Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Glimpse into Our Christmas






Doesn't EVERY Fish love to get Ramen Noodles as a present!?!


Not a whole lot of time to post right now, but I wanted to get a few pictures up.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!



Emmanuel has come!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Deo Gratias!

You might remember that sweet little boy, Hans that we have been praying for.
His mother posted yesterday that his CT Scan has come back with good news. Please take a moment to offer prayers of Thanksgiving for this family and continue to keep them in your prayers this New Year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Like TKD Instructor, Like Dog



ok, really, he's practically my BIL... (inside joke!)

Happy Birthday, Alicia!



My wish for you, my dear, on the night of your 19th Birthday, is happiness, peace, and love. On earth, but more importantly, for all eternity.

Whirlwind Wednesday

So it has been brought to my attention by a very dear friend that I have failed to post anything in a week and I'd like to apologize to my huge fan base, all 5 of you! LOL

Seriously, I don't mean to ignore my blog, but the season is in full swing and I have failed to even begin to think of things to post.

Today, Fish provided me a wonderful postable moment...

He let us know that if HE was in charge of the world, it would snow, even in 70 degree weather...











I have been doing some blog-reading the past few weeks, and one in particular has really stood out to me. A Living Education
is a wonderful blog that inspires me each time I visit it. Be sure to check out her post on the O Antiphons.

I hope to gather a few moments to update you all on things happening around here, from the start of my new business to the wonderful event that Lemma attended that awarded her a Bronze Medal in the State Championship for Tae Kwon Do.

For now, however, I must get back to the duties at hand. Enjoy the last few days of this wonderful season of preparation and reparation.

For more interesting reading, visit Fr. Fox's blog. He has some insight into the changes that will be coming to the Mass. Very exciting!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This is a totally pointless post

But I thought I'd post it anyway...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North
 

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
 
The Midland
 
Philadelphia
 
The South
 
North Central
 
The West
 
Boston
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Funny thing is, I've NEVER been to Wisconsin, I would never call soda "pop", I've never been asked if I was from there either. The closest I've ever been to the "Inland North" is Livonia, Michigan while on vacation visiting Mark's family.

Perhaps this is what happens when one is from Massachusetts originally but has lived the past 19 years in Texas?? Or perhaps being a grammar freak has done this to me!?!

Lesson learned...stop wasting precious time taking silly internet quizzes and go get something productive done!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Cherish those "firsts"

Since Boo is now 13 months old, there aren't many firsts left, so I try to look at each new experience and capture it in my mind's eye. Today, I was quick enough to get it on the camera!

Boo's first poptart!! Life is good...


The best part... the free maid service that these two provide us! Have I ever mentioned how much they LOVE the snack trucks, er, I mean babies in this house?



Now, exactly how does one remove poptart from the hair without taking an actual bath?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Advent in our home



I've been spending a fair amount of time over the last several weeks looking at blogs of those I admire and trying to figure out what new traditions I'd really like to bring into the home during Advent. I've started small and every year add a little something else, but honestly, I usually end up feeling like I've missed the whole meaning of what the little something was supposed to do because I get too caught up in the details of the something.

This year, I've been reading Around the Year with the Trapp Family. I have had this book for a couple of years now and I always glean through it wishing I could "be more like Maria."

Something changed for me this time. It started really with All Hallow's Eve. I really desired to share the meaning of that day coupled with All Soul's Day. The more I read, the more I realized that I did not have to implement everything that Maria did with her family, but that I could certainly bring one or two ideas into our home and make it our own.

I decided I would make a liturgical notebook of sorts. I think I may have even read about doing this on my wonderful friend, Cindy's blog. She always has great ideas and since we tend to think alike, I can't remember if I had been milling that idea around in my own mind before I read about it or not... sorry about that tangent.

