Saturday, October 31, 2015

Things Could Have Gone Way Worse, Halloween TToT! Week 124

Happy Halloween!

I actually get to be happy for it this year, seeing as how it's on a Saturday. Normally, we have to race to carve pumpkins, eat dinner, get dressed up and head out to trick-or-treating in just a few short hours. And then, upon returning home, rushing the kids through their candy gazing and grazing in order to get to bed at some resemblance of a decent hour so wake up for school isn't a nightmare.

Not so this year!


If you could all cross your fingers and toes for us, that would be great. We're supposed to have rain much of Saturday, which would really put a damper on the outside fun and fright we have planned for Star and his friends. Thanks.

This week was full of gross, scary things perfect for Halloween...

1. I got a phone call from school, and, as any mom of school-aged children knows, a call from school in the middle of the day is never, ever a good thing. This time, it was because Cuckoo threw up in class. I picked him up, and he vomited over and over again throughout the day. I am thankful that he is a rock star at predicting it. He hit the bucket every single time, so I didn't have any extra laundry to do or floors to scrub.

2. I sat down to send some emails, but when I wiggled the mouse to turn the computer back on, I got a black screen with warning words on it. (You know that screen? The one where the computer forgets that it is in the year 2015 and reverts to the look of a computer from 1984.) Turken had tried to get on a site for school and done something horribly wrong. Thankfully, computers of 2015 are way smarter than in 1984, and smarter than me for that matter. It was able to diagnose and fix the problem all by itself.

3. It's Halloween and I haven't purchased or made a single costume. I haven't really even asked any of the kids what they want to be beyond Turken getting ready for his dress-in-a-costume soccer practice last week. Things could have gone really, really wrong. Thankfully, we have a box full of costume bits in the basement and kids with good imaginations and low expectations. While I was outside, Giant and Cuckoo got themselves dressed up for trick-or-treating.

4. In the town where I grew up, many years ago they decided that trick-or-treating would always be on a weekend during the day, regardless of when Halloween actually fell. Yup, they really know how to suck every bit of fun out of an exciting experience for kids. I'm thankful that where we live now is old-school. No trunk-or-treat. No daytime nonsense. Here, kids get all dressed up and go door-to-door to talk with the neighbors and have fun getting to be out walking around at night.

5. Thursday after dinner, I turned the kitchen faucet on. Instead of clean water flowing out, it gurgled and spewed black nastiness all over the sink and me. The black stuff was followed by brown water. All the sinks, all the toilets had nothing but brown water. We let the water run and run, we flushed and flushed, but it wouldn't go away. I called the water company, but apparently it wasn't an emergency. Nobody called me back. We used bottled water to brush our teeth. The next morning it was still like that, except now all of my sinks and toilets were stained brown. I called the water company again, and she said they were flushing the lines yesterday. If I run the water for 10-15 minutes, it should be fine. I ran the water for 20 before it started to look better, but only the cold water. I then had to empty the water heater, seeing as how that filled with the nasty brown stuff. It took until about 2:00 in the afternoon to get all the water from all the faucets and toilets cleaned out. But, I'm thankful that we had water, even if it was brown. At least we didn't have to start using the outhouse.

6. I lost my sunglasses. I hate driving without my sunglasses. It hurts my eyes. (Did you know that blue-eyed people are more sensitive to the light? (Science fair project knowledge comin' at ya, right there.)) This isn't the time of year that sunglasses are displayed for purchase everywhere, so I went many days without them. And then, a friend text me and said she found a pair of glasses in the couch cushion. Exactly where I had been sitting when I went to meet and cuddle her new baby. Eureka! Now, I just need to find some time to go pick them up...

7. This summer, I had a good list of families purchasing eggs. I never had to turn into crazy egg lady in order to get rid of them. Unfortunately, I've had to disappoint all of those new customers and tell them no more eggs until spring. The chickens have gone into their annual freeloading phase for the winter. No eggs for you! But, with 25 chickens, we are still getting 4-8 per day, enough that I don't have to buy them unless I want to hard-boil some.

