Friday, December 18, 2009

Language of Love

I find trails of cut up paper all over the house, and they all lead to little Sophia. She is constantly cutting paper and making sweet love notes for everyone.

Tonight, Daddy was the object of her affection. To the untrained eye, it may have looked like squiggly lines, but when translated by Sophia it said: I love you Daddy. I hope you have a great day. I am your wedding girl and you are my king.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


This was my Advent reflection a few years ago. Just wanted to share:

Recently, I was reflecting on the whole Christmas card writing project while admiring how beautiful everyone’s pictures were in the cards that I had already received. I was thinking about how perfect everything looks, but how imperfect life really is. Babies scream in their car seats, mommies loose their patience, school projects consume weekends, houses need to be cleaned and decorated, cars break down, presents need to be bought and wrapped, and kids get sick all while trying to deck the halls and jingle the bells. The Christmas pictures don’t really capture all that.

But, then my mind wandered to the Nativity picture we see. The night always looks serene and quiet and calm. Everything seems perfect. If we look deeper we might see that Mary, even being “full of grace,” really hadn’t wanted her son to be born in a stable with animals eating the hay He was sleeping in. She might also have thought of resting in her ninth month, not riding miles on a donkey. She also probably hoped to wrap her child in clean linens, not rags. I bet Joseph did not envision his poor wife delivering her baby in a stable, either.

To me it might seem imperfect, but I guess that’s where the irony is. That is how God ordained it all. That is how God chose for His Son to enter this world. In simplicity and humility. What seems imperfect to me, was actually the manifestation of perfection. In my life of imperfections, I think God is trying to show me that He takes our simple gifts and makes them perfect. He takes our hard work and effort and transforms them into something beautiful. Being refined in the fire of my family life is what is perfect. In the end, the perfect pictures remind me of the love which, with God’s grace, can be made perfect.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coochie Coo

The other day at Mass, Sophia was looking through a book of the Saints. She stopped on a picture of Mary and just kept looking at her. I noticed she was bringing the book to her little lips and kissing her Heavenly Mother. Very sweet.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her make little scratching motions on the page. I wondered what she was doing...until I noticed Mary's little bare feet were showing out from under her robes and Sophia was giving her little tickles!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Updating My Resume!

Katie made her Middle School Basketball Team!

Adding "Basketball Mom" to my list of Job Titles.

There is nothing else in the world I'd rather be doing!

Thank You Grandpa!

Happy Veteran's Day to Grandpa and to all the other brave men and women who have chosen to serve our country! We are forever grateful to you! Thank you also to our beloved family members who served and are now enjoying their Heavenly Reward.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Get a Clue

Sophia and Katie were playing the Guessing Game the other day in the car. Katie was so sweet with the clues she was giving her little sister, and Sophia was so happy when she would correctly guess.

Then Sophia was the clue giver: I am thinking of someone who is really pretty, and smart...and about 4...and who has a "S" in her name.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Where's the Teeth?

Guess where this one happened to fall out? If you guessed Holy Mass, you are RIGHT!

Halloween Fun!

Josh was dressed up the day before! I'll try for a redo, he was hilarious!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wiggin' Out

Not getting much homework done, but enjoying the beautiful fall day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Something Is Missing

Or should I say, some things are missing? The Tooth Fairy doesn't have any money left!

Time Flies

Sophia: Mommy, we are going to be late to pick up the kids.

Me: Actually, we are on time!

Sophia: Don't you know it is 50:40.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things That Make You Say, "Hmmm?"

I am wondering why I overheard Omar telling Katie, who gets scared watching Scooby Doo, about the Mel Gibson movie "Signs" tonight? That is not exactly the story I would tell her right before bed, but I guess Father knows best?!? We'll see as the night wears on!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Head Over Heels for Books

This is how I found my son and my nephew doing their 20 minutes of reading homework.

Not in This Lifetime

Luke ran to me at the pet store, so excited he could hardly wait to tell me, "Mom, I have $5, I can buy a mouse!!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Standing in the Gap

A few weeks ago, kids around the nation met at their schools' flagpoles for prayer. In our city, we were so blessed to have our 3 priests attend a "Meet Me at the Pole" at each of our high schools.

I picked Josh up early from swim practice where he was razzed a little for leaving early to go pray. One swimmer asked how could he believe in God with all the bad stuff that happens. One really close friend of his decided not to go with him.

When we got to the school, no one was there. We waited in the car and I started to understand that this small act, this decision, was not easy. He was a 14 year old boy, making a stand for Christ in a world, that by and large believes in God, but has a harder time actually saying it. Understanding his uneasiness and kind of wanting to let him off the hook, I gently said, "Just remember Who you are standing up for." We sat for a few minutes and then an upperclassman "saint" came up carrying his guitar. That was all my son, my young man, needed. He said goodbye and was out the door. I watched for a few minutes as the priest came to stand with the kids, so that they wouldn't have to stand alone. I watched as slowly but surely more and more teenagers came to gather, to pray, to stand for Christ. In an instance, I was filled with hope and joy and peace. I caught a glimpse of God melting and molding the future of this country. I was privy to witness sweet, pure faith. I saw the Body of Christ grow stronger and give courage to each of His members. The battles are hard, to be sure. And those beautiful young people will be tried and tested. But we can never forget that the war has already been won.

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

Sophia was so happy to wake up last Saturday because it was her beloved Hannah's birthday. When she woke up her first words were, "Is tomorrow, today?"

Word Wise

While teaching Chapel at MDO at our Church, a very bright 4 year old boy asked "How can Jesus be here if he is in the other Church too?"

I said, "Great question. God is everywhere. He is Omnipresent."

He replied, "The president helps him?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back in the Day

We were at the doctor yesterday getting Katie checked out for flu, (positive for Type A). Bring it on.

Sophia behaved nicely, and made us laugh with her versions of "I Spy." Afterwards she wanted a sticker. They were pretty picked over, high volume at the doctor's office these days. She saw a Bob the Builder and she said ok, that'd be fine, "I never saw that, I mean I saw that 5 years ago."

