Thursday, December 29, 2016

12 pictures of 2016

Linking up with Bobbi of Revolution of Love in a photo review of 2016

January 1, 2016 ~ starting a year by the ocean is a good start.

In January someone turned 3!

In February Elisabeth made her first Reconciliation.

In April received her First Holy Communion!

May found us all out on our bikes.

In July we gathered with my extended family on the Outer Banks; 

and in August went to Maine with Charlie's.

In September Liam turned 6 while trying to 'catch them all'!


Pilgrim in the school play.

Ended the year bidding farewell to a beloved car.

Please head over to Bobbi's  for more photo recaps!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ideas and options for books while traveling

   We live about halfway between both of our extended families and have for all of the kids lives ~ which means we are almost always traveling for the holidays. The kids are in general good travelers and I wanted to share some of the books we have found that help them pass the time so well.

  Of late Lisbeth has been big into mazes and these from Usborne are wonderful, interesting and since they get progressively harder she is not likely rush through.   All of the kids enjoy the write and wipe books and Usborne has a nice mix of instructional and fun ones.  The pages wipe easily and the pens provided have lasted well and not dried quickly if the kids don't remember to promptly recap.

  Another great option for us are the magic pens books; the pen last a long time and having just the one pen is easier for Caitlin to keep track of.  The link is to Amazon but of late I've had good luck finding them in the Target dollar bins in some of the kids favorite characters.

Finally another book series we like when traveling are these Melissa and Doug water pen books.  Tough to refill in the car but a great option while visiting since when the pages dry they are reusable and I don't have to worry on which wall or piece of furniture my frustrated artist might be drawing on.


Not a sponsored post ~ just sharing some faves.
Any good options I've missed?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Quick Takes #219: St Nicholas and Bye Bonnie

  1. It feels good to be blogging again; of late blogging had felt like 'one more thing' and suddenly I'm again excited about sitting down and giving voice to thoughts and events going on around me.
  2. St Nicholas was good enough to stop by and leave gifts of chocolate and toys. The hit for the two older kids were the Pokemon cards he left, for Caitie the Rapunzel barbie she received and the Elena doll Lisbeth did. The Bishop was kind enough to leave for me a couple of movies I've been wanting.
  3. Big excitement last Saturday morning when car dealership called to say that the car we ordered had arrived!! Needless to say we rearranged our Saturday to go pick the car up.  This also meant saying good-bye to Bonnie the blue Subaru Forester we have had since January of 2001. She was the first new car we had ever owned and the car in which I learned to how to drive 'stick'.  We were still living in Houston when we got her and baffled the sales person by asking for the 'winter braking package' but we knew we were soon headed back to the Mid-Atlantic and its occasional snow and ice.
  4. The new car is also a Forester and currently tentatively called Holly given the time of year and her red color.
  5. Advent is going well; I'm really enjoying the Advent journal from Blessed Is She and the kids are having fun with their Holy Heroes Advent Adventure.
  6. As is our tradition the plan is to get our tree tomorrow and will decorate it on Gaudete Sunday. Hopefully we will also get some outside lights up. Best laid plans?!?
  7. Happy Weekend!
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.

Goodbye Ole Girl and Thank You!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Open Book December 2016

  • Am still working away on The Life You Save and am well past when I abandoned it last time but will be reading it into the next year so while I will not finish all the books in the challenge I will be reading the book to fulfill the last category ~ so close enough.
  • In addition to finishing Emily Climbs which I enjoyed and plan to soon read the final book in the trilogy Emily's Quest; I read The Blue Castle one my favorites of L.M.Montgomery's stand alone books.  A lovely story of a twenty-nine year old who has failed to marry and has largely lived her life quietly so as not to annoy her widowed mother and other domineering relatives; and how all of that changes when she gets a terminal diagnosis.  Yes I know the plot device is a common one but Montgomery does nice things with it.  
  • I'm currently rereading Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher a wonderful Christmas story of what happens to a group of people who find themselves snowed in together in a house in Northern Scotland. Pilcher does a lovely job providing depth and substance to her characters as well as the world they inhabit.
  • Kid-wise I did want to share a couple of favorites this time of year. Last year Liam was gifted Samurai Santa by Rubin Pingk and loved it! It is a beautifully written and illustrated story about a young ninja student whose Christmas wish is an epic snowball fight and how Santa grants his wish.  Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell is one I remember the bigger kids liking and has caught Caitlin's attention this season.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ending on a grateful note