8. Star has 8-10 boys coming over for a small Halloween party tonight. I have always wanted to have an all-out Halloween party, seeing as how we have the absolute best property to have a good one. It's never happened, though, for a variety of reasons. I'm using this as a practice party to see if we can have a bigger one next year. We're having a big bonfire and I mowed a maze into our back field. We'll be sending the boys through it, in the dark, two-by-two, with only one flashlight per pair. My family (except for Star) will be hiding in the tall weeds to jump out and scare the boys. I can't wait to see how it goes.

9. I have been on the ball this fall getting neglected projects done. On Friday, the Tub Doctor was supposed to be at my house at 10:00 to strip and reglaze our tub. He didn't get here until 1:30 and finished up at 7, as we were eating dinner. It completely messed up my plans for the day, but my tub is now done. He did a great job. And, he completely looked, sounded, and talked like Zach Galifianakus. It made me smile to talk to him.

10. My oil light in the van came on every time I accelerated from a full stop. I called my mechanic, seeing as how we're such good friends (He knows my voice.), and he told me either I needed oil desperately or I needed a new engine. I could not for the life of me find the dipstick to check my oil, so I ran into a JiffyLube. I felt better (and less like a dips***) when it took 3 guys who do this for a living to locate and remove the dipstick. It was bone dry. No oil whatsoever. Zip. Zilch. Nada. This makes me nervous, because I'm good about getting my oil changed regularly, but I'm glad that it was a simple fix for now. I won't be breaking down in a blaze of glory somewhere on IN-135.

And that's 10.

Anything scary happen to you this week?

Have a great time trick-or-treating or passing out candy or eating candy or partying or whatever it is you plan on doing today/tonight.

Link up your thankfuls if you have them!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Friday, October 30, 2015

November Photo Challenge - Up Close and Personal

A relatively long, long time ago, I did a fun activity with the kids to try out my new macro filter for my camera. I went around the house taking close-up photos of curtains and jackets and toys and a variety of other objects. After printing the photographs, I passed them out to the kids to see if they could recognize the patterns. They ran all over the house looking for the objects, laughing and yelling the entire time.

For this month's photo challenge, PJ took me back to that day long ago by choosing the theme of "Closeups". Unfortunately, I no longer have that camera nor those filters. I just have my zoom lens on my 10 year old camera. But it didn't stop me from taking a walk around our property today to find a variety of textures.

Roy the Wonder Dog's hair blowing in the wind.

The bark of a 100 year old tulip tree

The backside of a purple maple tree leaf in the fall.

The gravel that prevents the kids from riding their bikes on the driveway.

A double pulley mechanism from a time when horses provided the horsepower on the farm.
If you'd like to join in on the challenges today or upcoming months, head over to PJ's blog, A 'lil Hoohaa, or head over to Facebook and ask to join the group.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Winner, winner, Christmas Dinner!

Not really.

But someone did win a prize!!

Eunice from A Tent, A Caravan, 4 Wheels, and Me won the drawing!

She'll be receiving a copy of Marianne's book in her email inbox very soon!

If you would like a copy of your own, you can get it at Smashwords or Barnes and Noble.

Congratulations Eunice!

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

TToT Week 123. Of Course I'm Going to Mention Soccer!

It's our home soccer tournament this weekend, so it's pretty weird that I'm at home typing my post. In years past, we've had 4 kids playing, 4 games each, plus at least 6 volunteer slots to work. We would pack up the van and be gone from 7am to 7pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Not so anymore. Only two kids are playing, since the three oldest are high school players now. In fact, all three of them are working the tournament for at least 8 hours each, making some cash.

As usually happens when the schedule opens up, other things fill it. Our church is having a big dinner tonight, and tomorrow Buttercup and Star will be going to paintball/Mass/dinner with about 40 other kids from the Archdiocese. For the rest of us, Mass at 9:00 or 5:00 and a 2nd grade parent meeting afterwards, our weekend is packed full.

And I'm thankful for it, dagnabbit!

But also, I'm thankful for...

1. High school soccer is over. While it is fun to watch, and the kids love playing, it takes up so, so, so much time. I rarely got to see the kids except before they left for school and before they went to bed. This week, they've been getting home about 30 minutes after the rest of us, and it's been so nice to see them and have dinner together every night.

