Monday, September 20, 2010

Moma Remedy Monday {take 5}

first Aggie game with the LeJuenes.

this is what my daughter does during an Aggie football game...

Katherine makes breakfast with Dad

Katherine and her friends after Mass. Waiting for the grown ups to stop talking...

Just bear with me with the Aggie pics...

tailgating with the Simmons and LeJeunes...

my pretty emelie.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WHAT did they say???

Is it bad that I think it's funny when my two little girls run around the house screaming

"It's naked time, it's naked time!!" 

before every bath?

There's not much more amusing to watch than two little girls playing in the bath together. I hope they have many good memories someday.

And when they are mopping up two towels-worth of water each night when they give their girls a bath, I hope they think of me. At least once...

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Moma Remedy Monday {take 4}

Sorry I missed a few Mondays... but I am prepared today!

We saw this sign as we drove to the top of Pike's Peak during our trip to Colorado. The text reads:
"Due to sightings in the area of a creature resembling 'Big Foot' this sign has been posted for your safely."

I made Curt back up so I could take a picture!

Good to know our state parks have a sense of humor.

Colleen on the way home. We left at 4 AM and arrived in College Station at 7:30 PM. This was more than half way through. We were all a bit crazy by that point!

Katherine watching the rain before gymnastics.

Katherine and her friends with shorts on their heads. You can't say they lack creativity...

Jonathan stole my phone to document the action on the ground...

this isn't very recent, but I reprinted it yesterday so I could stick it in a frame. I just love it... it's hard to get everyone to look sweet at the same time, but I think I nailed it on this one.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

7 Quick Takes (vol. 3)

Katharine Hepburn: I love you
About a month ago, Emelie and I had a date. We went to the George Bush Presidential Library for a free showing of Little Women. Not the Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder version... but the 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn. What an amazing film. Katherine Hepburn makes a fantastic Jo March. And, for the time, her spunk and vivaciousness on the screen is just amazing. If you are a Little Women fan, like me, you must  see this movie...

Speaking of Katharine... my Katherine started preschool this week. She had a great week, except that they played Duck, Duck, Goose and she didn't like it. She wasn't sure where she was supposed to run and when she was supposed to stop. This, evidently, stressed her out. Miss Kelly hugged her while she cried.
At Katherine's school, they tell jokes during lunchtime. It sounds like the teacher tells a few and then the kids take over. Her favorites are... "Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side!!! Don't forget to look both ways. Chickens don't know to do THAT!" (giggles) and jokes along the lines of, "Knock, knock. Who's there? Pickle!" Crazy laughter.
I love how they obviously don't get the concept of a joke, but spend 15 minutes laughing with each other anyway!
At Hobby Lobby, I saw a letterpress kit ~ paper, ink and a desktop letterpress. I had to quickly walk away. I LOVE letterpress cards. Because... I love paper, I love fonts, and I love design. And there is rarely a letterpress item that does not include all three.

Here are a few letterpress shops I peruse on
Sycamore Street Press

Paper Dragonfly

PaperWheel Press

Been reading children's books lately. There is something amazingly peaceful and solid about reading children's literature. The good stuff, of course. Over the past few weeks, I've read (or re-read)  
  • Jacob Have I Loved (one of my all-time favorite books) by Katherine Patterson
  • Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski and 
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.
There's something you can trust about good children's literature. It's probably not going to give you bad dreams. You probably won't ever throw a Newberry Award Winner down in disgust when they kill off your favorite character. The characters usually end up better off by the end of the book. And, you get a little glimpse inside the lives of children ~ always good to have when there are 4 of them running around. 
I found these great free downloads at No, I'm not a reseller or anything. I don't even have a MomAgenda (although I really want one... hard to justify $50 on a planner). But, their downloads are attractive and useful.

There's everything from a Back To School checklist to Holiday Planning and Babysitter Info. Free stuff is always cool.
Finally, I think that the media, the president, and everyone else should just ignore the nutty Pastor Terry Jones in Gainsville ~ the guy that wants to burn the Koran on Saturday. He's an attention seeker. If the satellite trucks drove away and the news stopped talking about how the president just might give him a call, then he'd probably wrap up his little show and go home. Just my thoughts...

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

showin' off my neck...

I've never done this before...

shown off my neck.

