Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Silent on the homefront...

I imagine by now you have all noticed how silent I have been. No doubt you have assumed that it is because I have, as Cratchit stammers to Scrooge "... been making quite merry" the past few days.

Oh, how I wish I could say that was the case.

However, not long after the last chocolate had been consumed from the little ones' stockings and the last gift had been opened and all scraps of wrapping paper and ribbon had been cleaned a number of the little people began to complain of tummy aches.

We tried in vain to explain it away by the number of chocolates and candy canes already consumed. When the first of them finally ah... upchucked... shall we say - we tried to explain it away as possible food poisoning from the traditional Christmas Eve oysters...

As those who had not consumed oysters in any quantity joined those with buckets on the couch we began to debate about the possibility of it having been the olives. Surely anyone who had consumed that many olives would be sick... Meanwhile, those not yet with stomach aches confined themselves in the dining room away from the inmates of the sick room living room. Anyone who dared to moan with a tummy pain was immediately banished to the, ah, living room.

Jenny and Anna optimistically cooked a large Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. However, by the time it was served the numbers joining in the feast had been drastically reduced even though we still used two table to accommodate everyone who did eat.

It was a fast moving epidemic flu but it still took a full three days to hit all in the house but the two babies. Praise God, He spared those two little ones as this flu was so virulent that I was worried it would possibly cause them to be hospitalized. The younger the victim - the longer the duration and severity of the symptoms.

We are finally recuperated and, at long last, I am getting some Christmas baking done during these 12 days of Christmas which is also the time period when little Cecilia Therese made her appearance last year. She is celebrating the anniversary of her birth by walking all over the place and pushing her (new) dolly's stroller with great joy and gusto. We will have the traditional first birthday cake complete with dark chocolate icing on the First of January as Gabriela is away this week visiting her sister in the Charlotte area. Gabriela is like Cecilia's second mum and we want her to see Cecilia enjoy her first piece of cake with icing...
(Typically I could say FIRST piece of cake EVER, but having been born during the Christmas season, that is filled with so many goodies, I am afraid Cecilia has already made her acquaintance both with cake and chocolate - even though the family thinks I am not aware of this! Even my best friend sighed a breath of relief that she no longer needs to share on the sly can openly share chocolate with Cecilia. )

And now I must join Bob Cratchit, and my family, by making merry these last days of the Christmas Season. If I can - I will post some pictures during our holidays. Until then:

God Bless and a peaceful, joy filled New Years to you and yours!

mum2twelve ~ now a bakers dozen

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Today the reading for the Jesse Tree is John 1:1-18 and the symbol is that of the P with an X over it.


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Official...

Christmas May Begin

5 rolls of tape, 6 - 7 rolls of wrapping paper, approximately 80 gift tags and a few gifts bags later and I am done - with St Nicks help of course! Sixteen stockings are filled and awaiting delivery by the Jolly old Saint himself. Gifts have already been placed under the tree which is lit and looking beautiful. So it is now official - I am ready for Christmas! Oh wait... still need to put the apple cider on for tomorrow!

We attended Christmas Eve Mass tonight at seven, in our new church, and Benjamin and Noah both served. It was beautiful. And now I am off to bed BEFORE MIDNIGHT. I think this is a FIRST! All I can say is PRAISE GOD and thank you to all my children who have chipped in and helped so much! We have had so much illness that less than two weeks ago I only had about 6 gifts purchased and not a single one wrapped! That I am so close to being able to go to bed before 1 am is simply a Christmas miracle! So good Night and God Bless, I pray you all have a peaceful and joy filled Christmas!!

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Jesse Tree - Fourth Thursday in Advent, Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve: Reading is Luke 2:1-20

Jesus' Birth in Bethlehem

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

2This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of (C)Syria.

3And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

4Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

5in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

6While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

7And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;

11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12"This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

15When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

16So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.

17When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.

18And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

20The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

The symbol is the manger.
The link to the symbols for the fourth week is here.

Fourth Friday in Advent:
Reading: Matthew2:1-12
This reading is about Herod and the three Kings and the symbol isa candle - representing the light Christ brought to the world.

The link to the symbols for the fourth week is here.

Praying all of my readers have had a peaceful Advent and will have a joy filled Christmas Eve and Day.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jesse Tree - Fourth Wednesday in Advent

Today we read about Elizabeth giving birth to John the Baptist which is followed by Zechariah's song. This song is another prophecy foretelling of the coming of our Saviour. Through this reading we see that John not only prophetized Christ's coming as an adult but that his very birth was used to herald the coming of our Saviour. The symbol is that of the Dove flying downward with what appears to be either manna or a Host in its mouth - symbolizing the Holy Spirit foretelling the coming of Christ through Zechariah.

Reading for the day Luke 1:57-80

67And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 68"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, 69And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant-- 70As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old-- 71Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES, And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US; 72To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, 73The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, 74To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. 76"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS; 77To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, 78Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, 79TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace." 80And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jesses Tree Fourth Tuesday

Today's readings treat us to the Magnificat when Mary, though already in the early stages of pregnancy, makes her way to Elizabeth to help her. Upon hearing Mary's voice and sensing our Lord's presence John the Baptist leaps for joy - announcing for the first time the coming of the Saviour.

"...Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

This is followed by Mary's song (another title for the Magnificat). The symbol for today is Saint Elizabeth holding the baby John.

Luke 1:39-56

Symbols for week four
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Can anyone identify with this...

Sunday morning the van was locked... and the van seats were sitting on the porch where they had been placed to make room for the Christmas tree that we had picked up the night before. The clock was ticking, ticking, ticking. And we needed to get to the new church in time for the boys to serve... Now that the Church was officially moved - there is no more walking to Mass.