2. We have had beautiful fall weather this week. Temperatures in the low 70s and sun every day. Add in the leaves all putting their gorgeous colorful coats on, and being outside has been most delightful.

3. I get to give away a book to a lucky reader, thanks to the author and blog friend. Take a look and enter the contest here. I'll be drawing a winner on Wednesday.

4. It took forever, but I finally got the Disney photos downloaded. Since my day was shot anyway, I went ahead and backed up a bunch of other photos on my computer. Only 6 months of photos to go before I'm all caught up. And then I'll worry about printing them.

5. After the big putting down of the foot, things are still going well for the boys. And me, since my blood pressure is lowered dramatically when I don't have to walk by a trashed bathroom 10 times each day.

6. On Thursday I went on a tour and signed up to volunteer at St. Elizabeth's, a crisis pregnancy center near downtown Indy. It is a marvelous place that counsels women regardless of whether they choose to make an adoption plan or parent their children. There is a parenting support group, parties for the families, help with physical needs, and many other services. I'll be there one morning a week to do whatever needs done, from putting layettes together, to decorating for a holiday, to weeding the flower beds, to organizing donations.

7. Since St. Elizabeth's is so close to downtown, I'll be able to take the opportunity to have lunch with Bryan every once in a while. I'm sure it will be bizarre at first, meeting him in the middle of the day, but we're looking forward to it.

8. It was a good 4+ year run, but my Kindle finally bit the dust. (We'll just gloss over the fact that it happened when I sat down on the flight to Florida, leaving me with nothing to read on the plane.) The thankful part is that I have an iPad with both a Kindle app and a library app. An iPad isn't my favorite way to read an ebook, but I'm not about to spend money on a new kindle when I have something perfectly acceptable to use. Once I got to Florida, I was able to read to my heart's content, and I've been reading quite a bit since then, too.

9. The soccer "academy" that Turken is in always has a big Halloween practice where everyone comes dressed in costume to play. Despite my pleas for Turken to choose a costume all week, it wasn't until 2 hours before practice that he finally decided what he wanted to be. He's been reading the Harry Potter series, so Harry Potter he would be. Thankfully, we already had plenty of bits from the older kids to put together a convincing costume.

10. I'm just thankful to be living the life I'm living. I'm thankful for Bryan and my family and the opportunities we have.

So, how has your week been? Let me hear about the good things.

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Friday, October 23, 2015

What Happens When I Put My Foot Down, 7QT

As the school year has gone one, my children have gotten lazier and lazier when it comes to picking up after themselves.

I made the mistake of giving the high school kids some slack, seeing as how soccer takes up so much of their time. I didn't get on their cases for leaving their bags on the floor of the mud room. I didn't grumble too badly when they left their dirty socks on the floor of the bathroom. But as time went on, they got worse. And worse and worse. And then the non-high school kids started following in their footsteps. It got to a point that I couldn't walk through the mud room, as the floor was completely covered with things that didn't belong there. Even school uniforms were on the floor!

The bathroom was trashed. Their bedrooms were trashed.

I had told them all to pick up after themselves.

They ignored me.

I pointed out the disaster that was the bathroom. They kept trashing it.

Enough was enough.

It was time for the foot to come down. Hard.

************ 1 ************

I called all of the kids to the kitchen for a chat. I told them that they had gone past lazy and sloppy into gross negligence, and it was going to end.

I told them they were not going to be watching any football, playing any video games, texting any friends, or eating any junk food until I saw improvement in their ability to pick up after their darn selves. I went through each room, telling them exactly what irritated me about each. I reiterated the expectations they already knew but had been ignoring.

I told them that privileges would be reinstated on an individual basis. I'd keep a close eye on who was doing what, whose things were still being left out, and as I saw a person trying to keep things tidy, I'd reward him with a football game and some homemade cookies.

**************** 2 ************

Within hours, signs started showing up around the house.


On the bathroom door:

On the big boys' bedroom door...

And on the closet door...

Just his way of helping me keep track of the fact he was picking up after himself.

***************** 3 ************

Apparently, a little boy saw the signs and thought it was a great idea.

On the kitchen table...

Translation: He put his markers away.

On the dining room table...

