Friday, July 29, 2011

The Simple Things

  Ever since I got my new camera the kids ask more and more for me to take their picture. I think their hope is that they'll make it to the blog. They asked me to get my camera tonight, so I snapped a few shots during our bedtime routine, mentioning that their hair was not particularly blog-worthy.

 Today was one of those days that seemed to go on forever. I have to admit I was a bit irritable and snapped at every little thing. You'd never know it by the way the kids were acting tonight. They were so happy and goofing around a lot. They seemed to ignore my pleas for peace and quiet and went on laughing and giggling. After a while I just had to give in and laugh with them.

  At bedtime I sometimes do something my Mom used to do to me. I wrap them up in their covers coccoon-like and say "snug as a bug in a rug". Not sure if this is a universal saying. You may know it too. However, my kids love it when I do it. It's one of those simple things that means so much to them. I know this because it's a fond memory for me too. Anyway, I did this tonight and as I was walking  out of the room and down the hall I heard Ann say to Mary, "I love my Mom." She didn't say this for me to hear, but I did.

  And isn't that the way it always seems to go? When you feel like you'd come in last place for Mother of the Year, one of your lovies just comes out with something that melts your heart. She still loves me after all of the griping I did today. No wonder Jesus loves the little children. They are much like Him. Unconditional love.  And THAT is blog-worthy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Special Day with Family

 Just wanted to post some pictures from the great day we had at my brother in law's house. The kids and I took a day trip to see him, his wife, and their 2 daughters. They invited us for swimming, food and fun! It was fun for the kids and relaxing and special for me. I sometimes get sad that we don't live closer to each other. ( actually, the house across the street from them is for sale....that would be fun!) They have a beautiful home in the most beautiful neighborhood.

  Just a short walk from their house is an amazing park. The kids had a ball, even when it started to rain.

 Don't they have the coolest play-things at this playground??

Thanks J, A, G, and R for a great day. We love you guys!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Neat and Tide-y

  Have you ever looked around your house and thought to yourself, "How the heck did it get so messy and out of control in here?" That thought crosses my mind almost daily.

  When I woke up today I set some cleaning goals. The laundry room was first up. Here are some before and after pictures.

This laundry room is located between my kitchen and family room. It tends to be a catch-all area...laundry, mail, toys, shoes, wet clothes from the pool, etc. Much of the mess went in the trash, plus I moved a lot of tools that seem to accumulate in the cabinet back out to the garage. I put the kids in charge of matching weeks and weeks of spare socks and voila!   Maybe I'll be inspired to keep it looking nice after today. We'll see. How  long  do you think the top of the washer will stay clear of anything?

Next on the agenda.....the closet area in the same room. Check out this Monster.....

Sunday, July 24, 2011


There are many things I am grateful for as this weekend comes to a close:

 1. Spending time at a party with special friends.

 2. Hearing that 2 friends survived a mini-triatholon in this HEAT!!!  Congrats BK and VL!

 3. Hearing that my other friend DL survived a teacher's certification test :)

 4. Knowing my boys loved the basketball camp that started today. I was a bit worried about Tommy whose eyes bugged out when he heard how long the camp was each day and shouted, "6 HOURS???"

 5. A cute "Tommy-ism" when he told us that when it was his turn to play XBOX he was going to play for "1 1/2 hours and 50 minutes!"

 6. My painting project getting closer to an end. ( yes, I stuck with the green )

 7. Best of all this story:  Mary Kate took the altar server class a couple of weeks ago. It was a bit condensed to say the least. She had a one hour class and then was supposed to have two "sit-ins" at mass with the  more seasoned altar servers and just observe. Today she was doing her first "sit-in" with her brother Billy, one of the scheduled servers. Her big fear was that one of the servers wouldn't show and she'd have to take their place. She was so nervous. However, we told her that big brother Billy would look after her and show her what to do. Well, guess what. She was right. It was trial by fire. Next think I know she's walking into the church with a candle in hand. She didn't look nervous, didn't act nervous, performed with much grace, and did us proud. What a beautiful sight to see the two of them up there together.

