Thursday, September 29, 2011


If it has come to the point where I am hacking your account and blogging for you then something is wrong. BLOG MORE! PLEASE! Cause I have nothing more important to do then read about stuff that I see happen every day. Yeah.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Call Sign Funny

Ian just got back from Aviation Challenge at Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. The kids pick call signs the first day. Ian was telling me about all the different ones in his group and I asked him what he picked.

"What?! Your call sign was ASPIE!!??"
insert Ian rolling his eyes
"No, Mom. ASPEN"
"Why? Because you are tall, white and skinny?" I smiled.
"Exactly." Ian smiles.

That just cracked me up. First, because he thought of it and second, because he is ok with such self-deprecating humor.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

{pretty,happy,funny,real} 4th of July edition

round button chicken

We went to Randolph AFB to celebrate the 4th of July this year (sans Jack who was recovering from encampment and was sick). No fireworks (which equaled no crowds \o/) due to the dangerously dry conditions but lots of free activities for the littles. Lucy met Christopher at the door early Monday afternoon and let fly with something that sounded like: " We'regoingtothebouncycastleDaddy!!Thebouncycastle!Nowwe'regoingnowrightgoingtothebouncycastle


The perfect 4th of July dress. Yes, she had shorts on under it. Her mouth is open here, she is probably giving directions to her new friend there on the right. Lucy calls any child she meets, anywhere, her friend :D


I joke around that about the time my babies wean they discover Daddy and my superstar status is reduced to just about zero. Max has reached that milestone. He LOVES his Daddy. He immediately goes to Christopher as soon as Chris gets home from work and woe to us all if Max isn't picked up right away. If it's up to Max, he'll follow Daddy around 24/7.
Below is the look I got when I said "Max, look at Mommy!" if that isn't the "What do you want, lady?" look, I don't know what is.


The Marines were at the 4th celebration and giving away water bottles to kids who did pull-ups. Most of the kids tried and did well, with the exception of Katie..a jock she is not :D. As you can see Ben got it....

and Tristan did not :D


Tristan plays hard.....that is one sweaty kid.

and sleeps hard. He made it just inside the front door and collapsed on the nearest chair with all his loveys...3 Smiths and Blue Blankie.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CAP Summer Part 3

Power Flight Academy and Encampment are done. Encampment was a big success for both boys. Ian graduated from ATS (Advanced Training School) and is now qualified to be an instructor at encampment. Jack's 68th Squadron did very well and finished encampment with quite a few awards over the three flights. Saturday Jack leaves for his third, and final, CAP activity of the summer. Cadet Officer School. COS is considered by many to be the most rewarding and valuable activity a cadet can take part in. About 110 cadets, the top 1% nationally, are accepted to attend each year, usually 2 per Wing (state) with the exception of Texas and a couple other large Wings who are allowed to send a few more. There will be 4 cadets from TX this year.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've been neglecting the blog again.
It is a quiet week around here as the boys are at Civil Air Patrol, Texas Wing Encampment. I'm looking forward to attending the Pass-in-Review on Saturday and hearing all about their week.

Ok on to {phfr}

Pretty.....I have to reach into the archives for this one:


Our street.


A very sweet Max on his first birthday. got cake?


Tristan has turned into my little optimist. Whenever he is denied something like ice cream or even a bath he gives you this face:

and cheerfully says, "Maybe tomorrow!"


Grace riding. Pardon the hokey music. It's better than listening to my mom and I talk about the weather and hearing the dogs playing.

Sometimes I think I am crazy to let Grace do what she does. She is a 100lbs soaking wet and 12 years old. Every other week she gets in close proximity to a very large animal that could throw her off if the horse wanted too. Grace saddles the horse, leads her to the ring, rides in the small and/or big ring under Scott's instruction and then takes the horse for a trail ride around a 10 acre perimeter by herself, out of sight for a good 10-15 minutes. Equine pursuits are inherently dangerous, even for experienced adults. So why do I let my precious girl do this? She loves it. It is her passion. She studies it, she works at it, and she is pretty good for a child her age who doesn't own a horse. We have to let our kids try, try things that are hard and sometimes they may get hurt. The important part is that they get back up and try again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flying High

Jack had an amazing time at the TX Wing PFA. I am so thankful he was able to go and able to solo. Chris, Mom and I arrived a few minutes before the ceremony began, which was remarkable since we left 30 minutes late and had to drive 360 miles. Jack chose me to pin on his wings and I am so honored and happy that he did. Here is the video of Jack receiving his wings and his "official" call sign. Transcript below.

