Friday, February 27, 2009

Nature Club

Thursday we met at a local park on the water for Nature Club. It was a gorgeous day in the mid-80s! Ellie actually got a sunburn. Here are some photos from our fun but hot afternoon!

Mary Clare hanging out with her friend

Finishing up our picnic lunches

Stevie and Ellie in the stroller
trying to hide from the sun!

We took a nature walk, looking for animal tracks.
We used plaster of paris to make molds of the tracks.
Way fun!

SJ was all into this activity, digging in the dirt,
stomping in the mud, finding rocks,
and throwing the rocks into the water.
He was a total mess.

It's days like these that make me so thankful for the ability to homeschool, when our classroom can be the outdoors and we can enjoy these great learning experiences together!


This Wednesday marked the beginning of the newest Church season. I usually dread the season of Lent...fasting and penance, winter weather and dreary days. But this year Lent has come with a new hope for me. We have gotten over the surgery hump, are well into the homeschooling groove, and are blessed with Daddy's new job this year. The weather has gotten warm again, the sun is shining, and I'm hopeful for a springtime full of new joys!

I actually took time this year to ponder what kind of Lenten commitments we would make. Usually it sneaks up on me. I'll elaborate on those later, but for now I'll post a couple pictures from our first Lenten Crown of Thorns which will become a Crown of Glory at Easter! When the children perform an act of charity, a special sacrifice, or another good deed they get to take a thorn (toothpick) off of the crown. At Easter they should all be gone and we'll paint and decorate the beautiful Crown of Glory! It's working well so far.

Mary Clare kneading the salt dough

Crown in the oven!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Go Texan Day!

Yesterday we had our own "Go Texan Day"
with our homeschool friends.
Here are some pictures:

Ellie all ready with her beautiful braids!

SJ after playing in the dog water bucket
the jean jacket didn't last very long!

And the beautiful cowgirl on crutches!

All 3 kids with a traveling stuffed duck

Best Buddies

some cute cowboys!

Mr. K teaches them all about cowboys,
trail rides, horses, cows, and roping!

Show and Tell: Ellie shares her painted Texas flag

and Mary Clare did a painting of a cowboy
and his horse

The whole gang!

and the finale...a Wild West show
at Chick-fil-a

What a fun evening! Thanks so much to the
K family for putting this on!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I laughed seeing this on the floor...Mary Clare's crutch and "Emily's" crutch (her American Girl doll). And the toy from the doctor kit in the corner :)

Thank You!

Grampatti, BopBop, Aunt Jill, the D and the R families
What a fun delivery they got!

They are keeping busy non-stop...
puzzles, games, books, etc.

Ellie loves the bell!

planting their daisies!

we have such wonderful friends and family
you've made this week so much easier!
thank you!

While I was on a quick phone call

he loaded up his diaper with more raisins :-P
got into some paints the girls were using
hid under the sofa table and smeared white paint all over his body (at least it was white)
and i discovered his diaper had unloaded a few places in the house
i found him eating more raisins, both fresh ones, and "digested" ones. ewwww!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What's on the table?

Just wondering...what's on the table where you're at the computer right now (assuming you're not on a laptop in bed)?

In no particular order:
a bag of animal crackers
a medicine syringe (I needed that an hour ago! They're all disappearing!)
a big hair clip
a mug from the ice cream I just ate
a plastic cup with one last sip of water
a DVD case for the "Beautiful Ballerina" movie from the library
DVD case for Bob the Builder (where are these DVDs and why is only the case here?)
a gingerbread candle
a polka-dot painted clothespin
a foam princess crown
a few bills
a stack of a few Christmas cards that never got sent
a nightlight that Stevie always wants to eat
and I dare not look behind the computer screen!

We've had a nice Monday. One more doctor visit for baby, a grocery trip (just me and SJ), a restful lunchtime, and an afternoon at ballet and the fabric store (to browse). Everyone is in much better spirits. We've been enjoying the movie "Madeline" the past few days so I'm hoping to do a little unit on that this week. We have 2 of the books and will talk about France. I'm looking forward to the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday and hope that it will be a renewal for me in many aspects...a renewal of my faith, my prayer life, our homeschooling life, and our family life. More on that later. For now, it's past my bedtime. But my kitchen floor is scrubbed and my living room is tidy and vacuumed! I guess I should post on the "Small Successes" over at Faith & Family, but I'll try to spend my morning with the kids! Have a terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

better day

Thank you all so much for the prayers. Yesterday was nice and relaxing at my parents' and today has been another restful day. We had a few problems with Mary Clare in the night (crying in pain but refusing to take her medicine), but Steven Joseph slept well and seems to be feeling well today. We are just very anxious for Daddy to get home. A full weekend of work for him has not been easy for any of us! I'm quite ready for the LifeTeen mass tonight, and am even looking forward to the disciplined season of Lent beginning on Wednesday! Hope you are all having a blessed Sunday afternoon.

