Advent/Christmas · family life

{pretty, happy, funny, real)


More from our Thanksgiving trip this week! Meanwhile, anyone else having trouble getting ready for Advent? It seems to me that usually having a day or two of November before the Advent calendars start on Dec. 1 does in fact make a lot of difference–particularly when much of ours is DIY. Of course, my issues are mainly strategic planning related. If I’d had my act together I would have had my Advent box upstairs before we left on our Thanksgiving trip. I would have found four of the Advent calendars the kids needed that I had hidden from eager hands–these sticker calendars from Adoremus Books that I’d bought in October–and would have found them before yesterday. And we would have had both our Advent trees up–the real and the wooden. The wooden one is still on the other side of the boat and the real one is languishing in a Wal-Mart garden center (unless I find another place that sells 4ft trees between now and Saturday)

However, I plead extenuating circumstances. When Advent officially began I was 500 miles from home. Purchasing a real tree for Advent at that time would have entailed it being strapped to the van for said 500 mile trip. Would much of it have been left upon arrival? And the kids aren’t complaining about the delay in calendars much. They’ve been able to open 2-3 doors a day or add 3 stickers or color 4 houses. Starting today it’s 1–just 1–from now until the 24th.

Another new thing I introduced was the idea of choosing a random sibling name on a slip of paper and being that sibling’s Secret Santa. I wanted them to get a better idea of keeping a secret and participate more in the giving of the season besides wrapping Daddy’s present or seeing that our UPS man  and mail-lady get a bag of cookies. The key is to do a good turn for the brother or sister (only the oldest four are participating this year) and then choose a gift to give them on Christmas, wrapped by their very selves. Rascal took to it right away. He’d picked Dino’s name and thought of a good deed to do on the sly for his brother. Later in the day Rascal came over to me and said: “Hey, Mom! I just made [Dino’s) bed. If he thanks you for doing it, just say ‘ok,’ okay?” Then he scampered off, which is good because I was already smiling wryly at the thought of Dino thanking me for making his bed.  It would surprise me if Dino even noticed the bed was made! Rascal also began dreaming of pricey gifts for said brother but I reminded him that Dino would love a plastic dinosaur from the grocery store just as well.  Ironically, Dino has Rascal’s name and when I suggested a good turn would be to take the clothes Rascal had left on the floor and toss them into the laundry hamper about ten steps away, Dino was shocked: “You mean I have to clean?!

Oh boy.



On Saturday we went to the Children’s Museum thanks to my parents’ awesome grandparents membership. The Museum had its Jolly Days exhibit open replete with faux snowball fights, a tiny “iceskating” rink, “ice-fishing”, a huge play kitchen and family room, meeting Santa, and other great fun. Princess sighted a museum volunteer dressed as the Sugar Plum Fairy (I assume), and couldn’t rest until we found the wandering ballerina and Princess exuberantly divulged her life-long ambition to be a ballerina, too. I honestly don’t think the poor volunteer knew what to do with the redheaded ball of enthusiasm that bounced her way, but she took it pretty well.


Pretty Happy

One person in the Museum totally capable of handling excited five year olds is the Jolly Old Elf himself.


exuberant ice fishers


Grandpa and the train-watchers
Grandpa and the train-watchers


Real Fun

The slide behind the water clock!

Princess and her cousin
Princess and her cousin
Rascal and Dino
Rascal and Dino




Grandma and Miss M
Grandma and Miss M



Saving the best for last.

Ah, the quintessential first picture with Santa.


Happy first week of Advent to all, and to all a good day!







The Everyday

(pretty, happy, funny, real)


Oh it’s been a long time since I’ve linked in for one of these! It’s not for lack of things going on, that’s for sure.

Pretty Just Darn Amazing


So the flooring saga and the plague event rather derailed my posting about my parents’ trip to Rome (now that they’ve been home for a month). Fortunately my dad sent me this picture which was the best I’d been able to see of the two of them. Most of my pictures looked like this:

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 9.32.56 AM

The arrows show my dad in the crowd after the Angelus. I was lucky to find him!

