Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Genevieve.
 Genevieve had a lot of older brothers who thought she was the sweetest princess there ever was.  
So, one day they decided to turn her into one.
They started with a crown.
 Genevieve wasn't so sure about it.
 She came around though.
So they kept going.
 A Christmas Princess she would be.
But wait.  This attire is not fit for our princess, they said.
 We just may have something...
 Much better.
 And they lived happily ever after.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Game of I Spy

Can you spot:  a messy homeschool life, the best baby in the world, an ever-present cup of coffee, Christmas is coming, legos legos everywhere, a bird watcher, discount double check, the arrival of the first Christmas package?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

 Gandalf and Frodo, a soldier, Thor, Iron Man, Spiderman.
And a little dancer.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Bath

While we are certainly all for modesty around here, the (warm, wet) washcloth is not about that.  Just something I've gotten in the habit of doing.  It seems to keep the baby a little warmer, and gives a sense of security when they're otherwise prone to startles and flailing arms, as they get used to the sensation of being in the water.  Big brother looks on, probably wishing he could hop in himself.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Life Science

One of the nice things about belonging to a homeschool group, is that there are times when someone else provides a day of learning for my children.  Yesterday was one such day.  One of the moms in our group is a self-proclaimed Science Geek, and she offered to do a Science Day for the kids.  She set up our usual First Friday meeting room as a lab, complete with equipment and experiments.  She somehow managed to provide four experiments each, for four separate age groups of kids (31 kids total!), which kept them busy and learning for the better part of two hours.  They mixed and built, tasted, smelled and logged, magnetized, melted and exploded.  It was awesome.

I was wearing Genevieve on me in the carrier the whole time, three full hours by the time we got home.  She had slept all that time, so she was starving when we walked in the door.  I had the boys make their own sandwiches and eat while I nursed her, which left me famished.  The older boys had served morning Mass, it had been a long day already, and I didn't have it in me to make my lunch while still holding Genevieve.  I held her out to Blake, "Here honey, could you please take her, just for a few minutes?  I have got to eat something."  He took her, and as I walked out of the room, I heard my thirteen-year-old boy say:  "I haven't held you all day!  I don't think I've even seen you."  I looked up at the clock - it was 1:00.  If he went to school outside our home, he'd never see her before 4:00, and it certainly wouldn't be noteworthy that he hadn't held her during the day.  He cradled her and talked to her while I ate in peace, and I couldn't help but think that he's experiencing something that most teenaged boys never will.

Homeschooling isn't perfect, and it isn't for everybody.  Some days are so hard they leave me in tears, others have me questioning my very sanity.  But there is good in this life we're living.  There are relationships and time and love, and I pray these things outshine the struggles, when we all come out the other end and look back.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Feast Day Baking Fun

I only have a minute, but wanted to share some baking we did this week.  
We made Angel Wings on Tuesday, for the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

Aren't they pretty?  I rolled out the dough, used a pizza cutter to cut it into strips, and then pinched the center of each strip to get the wing effect.  The bottom of this one is just the ragged edge that naturally forms along the outside of the dough when rolled out.  It was a total accident to actually use that edge, but I think it makes for a great looking set of wings!
Angel Wings
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well and add egg yolks, eggs and vanilla. Mix well and knead. Roll out dough very thin on a lightly floured surface. Cut into strips and pinch dough to shape like wings. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

We also made a "tonsure cake" yesterday, for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

I've seen this idea many times, but somehow I knew what my boys would say about it.  When I asked them earlier in the week if they'd like to make one, and gave them the description of a chocolate cake baked in a tube pan to form a circle of "hair", or a tonsure, the older boys looked at me skeptically.  "Shouldn't there be a head in the middle of the hair?"  Ahem.  Yes, but surely you get the idea of it by just representing the tonsure, right?  They weren't convinced.  So... we had to find a way to make the whole top of St. Francis' head, not just his hair.

We inverted a little glass bowl in the middle of our cake.  I made some butter cream frosting and frosted the center, right over the bowl.  Then I added cocoa powder to the rest of the frosting to make it brown, and frosted the rest of the cake.  We tried for a hair-like effect by dragging the tines of a fork across the frosting in different directions.

