Family

weekends are for estate sales, adventures and mud.

Thursday afternoon isn’t technically the weekend, but our 11 year old finished up his first session of Ninjutsu and enjoyed it very much.

008

006

 

Friday night Dear Husband and I went to the Bonstelle Theatre in Detroit to see our oldest dance in the annual spring concert.  We had to leave early because out youngest was ill at home.

We found a couple of estate sales on Saturday after determining that youngest was feeling well enough and we set out on a very muddy adventure.

We can home with some fun finds.

Some useful kitchen knives as well as other silverware because we tend to run out before they all get cleaned.

020

 

a spice rack that needed some serious cleaning.  Here are the bright shiny bottles ready to be filled up.

019

 

A meat slicer that really brings back some not so pleasant memories of slicing lots and lots of meat in the cafeteria of my dorm at MSU.
015

 

A meat grinder.  Doesn’t everyone need one of those?  :)

014

 

Our herbs finally germinated.  Basil and Cilantro.

017

 

016

Before we left on Saturday freshly belted Ninjutsu boy managed to wrestle with some barbed wire and got a nice cut on his scalp which resulted in a tetanus shot on Monday. It’s about 3.5 inches long, but not deep at all.

021

 

On Sunday we decided to make a trip to the new Cabella’s Outpost store and to check it out.  On the way home, driving 70 miles per hour on the freeway our youngest cut himself on a multi-tool.  Good and deep.  That one required a side-trip to the ER.

025

So, we waited…and waited.  Realizing that it was going to be awhile, Dad went home with the rest of the boys and I stayed with the little one.

024

The floor is the best place to be when you don’t feel well.

022

 

Even after getting all bandaged up…the floor is still the best option.

027

026

 

This injury did require stitches, unlike the head wound.

029
028

Our weekend kind of spilled into Monday.  With yummy stuffed shells for dinner.  This was an experiment that turned out well.

042

This was before baking, I didn’t get any after baking photos because we were all too hungry to stop for a photo.  They turned out very yummy.  No cheese, just ground beef and brussels sprouts.  Topped with pasta sauce.

043

 

And finally to round out the weekend the boys just couldn’t resist the call of the wild just once more.  That hole they dug in the backyard becomes the most awesome mud pit when it rains.

032

035

038

045

046

 

Today, they will be spending a bit of time rinsing out their clothing so that it can safely be put into the washing machine.

Quite an adventure this weekend. I’m ready for some quieter days myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekends are for vet visits, sledding, pizza and gardening

Our weekend began with my dear husband leaving for a men’s conference with some friends for the day on Saturday. After my prayer time with my cup, ok, entire pot of coffee, the rest of us headed off to the vet with our lame little bunny.

013

002

004

If you have a squeamish tummy you may want to skip the first few photos of his abscess.

This is what it looked like before the vet saw him this time.

006

This is what it looked like after he removed the “necrotic flesh” and some of the infection.

015

Yeah, it’s kinda gross, but the prognosis is good.  More antibiotics and another visit scheduled in the middle of this week.

When we got back we got all ready and headed out to meet some friends for an afternoon of sledding.

018

023

026

027

I didn’t get a ton of photos or very many “quality” ones because I was having too much fun sledding myself. :)

We then shared pizza and hot cocoa with the gang of us.

029

Once the husbands/fathers returned we all had dinner and shared stories and fellowship until well after dark.  Wonderful day!

We spent Sunday morning beginning our planning of a veggie garden.  I took some measurements with a super cool tool that I borrowed from my neighbor.  This was SO much easier than using a short tape measure all by myself.

007

I found a great idea on the web to start seeds in the window using a binder page designed to hold collector cards.  I placed an order for a bunch of heirloom seeds, but the haven’t arrived yet and I had these seeds in the garage, so I thought I would at least begin with them rather than just tossing them out.

041

Here is the first round of broccoli and Cabbage all hung up and ready for the magic to happen.

043

 

Perfect beautiful day for planting seeds…lol  Can’t wait to see some green sprouts in there!  Also can’t wait for my load of heirloom seeds to arrive and for my husband to get my wonderful raised beds built.  Guess I should start looking around for where to get a whole lot of good dirt and compost.

045

One of my sweet little boys slept with some silly putty on Saturday night.  Needless to say we have a mess on our hands.  After some research, I discovered some suggestions for getting it out of his shirt and his blankie.  I instructed him, so he put on his headphones and listened to his PlayAway audio book and went to work.  I must admit that there were tears and attitude before I suggested the book.  Brilliant suggestion!  Worked like a charm.  Must remember that one for the future!