MC: In the name of the pilot
Audience: Keep the blue side up!
MC: In the name of the copilot
Audience: Keep the brown side down!
MC: In the name of the Cessna 172
Audience: Stay out of the Trees
MC: Air Force
Audience: HOORAH!
MC: Air Force
Audience: HOORAH!
MC: Air Force
Audience: HOORAH!
MC: From now on you will be known as.....RUDDER. Welcome to the brotherhood and sisterhood of aviators.
Audience: HOORAH!

Cue mom tears.

Some photos of the traditional post-solo CAP 'ceremony'. I am one who loves tradition and ritual, and I am enjoying watching my boys take part in these decades old CAP/AF traditions.
First the boys 'tails' are cut. In days past when instructor pilots (IP's) sat behind, instead of next to, their students the IP would pull on the shirttails of the student to signal them to go right, to left etc....after the solo the tails were no longer needed and it became the tradition to cut them off. After that is a dunking in water courtesy of the other students.

Jack and his IP, "Pappy"

This isn't Jack, but another cadet , I just loved this pic:

Thursday, June 9, 2011


My son just had his first solo flight!!
I am so excited and proud. 4 years of CAP, lots of work from Jack and lots of support from family,friends and fellow cadets and senior members....all working towards this goal...onwards and upwards!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

{pretty,happy,funny,real} First Holy Communion Edition

round button chicken

Reaching back a few years ago for my {pretty} post. Grace on her FHC morning.

Ben's FHC. Jack was sitting at just the right angle. I, of course, was in the cry room with Tristan and Max. Christopher, sadly, was away on business so it was a one-parent morning.

It may be FHC, it may be one of the most important days of a young Catholic's life, the entire parish may be taking pictures....but Ben is still 7 and is still Ben :D


I'm sure they were discussing what they were discussing who they were offering their FHC's for, or finding the right place in the missal.....right?


Thursday, May 19, 2011


I would usually never put a picture of myself under the {pretty} heading but cutting off over 12 inches of hair just about requires a picture on the blog. So, me with short hair.

Maybe this pic should go under funny but Max making his fish lips face makes me { happy} 'cause it is just so darn cute.[sarcasm] If he was throwing up a peace sign it could be his Facebook profile pic.[/sarcasm] How did making fish lips become 'attractive' or cool anyway. And I get teased about my spiral perm from my misdirected youth? I know I looked like Ronald McDonald but at least I didn't look something you see at Sea World!
{funny} Jack gets a little excited at birthdays...even someone else's.... :D

{real} the off-key, loud, dissonant singing of "Happy Birthday" at our house. This is just our 'little family' plus my spare (Grace's bff who eats with us more than she doesn't :D )

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shout out to Catholic Icing

In my sidebar you will see a link to a blog called Catholic Icing. Lacy is one of those women who can look at everyday objects and come up with amazing and creative ideas. (She should have been in Odyssey of the Mind). I mean, really.....who can sees a pool noodle and thinks, "Hey we can make a Monstrance out of that!!" Pool noodles have three uses around floaties, as weapons and as dog chew toys.
She had a cute little project the other week for the letter W. He's got the whole world in His hands

Now along with not being very creative I am not a 'circle time,letter of the week' kinda homeschooling mom anymore but I still thought the craft was super cool so I worked it Nine Texans style which is "here kids, color these coffee filters and then look what happens when we sprinkle water on them!!" They love it-well my artsy ones did. The 12,10,7 and 5 year old would have gone through a pack of a 100 filters if I let them. I make myself feel better and call it a lesson in abstract art :D We hung them up in our kitchen.I know Martha Stewart would be cringing but my kitchen is pretty bright and 'tacky' already, what's a little more color :D

My curtains, yes, that is Texas themed toile.

Two of my crosses. The handpainted one on top even has momma's with babies in slings and the bottom one is dyed straw.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two down, Three to go

Birthdays that is. May-June is our birthday marathon beginning with Tristan on May 2 and ending with Max on June 11. Lucy, Chris and Katie are in the middle. Here is Tristan's big day. I love 3rd birthdays as it is the first birthday that they really understand what is happening and anticipate it and boy, oh boy did he understand what was coming.

You never open presents without siblings hovering....we have video of Katie 'helping' Jack on his 3rd birthday.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Any port in a storm..

My little ones play musical beds. Where they start out at bedtime is frequently not where they are found in the morning. One night Lucy came to me because she had a nightmare. Soon after Max woke up and she left because she knows I can't have her next to me and nurse Max. This is what I found on the couch in the morning.
When Momma isn't available even a little brother can be comforting.

