Monday, November 23, 2009

so grateful

holy experience

for sunshine in the central coast
for my brother and his family coming to visit this thanksgiving
for wisdom to parent our six year old
for a gas stove
for clean clothes (and w/d that works)
for piles of clean laundry
for sushi last night late with hubs (a date in)
for cheap crafts the girls like to do while boys are taking naps
for already shredded cheese
for yummy swiss chard sauteed in evoo and s&p
for our compassion children
for old college roommates

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Farm

yesterday we went to The Farm, located in Salinas. we joined living water homeschool co-op for a farm tour and hayride. it was a bit of a trial to get there (the battery was dead, our friends had to jump us, thus mama was a grump and impatient.) but we got there and had a blast. i refrained from buying anything at their market/gift store but it was REALLY hard. i will probably go back again - there were animals (goats, ducks, chickens, bunnies) and the kids went on a wonderful farm tour - ransom got to pull a very large beet out of the earth! i will try and post some pictures soon. The Farm is full of eye candy - gorgeous pumpkins (the kids got to pick their very own pumpkin after the hayride) and specialty gourds. its definately going to be a destination for us when we have visitors. their collection of children's books is fantastic! and they are a family & christian owned business. check it out on dec. 4th from 6-9pm for christmas day on The Farm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

giving thanks ... on wednesday instead of this monday

holy experience

... thankful that my children are healthy and home with me.
... thankful that there is forgiveness (especially in the hearts of my children when i am having a bad day)
... thankful for this beautiful home
... thankful for blogging, emails and facebook
... connecting with friends from far away and long ago through all of the above
... for babies that take their passie, their stuffed animal and nurse and then happily go to sleep in their own beds
... for singing kyrie (who is taking a bath)
... for a creative rhys (who has been very busy with bookmarks and drawing - i think there are some homemade christmas gifts in the making)
... for the starry night when i moved the bikes back in to the garage
... for only about an hour til hubs gets home
... for jesus - he covers a multitude of my sins
... for fresh starts, new days, new mercies and french press coffee
... for farms - we get to visit one tomorrow with a homeschooling coop
... for friends who invite us to the farm (thannk you lindsay!)
... for giant used book sales (praying for a babysitter for friday so i can go!)

used books

today i decided that i needed to find some cheap sources for books - like craig's list, goodwill etc. then i remembered that when we were in hawaii i went to a library book sale and scored big time. fingers went walking and what did i find? right here in the monterey bay area i found a library sale this friday and saturday!! i am getting a babysitter and i am going!!

also: at the monterey public library there is a used book sale 1st saturday of every month from 1-4pm. they will also being having their annual GIANT book sale on january 8,9,10 of 2010.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

forgiveness over at Simple Kids

i found this while reading soule mama's blog and have found this simple act of humility with my children relieves me of so much guilt as i mother, oh-so imperfectly.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

a thanksgiving book

on a recent trip to the post library, i found this lovely book (i especially love this edition) written by louisa may alcott. we had just rented the movie of the same title (an old fashioned thanksgiving) but i was pleasantly surprised to find that it is completely different from the movie and that it truly is honey for my children's hearts. what a lovely tale of a large, close-knit family in the rural frontier of new hampshire during the 1700's. just the kind of story i want my girls to hear as we discover how special it is for family to help and work alongside eachother.

Monday, November 2, 2009

one thousand gifts

holy experience

...thankful i didn't get the flu, eventhough four kids + hubs did
...for a brand-new jogging stroller that someone gave us when we bought a washer/dryer off craig's list (not kidding it was probably used three times!)
...for the beautiful weather outside - ie warm days!!
...for my new home
...for closets and space for everything!! (linen closet, laundry room, 2-car garage, pantry, cabinets, drawers, walk-in closets in bedrooms, a guest room with a closet, 2 1/2 baths!, and an office witha closet!!!)
...for a husband who appreciates my work as i appreciate his
...for parents who care and pray for me
...for sweet hugs and kisses from kids when i am "frustrated"
...for walks to the park
...for fall chills and apple pies
...for our own bathroom
...for a chance to reorganize our lives as we set up house
...for sonlight homeschool curriculum
...for neighbors who send baked goods over to welcome us the the community! (like four families have already done this!!)
...for a closet dubbed "the reading room/dress-ups closet" that the kids like to go in to and close the door and play
...a backyard with a fence to send kids out to play (and a kitchen window to look out on them!)
...pretty, new, soft sheets (target's vintage mondern) couches coming tomorrow to sit on in our living room!
...verizon guy coming today to hook up our internet
...friends who call unexpectantly and leave lovely messages on my voice mail (thank you nowie)
...james 1:19 - thank you jesus for teaching me and being patient
...for my compassion children: erasto and juliana
...for snuggling kids
...for kid's ibuprofen and tylenol (those poor mothers of ages past and those mothers now who don't have access to these simple wonder drugs.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