033

034

037

That wraps up our weekend.  I will keep you posted on the growth of our garden/compost/rain barrel experiments as the season approaches.  I am sure we will make plenty of mistakes but I’m still hoping for some delicious home grown veggies and fruits this year.

What are you up to?

 

 

 

Weekends are for animals and rosaries

Our weekend was filled with animals…live, stuffed, and used to be alive.  Starting with the live one….he somehow injured himself and has been quite crippled and just not himself.  We still aren’t sure if he is going to pull through this, but he is more active now, so we are hopeful.  He has spent a lot of time sleeping.  Even on my keyboard.  He did something to my firefox browser and made it unusable.  Oh well, at least there are other options until I decide to really figure out what he did.

002

Sleepy boy.

045

Lots and lots of napping

.043

The stuffed animals feasted on popcorn.

062

Then came the “used to be alive” animals.  Good thing too, because I wouldn’t want to get in the middle of this staring game.

059

058

There were a few live animals in the water…large yummy looking fish

.057

054

Lot’s of love in this photo.

053

Where there are boys….there is boy food.  Baked beans and cheddar bratwurst.

050

 

We have instituted a new system for pay jobs around the house.  Each job is on a small card in a sheet protector. As the kids want to do the extra job they grab a card, do the chore, bring the card to a parent who checks the job and then immediately pays them for satisfactory completion.  These are the jobs that just make my life easier.  Some things are non-negotiable and non-pay chores.  Everyone must clean up after themselves and take care of their own belongings and messes….no pay for that. :)

049

Our Lady of Fatima came for a two week visit and was greeted by our family and a couple of other families as well.  We all prayed together and she will remain in our home for a couple of weeks as a reminder to pray together as a family until we all congregate at another home for her to visit.  Beautiful statue.

063

065

066

Prayer with friends and then mass followed by a rousing game of  The Great Dalmuti with the kids (Need to get some hats to play this properly) was a perfect way to end the weekend.

Product Details

 

Weekends are for snow, dogs, and more birthday celebrations

What a whirlwind weekend…but filled so much goodness.

Friday started with an honest to goodness snow day.  Yes, we homeschool, but it was the first time in a few years that we actually got a great snowfall.  Of course is almost gone now after a rise in temps and rain yesterday but they kids enjoyed it while it was here.

001

Friday night and all day Saturday my youngest and I spent at my parents dog sitting the cutest dogs ever!!!  So, no bunny pictures from this weekend…darling dogs instead!

005

007

019

031

032

While I was there, I couldn’t help but admire my parents beautiful new bathrooms.  They did an outstanding job on them and I just love my mom’s decorating style.

020

023

Sunday was busy with the kids singing in the choir and then helping with St. Vincent DePaul collections after mass.  From there a quick trip to Bass Pro Shops and a wonderful wonderful friend filled birthday celebration for a sweet two-year old girl!!

034

042

043

045

046

047

049

037

048

Finally, the boys did some work on making Valentine cards for our celebration coming up this week.  Ok, they actually did that today after school, but it was worth adding in.

083

084

085

086

087

I hope your weekend was filled with family, friends, and laughter.  :)

 

Weekends are for birthday bowling, boy scouts, coupons, and nursing.

065

Nothing like celebrating a couple of birthdays with girlfriends at the bowling alley!

I must say that my phone failed me a bit in the building and the pictures are rather blurry, but the smiles and the love just had to be shared.

The birthday girls are ready to roll!  063

More smiles to share!067

064

 

And a very yummy extra extra chocolate cake.  Can’t ever have enough chocolate in one cake.066

 

Most of the gang was all here.  A couple beautiful ladies had already left and a few more weren’t able to come and were missed.

068

It was Scout Sunday at church and we got a photo of those who were able to make it. Don’t they all look so handsome?

075

After getting home from church and picking up a couple of newspapers, I decided it was time to tackle my growing stack of coupon inserts and get them filed.

076

This is my mess after throwing the scraps on the floor.  Just brought in the recycling bin and tossed them all in.

082

080 077

After spending what seemed like FOREVER in my kitchen clipping and tossing and filing.  I still had four sets of inserts left, but I had no more time or energy and my back hurt.  So, they will wait for another day.

083

And what is a weekend post around here if there are no bunny shots?

