Friday, September 18, 2015

Requiescat in Pace Mary Elizabeth

The blog has been quiet lately, with the end of summer and the new school year moving into full swing.  The two youngest are both enrolled in the local school districts and to attempt to keep my sanity I put our homeschool on the same calendar.  Which means we actually started school in mid-August!  (heavy on the sarcasm, I would have liked to wait a few more weeks).  I've had plenty of blog posts bouncing around in my head but before I get to any of those I wanted to get this one out there...

My paternal Grandmother, who just celebrated her 88th birthday on Easter Sunday and her 70th wedding anniversary this past December, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday night, August 23rd at 11:00 pm.  Our family attended her funeral on Thursday of that same week.  Since then my extended family has been scrambling a bit because my Grandma was the primary caregiver for my Grandpa.  I wanted to get this post out in memory of her, because she was such a big part of my life.  I'm sure her spirit is shining down on the family left to miss her here.
Grandma & Grandpa's 70th wedding anniversary!
My Dad (left) and Uncle

I think the thing that surprised me most about the funeral was seeing all the pictures of Grandma as a young lady.  My Grandma loved to collect pictures, she kept them all in boxes and managed to keep them in perfect condition.  She could pull out a picture from 1975 and it looked like she had just snapped it yesterday.  I am grateful that during the last few months she had started to go thru her picture collection and pull ones out for me and my sister.  She already had pictures in envelopes with our names on them.

The young couple!!
Grandma was born right before the Great Depression, the youngest of eight children.  She was a city girl who fell in love with a "country boy" and moved out to the middle of nowhere to raise a family with him.  Grandma went out to eat with me for my birthday this past year and I asked her what was one of the best things about moving out to the country.  She replied "Mom Leila's fresh cream butter".

In reflecting on her life I've thought a lot about how she spent it.  She never traveled very far, never went to see the ocean.  I don't recall her doing bake sales or serving on a school board.  She might have done volunteer work when my dad and uncle were still young, but I don't know.  Grandma didn't work a job that earned a paycheck.  What she did was totally invest in the lives of those around her, in particular her family.  I spent a lot of time with her as a young girl, she would always take me with her shopping or to the laundromat (before she had a washer and dryer installed at her house).  She always kept my favorite snacks in her fridge.  I never recall a time of her saying no to my request to spend the night at her house, she always said yes.  Grandma had a magical way of having the post office deliver your birthday card on your actual birthday, every time.  I always wondered how she pulled that off.  She sent us money every year in our anniversary cards and told us to use it to go out for a date to celebrate (a tradition I'm going to have to remember when my own kids get married)...

Grandma (right) and her sister

Grandma and her twin boys

Grandma, Grandpa, my Dad and Uncle

My Dad is an identical twin, and I can't identify him in the above pictures, but my Grandma could.  She could always tell them apart in pictures (and argued that they got them switched around in their senior yearbook in high school)!  Grandma didn't own a computer or a smartphone but I know she read my blog (I gave her a printed version for Christmas a few years back).  She was such a beautiful soul, inside and out,  I am so privileged that she loved me so much and I have the honor of calling her my Grandma.

One of grandma's favorites, she'd say
"those are my girls"

"We become what we love, and who we love shapes what we become"
                                                  ~~ St. Clare of Assissi

Friday, July 24, 2015

7 Quick Tips for St. Flags

Our family used our free reading tickets this past week and headed over to Six Flags St. Louis.  This was one of our better visits and my husband and I kept saying stuff like "we'll have to remember this for next year."  So I'm doing a post about it that I can look back on it next summer when we plan our annual Six Flags outing.  It's becoming a 7 Quick Takes posts so all the readers can benefit.  Sorry, no pictures because I decided I'd rather live in the moment than document everything.  Plus iphones and water don't mix.

1.  Tickets!!  We had three free reading tickets, one for me and we had two children in K thru 6th grade who qualified.  Homeschoolers can sign up on their Read to Succeed website in October, the reading has to be done in January and February.  Don't forget to log onto their site and verify their 6 hours of reading (although they send you multiple e-mail reminders).  I usually verify the reading when I sign them up so I don't forget.  Princess earned her ticket in school and I earned mine as a homeschool teacher with Game Boy.  Six Flags e-mails you the tickets to print out.  They expire the beginning of August, so you have to plan on using them in June and July.  Also, they are not valid on Saturdays.

