Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vianney's 3rd Birthday


The phrase "Apple of my Eye" applies directly to you. We call you the "Super Kid." YOU are 1,000% PURE joy! I know I say that a lot, but YOU REALLY ARE. Your sweet disposition, easy going ways, lisp, hair, big blueberry eyes, facial expressions, love of food, appreciation of anyone who makes you food, gentleness, and happiness are just a few ways that our whole family especially your parents enjoy every minute of you.

We have found ourselves letting you stay up late with us because you are just enjoyable. You sit next to us on the couch reading your books, bothering nobody, just happy to be alive.

Our nightly saint coloring page and listening to the Saint of the Day is something you will not let us forget. In fact, you slightly panic and repeat it over and over until we listen to the Saint of the Day.

Your speech has exploded since your surgery and you say things daily that make me laugh audibly and call your father at work to leave a voice mail so he can hear what you say.

Last week while doing your hair, you said "Papa's the John. Your the Lindsay Boevers, and Tato's the Poe (Clairvaux.)

I found you today with your dresser cracked a bit with your camera in the crack. You were pretending to take pictures so I asked what you were doing to which you responded:

"I am taking a picture of my Dora's." (underwear drawer) Serious though.

You were precious on your birthday and were literally shaking opening your gifts. Those times are the times I just sit motionless watching you. I could have wrapped up a box of rocks and you would have been grateful. Of course, your siblings were pawing at you to open your gifts. You really were shaking while opening each gift and would exclaim very loudly what each one was.

In your own words, you received for your birthday the following:

1. Dora Peace-Brush (Dora toothbrush).
2. Dora Unnies (Dora Underwear).
3. Cash Rader (Cash Register).

The scanning mechanism beeped so you were beeping everything in our house until 11:00 at night. We let you stay up with us that night and you sat next to me on the couch beeping. You would bring a pile of books and beep them all over and over.

For about a week after your birthday, you told everybody what you received. My mother sent a car that had a little girl on the front that looked similar to you. You opened the card, ditched the money and clung tightly to the card that "looksths like me."

You always bring something to the restroom with you to pass the time, but this was too cute. I found you coloring with your legs crossed.

What I'll remember about your age right now is how you always look forward to breakfast, how you tell me you stayed dry every morning, how I could read a library to you every day and you won't flinch, how you love body lotion, how you are always thirsty, how you love yogurt and granola, how you sing from your soul "Lord, I Lift your name on High", how you practice your memory work at night in your bed although you can't read the cards, how you refer to the ring of memory work cards as "Boston, Massachusetts", how you know all the history cards and asked Papa today what "Allies" were, how a squirt bottle and a rag will occupy you outside for a ridiculous amount of hours, you will never know the delight we get in you watching you walk around our cul-de-sac (always singing), but in your very own little world, how you are still sleeping in our room in your own bed, but how neither of us can bring ourselves to move you out and in with the big kids because watching you read your books in the morning is one of our favorite morning pasttimes, your facial expressions are too numerous to remember but mostly you respond to everything with one of the two phrases "No biggie" or "Whoops a daisies."

We are a nickname family. It is actually quite ridiculous because most of our nicknames don't make sense and aren't even words. Your nicknames right now are Holdren, Holdy, Super Kid, Hulge, John or Johnny. Clairvaux calls you Nonny.

My view every night while preparing dinner unless I send you to look for Papa at the window. Both your little heads stand watching me every night.

You are a parent's delight. Thank you for blessing our lives with your wonderfulness. Thank you for being a sweetheart.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lillie's First Penance

Lillie received the Sacrament of Penance February 25, 2012 at St. Teresa's Catholic Church. Each time a child receives a sacrament marks a milestone similar to birthdays. You once again sit there looking at this child growing before your eyes watching them take steps closer to heaven.

All fresh and clean from her First Confession

I wrote a while back about a tradition we wanted to start on our girl's First Penance. So, off we headed to the mall to get her ears pierced.

Zellie cautiously watching to measure if it is really worth going to confession to get your ears pierced.

