Friday, July 29, 2005

Some additions

I stumbled upon this blog one night when my dh was gone for the evening and the kiddos were in bed. I read almost all the archives, too. I was sitting here, at my desk, with a cold Summerfest beer, guacamole and chips. I hardly got to eat or drink, because I was laughing so hard. Tears streaming down my face. I sounded like a Baptist in church, "AMEN SISTER" My oldest son came out of his room once to see what was so funny. I told him he just wouldn't understand. Oh, what relief to my weary spirits, to laugh, to see the joy in the life of a mom of many. I literally saw my entire life differently the next day. Opportunities for humor abound in a house full of irrational creatures. This particular lady, Chris, has a way of relaying this humor so well that you just can't not laugh. She also has a talent for hitting the tender moments just right. She nails it. She loves her family, she struggles, she embraces her life with humor, vigor and a fierce devotion. Definatly worth every minute I spent there

This blog is so interesting becasue she has a talent for asking wonderfully thought provoking questions. I find I can get so bogged down in duties, that I don't always think about what I am doing and why. Some of Carmen's reflections are serious, some are less so, but they all reflect the life of a devoted, loving mother. More than that, though, they reflect the life of a vibrant, interesting woman.

I have added these two to my sidebar, the first is The Big Yellow House, the second is Mom to the Screaming Masses. Check them out if you want a good read.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Interview with Minto Sandybanks

Minto is my seven year old son. He just turned seven last week. He isn't in the best mood today, but when I suggested we do this a different day, he was quite dejected, so, in an effort to improve his day, we are doing it now.

What do you think you are better at than anybody in the entire family. I am not better at anything. Mom is making me answer this, so if I really think, I would say I am the best at riding my bike up and down the dirt hills in the backyard.

from one middle child to another, do you have anything special you like to do to *stand out* from your brothers and sisters?

I like to be outside and ride my bike, and the other kids are in the house more.

What do you think about when you are fishing with your grandpa or dad? Or, what do you like about fishing?

I don't think about anything. I like to catch and eat the fish, although I haven't ever gotten to eat a fish I caught, but I would like to. I like being alone with Papa and Dad.

Are you into sports or are you more of an outdoorsman?
I like to be outside, to ride my bike.

What is your favorite part of the day?
I don't have a favorite part of the day. I guess when I ride my back and when I get to play Mongo's gameboy.

What is your favorite color?

What is your favorite thing to play with?
My bike and Mongo's gameboy.

What is your favorite made up person?
Balto, but he is a dog.

What is your favorite food?
Macaroni and cheese

What will you be doing when you are seventeen? Sitting around, being bored, Except when I get to go to Canada to fish.

Inerview with Pansy Sandybanks

Pansy is my third child, and the second daughter in the family. She is nine, and her favorite part of her body is her hair because it is the longest in the family.

1. If you had an entire day with just your mother and father, and none of your siblings, what would you want to do that day? What games would you play? Where would you go? What would you eat?

I would want to make it as fun as possible. I would want to play Pirates and Travelers (board game). I would want to go to Six Flags Great America, then to Chili's, then to a movie. I would want to eat RIBS!!

2. What is your favorite television show (if your mama lets you watch television...)

Teen Titans, which I have seen at my cousin's house. At home, we don't watch much T.V.

3. If you had a farm, what kind of animals would you have (and of course, why) and what would you name them?

I would like to have a horse, a cow, 3 chikens, 2 dogs, ducks, sheep, a cat, a hampster, and a pig. I would want a horse because I like horses ALOT. Her name would depend on what she looks like. If she was brown with white dots, I would probably name her Popcorn. If she was gold,I would name her Goldenrod. I would want a cow because I would like to milk a cow, make butter and cheese. Her name would be Socks. I like Socks for a name for a cow because usually they have white on the bottomof their legs. I would want chickens because they are pretty and they lay eggs and I like to take care of animals alot. I would name them Georgie, Josephina, and Heidi. I would want dogs because they are really fun and they would herd the sheep, and do lots of other work, too. Their names would be Ashes (a black and white) and Tuffy. I would want ducks because they lay duck eggs and I love duck eggs. I would name them Blueberry, Penny, and Polly. I would want sheep because I would like to clip them, and they are really cute. Their names would be Vicki, Tori, and Megan. I would want a cat becasue they are pretty and her name would be Marshmallow, if she was white. I would want a hampster because they are really cute and I like it when they roll in their balls. His name would be Cookie. Finally, I would want a pig because they are really cute, and we might eat it. His name would be Babe.