Sorry to go silent ~ a cold and a bit of the November funk hit me hard but I did want to end the month and start the new giving thanks:
  1. Weather continued to be warm enough to get the bulk of the raking done while the kids played outside and the wonderful pen Dr Daddy built in the back saved me so much bagging and moved us a step closer to starting to compost.
  2. Wonderful friends of ours lent us a beautiful cradle when we were expecting Elisabeth; we have now been able to pay that forward and pass that cradle onto another wonderful couple now expecting their first baby.
  3. The chance to get together with extended family; giving my kids more cousin time which they so enjoy and me time with my sisters which I also really cherish.  Traffic was tough both heading south and heading home but never awful and the kids continue to be good travelers.
  4. Currently everyone is healthy and excited for the month ahead!
Giving thanks for pie and a generous helping of whipped cream

Advent wreath is out, candles in the window and wreath hung on the door.
Happy Advent! Happy December!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Quick Takes #218: Reasons to give thanks

Focusing on giving thanks and seeing the good amidst the ugliness that seems to fill my airwaves.

  1. I'm thankful for Dr Daddy taking the lead on pumpkin carving!  One thing off my plate and they turned out amazing!!
  2. Kids had a good Halloween; really enjoyed their school parades and had fun trick-or-treating. As I wrote earlier their costumes were completely their choice and I'm so glad I went with it. In retrospect Liam and Lisbeth's different take on ninja teaches me much about their personalities; samurai versus stealth.
  3. Getting estimates and dealing with contractors are among my least favorite things to do but I pushed myself to some long standing jobs done and have been rewarded by finding landscapers and mechanics who were honest and helpful. 
  4. Elisabeth has recently been reaching her nightly book chapter to 3-4 and while getting her going in the morning is a struggle I am so happy that she has found a series of books she loves reading so much.
  5. Dr Daddy finding work he enjoys and deems important, and being recognized for his contributions.  His hours are crazy long and that doesn't look to be getting any better anytime soon but am so happy to see him getting the recognition he deserves!
  6. Caitlin's preschool offered lunch and soccer one day a week this past month which she really enjoyed and I got a chance to breath and reboot as there was time to linger over a cup of coffee and read a whole chapter and even did some scrapbooking.
  7. The weather has been treading sunny and warm which makes the less the lovely tasks of raking all the leaves more pleasant as does watching Caitie's joy as she leaps into the piles of leaves I've raked.

Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Open Book: November 2016

The Life You Save by Paul Elie is a look at American Catholicism in the twentieth century by telling the story of Dorothy Day,  Thomas Merton, Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy.  A really interesting read and one I'm enjoying. With the exception of O'Connor they were all converts and it is really interesting to see how their coming to faith influences how they lived it out and sought to share their faith with those around them. Also fascinating the role writing and being a writer played in their life and how they saw their vocation from God.  A very dense book packed with information I'm finding it hard to jump in and out a couple pages at a time but am hoping for a nice chunk of time soon to really marinate and better absorb all this book has to offer. Am currently only a third of the way through, and will write again when I've finished.

Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery; MMD recently pointed out that this trilogy was on sale and while I'm sure I've read this in the past given how much I love the Anne of Green Gable series I honestly couldn't remember the story and so am reading the books about the orphan girl name Emily sent to live with two maiden aunts at New Moon.  Emily Climbs is the second of the series and I'm sensing the coming-of-age book in this series which is a period in a young girl's life that Montgomery writes about so well.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

from this good witch,

this silent ninja,

and this mighty ninja!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Quick Takes #217: Favorite Links of late

  1. Life at the end of October here has finally decided to be fall-like temperature wise. After a very strange week a couple weeks back when we were considering turning the a/c back on at the beginning of the week and the heat by the end.  Raking has seriously begun and likely mowing is done.
  2. I've never felt artistic enough for bullet journaling but keeping a book journal is an idea I like and really enjoy Bobbi's take on how to adapt this journal from MMD.
  3. No politics except to say I'm considering giving up TV till after the election to avoid the ads which are everywhere all the time!!
  4. With All Saints Day coming up and kids who are definitely into the Disney Princesses I loved this post from Meg ~ and for once do enjoy the comments!
  5. Halloween parades later today; this year the costume choses are is all them but thank you Zulily for helping me make it happen.
  6. 900th blog post: surreal but nice! Name the movie!
  7. Happy Weekend!!
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October '16 ~ Daybook

Linking up with Bobbi of Revolution of Love for Weekly Writing this October

Thinking about:
    Upcoming family visits and Halloween, making sure we have everything we need for costumes, trick-or-treating and trying to not let the stress of it all overwhelm me.

