It’s good to be a boy….

….on a Fall afternoon….a week before Halloween….when school is done and Mom announces that THIS came in the mail today:


The shopping list for the weekend now includes PVC pipe, some kind of foam, cardstock paper, metallic spray paint, oh, and duct tape.  A lot of duct tape. 🙂

There’s already a request for the follow-up book: The Knight Book: Warfare by Duct Tape that they hope they’ll find under the Christmas tree.

Unlike most requests, I’m sure that can be arranged.  They’ve inured me to enough of their quips and games and I’d much rather them keep busy creating their own costumes and accoutrements. 🙂 Besides, these boys have five princesses to protect and defend (not that said princesses won’t lend a hand in the battle, mind). They can’t start too soon. 🙂

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}


I have some catching up to do. One member of our family celebrated her patron saint’s feast day not too long ago, and this year that day means a dessert in honor of the saint and a new small icon for our wall. It really is rather Pretty even though my camera doesn’t do it justice.



Last week I was AWOL from the blog as we were going back to St. Louis for Trooper’s follow-up with his absolutely amazing specialist. My parents came down for a mini-vacation (not that they had much time to relax) and watch most of the kids while Haus Meister, Trooper, Rascal, Littlest and I headed across a few states.



Trooper happily watched trucks for hours. He likes them as much as ever, which keeps him from being as bored as say, his brother, who began snapping pictures on my phone.

To relieve the tedium of the drive, Haus Meister produced a slackline out of the boot of the car (ok, so I’ve seen a few too many British car shows) because you never know when you might need one of those. At a rest area he rigged it up between two trees and it helped the boys stretch their legs.

IMG_1265They all really enjoyed it, although Haus Meister never quite made it across without being tackled by Rascal or pulled off by Trooper, who didn’t feel like reciprocating the help and was impatient for his next turn. Happy boys.


We did visit the Gateway Arch on the day we left and the lines were so long we knew we couldn’t get in, get our tickets, get a ride on the tram, see the view, get down again, and then drive home by 1am. Sigh. A bit of real there.


But we had fun elsewhere, too. 🙂


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our wooden trains are out again. The earliest seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine vie for screen time as the cheeky little engine enters his third cycle of being tops in our house amongst the preschool set.  I prefer “old school” Thomas to his current CGI shows, and so does Sunshine.

And to end on a little Real…


I saw this at Lowes the other day. I would love to have it take over the foyer wall. I would love it if it would take over the foyer wall and not have the Mischief Squad practice rock climbing techniques using the coat hooks. Right there Miss M sees it as a potential princess dancing stage but if Sunshine was with her you’d better believe the climbing would start. 😉


{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Whew! I think I’m finally ready to get back to a reasonable schedule again. I think I needed a few decent nights’ sleep again, which maybe-not-so-surprisingly I haven’t had lately, but feel optimistic this morning nevertheless. 😉

So, let’s try to do some Christmas catch-up.



Silhouettes on the mantel. I’d had a display like this in the Old Haus but hadn’t updated since Princess was the baby. The #2 picture is Jacob and the #8 is Posy Pea’s ultrasound.


The calm before the storm.



Back in September I hinted to Santa that an upgrade on some of the kitchen set food was in order for the little ones. It helped that Magic Cabin had them on sale. The problem was storage. We had the blue kitchen set (my mom found it for $3 at an upscale neighborhood yard sale!) but it didn’t have much more space after the food and dishes were in. My father-in-law is a genius at woodworking (something that Haus Meister luckily inherited), and so I went to him one day this fall and asked if he had any spare wood laying around that he could bang together into a play refrigerator for the grandkids. I was sanguine about this because both he and Haus Meister usually do have spare wood laying around from projects completed/projects planned/projects we’re in the process of completing/projects we know we’re going to plan for/etc. What I wasn’t expecting was an absolute work of ART.

Let me amend that. I knew my father-in-law was definitely capable of producing such a work. I had just specified a box with a door and shelves. He way surpassed anything I’ve seen in any toy catalog.