Next to the piles of folded laundry...

Basically, he went around the house finding things out of place, put something away, then spent 5 minutes making a sign before putting the next thing away.

*************** 4 *************

Then I got to this one on the kitchen counter...

Whose money? How much? And where did he put it?

******************* 5 ***********

As you can see from the photos, Cuckoo was getting some lessons on letter sounds as well as instructions on how to correctly print letters while making his signs. Bonus!

*************** 6 ***************

The next day, I found one more sign on the kitchen counter.

Oh how these kids make me laugh.

******************** 7 ******************

So, the mess of the signs aside, did my foot-putting-down work?

After two days...

Not perfect, but the big boys are definitely putting in some effort. Football watching has been reinstated. And I baked some chocolate cookies for dessert tonight.

I'm linking this up with Kelly's Link-tober 7 Quick Takes celebration. I've been wanting to link up all month, but, you know how that goes.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I'm Breaking My Own Rule and Talking about Christmas, All So One of You Can Win a Prize!

As I write this, there are 66 days until Christmas.

I know, it's not even Halloween, but here I am talking about Christmas.

Normally, I hate it when people do that.

BUT I have a good reason!

My blog friend, Marianne, who writes Adventures in the Ballpark, has written a book about an activity she and her family have been doing for years. Every December, for 12 days straight, they surprise another family with a small gift based on the 12 Days of Christmas song.  As Marianne wrote, "Receiving this gift from our friends in 1993 was a turning point for me in how I celebrate Christmas. It changed my heart and my perspective."

I read the book.

Ideas were flying through my head.

I told the kids about the book.

They immediately came up with families who would enjoy receiving this surprise.

So we're going to do it.

And we have 66 days to prepare. (Marianne's family does this for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. I think we're going to do it for the 12 days between Christmas and the Epiphany.)

Some might think, "I'm creative. I can come up with things to give for each day. Why should I buy the book?"

I know some think that, 'cause I thought it.

True. I probably could come up with something for each day. But why reinvent the wheel?

In each of 12 chapters, Marianne has 12 possiblities for each line of the song. Not only does she give ideas, she has photos of what they've done and the cards which accompany each gift. There are recipes for snacks and instructions on how to make certain crafts. She encourages her readers to add their own flare and to "delightfully veer" from the traditional gift for that day. For example, it's not feasible for most families to give or receive a real partridge in a real pear tree. Instead, Marianne's family has given a paper partridge in a prayer tree, covered in "pears" with Scripture verses written on them.

There are so many wonderful ideas in this book, but just as important are the personal stories Marianne adds. There are quotes from families who have received the gifts. There are stories from families who have passed on the tradition by doing this for other families each year. There are also stories of how this idea has blossomed and been used throughout the year by different groups. Shoot, even a school has started doing it!

It's all so very inspiring.

My family has decided to surprise the widow I told you about a couple of months ago. Her husband passed away 2 years ago, and her son is having major health issues. She will most certainly enjoy the gifts.

In making our choice, we kept in mind our ability to actually deliver the gifts. If the person lived out of the way, the chances of this getting done would be slim. Fortunately, this woman lives very near the school, so we won't have trouble swinging by her house on our way home.

I've already started getting the gifts ready. There was a bird on a stick (a decoration for a flower garden) on the clearance table at Meijer for a dollar. It will be a good start to Day 1's gift.

If you would like to buy the book, she has two places you can purchase it (both electronic).

Click HERE to buy it on Smashwords, or HERE to purchase it for your Nook.

But there's more!

Marianne has agreed to give one copy of the book (in pdf form through an email) to one of my readers.

If you want to be in the drawing, tell me in the comments for whom you would like to give the 12 gifts. You have one week to enter. I'll draw a name from a hat on Wednesday, October 28.

How marvelous it would be if we all did this, spreading joy and changing hearts all over the country.

Do you have a family tradition of gift-giving for Christmas?

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Secret Revealed! TToT Week 122

The scene: Six kids, 2 parents, and one grandmother sitting around the dining room table, having just finished dinner.

As Mom passes out big, red file folders full of papers, Dad says, "You all have some homework over fall break."

The kids roll their eyes and open their folders.