They had an amazing pilgrimage and came home with lots of stories and pictures that I have yet to see. 😉 One picture my mom sent me really made our day:

dad in st. peters

She sneakily took it during the Mass at St. Peter’s for the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. “Can you find your dad?” she asks, sending us the picture from their room later that day. Sure, Mom, I snarkily think, if you would be so kind as to add an arrow or three.

“He’s doing the reading!”

My jaw dropped. Suddenly it was like I was seven or eight years old again listening to my dad lector at the 8am Mass at our little small-town Indiana parish. I remember being SO PROUD that was MY DAD up there and surely everyone could see he was the best lector in the world and could pronounce the Old Testament names better than anyone else, of this I was convinced. I had something of the same feeling getting this picture and imagining what it must of been like to lector in St. Peter’s Basilica!!! Too bad it wasn’t a Papal Mass because then it would have been televised. 😉 But it was a highlight for them all the same. My dad happened to be in the right place in the right time when the MC was looking for an English-speaking man wearing a white shirt under the traditional Equestrian Order cape.  And in a split second he was being escorted from a seat way in the back to the front of the rows! Clearly a case of the last shall be first!


I almost completely forgot to mention this. Several weeks ago I blogged about a birthday disappointment for Haus Meister. With his rowboat project nearing completion he wanted to line up another project to jump into as soon as it was done. While I can do that easily with my knitting by ticking off the next thing on my insanely long Ravelry queue, he has to actually do a bit more searching and finding. 😉 He did find a wooden two-seater runabout boat that a gentleman was giving away for free. It was half-built and just needed to be finished. When Haus Meister drove two hours to take a look at it, he found it had a good deal of problems and figured he’d have to rebuild it from scratch to make it lakeworthy. That was the disappointment. However, it was providential because the next week he came across an ad for a 1966 Thompson wooden boat in need of restoration, the specific name of which escapes me except that we found it was actually 18′ instead of 17′. It wasn’t free, but it was a steal of a bargain. Another four hour drive and he brought it home!


Rascal noticed that the boat had the “Thompson” logo on either side of it so he immediately christened it “Thompson and Thomson,” after those erstwhile detectives of Herge’s Tintin fame.


I didn’t blog about the boat at the time because my father-in-law was out of town and we wanted to surprise him. Haus Meister and his brother helped my father-in-law restore an old Chris-Craft when they were in highschool, so now my father-in-law gets to help his son and grandsons get Thompson & Thomson ready over the next few years.

happy and pretty, too.

Of course, finding that the boat was a bit larger than advertised was interesting when it came to putting it into the garage. It fit all right, but now my decoration boxes are in a tight spot. After much procrastination I finally dug out my fall decor. Of course, I only have pictures of the exterior ones. Oh well.

photo 2 (1) photo 3 (1) photo 4 (1)

Funny & Real

Ok, just a few more.

photo 1 (1)

Lost 1 tooth.

photo 5

Gained 3 (!) teeth (in one week!)


And that’s all for today. Rawr!

The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real} State Fair edition


Good evening! Look! My keyboard acknowledged the existence of the shift key! Let me make up for yesterday….



Okay, I’m good.

So, here’s a few snapshots of our State Fair trip for our {p,h,f,r} saga of the week.

Miss M and Posey Pie--first train ride for Posey! Yes, we rode a train to the fairgrounds. How cool is that?! Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!
Miss M and Posey Pie–first train ride for Posey! Yes, we rode a train to the fairgrounds. How cool is that?! Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!


In. His. Element.
In. His. Element. He just forgot to wear his hat (and he had brought it with him!!)


Princess and her cousin, best friends forever, future college roomies. Don't tell these girls that they aren't actually in line for some throne somewhere.... unless the story is true that our remote ancestor was a king of some Spanish kingdom waaaaay back when....
Princess and her cousin, best friends forever, future college roomies. Don’t tell these girls that they aren’t actually in line for some throne somewhere…. unless the story is true that our remote ancestor was a king of some Spanish kingdom waaaaay back when….