 Congratulations Mary!

 Thanks Billy for guiding her along the way. You are the best biggest brother ever!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Painting Project

 I realized that one of my goals for the summer was to get something painted. I had 3 choices: the basement, the dining room, or the upstairs hallway. When I looked at the calendar and saw it was the end of July already I figured I'd better get a move on. My decision was the upstairs hallway.

 So I went to the store and picked out a color WAY beyond my comfort zone, but felt brave enough to give "something different" a try. After all, who except the 7 of us sees upstairs anyway? Well, hold on to your sunglasses because this color is BRIGHT! I think I like it, but not sure it "fits" with the way the rest of the house is painted.

  My husband is trying to keep an open mind. ( I asked him to. ) At this point he's just glad I haven't asked him for help. 

  I'll save the "before" pics for another time, but here's a sneak peak at the color. What to you think? Yea? Nay?

Now that's what I call green!!

   And no, the color is not called Kermit the Frog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thought for Today

 What other people think of me is becoming less and less important; what they think of Jesus because of me is critical.
                                                                                                 Cliff Richard

  Remember Cliff Richard? I remember him on my Xanadu album back in 1980. Back then he sang the song "Suddenly" with Oliva Newton-John. I used to love that song. Anyone remember it?

  This quote is spot on! I really needed to see it this week. Thanks Mr. Richard.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

 Today is my Dad's birthday. He is a wonderful father who has been faithful to his family all of his life. One of his big lessons in life was the importance of a thank you note. Well, hopefully this blog entry will be a quick thank you for all he's given, taught, and demonstrated over the years.

 One memory my siblings and I share is our annual beach vacations. Because my sister and I couldn't swim, he'd take us out into the ocean. He'd hold on to our hands and when a big wave came he'd yank, er, I mean lift our arms up to the sky to carry us over it. I think at the time I didn't mind it. I was just grateful that he kept me from drowning.

 You could say that his parenting was similar to those times at the beach. Always willing to hold our hand and keep us out of harm's way. He didn't say much, but we knew he had our best interests at heart. He led by example and gave us good values. He was strict, but we knew he loved us.

 When he lost my Mom after 38 years of marriage, it was a trememdous loss for him; he had to learn a new way of living. At the same time he showed us how strong he was by moving forward. If he were to describe himself, I doubt strong would come to mind. But he is....strong in mind, strong in love, and strong in faith.

 I love you Dad. I wish you a year of happiness and peace and many more to follow.

                                                              Jim and Mary
                                                              May 13, 1961

Celebrity Status

  My husband returned Saturday after a week long trip to California. When he walked through  the door, you would have thought a celebrity was here. It was the best welcoming the kids had ever given him! As he stood there surrounded by the five of them jumping, hugging, smiling he looked up at me. It was one of those moments that takes your breath away. A feeling of "Wow! Our life is so great" Now, I can't speak for him, and I don't know if that's what he was thinking. For all I know he was thinking, "I just took a red-eye that was delayed 4 hours, I haven't slept in 24 hours, I need to get to bed." But, I'm going to assume the former.

  What he did end up doing was going to the pool so he could see what the kids learned at swim class last week. He encouraged them to take the swim test declaring,  "You guys can do that easy!" ( and all 3 passed and spent glorious hours on the water slide). He postponed sleeping again so he could visit with his brother, sister in law, and nephew.  He even suffered through the "chick flick" I was watching Saturday night. How he stayed up, I'll  never know.

  He might not be famous like Cliff Lee, Lebron James, or Selena Gomez, but he's our own personal celebrity around here.  ( Matthew wasn't so sure at the time this photo was taken, so he opted out.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hail Mary

 In what seems like a long, long time ago I went to Catholic School. It was a great experience for me. I had nice teachers, a great group of friends ( 5 of whom I still call "best" friends ) and a tight knit class. There are  so many fond memories I have of school, especially grade school.