4. Do you like animals? Yes, alot

5. What is the favorite part of your day?

During the school year, in the afternoon, when I am done with school. In the summer, noon to nine, because in the morning we have all our chores to do.

6. What is your favorite color?

Purple, dark, bright purple

7. What is your favorite thing to play with?

American Girl Dolls

8. Who is your favorite made up person?

I like Aragorn in LOTR, he's cool

9. What is your favorite food?

Spagetti, besides dessert

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I'll be in college. I'll be getting on a plane, going to school, and eating a snack.

Interview with Daisy Sandybanks

Daisy is my 10 year old daughter. She is the oldest girl in the family.

1. Which do you prefer: American Girl, or Barbie. Why?

American Girl, mmmhmmm. Because Barbies are ugly and because they aren't nearly as much fun to play with. American Girl clothes are more modest, plus they have more stuff that I like. My American Girl doll's name is Rebecca Johanna.

2. If there was one thing in the entire world you could have all to yourself and all by yourself, what would it be?

The entire American Girl website contents. Lots of money, a pet monkey, and a dog, a cat and a rabbit.

3. When you are a grown-up, where would you like to go on a ladies' getaway with your mom & sisters? And why do you think that would be a fun place to go?

Staying in a cabin in Colorado sounds fun because it's out in the wilderness.

4. What is the neatest thing about your mother that you hope you are like when you are a mom?

That she can tolerate mess more that other people I know, and alot more than me. That is a good thing because she doesn't scream at us for leaving a few things on the floor like I do to my sisters.

5. What is the favorite part of your day?

Probably the morning because I'm up early and watering flowers when it's so pretty.

6. What is your favorite color?

I like lots of colors. I have 5 favorites. Blue, green, orange, red, and yellow.

7. What is your favorite thing to play with?

My American Girl doll and my cute little baby sister, Primula.

8. Who is your favorite made up person?

Legolas and Gimli (LOTR), Will Turner, and Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Carribean).
Melody from the Baily School Kids.

9. What is your favorite food?

Macaroni and cheese (the fake cheese kind, like Kraft) and a dish my mom makes with spinach, garbanzo beans on pita.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Probably in some weird apartment with some weird smelling cat. Doing homework or something *giggle giggle*

Also note: Favorite CD Enya Paint the Sky with Stars. I like to sing and I like to draw. When asked which part of her body she like the most, she answered, "My brain"
I love the movie, "Nightmare Before Christmas" and the song, "This is Halloween".

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Shamelessly lifted

In all my free time, with dh out of town, I have spent the evenings perusing other bloggers blog rolls. I mean, you can only check you own list so many times a day without some embarrassment. Yes, I should have been doing other things, but the indulgence I gave myself being a single parent for over a week, is that once the kids are in bed, the time is mine, so I commanded myself to feel no guilt at not "doing" anything productive.

Anyway, I came across this blog, and was instantly attracted to the name. The first post I read lifted my spirits so completely that I decided to do the same thing here. Ready?

Tell me your favorite things
- it doesn't matter favorite what, just favorites. I'll start.

- if I don't get an adequate number of replies, I will start tagging people. You have been warned.)

My favorite store : Trader Joe's, hands down (Love the shaving lotion).
My favorite scent: lavendar, clean, and grapefruit
My favorite drink: Corona with lime, or Guiness, depending on the weather
Favorite hot drink: coffee, 8 o'clock is my favorite brand. This suprised me, since I have tried every exotic brand known to man, and still like 8 o'clock best.
I love the scent of soap. I have so many kinds of soap, I am never at a loss for a good smelling shower.
Favorite kind of store, other than TJ's: Office supply stores. I have an addiction to graph paper and pens.
Favorite thing to do on a rainy day: I love the sound of "Snuggle into the couch with a cup of tea and a good book" This has actually only happened once in my life, but it sounds good, doesn't it??
Cookies: Chocolate chip, and oatmeal with cherries
Breakfast: Healthy version : steelcut oats with pecans, bluberries and cherries
Not healthy version: Biscuts and gravy
Music: Gospel bluegrass
Time of year: autumn
Favorite word: Whimsical

That's all for now. It makes me happy how many favorite things are in my life. God is Good!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Little Balance

Just to balance out the dismal post from yesterday, so far, at 7:50 am, I have had a delightful morning. The four littlest kiddos climbed in bed with me in a tangle of chubby arms and legs and lots of giggles. What bounty!! Now baby is sitting in her high chair, eating dry cheerios, and alternatly feeding her big sister. The recent birthday boy is playing with one of his birthday presents, and having a terrific time. He got two Lego Knights from his aunt and uncle and hasn't put them down since. I made a pot of coffee, and drank the first mug while it was still hot! And to top it off, I had a delicious Caramel Bite from Trader Joe's with it.

