When you have a wonderful big sister who gifts you with cherries from her cherry tree, you need to be creative on how to use them.
First you must....
(and it's really nice to pawn those 3 jobs off on your 14 year old son, if you have one)
Cut 'em in half
Make a PIE!!!
So my baby sister and I got together last Saturday morning and made CHERRY pies! My very first homemade fruit pie with a homemade crust. Yeah, can you believe it? And, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't that difficult. What do you think?
It sure tasted great!! Next up will be a homemade apple pie. With a homemade crust again!! I can get used to this Betty Crocker thing! ;)
What are some of your favorite ways to play Betty Crocker?
You may ask why? Who oh why? Because my nephew has joined the military and given of himself to serve our great country. And it has made us all feel a bit more patriotic. And what a wonderful thing to turn our hearts and souls to a better appreciation for the USA!!
So, to celebrate, Neil, my dad and my brother-in-law all helped each other install flag poles at each of our houses. Here are some pictures of the install and some pictures of the ground work/landscaping and of course, the finished area with our new grand old flag. Our Max even set up some of his army guys in the area under our flag. Way better than a fairy garden, eh??
Ariel messaged Neil and I a belated anniversary picture she created for us today. Three days ago marked 17 years of being married to my sweetie. Can you believe it? 17 seems like so many years; yet it seems to have gone so fast and I truly do feel so young still!
I look at us here and wonder what we were thinking...
Like the 5 kids I was wanting became 9! Would I think my future self was CrAzY or blessed? Somedays I'm still in awe, like is this our life? Pinch me; it's too good to be true. Not that it's been easy or is easy. Because it's not! It's far from it - lol! Large family living is tough. Homeschooling is tough.
Like our new house that we wanted to build would become buying my brother-in-law's family house that HE grew up in? No brand new house where we get to pick out and design everything. Nope. Nada. God planted in some very important wisdom that came from my mother-in-law, "Do not consider Katie's salary into your house price. You know once you start having kids, she won't want to go back to work". She was right! And thank God, we listened!!! (and thank you, Jean, for speaking up!! You are a great mom!! Then and still today - we are SO blessed by you!). Our dream house that we were wanting to build became an older house that has been added onto once and renovated multiple times to accommodate our growing family. And it's SO close to our families whom we treasure so much!
Like would we have thought I'd quit working after less than a year of teaching. Even if I hadn't been in an accident in March and forced to quit my first year early, I wouldn't have gone back. Baby numero uno was on his way!!! And, my mother-in-law was right - I didn't want to go back to work. But, WORK is what I did and still do today... I run a household of 11 people, homeschool 7 of our 9 children, balance being a mom of teens, pre-teens, a toddler, a baby, and a few in-betweens. There's never much quiet to my job. There's always some place to run, something to do, someone who needs extra love and snuggles, and on and on. It's not a job that many brides dream about. Nothing that seems life-changing and world-altering. But, man-oh-man, is that stereotype SO wrong!! I am forming 9 souls for Christ to send out in this world. The 1+1 (+1 being Christ) = 11 !! We became a family of 11! That's great WORK I'd say. A Magnum Opus, if you know what I mean! ;)
And then I look at us here. Two smooching lovers (well, actually 4 smoochers - I had a double wedding with my sister!! They're pretty cute too, eh?). And, I think of my own kids... what will their future hold? Will they experience the beauty of Holy Matrimony? Holy Orders? Only God knows. Neil and I will continue doing our best to foster all vocations and trusting our children into His hands and the hands of Our Lady. And then to never never never EVER forget that we did our job. Our children do have free will. They may stray. They may make mistakes. And if they do, then Neil and I need to let go and trust even more.
++Thank you, Lord, for these last 17 blessed beyond all measure years married to my groom. Please continue to live in us and through us as we love each other and lead each other to Heaven.++
This year's May Day was a "grin and bear it" kind, as I was in between surgery #1 and surgery #2 and had the 24/7 uncomfortableness of the stent. Oy! The things you do for those you love, even when you are not feeling 100%. Thank God for His grace and strength. The kids did 99% of the prep! They needed a little help with set up and the idea, but they carried it all out after that. Ariel rocked the prep this year, since Melody and Fone were busy with their play. And, for the actual carrying it out, I got to play chauffeur, which was doable for me too.
(You probably wonder HOW DO YOU DO May Day with a crew of kids and the busyness of a large family living and homeschooling PLUS dealing with health issues. Come check out my write up over at Cuppa Catholic.... it's "Easy as 1, 2, 3"!)
**ding and dash day**
++Thank you, Lord, for your grace and strength and traditions like this that bond our family together in love and generosity!++
Our Pookey received his Second Holy Communion yesterday and his First Holy Communion the week before. All in the midst of my recovery from my surgeries and a 5 day stretch of fever after the surgeries. We had to cancel his party at our house afterwards, but the most important part was the Sacrament and him receiving Jesus for the first time. He was so sweet and reverent and did a great job with all his preparation this year. We are super proud of him and love him so much. And what a blessing Our Lord gets to reside in him whenever he receives Him in Holy Mass now!! It's such a turning point in our faith and a huge step in our kids' lives where they seem to grow up overnight.