Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Resolution

The difficulty of blogging in different spots is not knowing which blog to post on. So I put a post where I think it should go and put links on my other blogs, just in case you're interested! Peace and Joy in the New Year to you all!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Anna is Almost 2!!!!!!!

I can't believe Anna will be two in a couple of weeks. Here's a little flashback...I think she was a few months old in these pictures. How time has flown!!!!

The next generation of bloggers:

"Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" From Tommy:

Pajama Party

Emily has some friends over tonight, and it really is a pajama party with all their coordinated pajamas! Earlier today Emily, her friends, and Oliver entered in the Deerfield Christmas parade. They dressed up as elves and bakers, handing out candy on a cookie tray. It was quite cute! After the parade, "Santa" visited the firehouse where we had hot chocolate and cookies. Parades have definitely become more exciting these days; The little children got as much, if not more candy at the parade than they did at Halloween! I don't know about you, but I don't remember getting candy at parades!!!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

picture surprises

The fun thing about having a family camera is finding great pictures my children take. Emily took these when Travis and I went out the other day:

Today we put out our Fontanini Creche that was given to me by my parents on my thirteenth birthday. What a special gift- little did I know I would be setting it up in my home twenty-six years later with my nine children! We first set it out on the table, but then realized that baby Jesus might not make it to Christmas. The little hands of the house are just so eager......
We settled on the book case in the playroom, where the lovely Christmas scene is viewed by all. On a little table in the playroom stands another Manger scene containing the beautiful stable my sister made us a couple years ago. This creche is definitely child-friendly, as it is adorned with our cherished wooden Ostheimer figurines. The children play with it every day!!!
How I love Christmas!!!

My Wonderful Mother

Everyone should get e-mails like this from their mother:

A Happy Joyful Advent to all my dear children!
I just came home from the monastery, and I had this wonderful idea. Inspired by the beautiful Advent readings, I can send you all advent messages. For this first message, I will tell you the words of Jesus will be in red:
My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.
Jesus cares about our every need. Take some time to think about how much our Dear Lord loves us. This saying is taken from Matthew's Gospel 15;29-37 .
The photo* is the view of my prayer corner at dawn. I have you all in my thoughts and prayers.
Let us remember Mike as he does his training, dropped into the sea in the dark, Oh HELP!
I love you all!
(*picture at top)


We're movin' on up......
Travis and I went on a "date" yesterday to the grocery store and to grab a bite to eat. The older children were in charge of all the little ones. When we got home, Emily and Sam surprised us with a beautifully made gingerbread house.
I think Travis and I need to put the kids in charge more often!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Daily Sunshine

Put a little sunshine in your glass:
Health benefits of lemon water

Sweets For the Sweet

Our latest treat is a spoonful of raw honey! And it's good for us, too. Click on the following link to see all the benefits of raw honey:
Health benefits of raw honey
**Warning: Do not feed raw honey to children under 2!

The Noon Hour

Today was a misty, cool day- quite different from the warm sunny spell we had over the weekend. I was working on some things in the house around lunch time, and it occurred to me that I hadn't seen anyone in a while. I thought it would be fun to go around the house and get candid shots of what everyone was doing. Ben is not included because he did not want to be caught doing his math!
Mary Margaret was caught working on her letters in the school room. Travis is behind her, working away on the computer.
Sam and Anna were caught jumping on the bed in their very messy room. Every night is a slumber party in there!!! Sam is playing "soldier."
(He is the soldier) and I don't know
what Anna is doing- I guess just trying
to keep up with big brother. Emily was
caught in my bed reading
A Murder For Her Majesty -
a historical novel set in the Elizabethan era
(author: Beth Hilgartner) Tommy and Oliver were also caught reading! The "picture" of Sam and Anna and then the one of Mary Margaret are actually video clips. Just click on the arrows if you care to watch them!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Daddy, The Bee Man

(Scene: The dining room, eating a spaghetti dinner. Travis is away, Tommy is sitting next to John Paul. BTW-Travis is a beekeeper)

Tommy: (as he twirls his spaghetti) "Hey, John Paul." (he points to the twirled spaghetti on his fork) "This looks like a beehive."

