I've stepped back from many commitments. It's allowed for long deep slow breathing...and taking up things like pie baking and crocheting. Am I 60?

 Oh well. I love the living part of not being crazy busy...I notice more, I am more present to my husband and children, and to God.

A few highlights of November in between restful peacefull days of fall....

Pie Baking Class in Iowa at the American Gothic House. What an adventure and life long skill learned. ;)

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Andrew's sister Kristin moved to Beloit, Yay to cousins!! Warm day fall picnic :)
Dad Time
Floral Arrangement Class

My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE: The Veteran's Day Parade 

We invited friends over for Pre-Parade Tailgate since the big bands warm up in front of our house! Hot Apple Cider and Apple Cider Doughnut Holes were shared ;)

                                      Good Grief Time goes by fast! Vet's Day 2008!
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VET'S DAY 2010

Vet's Day 2012


Well I know what I'm doing...

In light of everything, I am reminded of my serious responsibility to be holy as God wants me to be holy and help my children desire Heaven more than anything the world has to offer (or not offer).

I realize it is not in my control, they will have free will and one day will decide for themselves to love God and be faithful Catholics or not, but I have the duty to show them truth, show them the beauty of God and living honestly and sincerly for Him. That I can and must do.

I  can pray and sacrifice for them now, because at the end of life, that is really all that matters, our love for God. My greatest hope and aspiration for them is to make it to Heaven. This effort on my part, is first and foremost, before God, what I will be held accountable for.

In the face of much moral relativism and lack of conviction, with God's grace, we go ahead with more vigour, more energy, more courage.

Part of this responsibility has concretely come in the form of doing this: Total Consecration To Mary. I've been thinking about doing this for years. Finally, our parish is doing it and handed out these books.
The reflections each day are rivoting. It is for Andrew and I, our children, and future children. I have tremendous peace placing them in her hands, as she will lead them to God.

And speaking of the little saints ;) here they are in the making...I think they succeed in giving little gifts of sacrifice and trial to their mother more so at the moment.

 I'll be a saint or a psycho...but a least they are cute ;)


Tradition! Tradition!

I should be Jewish I love traditions so much.

The Annual Pumpkin Carving.

Tradition Critieria:
George Winston's December album
Hot Apple Cider
Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
The Movie: The Ghost of Mr. Chicken
Lights out, pumpkin lit, and a telling a running story about "The Great Pumpkin"

This year we had a special guest, cousin Pat got to participate in the carving. Poor soul was peppered with show and tell all night by Nicholas and Christiana. We did have a great story telling though....something about a missing candle light and getting punched? (Nicholas' version)

Halloween 2012...Jack, Jill, and the Hill.
The local photographer took free Halloween pictures with a canned food donation...so we did that as well ;)

Then came trick or treating...with cousins Eva and Sam and best buddies Henry, Mila, and Bosco.


A Long Return

It's always a daunting task to blog after not blogging for weeks. My phlegmatic side could never handle the pressure of a daily blog...I'm way too relaxed, as my inconsistency shows.

In sum, THANK YOU GOD for overwhelming me with such great blessings as that of my husband and children. I get tears just thinking about it. How can I be surrounded with so much love? I pray to God I serve them well as a wife and mother.

There are always days that are difficult, when Avila wants to be held all day and cries all day or when Christiana's whines drown out my thoughts. Days when you count down until bedtime, but try take in those little sufferings instead of putting them to bed.

Two instances allowed me to see life "moments" this month with a new perspective.
1. I read a facebook status from my parent's friends that said: "So excited to have John and Mary back from college this weekend. Can't wait for family dinner again."

Holy cow that struck me...in a few short years my children will start to leave and the house will become sadly quiet. I will miss the pitter patter of footprints and the giggles, laughter, cries, and yells. THIS is it! I don't want to look ahead be constantly wishing for them to grow out of a stage or move onto the next one. I want to love every part of the now.

2. Nicholas' School Picture
Shot to the heart...my heart melted into a puddle. It was a solidifying moment of the reality that he is is in Kindergarten. I instantly saw this picture of his little face at his graduation. Relish him now. Like his father, he is always steady and happy. It also made me turn to Christiana in her "threeness" and promised to take it in.

This school year is different. I let go of most of my extra commitments to focus on my family and absorb all their moments with full mental and physical energy. After these two small instances, I continue to wake up excited to be with my kids and simply live each moment with vigour and God's grace.

And so October....

BARN DANCE...hay bales, bonfire, and country swing dancing. SO. FUN.
Dancing to Copperhead Road...my thighs burned by the end of it...so out of shape

Andrew showed off his swing moves...

We played Cowboys and Indians (ships and sailors) and I never laughed harder.


Just an excuse to bake and make all things fall...the kids would have been content to just play but thanks to their over ambitious mothers they got to paint pine cones, squish pumpkin play dough, and make felt pumpkins.

Apple Hand Pies...my new favorite thing to bake.


The field trip was to a local Pumpkin Farm, filled with corn mazes and gian hale bales, animals and hayrides. Not sure who was happier...me or Nicholas.


Lots of good cousin time...we got to pinch and squeeze all weekend.

 Aunt Tricia had lots of goodies, movies, and activities planned for us.

Waking up to this was worth the drive out there!

 I even got my face painted...

Doing anything with the mountains in the background is always relaxing...
  Please note John's hair...he poured bubbles on top of his head...i love him.

At top of Pikes Peak (bummer my camera was on wrong setting the whole time :/)
But it was absolutely stunning...I just kept shaking my head at the amazing beauty. The kids loved seeing the snow.

They have a coffee shop at the top. On the drive down we ate their famous doughnuts and coffee and I appropriately put on Man from Snowy River soundtrack...it was definitely a highlight of the trip