Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pictures Pictures Pictures

Elsa rarely left her own private swimming hole - the top step....

Enjoying the sprinklers!

Such pretty water

How does this work?

AHA! Like this!

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We are BACK...

.... and all in one piece too. We were back by 7 pm, something we have not accomplished on a trip in forever, if ever. Usually we roll in well after dark, haul little logs of sleep out of the van while waking older children who sleepily grab whatever bedding they can reach and crash on top of their beds.
We grabbed a video rental (I guess I should say DVD rental, I will soon be dating myself with that expression if I am not careful) from the local movie rental store (got around the DVD/Video choice there) and instead of crashing on our beds - we sprawled around the living room over two couches and the floor and watched a fun movie. Then we carted at least one sleeping log to bed and chased all the others to theirs. Amazing - we were in bed by 10'ish! Great end to lovely mini-vacation.

On the sad side of life, my daughter Amanda, had to put her little puppy down yesterday. He had hydrocephalus and was deteriorating quickly. We are all so sad. Doogal was adorable.

Well, I have put off the inevitable long enough. Watched a movie, slept away the night, read some emails, written a post and now I must organize the cleaning of the van, the unpacking and putting away and hopefully discovering which back pack the camera was packed in and then I can play on the 'puter some more, and post some pictures of the fun we had in the pool.

Until then...

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Monday, July 28, 2008


This was overheard by one of our many many bookshelves that are crammed with... books! AS Ann knelt in front of this particular shelf, she was engaged in a contest with Elsa, whom I htink began it.

Anna: "I love you more."

Elsa: "I LOVE you MORE!"

Anna: "Nope, I love you more!"

Elsa: "Uh, I love YOU MORE!"

Anna: (murmuring a bit into the shelf as she dug more deeply) "I Love you more!"

Elsa: "Me too!!!"

So... I think Elsa won - or at least she had the final word! Read more!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the way to...

...Georgia and a short business trip that will be mixed with pleasure. Here is where we will stay with the kids. Pray for good weather for us please. I am hoping for some wind down time and possibly maybe a little writing might get done while away. I have been hoping to jump start my review blog again and have a handful of books and movies I want to review for my readers.

While asking for prayers may I ask for prayers for one of my daughters who is currently in hospital and in addition to not being well, is also dealing with the stress of her little puppy being seriously ill and might possibly have a brain tumour. Please keep them in your prayers.

If I can post a little from our hotel - I will. Hopefully with some real pics of us enjoying the place - not the hotels standard pictures. I actually know where my camera is AND where my batteries are too!! Until then GOD BLESS.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008


Tonight will be date night for Hugo and I and we hope to go to a movie. In a busy life surrounded by children with all of their energy and business it is so important to set time aside for yourselves as a couple.

A time away from the noise and the chaos. This is not always possible when faced with a strained budget and no built in baby sitters so when our oldest was about 9 what we used to do was to brew a pot of coffee, grab a treat and go out to the car and lock the doors. The children were left with explicit directions to not knock on the car windows unless it was really important. Usually they stayed glued to the tv screen enjoying this infrequent opportunity to watch a movie so near to bed time, so it was rare that we were interrupted in our 30 - 40 minutes alone while we chatted, sipped hot coffee and munched on home made cookies or a delicious brownie. All in precious silence and no i n t e r r u p t i o n s .

We are very blessed to currently have built in sitters and so our options are now more varied, though still dependent on our budget. But what are some things you and your spouse do to spend time alone. Tuck the little ones in bed early and plan an at home movie night with freshly popped popcorn? Go to a drive in? Dine out? How often do you do this? We strive for once a week but more often it is only about once a month hat we actually make it out on an official date. Still it would be lovely for some ideas for us all to share as how to seek this quiet time we all need to keep our marriages young and fresh.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008


When to pray? How to pray? Why pray? Where to pray? How long to pray? The questions around prayer are endless. And here are some of Peter Kreeft's thoughts on prayer:

to do it is less important than just doing it. Less-than-perfect prayer is infinitely better than no prayer; more perfect prayer is only finitely better than less perfect prayer."

And you probably won't decide to do it, only wish to do it, unless you see prayer for what it is: a matter of life or death, your lifeline to God, to life itself."

Similarly, no program, method, book, teacher, or technique will ever succeed in getting us to start doing anything unless there is first of all that simple, absolute choice to do it. "Just say yes."

"The major obstacle in most of our lives to just saying yes to prayer, the most popular and powerful excuse we give for not praying, or not praying more, or not praying regularly, is that we have no time.

The only effective answer to that excuse, I find, is a kind of murder. You have to kill something, you have to say no to something else, in order to make time to pray."