we ordered our sonlight books a few days ago and i am so excited about the box coming to our door!!! and yesterday we did school with borrowed sonlight for preschoolers and it was WONDERFUL! we sat in our new house and snuggled, reading, discussing, talking, laughing. i really love this way of family-centered learning. we read a story about a persian girl and then i had the girls draw a picture from the story. it was so neat to see their creativity emerge. the usborne stories from the around the world had persian inspired illustrations and i remembered that we had rubaiyat of omar khayyam + illustrations in our collection. if you have never seen illuminated illustrations from persian works - you ought to. they are so detailed and rich. i read a bit of the poetry too (the persians are really in to their poetry, even today!) and kyrie loved it!

so i think that with sonlight, a bit of charlotte mason wisdom and a few other sources horseshoe homeschool is going to be a wonderful place.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

new home update

tuesday we got our keys. thursday our stuff arrived. my dad came up to help us with the movers, as graham would be in class all day. (thank you to both mama and dad!) a friend took the three older kids for me all day. we had terrific movers. they were so patient when i asked for different things. they were careful and thorough. thank you Lord for orchestrating this. i had them unpack all the household items (the garage we'll do ourselves, once we get the house put together.) so that means two things: #1 it is a bit chaotic around here as you can probably imagine (invision 3 year old and 1 year old sons getting in to everything!!) and #2 the movers did about 2 weeks worth of unpacking + got rid of almost all the boxes. i think this is the way to go for us from now on. tonight will be the first meal i cook in our beautiful kitchen. we are so thankful for this home (4 bedrooms + an office with a closet, and so many other fabulous ammenities!)

the Lord has also showed his faithfulness to me by way of friendships, not only for me but also for our kids and for graham! there is a very special family (9 houses down from us! i had the kids count.) who have four little kids our kids' ages and who homeschool. they love jesus and are totally going to be our good friends. the kids love to be with their kids and us adults are pretty stoaked about the fellowship and date nights!! (its not everyday you find another couple willing to take your four kids for an evening!)

the neighborhood has been so friendly and inviting. ladies bearing yummy treats and offering help! sharing toys, visiting - its all here in our neighborhood. quite a different environment then when we lived out in town in newport. everyone here is in our same boat. its really encouraging and refreshing.

well i hear the baby upstairs up from his nap. gotta run. i will post pictures soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

confessions of a super-mom

i came across lindsay's post this evening. i have struggled with comparing myself to other moms; with feelings of inadequacy, especially when i read blogs by other super-moms. so it was refreshing to read her words and good for my heart to refocus. thank you lindsay.

here is a lighter, but oh-so-true essay on the super-mom, from a new favorite, suburban granola.

join me in giving thanks

in preparation for the thanksgiving season, join me as i give the Lord the glory due his name, in the moments of everyday life.

Friday, October 16, 2009


welcome! please join me, as i journey into motherhood, homekeeping and homeschooling. be inspired and encouraged to gain eternal wisdom from the every day moments of this life.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (New International Version)
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New International Version)
16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

a new start ... a good day

today was a good day... i mean i lost it a few times with the kids, had to apologize and make peace. but for the most part it was productive. we are still in limbo with our housing and homeschooling. its been the navy lodge almost 2 weeks now and will be finally moving in to our new digs on tuesday (that is NEXT week!) i am so eager to get us SETTLED.

most recently (ie. the last few days!) i decided that instead of reinventing the wheel, i am going to go with established curriculums. (sonlight, along with others i am reviewing). the beauty of homeschooling is that since we are starting out late in the year, we can just school through the summer months. the kids love to learn, so i think that this will be a good plan for us. from what i know sonlight's literature based approach fits our family's passion for reading and books. a new friend and veteran of homeschooling, recommended math-you-see and pathway books for language arts. pathway readers are what the amish and mennonite schools use.

teachable moment #1: review a few options but avoid being overwhelmed with too many choices.
#2: using one type of curriculum/method doesn't necessitate staying with it or using it next year.

do you have any suggestions for curriculums/methods? any to avoid? what method are you using in your homeschooling?