Beautiful girl. Beautiful soul. We prepared for months and went over several thousand times the meaning of confession, why we go to confession frequently, and the symbolism behind getting her ears pierced that day. On the way home after the piercing, I asked her if she now understood what we had been talking about all those months and what it meant to get her ears pierced.
She responded, "When I got my ears pierced, my sins went away."
Darn. Um. nope. She is such a literal child so we should have seen this one coming because all the other kids fell over in the car laughing. John and I joked that she probably thinks people with multiple piercings have been to confession a lot.
So, we started over very slowly with the explaining and tried again on the correlation.
Regardless, someday she will understand and it was a beautiful day we celebrated together.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Telling the kids

I found this old video of when we told the kids we were expecting this new baby. It is crazy to me that we are almost there. We were saying prayers and John hinted at our news for about a minute.

Once they understood what he was saying (around 1:11) is just adorable. I will remember Rose most this night. She can be seen (around 1:43) and her eyes were filled with tears.

My mom tells me that I reacted this way every time she told me she was expecting. Those were my best childhood memories! (I am the second oldest of 10). I remember with one of my siblings going down the phone book of our small town and calling anybody I knew and telling them my mom was pregnant. I called a farmer I knew just from seeing him at mass to tell him.

I LOVED each and every time she was pregnant. I am so glad our children react with such joy at new life. When my sister, Kathryn, was born and my dad called home to tell us the news. I hung up the phone and literally ran up to the hospital on foot. I remember standing in the nursery window crying when I saw her for the first time. A nurse came by and reassured me that everything was alright. I told her, "I am crying out of happiness."

To this day, my mother always thanks me for being so excited for her. I now understand what she was saying. John and I are blessed on both sides of our family that when we announce the great news of a new baby our families literally throw you a party. His parents really did for this baby. His mother made a huge meal and a cake to celebrate our seventh child. Every time I see John's dad, he always asks me how I am feeling, if the baby is moving a lot, and how many weeks I am. He always reassures me that he is praying for me every day. What a gift they are! My mother corresponds with a Carmelite order of nuns in New York. In this order, there are a total of 10 nuns. Each nun has spiritually adopted each of my ten siblings. My mom immediately writes them asking for prayers for our new child.

What a great way to spread the culture of life! John and I always say that we want more than anything to give this gift to our children, to our families, and to our friends. I feel in my heart that there is no greater news that the announcement of a new person entering this world. SOMEONE that NO ONE has never, ever met before.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Baby Guessing Game 2012


We polled our children to see what they predict their new sibling will be and what we should name him or her.

Papa-(age 20)-"I think by the looks of your pupils it is boyish...although I think it is a girl. We should name her Catherine Damaris. I think she will be born April 9th."

Mama-(age 21)-"I think Girl. Although everybody in America tells me I look like a boy. I wonder if they mean I, as in myself, look like a boy or if my round stomach looks like a boy. Hopefully, the later. I was getting my traditional pre-baby pedicure last night and all 45 Vietnamese ladies at the shop grabbed my stomach and said many things in Vietnamese and I heard "Boy" at the end followed by excessive giggling."

Dominic (age 10)-"I think the baby is a boy and I would love to have a brother named Richard, no, no, Abraham. I think he will be born April 5th."

Lillie (age 7)-"I think the baby is a girl. We should name her Helena, Genevieve, or Gartella. I think she will be born April 5th."

Rose (age 6)-"I think the baby is a girl. We should name her Helena, Sophie, or Catherine. I think she will be born the 9th."

Zellie (age 4)-"I want the baby to be a girl. I want her to be named Zellie. I think she will be born in June."

Vianney (age 3)-"Ummm...Ummm...a boy. Ummm...We should name him "You". ???

Clairvaux (age 20 months)-"Bebe"

65 years of marriage

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dominic's Patrick Henry Speech

In Dominic's writing class, they were assigned to pick a key figure in colony times to write, prepare, and present to our whole Classical Conversations Community. Each student had to keep the person they chose a secret from their whole class. We had to guess who he was right before the speech judged upon their costume and props.


He was beyond excited to get his costume together. I love the innocence he had trying so hard to hide his character from his writing class. I love that his sisters were in on the gig. When we thought of putting baby powder in his hair to age him, he was thrilled at the prospect and KNEW no one would guess him.