069

They are beginning to tolerate each other.  We are still hoping for a friendship to develop.

The nursing part is for my poor dear husband.  He pulled a muscle in his neck on Tuesday night and woke up very very sore.  It has been getting worse since then. Lots of awful awful spasms and horrendous pain.  Trip to the urgent care resulted in some muscle relaxer and heavy duty pain killers, which almost touch the pain.  Three sleep deprived nights later and my brain is a bit of a blur.

Hoping and praying for some relief and healing.  (and sleep).

How was your weekend?

 

Weekends are for forts, friends, food, and fur (among other things that don’t start with F)

The weekend began with some dragon slaying!  The boys have been learning what it means to slay dragons (distractions, poor behavior choices, and difficult events) in our everyday life.  This particular night dad helped them to create a game around the dragons that they have learned about so far.

100_4875

100_4876

Saturday began with a variety of tasks, chores, and church and schoolwork.  Science experiments are always more fun that reading, writing, and working math problems….at least for this crew.

100_4877

100_4880

Then it was time for friends and fort building!!  Even better than science experiments!

100_4881

100_4883

100_4884

We are so blessed and thankful for such a wonderful view in our backyard!  Every day I am grateful for how God brought us here to such a beautiful riverfront right in the city limits (rather a small city).

100_4885

The weekend was also filled with yummy food.

100_4905

100_4909

It’s just not the weekend around here without donuts!

100_4904

I have re-established a relationship with a tool that I often disparaged and swore I would never use again.  Thanks to my wonderful girlfriends who gifted me a crockpot on my birthday.  I had so many failures years and years ago with crockpot meals that when mine broke (8 years ago) I never wanted to replace it.  I have tried new recipes and have been pleasantly surprised.  This past week I used it four days in a row with wonderful and pleasing results!  That is chicken taco filling  in there…Yum!!

100_4913

We are still working hard in introducing our two bunnies who share your home.  We are determined to get them through this and become friends.  From my reading it will take work and time.  Dedication and perseverance…..now that’s a lesson we could all use.

100_4916

100_4914

100_4901

 

They look like they are being friends here, but it was just a the little guy enjoying some petting from his people that relaxed him. 100_4899

I also made a quick trip and scored a couple of finds for 75% off!  Yay!

100_4902

We had a fun and productive weekend.

I hope yours was too!

 

 

The Joy of the Mundane

IMAG0769

Most of the time it seems our lists and chores and errands are just something to get done and get out of the way.  They aren’t joy-filled, or joy-making.  We view them as joy-destroying.  Endless drudgery that must be done over and over and over again and no one cares and no one notices.  I have felt this way, and will probably sink down into it and feel it again, but I won’t stay there.  Not after what I have learned.  I have learned to find hope and joy among the laundry and dishes.

I want you to find it too.

It has to do with the lenses which we use to focus on the mundane drudgery that is part of our daily existence.  We create mess every day.  We must prepare meals every day.  It can seem like a life sentence confining us to endlessly repeat the same tasks over and over again and never make any progress forward, for as soon as the hamper is empty, someone puts something dirty in it.  As soon as the sink is empty, someone puts something dirty in it.  We feel emptied by the work and then we put something dirty in it.  Dirty thoughts of hopelessness, drudgery,  not being appreciated or loved, taken advantage of, used up and useless all at the same time…and so many more.  This is a vicious cycle and this is what women have railed against for years.  ”We need only think of how the gift of motherhood is often penalized rather than rewarded, even though humanity owes it’s very survival to this gift.” (John Paul II, On the Dignity of Women).  But there is more to it….there is beauty and purpose in it. There is something that those who belittle this vocation and womanhood have missed.

We have been tricked into looking at our life through the wrong lens.

quick import 080728 218

We were created by a loving and generous God in His image and He said that we are good (Gen1:27-31). God’s first instructions to man and woman was to work…be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth, til it and keep it. (Gen 1:26, 2:15).  Work was not a burden in the beginning.  It was a sharing in the creative work of God.  Blessed John Paul II talks extensively about the dignity of work and the worker, no matter what the work, or where it’s done and that this work is what makes us even more human.  Work is the mark of a family…”the mark of a person operating within a community of persons”.  He calls the family “a community made possible by work and the first school of work within the home for every person.” (Blessed John Paul II, Laborem exercens)  Including us moms.  If we think about it, we are always being “schooled” in the areas of housework.  There are so many books, blogs, websites, articles in papers and magazines on housekeeping, cleaning, organizing, parenting,…the list goes on.  So, from the beginning and without end our “home”work is learned in our homes, every day.  We, as mothers and wives, are the primary learners and teachers of this “home”work.  If it is such an important part of our family and our world, then why is it so difficult and wearisome to our spirits? What about our lens?

