Friday, June 29, 2012

7 Quick Takes through InstaFriday {#5}

Linking up today with Jeannett and Jennifer for a peek into our lives this past week, via cell phone pics.  Come back each Friday to see what we've been up to!

1.)  Married ten years!  Yes, on June 22nd, we celebrated ten years of Holy Matrimony.  My wonderful parents took the kids for the night and we dined at Del Frisco's.  Then Kevin surprised me with the first season of Downton Abbey and a sweet book of photos and poetry documenting our life together so far.  Love!

2.)  I don't even remember the last time we'd gone out to breakfast, just the two of us.  On Saturday morning we tried out a delicious creole cafe in Denver before collecting our kids, and oh my goodness, it was amazing!  It was also majorly crowded, so we sat at the bar.  And felt much younger than we parents-to-seven actually are.

3.)  Don't you just love when you get something fun in the mail?  Usually when I've ordered anything online it's books or homeschooling curriculum (which I really do get excited about!), but this time was different because the package came from Lisa Leonard Designs!  I'd been eyeing a particular necklace there for awhile, but let's face it, most of my jewlery comes from the thrift store or the $1.50 rack at Forever 21.  No joke.  I'm cheap like that.  But when I got an email saying Lisa was having a super duper sale where, if you ordered something, you got another necklace FREE, I couldn't resist!  (On a side-note, Lisa is a friend of mine and it's been so fun to watch her business evolve.  If you're not familiar with her jewelry, you're really missing out!)

4.)  Here it is!  I just love this piece.  Whimsical and fun.

5.)  My eight-year-old daughter drew this two days ago.  And told me it's the "Target dog."  Ahem.  Do you think I maybe spend too much time at Target?

6.)  My latest lunch obsession.  Spinach, feta, and sliced peppers with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Yum!

7.)  So.  When I tell my two-year-old to smile for a photo, THIS is what she does.  THIS is her picture face.  Squinted eyes, squished nose, open mouth.  She's kind of a big deal, obviously. 


I hope you all have a lovely weekend.  We don't have many plans, which I admit is rather nice for a change!  See you next week!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What the experts don't tell you

This article was originally written as a response to a writing prompt link-up, but I missed the deadline.  Because I do things like that.  I'm sharing it here anyway.

Becoming a parent for the first time is intimidating.  I can remember the jumble of emotions as if it were yesterday, even though it was nine years ago when we discovered, on our first wedding anniversary, that our first baby was on the way.

From the moment the test read positive, I was thrilled.  Elated.  Over-the-moon in love with the precious soul now inhabiting my womb.  I had no first-hand experience with motherhood, but I knew I loved this little being with everything that was in me.  Something profound had happened, and was continuing to happen, and even though I knew parenting would be hard, I believed it would be beautiful too.

Yet I realized early on that the culture in general preferred to focus on the hard parts of having a child, in particular the degradation of a woman's body and heart that they said automatically came with carrying and delivering a baby.  Your body is never the same...your life is never the same...your marriage is never the same.  

Which, actually, is true.

But what they really meant when they said those things was that it's worse.  My figure, my routine, my relationship with my husband were all sure to be doomed by the parasitic creature gaining more and more strength within me each day.  And while I simply could not believe those things could be completely right, I also would occasionally wonder if they were maybe a little bit true.

"What will happen with us?" I timidly asked my husband one afternoon as we shared a picnic lunch on the grass.  I must have been seven or eight months pregnant by that point, and the assorted comments and warnings and reactions to our having a baby so soon in the life of a marriage (she would be born a year and a half after we'd wed), and so young being that I was 22 and he was 23, had taken their toll.  I'd begun to wonder if maybe I was wrong.  If maybe I was being naive to assume that this was through-and-through a very good thing, this baby we were about to have.

My husband adamantly assured me that if this baby was a good thing--and we knew she was since God created marriage, and loves life, and delights in each and every soul--then our marriage wouldn't instantly become worse solely on account of becoming parents.  On the contrary, following God's design for vocation ought to ultimately enhance and grow and change and bless.  We couldn't know this for sure then, but we trusted in it just the same.

And of course once that chubby baby girl joined the rest of the world on a warm February night, I knew Kevin was right.  I knew that we had participated in something incredibly miraculous and something much bigger than ourselves. 

Yes there was sleep deprivation, and there were diapers, and my hips never quite went back to their pre-baby configuration.  And now after having given birth to three chubby baby girls, which has necessitated a combined total of four and a half years spent breastfeeding, other parts of me will never be the same either. 

