{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} Wrapping up Christmas


January 9th? What?! I have to catch up on Christmas before we launch into next week, the Birthday Week.  This year we are celebrating three days in a row.  Dino and Sunshine share a birthday but we learned last year that it isn’t always a good idea for them to share a birthday party.  In fact, it still rankles apparently because Dino has been reminding me all week that Sunshine has a tendency to open everyone’s presents (meaning his).  So, he gets his birthday, she gets the next day, and my birthday rounds out the three (very low key. And probably low sugar by that point just by default).

But stepping back a moment….

Haus Meister took some of the kids out after Mass on the 4th Sunday of Advent to find a tree to be our formal Christmas tree in the basement family room.  This was a good thing this year since our real Jesse tree upstairs had probably been cut in mid-October since it was mostly dead (that is, slightly alive) by Christmas Day.  It was down before Epiphany.  Well, our intrepid explorers could not find a grand 8-10 ft tree to be had anywhere, so they came home with two trees from Lowes.  The taller one cost $7.50. The shorter, only $5.  I was cringing to think I’d paid full price for our dead Advent tree. 😉

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I loved the look of the trees next to the hearth.  I think we may be decorating like this every year now.  Rather pretty, no?  They are still lovely and I’m going to hate taking them down this weekend.

The gift theme this Christmas was books, costumes (since the kids love to play dress-up no matter what time of year) and by happy chance we were able to find a kitchen set for the girls, which has already seen many tea parties and “cake” or “cookie” baking.  Here, a happy Sunshine is modeling her “princess-dreams-come-true” dress (that’s what she calls it) and wielding a wooden knife, no doubt for the wooden pats-of-butter that are for some reason in the sink. 🙂

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My baby sitting in my new rocking chair, an early Christmas present from Haus Meister, when the reupholstery project on my armchair proved to be too big a project for us to start right now.  I regretted that for a while, until this chair arrived.  Oh my, it’s so niiiiiiice…..

Happy Funny

We “tag teamed” Christmas Masses this year.  As Rascal was serving at the Midnight Mass, and Haus Meister was taking him, I took Dino and Princess to the Children’s Mass.  There they were able to dress up as a Wise Man and an Angel and participate in the procession at the beginning of Mass where the Child Jesus statue is placed in the creche.  I am glad to have had a chance to snap a picture of them in their costumes…


Because this is what the procession shots looked like:




Posey was enamored of all the beautiful clearance items at Lowes! I find this funny because I could hardly drag her away. I’d hear her little voice chirping “Look!” “Look!” as she meandered around the displays.


We were able to replace the camera stolen by the thieves in Indy on the day after Thanksgiving. So why are all my pictures the grainy cell phone ones?

Figuratively hitting my head on my desk right now.

Of course, Haus Meister has taken 98% of the pictures on the new camera, and I was in a hurry so I uploaded the ones from my phone. As always, filtering through 30 variations on this:

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or this:

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as the Mischief Squad attack.  But one day Miss M managed to actually get a picture of me holding Littlest, which was a pleasant surprise.

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Of course, it looks like I need more sleep.  And I do.  Signing off…. 😉

12 in 2014

I was worried.  My blogging time had been less blog and more yarn update than ever this past year. Did I have enough material to do a top 10 of 2014 post?   Then Laura shared this awesome idea via Dwija and I’m hooked.  So here we go: 12 photographs of 2o14!   Sheesh, compiling this I see I need some climbing pictures of Trooper!!! He’s a regular Spiderman at the indoor climbing wall. But you’ll have to wait on that a bit.  Anyway: 14 pictures of 2014!!!!


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photo 2 (4)


first of two winter snows



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new haircut


photo 2pi day birthday girl


photo 3sunshine at easter


photo 3littlest arrives


and is soon baptized



swim league




photo 5pajama tea parties


During the "obstacle course"
During the “obstacle course”

area equestrian special olympics


jacobs day10 years


SONY DSCeveryone hold still for a family picture!


photomiss m, a mask, and a penlight. epic combination

Thanks for being with us during 2014! I will be blogging again in 2015, with more than just yarn, and more yarns as well.  Pun intended. 😉

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} in the first week of Advent


Advent is here; I am now listening to Christmas music with abandon (shame on me) although I did download a new version of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” by two talented artists called “The Piano Guys” which is amusing because one of them is playing the cello.