So with the beginning of the New Liturgical Year, I am going to place the things we love, the things that are traditional for our family into this binder. Eventually, perhaps, it may move to a more beautiful format, but as I said, I can get too caught up in the details and miss the whole idea. So, I am placing these lovely thoughts, traditions, etc, into the binder.

I read a post on Karen's blog today which brought me to this blog and this sweet lady's poem rang true for me. I commented on her blog, so you can read more of my thoughts there, but I decided to go ahead and mention exactly what we do for advent around here.

I was shocked at how much I am getting in. How much my kids are living the Liturgical year. I may not be Maria Trapp, but I am me and what we do here works for our family and is truly an expression of OUR faith.

Here's a list, not for you to compare with your life and make you question if you are doing enough, but more for my own sake to see it all in one place. This list is not in any special order.

1. Revised school schedule - We will continue with Math and Latin studies, as well as independent reading. Bean will also continue with her Chemistry studies as she really can't shelve that for a month. In the time that we would normally do more academic work, we will focus on preparation. Preparation of our hearts and souls, preparation of our home.

Each day after the basic school work is completed, each of us has an assigned task that will be carried out. For instance, tomorrow, Foo will work on getting rid of recycling materials that have yet to be crushed small enough to fit into the bin. The girls will spend time oiling the wooden furniture that drinks up the lemon oil.

During this time of preparation, we will meditate on the thought for the day from our Spiritual Crib.

By the time Christ comes, hopefully our hearts, minds, souls, and home will all be properly prepared to receive Him.

2. Spiritual Crib: This we try to do each morning, sometimes, I'll admit, we forget and have to play catch up the next day or even two days later. But the idea is to meditate upon a thought to help prepare the heart for the birth of Jesus.

I'll post the Spiritual Crib that we do in the comments section of this post.

3. The Advent Wreath: Each Sunday, we read the prayer for the week, light the candle and reflect for a few minutes each day on the readings for that day. This is usually done at dinner time, if possible.

New things we will be trying this year to see if they feel like us...

4. Advent Angels or ChristKindl: Each one of us pulls a name of another family member and secretly, throughout Advent offers up sacrifices, prayers, and performs good deeds for the person that they picked. This just seemed like something we can work on right now in our lives.

5. Saint study: Each person also picks a saint (mom has written some down for each person to draw from). Sometime during the Advent/Christmas season, each person will present their "Saint" to the entire family. This allows us to get to know a bit more about the Saints and possibly gives the children as well as the parents a special friend to call on during our daily living that we may not have thought about or known about before.

6. St Nicholas Study: I have always felt a call to learn more about St. Nicholas and integrate him into our Christmas so that we can move away from the secular Santa that all too often invades our home during this time of year. I have never really pushed Santa onto the kids, but I have never told them not to believe in him. In fact, when the children are older and start to question things, I simply tell them that in our home, we always believe in the spirit of giving and the spirit of St. Nicholas.

This year I plan to read aloud to the children, yes even Bean, about St. Nicholas. Then on Dec 6th, they might even find some golden coins in their shoes with a small little gift.

7. Less is more. Mark and I started scaling back on the huge amounts of gifts that we would give to the children a few years ago. We really felt that we wanted to be more centered on Christ, yet, it was impossible with crazy electronic noise-making, light-strobing, music-blaring, mornings taking over after a long Christmas Eve. Slowly, we have tried to bring the number of gifts to three. Each year we get closer to that number, but usually give in to the commercialism and get a few more than that.

This year, it is my hope that our children will appreciate their three gifts. One will be for their physical sense, one for their intellectual sense, and one for their spiritual sense. I love the challenge of trying to stay within these guidelines. And since my children, well most of them, can barely think of anything to put on their lists, the door is wide open as to what we can come up with for them.

