{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}


Summer’s over… don’t I wish? Hereabouts we’re still in our summer hibernation.  This is our last week of summer “break” and while some of the kids attended the “Totus Tuus” religious education event at Church this week, I took advantage of the free time to firm up the lesson plans for the first quarter of school that begins Monday.  Oh yes, Monday. I am determined that no matter how flexible homeschooling is, barring any unforeseen colds/croups/coughs/epidemics, I will not be teaching after December 14th until January 5th.  So we start early, as besides, no one really wants to be outside right now, anyway. 🙂


IMG_3349She’s the unsung beauty of the family, sandwiched between two dynamic redheads.  Hers is the only straight hair of the female side of the family, and she’s not helped it much by intermittently chopping parts of it off in the last two years. 😉 She begins her day with a burst and a sparkle and sets off zooming through the rest of it. If she doesn’t often grace the “pretty” part of this page, it’s because she doesn’t often hold still enough to want her picture taken.  She is, and always will be, our Sunshine.

After much reluctance, not the least part of which being Trooper’s negative experience with a much different medication, we agreed to try an ADHD medicine for our impulsive little ball of Sunshine. I confess that the day before her developmental pediatrician appointment, I had been chasing her around the parish hall during Mass–in heels, no less–which made me just that much more receptive to the idea. 😉 The good news is that it has already made a huge difference in her life this past month. She sits down to write and draw, which I was barely able to get her to do before.  She plays dolls with Miss M and sits to “read” books.  It’s just been amazing for her and we have all enjoyed watching this blossom of ours branch out just that much more.  On the downside, it’s affecting her sleep habits. Oy vey. Please pray we can help her get that all worked out.

Pretty Happy

Haus Meister was recently way out West on business and while there, had the chance to go hiking on Mt. Hood.


If I wasn’t already planning on going there with him someday, the pictures he got of nighttime at Mt. Timberline Lodge absolutely sold me.  It does not do much justice to the area, he told me.  The glowing lights on the mountainside are the machines out grooming the ski area for the next day. Yes, there is snow.


Someday I will see those stars myself, and with him.  It’s going on the 20yr plan. Like England. And sleeping without toddlers in the bed.


Going back a ways, on the 4th of July we were thrilled to host a number of family members, including my parents, my sister and her family, and Haus Meister’s youngest sister. We did crazy things like have a Sisters’ Morning Out where we amused a Dunkin Donuts employee by my trying to relay three orders at the drive-thru, went thrift store shopping (I got a new leatherish purse for $2!) and then of course went to the grocery store because I almost never go out without getting a gallon of milk. In Americana news, most of the assembled family went to a baseball game intown the night before (I stayed home and after the littles were in bed, watched the last part of Gettysburg with my parents, a pleasure I hadn’t had in a long time.  It’s funny how often we quote that movie in entirely unrelated circumstances).

On Independence Day proper, we attended a cannon firing done by park rangers and volunteers at a nearby Civil War battlefield.  It was incredible.



In the department of “Then and Now…”

July 2014


Grandpa’s little Sweetie, our Posey Pie… who (sniff) looks so small here.

July 2015


Bossing him around (I was just a second too late to get a repeat–she still puts those fingers in her mouth).

July 2014


Miss M doesn’t like the fireworks.

July 2015


Miss M doesn’t like the cannon.

(Oh my, she’s in the same dress, and I have the same expression on my face!)


The baby of the family is GETTING INTO THINGS.


For reasons unexplained, Posey took the tea pitcher out and left it on the floor.  Littlest then decided it was the perfect place to go fishing with a pinecone.

Because every house has pinecones tied to string just lying around, right?

And if that wasn’t bad enough…


Mercy me, she’s climbing.  She got up there all by herself, and wasn’t she proud.  I should have known this phase was coming–she’ll be 15mos on Sunday–but it still took me by surprise.  Littlest now even has a special cry for the times when “Oh help, I’ve gotten myself up here and have no idea how to get myself back down.”

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}


This week is brought to you by the blurry iPhone camera. This iPhone came back from the dead after an aquatic dunking so it was to be expected that something wouldn’t work.  In this case, the focus on the camera. One of these days I’ll carry the nice camera around with me.