“Awareness that man’s work is a participation in God’s activity ought to permeate….”the most ordinary everyday activities.  For while providing the substance of life for themselves and their families, men and women are performing their activities in a way which appropriately benefits society.” (Blessed John Paul II, Laborem exercens).  So,the first filter we need to attach to our lens is that of work having purpose in the life of man.  That work was created for man, after man was created.  That work is important to the very fabric of our world.  With only this filter, we can see that there is a need for work and that God told us to do it, but it still isn’t quite clear.  We work out of innate human-ness and out of obedience to God.

But there is still  more.

100_3727

If we look to our Lord, Jesus Christ, He had some things to show us and to tell us.  Both Matthew (20:28) and Mark (10:45) tell us that Jesus, the greatest of all, came to serve and not to be served.  If the one who can do all things came to serve us who can do nothing without Him, then we too should be here to serve and not to be served.  I have heard it over and over again that if you are feeling down and sad, serve someone; if you are feeling lonely and your life pointless, serve someone; if you are feeling guilty and angry, serve someone.  Service to others is not only a way of following Christ’s example but it lifts us up inside.  It actually makes us feel good.  So, in practice I can see this when serving in the community or serving those in need, but it is hard to see our work in the home as service to someone in need.  When we look through the filter of expectations and return for investment, we don’t get lifted up, because our family is not applauding us for our work.  We are tired and worn down, but if we turn and look to Jesus we hear Him saying:

“Come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Here, Jesus says he will help us bear the burden if we go to Him.  So, we turn from our worldly expectations of applause and thanks, we turn from the world that John Paul II stated is often looking down on the vocation of women as mothers, we turn from our own disillusionment and go to Christ who will be our help.  Just as God made woman to help man, so Christ promises to help us.  We are to be Co-workers with Christ.

Wow!

Suddenly I”m not doing this alone, in the darkness of my own despair.  Jesus is with me! In me! and working through me!  And what is Christ, if not love?  “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” (1John 4:16). God is love and He is in me!!  I have Love right there inside of me…what do I do with that love?  “…let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (1John3:18).  So, love isn’t a feeling, love is a doing!!  I must DO in order to love. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:1-2).   Christ told me to learn from Him, to cast my cares on Him, that he would help me, that He is love and I should imitate and share that love, by imitating Him, by making my work a unified sacrifice with Christ and therefore a fragrant offering to God.  My laundry can be a bouquet for God the Father through Christ and with Christ!  That definitely brings a different filter to add to my  lens.100_3730

“When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it’s true, I think I’m due some appreciation.  So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy.  But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains.  Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all. ..The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness.” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts).

We are given the choice to share lovingly in the work that Christ came to do by enduring the toils, and hardships of work and collaborating with Christ who was crucified for us to help redeem the world.  Our work is redemptive when united with Christ’s work.  By carrying our cross daily in the work of our home and family we show that we are disciples of Christ and that our work can be a means of our own holiness and a way of bringing the Spirit and love of Christ into the ordinary activities of everyday.  We have been endowed with the “Genius of women” who by way of our ordinary life we “reveal the gift of (our) womanhood by placing (ourselves) at the service of others in (our) everyday lives.  For in giving (ourselves) to others each day (we) women fulfill (our) deepest vocation” (Blessed John Paul II, On the Dignity of Women).2008 Florida 042

Which lenses will you choose today?

Today I choose Joy!  (if only I remembered to pick up the right lens every day!)

 

 

 

 

Who’s got your back?

100_4037

Partners in crime?

Support network?

groupies?

girlfriends?

encouragers?

So many names for those who are there for us through thick and thin.  But are they really and truly there?  When things get tough and we get in that dark space, do we reach for them?  If so, which ones?

This morning,  I didn’t believe in a dream and I was in a dark space.  In the past, I have dwelt there, and wallowed there, and pitied myself there.  I may again in the future, but not this time,  who did I instinctively reach for?

Jesus!!

557

He is my one and only, true, always there no matter what, got my back support!!  He. Is. It.

It really took me a long time to find Him.  To trust that someone I couldn’t see or hear was really there.  With me always. And that turning to Him actually makes a difference in this here and now life.