So yes, I can see how someone really could look at me and believe that my babies did indeed change everything.  My body, my time, my heart are just not my own any longer.  Whereas Kevin and I used to see movies and eat out at nice restaurants on the weekends, now we spend our time at home, or with other families.  Sometimes our weekends even involve caring for sick kids or cleaning up messes.  Far from glamorous, we live out our days in community with seven small people who have a lot of needs. 

But I would still argue that it is better, not worse, these changes that have slowly but surely crept into our bones and restructured our hearts.  We love more.  Give more.  Die to self more.  Laugh more.  Live more.

Sadly, it is a well-kept secret that children bring more vibrance, more stability, more grace, and more joy to a marriage.  Because you see, most people prefer to focus on the hardships and sacrifice.  Which, I admit, is a reality--motherhood is difficult, and exhausting, and in-the-trenches much of the time.  But in spite of being right about the challenges of parenthood, those people fail to acknowledge that hardship and sacrifice are merely part of life's landscape either way, and that living out the vocation God has selected for you (in this case, marriage and motherhood) will always, always bring deeper fulfillment and union with Jesus.  Always.  And two individuals growing in holiness and in devotion to God are going to be moving towards a better marriage relationship, too.

The truth is that MOST things related to motherhood are mysteriously absent from the two-dimensional books and articles penned by so-called experts. 

They don't even begin to capture the horror of a child with the stomach flu, for example, nor do they have any guidance for people who have been called by God to adopt four children with traumatic pasts from a developing country. 

They have nothing to say to the mother who will sit in a waiting room while her four-year-old daughter has open heart surgery, or to the woman who will experience two miscarriages

They fail to address the joys and struggles of being open to life, and consequently open to the attention of strangers--both good and bad--that you receive as a result. 

And they definitely don't touch on owning a big 15-passenger van or on what you're supposed to do when you and your seven kids are stranded by the side of the highway, because the aforementioned van has been rendered out-of-commission.

Much of contemporary thought on life and parenthood has nothing to say to a woman like me.  And perhaps this is why I've not spent a lot of (read: any) time perusing the subject's best-sellers.  Instead I've found my inspiration and direction from God and the Church's teachings, from the great papal encyclicals like Humane Vitae and Mulieris Dignitatum and Familiaris Consortio, and from books like Cormac Burke's Covenanted Happiness (presently out of print, but worth finding if you can.  You can also read it in its entirety, for free, here). 

Timeless truths (as opposed to pop-culture advice and modern-day commentary) about what it means to be a woman and a mother give me hope and passion for the future, and faith to get through the day.  Because the reality is that my life just doesn't make sense outside of the paradigm of vocation.  And vocation is just a fancy way of saying that I am chosen by God for a specific purpose, and doing my very best to live that out--suffering and all--because it brings me closer to Jesus.  Things may be hard, my children may occasionally be a disaster, my home may be chaotic from time to time, but I am participating with God in the very shaping of souls, a most meaningful work. 

Whether the books tell me that or not.

Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Quick Takes through InstaFriday {#4}

Linking up again today with Jeannett at Life Rearranged for Insta Friday, and Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday!  Every Friday here at Just Showing Up I take you back through my week through my grainy cell phone pics.  It's such a fun way to catalogue what we've been up to, and give you a little glimpse into our lives.

And I apologize for the lack of posting over this past week--we had family in town, I've been shuttling some of my kids back and forth to church each day, and I'm also in the midst of working on some super exciting and fun changes to the blog.  But not to worry, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.  :)


1.)  Sometimes when you're two, there's nothing like drinking strawberry lemonade out of a fancy cup.  (Last Friday my oldest daughter had a friend over, so clearly strawberry lemonade was a must.  And the siblings all got to have some too.)

2.)  Pancakes with fresh strawberries for breakfast Saturday morning.  I rarely make a big breakfast, but my in-laws were in town and my husband kids were begging for pancakes.  Yum!

3.)  Saturday evening we attended the birthday party of some sweet kiddos.  And Mary rather enjoys this little plastic car anytime we go to their house.  She seems so grown up in this picture!  My baby is getting old.  Boo. 

4.)  Last Sunday night we got to attend the baptism of a baby of some dear friends.  It was so, so precious.  My daughter Kaitlyn made this card, and this cross out of scraps of wood and masking tape.  :)  What a truly remarkable miracle to witness, this sweet little girl receiving the Sacrament of Baptism.