Desperately we were hunting through pockets for the missing keys. BOTH SETS... Hearing the frustration in our voices and noting we were looking for something that had disappeared from a pocket; Elsa piped up "That happens to me too... whenever I put money in my pocket - it just disappears!"

Can anyone identify with that? I know I can!

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Jesse Tree - Fourth Monday in Advent

Monday: Reading is Luke 1:26-38
We learn of Mary and Joseph's betrothal.
The symbol is a Lilly.

The link to the symbols for the fourth week is here.

(credit for photo )
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jesse Tree - Fourth Sunday in Advent

The reading for today is Luke 1:5-25 and here is the link to the symbols for the fourth week. Today we are introduced to Elizabeth, who was barren, and Zacharias and the conception of John the Baptist. The symbols are again of angels but this two of them with a chest between them.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009


Anybody besides me struggling with forgotten teas that have been microwaved and promptly lost - only to be found when the tea is cold again... How about the toast that was put in the toaster at some point and walked away from; forgotten about - until it is stone cold too?

Or what about that eleven month old that you have cuddled on your lap as she nurses and you look up from your multi tasking to scold the 11 year old for not haven taken said baby downstairs when you asked her to a few minutes ago. She looks at you puzzled while your eyes quickly scan the room looking for the missing baby....

Perhaps I am in overload. I think I need to slow down and reboot before I lose ALL of my memory!

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Jesse Tree - Third Saturday in Advent

The reading for today symbol is Hebrew 1: 1-14 and here is the link to the symbols for the third week. The passage we are to read today is a direct heralding of the Messiah to come. Here is a portion of it:

"For to which of the angels did He ever say,
And again,

Appropriately the symbol today is an angel with a trumpet.

(The angel came from these colouring pages)

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Friday, December 18, 2009

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

I think only in a family of a bakers dozen with two babies (now referred to as baby Sr and baby Jr ) can a mother be given permission to whine because she was wakened at 4 am by her 16 year old daughter looking for a diaper so she can change her nephew... at 4 am.

But am I whining about my sixteen year old daughter waking me up? Actually no - I am whining about the fact that I could not fall back asleep. So its 5:36 am... and I am gulping down enjoying a hot cup of tea and eating hot buttered sourdough toast. The bright side is 1) I have completed some last minute online shopping of some items I could not find in our local stores and cheap enough that I could afford expedited shipping so hopefully these items will arrive in time for Saint Nickolas to help Baby Jesus put them under the tree. 2) Since I am already awake - I won't have to struggle to wake up so that I can wake up the rest of the family at six... is my lack of sleep showing?

On a more serious note please keep praying for my DIL. She is home from hospital but extremely weak and tired. She is too weak to hold the baby for long and so we are doing all we can to care for him and help her to not feel the guilt that any mum feels when she can not care for her baby. Please keep praying for her.

We have another set of hands at home and she settled down to work within minutes of being home and SUPER cleaned the kitchen, the pantry and one of the two fridges. (The messiest one!) I brought home a ton of groceries and the kids refilled the pantry and fridges while Jenny and I headed out the door to buy a gazillion gifts which ranged from those special items that have been whispered to you, emailed and even texted to itsy bitsy stocking stuffers. With all of the illness in the family I simply had not had time to do more than grab a few gifts way back in October when I had the ridiculous notion I would be organized before Advent. With only seven days to Christmas Eve the stress was mounting and my daughter kindly canceled two events to help me out.

Next step is to sweep out the classroom and set up 'Operation Christmas' so that Saint Nicholas can drop in, as he does every year, to help me wrap up the gifts. The little ones love to listen by the door while he and I joke and they hear his gruff, but jovial chuckles while he and I work and listen to Christmas music. Who helps you with your wrapping? Any special traditions in your home to help that dreaded happy chore easier to do? I love the little notes and treats that the children slip under the door or leave by it for Saint Nick and I to share.

Thank you to Jenny, Anna and Gabriela (who watched babies all day!) and the big boys! (They cleaned my van for me)! The next few days are going to be so much more enjoyable as a result.


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Jesse Tree - Third Friday in Advent

The reading for today symbol is Nehemiah 13:10-22 and here is the link to the symbols for the third week. Today we learn about restoring the Sabbath to a day of rest within Jerusalem and the restoring of tithes.

The symbol is that of the walls of Jerusalem.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jesse Tree - Third Thursday in Advent

The reading for today is Jeremiah 31: 31- 34 and here is the link to the symbols for the third week. Today the Lord announces:

They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34)

The symbol is once more holy scriptures, this time as a book.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Too Awesome!

Too Awesome NOT to share! Here is the fondant cake topper my friend, Good Remedy, has created for the Church Dedication coming up this month.

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Jesse Tree - Third Wednesday in Advent

The reading for today is from Isaiah 6:1-8 and here is the link to the symbols for the third week. The reading is about one of Isaiah's visions and the the symbol today is that of Holy Scrolls.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jesse Tree - Third Tuesday in Advent

The reading for today is from 2 Kings 5: 1-27 and here is the link to the symbols for the third week. The passage we are to read today is still from Kings but from 2 Kings. It is a long story but very interesting. It involves Elisha the prophet, the Arameans and the disease of leprosy which in this story involves the transition of this hideous disease from one person to another because of the disobedience of Elisha's servant.

"Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever." So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. (2kings 5:27)

The symbol today is that of the dove of peace - perhaps symbolizing the peace that Naaman, captain of the of the Arameans army, approached the Israelites with when he sought a cure from leprosy for himself.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Jesse Tree - Third Monday in Advent

The reading for today symbol is 1 Kings 17 1-16 and here is the link to the symbols for the third week. We are still reading from 1 Kings, as you can see, and today we read how God commands the ravens to provide for Elijah.
The the symbol for today is a raven.
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Apologies

I'm sorry that I was late with the last two posts for the Jesse tree. I thought that I had more of them scheduled than I did.