Friday, September 25, 2009

the trivium

note to self: i just found a great resource for our homeschooling fact-finding: from preschoolers and peace, an article on ten things to do before you child turns ten.

this might be my overall guide to this year at horseshoe homeschool (kyrie's name for our home school!)

america, america day #2

so far we are still in ohio. we said goodbye to the beautiful tatko family. then for lunch we met up with brooke and doug waller (old friends from USNA '02 days). the kids played at the chic-fil-a playset & we adults got to catch up and visit. doug and brooke were in navigators with us at the academy and have been special friends ever since. i am going to put her blog up on my blog roll.

i am determined to have this travel thing with kids down to a science by the end of our journey. i will be making suggestions for smooth sailing, when we get to california. i am learning how to be a better mama every mile we drive. the lord is teaching me so much. i am asking for him to create in me a clean heart every morning. slow to anger, tender, warm & kind. patient, compassionate, firm, faithful.

more to come after we get to st. louis.

america, america! day #1

we are on the road across the country, to our next tour destination -- monterey, california! we moved out of our home in newport, rhode island (saying goodbye to our wonderful friends from church and salve) last week and drove down to maryland for my sister-in-law's wedding. we have the kids and all of our stuff (for the road trip) packed up in our green van! each kid has a dvd player. we have a splitter so that the three oldest kids can listen to their music and we can have some peace. i have collected all sorts of diversions for the kids (colorforms, crayons, stickers, books, cds, dvds, trinkets, jump ropes, surprise dolls, unopened birthday presents for ransom etc.) so far the kids have been amazing. we started at 7am from annapolis (on wed) and made it all the way to columbus, ohio (with stops & traffic about 11 hours). last night we stayed in the home of friends, dave & amanda. dave grew up with graham and tammy his mother was there as well (with gift bags for our kids). she has remained a very close friend of my mother-in-law's from their days in akron. our kids had a blast. it was a lovely evening - wine, yummy food, children, babies (their kids are darling!), & fellowship. their property is nestled in beautiful farm fields. graham and i enjoyed watching the sunrise over the fields and hearing the rooster crow his early wake-up! fall in ohio is gorgeous and like coming home.

some highlights of day #1:

- traveled through maryland, pennsylvania, west virginia and ohio.
- crossed the appalachian trail
- counted barns + ransom noticed all the water towers
- drove thru the alleghany mountain tunnel

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

aquidneck island grower's market

yesterday was a fabulous day in newport! we went to the beach (the kids had more fun climbing up a "tall" sand dune), made cards for kyrie (who is staying at marmie's and pop's house this week down in maryland), walked to the farmer's market, got aweful-awefuls at newport creamery, went to the park and played, and generally spent as much time outdoors as possible!! for mama it was glorious. i also got a killer, bomb haircut (plug for bethany craft at ki-ra salon!)

we walked to the market and bought: fresh arugula (it is so nutty, or is it a peppery flavor? - phenomenol! - this is the way lettuce is supposed to taste!), romaine, basil (yes amazing!!), fresh hamburger buns, whole wheat sandwich loaf, and this amazing chocolate cupcake for the boys to snack on (all baked goods from olga's cup + saucer!) i also bought a iced cold-pressed coffee from custom house coffee roasters (which was again, awesome!) the weather was in the high seventies and lovely. a hint of humidity. gorgeous. we then walked to the creamery and rhys, anna and rachel all got ice cream or aweful-awefuls. this is a newport tradition. i refrained - having had my fill of cookies the night before, following a visit with friends to one of our fav eateries: pronto, on thames. we took the kids to aquidneck park by the newport library and played for a bit. then we went back home via bellevue ave.

at the park we had a potty accident - the #2 we had been waiting for since monday finally arrived. let's just say he is VERY strong-willed. but i will tell you - i am tired of cleaning up those and the time is NOW. carpe diam.