5.)  This week my three oldest kids have been attending Totus Tuus (Latin for "Totally Yours") at our parish.  They've loved it!  Daily Mass, fun songs, games, a water fight, prayer, a dinner, and instruction in the faith.  Not sure what they're going to do with themselves when the week is over!

6.)  When you're not quite old enough to attend Totus Tuus, what is a girl to do?  Have a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's house, of course!  Here Kaitlyn is, when I dropped her off.  She went swimming at the pool, shopped for a new outfit and toys, got to select the menu (which included pumpkin pie for breakfast), and had a giant bubble bath in the jacuzzi tub.  It's a wonder she was willing to come home!  Time like this is so good for my middle child's soul.

7.)  It occurs to me that we've been so very busy this week that I really haven't taken many pictures!  (Thus no photo for #7.)  Lunch at the park with a friend a couple of times, hanging out at my parents' house, and shopping and out to dinner with girlfriends.  Our life is full, and I love it.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes through InstaFriday {#3}

Linking up this week with my friends Jeannett at Life Rearranged, and Jen at Conversion Diary!  Here is the Heldt Week in Review, as told through my cell phone pics.

1.)  I love to shop.  And, so do my girls.  Saturday afternoon we browsed our local Catholic bookstore, and then discovered a fun second-hand shop nearby.  I love spending this precious time with my daughters.

2.)  At the aforementioned second-hand shop, I found this fun yellow (yes, I'm mildly obsessed with this color) bird, and this necklace.  I was a little unsure about such chunky and, let's face it, cheap-looking jewelry, but I also thought it was kind of fun.  So I bought it.  And my husband detests it.  I believe his exact words were: "That necklace looks like it was designed by a psychologically wounded child."  I pretended to be offended, but deep down, comments like that that remind me why I married the guy.  He's darn funny.  Rude, but funny.

3.)  Surprise date night!  At 4:00 in the afternoon I got a phone call from the "Rocky Mountain Dating Service", saying childcare was arranged and to be ready to go on a date with a "distinguished gentleman" at 6:30 pm.  Thai food, downtown, beautiful evening, best husband ever.

4.)  Thai iced tea.  I love this drink more than anything.  I downed two of them.  Could have had more.  Wanting one now.

5.)  Sometimes the urge strikes to listen to country music.  I know.  I'm sorry, but it really is true--I love me some Johnny Cash and Diamond Rio, espeically in the summertime.  Makes me happy.  Anyway, my boys were pretending they were riding horses and roping whilst my music blared in the kitchen.  They loved it!  My daughter, on the other hand, was less than impressed.  Which should probably comes as no surprise considering the fact that she was singing Aerosmith songs at three years old.  Clearly Kevin got to her first.

6.)  My crew.  Loving life at Costco.  Contrary to what this picture seems to indicate, Mary was happy to be there, and Tigist was wearing pants.  And this may sound crazy, but I'm a big believer in taking kids along on errands.  Like I actually have philosophical thoughts on this.  I really, really feel they ought to participate in society, it's a chance to get out of the house in a mundane, real-life sort of way, and it's quality time together.  And, I don't want my kids to feel that because there were so many of them, they never got to go to the store with mama.

7.)  Airport pickup.  My in-laws own a plane, and flew themselves here from California for a visit.  Fun!  And, my kids clearly have a future in the bellhop industry.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Of Jerry Stiller and cardigans

So I've been busy lately, and thus not doing much posting here at Just Showing Up.  Blogging requires discipline, and while I do write a little each day, I have not finished anything lately that is worth sharing.  And I'd made peace with the fact that I wasn't going to get a post up any time soon.  Lack of inspiration and lack of motivation have, unfortunately, struck.

But then.  Then I saw this photo on Facebook:

Which is from a Seinfeld episode.

Oh how I love me some Seinfeld, and I hope you do too--because, fusilli Jerry?  The soup nazi?  Elaine's Christmas card?  Some of the best humor ever.

But anyway.

Do you see?

The sweater that Jerry Stiller (playing Frank Costanza) is wearing?

Yeah, I own it.

Well, not the very same sweater, but one that looks like it. 

See?  There I am, headless.  Dressed like George Costanza's dad.

In fact, I own TWO that look just like it.

Which means I'm dressing like a 75-year-old-man on an oh-so-regular basis, because these sweaters are my favorites.