My DIL is very ill but slowly making progress and could use your continued prayers. We, in the meantime, are basically dealing with Irish Twins - though not in the strictest meaning of the term. In other words they are aunt and nephew - not siblings. However, we are enjoying all of the fun and complications of having babies 8 months apart in age.

For instance - Cecilia has figured out that Alexander is waking up at 5:20 in the morning so she too now wakes up at that time... This afternoon Alexander was enjoying the baby rocking chair and Cecilia after tenderly kissing him carefully edged her way around the chair until she was standing behind the chair. She began practicing her baby steps and the chair began to side forward, quickly picking up speed. They sped across the room only halting when they reached the playpen. Both thoroughly enjoyed themselves while the rest of us laughed ourselves silly. Lydia, the eldest of these three nursery stars, looked on with great dignity from the couch. At 15 months she is above such shenanigans - especially if in the process of getting her diaper changed!

So life as always is: lively, interesting and a challenge, in our home!

God Bless and a peaceful Advent to you all!

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Jesse Tree - Third Sunday in Advent

The reading for today symbol is 1 Kings 3:3-28 and here is the link to the symbols for the third week. We learn about one of the most famous historical figures from the old testament today - King Solomon and appropriately the symbol today is a King's crown.
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jesse Tree - Second Saturday in Advent

Today we are reminded of God's love and protection of us as we read the 23rd psalm. The symbol for today is a lamb with a cross and flag which I think is the Pascal Lamb and this is EWTN's explanation of it. "The Paschal Lamb: At the yearly Pasch, the Jews sacrificed a new, unblemished lamb in thanksgiving for all that God had done for them and as an atonement offering for all their sins. This sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb was fulfilled in Christ, the "Lamb who takes away the sins of the world."

Here is today's reading: Psalm 23 and the symbols for this week are here.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Jesse Tree - Second Friday of Advent

Todays reading may feel somewhat familiar and this is because it encompasses the reading from the first Sunday of Advent when we were introduced to Jesse and his son David - which is the line of Kings that Jesus is descended from. Here we learn that Saul, who has found disgrace before the Lord and lost his kingship (1 Samuel 15) through disobedience, is feeling tortured by an evil spirit but when David plays the harp for him, he feels peace. Todays symbol is the harp.

Here is today's reading: 1 Samuel 16:14-23
This weeks symbols are here.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

prayers please

A member of the family has become seriously ill and is now in hospital. Please pray for their recovery, for the medical staff caring for them and for those of us at home coping with the suddenness of this illness and the worry for their recovery. The earliest we can expect our loved one to come home is next Monday if they respond well to their medical treatment.
Thank you for your prayers - you guys are the greatest and I always feel the graces when my readers pray and offer up little things for us.

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Jesse Tree - Second Thursday in Advent

We are introduced to the prophet Samuel today and in the reading learn that at this time it was rare to hear God voice and that 'visions' were infrequent' and yet Samuel hears the word of the Lord on this day and becomes confirmed as a prophet. The symbol for today is that of man lying down resting - and this could be Eli who is lying down and resting when Samuel hears God calling. Or it could represent Samuel who is also lying down each time he hears God's voice calling him.
(For my symbol for this post I finally chose a stone bed as I was unable to find a man resting from the appropriate time frame.)

Here is todays reading. 1 Samuel 3: 1-21
The second week of symbols from the Domestic Church are here.
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Jesse Tree - Second Wednesday In Advent

Slowly advancing through the ages we are still with Moses and today we learn of the blessing that God taught Moses and Aaron, so the symbol for today is that of a hand extended in a blessing.

Here is today's reading: Numbers 6:22-27
To view this week's symbols from the Domestic Church click here.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Jesse Tree - Second Tuesday in Advent

Today we are introduced to the ten commandments and so the obvious symbol is the traditional slates of rock with the commandments engraved into them by the very hand of God.

Today's reading is Exodus 20:1-17
To view this week's symbols from the Domestic Church click here.
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Veni, vidi, vici

I came, I saw, I conquered....
Julius Caesar

I came, I saw... I fell!

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Jesse Tree - Second Monday in Advent

Today, on the second Monday in Advent we are introduced to Joseph and his famous coat of many colours and so the symbol chosen for today is a coat of many colours. This is a symbol the children will really enjoy colouring as you read today's reading, Genesis 37:1-36.

Here is the link to the second week of symbols as created by the Domestic Church.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jesse Tree - Second Sunday in Advent

What a beautiful image for this Second Sunday in Advent for the Jesse tree. A single lit candle representing the following:

"The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. "

which is taken from today's reading Isaiah 9:2-7.

Here is the link to take you to the Domestic Church's symbols for the second week of building a Jesse Tree.

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Happy St Nicholas Day

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Where are all the children???

Its only eight thirty and I have not seen hide nor hair of any of the younger set for at least half an hour. Now where can they be? Not already tucked into bed and courting sleep filled with sugar plums and Saint Nicholas? Could that possibly be where they are?

Makes me wish this lively old saint came every night!

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How do I know? Because Cecilia ate one the other night causing quite a stir amongst the children. They came tearing to me pale faced and stumbling over their tongues. "Mummy, mummy Cecilia ate some Holly Berries - she has Holly berries in her mouth."

I quietly picked her up and carefully dug around inside her mouth as she screamed in rage at me. I massaged out some red bits and a small chunk of holly berry. Yup, she had indeed consumed at least one Holly berry. Initially I was not worried. Had I not just researched whether or not Poinsettias were poisonous only to learn that they are NOT.

