Monday, July 30, 2012

Portfolio Cover Photos

I saw this great idea for portfolio cover photos on Pinterest, and although I no longer have to make or keep portfolios of the kids school work (thank you Utah!) I thought it would be a neat thing to do for the kids.  They were super easy to create using, my own photographs, and the kids' answers to simple questions.  I would suggest using portrait oriented photos for this project if you want to make portfolio covers.  I just chose the photos I liked best regardless of orientation because I was doing this just for the fun of it.  If you click on each photo, you'll open a larger version of the cover and will be able to read the questions and answers more easily.

Wingnut Jr. didn't even pause when he answered "I am pretty good at: Wearing people out".  Truer words were never spoken by a six year old boy.

It was fun to hear how they would answer the questions.  I love Special K's answer to "Next year I hope to learn: How to bake"

Skoshi A's answers all surprised me!  She does indeed have the loudest burps in the family, BTW.

Karate Kid thought the idea was cool and felt we should make a cover photo for Lil' Lamb.  This was her creation, entirely--equal parts plausible and ridiculous.

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 26, 2012

{P,H,F,R} Summertime

round button chicken


I just can't get enough of the beautiful Utah sunsets.


Gammy is teaching the children to fish.  Special K and Wingnut Jr. had their first lesson last evening at a sweet little community pond.

Wingnut Jr. even had a couple nibbles.


My beloved siblings came down for the weekend.  We had a blast.  This was supposed to be a silly photo, but our brother didn't get the memo.


We had our first real lightening storm last week.  I've been reading up on long exposure and bulb mode photography so I tried my hand at taking lightening photos.  They turned out pretty good for a first try.

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Whole Lotta Random

There are times when I have half a dozen posts rattling around my brain and then there are times when I got a whole lotta nuthin.  The last week has been a nuthin week.

Several weeks ago I began posting photos from a "Photo a Day" challenge.  I was pretty diligent about taking my photos when I began to realize I just don't care to take the photos the challenge was asking.  I have no interest at all in self portraits, and it was asking for a whole lotta self portraits.  Yawn.  Needless to say, I've given up on the challenge completely.  I do still try to take photos everyday, but I only take them of things I enjoy taking pictures of--like my kids and Utah's natural beauty and food.  Ya know, if it's something I enjoy photographing, the photos are much more interesting.

I saw a post on Pinterest for bread baked in a crockpot. I was intrigued and after some further digging, I discovered this awesome little cookbook called "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day".  I bought it and we are sold as a family.  Not only are the recipes easy, they use so few ingredients, and the bread is out of this world yummy!  The concept is simple; make up a huge batch of bread dough from one of the recipes (most will make 4 one pound loaves) and keep it in the fridge in a huge tub.  An hour or so before you need a loaf of bread, take a nice chunk of the dough, shape, and let it rise while your oven preheats.  Slide it into the oven bake 30 minutes and you have a nice piping hot loaf of bread.  There are dozens of recipes from boule to baguette; from challah to brioche.  I even plan to making all of our sandwich bread from now on.  With just a little effort and fore thought, we can have lovely fresh baked bread at hand and will save close to $12 a week by not purchasing store bought bread. Win, win, win.

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 19, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

round button chicken


This is the view I enjoy most every day.  It was especially beautiful one morning after it had rained over night.  The mountains were crowned with mist and the sky was a vivid hue of blue.


We've added a family member this week.  Meet Cornelius and his very happy owner.  Cornelius comes from a long line of good mousers.  Yes, we have mice.


These two little peas in a pod have entirely too much fun with my camera phone. I never know what silliness I might find on my Instagram account.


I had the kids on sanitation duty the day my Mom arrived from Florida.  The two peas in a pod have discovered work goes a lot faster when done as a team, and it's a lot more fun too.

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Please Pray for Sam and Baby Steven Thomas!

Please add this special intention to your prayer list. Sam is an amazing and inspirational mom to 13+ kids and a loving and devoted wife. She's also a very dear friend.

Pregnancy Update:

Monday June 16th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel :
Some of the kids and I went to 8 am mass and I was feeling great being close to 18 weeks pregnant. I noticed a small amount of fluid draining from my body but just took a mental note and went on with the day. Later I had light pink spotting and around 3:30PM my water broke. The Dr said to rush to the hospital and get on bed rest. They checked the ammonic fluid and confirmed that my membranes had ruptured…I am on strict bed rest and am trying (unsuccessfully) using the bed pan and stay put with iv’s in my arm and things on my legs to circulate my veins.
I tossed and turned all night and couldn’t sleep. Rob slept on the couch. Thoughts of losing my baby and being on bed rest for at least 5 more weeks made my head swim. All had been going so great and the specialist was so pleased with my progress!
Woke up Tues morning and Dr came in around 8. She tried to be realistic and told me that even if I made it to 23 weeks the baby’s lungs and arms wouldn’t have developed as they should and he wouldn’t survive long.
The specialist came in and confirmed what the other Dr said, but he did say that one client’s baby survive who was in the same boat as mine. Also, Dr Bruchalski’s office from Tepayac center confirmed the seriousness of my situation, but said to hold on to hope and they would pray for me. I also read this wonderful story about a local woman named Angelica who survived the same situation.
Her story is here:
The specialist also said if he was me…he would go home. That was new, cuz the other doctor said I would be in the hospital till I delivered. He said there was nothing they could do for me till 23 weeks and I would probably be safer from germs in my own germs!
So after having a really good cry…I just sat there wondering about all that had happened…then I had a visit from a friend and a priest from St Mary’s who was making the rounds at the hospital. I became at peace and distracted. My friend offered to take me home and I was discharged.
So, here I lay in bed surrounded by my wonderful husband and amazing kids, with friends bringing food and taking the little ones out of the house for some fun, not to mention my super sister who was doing the laundry and everything else!
I am truly blessed and holding on to a miracle for my baby Steven Thomas! THY WILL BE DONE!!!

