Monday, June 30, 2014

Oob's First Communion

 The happiest day!!

Oob has been waiting to receive Jesus for a long time.

Sunday morning the question was, "How many more hours? How many more minutes?"

 And then, He was here!

So happy!  So much love!!

Thank you, Blessed Mother, for helping Oob get ready!

Thank you Fr. Stack!!

That afternoon, we went to the Basilica gift shop to let Oob pick out something to remember his First Communion.

He picked this beautiful glass depiction of the Last Supper, which he is keeping by his bed.
Like this, but right side up!

Mumpy and Pa also gave him money to pick out something.  He chose a "golden" rosary, a rosary case, a medal of his patron saint, and an image of Divine Mercy.

Happy, happy Oob!

Now we're off to morning Mass for his second Communion!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Poem of the Week:Oob's First Communion!

Today, Oob is making his First Communion!  Please pray for him, and I should have pictures up tomorrow.

Of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar
The God of Hosts in slender host doth dwell,
   Yea, God and man with all to either due,
That God that rules the heavens and rifled hell,
   That man whose death did us to life renew:
That God and man that is the angels’ bliss,
In form of bread and wine our nurture is.
Whole may His body be in smallest bread,
   Whole in the whole, yea whole in every crumb;
With which be one or be ten thousand fed,
   All to each one, to all but one doth come;
And though each one as much as all receive,
Not one too much, nor all too little have.
By St. Robert Sothwell

HT, and the rest of the poem: The Oxford Book of English Verse

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Grammys!!

Happy birthday to my beloved long time blog reader, Grammy Ann!

I wish I were with you to give you a big hug and bake you a fancy cake!!

And happy birthday to my dear MIL, whom we call Grammy!

I'm glad I live close enough to give you a big hug and bake you the cake!  It's not perfect, but at least it's not a creepy dinosaur!

And for you, Grammy Ann, I send you a hug, and my prayers, and this poem from John Masefield (he who wrote Sea Fever.) HT: Poet's Corner

The Seekers

    FRIENDS and loves we have none, nor wealth nor blessed abode,
    But the hope of the City of God at the other end of the road.
    Not for us are content, and quiet, and peace of mind,
    For we go seeking a city that we shall never find.
    There is no solace on earth for us--for such as we--
    Who search for a hidden city that we shall never see.
    Only the road and the dawn, the sun, the wind, and the rain,
    And the watch fire under stars, and sleep, and the road again.
    We seek the City of God, and the haunt where beauty dwells,
    And we find the noisy mart and the sound of burial bells.
    Never the golden city, where radiant people meet,
    But the dolorous town where mourners are going about the street.
    We travel the dusty road till the light of the day is dim,
    And sunset shows us spires away on the world's rim.
    We travel from dawn to dusk, till the day is past and by,
    Seeking the Holy City beyond the rim of the sky.
    Friends and loves we have none, nor wealth nor blest abode,
    But the hope of the City of God at the other end of the road.
    John Masefield

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Popsicle Life

It's been in the upper 80s and low 90s (around 32 C) here for most of the past two weeks, and quite stickily humid.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you, we've had lovely cool weather for most of the spring, and often we're about ten degrees warmer this time of year.  Oh, yes, I see I've mentioned that, and how much I enjoy it.

But clearly it was time to make popsicles.  I did a quick Pinterest search for popsicle recipes, and found enough recipes to turn the Washington Monument into a frozen confection.  In August.

I spent a good three minutes worrying that Pinterest was crushing my creativity since it has thousands of project ideas for anything I want to do, and then Choclo (he and Oob were kibbitzing on the popsicle project) saw these chocolate dipped strawberry popsicles.

Rapturous delight! 

You just stick strawberries in the blender (with a little water) freeze them in molds, then dip them in Magic Shell.  If you haven't run into this, it's chocolate with coconut oil, and it freezes on contact with a frozen surface (usually ice cream), giving you a thin brittle shell of yumminess. 

In my case, I added a bit of sugar to the berries: the cold numbs the sweet taste buds more than the sour, and I find plain frozen fruit tastes unripe to me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

They're Off!

 Mxyl and Klenda are off on a grand adventure:  off to Spain, to visit Tia and Tio and their cousins!

Zorg wanted to squeeze into the carry on luggage, but, alas, he didn't fit.  He will have to wait a couple of years for when he and Leena will have their turn.  Tia is his godmother, and he really wants to see her!
Zorg almost fits!

Mxyl and Klenda have set up a blog just for their time in Spain.  You can follow their adventures at: Mxyl and Klenda's Excellent Adventure: To Spain!!

I don't think they have anything posted yet since they just arrived this morning, but we should see something soon.  They'll be there nearly a month.

Actually, Leena is off this week at Grammy's, doing a nature photography day camp, so we'll catch up (with pictures!) when she gets back, too.