No - that is not a type o. My tired brain simply was not working properly. Poinsettias might typically be red but they are NOT Holly Berries ... Something finally clicked in my brain and I had my husband hold Cecilia while I not so calmly typed into google 'Are Holly Berries poisonous'.

The first link I came upon was rather impressive as it cautioned that Holly Berries are poisonous and if your child had ingested some to call the poison control immediately. Feeling even less calm I then searched for the poison control number and a very nice and CALM lady asked important questions like the child's age weight and then told me she was okay if she had ingested less than five... We were pretty sure it was only one berry but I was to call poison control back if she started to vomit...

Here are some important links. This one is about poisonous plants and this one is about dangers the holidays can bring into our homes. I think a review of these links will become a Holiday tradition in our home!


here is their site.

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Houston... we have....


We were a few days late getting them this year but I can't think of a more fun way to get a set of Advent Candles than how we did it this year. It was worth the wait.

Just where did we get them you ask that it was such an exciting event?

Well, our oldest son is now working at a lovely church as their DRE and the church is within an hour from us so he invited us to their Advent Wreath making potluck dinner on the 4th. We met our second oldest daughter and her family there as well as Alicia (Jonathan's fiance) and it was a great time. We took some photos of the kids playing together and a few photos of some of the wreaths that were made. However, those photos are on my husband's phone so... it'll be a while before I get my fingers on them. Once I do though I will post them - I promise!

One of the best parts of the party after getting to spend time with my adult children and their growing families was getting to remeet one of my readers. 'Just Jo' and I met 2 years ago at the Envoy Institute's first annual conference. I was pregnant with number 13 and Jo, at 12 children thought her family was complete, so she offered me her maternity clothes. However God had a surprise for her and a few weeks later she informed me that she too was expecting... So we are both mums of a bakers dozen and it was so much fun chatting with her at the pot luck. Hugo and her husband chatted for some time as well.


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Second Sunday in our Advent...

How has your Advent being going? Are you finding it hard to stay focused on quietly waiting the birth of our Saviour when the rest of the secular world is already partying and maybe even your own church is already celebrating the Christmas Season when it is really still Advent?

It is hard to find that balance between allowing your children and family to participate in Christmas parties and activities that are already happening while also observing the quiet waiting that Advent asks of us. Most years I try to have a number of Advent activities planned and last year we had home made Advent calendars that had activities and prayer suggestions behind the numbers on them. And if we should want to have a party during Advent we try to plan it as close as possible to one of the many Feast days that are in December. We have St Nicholas Day, The Immaculate Conception, Saint Lucy, Our Lady of Guadeloupe to choose from.

This year after a whole month of serious illness in our family I did not really have time or energy to plan much in the way of activities. I did manage to make three Advent chains with the younger children, which we did last year. I love this simple activity. Chains are a sign of bondage and this paper chain that we make out of purple and rose coloured construction paper is a wonderful visual reminder not only of how we are coming closer to Christmas and the birth of the Light of the world, but also a reminder of how Christ's birth, death, and resurrection saved us from the bondage of sin. This chain can actually completely replace the traditional calendar if you choose to do so and can simply be paper links the child tears off daily or you can choose to write on each link an activity, small sacrifice or prayer intention for you to do as an individual or family. It is also a very inexpensive activity so that you can easily afford to make one for each child and ease that tension that sometimes comes as children struggle to remember who opened the last window on the calendar.

I have only two other activities planned for Advent, one is an open house on the Feast day Of Our Lady of Guadeloupe and another is a spiritual exercise built around the Cardinal Virtues. I had hoped to have this exercise researched and written in time for the first Sunday in Advent but this was not the case as we were still recovering from the long illnesses that struck in early November. So we will either begin it tonight or tomorrow; the second Sunday in Advent. My hope is to help create more peace in our home than there has been recently through the study of the virtues and how they help us as well as the the resulting 7 Capital sins that can trip us up through the lack of practicing the virtues in one's life.

Our children are good children and are usually very happy but over the past months some bad habits have formed and we need to weed these out sooner than later. What better time to focus on this than Advent and what better way to replace a bad habit than to practice a good one. I plan on sharing this activity later with my readers but first I have two priests reading it to make sure that there are no glaring errors in it. So once more I suggest that you stay tuned!


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Jesse Tree - First Saturday in Advent

The reading for this day are filled with betrayals and the resulting anger due to Jacob stealing his Father's blessings in earlier in the chapter. But the crux of the reading seems to be God's promise to Jacob as revealed in this dream:

...which he saw a ladder resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

Hence the symbol for the first Saturday is that of a ladder and again, here is the link to the Domestic Church's page for this week's symbols.

The reading for today is Genesis 27:41-28:22
(Which is the same as Genesis 27:41-46 and Genesis 28:1-22)

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Jesse Tree - First Friday in Advent

On this day, the first Friday in Advent we are reminded of God's testing of Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. When God sees that Abraham loves Him enough to do even this - God sends a ram to take the place of Isaac. A foreshadowing of Christ's sacrifice for us a ram is the typical symbol for this day.

Here is the page from Domestic Church for the symbols of this week.

Today's reading is Genesis 22: 1-19

(photo credit - go here and enjoy awesome pictures of various wildlife!)

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Jesse Tree - First Thursday in Advent

On the first Thursday of Advent we are reminded of the promise made to Abraham by God to:
"... make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing." This event is symbolized with a tent and here is the link to Domestic Church with their symbols for this week.

Here are the readings:
Genesis 12: 1-7
Genesis 13: 2-18

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Anonymous Comments

As of today anonymous commenting has been blocked on this blog. I am sorry for this as I know some readers are not registered with google and, as such, will no longer be able to comment unless they register. However, I have yet to receive a nasty comment (and I mean NASTY!) that was NOT anonymous.

