. 
VICTORY.
A child learning to draw people. Once they learn, they can't stop.  I spot Clairvaux's handiwork all over the house.  I remember Dominic drawing on our lamp shade when he was two.  He drew a happy face because Elmo's lamp shade had a happy face.  I wish I still had that lamp shade.

Scribbled notes.  They have been baking up a storm and selling cookies around the neighborhood trying to raise money for their Kris Kringle.  It was freezing out one day, but they trudged on.  It was darling to see the row of ducklings following each other around celebrating each sale.  Sorry neighbors.  
Once again, the lunch plates and cups of water.  Evidence that life is beautiful.
Our good Bishop Conley encourages us always that beauty will save the Culture.  Beauty is everywhere each day.  As my mother always says, "Where would we be without children?"  They see it everywhere.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ring bearer for Hire

I asked Zellie to run upstairs and get me an outfit for Kapaun to wear for the day. His usual wardrobe consists of comfy clothes that allow his body to move freely. She came down with this get up and begged me to let him wear it. I knew John was coming home for lunch and would get such a kick out of it. His belly is so round we couldn't button the bottom two.  The girls thought he looked like he was going to be in a wedding.


He wanted the above picture for his facebook profile pic.  I just don't know...


Gut Shot.
 Play was a little difficult because of his apprallel.  He could still mount his pony and ride like the wind.  His daily soccer dribbling proved a bit more tedious as his little leg couldn't kick.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Update on Henry

I sincerely apologize for not updating about our friend Henry. He is still in the hospital going on 4 weeks this Friday. The roller coaster ride his parents have been on leaves me speechless. He was a very sick little boy. They have had days filled with hope only to be followed by fever spikes, infections, and surgery. The Holdren's have four other small children so needless to say, this has been so heart-wrenching. Please continue to pray for Henry. We heard this past weekend that he would be coming home this coming Thursday or Friday, but we received word tonight that he will have surgery tomorrow instead. Thank you for praying.

Update tonight via Facebook: Henry update: I talked with Joe yesterday and he was really excited. Henry is taking his first steps in a month. He's using a walker and it's pretty painful for him, but it's a great improvement. Today he was able to stand for 90 seconds by himself. It's going to be a long road for our little guy, but he's a tough one. The infection doctors keep telling Joe and Marci that there are normal cases and then there's Henry. He shouldn't be doing as well as he is. I attribute that to all of your prayers. Thanks again to everyone for so much thoughtfulness! The journey continues to be a roller coaster. This evening, Joe has requested some specific prayers. "The mri today showed that there is more infection in Henry's body than last week before surgery. I just talked with the docs and they are expecting another surgery tomorrow. Henry is comfortably sleeping now unaware so that is good. I am guessing this scraps the hope of coming home on Thursday or Friday. The docs said they are not sure why this is happening for Henry and that so far his has been an atypical infection."

Joe the linebacker

Joe, otherwise formally known as Kapaun, is almost 15 months old. He is 110% all boy if that is possible. We originally joked that he was built like a linebacker, but we think now he is going to be a lineman. His girth is wide.For the little food he consumes, you wouldn't think his physique would be as such.  Regardless, we love his roundness, his blond curly hair, and personality plus.  Baby fits are in full force which his older sisters love to deal with.  I have to remind them he has two parents who will handle his bursts, but they love talking to him about what he currently is dealing with.  Today's epic bout was that we wouldn't let him run with sharpened pencils in both hands.  We only let him run with unsharpened pencils.  He can't tell the difference just yet.  He really is pure JOY even though we have now enforced house confinement for the next year or so due to inappropriate behavior.  See you soon, Joe!


Put me in, Coach!






Saturday, November 8, 2014

Praying for Henry Holdren

Please pray for the oldest son of our dear friends, Joe and Marci Holdren.  They are they loveliest young family.  Henry is their oldest son and was life-watched to Kansas City yesterday morning due to a very sudden and severe kidney infection after having had the flu last week. 

If you feel so called, good friends of theirs have set up a fund to help defray the medical expenses.

Please go to their Go Fund Me account.

Thank you for your prayers for this wonderful family.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Fall Walk

We really cannot complain ever this winter due to the beauty this fall offered us for so long. I would be ashamed of myself. I love taking the kids on walks.  I "try" everyday after lunch to stroll around our neighborhood.  I think they enjoy it too.  I love to point out God's fingerprint everywhere to them.  I know when they are older and look back at their childhood, they will delight in our simple walks.  My father enjoyed walking through the cemetery because he knew so much history about the residents of Beloit, KS.  He knew I loved the connections of  different family members.
I read during naptime from the book Echo in Celebration the following paragraph:

"One of my favorite books is Exuberance: The Passion for Life, by Kay Redfield Jamison.  The first chapter, read in a restaurant, inspired me to walk a mile in 35-degree weather past a windy New England waterfront, rather than take a taxi, just so I could feel more of life.  I was very cold, but I spent 30 minutes reveling in a fisherman in a bright yellow dory, the song of automobile wheels on a 100-year-old bridge, a set of armor on a porch, lace curtains in a Colonial window, and lots of "hellos" to bundled up strangers.
I live and breathe life and learning.  Jamison's book made me want to share, with anyone who would listen, the joy and enthusiasm that results from living a life grounded in the exuberant love of learning--or rather, playing hide and seek with God as He reveals His creation (Prov. 25:2).  
This pictures doesn't capture how thoroughly incredible this scene was. These two trees were shaded every color...red, orange, yellow, green, pink, purple and the ground was covered with crayon shavings of each color.  Pink was the dominant color which was so enchanting.  I took them up really close to look at that beauty. 
I knew the days were numbered to enjoy the array of color so I was determined to go for a walk at dusk for them to fully understand how amazing fall is.  We walked for an hour and half.  Ironically, most of the trees lost their leaves the very next day.  Isn't it funny how God prompts even in the smallest of details.
Children are just so simple.  I feel as though we have attempted to show them many great and small wonders, but they usually can recall with great detail the smallest wonder with much more excitement and nostalgia.  My friend and I talk about how her kids always remember the time they sat under their covered porch during a heavy rainstorm to do their school work. Her kids ask to do that over and over. 






Every girls' worst nightmare.  This happened to me AT college, ON CAMPUS, IN FRONT OF MANY FELLOW CITIZENS.  I guess it is genetic.  Here she is all looking darling and little does she know...She not know now, but she know soon....(Mammy!!!)
She watched her sisters gather an abundance of leaves and toss them into the air.  So, she gathered her bundle and proceeded to drop them on the ground.  We have same thing....(Mom!!!)