Cuckoo: WHAT IS GOING ON?!!? ('Cause he can't read)

Inside each of those file folders was a boarding pass and a packet detailing each and every ride at Disney World.

For months and months, Bryan, my mom, his mom, and I were able to keep the biggest secret we've ever kept.

Back in February when the school schedules for this year came out, we saw that for the first time ever, the elementary school and the high school had the same week-long fall break. We decided not to let this opportunity go by.

As the kids know full-well, we take a Disney vacation every 5 years. We drive, and we stay off-site in order to save loads of money. This time, since Phoenix will be graduating next year and we don't know if the breaks will line up again, we jumped on it. And we went all out.

We flew.

We stayed in a Disney resort.

We went a year and a half before we were "supposed" to.

And they had no idea whatsoever.

After they received their packets and knew that we were going, Bryan announced another surprise, "You have 20 minutes to shower (a couple of kids had just gotten home from practice before dinner),grab your toothbrush, a jacket, and your shoes, and be ready to go. Mom already packed your bags."

It was all very exciting.

And loud.

Very, very loud.

But mostly very, very exciting.

It was a fabulous week, and the thankfuls are overflowing.

Unfortunately, we took a pathetically few number of photos. We didn't even get a video of the kids being surprised with the news of the vacation. We just enjoyed the moments as they came. I'll give ya what I've got.

1. There were some snafus in the actual getting to Florida, including injury (my mom), soccer (teams winning sectional games), and a cancelled flight (the one Phoenix and I were to be on), but in the end all 10 of us got there safely.

Phoenix and I didn't get to Orlando until a full 24 hours after the rest of our family. We went straight to Magic Kingdom from the airport to meet up with everyone. Can you tell how happy we were to finally get there? :)

2. The weather was perfection the entire week. Sunny and 80s until the last couple of hours of our trip, and even then it was just overcast and 70s.

Turken and Cuckoo cooling off on the 88 degree day in the splash pad

3. Staying on Disney property has some definite perks, and the biggest one is the transportation. While we spent most of the days together, we were able to stagger our return trips to the hotel. Those who wanted to stay out later could, while those of us who were worn out could head back.

We stayed at the Art of Animation complex, and the decor outside was awesome.

4. The last night of vacation, we split up into four groups (one adult for each) so the kids could do what they wanted on their last night. It meant that Turken and I were able to spend some time just the two of us. We explored Animal Kingdom, seeing lots of things the others have never seen (and couldn't see with 10 people traveling together), then went back to the hotel to swim.

5.  The two times we've taken the kids to Disney, we've spent one day going around the world of Epcot trying food from all the different countries. This year we happened to be there during the food and wine festival, and it was so good we decided to spend TWO days making our way around to the food stands of 30 countries.

Don't ask me what Turken is doing. I'm pretty sure he's not smelling my behind. I think he's exhausted and leaning on me at a very awkward angle.

6. Both my mom and Bryan's mom were able to go on this trip with us. The kids and the grandmas have such a good time making some memories together.

My mom wanted a photo with the oddball grandkids.
7. While we were terrible about taking photos, Disney helped us out. At every park photographers are everywhere to get pictures in front of different attractions. Plus, they take photos on every single thrill ride. Before the trip, Bryan signed us up for the photo package, so we could just order every one then print what we wanted when we got home. We got several good family photos and many, many, many photos on the rides. Our family loves to do funny poses for the ride photos, so we figure out where the cameras are and prepare.

My mom and Star did not know that Bryan and I were going to cover their eyes, so they are trying to do their prepared pose while we cover their eyes. Just in case you plan on doing funny ride photos, they won't even let you look at photos if a boy puts his shirt over his head. The boys learned this on a previous ride. I guess this pose was OK, though. (See Phoenix and Giant in the back row (I was adamant that he keep his shirt on the rest of the week.))
8. To continue the ridiculousness, Bryan was chosen to be an "extra" during the Indiana Jones show. (I took a video, but my computer is having some trouble downloading it.) Just picture my serious, lawyer husband strutting his stuff across the stage, then flicking his wrist in a dramatic final pose. In front of several hundred people. He brought the house down. I love that the kids get to see their dad being silly and completely not concerned with what people think. It helped my self-conscious teens loosen up and have some fun themselves throughout the week.