Last night I got out of the house for a while because it was babysitter night. Since dh is still gone, I went to return a few things, and then to Caribu Coffee for and iced green tea. I finally finished "A Cry of Stone" by Michael O'Brien. I have mixed emotions about it. It had some good parts, some inspirational parts, but overall even at over 800 pages, I never really understood the main character, Rose, and some of the story lines actually made me say out loud, "O, brother (dramatic rolling of the eyes)".

As far as budget trimming, I started by only spending money for the tea. Then I went to Borders and read "Mothering" magazine, then put it back. Is that bad? I really like that magazine in so many ways. I find encouragement in motherhood, homeschooling, listening to my gut, opening up myself to motherhood completely, and so on. I don't understand how the same magazine that routinely champions large families also promotes population control and planned parenthood. So, I don't buy the magazine. But I do really like it by and large.

I read a quote there last night that I do not want to forget. "When I breathe in, I calm myself. When I breathe out, I smile." This might get me through some tight spots.

Anyway, today is looking better. God is good.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Nightstand meme

Akeya tagged me to list what is on my night stand. Keep in mind this is a 16" x 16" table.
1. A lamp
2. A thermometer
3. A calander
4. A trivet (pretty hand made clay and glazed do-dad) for my morning coffee
5. A bible
6. Theology of the Body for Beginners
by Christopher West
7. My personal journal
8. 2 pens
9. A letter to me from my husband
10. A few banking receipts
11. My Mother's Journal
12. A Midwest Landscaping book
13. An empty Reeses peanutbutter cup wrapper
14. A button in a little plastic bag that came with some article of clothing
15. A matchbook
16. A book light
17. A laminated prayer card (Prayer typed out below)
18. On the bottom shelf, all my back issues of Caelum et Terra magazine
19. Also on the bottom shelf, a notebook and another pen.

There. I also have a night stand on the other side of the bed, but that only has a phone and a short story by Leo Tolstoy, and 5 magazines I have yet to read.

Prayer card contents
"O gracious Master, infuse in our hearts the spotless light of Your divine wisdom and open the eyes of our mind that we may understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, so that, having curbed all canal desire, we may leand a spiritual life, both thinking and doing everything to please You.

For You, O Christ, our God, are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies; and to You we render glory, together with Your eternal Father, and with Your all holy, good and life creating Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.

I don't know who hasn't done this yet, as I am usually on the 3rd or 4th rung of these memes. Any one interested?

Things that are absolutely driving me crazy today

1. Whenever the baby sleeps through the night, the cat or dog wakes me up at 3:30 in the morning.

2. There has been constant crying in the house today. If it isn't the baby, it's the three year old or 5 year old, or it's me (just kidding).

3. My feet hurt.

4. Dd wakes me up from a rare nap to ask me if I would make macaroni and cheese for lunch. Can't even type the words that went through my mind. "No." is what came out of my mouth.

5. The hampers in the bedrooms and bathroom are full again, and the laundry in the laundry room isn't finished yet.

6. I don't have the guts to actually throw out all the toys I keep picking up, over and over and over. I so wish I did.

7. My kitchen floor is disgustingly sticky.

8. My kitchen counters are disgustingly sticky.

9. My kitchen table is disgustingly sticky.

10. The girls supposedly just cleaned the kitchen.

11. I keep getting curriculum catalogs in the mail, and it makes my stomach hurt.

12. The new hanging basket of flowers I just bought is withering, despite my dedicated care.

13. It is so freaking hot and humid, you can't really even go outside.

14. My monthly spending has to be cut to fit our shrinking budget, and I have to spend my babysitter time tonight figuring out how to do it. Might have to stop having a babysitter night.

15. My digital camera broke on the evening of my 7 year-old's birthday. I got no pictures of him. Of course he's the middle child, and I will get the blame when he goes on the Jerry Springer show in 10 years.

16. My kitchen light keeps turning itself off, and won't go back on.

17. My computer keeps turning itself off, and takes for freaking ever to restart.

18. My classroom light keeps turning itself off. Holy water, anyone?

19. I have piles of paper surrounding me at my desk. With every attempt at cleaning it off, I just seem to move the piles around. *Scream*

20. And last, but not least, every time I go into the living room, all the pillows are off the couch and on the floor, and the armrest covers are on the floor. Every time. All day long. Every day.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Oh, yea, Miss Righteous speaking here. What is your High School Stereotype?