He and John attend writing class on Friday afternoons. They are following Andrew Pudewa's program of Teaching Writing: Structure and Style. This year, the focus was on U.S. History.


His attentive and interested audience.

You did a great job, Dominic! We were so proud of your composure and confidence when speaking.

The Champion of the Revolution

One day in the colonies, a baby was born in Virginia. This colonial son would grow to be a key figure in the American Revolution. Wholeheartedly, this colonist wanted to serve his country properly, before, during, and after the brutal revolutionary war. And this is how his fascinating life began.
Patrick was born in Hanover County Virginia in 1736. When he was older, he attempted farming and business. Both failed. After six discouraging weeks, he studied to become a lawyer and was successful. As a lawyer he argued for voting rights. In 1760, Williamsburg attorneys elected him to the House of Representatives, and he was successful in this endeavor. Henceforth, Patrick was known as a superb leader against British tyranny. Furiously and openly he argued in the defiance of Great Britain in the First Continental Congress. Some colonists surely believed that his stamp act resolution had started the Revolutionary war. Patrick Henry, who made a stirring speech about independence, inspired many colonists to pursue independence from the tyrant, Britain.
During the Revolution, Patrick was not just sitting around. When war broke out, Patrick returned to Virginia to protect the precious loads of gunpowder. But when he arrived in Virginia he was appalled to find that Governor Lord Dunmore had deposited the gunpowder on a British ship. Patrick forced Dunmore, who was loyal to Britain, to pay for the powder at an honest price. In 1775 he became the colonel of the 1st Virginia regiment. In 1776, he was elected governor of Virginia because he was an outstanding leader. He was re-elected. Then, because he was a pillar for the colonists, he was made governor a third time.
After the American Revolution, Patrick continued serving as governor of Virginia from 1784 to 1786. He was the leading anti-federalist, and joined with others to force the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Ardently, he criticized the U.S. Constitution. He voted against ratification. George Washington offered Patrick to be secretary of state but he declined because of failing health. John Adams offered him special emissary to France but he also declined. Patrick then died in 1799. Patrick Henry had served his country gratefully before, during and after, the long revolution. Even today we still marvel at his extraordinary accomplishments. After his death, Patrick’s wish for liberty was realized. His famous words still echo today, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Elderly Friends

These two have quickly become the same person. They play, they laugh, Clairvaux dominates heavily, Vianney gets her hair pulled 1,000 times a day by Clairvaux, Vianney cannot use the restroom without Clairvaux (she is her flusher). Vianney is so easy going and Clairvaux is 100% clown and entertainer. I called John three times today to tell him what ridiculous thing she currently had attempted. She spits into the bath tub after EVERY morning bath. She is just plain unladylike. She sits at the kitchen table and "practices" her memory work on the wall. She forgot she can't read yet. She pretends to throw up after having seen her siblings throwing up. She ran purposely right through her sister's board game today and to avert their madness she leaned in and whispered jibberish in Rose's ear to make her laugh.

I had Vianney and Clairvaux with me today at an appointment. Vianney sat very nicely in the chair while Clairvaux pretended to be very shy and somber. The doctor commented how friendly Vianney was and how shy Clairvaux was. I told her, "Well, Clairvaux wants you to believe that, but she is playing with your mind." She missed the side glances Clairvaux gave her to see if she was still looking at her. She missed the smirks she gave when her head was down.


While I am cooking dinner, it usually works to tell her to go look to see if Papa is home. She runs to the window and checks for about 15 minutes. She will come back to me and question his where-abouts. I then tell her to go look again. It worked for about 45 minutes. John is greeted at the door by her with equal emotion as if he had been deployed for the past year and this is their first encounter. She loses it everytime.


It was a doozy of a week in regards to illness. Man. Our doctor thought Vianney picked up impetigo/MRSA from the hospital when she had her tonsils out. She got a terrible skin infection that blew up over night. Every child saw the doctor this week. Some of them were in multiple times. We were not sick at all this winter, but made up for it this week.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Zoo and IMAX 2012

For the fourth year in a row, we headed to Omaha for our annual Big Zoo trip and IMAX viewing. It is an event sponsored by Nebraska Eye and Laser. They are ridiculously generous to each family that attends. Not only do they pay for the zoo and IMAX admittance, but allow each person a popcorn, pop, and choice of large candy bar from the concessions. After the movie, they cater a fabulous dinner at the Treetops Restaurant that overlooks the Lied Jungle.
The weather was perfect. Dominic and Zellie had been sick this past week so our attendance was iffy, but they pulled through.
To say we look forward to this event every year would be an understatement. Dominic writes on his calendar the days counting backward to scratch off. Lillie and Rose each gave two presentations at CC about the event. They love every bit of it. I would love to know how BIG it is in their heads.