We decided to leave Toddler Boy with Grandma this visit so we had to purchase three General Admission tickets for Doug and the two older boys.  There are ticket discounts on coke cans and in the McDonald's app.  To use these discounts on-line they charge you a $9 processing fee.  We found our best deal thru our local Farm Bureau.  Members can purchase tickets at their office for $43 (as opposed to $62 at the gate).  Bonus, pick the tickets up from the Bureau office and you can skip the ticket line at Six Flags and go straight to the turnstiles.

Thrill passes cost the same as a General Admission ticket (Farm Bureau sells season tickets for $60).  If you're going to go to Six Flags more than once they are definitely worth the money.  It might be a consideration for next year or when we have enough older children who would enjoy going more than once a year.  Six Flags also has meal passes membership holders can purchase, which would be worth it if you plan on going to the park at least three or four times.

2.  Parking costs $20 and there's no way around that (unless you have one of their gold memberships which gives you free parking).  Drive to the far right lane when entering because this lane splits into three lanes at the ticket booth (which means it goes much, much faster).  Not really worth it to pay extra for premier parking, if you get there when they open the general parking is just as good.  Park entrance is to the right so the farther right you park the better.  Also, the parking lot exit is to the right side in the back.

3.  Weather.  This was a big factor.  It has either been raining or scorching hot this summer, very little in-between.  Scorching hot with super high humidity is NOT the day you want to go to Six Flags.  We did that one year, never again, not worth it.  The blacktop in the park seems to radiate the heat, you are melting while standing in line.  The water park was not even refreshing, water does not evaporate off your skin in high humidity, which is what cools you down.  This year we scored a day with high humidity but temps were in the low 80s, which worked our really well.  They heat the wave pool and lazy river so even with cooler temps the water was nice.  Princess and I spent most of our time there while the rest of the family did the water slides.  She loves wave pools.  Game Boy's favorite slide is the Bazooka (the one that drops you in a tube).  The rest of the gang thought the Tornado was the best.

4.  We always do the water park first so the lines are short for the water slides.  We managed to fit everything in a medium size locker for $16 but next year I might spring the extra $4 for the larger one.  Then we change and go to the car to eat lunch, reapply sunscreen and head back into the park for rides.

5.  This year we sent the older boys off by themselves to ride the roller coasters while we took the younger ones to the more tame rides.  We met back at the entrance fountain in two hours (remember to send them with a watch).  If you plan the trip mid-week the lines aren't terribly long but next year we might want to plan more than two hours.  I have a friend who goes to Six Flags on July 4th every year and she swears the park is not crowded that day.  Be careful because the free reading tickets are not valid on Saturdays, and this year July 4th fell on a Saturday.

6.  What's up with changing all the rides?  I realize this keeps things fresh and such but it can get downright confusing.  The Evil Knievel coaster is now called "American Thunder" and the good old Time Tunnel was changed to the Scooby Doo ride (which added the laser guns).  Now it has been reinvented to "Justice League, Battle for Metropolis".  Sadly, I believe they changed that one from the beloved boat ride thru the air conditioned dark light tunnel.  Now there is no water and you ride in a car on a track shooting targets with lasers.  I miss the old Time Tunnel, it was kind of like going through a haunted house in a boat.  I have fond memories of that one.  We didn't get to ride the new Justice League one this year because it was down for repairs.  Thankfully we had only stood in line for 10 minutes before it broke, I feel for the families who were in line for an hour or more before the shut down.  Or, as Doug said, what about the ones actually on the ride when it went down?  Six Flags got rid of our beloved bumper cars too, now replaced by a new roller coaster The Boomerang.  For future reference, the first curve on the Mine Train is a hard one, make sure to hold onto little ones or they might get thrown out!  Princess is not a huge fan of fast roller coasters.  She didn't even care for the Log Flume, which is one of the original rides the park debuted when it opened in 1971.  (Yes, we did ride the info train this year).

7.  All in all, a very fun trip.  The cost breakdown:

3 general admission tickets...$129.00
food for the cooler...$18
McD's on trip home...$18
2 drinks we bought in park...$7
waterpark locker...$16
1 lb. chocolate fudge purchased in park...$3.50
6 suckers for kids from park...$5

For a grand total of $216.50, for a family of 6 it comes out to about $36 per person and includes the waterpark and two meals.  Not bad

As always, thanks to Kelly for over to This Ain't the Lyceum for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

To Love Jesus Like Mary

I was watching this week's The Journey Home program and Father Leo Patalinghug from Grace Before Meals was the guest.  I have never heard of him, but a priest who is a foodie and has a cooking show is something I definitely want to check out.  During the show Father Leo had a quote that really made me think.  He said "we should love Mary like Jesus" (I've heard that before).  But then he added "and we should love Jesus as much as His mother loves Him."