Mr. Smith came home and saw it but didn't say much about it (did he think I was crazy?!).  I asked if he knew what it was... nope, not a clue.  I asked if he knew whose feast was today, yes, he did... still nothing.  I wasn't offended, I didn't expect him to figure it out.  It's kind of an odd representation, right?  Anyway, a few minutes went by, we were getting dinner on the table, and he blurted out, "Is it his HAIR?!"  So I guess it was identifiable after all. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012


Since having Genevieve, I've been a little frustrated with my camera.  We bought a Nikon D5100 back in February, with hopes that I'd have the hang of using it by the time the new baby came in August.  I worked at it at first, then fell away from it a little, and then I let Blake take over picture duties for a while.  The kid reads manuals for fun, and practically memorizes them, so I didn't think it would hurt to have him get to know the camera anyway.  He was the first to figure out how to take video on it, and he learned some great tricks with all the settings it has.  Still, I really wanted to get back to taking pictures, because I enjoy it.  Lately though, I've noticed that all my pictures were coming out with a blue hue to them.  Only when shooting in Manual of course, when in Auto the pictures were fine.  I'm sure in the back of my mind I knew that the answer was only a google search away, I just didn't have the energy to address it in my postpartum-ness.  I finally took a minute last week, and sure enough, a simple issue with the white balance.  I'm pretty sure Blake had changed it at some point, realizing it or not.  I changed the setting and voila, beautiful pictures once again.  Of course, it helps to have beautiful subjects:


I still have so much to learn about photography.  I know nothing at all about editing.  And I really need to figure out a good system for storing and printing.  But I'm back on my feet with it now, and I really love this camera.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


It all started when I scheduled Genevieve's Baptism.  

Her godmother-to-be mentioned a weekend that they'd be available, then a few days passed.  I looked at the calendar and saw that Blake and Owen were scheduled to serve a Saturday evening Mass that weekend, and a few more days passed.  I called Father Joe to find out if he'd be available that evening.  He would be, and he agreed to baptize our little sweetness following the Mass. 


 I hung up the phone, and went to write it on the calendar, and only then did I realize the significance of the date we had just scheduled.  It was only a week away, it was to be Genevieve's one-month "birthday", and it was the Feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother.  What an awesome day to be born into new life with Christ.


On Monday of that week before the Baptism, we learned that my grandma was not doing well.  My devoted mother began a vigil at her bedside, and by Thursday we knew the end was near.  Another call to Father Joe brought her the Anointing of the Sick, and we continued to watch her slip away.  By Friday, the doctor said it would be a matter of hours.  I began a silent prayer.  A prayer of my heart, that I wouldn't have shared with anyone but my heavenly parents.  The hours passed.  Early Saturday morning we got word that her life on earth had ended.  She had begun her new life on September 8th, the Blessed Mother's birthday.  My prayer had been answered.  My tears were happy, as her suffering had ended and I recognized that even in death our Almighty God is orchestrating a blessed symphony for us to live.

It was almost surreal, going through the familiar practices of Mass and Baptism that evening.  


The same hands that had anointed my grandma, brought new life to my first daughter through the Water and the Holy Spirit.  


There with us, through it all, was our Mother Mary.  As we rejoiced in the gift from God that she is, we knew that she was with my Abuela as well, welcoming her, as she began her new life.

My Video 9/25/12 at

Monday, September 24, 2012

Because I Need to Move On

You know how it is, when you need to do something but aren't quite sure how to do it, and you avoid it a little, and forget about it a little, and push it to the back of the shelf, the corner of your mind, but it keeps popping up, and you keep knowing you need to take care of it, but the more time that goes by the less sure you are of how to approach it, only now you know you need to because you just can't live with it hanging over your head any longer?

I seem to be operating under those circumstances on a lot of things lately.  My plate is so full that I can actually only address about 1/8 of what's on it during any given day.  This drives the necessity of sticking to priorities.  Priorities become relative (as in, the amount of laundry that gets done is relative to what parts of the body actually must be covered, and how many days in a row a 6-year-old can wear the same shorts), and everything else gets pushed to the bottom of the list.

And that's where my blog has landed.  Except that I don't like it there.  And I don't want it to keep on being one of those things just hanging over my head.  This space is special to me, and the time I spend here is therapeutic, so I'm pushing it back up the list, as much as I can for now.