This is another thing we have been doing for years that I had forgotten to write about. The Creche and adding straw to it. For each good deed that a child performs, they can put straw into the creche to make a comfortable place for the Christ child to lay His head. If mom or dad catch you doing something good, more straw can be added. By Christmas Eve, the bed is full of straw and after Mass and dinner at Mickey Miss's home, Lem will bring Baby Jesus out from His hiding place and be placed into His creche. (Technically it is usually way past midnight, so He arrives officially on Christmas day.) In the morning, the children will come downstairs to find the tree lit, gifts waiting for them and best of all, baby Jesus has appeared in the Nativity scene as well!

9. Another new tradition I would love to implement is the Jesus stocking. The idea of adding our thanksgivings and prayers to Jesus daily is very inspiring and seems to really help us to focus on what we are trying to do during this time of preparation. Thank you, Karen for a wonderful idea!

10. Lastly, I'd like to be sure to attend Mass on the Holy Days of Obligation as well as other wonderful feast days. Some years, truthfully, I do feel quite overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and I might not make it to Mass as often as I'd like.

Other activities that we tend to do each year involve baking cookies, wrapping home-made gifts, and sending out a Christmas card or letter. I am not sure that I'll get to do very much in these areas this year, but I will certainly try to do some. These are usually the areas that cause me the greatest stress, so, I've promised myself that they are to be the lowest priority. Christ is first. I'm not sure that He is too concerned with whether or not I've mailed out 150 Christmas cards. I believe He'd rather be assured that I am teaching my children about the true meaning of Christmas, that we are giving to others more than receiving ourselves, and that we are preparing ourselves to receive Him body, mind, and spirit.

I pray each of you has a blessed and peaceful Advent. It is my greatest dream that one day, we will wake up and witness Christmas as it was that very first time.

This is why I don't worry

too much... LOL

Bean is on the farthest right, Foo is on the farthest left and Lem is in the background

Crazy people, don't mess with Mom in the parking lot. I have these body guards with me!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Upon looking through some of the recently uploaded pictures on the computer, I happened upon a series of shots that look like this.

I just know that these girls told me that they were working on their math when this was taken...



Foo, on the other hand, proved that Math U See can double as Math U Sleep. This was the day I knew we needed antibiodics.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KARISSA

Just had to take a moment to say a BIG HUGE HAPPY SWEET 16TH BIRTHDAY to my wonderful niece, Karissa.

I found out tonight that she and her mom look at my blog so, I promised to say hello.

Please keep Karissa in your prayers as she enters a new phase in her life... DRIVING!! Of course more prayers are probably needed for the drivers on the road with her! Just kidding...well, maybe not.

My dear brother, Kirk and sister in law, Donna will also need prayers. Their baby girl is not such a baby anymore, though I know they will always look at Karissa as their sweet little girl.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More Firsts

Aside from my firsts this weekend, we experienced a few other significant milestones around the house.

Yesterday marked the true passage from babyhood to toddlerdom as Boo had his first real haircut. I was very teary-eyed through the event, and towards the end, he wasn't the happiest of babies either. (He'll still be a baby in my mind!!)







Fish also made a huge leap this weekend. He learned to ride his bike sans training wheels! (Look out ER... I have a sneaky suspicion that we'll be visiting soon!)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thankful Weekend

I am very late in posting this week, especially for Thankful Thursday, but I am not any less Thankful!

This weekend has been a new experience for me. Thursday, I had the great pleasure of running in the GE Run Thru the Woods 5 miler. My goal was to finish. That is all, just to finish.

With the encouragement and pacing of my neighbor, Rick, not only did I finish, but my time was better than expected.

I met several very nice folks like, Holden, Jon, John, and many others whom I can not recall their names right now. Thanks to all for your friendliness and willingness to share your experiences with me.

I thought about getting up the next morning and trying to Conroe 5K, but passed on it. I did however run a mile last night with Lem. She proceeded to run two, one with me and one with her dad and Foo.

This morning I ran the Run the Woodlands 5K again. I think I ran 29:44, but not too sure. If so, then I broke 30 mins total and ran under a 10 min/mile! Big news for me! This also means I have completed the "Double" that Jon keeps stats for.