* at the farmer's market i picked up a copy of edibleRhody. (in lynchburg i had also gotten a copy of edibleBlueridge). its a great publication for those who want to know about the local, sustainable, organic food scene. i am excited about these new finds: - just found out about the free concerts at sweet berry farms + the washington county fair (maybe a good birthday idea for blaise's first birthday!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

blaise updates

crawling (army crawl): june 12
regular crawling: this week
pulling up to standing at crib railing: last night
playing games with mama: last night (while he is in the crib i throw his soft green star and he fetches it for me and slides it through his crib while cracking himself up and squealing with delight - its hysterical!!)
teething - yep the last few days have been rough
weaning to a cup - now just nursing before bedtimes and in the morning, hates the bottle, likes vanilla soy milk and whole milk, likes the cup better!

summer time news

dear friends + family!

we have been back in newport for several weeks after a three week vacation down south! we had a week in amherst, with my folks. the farm was splendid! it was hot and humid (which was so SO welcome to our cold souls), green and lush (since i havn't been back to the farm for almost 4 years, it seems that the small trees are now very large!). we visited my brother's grave, a first since his burial. a small country plot overlooking the hills of the blue ridge mountains. we visited a wonderful little country store and had fresh peach shakes. we went to the lynchburg farmer's market + liberty university (my alma mater). i even got lost on the lynchburg bypass b/c its tricky to a new comer. we went swimming in the jacuzzi and admired the views. we walked up and down our gravel driveway and talked about the dogs (ransom enjoyed laying on the dogs, they were very patient). we fed and pet the goats, checked out the sheep, that are grazing on the land. rhys milked the goat. trudged around in rain boots and avoided the ticks to the best of our ability. we explored down by the bonfire at the bottom of the land and climbed up on the tree fort/house that my mama has made for the kids out of repurposed building supplies (it even has our old spiral staircase!) i took several of the kids to v.e.s. for a little walk about. its always good to reconnect with that special place. it even smelled like i remember it smelling during the summers.

then it was off to annapolis for a two week stay and a stop off in nyc (brooklyn) for the 4th of july. we had such a lovely, relaxing visit at marmie and pop's. we went swimming at their neighbor allison's pool nearly every day. we played in the plastic kiddie pool and threw rocks and pebbles in the west river. we played in mole's end and up in the attic, dressing up. we played with the kitchen in the mud room and ate marmie's delcious waffles. (this is a requested favorite for my kids). rebecca and i worked really hard to get the kids back on a good schedule. i instituted a rule that the children were not allowed to get out of their beds until 0700. it took a little getting used to but they were champs! how nice to get a full night's rest. i also starting allowing blaise to cry himself to sleep. this insured a full night with no wake ups for mama. i think sleep deprivation (among other things) has been the main source of my spring meltdowns. it is imperative that mama gets good sleep, otherwise i am not able to be a good mama to the kids. i don't want to be a snippy, cranky mama or wife. graham flew down for a long weekend, surprising me! we got to have a double date with some friends from hawaii and walk around our old stomping grounds in annapolis. it was a very special weekend for he and i.

i always come back from tenthouse (the name my in-laws gave to their home) feeling so refreshed. thank you re and mark! thank you mama and daddy for opening up the home down in virginia, it is such a special and beautiful place.

we had a nice family gathering at logan and laura's in brooklyn. we watched the lights of the city as the sun faded west over the skyline and the hudson. the view from their roof is spectacular! the next day i drove up to newport, while graham went sailing with his dad, brother, cousin and some friends, up to newport with the dawn treader. (the boat). they came in around midnight of monday night. what a wonderful homecoming!!

the week we came home we had eli, graham's cousin with us. it was a wonderful visit. he is such a big help with the kids. we went to gooseberry beach several times and got some good sunshine. upon kyrie's request, graham and eli built a lemonade stand and we set it up for business on a sunny and warm newport saturday morning. the kids had a blast. we even got a date night and walked down to the theatre to see "away we go". great flick. please go see it!

this week we have had anna and rachel magee (from our homegroup at coast vineyard) staying with us, helping me out with the kids. this is their 3rd summer coming out! we love them. they love our kids and are so good with them. i love having the girls with us. the kids had vacation bible school all week at our church - and loved it of course!! we also had emily here for a few days as we celebrated graham's 30th birthday on july 16th! the dawn treader had been docked at the war college marina for a week and so his parents and siblings all came up to celebrate and then to sale it back down to annapolis. we had a wonderful party for him on friday night - rebecca brought all the food. it was phenomenal. we had some old and new friends and it just was a special evening. we have much to celebrate - not only graham's birthday but that we also got FAO (foreign area officer) and are moving to monterey in a few months for language school. this was exactly the career move graham was hoping for. this means we'll be in a foreign country within a year to 18 months. we are so so excited!!! such a blessing for the lord. we have been so excited about this move and now its almost finally here!! the emotions we feel can be described as just getting engaged or having just had your first baby! its so BIG!

