Friday, March 29, 2013

A "not so perfect" end of Lent and Holy Week

Phew!  It truly is Holy Week and the end of Lent, huh?  We started this week (or rather ended last week) with me fighting severe hives and an allergic reaction and I ended up being hospitalized Saturday and Sunday evening.  I came home Monday, but am fighting symptoms still, not to mention the nasty side-effects of being on steroids.  I had a kidney stone (blasting) surgery two-and-a-half weeks ago, and it's still unsure if medication given to me from that is what triggered my body to explode like this.  I am a mystery to the doctors right now and have many follow-up appointments in the next couple weeks to try to figure things out.  I was covered from head to foot in hives (literally!) and here a two pictures of my legs to show you how beautiful they were and a picture of my sweet little visitor who came in to say "hi" and bring me good cheer.... 

sweet smiley Rose....   it was SO hard being away from her those 2 nights while I was in the hospital! 

God is so amazing and wonderful, and comes to us "in flesh" when hard times and CrAzInEsS like this hits.  My family was amazing -- helped with kids throughout the day and overnight.  My mother and sister took me to the ER after my family medical doctor shooed me out of her office and sent me there right away.  My mom even stayed the night with me the first night (like she says - "once a mother, always a mother" - thanks, Mom!  I love you!!!!).  My older sisters ran Ariel's birthday party, which had to change last minute and only include cousins.  My sister-in-law brought a meal to feed our crew, a sweet friend stopped by to visit while I was in the hospital and left food/goodies at our house, another friend made a yummy meal, and not to mention, the countless emails, phone calls, messages from all our other family and friends.  God truly made His love and presence known and made bearing this cross much lighter and easier.  Thank you, God!!!

Now, like I said, all that happened at the start of the week....  Then we were hit with many deaths as the week went on.  Two of them were sisters that our children train with and are part of our TKD family - truly heartbreaking!!  Please pray for their family - their mother just gives and gives of herself for our TKD family and is almost always present when we are there for classes.  Her girls were always bouncing around and bubbly as ever, and will truly be missed.  The other death was the husband of our local Pro-life NFP doctor, and had a tragic death as well.  And, then we also found out that a sweet friend of mine lost her brother-in-law and we lost a wonderful lady from our parish.  May God send His love and presence to all the families involved in these deaths and may the faithful departed rest in peace....

We really went "all out" last year for both Holy Thursday and Good Friday, and enjoyed our Liturgical Teas to bring such beauty and meaning to these Holy Days.  But, being on survival mode all week and still today, we had to simplify our plans quite a bit.  For Holy Thursday, we thankfully made it to Mass and our sweet baby Olivia was one of the twelve to have had her feet washed.  It was absolutely *precious*!  She totally lit up when Msgr went to wash her piggies and of course, Msgr and the two deacons were all smiles as well.  What a beautiful bonding and gracefilled moment this was.  Probably similar to the gesture of love that our new Pope Francis made when he washed the feet of two women and shocked the world on the same day.  For today (Good Friday), I made a breakfast egg "crown" (made from crescent rolls and scrambled eggs), the kids colored some pictures and we were able to pull off a very simplified version of a Good Friday Liturgical Tea for dinner.  This added some comfort and tradition to our celebrations and although was served on paper plates (again -- we are still on "survival mode"), it was still very nice. 

a breakfast egg "crown" bake
crucifixion coloring pages

crucifixion coloring pages

crown of thorns (see this link from our 2012 post for more details)
crown of thorns refried bean dip (see this link from 2012 post for more details)

Here are some more pictures that show our "not so perfect" end of Lent and Holy Week.... as you can see, we became WAY behind on our Jesus tree with the CrAzY last couple weeks.  And, not all the kids got their coloring done on our REPENT cross....

2013 Jesus tree (looks like we'll still be adding a few pieces throughout the Easter season)

our 2013 REPENT cross and calendar
Although the last couple weeks haven't gone according to *our* plans, we still give our thanks and trust to our wonderful God, because all is perfect in His eyes and He always works everything out according to His plan. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

A little bit of heaven...

....when our sweet girl turns 7!

Thank you God for Ariel and all that she is to our family!

Since her last year's birthday post included pictures of her since birth, I thought I'd share a whole bunch of pictures of her from this past year....