Hmmm, as a mom of mostly boys this quote was interesting.  What does it look like to love Jesus like Mary?  I grew up with one sister and no brothers so I wasn't the most qualified candidate to raise a family of boys.  Seriously, some days I'm not sure what God was thinking.  Over the years I've grown quite accustomed to all sorts of crisis situations (recently they had to do a search and rescue when one of the boys accidentally lost a tree frog in the house).  Blood no longer makes me queasy either.  Splinter removal has become an art form, as have my cooking skills.  Now there is a special place in my mother heart for each one of my little chaos tornadoes.  When I was newly married an incident happened that made me appreciate that fierce love a mother has for her son.

My mother-in-law is no stranger to raising boys, she gave birth to four of them and I married her oldest.  I was her first daughter-in-law and our relationship was rough in the beginning because it was such new territory for both of us.  She had come over that morning to babysit for Firstborn because Doug and I were both working full time.  Doug worked in the city and I had borrowed his car the night before to go to a meeting and didn't check the gas gauge.  He apparently didn't check it either and ran out of gas on the interstate about half-way between our house and his office.  Doug was none too happy about being stranded on the interstate and after he called a co-worker to bring him some gas he called me at the house to let me know just how unhappy he was about the situation.  We had a pretty heated argument discussion over the phone.  I was upset because I hadn't purposely used up all the gas in his car.  He knew I had used his car the night before, wasn't it his responsibility to check the tank?  Newlywed life is just bliss, isn't it?  I can look back and smile about it now but at the time I was angry enough to hang up on him and figured he deserved to be stranded on the road with that attitude.  (Very mature of me).  When his mom asked what happened and I told her she was upset and wanted me to drive her to where he was right that second to help him out.  Uh, no.  I'm not even talking to my husband right now and there's no way in you know what that I'm going to go help him.  Besides, I told her he already had a co-worker on his way with gas and I wasn't even sure exactly where he was located.  That answer was not going to fly with my now really upset in-law who was demanding I tell her where he was and SHE would go by herself (which would then leave me stranded at home with the baby until she returned).  Moot point, because I couldn't tell her where he was anyway.

There's a few lessons to be learned from this incident:

1.  It is never a good idea for a parent to come into an argument between a husband and wife.  Because eventually the spouses will make up but the damage done to the in-law relationship will take more time to heal.

2.  A mother's love for her son knows no bounds.  It is a fierce and protective love, kind of like a mother grizzly bear.  You don't mess with a mother grizzly bear.  Ever.  Nothing good will come of it.

Doug's coworker came to his rescue and I made it to work a bit late that morning.  My husband and I made up that evening but it would be three months before my MIL would speak to me again.  I just couldn't understand why she was so mad at me.  As I gave birth to more sons and those sons grew older I started to get it.  My MIL was adding more daughter-in-laws too as Doug's brothers married.  I was beginning to understand her better as I looked at her actions in relation to her love for her children.  When my boys were little she would watch some of their antics and tell me it reminded her of Doug and his brothers.  She taught me how to cook some of his favorite meals (probably because she was afraid he would starve with my cooking skills).  We frequently exchange recipes now.  I became a better wife as I worked at seeing Doug the way his mom saw him.  She saw him in his entirety and knew him better than anyone else.  I loved him, but I only knew him as a teenager and adult.  She had known him before he was even born.

When we love Jesus like Mary, it doesn't mean love Him in a "motherly" way.  It means love Him with that kind of intensity, with that all encompassing passion that she has for her son.  She carried Him, gave birth to Him, nursed Him and watched Jesus grow from a toddler to a strong man.  She loved Him all the way to the cross and beyond.  She knows Him better than any other human person and she wants us to love Him just as much as she does.  As we draw closer to her she can teach us how to love Him better, just like my mother-in-law taught me.  Mary was my biggest hurdle coming into the Catholic Church.  As a Protestant, I figured I didn't need her.  I already had a relationship with Jesus, why bring Mary into it?  But that would be like me saying I already loved my husband Doug, why get to know his mom?  Isn't my marriage, my relationship with Doug enough?  But I didn't just marry my husband, I also entered into his family.  We're part of Jesus' family, and his mom is a big part of that.  As I grew in my relationship with my MIL it transformed my marriage, it helped me to love my husband and kids better.  Mary can do the same thing for my relationship with Jesus if I allow her to lead me.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Monopoly & Horses

Also linking up with Kelly for a 7 Quick Takes post.  Thanks to you guys for hosting!!

