family life · The Everyday

{Handsome, happy, funny, Rascal


Something fun happened last week.


This sweet bundle of chub


Who launched me headfirst into childproofing

(Incidentally, those bookshelves are insanely straight and clean. Those Were the Days)


Whom I assumed would turn my hair gray before I was 30

(He didn’t, so the Toddler Mischief Squad are trying to do it before I’m 33).

Our Rascal

is now



Best Brother Ever
Best Brother Ever

Ironically I have no pictures of HIM on his day, except a dark one since we had the lights out for his birthday candle, and even then it’s just his arm.


That’s because he packed a lot into his day. We didn’t have school–I plan our calendar year so that we can still get our minimum of 180 days and take birthdays as holidays. The ultimate perk of homeschooling. Anyway, so he went to the Therapeutic Riding Center with his aunt, who works there. Trooper had his lesson, and Rascal helped take care of a pony, feed the resident barn chickens, and even gathered an egg. Later we picked up his birthday balloons and his best friend (not from the same place) and they went swimming. Following this, we had a party with his favorite cookout food.


And a LEGO Star Wars cake.


I didn’t have time to tidy up the edges, sorry. Basically I borrowed an idea from here, and used black food paste (actually in my pantry, thanks to my epic fail attempt at homemade licorice last Christmas) to darken chocolate icing. I had yellow sugar sprinkles that I never used at the John Deere birthday in January so I sprinkled them on as “stars.” Then I added red and yellow food coloring to white icing for that ginormous red-orange planet that you see all the X-Wings by in Episode IV, right before they take on the Death Star.

Rascal was impressed.

And of course we had to watch Star Wars later. But two nights later, after he had sufficiently recovered from all the fun. 😉

Happy Birthday to our big guy. You’re one in a million, and my biggest help. Some days I don’t know how I’d do it without you, which is funny because when you were two and three it was hard to do anything WITH you. I mean that in a good way. You were the Toddler Mischief Squad of your day.

But even you didn’t think to put quarters in the CD slot of our vehicle, thus rendering the stereo useless…utterly useless…

Sorry. That’s another blogpost.

Happy Birthday Rascal!

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.

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.


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.

The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


Wow! The days got away from me there. When school ended I imagined a peaceful summer with children happily playing out of doors, myself sitting next to Posey Pea on the back deck while she was in the shade, me knitting and sipping iced tea. I figured I’d also have sewed through about six quick projects and written a chapter or two of the sequel to my book.

The reality? I’ve knitted about 4″  more of my sweater and the rest of the time I feel is divided between cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Cleaning also involves directing the children to do their chores, because I’m a “Mean Mom” (not my children’s words) who believes children need to learn responsibility. However, the children more often than not feel like this is a vacation (it’s called Summer Break, right?) and wonder why, if we’re not doing school, are we still doing chores?(!) Then Sunshine and Miss M have combined forces to become the Toddler Mischief Squad of the house known as “The Brown-Eyed Girls” because they are indeed the only kiddos with brown eyes. The Toddler Mischief Squad are responsible for such actions as the child lock now mounted on the refrigerator door (after blueberries, strawberries, and a whole package of tortillas were dumped out in a single day), and the fact that my sewing machine pedal was found outside and my skeleton key to my yarn-and-fabric cabinet was AWOL whenever an etsy store order came in that I needed to fill (and the item was locked in the cabinet for safekeeping). It’s been an interesting summer without a doubt!

But it has been a lot of fun too. The children are on the swim team again and enjoying the meets. And here’s a few snapshots of Some of What We’ve Been Up To Since I Last Posted.



Someone turned 3 months old!

We picked this outfit out for Princess before she was born. We found it at The Childrens Place in Indianapolis while out on a date because we tend to combine shopping and dining. We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory after shopping. Why do I remember this? Not sure. I don't think I keep a history of every baby clothes item. Just half. ;)
We picked this outfit out for Princess before she was born. It’s now been worn by four daughters! We found it at The Childrens Place in Indianapolis while out on a date because we tend to combine shopping and dining when we get time out on our own. We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory after shopping. Why do I remember this? Not sure. I don’t think I keep a history of every baby clothes item. Just half. 😉

Posey Pie, you’re a darling. We’re so glad you’re here.

We went to a wedding one weekend. It was a lovely wedding for the fifteen minutes I saw of it. The Toddler Mischief Squad decided that the hours in the car getting to the wedding was enough for them; sitting through the Nuptial Mass wasn’t going to happen (See Funny/Real). But I got to wear a real dress again, something neither “maternity” or “transitional.” That was so nice for me, anyway. The sunburn wasn’t though. Ouch.


Unfortunately this is the only picture I have of me in it. I’m sitting in a playground if you hadn’t guessed.


100_7508Trooper’s therapeutic riding lessons are going swell. He enjoys helping groom the pony.


Princess didn’t catch the bouquet at the wedding but after the reception someone handed it to her. She was thrilled to no end.


Rascal reads LEGO instructions to Posey Pie.


IMG_1563Unk the Stuffed Dinosaur had another misadventure. He went AWOL for a week until Trooper remembered he’d been using Unk in wind tunnel experiments down an air conditioner vent. Unk is the “Stuff” of Legend around here. If he goes missing I think I am more anxious than anyone because that dinosaur and I have been through a lot together taking care of the Trooper. 😉


In more Trooper news, our new (refurb) Dyson has helped him overcome his dislike of vacuums! That was worth the price of admission.


Miss M developed “hat envy” after two of Posey’s baby hats were left in the van, but there was not a hat for her.


This is what I saw of the wedding.

Because it’s never too early to think about Christmas, Dinosaur informed me that he really wants the Bag End LEGO set under the tree. He constantly talks about all the adventures Bilbo Baggins is going to have (and he’s only heard a chapter of The Hobbit read out loud, mind you. That’s his sole Tolkien exposure so far). Then one night he brought me this and said it was his own Hobbit hole creation. All I could think looking at it was:


“You have my shades.” “You have my quiver, flame-thrower, and axe.” “You have my financial backing”!

(instead of “You have my sword,” “you have my bow,” “You have my axe”, right? Right? Anyone else get it?



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 · The Everyday

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


Posey Pie–1 month old!


Waiting to leave for Posey’s baptism.

She did wear shoes at some part of the proceedings.

Sisters and their babies (godmothers and goddaughters as well)

Sisters and nie


Our first First Communicant!



A new book arrived at the Haus. This is how Dino refers to it:


(Ominous:) “Mother, this is a DANGEROUS book…”
(Suddenly gleeful:) “…for BOYS!!”

Our M&D princess castle recently broke into two pieces. This is not a judgment call on the quality; it is still a nice piece and favored toy. I defy any toy like that to survive being knocked off a table height repeatedly (Miss M and Sunshine both accidentally did this a few times trying to readjust the castle on the play table). The kids asked us NOT to glue it back because now the castle fit better on the table and they now could have two separate castles, in their opinion.

Yesterday Rascal took a clay St. Dominic that had been made for him by a friend at the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word, and made a “monastery” out of the smaller piece of the castle.


There St. Dominic was able to park his Mini Cooper (!) and offer Mass for LEGOs.


Pink roof notwithstanding, I was impressed with the mini monastery!