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My Mother’s Day roses in my room. 🙂


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Note the pun above the picture. Haus Meister did some homebrewing the other night and thought the hop oils were pretty fun.  We quipped that they were “essential oils for guys.”


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T-K 42-Miss M. Facebook friends please forgive the repeat picture.  It’s one of my favorites from the week.

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Littlest fell asleep in the kids’ Poang chair from IKEA (dangerous store). So Rascal gently removed the cover and let her nap on the floor, and so she did until Posey Pie arrived. Posey’s saying “CHEESE.”


I had two requests for Mother’s Day.  I wanted time to use my sewing machine, which I was given on Sunday, and I wanted time to go to the buy/sell/trade used bookstore. Last night a dear friend and I headed out together to the bookstore, having to explain to our eager children, respectively, that it was MOM’s Night Out. 🙂 Our crew awaited the arrival of the new (to us) treasures and having been quite successful, we’re ready to start some summer reading! 🙂

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{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} at April’s End


Somehow it’s felt like May for a week.  Today, though, it’s still April, and the 26th anniversary of my First Holy Communion.  On that note….

Pretty (& Handsome)

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First Communion Sunday, April 26th.  These two were so happy.

Miss M adored her lovely oldest sister.  Even Sunshine told Princess that she was “So Be-yew-tee-ful.”

photo courtesy of Rascal
photo courtesy of Rascal


An unexpected treat–my sister and her family came for a visit! We had a fantastic three-and-a-half day weekend with them and my parents, who came the following day.

The cousins get along well together, and I was thrilled to get a picture of my nephew and my Littlest at a park.

Sunshine is my Nature Girl. As enthusiastic and energetic as she usually is, you’d think a Butterfly Garden would be the last place to take her.

But it was her favorite place of all that day.



The First Communicants were to bring up the gifts at Offertory. Just when you think your kids have the etiquette down, one of them saunters past with his hands in his pockets.


(At the Aquarium) Grandkids in a shark cage.  Well, everyone was mostly contained for a second!



The boys’ room had been sadly neglected.  Most of the decorating energy over the past year had been in other rooms, so this month I decided to spruce things up.  It’s called posters… in frames!


This National Parks poster is now hanging where the Ansel Adams print was once taped.

Ansel Adams now has a spot across the room. 🙂


{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Girls in white dresses


Wow, this month has sped by! I think I say that about this time every month.  But then I’m running on three hours’ sleep so please bear with me, please. 🙂10959348_1561876947393265_3389925203748655840_n


Someone had the final fitting for her First Communion dress a couple of weeks ago.  My mother-in-law made it from this vintage pattern that I found on Etsy.  As she poured her love and efforts into this dress, I dared not ask for new handmade Easter dresses this year, but that was fine because the big girls still fit in the ones she made them last year. 🙂  She did a fabulous job, and on a gorgeous April day had our Princess over for her last fitting and pictures.

Both Princess and Dino make their First Communion this coming Sunday.  What a grace for our family!

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I remember when I was expecting her, I had a dream about a First Communion class, and my daughter was in it (although I couldn’t see her face).  She was walking in a line with other girls and she had long light hair.  The rest of the details of the dream were irrelevant:  We don’t attend a parish church in Michigan, and Fr. Mastroeni from our days at Christendom is not our parish priest. 😉







Princess is thrilled with her lovely dress, to say the least.  I had intended her to wear my bridal veil, which wasn’t long, and was attached to a comb so she could wear whatever headpiece she liked with it.  However, when the time came to get it out…. I couldn’t find my veil.  Gulp.  I’m praying it wasn’t lost in the move.  But the veil she is wearing was worn by her aunts at their First Communion and also her older cousin.  The headpiece was the flower girl wreath from my wedding, again worn by one of her aunts. 🙂



Getting ready for the First Communion party was the best excuse to finally tackle the backyard landscaping project.  That’s what we’ve been up to this week besides work and school.


Yummy dinner, happy kids.  And a stormtrooper.



Posey came into the boys’ room one evening and decided it was time for her to go to school…. in my chapel veil.