  Like any normal child, I looked forward to the times we took a break from regular class time to do something different. Maybe it was going to the choir loft to practice singing hymns for Friday mass; or watch a movie, or go on a field trip. But, when it came time to recite the rosary, I remember getting really nervous. This is why: Our desks were set up in rows and we went in order taking turns saying the prayer that was next. I remember vividly counting ahead to try to figure out what prayer I'd have to say when it got to be my turn. I didn't want to accidentally say 9 or 11 Hail Mary's!! That would be embarrassing.

   Since then, I've grown a lot more attached to saying the rosary, and there is no anxiety with it at all. Tonight I gathered the children in the living room to pray. And although they don't have the anxiety that I had all those years ago, they do still grumble and grouse about it. But it's my duty as a Mom to pass along the faith that my parents gave to me. If anything at all, they see how much peace saying the rosary brings me and hopefully look to our  Blessed Mother for guidance now and in their adult life.

  The rosary ends with this prayer:   


  Let us pray. O GOD, who’s only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord




Thursday, July 14, 2011

Butterscotch Lush

 I got this delicious recipe from a friend of my Dad's a few years back. I've only made it a couple of times, but when I do I always say, "I should make that more."

  I took a couple of pics to show it (and to practice different buttons on the camera). When I put the fork on the plate with the cut piece, Billy said, "Really Mom? You need props? I said, "Of course", but I was really just getting ready to eat it.

 Step 1.  Mix
              1 cup Flour
              1 stick margerine
              1/2 cup chopped walnuts
              Press in bottom of 13 x 9 pan and bake at 350 x 20 min. Let cool

 Step 2.  8 oz cream cheese, softened
              1 cup 10x sugar
              1 cup cool whip
               Mix together and spread on Step 1

 Step 3.  2 boxes of instant butterscotch pudding (you can use lemon if you prefer)
               3 cups cold milk
               Beat on low until thick. Spread on top of Step 2.

 Step 4.  Add remaining cool whip and spread on Step 3. ( buy the large tub of cool whip)

 This would rank "Easy" for anyone who wishes to try it.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Still Learning

 Yesterday my good friend Mary came over and spent  hours with me on this blog. I wanted to learn more about blogging and she's somewhat of a blogger guru, so I asked her if she could help me.

 Anyone who knows me knows I have difficulty asking for help. Mary has offered help many times in the past and she basically has to hit  me over the head for me to accept. Well, this time I went to her and asked for help. Quite the milestone for me. But it also says a lot about her. She's one of those people who is thinking I did her a favor yesterday instead of the other way around. Don't believe me? Read her blog. ( attempting to add the link here, but not sure I can. If it doesn't work, try the sidebar on the right that reads, "Me Myself and Mercy")  If it works, we'll have another milestone!

 Here's a picture of my friend.....beautiful inside and out. ( not to mention the only one who leaves comments on my new blog!!  Hint, hint )

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sprinklers and Bubbles

 Thank goodness for Ann and Matthew who are still so easy to entertain. All I have to do is get out the sprinkler and bubbles and they have so much fun with each other!

 I sat there watching them and played around with our new camera. Still figuring things out, but some pics actually look like "action shots".

 Boredom got to Tommy, so he joined in the fun. Unfortunately our Slip N Slide had a big hole, so it was a bust. But, he's still smiling.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So Groovy

  Some days it seems like a never-ending battle limiting TV time. It's tough, especially on those days when there is nowhere to go or nothing special planned.  However, today I came across our Season 2 DVD of The Brady Bunch!! This show was a childhood staple at my house growing up. What a classic!

  Correct me if I'm wrong but letting my kids watch this show DOES NOT COUNT for TV time! It educates my children on so many things: right and wrong, ups and downs, problem solving, good values and strong family bonding. What could be better? So today we ditched the Summer Bridge Books and watched a few episodes of the show.

 My 6 year old Ann is always quick to point out that our family  follows the same pattern as the Brady's and all we need is one more girl! Oh Annie, you're so cute!

Holy Water

 Thanks to the encouragement of good and faithful friends, a few years back Bill and I went to our parish's annual retreat. At first I thought if I were able to get away with Bill for the weekend without our kids in tow, a parish retreat would be the last place I'd want to go. Turns out, it was one of the best decisions we've made.