1.  I had a whole bunch of random stuff that has been going on around here so I thought I'd do a Quick Takes post and combine it with a What I Wore Sunday link-up.  So here's the Sunday pictures...

From the porch...

Courtesy of my in-laws' back porch swing.  I had on the same black skirt I wore in my last WIWS post, the shirt is a new one I scored on sale from Kohl's.  It's summertime in the Midwest (and I knew I was going to be visiting the country) so I braided my hair and had it twisted up.  Doug was giving me grief that I was wearing my "Catholic bling" (miraculous medal) with the silver necklace he gave me last year.  Medal is new, I picked it up when I visited the adoration chapel to do a holy hour on Friday.

2.  I cantored my last time at 8:00am service this week.  We will move to our new Mass schedule next week, the new early Mass time is 7:30am (which I happen to be scheduled for next week).  Hopefully I won't wait until the last minute to practice like I did this week...
Saturday around 11:00pm
Rockin my daughter's pink headphones, listening to music and not wanting to disturb the little kids who were already asleep.  I don't normally wait that long, but it's been a weird week.  I was super excited that I got to sing Amazing Grace, my all time favorite hymn.  I figured it was only a matter of time before it came up and today was the day!

3.  More horse pictures...

Princess riding bareback

They get REALLY close!

Firstborn & Savanna

Loving Princess' borrowed blue boots

He's not particularly fond of horses
so points for riding

Dad & Toddler Boy

We spent Sunday at Doug's folk's house and Princess was going into horse withdrawal so Grandma agreed to take her out to the pasture.  No fear with her, she absolutely adores the horses.  The older two boys commented that "the horses seem smaller since last winter".  No, the horses aren't smaller, you've grown bigger!

4.  We attended our Protestant church Saturday night and had a potluck afterwards to welcome our new pastor and his family.  Complete with a bounce house, it's always nice to have something new to bribe the kids with to get them to be good through service.  Added bonus, they were so worn out that bedtime was easy that night.  The adult conversation was great too, it's good to be able to sit and talk with old friends while your kids run around with other kids and burn off energy.  Usually it's so busy after church that it's hard to say more than hi and bye (that's if you even happen to attend the same service, we have four to choose from).  My Catholic parish is also getting a new priest this coming month.  What are the odds that both churches I attend are getting new pastors within the same month??

5.  What is better to do on a rainy Friday morning?  Play monopoly of course...
Rolling dice

Counting dice

And moving!

The little kids talked me into a game, which took quite awhile when allowing the youngest to count and move.  BUT, great for math skills, the teacher mom in me is excited!  I was the banker to help keep things moving along, Princess quit and gave her estate to Soccer Boy, I merged my estate with Toddler Boy but in the end Game Boy came out on top.

6.  Referencing Miraculous Medal from take #1, I was glad I was wearing it this Sunday while letting Firstborn drive down to his grandparents house.  It's took us about an hour and he had to go through a construction zone AND pass a tractor combine on the way and we all survived the ordeal.  He's not a terrible driver by any stretch, but Doug and my nerves are about shot.  And to think we have to do this four more times.  We've logged in about 8 hours with Firstborn, only 42 more to go!  I think I need to stock some heavier liquor in la casa, drink recipes welcome...

7.  My girlfriend gave birth to her twins last month!!  They are so sweet!  I've been spending some time at her house helping out and holding babies...
Princess holding baby girl
Me with baby boy

My friend is awesome and taking things in stride.  She also has three other children, the oldest being 8 years old.  So if you could say a quick prayer for her and her husband and family I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

That's it for me, but head over to visit Kelly @ This Ain't the Lyceum for more 7 Quick Takes and check out all the other beautiful ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for more WIWS posts.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Master Bath Remodel

A couple weeks ago Doug and the oldest three boys headed off to camp.  While they were away I asked my folks to come up and help me with a surprise bathroom remodel...

Here are the before shots...
Single towel rack and rusting curtain rod

My daughter is an "artist"

Floor missing tiles
Counter a jumbled mess...

I asked him to make a sad face!

About 8 years ago we remodeled our master bedroom and in the process we enlarged our master bathroom.  The bathroom floor was not completely level but we were in a hurry and didn't have time to correct it (which then caused the ceramic tiles to crack years later).  Since it was in our master bathroom it was a project that was put on the back burner.  My dad offered to come over and help me install a new floor and since you have to rip everything out to do that I thought I might as well go all in and do a complete makeover.