Did I mention he was in his element?
Did I mention he was in his element?


SERIOUSLY CREEPY HUGE BUG!!! And if you’re wondering why I have a picture of a bug and not the pigs, sheep, alpacas, bunnies, cows, chickens, etc., its because at the time we visited the barns I was trying to steer a wagon through the thin aisles.


Note cotton candy stains on face as she enjoys that brown sugar lolly courtesy of Grandpa. Can we say sugar coma? ;)
Note cotton candy stains on face as she enjoys that brown sugar lolly courtesy of Grandpa. Can we say sugar coma? 😉
County fair queens were stationed in the kids' activity to help out. Princess complimented the Queen on her beautiful royal crown. The Queen graciously and sweetly complimented Princess on her beautiful farmer hat in sincere return.
County fair queens were stationed in the kids’ activity to help out. Princess complimented the Queen on her beautiful royal crown. The Queen graciously and sweetly complimented Princess on her beautiful farmer hat in sincere return….


....and that put Princess in HER element!
….and that put Princess in HER element!








The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}




 I love her curls. Have I said it before? I love her curls. They make our Deep South humidity worthwhile.


life size bag end

After watching this LEGO video about designers bringing Bag End to life with 2.1 million+ LEGOS, the boys wanted to create a LEGO hobbit hole facade for their bed. Their talented and practical father took some spare paneling from his workshop and quickly came up with THIS:


Coolest bed ever. A round hobbit door is in the works as well.

Haus Meister’s in for it now, though. Princess wants him to make her a castle facade for her bed. She began putting her order in while he worked on the boys’ bed.


"Why hello, Beautiful!"
“Why hello, Beautiful!”

Posey Pie discovers her reflection in the mirror during her 4mos well-baby checkup. She’s doing fine, by the way. Perfectly average in head circumference, weighing 14lbs, and in the 93rd percentile for length. She’s a tall drink of water.



Old picture. We’ve moved the sofa since then.

We start school next week. I’m a bit in denial, but the kids are clamoring for it! It helps that there are 12 science lab projects waiting to be done at appropriate intervals in the school year, and they are anxious to begin those. Besides, what mom doesn’t want to hear her children asking to go back to school? Especially we homeschool moms. That’s a boost in the book!

I read a great post called 10 Things You Should Know About Homeschool Moms. I found it all very accurate, except for the Algebra part. I’m not terrified of teaching Algebra. Just Calculus. 😉

The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}




Even though it’s nearly July, the humidity is high, and the temperatures peak at near 90 daily…. Sunshine loves to roam the house in the corduroy Christmas dress my grandmother made me about 20 years ago. Holy cow-was it really that long ago? I’m incredulous. Anyway, I guess you can call this picture “Christmas in Near-July.”

May boats be considered pretty? My father-in-law definitely thinks so, and so does my husband, and so do I after I saw Haus Meister’s work this weekend.


The Annapolis Wherry Tandem is almost done, folks!


LEGOs make for happy summer days. You’ll notice I mention this a lot.


This is Rascal’s response to the LEGO design challenge. I post it here because alas, I was a day too late to enter it officially. 😦

“On their off days, the bad guys work in the LEGO community garden.”

I gave him a start on the gazebo. I wanted to see how that odd piece would look as a roof. Rascal eschewed my idea to use a rocket engine as a rain barrel. Sigh. I thought it was a fun idea! Truth to tell I was getting into it about as much as he was. I’m glad they didn’t mind Mom playing LEGO. Rascal told me I could come back anytime. Dino told me I could build his for him. Ha.


Good job, boys! We’ll enter officially next time.

Meanwhile, yesterday Dino received a package at our doorstep addressed to him! It was from my aunt, and it contained two John Deere hats! Dino was so pleased he allowed me to take a picture of him wearing one.