so that is our summer so far. we are enjoying the warm (well today its raining) and sunny summer weather, the park, the beach, and walking all over town. we'll be hopfully picking berries at sweet berry farm, going to outdoor concerts at the beach, seeing the beach boys on the naval base this weekend, celebrating kyrie's 6th & blaise's 1st, helping with a wedding shower for whitney and jondavid, and v.b.s. later in august. its crazy having four kids, but each day is new and a clean slate!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


hey you'll! my kids (yes even my son!) have really been enjoying the books pinkalicious and purplicious by elizabeth kann and victoria kann. we are just ecstatic that they have a new title out: goldilicious, about a unicorn. rhys asked if we could make cupcakes today after school. so we did (after i got the boys to go down for naps). this was the second attempt - the first time making them i added way way too much vegetable oil, having read the directions wrong. imagine that!! so here are our pinkalicious cupcakes. we used the cherries but as soon as they were captured on film, we threw them out. they are just so pretty - but not very yummy. and yes swimming in red dye #49 and high fructose corn syrup (then again so is the red food coloring i used for the pink frosting - oh well:)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

what do i want to do when the kids grow up?

last night i met a few girl friends for a book club meeting - at a swanky little place down the street from my home. it was WONDERFUL. we are all moms and all military wives. we had decided that there was need for an excuse to escape for an evening (on a regular basis) and have mom-time-only! after discussing our book of choice and deciding on what we would be reading for our next, we got in to the topic of "what we will do after the kids grow up." we all went around the circle and shared. one friend, who is a woman truly walking in step with the spirit, shared that she wants to be like her mom. she said her mom volunteered her time but was always free to drop everything if any of her children needed her.

she said you'll never stop being a mother. that idea really resonated with my heart. this is something that i have desired from my own mother but because of real life reasons, has not been able to materialize - accept for one amazing time - when i gave birth to my first child, six weeks early, all the way in hawaii, my dear mom, dropped it all and flew from the east coast the same day, to be with me. she was amazing. that is motherhood. serving and in turn fulfilling a god-given calling that continues throughout a lifetime. i hope that i can do this for my own daughters and sons. thank you mama for giving up your life, once again, to serve me.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

From ''

Paul's 'St. Crispin's Day' Speech

2 Timothy 3-4 (click on reference to read passage)

In this passage, Paul exhorts a weary band of brothers and sisters to fight the good fight and finish strong. I was thinking of this yesterday and remembered the images of the Iron Man race where runners pushed themselves so hard that they literally had to crawl across the finish line. As they cross they are greeted by their friends, family, doctors and media. There is at once the knowledge that 'it is finished' and also, I have done well. And that is what we desire, on the deepest level to know, that God sees us crawling across the finish line and grasps us under the arms saying, you are my son/daughter and I am deeply pleased with you. That is a wonderful vision and a destiny to pursue wholeheartedly, but an even better analogy might be these guys, Rick and Dick Hoyt. As it turns out, our role in the race of life is sometimes less about running and more about being carried along by the grace of God. Anyway, the dichotomy between these two images, where one represents us as the runner, and the other with God as the runner, really is dealt with in James. We must run with all of our might, and God will take care of the rest.

Friday, June 5, 2009

the national crayon recycling program

here is another great resource at blissfully domestic on what to do with old crayons. i love this!

what to do with your yoga mat?

after donating a perfectly good yoga mat to the goodwill the other day and wondering what else i could have done with it, i found this article at blissfully domestic. enjoy!

march 2009

the sleeping beauties

texting with emily

the ukelele man


updates ... making baby food from scratch (thank you to nurture-baby) ... blaise is 8 months + eating more solids (yeah!) and rolling over + teething ... easter at the plasters - we had friends from our time back in 2002 at surface warfare officer's school here in newport + lots of fun with the kids + celebrating our new life in christ, allelulia! ... spring was slow to come to newport but the crocuses and the daffoldils bloomed, the forsynthia came out and there were hints of the green foliage peeking from its winter cover!

february 2009

zonked rhysie
we love to read!