As soon as the boys headed off to camp I removed everything from our bathroom and put it in the boys' bathroom down the hall.  Then dad came over and we removed the cabinet and toilet and took up the old floor.  We discovered the copper pipes sat about 2 inches high so we needed to build the floor up to meet it or else the toilet wouldn't sit level.  Dad did new subflooring and then he laid a floating tile on top.

I did lots and lots of painting.  Painting until 1:30 am on multiple days kind of painting.  Some of the pictures come off as green, but the wall color is actually a neutral beige.  Installed a new toilet and a new, curved curtain rod.  I kept our curtain because it wasn't that old and it happened to match the new paint color.  But I did pick up a new white rug, white towels and a double towel rack.  I hear what you're thinking...white?!  I love the white, and bleach can fix anything.

Pics of the process...

Primer coat done

Adding the subfloor

New color...

New floor!!

Painting over her mural

We barely got everything done and the house picked up before I had to head off to camp to pick up the boys.  They were impressed, Doug said he could leave town again if we wanted to do another project.

The finished product...

Added space from curved shower rod

Floor makes me so happy!

Love the white cabinets

Doubled towel bar

Dad wood worked a new piece we
stained to match the floor

I've got to say one of my favorite things is the amount of shower space the curved shower rod adds.  The illusion makes it appear that the shower is 50% larger, which is very cool.  Laying the floor pattern the way we did makes the space seem bigger too.  The white towels gives it a spa like atmosphere.  I went with the more expensive Behr Marquee paint because we were doing a bathroom and I wanted to avoid mold.  Since the plaster had never been painted (and I was covering the "artwork") I did a base primer coat before the color.  Here's the specifics:

ceiling & shower:  Behr Marquee white interior satin
cabinet & mirror:  Behr Marquee ultra pure white interior semi-gloss
walls:  Behr Marquee interior satin MQ2-37 Eiffel For You
floor:  Allure Ivory Travertine tile flooring

Note to self...I was interrupted no less than 50 times trying to finish up this blog post, which took two days.  Probably why I don't blog more.  #lifewithyoungchildren  #Iwouldn'tchangeathing

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Mission Field - WIWS

Linking up with all the beautiful women over at Fine Linen and Purple for a WIWS post.

I like reading all the WIWS posts but I do not frequently link up with them because, well, I need a picture of myself.  On a Sunday.  I don't know how everyone else's weekends go but ours are a little bit holy, a little bit hectic with some crazy thrown in for good measure.  So I find it difficult to get a self portrait for these posts.  But today I had time to write up a blog post so I made the effort...
It is raining...
This is the second outfit I tried out.  I had a different dress picked out (thanks to cleaning out my closet recently and finding it hanging in the back).  After trying it on I realized why it was hanging forgotten in the back.  It wasn't all that comfortable.  I will occasionally sacrifice comfort for the sake of style but not today.  I was cantoring this morning and I know from experience to never, ever wear a "not real comfortable" outfit when singing.  It can be hard enough standing at the podium without adding to the nervousness by wearing clothes that distract me.

The pastor at my church is getting ready to retire in a couple months.  The Catholic population in my city is decreasing and because of this and the priest shortage many of the Catholic parishes are combining and having one priest serve two parishes.  This is also the case at my Catholic church, so when Monsignor Jack retires the pastor at a nearby parish, Father Matt, will become the pastor for both churches.  As you can guess, this is leading to a lot of restructuring of liturgical schedules, Mass times, etc.  This hasn't caused a particularly emotional upheaval for me because I did not grow up in this town, attend my church's parish school or get married at this church.  However many of my church family did so it is definitely a tougher transition for them.  In today's homily Monsignor Jack spoke about the recent decisions made about the new Mass times.  As our readings were about Jesus appearing to his disciples and telling them that they were to be His witnesses, Monsignor Jack also commented about our Catholic witness to our neighbors and acquaintances.