Seriously, Miss Righteous was my nick name. Still is, for all I know. *Sigh*
This used to bother me alot more that it does now, but it isn't very exciting. Major rule follower here. Timid little rule follower. *Sigh* College didn't even corrupt me. I was too busy studying and working. *Sigh*

Sometimes I do feel as if I didn't experience life, but then I think of all the life in my house, and I say, "nah, I am experiencing Real Life,"

hat tip to Kate

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tagged by Kate

I am finally getting to this. Thanks for the nod Kate, meme's are always fun.

What I was doing 10 years ago: I was married for nearly 3 years, and had 2 children, a boy and a girl, and was newly expecting number 3. We were having one of our financial and insurance crisis' and wondering how we would possibly endure. Needless to say, we did. God is good. I lived in our first, lovely home, that will be my favorite forever. It was as big as our new addition, but it was cute and love blossomed in that house.

5 years ago: I was in the middle of a terrible bout of post partum depression, and not knowing it. I had my fifth child, was homeschooling and trying to keep up a beautiful 1930's Beaver Cleaver house (our second home). Dh was finishing up his MBA at the University of Chicago, and was rarely home. I thought I was going to die. Needless to say, I didn't.

1 year ago: I was having my "babymoon" with baby #7, and thoroughly enjoying my summer. Through the years, I learned to let everythng else take the back seat to recovering from pregnancy and birth, and then I actually do recover. I have learned to say, "No" alot, especially to my dh who comes up with all sorts of things to keep our lives hopping. I used to try to go along, to show him how accomodating I was, and how strong I was. I nearly killed me. Now, I just say, "No, I can't. I need to keep it simple." Shocker, he still loves me, he still thinks I am a good wife, and he still thinks I am strong. One year ago, I was basking in the loveliness of a newborn, and letting it all soak in.

Yesterday: I said goodbye to my dh and oldest son, as they left on a week long trip to New Mexico for a Byzantine Boys Bootcamp. They took our big white van, and another dad, and 6 other boys from church, and off they went. First time by firstborn has been away from me so long, and I am so happy for him. And, I received the best hugs from him. Two of the longest, most sincere, and loving hugs I have received from him in years.

5 Snacks I enjoy:
Chips and guacamole
Deluxe mixed nuts with a cold beer
Coffee with a little something (cookie, muffin biscotti, etc.)
yogurt with granola in it
cheese and crackers (especially goat chees with balsamic vinegar)
Potato chips, expecially salt and vinegar

5 songs I know all the words to
Any song from the "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack
Peter Gabriel's Your Eyes
Bee Gee's Jive Talkin
How Great Thou Art
Mass of William Byrd for 3 parts

5 things I would do with $100 million dollars

Buy a school building for my dh's newborn college Transfiguration College
Pay off our house
Pay off my parents and dh's parents house
Pay off my and my dh's siblings houses
Feed the poor/dig wells/build houses, like Food for the Poor does.

5 locations to which I would like to run

Any secluded mountain top monestary
My room, currently under construcion
A beach along the pacific coast that no one else knows about
Anywhere quiet

5 bad habits I have
interrupting conversations
jumping to conclusions
not putting things away when I am done
not sticking to a schedule for more that a few weeks

5 things I like doing

Writing icons
Driving in the country, alone
Reading to my kids
Talking to my dh over a good bottle of wine

5 things I would never wear
High heels
Lots of jewelry
Anything short tight or cut down to there or up to here
Long denim jumpers (I am burned out on those after all those years)

5 TV shows I like
What not to wear
In a Fix
Clean Sweep
Law and Order

5 biggest joys of the moment

3 year old chubby arms squeezed tightly around my neck
One year old doing nearly anything. WHAT A CUTIE!!
Watching all 7 of the kiddos together
Attending Divine Liturgy
Having moments of real connection with dh

5 favorite toys

My laptop
My art supplies
My music, not an iPod, however =(
My new salad spinner (makes eating healthy fun!)
Big plastic jungle animals I got at a garage sale. I mean, these are 8-12 inches. This kids love playing with them, and I love watching them play. There is a male and female lion, a tiger, a giraffe, an elephant, an antelope, and a rhino.

5 next victims

Well as usual, I do these merely as suggestions, as I know this takes a long time. BUT, I would love to see M'lynn, Veronica, Kalanna, Philothea Rose, and Zelie do this so I could know them better.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I found this over at A Call to Adventure, and it looked fun.