Melody, Neil, & Ariel

Ariel and a sweet cousin

Ariel with her Grandma, cousins, and Melody

Ariel as the mad-catter

Ariel, her other Grandma and great-aunt

Ariel, momma with a pregnant belly. and Melody

playing with pumpkin goo and seeds

Ariel as St Lucy

holding and meeting little Rose
Ariel and Melody's turkey veggie tray

Fone and Ariel eating root beer floats to celebrate 12-12-12 (Grandpa Hamerlinck's birthday)

the momma and her girls
Ariel reading to Pookey and Max
A double birthday celebration with Ariel and her Godmother

Loving God, you created all the people of the world and you know each of us by name. We thank you for Ariel, who today celebrates her birthday. Bless her with your love and friendship that she may grow in wisdom, knowledge, and grace. May she  love her family always and be faithful to her friends.

From the mouth of babes...

Pookey came to me earlier today with this on his head and said, "Look, Mom.  I'm a cardinal."  I guess he was all excited about all the talk on cardinals, bishops and especially our new Pope Francis.  So, I told him how cute he looked and how neat that would be if he was cardinal someday.  Then he said, "Nope, I'm going to be a pirate."  Kind of curious about what modern-day pirates do, I asked him what he would do as a pirate.  He stated very clearly, "I will kill octopuses".  Thanks, Pookey, I think I got it now!  :)

**Movie Night**

Isn't amazon great?  New movies come out on Tuesdays, but amazon always seems to deliver them a day early.  Can't wait to pop some popcorn and watch this movie in a bit....

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Years of hard work REALLY DO pay off

I have said it many times since Rose was born that "having 7 kids is much easier than when I had 2 or 3 or 4".  Seriously!  I have awesome helpers right now, and the hard work of teaching and correcting and disciplining is really starting to pay off.  My kids work, most of the time, with happy hearts and do it willingly because they know they *have* to and that's just part of being a family.  So, today is one of those "proud mom" days.  We are in the midst of a winter storm and probably already have 6 inches on the ground (in less than 8 hours!).  Neil is at work, and would have a hard time making in the drive and into the garage without getting stuck.  So...  what do I do?  Send out my 11 year old and 10 year old and put their muscles to work, of course!!  Little did I know, they would become creative and save all the snow to play in later.  Love it!!!!  And, love you boys.... thanks SO much, Mario and Fone, for all your hard work today!!! 

++Thank you God for all the years of hard work (blood, sweat, and tears!!!) and a TON of grace that has made my boys into hardworking, loving, caring disciples of Yours!!!  ++

Some Lenten and papal links....

There is so much we can do to deepen our experience of Lent and prepare ourselves for Easter.  I have shared some of our family devotions in the past, and we are doing pretty much the same this year.  I always like to add a couple new things each year.  Here are some links and video's for Lent and also some for the election of our new pope as well....

An abundance of Lent activities here (USCCB)

Lovely printable Lenten calendar that the kids can color each day (Pondered In My Heart)

Crown of thorns   (Raising Young Ones)

 Lent and Easter book ideas (Shower of Roses)

Holy Thursday Liturgical Tea  (Raising Young Ones)

Good Friday Liturgical Tea (Raising Young Ones)

A Papal Unity Study and Lapbook (Shower of Roses)

Pope Activities for Kids  (Catholic Icing)

Papal Conclave Lesson Plan (The Religion Teacher)

"Sweet Sistine" March madness brackets  (RNS)

A double digits birthday


 Our second oldest broke into double digits a couple weeks ago!  Mario is our sweet, compassionate, kind, tender hearted, artsy, creative, goofey, handsome kid.  Last year, I shared pictures from when he was born 'til he turned 9 years old.  This year, I wanted to share pictures of him from this past year....

Mario lovingly and willingly dressed as a clown for his sister's circus birthday party last year.

Easter 2012

Piano recital 2012

playing in a creek on Mother's Day (pic #1)

playing in a creek on Mother's Day (pic #2)

Bubble man - Father's Day 2012 (pic #1)

Bubble man - Father's Day (pic #2)

corn on the cob! 

Mario and one of his cousins

Mario snuggling Pookey

swimming at his aunt's house

cRaZy creative playtime! 

our ConQuest boys - Mario, Max, and Fone

Mario posing in one of his TKD moves

St Frances of Paola - All Saints Day 2012

one of Mario's first duct tape creations - a cup (and, yes, he actually drank from it!)

Mario giving his sister, Melody, her Christmas ornament (he drew her name!)

meeting and holding Rose for the first time

Mario starring as one of the 3 Kings in our Epiphany play

one of Mario's Lego builds - any guess what it is??

Mario helping making our crown of thorns - ya think he's having any fun?   ;-)

Loving God, you created all the people of the world and you know each of us by name. We thank you for Mario, who today celebrates his birthday. Bless him with your love and friendship that he may grow in wisdom, knowledge, and grace. May he  love his family always and be faithful to his friends.

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