Yes, I know this subject well.  Sometimes I feel like I'm on constant display as that Catholic convert that people know.  Sometimes I feel like the only Catholic convert that people know.  Before becoming Catholic myself I honestly knew no one who converted, except in instances of marriage.  I did know a few people who became Catholic because they were engaged to someone who wanted to be married inside the Catholic Church.  I associate with way more non-Catholics, usually Evangelical Christians, in my homeschool circles.  I would bet that many of them are not even aware that I am Catholic.  Because I also attend a protestant church with my family they assume I'm protestant.  The protestant church we attend doesn't even know I'm Catholic.  I volunteered to work in my youngest son's Sunday School class a few weeks ago because they were short of helpers and they asked me to fill out paperwork for a background check.  I always hate filling out paperwork because my answers don't add up.  It asks questions like:

  • How long have you attended services here?  5 years
  • Are you a member of this church?  No, I'm a member of a different church
  • Church previously attended.  My Catholic Church, which I'm still attending
  • Are you an immersed believer?  This is a yes/no question which I would have to answer "no" because I was not baptized by immersion, nor do I believe immersion baptism is the only valid baptism.  My thoughts on baptism.
Then there's the statement of faith they ask you to sign, which is not really different than what I believe as a Catholic except for that one question, Do you believe that trusting in Jesus is the only means of salvation?  Well, I do believe Jesus is the one way to salvation but I also believe that baptism is the sacrament God has provided to wash away sin, and that He has also given us confession as a sacrament to continually wash away the sin in our lives and as an avenue of grace to help us overcome those sins.  But, again, not one of the choices.  Sigh...

As fate would have it I have not been able to attend my family's church for the last two weeks due to staying home with sick children.  So I've been able to conveniently avoid turning in said paperwork.  I suppose I need to speak with someone in leadership there and get things ironed out.  A post for another time.

So back to this Sunday...

Doug and I managed to squeeze in a dinner out, not quite a "date night" but better than nothing.
Took three shots to get this,
We bribed the older boys into watching the little ones for a bit while we went not very far away for a sit down meal.  Food was good and kids were alive when we got home.  We're working our way up to being able to go out to a movie (baby steps).

Boys are outside playing football with Dad waiting for me to finish this post so I can start supper.  Don't forget to click over to Fine Linen and Purple for more WIWS posts!

Friday, April 10, 2015

How Time Flies in 7 Takes

Thanks to Kelly for hosting!!

1.  Today is Firstborn's 15th birthday!  It is also the day he went in to test for his driver's permit...

He passed his test and promptly asked to drive home (uh, no).  I did let him drive in the neighborhood and I think I only said the word BRAKE half a dozen times in the three blocks home.  I'm counting that as a success.

2.  Toddler Boy is adjusting to morning preschool.  He missed a few days early this week due to being sick but he's back in the swing of things.  I got him on the afternoon bus schedule, which means I only have to drive out to the school once per day (as opposed to the three times a day I was doing a few weeks ago).  He's loving the bus ride, which makes me think I need to check out some Magic School Bus videos from the library.

3.  As you can see in the above photo, the school dress code does apply to the preschool.  Toddler Boy runs on the small end of the weight/height chart.  We ran out to pick him up a couple of extremely large on him size XS polo shirts which he will probably be wearing for the next two years.  The school pants had no hope of fitting him, so we had to go with the smaller non-school khaki and navy pants.  Which ended up being more expensive even though they were in a smaller size.

4.  I can't believe Firstborn is old enough to be driving and Toddler Boy is in preschool.  A couple of time lapse photos to prove my point...
Group shot at the park, 2011

Same group, four years later in 2015

The picture was taken in the same park on the same rock.  Crazy how fast they grow!

5.  Here's another time lapse photo from Easter...

Princess and her cousin, Easter 2011

Easter 2015

They're getting so big!!  Time slow down, please!

6.  Spring fever is in full swing at our house.  Now that the Easter school break is over it is time to buckle down and finish up the homeschooling for the year and decide what to work on over the summer.  Plus now is when I like to make decisions on what curriculum we'll be working on next year.  I sort of feel like I've spent my Easter break taking care of sick kids and cleaning/decluttering because the house seriously needed it.  This weekend we'll be celebrating Firstborn's birthday, which is the last one in the "birthday season" for us.  Starting next week we will hopefully be back on our normal schedule and be ready to finish up the school year.

7.  I just wanted to add that I really appreciated Kelly's respiratory quick take post this week.  It's really good, especially her take away from the whole thing (scroll down to number 7).  She talked about spending her Easter break in the hospital with one of her kids.  I so, so relate to that this year.  This school year has been really rough for our family in terms of illness.  Especially for Princess, who ended up in the hospital on Christmas.  I have spent a lot of time nursing sick kids and ultimately I've come to discover God's grace in the midst of it.  It has really allowed me to be present in the moment more, to love more deeply and to stretch myself to what I thought was the end of my limits, only to discover that where I end is where God abounds in His endlessness.  God has never failed to meet me in my weaknesses.

That's it for this week...go check out more 7 Quick Takes with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum!!