Mother of many
Lover of the children, their father, and their Maker
Who needs more prayer, more trust, more real
Who gives not enough of herself, and too much
Who fears shame, heartache, sin
Who would like to see her desk cleaned off, her laundry done, a gorgeous sunset
Worrier extrordanairre
Poppins NOT

Here's how to do your own:

First Name
How You fit in the Family
Lover of (3 things)
Who needs (3 things)
Who gives (2 things)
Who fears (3 things)
Who would like to see (3 things)
Last name

And how it all began

This is a photo of the first ground breaking. What a difference!

More photos

Here is the bedroom addition, with its first wall. Now there are four walls, and the rafters are going in today. Tomorrow the roof. More pictures then. The other photo is the new garage. Its really coming along!

Addition photo

Here is a photo of our addition - the floor beam being put in the basement.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

personality test

You are dependable, popular, and observant.
Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.
In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.
You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.
And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

Saw this many places, and finally bit. Pretty acurate, from what I can tell.

Friday, July 08, 2005

well, hello everyone

I cannot believe the pace our summer is taking. Starting school again will most likely be a relief! I had completed 3/4ths of the next interview, and came back to finish it, and my computer had shut itself off. It keeps doing that, and it's quite annoying!! So that interview will have to be redone, and that's sad, because it was so cute. Next time we go through the questions she'll be trying to remember what she said, instead of just answering the question. I am having fun with the interviews, and it has let to lots of conversations one on one with my kids. Thank you for your help, everyone. I suspect it will take me longer to complete them all than I had originally thought, but then again, there is no hurry.

Our addition is coming along. Our master bath is gone, now a pile of rubble. The addition now has all it's walls, part of it's ceiling and the windows will be coming next week. Then the roof will be completed. I'll post some pics over the weekend.

When our old bathroom was being torn out, it struck me how differently it had been constructed than the new bathroom I will have. Rock lathe, wire mesh, plaster, tile, cement. I tell you that bathroom was made to last. Every nail pounded by hand. Pencil marks on the studs in very old fashioned script. Would those craftmen of old be impressed with the newer technologies, like dry wall, nail compressors, PVC. Or would they feel it was less well done. Hard to say. One thing for sure, modern construction techniques sure are quick. My brother is the contractor, and I have been so impressed with his abilities. He is my baby brother,and to see him in such a high state of productivity is thrilling. He's a great guy, and I feel honored to have this time working with him.

Anyway, nothing profound to add. As predicted, sweet baby girl is walking full time, and never crawls any more. She is sleeping more, as she really gets quite a workout. The three year old is resisting potty training. I don't really even care. First 5 kids I was adament, no 3 year olds in diapers. Now, what ever, he'll get it eventually. Wisdom? or fatigue? Who can say for sure. Either way, eventually he'll go to the potty, and I don't have to ruin my summer clashing with a 3 year old.

Well, gotta go pay bills a week late. The 4th holiday really got this month off to a slow start. It'll be August before I know it. This August I turn 39. My last year in the thirties. That decade flew by, I'll tell you. Yikes.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Interview with Mongo Sandybanks

otherwise know as my 12 yo ds. He is now officially 12 yo, as today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, my eldest, my "burst of joy".

Question 1. What is the favorite part of your day?
The morning, when nobody else is up - I like to be alone, and it's quiet.

Question 2. Name one things that most grown-ups assume you don't know that you do know. I don't really know.

Question 3. What is your favorite thing about being the oldest?
I get to stay up at night later the the other kids.

Question 4. Describe something you admire most about one of the men you know (maybe your dad, your priest, a friend of the family, or grandpa), and tell how you could imitate that good quality.

All of my uncles, because they are more fun that my dad. For example, They play baseball with my siblings, cousins, and me, they build fun things in their yards. I could imitate this by being more fun when I am grown up and have kids.

Question 5. What is the hardest thing you'll have to give up once you become a teenager? I don't think I'll be giving up anything too hard. I am looking forward to staying up later.

Question 6: What is your favorite color?

Question 7: What is your favorite thing to play with?
The computer and game systems, and the baby.

Question 8: Who is your favorite made up person?
Superheros, especially those with super speed powers and stretching powers, like Quicksilver, Dash, Elasticgirl, and Mr. Fantastic.

Question 9 : What is your favorite food? Pepperoni Pizza

Question 10: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don't know, I never think about that.

So there you have it. I don't know how much insight I got, but it is at least a start. Maybe I need to ask deep questions more ofter?