What time of day is best? The most popular time—bedtime—is usually the worst possible time, for two reasons. First, it tends not to be prime time but garbage time, when you're the least alert and awake. Do you really want to put God in the worst apartment in your building?"

To read more CLICK HERE.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

still recouperating...

It is a very slow process, but I am mending, even if very slowly. But, in the meantime, would you all please keep little Gracie in your prayers. To catch up on what has been happening to Gracie you can click here. God Bless and thank you for your prayers for Gracie. Gracie made it through most of July off the ventilator, but a crisis yesterday has forced her back on - hopefully only for a day or two.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

my apologies

I have been too ill to post. A sinus infection coupled with an abscessed tooth, topped off with a head cold has robbed me of all energy. I hope to be back soon.

Until then God Bless...

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Nature through the eyes of my children....

Early morning from 2006

I do not know which child took this photo, I do remember them all taking turns for a few weeks capturing sunsets and sunrises. I will share more of them over the next few weeks.
When we had a little online store to sell products we had designed, we used this photo as the basis for a post card and greeting card.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

one.. two... three...

After enjoying a movie all about counting, 3 year Elsa pranced proudly in front of me and sang:

"Ten, Nine, Eleven, eight nine eleven. There, I counted to five!!!" she announced with great pride and glee.

Perhaps we need to watch the movie again?

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Monday, July 14, 2008


...First Annual Conference was this weekend and Hugo and I are honoured to have attended it. Let me introduce you to the speakers, and their websites, that we became acquainted with through Envoy. In most cases we were able to chat, sometimes briefly, and other times extensively, with the speakers whom you will see show cased in this post.

Keynote speaker of the weekend was Dr. PETER KREEFT. To meet Dr Kreeft click here. Be sure to listen to at least one of his talks. You will be amazed, absorbed and uplifted. I LOVE listening to Dr. Kreeft, a most humble, but incredibly intelligent man.

Oh my, whom to introduce you to next? I guess it would be easiest to just go through them in the order of when they talked. First was Hector Molina who spoke of the New Evangelization and reminded us all, that the principle calling of the church is to evangelize. Currently Hector is the founding Director of the new Archdiocesan of the New Evangelization in the archdiocese of Saint Louise. Be sure to explore his site well as it is filled with hidden treasures.

Thankfully Hector's talk on the call to evangelize was followed by Dr. Thigpen, editor of the Catholic Answer, recently hired to teach at Southern Catholic and author of Star of the Sea website. Dr. Paul Thigpen carefully guided us through a practical list of just how one can evangelize. It does not, thankfully, necessarily mean gathering up a group of enthusiastic Catholics and then marching through a neighbourhood; patiently & persistently knocking on doors. Rather there are some very practical steps we use to evangelize, some of which are:
Answer a question.
Ask a question.
Recommend a book.
Share a meaningful experience with God.
Offer to pray.
These are just some of the practical means to evangelize that Dr. Thigpen shared with us.

Hugo and I enjoyed meeting Dr Thigpen and chatting with him personally. He is a most humble and intelligent speaker. His journey to the Catholic faith is a fascinating read.

If my memory serves me correctly, Dr Thigpen was followed by Tom Peterson who not only was delightful to listen to, but most interesting to chat with. Both Hugo and I both were able to talk to him and his lovely wife after dinner. It was then we learned that there was a Spanish version of his website. He is currently using the media to reach out to fallen away Catholics and his website commercials can be seen during half time of football games and such shows as Sex in the City. (No, there will no links to this!) They have had incredible results with these commercials, but sadly I am not good remembering numbers and did not think to write them down. My bad!

Then we were educated by Serrin Foster, current president of Feminists for Life. She brought us back in time and introduced us not only to the original feminists, but also their strong prolife/anti abortion message. Unfortunately, Seerin was struggling with laryngitis and so she could not quite speak her complete alloted time. However in chatting with her later, I learned that Senator Dole is the chief sponsor of a bill that will help facilitate colleges and university students to provide much needed support to the unwed mother to stay in school. Serrin shared that over and over the most common listed reason for an abortion was the fear of not being able to finish school and so end up in a life of poverty for themself and their child. (Please note I am not saying I think there is a 'good' reason to have an abortion, but if this is the chief reason given, and we can help eliminate this reason - I'm all for that.)

