I used to be so good at making Sunday mornings a little different than other mornings...relaxing together, baking pies, making a big brunch, and sitting, reading...just being.  Then somehow, slowly, they just became more ordinary.  I missed our Sunday mornings. So, I decided to make the effort again to creating a different atmosphere in our home. It is after all, by God's design, a day for rest.  It's the one day where we can all go to Mass together.  (Actually, we've just decided it might be best to split up and attend Mass separately without a certain eighteen month old....)  It's a perfect day to make brunch and cook a big meal for dinner.  Little ways to help show our kids that Sunday is a special day.    
So instead of heading out to run, I still woke up early and made brunch.  A "ready to go" brunch so that when everyone woke up, we could eat.  And I took it all outside and set it up on our tables  in the backyard.  Cut some flowers from the yard and put them on the table.  Used the expensive but super cute straws for their juice!  The funny thing is the last few Sundays it's just been Thomas and Annie and myself eating together.  George and Evie sleep in and no one wants to wake them up!

I've also started something different on Sunday mornings.  After I've got brunch started, I'll grab my rosary and slip outside to walk and pray.  I'm always running, so to walk slowly and look up at the sky or at the homes I pass by is so nice.  I'll pray the rosary offering each of the five decades for each of my five children.  I try and pray very specific for each one of them.  What they are struggling with, for their vocation, formation, schooling, health and relationships with one another.

  The last one to go to bed at night.  The last one to wake up.  The last one to get into the shower at night.  The last one to eat breakfast. 


Celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

July 16th is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  For a couple years now we have begun the tradition of making a visit out to the Carmelite Monastery just outside of town, on this feast day.  This year we went with our friends the Boevers.  Each child got a bag of Carmel popcorn to munch on for the drive.  When the wheels hit the country road, the peace and quite consume me.  There is such beauty and contrast between the bright blue sky and the green fields full of crops.  I was smiling as I heard from the backseat three boys looking out the windows deciding what hills would be good for hobbits to live in and where they would build their Lord of the Rings cities. 


When we got out there, we found the chapel locked.  So we wandered around and found an open door.  To our surprise we found a priest and he was able to have one of the Sisters open the doors for us.  It was locked because they were preparing the church for Mass that evening with the Bishop!

Every time I come out here I imagine what life must be like for these women.   They have given their lives completely to Christ.  They NEVER leave the walls of the monastery.  Lindsay made the comment that those twenty nine women are probably the happiest people ever, and yet they have nothing.  Why can't I learn from them?  I think of this every morning when I go to mass at the Pink Sisters.  They are also a cloistered order of nuns.  I watch this one sister in particular who is usually the first one in the chapel.  She is ALWAYS smiling.  Always.  As she is kneeling in prayer.  When she walks up to the altar to light the candles.  As she is opening the gate for Mass.  Smiling.  Always smiling.  Some evenings if I go back for night prayers,  I look at her, smiling again, and wonder how different our days have been.  We both began the day with Mass, and are ending it with night prayers, but what happened in between?  What did she DO all day.  I can go over the list of what I did all day...made food, cleaned up food, wiped bottoms, washed laundry, went swimming, drank coffee, browsed Pinterest, talked with friends, drove Sherman, vacuumed the floors, made more food, cleaned up more food.  The list is endless.
  I think of that smiling Sister.  I want to be more like her.

 We were able to talk with one of the sisters this time which was so cool!  The only way to speak to them is through this turn table in the wall.  You can't see them, there isn't even a screen.  All you hear is this small, high, sweet voice through the wall.  The kids all asked her questions, it was darling.  One of them asked her what her favorite food was!  She couldn't answer!!  It took her a long moment to THINK of something to say!  Finally she answered, "fruit".  Lindsay and I joked that she probably offers up the privilege of eating that's why she couldn't think of anything.  They are amazing, and I feel the need to get my prayer life and fasting in order.
This is what you see as you leave the monastery.  As you leave this small, quiet glimpse of heaven.
May God Reward You.


Happy 4th of July


 Of course you should wear snow boots on the 4th of July.
Why not?

Hi Ho Cherry-O

We spent the weekend of the 4th at Laura and Jarod's house.  It just so happened that the cherries were ripe and absolutely perfect while we were there!  I'm always inspired by Laura's ability to can.  She cans cherries, salsa, peaches, pickles, beans, tomato soup just to name a few. 
It was our mission the few days we were together to pick and pit as MANY cherries as possible.  We hiked out to the trees early in the morning with our coffee in hand, and late in the evening as the sun was setting. The  cherries were one of the most beautiful foods I have ever seen.  Perfectly red and round like jewels on the tree.

The picking was relaxing and fun, but the pitting was so time consuming.  Thank goodness we had Annie and my mom to help us take each pit out of every cherry.

Cherry pie filling here we come!  Can't wait to have jars of pie filling just waiting to be used.  Thanks Laura for teaching me how to can!




What I Love About Baseball

George insisting he wear "baseball socks" which are really ski socks
Thomas' little buns in baseball pants
That George throws with his left hand
That Thomas can ride his bike to practice
Watching Thomas catch the ball in his glove so effortlessly
Getting George baseball pants because his brother had them
Seeing Thomas' excitement in the store as we picked out his pants,
socks, belt and bat.  Having him thank me over and over!
Watching George make it around to third base, then just walk off to the dugout because
he needed a drink!
Thinking how grown up Thomas looked while pitching

Last Day of School

The last day of school was Thomas' eleventh birthday!  I think they all had a good school year, hard to believe that another one is through.
We've started a tradition the past three years of painting yourself with shaving cream on the last day of school!  I think Annie looks forward to it all year long!  This year however it was downright chilly out.  But that didn't stop the girls from diving right into the mess....I mean fun!
 When it was time to clean off I had to get the hose out and spray them down, only since it was so cold out those poor little girls were freezing!!!  I sure had fun though!