Sam Fatzinger
" it done to me according to thy word..."
Luke 1:38 Print Friendly and PDF

I Can't Make this Stuff Up!

I was going to pick my mom up from the airport sans kids, but Wingnut Jr. was sitting there all cute and he's such an entertaining little fella, I invited him to come along. The lil guy did not disappoint.

"Hey Mom, can you juggle?"


"What? What kind of woman are you, that can't juggle? All the girls can juggle. Why can't you juggle?"

He's lost all respect for me over juggling?

I promised a treat from the vending machines at the airport. After we parked the car, Wingnut Jr. reminded me of my promise. I began raiding the coin stash in Wingnut's car.

"Oh, that's Dad's money!" the boy worriedly pointed out.

"It's ok," I reassured him, "Dad shares his money with me."

"Wow! What a great husband!" he exclaimed with surprise.

After we'd found my mom, grabbed her bags, purchased his treat, and begun the drive home the lil guy joined in on our conversations. My mom had asked how GG (my Dad's mom) was doing, when he piped up with:

"GG! I know her! Did you know she's 101 years old and she's not even dead yet?!"

Ah the memories I'll have of this boy. Priceless, priceless memories. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Irrationality Reigns

No time for a proper blog post today. My mommy is coming for her first visit at our new home in Utah. Her flight lands at 6:30, so of course today would be the day the HVAC folks are coming to install the new A/C, and they aren't scheduled to begin until 5:00 pm.

Are you at all like me? When your mom comes for a visit, do you decide to go a little nuts and sanitize every room of the house, but especially the bedroom and bathroom she's going to use? I'm noticing all the little nit-picky things that have needed to be taken care of for months. My kids are hiding out now, waiting in fear of the next wave of irrationality. Lucky them, I just found a full box of mismatched socks that need matching. Yeah, that really needs to be done.

I only hope they get half as nutty as me years down the road when I'm due for a visit. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, July 16, 2012

Not the Honey Pot You were Thinking Of

What is it about little boys and their need to mark their territory?  Everywhere we go, Wingnut Jr. needs to use the restroom almost as soon as we've arrived.  This gets to be quite frustrating as We then need to find the restroom in any building we enter.  If the boy happens to miraculously make it through an excursion without needing to use the bathroom, the rest of us are left in absolute shock.  Karate Kid won't even walk him the 1/3 mile to the park for fear he'll need to go.  She drives him there and back.

Right now, the 1/3 mile to the playground is not an issue.  There is a new home being built on our street and the construction crew has access to a port-a-potty.  Wingnut Jr. is enthralled with the outhouse and apparently he uses it either on his way to the park or on his way back home.  He's especially intrigued by the brand name of the port-a-potty.  It's called "The Honey Pot" and according to the boy, it is incredibly clean (the cleanest outhouse he's ever seen) and I definitely need to check it out.  Uh,  I'm fairly certain I can wait until I get back to our house just two doors down, thank you very much. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, July 13, 2012

On Why I Will Never Make a Negative Comment on a Blog Again

A few days ago the Catholic blogosphere was all abuzz over the return of Katie Holmes to her Catholic roots.  Yes, the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Cruise has registered in a parish in New York.

According to the article proclaiming Ms. Holmes' return to the practice of her Catholic faith, Saint Francis Xavier parish is: known for inclusive thinking and its welcoming of many gay and lesbian Catholics. Its mission statement indicates that the Roman Catholic Church parish “strives to be a prophetic, welcoming community, inclusive witness to the presence of Christ Jesus in our midst.” Its website proclaims that it is a respectful community, “where seekers and their questions are welcomed, where injustice is challenged, where the poor, the alienated and marginalized find a home, and where people are refreshed, reconciled and renewed.  So, not the parish I would have chosen, but then, that's me.

Why, oh why, did I feel the need to say anything?  Of course, my intention was not to slam Katie Holmes, my intention was to question the orthodoxy of the parish in which she has chosen to register.  It was stupid of me, and re-reading my comment it does sound on the uncharitable side.  Certainly, we should celebrate when anyone chooses to return to Christ's flock.  We must meet them where they are spiritually and welcome them.

My comment was surely not of the welcoming variety, but neither was it overly harsh or critical.  This is what I said, "Not to sound too judgmental, as I suppose it is a baby step in the right direction, but if this is the parish she chooses, Ms. Holmes has a very long way left to go to be considered home." I stand by my comment as being the truth, if not the truth in charity.  Believe me, I agree, her stepping away from Scientology is a very good thing!