John Paul: "Oh."


Tommy: (referring to Travis' beekeeping suit)"I like my daddy 'cause he wears bee clothes.'"( Pause )"You know what Daddy would say if he heard that I like his bee clothes? He would say, that's berry good, Tommy. That's berry good that you like my bee clothes. "

Oh, the things that kids come up's so much fun.

On another Tommy note, he got into the candle a second time this week. Last weekend he tried to blow it out and spilled wax EVERYWHERE in the bathroom. The candle was red, so it looked like some one had been killed in our bathroom. What a mess. Tonight he was trying to blow out another candle, but fortunately did not make such a huge mess. It's been a pretty good day, though. I think he only broke one thing over the course of the day. You know it's bad when you find yourself saying to your child, "Just stop touching things!!!! Don't touch anything!!!" Sad. But true.....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Photo Credits

Thanks, Emily for the great new picture in the blog title!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Mary Margaret just showered. Emily put her hair in braids and MM is wearing her new cat PJ's from Sister Alice(BTW-she's trying not to smile...):

An indian summer day a couple weeks ago:

The professor:

Emily's back bend:

Mary Margaret wanted me to make sure you could see the whole pajama set...she's still not smiling!
Mary Margaret loves "school" :

Are You My Mother?

I was playing with the children, trying to pass time in the car as we waited for Ben and Emily to come out of class. I made a growling noise, like a creature, which usually elicits screams and giggles from the kids. Tonight-maybe because the car was dark,or the children were tired- I don't know what the difference was, but Tommy(3 yrs old)didn't like it:

Me: growllllllllll!!!!!!

Tommy: (very seriously and offended) Mom!!!!! Are you my mother?!!!! I thought you were my mother!!! (he waited, as if to demand an explanation)

Me: Of course I am your mother, silly! Why are you asking such a funny question?

Tommy: Because mothers aren't supposed to do that to their children!!!
There are no hearts that hunger so for expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love that so needs its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest. ~ J. R. Miller

Sunday, November 8, 2009


What is thoughtfulness? Are you a thoughtful person? Do others do thoughtful things for you? Is it important to be thoughtful?

Yesterday I was touched by someone's thoughtfulness. I do not know this person. She only knows of me and my brood through a dear neighbor back at my home place. This particular neighbor, Maria is just a sweetheart: kind to the children, always thinking of us when she has anything to pass on... Her husband, Pasquale, is the same way. He made the children three beautiful stools out of oak last year that they use all the time- for playing, climbing on, sitting, on, etc...

Maria is one of many children-I think twelve or thirteen( you stop counting after a certain point, right?) Two of her sisters came to visit from New Mexico a couple of weeks ago. I have never met them. Maria told them all about us, and they went out of their way to make goodies (fully decorated cupcakes) for the children. Unfortunately, because of the flu, we missed the cupcakes and our visit with Maria and her sisters. However, Maria passed on a treasure that one of her sisters packed for us in her suitcase. My mother delivered it yesterday: two huge bags pencils.

These are not just ordinary pencils. You see, awhile back Maria told her sister, Anita, about this large homeschooling family in VA (us!) Every day when Anita walks, she passes by a school yard. Over the months she has found practically brand new pencils and pens scattered about. Anita took it upon herself to collect these pens and pencils every day, thinking of us! She amassed two large bags of them! We are grateful to have them , and are so touched by Anita's thoughtfulness. After she took so long to save them, she brought the heavy bags in her suitcase, all the way from New Mexico.
Thoughtfulness doesn't have to be expensive.
I am reminded of something I read by Coleridge::

" The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions; the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infintessimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling."
I am going to make a point of being a little more thoughtful every day!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mary Margaret and Tommy dressed up, and Mary Margaret apparently helped herself to the camera.....

Queen~ (the Queen had fruit punch with dinner)

It's all in the shoes!

Best Buddies!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Autumn once more begins to teach; Sere leaves their annual sermon preach; And with the southward slipping sun, another stage of life is done. ~ Anon

Monday, November 2, 2009

Will Playing his Guitar

Will has pretty much taught himself how to play guitar. He learned a lot from a DVD he borrowed from his uncle, and picked up quite a bit from our neighbor. Other than that he has been on his own. I think his old Mom surprised him; he was sounding out a song he had heard, and I said "Oh. that sounds like Boston." Then I showed him a video of Boston on My Space. Who said us old folks can't hang in there? I'm surprised Will gave me permission to add this video clip to the blog. I know my family will be especially pleased to see it!

Anna and Moonface

The kittens abound......'Moonface' is the one my sister is adopting. In the meantime, Anna takes good care of her!

Participate in Joy

1. Yesterday the cat pooped in the mud room. Travis discovered a bag of guppies on the school room table that was leaking everywhere. I missed Mass: I had to sit in the car the whole time with Tommy because he was sleeping. I almost threw my back out trying to wrestle Anna in to her car seat, as she screamed in my face. The house is a disaster, even though I spent last week in a decluttering frenzy.

2. Yesterday I watched Oliver load all my groceries into the car with a smile on his face. He is so helpful. I found tons of deals at the grocery store, enabling me to get $75 dollars worth of gas for free! Travis, Anna, and I went to a birthday party with the most delicious food and delightful conversation, while our older children willingly stayed home to babysit their siblings. I had the most relaxing bath with lavender and a candle burning.

Yes. This was the same day.

Now, when I come into my little cave at night to chronicle the happenings of the day, which paragraph am I going to record? I have a whole day full of events to choose from. Which version do you want? Does paragraph number one seem whiny or entertaining to you? Does paragraph two sound uplifting or braggy to you? It's all in the perspective you have of life.

I see my day as a full canvas. I can 'copy, cut, and paste' all the tedious and annoying details of the day, or I can choose to focus on what will make me happy to read when I feel discouraged or when I feel like we are not 'doing much' as a family.

A friend of mine related to me the sad fact that she stopped blogging daily notes because it was discouraging to some of her friends. They felt that in light of all that she was doing, they weren't doing enough with their children.

I can see how these ladies might have felt. I have been guilty of this myself sometimes- mostly before I started my own blog. After I began this blog, my eyes were opened to a reality: everyday every single person may choose what to copy, cut and paste out of their lives onto the canvas of memory. Some may protest, "but I don't do as much with my kids; we never get much done. We had doctor appts all week. We don't have a working car. I am on bed rest. I am not a creative person,etc..." - all very real, hindering, and difficult circumstances.

When one mother reads about the joyful time another mother had baking cookies with her children, maybe complemented by a picture of children with flour dusted on their smiling faces, she feels her heart sink a little. She remembers to herself the last time she baked cookies with her children: She got so frustrated that she ordered them all out of the kitchen and burned the cookies.

I would like to tell you, dear reader, that your blog could be a scrapbook of joy, no matter who you are, or what your circumstances are in life. Maybe on the way to the doctor you stopped to admire an exquisite flower with your child. Or maybe you had a laugh in the waiting room together. You counter, "actually, my two year old threw a tantrum in the office and we had to leave before we even got to see the doctor." The truth is, there is always the negative to counter the positive. There is also the positive to counter the negative. The choice is yours! Some of the most joyful blogs I have read are by people in dire circumstances-cancer, death of a child, etc... It's not that they don't share their struggles and pretend they don't exist; it's almost as if they use these struggles to become more joyful and grateful individuals. My prayer is that we find joy in EVERY situation. What you see on my blog are snippets of my life. I am sure that not one single reader would want to read every detail of every day in my life. That might rival "War And Peace" in the boring dept. (in all fairness, I've never read the book. Is it good?)
I would like to challenge you for one day to copy, cut, and paste moments of joy today. For one day, search for the peaceful, joyful, funny, dramatic, encouraging, grateful moments and record them- even if it's just in your memory (however, I encourage you to write it down!) My sister started a new website: I really like the name she chose. To be joyful we must be willing participants. Go ahead...participate in joy today!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Celtic Spirit

I was looking forward to doing some blogging this evening, but I can't find the camera! I think I'll have to hide it......
So just a little note about a neat CD I have been enjoying. It's called Celtic Spirit. It has very soothing music on it. The first song is worth mentioning.It is called, "Ubi Caritas." The first line is: "Ubi Caritas et Amor, Deus Ibi Est." This translates to: "Where there is charity and Love, God is there." The song is beautiful, too. It is in the form of Gregorian chant with celtic instruments. I know that technically Chant does not have instrumentals, but this is done very tastefully in the song.
The fourth song is an instrumental of "be Thou My vision"- lovely. Then there is, "The Christ Child's Lullaby," "Our Father, God Celestial," "Salve Splendor," "Rosa Mystica" ( A litany to the Blessed Mother)...and several more. I have my copy checked out from the library. I might just have to obtain my own copy!

Happy Fall~ Back to Blogging

Hello to all! Have been dealing with the flu for two weeks now (Actually, I didn't get it-but the only child spared was Anna-probably b/c she still nurses!) It has been pretty awful, but we are all on the mend. Here are a few blogs to check out: and The first one is my niece's (and her mother, my sis') and the second one is Emily's (my daughter). Blogs are wonderful. I told my friend today, "Blogs are like an on-line scrapbook!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Delicious Autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."~ George Eliot

Monday, October 5, 2009

Formula For Success

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.~Mark Twain

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

My camera is not working right, but that won't stop me from blogging! In fact, I am finally learning how to post images from the web on my blog. I have to admit, though, I really wanted my camera to capture today's events on our "farm." (farmette?) . The kids were in all their glory with the beautiful fall weather and the excitement of the day. So here are a few clues as to what we did today. Any guesses?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bedded Down

Nine children~ seven out for the count: two in a tree house(Will and Ben), a princess with her baby(Mary Margaret fell asleep in her princess crown, holding her baby doll), two in bunks(Oliver on top, Emily snuggled in below), one drifting off to a beat (John Paul and his headphones), and one in her little nest (Anna in her crib).
Nine children~ two still going strong(Sam and Tommy), thanks to a very long afternoon siesta; they dine by candlelight, eating Ramen noodles. Mozart is playing and the wood stove is going. Dad is reading in the room next door.~ Life is Good!

Peace Of Heart

If we examine every stage of our lives, we find that from our first breath to our last we are under the constraint of circumstances. And yet we still possess the greatest of all freedoms, the power of developing our innermost selves in harmony with the moral order of the Universe, and so winning peace at heart whatever obstacles we meet. ~ Goethe

The Latest Fashion

"This shirt has the wrong length sleeves, Mom. And I still don't have stockings...."
Emily was in a tizzy- wanted just the right clothes before her choir performance. "Emily, do you remember what is the most important thing that you wear?," asked Grandma. Corner to corner, Emily's mouth spoke that she knew the answer.
I am reminded of one of Mother Theresa's sayings:

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

Thank you for reminding us, Grandma.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Swine Flu Is Beautiful?

How can something so awful be so beautiful?

Tommy's Quote Of The Day

" Mommy, if you read me this book I'll let you clean the kitchen..."

Oh, Tommy- if you only knew...I wish I could sit down and read to you all day!

"Plunge boldly into the thick of life."~ Goethe

Clip Art Bonanza

This website is too cool not to mention: It has links to every kind of image or clipart imaginable and all the images are of the public domain. Get Clippin'!