For one thing, he built a battery-powered light into it with a switch on the bottom that turns it on when you open the door, just like a real refrigerator. The shelves were perfect for the food (old and new) and everything was rounded, painted, sanded, etc. to look perfectly accurate. On the top of the outer door and inside under the light he added charms from a bracelet shaped like a crown that looks like a brand logo (but perfect for the princesses that use this). He even thoughtfully added the black basket at the bottom shelf for all the fruit and vegetables.


And now things are organized over here, more or less. In fact, it’s more organized than our real kitchen.


Until she gets at it, of course. Miss M keeps trying to persuade me that the tea set goes into the refrigerator while the teapot goes into our main bathtub. But she loves the toy refrigerator.

We keep hinting to my father-in-law that he totally needs to open a toy shop. It’s going to be hard to top this gift. Whew.


Meanwhile, from my sister to me….

A Pride and Prejudice board book. This was the funniest thing. And I just noticed that the Sense and Sensibility version will be released in February. There’s my 2013 gift, Kiddo! 😉

In other humor news…


LEGO antics and…


Zita the Spacegirl, books 1 & 2. Zita is now a household name, along with One, Strong-strong, and Mouse.


What happens when you try to pose kids next to the church nativity scene?


(And I didn’t notice until most of the way through Mass that Rascal and Dino were wearing the wrong tops. Rascal was in Dino’s sweater and vice versa. Augh.)

and this is how we’ve all been feeling this past week.


But it’s been fun.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to this literary giant whose writings have added so much to our lives….


{pretty, happy, happy, real}


Found in the front yard after a thunderstorm.


We finally got our first batch of strawberries from the farm market stand!  I did not have any lack of helpers–or should I say snackers?

Happy x 2

When my parents came down they brought this little wooden kitchen set that Mom found at a garage sale for $3 (!!!).  It has been the Toy of the Week and it’s so nice to have a proper spot for all our Melissa & Doug foodstuffs.


My new dryer arrives today.  I am so happy.  I appreciate the nostalgia of hanging clothes on the line as much as anyone, but nevertheless a working dryer will be most welcome!  At the risk of airing a First World complaint, my old dryer broke over a month ago.

Hello and welcome to those who are stopping by from Elizabeth’s review on In the Heart of my Home.  It has been such fun “meeting” so many new people and catching up on those I already knew. 🙂  And thanks to all who helped put Joy in the Ordinary on the top 25 Religious Fiction purchases in both Fiction and Romance categories on Kindle yesterday.  I’m humbly grateful.

When resolutions fail

Remember two posts ago I mentioned that Dinosaur was in a “green and yellow haze” from which I anticipated him emerging sometime in the coming week?

I don’t think it is going to happen.

In fact, I think we’ve only encouraged it.

In the first flush of new parenthood, Haus Meister and I vowed that we would never “brand” our children.  We would allow them toys of certain characters and maybe the occasional book, but nothing to the extent that we are outfitting their wardrobe and rooms with something that will only be out of fashion in the next year or three, and then will sit rotting on a shelf at the Goodwill because everyone else is sick of that fad, too.  So while the boys love the movie Cars, they only have had plastic cups with the characters, the occasional car toy, but not the bedsheets or the lampshade.  Or the folding clothes bin or sweater stacker.

However, John Deere…. now there’s an enduring trend.  Something that might just grow with them.  I can see Dinosaur loving it ten years from now, although he probably won’t be watching the “All About John Deere” dvds.  He might be riding a John Deere lawnmower on our dream acreage.  He might still be wearing the green hat.

He might not be ashamed of learning to drive in a vehicle with the favorite logo in front.

But is this how it ends?  My great resolution never to become so “brand-loyal” with my kids? Because suddenly the boys’ room is becoming more Deere-ized.  There’s the “quilt” I made for Dinosaur last year, the 2010 John Deere calendar, some posters, a tractor-shaped coat rack, numerous tractor toys and books….

I guess the worst blow to my resolution is that the license plate up there… well… it was my idea.  My own.  And I installed it myself.