Real Funny


Gone where good dollies go….

A tragedy struck today which could only be a tragedy in houses like ours, where there is a special Dollie that is loved like no other dolly was before. Or to be less melodramatic, where there is a favorite doll that is loved to bits. Literally, bits.

You know a doll is a favorite when she shows up in family pictures.
You know a doll is a favorite when she shows up in family pictures.

This doll was a Cabbage Patch Preemie, brand new on Christmas Eve, 1985, when my aunt and uncle gifted me with her and fulfilled my kindergarten ambition–to adopt a Cabbage Patch doll.  I still have the “adoption papers” in my old baby book that show in 1986 I adopted “Ella Giselle” and renamed her “Melissa Ann.”  Now that I’m much older, I kind of think the first name had some character to it, and that my replacement was totally snagged from the names of girls at school–which it was.  In any event, either was better than what my sister got; her first Cabbage Patch was named “Morris.”

I digress a little.  Melissa was my doll for my main dolly years.  I did graduate to an American Girl doll, but I was “old” then–eleven, and the doll years were ending.  But Melissa came with me to college and was packed away in the box for our children after our wedding.  I kind of expected her to be on the shelf; she wasn’t the prettiest doll, and I had blissfully bought each of our three older daughters their own Bitty Baby.

In a way that was a bad idea.  One doll was practically ready for retirement (I found it on eBay) and it developed silver eye. The other two just weren’t chosen as the One and Only Plaything to Take Along With Me. Miss M was the first to really show a consistent interest in dolls, but not the Bitty Babies.  She picked “Melissa.”

Back on a balmy winter day, Littlest was "babysitting" Dollie for her big sister.
Back on a balmy winter day, Littlest was “babysitting” Dollie for her big sister.

And so my first favorite doll had a great two-year run as favorite doll again, perhaps even more loved than she had ever been.  But age caught up with her, and even as I patched her up again I figured time was running out. She already had two fabric swatches covering the hole in her tum from the time Sunshine discovered scissors. A third swatch in her back, the arm coming loose, and today Miss M brought her to me with a gaping hole near her neck, right where I had stitched before.

I knew it couldn’t take another stitch.  So I hid the doll away and told Miss M that I couldn’t fix Dollie.

“It’s okay,” she said confidently. “You fix Dollie and then we go to [favorite grocery store.]”  With the sweetest smile.

“Well, dear, Mommy can’t fix this one.  It’s just too big.”

And then her 9yr old brother decides that she’s just not getting it and chimes in, as only brothers can: “[Miss M,] Dollie’s DEAD.”

As I glare at him, Miss M shoots him a quivering lip. “Dollie’s NOT DEAD.”

So I repeat gently that I cannot fix the doll and go off in search of the last two Bitty Babies.  I first present the one Santa had brought her, but again it was still inadequate.  To salvage my wounded pride, Littlest scrambled over and was happy to claim that Bitty Baby.

I walked into the kitchen, wondering what I was going to do.  The innocent heartbreak of a child deprived of a favorite toy was overriding my common sense. I was certainly willing to drive the girl to Target and find a new Dollie, so help me!

Then Princess came into the room and announced that Miss M had chosen the other Bitty Baby, the brunette one that already sported a scuffed head (those brunette ones only look magazine perfect for about two weeks, I’m sure).  I rushed back into the girls’ room and saw that it was true; Miss M was sitting on Posey’s bed cuddling the Bitty Baby and began pointing out to me the slightly more realistic features on this doll’s face and hands.  I pointed out that she and the doll had the same color eyes and that the doll was just right for hugs.  Miss M approved.

And just as all was right in the world, Princess accidentally pulled out one set of the doll’s eyelashes while demonstrating how it’s eyes closed when asleep.

Devastation again! But I reassured her that her Daddy could fix it when he got back from work. He did so in his workshop, with the new mommy gravely watching to make sure that all went well.  And now she sleeps with her “new” Dollie, who I think will need another name.  When I asked if Dollie was comfortable, she shook her head and said, “Dollie’s dead.”

Grr. Thanks a lot, Rascal!