I'm not going to worry about "catching up" on what's passed.  I'll chronicle what I can, and hope that I'll do our family's story justice.

So with this post, my feet are officially wet.  Consider me a blogger once again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's not easy...

 ...losing your "baby" status...

 ...but he's getting used to it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Genevieve Rose
Welcomed:  August 8th, 2012 a time determined by herself and God, no induction necessary, thanks be to God!

I have a daughter.  
Somebody pinch me.  Or don't, I'm too happy right where I'm at.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the prayers.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where I'm At

Or maybe I should start with where I'm not...

I'm not at the hospital, having a baby...
And I'm not busy caring for a newborn

Nope, I'm still pregnant.

I'm not really surprised, I thought I'd be late with this one.  I just thought a day or two, maybe four.

I didn't think I'd be sitting here, going into the sixth day past my due date, with no real signs of labor.

And I really didn't think I'd already have an induction scheduled.  Gosh, they are quick to start planning that induction once a woman reaches her due date!

So Thursday morning it will be, at the latest.  That gives me two more days to do it on my own.

We've walked.  We've eaten spicy food.  I'm downing red raspberry leaf tea by the gallon.  I've cleaned, and walked, and walked some more.

This baby is just comfy, I guess.

When they scheduled the induction last week, I tried to balance my frustration over taking that step with the knowledge/hope that there is every possibility that it's a moot point and that I'll deliver before we ever get to Thursday.  It's eight days past my due date after all, and the longest I've ever gone is seven past.  The reality is setting in though, that I'm going to blink and it's going to be Thursday, so we've really talked this out and tried to decide if we're okay with going through with the induction.

The answer is.... I think so.

My doctor assured me that we can go with a minimally invasive induction.  The hope is that my body won't need much help at all to get going.  I'm all about natural, but I'm also all about recognizing that I live in the real world and there's only so much that I have control over.  There are reasons they recommend putting an end point on pregnancies, and while I don't necessarily agree with all of them, or feel that the concerns apply to me and my baby, I also can't say with certainty that everything will be fine if I keep carrying this baby.

In reality, I've needed "help" in some form with all of my deliveries.  I have stubborn bags of waters.  Some of my more natural-minded friends are appalled when I say that the doctor has had to break my water manually 4 out of 6 times.  They feel that should be part of the natural process of labor.  Well, I had one delivery where it had every opportunity to be a natural part of labor, yet my body didn't do what it was supposed to - I dilated to 10 with an intact bag of water.  Of course no one realized I was at 10 until I had to push and no one was there to deliver, and still my water didn't break.  By the time a stand-by doctor finally found his way into the room, broke my water, and delivered the baby, all within a few minutes, my sweet little newborn had already suffered a head injury, from fighting against that stubborn amniotic sac, and then be rushed through the birth canal at break-neck speed.  The ramifications of that "natural" birth are still with us daily today.

So... maybe I'm tainted.  Maybe I'm tired.  Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that it's okay, since it's looking like induction is the way it's going to go.  Maybe I'm just trying to be calm, and pray, and let God handle things from there.  He gave me this baby, He led me to these doctors, and He's allowing this pregnancy to proceed on His time.  I'm not looking to force my will on any of it, I'm just trying to trust the process.

And, God-willing, this process will come to a close this week, with a safe, healthy, happy birth, and us holding a new life in our arms.

If you could offer a prayer?  Perhaps that God's will be done, and that this Mama has peace?  But mostly for our baby, that all focus be on giving him or her the best possible start at life. 

Thank you!  And God bless you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


And so it begins.

Happy birthday, to my dear eldest son.
We're blessed to know you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Praise God for Good News!