From there, I (along with a few other folks who agreed with my point) was raked over the coals as being uncharitable, overly judgemental, harsh, and suspicious.  And honestly, I get it.  Those criticizing me over my remark do not know me as a person in the least.  Had they known me, they could have gently pointed out their disagreement in my judgement and we could have had a real, honest, and insightful conversation rather than the sniping that ensued.  I haven't responded in the least.  I know it won't make a smack of difference to anyone, even myself.  Lesson learned.  If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

As a side note, I did visit the parish website, and while it seems they say all the right things there is something definitely off.  Should a Catholic have to wait and schedule an appointment for confession during the summer rather than having regular confession hours available? Should a Catholic parish have a Zen Meditation group? Sigh.  Enough said for today. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 12, 2012

{P, H, F, R} 7/12

round button chicken


Two pretty girls climbing in the trees


Two happy boy learning to play catch together.

The wind up


One funny boy who just discovered I had my camera in hand.

 The ham


Our lovely fire pit covered in weeds.  The three amigos are tackling that project this morning.  Wingnut is going to lift the pavers and place weed block beneath.  Hopefully that will remove the need to weed the fire pit so frequently.  (That is a neighbors house with the lovely boat. I'm not coveting said lovely boat at all. Sigh.)

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

For the BFF's of Special K and Skoshi A

Mystical Rose and K, you know you are loved and missed!

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lil' Lamb at 17 Months--Budding Genius?

He thinks all the electronic gadgets in the house belong to him.  Before you send him a request in Words with Friends or Scramble with Friends, I should warn you, he pretty much stinks at word games ;) Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, July 9, 2012

Final Health Update . . . I Hope!

Oleander has finished her course of antibiotics, and has been completely symptom free for three days. As a precaution, because she is traveling and cannot get her blood tested right away, she will continue on antibiotics for at least two more weeks.

I'm thrilled her stomach issues are resolved. I'm also relieved we were right to believe non of this was stress or depression related. Even with the positive Lyme's diagnosis, Ollie's doctor continued to push for the antidepressants. We held our ground and it looks like we were right to.

For the next two weeks, Oleander is working with 5&6 year olds during a summer Oritory at an IVE parish in Santa Clara, California. She is so excited and was thrilled to be assigned to that particular age group. It will be a classroom full of Wingnut Jrs, for sure!

I am finally pain free, except on the rare occasion I turn my head a funny direction. I'm sleeping really well and have been continuing with physical therapy about once a week. There is still numbness and tingling in two fingers on my left hand. My physical therapist believes I did sustain some nerve damage, but I should recover the feeling in my fingers in time. A nerve cell repairs itself at a rate of about one millimeter per week. This must be a very long nerve root :(

I am up and running again and running does not seem to aggravate my condition. Hooray! I was even able to pick up right where I left off, so I have about 3 more weeks to go in the 9 week Couch to 5k program.

Thank you for all the prayers for Ollie and myself and for the inquiries into our progress. We are both recovering very nicely even if very slowly. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, July 5, 2012

{P,H,F,R} I ❤ Beautiful Utah!

round button chicken


I love this shot.  I caught it during one of the golden hours, just before sunset.  Aren't thistle blooms lovely?  In just a couple days it will become a terrifying thorny mess.

The wildflowers are blooming like crazy, even in the very dry conditions we are experiencing.

The colors and variety are amazing!


Saturday, we took the kids up to Snow Basin to ride the gondola up the mountain and then for a hike.  We were all smiles on the gondola ride.


The smiles did not last once the real hiking began.  The trails are not well mapped out and do not post lengths.  We hiked for over 2 hours and had to turn around and re-hike one of the more difficult trails to get back to the gondola.  The kids were not very happy in the end.  Before putting my camera away, I did catch our silly Skoshi A posing for the camera while everyone was still fairly happy.

Our garden is still coming along fairly well but it was nearly taken over by weeds.  I think it will be a constant battle here in the farm country.  Weeding for an hour a day will indeed be a reality.

I love this gorgeous shot of the mountain rocks near Snow Basin.  Utah is absolutely lovely and I'm absolutely in love with it.

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God Bless America

Happy birthday, America!  As we celebrate the birth of our nation, let us reflect on how blessed we are to be born and to live here.  Even though things appear to bleak and our freedoms are in increasing danger,  we are still better off to be here than most anywhere else in the world.  Let us also remember that Freedom is never free and ours continues to be purchased at a great price.  If you have a chance, thank a soldier today for the everyday sacrifices he or she makes in service to our country. 

Have a happy, fun-filled, and safe Independence Day!
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Joining Army, Mother

Well, not really, but Wingnut Jr.'s birthday party did have an Army theme and my girls and their friends planned and executed a perfect day of fun for the 8 boys.  

First there was the obstacle course with a low crawl,


and target practice.

There was grenade tag

 hot grenade

 and army tats

Smug mugged birthday boy who loves the attention.

My sweet little 6 year old

Print Friendly and PDF