I was also the proud winner of a new ball cap! I feel bad that I've been sweating all over Mark's the last few runs.

So my thankful list is as follows this Thanksgiving weekend:

1. Thankful for hot showers and baths to rest my sore muscles and joints.

2. Advil. An endless supply right now.

3. My neighbor Rick whose encouragement and knowledge have helped me to reach personal goals that I was starting to think might never happen.

4. My entire family. For allowing me the time to get out and run, and then show up for Turkey Dinner, even if the turkey wasn't completely cooked...

5. For tons of dirty dishes. I've been blessed with plenty of food and family to dirty those dishes.

6. Lem, my little coffee cup filler-upper.

7. Stretching. Especially when Mark helps. It really does make a difference.

8. Memories. Memories of mom through-out this weekend abound. She was with me on my runs. Her fight to live helped me to put that foot in front of me over and over.

9. Faith. Without my faith, nothing would make any sense.

10. Comfy socks. Keeping my feet warm now and always.

Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving Weekend, keeping in mind that which you are grateful for each and every day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Update on Hans

Just stopped by his blog and his mother has posted that he has entered the hospital for his second round of chemo.

Please continue to keep this family and their doctors covered in prayer.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thankful Thursdays


I'll admit it. I've not been very good about reading some of my favorite blogs the last three weeks or so. I've missed out on a new carnival that has started up called "Thankful Thursdays".

Apparently it is only in its second week, but to miss a week of being thankful is missing a lot.

Since I missed sending mine in, I'll post them here...

1. Heat. We woke up to a bit of a chilly morning here in Houston and the smell of the heater turning on to warm us brings back all the memories of happy winter days past.

2. Sore knees. I am able to run longer distances and actually enjoy doing it. Not only am I striving to stay healthy, but it gives me time to pray, something I tend to not do enough of.

3. Autumn. Honestly, the weather the last few days has been remarkable.

4. Clinging babies. Even though he's heavy, he makes me feel so important. He only wants me.

5. Tissues with lotion. To help soothe those red little noses that are clinging to me...

6. Health. We've been battling a nasty cold for about 3 weeks now. I think we may finally be seeing the other side of it. The 1st day of feeling better is always wonderful, isn't it?

7. Our Parish. For giving us the opportunity to serve others through the parish food pantry.

8. Friends. Those great people who support me in prayer, with pots of soup, phone calls and emails even when I am not always so good about calling, emailing, or visiting. You know who you are, and I love you!!

9. My children. All of them. They are each so wonderful in their own unique way. They always love me, even when I am not so lovable. They always forgive me, even when I burn the grilled cheese sandwiches.

10. My husband. He inspires me to challenge myself everyday. Most often I fail, and yet, he still loves me and NEVER complains.

I could go on and on...

I know you are wondering what the baby feet picture is doing on this post. I managed to miss this carnival as well...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Run the Woodlands- Run for Hans update


For a great read about the run, check out Jon's Blog.

Also, feel free to check in on Hans at his blog, but more importantly, please continue to keep he and his family in your daily intentions.

And yes, I did beat the cow, but Elvis had me by a few minutes... I think he had some help!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Why am I Catholic?

Thanks to Dumb Ox Academy for this link from her blog to Why Am I Catholic?

Beautifully done and worth watching.


While at You Tube, I discovered another video that I just loved. Mercy Me has a song that always makes me cry, I Can Only Imagine.

This song has moved me from the first time that I heard it and continues to do so still today. Often it brings me to thoughts of my mom and what those moments just after her passing must have been like. Did she fall to her knees when she met Jesus? Did she say anything? One thing I know for sure, she must have been and continue to be in total ecstacy.

Today, I am reminded that anytime I am in the Presence of Our Lord, I know longer need to imagine what it would be like, but rather, I should be flat on my face in awe of His love for me.

Sometimes I forget this... Enjoy this video.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I survived!