ransom outside with his sippie
we braved the wet on a "warmer" afternoon here

blaise eating more solids! 7 mo.

kyrie walking in my boots

a few days after the surgery

snuggling with brother - still not feeling so good
before the surgery - candyland at hasbro!

kyrie's surgery to correct her urinary reflux was a success!! praise the lord for dr. caldamone and hasbro children's hospital over in providence. we knew she would be getting this surgery since she was 15 months old, but it didn't get on the books until our checkup in november. we scheduled it for feb. 19th and that was the day that kyrie talked about multiple times a day, for months. dear little thing, she agonized over it & had many nightmares and trouble sleeping. i wish that we had known not to share with her the details until a few days before. however, the Lord made himself near and close to us and he was present at every turn. we were at the hospital for 3 nights. he worked all the details out for us, right down to rebecca (graham's mom) coming up to help with staying over night in the hospital and caring for the children when i or graham were with kyrie. we also have wonderful babysitters from salve regina who volunteered help at all hours!!! our church was also amazing, sending meals over for a few days. thank you so much to all who gave in every way. mahalo!

updates ...

since i haven't been around the blog in a few weeks i thought i would just post a few pictures of our busy activities ... i have been trying to get in to shape for whitney's wedding (hubby's baby sister!) in september -- so early morning walks, portion control, calorie counting, trying to drink more water, and getting exercise whenever i can. now that summer is here (although it feels more like a wet spring) my goal is to take the kids to the park at least once a day and/or the beach (even on cooler, overcast days). we have been spending time with some new friends who go to church with us and happen to live just a few streets over in our 'hood!! these special families are really excited to have found eachother and we all consider it a blessing from the Lord! so the next few posts will be updates of our spring. enjoy

this morning i woke up extra early and walked to starbucks, got a coffee and then walked all over downtown. it was nice to 'have the time'. the flowers i came across were heavenly. i hope to get a few pictures next time i am out. truly the beauty that my Father made for me today was exquisite. i was so aware of the presence of his love for me. it was sometimes sublte and sometimes vibrant. he was romancing all of my senses.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Great Video for Design Inspiration

After coming home from a garden/graduation party, we found two worn wicker chairs sitting on the curb near our house. We've taken them in to refurbish and reuse. But the challenge ahead is, Hwat color should we paint them? We looked for inspiration at one of our favorite painted wicker websites, Maine Cottage - ok, so it was the only site I know of with painted wicker without googling it.

Found this - Here are some wonderful images, colors and words from a designer at Maine Cottage


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

doll house

i found this article and pic on a new found site called ohdeedoh from apartment therapy. i did this in my room when i was a little girl. it was where i kept all of my sylvanian families. i can't wait to have a place like this one day for the girls!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

my babies

before i turn in for the night i want to post about my kids. i love them. they rock. each one is awesome. each one exudes energy and spirit, different from their siblings. this afternoon out in the backyard, there was rhysie, on her own "stage," with a song on her lips; blaise bouncing on my lap, having found his voice, practicing his oratory; ransom, running around chasing a friend with a pool noodle, making loud, boisterous noises as only little boys do; and kyrie, my nature girl, building a home for her pet slug, "slimey."

these last few days, i have been trying to savor the hugs and kisses. be in the moments i am nursing blaise, my last babe. this season of life, when they are my chicks, in our nest, safe from the world, is full, sometimes to overflowing, but it is coming to an end. i linger with my snugglies and sit a little bit longer in the rocking chair with a satisfied baby. my favorite quiet space is the boys' room. when they are sleeping, and all is at rest. i love what soule mama wrote just recently about her fourth babe. so what i am trying to say here in this place is that i am enjoying this time. i am endeavoring to remember that they won't be little forever and i am content in my circumstance of being their mama, their comforter, their nurturer. thank you Lord for this great pleasure.

new babies

i just found out my friend alston is expecting a baby (her third)!! i feel like everyone i know is having a baby - well, not everyone but you get the point. please check out her company b.wise papers. she is so so creative and talented. and she is an amazing mama to two adorable boys (+ babe).

with the list of expectant mama-friends i need to get some gifts out to the mail! what fun - i get to play the stork!