So what’s new in these parts…



I turned my front door wreath into a perpetual Advent wreath! Or just until Epiphany, anyway. The banner above it was made by my sister and yes, it does read “Joy.” The “y” was blurred.


In our little oratory corner I was able to put out our German Advent wreath. I am so happy to have this out again.  I promise it is not about to burn the ceiling. In fact, these candles are rather quick melting. Remind me next year not to order the Amazon.com special no matter how on top of it I feel. It’s five days into Advent and just lighting it for our family rosary has shortened that candle by half.



While in my old hometown for Thanksgiving, we got to see our first snow of the season. It was nothing to the locals, who had already seen some, but to us it was amazing.


We also enjoyed a trip to the Children’s Museum, with it’s “Jolly Days” in full swing.


Cousins enjoying the slide in the Snow Castle.


Checking out a mastodon skeleton.


Switching “real” and “funny” here. I already told you what we found when we got to the parking lot of the Museum.


Nota bene: if ever you’re visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and they tell you there’s no room in their parking garage, avoid parking in their Waterclock lot. It may look safe being right next to the parking garage, but there’s no security camera on it, and anyone can drive in and out quickly.

To add insult to injury, it looks as though the thieves also rummaged around and found our nice camera.   And while looking through pictures on my phone, I found one with my knitting bag on our last afternoon together.

Good bye, Armas. Good-bye, knitting bag.

I haven’t cast on a new sweater for my husband yet, although the needles are ready and I fished out some of the remaining balls of Istex Alafoss. Plus he spoiled me by having me google yarn shop locations on our way back home, and dropped me off at one that was 10 minutes from our route. Providentially there was a Chick-Fil-A at that exit so he drove around and got food for the crew while I shopped. On the way home I finished 1.25 washcloths.  I love using the “unavoidable delay” of travel like that.


My helper. 🙂


Let’s end on a goofy note. Sunshine’s hair is starting to do this cute flip at the ends if you get it just right.


Then I realized we were pretty much at the “Episode IV” stage again. Sigh.

Thank you, Google Images
Thank you, Google Images

Sweet Sunshine-girl, I don’t care if we keep your hair at your shoulders… just don’t cut it again when it gets there, please! 😉  And no, I don’t think I trust you with a lightsaber, either.

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Family Photo Session!


Originally I’d planned to do our family photos over Thanksgiving, but when an e-mail coupon for Shutterfly coincided with one of their holiday cards deals, I decided It Was Time. Monday became Family/School Photo Day and my father-in-law gallantly came over to take the pictures over Haus Meister’s lunch break.

With the promise of Hallowe’en candy, the kids dressed up in their Church clothes/ Christmas dresses and got giddily hyper. Always the proper mentality before getting photographed for posterity.

Alas, Dino fans, he did NOT wear a hat this year.  He was even marginally more cooperative.  One might think he’s growing up.  Or one might think the candy bribe was pretty powerful.

In any event, here’s a bunch of Pretty, Happy, Funny, and oh so Real!


This remains one of my favorites, even if it didn’t fit in the card we chose. I love Princess’ exuberance (although I had NO idea she was doing that at the time), Sunshine’s sweet smile, Dino’s coy look, Trooper’s goofy look (because he was laughing), and the corgi photobomb.

That was picture #4.  My father-in-law wisely just kept snapping in hopes that one picture would come out with us all looking in one direction.


Picture #24. Miss M: “Oh! Look! I see the plane! Do YOU see the plane, [Posey]? Mama, a plane!”  Posey Pie: “Whoooooa.”

Sunshine is ready to move on.  I only wish I HAD known Princess was doing that. The boys look fine. Corgi still photobombing. Time for a change of scene….



I wanted one of us all in the leaves, and one of me with our girls, and Haus Meister with our strapping lads. Too much to ask?


Four out of five girlies. Not so bad. Come on, Sunshine!

But the fun of prancing in the leaves in full dress was just too much. Daddy had to sit in just so SHE would sit down.  And shout “CHEEEEESE!”


I love that Sunshine girl.  She puts her heart into it.  Meanwhile, no clue why Princess is jumping up.  Miss M is still looking for planes, Posey is about over it, and Littlest is still along for the ride.

Littlest isn’t so little, if you notice.  There’s only about 4lbs difference between Posey and herself. She also just turned six months old. I am in denial that it’s already been half of a year since her quick entrance into our life.