I'll end with a cute video of Ellie from Valentine's Day, singing about flowers :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

2 steps forward, 1 step back

Seems like we have a good day followed by a rough one. Last night Steven Joseph was up crying half the night; I'm not sure if it was his ears, his molars, or his sore throat. Poor guy. Then we had Mary Clare up with pain too. And Daddy had to work all day today. We were hoping to go across town early with Daddy so we could hang out at the in-laws, but plans changed to pediatrician visit (got a shot of stronger antibiotics) and a stay at my parents' house nearby. I am sad we had to miss the big Mardi Gras celebration at church, but happy to have had a restful day with NeNe and PaPa. Praying for a better night tonight!

Friday, February 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday #4

1. Update on the kids--yesterday was a hard day with trying to get MC's pain med refilled and SJ was fussing ALL night and day. He is cutting some molars along with his double ear infection, and the antibiotics were eating him up...poor guy. We've tried some probiotics which seem to be helping. We took off the dressings on MC's knee last night and wow, they did some work. I was expecting a few little slits, but it looked pretty yucky. But all the meds must've kicked in because last night was the first time we all slept all night in a long while, praise God! Today has been a calm morning, Mary Clare has been napping a few hours, and we're all much happier...only Mommy now has a head cold :-/

2. Ellie has been a bit feisty the past week or two. I think she's wanting for the attention her needy siblings are getting. She hid in the blanket compartment of the co-sleeper the other night for about 15 minutes and we could NOT find her! And she's been doing things like this...

3. Steven Joseph hasn't had much of an appetite. I realized yesterday that he'd rather be fed jarred food or applesauce right now. The other day I gave him a small bowl with cut up grapes. After a few minutes I noticed him doing this:

The floor was littered with grapes :) But he still has a hard time turning down chocolate, even when he's feeling crummy...

4. Speaking of food, no one is much into big meals right now, but we've gotten lots of deliveries of various snacks, treats, and cards. I'm not being particular about what they eat, hence Ellie having Teddy Grahams for breakfast today, and this picture shows them after they were eating fruit snacks before bed! They are loving the portable DVD player NeNe brought over.

5. Nothing makes you smile like some fresh flowers :)

6. Here are some of my other hanging projects from this week, in our master bedroom. Finally got some frames on the right side of the dresser, and some shelving above Steven's dresser. Also added a twin bed for MC to be close to us while she's recovering (and to work on keeping both girls out of our bed!). I'm not 100% happy with how these turned out but they're better than a blank wall! Maybe I just need to paint the dressers? Now I'm still trying to figure out what to put above our bed...

7. And lastly little reflection on the children's hospital, since I probably won't get around to a lengthy one....(just kidding, it ended up being long as usual!)

The children's hospital is a place I've never wanted to go. I had enough experience of it, listening to the stories of our friends Hans, Khloe', Luke, Cooper, and I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting. Steven took Mary Clare there for her MRI last month, since Steven Joseph was sick. But this time Steven and I left Ellie and SJ with their Grampatti and ventured in the early dark hours to that cheerfully decorated, but not-negatingly depressing building of the children's hospital.

We were there early and spent a few minutes in the regular waiting room, then transferred to the OR waiting area where there was a play area and movie which MC wanted nothing to do with. She was so nervous, poor baby! They made her put on a little pajama set with shorts to wear for her procedure. We were trying not to use the word "surgery" because of all the negative connotations, but it was hard to deny as we were being visited by the anesthesiologists, surgeon, and nurse. Finally they carried her down to the OR where they would put her to sleep with the gas before starting the IV and the procedure. What a horrible goodbye that was!

We went back to the regular surgery waiting room where happy little children were playing and talking. Steven and I both commented on what a harsh contrast it was; knowing those kids were about to be put under for surgery. There was one mom there with her nursing baby who kept reminding me of my own nursing toddler and making me miss him. There was the other mom whose teenage daughter has a very serious condition and she was talking about how they had almost lost her last fall and they got to take a Make a Wish trip as a family. There was also a young family whose toddler went into surgery right before MC for something that must've been related to cancer since the little girl had lost her hair. And several families there for broken bones and tonsillectomy-type things. All of us parents looked so nervous and sad.