I was so anxious about my follow up appointment this week, after the concern at last week's appointment.
Mr. Smith adjusted his lunch hour so he could go with me.  (Have I ever mentioned how much I appreciate my husband?  I hope so.)
Within one minute of beginning the ultrasound, the tech confirmed that I have PLENTY of fluid and there is no need to worry about it any further.
After that, it was just fun!
Going in, I had been planning on asking that the monitor be turned off.  I didn't want to risk any chance of detecting the gender, and I've never really liked the idea of seeing the baby this close to actually seeing the baby.  Seemed kind of like cheating or spoiling something good.
I was so wrong!
The only thing that happened was that I fell a hundred times more in love with this little being, and I'm a hundred times more excited to birth, meet, hold, and care for him or her.
We saw a chubby baby, clutching his or her foot in the grasp of tiny fingers, we saw a mouth making sucking motions and a tongue sticking out, perfect little feet.  We saw lots of hair on a "good sized" head (all of my babies have had "good sized" heads, keeps things interesting.)
Best of all, we saw a perfect, beating heart, free of any visible flaws, including the slight concern they detected at the 19 week ultrasound I had over the winter.
Prayers answered, weight lifted.
God is so good.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Week in July

We had a really nice week around here, with the Fourth of July and a piano recital keeping us busy.
 The Fourth was hot, hot, unbearably hot.  It's so hard to break traditions though, so we headed out to our little hometown where they do the 4th of July up like no other day.  We started with the parade in the morning.  After multiple glitches, we weren't early enough to snag a coveted shady spot on the curb, so we settled in in the direct sun.  It was the hottest Fourth in recent history around here, and it only took me about 5 minutes to realize that there was no way I'd be sticking it out there.  I headed around the back of the dry cleaner's building that we were sitting in front of, and sat under the shade of their awning for the duration.
We came home to rest, but Mr. Smith decided to take an offer we had received from some earthly angels we know, for swimming in their in-ground pool.  He took the five older boys, and I stayed home with a napping Sebastian.  He thought they might swim for 1/2 hour, just to cool off.  They were gone over three hours.  These angels of ours take good care of us, and before they knew it there were hotdogs on the grill and cookies for all.  I savored my quiet time at home in the air conditioned comfort.
 I did manage to clean and prep some fruit and mini marshmallows for the boys to make fruit kabobs with when they got home.
 Always a hit.
We had crafted a bit the day before, so the house was festive.
 Then it was off to the fair.  The good thing about the heat was that there were no lines whatsoever for the rides, I don't think anyone could stand being there for very long.  The bad thing about the heat was, well, the heat.  It was really bad by that point in the day.  Again, I recognized my limits, and spent much of our time there sitting in the grass under a tent, drinking the best lemonade ever by the gallon.  It's a good thing Mr. Smith is so awesome.

 My mom and dad live near the park we were at.  All I had to do was make one phone call saying we were on our way, and minutes later we arrived to a feast.  She knew we'd be coming, but we weren't sure of the timing, so she had bought things like cold cuts, sub buns, salsa and chips, and cold desserts.  We feasted and rested for several hours over there, before heading out to the fireworks.  
It was a close call with rain, but they pulled them off, and it was a great show, as usual.  Sebastian was the only one not impressed.  He had fallen asleep and not quite come all the way to when they started.  We were quite close to ground zero and the "booms" terrified him.  He spent the entire 1/2 hour whimpering and clinging to his daddy.  Don't tell him I said this, but it was actually super cute.  He recovered, and to this day is telling us he likes the booms and the fireworks when we ask.
Overall, a really great day.


 After the Fourth, we had our sights set on today, when we hosted a piano recital for the three families that our teacher teaches.  When I said I'd host, my friend Colleen, one of the other moms, insisted that she would bring all food and drinks.  It was a win-win for me, I didn't have to deal with any food prep, and my house is sparkling clean.  One of the things she brought was this awesome set of piano keys.  It's frosted sugar cookies and brownies.  So clever.
 Owen and Peyton pulled off their duet beautifully, after months and months of giggling and/or fighting while practicing.  I managed not to get a shot of Blake at the piano, but I'm so very proud of him.  He played three songs, including Mozart's Rondo alla Turca, which he has been working on night and day for weeks.  He was the most advanced student at the recital today, and everyone appreciated his talent.  It was nice to see him in his moment to shine.
And once everything was quiet, we settled in for some down time.  I grabbed my knitting, and Blake grabbed my camera (his new hobby).  It's been a while since we've taken a picture of me, so I asked him to.  Apparently, this is what I look like at nearly 37 weeks.  Wow.  Sometimes lately Oliver will walk into a room that I'm in, almost running into me (he never stops moving and doesn't know the meaning of graceful, bless his heart), double-take at my belly, give it a quick rub, and simply say, "Whoa, your belly is huge", as if it just happened over night.  Yes, sweetheart, it is.