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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