I got to talk on the phone to my friend Sarah who pretty much lives at that hospital, but her son was too sick for us to see each other. I walked down to the chapel (how bare it seemed without the Tabernacle) and paced the gift store for close to an hour, trying to find the perfect prizes for each of my kids. Mary Clare got a stuffed Valentine Bear, Ellie a little ballerina necklace and bracelet, and Steven Joseph got his first rubber dinosaur!

I was glad that when I got back to the waiting room it had already been 1.5 hours. Any minute, I thought, we'd be able to go and see her! But the minutes went on and on and on. At about 3 hours, I called Veronica to talk through those last few minutes while waiting for an update. Finally around 3 hrs 15 minutes after she first went in, we were called back to the recovery room where she was peacefully sleeping.

The recovery area was not what I had expected. The stretchers were put together in groups of 4 (like a plus sign) with no curtains pulled, so we saw all the other patients coming from surgery, waking up, etc. I guess they kept it like that so the nurses could keep track of everyone. We were next to a family whose little girl had her tonsils out and ear tubes put in, as well as the poor teen with the liver problem whose skin was so yellow.

A few minutes later Mary Clare woke up wide-eyed and confused. She complained of a bit of pain, so some morphine was given through her IV. She drank some apple juice and fell back asleep for a long while. We were going to have to wait there for a bit of time so she could have crutches training from a physical therapist before going home. The surgeon visited us and shared about all the damage she had and how the cartilage on the back of her knee was torn and irrepairable, so that could limit her future in high-impact sports. We talked about the coming weeks of recovery, and were faced with the fact that this whole thing was a lot more serious than I had imagined. After that, I realized it was about 1pm and I'd only eaten an apple, so I rushed down to the food court for a bit of Chick-fil-a. My appetite wasn't all there but it at least gave me some energy.

After continuing to wait in the recovery area, we were finally greeted by the PT Emily, and we all spent a few minutes trying to encourage the drowsy MC to try the crutches so we could leave. We even brought out her American Girl doll, also "Emily", who had her own set of crutches that Steven got while he was on his business trip to Chicago. She mastered the crutches and off we went to go pick up the little ones (who did great!) and head home.

What a day! Well, I guess I needed to get that down in writing...Not a very pleasant memory but of course a defining event for a little 6 year-old girl. She'll have some battle scars and lots of work to do in the coming weeks. But she is a tough little cookie, and I know this whole experience will make her (and all of us) a lot stronger in the end. Thanks be to God we aren't dealing with a more serious condition, and our prayers are with all of you moms and dads who are. May Jesus comfort all the little children who suffer.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

10 Minutes to a Room You'll Love-My Master Bath

I've been reading these little 10-minute makeovers at the Nesting Place each week and have been doing little fix-ups here and there, in the kitchen, the living room, the bedrooms, and the master bath! If I need a room to do a quick clean-up, it's usually the bathroom. So I decided to do a quick re-do on our master bath.

Back in the day, I would dream about buying our first home. One of the things I would most look forward to and dream about was my own bathroom, complete with a light and airy look and featuring a huge soaking tub.

Well...I got the dream home but not the dream bathroom. I don't even have a bathtub...poor me. I finally painted our bedroom about a year and a half ago, then started my bathroom but only got about one coat painted in the toilet area before having a baby and having no time for painting! So I abandoned any hope at improving my bathroom until the painting gets done, figuring that no one goes in there anyway!

Well this week in the midst of caring for Mary Clare after her knee surgery and Steven Joseph with a cold and ear infections, of course was the PERFECT time to redecorate my bathroom ;) Actually I think it has helped with stress relief to keep my mind on something else. I've also been doing all sorts of hanging projects all over the house; I've had out my hammer and basket o' nails all week!

I admit this took a bit longer than 10 minutes. I had to clean off the counters, "shop the house" for items to use for decoration (no money was spent on this), and I know I spent more than 10 minutes attempting to use nails then upholstry tacks to hang the cut-up sheet under the "changing table." But it was worth the time! Here goes:

(Go ahead and click on it; I linked the huge picture.
What a horrible mess!)

(Ahh, it just makes me take a deep breath and smile.
You can click on this one to see the full effect too.)

the other angle

little tray with shells and candles

and the needed "changing table" area
got its own face lift

still need some help with that material underneath,
and I still hope to paint the room in a silvery blue soon,
and maybe add some other accessories for height. Maybe a lamp?
but this is worlds better!

And since it's 1am and my baby still refuses to sleep, I'll go ahead and recount what I did to transform this room, thanks to The Nester's tutorials.