Excited For:
   Parades which the kids love and the ongoing changing of the leaves which I do. And while definitely not rushing things; Thanksgiving which is one of my most favorite holidays.

   Mostly jeans and clogs or wedges; I know for most fall means breaking out the boots (and I have a pair that gets some wear) but for me fall means my favorite wedges and wearing clogs again.

   Chrysanthemum and asters; and weeding the mint bed gone wild.   
My View: 

Reading:  Why Lie? my sister's newest release, and The Life You Save by Paul Elie.  I've read it before but did not finished. I'm enjoying the reread but finding it hard to keep everyone's story straight when I'm only reading a page or two at a time. 

Watching: This is Us which I really like, Timeless which I'm getting into, Blindspot which may be winning me back, and Designated Survivor which I'm about to give up on.  After falling into a habit of watching HGTV and the Food Channel all the time. We made an effort of trying to watch some of the new shows and I'm glad though my DVR is bit overwhelmed.  

Cooking: Pot Roast and Chili; and looking forward to Charlie's annual Stuffed Squash. 

The Kids:

Elisabeth is meeting the challenges of the increase workload 3rd grade brings with her usual intensity but actually is doing really well and improving by leaps and bounds at her gymnastics class (pun not intended).  She continues to have an amazing imagination and a real knack at making things come to life through clay or legos.  Reading for fun will likely find her in the Magic Treehouse with Jack and Annie.

Liam after a few minor bumps has settled well into the Kindergarten routine and is doing well with his sight words and starting to get the hang of sounding words out.  He is also in the same gymnastics class but mostly loves running.  Pokemon and all things ninja are still tops in his world

Caitlin is loving preschool and delights in making up games for us to play while the bigs are at school. Playing family is her favorite!  She has already informed me that she wants a Shimmer and Shine party for her birthday in January!

Please head over to Bobbi's for more Weekly Writing

Saturday, October 8, 2016

October Weekly 2: Finnegan Begin Again

Linking up with Bobbi of Revolution of Love for weekly writing this October. I had a blast with Write31 last year and am enjoying reading along with those participating this year but knew I didn't have it in me but did want to challenge myself this month so weekly it is.

 Guess what is for breakfast today? French Toast!

 Guess what I meant to have for breakfast last Saturday in honor of the feast day of St Therese of Lisieux and forgot? French toast.

 Guess who planned to pray a rosary (or part of one) with her kids yesterday on the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary? Me. Which as you are likely figuring out by now did not happen.  I did talk about it with the kids and about how in October we celebrate the wonderful gift of the rosary.  Elisabeth suggested Halloween as a way to finish the month. Liam suggested the 30th and asked if we call that day Halloween Eve; (which I found funny since Halloween means All Hallows Eve ~ does an Eve get it own Eve?).

Hopefully we will not wait till the very end of the month to try again for a family rosary.  And the lesson of the day I will focus on as I enjoy my French Toast, telling anyone who asks that Saint Therese was born in France, is that things don't always come together on the perfect day and what is important is that we finnegan Begin again!

Please head over to Bobbi for more weekly writings.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Quick Takes # 216: Life these days

  1. Pardon a snapshot post of life these days. Amidst all the craziness there are a few things I want to remember and Mommy fatigue means I don't remember much I don't write down.
  2. Currently Liam's breakfasts consist of frozen Uncrustables -still frozen.  I'm honestly very curious and a little afraid of what he will be eating as a teenager.
  3. Caitie loves playing house; she is the parent and you are the 'dear'.  Beyond this it varies greatly; sometimes we are going somewhere, sometimes she is preparing food for us to eat at a picnic but I find the consistency of the title charming.
  4. Liam received roller skates for his birthday and so last weekend when we finally got a break in the rain all of the kids got out tried out their skates. Unfortunately at some point while waiting to fit Caitlin the skates which were originally Elisabeth lost an important strap but she was still quite the trooper and gave them a go.
  5. Had a little fun earlier this week and while all the kids were at school I headed into the city and was able to go the one of the coffee shops transformed into Luke's Diner of Gilmore Girl fame for the day.  The to-do list is constant and I'm coming to understand that you need to seize these opportunities to recharge and be a bit silly when they come up.  The wait was doable, the atmosphere fun, the mocha delicious and by a crazy accident the parking free!!  Next step figuring out how to see the new episodes since we don't have Netflix.
  6. After a week of rain this week's weather has been amazing; cool enough for jeans and clogs but warm enough to read or play outside.  Leaves starting to change color but not enough have fallen that I feel like I should be raking. 
  7. Prayers for all those in the Path of Hurricane Matthew!!
Please head over the Kelly's for more 7QTs 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Quick Takes #215: School daze and fall dreaming