I've never really liked my neck much. I think it's a bit too thick. And if I gain any weight, I can tell first because my face and neck get pudgy. I envy people with swan-like necks. Ballerinas, really skinny models... they probably all looked weird as children, but they're lovely now.

But now, I'm very proud of my neck.

I had my thyroid surgery 2 weeks and 2 days ago. Here is the progression of my neck... as if you care. But, I'm honestly really impressed with the healing process!

Day after surgery...

7 days after surgery...

and then, today!!!

I think that's pretty amazing! Don't you? Even if you don't, just lie to me.

This morning, I sat in the car staring into my visor mirror and just pulled all the rest of the glue off. (They put glue over the stitches and stuff to protect it, I guess) I figured that if the scar spontaneously popped open, I could just dial 911. Well, when the last bit of glue came off in one big strip, I actually gasped out loud. I expected this big, red, swollen scar. It's really very faint and dainty. Can a scar be dainty? Mine is.

I'm glad that little children won't stare anymore. Waitresses will be able to look me in the eye.  I can wear a pony tail and not shock people.

I was going to put in the photo that I took of myself the day of surgery, when I was still in the hospital. When the nurse left, after telling me how great I looked, I wanted to see if she was lying. Because I did not feel great. So, I took a picture with my iPhone. The nurse was a big liar.  But, I don't think anyone really wants to see that photo anyway.  It's just not pretty. And, my hair wasn't done.

Thanks for humoring me!!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Momma Remedy Monday {take 3}

I don't know what was happening here... but I'm sure someone had a sly smile while it happened.

hot summer afternoon full of lego playing

threw them out of the house to wash the car at 8:30 am.
Do you think I could get away with this every morning?

This is Emelie's "Emelie and Jonathan surrender flag" to be used at the end of arguments. Someday I might just hire her for some logo design.

Played chess with Katherine. We had no idea what we were doing...

but it didn't matter...

because anything with Katherine is fun!

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

7 Quick Takes (vol. 2)

It's really hot. I know you know this, but it really IS hot.

I remember complaining last summer to my husband about the kids being bored in the summertime. He said, "You know, Mom used to kick us all out of the house in the summertime. We'd run around and get into trouble... but we were out of her hair."

When it's 100 degrees outside, you just can't do that. If only I lived in Minnesota... just for the summertime.

Recently, Colleen and I visited an one of my oldest friends. We met when we were 12 at summer camp.

Her little son, Sean, is just a cutie pie.

Colleen and Sean had fun playing and she is STILL talking about him!

Last week, I lost my "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brain" book. I thought I was finally going crazy or the devil was keeping me from reading it because he is using the computer to corrupt my family. But my husband snagged it for the duration of his business trip. I snagged it back, and after last week, I really think I need to read it.

Etsy stop of the day... I just love these silhouette prints by Nella Designs.
You can customize your family print with various silhouettes for the mom, dad, and various children poses.

And her other prints are just delightful also!

I finished Lizzie's War by Tim Farrington.
I will be getting anything else this man has ever written.
I want to be Lizzie's best friend, but I'm afraid she'd see right through me. 
The novel is honest and real. The characters could be people living right next door, and you'd never know. I learned more about the Vietnam War than I ever though I would.
I highly recommend Lizzie's War! Thanks for the recommendation, BettyDuffy!!

I updated my Santa Clara Design website. I wonder if it's too feminine... But, I do like it...


A Light Left On by Mary Sarton

In the evening we came back
Into our yellow room,
For a moment taken aback
To find the light left on,
Falling on silent flowers,
Table, book empty chair
While we had gone elsewhere,
Had been away for hours.

When we came home together
We found the inside weather.
All of our love unended
The quiet light demanded,
And we gave, in a look
At yellow walls and open book.
The deepest world we share
And do not talk about
But have to have, was there,
And by that light found out.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why "The Loveliest Hour"?

self portrait of Caryll Houselander
A while back, I changed the name of my blog. For some reason, it became very important to me. I'm still not sure why... but I wanted the title to be more specific and meaningful than "greatgulde". At the time, I think I envisioned myself writing great commentaries on life and politics and religion and wanted it to be about more than just family. Now, I'm not so sure. I realized that I rarely have a commentary, and when I do, it always sounds better in my head than it does when I start speaking or writing... so... I still have this new name and I still love it.