I am tired of cowards.

One of the more recent nasty comments was like a kick in the stomach and took my breath away. I could not understand what I had done or written to unleash such a vicious comment. I don't like that an anonymous person was able to leave such a stain on my day. And, as I believe that all nasty comments that are left anonymously are left by cowards... I sincerely doubt I will have to moderate any more nasty ones. These individuals simply will not have the courage to leave their name attached to their ugly words.

I have no problem publishing varying views from my own and I don't mind publishing comments that are critical of me. I have done so in the past. But some comments are just plain ugly and not deserving of being published and so my readers have not been subjected to them. But I am no longer willing to subject myself to them because, you see, while I have not published the ugly nasty comments - I have still had to read them.

Now if someone wants to be incredibly rude, offensive and/or vulgar... they will have to do so while leaving a trail that can be followed. This will allow me to be able to report them to Google should I warrant it necessary.

Again I apologize to the readers who have taken advantage of the anonymous comments to leave positive, interesting and sometimes critical comments while also including a first name. I am sorry that the cowardice of others has forced me to take this route. I hope you will understand.

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Jesse Tree - First Wednesday in Advent

This, the first Wednesday in Advent, takes us back to the 40 days of the flood and Noah and is typically represented with a dove over water with what I think is an olive branch in its beak.
Click here to go to Domestic church to find the matching symbol.

Genesis 6:11-22
Genesis 8: 6-12

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Jesse Tree - First Tuesday in Advent

The reading for today is about the fall and the resulting expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Some like to represent this with an apple - especially one with a bite out of it. Others will use a serpent. The Domestic Church combines the two images.

Here is the reading for today which is Genesis 3: 1 - 24

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Jesse Tree

Last year I was a lot less active than I am right now... as I was quickly advancing to my due date so we took the season of Advent off last year to focus on preparing for two babies... baby Jesus and our baby - who was due so very close to His birthday. We were blessed with Cecilia's arrival after about 36 hours of labour at home during the Christmas season but thankfully not on Christmas day! (In truth, though long - it was a very easy labour. Delivery was a little tricky and recovery - a nightmare, but Praise be to God, Cecilia was a very healthy baby!)

As a result of the hiatus we were on I had time to create many posts for the Jesse tree advent activity. I am going to repost these for the readers who wish to use them again this year. I hope you find them helpful... and I apologize for being late with Sunday's. As you know we have been ill most of November and I think (and pray) we have turned the corner...

So here is the link to last years introduction and let the waiting begin!

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Jesse Tree - First Monday in Advent

God's Creation; the reading for this day reflects the first days of the creation so many different symbols can be used. Some prefer to use a symbol of God, others of the wonderful earth that God created.

Here is the reading , which is Genesis 1: 24-28.

Again, to use the symbols for this week from the Domestic Church, click here.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jesse Tree - First Sunday in Advent

The Jesse Tree is similar to a family tree - in this case Jesus' family tree. This tree, with its symbols, takes us through what some refer to as the first Advent. The long wait for the Messiah, our redemption, which started with Adam's and Eve's fall from grace through to the incarnation and the first Christmas in Bethlehem.

So the first symbol chosen is the tree which symbolizes the family tree we are building during Advent.

Here is the reading for the first Sunday in Advent which is 1 Samuel 16: 1-13

I am using the Domestic Church website and following their readings and symbols. To use their symbols for this week click here. To see their page about the Jesse tree click here.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Needing God's Armor

Since man's life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution, and the devil your foe is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour, you must use every care to clothe yourselves in God's armor so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy's ambush. - Saint Albert of Jerusalem (1149-1215)

And how do we clothe ourselves in God's armor: prayer, fasting, frequent reception of the sacraments and feeding our minds with good materials, whether spiritual reading or movies about the Saints and/or religious documentaries. What things do you do to keep yourself clothed in God's armor? Any good movies or documentaries you can suggest, reading materials? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section.

In the meantime I pray you all have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving. We are still struggling with illness and now have a 4 year old who might be having a response to a recent MMR vaccination which only 5% of the population experiences.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

illness abounds

It is feast or famine for us with health and sickness and right now we are in 'the revolving door at the doctors' phase. Currently we are waiting on blood tests in hopes of revealing the newest culprit to knock us off our feet. Keep us in your prayers please as we wait and hope for a simple explanation for some rather serious illness in a few of our children.

Details later - but if I am away for a few days it is because we are really snowed under with sick children. I am working on a post about it all ... but... it might be a few days before I have the time to finish it and post.

God Bless and I pray for a Happy and HEALTHY Thanksgiving for you and yours!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

High fashion

Today I am wearing my baby and I can think of no other fashion accessory that could outshine this beautiful jewel that is clasped to my chest. Thank you Jesus for this priceless treasure which is adorning me and warming my heart and soul with her beauty and innocence.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tired to the point of being tearful and feeling guilty...

The dishes are piled up and despite the fact that I really, I mean really, want one of my own freshly baked molasses cookies I am "making do" with a Nonni soft baked almond cookie that is store bought. Gasp - did I really say 'making do' to one of those delightful cookies? Yes, I did because what I really want is a home made fresh from the oven molasses cookie and I am too tired to make them, despite being bed by 9:30 pm last night. (Could this possibly be because of the countless end to end doctors appointments, keeping track of several antibiotic prescriptions and attempting to jump start our schooling program after a two weeks sick hiatus??)

And I feel so guilty because instead of teaching math to my four year old who pleaded with me to let her do her math sheets - I cuddled my sleepy 10 month old who, after weeks of cat naps (a total of maybe four in the past week, each lasting a total of possibly 20 minutes, tops) crawled into my lap and voluntarily fell asleep. Could she possibly have done this because out of desperation the past 2 days we have put her down to sleep in, gasp, a crib - alone, and let her cry herself to sleep?