This leaves us with only three kids at home, which feels very strange and quiet!

Monday, June 23, 2014


 One last trip before our membership runs out!

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the kids are looking at a ball of dried grass, and two  Australian finches taking bits of it back to their nests!

I love the aquarium.
This time they were feeding (or possibly playing with) the Giant Pacific Octopus.

That's a moray!
Cephalopod! Squeee!

 And, as ever, I texted the Emperor a picture of this fish with lots of hearts.

 The aquarium has an enormous coral reef that is several stories tall.

You descend from the surface in semidarkness, winding down a series of ramps, watching the different fish swimming at different levels.

At the very bottom (actually in a different tank, although it gives the illusion of all being one tank) are the sharks...

Choclo and Oob were over the moon!

 At the very end, we watched trainers working with the dolphins.

They don't do a "show" anymore, but you can just wander in, watch them for a  while and wander out when you've seen enough.

They actually have an announcer on hand to explain what the various trainers are doing.

 Walking back to the van, we stopped in a little park which invited passersby to play a set of giant pipes.

A fun way to start summer!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Poem of the Week


By Sara Teasdale
Life has loveliness to sell,
      All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
      Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
      Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
      Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
      Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
      Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Family Visit or How My Sister Got Me a Sister

I think I mentioned that I had family visiting earlier this month.  This was a rare and special event!

Can we get a good picture of everyone?

You may know that I have a sister who is a SOLT sister in Colorado.  But I also have another sister, who is also a sister, in Ghana.  I look a lot like my sister in Colorado, but not much like my sister in Ghana, because she's adopted. 

She was asked by her bishop in Ghana to found an order of teaching sisters, and she said yes, even knowing that it would cost her.  Her parents emphatically did not approve of her becoming a sister, to the extent that they disowned her.

To found a new order, the foundress has to go through formation in an established order, and the order that agreed to form her was SOLT, my other sister's order.  That's how my one sister met my other sister, and she introduced her to my parents, who then adopted her.  (Could you follow that?)  She calls them Mom and Dad, they (and we) call her Akufa, which means Beloved Joy.

Probably not.
For a few happy years, she was living near us, getting her Masters in Psychology, and then she was back in Ghana for a year, making preparations.  This month she returned to make her final vows in SOLT, and we got to see her for a little while on her family visit.  My parents drove down to pick her up, and we had some rare time together.

Now she is back in Ghana, receiving her first postulants, and going about the beautiful work she has been given.  I miss her already!  I suppose I won't see her again for a few years, at least.  But she is my sister, always in my heart, and we will meet, as we always have, in the Heart of Jesus!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: The Big Launch

This was the big finale of our Astronomy/Rocket science class, launching at NASA Goddard!

Out of 16 kids, I believe everyone had at least one successful launch, and most had two launches.  Super fun on a beautiful day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

One Last Birthday Hurrah

 For Choclo!

We missed celebrating his birthday with grandparents because my much beloved mother-in-law was quite ill, so we made up for it now, when she was feeling better.

What, more celebrating?  You bet!

He asked for a smiley face lemon cake with lots of lemon!
 He's on a bit of a "sour" kick right now.

This cake hit the spot and was much less creepy than the dinosaur!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Monster of a Father's Day

 We decided to give the Emperor a giant monster themed Father's Day!

We made a large Mecha-Godzilla peering in at the window.

We dressed Choclo up as a small Godzilla (using the paper dinosaur trick).

 And the rest of the Zoomlians built block cities for him to crash through on his way to bringing Dad his presents!

We had gotten him a collection of Godzilla movies, as well as a T shirt that said "Welcome to Monster Island!"

He got a few other things as well, like his favorite snacks with which to watch Giant Monster Movies.

And then we all settled down to watch Son of Godzilla, a truly silly movie which answers the burning questions: what are giant monsters like as toddlers? And: Could even Godzilla sleep though a baby who wants to play instead of nap? (the answer is no).

Happy Father's Day, Emperor, you're a monstrously great DAD!!
Painting by Klenda

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poem of the Week: Father's Day

Pa’s Soft Spot

By D. A. Ellsworth
“All folks hev some soft spot,”
      Ma uster say,
“Somethin’ or ’nother
      Comes out some day
Comes out ’fore they know it,
      Jest like ez not.”
’N’en us kids’d say, “Ma,
      What’s your sof’ spot?”

An’ we’d keep a plaguin’,
      Till ma’d say,
“I wish ’at you youngins
      ’D run away!
Ask your pa’ bout his’n
      An’, like ez not,
He’ll tell you willin’ly
      What’s his sof’ spot.”

’N’en we’d ’gree to ask him
      That very day;
When his train’d whistle
      Why right away,
We’d jest skedaddle
      Clean ’cross the lot,
To be first to ask pa
      What’s his sof’ spot.