Where did it come from? From a quote by Caryll Houselander, my new favorite Catholic. If I were to take up a person's cause for canonization, it would be hers.

Caryll was born in 1901 in England and died at the age of 53 of breast cancer. Her parents were attractive, high-society Londoners who really didn't know what to do with their second daughter who was sickly and just not very attractive. They divorced the day after her 9th birthday. She was in and out of various boarding schools due to various health issues and never completed any sort of formal education.

Caryll attended college on an art scholarship and eventually found her way back to the Church in 1925. She dated Sidney Riley, the famous spy and model for James Bond. He left her to marry someone else and she never married. During the war doctors began sending patients to Houselander for counselling and therapy. Even though she lacked formal education in this area she seemed to have a natural empathy for people in mental anguish and the talent for helping them to rebuild their world. The psychiatrist Dr. Eric Strauss, later President of the British Psychological Society, said of Houslander: "she loved them back to life"...

She was an artist and illustrator. She fed the poor. She was in love with a famous spy. She was immensely shy. She counseled war veterans. She wrote children's stories. People from all over the world wrote her letters seeking her spiritual counsel. She was a woodcarver. She was a recluse.

No wonder Dr. Strauss called her "A Divine Eccentric".

In her book, Rocking Horse Catholic, she writes:
"We must carry Jesus in our hearts to wherever He wants to go, and there are many places to which He may never go unless we take Him to them. None of us knows when the loveliest hour of our life is striking. It may be when we take Christ for the first time to that grey office in the city where we work, to the wretched lodging of that poor man who is an outcast, to the nursery of that pampered child, to that battleship, airfield..."

That's where I got "the loveliest hour". Because, as a mother, a wife, a friend, a Catholic, I never know when the loveliest hour of my life is striking. I may have dozens of such hours. I may have only one. It may have already come... or be 30 years off. But, no matter what, when it is here, I want to be ready for it. And, I think if I live that way... my life will be better. It has to be, right?

Here are some of the books Caryll Houselander wrote. The ones with an asterik are the books I have.
The Reed of God *
Amazing book. This is a moving reflection about Mary. 
Here's a quote: "Most people know the sheer wonder that goes with falling in love, how not only does everything in heaven and earth become new, but the lover himself becomes new. It is literally like the sap rising in the tree, putting forth new green shoots of life."

The Essential Writings: Caryll Houselander*

The Way of the Cross* Amazing book. She wrote a full reflection (chapter length) on each station. Wonderful lenten meditation book. Could use with the family.

The War is the Passion
I really want to read this one. Here's the description from Amazon: Originally published in 1941, this book by the renowned British mystic and spiritual writer Caryll Houselander is once again new as modern readers learn from Houselander's encouragement of her compatriots to view their experience of World War II through the lens of Christ's passion.
Writing with the intensity and immediacy of life in London during the blitz, Houselander's thought-provoking reflections continue to speak to believers today about the complex challenge they face to find Christ in the midst of the War on Terror. Writing in the tradition of Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, and Teresa of Avila, Houselander's words resonate with Christians today regardless of their perspective on theology and the Church.

Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls I & II*
Lovely stories to read to children.

A Rocking-Horse Catholic*
This is about her childhood and conversion at the age of 6.

My Path to Heaven: A Young Person's Guide to the Faith
Illustrated by Caryll Houselander.
Amazingly intricate illustrations to go along with this beautiful reflection on our faith.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Momma Remedy Monday {take 2}

Found Katherine rocking Colleen to sleep with her bunny and soccer ball. She was singing Jingle Bells to her.

See the tiny pink egg down there? Some mommy bird made this nest inside Emelie's boot that was sitting on the porch. The next day the egg was gone.

This is a photo I took and submitted to a Pioneer Woman contest with the theme of "Joy". It didn't win, but it did garner several very nice compliments!

Jonathan helping Colleen roll her Curious George today during lunch. "One, Two, Three..." and George rolls under the table in the baby stroller.

Sweet Colleen zonked after a long car ride. There's not much sweeter than that!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

75% of my children are currently out of town. I miss them... In a "I'm their mother and they are always in my heart" kind of way. But I don't miss them in the "please get all of your random junk out of my living room" and "please stop screaming at your sister" kind of way.

