Sunday, November 29, 2009

The First Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and we were ready for it this year! The kids were very excited to see the first purple candle of the Advent wreath lit at church. They were also very excited to light the first purple candle at home. I have learned over the past few years that the taper candles that are sold for advent wreaths do not last for 4 weeks of advent. We like to light the candle and let it burn as we eat dinner. One year I bought large scented candles... they worked great but the scent was a bit over powering! So this year, I bought plain white candles unscented candles and struggled with how I could make them purple and pink. Paint did not work... So, I bought some pink and purple ribbon and wrapped my candles. The ribbon stays in place because a small well placed nail (thank you Chris) holds beautifully.
Chris, as head of our family, said the blessing for our wreath. We said a short prayer and Emily sang O Come, O Come Emmanuel as the first candle was lit. And yes, I took a video to commemorate it...

Our Jesse Tree

We are doing the Advent Adventure from Holy Heroes this year.
Everyday during Advent, there are short videos to watch online and activities to teach us about our faith and ready our hearts for Christmas. Our Jesse Tree (Jesse is the 24 times Greatgrandfather of Jesus) is all ready to go. We will listen to scripture and make an ornament each day to decorate it.

My Girls...

I thought these were sweet pictures of my girls. I hope they continue to enjoy each other so much.

Thanksgiving Trip

For Thanksgiving, we planned to travel to Dallas and stay with my cousin, Tony. We had a bit of a delay as things don't always go as planned... Chris dropped the dog off at the kennel and happened to notice a very fast leak coming out of the radiator. He was able to get the car to the repair place by noon and they were able to fix it by 5:00. So we did leave on Wednesday, just a bit later than we had planned!

We arrived very late at Tony's house... I think it was 11:00. My Mom and Dad and my Aunt Linda and Uncle David were all up to greet us. Tony was very generous to give us the master so we could get David and Emily on a queen air mattress and Lia in her crib... all in the same room! You can see princess Lia getting comfortable in the bed. She passed out about 5 minutes after I took that picture and was moved to her crib. She only thought she had it so good!

We got a wonderful visit in with my family on Thanksgiving Day. I visited too much and forgot to take pictures... maybe next year. I did get this one of the kids watching 'Up' after everyone had eaten. Max (on the left) will be 5 next month. It was fun for my kids to get to play with him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Visit with Godmother...

David got to spend some quality time with his Godmother on Monday... and I got to do some Christmas shopping by myself! Look at the adorable turkey they made together! Peg had little googley eyes and big googley eyes. David liked the big eyes. And my goodness... when did my son's feet get so big! I guess that is what 2 bowls of cereal will do for you each morning!

Lia got in on the action too. (of course) And I heard David especially liked picking the paint color for each turkey (finger) feather. His "recap" of the events was hilarious. The kid certainly pays attention to detail. Thank you again Peg! We love you.


There are short videos at that teach how to draw cartoons. Emily has loved taking these lessons... I think we started when she was 4. Now David wanted in on the action. They got all their art supplies and tried really hard. Emily "helped" David by drawing the steps he had difficulty with... so Emily's drawings looked suspiciously like David's drawings... I think they spent most of the day (that rainy and cold Saturday) wearing their hooded towels on their heads too. Regardless, they stayed very busy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wrapping Gifts...

Little Elves

Today is a very chilly and cold Saturday. Chris is driving to Austin for the final home game and he is delivering our Christmas gifts to the Smith Family. The kids helped wrap and decorate the gifts. Are we on the ball or what?? Apparently, saving on postage is a powerful motivator for me. :-)
Do you see the little craft puppets we made yesterday? They look so cute on the presents!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Craft Stick Puppets

A big Friday night at our house... we opened up this craft kit I found at Lakeshore Learning a few months ago. The first girl and boy to be created:

This project was a family affair...
And here is the whole population of craft stick puppets. They were busy.

And the link because this may be my standard girl birthday present from here on out...

Veteran's Day Thank You

Veteran's Day was November 11th and Emily has been talking about making a thank you card ever since. had an address where we could send our card and hopefully they will forward it along. Emily made the card, addressed the envelope and walked it out to the mailbox all by herself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lia still sleeps like this...

