Friday, July 29, 2011

YDC-Young Detective Club

Dominic still is at the great age where he believe almost anything little kids should believe. You know, like he really is a detective if he dresses up like one. He loves filling out surveys on in hopes of winning a trip to Disney Land with 1 in 1,000,000 chance. He believes it though and checks the mail everyday to see if they picked his lego design.

I once created a fictitious handwriting contest that the winner would be awarded "A Golden C3PO." He diligently completed his handwriting everyday and mailed in entries complete with "stamps" that closely resembled stickers I found at a garage sale. :) I found a gold colored C3PO figurine at Target one night while shopping and couldn't believe my two blue eyes.
I wrapped it up, created an award certificate, and put it in our mail box. I had him check the mail that day. I recorded him opening the mail box and finding the manilla envelope. I'll never forget his expression from across the street. His hands were outstretched and I could read his lips, "Momma, Momma, I WON. I WON." It was our Willy Wonka Bar moment.

We've entered many LEGO design contests which have inspired his sisters to create. Even if Vianney clicks together two LEGO pieces she brings it to me to "take a pitcher" (take a picture).
His current phase happened after he discovered the book "The Young Detective's Handbook." He devoured the book and has been set on performing much of the desired requirements. Fingerprinting, tracking, taking notes, observing. He wrote down all our neighbor's license plates. We found spy kits at the Dollar Tree which provided hours of fingerprinting fun. I haven't figured out yet what the white fingerprinting dust we purchased for a dollar was.

This day, he was determined to sneak up on the girls playing in the backyard and wanted so much to go unnoticed. I bet they noticed his disguise being we were the only ones in the backyard together, but he believed he "blended in."
He sent letters to several of his friends to see if they wanted to join the club. They had to circle YES or NO. The circling was very important.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Andrew is funny.

My brother sent this little gem today that made John and I laugh all day.
We had been discussing large families via email:

This is what Andrew said,

"Seriously, I should live stream all this action and get play-by-play commentary….I can just see the advertisement on TV…

“Now on CBS…in an all new and new type of ‘Survivor,’ ------A tired mom. A crazy baby. A now crazy mother. An aggravated father in his boxers. A 2 ½ year old wetting her pants in the middle of the night. --------WHO will lose? WHO will bail first? WHO will stumbled out of bed and kick the toy car on their way to the babies bedroom? A prime time reality show about happiness. Joy. Poop and bed hair (and sometimes these last 2 are in the same place, smashed together.)”

That is funny stuff and Andrew isn't funny in person, but email brings out his humor.

Vatican bank president: Bigger families are solution to economic crisis :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

My brother sent me this fascinating article this morning. Interesting.

Vatican bank president: Bigger families are solution to economic crisis :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Friday, July 22, 2011

She loves Him

She saves her best smile for Him. We cannot walk by a crucifix without her reaching
out to touch or kiss it.

Mrs. Harrison taught the children this song at CGS.

I see the Love of God in You.
The light of God is Shining Through.
I am blest to be with you, O Holy Child of God.

My favorite line is the first line.

"I SEE the love of God in You."

I say this a lot in my head when looking at them or answering all their daily needs and wants.

Msgr. Nemec told me that each child is a perfect chalice. Each designed its own way and each perfectly made because they have Christ in them just like a chalice that holds Christ.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tomorrow is her Big Day #1

Have 365 days really gone by? Really?

Tomorrow is her First Birthday! I don't know who is more excited her siblings or her siblings or her siblings? Man, if I met all their birthday wishes for "Clairvaux" we would be taking her to a movie, buying her a dollhouse from Target that is suitable for ages 5-7, letting her pick out the Princess cake from Hy-Vee, inviting all their friends to celebrate her birthday or letting her pick her favorite movie. Lucky baby to be so loved.

JackJack was at it again today. I found her on a Charter Bus with her beloved MumMums heading to Omaha. She is in birthday denial. Her age is difficult for her to discuss.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dominic's First Pie

He is my baker. He asks me usually once a day, "So, what do you want to bake today?"

This great book "The Best of Country Pies" provides several different recipes to create all the pie goodness you want.

I was proud of him. He did the whole thing from start to finish.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary Field Trip

First things first, this picture captures their individual personalities to perfection. Lillie, the natural born mother who tends to "Smother more than mother." Rose is all prim, proper, and obedient because I asked her too. Zellie is the ever timid piglet. Vianney is cute, carefree, and clueless. Clairvaux is use to all the affection that she just tolerates being smothered.

We went out to Denton, NE for a field trip to visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary. The seminary trains and educates men to say the old mass. It is such a beautiful and peaceful site.

We have a great homeschool group that gets together about once a month for field trips. We have visited the post office, the fire station, the Marian sisters, and Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop.

JackJack was at it again. I found her this time teaching a class to grown men. What a sniff!

I wonder what sassy pants will do tomorrow? Do you see her attitude upon being found?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How Sweet it is to be loved by You

I love this picture. Have I ever mentioned how I really don't mind at all that I have a bunch of girls in a row? I L.O.V.E. it. I have made a small hobby out of it. I enjoy their sisterhood so much.

Let's see. From the previous post, which daughter continues her elegance even when going to get ice cream in 237 degree weather?

Clairvaux was up to her usual light post sitting antics. Every time I turn around she has Jack-Jacked me and is up on another light post acting aloof to her uncanny ability at 12 months to scale 11 foot structures.

Oh, uh, me. Get down?

We then usually reward her behavior with the best seat in the house around Haymarket Square.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hair Pressure

Well, she's at it again. This one is all glitz and glam. We had a similar incident a while back, but her hair attempts are part of the daily regimen. I caught this little site a couple weeks ago.

Well now, let's take a closer look at the desired do. Check the counter ledge. As you can tell from the picture, Lillie was struggling with the obvious lift part of the whole deal. I mean really How do you braid like that? Roll the brush up a couple times and it should get twisted enough to resemble the magnificence.

In case, you needed a closer look the chosen style for today was the "Tailored Elan." She use to go for the "Sophisticate" but since the page is torn out, she no longer requests that one. Praise the was a challenge. I heard, "Mom, it doesn't look quite like the picture" a lot.

And just for your viewing pleasure and plea for hair assistance, how in the United States of America am I to do this tidal wave of front bangs? The pictured girl looks a little sassy as if it were her little secret and she's not telling. Fine, golden egg earring win.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom-Psalm 90:12

Aren't we intended to be Students of Life? Life presents so many opportunities to be constantly learning, growing, reflecting, perfecting, and changing. We desire to teach our children to be aware, look around, and watch. Look to see who you can help, look to see who you can visit, look to see who has no friends, be willing to do the job nobody wants to do...and do it all because we love Christ.

Mother Teresa said that the gospel can be taught in five words:
"YOU DID IT FOR ME!" Oh my. How this can apply to all areas of our lives. My favorite part is that it makes no amount of work mundane. Every shirt or toy picked up, if picked up for the right reason, can give God great glory. Does it not change everything?

Isn't that motivating? Really, though, if you think about it. Christ died for me. Can't I die for him? My parents gave me life. Can't I give life back? From the top of our lives, to the bottom of our lives, this statement applies,

"You did it for me!"

On Sunday, my mother and four of my siblings traveled to western Kansas to visit my great aunt and uncle. It is one of those moments where you don't want to do something, but you know that God is prompting you to go.

My great Uncle Bill and Aunt Marylou have always been a part of our lives. They never had children so we were their children. They made several trips a year to attend our events while growing up. They traveled each holiday to be with our family. We made several trips to their farm as children. I remember being proud of my Aunt's fried chicken. My mom said she made the best chicken so therefore I thought the world knew that simple fact. Memories. Marylou has lived on the same land for 85 years. She saw the same sunrise for 85 years.

Oh, my sweet mother. She has lived the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Always visiting someone. Always helping someone. She has set the example by her actions.

Bill was a WW1 veteran. He helped the famous General Patton rebuild bridges. I spent some time with him a couple years ago and he still cries when he speaks about the war. I remember Bill always wanting to hold any baby that was in the room. When we walked into Bill's room, an emotion came over all of us. Here he lies in a small nursing home/hospital in Trego County Hospital by himself waiting to die.

The room was sterile and cold. The atmosphere scared me. This is it? This is how we go out?
The whole scene was very somber and brought my 220lb. brother to tears. Life lessons were being learned very quickly. You can play all the college football you want, but guess what? Someday, we all will be in the bed.

My mother taught us a prayer when we were small and I couldn't help but think about it when I saw his face.
I saw my suffering Christ today, as plain as He could be.
I saw my suffering Christ today, He was staring back at me.
I saw my suffering Christ today, I saw my suffering son.
He spoke no words.
Not even tears.
But I heard his anguished sigh.
I saw my suffering Christ today and I couldn't help but cry.