I was able to complete my first 5K today! It was a great feeling! Even better that I was doing it for something greater than myself.

I didn't come in last, and I beat the Chick Fil A cow, (who gets big bonus points for running in costume!!)

I think I'm hooked...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Announcing...

The grand opening of The Woodlands Learning Center!

Some of you may recall that sweet Em recently graduated from the program. She began the program as a "non-reader". After 3 years of phonograms, reading programs, etc, I was introduced to PACE/MTC and decided to have her tested. She had some real problems with her underlying learning skills that were keeping her from being successful. A few short months later, she graduated, reading above grade level and feeling much more confident in herself and her abilities. My eldest daughter also went through the program. At 18, she wasn't sure if it would help her at all, but decided to commit to it. She now has hopes of going to college, which would not have been possible before. This program has truly opened doors to my girls which would have stayed closed to them before.

A friend of mine and I had the pleasure of attending the training and certification of the PACE and Master the Code program two weeks ago. Admist a beautiful snowstorm, gorgeous scenery, and great company, we both became full-fledged licensed providers of PACE and Master the Code.

For now, we are starting slow, working out of our homes. Only the Lord knows what He has in store for us now.

If you need more information, please contact me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Prayers needed


Please remember this sweet little boy in your daily prayers. This family attends the same parish that my family does and while I do not personally know them, I know that they can use all of the prayers we can offer.

You can read about his journey here.

If you are so inclined, you can help with a fundraiser going on this Saturday.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Belated Halloween picture



Finally blogger allowed me to upload a picture!

The Aftermath of Halloween... Fish aka The Phantom of the Opera, developed an allergic reaction to the face paint. His eye swelled shut and he continues to have a rash on his face. Foo developed a fever after his stint as Anubis, (from Stargate, not the Egyptian Book of the Dead, but honestly about the same thing...) and was sick for the rest of the week.

Dorothy and the Scarecrow fared well, with the exception of Scarecrow bumping into a few walls, oh, yeah, and falling all the way down the stairs! Thank goodness he is fine.

A new Fishism

"Mommy, mommy...."

"Yes, Fish?"

"Oh, great!" His eyes rapidly begin darting around looking to find the words he so wanted to tell me.

"The words went under my tongue..."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints Day

Today we recognize all of the Saints that await us in Heaven. Through the Liturgical Year we are able to recognize many saints, but today, we acknowledge ALL of them. Those known, those unknown, those forgotten.

Pray the Litany today.

The kids and I sat around discussing the few saints that are named within our immediate family. A fun way to introduce the saints to the children.

There was one funny moment when Fish announced that he knew who St. Brendan was... "he was an alligator!!" ( I guess that can sound like navigator??)

Today's feast is joined with tomorrow's, All Souls. And Friday is St. Martin de Porres, my husband's patron saint. What a wonderful week for the saints!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Other Happenings this month


Ok, I admit it, I am just a bit partial to the baby and his birthday this month. Well, he and our trip to Disney aren't the only fun things happening at the F-Troop ranch...

Weekend before last, the kids all participated in a Demo at our church festival. This is the second year that they were involved in this, and this year, the pressure was on. Having only about 8 hours of practice to learn the whole Demo and execute it well wasn't enough of a hurdle for these kids. They also had to do all of this on the same weekend as Homecoming! This was Bean's first "dance" and we wanted it to be a special time for her. The rules she had to follow are listed below. But back to the demo... The kids also had the knowledge that another TKD school was going to be there, so their Demo had to be 100% on! I personally would have crawled in a hole to die with that much weighing on me, but not the kids. Nope. They are made of stronger stuff than I!

They pulled off an almost flawless performance. A few board breaks were missed, but even those looked good!!