I actually have to make a conscious effort NOT to wear them because otherwise I'd be wearing them everyday!

And I don't know about you, but this strikes me as terribly funny.  Because who'd have thought back then that mustard yellow would eventually become a fashionable color for women to wear?  I know I definitely didn't think, when I was purchasing my beloved yellow cardigans, that I was channeling Frank Costanza circa 1994.

Now I have to admit that while I should probably feel ashamed, deep down I'm actually fairly proud of my versatile fashion choices and subconscious role models.  If you're new to my blog, I'm sorry--this is a post that CLEARLY required no forethought or insight, and I'm more than aware that there are no anecdotes about international adoption, Down syndrome, openness to life, homeschooling or Catholicism. 

But I'm sharing anyway. 

Because Jerry Stiller and I dress like twins, and you obviously needed to know that!

But not to worry, as we'll be back to our regular programming soon, when I will attempt to gain my self-respect back. 

Or not, because Frank Costanza be darned, I do love me a yellow cardigan.

Friday, June 08, 2012

7 Quick Takes through InstaFriday {#2}

 So I'm linking up again with Jeannett over at Life Rearranged for InstaFriday.  I'm loving this way of looking back through my week through Instagram, and remembering the good, the bad, and the crazy!

And, because I have seven images, I'm also linking up with Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.  I know this is cheating.  It's probably against the rules.  And, I'm clearly doing it anyway.  Because I'm a blogging rebel.  And, I want to be able to do both, but I'm sure not putting up TWO posts every Friday.  Because really, I'm lazy like that.


Oh, this girl.  My parents (who live in Littleton now) have been super sick, and we hadn't seen them in awhile, so we went to visit on Saturday.  And my mom cooked for us, even though she wasn't feeling well.  Because grandmas do that.  And, clearly, granddaughters love it.

Every girl needs a walking stick, right?  Sunday afternoon we met up at the park for a picnic with our Catholic homeschooling group.  (Translated: we hung out with some great friends on Sunday.)  On our walk back to the car, Mary discovered this stick, which she insisted on using  When we finally got to our van, I had her lay the stick down...and she said "Goodbye, stick."  She is just too, too much. 

Also on Sunday.  It's not every girl who, all of a sudden, at the drop of a hat, gets a sister her age.  Buddies for life.

Summer.  Sisters.  Dresses.  Dirty socks from playing outside.  Books.  Love.

So we live in the city, people.  And in the city, you have to move your car for the streetsweeper each month.  Every street has a different day that cars can't be parked on it, and sometimes you get yourself a lovely little ticket like this when you forget to move your car.  $50.  I am so buying a farm.

Some dear friends of ours open up their beautiful backyard each year for regular summer movie nights.  Think popcorn, a big screen, lots of grassy space, and people everywhere.  Some of us come early to hang out and play and use their zipline.

Here the kids are, all cozy and ready for the movie to start.  This picture makes me so happy!  That's Mekdes and Anna in the foreground, you can see Yosef and Kaitlyn in the top right, Tigist right below Kaitlyn, and part of Biniam next to Tigist.  Mary was hanging out by the popcorn machine.  Naturally.  I could go on and on about the amazing community of friends that God has brought into our lives over this past year, but I think the photo speaks for itself.  Blessed.  Beyond measure.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Baptists and birth control

Have any of you read this article by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?

Even though it's actually six years old (but was reposted two days ago), it is receiving a fair amount of attention from Catholics, who have perhaps never seen it before.

The article is really quite timely--in spite of its original 2006 date stamp--because the Catholic Church is presently facing an awkward show-down of sorts with the federal government over this whole HHS mandate business.  It makes for an interesting scenario when, all of a sudden, Protestant leaders are talking about Catholic teachings and, gasp, pledging their support.

While I don't agree with Mohler's piece entirely (his characterization of Catholic belief as being rooted only in natural law, and not being "deeply Biblical"--as if they are mutually exclusive--is a completely tired and untrue stereotype, for example), I think the guy makes some excellent points. 

It's refreshing to see an Evangelical quoting Humanae Vitae and acknowledging what Catholics have quietly held to be true for the past two millenia.  His words are certainly reaching a demographic comprised of people unlikely to read a papal encyclical on their own, and who would not look to Catholic moral law for answers to their questions in a million years.

Which reminds me of my own story.  Because it was precisely this issue that led us to the Church.  We, though not Baptist, were some of the very people Al Mohler was talking about in 2006.  Who'd begun to question the widespread use of birth control, and the morality of a Christian culture that says there's no ethical problem with abortifacients, or with elective surgery to "fix" the bodies God gave us and called goodWho'd stumbled upon the concept of natural law and this idea that human sexuality, from God's perspective, must surely be about more than mere pleasure between spouses.

That's why I sat down at my computer one afternoon and punched in some search terms, in hopes of discovering what the Catholic Church taught in this area. 

I didn't want to be Catholic. 

I didn't know any Catholics.

I didn't think the Catholic Church had the answers. 

I honestly didn't care.  I was simply curious about why they were the only institution on the planet still morally opposed to contraception.

But thanks to Google, Blessed John Paul II, and Scott and Kimberly Hahn, I stepped on a virtual and highly inconvenient landmine.

And, now here we are.  Eucharist-receiving, Confession-going, Mary-loving, Rosary-praying, non-contracepting Catholics.

I couldn't be more grateful for Christ's Church, in part because of her teachings and guidance in areas of morality and truth.

And Mohler's words ring true, without a doubt.  Even as they also slightly miss the mark. 

When he decisively distances himself from Catholic thought by saying Evangelicals need to "think for themselves" and "reason from Scripture", he's lost the battle--because the Bible taken at face value does NOT overtly prohibit contraception. 

When he says Evangelicals must reject a "contraceptive mentality"--boldly calling it "an insidious attack upon God's glory in creation"--he is taking a page straight out of the Catholic moral theology handbook. But when he then also says that these principles need not apply to every sexual act, he sets the handbook down and parts company with the very Catholic tradition from which he was just borrowing. This arbitrary picking and choosing of which Catholic principles to accept--and which to reject--necessarily stakes his argument on a less-than-firm foundation.

But overall, he raises good questions, points out the important relationship between contraception and abortion, and explores a touchy subject in front of a potentially skeptical and/or hostile audience.  For that, I commend him.  This sort of honesty and reflection is not easy in a subculture for which contraception is the norm.  And I'm glad that, even if he cannot completely accept the Catholic position on marriage, he is willing to grant that we're right about a few things--and highlight them to his Evangelical readership.  

I actually really wish I'd read this article when it was originally published in 2006!  I have a feeling it would have accelerated our conversion process and clarified our thinking.  And it makes me excited because I'm hopeful that others, who are having second thoughts about the matter just like we did, might find themselves investigating the claims of Rome.  As the result of reading Al Mohler's words.  Or at the very least, embracing a fuller, more complete vision of the Sacrament of Marriage.  Ironic?  Yes.  But truth is truth, and for those sincerely seeking to understand God's heart on this issue--whether Protestant or Catholic or agnostic or anything else--this article will both spark some questions and offer some answers.  It may be unsettling, even repugnant to some, but it rings trueAnd you can be sure that when something has the ring of truth, it will find minds to captivate and hearts to change.

For this is what experience has taught me.  It was painfully humbling to acknowledge that I'd been missing something my entire church-going, Jesus-following life.  It wasn't easy swallowing my pride and going to confession, or admitting that I had some things wrong.  But it was worth it.  I am grateful for each and every apologist and Pope I read, for each and every online conversion account I pored over, and for all of the dear Catholic men, women and children--and the priest--who welcomed us into their lives when we "just showed up" to their parish last August.  God used all of these people to stir our hearts and bring us into the fullness of the faith. 

And, I suspect He's using Southern Baptist Albert Mohler too. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Almost ten years

Kevin and I in 2001, a few months before becoming engaged.

Kevin and I are celebrating ten years of marriage later this month.  Ten years!

I've been thinking about how much has changed since we wed on that warm June day in 2002, and how much has remained the same.  I'm remembering how young we were (he was 21, and I 20), and what limited life experience we had.

My husband loves to tell the story of how he knew he wanted to marry me roughly two weeks after we began spending time together.  I more or less felt the same.  Our relationship was in many ways more like a courtship, commencing with a discussion more closely resembling a business meeting than a romantic prelude.

And, that was by design.  And it may sound old-fashioned and not very fun, but it was fun, and worked out well if I do say so myself.  Neither of us had any interest in dating for the sake of dating; instead, Kevin wanted to get to know me with the express purpose of discerning if we should marry.  I appreciated and embraced this perspective.  I still do, in fact, in part because it allowed for a lot of discussion about future goals and personal ideals related to the married life.

While we were not yet Catholic (thus not understanding marriage as a Sacrament), we believed the union of man and wife was serious business, and that marriage is forever--divorce would never be on the table, not ever. 

Even though we had no idea about the Catholic Church's teachings on openness to life and generosity in marriage, we did feel strongly that no one should get married--period--unless they'd be happy and excited to welcome a new little soul nine months later, because that is simply part of marriage.  (Natural law apparently always resonated with us.)

We discussed how, once we had children, I would stay home full-time to raise them.  We also kind of assumed we'd have two to four kids (are you laughing?  I am!) and would start a family once I graduated from college.  (Are you laughing?  I am!)

It should come as no surprise to anyone then that we were not only young but filled-to-the-brim with ideals and dreams as we planned our wedding.  We both had high hopes for marriage and believed God was in it.  Meanwhile, we were the best of friends, and looked forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

And, you know what?  Making the decision to get married to Kevin remains one of the best decisions I've ever made.  Has it always been easy?  No.  Has it always gone the way I'd expected?  No.


Through our semi-official dating/courtship/business proposition discernment process, I came to a very important and objective conclusion: Kevin would make a good husband and a good father.  I knew he was a good friend.  He loved Jesus and loved others and respected women.  We shared many of the same interests and values and we expected that we'd make good life-partners.

And, I can tell you that all of this has proved to be true.  Ten years in and I am certain that I could not have chosen a better man to lead our family, or to spend my life with. 

And as I look back on all of our pre-wedding preparations, I truly believe our excitement was in large part due to the fact that we believed we were making a good choice.  There were no doubts, not even fleeting ones, that we were on the brink of a youthfully foolish mistake.  We had the same goals in life, the same vision for family, and the unwavering expectation that God would make something really beautiful out of our strengths and flaws as we grew and moved through life together. 

And, He has. 

When He led us to stop using contraception.

When we gave birth to chubby baby girls.

When we lost precious babies to miscarriage.

When we brought home vulnerable and hurting children from a far-off country--twice.

When we sat in tense waiting rooms as our fragile daughters received life-saving heart surgeries.

When we wrestled with theology.

When we were received into the Catholic Church.

Amidst good times and bad, during seasons of joy and seasons of sorrow, God has worked grace and holiness and mercy in our marriage, and in our family.  I am incredibly humbled by the life He's given me, in large part because I think while we definitely had some things right ten years ago, we were also missing some of the connecting pieces.  As I mentioned earlier, we didn't have a sacramental understanding of marriage, we didn't know the word "vocation" in this context, we were using birth control, we didn't have the Eucharist or the Sacrament of Reconciliation and we certainly didn't have a faith community upholding these things either.

So nearly ten years in, I'm kind of astounded by the fact that, while things have not always (usually?) gone as we'd expected, there is actually so.much.more. to this marriage thing than I could have imagined. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

InstaFriday {#1}

So I'm linking up with my friend Jeannett today, over at Life Rearranged, for InstaFriday.  Which means I'm sharing my assorted Instagram pics from the week. 

And I'm new at Instagramming, so don't expect too much.  :)

Hopefully this will help me do a better job of documenting the details of our life, as well as give you a glimpse into the mundane and crazy that is us. 

Oh, this girl.  My sweet little Mary LuLu.  Even at the end of a long day, she makes my heart smile.  Especially when she has pizza sauce on her chin.

Yearbooks.  From my kids' weekly homeschool program that just ended.  They spent a good two days poring over them, and comparing them to previous years.  They're getting old.

May Crowning.  At our parish.  The kids who'd celebrated their First Communion this year got to lead the procession, and present Mary with a flower at the end, and they did such a lovely job.  SO proud of Anna! 

You were diagnosed with strep throat on Memorial Day too, right?  Oh, wait.  Maybe that was just me.

What better way to celebrate feeling better and no longer being contagious (I heart you antibiotics, even if I did opt for painful, humiliating injections that left me with nary a shred of dignity) than with a trip to IKEA?  And, is there anything cuter than stripy leggings on little girls?  I think not.  (You will note that I have two additional girls in the back of my cart.  Who may or may not have been getting crushed by my merchandise.)

Mac and cheese lunch on our front porch.  Playdate with our sweet friend Jaso.  My girls (and I) adore her! 

Pretty platter I got on my post-strep IKEA trip.  The flowers and colors make me happy, but I admit it was kind of an impluse buy.  (This tends to happen to me at IKEA.)


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