We didn't just want to pop in his room and leave. Due to the stroke Bill had a couple months ago, the conversation was only going one way. Everything we said, he just stared at us. God did not bless me with the gift of the vocals, but for some reason I said, "Let's Sing." And sing we did. The nursing home staff kept popping their heads in the room. It was a God moment. All of us were singing. Bill closed his eyes and thoroughly enjoyed our array of Patriotic and old time songs. It was beautiful. When the songs were over, we noticed tears rolling down his face. God did bless me with the gift of the waterworks so you can only imagine how the tears were rolling from every person in the room. He will probably never see anyone else again before he dies whenever God chooses to call him home. I was able to record a little of the singing.

What did I learn from Marylou? I thanked her for all the wonderful times. She said, "I would do anything to do that again. I wish I could fry chicken again." Grip my heart. What will I wish I could do all over again? What will I wish I could do just one more time? I can answer that easily.

If only we really knew how numbered our days really are. Won't we let so many things slide by the wayside and hold onto all the important things? I now call them my "Marylou moments." I picture in my head myself in Marylou's place, old and on my way out. I've enjoyed to a much deeper level this week all the small things that come with raising children. I was holding Clairvaux in her room before bed, thinking of my "Marylou moments" and just held her. I closed my eyes and pictured myself in the bed in the nursing home and told myself how I am grateful for holding each child before bed instead of hurrying them off. I've enjoyed their voices so much more this week. To be honest, I've enjoyed just being with them. I looked at giving them a bath differently. How wonderful these moments really are to be scrubbing two year buns! So fleeting. How wonderful it is to be reading a story to four children plastered on all sides of you trying to see the pages. How wonderful it is at the bread store today watching them color the picture so that it could be turned in for a free GIANT cookie. Little hands coloring so fast, handing their picture to the cashier, and then pondering which cookie to pick. I just watched. I watched them take their time and I let them take all the time in the world. How wonderful it really is to take them to the Dollar Tree to let them pick out a present just from them to John's mother for her birthday AND a matching gift bag if they wanted. Dominic picked out a flower snow globe because Grandma likes flowers. Lillie and Rose picked out a figurine of a lady with a bonnet. Zellie picked out a Princess coloring pack with markers much to her sisters' dissatisfaction. Vianney picked out a party hat. They were so proud of their gifts. John's mother was moved to tears. I am so grateful for "Marylou moments." I know when I am old I will remember these times and be satisfied with a life well lived with the ones I love the most.

So really, what do you plan to do with your numbered days? I plan to do a great many things. Our homeschooling motto is based around three concepts, The Beatitudes, the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy. We feel if we can teach our children these concepts they will have contributed back to the world in a heavenly way.

We've taught the kids that every act of love or virtue never goes unnoticed to God. He is always watching. I've told them that when they get to heaven their heavenly reward will be wonderful.

Every time they do a sacrifice, help their sibling, help another person, be a cheerful giver, I've told them that they get a jewel in their heavenly crown. I say, "When you get to heaven, God will put your crown of sacrifices on your head and say to you "Well done my good and faithful servant." I love how they smile. They would come up to me at certain times and say, "Mom, so and so gets a jewel in their crown because they sacrificed their bike. " They even reported today that the neighbor gets a jewel because he helped John shuck the corn on the cob without being asked.
I wanted to give them a visual to make the point clearer. I printed out simple crowns and bought colored stars resembling jewels. Every time they do a heavenly act, they go and add a jewel to their crown. Oh my. You wouldn't believe the reports of their acts. I noticed Zellie today putting a jewel on her crown. I asked what she was doing it for and she said, "I walked through the room and saw a book on the floor so I put it away." No act is too small for God. He is always watching. If I see a conflict arising between two children, I will whisper in their ear, "Just think of the jewel that could go in your heavenly crown for God." I love seeing that child cheerfully slide of the coveted swing to let their sibling take a turn first.

I hope to continue building my own heavenly crown and remember that no act goes unnoticed to God.

Let Freedom Ring

The Fourth of July always provides the best setting for good pictures. The kids are tan, sweaty, the outside lighting is perfect, the colors of the Fourth are perfect, the colors of the different foods are vibrant, the flower bed are full and bright, and the kids are in a state of perfect happiness with no need to even say "Smile at the Camera."
They say Freedom is not Free. So true. With the increasing push to remove God from all parts of civilization we need to reflect upon what life was like in civilizations before Christianity began.
We spent the weekend at a family wedding in Kansas City. Upon arriving back in Lincoln, the neighborhoods were bursting full of epic warzones full of fireworks.
I love America's attitude on the Fourth. I feel it is the one day that the country unites and celebrates life and freedom together. We sat with friends for part of the evening. Upon returning home, we sat in our driveway and then rooftop to watch the skyline lined with color. May God Bless America.