  1. Happy Friday!! This was the first week of both big kids having homework and a test to study for and it was bumpy and so I'm looking forward to a weekend without homework (no projects yet) but I'm also hopeful that we will build on a decent start to something good.
  2. The Quick Recap on Liam's Pokemon Party is all good: the kids jumped to their hearts delight on trampolines and into foam pits; and then munched down on pizza and cake. Unfortunately constant motion do not make for good pictures. 
  3. Years ago I stayed away from the new Upstairs/Downstairs series having been told that if you liked the original the new would be a disappointment. Then about a month ago I bumped into the second season and liked!! So I put the first season on my Prime watchlist and last week while Dr Daddy was on a work trip I finally got a chance to watch. So the good news is I really enjoyed the series and again visiting 165 Eaton Place ~ the bad news apparently there won't be a third season. :(
  4. Of the new shows offered this fall so far I've watched "This is Us" which I really liked and "Designated Survivor" which was ok and worth a couple more episodes. Any others I should check out?
  5. Given that it is now officially fall and all; I'm ready for the weather to act accordingly.  The AC went off earlier this week and would be lovely if it could stay off for the duration.  PSL and jeans please!!
  6. If you are of the prayerful persuasion would you please send a few up on the behalf of my friend Rosie and her wee babe? Please and Thank you!
  7. Have a good weekend! 

Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Liam at Six

    Liam at six (official as of a couple days ago)  is a laid back, mostly easy going dude.  Though definitely not without a temper he is able to face disappointment and regroup.  Case in point earlier this week we headed to Party City to get Pokemon stuff for his party only to find that section largely sold out; he just started looking down the aisle and decided that Skylander banner, plates, and napkins would work just as well.

   My most adventurous eater there are very few foods that he won't at least try.  Favorites include lasagna and spaghetti, beef & broccoli, and ice cream every chance he gets.  He enjoys cooking especially with Daddy; though he treasures his time with Dad above everything and would be happy to do pretty much anything with his 'buddy'!

   Ninjas teenage and otherwise are still favorites, along with Teen Titans, Transformers, and Pokemon.  We are exploring sight words and beginning to understand how letters go together to form words.

   Loves running, getting better all the time on his bike and discovering roller skating.  He is doing gymnastics currently but that is likely not to continue. Mostly he runs a lot; in the house, down the block, pretty much all the time!

Happy Birthday Buddy!!


Friday, September 9, 2016

Quick Takes #214: What I learned on my day in the Shenandoah

  1. Last Saturday I had the great good privilege of attending a conference hosted by the CWBN (Catholic Women Blogger Network) Mid-Atlantic conference and it was awesome!! An amazing opportunity to step away from daily life, listen to great talks, and sit around a table sharing concerns and being supported by other women of faith.
  2. Meet and greet; was lovely especially after I got over my nerves at meeting in the flesh such amazing, inspiring bloggers as Mary and Kelly.  Of course there was also the wondrous feeling of meeting IRL blogger friends like Lisa and them being as great as you knew they would be. Plus loving on all those beautiful babies!!
  3. Mary's talk started off the day by offering a wonderful meditation on motherhood and encouraging us to call on our Blessed Mother for the courage to be who and write about what our Lord is calling us to; to show the committment of Mother Theresa and to believe in our vision with the tenacity that Mother Angelica demonstrated.
  4. Elizabeth's keynote encouraged us to balance creativity with authenticity. I so appreciated the reminder to be true to myself on this blog and trust that if I share honestly of the insights gained from living my life and pursuing my vocation my readers will leave happy.  She also offered a lot of food for thought about how to honestly share my journey as a mom and wife without oversharing my children's story.
  5. After a lunch where I got feed my body with yummy food; and my spirit by the wonderful conversation with my small group we were blessed as Jennifer Ryan shared her expertise in affiliate management which was so kind of her and gave me so much to think about as this is an aspect of blogging I have yet not explored.   This is also the point in the day when a bear cub ran across the yard adding a fun moment of excitement  to the day!
  6. The day ended with all the speakers plus our emcee (and lovely link-up host) Kelly forming a panel and answering anything and everything we asked!
  7. From crossing the Shenandoah in the morning to crossing the Susquehanna at dusk: blessings all day long!  My thanks to our lovely host Rosie and everyone else who worked so hard to put together such a wonderful conference!

Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

New headshot featured above courtesy of Rachel Cupps who so generously shared her time and talent to the ladies of the conference.