Anyway, back to the photos.  The boys didn’t fare much better.  A truck lumbered down our street and completely distracted Trooper while it was in sight.  The other two young miscreants had no such excuse. Not one picture had all three of my little men looking at the camera.


But I am pleased as punch that after cropping out our neighbor’s air conditioner unit, we have Family Photo 2014!


Trooper had just yanked me backward into the leaves. What a stinker! Posey’s two-finger habit now captured, Miss M looking 75% more dainty than she normally appears, and we are all, generally, facing forward.

For us, SUCCESS! 😉

{P, H, F, R} Baptism Edition




Good morning! I thought I’d try to check in again. Our mornings are more relaxed now that we’re very nearly finished with school (only a few more assignments and tests). I’m already revelling in the less hurried pace, although I know I’ll be welcoming it back at the end of next month when swim team is over and the humidity is too high for anyone to want to be outside longer than an hour. At that point the options seem to be interminable Netflix reruns of previously watched cartoons or Go Back to School. The latter is definitely the preferred option for me. Not sure about them. 😉 Of course, if my summer reading program idea takes off, we may start school in August instead of July . In any event, we’re happy to welcome summer around here.


Littlest was baptized on Saturday.  Both sets of grandparents were able to attend, as well as two aunts and a third aunt–my sister-in-law, Littlest’s official godmother–was able to watch via FaceTime!

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Littlest is the 13th to wear the heirloom christening gown, if I have my numbers right.


We’re still combining the pictures taken by different people on different cameras. So far this is the best one I’m in. 😉 My karate chop action is me waving Miss M away from the large statue of the Sacred Heart, off screen, because she was fascinated with the fact that Jesus looked realistic and had toes.


Father and some of the kids after the baptism.



Our swim team crew


The water table crew.

Water will feature largely in our summer memories this year.




One of my favorite Posey pictures, this month anyway.


The corgyn’s reaction to the “healthy weight management” food I had just poured into their shared bowl.

Merry, who needs it most, did eventually go eat some, and then Pippin followed.


I should have left my phone nearer some capable adult hands during the baptism. These are a sample of the pictures on my phone after our family event, courtesy of the Mischief Squad.

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{P, H, F, R} in our new normal


Well, I have a few weeks to catch up on, but if you’ve been keeping up you’ll see that the surprise arrival of Littlest has completely changed any plans we had for the month. She’ll be two weeks old tomorrow and I keep looking at the calendar and musing that if babies followed their predicted due dates then I would still have had a week to go, and she would probably have weighed over 10lbs at birth considering that she was only 2oz below 9lbs when she arrived. Now I’ve gotten to hold her, love her, share her with her adoring family, and I have some of my energy back plus I can bend over and even run again. Pluses all around!


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It was about a week after coming home before I walked over to our Mary garden in the front yard. The peonies are beginning to bloom and my Lafter roses from the Antique Rose Emporium are really taking off! In the wider circle of the bed the mint that over-wintered are spreading like crazy and the four blueberry bushes are actually berrying! My lavender plant overwintered as well and this year rewarded me with flowers.

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I hung them in my bathroom mainly so they would survive. Hanging herbs and flowers don’t survive anywhere a toddler can grab a chair.

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The Mary garden looked so lovely I used it as a background for Littlest’s birth announcement picture. I even included one of the Lafter roses that was starting to lose its petals.


Adding some pictures to our house. Actually the girls’ room has had these pictures in it since we moved them into the larger of the two kids’ bedrooms, but I never got a picture.

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These are stationery cards from Sarah Jane. They have all the months of the year but I singled out the girls’ birth months and put them in quick frames until I can do something better with them. Some of the girls were jealous that Littlest, being born in May, got the girl holding the flower bouquet. That would mainly be Princess, who being born in September gets the girl holding the lunchbox. 😉

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The girls make nice wall companions for Jill’s ballerina. 🙂

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Then I found this gem and knew I HAD to have it in my foyer.

Happy Funny

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Rascal drew this sign for the new baby’s homecoming. He was so excited he apparently forgot all the rules for capitals and punctuation.


Two weeks ago, Posey Pie seemed like such a tiny baby. Now she’s a giant one.

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Big enough to share our new acquisition with Littlest (and luckily enjoys it).

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I’m head over heels for this stroller. Part of it may be because I got it for only $14 thanks to carefully hoarded Amazon points, and part of it may be because it truly is the best double stroller I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned two others.