Pa, he’d say, “My sof’ spot?
      Never hes none!”
Wouldn’t tell us neither,
      But jest make fun;
Then he’d tell his brakeman,
      He’d says “Great lot,
Think you’re goin’ to tell ’em
      What’s your sof’ spot!”

’N’en we’d all go home,
      An’ after ’while
Pa’d tell ma ’bout it,
      An’ ma she’d smile;
We’d ’gin agin a guessin’,
      Till pa’d say, “Trot!
Time you kids wuz dreamin’
      In some sof’ spot.”

An’ pa’d never tell us,
      When he wuz in;
Ev’ry trip he come home
      We’d ’gin agin;
Onct George sez when prayin’,
      He prayed a lot,
“Please God, wisht you’d tell us
      What’s pa’s sof’ spot!”

One day the opurat’r
      Sent word by Bert
There hed bin a washout,
      An’ pa wuz hurt;
Engineer wuz hurt, too,
      An’ both might die;
Pa wanted to see us
      To say good-by.

We wuz all so still
      When we went in;
They wuz holdin’ pa up,
      A fannin’ him;
An’ pa sez “I may die
      Jest like ez not,
Tell the children I sed
      They’s my sof’ spot!”

But our pa didn’t die,
      He jist got well;
We wuz all so happy,
      Couldn’t ’gin to tell!
’Cause we all loved our pa,
      A great big lot,
I guess God saw we wuz
      Pa’s sof’ spot!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Catching Up

The past 5 weeks have been crazy: 3-6 birthdays, an anniversary, a funeral, my portfolio review (and all the end of the school year craziness), rocket launches, family visits, Mother's Day (and Father's Day tomorrow).

I'm finally ready to get back to blogging, and I realized I haven't blogged at all about the most important thing in all that craziness:

 Zorg was confirmed May 14th!

He chose his godfather, Fr. John Paul as his Confirmation sponsor.

He took the name Joseph, after the saint he has had such a devotion to for so long.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Guest Blog by Mxyl: The Big Trip: 日本!

So sorry I used two colons in the same sentence. 

Hello, everyone!  It's been a while since we've blogged about our Big Trip!  Right now, we're in of one of the places I was most exited about returning to (and the only place I've been to before)--Japan!

After we landed in Osaka (which I've never been to before), we went to Osaka Castle!  That was quite fun.  We also saw a Bunraku play--kind of like a Japanese puppet show, only intended for adults. 

Sono ato, Miyajima ni ikimashita.  Totemo tanoshikattadesu.  Are de, shika wo mita! 

Sorry, did I start talking in Japanese?  Of course I did After that, we went to Tokyo!  There, we saw Tokyo Tower and even climbed Mt Fuji!  I've seen it before, but never climbed it in person!  Here's a view of the Tower during the latest giant monster attack:
It took the Prime Minister's Jaeger and some extra hired help to fix the problem.  After that, we went to Kyoto and then Hokkaido, but there'll be time for that in another blog post.  Videos soon to come!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Poem of the Week: Happy Pentecost!

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

By Gerard Manley Hopkins
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Choclo!

Choclo is 9!

He had a great birthday!

His brothers and sisters are pretty awesome present pickers, and he was pretty thrilled with the results.

Interestingly, a lot of his gifts were things to build in different ways.  So fun!
Save me!
For his birthday, we went to Mass, then stopped by a playground.  It was one of our beautiful clear mornings, not too hot, not too chilly. 

Oob had fun getting "stuck" at the top of the climbing rock and getting Mxyl to rescue him.
Choclo and Zorg played tag.

Then it was time to go home and make the cake.  Choclo had found a dinosaur cake pan in the back basement, and had asked if I could make it for him.  Sure!

What color would he like?  Red? OK.

It wasn't until I was nearly done that I realized... it looks pretty creepy.

You look delicious!
So I fixed it. 

Which made it extra creepy.

Klenda wandered in and told me, "Mom, you should have called me!"

Yeah, but.. I didn't realize it looked like it was the cake that ate the people until it was too late.

Choclo saw it, laughed, and then declared that it was his favorite cake ever.

So that was all right.

Then it was pinata time!  We had found a red T rex pinata that looked substantially less creepy than the cake, and a fun time was had by all!

 And the cake didn't actually eat anyone.

Nine Great Things About Choclo

1. He's a Bear Scout!
2. He tells silly jokes!
3. He builds great castles.
3. He loves using the microscope.
4. He's reading The Time Machine with Mom.
5. He has his own museum!
5. He really likes dissections.
6. He's crazy about sharks, mummies, and dinosaurs.
7. He likes to snuggle.
8. He loves to read.
8. He always tries to make people feel better when they are sad.
9. He loves to receive Jesus in Communion.