Following a lovely three course dinner, of which the chocolate dessert was my highlight, we all gathered once more in the auditorium to hear the keynote speaker of Friday evening who was Teresa Tomeo. This was an incredible delight for me as I typically drink my first cup of tea with Teresa while I work on my computer. Only, as I am never in time to catch the introduction of her show on Ave Maria, I did not realize that I was about to get to see and listen to, in person, my favourite morning companion. Once she opened her mouth and her lovely resonant voice filled the auditorium, I recognized her immediately and leaned forward with delight. I recognized names she mentioned in her talk as well as some of the details of her life story. Her aim was to educate us as to the harmful effect the media has on us and our children. And this does not just mean TV, but also the videos and more importantly the video and PC games we allow our children to engage in. This has been a source of conflict in my heart the past months and her talk helped my resolve to change things in our home. Yet, as Hugo pointed out, we need to make sure we replace these forms of media with something else, hopefully something not only fruitful to our family life but also enjoyable - such as reading aloud together. If not - we will easily succumb to bad habits we are striving to replace. I will update you later as to what choices we make in this area. One of the things we might engage in, as a couple, is a study of Theresa's book, Noise, for which I have discovered she has a study guide to.

At the end of the first evening, we mingled in the lobby chatting with the different speakers as well as the many guests, but I made a bee line to where Teresa was and bought her book Noise which she signed for me. Then Hugo and I headed home, exhausted but feeling well fed spiritually and hyped to return in the morning to hear a full day of more speakers.

Saturday morning we arrived too late to attend Mass or even to partake of the breakfast that was laid out for the participants. Following breakfast we were treated to a light history of Belmont Abbey by Ken Davison the VP of College Relations at Belmont. While there is no synopsis of this most interesting history of this beautiful and peaceful Monastery on their website, there is a link to several publications about their history.

Following Ken was the dynamic speaker, Jim Burnham, who gave a great talk about how he almost lost his Catholic faith in College. From that experience rose his vocation - that of providing the means for others to be better equipped when they leave home and face those ponderous questions that most of us do not know the answer to. As Jim said, typically we know what we believe but do we know why we believe it. I realized then and there that this was a gaping hole in my education and so that of my children's. I left that night with an armful of thin booklets that are easy to read and also have study guides to go with them. I found the prices very reasonable. To check out Jim's materials click here. I purchased the Beginning Apologetics.

Chris Aubert took the stage immediately after and shared with us the man's perspective on abortion and the need to make it known just what is happening inside a woman's body when a new life has been sparked within. He shared his horror and dismay when he attended a sonogram of his wife's first pregnancy. Then and there he realized this actually was a real living baby and not a viable mass of tissue; the lie he bought into when he participated in two earlier abortions with previous girl friends. Chris truly brings home the ignorance surrounding today's holacaust.

The rest of the day was filled with Dr Kreeft and was entirely delightful. After each of his talks we had an question & answer period which was as fun, as it was informative. Again I urge you to check out his website and enjoy any one of his many talks listed there.

Both Friday and Saturday evenings were capped with panel discussions that were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. Thankfully the whole of the convention was recorded and will soon be available on DVD. I will update as soon as they are available. I am looking forward to listening to many of these talks once more, as they were all jam packed and I simply could not retain everything.

Sunday morning was begun in the same manner as Saturdays' with Mass and a breakfast provided. Sadly we were unable to arrive until 11 am when Dr Kreeft gave his last talk and so we missed Gail Buckly who is the founder of Catholic Scripture Study International. I can tell you though, that we have participated in one of this organization's bible studies and I highly recommend them.

We were sad to bid everyone goodbye at lunchtime Sunday, but we left feeling spiritually filled, and ready to try and make some changes that we have been feeling drawn towards for the last month or two. There is nothing like being on the same page when facing such a challenge and after a weekend spent with ENVOY, we feel ready. Thank you to Patrick Madrid and Ken Davison who orchestrated the event, and we all owe a debt to Belmont Abbey for opening their doors to such a great movement. I am praying for the continued success of this program and for their goals. Please keep them in your prayers too and make plans to attend the conference next year. In fact you might want to consider contacting ENVOY and ask to be updated when the dates are confirmed for next year's conference. You don't want to miss it. I know I plan to be there and I hope to see you too!

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Farewell Tony. We will miss you!

Robert Anthony Snow
June 1, 1955 - July 12, 2008
To read about Tony's career and life click here.

We will miss Tony very much and had been anxiously waiting his return to the news and politics. The news of his death early Saturday morning was a shock.
May God Bless his family and we pray for the repose of Tony's soul.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Hey there...

I know it looks like I have disappeared but I have not really fallen off the face of the earth. I am actually here enjoying this! And it is AWESOME!

I'll be back Sunday or Monday! May God Bless you all with a peaceful weekend.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


... showing the children pictures a beautiful baby boy born yesterday, Elsa who was onmy lap piped up and asked;

"Is it a him or a her?"

"It is a him", I replied.

"Oh, please" she begged, "can we make it a her! Please???"