That night, as I mentioned above, was the homecoming dance at one of the local high schools. Though Bean is home-schooled, she does enjoy the company of some really great girls that attend our public high schools. Bean's Dad and I decided that though we'd truly like to keep her locked in her room until she gets married, we'd go ahead and let her attend the dance with the following rules in mind.
1. Do not speak to any boys.
2. Do not look at any boys.
3. Do not give your number, address, email address, etc. to any boys.
4. Do not let your friends give out your number, address, email address, etc., to any boys.
5. Do not dance with any boys.
6. Stand against the wall and watch your friends dance, but don't even think about it.
7. Have a great time!

Ok, so we are a bit overprotective. Did I ever mention that we are thinking of letting her date...ON HER HONEYMOON??!!

I mean really, how much contact with the opposite sex does a future nun really need??

All kidding aside, Bean had a great time. She even stayed away from the boys and enjoyed dancing the night away with her girlfriends. It was a joy to watch her transform from her Black Belt TKD, kick-bootie self into a beautiful, elegant young lady... that is NOT allowed to talk to boys!! (ok, future priests are allowed to speak to her, if they pass our interrigation)



Did I also mention that there is another homecoming this weekend at the other high school in our town? I don't know if her father and I can take it...

Another highlight this month was this past weekend. Lem and Bean attended a open TKD tournament. This was a first for them as we have only been to our former association's tournaments. I was a bit nervous about letting them go, but figured it would be a great learning experience for them. Their Aunt Mickey Miss and Mr. M picked Bean, Foo, and Lem up early Saturday morning (after a late night of watching a local production of "The Odyssey") and they headed to the tournament. A few hours later, I received a call to let me know that my sweet little Lem had taken First Place in Forms. Shortly after that, Bean called to tell me that she had placed Third in Forms. And a bit after that, Lem called to tell me that she had won First place in Sparring. Foo did not compete this time, but he was wishing he had by the end of the day! As you can see, the trophies are a bit on the tall side. Obviously a mother was not on the trophy planning committee. I mean seriously, where does one keep these things???

We are very proud of the girls and their accomplishments. I only hope they know how much we love them.

How Boo became a Booberry























~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We had a great opportunity this past Sunday to celebrate Boo's life and his sweet personality.

With our wonderful extended family and Boo's God Family present, we enjoyed a night of Chili, fritos, cake, and ice cream.

Funny how the more children we have, the less extravagant the parties, yet the more memorable they seem to be...

Here's is a nice pose of Boo and his Godmommy...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Boo!

October 17, 2005 Happy Birthday!



First Days at Home, October 2005



Hugs from Biggest Brother Rule! November 2005




Christmas 2005




January 2006
You want to put powder where???





February 2006



I can't believe that just a year ago I was wondering if I could truly manage caring for another little one, as I do right before all of my children are born. Yet, here you are today and I can't imagine my life without you.

The blessings that your life has given to our family are innumerable. Our family would not be what it is today without you!

I love you little Boo, more than anyone ever could...

Children too are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth.
Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5 NAB

Monday, October 16, 2006

Joefishism

On the way back from Disney, we had the opportunity to stop off and see the USS Alabama. It was quite an experience for all of us, though trying to convince a 15 year old girl that she was having fun on the big old battleship was a bit tough at times, we learned much about how these little towns which float on water actually run.

The digital camera was full, so we had to resort to using an old-fashioned disposable camera which has yet to be developed. I hope to get that done soon and post some of our pictures.

The younger kids enjoyed sitting and directing the turrets.

Today Fish came to me with a wonderful Lego creation and informed me that he just made the Bala Ama to fight off the bad guys...

I've missed these wonderful Joe Fishisms!!!

4 New Saints

Pope Benedict XVI has cannonized 4 new saints. For an indepth article on each of them, please visit A Catholic Life: Canonization of Mother Guerin and three others!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Will we remember?


Boo taking his first steps with a "Goofy" puppy?





Cousins CAN be best friends?



The Seniors make us feel so all feel so special?







Dreams really do come true?



Aunts rule? (and Theo does too!)






Hugs will always be this special?


I know I will...