Friday, April 29, 2011

You'd think I was pregnant......

and I am NOT. I'm just a puddle this morning.
Katie's full gallery is up at the photographer's website. I got through about 2 pictures before I got teary, with Nicole's choice of music in the background I think that was her goal. :) I think it is just hitting me that Katie is going to be 18 in a few weeks and not long after that she With the exception of a couple of my children, I think most of them will fly around 18, whether it is to college, work or the military. I've got a few that I think will stay and keep their mom company a little longer. Thank goodness.
For the last 18 years I have brought a new baby home about every 2 years. I prepared for a new baby. I bought clothes, I got the house ready, I imagined this new little person coming into our family, I wondered about the changes he or she would bring, I prayed that he would be OK. I cried...sometimes from happiness, sometimes from fear, sometimes from sheer joy. Now I am doing it all in reverse. Planning what Katie will take away with her to school, rearranging the bedrooms to take advantage of the extra space, wondering what our day-day will be like without her, wondering what her days will be like without us. I still pray that she will be OK and I still cry and won't ever stop doing either. I'm going to be going through this about every 2 years for the next 20. My babies may grow up, they may go to school, they may go fly airplanes, they may ride horses through the Rockies...their mom will still be at home...praying for them and feeling the happiness, fear and sheer joy of being their mother and always loving them, even from afar.

Thursday, April 28, 2011




This is a little Tufted Titmouse (or Mexican Titmouse) that built her nest in the pipe that holds up our basketball net. Her chicks are quite noisy. I hope when they fledge they don't meet.....

Spooky, our outdoor cat. She is ours by default. When we moved in, before there were many houses, she was here. She is tame but is still a hunting cat and lives primarily in and around our garage, cars, front of the house. Someone (probably Grace) took this picture of Spooky underneath our van.


ALL my children looking at the camera at the same time. It doesn't take much to make a mom happy, just 9 heads all pointed in the same direction.


Grace during her individual 'photo shoot'. I took pictures of each of the children individually over a few days time. This was in the 'not printing out and sending to Grandma' file.


In a house with 9 children (all of whom have no sense of self-preservation) I deal with at least a minor injury just about every day. It is my reality.
Max is a pretty proficient walker but even the steadiest 10 month old is no match for a wet spot on a tile floor. Max took a header and tore his frenulum (the piece of skin that goes between your upper lip and gum). Lots and lots of blood. My poor baby. After a little cold rag and snuggling action he was fine and ate dinner just a little while later like nothing had happened. I went to clean up the bloody paper towels and clothes and saw his sad little bloody binky. Am I bad that I thought....that would make a good 'real' post for tomorrow???

Friday, April 22, 2011

Senior Pictures

A few weeks ago the girls and I took a drive to Gruene (pronounced green) . I had purchased a Groupon for a session with a photographer many, many moons ago (it had actually expired but Nicole was gracious enough to honor it anyway) and chose to use it for Katie's senior pictures.

When I was in high school our senior portraits were slightly amped up versions of the school pictures we had been having taken for the last 12 years. Professional photographers were for weddings. I admit when I noticed, about 10 years ago, the trend was for seniors to have a professional sitting like a bride, I thought it was overkill. I've changed my mind.

I've been blessed over the last almost 18 years to have beautiful pictures of my children taken by my uncle, who was a professional photographer for many years. I have dozens of gorgeous shots of Katie growing up. Not one is a standard JC Penney portrait. Over the years Bruce has been able to capture moments that are "Katie" (or Jack, or Ian, or Grace etc....) expressions, stances, actions....frozen moments in time. I was wondering if a photographer who had never met Katie before, didn't know her at all would be able to capture what I was looking for. My beautiful daughter who is turning into a beautiful young woman. My Katie.
She did. Nicole did an amazing job. I can't wait to see all the pictures!

Nicole's Blog

I just love, love, love the first picture. Like Nicole, I am a sucker for black and white.

A little note: Along with being a talented photographer, Nicole is a military wife and mom. She is also expecting her second child, a little boy, next month. Her husband, Dane, is deployed in Afghanistan in a forward unit. To top it all off she is working for a VBAC. If y'all could send up a prayer for this amazing woman who, when most women in her situation are turning inwards and saying 'why me?', is able to look outwards and see so much beauty and capture it for us all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

{pretty,funny,happy, real}


In keeping with the floral theme of this linky. Blooms on one of our oleanders. Hard to believe something so beautiful is so deadly.

Real. It isn't always fun being the baby. Sometimes you get left behind.

Happy. Mom decides to take Max out to join in the chaos playing under the hose. Sibs are happy to introduce him to a typical summer activity at our home.

Funny. A little too much cold water.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Max Walks!

Pardon the mess in the background. I was cleaning off bookcases.

The resolution in the video is poor because I converted it to make it use a lot less bandwidth and easier to load.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

University of Dallas it is!

This coming August our family will load up the van and drive to Irving and say goodbye to our dear Katie. May she have 4 faith-filled, book-filled, fun-filled years at UD.
Congratulations sweetheart, you earned it!