Continuing to mix epics…

(Regular family news on hold. The girls–all five–either have colds or croup.)

Rascal set out to recreate The Lonely Mountain. He brought out a goodly deal of yellow LEGOS to form the halls of gold (see his well-loved copy of “The Hobbit”? He just finished reading it). Sigh–it was only a matter of time before Dino’s storm trooper LEGOs appeared.



humor · LEGO

Mixing epics….

“And now, Frodo Baggins, your journey to the Dark Side is complete…”


The boys corrected me. Elrond isn’t dead, Frodo was aiming at something I couldn’t decipher, and Arwen had gone to get ginger ale because Vader had gotten injured (like in a Star Wars Lego cartoon they saw). But all the same, boys?!?!

LEGO · Lent · The Everyday

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real–first week of March edition




The icon wall in the foyer is ready for Lent! Princess, Rascal, and Dino made their annual Lenten countdown calendar yesterday. Only Princess remembered that the Lenten color is purple, it seems. But hey, I’m flexible with the kids’ art… though I did have to question Dino why he persisted in drawing “Pirate Penguins” in parts of his calendar. Pirate Penguins is a recurring art theme for him, and as it is mainly from his own imagination I’m not too sure about the details. Sigh, yes that is a pencil mark on the wall. Miss M is our new wall artist. She’s even more subtle than Sunshine, her predecessor. But never fear, this weekend I’m running around with the touch-up paint!

A week from tomorrow is Posey’s first birthday. Where did that year go? I told you all last year that when Posey arrived home, Miss M thought she was the neatest thing ever. A real live doll to play with! Over the months Posey became less of a live doll and more of an actual playmate, but has that changed Miss M’s affections?

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(They don’t share a crib. Miss M climbed in after Posey woke up. And yes, I have to repaint the closet doors in my room….)


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Feeding the dinosaurs.

(Egad! That wall, too!)

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Rebuilding Bag End (with some modifications. One day we will retain all the pieces to a LEGO set. One. Day.)

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Trooper checking out the interior.


I knew we were in trouble when I heard, “Mom! Sunshine took the toilet lid off again!”

I just wasn’t expecting the duck.

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I think I prefer her playing in the sink. I don’t know what gave her this idea anyway.


This week I cleaned up a pile of random stuff in my room that had been sitting there since before Christmas (sigh). At the bottom of the pile was a bunch of now defunct coupons to Bath & Body Works that I had meant to send to my sis-in-law in college in case she and her girlfriends could use them. I never shop at B&BW anymore unless it is for a Christmas gift for my youngest sis-in-law, so I knew I wouldn’t need them. One advertisement in the coupons made me feel a little, well, old.


I looked at it and thought to myself, Huh…I don’t think I want to see midnight every night for forever. How wearisome, much less the dressing up every night to go out until midnight or later…. 😉 I guess “Forever Midnight” just sounds like Purgatory to someone who has been rejoicing at the chance to go to sleep at 11p. 😉

family life · LEGO

{pretty, happy, funny, real)


Ah, the post wherein I play catch-up for the week and hopefully get through it without mentioning yarn anymore than I’ve already had to, lest the family readers looking for amusing anecdotes about our wonderful crazy life think that they’ve wandered into a crafty knitting blog.

Although, that is part of my wonderful crazy life….

But moving on.


When I took down our wooden Christmas countdown tree, which is hung every year in the foyer because my father-in-law (who made the tree in his workshop) found the perfect place to hang the nail for it there, I had already decided to put a new picture in its place. The question was: what? I’d never had a permanent home for anything there but it is very near to the wall on which we placed our Sacred Heart picture that we had enthroned in our home some years before. I wondered and waited for some inspiration, and within a week or two a catalog from Monastery Icons arrived with this on the cover:


It arrived two days ago and as soon as I get a picture with good lighting (sunshine again please?) I’ll post it!

Happy, Funny, Real….

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Because clearly we need binoculars to see the Kipper cartoon on the computer screen directly in front of us.

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From what I gather, Rascal’s cargo ship was being attacked by Dino’s Pirate Yeti Spaceman with a dwarvish battle axe. Or something like that. I don’t think the Yeti won, but he gets full marks for bravery.