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Sunshine cut her hair again. Above her ear. She now has an official “pixie cut,” unless you’re asking Dino, who will just tell you she looks like a boy. So we don’t ask Dino. And actually, Sunshine looks pretty darn cute with that pixie cut, and it saves me time getting her out the door, so I’m reconciled.

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real — End of March edition


Thank goodness for Thursdays. You might never hear from me otherwise!

Of course there’s plenty of excuses for not blogging, but the main one is that we’re still holding down the fort as Haus Meister pulls 60-70 hr work weeks, and sometimes just going to bed twenty minutes after the kids do is the best option. Oh, and then there’s the stomach bug that hit last week and proceeded to make its way through the family. Fortunately it did not hit everyone with the same intensity. Four children had it worse, one boy had it less, Haus Meister and I suffered slightly, and Miss M and Posey missed it entirely. Whew.

One wonderful thing to come from this week is a new family prayer tradition, but that deserves its own blogpost so I will make time to do that this weekend.



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On Tuesday we had snow. Yes, snow. It didn’t stick of course. It came down sometimes in gusts and sometimes like flurries and meanwhile I stood looking at my daffodils bending in the breeze and wondered just what month it is again? 😉 I had already removed my pots of blueberry bushes and the lavender plant to shelter from the frosts of the past three nights. This is most likely Winter’s Last Hurrah down here, but Sunshine at least is still enjoying it. In the picture we are leaving speech therapy (she and Trooper go on the same day–she has an expressive language delay that is rapidly improving, especially based on her charming rendition of “Hot Tross Buns”), and while Trooper had already hopped into the van (he does not like snow), Sunshine wanted to stand and revel in it.


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Happy girlies in the morning. I draw your attention away from their lovely smiles and the cheerio mess behind them and toward the doll in Miss M’s arms. That doll and I go way back; she was a Christmas gift from my aunt and uncle on Christmas Eve, 1986. She was a “preemie” edition Cabbage Patch doll, which was appropriate since nearly six years before I had been the preemie of the family. Her name on the Cabbage Patch papers was Ella Giselle but I had it “legally” changed at Cabbage Patch HQ to “Melissa Anne,” thinking it was more elegant and less like the elderly Avon lady who visited my mom often, whose name also was Ella. Bless her. Anyway, “Melissa” was my favorite doll all through childhood and was the nostalgia item I took with me to college after graduation. And of course after I married she came down South and waited five years for the first girl to show up. Sporadically loved by both Princess and Sunshine–and patched up when the latter discovered scissors and wanted to see what the doll’s stuffing was like–“Melissa” has now found a loving mommy again in Miss M. Only now she isn’t called “Melissa,” but has the very original new name of “Dolly.”

So once again Dolly goes everywhere with her new mommy (even moreso, I think, than she did with me) and has many adventures. Like hiding in the tupperware drawer.

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I feel guilty that most of the pictures on the blog lately are of the younger set of kids. This has nothing to do with favoritism or anything like that, but more because the older set don’t stick around when I’m taking pictures. But last night I took one of Trooper being silly.


Oh yes, it’s haircut time.


My sister and I aren’t exactly alike in everything but often we have similar ideas. This year we beat off the winter doldrums (more necessary in her case with three months of non-stop snow) by planning ways to make our homes sparkle without harsh chemicals.  My older kids are helping with the chores more so I wanted to have something I could trust in their hands. And making citrus-all-purpose-vinegar cleaner is kind of spring like and nice smelling (when you get past the vinegar). Funnily, we each began ours at the same time without knowing it. Recipe found here. While this is great, my other go-to is a 1:1 mix of water and white vinegar with a few drops of Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena dish soap. But back to the citrus thing now.


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lemon vinegar

Then there’s the five gallons of laundry detergent I whipped up in my kitchen and the jars of homemade dishwasher soap.  Those are working pretty well so far, although I get the occasional cloudy glass still. I have seen little difference between the store bought laundry detergent and the one made here–except mine smells nicer. 😉 My sister and I are also brainstorming ideas for our Etsy store this spring and comparing orders and label ideas. She’s making lip glosses and moisturizers, I’m making salves. Or at least I will, once the MountainRose Herbs order arrives. 😉 I’m pretty sure our dad thinks we’ve jumped off some neo-hippie deep end, but it’s been a fun way to spend the cold end of winter.