Sorry sweet heart, we can pretend a doll is a her or a him - but a baby boy is a baby boy and that is that. But I think I know what she is hoping for if we are blessed with another - and it's definitely not 'a him'!

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

sometimes... have to experience something to fully appreciate it and no matter how often you are told not to do something because it is dangerous - you still do it.

Emma recently experienced such an event. Emma loves to jump on her bed. But two nights ago she and Elsa collided, and the worse that Elsa experienced was a sore head but Emma almost bit through her tongue and was terrified by the blood.

Some ice and love, a little Motrin and she was ready to settle down for the night. However, she reassured me repeatedly that she would never jump on her bed again. Finally yesterday, she gave a huge sigh, after once more telling me that "I will never jump on my bed again!"

"What?'s the sigh for?" I asked.

"My poor bed. It might be so sad now that I will never jump on it again. "

But I think it is probably secretly celebrating and just looking sad for Emma's benefit. After all who wants to be jumped on every day!

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday blues

TOO tired

TO think


which is why one should not go to bed at 12 knowing they are getting up at six....
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Sunday, July 06, 2008

The business...

...of being born is an incredible movie. To see a preview and it's official site click here. As you can imagine being a mother of 12 children born over three decades - I found this movie fascinating.

I highly recommend that any mother facing birth watch this movie. If nothing else it will convince you how important it is to be informed so as to be able to make good decisions for you and your baby. The old adage a little knowledge is dangerous - far from applies in today's high tech approach to birth. Today a woman needs to have every "little piece" of information that she can find. She needs to be an informed consumer so as to not come away from what can be the most empowering experience of her life - feeling stripped of her independence and every shred of her dignity.

Whether you are expecting your first or your fifth or simply know someone expecting - watch this very enlightening and thought provoking movie. I bet none of you knew that the US, of all the industrialized countries has the second highest maternal mortality rate. I didn't.

This movie is available for rent from Netflix both in the instant watch format as well as a DVD that can be mailed to your home.
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas Pray for us!

God Bless us.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Down for the count...

I have been cold... despite the hot temps of 35 c. Sometimes I would go sit outside to warm up while everyone else was asking me to turn the a/c up. Then I would get so, so, so hot, I couldn't stand it.

I was often tired... very tired.

This morning I woke up exceptionally tired.

As I was reading my email I happened to rub my fingers over my check bones and it seemed swollen. For weeks now - if I pushed on my sinus - one tooth hurt.

I compared cheeks. Yes, the right one was just a bit more chubby than the left. So I pushed my tongue up onto my left gum and there was a pea sized lump on my gum over the tooth that hurt when I push on my sinus.

So I called the dentist. Two hours later I left the office with a prescription in hand. It appears that I have a sinus infection and an abscessed tooth. Hmmm, maybe that is why I am so tired. Maybe that is why I have been having chills one minute and boiling hot the next.

Now I am off to Wal-mart to pick up my prescription that I dropped off a few hours ago. But I bet if I asked Hugo really nicely - he would get it for me! Then I can take a nap. I hope to be back online in a day or two - but if I'm not, you all know why!

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Home safe and sound....

...and the last twenty minutes were filled with "are we almost home, I am so tired." "When will we get home, I am soooo tired."

I agree, I am tried and was most anxious to get home... but what happened to those exhausted children. You know, the ones who couldn't wait to get out and stretch and then head to bed.

I only hear kids who are hyper, loud and far too awake for my taste.

Tomorrow we will be busy cleaning out the van, washing the clothes and getting groceries. So this post plus an update on Gracie below, is all that you will see from me tomorrow.

Update on Gracie... PLEASE PRAY

TUESDAY, JULY 01, 2008 04:48 PM, CDT






TUESDAY, JULY 01, 2008 01:50 PM, CDT







TUESDAY, JULY 01, 2008 10:04 AM, CDT



We will not know until the end of the day how Gracie does--but we want her to stay off!! PRAY!


Todd and Amanda

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Stealing from the past...


Hugo is terribly busy and I am hoping that we will be moving this summer so I have not made much of an attempt to look for space for my scanner so once more, I am borrowing from the past. We have also started our summer semester and this being the first week back... it has been somewhat hectic. Some of my readers, no doubt wonder how I can torture my children with a summer semester but if you are familiar with the climate you will quickly agree that for many hours of the day - it is simply too hot to be spending any time outside. (Those not familiar with the climate can click here. In fact, we frequently experience weather warnings that are for air quality and not for storms or tornadoes. Though we have our fair share of those too. On those days, our children with asthma have to remain indoors as much as possible. Sometimes we will have three or more days like that in a row so... we might as well be productive and stretch our brains.

Now onto the glimpse from the past. To view click here.

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