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Nothing is safe from her these days.

LEGO · The Everyday · The fine art of crafting

Yarn Along & (p, h, f, r)




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From the phone camera archives–a tableau from this past New Year’s Eve. Those are bayberry candles burning down in the old tradition: “This bayberry candle comes from a friend /so on Christmas eve burn it down to the end. / For a bayberry candle burned to the socket, / will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” Now our candles came from a store and not from a friend, and I burned ours on New Years instead of Christmas Eve, so it’s probably a good thing I was just doing it for the sake of an old colonial tradition and also because it smelled great! 😉

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I am still working on my mom’s Shalom cardigan. She knows it is for her now so I can openly boast that I’ve finally knitted something for her. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn, having under-budgeted for the sweater when I bought the yarn a year ago. Since I had to send off for more skeins via mail, I took the time to start on Ysolda’s Mystery Shawl Knit-a-long, only a week behind everyone else–even though I bought the pattern and joined the Ravelry group on January 5! Other knitters might possibly recognize this poor picture as part of Clue 1-B. I know I’m going to go on to Clue 2-A, hopefully before the third clue is released on Monday!


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The picture I meant to post last week for Yarn Along but never managed to write. See my lovely new Georgette Heyer collection? Perfect for the winter doldrums! Also a new paperback edition of Mansfield Park from Ignatius Critical editions so I don’t have to worry about crazy weird introductions or essays included. Ahhhh… Oh, and the gardening book might just be the answer to our backyard gardening woes. Maybe, just maybe….

The big reddish thing there is the Shalom cardigan in progress. The two skeins of Classic Elite Firefly there propping up the gardening book are for the mystery shawl.

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A blurry look at my cute Miss M in front of my yarn cupboard. Miss M makes me happy. Yarn also helps keep the morale going. The fact that Miss M can’t get to that yarn keeps the peace.


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I found that I had a “little” extra help taking down the Christmas decorations.


The news of Baby Girl #5 meant that there needed to be a change-up in the bedroom arrangements. When we bought the house, the boys got the larger of the two kids’ bedrooms because they had more stuff (read:LEGO) than the girls and also the girls’ room had a closet organizer that I thought they should appreciate (there were also just 2 girls in the room and Miss M on the way). The girls did appreciate the closet organizer but only as a ladder, so the organizer was ditched pretty quickly. Now the thought of trying to fit five girls into their pink room was getting pretty claustrophobic so we determined to switch out the kids’ rooms.

Enter a friend who owns a professional custom tile company, who had a client who wanted to get rid of a wooden bedroom suite. Knowing our family as he did, our friend arranged for us to get it and came over on Sunday to help Haus Meister unload it. I meanwhile quickly painted over the pink and in a few hours the transformation between rooms was mostly complete (still doing the odds and ends). 

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(I’m standing next to Trooper’s bed, which is the same one that Haus Meister made for him when we lived in the Old Haus).

There is one more thing that the girls need to make their room completely theirs again, though.

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 A new coat of paint!

family life · LEGO · The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real



Miss M’s birthday went well, and she was pleased with it. I’m learning to keep the toddler birthdays low-key–as low-key as possible with four siblings desirous for cake, ice cream, and root beer. I do not count Trooper or Posey in that score because Trooper hasn’t developed a sweet tooth (!!) and Posey doesn’t know those things exist yet. So we got balloons and I made pink lemonade cupcakes and even though it rained half the day it still was fun for everyone involved.


This was 0.354 seconds before she realized she didn’t like being sung to and wanted me to hold her for the rest of the song.


Among her gifts were the Laura & Mary Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder peg dolls from The Fig & Thimble Etsy store. All the pictures I have of her holding them are blurry because she was already making up stories with them. The dolls were an instant hit and even enabled us to sit through 85% more of Sunday Mass than usual the next morning!  Peg dolls are now tops on my list of favorite little kid toys.

"iss MEEE!" she giggles
“iss MEEE!” she giggles

My pretty Miss M.


My dad and the Trooper, 2005.
My Mom and Dino, her buddy, 2011.

The 2nd birthday isn’t the only big event these days. Ten days ago my parents celebrated their 36th Wedding Anniversary.