Thanks, Aunt Jeannie, for the hats! (And thanks, Mommy, for the cookie)
Thanks, Aunt Jeannie, for the hats!
(And thanks, Mommy, for the cookie)

That IS his camera smile. There are several outtakes that don’t appear here. I wanted him to convey that he was pleased to receive mail. He wanted to show me he does not like his picture taken. This was the compromise. 😉



Trooper and I were having fun making cheesy grins for the camera.

Real (& Funny)


Miss M got my phone the other day. She’s quick that way. She either sneaks it from the charger or if I’ve put it in the cargo pocket of my capris (and if I’m cooking or tending to Posey or something–she waits for her chance). So its not uncommon for me to find pictures like this in my camera roll. She was really having fun yesterday–she skyped my sister and called my parents as well! I didn’t know this until both sister and mother called within five minutes of each other with “I see you tried getting a hold of me at 7pm,” and I was wondering just how I did this without knowing it. Then I remembered who was at large.

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.

family life · LEGO · The Everyday · The fine art of crafting

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

A little late with my link-up today, partly because we totally overslept the alarm this morning. Haus Meister made it into work all right, but my hour or so of morning quiet never happened. It only happens about 70% of the time anyway, so I wasn’t worried. Somehow the extra hour of sleep helped. 😉 Then, I procrastinated because the weather was suggesting we might have a taste of that Winter Storm Iago and I thought it would be grand to have SNOW pictures. Right. That never happened. All we got was a little more rain and some occasional blobs of slush hitting the windshield. I know I shouldn’t complain–I mean, ice is bad out here in these hills–but still, I miss snow. I miss the quiet in the air when there is snow. I miss standing in the yard and feeling part of all the winter stillness. Oh well, maybe next time.


Pretty Happy

This bonny lad

photo (54)
Hamming it up with Grandma (always one of his favorite people)

And this happy girl

Someday I will get a picture of her smiling...while standing still.
Someday I will get a picture of her smiling…while standing still.

Had a birthday on Saturday!

photo (58)

We ate scrumptious cupcakes

They both like John Deere, conveniently enough.
They both like John Deere, conveniently enough.

appropriately decorated.

 And had a fun outing on a train.

But not THIS train.
But not THIS train.

Happy Pretty

(the baby, not necessarily the puffy 3rd trimester Mama. 😉 )

This is what happens

photo (53)

When Miss M

photo (52)

Sees herself on the camera.

Can I see me now?
Can I see me now?

Pretty Funny

LEGO antics, post-birthday unwrapping edition.

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In a quieter way we celebrated my birthday on Sunday. It was actually Monday, one of our busier days of the week. I had a lovely day in the company of many of my favorite people. My parents remembered my favorite birthday cake (strawberry shortcake with angel food) and not only did they order me to sit down and put my feet up (free knitting time!) but they helped catch up on Mt. Neverrest (the laundry pile). We tried out a new mop and had a relaxing time. It can’t get much better, can it?

Well, until Haus Meister and my in-laws indulged me with enough yarn to accomplish four more projects. When I stuffed the latest KnitPicks additions into my yarn cupboard, some of the brown balls (Swish worsted in Doe)  fell out. Mom laughed and said it reminded her of the scene with Captain Kirk in Trouble with Tribbles.

Yep, I'm good for a while now, I think!
Yep, I’m good for a while now, I think!

This scene.

Haus Meister hopes it will never come to this.
Haus Meister hopes it will never come to this.

I could see her point. 😉

Rather Real

This is the aftermath of a new 3yr old “helping” aerate all the dry ingredients preparatory to those scrumptious cupcakes. Sunshine found out how to speed up the mixer, and for a moment it was a veritable cloud of flour, sugar, and cocoa in my kitchen.

photo (57)

Advent/Christmas · LEGO · The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Pretty & Happy

Knowing that the Church is still in the Christmas season and spirit.