  Since then, we've built many friendships with good people. Last night, we had a reunion of sorts. It took place at our friends' home. We started with mass. Now, since it's not my norm, I'm not really sure how I feel about having mass somewhere other than a church. But I have to say, it was all very reverent and a wonderful experience for our kids. An "altar" was set up in the family room and all the kids there had a front row seat to the transubstantiation. ( I had to google that ). It was a beautiful very intimate.

  The not-so-wonderful part for me was the pool party that took place afterwards. I have 5 children who can't swim but think they can. Since our priest friend Fr. Allen was there, I was tempted to ask him to bless the pool, and then maybe I could have relaxed a bit. Probably not.

  Here is a picture I took this morning. In the far distance on the right is our church. We are so blessed to be a part of such a great parish!


Friday, July 8, 2011


  I woke up early this morning to go for a run. ( Bill calls it a "prance" b/c I go so slow, but I like to sound cool, so I say "run" ). Every time I do this, I go to the family room to lace-up my sneakers ( see, I even sound like a runner.) Each time I do this our dog Vader gets up from his crate where he sleeps and walks over to where I'm sitting, gives me a sniff, then walks back to his crate to continue sleeping. I always feel so loved by him when he does that! Gee Whiz!  I barely open my eyes from my slumber when Bill says goodbye to me the mornings I'm sleeping in!!

 It reminded me of a church marquee that read :

                                     Lord, help me be the person
                             my dog thinks I am.

  Definitely something to strive for!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

  When it comes to mothers in law, I've got the best. Today is her birthday and what I'd like to do is write a fabulous blog entry about her.  The problem is,  I'm not a great writer and I'd never be able to tell her in words about  how much she means to me.

  If I  were a great writer, I'd write something along  the lines of how welcome she's made me from the first day Bill brought me home to meet  her. I'd tell her that I appreciate her endless words of advice from the day I had my first baby up until last week. I'd thank her for raising a wonderful husband and father for me and my children. But mostly, I'd thank her for filling the void that was left when my own mother passed away 12 years ago. 

  When I asked the children what they liked best about Gran, this is what they said:

1. She's  a great cook
2. She's loving
3. She's nice
4. She's the nicest person on earth ( I had to swallow my pride on that one! )

 So, Happy Birthday Mom!! We love you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Playing Dress Up

  The girls are always asking to play dress up. Our dress up drawers consist of hand- me- down clothes that don't fit yet , clothes that are too small but for some reason they still love to squeeze in to, or in this case, Halloween costumes handed down by their cousin.

 Shortly after this picture was taken, big sister Mary played hairdresser, make-up artist, and stylist for her little sister Ann. She even lent her the First Holy Communion veil to complete the look. We were in awe of how beautiful she looked.

 Later that night I asked my husband Bill if he got teary-eyed when he saw her. He said no, but I don't believe him one bit.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summertime: Week 4

    The first order of business when school ended 4 weeks ago was to re-vamp the Chore Board.

I came up with this system (if you can call it that ) mostly to avoid excessive use of the following phrases: "Mom, can I watch TV?" and "Mom, can I play XBOX?" I figured if they had specific times they could play video games or watch TV, that would lessen the amount of times I had to say "no". Good, right?

  My favorite part of the Chore Board is the side panel labled "Uh-Oh Jobs".  These are simple tasks the children have to do if they break a rule, misbehave, talk back, or dare say, "I'm bored".  For a
few weeks the novelty of it got a lot of laughs. But that's gotten old lately and I'd say it's been about a week since there has been a house violation. Good for them! BUT, more cleaning for me!!

  Here is a picture of my 5 joys on the morning my husband accidentally took my car keys to work.

 They look surprisingly happy considering we were stuck at home all day. They must have forgotten about the dreaded Chore Board lurking inside.

Reason for the Title

  Finding a name for this blog was way more difficult than I thought it would be. Many of the ones I had thought of were either taken, vetoed by family and friends, or simply too corny. Finally, These Joyful Mysteries came to mind. It touches on many aspects of my life that are important to me, which I hope to reveal in some ways through future posts.