Monday, May 18, 2009

books on the brain::location & content

i am a reader. my husband is a reader. my children are readers (or at least 1 out of 4 read now!) so i think i need to include in this little chronicle of mine, the books i read or want to read this year. its good to see progress.

books we read shape who we are as people. this idea is a heavy one because it means we have a responsibility: to God, to our hearts and to our neighbor, for what we bring in to our minds. i want to have books that are character builders. not only goes for myself but also for our children. simple mom has a great post (read towards the end) about books in the home. as i was thinking about where we wanted to put our books in our new digs, it got me thinking about what we are reading, what our kids are reading and how location and content can ultimately mold the moral and creative imagination of our littles. now we just have to find a good set of like bookshelves to create this space (the ones we currently have are not tall enough, thus they take up way too much space - Lord, can i have built-ins? sigh.)

book list 2009:


john adams by david maculah
tipping point and outliers by malcom gladwell
the great omission by dallas willard
book of john in the bible
the blessing by john trent, ph.d. & gary smalley
9 o'clock in the morning by dennis bennett

want to read:

(re-read) animal, vegetable, miracle by barbara kingsolver
90 minutes in heaven by don piper with cecil murphey
a grief observed by c.s. lewis
orthodoxy by g.k. chesterton
the idea of a university by cardinal newman
the omnivores dilemma by michael pollan


a tree grows in brooklyn by betty smith

simple mom's top 10 twaddle free children's books:

1. madeline by ludwig bemelmans
2. best friends for frances by russell hoban
3. ferdinand by munro leaf
4. frog and toad are friends by arnold lobel
5. george and martha by james marshall
6. make way for ducklings by roberty mccloskey
7. winnie-the-pooh by a.a. milne
8. if you give a mouse a cookie by laura numberoff
9. alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day by judith viorst
10. lyle, lyle crocodile by bernard waber

Sunday, May 17, 2009

creating a haven

i have been back for a few days - what a wonderful rest for the mama! & a special time to be with family celebrating grandma's life here. this time away in california meant that i was not able to stick with tsh and the simple mom cleaning party. so i am going to start slugging it out again -starting with our bedroom. since we will most likely be out of our current digs by october (we find out in july), our wish list for the new home is growing and intentional. i am going to continue to add to it so that i can have specifics to bring to the lord in prayer (my mom encouraged me to do this!)

we were discussing our bedroom this afternoon - how its not really what we want - i.e. cluttered, hodge podge, disorganized ... you get the point. what is it that we want? we want it to be a haven for our marriage, a place to retreat with minimal "stuff," a quiet place to rest without "the other" chaos of our home. i absolutely love the tips mandi shares at organizing your way. tsh at simple mom has some wonderful suggestions and just overall practical mantras for making this special room, what it is - SPECIAL. so this week (along with clearing off surfaces for the cleaning lady) i will be working on our room and closet. bear with me as i do an abridged version - i am plugging along, just a bit more slowly.

if you haven't checked out any of the pictures that tsh posts - they are SO encouraging. its kind of funny because we have a lot of the same furniture she does from ikea!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

family connections

i have been in california since last friday for my family. my grandmother passed away last monday. she had been ill for 4 1/2 years since she had a stroke. i was able to fly out with just baby blaise for a little time away from our life on the east coast to be a support. thanks to my dear husband, his parents and our babysitters, i was able to go to the funeral.

my grandmother and i were not close. i wish that we had been. but one thing i know is that she was a really wonderful person. she was an artist, a sculptor. she was an italian american. born in brooklyn to immigrant parents. she was a war bride. she was a mother of three. she was so many things that i am now. its funny, that when you begin to focus on someone's life, and what they did, who they were, there is this an amazing connection that you can have -- you begin to discover why you are the way you are. i am going home tomorrow and i go home with a stronger, more unique identity, ties to my grandmother and my auntie that i am so proud to have.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


yesterday i did not party with you'll in my cleaning spree b/c i had to get to the doctor's office for a quick visit. my grandmother passed away monday. so i am taking the baby and flying back to california for a few days. dear husband is staying with the kids, with the help of our wonderful babysitters and my incredible in-laws. (thank you!!) i was running around getting errands done before my trip, so there was no time to work on the home. but when i get back i will just resume where i left off! i am really looking forward to it. this system is so stressfree, it seems. maybe part of that is the house is already spotless. no dustbunnies, no dust. period! but i won't have bragging rights (as you all will) that i, myself, cleaned the entire house from top to bottom!