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Happy & Funny

My Christmas gift from the children was the LEGO Winter Village Bakery, making the second in my collection when you add what is left of the Winter Village Toy Shoppe. I say “what is left” because in a fit of absolute trust and faith I allowed the boys to play with the Toy Shoppe before I put it away last year. Consequently I am now missing about 50% of the pieces. However, with the addition of the bakery and the limited edition holiday sleigh + bench scene, I have a very respectable display on top of my yarn and fabric cupboard.

photo (49)

I’m not sure why I thought leaving it there meant it would be safe.

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After all, most of them can climb on chairs.

Funny & Real

photo (46)
Arrangements by Sunshine. You’ll note all my shepherds and two of the Magi’s animals are missing.

The Magi, misdirected no doubt by faulty GPS locations, made it to Bethlehem but can’t seem to find the stable. At least the elephant never forgets!

Further Sunshine antics.

photo (45)

No sooner did we get into the van than she kicked off her boots and decided her socks made better mittens.

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And here she is, hamming it up in the bathroom mirror with Miss M, if she could even see herself through the smeared mirror that she herself just smeared by trying to wash it with a toothbrush. She’s wearing the 3D glasses I brought back from The Hobbit for moments such as these, and also decided upon the precaution of wearing rainboots with her sleeper.

Happy birthday this Saturday to our own Sunshine and Dino. I will hopefully be back this weekend with reports of the day (if not sooner with other reports).

housekeeping · LEGO · The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


During the week I did finish the Master Bedroom Challenge. The only “hotspot” left is part of the top of Haus Meister’s dresser, but he was out of town on business and there was mail waiting for him that I didn’t want to risk being turned into scrap coloring pages or paper airplanes if left in the usual unlocked areas. Yes, we lock our bedroom during the day. Why? See indelible marks left on walls. I’m getting blue paint for my birthday in January! Huzzah! Other rooms need attention before then. Also, there has to be some room in the house where one can keep the breakable objects, right? So, it’s our room.

The icon on my bookcase (Haus Meister made me that bookcase, incidentally) is supposed to be on the wall with the other two, and will again when we get the back hook fixed.

Quilts make great slipcovers, don’t you think? The chair came from his late grandmother’s estate and the quilt covering it was made by my (happily still living) grandmother. His late grandmother made the quilt that covers the wine rack as a baby blanket for Haus Meister 32 years ago. We have the backing showing because it needs repairs, and there’s no wine or wine glasses on the rack. It was probably the most impractical anniversary gift we gave each other. But at the time we only had Trooper and found out the day he bought the wine for the rack that Jacob was expected. Now it has a new life as a side table in our room.

I know I’ve blogged the top of my dresser before–probably the very first {P,h,f,r} in which I participated. Unfortunately this is probably the cleanest it has been in a long while.

Thanks for the challenge!


Earlier this month we realized it had been a year since these critters came into our house.

Pippin and Merry. Shy, sweet little puppies. You could already tell that Pip is the energetic one and Merry is the snuggle puppy.

One year out, it’s hard to get them to stay together for a picture, unless it looks like this:

Merry is the *ahem* stout one on the left. Pip is on the right. If I try to get a picture of them outside, they run over and mob me and won’t stop jumping. They don’t sit on the couch together too often, preferring to hog choice corners or in an individual chair. They are typical brothers, competing for attention and in Merry’s case, the first bite of everything. But we love our crazy hobbit dogs.


The LEGO catalogs are being devoured over here in preparation for the annual Christmas wish list. Rascal especially liked this fellow.

However, as the project is a little too ambitious/expensive/involved for him right now, I encouraged him to look at other LEGO sets. However, he was determined to build this so he had me download the instructions and he began to build it from our own pieces. About 15 steps in he realized the enormity of the task he had undertaken and decided to curtail it.

Rascal’s Mini R2.

His dad designs robots for a living. Daily I am reminded that this son is practically his father’s clone.


Life with Miss M.