9. It was a rare ride that I sat with one of my kids on one of the rides. They only rode with me if they had to. Same with Bryan. I must admit, it stung at first to know that I was the last choice for partner in roller coaster riding. But after taking a look at what was going on, it warmed my heart to see that they weren't rejecting me as much as they were choosing each other. My kids are honestly and truly friends. They want to ride rides together. They want to hang out together. This is precisely what Bryan and I pray for and encourage, as it is way more important when they are adults for them to be friends with each other than to be friends with us.

10. This vacation was kind of bittersweet. It is the last big, family vacation we will take before the older kids start moving off to college and their adult lives. While I'm looking forward to the adult relationships I will have with them, I am going to miss these family vacations something fierce. I will forever be grateful for Bryan's job, which allows us to have these experiences. I will forever be grateful that we took the opportunities as they came, living up these short, precious years the kids are in our care.

So, now you know about the big secret I alluded to last week. Have you had any big surprises lately?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Getting My Thankful On, Week 121 (I think)

This is going to be short and quick. I'll tell you why later.

I know how much you like a mystery. :)

1. Funny kids' drawings. Cuckoo has come up with some good ones this week.

Any ideas?

A hint... The kids were asked to draw a picture of a P word.

He drew a game of water polo.

Any ideas what those swirly things are?

Oh my word I love how he draws belly buttons. Especially when they are on the wrong side of the person. :)

2. I can't hear the word belly button without this song jumping into my head. If you have little kids, you must get this CD. The. Best. Kids'. CD. Ever.

3. Super soccer. You've probably never heard of it, seeing as how my kids made it up. It's their way of playing soccer in the house. They've been playing it for months, but I jumped in today. It was actually fun, and there is a much better chance that I won't hurt myself doing it.

4. Conferences with the elementary school teachers went well. My favorite comment was from the kindergarten teacher. (I know. None of you are surprised.) She said she is so glad to have Cuckoo in her class, as he is the only student in the room who understands sarcasm. They have some good laughs together.

5. Our parish is one where new priests come to learn the ropes before being assigned to their own parishes. It is marvelous for our kids, because they get to see that priests aren't stuffy guys in the front of church, but men who have fun. Our current associate pastor came to the cross country city meet to cheer the kids on. Afterwards, he was throwing the frisbee around with a bunch of them, and all were having a grand time.

6. Giant and the rest of the 8th graders ended their cross country season with a great race.

7. I finally finished a favor for a friend that I'd been working on for a long time.

8. A plan Bryan and I have been hatching for months and months went off without a hitch.

9. I discovered that House is on reruns during the time I usually eat lunch. I can sit and enjoy on of my old favorites.

10.  Getting some one-on-one time with Phoenix this weekend.

I've been scarce this week, and the coming one won't be any better. Big things going on at the coop. I'll tell you all about it as soon as I can.

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Two Hours Ago I Sat Down to Write a "Quick" List of Thankfuls, TToT Week 120

I've been sitting here for 30 minutes trying to come up with some way to intro this week's TToT. I've got nothin'. Soooooo...we're going straight to the thankfuls.

1. I think I can finally say I'm used to being at home by myself all day. While I would still prefer to have a young one with me during the day, I am not on the verge of tears anymore. I am seeing some benefit to this new lifestyle.

2. My parents, last time I checked, were both safe. My mom was on a cruise in the Bahamas this week. I normally don't call her when she's on vacation, but on Thursday, with no word or photos posted on FB since Monday, I was getting nervous. I had to text to make sure she wasn't being tossed around by Joaquin. She's not. They rerouted their return and managed to avoid any rough seas. My dad has been in Myrtle Beach all week. He's been posting regularly and should be able to fly out without a problem. I'll keep praying for everyone who is still on the coast and in the danger zone, though.

3. I actually had time to write two posts this week! It was good to get back to writing something besides the thankful posts.