And while my cousins were writing very wonderful posts about their own parents’ 40th Wedding Anniversary, I was a loser and forgot to even get my parents’ card out on time.

 But at least I spared putting the picture taken in 1975 up here for immortality. Do we still have that picture? The plaid bell-bottoms one?

Seriously, Mom and Dad, I do think you’re wonderful and I couldn’t ask for better parents, or grandparents for my gang. And I promise that we’ll give you at least a card on time next year…or by your 40th! 😉

Other big events: Someone has an 8th birthday this weekend.

And 14 years ago yesterday I met my husband. You may read all about it here.  I didn’t know that was going to be the start of something absolutely wonderful, but I’m forever grateful for it all the same.


The Desolation of Smaug trailer…LEGO-style! Thanks to my sister for the link.

I can so see my boys doing something like this in 7 – 10 years.


“Some spawn of Ungoliant, or I’m not a wizard” — Radagast the Brown, in the recent Hobbit movie.

It’s official: we live in Mirkwood.



I would say if these suckers dared enter our house, I’d be after them with a tennis racket. But let’s be honest: I’d scream, run to the opposite side of the house and sit plugging my ears until Haus Meister or one of the boys came and told me the thing was gone. Fortunately for my self-image’s sake, and the lives of the spiders, this hasn’t happened yet.


LEGO Engineer

I think Rascal’s dream job would possibly be that of a LEGO designer. It fluctuates between that and designing robots with his Dad (the layman’s term for Haus Meister’s job).  Yesterday we watched a video detailing the latest LEGO design challenge and you could see the castles in the sky being built. The guy talking is a LEGO designer? He plays with LEGOs all day–and gets paid for it?! Isn’t that the ultimate LEGO dream?!


So he sat down yesterday evening and constructed a LEGO speedboat harbor in a matter of fifteen minutes and then explained it all to me in meticulous detail. I love seeing his young engineer’s mind at work. I’m interested to see if he competes in the design challenge. First, though, we have to see if we have any of those robber minifigures left. LEGOs we have in abundance, but they may not be all in one piece….or, (sigh) place.

family life · LEGO · The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Thursday again already? At the start of the week it felt that today would never get here. Haus Meister has been working overtime the past two weeks preparing for a project demonstration that occurred on Tuesday as well as today, so it has been a crazy week for schedules. Fortunately, school is nearly out for the summer and we’ve had several sunny days to enjoy.

And not a few smiles along the way…



Posey Pie at 2 months!

(Ignore corgi photo-bomb moment)



This is George the Dolphin that Rascal and I designed and created last week. Contrary to the picture, George does not have a broken tail. I’m aware of the lack of flippers as well, but I had less than 10 minutes to draw, cut, and sew–so that’s my excuse. 😉 I’m also not the best draw-er of dolphins, I know this, but Rascal and company were pleased anyway.


Kind of dark, I know, but on the day she wore this old “Play in the Mud” John Deere shirt I realized that Hester Prynne-like I had her in a shirt that publicly confessed her sin. 😉 Our Sunshine is a Mud Magnet. Not only does she see it as her personal God-given outdoor entertainment, but she frequently tries to convince me that it has beauty benefits to her hair and skin.


On a day too beautiful to stay indoors, I had Rascal bring the old activity table out of the boys’ room so the kids could color on the upper deck. Miss M stayed longest at the table, scribbling in a little calendar book someone had picked up at the Farmers’ Market.


These fellows showed up in my kitchen one afternoon.


I think they had come to hijack my cookies.


My Picture of the Month!


One evening, I had to help Sunshine sweep one of her messes up in the kitchen and so had laid the sleeping Posey Pie in the nearest safe spot, which happened to be her carseat. Miss M wandered in during clean-up and seeing Baby  at her level, proceeded to give her kisses. Miss M is very good with her baby sister and likes to sit and chat with her during these occasions. Sunshine ditched me in the middle of clean-up, not being patient enough to see me through sweeping up her attempt to sweep up a few cups of all-purpose flour, so by the time I turned back to Baby, I realized Miss M was still there. Miss M hadn’t napped yet that day, and I guess seeing her sister sleeping was too much for her. Posey, however, was not amused.