~cleaned off countertops. put away all brushes, shaving cream, hair dryers, etc.
~"shopped the house" for some pretty trays, vases, and bowls.
~used our nice big white fish platter and wooden salad bowl to hold things
~also used a few napkins and placemats to add some color
~fishbowl vase with shells and candles
~stole one of my favorite beach pictures of the girls from their room
~grabbed the cute ribbon mirror which I'd never hung in the nursery (and added ribbon), and hung it up to cover the metalware that was previously holding a big mirror that wouldn't stay up
~hung 2 beach prints from a garage sale and laid the other big one against the wall
~cleaned off all the changing table mess and put it in drawers or under the counter
~found a nice white basket for the diapers
~cut an old striped fitted sheet in half and tacked it under the drawers; still needs some fixin'
-found a big piece of blue material to set under the changing pad for some added color
~a white tin bucket for toothbrushes/toothpaste/razors
~and the old little standing towel rack was found in the cabinets
Any other ideas for me?

Okay better run, we have a diaper mess on the floor. Lovely.
Thanks for visiting!

Thank you

for all the prayers. She did much better today.
What a brave little girl!

A better day

Mary Clare is doing much better today! She slept very well, ate a decent breakfast, and when the pain hit, she took her medicine right away and didn't start screaming at everyone in sight! Steven Joseph is still in some pain with his ears, but hopefully his antibiotic will kick in soon.

As for me, I redecorated my bathroom last night for some stress relief, and so I can participate in The Nester's linky party tomorrow :) Fun, fun! Check out her posts on "10 Minutes to a Room You'll Love" where she shares some easy (and mostly free) ways to spruce up your kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. I'm working on the other rooms too, but the bathroom is always the easiest!

Hopefully I can go out and steal my printer cable from Steven's office so I can post some pictures later. But for now, it's back to taking invalids to the bathroom and dragging toddlers out of the dishwasher. He's eating a lotion bottle right now...better run!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Update

Today has been a hard day. We are having a rough time managing her pain, so she goes through phases of intense screaming, anger, and frustration. I think it will take a few days for the pain to subside and for her to get used to the braces and crutches. Hopefully we also have a better handle on her medication dosage so she can be more comfortable.

I had to take Steven Joseph to the doctor this morning, and found he has a double ear infection and a heart murmur. What else can happen this week?

I'll also take this time to thank my in-laws who watched Ellie and Stevie during the surgery yesterday for over 7 hours, and my mom who has come over the past 2 days to help, especially as I took SJ to the pediatrician this morning. Thanks also to the N and the V families for dropping off special treats and gifts. And for all those who've sent their well wishes and prayers, we appreciate it!

I'd like to write a reflection on yesterday's experience. We'll see if I can find a few spare minutes to write that up. But now onto the grilling dinner attempt. If the rain will stay away...

Hopefully it's all a downhill slide from here!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Made it Through!

What a day! Had to get up before 5, get to the hospital before 7, surgery at 8...then the agonizing wait. They told us it would be 1.5-2hrs but it was more like 3hrs 15mins! Ughh. Then a long while in recovery as she woke up and learned to use her crutches.

Six weeks of crutches and a brace, physical therapy, and limited activity...this should be interesting!

We're home recovering and resting. Thanks so much for your prayers and support. More later...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Knee Surgery for MC Tomorrow

Edited: she's back in surgery now, should take 1.5-2hrs. I'll update afterwards if there's still battery in Steven's laptop. Thanks for your prayers!

Mary Clare will have her (outpatient, arthroscopic) knee surgery early Monday morning. Please keep us in prayer...
-that she will be well enough to have the surgery (she has a cough and sore throat)

-that she will not be too scared when we tell her tonight

-that everything goes smoothly with the surgery and anesthesia and recovery

-that this corrects her problem, so that she can run and jump and play and go to ballet again!

-that the little ones do okay while we leave them for the procedure

and for all children who are ill and have to undergo medical procedures, especially those with chronic conditions. I know many parents face this on a frequent basis, and my heart goes out to them. I'll update when we get home tomorrow.

I'll leave you with some cute backyard pictures from this week...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy St. Valentine's Day

one little

two little

three little valentines!

reciting valentine poetry and songs at the nursing home

handing out their valentine creations

hanging out with old friends from high school
three little baby boys!

and a special delivery from daddy...
roses for all the girls!
SJ is holding mine :)

Hope you all have a very blessed Valentine's Day!

Little Babble boy

Friday, February 13, 2009


"Mommy I'm hearing Jesus in my heart"
"Really, what is he saying?"
"I can't hear anything. I think he's asleep."

Ellie, the non-vegetable eater making mixed veggie ice cubes. She's a hoot.
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