When she crawled into my arms and fell asleep I pushed away the guilt because after all she is most likely the last baby and how many more times will I have the opportunity to cuddle something so small and precious that is all mine. Regardless of why this clever little one decided to take a nap, I allowed myself the time to enjoy her warmth against my chest, the limp weight of her body in my arms and her head on the side of my neck as well as her baby fine hair smooth on my cheek. The dishes could wait, the baking could wait and the guilt could flee.

We are hours behind what I "wanted" to do. But the rest of the day is still here waiting to be filled and it can be started anew at any moment.

So I will try to ignore the fatigue & brush the guilt aside like crumbs off my lap as I have a cup of tea, enjoy my tusani cookie and then I will pull out the math sheets and also do a phonics lesson with Nathaniel. After lunch I will maybe try baking my craving and plan dinner.

It is never too late to start the day fresh...

Babies don't Keep...

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

~Ruth Hulbert Hamilton~

The full poem can be found here and the 8th comment (left by Sherry Goodwin) is particularly moving...

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A Truely Blond Moment

Younger brother to older sister as they drove by the local college:

"Hey - that's a really pretty church, have you ever been in it?"

Older sister to younger brother:

"Ah yeah - I got married in it..."

Ummm - yeah, and we have attended Mass there numerous times...

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh MY G O S H !!!!

There are only 11 more days to the first day of ADVENT!

Do you have your


(GULP - I don't... BUT I know where my wreath is... I think!)

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Over at Good Remedy...

... Peggy has found a great menu planer that is saving her dollars. And in this economy THAT is nothing to sneeze at. Want to check out her review? Here is her original post about E-mealz and here is her first review after trying it for a week. It's looking good! I'm even thinking of trying it even though I have created my own three week cycle of planned meals complete with grocery lists that is largely based on using a crock pot through out the week. The idea of throwing some ingredients in a pot early in the morning and not thinking about dinner again until its time to serve dinner is extremely appealing to me.

Still - I am looking forward to some new recipes without having to work hard to find them, print them and then create a matching grocery list... and this E-mealz even matches its meal plan/grocery list with the current sales from various nation wide stores. How can you beat that? So check out Peggy's post and see what you think. Hope to see you later over at E-mealz!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009


If you're gonna mess with the settings on the electric hair trimmer and not tell your mum - you shouldn't be surprised when you end up with a buzz cut. I'm just saying... you know!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Check this out!

Hey - have any of you heard of Catholic TV? I have heard some murmurs that are lodged deep in my memory banks but had not gotten around to actually looking into it. Well - here is a blog that I am checking out that is all about it. So far I don't know if this is something free or something you have to join - but it looks good. Come on over with me and check it out! And for those of you who were already in the know - ok - I'm square and I admit it! Read more!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I got up this morning and not finding anything to satisfy my finicky appetite I thought of my husband's secret stash and stole over to the closet in hopes of stealing one last cookie from the box only to discover the smart devil silly man had taken them to work with him. I had to satisfy myself with a healthy whole wheat English muffin and peanut butter. Sniff!

(My husband is an incredibly generous man and if he knew I was pining over his cookies, he would have taken one or two cookies to work and left the rest of the box for me to enjoy!)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Confession 101

Psssst - what to hear something terrible?! I have a confession to make. I hope you are all sitting down. I am feeling so miserable (thats my line and I'm sticking with it!) that to seek a little comfort I am .... listening to Christmas Music! I know, I know - it's not even Advent, heck we don't even have the Thanksgiving shopping out of the way yet.

But there is something so comforting in the joy of Christmas music. Besides I have made one concession, I am only listening to Josh Groban and John Michale Talbot. And as Elsa put it so aptly several times since getting sick:

"Oh Mummy... I am SO tired of being like this!"

Me too, sweetheart, me too!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have a plan. My plan is to:
finish eating breakfast,
drink some coffee,
wash the breakfast dishes,
drink some more coffee while calling the Dr for an appointment for Elsa,
and then jump start school while still sipping coffee.
Somewhere in there I am also considering breaking into my husbands stash of soft baked tusani. (While the cat's away the mouse will play - did I mention he jumped ship left for a teacher's conference yesterday morning?)

So I have a great to do list for the day. However - I am a little worried that my body might have a different plan.

You see while I was doling out syrups for fever, pills for coughs and taking temperatures I forgot one rather important daily job I have to do... take my life sustaining thyroid meds and I'm feeling the draggy effect the lack of these meds this has on one.

So far I can add a check beside the raiding of the tusconi box and sipping coffee... the rest of the list well, we'll see how it checks off. After all who knows how long the Dr visit will take. Nor have I run this list by the 10 month old - whom I suspect has a different to do list than mine. Hers starts off with;
Cuddle with mummy
followed by
cuddle some more with mummy

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Monday, November 09, 2009

New Discoveries and Little Disappointments

Cecilia had just finished a wretched coughing session but still had some phlegm in her throat. This resulted in a low growling noise when she forced air through her throat - much to her delight and she experimented with this for a minute or two until her efforts actually caused the phlegm to move. Suddenly her efforts to re-create this growly effect resulted only in a silent whistle. The disappointed surprise on her face caused the whole room to errupt into laughter.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009


Yes, our oldest son is engaged! He knelt on bended knee last month and popped the question. And here she is - our lovely future daughter in law, Alicia, holding Alexander on his first day home.

She is the second oldest of a lovely family from Tennessee. I have yet to meet them in person so how do I know they are lovely? Because I have met Alicia... need I say more? Read more!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

In September we welcomed

Alexander Ryan into the world and into our family!

Here he is - brand spanking new. His aunts Jenny & Gabriela as well as myself were there to welcome him into the world as we supported Ashley through her long labour.