so life happens. and death too. my grandma june was in her mid-eighties and had been going downhill since a stroke about four years ago. she is with the lord and no longer held back by this world. she was an amazing artist (sculptures) and i know that i have a lot of her qualities, as well as favoring her (looks wise). we weren't as close as i had hoped to be with her. but i know that she loved me and prayed for me. if i can find it i will post the poem i wrote and recited for a grandparent's day event at my elementary school. i will also try and find a picture to post of she and i.

please do pray for my dad and his siblings especially. (my grandfather has already passed on). thank you!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

easter 2009

after church

easter basket goodies

portuguese easter bread

holztiger figurines courtesy little bits

blaise with his new hat knit by grams

graham with blaise

my easter bunny 8 mo.
i wanted to share some of our easter with you'll. we had a wonderful weekend with friends. tommy and amy lowe were in town, along with the some other navy friends, the betz' (formerly jess morris with new hubby ryan). church was wonderful. awe can remember the sacrifice that our savior made for us and the victory we have in his resurrection.
oh death where is thy victory, oh death where is thy sting?

the reason for a clean home ...

i love this quote from in today's post:

We clean our homes because it's sanitary, because it's enjoyable to live in a clean space, and because when our haven is organized and neat, we're able to focus on the things that really matter to us - like relationships.

facilitating real relationships and fostering a loving home, through hospitality is one of my heart's desires. this is a topic i plan to explore more at greater thing. does anyone have any resources to share a theology of the home?

day two: get out of the way of the professionals!




today it was raining and damp here in newport, so it made for a bit of a challenge with the kids. i knew that i had to take rhys to preschool and that rosangela was coming at 11:30am to clean the house. in between, we were running over to my friend's home for a quick rainy day playdate. i was trying to figure out what we were going to do outside the home all afternoon (during when the boys are usually down for their naps and the girls and i get our quiet times). but another girlfriend (who has come over with her kids when her house was being cleaned) let us crash for a few hours. it was not until almost 5pm that i got a call from rosangela!! they had just finished.

yep folks: 11:30am to 4:45pm they cleaned, non-stop. and the house was amazing. AHHHH-MAAAA-ZZZING! it smelled so fresh and clean. god bless her!! it was a two-women job. that means if i had tried to do what they did it would have taken me at least 10 hours and probablylonger without a "system" and even longer had i had the kids with me, underfoot.

because of yesterday's clean sweep i have two tasks for tomorrow. one: make use of the "sell" and "give" boxes; and two: declutter all of the drawers and baskets that i stuffed full of junk that i "swept" off of the surfaces! its most likely going to continue raining here, so its a perfect day to do this. i will be modifying the spring cleaning party list to fit our home and pictures will be included. also ...
the spring clean party will go on a little longer here in our home b/c i will be heading out to california on friday for my grandmother's funeral. i am sure with jet lag and such i won't get back in to the party groove until next weekend. i am really enjoying this event so far and i think each time i come in to a space that has been cleared up and decluttered, my soul feels a little less burdened. clean, free, at peace, calm, zen-life.
today tsh at posted a very inspiring thought that sums up my feelings:
And the most important goal to spring cleaning in ten days? Decluttering. Getting rid of stuff. Saying goodbye to those things that are clogging your living spaces, and therefore causing visual stress.
When you have only what you need or love, it’s so much easier to clean - cleaning those surfaces several times a day isn’t as big a deal, because there’s not much stuff to begin with.
I encourage you to focus on getting rid of stuff. Make a hard-and-fast decision to kick out those things you don’t need or love. It sounds painful, but once you get into it, it’s cathartic, refreshing, and even fun.

Monday, May 4, 2009

join the cleaning party!

today i have headed over to to join the spring cleaning party. kind of reminds me of the folding parties my mom would have us kids do together (you know, folding the dreaded mountain of clean clothes!) but this will be way more fun!

i have hired a cleaning woman to come every two weeks to help me out. with four little ones under 5 1/2 and not getting the sleep i need b/c baby blaise is cutting teeth, and also being buried under the immense loads of laundry and piles of dishes -- i know when i need to call in the reinforcements.

but that means i have to prep the house for her. which is where this spring cleaning is coming in handy. plus who knows when we will be moving to our next duty station - so i need to start now with the decluttering. it will be a segway into my quest for more order and organization in our crazy home.

more on this later ... for now i am off with my two boxes for the "sell" and "give" stuff ... i will have a few pics of before and after (hopefully!)

blogs i like