Hmm...just turned 4...ok.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Sweet Rose

Sophia Rose - 4 months old

Sophia Rose - 4 years old
Happy Birthday my sweet girl! I tease and say that you are so attached to me. The truth is I am totally attached to you! You make us laugh, you help us to grow in patience, you can melt us with your hugs, and you help us to slow life down a little. You have blonde hair!?! It hasn't been easy, but the best things in life never are. I love you and am forever grateful that God allowed me to be your mom! You are my heavenly gift, a blessing to our family!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gold Digger

Sophia and I have started working. She is going to Mom's Day Out at our Church, 4 TIMES A WEEK, and I am working there as the Chapel/Music & Movement Teacher/Floater. To put it mildly, it has been a rough 3 weeks. I have a lot I want to say about all of this, but tonight, just a funny. (I have mounds of laundry calling my name.)

Sophia and I were talking about using a Kleenex at school when we have nose issues. She said sometimes blowing and wiping do not work. What she really needs to do is "stick my finger in." I said well, what does Mrs. Patti say about that and she replied, "She doesn't know, I hide when I am doing it."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not so Fast

I might have mentioned before that my littlest child has a personality that, at times, is a bit challenging. This weekend at Mass, she was a little tired, which means...Mom and Dad, you better be on your toes. We had been juggling her, putting her shoes back on, taking pens out of her hand that she had swiped from my bag, we even had to take her to the back of the church a couple of times, something that we've mostly outgrown. It was one of those days.

She loves putting the envelope in the basket, and Omar tried handing it to her, as a reward for such good behavior. (We are so consistent.) Even if we aren't consistent, she is. Her behavior hadn't changed, she wouldn't take the envelope from him, so Omar just put it in the basket.

Well, for the grand finale, the piece de resistance, when the basket passed her, she decided she wanted it and snatched it right back out of the basket. We were shocked, snatched it right back and put it back in the basket. Of course then the big kids were doing all they could not to crack up. That really helps to minimize bad behavior. Talk about a 3 ring circus at Mass. I am not saying this is good parenting, but sometimes we are shocked into submission.

If you would have asked me 15 years ago, if any of my children would have ever behaved in such away, I would have assured you there was no way in...any child of mine could ever do such a thing. Another fun lesson in humility.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Not Such a Secret

Josh, Katie and I were discussing stores that I won't shop at this weekend. Stores that have scantily clothed models, or half dressed teenagers on enormous store windows outside the food court, really turn me off. So somehow, I mentioned that lingerie should be more personal, and Josh goes, "Is that how you pronounce it? I thought it was ling-r- rear."

He is hooked on phonics!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Father Church Guy

One of our favorite priests has recently been assigned to our parish, and so we have been making a point to go and say hi to him after every Mass. Not that we don't say hi to other priests, but we don't actively search them out just so we can say bye.

Last week we were in a hurry and just scooted out after the final blessing. When we got to the car Sophia said, "We forgot to say hi to that Church Guy!"

Chirp, Chirp

Sophia asked me,"What is a cricket?"

I explained to her and she replied, "Didn't you tell me you can get those in your brain?"

I said, "I don't remember saying that."

She said, "Yes, you said you could get crickets in your head."

A light bulb went off and I said, "Do you mean a crick in your neck?"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hands Free Parenting

If I were to die tomorrow, I am pretty sure some things that would not be said about me are, "She just let her children be. Her parenting style was so 'laissez faire.' She was so good about teaching her children to just quietly deal with the system. She didn't get worked up very easily."

I am thinking words like over-protective and helicopter mom might be the buzz at my funeral.

This morning I am sharpening my bear claws and praying for peace as I head to the HS to stand in line with my son to put in a schedule change request form. I actually have a few opinions as to how this could have been more efficient, but I will try save those for next week.

This is usually the time of year that I start weighing the pros and cons of home school versus 1000 student strong public schools.

An Anomaly

Rarely do I come across a square on our master family calendar that looks like this! I love it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1st Day of School

And in the blink of an eye, summer is over. The back packs are packed, the shoes have been scotch guarded, the lunches, snacks and water bottles have been gathered, even some of the forms have been filled out. Some got braces on, one got braces off, 3 got physicals, 5 plus 2 parents got teeth cleaned, one got eyes checked, one had ear surgery, one had major trauma to his finger, but is healing wonderfully, all had fun, did a lot of swimming, moving watching, reading and hanging out with family and friends. Oldest child dropped off at HS, where he doesn't even have a schedule yet and will be walking between two campuses. 7th grader dropped off feeling fine. (Mom noticed a lot of 7th grade girls start wearing a lot of eye makeup...what's up with that?) 4th grader has classes upstairs now with the upperclassmen of elementary school. 2nd grader didn't want me to hold his hand. Sophia and I are hanging out and about to run errands. So far so good. I can't wait until pick up time! So bitter sweet.

"...your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father." Matt. 5:16

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Some jokes from Josh...

"What did one snowman say to the other snowman?"
I smell carrots.

"Why did the lettuce blush?"
It saw the salad dressing.

I love it! Keep em coming!

Little Critters

Last night, I walked into my room and heard birds. It sounded like they were coming from the air vent in my room. It was a crystal clear sound, "Tweet, tweet. It seemed like they were literally on the other side of the air vent." Almost 4 years into our new house, the honeymoon phase is so over and we have all sorts of little things that need to be fixed or maintenanced. The list goes on and on. So I thought, "Well item number 252, try to get bird's nest out of attic or air vent." Last summer it was a horrendous smell coming from a behind the cabinets in the bathroom, which meant some little field mice had gotten in but couldn't get out. So, this summer, wouldn't it only fit that some cute little birds would need rescuing?

You can imagine my relief when I happened to look down to see that some child had turned on the sleep sound machine in my room and it was set on "Summer Nights."

That made me laugh out loud!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Spy

Sophia: I spy the man in the jeep with bincoulars.

Me: Hmm...could it be this guy?

Sophia: YES, Mommy! Now it's your turn! What do you spy?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sophie's Choice

When I told Sophia to go put on her shoes so that we could run to Target, these are not the shoes I had in mind.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

He's Got a Way With Words

Crazy as it may seem, my kids actually want us to have another baby. They love babies and would be so happy over another little sibling to hold, and snuggle, and cuddle. Due to 5 c-sections, and a finite amount of sanity (that is getting used up rather quickly), we think 5 children is the perfect number for our family. Of course, we are open to life and if God blesses us with another child, then we trust He will also shower us with sanity. But, I digress, that is a whole other blog post that maybe I'll write about some day.

The point is, Katie was saying how she would just hold that baby non stop. She said she loves taking care of newborns and she would do all she could to help.

Josh replied by saying, "Katie, babies only want their moms, because their mom's have that stench."

I looked over at him and said, "I think you mean, scent."

Impeccable Timing

I haven't blogged in a long while due to life. Some funny things have happened along with some unfunny things. Through it all, God is in control and He continues to bless us in sweet ways.

Yesterday, I was trying to leave my mom's house, 3 hours away, so that I could get home by 6, so that I could water the grass, start the laundry from a 3 day visit, get gas, get 2 kids ready for an all day clinic today, get dinner, feed everyone, get baths going, say hello to my husband, and get to bed so that I could be at my part-time job by 8. I had just chatted with the kids about how when you go to someone else's house you want to try to leave it just as you found it. I like for there to be very little evidence that a tornado has just spiraled through the home we are visiting. Well, true to form, the kids did a great job at that, while I bumped into a table that held a beautiful bowl of decorative balls and according to my kids, it sounded like, "Ka-dunk, ka-dunk, ka-dunk, ching...OH, UNBELIEVABLE."

As I watched the bowl tump and fall and all the balls fall out, I thought it was going to make it without breaking, but then, just as I was about to breathe a sigh of relief, the last decorative ball fell off and smashed the glass bowl. Then, I cut myself with glass as I was trying to carefully pick up the pieces and telling the kids, to NOT come upstairs. My step dad came up to help me to vacuum up the slivers when he noticed there were black spots all on the carpet upstairs. After checking the bottom of my shoe, I realized I was tracking a melted crayon through their once immaculate house. So, the impeccable timing part comes as Josh thought this would be a great time time to jump out and try to scare me as I was walking down the stairs. I screamed, jumped into the wall and into another glass sconce thing filled with more decorative balls that wiggled, and jiggled, but THANKS BE TO GOD, stayed on the wall.

Then I got in the car for a 3 hour tour! (And, not to be too dramtic, but 1 hour into the fun, a pebble flew up and hit our front window and left a quarter sized star burst which has now stretched its leg 10 inches down our window!)

Sometimes life is a barrel of fun!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Land that I Love

God bless America. My home sweet home! We live in an exceptional country with exceptional ideals. Thank you to every person who has shed his or her blood so that I may live this abundant life. Thank you to every family member of every soldier, you have suffered so that I might live. Truly your crown in Heaven will be magnificent. Let us continue to stand fast to preserve this one nation, under God. Let us glorify God for allowing us to be born in this blessed land.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Omar "relaxing" on Father's Day!
You are an amazing father in so many ways, but what I think makes you the best is the way you listen and talk to your kids. Truly awesome! They are so blessed to have a dad that respects them and cares for them the way you do! (and they still think your jokes are really funny!)
I love you!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ms. Spunky

If you looked up "spunky" in the dictionary, I am pretty sure you would see a picture of my Katie. Katie approaches life with an intensity that is admirable (and sometimes really noisy!) Her outward beauty is truly a reflection of her heart. She desires to be good and the maturity in which she examines her conscience is beyond her years. She also has amazing dedication and discipline, and when she sets her heart on a goal, she doesn't stop until she reaches it.
Katie loves to sing, she volunteered to sing solos 3 times in Choir this year, she loves her soccer team, and was often the Team Captain in charge of leading the team cheers, she loves to make good grades, she made straight A's in 6th grade, and she loves her family, and bosses, I mean leads her younger siblings in many games/plays.
I love my Katie more than words can say, and I am so lucky that I get to be her mom.

Happy 12th Birthday my Beloved Daughter.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Yesterday at the library, my friend and I left our two 7 year old boys to browse for a minute. When we caught up with them they were standing at the search desk searching for something. The counter hits them just below chin level, but they were both reaching for their respective mouses and focussed on each of their computers. It was a sight to see. These are not the quiet, mild mannered boys that are first born boys were. These are the sword fighting, jumping, wrestling younger brothers. Nonetheless, they know how to use the card catalog and are not afraid to do it.

And it only makes sense that they were searching for..."WAR."

And, by the way, our library has over 7000 entries on "WAR" and they were intent on going line by line until they found the material they were looking for.

Hannah just informed me that she had overheard them looking at a book called "Everyone Dies" earlier. What happened to Thomas the Tank Engine? I think we skipped that phase all together with these two.

It is No Secret

That I am not a cook from scratch kind of mom. Just never took the time to figure that out. As I mentioned before, I chose Choir and Theater Arts over Home Ec. in Middle School, so I have had a learn as you go type of training. Anyway, for those of you who can bear to eat spaghetti sauce out of a jar, HEB has a yummy "Vegetable Primavera" sauce that we loved last night. The veggies are really chunky, but the kids still ate them, with encouragement of course!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Well, almost a month ago, my little blog hit its one year anniversary. What a fun way for me to document the comings and goings of my little family. What a wonderful outlet for me to jot down some of the things that float around in my brain. It helps me clear up some room so that I can remember soccer and swim schedules!

Thank you for taking time to walk with me. I am honored.
God bless you.

Where my little story began:


Tonight Hannah came down from her bed and caught me vegging out. She said, "So is this what you do when we go to bed? Flip channels and stop on random stuff."

Yes, yes I do.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Quite the Politician

My wonderful son, who also happens to be a teenager, sometimes displays behavior at home which, in my opinion, is less than appealing.

This morning the teenager said: This is the summer for the "Personality Change Reform Movement."

Me: I'll believe it when I see it.

The teenager: Amending the know when they do that, it takes a while, it is a process.

I won't hold my breath.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bittersweet Reality

This is a picture of Summer 2005, 4 short years ago. It was right before Sophia was born. All of my kids were really still kids then. No teenagers to be found.
In 4 short years from now, Summer 2013, we will be taking a picture of Josh in his Cap and Gown.
I feel like I am in the back of a train, yelling, "Whoa, slow down, take it easy!"
No one can hear me, the train just keeps barreling down the track.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A New Twist on an Old Song

Tonight at dinner, we were discussing how after we die, we will someday be reunited with our resurrected glorified bodies.

Luke said, "Yeah, we'll be in Heaven singing, 'Bring back, bring back, 'O, bring back my body to me, to me."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Prayers of the Faithful

After our routine family prayers, we have a time for each person to say some "thank you" and "please help" prayers. It has been truly a blessing and a joy to listen as our children have grown in what they pray for.

It has also been quite comical. Tonight was a prime example...

Sophia,"Please bless the people in Heaben, and in hotels, and in bathtubs."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

When I first became a mom, I was terrified. I really had no idea why the nurses were sending Omar and me home with a newborn baby. Did they really not know that we had absolutely NO idea what we were doing? Didn't they know we were not much more than kids ourselves? Of course we had taken every new parenting course that the hospital offered, and I had read as much as I could, but we really had no hands on experience. After a few days into to being Mom and Dad, I really wondered what had we gotten ourselves into.

That is when my mom showed up. She came right in and started doing what she does best, taking care of others. She cooked for us, cleaned for us, held the baby so we could sleep, and told us that she thought we could do it. I was never so sad to say goodbye to my mom as I was at the end of that week. I thought how in the world am I going to do this alone, everyday? That is when the years of love, encouragement, support, and nurturing that I had received from my mom kicked in.

My mom is a great care taker. Every time I make up a cozy couch bed for a child who isn't feeling well, I think of my mom. When I bring homework up to a child who has forgotten it for the 20th time, I think of how many times my mom brought items up to me at school. Even today when we go and visit her, she tries to make sure she has the type of soda we like and waffles the kids like for breakfast.

My mom has always been my number one cheerleader. She has always been cheering me on to do what ever it was that I thought I needed to be doing. She taught me how to be a mother bear. She can be one tough girl when it comes to defending her kids, grand kids, and kids-in-law . She showed us our worth by being willing to stand up to any teacher, administrator, or any other authority figure that she thought had treated us unfairly. She has always supported me . She has come to my aide a number of times when I've called her and asked her to drop everything to come and help me. She also spent years attending to the details of our lives by making sure we were signed up for CCD, and dance, and baseball, and swimming lessons, and softball, and boy scouts, and girl scouts. She made sure that our family did fun stuff like go camping, and to the movies, and to Disney World. She made every birthday so special and continues to carry that tradition on for her grand kids.

Mom, you have been such a wonderful example of what a loving and caring mom should be. I am grateful for you and I treasure you. God bless you! I love you!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


She will tell you that her name is a palindrome.

She is the 3rd youngest and the 3rd oldest in our family.

She loves to read, plant flowers, do puzzles, and play Solitaire on the computer.

She is a joy to be around and a blessing to our family.

She is Hannah!


Last week, Sophia and I were signing up for swimming lessons, when we saw a dead bird lying on the ground. Sophia heard the other birds tweeting and she said that they were wanting him to come back alive.

Once we came back outside, she saw the bird was still lying on the ground, and she said, "I guess the bird is still dead."

I guess so.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Month of Thanksgiving

During this new month, the month of May, Mary's month, I am going to try a little experiment. There are times, too many times, that I am not the mom I want to be. I lose my patience, I speak harshly, I don't listen, and/or I am unkind. In an effort to become a tiny bit more like my Heavenly Mother, Mary, I am going to spend the next month being more thankful for my beloved family. I am going to keep a little journal, and I am going to write down each of their names everyday. Honestly, to me, those 6 words, Omar, Joshua, Katie, Hannah, Luke and Sophia are some of the nicest words in the English Language, so just writing them down is sweet! Not to mention, the meanings of their names are so lovely, that just reflecting on them for a moment might also be a source of grace.

Omar - Long living (I better be nice to him, because I guess he's sticking around for a while.)

Joshua - God is Salvation

Katherine - Pure One

Hannah - Full of Grace

Luke - Light

Sophia - Wisdom

Next to their names, I am going to write down one thing about them that I am thankful for. I am going to try to focus on who they are, what they do, what a joy they are instead of who they are not, what they don't do, and how they are annoying me. This is the time, right now, to grow. This is the time to be refined in the fire of my family life. This is the time to be the mother that I want to be.

Quite the Comedian

Round 1
Archery Instructor: "Clear to the left, clear to the at will."
Hannah: "Who's Will?"

Round 2
Archery Instructor: "Clear to the left, clear to the at will."
Hannah and Girl Scout friend: "Who's Will?"

Round 3
Archery Instructor: "Clear to the left, clear to the when ready."
Hannah and friend, "Ahh."

He said he had heard that joke once or twice before.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grame to the Rescue

A few weekends ago, I went to Girl Scout Camp with Hannah! What a wonderful and relaxing weekend it was! I rarely, actually never, really get to spend an entire weekend just hanging out with one child. I had nothing to do with planning this event, I didn't even have a copy of the schedule, so I was able to just sit around and wait for someone to tell me, "Time for crafts, time to eat, time for archery."

One of the funniest parts of the experience for me was at lights out. The 8 moms were sleeping on the bottom bunks and the 8 girls were on the top bunks. Our troop leader was on an air mattress in the center of our cabin. Lights were out at about 10, but that was only the overhead light. Once that light went out, all of those 8 girls on the top bunks remembered that they each had flashlights and our cabin was turned into a disco. It was really cute.

The only problem with this weekend was that Omar was working on Saturday, so I wasn't sure what to to with the other 4 kids! Of course Luke was also throwing up and Sophia seemed to be getting a cold, and there were 2 soccer games that needed to be gotten to and cheered at. Grame drove 3 hours and rescued us! What a relief! Instead of me worrying about who would care for the other kids, I was able just to focus on having fun with Hannah! It was a very rainy weekend so, instead of soccer, Grame even treated the kids to a 3-D movie at the real movie theater and Chick-fil-a for lunch! The kids were on cloud 9! Thank you so much Grame! We really appreciate your help!

Sadly, I am not able to upload pics right now, but as soon as I am able to again, I will show pics of cute Hannah at camp and Grame with the kids!

Apples and Oranges

Yesterday in the car, Hannah was bemoaning the fact that she will have to take many more standardized tests in the years to come. This was her first year of TAKS testing and while she has performed perfectly on the test so far, she loathes the idea of a whole day of testing. She was going on and on about how she never wants to go to middle school because in 8th grade you have to take 4 TAKS tests. Finally, I told her to stop. I said, "There really isn't any fruit to be gained by you going on and on about that."

All of a sudden my 7 year old nephew piped up from the back of the van and dejectedly said, "There is no fruit in middle school?!? AHH, I really like fruit."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pre School Fun!

Sophia cracking a confetti egg on herself!

"Hunting" for eggs...which will she choose?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Seeing Lots of Red

A mail worker at the White House has confirmed that he has seen 2 million red envelopes!!
Check out the article here:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Check it Off the List

Child Number 4 can ride a 2 wheeler! Congrats Luke!!!

She's OK

Still can't touch the bandage, but you can see she is doing fine! IF you can get through my ridiculously long post below, you might wonder if my little child has been able to recover from having her blood drawn. As you can see here, she is well on her way to recovery!

Delayed Blessings

Josh is almost as tall as me. Sometimes in middle school, you want to be the kid who bulks up first. Of course, I think he is as adorable as ever. He tells me I have to say that because I am his mom. But I am telling you, even if I wasn't his mom, I would think he was a super great, sweet, really handsome kid. I was having one of those annoying mom moments, telling him how I remember when he was so little I could carry him.

He responded, very dryly, "Well I maybe taller, but I probably weigh the same as I did back then."

I keep reminding him, it is a blessing to be able to eat 15 cookies and not gain a pound!

Pretty in Pink


I guess this is a little, I mean a long, reflection during Holy Week.

This morning Sophia had a follow up appointment with her endocrinologist. She had to have 4 vials of blood drawn from her tiny little arm. I opted for the nurse to put some numbing gel on her arm first, thinking that I didn't want her to have a traumatic experience at the doctor at 3 1/2 years old. Those types of experiences tend to stick with a person. Well, I am wondering if just getting it over with would have been better than pulling off the huge band aids that had covered the numbing cream. Her skin is so sensitive, she can barely handle the tags in her clothes. Pulling off band aids was not a good way to start her lab experience. I did the first one slow and the second one fast, neither way was OK. Then came the poke. The lab tech was so great, couldn't have been better. But, Sophia would calm down, and then look down and see the needle and it would all start again.

So...traumatic it was. She seemed so hurt by the whole experience. I asked her if it was painful, or if she was just scared. She said that she was scared and that it hurt her arm a lot. All day she just held her sore arm. She will be OK. The lab work was necessary. Sometimes in life, we have to go through painful stuff. That's why God gave us family and friends, so that we don't have to suffer alone. Even though it really breaks my heart when I have to participate in holding my child down for a medical procedure, I will do it. It is my job to be there with my kids when they hurt. Even when my heart breaks because they are suffering, it is my job to be strong. They need to know that it will be OK. Sometimes I fail at hiding my worry, buy I pray to God I never fail at being there for them.

If you want it, here is a lot of background history...My little Sophia is just that, really little. She was born weighing in at 8 lbs. 11 ounces, but that was the last time she was considered big. There were times when she was even border line "failure to thrive" because she just could not gain weight. She was incredibly hard to console as an infant. About 5 months into her little life, I finally convinced her doctor to test her for reflux, which she had, and which she continued to be medicated for almost until her 3rd b-day. She has always just been a hard nut to crack. As a newborn she was checked for a heart murmur, turned out to be "innocent," (which is just the sound, not actually a hole), her soft spot didn't fully close until almost 3, and before her 1st birthday, I sometimes worried that the light was on but that she wasn't home. She didn't seem to always be connecting with me. She even went through a weird, super scary time from 12-16 months, when about 15 times a day, she would do this startle type shudder with her eyes rolling back. (That, by the way, miraculously healed after we went to Disney World, and visited Our Lady of the Universe Shrine in Orlando,FL! It just went away! The neurologist said that it could have been some weird virus. Virus or not, I truly believe that Mary, my Mother, the Mother of God, interceded on my baby's behalf.) She has had terrible allergic reactions to Omnicef and Amoxicillin, so her antibiotic choices are really limited. She has seen a cardiologist, endocrinologist, neurologist, geneticist, and a gastroenterologist. But thank God, it has all worked itself out. She just doesn't fall in the "normal" range. She is bright and able and strong, even if she is very petite. I have to keep having her checked because the doctors want to make sure that she keeps growing, even if just a little at a time. I keep thanking God that she is OK.

I think about the parents whose children aren't OK. How they must suffer watching their children suffer. That seems like too big of a cross to carry. I pray that those parents can know that Jesus is there to help them carry their cross. Our priest recently talked about compassion. He said that Jesus was full of compassion. "Passion" means to suffer and "com" means with. So He suffers with us. On the road to Calvary and dying on the cross He suffered with us, so that we would never have to suffer alone. Our loving God, not only took upon the sins of the world, but also the suffering of mankind. There is nothing that we have to go through, that He doesn't uniquely understand. He came down to suffer and die so that we might live. So, I will accept the small sufferings that I am offered, and I will try to help my kids realize and understand that their is no way to avoid suffering. Somehow though, we can offer our sufferings up to God and ask Him to bring us, and others around us, grace through it. Just as the greatest of all grace, salvation, was brought to us by our Savior's most compassionate offering, Himself.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Never Good to Hear

Sophia from the top of the stairs...

Mommy, I made bad choices.

(Thank goodness that it was just washable markers. Sharpies really scare me!)

7 Year Old Boy

Luke's teacher always comments about how creative his imagination is. I am glad she says that and not, "What in the world are you teaching this kid at home?" All of his writing projects usual center on aliens, crazy cows, attack robots, or evil geniuses. His spelling words come from his writing, so his lists have been so different from my 1st grade spelling lists.

It makes me laugh. I never know what is going to come out of his mouth.

The other day was no exception. He was trying to find a place to do his 20 minutes of reading when I heard him say, "I am looking for some place that is quiet, peaceful...and deadly."

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Hannah is a little prankster...

Last night she changed the music in Joshua's alarm so that he would wake up to Katie singing "Tennessee Christmas" instead of his normal wake up call. Then she told me, "Don't worry Mom, the joke I pulled on you isn't that bad." But that is all she would say.

I have yet to find it. I did cautiously turn on the kitchen sink because a few years ago, Josh had taped the trigger on the vegetable sprayer down, so when I turned on the faucet water sprayed me in the face and the wall behind me.

I just love April Fool's Day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thanks Be to God

Thank you all for praying for Anna! She did very well with her surgery and is recovering quickly! She had brain surgery and less than 24 hours later was taking a walk with her husband! Truly, all thanks be to God, He has delivered my friend through this fire! I know that there are still many does of recovery to go, but she couldn't be off to a better start!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Trying to get everyone ready for practice, finishing homework, wondering why I have to tell people to put clothes away, and dealing with a 3 year old at 5:00 PM that has given up her afternoon naps, I may have raised my voice above the normal level...

Sophia softly responded, "Mom, your voice is kind of rude."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Words of Wisdom

Today I emailed a dear friend from college, Sr. Lynn and asked her to pray for another cherished friend Anna. Sr. Lynn has given her life to serve God in whatever way He chooses. For a few years she was caring for children with AIDS on a farm in California and then later felt like God was calling her to move across the country to Missouri. As a Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration, she used her Bio-Chemistry background to help develop a gluten free host for people who wanted to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, but couldn't, due to celiac disease. So I wrote to this amazing, Jesus-loving woman, Sr. Lynn, to ask her to pray for another amazing, Jesus-loving woman, Anna. Anna is also serving God as a Stay At Home Mom to 5 awesome kids (ages 13,11,9,7,3) and is undergoing surgery tomorrow for a brain aneurysm. Anna gives of herself to her family tirelessly.

What Sr. Lynn wrote to me was so encouraging and so inspirational, I wanted to share it with you in hopes that if you are going through a "fiery" time in your life, that her words could also give you comfort.

From Sr. Lynn:

I have been doing a study on the book of Daniel this Lent. The teacher
drew this example about the three men who were thrown in the furnace. She
said that all of us face fiery trials and that there can be three outcomes

1) God can deliver us from the fire - I know this is what you would hope for Anna -
that she goes for surgery and the doctors say the aneurysm has disappeared
completely and she is healed. When we are delivered from the fire our
faith is built. Our trust in God's awesome strength is built up.

2) God can deliver us through the fire. We can pray that Anna will go through surgery and that all goes well or even if recovery is difficult that she will make it
through. When we are delivered through the fire our faith is refined.
We come to know God more intimately through our suffering and our faith is more

3) And lastly we can be delivered from the fire straight into God's
arms. While we beg God that this not be the outcome for Anna and her
family, through this kind of deliverance our faith is perfected as we come to
see God face to face.

I am praying that God will show Himself mighty and that Anna will come through this fire like the three young men in the book of Daniel of whom it was written: "When the satraps, prefects, governors, and nobles of the king came together, they saw that the fire had had no power over the bodies of these men; not a hair of their heads had been singed, nor were their garments altered; there was not even a smell of fire about them." Daniel 3:94

You can visit her order's website at:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seeing Red

There is a grass roots effort going on right now that we all can be a part of. It is a peaceful, prayerful way to send the White House a message that we are not ok with the spilling of innocent blood. We have the chance to stand up for those who can't speak for themselves. We are being asked to send a red empty standard sized envelope to the White House on March 31 as an act of solidarity with other pro-life Americans. Those who are outraged by abortion are not the minority. The goal is to actually get 50 million red envelopes sent, one for every child that has died (in the US) due to abortion.


Did you know that if you take a 3 year old to the grocery store, it may take longer to get your groceries than you had planned? Sometimes a whole bag of unpaid for, colored, goldfish crackers can get turned upside down. You might even hear the sound of something spilling while you are trying to figure out which cheese slices you have to buy to get the free bag of shredded cheese, but you may ignore it KNOWING that it doesn't concern you. Then you will look around to see a rainbow of goldfish under and in your shopping cart and your shopping companion holding a completely empty bag upside down. You may then find yourself apologizing to the people cleaning it up and getting you a fresh bag of goldfish, assuring you that they can get credit for damaged goods and that you don't need to buy the bag. But, did you know that if you drop a tube of crescent rolls from the top of a shopping cart that the end will pop off and crescent rolls will ooze out? You may even be embarrassed handing it to the cashier while you explain, "I'm sorry, we ruined this." Were you also aware, that you need to remember to pay for the donut you ate at the beginning of the adventure? And have you been told that you may forget the medicine you went to the store to buy, but somehow you will have managed to buy a princess sippie cup? Your ears may be ringing and head spinning due to all of the verbal discourse that occurred and you may be praying that your little companion will take a nap once you get home. (Although you know that truly would be a miracle.)

If you're really lucky though, your heart may be open just enough for God to pour in the grace to allow you to soak in the moment and just smile knowing what a lucky girl you are to have such a lovely shopping companion in your life. God may even remind you that there will be a time when your shopping cart will not be overflowing with gallons of milk, boxes of cereal, loaves of bread, juice boxes, and snacks for snack duty at Saturday's game.

Rules and Regulations

I was lying down with Sophia the other night, and I was reminding her of the rules about getting out of bed.

I reminded her that we don't get out of bed unless there is any emergency. If she needs anything else, she should call me.

She said, "Only get out if there is a fire..."

I said, "Yes, of course."

She said, "Or if I'm bored..."

I said, "No."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Always Interesting

This morning while in the restroom, I got a knock on the door. "Please wait," I said.

Luke replied, "Mom, I got bacon in my eye."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Tasty Treat

Making Dirt Dessert for Luke's Mad Scientist Party with kids from school.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

When I picked Sophia up from preschool the other day, I realized I had dressed us a little bit alike. The funny thing is that Omar says I do this more often than I know.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I've been a little bummed because I haven't been able to blog very much lately. As I've said before, this is my therapy! Between kids and husband needing the computer, my 3 year old not wanting to take naps anymore, and being unable to upload images to the blog page for some unknown reason, my little outlet has suffered. The little pics with captions are so much faster than the "deep thoughts!" ;) Thanks to all of you who keep checking back in.