4. In Thursday's post, I mentioned that we were able to see the eclipse. The best part was not the eclipse itself, but the time spent with Turken curled up on my lap to watch it. He was ridiculously excited to see it. His class had been talking about the moon for an entire month, even keeping a journal to watch it wax and wane. We had put the boys to bed with the promise of waking them up to see the eclipse, but Turken could not fall asleep. Finally, at about 9:45 I let him come outside with me. For almost an hour, the two of us sat outside watching the moon, listening to nature all around us, and talking about Neil Armstrong and all other things moon related. It was marvelous.

5. Monday was my last of three days working in the kindergarten room. It was a really good three days, but I'm glad it was only three days. I was exhausted at the end of the school day. I actually came home and told my kids to give me 10 minutes to myself. I was conked out on the couch within seconds.

6. Hey, did you hear that the pope was in the US last week? While I was basically glued to the Catholic channel on XM when I was in the car and on the computer at home, trying to soak up all that he was doing and saying, two teachers at our school (They're married.) and our parish's deacon were in Philadelphia. I am having so much fun living vicariously through them. They took lots of photos and even wrote a blog on the school's teacher webpage. To top it off, they brought back rosaries blessed by Pope Francis. One for each of their students. Lucky for us, Mrs. is Cuckoo's teacher and Mr. is Giant's. We are so fortunate to have these faithful, generous folks working with our children each day.

7. We are in the middle of soccerpalooza here at the coop. The high school teams have their county tournament, and with three kids playing on three teams (who keep winning), that has meant at least one game each and every night except today. When we add Turken and Giant into the mix, it means that we have had/will have 19 games, with the possibility of 3 more if the teams do well, in 9 days (last Saturday through this coming Sunday). Written down, it sounds like I'd be a crazy busy lunatic, but thankfully, it really hasn't been bad. The varsity teams play at the same place, back to back, during the tournament, so we haven't had to run all over the city. Each night, either Bryan or I went to the games, while the other took the home front, which ended up with half the practices cancelled anyway.

8. The end of the first quarter was this week. (Can you even believe how fast time is going??!?!) I am thrilled to say that all 6 of the kids are doing well. Long-time readers know how Phoenix was kicked in the behind by high school those first two years. This year, he is a different kid. He has not missed a single homework assignment this year, and it's not because we've been on his case the whole time. It has been a great year so far.

9. I managed to get Bryan's favorite red cake done today. With all of the soccer games, this was the first night we were all going to be home together for dinner and birthday cake all week. There was a bit of a major snafu when I made the icing, so I had to throw it all away and start over, but by golly I got it DONE! I won't have to make another one for a whole nother year.

10. As always (even though I don't always write it in my thankfuls), I am overwhelmed with how wonderful Bryan is. For the last many months, we have been letting the kids' schedules wear us down and had gotten into a horrible pattern of not taking time to pay attention to each other. On Sunday, we had a nice chat and recommitted ourselves to keeping the marriage first in the chaos. We've spent time alone each night this week, whether it's just 15 minutes in the kitchen while we clean up or a whole game of Scrabble while the boys watch football. We're being more attentive and less perfunctory in our hellos and goodbyes and discussions of how our time will be spent. It's been a great week.

I think it's only fitting to end a post without an intro without a closing, don't you? :)

Link up or leave a comment letting me know what has you saying thank you this week!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

I'm linking up with Leila at Like Mother, Like Daughter today for some {pretty, happy, funny, real}where she strives to capture "the context of contentment in everyday life". 


Despite the dropping temperatures, there are still plenty of pretty blooms around the new flower beds.


The clouds parted just long enough for us to witness the eclipse on Sunday night.


I take the daughter of a friend home after school each day. As the girl got out of the van yesterday, Cuckoo very seriously asked, "Do you have a cat food tree?"

We all were quite confused until I saw the impetus for the asking of the question:

The driveway:

The floor after Cuckoo spills the cat food (It happens frequently.):


And the children wonder why my face is all pinched and I talk through my teeth with my jaw clamped shut...

Two different bathrooms...

In the span of 5 minutes...

Not to mention the hand AND bath towels on the floor.

So that one has some stretching to do to align with the "capturing contentment" part of this link up. I'm content with the fact that at least they are using toilet paper. :)

Now I shall go back to looking at my pretty flowers.

Have a lovely day!