Chris insisted on taking this picture because we don't know how much longer Lia will sleep with her bottom up in the air. You can't quite capture its charm on film... but trust me, it is the cutest thing!

Tom and Jerry

The kids get to watch Tom and Jerry when Emily finishes her homework and I frantically try to get dinner on the table. They all laugh hysterically at this show... yes it is the classic Tom and Jerry. I guess the classics never do lose their charm. Lia likes to sit on the coffee table with them. She laughs too.

This is how I managed to work in the yard...

The weather has been gorgeous! I wanted to work in our front yard a little and trim back the lantanna for the winter. To get some real work in... before the little ones helped... I set them up with some playdough. David won this little playdough kit at Emily's choir party and had been just itching to open it up. For future reference... if you play with playdough outside... just plan on throwing it away when you are done. Playdough + dirt + leaves = something you don't want to keep. :-)

Easel Antics

The kids all love the easel. I didn't even buy it... it was given to us from a family who didn't find they used it very much. I am happy to say we are getting plenty of use out of it!
It is also great to see David actually drawing something... he just scribbled for the longest time. Along with the reading lessons, we are working on handwriting. This is very slow go... but coming along. I think David wrote the first three family names and then Emily finished for him. They look awfully proud of themselves... don't they?

David is Reading!

David and I finished Lesson 52 in our Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Half way done! He is doing awesome and is reading short stories in the book. I couldn't be more proud. The short daily lessons are working. He is remembering the words and sounds from the previous lessons while adding the new ones they throw in each time. It has worked great for us.

Books we are reading...

It is hard to keep up these days...

Emily and I are reading Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers together. It is delightful.

We are also plowing our way through The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. We are both enjoying it. I say plow because the characters, Dickon and his sister Martha, speak in 'broad Yorkshire' in the book. Lots of "Aye", "thee", "tha"... and such. We have found common words to substitute them... so I kind of translate those parts as I read them because clearly my Yorkshire isn't the best. :-) We are looking forward to watching the movie because we only have about 6-7 chapters to go.

I picked up Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (one of my childhood favorites) hoping Emily and I could read it together. However, she sat on the couch on Sunday and finished it in a 2 hour sitting. Really, she amazes me. I can't keep up as much as I'd like to. She has more free time.

She also plowed through Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll before I could read it with her. It is still in my "to read" pile.

David and I have been enjoying The Adventures of Pooh by A.A. Milne. They take about 15-20 minutes to read and he listens better some days than others. I think Emily and I enjoy them more than he does but I'm trying to get him to listen for longer periods of time.

David also likes The Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. They are longer but have lots of pictures which still holds his attention better than the books with less pictures.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Emily's Baptism Day and Award Ceremony

Today is the anniversary of the day Emily was baptized in 2003. A couple of weeks ago, I gave her the Emmanuel Books catalog and told her to pick out any catholic book she would like to celebrate. It was very interesting to watch her pour over the catalog to decide. She picked two things since they were both inexpensive. One was a book called Garment of Grace and the other was a coloring book, Holy Name of Jesus. She was very excited to receive them this morning.
To make the day even more special, she received an award at her school's quarterly award ceremony. We didn't know what award she would get... but it just so happed to be the Christian Spirit Award for demonstration of Christian values, character traits and behavior. How appropriate. :-)

Wurst Fest 2009 recap...

We had a whirl wind of events this weekend and I have no pictures to show for it... A verbal recap will have to suffice.

We got up early on Saturday morning (6am) to drive to Austin. Everyone was loaded and we were pulling out of our driveway a little after 7am. This is a success all in itself. ;-) Chris stopped for kolaches about an hour into the drive and everyone was very happy. The kids got a monster cinnamon roll and we didn't hear a peep out of them as it was devoured. Another stop for bathrooms occurred but we made it to the stadium a little before 11am with plenty of time to make it for kickoff. Chris and David were going to be the lucky two to enjoy the game but as we got closer to Austin, Emily asked if she could go too. Texas was playing Central Florida and Chris suspected he could easily get her a ticket on the street. He was right. There were many people selling tickets and he got her one for $40 (a bargain?). So off they went!