But here is a cute item sans a pic:

Sophia was drawing on some paper this morning and told me that it was a letter to me. She continued on "writing" and then I overheard what she was composing:

Dear Mama,
I hope you not throw dis away eber, eber.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Nose Talents

This morning Luke was snorting a classical tune as I brushed his hair for school. I said, "Ok, that is enough."

He replied, "I am the best snorter in my whole class."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Farewell Old Friend!

Ok, I'll admit it. I am addicted to Dr. Pepper. It is, and has been my friend for many years. I've tried giving it up before and was successful at different times, but then when times got stressful again, I lost all control. I don't just drink one a day. No, it is way more than that. In more recent years, any attempt to give it up has been a futile effort. Things have been a little harried with the kids and school and life, and that was my one out. I don't drink coffee, and rarely have a glass of wine, so I reasoned that this was a small thing. In all honesty, though, I know I reach for it as an emotional comfort. When my blood pressure rises, I walk out to the garage and grab a "cold one!" I am really glad I never started smoking, because no telling how many packs I'd be up to by now. It started being a bigger problem when I realized that my kids are watching how much soda I drink. I also know all that sugar and caffeine and some other ingredient that I can't remember are really bad for me. Not to mention all those extra calories. (And I wonder why I can't lose 10 pounds!) It also is expensive ( I only like the bottles). But even knowing all that, it seemed beyond me, more than I could do. "Come on God, don't ask for that too," I found myself whining. I know this silly drink is an obstacle in my walk with Christ though, because I turn to it for comfort, instead of Him.

I started seriously contemplating giving Dr.Pepper up for Lent this year a few weeks ago. I didn't think I'd be able to do it, so I started telling people that I was going to do it. I think a lot of sacrificial stuff should stay private, but I knew that if I wasn't held accountable it wouldn't happen. I especially had to tell my kids so that failing wouldn't and couldn't be an option. God is good, and just by sharing with a few people, He encouraged me through their words. My new brother-in-law shared that when we think we can't do it, aren't we saying that we think God can't give us the power to do it? That was powerful, don't I think God created the world, certainly He can give me the courage and strength to let this go. Also, our Deacon at church said when we give something up it is hard, but that is how we grow. He said Lent is like Winter for our soul, but when Lent is over and we rejoice on Easter Sunday, we will have Spring on the Earth and in our souls!

So the Ash Wednesday headache that stretched into Thursday is better. I still am craving a Dr. Pepper and I'm not saying that on Easter Sunday I won't rejoice with a refreshing "cold one!" But for now, God is helping me and it is good.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hidden Treasures

If I had a nickel for every stray sock I found lying around this house, I would not be worried about college funds. This particular sock of Luke's intrigued me though...
When I removed the ponytail holder, I discovered that we had been holding Cinderella prisoner.

Who knew?

Slippery Slope

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have entered into the realm of letting kids stay home alone sometimes. It is quite liberating to have a teenager and very responsible 11 year old in the house who can watch their younger siblings for an hour while I run to get the groceries!

My friends and I laugh sometimes at how the slope can become a little slippery. I didn't let Josh watch any Disney but Bambi (and I fast forwarded through the Mother Deer dying scene) or Pooh (and I fast forwarded through the heffalumps and woosles nightmare) until he was 5 or so. Even then, it was very guarded with a lot of fast forwarding. On the other hand, some of Hannah's first words were "Dart Bader," and Sophia has seen more "Suite Life of Zach and Cody" than I care to mention.

Still, the other day when Sophia (3) said, "Mom, I don't need to go to Target with you, I can stay home by myself," I am glad that I didn't pause too long before saying, "Not yet honey, wait a few years."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Blessed Day

My sweet sister-in-law, Norma, has waited a long time for this blessed day. Thanks be to God, for His plan is greater than we can ever imagine! I am so happy for her! What a beautiful bride!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Love Sophia

I have had a couple of people tell me that I am giving Sophia a bad wrap. Just want to set the record straight...I adore my baby girl! She is a rascal though and she is the baby of the family. I have been humbled greatly by the birth of my 5th child, that is just the way it is. I don't know if it is her personality, or mine, or having 5 kids, or having a 10 year gap, but things can be darn right HARD sometimes. If I laugh about it, it helps me not to cry about it. I want to be real. I have read books, articles, magazines about moms with large families and sometimes things just seem too sugar coated. Those sorts of articles usually just made me, as a reader, feel even more inadequate than I already was feeling. My hope in sharing some of the pleasant and not so pleasant moments of my life is just to offer a little sense of solidarity with other moms who might be feeling a little alone on the journey. I have never been bored as a SAHM, but it can be lonely sometimes. There have definitely been days when I felt like I was in this all by myself and that I was doing a lousy job. I think it is much more fun to laugh at and with another woman who thinks that just getting the dishwasher unloaded is a major accomplishment!

Stay tuned for the promised update on Luke and Hannah and for adorable flower girl pics of Sophia. She was the perfect angel at her Aunt's wedding!!! See, I can say nice things too! ;)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yet Another Piece of Humble Pie

Sophia had been doing great at pre-school. I enrolled her in a 2 day a week, 4 hours per day program, and she has been thrilled about it! Absolutely no problems, in fact one of the other teachers told me how happy she is running around at recess. Her own teacher raved about how great she was doing following directions, taking care of potty business, and listening.

Until today...

Today she got time out at school. Not one of my other children has EVER been in trouble at school. They don't even move their clips to yellow. Once, in 2nd grade, Hannah had to write a note other than a green smiley face on her behavior chart, but it was because her whole side of the lunch table got a group punishment. I think Josh and Katie maybe had to do the equivalent of clip moving 1 or 2 times in their whole elementary careers. Luke may be chatty at school, but he only needs to be told once by his beautiful, funny, sweet long blond haired teacher to be quiet; he would never want to disappoint Mom, Dad, or Mrs. Z. Somewhere we failed to put the fear of God and her parents in Sophia.