Mummy and son the next day.

Here is 4 yr old Aunt Elsa holding 3 day old Alexander his first day home.
(She is getting a little help of course!)

Isn't he just the handsomest little fellow you ever saw?

We have more recent photos of him but.. they were not in the file I thought I had saved them in - which leads me to believe that they are on the computer that I am not on... hence I will save them for another day. But trust me - he just keeps getting cuter and cuter!

Tomorrow I will introduce to yet another new member of the family... so again stay tuned...
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Friday, November 06, 2009

cheating... again

...with a photo. This time its a picture of Cecilia and I in the kitchen. The kitchen is located in a building separate from the house. This was the norm for the time due to the ever present danger of fire as they cooked on an open hearth. The building was believed to be connected to the main house with a breezeway which could have been easily knocked down in an effort to protect the main house if a fire did break out. The kitchen that Cecilia and I sat in that Saturday afternoon is one of the few surviving kitchens from that era here in NC. as many did succumb to fire. Cecilia was amazing that afternoon. Dressed in a gown about seventy five - one hundred yrs old, she patiently sat on my lap for almost two solid hours getting only one break during which she joined Bethany and Nathaniel on a stroll about the grounds of Hall house. The only toy we had to entertain her with was the small bear you see me holding out in front of her. This bear is possibly from the 30s and is part of my stuffed toy collection. (A story for another time!)

Tomorrow, as 'Daddy' now has actual photos in hand of his first born son, you will see new photos of the little guy posted here so stay tuned... ( I am shameless, am I not - with my teaser?)

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Baby love

My head was both heavy and light and when I moved the room had developed the habit of spinning - just a bit. My fever had broken but still I was very impatient for bed and a good nights sleep. Cecilia was also obviously fatigued from this battle with the flu. Her eyes had become red rimmed and heavy. Her body felt even heavier in my arms as I leaned back in my chair cradling her while we both stared bleary eyed at Baby Einstein in hopes that sleep would soon find her. Slowly her body began to crumple into me as she relaxed into dream land. I nodded at her nine year old brother and he understood my silent question and checked her face. "She's asleep." He whispered and gathered his blankets around himself as he settled himself back onto the cot in the middle of my bedroom turned hospital ward.

Too tired to move, I sat in my chair wishing I had picked the one with the higher back so that I could let my neck rest. She was asleep but I did not dare try to transfer her to our bed yet. Her daddy was checking doors and turning out lights downstairs. With almost 100 percent of the house under the effects of this quick striking flu we were calling it an early night. The pounding in my head began to lessen as the Tylenol slowly kicked and I began to cough less thanks to the cough suppressant - most likely the culprit for the spinning room.

I felt the hard firmness of Cecilia's head warm on my neck and I leaned my chin on it and breathed in her sweetness while I let her warmth melt away my tension. I felt so blessed to be holding this precious weight in my arms. Almost two years ago after three years of no new additions to our family I had knelt at the alter and prayed; "Lord, either grant me the graces to accept that there are no new babies in our future or bless me with one more baby but please help me either way. I am open to your will - I just need the graces. PLEASE!" What I really expected was the graces to accept that my even dozen blessings meant that my family was complete but what I really desired was another baby. Within a month we learned we were expecting another blessing. Thank you Jesus.

Finally I felt brave enough to try to transfer her to our bed and gingerly rose from my chair and tiptoed around the cot carefully avoiding the doll house furniture adorning my floor and carefully deposited her on the bed and then I lay down beside her, ready to comfort her if she stirred. Almost immediately a cry issued from her hoarse throat and she struggled to sit back up and searched comfort in my arms, My tired body rebelled and screamed no, no, no, I need sleep. But my mind forced my body into obedience and I wrapped my arms around my little daughter and attempted to comfort her in her struggle to breath and sleep at the same time. Suddenly her daddy's strong arms, just as tired as mine, reached out for her and she was lifted into the air and he walked her around in the dark hallway beside our room quietly humming to her. Grateful for even just a few minutes respite I fluffed my pillow, stretched out my feet to find the coolest corner of my mattress and allowed my body to relax into my bed. I did not fall into a deep sleep but dozed lightly until I felt, more than heard, my husband come back into the room with our fitful angel. She was desperate for sleep and unable to find it. I sat up and arranged my pillows into a pyramid and stretched out my arms for her. She stretched out her arms to me and we cuddled up against the pillows. I begged Mary to cover her with her mantle of prayers and for Jesus to hear His mother pleas on my daughter's behalf. "Jesus please hear your mother's prayers and pass your gentle healing hands over my daughter and heal her. Allow her to sleep please." Eventually she found sufficient comfort to be able to sleep. She dozed on and off all night while I watched the soft red digits of my clock slowly dissolve away the hours of the night and bring me closer to dawn. One of my sustaining thoughts was 'when its morning one of her older siblings can hold her for a while and I can sleep then'. At last the digits on my clock announced it was time for my husband to get up to dress for work and Cecilia, feeling the extra movement, rolled out of my arms and sat sleepily blinking in the soft dawn light. Her tousled hair, round eyes and flushed cheeks stirred even more the love in my heart and my lips spread in a large smile as I stared down at my sleepy daughter.

My husband looked across the room just as I laid my cheek on her head and our eyes connected and he too smiled. Wordlessly we both acknowledged the beautiful blessing that our ten month old daughter is to us. I kissed her soft hair and wrapped my arms around her and she leaned onto my shoulder and the three of us silently felt the love that flowed between us and I thanked God yet one more time for His blessed answer to my fervent prayer two years ago. Thank you, thank you, thank you for my thirteen blessings.