At once, He reminded me that He is there! Then He laid His loving hands on my shoulder and told me to look around and he gently spun me around my mind’s room and swept His arm in front of me showing me all those who are there to help me.

First was my main line of cheerleaders!  My boys! Shouting and cheering and loving me!

2012-11-03_20-06-51_299

100_4071

Then was my loving wonderful husband who would bend over backwards to support any dream I had.

100_4872

Then was my mom, my mother-in-law, My extended family and sisters-in-law…all clapping, or standing silently with the warmth of a loving smile on their faces. None of them live very close, but I know that they love me, pray for me, and think of me. I just wish I had more photos of those beautiful faces to share.

100_4847 100_4131 100_3737 DSCN2577

Then was my girlfriends.  Those women who have made it a commitment to uphold and support each other through all things-no matter what.  I know that they are there for me and will be there even when I am too proud to ask for help.  They have proven that over and over again with each other!

535

My fellow blogger, Mandy is among those women and she is on this God-sized dream journey as well.  She is encouraging this journey specifically, and has been a big motivator and source of information and support on this blogging thing.

762

Then Jesus turned me back around and held me.  Held me tight as I stood in my bathroom.  All alone smiling and feeling filled up with all the wonderful people He has shown to me.  I glance behind Him and I see other people I know, have known, or have recently met.  Also standing with Him in support of me.  Only through His help can those dark moments be brought to the light so quickly and turned into a loving embrace from Him, through all the wonderful people in my life.

I am blessed!  I have a whole cheering section-and I would bet you do too.

Join all the other dreamers at the link below.

 

God-Sized Dreams

Weekends are for Sweets, sons, and simple blessings

It was a fast weekend.  It seemed to go by so very quickly.  Just not enough time to savor all that I want to soak up in a weekend.

I had minor outpatient surgery on Monday that went fine, but is taking more time than I had expected to recover and get back on my feet.  I thank God for my sisters in Christ who provided us with meals every single night and were there for anything I might possibly need.  What great friends!  These wonderful ladies are simple blessings for me!

So, Saturday I mostly sat around, did a very quick grocery stop (remember those sisters who cooked for me?, well, the residual blessing was that I didn’t have much to shop for while still recovering either).

I haven’t baked in awhile and one of those awesome sisters of mine offered to watch my boys while my sweet husband and I got out for a bit, so I baked some cookies to send along.  My current favorites.  I add chocolate chips, because everything is better with chocolate! A cookie, is a beautiful yummy simple blessing!

009

My second oldest came to visit for the weekend!  It is always so good to see those who don’t live with me.  The other boys like watching each other play computer games. (Tasty Planet this time) I will never understand the joy in that.  Brothers are a simple blessing.

011

Sunday morning. I snuggled into the corner of my couch with my prayers, books, and tablet…oh, and my cup of coffee! Coffee and books…simple, but a bountiful blessing!

014

I had a friend on the couch with me.

012

Then he got a ilttle closer as I was composing a post for Facebook.

017

Finally he decided that he was more important than anything I was currently trying to do. Fellowship of bunny friends is a simple blessing.

018

More sweets were in order once the kids were all ready to head to church.  Donuts are a joy to little boys.

019

I went down to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see my oldest son perform a dance program.  Unfortunately, I was off in my timing and found a parking spot just at the same time that he was scheduled to be FINISHED.  Yes, I missed it.  All of it.  BUT, I did retrieve him from his room and bring him home with me for the night.

021

So, I had ALL of my boys under one roof for about an hour before the other hand to leave.  An hour is better than nothing!  An hour of togetherness is a simple blessing.

I hope your weekend was filled with simple blessings as well.

Weekends are for the letter B

We had a Birthday this week.

Our smack dab in the middle boy turned 11.

While he and his friends were celebrating at a giant indoor play place, I baked cupcakes and another brother along with a neighbor had a blast decorating the basement for the continued celebration. I was surprised and overwhelmed with the joy they showed in decorating for a celebration that was to be enjoyed by others and not themselves.  What a beautiful example of joyful service they were for me and the rest of the family!

014

036

035

048

 

Our new Bunny was neutered and needed some extra cuddle time.

024

 

Boardgamesseem to be a regular event here lately.

028

 

Preparing for Bible study.

054

 

We had a very warm Saturday for this time of year which allowed for Bike riding and open doors with Breezes blowing through the house.

026

029

This was definitely a weekend brought to you by the letter B.

What letter filled your weekend?