She was tired, even falling asleep on the way to pre-school. I knew it was a recipe for disaster. The only reason I even made her go was because I had actually made commitments to volunteer at the elementary and middle schools today. She cried as I left, but quieted down literally 30 seconds after the door closed. I thought all was well, but when I picked her up, the teacher said, "We had some behavior issues today."

After a talk about where paint does and doesn't belong, Sophia decided to paint on the girl sitting next to her. The teacher even said it seemed defiant!! She also pushed someone who had a toy she wanted. My kid was "that kid" today. "That kid" that paints on other kids and pushes them when she is mad.

I love humble pie.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Change of Heart

One of the biggest social issues that my children discuss with us and with their peers is abortion. We pray every night for an end to abortion. We talk to them about babies and about how God doesn't allow any baby to be formed by accident. That God can take a bad situation and bring good into it. We talk to them about difficult choices that women and men have to make sometimes, but that the baby is never a punishment nor the one to be punished. We talk to them about how abortion scars a mother forever. A few years ago I lost a baby to miscarriage, and my heart still aches at times for my little one. I cannot imagine what it must be like for a mother when she realizes that she allowed, in fact even asked for, her own baby's death. God's mercy is never ending. When we confess our sin, it is as if God throws it "as far as the east is from the west," though our "sins are like scarlet, we can be made white as snow." His merciful arms are indeed stretched out to those who realize their wrong doings and ask for His forgiveness.

Norma McCorvey (also know as Jane Roe in the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion in this country) never actually had an abortion. She has come to the realization that her case has been the cause of millions of babies' deaths over the last 36 years. She has had a change of heart, she has turned to Christ. You can hear some of her testimony here:

There is more danger for the unborn babies on the horizon. Former President Bush signed a ban on FOCA (the Freedom of Choice Act). President Obama has said that he will try to overturn this ban. FOCA is very scary. It basically takes away every restriction that individual states have put on abortion including parental notification and the ban on partial birth abortion. Please take a moment to learn more about it here

No matter where you stand on abortion, most of us will agree that anytime for any reason, is not ok. If you feel so compelled, you may even choose to sign the petition to let President Obama know that we are a nation of peace. We value the lives of all our people, especially those most innocent, vulnerable, and those that cannot speak for themselves.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ring Ring

My children get a hold of my cell phone sometimes...I never know what my ring tone will be.

Currently it is Katie singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" of Handel's Messiah, at the top of her lungs. It catches me (and everyone around me) off guard every time.

Ha Ha

Today Josh and Katie had to get their teeth cleaned. The dentist's office has changed over the years. It is not the scary, cold, sterile place I remember. It is actually kind of fun to go. In the waiting room, the kids play video games and in the big, open examining room, my kids watch flat screen tv's hanging on the ceiling. While Josh was waiting for his turn, I kept hearing him laugh out loud at a "Raven" episode that was showing. I wanted to shush him, but why? He wasn't disturbing anyone and it was fun to just hear him enjoy something simple on tv. Thankfully, the nicer side of me won over the controlling, we must be perfect in public side of me, and I let him just sit there and crack up.

My sweet Katie has the kind of laugh that is contagious. She gets the giggles easily and they get loud quickly. She really enjoys life and shares that exuberance. It is one of the things that I loved ( and still love) about my college roommate; the ability to let out a laugh so easily. As the mom of a free flowing laugh-er, it can be a little less enjoyable and I find myself asking her to take it down a notch frequently.

When I think about it though, I love people that laugh easily and often. I love to be around them and their energy makes me happy. I guess really I am super blessed to have these two giggle boxes in my home, and in my car, and in the church pew with me, and at the doctor's office with me. Is there anything better than hearing another person laugh? It really is the best medicine.

Dollar Store Fun

For Christmas, my kids shop at the dollar store for presents for one another and their parents. It is really sweet, and usually pretty funny, to see what they have picked out. This is a tradition that I would sure like to see continue for years to come.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For Everything There is a Season

I love that there are 4 different seasons of the year. Just when I think I cannot take another 100 degree day and feel like I am melting every time I step outside, a cool autumn breeze will blow through with the promise of relief. Likewise, just as I feel like I cannot take another bleary, blah, dull day of clouds and lifelessness, I will see the promise of new life budding on our trees outside. God is so gentle with us. He knows that we need change, we need a fresh start. He knows that we, as well as the earth, need times of renewal, rest, and growth. Our Church has incorporated this lesson into our Church year as well. We just finished the seasons of Advent and Christmas and now will enter into Ordinary Time for a few weeks until we begin Lent. Again, it gives us opportunities each year to start fresh and to make changes where we need to in our lives. If we embrace the changes of the seasons, our lives will be enriched and we will be able to really appreciate the beauty and importance of each time, whether it be a season of joy, exhaustion, or pain.

My sweet, adorable, and loving 87 year old Nee Nee in entering a very painful season of her life right now as she suffers with Alzheimer's Disease. As I am witnessing first hand, this is a merciless disease. She gets lost in time. People and events in her life seem to blur as her past and present mingle in front of her. Then, she has great moments of coherence and is completely aware of all that is here and now. Watching her struggle is painful. I know it is even more so for my aunt and my father. She has never been one to complain and even now will say, "I am glad I can still get around. My mind is gone, but at least I can still get up and get my coffee." I think if she could, she would remind us to be thankful for what we have. Be thankful that I have had my grandmother as an important part of my life for all of these years. Be thankful that my children have known and spent time with their great-grandmother. Be thankful that my children are getting a lesson in loving and caring for their elders. Be thankful that we get the opportunity to serve her, just as she has tirelessly served her family, never asking for anything in return. Be thankful that we are getting to learn to love and serve Christ, and grow in patience and kindness as we love her in her frailty and her confusion. It is a hard season for her and also for those who love her. If we can try to embrace our cross, maybe God can grow something beautiful through it. When we suffer, we have the opportunity, through grace, to become less like ourselves and more like Christ. It doesn't take away the pain, the winter is still long, and cold, and quiet. But there is hope and the promise that the seasons will change.