The Lied Jungle is one of their favorite attractions. They love crossing this waterfall bridge. Can you only imagine what that is like to a child? John and I always spend the entire day catching each other's eye and commenting about such and such child. Clairvaux was so good. She about came out of her skin looking at her people-the Monkeys.

When we were pulling up to the zoo, they were squealing with excitement. So many different comments happening at once about what they were looking forward to most. Dominic took pictures of everything to show my sister. There is nothing like looking at other people's zoo pictures. He KNEW she would be excited to see them. Our favorite of the day was the orangutan exhibit. One kept covering his head with a table cloth and then peeking out of different corners to see if people were gone. I told John that a zoo should be 85% primates and 20% other animals. I sat forever watching these animals. So funny. One monkey was sitting high up on a branch balancing himself on his rumpus and holding his feet. Everybody crowds around this exhibit. You certainly don't see people gawking at the rhinos for minutes upon minutes.

Each child has their own way of taking in events. Lillie gets really excited and picks up her siblings 100 times. She just can't believe the fun. What I will remember about her this trip is her wearing this elephant hat all day with her hair frazzled. She was so completely unaware.
She was so busy taking in everything, seeing everything, and participating in every way.

I love that about children. I also want to remember Dominic, Lillie, Rose, and Zellie watching the movie with their big 3-D glasses. The show was about Sharks. They would reach out to grab the fish. When a shark would come, they would lean away from the screen. John and I watched them most of the movie. They enjoy each event 100% no strings attached.

After the movie, I was able to save us a seat right next to the monkeys in the jungle. I ordered the kids each a Shirley Temple before they got there so it was so sweet to see them walk up and see our table. There are very few things that are better in life than watching your child completely enjoy themselves on the simple things in life.

Dominic took around 50 photos of the Desert Dome upon leaving. He kept saying, "I can't believe it's over." I remember those memories of my childhood. He would look back at the dome every chance he could until he couldn't see it anymore. I asked John when this trip will stop being fun to them. He was frantically snapping pictures as we were leaving.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crazy Town in Ring Town

I was reading yesterday the signs in my baby book about what to look for when you have Preeclampsia. Not that I was question my current state, but it happened to be that chapter coordinating with my gestational week.

Don't get me wrong I think I have hoped at some points I had preeclampsia from the mere and only perspective to explain the swelling and weight gain. Certainly, it couldn't be the amount of food and type of food I am consuming. Nope. Nope. Nope. One of the well-known symptoms is excessive swelling. It EVEN stated in the book that you might have to get your ring cut off your finger if it starts to hinder circulation. I really did think to myself, "Darn, that would be tragic to oneself. I would be sad if they had to cut my wedding ring off."

Jinx. After a nice snooze, I came out to start dinner. On the menu for the evening meal,
Pioneer Woman's Super Sonic Breakfast Burritos. We have become cheese snobs and usually only buy this $5,000,000 per brick cheese at our local Red Clover store. It is magnificently good and worth driving over to buy. Anyway, I knew this cheese would make these savory burritos even more tasty.

John got home from work and I decided to drive over real quick to get the cheese. I was spinning my wedding ring on my finger and noticed that it went all the way around without my finger being stopped at the main Marquis in the middle. I looked down to see this. It was gone and completely broken off.


I was shocked. I called John and told him to which he replied, "GREAT! There goes $32,000!" We have an on-going joke about how much my ring really did cost. I still don't know so he periodically drops funny hints to lead me to believe certain numbers.

It is always a sad feeling to lose something so sentimental, but I think I was more in shock because I didn't even know where to begin to look for it. I had just looked at it ironically that day when I read about preeclampsia and the whole ring cutting off finger ordeal, but what are the chances????