Besides, they'll be back on Sunday! And, they're having fun!

My little daughter, Colleen, randomly says
"Airplane in the sky!"
about 8-10 times a day. No matter where we are. No matter if anything is in the sky at all. An airplane in the sky must be a very exciting thing in a little 2 year old mind. And she relives it every chance she gets.

My son, Jonathan, had a sleep over this week with another boy his age. I came out in the living room to see them watching a movie, both with a stuffed animal under their arm. Jonathan's is a bear named "Bear" and his friends is a little, worn and well-loved raccoon about 5 inches long. They're both 8 and they both still sleep with their animals. And they're cool with it.

In the past, my son has worried about taking Bear over to a friends' house. "What if they laugh?" the thought of someone making fun of Bear is unbearable (really... I'm not just trying to be cute!)

There's safety in having a friend who you know won't make fun of you 'cause you sleep with a bear. A guy needs a friend like that.

Books I'm currently reading:
Lizzie's War by Tim Farrington. Recommended by BettyDuffy, my new best friend...
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr
The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinbert

Those last two books are completely contradictory. I wonder what that will do to my brain...

 My boy playing Wii with aforementioned "Bear" stuck in the crook of his elbow.

Gorgeous Carryl Houselander quote for you:

By his own will Christ was dependent on Mary during Advent:
he was absolutely helpless; he could go nowhere but where she chose to take him; he could not speak; her breathing was his breath; his heart beat in the beating of her heart....
In the seasons of our Advent - waking, working, eating, sleeping, being
Each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world.
~  Caryll Houselander

some of my favorite blogs...

Reading for Believers

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How I've learned to love folding laundry...

So, I've always hated folding laundry.

When I was a kid, my mom would dump a basket of warm, fresh-out-of-the-dryer laundry on my head while I was watching TV. And I would throw a fit. I HATED folding laundry.

My husband taught me how to fold towels and his undershirts. I do my best. They don't look that great. I once saw an employee at the Gap folding a huge pile of shirts and almost hugged her out of sympathy.

Occasionally, I'll get a type-A babysitter who likes folding laundry... man, is that heaven! It's an art-form. Fitted sheets are practically creased at the edges. T-shirts folded so perfectly that I can stack them 20-high and they don't topple over. I am jealous of her skill, but so thankful.

We'll, we've been trying to save money lately. Less babysitters = more laundry folding.

So, here I am.


And I realize that even though it IS a chore, it always goes faster than I think it will. And if I make the kids sort the socks, half of my sanity is saved.


(cue dramatic breakthrough music)

There is something about handling my little kids clothes that is sweet. Not that it's some sort of meditative moment... it's not... but something good happens. I fold my baby's t-shirt and I remember my 10 year old wearing it when she was 2. I find another rip in my son's pants and am glad that he has woods to romp in behind our house and friends to romp in it with. There is a pile of the same skirt in 4 different colors that I bought for my 4 year old, because she won't wear anything else.  I fold a pair of footy jammies that have gotten just way to small for my little one. I realize I can't tell between my t-shirt and my oldest's t-shirt and that's just plain scary.

Their clothes say a lot about them. I know them. Their clothing tells a story. Not in a fashion magazine kind of way. Just their little, simple lives. I see them changing, playing, becoming more sophisticated... growing up.

And, sometimes, it takes something as plain and ordinary as laundry to remind me of that.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Momma Remedy Monday

I've decided to start a new series... Momma Remedy Mondays.

'Cause I don't like Monday's. And sometimes being the Momma around here makes me crazy... when things are really loud, messy, stinky or sloppy.

But, I've found, that when I take photos of my kids, looking through that lens really makes me focus (cliche, I know, but it's true).

I focus on THEM. How cute they are... how small... how funny... how their hair has grown since last week... how those pants are getting too small... those photos make me focus on the good.

So, I'm going to share my Momma Remedies with you, and maybe you'll do the same!

Here are this weeks' shots (all from my iphone... thus the superb quality!:))
Jonathan's maze...
Jonathan Jumping...
Stick horse racing in heels...
found a sippy cup in the linen closet...
Jonathan's lego star wars light saber with a Polly Pocket high heel on then end. Found on the kitchen floor.

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