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a change to the equation

Re earlier post - move one sixteen year old over to the sick column but keep 4 year old in healthy department though she seriously wants to be sick so she can try that delicious pink goo we call bumble gum flavoured Motrin 'cause she can't remember how it tastes'.
"Puhleeease, can't I just taste it - just a little?"
I figure it is to my advantage that she NOT remember how it tastes in case I actually need to force it down her administer some to her in the next couple of days. It would be good to have her welcome at least the first dose... better yet I pray she doesn't need it... but with Anna finally moving over to the sick column in my ongoing math equation - the odds don't look good.

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another math problem

Even without a brain feeling fuzzy on the edges from the ravages of the flu this math did not add up to me. But I'll place the equation here for you to work out and tell me if you come to the same conclusion as myself...

Elsa - cuddled up on my lap last week reached out and rubbed my tummy and sighed. "I just so want you to have one more baby - just one more. Twins a boy and a girl."

Now I ask; since when did one equal two? Am I alone here? Anyone else see a problem with this four year olds math skills?

(And no - I am NOT expecting -not even one, and especially not twins or even triplets! :)

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Is it feed a cold starve the flu

...or starve a cold and feed the flu?

Whichever it is I am brewing my third tea and reaching for my third fourth molasses cookie. I know know - not healthy choices but heck - I'm sick... not in my right mind and so not making good choices and no - I'm not feeling guilty about pigging out feasting on store bought molasses cookies. I'd eat the home made ones BUT they got cleaned out within hours of being baked... and I'm referring to the second batch I made on Saturday not the 10 dozen I made earlier in the week....

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math quiz...

I'm too tired and/or too sick to do the math so I'm leaving it to you, my dear readers, to solve this equation. We have 13 children, 9 still living at home but one is away baby sitting his niece. We also have a daughter in law abd grandson living here. So far the flu has claimed all but the DIL, grandson, 4 yr old and 16 yr old... so how many of us are down with the flu? My tired brain just can't do the math but I do know the Tylenol is flying out the door and we can't keep tissues in the house....

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Calling All Catholics...

October 30, 2009

Here is the body of an email I received today from Catholic Voice. Please read, pray and then act as your conscience dictates. We left a country that offered socialized medicine and even with all our struggles here during those long years of no insurance and little income - we only ONCE considered moving back. That was the day my OBGYN said that he would only deliver Elsa via a C-section. I spent about 30 minutes looking at the availability of doctors in the areas we could conceivably find some kind of work in and quickly saw that the odds of finding a Dr taking in a new patients was less than nil. My brother and sister and law had to beg her old family Dr to take them as patients when they moved back to New Brunswick from Alberta. They are lucky there are doctors in their town. The small town my parents are closest to - has NO doctors and they have to drive an hour to the closest city to see a doctor. That is what you can anticipate in your future if this health reform passes...

In addition to that - read our Bishops concerns about this bill:

Dear Catholic Voice North Carolina Participant:

The Catholic Bishops of the United States have issued an urgent Call to Action regarding the health care reform debate that is currently underway in the United States Congress.

The Bishops have concluded that the three bills under consideration are seriously flawed in the following areas:
1) mandating the use of federal funds to pay for abortions (which is contrary to our current federal law),
2) forcing health care workers and Catholic medical institutions to perform medical procedures in violation of their religious conscience and
3)(fails in) providing adequate access to health care for the poor and immigrants.
We invite you to visit the Bishops website that is dedicated to this issue and to contact your elected representatives as soon as possible. You can do so by going to the Bishops website or by visiting your respective diocesan website.

Thank you
Catholic Voice North Carolina
Please do inform yourself about this controversial bill and act accordingly. You owe it to yourself, your children and especially your grandchildren who will suffer the most from the consequences of this bill.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PSSSST! Want in on a great bargain???

Have two years already flown passed by since John and Jenny got married and has little Lydia who was just born last year already become a toddler? With a growing family - comes growing expenses, as we all know! So to help meet the costs of raising a growing family - Jenny has branched out into Mary Kay and has become a rep with her own WEBSITE! To help jump start her sales Jenny is offering a three day sale on all website orders!

Here in her own words are the details of the sale:

Anyone who orders off of my website before Thursday October 29th 2009 (by 11:59pm) will receive 15% off of their total order! I am also offering free shipping and handling, and a free product sample. There are loads of items for under $10 and even some great mens' products. If you are not a big makeup person, Mary Kay also has great skincare products! (Free S/H in the Continental US only)

I have been having some early morning fun playing with the virtual make over. You can actually upload your own photo and for the fun of it I cropped a picture of myself and **uploaded it. It is amazing software that carefully examines the picture you uploaded and helps you pin point your lip corners, eyes etc. It was very easy to work with and a lot of fun. So much so that I am going to get one of the kids to take a picture of me as per the instructions of how to take a good makeover photo and play some more. I might even share the before & after shots! So stay tuned and make sure that while you wait with baited breath for these photos of me you check out Jenny's website and save save save. Now would be a great time with Christmas less than TWO MONTHS away to pick up some gifts AND even some stocking stuffers. FIFTEEN PERCENT OFF AND FREE SHIPPING!

Come on - I'll race you over there. And hey - if anyone else is crazy brave enough to post before and after photos on their sites - leave a comment so we can all applaud the results!

Remember the sale ends October 29th (2009) midnight Don't miss out on it!

** If you want to upload a photo of yourself they do ask you to create an account where you give your name and email address ONLY. There is no request to purchase anything. Alternatively you can chose a model - which I initially did. When you use that option they do not ask you to create an account. While using the virtual make over no Credit card info or mailing address is asked for. When I went back to the site I was able to sign in and voila there was my cropped photo already for me to play with again. Better than playing dress up with Barbie - I promise!

(Free S/H in the Continental US only)
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