We prayed to St. Anthony to find it somehow.

This morning, I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes. Vianney had thrown her spoon into the sink and it went down the drain, but was sticking out a bit. John had eaten some strawberries and one of the green stems was stuck at the bottom of the sink drain so I grabbed a cup of water to wash it down.

That is when I noticed it. There it was! Sticking on the back of Vianney's spoon, hanging for dear life onto the black sink rubber gripper just waiting to flushed down the drain. I told the kids not to talk. I think I felt any disturbance in the force would make it fall. I grabbed my pluckers and tried to grab it, but only sent it down the drain. Going against all childhood fears and warnings, I stuck my hand down the drain, feeling around near the deadly disposable blade and found the diamond.

I took a picture because I knew nobody would believe me unless I did. When John came home and I replayed the story to him and replied, "That is such a crazy story that it is almost unbelievable."

See it! Just sitting there on the back of the spoon.

Less than 24 hours later I found it! Why there? Where had it been? Why was it trying to end its own life only for me to catch a glance out of the corner of my eye and notice it? Do you know how many people had used the sink from the time I noticed it gone? So weird.

St. Anthony has never let me down, but this definitely wins the award. I almost looked around to see if he was winking at me somewhere.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I know you know you are my heart. I know you know that for now you are my only son. History knows the relationship between a mother and her sons is something special. We just click. We have the same interests, loves, passions, and personality. Our relationship is not work. I am grateful to God for you and for you being such a good son. I am blessed by you every day. Most of your qualities you get from your father. The constant reminder to the girls, "Make mom's job easier. Listen to mom." Believe you me, I notice all your good will. I notice every time that you ALWAYS listen the first time. You told me yesterday you want to work at Trader Joe's. "Mom, they wouldn't even have to pay me if they would just let me bring home my favorite foods."
It is not just me, Dominic. People who meet you always tell me what a pleasure it is to have met you. Your sacrificial ways, your awareness of others feelings, needs, and wants. You are always looking to help and make things easier for others.
This evening, I took you to Goodwill to look for a wig for the Patrick Henry presentation you've been preparing. We are like each other even in our Goodwill treasure hunting desires. You scanned each aisle picking up random objects and studying them all with a constant dialogue going on. "Mom, look at this!" "Oh, the girls would love this." "Maybe we should get this for Vianney?" Until you are a parent, you will never understand the joy you bring to my heart even at Goodwill. Also, you will never understand the small heartache that accompanies those precious events in our lives together. I stood watching your almost 10-year-old self half smiling from ear-to-ear and half wanting to cry. How are you THAT big? I know I just had you. I feel like I want to grab the time and make it stop.

My highlights this evening with you were the following:

1. You wanted to buy a plaster bust of Mozart to put near our piano. Although, you did point out that it might bonk Clairvaux on the head so you suggested we buy a small shelf to display it on above the piano.

2. You became enamored by a glass corncob pipe that would be a perfect completion to your Sherlock Holmes outfit. I told you that we could get the pipe to which you said, "Oh no, I don't want to spend your money." I reassured you that it was fine and you insisted. I said, "Honey, I want to buy it for you."

3. You casually walked by a musical carousel that had 80th engraved on the front. You said, "We could get this for someone on their 80th." Yep, we sure could.

4. My favorite-You and your sisters think the YMCA is pronounced YIM-CA. You found a small 2x2 inch marble plaque with a large coin glued to the top. There were several words thanking the recipient for their years of service. On the front of the plaque was a small name plate that said "Vern Braeburn." Oh my, you knew this would complete your treasure collection. You even told me later that your grandkids would love to find this when you were older. You said that you would tell them the story about how you got it and how their great-grandmother bought it for you. We didn't purchase Vern Braeburn's plaque but I will remember you looking at over and over.

I hope I tell you enough what a blessing you are to our family. I really do mean it when I tell you "I am privileged to know you."



I was cleaning the bunk bed room the other day with my backside facing the door.
Vianney walked in and said in her lispy, smokers voice,
"MOM! You have a big bottom!"
She then promptly walked out. Darn.
I resisted the urge to say something immature back like "Well, at least I can style my hair (see above picture.) Truth hurts.
So, I simply said "Thank You."