Lia and I headed to our old house to see if any neighbors were around and to take a look (sob...) over our beautiful old neighborhood. I miss it in many ways. Bob and Betty were home and we got to visit with them for about an hour. Betty has been busy with all her outdoor projects and has made the cutest patio area ever! It is decorated with the theme of Talivera - I'm sure I spelled it wrong - pottery... all in red, yellow and blue. It is super cozy and inviting and I would love to recreate the theme for our kitchen one day. This notation will be a reminder to research it one day. ;-)

I met Sarah for lunch at WaterLoo on 2222 and 360. There is an outdoor play area and sand pit so Lia was very happy and allowed Sarah and I to visit for over 2 hours! My hubby called to be picked up and I couldn't believe how quickly the time went by. Sarah will welcome her niece into the world today or tomorrow as Bethanne is being induced today! We will be saying little prayers for them all day. Very exciting.

We made it to 5:00 mass at St. Catherine's and Emily was able to participate in their Children's Liturgy of the word. It is much smaller scale than at St. Anthony's. There were only 20 kids and they have it in their chapel. During the prayer intentions she prayed for the soul of her friend Kelly... this made me tear up. She really gets it and I admire my daughter's strong faith. Children embrace the cycle of life so easily! She sings with her whole heart and people comment all the time how amazing it is she can read the hymnal and how beautiful it is that she sings all the songs and prayers. They are always surprised to find out she is only 6.

Runar joined us at The Smiths house for Reubens and pretzels and the kids had a ball playing with their friends. 6 kids is quite a houseful now that they are all into their own things!

We were treated again to a fabulous breakfast! Cynthia made pumpkin cinnamon rolls from scratch and they were divine. She treats us like royalty... we love it! The whole gang was off to Wurstfest by 11am and we spent the whole day there. The weather did not exactly cooperate as it was very rainy... a steady down pour with little break. However, we made the most of it and listened to music all day as the bands switched in and out of the tent we chose to camp out in. German food and beer was consumed... the kids had fun in spurts and were cranky in spurts. Emily had a ball and did quite a bit of dancing and she rode a bunch of rides so I think Wurstfest will be lots of fun for her from here on out. Travis and Mary Alice joined us with their daughter Arielle. It is always good to see them. I enjoyed getting in a visit with them too.

The trip home was long but all the kids were asleep by the time we got home. We simple transferred them to their beds and got to bed as quickly as we could ourselves.

I am always overwhelmed with laundry and stocking the fridge when I get home from a trip. I don't know why I suffer anxiety from this... character flaw? So I really need to put my nose to the grind stone and get some work done.

More to come.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Day, November 1st

The kids were able to wear their Saint costumes and participate in the procession at church today. My friend Peg took these shots. There was a tremendous turnout. We didn't make it to the alter for the group shot because I was too busy visiting with some friends after mass. ;-) Everybody was happy to have donuts after church too!

Kelly V, Oct. 31, 2009, RIP

My friend Kelly died peacefully in her sleep at 7am on Halloween morning with her mother by her side. I feel blessed to have known her and am saddened it was only for a short time. She shared her faith with me in my Familia class and her love of teaching her boys through our homeschooling group. She battled cancer for 5 years and showed such amazing grace and strength when surely she was in a tremendous amount of pain. Over the past 6 months we got together with our kids a handful of times and I'd like to say I found a kindred spirit. I am saddened that we don't have more time together but I am happy she is no longer in pain. I don't think I've processed my emotions just yet. One beautiful memory I have is when she came to our house with her boys after daily mass. She had told me of her love of espresso so I invited her over so I could make her one. Her boys, Taylor and Blaze, showed us their origami talents and made little hats and boats for us. David was so comfortable around Kelly, he climbed in her lap! We brought her dinner right before she got really sick and Emily was struck by the fact she had lost all her hair. We prayed every night for her and her boys. Emily said she would attend her funeral service with me next week. I hear it may be Tuesday. Again, I haven't processed my feelings but I know I will miss her.

"May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace."