Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nature Walk: Looking for Spring

Last Tuesday the kids and I searched for spring outside. It was the only nice day of the week, and we were successful!

Melting snow and short sleeves...


Budding trees...


Green clover reclaiming ground...


Moss unearthed...


Soon-to-be flowers...


Promises of leaves...


Animals at play?


Cat sunning...


Kids playing and sidewalk chalk...


HAPPY SPRING!

(linking up with Elisa at Elisa Loves)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday: spring fever

I'm thankful that I am feeling well again. Overall, I have been doing very well. I am even on the elliptical nearly every day, and am up to 2.5 miles/day (roughly 12 minutes)! But my Friday slogging turned into a low energy weekend. I have this oximeter and it was showing low heart rates. My oxygen kept going up and down and was on the low side. What a bummer. It's easy to forget about my lungs in-between episodes. So I guess the thankful in all this, is that it motivates me to make healthier choices... most of the time.

I am thankful that I made it to Mass on Sunday despite not feeling well!

Thankful for this fresh bouquet of spring flowers on my counter thanks to my husband. Let me make this clear. He rarely gives me flowers so this was a definite, out-of-the-blue surprise. His reason? For nursing him through his recent illness which laid him flat.


Thankful for peek-a-boos:


Thankful for more play time outside now that the weather is improving, and that most of this snow is now all gone:


Thankful for beautiful sunrises and gorgeous sunsets. This was an awesome sunset that once again I failed to capture well.


Thankful for sleeping baby-turned-toddler (and for cute skirts!):


Thankful for these two girls playing together so sweetly now (most of the time). Here Miss Z was the mom while big sister was the baby eating baby food. Just prior, both were lying on the floor while Miss Z rubbed her sister's hair and "sang" her to sleep. It was so cute.


Thankful for an ornery cat and kids to play with said cat.


Thankful for cute dancers. She's so serious here, but she had this huge smile just before taking a picture. (Her legs are getting so lean and tall!)


Thankful for Starfall.com in motivating D. to get his school work done so he can "practice" reading on the computer. I'm thankful he's doing so well with reading after struggling for so long!


Thankful for sunny windows and warm, cuddly cats.


Thankful for music and dance parties and blurry pictures:




Thankful for celebrating our faith in little ways, like these faux tye-dyed shamrocks on St. Patrick's feast day (March 17th) while reading about St. Patrick and talking about the Blessed Trinity. 

(To make a shamrock - or any shape - cut out shapes from coffee filters, color with water-based markers, drop water on it and watch the colors spread. Do I have to tell you the kids loved this?)

I'm thankful it looks a bit more spring-like with these hanging on the wall (I used ribbon and tape to create the garland).



Thankful for moving the school room around so we could see outside better, and using this book case to make a little family altar in a small corner. It's filled with our religious books, our St. Stephen's blessing jar, rosaries, and our little saint dolls.


Thankful our faith can be so hands-on.


Thankful for a few small signs of spring like these bulbs coming up. Daffodils? Tulips? I have no idea. It'll be a surprise. I'm just thankful to see green and not white.


Thankful for these boys. And their poses. And for days outside with no coats while snow still hugs the ground.


I took this picture for a reason and I have no idea what that is now. But I'm happy and thankful to see this picture showing that they DO get along and are not always fighting.


There's that sleeping baby again! I was able to nap for a few minutes too. So, so thankful.


Thankful for seriousness and the words that come out of this boy's mouth. "It's really like playing with a real dog. But I still want a real dog." Thankful he has no idea I'm photographing him.


Because as soon as he does, I get this great smile (which I love and am thankful for):


Thankful for laughter and a posing baby:



I'm thankful for this picture. I'm missing a child but I am rarely in pictures. I told myself I would take more pictures of me with my kids and I haven't done so well with that.


Thankful for signs of love everywhere. A. pointed out this heart in his pancake syrup the other day.


Thankful for the creativity of the kids. D. takes the win this week with his lego solar system. See the sun in the middle surrounded by orbiting planets?


Today I am thankful for SPRING even if it doesn't quite feel like it's here yet. The signs are there.

Thankful that we took school out today instead of getting in a funk after a restless morning. We had lunch at Wendy's and we read poetry and history there.


Right now, at this moment, I am thankful for quiet and for the chance to hang out one-on-one with the littlest. The rest are off to karate. The sun is shining, most of our school work is done despite going off on tangents today, and the house is relatively clean (which isn't super clean so don't feel bad - I just meant I can walk room to room if I want without tripping on something!).
"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." ~~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Have a good week!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday: It's Never Too Late

It's never too late to be thankful. For all I know, today is a Thursday. It's been that kind of week. Really, overall, not a bad week, but the kind of week where everything kind of blends together.

Certainly, the end of last week ended with a bang.

First, D. lost a top front tooth! He looks like he is in pain, but no worries, he was mostly disgusted by the bleeding that took place. (**I decided to change up the kid names. I couldn't stand the old ones really from the get-go. I like Miss Z so much that I'm sticking with that format. But something needs to be there for privacy.)


A. wrote up a note for his little brother for the tooth fairy. The next day, my son showed me his "prize" and asked if I wrote the note. That kid is too keen with details.


On Saturday, A. turned 9 and we had a simple celebration at home with a few gifts and his lunch request of mac-n-cheese (we use this GF mac-n-cheese) and a dessert request of orange cake with orange rum sauce (recipe in this book: The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook).



A. is such a sweet boy. He has his meltdown moments, as do we all, but he is quick to take care of the others, loves to talk, never wants to sleep, still likes to cuddle even if you have to tell him he can still do it, loves to read, is thoughtful of others, is completely unaware of details in most things (unlike his younger brother above), is very trusting, and always has a smile on his face. As a baby, he smiled extremely early and it wasn't just a little smile. He cracked these huge, gum-splitting smiles with loud gurgling laughs.

We made it to Mass this week. That feels like a miracle in itself the way this winter has gone with weather and illness. There's something about Sundays this winter...

On Tuesday, the kids had their trip to the dentist. He's a good guy and the office does well with the kids (and us adults too!). A. has a bit of a cavity to fill but everyone else looks good.

The day was beautiful. Mother Nature teased us with temps around 50. Of course that means no jackets. We start cracking car windows around freezing this time of year. The kids were extremely excited by the weather on our way home. As A. said, "I get really high energy in summer."


Adam took the kids outside to play while I made dinner. Much of the snow is melted in this picture but all around them are still high drifts to wade through. I didn't hear any complaining though.


I am thankful my cat can still hunt mice, and that my husband was there to catch and dispose of him. The darn cat brought the mouse up to my bedroom to play with him while I was preparing for bed.


I'm thankful no one caught the stomach bug that struck my husband. He was out of commission a little over 24 hours. He even had to - gasp - take a day off work.

While he slept in-between bouts, he was completely unaware of Mother Nature outside, who felt our one day of spring-like weather was too much. There was so much snow coming down, I couldn't even take a half-way decent picture.


I'm trying to be thankful for the snow. It was pretty. We did not have to go anywhere (not that we could as it was blizzard conditions for much of the day and the roads were shut down per the government). We had a nice fire going and it felt all cozy. But I will be extremely thankful for spring.

Which is why I am very thankful for planning spring, summer, and fall gardens and seeing pictures like this as I do:

from Pinetree Garden Seeds and Accessories (safe seed pledge, non-gmo)

And, I was thankful for sun at the end of a long day of wintry weather:


I'm always thankful for sleeping babies. If your children sleep, then God bless you. I am happy for you. My children did not inherit my need for sleep.


Thankful for a sun room with big winter garden plans in my head. The kids were excited to play out there after my parents dropped their cat off for us to babysit (she's really, really old).


I'm thankful for sweet kids who came up with the idea to make get-well cards for their daddy.


Miss L's family drawing:


What is crazy is that Miss Z can draw faces with some semblance of arms and legs. I could not believe it when I first saw it. I thought one of the other kids drew the picture. She copies the others so well. I am continually amazed.

According to these pictures, Miss Z sleeps all the time. I'm just thankful for when she does and she's so cute, that I can't help but take pictures. So I'm thankful for cameras and holding hands and sleeping without a care.


I am thankful for the sun. It is the only thing (ok, not really) getting me through this long, cold, snowy winter. Usually, it is much darker and gray, which is worse than snow and cold for me, but this year most days have been bright and sunny.


See? Today's colorful sunrise!


God bless your week. I'm off to shuffle through the day, which I am quite thankful for being able to slog through another, but it feels like the kind of day where I will be very thankful for bed time to come.